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SBJ/Dec. 20-26, 2010/2010 Year in ReviewPrint All
The free agency frenzy surrounding the courtship of LeBron James culminated in July with the NBA superstar's "The Decision" broadcast on ESPN. The hourlong, prime-time broadcast was heavily hyped, and criticized, as the network provided James a stage to announce his decision to dump the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. But the special also delivered a massive television audience and helped drive the NBA's offseason business to record levels.
Turner's David Levy likes to call the 14-year, $10.8 billion deal to secure the NCAA tournament's media rights the biggest media rights deal on record, but that's only part of the reason why the deal is so significant. For starters, it shows the changing sphere of influence between broadcast and cable. CBS executives admit they couldn't afford the deal on their own and needed Turner and its dual revenue stream to step in. The deal also shows the value of live sports will continue to grow, especially for crown jewel events.
At this summer's World Cup, South Africa buzzed for an entire month with the sound of plastic horns, known as vuvuzelas. Although the horns may have stopped buzzing, the country continues to vibrate. Many said South Africa wasn't ready for the world, but it proved them wrong. Stadiums were completed, crime was minimized and strikes were mere interruptions in a memorable event. As a result, spectators and visitors worldwide discovered the magic of the African continent.
Leagues and teams stepped up efforts to improve the game experience, realizing that the tough economy and HD viewing options at home have encouraged many fans to stay in their recliners. The NFL allowed teams to encourage crowd noise, venues took a tougher stance with problematic patrons, and teams rolled out improved options for ticket pricing and delivery. The message? You can no longer take fans for granted. Getting them to come back means providing a better experience and better value.
The Vancouver Games oscillated wildly from lows to highs. The event navigated blemishes and tragedy ranging from warm weather to the death of a luger to deliver record red mitten sales and the triumphant victory of the Canadian hockey team. Ultimately, the city and event organizers persevered to deliver one of the most fun Winter Olympics in recent history. Revelers filled the streets throughout the 17 days, creating an energy-filled city that will be remembered for years by visitors from across Canada and around the world.
Immersion was the name of the game in sports technology this year. From the celebrated arrival of Apple's iPad tablet and the mass availability of 3-D TVs, to the continued runaway growth of social media and expanse of in-stadium digital amenities, fans are now closer to the action than ever. In virtually every instance, sports has been a key driver of awareness and adoption of these new advances. But the technological explosion is also prompting some difficult questions in terms of rights, intellectual property and how fans will want to consume sports in the coming years.
The power of live sports was evident this fall when Fox went dark on Cablevision during a retransmission dispute. Cablevision subscribers missed World Series games and New York Giants games — a situation the cable operator hoped would cause the government to step in and put the channel back on. When it became apparent that the government wouldn't, Cablevision could not afford to go without live sports and struck a deal with Fox. But the disagreements over how much distributors should pay for retransmission consent continue to dominate the pay-TV industry.
One giant question hovering over the NFL season was whether the astounding TV ratings of the 2009 campaign — which culminated in this year's Super Bowl becoming the most-watched TV program ever — could be replicated? The answer is yes, with ratings continuing to show increases. More than ever, the NFL is must-see programming, consistently outdrawing virtually everything else on TV. Now the next question is would a work stoppage, if one occurs, send those ratings earthward when games resume?
The very core of intercollegiate athletics shook as the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12 and Big East altered their look. Some added, some subtracted and others, like the WAC, clung to life, but the changes weren't as seismic as some anticipated when the Big Ten and the Pac-10 explored expansion to as many as 16 teams. Even though the larger conferences seem to have settled, no one's comfortable with saying that the realignment period is over.
The return of Tiger Woods offered a case study in crisis and brand management. Woods officially lost corporate endorsements with Gatorade, AT&T and Accenture. His carefully constructed return to the game was closely analyzed, Nike used his travails to debut a stark and controversial spot and, by year's end, Tiger was positioned as a regular dude hitting Twitter. But all the off-course distractions took their toll and Woods' play suffered as expected. With TV ratings down, the PGA Tour needs a Tiger resurgence on the course to lift interest as it goes into negotiations for its next deal.
The Russian billionaire became the first foreign owner of a major U.S. sports franchise by taking over the Nets. He has brought a mix of flamboyance and panache to the league, and is already putting his own stamp on the team in making his Nets a more international franchise. In the summer, the team held a clinic in Moscow, it has created a Russian team website, and has signed a sponsorship with Russian vodka brand Stolichnaya. He's also been going one-on-one with Mark Cuban, putting himself in rare company of an owner not afraid of mixing it up.
Just a few years ago, the very existence of Chip Ganassi Racing was in question. Ganassi shuttered a money-sucking NASCAR Sprint Cup team in midseason and failures on the track seemed to outnumber successes. No one, except maybe Ganassi, saw what was coming in 2010. Ganassi's new Sprint Cup driver, Jamie McMurray, started the year by winning the Daytona 500, then followed it up in the summer with a win at the Brickyard 400. In between, Ganassi drank from the milk bottle when his IndyCar driver, Dario Franchitti, won the Indianapolis 500, cementing the team owner as the year's biggest winner in motorsports.
