SBD/December 21, 2012/Year End

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  • The Sports Business Year That Was: A Look Back At '12

    THE DAILY concludes our look back at the sports business year of ’12. We present some of the highlights from the year in college sports, a few of the more memorable tweets of the year and our favorite daily downloads from the past 12 months. Also, our annual holiday carol is written to the classic “12 Days of Christmas.”

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  • Higher Education: The College Sports Headlines Of The Year

    West Virginia seemingly started the domino effect of teams leaving the Big East

    The college sports landscape changed dramatically during the past 12 months. Here are some of the more notable headlines that impacted campuses across the country.

    THE BIG LEAST? The major theme on campuses this year was once again conference realignment, and perhaps no conference felt the sting like the Big East. After it reached a deal to allow West Virginia to begin play in the Big 12 this fall, Notre Dame stunned the league by joining the ACC. Louisville quickly followed suit, but only after Rutgers said it was moving to the Big Ten. As the year ends, the status of the “Catholic 7” basketball schools is unknown after they voted to leave the conference.

    TURTLE POWER: The ’12 athletic calendar was not run-of-the-mill by any means for the Univ. of Maryland. The school made headlines in July when it cut seven Olympic sports in hopes of reducing a $4M deficit. But just a few months later, UM shocked the college sports landscape with a move designed to erase that deficit: a charter member of the ACC announced plans to move to the Big Ten in ’14, where TV revenues of near $40M per year await.

    THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: Amid the constantly evolving college landscape, several conferences were forced to re-evaluate their future plans. That’s where the Western Athletic Conference found itself, with Commissioner Jeff Hurd announcing in August this year would be the last for WAC football. The conference that produced Steve Young, Marshall Faulk and LaDainian Tomlinson became the first D-I football conference to dissolve since the Southwest Conference in ’95.

    Sandusky's actions at Penn State brought historical
    sanctions on the school from the NCAA

    COMING DOWN HARD: The Penn State football program went from being perceived as  one of the cleanest in America to one of the most criticized amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. That wasn’t lost on the NCAA, as the governing body levied historic sanctions against the program, including a $60M fine, four-year bowl ban, significant scholarship reductions and the vacating of all wins from ’98-'11. Despite the sanctions, PSU finished ’12 with an 8-4 record.

    ANSWERING THE CALL: Most college football fans had been calling for a playoff for years, and the BCS finally answered, officially solidifying a four-team postseason that would begin after the ’14 season. The BCS Presidential Advisory Committee settled on a six-bowl rotation for the semifinals including three “contract” bowls -- Rose, Sugar, Orange -- and three still-to-be determined hosts.

    WE’RE LIVE IN 3…2…1…: Following the trend of the Longhorn and Big Ten networks, the Pac-12 officially launched its own network on Aug. 15. Highly praised at launch for its clean, professional look, the Pac-12 Networks came under criticism just a few weeks later when the college football season began without the conference having carriage agreements with either Dish or DirecTV. The net agreed to a contract with Dish in early September, but has yet to settle with DirecTV.

    There is still not a carriage agreement between the 
    Pac-12 Networks and DirecTV

    ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOW: While the Pac-12 Networks were readying for launch in August, another network signed off, as The Mtn. shuttered after six years of operation. Founded to supply coverage of the Mountain West Conference, the net went dark, according to officials, because of arguments revolving around distribution and revenue. The net also was criticized for not being in enough homes and a lack of HD programming.

    GAMBLIN’ MAN: Tulsa AD Ross Parmley got in hot water with the school and NCAA after admitting to the FBI that he had gambled on college and professional football for years before quitting in ’10. Parmley was suspended with pay in late November and was fired by school President Steadman Upham just a week later. Former Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe said an NCAA investigation would likely raise questions about the school’s diligence in investigating the matter.

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  • Easy Come, Easy Go: The Sports Business Hits And Misses In '12

    The Buckingham Palace backdrop made beach volleyball a top Olympics venue

    Each year, some sports business concepts are an all-out success, while others fall somewhat short of that. Here are some ideas that were either a hit or a miss in '12.

