SBD/December 19, 2012/2012 Year In Review

SBD/SBJ's Top Sports Business Stories Of The Year, Part One

Boyle's Opening Ceremony was the first of many hits at the London Games
The SBD/SBJ editorial staff compiled the top sports business stories of '12, in no particular order. Today, we present six of them.

LONDON CALLING: Most people assumed the London Games would pale in comparison to the ’08 Beijing Games that preceded them. But the Brits -- and the athletes who competed -- proved the world wrong. From Danny Boyle’s distinctly British Opening Ceremony to Michael Phelps’ record-setting 18th Gold Medal and Usain Bolt’s captivating 100-meter sprint, the Olympics captured the imagination of the world and became the most-watched event in U.S. history in terms of total TV viewership. It also created breakout stars like gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Missy Franklin who could be back in Rio in four years.

HISTORY REPEATING: The NHL implemented its second lockout in eight years, and the third in the 20-year tenure of Commissioner Gary Bettman. Taking its cue from recent labor agreements in the NFL and NBA, the NHL hopes to procure a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue with the players. But getting to 50-50 -- and agreeing on core economic issues such as revenue sharing -- has not proven to be simple. The stalemate is now in its 95th day, and fans face the very real possibility of another year without the Stanley Cup.

PAINTING A NEW PICTURE: Expectations for the Dodgers were already high entering ‘12, with the club's sale expected to fetch the highest price ever for a baseball team. But Guggenheim Baseball Management wowed the sports industry with a whopping $2.15B purchase, nearly doubling the prior record for the sale of any North American sports franchise. The subsequent acquisition of high-priced talent like P Zack Greinke, 1B Adrian Gonzalez and SS Hanley Ramirez have many thinking the Dodgers -- and not the Yankees -- have MLB’s deepest pockets.

Some wondered who would have a checkbook big 
enough to bid on Anschutz' AEG

ON THE MARKET: When Phil Anschutz announced plans to sell AEG, people wondered who would have a checkbook large enough to bid for a company that has a financial stake in virtually every corner of sports and entertainment. AEG’s reach extends from ownership and operations of teams, arenas, ticketing outlets and merchandise to running AEG Live, North America’s second-largest concert promoter.

CHANGING MAJORS: Yet another round of realignment takes place in ’12, with Maryland and Rutgers heading to the Big Ten and the non-FBS Big East schools breaking off to form their own basketball-centric conference. The moves reinforced the idea that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany wield enough power to flip college sports on its ear. The two men sit at the controls and will determine whether college sports enters an era of super conferences.

NO SLEEP ‘TIL BROOKLYN: The Nets finally moved across the Hudson River into the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The move -- along with a subsequent rebranding -- has revived the franchise. Also helping were the deep pockets of Owner Mikhail Prokhorov, which helped convince All-Star G Deron Williams to re-sign this summer and allowed for a trade for fellow All-Star G Joe Johnson. Bringing the NBA to Brooklyn has also helped stoke some interesting competition with MSG and the Knicks.
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