After a 15-year career building a business around bulls at the PBR, Bernard left to build a business around autos at the IndyCar Series. Though he was quick to admit he knew nothing about motorsports, his arrival stirred the corporate marketplace. Several new partners pointed to new leadership as a reason for partnering with IndyCar, and more than 14 new sponsors signed up this year. Even General Motors returned. Bernard's stamp on the sport will be clear in 2011 when the series trims some tracks from its schedule and returns to markets such as Milwaukee.
When Whan moved into his job at the LPGA in January, he took a more defensive position, focused on damage control because sponsors and tournament owners were upset at former Commissioner Carolyn Bivens. Over the last several months, he's taken a more offensive-minded approach. The former Procter & Gamble executive and golf fanatic has pushed the LPGA as a unique international property that invests back in its tournament owners and sponsors, making it much more customer and partner-friendly than it was known before.
Riley is the mastermind behind this summer's stunning free agency frenzy that brought LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade in Miami. It has been a rocky start for the Heat, but the deal of the decade would never have happened if not for Riley's sterling reputation as a master motivator and for building winning teams and organizations.
Already oft-pegged as the NBA's greatest player of all time, Jordan took his legacy in a new direction, closing on a $275 million purchase of the Charlotte Bobcats in March. What happens when the most marketable U.S. athlete, ever — a man who still graces the cover of an NBA video game, seven years after leaving the court — puts his own time and money into a franchise that has languished since birth? The Bobcats made the playoffs for the first time last season and this year all their business metrics are up. But they have a long way to go and the MJ legacy is clearly affixed to the team's future success.
At the start of the year, the USOC was in disarray and Olympic constituents demanded new leadership. The arrival of Blackmun as the organization's new CEO brought order to the unsettled organization. Blackmun spent the year drawing on his calm demeanor and previous experience as a USOC general counsel to show constituents and partners that the USOC had changed. The organization went on to sign a new partnership with BMW, sign a financing agreement with the IOC, and partner with NBC to sell a combined sponsorship and advertising deal for the first time.
For a while Greenberg insisted all was well with his bid to buy the Rangers from a debt-strapped Tom Hicks, while just behind the scenes, chaos was everywhere. But many months, contested maneuvers and a dramatic, high-stakes auction later, Greenberg, team President Nolan Ryan and their partners emerged with the club in a $593 million deal. And with a World Series appearance and a bold new operating plan, four largely sour decades of Texas baseball are becoming a thing of the past. The contentious transaction, however, sullied the image of MLB in the financial community, and is believed to have a played a role in the departure of league President Bob DuPuy. Greenberg persevered through it all and now can focus on the business at hand.
Kroenke likes to stay under the radar, but good luck with that now that he's bought the Rams. Kroenke has transferred operational control of his Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche to his son to comply with NFL ownership rules, but he still owns the MLS Colorado Rapids and is the largest shareholder in Arsenal of the English Premier League. The possibility of the Rams relocating back to Los Angeles has often been mentioned, but it's hard to figure that Kroenke, a Missouri native, would take the NFL out of St. Louis.
The McCourts began nearly seven years ago with promise and hope — a high-energy, power couple aggressively seeking to revive a landmark MLB franchise. And with four playoff appearances in six years and big increases in many business metrics, all seemed well. But a bitter divorce and legal battle for control of the franchise exposed an ugly reality behind the once-glittering facade. The long-term direction of the franchise, and who will own it, remains decidedly unclear, and may not be fully known for years.
ICON SMI"I have to have an exit strategy at some point because I don't have anybody in the family that is going to take the team."— Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver, on the long-term future of the franchise
NBAE / GETTY IMAGES"I hear he's got his speedboats and his girls, so he seems like he's cool."— New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar, on team owner Mikhail Prokhorov
Tour de Georgia officials announce that the 2010 cycling race will be canceled because the event failed to secure a primary sponsorship. The 2009 event was canceled for the same reason.
ESPN announces plans to launch ESPN 3D, the industry's first three-dimensional TV network, on June 11 with the Mexico-South Africa FIFA World Cup opener.
Tennis player Maria Sharapova extends her sponsorship agreement with Nike for eight years and $70 million.
The Miami Dolphins introduce Sun Life Financial as the new naming-rights partner for their home stadium. Sources said the five-year deal averages around $7.5 million annually.
NASCAR announces measures designed to give more freedom to Sprint Cup drivers and appease fans who say strict rules enforcement had kept drivers from showing their true personalities.
PepsiCo agrees to a two-year extension that will see Mountain Dew remain the title sponsor of NBC's and MTV's action sports series through 2011. Sources valued the deal at $4.5 million to $5.5 million a year.Jan. 28
Women's Professional Soccer announces that the Los Angeles Sol is ceasing operations after one season, after co-owner AEG was unable to find a buyer for its share of the franchise.
