SBD/Morning Buzz

Morning Buzz

ESPN, NFL Near Deal To Renew Rights For Almost $2B A Year
LPGA In '11 To Include Event Where Golfers Play For Free
MLB Expected To Move Giants-Dodgers Opener To March 31
Castrol To Promote Edge Brand Via NFL Sponsorship Deal

ESPN NEAR DEAL TO PAY NFL CLOSE TO $2B PER YEAR FOR "MNF" EXTENSION

By John Ourand, Staff Writer

 

ESPN and the NFL have agreed to broad terms on a new media rights deal that will be worth nearly $2 billion per year. Specific numbers still are difficult to confirm, but multiple sources say ESPN has told the NFL that it will increase its annual rights fee by 65% to 70%, which means it will pay the league a record fee, between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion a year.

Read the exclusive story.


LPGA EXPECTED TO FEATURE '11 EVENT WHERE PLAYERS COMPETE FOR FREE

The LPGA today is slated to release its '11 schedule, and sources indicated that in one event – the inaugural Founders Cup – "players will play for free." Sources said that the charity-driven event will be at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix March 18-20, "kicking off the tour's domestic schedule." Players "still would receive official 'money' and points" toward rankings, but would "give whatever money they earned back to charity." They also will get "financial help for travel expenses"
(GOLFWEEK.com, 1/5).


MLB EXPECTED TO MOVE GIANTS-DODGERS OPENER UP A DAY TO MARCH 31

MLB today is expected to announce that the Giants will open their season at Dodger Stadium, "as originally scheduled," but on March 31 instead of April 1 "so ESPN can show the champs as part of a season-opening package." ESPN had proposed that the Giants open at home against the Dodgers on March 31, then play April 1-4 in L.A., as previously scheduled. The new schedule "will move up each of the four games one day and leave April 4 as an off day" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/6).


CASTROL TO SPONSOR NFL IN MULTIYEAR DEAL WITH CATEGORY EXCLUSIVITY

Castrol today announced a multiyear sponsorship deal with the NFL, giving the company category exclusivity in motor oil and related lubricants for the length of the deal. Castrol Edge synthetic motor oil will be the company's lead brand in its NFL activation. That activation will extend across a number of NFL platforms, including game broadcasts, NFL Network and NFL.com (Castrol).


THREE INTERNET TV MANUFACTURERS AGREE TO CARRY NBA GAME TIME APP

By Eric Fisher, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

NBA Gametime App To Be Featured On
LG, Samsung, Panasonic Devices

NBA Digital is furthering its own presence in Internet-connected TVs, signing a trio of deals with LG, Samsung and Panasonic to get its NBA Game Time digital application within each manufacturer's battery of apps. The pacts add to similar ones NBA Digital already holds with Google TV, Roku and Vizio.

NBA Game Time will come in two versions for LG, Samsung and Panasonic: a free one with scores, statistics, highlights and other similar content, and a premium-level, fee-based one that added live audio, a video library, and access to NBA League Pass out-of-market games if that separate subscription is also held. NBA Game Time is now available across a variety of platforms, including mobile, set-top boxes and tablets.

NBA Digital Senior VP & GM Bryan Perez said, "We are simply being where our fans want us to be, whenever they want. But we are also trying to be as consistent as possible within environments and across platforms." Financial terms were not disclosed.


NHL PAYING FOR HEINZ FIELD RESODDING IN WAKE OF WINTER CLASSIC

Beginning today, Heinz Field will be sodded for a second time this NFL season "because of the damage done to the field from constructing a hockey rink" for the Capitals-Penguins Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1. The bill of roughly $100,000 will be paid by the NHL "as part of a contract agreement" for staging the game. The work will be completed Saturday, "weather permitting," one week prior to the Steelers' home playoff game on Jan. 15 (POST-GAZETTE.com, 1/5).


DOLPHINS TODAY REPORTEDLY TO MEET WITH STANFORD’S JIM HARBAUGH

The Dolphins today reportedly are slated to meet with Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh about replacing Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, who has yet to be fired. Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross is “willing to make Harbaugh the highest-paid coach in the NFL,” which would place his salary in the $7-8M range, according to sources. Harbaugh is drawing interest from several teams; he met with the 49ers Wednesday (ESPN.com, 1/5).


