• Live from World Congress: The morning after Kobe

    GOOD MORNING! Kobe…Kobe…Kobe…What a way to finish out a career. The Lakers legend’s 60-point game – and the huge throngs of his fans that took over the hotel bar – are certain to dominate conversations today. At least in L.A. Elsewhere, of course, the Warriors had their own story to write, and everyone at Day 1 of the Congress who heard top Golden State execs Joe Lacob and Peter Guber on stage had to be happy for their accomplishment.

    AHEAD FOR TODAY: Don’t miss the opening panel on the sports industry’s new leaders, with CAA’s Paul Danforth, ESPN’s Laura Gentile, AEG’s Todd Goldstein, Gatorade’s Brett O’Brien and the Red Sox’ Sam Kennedy. Then stay for what’s sure to be an entertaining interview with SAP’s Bill McDermott, where you will find out what he learned from running a deli in his teens. We’ll end with Gabrielle Union, wife of Heat star Dwyane Wade, in a one-on-one interview with Hollywood VIP Mike Tollin.

    DINNER CIRCUIT: While many tried to find their way through the LA Live crowd into Staples Center, Proskauer hosted a dinner at Faith & Flower, a short walk from LA Live. Joe Leccese led a group that included partners Brad RuskinRob Freeman, Jon Oram, Wayne Katz and Frank Saviano, as well as guests such as GSP’s Russ Granik, Goldman Sachs’ Greg Carey, PJT's Don Cornwell, Sports Media Advisors’ Doug Perlman and SBJ's Richard Weiss and Abe Madkour. Patrons dined on Kanpachi Ceviche, Albacore Carpaccio, Shellfish Risotto, aged ribeye, handmade pappardele and mesquite grilled asparagus.  

    At Wasserman's sixth annual gathering of women sports marketers, we counted four members of the original crew among a crowd of more than 50 guests. Among those seen: the NBA's Rachel Jacobson, Tiffany's Suzanne Taddei, the NFL’s Renie Anderson and Wasserman's Elizabeth Lindsey. We also ran into IRG Sports + Entertainment (IRGSE) Vice Chairman/CEO Chris Lencheski, on his way to a DLA Piper dinner; and Premier Partnerships President Randy Bernstein at downtown hotspot Redbird, on East Second St.

    ON EVERY SCREEN: The scene on Figueroa and LA Live around Staples Center, with people twenty deep outside bars cheering every Kobe Bryant possession and making the sidewalks impassable, was unlike anything we've seen – especially around a game between two non-playoff teams. You needed magical powers to get a drink, and we were told that Lucky Strike, where AEG hosted a Kobe watch party, was over capacity. Spotted at the JW bar Wed. night, post-Kobe: Rick Fox taking pictures with happy Lakers fans, MLS' Gary Stevenson, Finsbury's Peter Land and Lead Dog Marketing’s Dan Mannix. At Dodger Stadium, where the home team beat the D-backs 3-1, Kobe highlights appeared on the jumbotron a few times throughout the evening – getting big applause every time. There were plenty of fans wearing Kobe jerseys, even with a Bank of America-sponsored sweatshirt giveaway at the ballpark.

    IN THE AEG SUITE…:  … during the Lakers game we spotted Phil Anschutz and his wife, Nancy, Galaxy star Robby Keane, MLS’ Mark Abbott, AEG’s Dan Beckerman, Bob Newman, Ted Tanner, Nick Baker and Russell Silvers, with Scott O’Neil stopping by briefly. Elsewhere in the arena, Eventellect's Patrick Ryan had Stevenson as a guest. The pair sat near the player entrance tunnel, so Ryan's primary concern was "not getting crushed" by the Lakers faithful.

    WHAT’S THE BUZZ?: The Kobe frenzy actually started much earlier in the day, with the bars in the JW Marriott lobby starting to fill up in the middle of the afternoon as people mingled and staked out their territory. We saw Stephen A. Smith chatting with Guber, and Kenny Smith talking with ESPN staffers. AEG’s Michael Roth said last night’s game was bigger than an NBA Finals game in terms of buzz and demand. Jim Gray, Lesley Visser and Ed Desser held court in the hours before the game, trying to come up with a current great player who is universally beloved. Gray’s pick: Steph Curry.

    OAKLAND’S FINEST: Lacob and Guber were a hit with the Congress crowd, entertaining with stories about life in the NBA hours before their team set an NBA record for wins in a season. We laughed at their story of an NBA conference call – complete with a spot-on imitation of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.  On their new arena, which opens in ’19, Lacob said: "There is no arena in S.F. It really changes the enterprise, in terms of what you are and the way you need to think about your future as a basketball team." Guber: "What do you do with the other 310 nights, just shut the lights out? ... You have to fill it with benefits for a wider range audience. It requires the organization to be very nimble, to begin thinking of itself in a wider aspect.”

    BTW, the Warriors game was playing on the second screen in Anschutz’s suite, and though most eyes were on Kobe, guests did pay attention to what was happening in Oakland.

    SOCIAL LOVE: Twitter loved the Warriors execs, too. A sample:
    @michaelaneuman: Peter Guber quickly becoming the “must hear” speaker @ #sportsbiz conferences, honest, quotable, insightful
    @Lopey: Easy to understand why the Warriors are successful listening to Peter Guber & Joe Lacob. Their vision/passion is inspirational
    @catherine_CSM: These two are as funny as they are smart. Peter Guber & Joe Lacob are highlights thus far.

    SEEN AND HEARD: With rock star-like status, we couldn’t help but notice the line of attendees waiting to talk to Riot Games cofounder Marc Merrill following his on-stage interview yesterday afternoon. We also noticed Anschutz working the room and engaging with some of our Champions class: Joe Cohen, Jeremy Jacobs and Roger Penske.

    DID HE SAY THAT?: Fox Sports’ Jamie Horowitz became a Twitter star yesterday morning when he bashed the flagship show at his former employer. Speaking of “SportsCenter,” he said, “If you look at recent trends, they’ve lost 30 percent of the audience in the last five years. And among younger viewers, it’s 40 percent. That’s a staggering fall. I would be a little worried if I were them…..There has been a seismic shift in how people consume content. If you want to see a highlight, you’re not going wait eight hours to see it.” Moderator Abe Madkour followed up by saying, “With all due respect, what hit show have you created at Fox?”

    YES, WE HAVE NO DEAL: Fox Networks’ head honcho Peter Rice talked about his company’s carriage battle with Comcast, and he accused the cable operator of having ulterior motives. “With Comcast, there are lots of other moving pieces going on,” he said. “I don’t think it’s specifically about the price of the Yankees in that market. It wasn’t last season.”

    WHAT’S YOUR QUESTION?: Yesterday’s World Congress crowd may have set a record for the most questions submitted to our moderators. Help us keep it going today and make sure we get to the topics that are important to you. Send a question to our moderators through the event app (link below), at pollev.com/sbjsbd, or by sending SBJSBD to 22-333 to join our text messaging system.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: There were 561 posts yesterday using our #sbjwcs hashtag, leading to an impressive 7.4 million impressions. Among our most-influential tweeters: @sethdavishoops, @stubhub and @USATF. And thanks to our most frequent tweeters: @AGMSports, @LarryChiang, @ScottyKellman and @joefav.
    Among the tweets we liked:
    @StevePacheco: There are 800 people here. And 2000 smart phones.
    @JeffYocom: Abnormally excited about this session on creating corporate culture of transformation & innovation.
    And Visser had one of the most retweeted quotes of the day. An example:
    @Catherine_CSM: Sometimes you have to cross when it says don’t walk – Lesley Visser’s mom as told by Lesley

    GIVE IT AWAY, GIVE IT AWAY NOW: Be sure to drop your business card off at conference sponsor Ticket Galaxy's booth in the exhibit hall. Ticket Galaxy will give away two premium tickets to an event of your choice, valued up to $250. 

    LIVE FROM WORLD CONGRESS: We’re partnering with NeuLion for live interviews from a studio set in the main exhibit hall. You can see the interviews live or on-demand at WorldCongressLive.NeuLion.com. Among those scheduled to appear today: Todd Goldstein, Bill McDermott, Laura Gentile, Kristin Lemkau and James Pallotta

    FOLLOW THIS: Keep up with the conference through our social feeds. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/sbjsbd, and on Twitter at @SBJSBD and using the hashtag #sbjwcs. Also check out our Instagram feed.

    AGENDA, SPEAKERS, ETC.: Be sure to download the app for easy access to the agenda and speaker bios, and to send questions to our panel moderators. You can also view the program guide online.  

    UP NEXT: HONORING THE FORTY: Tonight we’ll hold the annual banquet to honor our newest class of the Forty Under 40, with hosts Colin Cowherd and Kristine Leahy. Look for a report in tomorrow’s email.

    Tags: ING, GE, ACC, CAA, ESPN, AEG, Gatorade, Staples, CES, Media
  • Live from World Congress: Big day (and night!) in L.A.

