• TV Timeout: A Perfect Union?

    The NLRB’s ruling in favor of Northwestern Univ. football players forming a union sent ripples through media with debate on the short- and long-term impact of the decision. National College Players Association President Ramogi Huma said, “I think it would help create an environment if players at various schools have collective bargaining agreements, that give them better protections (and) that’s going to be a new standard. That is what recruits and their families are going to be looking at, whether or not they are going to be stuck with medical bills down the line” (“Sportscenter,” ESPN, 3/27). FS1’s Brendon Ayanbadejo said, “All of these embarrassing moments that schools have, it lets you know that there is a broken system and it needs to be fixed and this is the time. This is the moment we are going to look back on we are going to look back on that potentially changes everything for the future” (“Fox Football Daily,” FS1, 3/26). SI legal analyst Michael McCann said, “If only male athletes are paid, I'm sure that there will be female athletes who bring a separate lawsuit under Title IX" ("NewsHour," PBS, 3/26). ESPN's Jay Bilas said, "I think there are a lot of great things that come out of college sports. But the idea that I was a better player or person teammate or student by virtue of my amateurism is not true now and never has been true. That's sort of the great lie about this whole thing, that education and money are somehow mutually exclusive" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 3/26). Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay, on Ohio St. AD Gene Smith receiving a bonus for a wrestler winning a title: “This person is not compensated and not treated as an employee, but the employee is given a bonus for somebody else. That’s the hypocrisy and college fans are getting sick of it” (“Crowd Goes Wild,” FS1, 3/26).

    WALL-TO-WALL COVERAGE: ESPN's Kenny Mayne, on the media coverage of Heat-Pacers: "It's all we were talking about. The ESPN hype machine was in full throttle for a Wednesday game and this thing really was kind of a big deal" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/27).

    SEWN TOGETHER: NASCAR President Mike Helton said the racing circuit "wants to have that fabric of America and I think if the characters and the personalities and the faces and the genders that participate in the sport are all part of that, then the grandstands will be too" ("CBS This Morning," CBS, 3/26).
    GAME OF GROWTH: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira said, "The revenue in our sport is just exploding so everybody has money to spend, even the small market teams have money to spend and the Yankees have to keep up with everybody when it comes to winning games and keeping our fans happy" ("Fast Money Halftime Report," CNBC, 3/26).

    LETTING OFF THE PEDAL: MLB Network’s Kevin Millar, on potential drug policy changes: “I thought they would be harder. You heard some players voice their opinion. Maybe a one time, full on year and then the next time a ban from baseball. Period” (“Intentional Talk,” MLB Network, 3/26). 

    DRESSED FOR SUCCESS:  CSN Bay Area's Jim Kozimor said of the MLS Earthquakes’ new red uniforms, "I like the history angle of it, I like the look of it. Now if you can get yourself a 'W' in those things" ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," CSN Bay Area, 3/26).

  • Weeden to lead effort on Florida Citrus Bowl naming rights

    Veteran sports marketing executive Cathy Weeden will lead the effort to find a naming-rights partner for the Florida Citrus Bowl stadium in Orlando.

    The venue is currently undergoing a $207 million renovation and Florida Citrus Sports is expected to contribute $6 million toward the costs. A naming-rights deal would help fund that contribution, said Steve Hogan, the CEO of Florida Citrus Sports.

    The organization decided to sell the rights in-house and Hogan put Weeden in charge of the sales effort. Weeden joined the Citrus staff in 2013 in the position of chief sales and marketing officer after several years with IMG College and Fox RSNs (Sun Sports, Fox Sports Florida). At IMG College, she helped oversee IMG College properties at Florida, Florida State, UCF, USF and others during her five years there.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: Just Wanna Have Fun

    ESPN's Tony Reali asked whether the NFL's new rule penalizing players for dunking the ball with the goalpost was just another example of the "No Fun League" reputation. But Bomani Jones replied, "This continues the NFL's long-standing tradition of brilliance of somehow getting us to talk about them all throughout the year even when they just put through this itty-bitty rule." ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/25). Donovan McNabb called it "garbage, because now you're taking the fun out of the game." McNabb: "To me it seems like Roger Goodell is trying to make this game into something where we're all becoming robots" ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 3/25).

