SBJ/Dec. 20-26, 2010/2010 Year in Review


Jan. 3
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.

Jan. 5
 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.

Jan. 11
 Tennis player Maria Sharapova extends her sponsorship agreement with Nike for eight years and $70 million.

Jan. 20
 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.

Jan. 21
 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.

Jan. 25
 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.

Jan. 29
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.

Feb. 1
 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.

Feb. 2
Randy Bernard, formerly CEO of the Professional Bull Riders, is introduced as the new CEO of the Indy Racing League.

Feb. 5
 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.

Feb. 7
 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,, will be rebranded as
EA Sports confirms that the company no longer is producing the "NCAA Basketball" video game.

Feb. 11
 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.

Feb. 12
 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.

Feb. 15
 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.

Feb. 18
 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.

Feb. 22
  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.

March 1
 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.

March 8
 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.

March 9
 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.

March 13
 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.

March 16
  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.

March 29
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.

April 5
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

April 7 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.

April 8
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.

April 9
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.

April 19
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.

April 20
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.

April 21
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.

April 26
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 27
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.

May 3
 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.

May 4
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.

May 7
MLS formally announces that the Montreal Impact will be the league's 19th team and will begin play in 2012.

May 17
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.

May 25
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.

May 27
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.

May 31
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.

June 2
  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.

June 7
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.

June 8
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.

June 11
The 2010 FIFA World Cup gets under way with a match between Mexico and South Africa.

June 12
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.

June 21
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.

June 27
The MLS Philadelphia Union hosts its first game at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., before a boisterous sellout crowd of 18,755.

July 7
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.

July 8
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.

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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.

July 15
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.

July 27
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.

July 28
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.

Aug. 2
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.

Aug. 5
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.

Aug. 18
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.

Aug. 26
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.

Aug. 27
The NHL says it is in talks to help set up a North American professional league for the world's top female players.

Aug. 30
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.

Sept. 6
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.

Sept. 12
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.

Sept. 17
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.

Sept. 20
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.

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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.

Oct. 6
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.

Oct. 8
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.

Oct. 16
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.


Oct. 19
  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.

Oct. 28
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.

Nov. 1
 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.

Nov. 8
Quarterback Tom Brady signs an endorsement deal with Under Armour that includes a financial stake in the company.


Nov. 15
 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.

Nov. 17
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.

Nov. 18
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.

Nov. 22
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.

Dec. 3
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.

Dec. 6
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.

Dec. 9
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.

Dec. 13
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
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