    GOOD MORNING! 800-plus at World Congress...Warriors' Lacob & Guber talk (potential) history...Speaking of history, who's in for Kobe's finale? ... Seen and spotted at the JW Marriott ... Cranes dot the LA Skyline ...

    THE PLACE TO BE: More than 800 people descend on the JW Marriott at LA Live today for the 2016 CAA World Congress of Sports. Owners and marketers, media and league execs, Hollywood heavy hitters and many more will join us to talk about the hot topics of the day. It all kicks off this morning at 8:15 local time. The forecast calls for sun and 72 degrees, so leave the umbrella at home. That’s what we get for holding a conference in L.A. You can thank us later.

    OFF TO A GREAT START: About 125 speakers and special guests took over the 3rd floor for a reception at CAA headquarters last night at 2000 Avenue of the Stars in Century City. CAA Sports co-heads Howie Nuchow and Mike Levine welcomed the group, with Nuchow saying, "Growing up in the business, this was the event we all aspired to be a part of. Everyone we looked up to was speaking at this, so it's special to be a part of it." Attendees who mingled in a gathering that flowed to the outside balcony included SBJ Champions recipients Roger Penske (with Penske Racing's Jonathan Gibson), Joe Cohen, Lesley Visser and her husband, Bob Kanuth, and Jeremy Jacobs with his wife, Peg. Others spotted throughout the night: A slew of CAA execs, including President Richard Lovett, Rob Light, Nick Khan, Pat Brisson, Paul Danforth, Greg Luckman, Michael Mand and more; MLS Commissioner Don Garber and MLS’s Gary Stevenson; Proskauer's Joe Leccese and Brad Ruskin; Covington's Doug Gibson and Peter Zern; DLA Piper's Peter White, Chuck Baker and Mark Whitaker; ESPN's Hannah Storm, Rachel Nichols, Jalen Rose and Connor Schell; A-B/InBev's Lucas Herscovici; JPMorgan Chase CMO Kristin Lemkau, Sporting KC's Robb Heineman, Fox's Eric Shanks and Larry Jones; Modell's Sporting Goods' Mitch Modell (who has dropped more than 100 pounds!); SBJ/SBD'S Richard Weiss, Abe Madkour, Jim Sullivan and Julie Tuttle; actress and entrepreneur Alyssa Milano; AEG's Todd Goldstein and Michael Roth. Diners snacked on chicken parm strudels, filet mignon skewers, lamb chops, shrimp with melon and cucumber rolls.

    Picked-up pieces: Lovett sharing with Brisson how excited he is about the start of playoff hockey; Brisson talking about going old school at the Guns 'N Roses reunion show at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas; Storm on her plans to host ESPN's tributes around Kobe Bryant's final game before taking her daughter to the Coachella Festival (just dropping her off, not attending) ... Guests were given gift bags as well as their own pairs of Toms eyewear/glasses.

    AHEAD FOR TODAY: Get ready to hear about the top issues and trends in sports, including: Where does sports fit into the entertainment vision of Fox Networks Group’s Peter Rice and Randy Freer? And which TV personalities does Fox Sports’ Jamie Horowitz have in mind to help reach his goal to “embrace debate” on the network? What does A-B/InBev’s Herscovici believe is the next big engagement opportunity in sports? How is the NBPA’s Michele Roberts’ relationship with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver developing as they get ready for CBA talks? And, of course, we’ll ask everybody about e-sports, one of the hottest segments of the industry.

    Proskauer’s Leccese will show off his knack for getting into the details when he talks to four owners about the challenges of running a team today. Chiefs and FC Dallas Chair Clark Hunt will chime in on the NFL’s return to L.A., and Orlando City SC Founder Phil Rawlins will offer a glimpse behind that team’s smashing success in its inaugural season (which earned a Sports Business Award nomination for Team of the Year).

    OUR TRAILER: ESPN’s Sage Steele will sit with CAA’ Lovett to discuss the agency’s current plans and future growth – and we’re sure he’ll have a thought or two on The Hollywood Reporter’s cover story on WME-IMG... Five of our 2016 class of six Champions of Sports Business will join us today: Joe Cohen, Jeremy Jacobs, Bob Lanier, Roger Penske and Lesley Visser. They’ll surely motivate and inspire. To set the table, read our profiles of this year’s class of The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business.

    FROM THE SILICON STARS: Little did we know when we confirmed the appearance of Warriors execs Joe Lacob and Peter Guber months ago that their team would be shooting for the NBA record book. Everyone’s talking about whether the team can get to the magic number 73 when they play the Grizzlies tonight at Oakland’s Oracle Arena. Kudos to them for sticking to their commitment when they obviously have so many demands on their time. The two will sit with Abe Madkour to discuss their POV on the sports-and-entertainment landscape during a featured interview at 10:25 a.m.

    By the way, if you missed the N.Y. Times Magazine feature on the Warriors, you can read it here.

    NO QUIET RIOT: In addition to fielding questions, Guber will bring his own adroit interviewing skills – seen so well in AMC’s classic “Sunday Morning Shootout” with Peter Bart – to the Congress and take the stage with Marc Merrill, co-founder and president of Riot Games. With everyone trying to get a sense of the e-sports landscape, our Guber & Merrill shootout will be one you won’t want to miss.

    WHAT’S YOUR QUESTION?: Help us make sure we get to the topics that are important to you. Send a question to our moderators through the event app (link below), at pollev.com/sbjsbd, or by sending SBJSBD to 22-333 to join our text messaging system.

    SPOTTED AND OVERHEARD: AEG’s Phil Anschutz sharing a meal with the Ritz Carlton's GM/VP Javier Cano in LA Live at the Japanese restaurant Katsuya...Delaware North's Boston Holdings CEO Charlie Jacobs with TD Garden President Amy Latimer and BofA's Jim Nash sharing a table and chatting in the lobby bar before before Jacobs' dad is honored today...Omnigon's Dave Nugent with Sports Media Advisors' Doug Perlman chatting after a group dinner at The Palm...New Legends CMO Nicole Jeter West getting a hug from former MSG colleague Ron Skotarczak ...Team Epic's Mike Reissman and WME-IMG's Ed Horne getting in a late afternoon workout on Tuesday...Former coach and ESPN analyst Hubie Brown checking in at the front desk ... Also at the lobby bar: Patrick Rishe, Forbes contributor and director of the sports biz program at Washington Univ.; media consultant Ben Grossman; Fox Sports’ Lou D’Ermilio talking with SBJ staff writer John Ourand, Meier Raivich, NBA great and SBJ Champion Bob Lanier, comScore Sports’ Tom Sommer, Ascendant Sports’ Gordon Kane and Doug Hall ... Per veteran sports marketer Joe Favorito, who was one of many enjoying the sidewalk coffee shop scene, on Twitter: “1st unique sighting for tomorrows @sbjsbd #sbjwcs in LA; #Clippers Chris Anderson hobnobbing with [SBJ staff writer] Terry Lefton @Starbucks, lol.”

    East Coast-based attendees were raving yesterday as they checked in about the ease of travel heading west. The typical strong headwinds were absent, and many reported landing at LAX a half hour or more ahead of schedule.

    ON TAP FOR TONIGHT: Proskauer hosting cocktails and dinner at Faith & Flower ... AEG with a Kobe watch party at Lucky Strikes at L.A. Live, complete with bowling, beer and bar food ... and our own World Congress networking reception, complete with a special cocktail ordered up by sponsor GSP.

    If you have a gathering, a menu or a happening that should be on our radar, let us know. We'd love to share it with the sports business community.

    THE VIEW TO SEE: If you get a chance in the next few days, grab a cocktail at WP24 in the Ritz Carlton. (Elevators to the restaurant are connected to a walkway from the JW Marriott lobby). It offers stunning views of L.A., the famed Hollywood sign, the lineup of planes into LAX and even Marina Del Ray and Santa Monica. It also offers a visual road map of the future of the city's downtown. In every direction, you see cranes, and the construction of one skyscraper after another (including the Korean Airlines-owned hotel nearby that will be the tallest in the city). In addition, it's a great perch from which to see the footprint of L.A. Live and AEG's plans for growth. We can testify to the food, too. Our rave faves included the Tempura Green Beans, Bao Buns, Lobster Spring Rolls and Da-Dan Dumplings.

    KOBE’S FINALE: We can save you some time and energy. No, we don’t have any tickets to Kobe Bryant’s final home game tonight. Maybe try your friends at the Lakers or AEG? The last time we checked secondary prices were going for anywhere from $612 on the low end (via Ticket Exchange) to $13,889 on the high end (via StubHub). ESPN’s @ArashMarkazi put the ticket frenzy into perspective on Twitter: “There's a ticket in section 310 selling for $989 for Kobe's last game. That's the same price of a season ticket in that same seat.”

