Messi Makes Global Headlines Executive Transactions Names In The News Czech FA Chief Sets Up Succession Plan Italy Approves Reforms To Serie A Dutch Bank ABN AMRO To Sponsor Ajax Bayern's '13-14 Revenue To Break €500M AESSEAL Partners With Rotherham United Seifert: FIFA's Credibility Is In Freefall Celtic To Combine Wi-Fi With Betting
SBD Global/December 28, 2012/2012 Year In ReviewPrint All
The SBD Global staff compiled the top sports business stories globally of '12, in no particular order. Here are the top stories from the U.K.
RANGERS FALL FROM GRACE: Few football clubs had a more roller-coaster year than Scottish Football League's Rangers. The club's financial troubles and dispute with U.K. tax authority HMRC forced the club to fall from the Scottish Premier League to SFL’s Third Division as opposed to the First Division, as was proposed. In June, Charles Green purchased Rangers for more than $8M.
OLYMPIC FUTURE: London’s Olympic Stadium was the scene of the dramatic glitz and glitter of the London Olympics and Paralympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Once the Games left town, however, the hotly debated fate of the venue remained in flux. In December, though, EPL West Ham United was named the preferred bidder to take over the venue, which will be fitted with a new roof and retractable seats.
MANU FLOATS ITS BOAT: ManU made its debut on the N.Y. Stock Exchange midway through the year with hopes of raising up to $383M by selling a 10.2% stake in the club. The flotation prompted ManU supporters to be critical of owners the Glazer family, claiming they were cashing in on the club’s IPO.
EPL TV RIGHTS BONANZA: The Premier League broadcasting landscape in the U.K. changed drastically in June when BSkyB retained broadcast rights in a $4.7B deal. BT also won the rights to broadcast 38 live matches per season. The deal was a $1.9B increase from the previous EPL deal.
The London Olympics was another memorable storyline in the U.K. this past year. Here is a look at three storylines from the Games.
- EMPTY SEATS: The London Games got off to an ominous start. After just one day of competition, it was realized there were more empty seats than bodies to fill them. Rows upon rows of empty seats were seen at football stadiums, Wimbledon, the Aquatics Centre and beyond. Troops were even drafted to fill empty seats at some venues.
- RATINGS: The London Games accounted for four of the top eight most-viewed programs in ’12 in the U.K. The Closing Ceremony was the most-viewed program, attracting 24.5 million viewers on BBC1. The Opening Ceremony attracted 24.2, good for second place. The men’s 100m final was the fourth-rated program. The women’s 400m final was eighth.
- SECURITY FIASCO: The London Games came under scrutiny when security firm G4S failed to recruit enough staff -- more than 10,000 guards -- to secure the event. G4S CEO Nick Buckles revealed his firm took a $79M hit from the scandal.
The SBD Global staff compiled the top sports business stories globally of '12, in no particular order. Here are the top stories from South America.
GETTING READY FOR 2016 RIO GAMES: Rio de Janeiro took many strides this year to prepare to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Here are three storylines that dominated the headlines.
- INVESTMENTS: The Brazilian federal government invested between R$250M ($123.4M) and R$300M ($148.1M) in ‘12 for sporting projects in preparation for the 2016 Rio Games. It also launched a program to guarantee more medals for the country. The program will see an estimated investment of R$1B ($495M) until '16.
- OOPS: The Rio LOC revealed that the Joao Havelange stadium will host the Rugby Sevens competition after the São Januário stadium missed its deadline to send the necessary documents to the LOC.
- RESTRUCTURING: Rio 2016 LOC revealed an internal restructuring process with the goal of increasing the committee's capacities in different areas of the project, as well as improving internal procedures and coordination between all areas. Sidney Levy was appointed the organization’s CEO and Leonardo Gryner became the COO.
- CONSTRUCTION FEARS: Throughout the year, a number of important names took shots at Brazil’s progress in stadium construction. Pelé said that he was "preoccupied by the delay in 2014 World Cup stadium constructions." FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke said Brazil “needs a kick up the backside.” But things have improved and as of December things appear to be on track with Brazil Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes saying "There is no threat whatsoever to any of the 12 host cities not being ready in time. We are confident that all the host cities are confirmed, and there are no threats to any of them."
- INVESTMENTS: The Brazilian government revealed it is spending $903M to upgrade the security structure for the World Cup. Brazil's Audit Court revealed the cost of construction for the event increased by 14.7% in relation to the original estimates. A total of $13.3B will now be spent on stadiums and infrastructure for the event.
- TICKET CONCERNS: Following the empty seat dilemma of the London Olympics, FIFA revealed fans will have the opportunity to sell unwanted tickets online during the World Cup in Brazil to ensure that as many seats as possible are filled in stadiums.