    QUALITY CONTROL: NFL VP/Officiating Dean Blandino said of the league's new instant replay process, “Nothing will change in terms of the stadium operation. You still have your replay official initiating the reviews, and we will still provide that under the hood feed to the in-house stadium, that video board, so that they can see what is going on” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Network, 3/25).

    MARK MY WORDS: NCAA President Mark Emmert appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" this morning, with co-host Joe Kernen saying, "Three years ago the NCAA cut a 14-year deal with TV rights with Turner and CBS for nearly $11 billion. NCAA total revenues for the 2012-2013 fiscal year were more than $900 million." Emmert: “That $900 million you mentioned in the intro is in fact the revenue that flows into the NCAA national office and then flows immediately back out to the schools and universities and pays for all the other sports that are participating in NCAA sports" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 3/26).

    COLLEGE FUNDS: IMG College President Ben Sutton said, "College sports, interestingly, is the biggest provider of college scholarship funding in the country, other than the federal government. We're a big part of that" (“North Carolina Now," UNC-TV, 3/25).

  • TV Timeout: Attention Grab?

    Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban’s comments about the NFL generated plenty of buzz, as commentators have chimed in with their take. FS1’s Trevor Pryce said, “Goodell’s whole thing is international and year-round. He wants games on Wednesdays, Thursdays. If you think we aren’t going towards a point where the NFL is like an NBA schedule, it is coming. Mark my words” (“Crowd Goes Wild,” FS1, 3/24). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "If Mark Cuban owned an NFL franchise, he never would have said this and if an NFL franchise came up for bid on 'Shark Tank' Mark Cuban would bankrupt himself in order to get one. They're not 10 years from an implosion" ("PTI," ESPN, 3/24). ESPN’s Mike Golic said, “I think he is caught up in the sky is falling mentality which I think is out there. … Football is taking the brunt of everything in this, and I think that is a little misguided” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 3/25).

    SAFE AND SOUND: ESPN's Karl Ravech, on safety measures for pitchers: "It feels like you can't teach old dogs new tricks. You're going to have to get the younger generation to buy into that. Maybe it starts at the Little League level" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN2, 3/25).

    MORE BANG FOR THE BUCK: Falcons Owner Arthur Blank said, “Today’s fans are expecting even more for less, and it is up to us to give them more for less, and to be responsive, and to make sure the in-stadium experience is great” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 3/24).

    PATRIOT GAMES: Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said of a team in London, “I would like to think that before the decade is out, we position a team there and have a team there full-time. I think it would be a great place to expand to. I know in the two games we played in, there were over 85,000 fans. It was like playoff weekends when we went there, the excitement that went on. So I think it is a very exciting place for our future” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 3/24).

    THE BLACK HOLE: FS1’s Mike Pereira, on the Raiders: “They’re a horrible team, they’ve been a horrible team, and guess what? They are playing in a horrible facility, an absolute horrible facility. The whole team needs a makeover” (“Fox Football Daily,” FS1, 3/24).

  • SBJ Podcast: MLB commissioner candidates

    Baseball writer Eric Fisher and senior writer Bill King break down the most likely candidates to succeed Bud Selig as commissioner of Major League Baseball, and what Rob Manfred's role is in the process. The discussion coincides with Fisher's profile of Manfred, MLB's new chief operating officer, on the front page of this week's SportsBusiness Journal.

    Tags: MLB, Baseball, SBJSBD Podcast
  • TV Timeout: Warren Peace

    Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett appeared on Dan Patrick's radio show today, saying he and Quicken Loans "had a few expenses" from their billion dollar bracket challenge, "but we came out okay." Buffett: "I would have preferred to see it go quite a bit longer, but not all the way." He added, "I'd love to do it again. It's up to Quicken whether they decide to do it next year and if they do it again, I'd like to be their insurer. I would hope we could get an arrangement that made it somewhat easier to enter and somewhat easier to win. I'd like to modify it a little bit so people had an even better shot than they had this year." Patrick noted, "I look at how much attention you got with this, I thought it was amazing." Buffet said, "Wait till next year. We're going to come up with something better next year even. We'll make it a lot easier to enter ... and we'll make it easier to win." He added, "We put this together sort of in a hurry this year and we'll have a little more time for next year" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 3/24).