    As for the other L.A. teams in town this week, the Clippers held their regular-season finale last night, beating Memphis by a score of 110-84, and the D-backs are in town for three games with the Dodgers. L.A. opened the home stand last night with a 4-2 loss. (The D-Backs are also staying at the JW Marriott, in case you see a few athletic types who look familiar.)

    WE HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE...: ... and it may look a lot like a group of 10 students who will be joining us today. Conference sponsor Eventellect awarded scholarships that give students a chance to mingle with leaders of the industry. Keep an eye out for them and maybe give them a few minutes of your time. The students and their schools are:
    Tatianna Carthorn, Mount Union; Lindsey Hutterer, Penn State; Kristen Rollerson, Louisville; Hannah McDonald, Ball State; Roberto Bagnato, Laurentian; Paaton Karel, Memphis; Jerron Wheeler, South Florida; Ryan Gordon, Drexel; Justin Waite, Pennsylvania; Ignatius Michael Ingles, Georgetown.

    WORLD CONGRESS NEWSMAKERS: The people on our speaker roster tend to make a lot of news. Here are recent stories that caught our eye:
    — The L.A. Times sayd Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten and other team execs need to “restore their credibility” by striking a new TV deal for Vin Scully’s final year. Under Kasten, the Dodgers have also bolstered the size of the front office, creating what he says is “an unusually collegial atmosphere.” Kasten is on our Day 1 opening panel.
    — Chiefs CEO Hunt says the team will take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to marketing to Rams fans who just lost their team.
    — Vanity Fair has an excerpt from James Andrew Miller’s oral history of CAA.
    — Lacob talks about team ownership: “People want to know that the owner cares.”
    — From VR to netting, Sam Kennedy and the Red Sox have plenty new at the ballpark.

    GIVE IT AWAY, GIVE IT AWAY, GIVE IT AWAY NOW: Be sure to drop your business card off at conference sponsor Ticket Galaxy's booth in the exhibit hall. Ticket Galaxy will give away two premium tickets to an event of your choice, valued up to $250.

    LIVE FROM WORLD CONGRESS: We’re partnering with NeuLion for live interviews from a studio set in the main exhibit hall. You can see the interviews live or on-demand at WorldCongressLive.NeuLion.com. Among those scheduled to appear today: Herscovici, Roberts, Guber, Lacob, Penske, Jacobs, Rawlins and Roth.

    FOLLOW THIS: Keep up with the conference through our social feeds. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/sbjsbd, and on Twitter at @SBJSBD and using the hashtag #sbjwcs. Also check out our Instagram feed.

    AGENDA, SPEAKERS, ETC.: Be sure to download the app for easy access to the agenda and speaker bios, and to send questions to our panel moderators. You can also view the program guide online.

    Tags: ING, Marriott, CAA, World Congress of Sports Dont use ever, Media, GE, ATT, Champion, Champions, MLS, CES, ESPN, JPMorgan Chase, Fox, Dell, AEG
  • CBS, Turner extend deal for NCAA tourney to 2032

    CBS and Turner Sports said today that they’ve extended their joint deal with the NCAA another eight years to 2032 for the men’s basketball tournament.

    The additional eight years are being valued at $8.8 billion total, or $1.1 billion per year. That’s a big leap from the $771.4 million average annual rights fee in the original 14-year contract, which was signed in 2010 and runs through 2024.

    The NCAA’s rights include TV, digital and marketing/sponsorship for the tournament. Turner and CBS will maintain the same shared financial and programming structure as they’ve had for the first six years of the deal.

    “The NCAA tournament has exceeded all of our expectations on every metric,” Turner President David Levy told SportsBusiness Journal today. “We’re way ahead of where we thought we’d be six years ago and that’s why we wanted to get this done.”

    Talks to extend the deal began in October when CBS/Turner and the NCAA opened up negotiations as part of a contractual look-in. SportsBusiness Journal reported in December that talks had centered on an extension to 2032.

    Those negotiations were finalized in Houston at the April 2-4 Final Four and signed shortly thereafter, despite historically low TV ratings for the three games, which were telecast on Turner. It marked the first time the championship game had been on cable TV.

    The dramatic April 4 final between Villanova and North Carolina on Turner pulled a 10.6 rating, or 17.75 million viewers, across TBS, TNT and truTV, down 34 percent from last year’s 16.0 rating for Duke-Wisconsin on CBS. But Turner, which manages the digital rights through March Madness Live, remains bullish on the growth of its digital and overall audience. MML generated a record 18.1 million hours of live viewing for this year’s tournament across more than 10 digital platforms.

    Despite the TV ratings, both Levy and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said this year’s March Madness generated the most revenue during the time they have shared the NCAA’s rights, and that it was profitable. The terms of the extension are intended to keep it profitable.

    “We weren’t going to do a deal unless it was financially responsible and profitable. This is,” McManus said. Levy added: “It certainly is profitable.”

    The growth in rights fees marks an important step for the NCAA. Such a long-term deal represents financial predictability and growth for the college game’s governing body.

    The current deal provides the NCAA with substantial annual increases, from $740 million this year to $761 million in 2017, $782 million in 2018, $804 million in 2019, and $827 million in 2020. But those increases flatten over the final few years of the original contract, NCAA President Mark Emmert said. Some of the money from the extension will be used to beef up the numbers near the end of the current deal.

    “We needed to address that, and the extension does,” Emmert said. “That financial security and predictability is very important to the membership. … It’s obviously critical that we get it right [in the extension]. We have 90 championships, but only one — basketball — generates virtually all of the revenue that comes into the association and goes back out to the schools.”

    Emmert said the NCAA has been pleased with the way Turner and CBS have jointly presented the tournament and the desire to extend overrode any considerations to let the contract play out and go back to the marketplace in eight years.

    Turner pays close to 70 percent of the rights fee.

    “For our three organizations to come together the way we do on the tournament, it’s maybe unprecedented,” Emmert said. “We felt very comfortable continuing with such a unique partnership.”

    Given the changing media landscape, Turner and CBS wanted to make sure they had a long-term grip on the NCAA’s rights, no matter what the future might hold.

    “There are very few premier sports properties out there that can produce the kind of value the NCAA tournament delivers to our distributors, our advertisers and our consumers,” Levy said. “This event captivates the nation for three weeks unlike anything else in sports. When you have the opportunity to re-up a contract like this — the linear TV, the marks, the rights — and distribute on many different platforms, these things make us very comfortable to know this event is something you want in your portfolio, no matter where the TV ecosystem goes.”

    Both sides said that CBS will have all three games for the Final Four in 2017, while Turner will have the Final Four in 2018, and they’ll continue to alternate through the contract.

    The sides said they did not discuss expanding the tournament field.

    Emmert credited the NCAA’s Mark Lewis, executive vice president for championships and alliances, and Dan Gavitt, vice president of men’s basketball, for directing much of the negotiations.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Symmonds targets USOC, USATF with lawsuit

    Two-time U.S. Olympian Nick Symmonds
    The legal team behind O’Bannon v. NCAA is now targeting the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Track & Field.

    Hausfeld LLP Partner Sathya Gosselin filed suit today in U.S. District Court in Oregon, accusing both bodies of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by restricting sponsor advertising at the U.S. Olympic Trials in July.

    The only plaintiff is Run Gum, a caffeinated gum company co-founded by two-time Olympic 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds. An outspoken athletes rights advocate, Symmonds quit the 2015 IAAF World Championships team amid a marketing dispute with the USATF and called the suit part of a larger mission.

    “This is round three of 12 that I will fight over the course of my career or my lifespan,” Symmonds said.

    The lawsuit targets USATF and USOC rules prohibiting athletes from wearing corporate logos at the Olympic Trials, except for the standard marks of approved equipment or clothing manufacturers. Run Gum is seeking an injunction to invalidate the rules, allowing it to advertise on competition clothing worn by endorsed athletes, Gosselin said.

    “We think that this will benefit both the sport and athletes, in that the current practice pushes down the prices paid to individual athletes for individual sponsorships, and necessarily reduces the number of sponsors,” Gosselin said. If the suit prevails, Gosselin said, hundreds of companies could offer athlete sponsorships that activate at the Trials, rather than the few dozen equipment or apparel makers today.

    USATF spokeswoman Jill Geer said: "We are unaware of the lawsuit and have not been served. In any circumstance, we do not comment on pending litigation."

    The USOC also had not seen the suit and declined comment.

    In general, the Olympic movement desires competition venues with limited commercial presence, and the USOC and its member governing bodies follow that theme at the Trials. The Olympic Trials are owned by the USOC but run by individual governing bodies through a management agreement. An international guideline known as Rule 50 restricts athlete advertising during competitions, but it doesn’t apply to Olympic Trials. “Rule 50 by its own terms does not reach anything other than the Olympic Games,” Gosselin said.

    The Federal Amateur Sports Act of 1978 grants the USOC a monopoly over the administration of Olympic sports and intellectual property. But, Gosselin argues, the Trials’ rules fall “well outside” the law’s purview.