- MEET FULECO: Brazil selected an endangered armadillo named “Fuleco” as the mascot for the 2014 World Cup. More than 1.7 million people in Brazil voted on the name, which beat out Zuzeco and Amijubi.
The SBD Global staff compiled the top sports business stories globally of '12, in no particular order. Here are the top stories from Europe.
A RECORD-SETTING EURO 2012: The Euro 2012 in Poland and the Ukraine was a significant hit both in stadiums and living rooms across Europe. The tournament broke a 16-year-old attendance record with 1.4 million fans attending 31 matches. Meanwhile, Spain’s 4-0 win over Italy in the Euro 2012 final July 1 became the most-watched football match in Spain’s history, recording an 83.4% share.
HRT SUFFERS FINANCIAL HARDSHIP: Spanish F1 team HRT faced serious economic difficulties and laid off a number of employees. The team’s owner Thesan Capital originally put the team up for sale with a goal of finding a buyer before December. However, no buyer came forward and HRT failed to provide motorsports' governing body FIA with the $500,000 deposit necessary to be subscribed to next year’s F1 season. The team now looks set to officially close down.
SLIM PICKINS: Reports initially indicated Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim had his sights on purchasing La Liga club Getafe. However, those reports were shot down by Slim’s brother in-law Arturo Elias Ayub who wrote on Twitter, "The Carso Group has neither talked to nor approached Getafe or any other Spanish club." Ayub was correct about Getafe, but it turned out Slim did want to purchase a Spanish club as he invested €2M ($2.5M) in Spanish third-tier team Real Oviedo. The acquisition was made through Slim's company Grupo Carso, and made him the club’s majority shareholder.
F1 TRACK FOR FRANCE: The withdrawal of the New Jersey race from the F1 calendar and new private investments made an F1 Grand Prix return to France in ’13 a strong possibility with Le Castellet Circuit Dir Stéphane Clair saying that a France F1 Grand Prix in '13 had a 90% chance of taking place. Reports even indicated F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone was working on bringing F1 back to France and wanted the race to take place at Magny Cours instead of the Castellet circuit. Ecclestone said, “If we drive in France, then in Magny-Cours." However, both French tracks missed application deadlines as they could not finalize their projects on time. Castellet circuit ambassador Alain Prost said that the financial side was missing in addition to a true will from Ecclestone to come back to France.
PLATINI'S FOOTBALL REVOLUTION: A Frenchman is trying to revolutionize Europe, to be more specific European football. Many are wondering if it is just a coincidence? UEFA President Michel Platini proposed a plan to host Euro 2020 not only in one or two host countries, which has been the case since the tournament’s inaugural edition in ’60, but to stage it in 12 or 13 host cities across the entire continent. Platini’s plan has gained support after heavy criticism at the beginning. In addition, Platini has said that expanding the Champions League from 32 to 64 teams and scrapping the Europa League is an option amid a wide-ranging debate over the future of UEFA’s club competitions. It remains to be seen if those plans will flourish, or if Platini will encounter his own personal Waterloo.
F1'S ONE MAN SHOW MAKES WILD WEST COMEBACK: From bribery scandal over postponed flotation to the signing of a new Concorde Agreement and the comeback of a U.S. Grand Prix, calling F1 in ’12 eventful would be an understatement. In June, former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for accepting $44M in alleged bribes from F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone. Ahead of the bribery scandal, F1 had to delay its planed $3B Singapore IPO due to market instability. However, motorsports’ elite series also created some positive headlines with an impressive return to the U.S. at the newly built Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, where more than 117,000 fans attended the race. F1’s new Concorde Agreement, which is the contract between FIA, F1 teams and the Formula One Administration and to be finalized in the coming weeks, will pour substantially more money into FIA’s coffers. FIA's annual income from F1 is expected to increase by 40% to about $40M.
NHL LOCKOUT CREATES A EURO MIGRATION: The NHL lockout, which started on Sept. 15, has triggered an exodus of players who are heading overseas to join a club in one of Europe’s top hockey leagues. Whether it has been the German DEL, Russian KHL, Swiss NLA, Austrian Erste Bank Hockey League, Czech Extraliga or the Finnish SM-LIIGA, they all welcomed locked-out NHL players with open arms. The only exception is the Swedish Elitserien that prohibits its clubs from signing locked-out NHL players to short-term contracts. The Swedish Competition Authority that described such a ban as illegal challenged the league’s ruling. However, a Swedish court recently ruled to overturn the SCA’s decision and upheld the initial ban on short-term contracts for NHL players.
GEARING UP FOR SOCHI 2014: Sochi 2014 organizers were forced to defend the construction progress of the Olympic venues over and over again. With just a little more than 13 months until the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7, 2014, organizers revealed that construction is on track and all venues will be delivered on time. Int’l Ski Federation (FIS) President Franco Kasper, however, was less concerned about the construction progress but more about the drastically reduced capacity for events in the mountains. Constructional and safety reasons, as well as transportation and traffic problems are to blame for the reduced on-site capacity.