    I'LL FLY AWAY: ESPN's Jemele Hill said of San Diego St. men's basketball coach Steve Fisher expressing his displeasure with the NCAA over the losing team in the Tournament flying home immediately, "Here's a number that everybody should keep in mind: The NCAA recorded a $61 million surplus in 2013 and yet we have that (rule). Their year-end assets were $627 million. That's all I've got to say." ESPN's Michael Smith said Fisher "spoke for a lot of people who are sick and tired of the NCAA eating while these kids are being exploited" ("Numbers Never Lie," ESPN2, 3/21).

    NEBRASKA BOUND: Broncos QB Peyton Manning sat down with Golf Channel’s Charlie Rymer on Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Rymer asked, “Have you actually been to Omaha?” Manning: “I’m going to Omaha, believe it or not, this spring. Omaha has taken on a whole new life. ... They actually challenged their Chamber of Commerce to make a donation to my charity foundation every time I said ‘Omaha’ in a game. I’m going to Omaha in May and their presenting a check for $75,000 to my charity foundation” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 3/22).

    READING ROLE MODELS: U.S. women's national soccer team F Alex Morgan appeared on ABC's "GMA" this morning to promote her third book in a three-book series aimed at middle-school girls, "Win or Lose." Morgan said the book revolves a "middle-school girls soccer team and how they juggle" with school, sports and life. Morgan: "There's so many books out there garnered towards boys and towards male sports, but nothing really just for female sports" ("GMA," ABC, 3/24).

  • SBJ Podcast: Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary

    Baseball writer Eric Fisher and facilities reporter Don Muret, a Cubs fan and former resident of Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood, discuss Wrigley Field's first 100 years, what the park means to Chicago and to Cubs fans, as well as what its future holds. Fisher and Muret combined on an in-depth package celebrating Wrigley Field's anniversary in this week's SportsBusiness Journal.

    Tags: Baseball, Facilities, In-Depth, SBJSBD Podcast
  • The NHL Shift: Numbers and notes, 3/21/2014

    A look at the past week in the NHL:

    $5.75 million: Money donated by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeffrey Vinik to local heroes since he started the Lightning Community Heroes program in 2011. Through the Lightning Foundation, Vinik donates $50,000 to a worthy recipient at every Tampa Bay home game.

    26: Uniform number worn by New York forward Martin St. Louis, whose Rangers T-shirt has been the top-selling shirt since the beginning of March at the NHL Powered by Reebok Store in Manhattan. The 38-year-old St. Louis, who has yet to score a goal in his eight games with New York, was acquired by the Rangers from Tampa Bay on March 5.

    521,000 viewers:
    The average viewership for NBCSN’s telecast of Detroit-Chicago last Sunday night. That number was up 24 percent over the network’s average for Sunday night games last year, during the lockout-shortened season of 2013.

    3: Average number of scripts or script treatments the NHL receives each week from production companies seeking permission to use team marks in television and movie projects, according to NHL director of communications Nirva Milord.

    By the Numbers — “NHL Revealed” version
    Here’s a summary of the league’s seven-part series documenting the Coors Light Stadium Series, Tim Hortons Heritage Classic and player participation in the Winter Olympics.

    479,000: Average viewership for each premiere of the series’ seven episodes combined on NBCSN and CBC. NBCSN drew 136,000 viewers per episode; CBC, 343,000.
    700 hours: Amount of total footage shot for the seven one-hour episodes.
    140: Total crew members involved.
    51: Games covered.
    21: Cities visited.
    2: Marital engagements covered: David Booth of the Vancouver Canucks and his fiancée; Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators and his.
    1: Births covered: Elliana Okposo, the daughter of the Islanders’ Kyle and his wife, Danielle.