NASCAR says it will decrease the amount it will pay teams in race winnings by approximately 10 percent during the upcoming season for all three national series — Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck.
Pennsylvania-based energy company PPL Corp. is finalizing a 10-year, $20 million naming-rights deal for the new stadium of the expansion MLS Philadelphia Union.
Randy Bernard, formerly CEO of the Professional Bull Riders, is introduced as the new CEO of the Indy Racing League.
The Tampa Bay Lightning announce that Boston Red Sox investor Jeffrey Vinik's Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment has agreed to purchase the NHL club from OK Hockey. Sources say the deal is worth up to $170 million.
CBS's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIV, in which the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, is the most-watched program in television history, drawing an average of 106.5 million viewers.Feb. 10
ESPN says its broadband network, ESPN360.com, will be rebranded as ESPN3.com.
EA Sports confirms that the company no longer is producing the "NCAA Basketball" video game.
St. Louis Rams co-owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez agree to sell the team to auto-parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate President Shahid Khan. However, later in the year, Khan's offer is trumped by a bid for the Rams by Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.
The NFL adds 3 1/2 years to Commissioner Roger Goodell's contract, extending the deal through March 1, 2015.
Georgia luger Nodar Kumaritashvili dies in a crash at the Whistler Sliding Centre while practicing for the Winter Olympics, casting a shadow on the event as it prepares for that night's opening ceremony.
The NBA will open an office in Russia after the league approves prospective New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov's purchase of the team. The league also says it plans to open an office in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A deal is struck to allow the New Jersey Nets to buy their way out of their lease at the Izod Center in the Meadowlands and play the next two years at the Prudential Center, until its new arena is built in Brooklyn.
The ATP announces that Corona Extra had signed a 5 1/2-year contract to become the main sponsor of the men's tennis circuit. Sources value the deal at $13 million annually.Feb. 23
The Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Americas announce a naming-rights deal for the team's downtown arena, giving the venue its fourth name in 14 years. Financial terms are not disclosed.
Michael Jordan announces plans to buy the Charlotte Bobcats from Bob Johnson for $275 million. Johnson paid $300 million for the expansion franchise in 2003.
The WTA Tour and Sony Ericsson reach a two-year extension of their partnership that will see Sony Ericsson become the lead global sponsor for the tour through 2012, but end its role as title sponsor. The new deal is valued at $27 million.
The NFL and Verizon Wireless reach a deal to distribute live games and the league's RedZone Channel. Sources valued the four-year agreement at $720 million.March 11
After years of countless delays and lawsuits, Bruce Ratner and the New Jersey Nets break ground on the team's new arena in Brooklyn.
Manny Pacquiao defeats Joshua Clottey in a bout at Cowboys Stadium that, based on filings with the state boxing commission, draws a crowd of nearly 42,000, one of the largest crowds in boxing history.
The NCAA and its rights holder CBS Sports add UPS as a corporate sponsor, completing a flurry of sales activity in the year that also saw the addition of Kraft and Capital One.March 20
MLS and the MLS Players Union reach agreement on a new five-year labor agreement that will improve player compensation, give most players guaranteed contracts and improve players' ability to move from team to team.
The $200 million Red Bull Arena opens with the New York Red Bulls hosting Brazilian club Santos FC.
Disney and MLB will combine for a cross-licensing deal that will mix the marks of two of the biggest names in sports and entertainment merchandising.March 31
Beiersdorf's Nivea brand signs on as the AVP's new title sponsor in a five-year deal. Later in the year, however, AVP will shut down and file for bankruptcy protection.
The NBA signs a three-year sponsorship deal with Bacardi, making it the first of the big four professional stick-and-ball sports to sign a spirits marketer as a corporate patron
CBSSports.com says it drew 8.3 million unique users for March Madness On Demand, the online coverage of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, a sum that beats last year by 10.4 percent and sets an event record.
The start of the Masters draws unprecedented buzz as Tiger Woods returns to competitive play following the explosive personal affairs that forced him to put his career on hold.
Sources say French sporting and publishing giant Lagardère SA is close to acquiring BEST, which would introduce a player with significant financial wherewithal into the U.S. sports agency marketplace.April 12
A crowd of 39,715 attends the Boston Red Sox-Minnesota Twins game, the first regular-season contest at Target Field.April 16
Co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks announce that they have put English Premier League club Liverpool up for sale, with the hope of fetching as much as $1.22 billion. The club's board of directors later vote to sell Liverpool to New England Sports Ventures, owners of the Boston Red Sox, for $477 million. The deal survives legal challenges by Hicks and Gillett, who sought a much higher price.
The Louisville Arena Authority signs a 10-year, $13.5 million naming-rights deal with Yum! Brands for the new 22,000-seat downtown arena opening in October.