CYCLING'S DOPING ISSUE COMES TO FOREFRONT: The Int’l Cycling Union (UCI) has had a rough ’12. Following the findings of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in the Lance Armstrong case, the UCI decided to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles and ban him for life. The Armstrong scandal got the ball rolling and the UCI has since been under fire by sponsors, anti-doping agencies and various national cycling federations. Many of those are calling for increased actions in the fight against doping and for the head of UCI President Pat McQuaid. The future of professional cycling and its credibility with sponsors and fans hangs in the balance.
The SBD Global staff compiled the top sports business stories globally of '12, in no particular order. Here are the top stories from Asia and Australia.
IOC THREAT TO FRUITION: The IOC suspended the Indian Olympic Association, following its resistance to meet the int’l body's demand to comply with the Olympic Charter. In defiance to the IOC’s request, the IOA went ahead with its elections that have previously been marred by corruption. India's Sports Ministry asked the IOA to cancel elections, nonprofit Clean Sports India applauded the suspension and the country’s athletes lashed out at the IOA for allowing the ban, which halts all IOC funding. In the wake of the suspension, the Amateur Boxing Federation and Archery Association of India both lost official recognition.
AUSSIE BROADCAST DEALS: The land Down Under saw major broadcast deals in the year '12. The NRL raked in the biggest haul through its more than A$1B TV deal with Nine and Fox Sports for the next five years. The league also signed a deal with IMG Media for int’l coverage, and the Wallabies signed on with Ten for a free-to-air TV deal. And, just weeks ago, telecom company Telstra and the ARLC established a media joint venture to report on the NRL, as part of a sponsorship and digital rights partnership worth more than A$100M. The A-League raked in a A$160M deal for Fox Sports, Foxtel and SBS to broadcast its matches, along with the Socceroos' beginning July 1. Fox Sports also signed a three-year broadcast deal with the EPL, gaining coverage of every match from ’13-16. The contract is believed to be worth more than the estimated A$28M Fox Sports paid for its three-year deal with the EPL. The Twenty20 Big Bash League will be shown on free-to-air TV for the first time under the terms of cricket's new A$400M broadcast-rights deal with Nine.
THE DEL PIERO EFFECT: Italian Alessandro Del Piero signed with A-League Sydney FC, becoming the highest-paid footballer of any code to play in Australia with a two-year deal worth A$4M. The club went on to break its record in memberships, game attendance and media ratings. Fox Sports logged 109,000 watching Del Piero's debut match. The club expects to make more than $A5M off his jersey sales. Following Del Piero's move, Mediaset Premium in Italy acquired the rights to broadcast 27 of the A-League's games.
NOT MADE IN CHINA: China’s top football and basketball league saw a number of foreign players travel east to continue their career, increasing media coverage and hype. Chelsea’s Didier Drogba joined Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, receiving more than $300,000 a week, making him the sixth highest paid player in the world. Since he joined, the club has seen a 30% increase in home game crowds. Disagreement between Owner Zhu Jun and shareholders resulted in players not receiving their salary on time. However, Drogba did not waiver in loyalty to his new home. The Chinese Basketball Association saw the addition of former NBAers Tracy McGrady and Gilbert Arenas. McGrady signed a one-year contract reportedly worth $1M with the Qingdao Eagles, and Arena for $700,000 with the Shanghai Sharks.
SALARY CAP RESOLUTION: When the NRL TV broadcast deal was signed in August, discussions began to increase the $A5.5M ($5.7M) salary cap, with talks reportedly reaching up to $A6.5M for five years. Stalemate caused talks amongst the players to boycott next year's Indigenous All Stars gam. The league outlined annual increases that would see the cap rise to A$6.8M in '17, but players balked at the offer. Players and officials are now close to signing an agreement. A salary cap of about A$5.8M next year, changes to the marquee player allowance, improved insurance and a minimum wage of A$80,000 are believed to be part of a new CBA.
The SBD Global staff compiled a list of top sponsorships from 2012, listed below.
Colombian club Atlético Nacional agreed to a kit deal with Nike starting in '13, replacing its previous kit deal with adidas.
Argentinian side River Plate renewed its contract with adidas through '18.
CCTV-IMG entered into a 10-year partnership with the Chinese Super League.
Tire manufacturer Bridgestone became the new title sponsor of the Copa Libertadores in an $80M deal.
Coca-Cola droped its $737,400 annual sponsorship with Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho Gaucho.
Brazilian club Corinthians agreed to a new $14.1M jersey sponsorship deal with bank Caixa Econômica Federal.
