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SBJ/March 28-April 3, 2011/In Depth
WCOS: A la carte cable in the plans?
Published March 28, 2011, Page 32
Attendees listen closely to a discussion with NBA Commissioner David Stern.
One panel took on the topic of teams becoming developers of real estate around their venues, and another discussed the “dot-com comeback” as booming online advertising had again made online properties hot commodities.
A la carte cable in the plans?
Lucy Calautti, a senior adviser with Baker Law, which works with MLB, addressed the issue of a la carte cable programming, which at the time was building steam on Capitol Hill.
Lucy Calautti discussed the latest hot topics on Capitol Hill.
Sports attorney Phil Hochberg said a la cart posed a major threat to league revenue because it could trigger a decline in TV viewership.
“If viewership goes down,” Hochberg said, “ad revenue goes down. If ad revenue goes down, rights and payments go down.”
Despite the heightened alert among panelists, the federal government has not pressed for a la carte cable programming.
He called it on interest from Mexico
MLS Commissioner Don Garber said he expected to see a lot more interest from Mexican companies.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber (center) said the league was seeing increased interest from Mexican companies looking for sponsorship opportunities.
The following year, Mexico-based paint company Comex Group signed a deal to be Chivas USA’s jersey sponsor through 2009. Mexican convenience store Extra took over in 2010. Then, in January of this year, Mexican beer maker Grupo Modelo said it would be the team’s next jersey sponsor, through the company’s Corona Extra brand.
As for Bimbo Bakeries, in January of this year the company signed a deal to be the jersey sponsor of the Philadelphia Union.
Jeff Shell, then president of programming at Comcast, talked about the renaming and rebranding of OLN due that summer, and said he intended to pursue more exclusive rights to major sports in an effort to grow the property.
Still, he was not overtly optimistic that build-up would include an acquisition of MLB rights, with a part of the league’s cable package up for bid at the time.
“If something is available at the right price, we’ll take a look at it, but that’s the question, is it the right price?”
OLN became Versus and obtained rights to the NHL, IndyCar Series and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As Shell suspected, Versus struck no deals with MLB.
Still high on high-def?
Said Bilotti: “Consumer awareness of this technology is abysmal right now, but that will change once people figure out how to monetize this.”
Land grab: Teams, leagues eye development around venues
Teams hoping to expand revenue growth in the future will increasingly turn to nontraditional sources like owning and developing land near their stadiums or buying into radio stations that broadcast games.
That was the prediction from then St. Louis Cardinals President Mark Lamping, during a session called “The growing portfolios of sports ownership and operations.”
Andy Dolich, former Memphis Grizzlies president of business operations, said he believed that sports franchises’ investment in real estate could expand following the completion of New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner’s arena project in Brooklyn. If that project succeeded, Dolich said, expect a surge in real estate investment.
Phoenix Suns President and COO Rick Welts said the team planned to build a hotel and condominium complex beside their arena.
NASCAR also was considering land ownership in the future after witnessing the value its Kansas City track brought to the 450 acres around it, said International Speedway Corp. President Lesa France Kennedy. “We bring a lot of people in and we feel like that is something to spin into.”
Later that year, NASCAR scrapped plans to build a track on land it bought on Staten Island, New York, due to political resistance. As for the Suns, the hotel and condo project has yet to materialize.
Karmazin gets down to Sirius business
Sirius Satellite Radio’s Mel Karmazin (right) outlined the company’s revenue and subscriber projections.
Said Karmazin: “We ended the year with about 3 million subscribers; the amount of advertising revenue that we’ll have this year will be dwarfed in 2010 when we’ll probably have 18 to 25 million subscribers.”
Sirius posted 2007 revenue of $922 million. At the end of 2010, more than two years after merging with XM Satellite Radio, the company had 20.2 million subscribers and its revenue for the year totaled $2.8 billion.
Linking media rights to language
When asked about future marketing trends, F1 special adviser Michael Payne said, “I think you will see a permanent change in the management of media rights.