    HIT: With Buckingham Palace offering a splendidly surreal backdrop, the beach volleyball venue at the London Games was replete with bikini-clad athletes, ‘50s style dance parties and “Benny Hill Show” theme music. The picturesque setting offered stunning views of the British attractions such as Big Ben and the London Eye. Garnering praise from athletes and spectators alike, the largest beach volleyball venue in Olympics history truly was fit for a Queen.

    MISS: Tiger Woods decided to eschew his weekly press conference in advance of the Wells Fargo Championship, much to the chagrin of many in the media. Woods’ alternative was a 15-minute video chat on his website in which he fielded pre-selected questions from fans, causing him to catch heat from every corner of the golf industry. His so-called Q&A session was panned as an “infomercial” for his endorsed products featuring nothing but “softball” questions.

    HIT: A documentary about the greatest team ever assembled brought the highest ratings NBA TV had ever seen to that point. The net’s “Dream Team presented by Right Guard” debuted in June celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ’92 U.S. men’s basketball team’s high-flying domination at the Barcelona Games. Highlights included behind-the-scenes footage of team practices, candid interviews with Michael Jordan expressing his disdain for Isiah Thomas and fans on the street failing to recognize John Stockton.

    Rafael Nadal was feeling blue after the clay court's
    colors were changed at the Madrid Open

    MISS: When clay court specialist Rafael Nadal lost in the third round of this year’s Mutua Madrid Open, he instantly pointed the finger at tournament Owner Ion Tiriac, the man responsible for changing the color of the tennis courts at the tournament from red to blue. While it sounded simple enough, Nadal and other players complained of a slippery surface and threatened to boycott the event if Tiriac wouldn’t change the color back. The ATP later banned blue clay courts from all ‘13 events.

    HIT: While common on TV infomercials, money-back guarantees are hardly a marketing staple in major American professional sports. But the Suns went all in and offered a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” fan promotion in December for a game against the Mavericks. Fans responded by setting a season-high attendance, packing more than 18,000 into US Airways Center. The Suns lost the game, but the promo promotion drew more than its fair share of positive PR.

    MISS: The job status of IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard overshadowed much of the on-track action in the open-wheel circuit this year. Reports surfaced shortly after the Indy 500 that some top team owners were looking to force Bernard out of his job, causing IndyCar’s head man to Tweet his frustrations. The clouds never really parted for Bernard, and he was eventually forced out in October.

    HIT: The Hornets took advantage of Will Ferrell shooting a movie in New Orleans and had the actor introduce the starting lineup for a February game against the Bulls. The “SNL” vet took some liberties with player bios and offered memorable introductions such as, "At forward, No. 5, he still lives with his mother ... Carlos Boozer." Who needs light shows and videos to spice up player intros when you have Ron Burgundy himself?

    MISS: Despite passing on a new arena to be funded by the city of Sacramento, Kings Owners the Maloof family vowed to keep the team in town. But George Maloof’s "We're not going anywhere" promise felt a bit empty when reports surfaced that the Kings were in talks with arena investors in Virginia Beach.

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  • Click & Save: The Most Memorable Downloads From '12

    THE DAILY compiled a list of the Daily Downloads that stood out in ’12. Below is the list in chronological order.

    NBC's Jimmy Fallon created the character Tebowie (a combination of Tim Tebow and David Bowie) to sing a song set to the tune of Bowie's "Space Oddity." The song describes a hypothetical conversation between Tebow and Jesus prior to the Broncos-Patriots playoff game, which the Patriots won by biblical proportions.

    Lakers G Kobe Bryant starred in "Milano Kalibro Kobe," a viral video airing in Italy that featured several Nike basketball and soccer endorsers and narration from legendary director Enzo Castellari.

    NASCAR driver Carl Edwards was able to showcase his sense of humor while driving some Ford engineers around a race track in this viral video for the '13 Taurus. 

    Several sports teams and personalities took to YouTube this year to show off their lip-syncing of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," but none were as professionally done as the Dolphins cheerleaders' version filmed in conjunction with their swimsuit calendar photo shoot.

    Gatorade teamed up with the Women's Sports Foundation for this ad as part of the "Keep Her In The Game" campaign, which was designed to encourage girls to keep participating in sports.

    ESPN featured several drivers in its "Nothing Beats First Place" ad campaign that promoted the net's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage. SBD only ran one all year, but we showed off our prognostication skills by running the one starring Brad Keselowski.