Golfer Rory McIlroy agreed to a new $250M deal with Nike, making him the second-highest paid British sportsman behind David Beckham.
Chinese beer Tsingtao has become an official partner to the Chinese Basketball Association.
Brasileiro club Flamengo agreed to a sponsorship deal with adidas.
Man City agreed to a new partnership with fashion house Hugo Boss to supply its suits for official club engagements.
Nike agreed to replace Umbro as the official supplier of England Football.
ManU agreed to a four-year sponsorship with Turkish bank Denizbank.
Nike signed Real Madrid defender Pepe to a sponsorship deal.
Adidas extended its contract with Real Madrid through '19-20 as its official kit supplier.
Barcelona FC signed Qatar Airways to replace Qatar Foundation as its official kit supplier beginning next season.
Volkswagen will continue its role as the official vehicle of the Australian PGA Championship for another two years.
F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE married for a third time in a ceremony at his ski chalet in Switzerland. The 81-year-old billionaire married 35-year-old Brazilian Marketing Dir FABIANA FLOSI at Le Lion, his £23M ($36.4M) chalet.
F1 driver and seven-time world champion MICHAEL SCHUMACHER was awarded with the honorary citizenship to the Belgium city of Spa.
The Russian delegation's flag-bearer during the London Olympic ceremony was MARIA SHARAPOVA. The Russians broke tradition by choosing the tennis star. In the past, the honor was only given to famous athletes who had won numerous Olympic titles.
Real Madrid footballer CRISTIANO RONALDO and his agent, JORGE MENDES, funded a 9-year-old boy's cancer treatment in a private hospital in Madrid. The family met the pair when they flew to Madrid to make one of Nuhazet's dreams come true -- see a Real Madrid match at the Santiago Bernabéu.
A Daily Sports Seoul survey revealed Samsung Electronics Chair and IOC member LEE KUN-HEE was regarded as the most influential figure in South Korean sports. South Korean figure skater KIM YU-NA placed second, followed by former FIFA VP CHUNG MONG-JOON, ManU midfielder PARK JI-SUNG and Korean Olympic Committee President PARK YONG-SUNG
Swiss tennis star ROGER FEDERER gave PRINCE CHARLES a bow at his first Wimbledon appearance since '70,
Chinese Basketball Association Beijing Ducks and former NBA player STEPHON MARBURY published his autobiography, Wo Shi Ma Zheng Wei (I am Commissar Marbury), which hit Chinese bookstores on June 30. The book was written alongside Chinese journalist WANG MENG, who covers basketball for Beijing newspaper Titan Sports Weekly
The Int'l Press Centre at Olympic Park now includes the JOHN RODDA Press Workroom. Rodda served as the Guardian's athletics and boxing correspondent for more than 36 years before he died in '09 at the age of 78. He also covered every Games between '60-92. LOCOG Chair SEBASTIAN COE said that Rodda opened up the world of sports politics to him and played an influential role in helping to advise on how to negotiate the corridors of power,
Former NBA player YAO MING and NBA China announced a partnership to further basketball participation, develop youth basketball, promote cultural exchange and conduct social responsibility programs in China. Yao will collaborate with the league to launch basketball and social development programs for Chinese youth through NBA Cares and the Yao Foundation for communities in need.
Birmingham Council erected a life-size wicker statue of USAIN BOLT to welcome the world's fastest man to the city. But there was a little problem; the 6-foot figure points to the right, rather than the left.
A tennis shirt worn by ANDY MURRAY in this year's U.S. Open final, as he ended Britain's 76-year wait for a male Grand Slam champion, sold at a charity auction in the U.K. for £8,500 ($13,687), 6.3% above its £8,000 ($12,000) high valuation Tuesday night. All funds from the sale benefited the Angelus Foundation, which aims to educate drug users on the dangers of taking both club drugs and legal highs.
South Korean-born U.N. Secretary General BAN KI-MOON received the highest medal given by the IOC for his contribution to the Olympic movement. He was awarded the Olympic Order, in gold, which was established in '75.
Great Britain Olympic champion JESSICA ENNIS revealed she wants to start her own fashion brand, citing ALEXANDER MCQUEEN and VICTORIA BECKHAM as style inspiration.
Procter & Gamble introduced Brazilian football legend PELÉ as a brand ambassador.
NBA player RAJA BELL traveled to India from July 12-17 to participate in a series of basketball events in Delhi to grow basketball and the popularity of the NBA.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC's name was wrongly engraved on the U.S. Open trophy. His name is spelled with a "C," but the trophy used a "K"
Australian RICKY PONTING, who scored 13,366 runs in 167 tests -- the second highest haul in the long history of the game, retried from cricket on Nov. 29.
In Australia, Fox Sports appointed former Football Federation Australia commercial boss JOHN O'SULLIVAN as COO.
Sydney FC appointed TONY PIGNATA as the team's CEO.