    Symmonds says he’s “very pleased” with sponsorship rules at most USATF events, but the Trials are a uniquely valuable marketing property in the sport. The Olympic Trials are slated for July 1-10 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., and will enjoy extensive coverage on NBC and NBCSN. “At least for the purposes of the United States, it’s the Super Bowl of track and field,” Gosselin said.

    Hausfeld lawyers have been eyeing the Olympic movement for possible legal action, Gosselin said. The firm helped former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon successfully challenge the NCAA on antitrust grounds in 2014, paving the way for many college athletes to receive cost-of-attendance stipends.

    “My firm has been receiving complaints over the last 12 months or so from professional track and field athletes who really feel there are inequities in the sport, and that athletes aren’t receiving a fair share of the revenues that USATF and its corporate sponsors are seeing as the sport of track and field increases in popularity,” Gosselin said.

    To date, Symmonds and his fellow athlete’s rights advocates have focused on athlete income. But as this case makes clear, Symmonds thinks corporations are being wronged, too. At 32, Symmonds will compete at the Trials for probably the last time and he’s trying to expand Run Gum.

    “We estimate there’s about 1,200 athletes competing, and 60 percent will not have an official deal with a shoe company,” Symmonds said. “That’s 720 athletes we’d like to work with, and they’re not able to court sponsors.”

    Run Gum has discussed sponsorship deals with some track and field athletes but has not yet signed any.

    Tags: USOC, Law and Politics, Olympics
  • Day 1 of NFL owners meeting features Iger presentation

    SportsBusiness Journal/Daily’s Daniel Kaplan is in Houston for this week’s NFL owners meeting on possible franchise relocation to Los Angeles. He filed this report on today’s activities.

    Covering an NFL owners meeting is never easy: chasing after owners, being restricted on where you can go, getting people to talk (or not). But this week’s NFL owners meeting in Houston on Los Angeles relocation — it’s unique in its own right.

    First, the media is not even allowed on the same floor as the owners, so the usual news-gathering techniques are out the door. Second, more than 200 media representatives were credentialed for this meeting. To give an idea of how big that is, that’s more than for an annual meeting, and far and away more than other meetings through the year.

    Many outlets sent multiple reporters, ranging from local newspapers whose hometowns may lose a team to ESPN.

    Bob Iger is surrounded by reporters on Tuesday.
    Photo by: DANIEL KAPLAN / STAFF
    Perhaps the highlight of the day for the media was when Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, who would run the Carson project proposed by the Raiders and Chargers, chose to go to the media level Starbucks for a cappuccino. He was swarmed by dozens of media members — and conducted an interview at the Starbucks counter (see picture).

    “You guys are desperate,” he said jokingly as he left. (For the record, he also said he thinks momentum is behind the Carson effort and that owners are ready to make a decision.)

    Most meetings also don’t come with Dr. Death outside holding up signs, something that is surely bewildering motorists passing by the Westin Houston, Memorial City, where the meetings are being held. (For those not familiar: Dr. Death is the 28-year-old Raiders superfan who has been at almost as many league meetings this year as Raiders games). In all, there were a dozen fan protesters on-site today: nine Raiders fans, two Rams fans and one lonely Chargers fan.

    How do I know this is a special meeting though? Easy. Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen is here. By my count, it’s his third meeting in 10 years, with there being on average four or five meetings a year. The first was in August 2006, outside Chicago, when owners voted in Roger Goodell as the league’s new commissioner. The second was in July 2011, in Atlanta, when owners approved a new collective-bargaining agreement after a 4 1/2-month lockout. And then there’s now, January 2016, in Houston.

    Of course, there’s been news today as well. SportsBusinessDaily was the first outlet to report that the league’s Los Angeles committee voted to approve the Carson project over the Inglewood project. (Sources said it was 5 to 1 in favor, with the one being Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt).

    As for Iger, we knew he would be here for the presentation but not that he would take the lead role on Carson’s behalf. No knock against Rams President Kevin Demoff, who made the presentation for that franchise’s desired new home in Inglewood, but it must not have been easy to go up against the man who runs arguably the top entertainment brand in the world.

    What’s next? There’s a lot of talk about whether this could all end tonight, even with the meeting scheduled to run through tomorrow. That’s doubtful, though: 24 votes are needed for approval, and more politicking is necessary — and with more time comes pressure and leverage.

    The L.A. committee vote is important, and in all the years I have covered the league I have never seen full ownership reject a committee recommendation. That said, this is an unprecedented situation, so if there were to be a first, this could be it.



    Tags: On The Ground
  • Video of the Week: Stories of the Year



    Executive Editor Abe Madkour takes a look at the stories, people and issues that made news this year, and talks about what we'll be looking for in 2016. 

    Tags: OTG Video, In The Studio
  • Sports Business WakeUp!: A new day for college sports

    A DIFFERENT DAY: Change has come to college sports. It may be gradual, it may be overdue, and there’s much more on the way. But the consensus is that there is a different environment – for the NCAA, for the Power 5 and for everyone else. A clear focus by speakers during Day 1 of the ’15 IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum was the well-being of the student athlete – over time demands, health and wellness, player safety and other issues. In terms of governance, there remain questions about the future role of the NCAA, and while most believe there is a future, that future will be different. As former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said at the end of the day, “We need the NCAA to be helpful. To be helpful.”

    Now, more from day one and what to look for on Thursday:

    EMMERT TIPS OFF: NCAA President Mark Emmert, fighting a head cold and sore throat and carrying green tea with him to the stage, opened the Forum in a one-on-one interview with SBJ/SBD Exec Editor Abe Madkour, setting the tone for many of the topics discussed during the rest of the day. Emmert clearly had a mission in his remarks – a resolute focus on the well-being of the student athlete and a stress on admission standards that will ensure academic success for today’s athletes. He also touched on the one-and-done rule in college basketball, calling the NBA's requirement for players to attend college for one year before going pro “utterly antithetical” to the NCAA’s mission, and on the need to give student athletes more time off. “I’d try to find blocks of time for students,” he said, “whether it’s a day or two a week, whether it’s a block of time in the postseason or a block of time in the summer, where they don’t have any athletic responsibilities. And we’ve failed to do that for them.” Emmert is consistently on message, and you can see that in our expanded writeup on his remarks in SportsBusiness Daily.

    MEDIA DAY: Roughly 15 members of the national media surrounded Emmert outside the ballroom after his appearance on stage. Among the questions asked by reporters:
            – Should the NCAA determine whether an athlete’s high school is good enough academically? Emmert: “Our membership has got to decide if they want a national association to verify that a high school is legitimate. Nobody is advocating that right now.”
            – It seems like every time a group of athletes speaks out or takes action, rules change quickly. Is that the case? Emmert said rules take a long time to change, and that there is no cause and effect. “We had a young man stand up [at a tournament] and say he went to bed hungry the night before, and the next week the food rules changed. That change had been in the works for two years,” and was up for a vote the next week.
            – Is it appropriate for so many 5-7 teams to be invited to bowl games? Emmert: “The football oversight committee is already having engaged conversations about that. As long as you’ve got 40 bowls, you have to have 80 teams to play in them. Our members have to decide if all of these bowls serve a purpose. The thing I’ll be nagging on is: Is this a good experience for students?”
            In addition, there were large media contingents around commissioners Bob Bowlsby, Greg Sankey and John Swofford, and the NCAA’s Oliver Luck.

    FROM THE HUDDLE: Four college football players gave attendees a close look at what it’s like to be an athlete on campus. Led by ESPN’s Jay Williams, a former Duke basketball star, the players talked about everything from paying athletes to the time demands that prohibit some players from selecting the major they want. The panelists were clear on the benefits of their scholarships. Said Baylor's Spencer Drango: “[That] I’m halfway through a master’s degree with no student debt at all is unbelievable. …You can start with a clean slate when you get out." But they were also willing to talk about the tough issues they face. The players, all members of the 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, were Ohio State center Jacoby Boren, Mississippi State defensive back Taveze Calhoun, Baylor offensive tackle Drango and Kent State safety Jordan Italiano. They were also finalists for the NFF’s Campbell Trophy, which is awarded to the top football scholar-athlete in the country. Read more in today’s SBD.

    NO LACK OF INTENSITY: New SEC Commissioner Sankey touched on the workload of a conference leader. Since taking over in June for the legendary Slive, Sankey said he’s been struck by “the pace and intensity. It never stops. That has caused a narrowing of focus, and you never get away from it. So you have to reconfigure how you manage your energy and your day.” Joining Sankey on the commissioner panel were the ACC’s Swofford and the Big 12’s Bowlsby. Not surprisingly, they spent a lot of time discussing – and defending – the College Football Playoff system (and, of course, all were bullish on it!), while also covering topics as varied as social activism and selling alcohol at sporting events.

