September 19 - 25, 2011 Vol. 14 — No. 21

Top Stories

  • ESPN fires back at critics of ‘MNF’ deal’s price tag

    ESPN is hitting back against critics who publicly accused the media company of wild, indiscriminate spending with its eight-year, $15.2 billion deal to extend its rights to “Monday Night Football.” Sean Bratches, ESPN’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, said he fielded calls earlier this month, shortly after the deal was announced, from several video distributors who expressed concern over the nearly $2 billion annual price tag. He said he allayed their fears that ESPN would seek to fund the deal through increases in their affiliate fees.

  • NFL’s pause on package of games surprises networks

    The NFL’s decision to hold off on awarding a new TV package for at least a year surprised TV network executives, who originally believed the league was one or two months away from cutting a deal. “I was shocked,” said one network executive. “I really thought that would be the next deal that they would do.”

  • Naming-rights roundtable: Seeking the next big deal

    The proposed Farmers Field in Los Angeles and the deal that created MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands invigorated the naming-rights marketplace and demonstrated that such deals still work for brands. To discuss the state of the naming-rights market, SportsBusiness Journal held a teleconference this month with some of the executives on both sides of the negotiating table. They discussed the areas they see as ripe for growth and what it takes to get brands to sign on the dotted line.

  • Amp shifting off Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    Four years after making waves in NASCAR by signing on as the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Amp Energy is phasing its brand off the car of the sport’s most popular driver. PepsiCo is expected to announce this week that Diet Mountain Dew will replace its Amp Energy brand as Earnhardt’s primary sponsor for 16 races in 2012. The company has the primary sponsorship rights for 20 total races on the No. 88 car, and Amp will serve as an associate sponsor while also appearing on the hood for the other four races.

  • Colleges weigh risks, rewards of stadium beer sales

    A small group of schools stands in contrast to most of the college football world, where sales of beer as well as liquor, especially at on-campus facilities, are allowed only in luxury suites, club seats and premium lounges. A range of restrictions by states, conferences or colleges keep beer from being sold in the stands, where many of the students are under the legal drinking age. Against that backdrop, West Virginia made the decision over the summer to sell beer this season in public spaces at Milan Puskar Stadium and persuaded the school’s board of governors to change its policy on the matter. School executives saw several opportunities, starting with a chance to modify fan behavior, that moved them to make the switch. Given the potential to significantly increase concessions and sponsorship revenue, it’s a decision other athletic departments, and the school presidents and governing boards who would have to approve such changes, will be watching closely.

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