Golfer Lorena Ochoa announces she plans to step away from the game at age 28, dealing a setback to the LPGA as it will lose its No. 1 player and top draw.
Fox Cable decides to keep Fuel TV, a channel the company had been looking to sell for at least a year. April 21 6 The U.S. Olympic Committee and Comcast agree to walk away from last year's agreement to launch an Olympic channel, bringing an end to the USOC's nearly four-year effort to launch its own network.
The U.S. Olympic Committee and Comcast agree to walk away from last year’s agreement to launch an Olympic channel, bringing an end to the USOC’s nearly four-year effort to launch its own network.April 22
Every NCAA men's basketball tournament game will be televised nationally as part of a new 14-year, $10.8 billion television agreement announced by the NCAA and broadcast partners CBS Sports and Turner Sports. The agreement goes into effect in 2011, when the tournament is expected to expand from 65 to 68 teams.
The Pollin family says it has reached a deal to sell its majority share of the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics and Verizon Center to Ted Leonsis and his Lincoln Holdings investor group. Leonsis also owns the Washington Capitals.
April 27May 3
The NCAA names University of Washington President Mark Emmert as the fifth president in organization history, filling the void left when the late NCAA President Myles Brand passed away in 2009.
New Orleans Hornets owner George Shinn reaches an agreement to sell his 75 percent stake in the franchise to minority owner Gary Chouest. The deal later falls apart and the NBA moves to take control of the franchise. 6 FedEx says it will not renew its title sponsorship of the Orange Bowl, ending a 21-year association with the event. The move ends what was the longest-running title sponsorship of a BCS game.
Coors is out and Anheuser-Busch is back as the NFL's league sponsor in the beer category, with rights that begin in the 2011 season. Terms for the six-year deal were not disclosed, but sources said A-B will pay twice what Coors has paid.
MLS formally announces that the Montreal Impact will be the league's 19th team and will begin play in 2012.
ESPN wins the TV rights to ACC football and basketball in a bidding competition with Fox Sports that was surprisingly close. Sources pegged the pending deal with ESPN at $1.86 billion over 12 years, or $155 million a year.May 24
The Carolina Hurricanes hire Allen & Co. to sell 50 percent of the club.
NFL owners award Super Bowl XLVIII to the New York Giants and Jets and New Meadowlands Stadium, marking the first time a cold-weather market will host the event in an open-air stadium.
Women's Professional Soccer announces that the St. Louis Athletica is shutting down operations because the team does not have the necessary funds to operate for the 2010 season.
BMW signs a deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee, making the German automaker the first foreign automobile partner in the history of the U.S. Olympic team.
The Central Hockey League and International Hockey League enter into a letter of intent to form a "AA" level league beginning with the 2010-11 season that will operate under the CHL moniker.June 3
Texas taxpayers are putting up the first $25 million in a deal aimed at luring Formula One racing to Austin. The money would pay the sanctioning fee to host a race beginning in 2012.
Baltimore Racing Development and the Indy Racing League announce a five-year deal for the Baltimore Grand Prix, which will speed through a 2.4-mile course past the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards beginning Aug. 5-7 next year.
SB Nation will begin a locally based initiative in which it will launch 20 market-specific websites, starting with six in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Phoenix, Detroit and Chicago.
Santa Clara voters overwhelmingly approve a measure to give partial public funding toward a $937 million stadium for the San Francisco 49ers.June 9
John Wall, soon to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, reaches an endorsement agreement with Reebok valued at $25 million over five years.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup gets under way with a match between Mexico and South Africa.
The University of Nebraska will move to the Big Ten Conference as a series of conference shifts get under way. However, prized target Texas decides to stay in the Big 12, limiting the number of dominoes that fall in the conference realignments.
Citi is out as presenting sponsor of the Rose Bowl after a seven-year run. 6 The NHLPA executive board announces that the union has exercised its option to extend the current labor agreement for the 2011-12 season.
The MLS Philadelphia Union hosts its first game at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., before a boisterous sellout crowd of 18,755.
NASCAR announces the formation of the NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust, an independent group that will become a centralized licensing agency for the sport's biggest teams and most high-profile drivers.
ESPN hosts a television special for LeBron James to announce his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and play for the Miami Heat. "The Decision" ends a summer of courting from teams and becomes one of the biggest stories of the year.July 13
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment signs a three-year deal with Golden Boy Promotions to book 12 fight events annually at Barclays Center, which is targeted to open in mid-2012.July 14
The New York Red Bulls announce the signing of French soccer star Thierry Henry. Rumors about the 32-year-old joining the Red Bulls had been circulating all year.
The Golden State Warriors announce that a group including venture capitalist Joseph Lacob and Mandalay Entertainment Group Chairman and CEO Peter Guber have agreed to buy the team from Chris Cohan for $450 million.
Procter & Gamble announces a 10-year deal to become the IOC's 11th TOP partner, following Dow Chemical's 10-year deal announced earlier in the month. 6 The Jacksonville Jaguars and EverBank announce a deal that will give the bank exclusive naming rights to city-owned Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The bank will pay $16.6 million over the next five years.
