SBD/December 19, 2013/2013 Year In Review

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

The SBD/SBJ editorial staff compiled the top sports business stories of '13, in no particular order. Today, we present five of them. See yesterday’s issue for five other top stories.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has overseen
three lockouts over a two decade span
GETTING BACK ON THE ICE
: Perhaps the only thing more resilient than hockey players is the NHL itself. In January, the league returned after its third lockout in two decades and did not appear to sustain serious financial injury. Television ratings for the playoffs were strong and, this season, more than half of the league’s teams were playing to 100% capacity into December. The NHL wants to increase its revenue by $1B within the next three years and received a boost toward that goal with a 12-year, $5.2B Canadian media rights deal.

HITTING IT OUT OF THE PARK: When Guggenheim Baseball Management bought the Dodgers 19 months ago for a record $2.15B, the purchase price was premised significantly on striking a local TV rights deal that also would make history. But even the most aggressive of external expectations were blown away when the club announced a 25-year deal with Time Warner Cable worth an estimated $8B. The deal promises to shake up the market for sports media rights, cost structures in the cable TV business and revenue sharing within MLB.

O'Bannon first filed his lawsuit against the NCAA
in '09
THE NCAA’S IMAGE ISSUE
: Ed O’Bannon v. NCAA, first filed in ‘09, picked up steam in ‘13 as the case moved into class-action status. The case over whether college athletes should own the rights to their likenesses is scheduled to go to trial in the summer of ‘14, but the momentum it gained this year for the first time made administrators wonder if the NCAA’s amateurism rules will hold up in court.

AGENCIES IN THE SPOTLIGHT: AEG was put on the market in late ‘12, poised to be the biggest sports deal of the decade, but it will be remembered instead as the $9B blockbuster that never happened. Chair Phil Anschutz never got the price he wanted, pulled AEG off the market and parted ways with longtime CEO Tim Leiweke. Then just this week, William Morris Endeavor and Silver Lake Partners acquired IMG from Forstmann Little for an estimated $2.4B.

MLS HITS SOME BIG GOALS: MLS added its 20th and 21st franchises, both set to begin play in ‘15. The owners of the Yankees and EPL club Manchester City paid $100M -- MLS’ highest expansion fee in history -- and are looking at a potential stadium site adjacent to Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, in Florida, Orlando City FC is building a downtown stadium after paying MLS $70M to join the league.
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