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SBD/April 22, 2013/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
The six planned outdoor NHL games for the '13-14 season "are worth about $30 million apiece" and the extra $180M will be split down the middle for the league and the players, something that is a "big factor in the fact that all of these games are going to happen," according to the CBC's Elliotte Friedman. The salary cap is set to decrease next season, leading to a "big concern among players what the escrow was going to be next year." The CBC's Glenn Healy noted scheduling the outdoor games is part of a "three-year strategy in which the NHL will make an extra $1 billion in HRR." The plan includes "things like the outdoor games, it'll include a World Cup, it'll include some great money in regards to their sponsors with TV revenue and with merchandise." Healy added of the outdoor games, "I like the fact that they're going to have the games, have the strategy, and load everyone's pockets" ("HNIC," CBC, 4/20). However, CSNPHILLY.com’s Tim Panaccio wrote no matter how the NHL “tries to spin this, what you have here is an attempt to capitalize off of an event that generates as much as $35 million in revenues and duplicate it five more times to make up for a windfall of money shortages caused by the 2012-13 lockout.” This “isn’t necessarily greed at play here,” but rather the NHL’s “'quick fix' to revenue shortages.” Adding the games is “purely about recouping lost dollars from a lockout that the NHL brought upon itself” (CSNPHILLY.com, 4/21).
HIGH RISK, HIGH REWARD: In N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote the additional outdoor games bring "risk along with reward" for the league. The decision is "about capturing dollars and the imagination of the sports fans who spend them." It also is "about expanding the reach of this sport that for far too long has operated in a creative time warp." The two games that will be played at Yankee Stadium the week before Super Bowl XLVIII at Met Life Stadium should be a "home run for the NHL." The whole sports world will "be here and watching." But the games must be "conducted in the same first-class manner that has marked the Winter Classic." The ice must be "as pristine and safe as possible," and the weather conditions "must merit a go." The operations "must run seamlessly." The NHL "always shines when presenting special events," and the league will be "obligated to shine six times" next year (N.Y. POST, 4/21). Meanwhile, Stars analyst Daryl Reaugh said, "Mark my words today. There will be a game at Cowboys Stadium. There will be a game there. I would say in the next three years there will be a game at Cowboys Stadium" (DALLASNEWS.com, 4/19).
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles’ focus for IndyCar is “on adding oomph to an under-appreciated series, with a late-summer race at the Brickyard as a possible helper,” but there is “debate on both sides” about moving the season finale to IMS' road course, according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. IMS President & CEO and interim IndyCar CEO Jeff Belskus said that IndyCar’s drivers are “largely against it, believing the series should have only one race a year at IMS.” But he noted that team owners are “mostly behind the idea,” in part because “ending the season in Indianapolis puts the sport in its most well-known facility.” Belskus: "We want it to be a great event, and we’ve got to convince ourselves it will be a great event. ... We think we can sell a heck of a lot more (tickets) than (70,000), especially the first few years. But long term?” Team owner Michael Andretti said that the “interest is highest in the Midwest.” Andretti said, “You cannot forget that our core fans are in that area. If we can get 100,000 people, that would be huge for the sport. It could end up with the second-largest crowd of the season. Why not do it?” But Miles said that the oval track at IMS is “not part of the discussion” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/20).
ON THE HUNT: The INDIANAPOLIS STAR's Cavin noted IndyCar team owners Sam Schmidt and Dale Coyne still hope to field a "third car for next month’s Indianapolis 500, but they don’t have deals done as sponsorship programs haven’t been signed,” and both are “needed.” Schmidt said, “Last week I would have said 100 percent (yes). Now we’re 50-50 (on sponsorship).” Coyne said that he “won’t discuss odds of having the extra car” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/21).
The NFL treats the opening of the regular season "almost like a mini-Super Bowl with its pregame entertainment," but despite the Broncos hosting the Ravens on Sept. 5, "big-name band pregame festivities will not be held outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High," according to Mike Klis of the DENVER POST. Broncos President Joe Ellis on Friday said, "We inquired as to how that was going to go, specifically on Wednesday and Thursday leading up to the game. And, they’re going to rightfully do that celebrating in Baltimore. The Ravens won the Super Bowl and they’re going to be celebrating with the city of Baltimore and the Ravens fans. You’ll see some of that on NBC, I think pregame." He added, "We’ve had some meetings internally ... to try to come up with some plans to celebrate the start of the season, given that it is starting here in Denver. That won’t be televised nationally, although there are possibilities if we get some help from NBC" (DENVERPOST.com, 4/20).
HOLDING THEIR OWN: The Ravens are opening the season on the road due to a scheduling conflict with the Orioles, and in Baltimore, Peter Schmuck wrote the Orioles have an "obligation to its players and fans to do everything possible to facilitate the team's attempt to return to the playoffs." The idea, promoted by Jets coach Rex Ryan and others, that the "baseball team's games are less important than the football team's because there are more of them is simply ludicrous" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 4/20). Orioles manager Buck Showalter responded to Ryan's comments by saying, "I'd be a little more concerned about Nov. 24 when the Jets come here and try to figure out a way to beat the Ravens, wouldn't you? I'd think that would be a little bit more of a challenge. I try to stay out of things I don't know about. Like I don't know about the NFL schedule and the NFL challenges. So that would be my advice. I would stay in what is my area of supposed expertise" (CSNBALTIMORE.com, 4/19). In N.Y., Gary Myers wrote, "How great was Buck Showalter taking shots at Rex Ryan after Ryan complained that the Orioles should have stepped aside so the Super Bowl champion Ravens could have opened the season at home on Sept. 5? Hopefully, Ryan will respond. There's just nothing like a good Jets-Orioles feud" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/21).
The NWSL Portland Thorns in their inaugural home game yesterday “topped the Seattle Reign 2-1 in front of 16,479 fans” at Jeld-Wen Field, according to ESPNW. The attendance “topped any single-game crowd in the three-year run of the NWSL's predecessor, Women's Professional Soccer, which existed from 2009 to 2011” (ESPNW.com, 4/21). The Thorns’ crowd was “more than double the NWSL's previous high of 6,784.” Through six league matches, the average attendance “is 5,737 per game” (AP, 4/21). Thorns coach Cindy Parlow Cone said that the “larger than expected crowd energized the players and served as motivation.” Cone: "They were the 12th person on the field. It's hard for a team to play against 12 people" (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/22).
NO BREAKS FOR THE BAY: In S.F., Chelsea Janes reported financial “failures of past California franchises have scared off potential new owners and made U.S. Soccer, the body that governs the new league, wary of California bidders” for a NWSL franchise in the Bay Area. And history “justifies those concerns: The Bay Area's highly saturated sports landscape include two failed women's soccer franchises in the past 11 years.” USSF President Sunil Gulati said that the organization “vetted 11 bidding groups for eight slots.” Among the “rejected finalists were groups from Hartford, Conn., and Los Angeles that could be strong contenders for future teams, as league officials say they hope to expand to 10 to 12 franchises in the next few years.” The experience of the Bay Area's WPS team, FC Gold Pride, may “be to blame for the Bay Area void” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/19).