IMG College acquires ISP Sports in a blockbuster move that will shift the multimedia rights of close to 60 universities from ISP to IMG. The deal is valued at $100 million.
Major League Soccer's board of governors approves a contract extension for Don Garber that will see him continue to lead the league as commissioner through 2014.
ESPN announces that it has reached an agreement in principle to sell BASS LLC to a group of investors led by Don Logan, Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland. The deal for the fishing property comes as ESPN announces plans to get out of outdoor programming.
In a dramatic, combative and lengthy victory, a group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan emerges victorious in the bankruptcy auction of the Texas Rangers, though not before having to pay nearly $80 million more than partners had initially bid. The final bid amounted to $593 million.
General Motors says it's ramping up its ad spending to pre-bankruptcy levels and increasing its use of big event television like the Super Bowl, a sign that the advertising market is bouncing back.
Puma extends its sponsorship contract with Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt until the end of 2013, making the Jamaican the world's most highly sponsored runner. Sources said the deal will pay Bolt close to $10 million per year.
NASCAR's just-released Sprint Cup Series schedule for 2011 includes the first Cup event for Kentucky Speedway and a second Cup date for Kansas Speedway.Aug. 23
Li-Ning signs Philadelphia 76ers guard Evan Turner, the No. 2 pick in the 2010 NBA draft, to a multiyear deal that will make him the face of the brand.
Discover Financial Services, the Orange Bowl Committee and ESPN announce that Discover will be the title sponsor for the Orange Bowl from 2011-14, as well as the 2013 BCS national championship game.
Stan Kroenke's approved purchase of the St. Louis Rams values the franchise at $750 million, meaning it will cost him $450 million to buy the 60 percent stake that he did not already own.
The NHL says it is in talks to help set up a North American professional league for the world's top female players.
Adidas and MLS announce that the company has agreed to new terms in a contract to remain the official athletic sponsor and licensed product supplier to MLS through 2018. Sources value the deal at more than $200 million, making it one of Adidas' largest investments in the sport worldwide.Sept. 1
In the latest shake-up of the college sports landscape, Brigham Young University says it will depart the Mountain West Conference to become an independent in football and join the West Coast Conference in all other sports. ESPN and BYU later announce an eight-year agreement that gives the network exclusive rights to BYU home football games during the 2011-18 seasons.
JPMorgan Chase agrees to a massive sponsorship deal with Madison Square Garden worth at least $300 million over 10 years or more, the most lucrative annual building/team sponsorship agreement to date.
The $1.7 billion New Meadowlands Stadium opens for its first regular-season game as the New York Giants host the Carolina Panthers. The New York Jets play the next night at the stadium, and both games fail to sell out.
Penn State announces a record private gift of $88 million that will fund a new ice hockey arena and establish an NCAA Division I men's hockey program.
Women's Professional Soccer Commissioner Tonya Antonucci announces her decision to step down later in the month.
Charlotte Motor Speedway plans to install the largest LED video board in U.S. sports this spring — a colossal, 80-foot-tall by 200-foot-wide Panasonic LED board.Sept. 21
Procter & Gamble's Gillette brand and The Kraft Group announce an extension of their strategic partnership that includes Gillette Stadium naming rights through the 2031 NFL season.
Turner Sports signs a 14-year deal with the NCAA to operate the collegiate governing body's digital properties, replacing the CBS College Sports Network beginning in 2011.Sept. 28
The University of California, Berkeley, eliminates baseball, men's and women's gymnastics and women's lacrosse, and demotes men's rugby, in moves designed to reduce the athletic department's budget by $4 million.Oct. 1
CAA announces that TPG Capital has invested an undisclosed sum for a noncontrolling 35 percent interest in the agency, and the two have formed a strategic partnership. CAA and TPG have committed to create a $500 million pledge fund, providing access to capital for future investments.
The World Triathlon Corp. announces the launch of a new global series called 5150. All events in the 5150 Triathlon Series will include a 1.5K swim, a 40K bike ride and a 10K run. The 2011 schedule includes 13 events in the U.S. and international events in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.Oct. 7
NBC takes the first step to try to consolidate all three of horse racing's Triple Crown races on one network by renewing its deal with the Kentucky Derby. The network held off a strong challenge from Fox to sign a five-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $5 million per year.
The Pittsburgh Penguins draw a record crowd of 18,289 for the first regular-season game at Consol Energy Center.
Racetrack operator International Speedway Corp. cuts more than 40 corporate positions at its headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla., since announcing in August a companywide initiative to reduce operational costs.Oct. 12
NFL owners approve a five-year deal that sees Nike acquire uniform and sideline apparel rights for the league's 32 teams, while New Era, the longtime MLB on-field rights holder, for the first time gets NFL sideline rights for caps. The new rights will take effect April 2012.