    GUILT BY ASSOCIATION: Former U.S. Congressman and 11-year NBA player Tom McMillen spoke publicly about his new role as CEO of the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association. He stressed the need for athletic directors at the highest level to pull together in order to move their industry forward. “There needs to be a stronger and more powerful and more unified voice of athletic directors with respect to college sports,” McMillen said. “We are going to see a tipping point over the next few years in college sports – litigation, player rights … there are a lot of things happening. But we want to preserve a lot of the great things in college sports and want to make it even better.”

    STORYTELLING: McMillen touched on his fascinating background as a student-athlete and NBA player. A couple of fun anecdotes:
            — He got all "A's" when he attended the Univ. of Maryland, but had one "B." It’s interesting that his "B" was in "Speech and Speaking," as the Rhodes Scholar is engaging on stage. He talked about why he believes he got the "B." "My photo was on the front page of the Washington Post, standing right next to President Nixon, when I was named to the President's Council On Fitness,” he said. “My Speech professor was very much against the Vietnam War and very anti-government policy at that time, and I believe she felt I was too close to President Nixon."
            Another interesting note: Asked who was the toughest player to take on in the NBA, he said, "Larry Bird. Maybe not surprising. But I found him a very challenging player for me to defend."

    SPEAKER GETS THE MOST LAUGHS: The always-engaging Chris Del Conte, AD at TCU, had the audience constantly laughing during a presentation on the branding and design of the school’s Hall of Fame and facilities. Asked about possibly selling naming rights to sections of the Hall of Fame, he said, "I'm like NASCAR, I'll sell everything. The bathroom … everywhere." Asked about the cost of the project, he mocked a whipping sound: "Thank you, sir, may I have another??!! These guys (pointing to developer Advent) took me to the cleaners. … Ha! But don't let cost get in the way of a good story. It was a lot!"

    AND THE IAF’S BEST DRESSED: Del Conte was rocking the purple-and-white colors of his Horned Frog program, with a stylish purple blazer, purple tie and purple handkerchief to go with a white dress shirt, trendy jeans and brown boots. He probably also deserves his own Quote Board. Here are two things we heard often during the presentation: “No bueno,” and “Ha!” (On the latter, think of the staccato voice of Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman.”)

    THE COMMISH ENDS THE DAY: Former SEC Commissioner Slive and SEC Network personality Paul Finebaum closed the first day with a lively 30-minute conversation that started with an update on Slive’s health. His energetic response brought applause from the audience. “Cancer is a competitor,” he said, “like any other competitor. I’ll be damned if it’s going to get me. Being here is part of that battle.” Slive was relaxed and in good spirits and clearly enjoyed playing off the questions of his friend Finebaum. He touched on his legacy, role of the NCAA, the success of the CFP and the attributes of leadership. “Leadership, to me, is really about being a decent human being and caring for people,” he said. His litmus test for leadership: “How you treat people who can’t do anything for you.” It was a feel-good session and a fascinating look at a man who accomplished so much in college sports.

    CREATING A STIR: Two of the remarks at the Forum that got the most media attention came from the morning’s AD panel, which included North Carolina State’s Debbie Yow and Alabama’s Bill Battle. They managed to ignite a social media firestorm when talking about their efforts to educate athletes on financial responsibility, related to the athletes’ new income from Cost of Attendance stipends. ”You know you’ve failed when you see them on their new hoverboards,” Yow said. To which Battle added: “Or tattoos and rims.” Battle later had to clarify his comments to AL.com, but that didn’t stop the momentum, as the story was picked up and carried forward by media as varied as Deadspin and Syracuse.com. "It was a frivolous statement that was meant to be cute,” Battle said.

    SEEN AND HEARD: Before the formal program launched Wednesday morning, IMG College and Veritix hosted a breakfast for athletic directors. USF’s Mark Harlan and Ole Miss’ Ross Bjork, who used to work together at UCLA, shared stories over coffee about the Rebels’ new basketball arena with Appalachian State’s Doug Gillin. Tim Pernetti, from IMG College and a former AD at Rutgers, spoke briefly to welcome the group and spent time with the NCAA’s Mark Lewis and Oliver Luck. And data analytics experts Michael Thompson from Ole Miss and Texas A&M’s Jason Cook shared stories in advance of their panel later in the day. … Sankey is known for his workout routine, but the commissioner was visibly frustrated by his lack of gym time recently due to his travel and crazy schedule, and predicted he wouldn't get in a solid workout until Friday. “And then I'll really feel it." …. Big 12 boss Bowlsby was in a clearly better place than last year at this time, when the Big 12 was absent from the inaugural College Football Playoff. Having Oklahoma in the CFP brought an easy smile and relaxed vibe during his appearance. “I was in a patently unhappy place last year,” he said, “so it was a relatively low bar.”… Slive and his daughter Anna, who accompanied him to the event, both got a hug from Finebaum when they walked into the speaker room.

    AND NOW FOR DAY 2:

    CHECKING IN WITH DAVID STERN: Since he retired from the NBA after three decades as commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, David Stern has been consulting, traveling and continually studying the latest technologies. Stern will sit with Madkour to start the morning in what should be a wide-ranging interview touching on everything from Stern's view of today's athlete, daily fantasy, gaming, the future of e-sports and the growth of the global sports economy.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN DAY TWO: Six national media members will offer their perspective on the state of college sports -- everything from the health of the bowl system, to the CFP, to how college basketball can be rejuvenated and women’s sports can get better media coverage; athletic directors Jack Swarbrick, Kevin White, Ray Anderson and Shane Lyons will discuss the impact of autonomy on their jobs and institutions; another session will examine how to build out a big event and entertainment strategy on campus; and the Forum will close with a look at the latest trends in college sponsorships.

    QUOTES WE LIKED:
    – Emmert: “People think schools play sports because they make so much money on it, and they absolutely don’t.”
    – Ohio State center Boren: “At some point, we're not regular students. [Regular students] don't get death threats if they mess up in the game. They don't get hate mail.”
    – Swofford, on athletes taking stands on social issues: “We don’t live in a vacuum in the sports world. And I recall Dean Smith, who often said that he hopes that sports leads society and doesn’t just reflect it.”
    – Kansas State President and NCAA BOG Chair Kirk Schulz: “The NCAA is perceived as the IRS. But we’ve reformed.”
    – Slive, on the state of college athletics: “Do we have the fortitude, do we have the courage to keep [college athletics] in perspective? It has to be part of higher education.”

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: Social media traffic was great throughout the day, resulting in #SBJIAF trending on Twitter across the country. Click here to see all of the tweets from yesterday. Here are some that we liked:

    @RealJayWilliams: So excited to host the #SBJIAF & do a panel discussion with 4 amazing athletes. @Espn
    @JasonBelzer: 8 of the 25 individuals ranked in @Forbes Most Powerful People In College Sports will be speaking at #SBJIAF forbes.com/sites/jasonbel…
    @LinaTaylorInt: The student athlete perspective. It's really all about them so involving them in the conversation is key. #SBJIAF pic.twitter.com/e2Irpb5hvi
    @GregSankey: In a cab heading to #SBJIAF after finishing a morning meeting on #SECStoried...don't start the panel without me! pic.twitter.com/VgD3igDfXG
    @D1Ticker: Will the NCAA be around in 2020? Bit of a pause from Sankey/Bowlsby/Swofford, but "no indication otherwise." So, yes.
    @Kstate_pres: I enjoyed visiting with @bradwolverton in a wide ranging conversation at #SBJIAF about @NCAA & D1 athletics

    And many thanks to some frequent tweeters who kept the conversation going: @bradwolverton, @JasonBelzer and @D1ticker.

    DROP CARDS, WIN PRIZES: Several sponsors are holding giveaways during this year’s Forum. Just drop your card off for a chance to win.
            Barclays Center announced the winners of its ticket giveaway. Mark Devaney of Langan won two tickets to a Nets game, and Michael Braunfield of Maryville University won two tickets to the ACC/A-10 doubleheader on Dec. 22. Still to come: Networking break sponsor DTI Management will give away a pair of tickets to the NCAA Final Four championship. And breakfast sponsor Ticket Galaxy will award a $500 gift card good toward the purchase of event tickets on TicketGalaxy.com. In addition, official design sponsor HOK will give away an iPad mini.
            Check out the complete list of IAF sponsors and exhibitors.

    CONFERENCE COORDINATES: All of our sessions will be held on the seventh floor of the Marquis. You can get their via the elevators or zoom up on the escalators from the ground floor. Registration, breakfast and exhibits open at 7:45 a.m.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: All the information you need about the conference — agenda, speakers, venue, etc. — can be found in the conference app and the program guide. You can download the app from the iTunes store or the Google Play store, and you can use any device to view our digital program guide.

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the IAF app or by texting ‘SBJSBD’ to 22-333 to join our session. If you are posting tweets or photos, be sure to use the conference hashtag: #SBJIAF. We will recognize the most active and engaging users over the next two days.

