SBD/December 21, 2011/2011 Year in Review

Maybe Next Time: Deals That Did Not Get Done During '11

Every year, there are many prospective deals that sound great at the outset, but fall apart before completion. Here are a few of those would-be deals that stood out in '11.

Meruelo reportedly refused to meet economic
conditions placed on deal by the NBA

KINGS WITHOUT A CASTLE: All signs pointed to the NBA Kings relocating to Anaheim earlier this year after failing to come to terms on a new arena in Sacramento. Ducks Owner Henry Samueli made a strong push and offered lucrative incentives to lure the team to Honda Center. But following relentless lobbying from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and perhaps a nudge from Commissioner David Stern, the Maloofs decided to give it one more shot in Sacramento.

DEAL GOES SOUTH: Atlanta Spirit indefinitely pulled the Hawks off the market after an agreement with Alex Meruelo fell apart. Both sides agreed to walk away after the L.A. businessman reportedly refused to meet economic conditions placed on the deal by the NBA. Without any serious bidders lined up, the Hawks again enter the ’11-12 season facing ownership uncertainty.

MISSING THE GREEN: The LPGA’s annual stop in Springfield, Ill., came to an end after tournament organizers failed to find suitable corporate backing. But it was not for lack of trying. Officials spent about 10 months looking for a replacement for State Farm, which ended its 19-year association with the tournament last June. They floated the idea of bringing on a consortium of sponsors to make up for State Farm’s absence, but ultimately the tough economy proved to be too much.

LEAVING LAS VEGAS: The Izod IndyCar Series will bypass Las Vegas Motor Speedway next year after this season’s finale ended in the tragic death of Dan Wheldon. Track owner SMI agreed to a buyout for the ’12 season, and the final year of the three-year deal is expected to be reviewed later.

Red Bull ended its backing of its two-car team
piloted last season by Kahne and Vickers

RUNNING ON LOW: Red Bull bowed out of team ownership in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, ending its backing of its two-car team piloted last season by Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers. Red Bull started the operation in ’07 and found little success on the track before pulling the plug. The energy drink maker decided it was not getting enough bang for its buck, admitting it struggled to reach the coveted young demo through its stock car racing efforts.

BLOCKBUSTER NIGHT: NBA Commissioner David Stern stepped in and nixed a potential blockbuster trade that would have sent Chris Paul from the league-owned Hornets to the Lakers. There was immediate outrage from media pundits and players, claiming Stern had overstepped his authority. Paul eventually landed with the Clippers, but not before Stern created an “appearance of impropriety.”

STOP THE VIOLENCE: The Raiders and 49ers put a stop to their annual preseason game after violence erupted during this season’s exhibition tilt at Candlestick Park. Local police supported the move in the aftermath of a chaotic scene that included two fans being shot, 12 arrested and dozens more ejected from the stadium. The incident also further complicated the possibility of the two rivals sharing a new Bay Area stadium in the future.

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT: Fight fans are still waiting for the world’s best pound-for-pound boxers to square off against each other in the ring. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. had plenty of box office hits this year, but an agreement on a mega-fight that is sure to break PPV records remains elusive. For a sport still struggling to regain its stature in America’s sports landscape, nothing would move the needle like a showdown between Pacquiao and Mayweather.
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