In a nod to green efforts, NASCAR announces that it will utilize a 15 percent ethanol blend fuel provided by Sunoco in its three national series beginning next season. The move follows a marketing partnership with Growth Energy, a pro-ethanol coalition.
Vizio will be the new presenting sponsor of the Rose Bowl from 2011-14. The game will be known as the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio.
The Orlando Magic opens the $480 million Amway Center with a victory over the Washington Wizards.
The UFC announces that it plans to merge with World Extreme Cagefighting in January 2011, with the primary intent to fold the WEC's bantamweight, featherweight and lightweight divisions into UFC.
The NFL is building a nearly $900 million lockout pool financed from the savings the league reaped by not paying non-health care benefits to players this year as well as from revenue the league is holding back from the teams.Nov. 2
The New York Mets release a sweeping set of ticket price reductions for the 2011 season, with the average cut standing at 14 percent. The price breaks were widely expected after a second consecutive losing season at Citi Field.
Quarterback Tom Brady signs an endorsement deal with Under Armour that includes a financial stake in the company.
The U.S. Tennis Association has approved a sweeping overhaul of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center over the next eight years, including tearing down and replacing Louis Armstrong Stadium and building two mini-stadiums. The total
The KFC Yum! Center hosts its first regular-season men's basketball game as the University of Louisville defeats Butler University.redevelopment cost exceeds $300 million.
Adidas plans to open 2,500 stores in China and expand its sales network to 1,400 Chinese cities, in an effort to regain market share lost to foreign and domestic competitors in one of the world's most rapidly growing retail markets.
The Philadelphia Eagles announce "green" initiatives for Lincoln Financial Field that include installing 100 spiral-shaped wind turbines along the upper rim of the stadium.
Horizon Media, one of the world's largest media-buying and planning agencies, is formalizing a sports marketing practice to service clients.Dec. 2
FIFA awards Russia and Qatar the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, choosing first-time hosts over the more conventional choices of England and the United States.
The Chicago Cubs' plan to use 35 years' worth of amusement-tax growth to finance a $200 million renovation of Wrigley Field — and back-stop the bonds with a 2 percent hotel tax — is dead.
WNBA President Donna Orender will leave her job on Dec. 31 to launch her own marketing company. Orender was named WNBA president in April 2005. 6 The new College Football Hall of Fame is $19 million short of its $50 million funding goal, eight months before the facility's scheduled groundbreaking in downtown Atlanta.
PEAK6 Investments CEO Matthew Hulsizer wins unanimous approval from the NHL board of governors to buy the Phoenix Coyotes. The league has imposed a Dec. 31 deadline for the sale of the club to keep it in the Phoenix area.
Tim Hortons, Canada's largest restaurant chain, has signed a multiyear deal with the NHL that includes becoming the title sponsor of the NHL's Heritage Classic outdoor hockey game.Dec. 11
The Michigan State-Michigan outdoor hockey game draws an unofficial total of 113,411 fans at Michigan Stadium, marking the largest hockey crowd worldwide in history.
The New York Giants play the Minnesota Vikings at Detroit's Ford Field, which was called on to host the game after the inflatable roof at the Metrodome in Minneapolis collapsed because of heavy snow. Fans were given free general admission tickets to attend.— Timeline compiled from SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily archives
When Lane Kiffin suddenly quit as the University of Tennessee's football coach and headed to USC, Volunteer football fans took to burning T-shirts related to the departing coach. However, local apparel store co-owner Dan Burks had a better idea. He offered customers who brought in one of the "It's Time" T-shirts a 20 percent discount off the purchase of a new shirt, and then shipped the old shirts to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
During a pre-draft interview, Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland wanted to learn more about the mother of wide receiver prospect Dez Bryant. Bryant's mother had a troubled past, including a jail sentence for drug trafficking. But when reports surfaced that Ireland bluntly asked Bryant if his mother was a prostitute, some people thought he went too far. Ireland later apologized.
Hyundai pulled a World Cup-themed TV ad after an outcry from Catholic advocates who called the spot sacrilegious and offensive. The 30-second "Wedding" spot featured a church in Argentina that worships soccer. The commercial depicted a church service with religiously charged imagery, including a soccer ball with a crown of thorns and worshipers kneeling as they received pizza for communion.
Heading into the Super Bowl, a planned advertisement for Focus on the Family featuring quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother drew plenty of debate over whether the pro-life ad was appropriate for the big game. The ad, however, proved to be anticlimactic and the hubbub quickly subsided.
Speedway Motorsports Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith said investing in Motorsports Authentics was "the worst decision that I have ever made in my business life." Smith: "I refused to do it for five years and finally got talked into it and should have never done it. ... It was a sorry-run company and the due diligence was not done properly and the company had a lot of crap out there."
Major League Baseball banned Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon from wearing a hoodie during games, citing rules that instruct all coaches to wear official team jackets or Majestic brand tops. But the league later "reinterpreted" its decision as cooler heads prevailed.