Barcelona FC named TITO VILANOVA as head coach for the next two seasons. The deal will expire on June 30, 2014.
Red Bull Salzburg appointed Frenchman GERARD HOULLIER as global football director and former Schalke 04 coach RALF RANGNICK as sports director. Rangnick is also be in charge of development at sister club RB Leipzig in Germany,
The ICC named ALAN ISAAC president, replacing SHARAD PAWAR, who completes his two year term at the end of the year. ICC GM DAVID RICHARDSON took over as ICC CEO in place of HAROON LORGAT.
The Japan FA promoted KUNIYA DAINI to president. Daini took over for JUNJI OGURA. Ogura was appointed honorary president. SABURO KAWABUCHI, the current honorary president was named Supreme Adviser.
Russian Football Federation President SERGEI FURSENKO resigned after Russia's early exit from Euro 2012.
Man City Manager ROBERTO MANCINI signed a new five-year deal with the club to remain as manager, worth at least £25M ($38.8M). The deal secures him at the club until '17.
Al Wasl of the UAE Football League sacked DIEGO MARADONA as its chief coach along with his support staff.
Russian-Finnish businessman GENNADY TIMCHENKO was elected the new chairman of the Board of the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League. Timchenko is also chairman of the Board for St. Petersburg-based hockey team SKA, which plays in the KHL.
Organizers of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics chose former military officer MARCO AURELIO COSTA VIEIRA to replace RODERLEI GENERALI as COO. Costa Vieira will be be responsible for relations with national Olympic committees, the athletes village, venues, opening and closing ceremonies, accommodation, transportation, security and technology.
DAVID HILL left Fox Sports for a new job at News Corp., as part of a restructuring of its media and entertainment properties. Hill, who launched Fox Sports in '93, become News Corp. Senior Exec VP, where he will focus on programming and digital initiatives across Latin America, Asia, Australia, Europe and the U.S.
The NRL appointed former Lloyds Bank CEO David Smith as league CEO.
Cricket Kenya unanimously elected ZEHRA JANMOHAMMED as its chairwoman, the first woman to head a national cricket board. Janmohammed, a Nairobi-based lawyer, who previously served as a legal adviser to the former Kenya Cricket Association, was elected unopposed.
Brasileiro club Flamengo elected EDUARDO BANDEIRA DE MELLO as its president. De Mello will lead the club from '13-15.
Billionaire ALISHER USMANOV, an investor in businesses from Facebook to Arsenal, was re-elected president of the Int'l Fencing Federation before its 100th anniversary next year. Usmanov was elected for a second term.
Octagon hired JIMMY QIN as its Greater China VP, with his office located in Shanghai. Qin joined the company with more than 16 years of sports marketing experience. Prior to joining Octagon, Qin was senior sports marketing director for Li Ning. He also held positions at Coca-Cola and Nike.
The French Rugby Federation (FFR) re-elected PIERRE CAMOU as its president for another four years. The 67-year-old received 89.76% of the votes.
Puma announced CEO FRANZ KOCH will step down at the end of March. He will also step down as a member of the Group Exec Committee of PPR SA, the main shareholder of Puma SE.
Here is a list of sports luminaries who died this year.
F1 Doctor Sid Watkins (Sept. 12).
Australian rules footballer John McCarthy (Sept. 10).
China CCTV football commentator Tao Wei (Aug. 27).
Board of Control for Cricket in India Union Minister and Mumbai Cricket Association President Vilasrao Deshmukh (Aug. 14).
Hungarian Grand Prix promoter Tamas Frank (June 5).
Former Board of Control for Cricket in India President P.M. Rungta (July 12).
Australian sprinter Daniel Batman (June 26).
Former Premiership rugby Sale Sharks player David Tait (Dec. 13).
Motorsport biker Luis Carreira (Nov. 15).
Former Man City Manager John Bond (Sept. 25).
Former British jockey, journalist, broadcaster John Oaksey (Sept. 5).
Russian women's volleyball coach Sergei Ovchinnikov (Aug. 29).
Former Newcastle United CEO Freddie Fletcher (Aug. 27).
Former Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Hiromori Kawashima (Dec. 9).
HIT: The London Games Opening Ceremony was hailed as a whimsical triumph by viewers around the globe, who heaped praise on Artistic Dir Danny Boyle's tribute to the host country. The visually-appealing show featured thunderous music, dancing beds, cycling doves and a cameo from Queen Elizabeth.
MISS: Spain's red and yellow Olympic uniforms became the punch line of many jokes during the London Games. Russian company Bosco provided the kits for Spain free of charge, but they were not free of ridicule. Spanish athletes Alex Fabregas and Saúl Craviotto posted pictures of themselves in the uniforms on their Twitter accounts, creating a social media frenzy ripe with criticism. Fabregas wrote: "Olympic outift, there aren't enough adjectives." Craviotto wrote, "At home trying on the Olympics clothes! better if I don't opine, I will leave it up to you guys..."
