SBJ/September 10-16, 2012/Opinion

Impact stories in Buffalo, Los Angeles, at the movies

Here are three end-of-summer stories that caught my eye:

I continue to watch what Terry Pegula is doing in Buffalo around the Sabres. He has a very understated style but also a true passion to deliver a winner on and off the ice to a hockey-crazed market. Recent news reaffirmed his dedication to the market, as he is offering a new vision for Buffalo’s downtown that represents another example of a sports franchise fueling real estate development. A plan approved in late August by the city granted development rights to a group backed by Pegula and the Sabres that proposed a hockey-themed plan for nearly two acres by the city’s waterfront. The blueprint consists of two ice rinks, a hotel, a possible New Era Cap flagship store and a Tim Hortons restaurant, all of which would connect to the team’s home arena, the First Niagara Center. The project is led by Pegula, and his wife, Kim, with an estimated cost of $123 million. The two envision it being a year-round destination for local and tournament skaters.



You’re going to see more on this story, but the battle in Los Angeles is turning into one of the best sports business stories of the foreseeable future. Just look at some of the story lines: The Angels land Albert Pujols and a massive deal with Fox Sports West; the Lakers bring on Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to go with Kobe Bryant as they prepare to launch on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Deportes; and the new owners of the Dodgers make one of the most aggressive moves in memory to win now and are awaiting media riches with a new deal of their own. This is even before we mention AEG, the Clippers and a revived USC, and we haven’t even begun to talk about ticket sales, corporate sponsorship sales, relevancy, mind-share and, oh, where the NFL fits into this picture. Can’t watch this story closely enough.



Ticket sales across other forms of entertainment help draw a comparison to sports. Last week, it was reported that ticket sales at North American cinemas dropped an estimated 3 percent for the summer compared with the period a year earlier. The last time studios experienced a decline for the summer was seven years ago, according to Hollywood.com. Attendance for the period was the lowest since at least 1993. There were many reasons cited for the drop, but some indicated the strength of sports. First, “higher than normal interest in the Olympics” kept people home, while a report from research firm Ipsos MediaCT showed that one out of every 10 moviegoers replaced at least one trip to the movies with televised sports.



Our most-read stories from July 1 through Sept. 1:

SportsBusiness Journal
College football’s playmakers (Aug. 20)
ESPN will pay $80M a year for Rose Bowl (July 16)

SportsBusiness Daily
ESPN Secures MLB Rights In Eight-Year Deal (Aug. 28)
Big Ten Network Does Not Air Press Conference On Penn State Findings (July 12)
TV Ratings: MLS On Pace For Best Season On ESPN; Strong First Year On NBCSN (July 20)

SportsBusiness Daily Global
Sky Sports New TV Deal With Scottish Premier League (Aug. 1)
Rangers Group Says It Would Sell Club For $77M (July 10)
Spain’s Olympic Uniform Has Become The ‘Butt Of Jokes’ On Social Media Networks (July 20)

Abraham D. Madkour can be reached at amadkour@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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