PUBLIC HEARING TODAY ON FOUR PROPOSALS FOR NEW KINGS ARENA

Four proposals for a new NBA Kings arena will be aired at a public hearing today at Sacramento's Old City Hall. A task force formed by Mayor Kevin Johnson then will "analyze the plans and provide feedback to the City Council before a council discussion on the arena scheduled for Jan. 25"
(SACRAMENTO BEE, 12/31).

As the plans are vetted, city officials "must answer the same core questions: Are the plans financially viable? How much would taxpayers have to put up? And will the Kings owners, the Maloof family, back a commitment to stay in Sacramento with cash for a new arena?"
(SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/2).


JUNIORS HOCKEY TOURNAMENT SELLS SECOND-MOST TICKETS IN HISTORY

A sellout crowd of 18,690 attended last night's IIHF World Junior Championships final at HSBC Arena. Russia defeated Canada 5-3 (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/6). The Sabres said 335,687 tickets were sold to the 31 games played at HSBC Arena and Niagara Univ.'s Dwyer Arena. That is the "second most in World Juniors history," surpassed by 453,000 in Ottawa in '09. Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn said the team will make "a profit." He "discounted reports" that the club made more than $10M (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/6).


SPEED READS….

Toronto FC today at a 1:00pm ET press conference will formally unveil the team’s new management regime, which includes Paul Mariner as Technical Dir, Aron Winter as coach and Bob de Klerk as assistant coach (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/6).

Nike, TomTom Unveil New Watch
At CES Show In Las Vegas

Pittsburgh’s historic review commission yesterday gave “preliminary approval” to the Civic Arena’s nomination as a city historic structure, giving a boost to the “bid to protect the 49-year-old landmark from demolition”
(PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/6).

Footwear brand Ecco today formally announced that it has signed on to sponsor golfer Graeme McDowell, who will display the Ecco logo on his headwear and compete in Ecco Comfort Classic golf shoes (Ecco).

Nike and TomTom yesterday at the Int’l Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas unveiled the Nike+SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom (Nike).


QUICK HITS….

“Right now, it's unprecedented. It's absolutely the craziest scene we've ever seen. I mean, this is bigger than any Super Bowl we've seen in 20 years” – Zigabid Founder Dan Rubendall, on the secondary ticket marketplace for Monday’s Auburn-Oregon Tostitos BCS National Championship Game (OREGONLIVE.com, 1/5). 

“The Buffalo Sabres are going to be here forever. And I think, from a fan’s point of view, that’s all they need to worry about” – Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn, responding to questions about the potential sale of the team to East Resources President & CEO Terry Pegula (BUFFALONEWS.com, 1/5).

“Yeah, he was making his pitch to the fans. You have to make it look like you are not the bad guy” – Steelers LB James Farrior, on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sending out an e-mail to 5 million fans regarding CBA negotiations with the NFLPA (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/6). 

“There’s one thing – it’s Tiger” – Golfer Chris DiMarco, on what needs to happen for the PGA Tour to have a successful '11 season, which begins this afternoon (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 1/6).


TWITTER ME THIS….

 

Houston Chronicle’s John McClain: “I'm stunned Bud Adams listened to his people. That's smart on Bud's part. I don't know that I've ever used Bud and smart in same sentence.”

Hockey agent Allan Walsh: “I am so humbled. I've negotiated approx $500 Mil in NHL contracts and got stuck last night helping my 8 year old son with 2nd Grade math.”

ESPN’s Scott Burnside: “Canadians won't like it but this Russian win is huge for the WJC's credibility. Kudos to a group of Russian kids that would not quit.”

L.A. Times’ Mike Bresnahan: “Just witnessed my favorite halftime event of the season: The reporters' race for the free Coldstone Creamery in the Phoenix media room.”

If you see a tweet we won’t want to miss, send it to us at editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com.


TODAY'S EVENTS….

The Pacers will host the inaugural Midwest Sports Business Combine at Conseco Fieldhouse, where hiring managers from pro sports franchises will scout and interview sales talent. The event is presented by Lushin & Associates.


THE BACK PAGES….

The Morning Buzz offers today’s back page sports covers from some of the nation’s major metropolitan tabloids:

N.Y. Post
N.Y. Daily News
Newsday
Philadelphia Daily News
Boston Herald

FINAL JEOPARDY!

