SBD/December 20, 2013/2013 Year In Review

Easy Come, Easy Go: The Sports Business Hits And Misses In '13

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 miss in '13.

NASCAR had its first race on a dirt track since '70
and saw nearly 20,000 fans in attendance
HIT: DIRT ROAD ANTHEM

NASCAR makes its first trip to a dirt track since ’70 with a Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway, and a packed house of around 20,000 fans get quite a show. With the trucks sliding around the track, the event easily lives up to the hype of one of the most anticipated races of the season. While the track is not on the ’14 schedule, NASCAR officials have strongly indicated they intend to return in the future.

Other Hits:
* Jason Collins becomes the first active player in one of the major U.S. pro team sports to announce he is gay, drawing an outpouring of support from peers.
* Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick are praised for addressing the Aaron Hernandez situation with honesty, humility and humanity.
* UFC debuts its women’s division with a fight between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 to great fan reaction.
* Kansas State draws a solid crowd for the women’s basketball team’s season opener by giving away slices of bacon.

Manning (l) got the better of Flacco in the game
for which they were the subject of posters
MISS: QUOTH THE RAVEN, NEVERMORE

Broncos fans become upset with the NFL when giant posters of Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco are placed on the side of Sports Authority Field in anticipation of the season-opening Ravens-Broncos game. Broncos officials go out of their way to make sure fans know it was the league, not the team, that approved the signs. However, Peyton Manning has the last laugh, throwing a league-record seven touchdowns in the game.

Other Misses:
* The Red Sox’ salute to longtime nemesis Mariano Rivera becomes more of a roast, raising the eyebrows of some Yankees execs.
* The hosts of the morning show on Atlanta’s WQXI-AM are fired after mocking former NFLer Steve Gleason, who is battling ALS.
* Soccer star Lionel Messi is chided after not meeting with fans following an exhibition soccer match at Soldier Field.
* Mets phenom Matt Harvey seems more intent on plugging Qualcomm during an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” than talking about his elbow injury.
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