    With player safety being one of the NFL's main focuses heading into the '12 season, posted a video highlighting some of the more historic health-conscious athletes.

    ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton's much-guarded off-camera life was revealed at last in a "This Is SportsCenter" ad. The spot, which many felt was the best in the campaign's history, trended worldwide on Twitter following its release.

    SBD this year saw and heard many songs and parodies regarding the NHL's labor woes, but Winnipeg's CFQX-FM and singer/songwriter Vicki Shae get our nod for their recording of the official song of the NHL lockout.

    The controversial game-ending call at the conclusion of the Packers-Seahawks "MNF" game helped settle the NFL's dispute with its referees, but that is little solace for Packers fans and this Green Bay weatherman

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  • THE DAILY Presents Our Annual Sports Business Holiday Carol

    THE DAILY presents our annual holiday carol reviewing the year in sports business, and with '12 coming to a close, this year's version is fittingly set to the tune of "12 Days Of Christmas." Content-wise, this carol is one of the shortest in the holiday repertoire, so we are offering up two versions to choose from.

    On the 2012th year of Christmas, I read in SBD
    12-player Marlins trade,
    11 FBS schools selling beer,
    10-team Big 12,
    Nine-figure Seattle arena deal,
    Eight Saints suspended,
    Seven Tour de France titles tainted,
    Six-year Bud-MLB renewal,
    Five London Olympic Rings!
    Four-team BCS playoff,
    Three decades of David Stern,
    Two NBA teams in N.Y.
    And a locked-out hockey league.

    On the 2012th year of Christmas, I read in SBD
    12% college football coach pay increase,
    11 years of Zuffa owning UFC,
    10% of ManU floated,
    Niners breaking ground on stadium,
    Eight-year NASCAR rights extension,
    Seventh Giants World Series title,
    Six more medals for Phelps,
    Five rookie starting QBs!
    Four Jaguars games in London
    Three weeks of replacement refs
    Two-billion-dollar sale of Dodgers
    And a new owner for the Grizzlies.

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  • People We'll Miss: Significant Deaths In Sports Business This Year

    Here is a list of sports luminaries who died this year:

    Turner Sports essayist Jim Huber (January 2)

    Former Broncos Owner Edgar Kaiser Jr. (January 11)

    Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno (January 22)

    Pocono Raceway Founder & Chair Dr. Joseph “Doc” Mattioli (January 26)

    Former Sonics President & GM Gary Volchok (February 26)

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Furman Bisher (March 18)

    Chicago Sun-Times NBA reporter Lacy Banks (March 21)

    Boxing writer and sports historian Burt Sugar (March 25)

    Toronto Star Olympics reporter Randy Starkman (April 16)

    Former USOC President Dr. LeRoy Walker (April 23)

    Former Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris (May 8)

    Former Univ. of Miami AD Paul Dee (May 12)

    Former Warriors Owner Jim Fitzgerald (June 4)

    Former Dolphins President Eddie Jones (June 27)

    Author Robert Creamer (July 18)

    Blogger Jessica Ghawi (July 20)

    Former Vikings GM Mike Lynn (July 21)

    Former NBA Deputy Commissioner and NBPA Exec Dir Simon Gourdine (August 16)

    Former Browns and Ravens Owner Art Modell (September 6)

    GMR COO Bryan Buske (September 17)

    NFL Films President Steve Sabol (September 18)

    Former National Speed Sport News Editor Chris Economaki (September 28)

    Red Wings PA announcer Budd Lynch (October 9)

    Former NFLer turned actor Alex Karras (October 10)

    Longtime Chicago-based journalist Bill Jauss (October 10)

    ESPN college football commentator Beano Cook (October 11)

    ESPN Radio NBA announcer Jim Durham (November 4)

    Former AL President Lee MacPhail (November 8)

    Grizzlies Assistant GM Kenny Williamson (November 13)

    Former MLBPA Exec Dir Marvin Miller (November 27)

    “Tank McNamara” writer Jeff Millar (November 29)

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  • Predictions For The New Year From Key Industry Players

    THE DAILY asked some top sports execs to look into their crystal balls and offer predictions for the upcoming year in sports business.