HIT: Team GB athletes, such as cyclist Bradley Wiggins, heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, runner Mo Farah and tennis player Andy Murray all basked in the limelight of Gold Medal-worthy showings in the London Games. The lasting effect of the group's success was seen with the prospect of increased sponsorship deals and appearances, including Wiggins winning the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
MISS: London Mayor Boris Johnson was tough to miss during the London Games, especially when he was dangling high above a crowd stuck on a zipline. Johnson got stuck dangling in mid air while riding a zipline as part of the London 2012 Olympic celebrations. Once stuck, Johnson, wearing a suit and a helmet, began waving two Union flags much to the delight of the crowd below.
HIT: If there was one beneficiary to the NHL being locked out in the U.S., it was hockey leagues in Europe. Scores of NHL players left the U.S. in the fall to sign deals with European clubs. Among them, Jaromir Jagr landed with Kladno in the Czech Republic. Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk are now playing in Russia. In Switzerland, Henrik Zetterberg, Joe Thornton, Rick Nash, Patrice Bergeron, John Tavares, Damien Brunner and Tyler Seguin have enjoyed success.
MISS: Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho took a costly sip of a soft drink this year. Coca-Cola terminated a $750,000-a-year sponsorship deal with Ronaldinho after he was seen sipping a Pepsi during a news conference. Ronaldinho was speaking to the press about an upcoming match when two Pepsi cans were placed on the table in front of him, and he sipped from one.
We don’t see refraining from football matches as a proper instrument to deliver signals concerning the situation with democracy in Ukraine. -- Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Voloshyn, on the country's reaction to the British Ministers' boycott of Euro 2012.
They haven't really done anything wrong. Shooting is an Olympic sport -- shooters don't get in trouble for posing in their Speedos. -- Australian swimmer Eamon Sullivan, on his teammates being disciplined for posing with guns and posting the pictures online.
I've been five times round this block and each time people say the bubble has burst. -- EPL CEO Richard Scudamore, after a 71% increase in the league’s three-year media rights deals with BSkyB and BT was announced.
Sport is doing so much more and is being asked to do so much more than crash, bang, wallop at Stamford Bridge on a Tuesday night. -- LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe, on the importance of sponsors in building London's Olympic legacy.
There's nothing good about the Madison. Anyone who's been there understands that arena is no longer suited to modern hockey. -- KHL VP Vladimir Shalaev, on playing two games next year in Brooklyn's Barclays Center instead of Madison Square Garden.
Manchester City won the championship this year and I hear they're going to lose $156 million. I would rather give that money to charity if I had it. -- New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, on why the economics of the EPL keep him from buying into the league.
Why force one or two host countries to build 10 new stadiums and airports? Here, there would be one stadium per country, per city, throughout Europe, it would be a lot simpler and less expensive. -- UEFA President Michel Platini, on his proposal that the Euro 2020 tournament be played at venues all over Europe.
Past 100, I'm definitely out, I don't know who should do it -- honestly there's nobody I despise enough that I would wish this on them. -- F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, on when he's going to walk away from the sport.
To establish peace and stabilise a country, one must not only focus on training soldiers. -- Afghanistan Football Federation President Keramuddin Karim, announcing the country's first professional football championship.
G4S has let the country down and we have literally had to send in the troops. -- Labour MP Keith Vaz, on the British Home Office having to call up troops for Olympic duty after security provider G4S could not meet the demand.
Athletes are sleepy, hungry and need to pee. Could we get to the Olympic Village please. -- U.S. hurdler Kerron Clement, on a tweet after he was stranded for four hours on a bus from Heathrow when the driver got lost.
We Brits are incredibly good at looking for problems when things are actually going incredibly well. -- U.K. Cultural Secretary Jeremy Hunt, writing in the London Independent to call on the British public to get behind the Games.
He was already being asked to play some places with very nice appearance fees, but as they say in the game … the price of poker just went up. -- Ernie Els' agent Vinny Giles, on the impact the South African golfer's Open Championship victory has had on requests for him to play in tournaments.
There must be a way where seats are empty half an hour in to an event that they can be filled by sports fanatics -- we owe it to the teams, and we owe it to the country. -- British Olympic Association Chair Colin Moynihan, on the controversy over the large number of empty seats at Olympics venues.
The best analogy is that you can't turn an ocean liner around like you can turn a speedboat. -- Liverpool FC Owner John Henry, explaining that it will take some time to get his club on equal footing with Europe's football elite.
For our game it is the greatest deal ever done. -- Australian Rugby League Commission Chair John Grant, on the league's billion-dollar plus deal with Nine Network and Fox Sports.