Unusual advertisement art appeared on the west side of Wrigley Field, meant to resemble a large, yellow, elbow macaroni noodle. The ad, with the slogan "You know you love it" written across it, advertised Kraft's macaroni-and-cheese dinners. Cubs fans howled at a new Toyota sign that was installed inside the ballpark in the left-field bleachers, but they must like their mac and cheese, as little was heard about the noodle.
Head & Shoulders took out a $1 million Lloyd's of London insurance policy on Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu's hair.
Venus Williams wore a lacy, black dress with bright red trim during her opening-round French Open match, and the black overlay material made the dress appear as if it were see-through. Critics panned the outfit, saying it made Williams look like she was auditioning for a spot at a 19th century cabaret.
Hublot, the official watch of Formula One, used the battered face of F1 Chairman Bernie Ecclestone in a print ad that ran in the Financial Times. Ecclestone provided Hublot with an image of his face following his mugging in November outside F1 offices in London, during which his watch was stolen. The ad featured Ecclestone with a black eye and scratched face with the tag line, "See what people will do for a Hublot."
The outdoor lounges, fine dining restaurant and midlevel baseline bar are open to all Orlando Magic ticket holders regardless of where they are sitting. The $480 million arena also stands out for its business operation: The city of Orlando, a partner in the project, owns, operates and books the building, an anomaly in the NBA.
The two-year project to renovate the 38-year-old NFL facility added 500,000 square feet of space to the building. Spacious club lounges, the new Chiefs Hall of Fame and the Penthouse Suite on the eighth floor are among the upgrades and improvements.
The $86 million arena opened in October with 12 "tailgate suites" featuring outdoor patios that skybox holders can use to entertain guests for football games held across the parking lot at Jordan-Hare Stadium..
The Big House is back to being the biggest facility in college football after completing a $226 million renovation. The 82 new suites and 3,000 club seats expanded total seating to about 111,000.
The Pittsburgh Penguins moved across the street from the NHL's oldest arena to the league's newest venue. The $321 million facility is heavy on new technology tied to mobile devices, IPTV and LED signs shaped like hockey pucks. The single suite level brings fans sitting in the upper deck closer to the ice.
The Louisville Arena Authority, in conjunction with the University of Louisville, developed a $238 million arena with 76 suites, 70 loge boxes and more than 2,000 club seats, which are premium amenities on par with NBA facilities. It's no surprise, then, that officials are lining up investors and talking to NBA teams about moving to Kentucky.
The new home of the New York Red Bulls is the first of the new wave of European-style MLS stadiums, featuring a 360-degree roof cover and communal dining for premium-seat patrons. The $200 million-plus facility is also the first American sports venue to install an access-control system in which season-ticket holders use smart cards for gate admission and to pay for food and merchandise.
The $122 million waterfront stadium is the keystone of a proposed mixed-use development along the Delaware River in Chester, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb. Comcast-Spectacor, a partner in the project, has three of its business units involved in building operations: Global Spectrum (stadium management), Ovations Food Services (concessions) and New Era Tickets (ticketing).
The $1.7 billion home of the NFL Jets and Giants is the most expensive sports venue ever built in North America. Technology plays a key role in a building that can change colors and brands overnight to match the home team, as it did on the first weekend of the regular season. The presence of four large video scoreboards in the corners is the stadium's signature design element.
The Minnesota Twins saw daylight after playing 28 years indoors at the Metrodome. Their new $512 million stone-and-steel open-air ballpark drew rave reviews for its intimacy, abundance of local foods, and tasteful memorabilia displays tied to the club's three hall of famers: Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett.
Top-purchased events, ranked by total dollar volume transacted on StubHub.com’s secondary ticket market:
Average ticket price
Super Bowl XLIV: Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans Saints
World Series: San Francisco Giants at Texas Rangers (Game 3)
World Series: Texas Rangers at San Francisco Giants (Game 1)
World Series: San Francisco Giants at Texas Rangers (Game 4)
World Series: Texas Rangers at San Francisco Giants (Game 2)
Highest average ticket prices, based on sales on StubHub:
Per ticket cost
Super Bowl XLIV (Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans Saints)
NBA Finals: Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers (Game 4)
MLB All-Star Strip (Includes All-Star Sunday,
Workout Day and the All-Star Game)
North Carolina at Duke basketball
NHL Stanley Cup Final: Philadelphia Flyers at Chicago Blackhawks
Q: What was the most memorable championship event of 2010?
New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts - Super Bowl
Canada vs. U.S.A. - Olympics Hockey Final
Duke vs. Butler - NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics - NBA Finals
Spain vs. Netherlands - FIFA World Cup Final
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers - Stanley Cup Final
Alabama vs. Texas - BCS Title Game
San Francisco Giants vs. Texas Rangers - World Series
Not sure/No response
Which brand had the most successful year in sports?