    FOLLOW OUR FEEDS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference using our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds.

    Tags: GE, NCAA, CAA, ING, IMG, SEC, CES, Basketball, NBA, ATT
  • Sports Business WakeUp!: A new day for college sports

    WE’RE SIGNING OFF, SO GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS!: As we lower the curtain on the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, our final conference of the year, we also conclude our series of Wake Up! morning e-mails. We started them in April at our World Congress of Sports, and have continued to send them every morning when we have a conference or awards event. We hope you’ve found them to be a fun, breezy and informative read, giving you a sense of what’s taking place on the ground. Let us know your thoughts and what you’d like to see from the emails as we continue this effort in 2016.

    SO YOU WANT TO WORK IN COLLEGE SPORTS?: There’s a widespread belief that collegiate athletics is one of the most challenging and dynamic industries in sports today. After two days at the Forum in New York City, it’s hard to argue with that. Consider the challenges that were discussed during the conference: massive revenue pressure, student-athlete well-being, fund-raising, compliance and enforcement, media demands, coaching salaries, non-revenue and Olympic sports, facilities needs and the future of the NCAA. Add it all up and you have a fast-paced, evolving landscape where one size certainly does not fit all. It may not be the Wild West of three or four years ago, but there is no doubt the business challenges and pressures in college sports are not for the meek – and not over, as most speakers at the conference agreed that we will be facing these same questions for years to come.

    EASY DAVID: A relaxed, easy-going David Stern took the stage on Thursday morning and offered thoughtful, humorous and pointed commentary on technology, global media trends, the future of gaming, threats to college sports and his own non-political ambitions. During a 35-minute back-and-forth with Executive Editor Abe Madkour, the retired long-time NBA commissioner talked about how much he is learning in his new world of consulting and traveling. He was more outspoken than ever, noting at one point that he no longer had his general counsel looking over his shoulder. Among the topics he covered: His disdain for Congress, whose dysfunction he experienced firsthand whenever he was called to testify before a committee. Most of those hearings, he said, served mainly as outlets for legislators to make speeches. “I have been to Congress on more occasions than I care to remember,” he said. “And this is what happens: There’s an opening statement by the chairman, who denounces or supports something. There are opening statements by the 15 or 16 people on the committee. Then the camera turns to the people who testify, and everyone leaves the room except for the chairman. And they grill us … and then the hearing comes to a close. And nothing happens. Unless Bud [Selig] brings along Hank Aaron, and then they all want to talk to him.”

        Given Stern’s comments, Madkour said, “Obviously, we need you to run for office because you feel so strongly about the power of Washington.” Stern: “That is not happening. That’s the one thing I can assure you.” In August, the New York Post reported that friends have urged Stern to run for New York City mayor in 2017. But Stern, a Democrat, denied any interest then and now. Madkour followed: “So you will not accept the Democratic nomination for president?” Stern went even further: “Or the Republican.” However, Stern did make a vague prediction on his way out: That he’d “go visit President Clinton” someday in the future. And what about Donald Trump? Is he surprised by his rise? Stern says no. "Hey, he was the owner of the New Jersey Generals of the USFL,” said Stern. “His first public platform was that he was the guy who had a contract with Herschel Walker. We in sports know where you get strength from.”

        Overseen in the green room: Big East Commissioner (and former Stern colleague) Val Ackerman and Division 1A Athletic Directors Association CEO Tom McMillen warmly greeting Stern as he had a cinnamon role and coffee and spent a little time telling stories.

    SPENDING OVER THE TOP?: Top execs on the “Headlines of the Day” panel were concerned about over-the-top, but it had nothing to do with media programming. They looked at the amount of money being spent on college campuses, wondering how much is too much? And is money going to the right places? “There is probably some spending that is probably over the top,” said American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco. “I don’t think you need to have Taj Mahal’s everywhere. Much more important is how smart you are in spending your money.” Oliver Luck, the former West Virginia AD who is now EVP of Regulatory Affairs at the NCAA, said, “I’m not sure there is any real crisis in spending, but certainly we can do a better job getting bang for the buck.” Part of the problem, said IMG College’s Tim Pernetti, former AD at Rutgers, is the number of people with different interests involved in any decision. “There was a never a project that we studied or put forth [at Rutgers] that wasn’t being done with probably too many chefs in the kitchen,” he said. “Everyone was involved and nothing gets done unilaterally.” Among other topics during the panel: whether athletics should be subsidized by universities, and whether even food service for athletes has become a part of the collegiate athletics “arms race.”

    MEDIA MATTERS: During a panel of six prominent journalists who cover the collegiate sports landscape, there was plenty of concern about the widening gap between the Power 5 conferences and the rest of the field, as well as disagreement over topics such as college basketball’s one-and-done rule. When it comes to revenue disparities, panelists decried the efforts of smaller schools and conferences to try to keep up with their richer brethren. “The gap between the Power 5 and the rest is going to grow,” said ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. “We’re going to see a further widening. And, in the long term, it can’t be sustained.” On one-and-done, Campus Insiders’ Bonnie Bernstein said the practice goes against the spirit of college sports, but USA Today’s Dan Wolken disagreed. Bernstein: “The current one-and-done is ridiculous. Why are we forcing kids to do this? If you’re set on going pro, you should go to the D-League and take your chances.” Wolken responded: “I think one-and-done has made college basketball better, not worse.” See The Daily for more.

    A-D ROUNDTABLE: Rarely do you get a group of such smart and thoughtful panelists together as during our athletic director session on Thursday. Moderated by former Missouri AD Mike Alden, the group included Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick, Duke’s Kevin White, Arisona State’s Ray Anderson and West Virginia’s Shane Lyons. One of the major topics was concern for the Olympic sports. White, who was appointed to the USOC board earlier this year, spoke strongly about the need for maintaining Olympic sports on campus. “If we continue to have Olympic sports downsized or morph into club sports, we’ve lost the battle,” he said. Anderson said he is determined to increase the number of those sports offered by his school. “We’re doing a disservice to our community and our student body if we’re not providing those scholarship opportunities,” he said.

    MEDIA CENTER: Here’s a roundup of some of the national media coverage of the conference:
        – CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd covered NCAA President Mark Emmert’s remarks about holding events in Las Vegas.
        – Yahoo’s Pat Forde wrote about our Power 5 commissioners session in a piece on why the College Football Playoff won’t expand any time soon.
        – From Patrick Rishe at Forbes.com, a story on how more commercialization benefits student-athletes.
        – Comments by North Carolina State’s Debbie Yow and Alabama’s Bill Battle on teaching athletes financial responsibility were picked up by national media outlets, including Deadspin and Syracuse.com.
        – Al.com talked to Luck to get clarification on his on-stage comments about why coaches get paid in an open market, but not players.
        – USA Today wrote that Stern defends daily fantasy, knocks Congress.
    To see more coverage, do an online search for “Intercollegiate Athletics Forum.”

    QUOTES WE LIKED:
    – Stern, on daily fantasy sports: “It’s clearly a game of skill.”
    – White: “We used to celebrate our Olympic sports. Now we tolerate them.”
    – Aresco, on college coaching salaries: “It is the marketplace. But it would be foolish to think it’s not one of our Achilles’ heels as we deal with these lawsuits. Sometimes you simply have to pay to get the best people.”
    – Luck, on coaches salaries: “As a pragmatic matter, there’s no solution except restraint.”
    – Fox College Sports Properties’ Dan Shell, on the value proposition of college sports versus pro sports: “Pro is great, but it’s largely centered around the game itself. But in college, it becomes more of a 365-day experience. And there’s value there in college that doesn’t exist in pro. Your alumni, they’re there whether you’re 3-9 or 9-3.”

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: The great social media action around the conference continued on Day 2. You can get a look at all of it by reading through tweets that used the conference hashtag – #SBJIAF. Here are some of the posts we liked:

    @SMorganBaird: @AaronTaylorCFB great comments at #SBJIAF. Agree with the vocational track opts for football players. Well said.
    @JasonBelzer: Love that @Tim_Pernetti has no issues speaking his mind on college sports but Jeffery Kessler is salivating with some of these lines
    @BeckysBuzz: Uncensored David Stern speaking at #SBJIAF revved up the morning session #e-sportsVsUFC #lotteries
    @PRyanTexas: David Stern just brewed us a pot of reali-TEA at #SBJIAF ... Very candid, very smart, 100% correct
    @RHiggins_TBSC: Congrats to @sbjsbd on another phenomenal #SBJIAF. Great annual gathering of several of the brightest minds in college #sportsbiz!

    And many thanks to a few people who kept the social media conversation going: @JasonBelzer, @IMGCollege and @LinaTaylorInt.

    WINNER, WINNER: HOK, official design sponsor of the Forum, awarded an iPad mini to Becky Cox of Bristol Motor Speedway.