My inbox is less choked now with emails from Mr. Outraged from Leamington Spa. -- McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh, on how F1 fans have warmed to races being broadcast by pay-service Sky.
Capabilities have nothing to do with age. There are 70-year-olds who are young in the head. -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter, on why he opposes age limits for the association's leadership.
For the next two years, I am Australian, so to speak. -- Italian football player Alessandro Del Piero, who signed with Sydney FC for A$2M, the highest salary ever paid by an Aussie club.
My God, there's a lot of you. Every single one of you -- this was your achievement, you brought this country together in a way we never expected. -- London Mayor Boris Johnson, addressing Britain's Olympians at Monday parade.
There's a lot of tribalism involved: In part, it's the tribal aspect that gives rugby its special magic, but we can't allow it to get in the way of cool-headed, sensible commercial decision-making. -- Leicester Chair Peter Tom, on talks over the future of the Heineken Cup.
You don't live your whole life at home, even though the fridge is always full and the laundry gets done for you. At some stage you have to move out. Grow up. Become a man. -- Former F1 driver David Coulthard, writing about Lewis Hamilton leaving McLaren, where he'd been since he was 13.
I have always said that netball is the sleeping giant of South African sport and now finally it can take its rightful place alongside the major codes. -- Netball South Africa President Mimi Mthethwa, on the league signing a five-year deal with broadcaster SuperSport.
Nobody is entitled. Everything is earned. -- Former Aussie tennis player and current coach Darren Cahill, arguing against increasing prize money for players who lose in the first round.
I feel tempted to cry God for Harry, England and St. George, but I really don't want to lower the tone by bringing my brother into it. -- FA President Prince William, quoting William Shakespeare's line from "Henry V," at the opening of the $168M St. George's Park football training facility.
We want to combine Hollywood and Bollywood and integrate celebrities into this entertainment product that we’re building. -- Cricket Holdings America CEO Neil Maxwell, on the upstart cricket league's plan to gain a foothold in the U.S. market.
Words don't buy football clubs; Money buys football clubs. -- Leeds Supporters' Trust Chair Gary Cooper, calling for Dubai-based investment firm GFH to show it can afford to buy the club.
If I were a fan, I'd be booing too. -- Former England Manager Graham Taylor, after the England-Poland World Cup qualifier was postponed because the stadium roof was left open during a deluge.
There is a clear and present danger of talent being hollowed out of our game. -- Yomiuri Giants President Tsunekazu Momoi, voicing his concern on the impact of Japanese high school player Shohei Otani opting to play in the U.S.
They threw us out of the league and are now pursuing title stripping, and for us to sit down and think that after all that has come to fruition that I will say 'OK, everything's forgotten,' you’re in cloud cuckoo land. -- Rangers CEO Charles Green, vowing that the Rangers will never return to the Scottish Premier League.
The truth is, I'm a little tired of it. -- Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, on constantly being compared to Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
The shirt is the identity. It would really be the ultimate, ultimate recourse to sell the family's jewelry. -- French Rugby Federation President Pierre Camou, on why his organization will not follow the All-Blacks and sell a jersey sponsorship.
Brazil is not a country where people love football. It is a country where people love to party around the World Cup. -- Brazilian writer Juca Kfouri, on why Brazilian football clubs are struggling to fill stadiums.
I think the sleeping giant metaphor, we've moved beyond that now. The giant is well and truly awake, out of bed, and out the front door. -- Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop, on the growth of the league over recent months.
Should you still call it Champions League then? If you integrate the Europa League into the Champions League then it is more like a Europa League. -- VfB Stuttgart Sport Dir Fredi Bobic, putting the kibosh on UEFA President Michel Platini's idea to merge the two leagues.
We want to put this club and this city back on the map -- football clubs can do that. -- Bradford City Manager Phil Parkinson, after his League Two side shocked Premier League club Arsenal in a Capital One Cup match.
Rugby League Express editor Martyn Sadler: "In less than 40 years Aussie #rugbyleague progressed from being worth almost nothing to more than a billion dollars"
Manchester Evening News' Mike Keegan: "Thanks Sunday Times for that lovely picture of Rooney's leg just as I was about to eat breakfast."
Benchmark Sport head of communications Adam Fraser: "Elements of the Lance Armstrong story are so close to satire that The Onion's report almost reads as straight facts..."
U.K. Olympian Mo Farah: "It's 4.30am!!! And I'm still up....!! The TWINS are keeping me up....!!! HELP...!!!!!"
London Guardian's Richard Williams: "The Indonesian athletes appear to be the only ones without a costume/uniform. I'm cheering for them. Come as you are."