Last night's "Final Jeopardy!" category was "Countries."

"By area, it's the world's largest country that's named for a river."


LAUGH TRACK….

THE MONOLOGUES:

CBS' David Letterman: "The weather outside: 36 degrees and about a 20% chance of falling birds. I'm telling you, things are really starting to get weird now. You heard about it, New Year's Eve, thousands of birds hit the deck in Arkansas. Dead. A couple days later al Qaeda claims credit for it. It's either that or Dick Cheney is hunting again. … United Airlines had to make an emergency landing, a big plane, 767 or something. The pilot, listen to this, you're not going to believe this. This is the kind of thing that would happen to me if I rent a minivan. The guy in the cockpit, the pilot, the captain, drinking coffee and spills the coffee into the control panel, shorts out the electronics. Boom, that's it, emergency landing! What a hip guy! But in defense, I mean, he's drinking the coffee trying to sober up. The other thing: A $50 million airplane, no cup holder? … Have you seen the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner? You know what I'm talking about? He looks like one of those guys that licks his thumb when he's counting money. … You know we had the big snowfall, we had the big two-foot snowfall, and they couldn't get to the trash because of the snow. They couldn't plow the snow because the trash piled up and got higher and higher and they saw sanitation workers drinking so at least something was getting plowed. … Here's bad news. The national debt: $14 trillion. Do you know what that means? Neither do I. … $14 trillion: That's Mrs. Tiger Woods money. … They're looking into why everybody was so late with the snowplowing. Mayor Bloomberg is also looking into how Snooki got a book deal. It's a great book to crack open just before bedtime. Well, like the author" ("Late Show," CBS, 1/5).

NBC's Jay Leno: "In Washington today, a new Congress is sworn in, the 112th Congress. They put their hand on the Bible and they swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. See, you have to understand: To politicians the oath of office is like New Year's resolutions to the rest of us. You know they give it a shot for a week or two: 'Ah, screw it. Let's go back to what we're doing!' … al Qaeda announced this week that women do not have what it takes to become terrorists. Two words for al Qaeda: Gloria Allred. … The New York Times is reporting that Dick Cheney went to a big cocktail party the other night and was showing off his new heart pump to everybody. He got a heart pump and he was showing it off to everybody. Well, thank God he didn't get a vasectomy. … A 53-year-old homeless man in Columbus, Ohio, became an Internet sensation after someone posted video of him talking in his radio announcer voice on YouTube. Homeless guy had a beautiful speaking voice, the video got five million hits, and today the Cleveland Cavaliers offered the guy a job as announcer and a place to live. The bad news: The homeless man said, 'I'm taking my talents to South Beach.' … Although they fined him $50,000 for not cooperating with the investigation, the NFL said it could not conclude that Brett Favre did indeed send pictures of his penis to that Jets sideline reporter. Apparently, there was too little evidence or … I'm sorry. The evidence was too little. … The New York Jets were fined $100,000 after that assistant coach tripped that Miami Dolphins player. You know that? So Brett Favre was fined $50,000 for what he did. So, it's $100,000 if you stick your leg out, but only $50,000 …" ("The Tonight Show," NBC, 1/5).

LATE NIGHT LAUGHS:

Last night's Top Ten list was "Top Ten Things Overheard During The Republicans' First Day In Charge Of The House" ("Late Show," CBS, 1/5).

10) "Mr. Boehner, please stop crying."
9) "How do we blame this dead bird thing on Obama?"
8) "I think he was just sworn in on a copy of Snooki's new book."
7) "Beer me!"
6) "Alright, you've had six hours, is the economy fixed?"
5) "Speaker Boehner, please stop blowing your nose."
4) "When is vacation?"
3) "No, Senator McCain, Woodrow Wilson doesn't work here anymore."
2) "When do we get to have sex with the pages?"
1) "How soon can we go back to invading countries for oil?"

 
FINAL JEOPARDY….


"What is India?" India is named for the Indus River.


If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know at:
pbounds@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

The Morning Buzz provides an early update of the news and headlines each Monday through Friday at approximately 9:00am ET. If you would like to sign up for an e-mail alert to the Morning Buzz, go to My Account and personalize your e-mail alert options.

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