    NHL SENIOR VP/INTEGRATED MARKETING SUSAN COHIG: The continued evolution of digital-ticketing platforms, including paperless and the integration of primary and resale inventory, will transform how fans engage with and control the purchase experience.

    USOC CEO SCOTT BLACKMUN: One of the professional leagues will follow MLS' successful model of selling sponsorships on the front of their jerseys.

    FORMER WNBA PRESIDENT VAL ACKERMAN: I remain bullish on the future of women's sports and believe the upcoming year will see a heightened sense of purpose as the team sports, in particular, look to establish or expand their audiences, strengthen their operations and shore up their revenue prospects.

    NBC SPORTS GROUP PRESIDENT OF PROGRAMMING JON MILLER: The NFL will continue to position itself as the No. 1 sport in the country. Also, more and more Americans will embrace international sports properties such as the Premier League, Formula 1 and the UEFA Champions League.

    DAYTONA INT'L SPEEDWAY PRESIDENT JOIE CHITWOOD III: College conference volatility will continue and at the end of ‘13, there will only be a handful of super conferences. The traditional matchups will continue to be abandoned as these conferences are formed.

    CUBS EXEC VP AND CHIEF SALES & MARKETING OFFICER WALLY HAYWARD: I believe you're going to see the corporate marketplace place focus more on its flagship markets as companies look to optimize their investments and drive business performance in 2013 and beyond. Less is more. My sports prediction: As a faithful Northwestern alum, 2013 is the year that NU hoops makes their first ever NCAA Basketball Tournament.

    GMR MARKETING LATIN AMERICAN HEAD CELSO SCHVARTZER: That a lot of business will be happening in Latin America, mainly in Brazil, as there are 10 new arenas being built for the World Cup/local teams, and there are hundreds of opportunities coming from this boom. Naming rights, new/revised sponsorship deals, sponsorship activation, hospitality, venues management, also.

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  • In 140 Characters Or Less: Notable Tweets Of The Year

    With an increasing number of sports execs, athletes and journalists taking to social media to express their thoughts, THE DAILY recalls some tweets from the past year that had us talking.'s Steve Elling: “So, Tiger said Hank writing book about him 'is about money.' As opposed to Tiger playing in Abu Dhabi next week versus Torrey Pines?"

    N.Y. Times' Ben Shpigel: "The day after the Giants win the Super Bowl, the two most e-mailed NYT sports stories involve Alberto Contador and Madonna."'s Jimmy Traina: "If Peyton goes to Denver and they release Tebow, the Jets should sign him so he can be in a big market and get some media attention."

    "The Dan Patrick Show" producer Paulie Pabst: "The new NFL is like the new Times Square. It's safer and cleaner...but the old version was much more fun."

    ESPN The Magazine’s Molly Knight: "Frank McCourt set to walk away with a billion dollars in profit after taking the LOS ANGELES DODGERS into bankruptcy. What a world."

    Yahoo Sports Radio's Sean Pendergast: "Remember 'Animal House' when Flounder borrowed his big bro's car & trashed it? Well... Flounder=Marinatto, Big bro=Tranghese, Car=Big East."

    Taylor Strategy's Zack Smith: "Won't be advising my branded athlete spokespeople to answer reporter's questions like Bryce Harper. Mostly as I'm scared of clowns. And bros."’s Todd Behrendt: "Report: James Bond will participate in Opening Ceremony. Russian athletes, you have been officially warned. #licensetokill"

    NBC's Jeremy Roenick: "Another day w/out hockey and the sports media is starting to forget its even hockey season. It's wrong on so many levels. Lock the door!!!!"

    Political commentator Keith Olbermann: "Amazing that all those ripping my friend Bob Costas about 2nd Amendment would, had he taken opposing view, be defending him using the 1st."

    HolterMedia President Pete Holtermann: "Did Pope (@pontifex) join Twitter this week just to break story on new Catholic hoops league? Big East 7 + 5 more = 12 Apostles Conference."

    Washington Post's J. Freedom du Lac: "Washington Nationals, first in war, first in peace, first in the National League East. And, uh, 15th in MLB attendance."