    NEXT ON THE CALENDAR: We’ve already got a great lineup — including 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, Creative Artists Agency president Richard Lovett and Golden State Warriors owners Peter Guber and Joe Lacob — for our 2016 CAA World Congress of Sports, which will be held April 13-14 at the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live. You can get the latest on the speaker roster, or register for the conference, by clicking here.

    Tags: GE, NCAA, CAA, ING, IMG, SEC, CES, Basketball, NBA, ATT
  • Sports Business WakeUp!: College Sports Hits Gotham

    A TRADITION CONTINUES: The college sports business world descends on New York City this week for the National Football Foundation Awards dinner, the Jimmy V Classic, the Heisman Trophy ceremony, and, over the next two days, the 14th annual IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum at the Marriott Marquis at Times Square. Between all of the events at the Marquis and the Waldorf Astoria, you’re likely to see a college sports official wherever you look. And, yes, the weather is cooperating fully, with mild temperatures expected all week. If you’re headed our way today from outside the Marquis, you may want to wear a coat. The forecast is for clouds and a high of 54. We’re good with that.

    A WHITE-HOT SPACE: In case you needed any more evidence of just how much action there is in the college sports space, take a good look around the ballroom this morning for the opening of the Forum. You’ll be elbowing your way through a crowd of 600 attendees — the largest ever for this event. It’s more proof that virtually everyone connected to the business is trying to manage the challenges and opportunities in this dynamic part of the sports industry. Expect a packed day, with in-depth looks at major topics like cost of attendance, Big 5 governance and autonomy, and how schools are scoring big with great design and technology. We’ll dig deep through a series of breakout sessions, and then we’ll reward you for spending the day thinking so much by letting you relax in one of the best spots in the city.

    ANOTHER TRADITION CONTINUES: It seems like an annual rite of the Forum – an opening sit-down with NCAA President Mark Emmert, who last year at this event told Executive Editor Abe Madkour that the next 36-to-48 months would be “some of the most important months in the history of college sports.” Expect an update on that key time frame from Emmert, who was just named No. 38 on SBJ’s annual list of the 50 most influential people in sports business. Emmert is comfortable in this session and uses it to outline key themes of his agenda, and he is not known for being shy with his opinions. Expect him to elaborate on his recent warning to schools that they have an “ethical responsibility” not to admit athletes who are academic mismatches, on his stand against allowing advertising from daily fantasy companies during the NCAA basketball tournaments, and on his support of the recent activism by student-athletes who have taken a stand on issues related to their campuses. These 40 minutes traditionally set the tone for the two days.

    STUDENT-ATHLETE PERSPECTIVE: If you attended this conference last year, you were probably as impressed as we were by the mature and clear-headed perspectives offered by our panel of student athletes. We expect today’s panel to be just as enlightening and thought-provoking, as ESPN’s Jay Williams will guide a discussion featuring four top-notch college football players: Jacoby Boren of Ohio State, Taveze Calhoun of Mississippi State, Spencer Drango of Baylor and Jordan Italiano of Kent State.

    COUNTING THE COSTS: We’ll be taking a close look from two angles today at the effects of one of the most important issues of the last few years — schools paying the full cost of attendance for their athletes. First, college sports beat writer Michael Smith will talk with four athletic directors from the Power 5 conferences about how their departments are handling the issue. On the panel: Bill Battle of Alabama (who will surely be asked about the school’s College Football Playoff chances, as well!), Dan Guerrero of UCLA, Jay Jacobs of Auburn and Debbie Yow of N.C. State.
            Smith will look at the issue from another direction later in the day when he talks with ADs from smaller conferences: Troy Dannen, who just accepted the Tulane AD position after years at Northern Iowa, Doug Gillin of Appalachian State, Mark Harlan of South Florida and Warde Manuel of Connecticut.

    MORE FROM THE POWER 5: While the main focus of the panel of three power commissioners is governance and the opportunities of Power 5 autonomy, expect a wide-ranging discussion when Madkour sits with the Big 12’s Bob Bowlsby, the SEC’s Greg Sankey and the ACC’s John Swofford. This will be one of the first major public speaking appearances for Sankey in front of industry executives since he took over for Mike Slive in June.

    The commissioner’s panel should be a great setup for two interviews that will follow our lunch break. First, guest moderator Brad Wolverton of The Chronicle of Higher Education talks with Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz. Schulz is chairman of the NCAA board of governors, which makes him one of the most powerful administrators in intercollegiate athletics. Then Smith returns to the stage for 20 questions with Tom McMillen, CEO of the Division 1A Athletic Directors’ Association, who will offer the rare perspective of a former Rhodes Scholar and former NBA player.

    COMMISSIONER EMERITUS: We’ll close the day with what should be a highly entertaining session between Slive, whose voice and influence helped shape college sports over the last 12 years, and outspoken ESPN/SEC Network TV and radio commentator Paul Finebaum. These two have long histories and a lot to talk about. To set the stage for the conversation, check out Smith’s profile of Slive from SBJ’s July 27 issue.

    AND THEN, YOUR REWARDS: After a long day that will feature 14 (!) sessions on intercollegiate athletics, we’ll treat you to two opportunities to network and enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Immediately following the Slive interview, we’ll have a networking reception outside the ballroom. Then, at 9:30 p.m., we’ll have an after-hours reception at The View, the rotating restaurant on the 47th floor of the Marquis. We hope to see you there!

    NYC SPORTS SCENE: The calendar is bare today, after the city saw lots of hoops action last night (the Nets beat the Rockets at Barclays Center, and at the Jimmy V Classic at MSG, it was Maryland over UConn and Virginia beating West Virginia). Of course, there’s always plenty to do in New York. We’d love to hear what IAF attendees are doing when they aren’t at the conference, so shoot us an email and/or a photo, and we may include you in our next newsletter.

    CONFERENCE COORDINATES: All of our sessions will be held on the seventh floor of the Marquis. You can get their via the elevators or zoom up on the escalators from the ground floor. Registration, breakfast and exhibits open at 8 a.m.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: All the information you need about the conference — agenda, speakers, venue, etc. — can be found in the conference app and the program guide. You can download the app from the iTunes store or the Google Play store, and you can use any device to view our digital program guide.

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the IAF app or by texting ‘SBJSBD’ to 22-333 to join our session. If you are posting tweets or photos, be sure to use the conference hashtag: #SBJIAF. We will recognize the most active and engaging users over the next two days.

    FOLLOW OUR FEEDS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference using our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds.

    DROP CARDS, WIN PRIZES: Three of the Forum sponsors want to help get you tickets to your next sporting event. When you go into the lunch room today, drop your business card off with Barclays Center, our luncheon sponsor, for a chance to win two tickets to see the Nets play or two tickets for the Dec. 22 ACC/A-10 double header. Drop your business card off with networking break sponsor DTI Management for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the NCAA Final Four championship. And drop your card with breakfast sponsor Ticket Galaxy for a chance to win a $500 gift card good toward the purchase of event tickets on TicketGalaxy.com.
            In addition, official design sponsor HOK will award an iPad to a lucky winner.
            Check out the complete list of IAF sponsors and exhibitors.

    SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: There will be 16 students at the Forum today courtesy of our official scholarship partner, The Ticket Experience. Be sure to say hello and encourage them as they try to build careers in the industry. Here are the names of the scholarship recipients, listed by their school: Columbia: Steve Chasey, Grant Reed, John Kinne and Andrea Young; NYU: Jennifer Romer, Peter Talman and Tianyu Zheng; South Florida: Jordan Bellar; Central Florida: Austin Bloom; Maryville: Michael Braunfeld; Mississippi: Alexander Cramer and Mandy Rose McCalla; Oregon: Mary Lynn Moshofsky and Alexis Taylor; Cardinal Stritch: Kory Olson; and UCLA: Natalie Warkins.

    NEXT ON THE CALENDAR: We’ve already got a great lineup — including 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, Creative Artists Agency president Richard Lovett and Golden State Warriors owners Peter Guber and Joe Lacob — for our 2016 CAA World Congress of Sports, which will be held April 13-14 at the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live. You can get the latest on the speaker roster, or register for the conference, by clicking here.

    Tags: GE, Football, IMG, Marriott, ING, ATT, Ally, In-Depth, NCAA, CAA, NFL, Most Influential, Opinion, Basketball
  • Sports Business Wake-Up!: What Happened in Vegas …

    SEARCHING FOR GROWTH: If there was one takeaway from the Daytona Rising/NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum in Las Vegas, it was the desire by all motorsports groups represented to grow on every front -- fan base, viewership, attendance, you name it. There was a feeling that motorsports has stabilized, and that there are real possibilities for collaboration and a focus on working together across constituencies to find ways to grow. For NASCAR, there was a remarkable outline by Race Team Alliance Chairman Rob Kauffman and NASCAR COO Brent Dewar, who spoke individually of the efforts to set up a new financial and governance model leading to more stability and transparency. And new NHRA President Peter Clifford gave a well-received outline of his ideas for growth and spoke from the heart as someone who has been at the series since 1997 but now has a chance to implement his vision. There was a sense of optimism and opportunity. Now the focus is on execution.