(Only top responses shown)
Top sports websites
An average of 58 percent of all unique visitors to the Internet from December 2009 through November 2010 came from sports site traffic.
The following are the top sports sites, based on average monthly unique visitors (in millions) during that time frame.
FOXSports.com on MSN
NFL Internet Group
The top sports websites during that time, based on average monthly minutes visitors spent on the sites:
NFL Internet Group
FOXSports.com on MSN
MOST-VIEWED BROADCAST TV SPORTS TELECASTS (THROUGH DEC. 12)
Super Bowl XLIV: Colts-Saints
NFC Championship: Saints-Vikings
AFC Championship: Colts-Jets
NFC Divisional Playoff: Vikings-Cowboys
AFC Divisional Playoff: Jets-Chargers
MOST-VIEWED CABLE TV SPORTS TELECASTS (THROUGH DEC. 12)
Note: Each cable game listed was a “Monday Night Football” telecast.
Source: The Nielsen Co.
Top player salaries
New York Yankees
New York Yankees
New York Yankees
New York Yankees
New York Mets
* Reportedly parted ways in 2010, but was the agent who negotiated current contract
Tampa Bay Lightning
J.P. Barry, Pat Brisson
David Abrutyn, Brad Pelletier
San Diego Chargers
James “Bus” Cook
New York Giants
Los Angeles Lakers
San Antonio Spurs
Source: USA Today salary database, NHLPA.com, published reportsGETTY IMAGES
1 — Offseason frenzy drives NBA box office (Sept. 27)
1 — Heat Fire Season-Ticket Sales Staff (Aug. 2)
2 — Jersey Share (Sept. 20)
2 — NFL Informs Employees Of Lockout Plan (Sept. 27)
3 — For NFL sponsors, a pregame pep talk (Sept. 13)
3 — Jay Mariotti Arrested On Suspicion Of Felony (Aug. 23)
4 — Everything's up to date in Kansas City stadium (Oct. 4)
4 — Ohlmeyer Critical Of ESPN's "The Decision" (July 21)
5 — Penguin palace (Oct. 18)
5 — Columnist Suggests Changes To ESPN (July 16)
6 — Fox in lead for Texas network (Oct. 11) 6 — Mixed Reviews For New Meadowlands Stadium (Aug. 17) 7 — JPMorgan Chase's MSG blockbuster (Sept. 6) 7 — Sharpe To Take Leave Of Absence From CBS (Sept. 15) 8 — ESPN, NFL reopen rights deal (Nov. 8) 8 — Carter: "Decision" Could Have Been Better (Sept. 30) 9 — NFL pools $900M for labor fight (Nov. 1) 9 — Report: ESPN Blocks Brown-Icehouse Deal (Aug. 24) 10 — New leader to steer BofA sports strategy (Sept. 20) 10 — ESPN Pulls Story On LeBron In Vegas (July 29)
* Through Dec. 13
Doug Brown, principal and architectural director at Aecom Ellerbe Becket
Jeff Byrd, Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway president and general manager
Tim Davey, NFL director of football operations
Linda Dozoretz, longtime spokeswoman and crisis public relations expert for IMG Ernie Harwell, Hall of Fame baseball broadcaster
Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications
Rick Isaacson, longtime IMG executive
Jay Larkin, former Showtime senior executive producer
Keli McGregor, president of the Colorado Rockies
Franklin Mieuli, former Golden State Warriors owner
Merlin Olsen, Pro Football Hall of Famer
Patricia Rico, former USATF president
Juan Antonio Samaranch, former IOC president
Ron Santo, Chicago Cubs broadcaster and former player
Chet Simmons, former ESPN president and COO
George Steinbrenner, New York Yankees owner
John Wooden, basketball Hall of Famer
Robert Wussler, former CBS Sports president and CNN co-founder
The commish tested his footwork while promoting the NFL's Play 60 fitness campaign during a stop at a school in New Orleans.
The Friendly Confines literally squeezed in a little college football, as Wrigley Field played host to a game between Northwestern and Illinois in November.
JEFF CLEVELAND / MSG
Delta Air Lines pulled in pilots and flight attendants to help show off its Delta-themed gate at Madison Square Garden, complete with a terminal airport gate, runway and fuselage — but no pat-downs.
Ian Poulter is the wheel deal as he hits this tee shot in front of a sponsor ad at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Charlotte city buses got a little "racey" with wraparound ads that promoted the October NASCAR race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
As Omega opened its lounge in Vancouver for the Winter Games, company and Olympics officials couldn't resist taking part in a unique photo op.
Angel Stadium in Anaheim got all warm and fuzzy as fans set a record for the most Snuggies worn at one time.
It was time for hellos and goodbyes as Yankees fans stood at the team's new ballpark and snapped a few photos of the demolition taking place on a piece of baseball history next door.
STEPHEN O'BRIEN / HOUSTON ASTROS
It wasn't Milwaukee's racing sausages, but hot sauces that sprinted at Houston's Minute Maid Park.