    ESPN L.A.’s Ramona Shelburne: "Lance may be guilty. But what has done for cancer research makes him a hero to me and anyone who has been touched by that awful disease. … I'll let Walt explain my feelings on Lance: 'Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.'"

    Sports broadcasting agent Debbie Spander: "Wow...#Nike sponsors#Pistorius' prosthetic legs...they are everywhere in #London. Smart sponsorship move."

    ESPN's Dan Graziano: "Happy 100th Birthday, Fenway Park. Last time I was there, you didn't look a day over 412."

    Former boxer Evander Holyfield: "@MikeTyson Check out Real Deal BBQ Sauce video! U won't believe what this sauce can actually go on besides ears!"

    ESPN's Buster Olney: "This is 1,078th day since MLB committee began studying Athletics/San Jose sit., or 776 days longer than Warren Commission study/report."

    A's Account Manager Josh Feinberg: "Jeremy Lin was a MAN tonight. First #NBA start and the Garden crowd chanting 'MVP'. Will it happen again? Doubtful."

    "Late Show" writer Eric Stangel: "Tim Thomas refuses to go to International House of Pancakes because he doesn't like their dependence on foreign syrups."

    Fox Soccer Plus Marketing Coordinator Will Exline: "Can a brand ever create something comparable to the Gatorade bath?"

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  • Social Studies: Top Sports Trends On Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter In '12

    Sports continued its growing presence on the Web and social media in ’12. Below are some lists showing how sports stories and figures stacked on several sites and search engines.

    SEARCH ME: “Linsanity” found its way to the Web in big fashion in ’12. During his breakthrough with the Knicks last season, current Rockets G Jeremy Lin was the top trending athlete on Google in ’12, followed by Broncos QB Peyton Manning and Gold Medal-winning U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps. Among U.S. athletes participating in the London Games, Heat F LeBron James was the most-searched Olympian, followed by Lakers G Kobe Bryant. In Canada, the Blue Jays were the most searched Canadian team on Google, followed by the Maple Leafs and Canucks. During the club’s first season in MLS, the Impact ranked 10th overall. On Yahoo, golfer Tiger Woods was the most-searched athlete in ’12, followed by tennis player Maria Sharapova.

    NO. 1 NO. 2 NO. 3
    LeBron James Kobe Bryant Michael Phelps
    U.S. sports Football Golf Basketball
    U.S. athletes Jeremy Lin Peyton Manning Michael Phelps
    MLB players Derek Jeter Bryce Harper Josh Hamilton
    NFL players Tim Tebow Peyton Manning Tom Brady
    NFL teams Cowboys Bears Broncos
    NBA players LeBron James Jeremy Lin Dwight Howard
    Blue Jays
    Maple Leafs
    NHL Jets
    MLS Impact
    Tiger Woods
    Tim Tebow
    Maria Sharapova
    Jeremy Lin
    Peyton Manning
    Anna Kournikova
    Danica Patrick
    Lolo Jones
    Amanda Beard
    Serena Williams

    LIKE ME: The NFL Giants topped Facebook’s list of the most-mentioned sports topics in ’12, followed by the Patriots and Jets QB Tim Tebow. AT&T Park ranked third among all locations for Facebook check-ins, with Yankee Stadium ranking fourth. Among all public figures mentioned on Facebook, Tebow ranked fourth, while Peyton and Giants QB Eli Manning tied for fifth. Super Bowl XLVI was the second most-mentioned event on Facebook, with the London Games ranking fifth.

    CATEGORY NO. 1 NO. 2 NO. 3
    Sports mentions NFL Giants Patriots Tim Tebow
    Check-in locations Times Square Disneyland AT&T Park
    Events U.S. Presidential Election Super Bowl XLVI Death of Whitney Houston

    TWEET ME: The top three sports-related trends on Twitter in ’12 belonged to league hashtags. The leader was #NFL, followed by #nascar and #mlb. Lin was the top athlete trending on Twitter, followed by Lakers C Dwight Howard and G Kobe Bryant. Meanwhile, the top tweet for @SBJSBD -- the official feed of SportsBusiness Journal/Daily -- March 14 about the Big 12’s 13-year, $2.5B TV deal with ESPN.

    jeremy lin
    super bowl
    dwight howard

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