    VISIT FROM THE CHAMP: 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch included a stop at the forum as part of his whirlwind week of team, media and sponsor appearances following a successful year on the track. Busch was talkative on stage and gracious off of it, chatting with well-wishers, posing for selfies and sitting with a group of reporters before he went on stage to talk about everything from winning races to the Denver Broncos’ chances of getting to the Super Bowl.
            Here are a few quick hits from the interview, which was conducted by Fox NASCAR pit reporter Jamie Little:
            — On whether his marketing efforts will become more oriented toward kids now that he’s a father: “Not necessarily. I’m talking to mom. Mom’s the one who buys it for the kids. So I’ve got to make sure mom is happy.”
            — On whether he would like to act in the new NASCAR television series being developed: “I would be up for it, certainly. What I’m trying to push … It would be pretty unique to try to remake the story of what the past 18 months of my life, and my wife’s life, has been like. Our whole journey of infertility, and the things we did, and the injury at Daytona, and the rehab getting back, winning, having Brexton, and just going through all that. So Hollywood should buy that script. I think it would be pretty good. … And the way it ended, that’s the whole storyline. If we finished second, then it’s not a movie.”
            — On how his relationship with fans has changed over the years: “My relationship with the fans has been pretty interesting over the years. When I came into the sport, I was 18, and I went to my first Xfinity race … and I went to driver intros and I got booed, and was like, ‘Wait a second, this is my first race. … I didn’t do anything wrong.’ I was a little bit guilty by association with my brother, but that’s OK. … But (now) I’ve got great fans of my own. … It all comes together. This year I definitely noticed some sort of change in the fans and the reception that I got.”

    GOOD ANSWER: We had to appreciate the honest answer given by the NHRA’s Clifford when asked about the negative perception from some after the former CFO, labeled a "money guy," was chosen to lead a sport searching for new energy. "I have been closely involved in this sport for the last 18 years,” he said. “I would argue that I know more about this sport — the business, the drivers, the fans and what it needs — than anyone else out there. The NHRA has been tremendous to me and I love the NHRA. Absolutely love it. I have been waiting years for this opportunity because I know what I want to do to move the sport forward. Why should the fact that I was a CFO be a negative? I believe I know what the sport needs.” The opinion from many corners: Clifford nailed that question.

    DAYTONA IS RISING: We couldn't help but be impressed watching Daytona International Speedway’s Joie Chitwood offer visuals showing the massive $400M renovation at the track. He artfully showed old photos of signage, grandstands, hospitality areas and the speedway tower juxtaposed with images from the dramatically renovated facility. It left everyone anxious to see the new track next season.

    A TRUE, MODERN MOTORSPORTS STADIUM: ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy opened Day 2 by sharing her own thoughts about the Daytona Rising project. From escalators to higher seating to more than 1,600 video screens, the massive upgrade is all about enhancing the fan experience. “It will be a true, modern motorsports stadium,” she said. “Something like we haven’t seen before.” France stressed the importance of pleasing both current fans and potential fans. “We’re going to be able to offer all kinds of events: concerts, maybe some soccer friendlies, football… It will really open up our world,” she said. “It will also expose other people to NASCAR. Maybe they haven’t been before, but they’ll see the facility and have a great time, then come back to a NASCAR event. I think if you get them there one time, you have a really great chance of hooking them.”

    REACHING THE NEXT GENERATION: Everyone is trying to reach them, and everyone was taking notes. Gen Z, the demographic segment that includes people born in the years 1995-2015, will be the largest group in America by 2025, said Fuse partner Bill Carter, one the top experts on youth marketing, during a featured presentation. In marketing to this powerful group, Carter said brands should follow the lead of young consumers. “They want a brand to use Instagram the way they use Instagram,” he said. “They have developed the rules of the road on social and they want brands to follow those rules.” Carter revealed the results of some of his company’s research in the last year, including Gen Z’s thoughts on various social media platforms: 
    — Facebook: “For parents posting pics of their kids.”
    — tumblr: “For fandom of music, games and movies.”
    — Twitter: “Tweeting at an event is fun.”
    — Snapchat: “Where I brag and post selfies.”
    — Pinterest: “It’s for people who knit.”
    — Instagram: “What everyone uses.”
            There was lots more interesting info in Carter’s presentation. He provided a copy of the PowerPoint presentation for SBJ/SBD readers.

    CHANGING THE STRUCTURE: Sessions were full throughout the day, but a one-on-one interview between Exec Editor Abe Madkour and the RTA’s Kauffman had virtually every power player in NASCAR in the room listening closely. Kauffman is a smart, deliberate speaker, and every word has meaning. He maintained his cautious optimism that a ground-breaking charter system will be implemented in NASCAR’s ownership ranks in time for the '16 campaign. While much different from franchise systems in stick-and-ball leagues, it would be the closest thing NASCAR has had to such a system since the sport’s inception in the late '40s. The move is widely seen as transformational, because up to now, team owners couldn't accrue long-term values in their operations no matter how long they were in the sport. Kauffman: "The idea is to create a more transparent and stable model for teams and help the teams operate. The financial element is one (part); the governance aspect of the sport is another -- just to have a little more predictability of revenue and the structure you have.” This will clearly be one of the most important stories in NASCAR in ’16, so you’ll want to read more from Kauffman in today’s SBD.

    CHANGING THE STRUCTURE 2: NASCAR’s Dewar was on stage late in the day in an interview with Madkour, following up on some of Kauffman’s comments as well as looking ahead to next season, including the search for a new title sponsor. Asked whether negotiating a deal to change the sport’s ownership structure was one of the hardest of his career, Dewar said, “It’s one of the most challenging. I wouldn’t say hardest. I lived in Brazil, with 40 percent inflation and 7 percent real interest a month, and they change the currency overnight. Those kind of things are really hard. And it was all in Portuguese, so that was an interesting time in my life. But I would say it’s challenging. This is a very complex ecosystem, and … it’s making all these pieces work. We’re committed to do that.” As for the opportunities that come with searching for a sponsor to replace Sprint, Dewar said: “What it allows us to do is to talk about NASCAR. If you think about it, we’ve been out of the market for 10 years. It’s really allowing us an opportunity to talk to a wide group, whether it’s blue-chip domestic companies to international companies to regional companies. And we have a great story to tell.”

    ON THE FOOD FRONT: Fare was a bit more traditional on Wednesday, with a sit-down lunch of filet mignon and potato cakes. There were lots of assorted snacks throughout the day. One of our favorites: the warm apple beignets with vanilla sauce. If you didn’t try those, you missed out.

    QUOTES WE LIKED:
            — Kennedy, on watching the demolition during the renovation at Daytona International Speedway: “It was a little emotional when they took down the grandstands. That’s been part of my life since the very beginning. It hit close to home.”
            — Carter, on how teens want brands to use social media: “They have developed the rules of the road on social and they want brands to follow those rules.” 
            — Dover Int'l Speedway CEO Michael Tatoian, on getting used to promoting events that have fewer sponsor messages than NASCAR races: “We’d brand our foreheads if we could.”
            — Busch, on which had the greater impact, becoming a father or becoming Cup champ: “Becoming a dad. That’s life. Racing is what we do, and what we love, and what we enjoy, but life comes first.”
            — Kauffman, on deciding to get rid of his stake in Michael Waltrip Racing: "I don't like to quit, but at some point, if you're a disciplined investor and business person, you have to make some decisions about whether it's working or not.”

    SOCIAL ANIMALS:
    We appreciate all of the social action around the conference. You can view the tweet stream, which includes quotes from many of our panelists, on Twitter by searching the hashtag #sbjmmf. Among the tweets we liked:
    @NathanAppleman: (with picture)Bill Johnson and I at the SBJ Motorsports Forum in Vegas. Getting great insight on an amazing market.
    @standeak: (with picture) Always solid - Abe leading today's tech in Motorsports panel. We agree, upgrades are a good example
    @HitBullWinSteak: Great quote from @kauffmanrob today in @sbjsbd #SBJMMF "I don't mind spending money, I don't like losing money"
    @JasonBelzer: Nice timing. Lesa France Kennedy @LesaISC takes stage at #SBJMMF & tops @Forbes most powerful women in sports list

    And a special thanks to a few people who really helped keep the conversation going: @jim_utter, @bobpockrass, @Repucom and @CandiceSpencer.

    — — — DON’T MISS THE 2015 INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS FORUM: About 500 leaders of the industry will gather next week at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square. You can check out the agenda and speaker roster, or register for the conference, by clicking here.— — —

    Tags: ING, NASCAR, Motorsports, UPS, ATT, GE, Ally, NHRA, Ford, Sprint, Champion, Media, CES, Denver Broncos, Super Bowl, Fox, SEC
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