London Independent's Sam Wallace: "It's cold as ice up there on the stage between Messi & Iniesta on one side & Ronaldo on the other. I do love a grudge"
London Times' Matt Dickinson: "Off to Goalball to see how easy it is being a goalkeeper when you are blindfold"
London Daily Mail's Mike Dickson: "Found a novel way of avoiding being stopped by customs at Heathrow this morning - walk a few steps behind Andy Murray."
Bloomberg's Tariq Panja: "Kagawa clearly a decent player but his power to pull sponsors is clear. Of the 8 new deals since July 1, four are with Japanese companies."
The Scotsman's Martyn McLaughlin: "Here is Clyde the Thistle, the official mascot of #Glasgow2014 (and a distant cousin of Sonic the Hedgehog, it seems)"
London Guardian's Moscow correspondent Miriam Elder: "The Sochi Olympics have apparently released their slogan: "Hot. Cool. Yours." Sounds like a typical exchange at a Moscow nightclub."
London Telegraph's Harry Wallop: "Could there be a more American collection of names than its Ryder Cup team: Bubba, Webb, Zach, Brandt, Dustin, Jim, Steve?"
The New Paper's Iain Macintosh: "Phil Mickelson applauds Justin Rose, even though it puts him under pressure. Hmmm...perhaps there can be peace between our peoples."
Bolton Wanderers FC player Stuart Holden: What's latest on the Ryder Cup? Do I make the bold switch from NFL on tv to Ryder Cup? #lifechangingdecisions
Speed's F1 reporter Will Buxton: "Just to be clear, I will save my thoughts on Schumacher and the morally repugnant shadow he cast on F1 for something longer than a tweet ;-)"
London Times' Tony Barrett: "Is today's message to footballers that they can stamp, dive and elbow but woe betide them if they use naughty words in a tweet?"
ESPN's Kristi Dosh: "NFL tells me UK game sells more merch on game day than any other event on the UK's calendar."
BBC presenter Gary Lineker: "I'd love to know how the FA determine the fines. Do they sit round a table and start bidding like an auction? Do I have 70K? 80? 90K? Sold!"
Cyclist Mark Cavendish: "Are people so naive they think cycling's the only sport with a hidden past? Maybe it's just the only sport where a hidden past's come out."
Evening Standard's Tim Nichols: "Racism, diving, foul language, coin-throwing fans, video tech. Would be lovely to be talking about the actual football for once"
FourFourTwo.com's Tim Stannard: "Someone in Madrid may not have enjoyed their cornflakes and paper this morning. 1st 15 pages in Marca dedicated to Messi winning golden boot"
HITS Dir of Running Festivals Barry Siff: Cycling sponsor suing UCI over Armstrong saga … Not sure this enhances Skins' image in endurance world. #badPRmove
BBC correspondent Dan Roan: "Both Wiggins & Sutton hospitalised within hours of each other. There's been 104 cycling fatalities in Britain this year already."
South China Morning Post's James Porteous: ""There will be no positive impact at all on people’s lives and national economic development". Hanoi Man On Street as it wins Asian Games"
Visa Global Head of Sponsorships Ricardo Fort: "FIFA WC Brazil budget is 1.7 Bi above target. If London Olympics got it wrong, why would Brazil be on target ?"
Synergy Sponsorship CEO Tim Crow: "Rio 2016 will stage its Opening Ceremony before London Olympic Stadium re-opens!"
Red Bull F1 driver Mark Webber: "At a VIP dinner last night an American woman asked me"where are you from?" I said Australia, she said "wow your English is amazing""
London Telegraph's Jacquelin Magnay: "So if David Beckham is released from LA Galaxy next month will he go to Australia (sun) or China (money)?
English footballer David James: "Is sustainable football, an oxymoron?"
Australian golfer Matt Griffin: "We won the court case!! Golfers can play where they want in Asia now without restriction we hope!! #justice!!!!!!"
Brasileiro Atlético-MG President Alexandre Kalil announcing Ronaldinho's return: "Vocês queriam. Ele ficou!" ("You guys wanted it. He's staying!")
Australia's Channel 9 presenter Ken Sutcliffe: "Writing story on Ricky Ponting's test career for tonights news...so much material,just can't get it all in..just want to do him justice."
Indian tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi: "So I got banned, now the IOA gets banned, they says things like these normally happen in three's.. Wonder what's next!!"
EPL Head of Public Relations Philip Dorward: "As Scotland has already successfully survived one armageddon in 2012 I'm pretty confident the motherland will breeze through tomorrow."
The SBD Global staff compiled a list of the top stories, quotes, deaths, tweets and other memorable occurrencces of 2012, listed below.
Top five stories from the U.K.
Top five stories from South America.
Top five stories from Europe.
Top five stories from Asia, Australia.
Top sponsorships of the year.
Names in the news in 2012.
Notable deaths in 2012.
Hits, misses of 2012.
Top quotes of the year.
Twitter me this ... 2012.