SBD/June 24, 2013/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
NHL execs during a June 10 meeting informed their audit and finance committee that the league is projected to bring in an additional $1B of "cumulative revenue over the next three seasons," according to sources cited by Christopher Botta of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. NHL revenue totaled $3.2B in '11-12, the league's "last full season prior to this year’s lockout-shortened campaign." League revenue this year, with each team having played 48 regular-season games, "is expected to be" $2.4B. The NHL has "reason to be confident in the potential for that billion-dollar jolt," as this season's figure represents 72% of the revenue with 58% of the games played. The league is "producing six outdoor games next season," including the Winter Classic, the Heritage Classic in Canada, and four games branded as the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. Negotiations are "expected to begin for Canadian media rights deals" by the end of the summer. With TSN and Sportsnet "looking to bid" on the CBC's "Hockey Night In Canada," the price is "expected to rise significantly from the current six-year pact" that pays $100M annually (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/24 issue). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Larry Brooks noted NHL players' ultimate escrow loss for '12-13 "will take months to calculate," but the NHLPA has agreed its share "will include" the approximately $75M owners paid to injured players during the lockout (N.Y. POST, 6/23).
HEALTHY IN A HURRY: In N.Y., Klein & Hackel noted NHL fans following the lockout "came back immediately and in droves." Average attendance for 25 of 30 teams was "up or equal to" last season. There also were "healthy leaps" in regular-season TV audiences "on both sides of the border." Stanley Cup Final viewership also is up in both the U.S. and Canada. It is "all quite a contrast" to the '94-95 lockout-shortened season, in which "attendance was flat and American viewership decreased." Not only has this year's lockout "become a nonissue, its results have been seamlessly incorporated into the game’s landscape, something that would have been hard to fathom during the contentious months of negotiation." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the league's owners "shut the league down, achieved their goal of sharply reducing the players' share of revenues, and came out the other side with no lasting damage to the league’s image" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/23). MACLEANS' Jonathon Gatehouse wrote, "What happened to all the anger? Confronted with a third lockout in 18 years and deprived of hockey for 113 days, many fans vowed to take it out on both the owners and the players by staying home, turning off their sets and even boycotting sponsors. Yet as soon as the puck dropped, they returned in droves." SME Branding Senior Partner & Chief Creative Officer Ed O'Hara said, "It's uncanny how well the NHL has bounced back" (MACLEANS.ca, 6/24).
One of the "big fears" MLB has regarding the lawsuit the city of San Jose filed against the league last week about the A's proposed move to the city is that it could open a "can of worms that Major League Baseball has to be worried about opening," according to ESPN's Jayson Stark. The suit is trying to get the A's moved into what "legally in writing" is Giants territory, and Stark asked, "What’s next? Are the Rays then going to move to Brooklyn? Is somebody going to start moving a third team to L.A.?" ESPN's Buster Olney noted if the lawsuit goes forward, it almost gives MLB an “excuse to then at that point go to the Giants and say, ‘Look, from an industry standpoint we don’t want the commissioner testifying under oath so we have to make your best deal with Oakland to allow the Athletics to go down to San Jose” (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN2, 6/23). In S.F., John Shea noted there is "thought in the industry that MLB quietly might welcome the lawsuit, which breaks the impasse over the A's stadium situation without making MLB the bad guys." MLB and team owners "wouldn't want to open their books to scrutiny, which could happen in an antitrust suit, so the league could simply tell the Giants 'sorry' and erase the delineated territories." However, the opposing view is that the Giants "have support from some of the other 28 owners who want their own territories protected, afraid a precedent would be set for teams to pitch tents in their backyards." San Jose would "gain a huge victory if the case isn't thrown out, thus advancing to the discovery process, in which it could gather information from baseball that baseball doesn't want to surrender" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/23).
MAYOR EXPLAINS LAWSUIT: San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed on Thursday appeared on S.F.-based KNBR-AM to discuss the city's lawsuit against MLB and said, "I just eventually reached the point where I concluded we were never going to get an answer out of Major League Baseball. For whatever reason, (MLB Commissioner Bud Selig) didn't want to talk to us and didn't want to tell us why he didn't want to talk to us. We needed to get these territorial things out of the way, so that either me, or a future mayor, or a future council would have a shot at a baseball team." Reed added, "I'm not trying to steal a team, I'm trying to keep them in the Bay Area. They need a new place. They tried and tried and tried in Oakland, they tried in Fremont, it's not going to happen. Oakland had a long, long time to try to put a deal together, and it didn't happen." KNBR co-host Gary Radnich asked, "If the Giants said, 'All right, you can have this territory. We'll relinquish our territorial rights' Would the deal be done?" Reed responded, "I think so. I don't have any doubt that (A's Owner) Lew Wolff wants to do it. They have the capacity to do it. We have the capacity to deliver. The deal would happen." Asked if he had ever tried to talk to the Giants about the situation, Reed said, "No, I didn't feel that was my role. I wanted to let Lew do what he does inside baseball. I didn't want to step on his toes or interfere with that. The relationship inside Major League Baseball is something I don't know anything about" ("Gary and Larry," KNBR-AM, 6/20).
YOU GOT SERVED: In S.F., Scott Ostler reported a process server for city of San Jose attorney Joe Cotchett on Wednesday showed up in the "lobby of Selig's office building on Park Avenue in Manhattan." MLB "refused to send anyone down from Selig's 31st-floor office to meet and greet the server, and they also refused to permit the server to come up to the 31st." After some "back-and-forth, an attorney at Cotchett's firm e-mailed an attorney for Selig." The e-mail read in part, "Because you will not accept service, we will instruct our process servers to effect personal service on the Commissioner immediately." Selig's attorneys on Friday morning decided "to be served with the papers that require Selig to appear in court within 60 days to file a document stating why, in Selig's opinion, San Jose's lawsuit has no merit." Had Selig and his lawyers "continued to play hide-and-seek, Cotchett was planning to send his process server to Selig's residence" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/23).
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles and Iowa Speedway Principal Owner Conrad Clement called a press conference before yesterday’s Izod IndyCar Series Iowa Corn Indy 250 to "stomp out the buzz" surrounding the future of the race, according to Bryce Miller of the DES MOINES REGISTER. Miles, addressing comments from IndyCar driver Graham Rahal on Saturday alluding to rumors that the event would not return, said, “I don’t think there’s any chance we won’t be back.” Miller wrote Iowa Speedway is “generally considered a success story" for IndyCar. Though attendance “has slipped from the speedway’s headiest days, it still exceeds most on the schedule in terms of crowds and driver love.” That is what "made the unsolicited comments from Rahal puzzling to most." Miles said, “The way we approach making our calendar next year absolutely includes Iowa. Maybe people have been somewhat, what’s the right word, confused by the fact that we still are talking about the exact date. We’d both like to get back to the point where we have a multi-year agreement. (But) those aren’t reasons for us not to be here." Rahal on Saturday said, “There's a lot of rumors we won't be coming back here, and I hope that's not true.” Clement said of his reaction to the comments, "I was pissed. Irritated. Let’s say irritated. You get these microphones in front of these drivers, in the heat of the moment. I don’t know why it comes up" (DES MOINES REGISTER, 6/23). SPEEDTV.com’s Robin Miller writes the IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway "has become one of the best attended and best races to watch” on the schedule. But yesterday morning’s rain "didn’t help the crowds, which appeared to be the lowest since IndyCar began coming” to the track in ’06. The attendance was “estimated at 22,000” (SPEEDTV.com, 6/24).