    To the San Jose Sharks — who partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to give 18-year-old Sam Tageson a day he’ll never forget. On Tuesday, Tageson (who has a heart condition) signed a one-day contract with the Sharks. He participated in the team’s morning workout and then skated out through the shark’s head with the rest of the team to take part in warmups before that night’s game against Florida. He lined up with the starters for the national anthem before being introduced by the PA announcer and leaving the rink to a rousing ovation. “Amazing what hockey can do,” tweeted Sharks defenseman Brent Burns.
    Click here for the video: http://go.sjsharks.com/uLXFj

    THE PLAYLIST: A look at some of the songs played in-arena during an NHL game

    Game: Chicago at Philadelphia: Tuesday, March 18
    Location: Wells Fargo Center
    In-Charge: Mark Wyatt, music coordinator, Philadelphia Flyers
    “Animals” — Martin Garrix
    “It’s Electric” — Metallica
    “Young Volcanoes” — Fall Out Boy
    “Unglued” — Stone Temple Pilots
    “Dead But Rising” — Volbeat
    “Howlin’ For You” — Black Keys
    “Replay” — Zendaya
    “Love Rollercoaster” — Red Hot Chili Peppers
    “Power Glove” — Knife Party
    “Shepherd of Fire” — Avenged Sevenfold
    “Vilify” — Device
    “One Thing Leads To Another” — The Fixx
    “Adrenaline” — Shinedown
    “Tick Tick Boom” — The Hives
    “What I Like About You” — The Romantics
    “Welcome To The Jungle” — Guns N’ Roses
    “Rock and Roll” — Led Zeppelin

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Sports Marketing Forecast: Reaching the Next Generation

    The closing panel at the 2014 IMG World Congress of Sports focused on how to reach the next generation of consumers. Brand-side marketers gave their thoughts on a variety of topics, such as where to put dollars, addressing digital natives, bringing some marketing in-house and the importance of having sports as part of marketing budgets.

    Panelists included Honda Assistant VP/Auto Advertising Tom Peyton, Callaway Golf Senior VP/Marketing Harry Arnett, AAA Mid-Atlantic Exec VP & CMO Marke Dickinson, IMG College Senior VP/National Sales Andrew Judelson and Vizio VP/Product Marketing Lily Knowles.

    Dickinson on where his company looks to put dollars: “To reach consumers, particularly within sports, you have to look a little younger. Our core demographic tends to be a little older. Those younger consumers are looking to engage across multiple platforms, so they’re not just looking for one aspect or another. Even if they’re in a stadium, they’re looking to have a mobile experience. So how can we provide content and meaningful experiences and touch points so it’s stimulating and worth their while.”

    Arnett on addressing digital natives (younger demos): “We have an older consumption target, but a younger influence target. The ways to communicate to those groups are so varied. The more that you invest in something you think is going to have a year or two life cycle for younger demos, the more you realize it’s going to have a one-week life cycle. It’s really following the consumption habits of hippies back 35 years ago. So what Callaway has done is invest more in an ability to communicate to them from the creative side knowing that dissemination of that content is likely to change daily.”

    Judelson on properties giving up their own social media vs. having vague links to sponsors: “I definitely don’t think it’ll happen to the level that a partner would be seeking it. I would surmise that the worst words you can hear on the sales side when you discuss social media are, ‘I’ll throw it in as value added.’ If someone is asking for it, there’s discreet value in it. So our ability to monetize social media is very important as a discreet line item in a deal. In our nearly 75 tier-1 college property partners, we have Twitter, Facebook, etc., and those partners see it as more valuable than the official athletic sites that we also control because of the direct connection and linkage to a consumer.”

    Knowles on social marketing: “Last year, we started a program called ‘Fandemonium’ that is sort of a hybrid of a social community and a loyalty program. The goal there was to test the waters to see how we could use social media to get that fan engagement that you cannot get through one event. It has proven successful so far in the first phase. The fans get excited on two fronts. First. we don’t have a huge amount of media dollars to be able to get the word out when we have product launches, so this gets the news out faster. The other thing is that when there are ‘hot’ offers, it helps our retailers to drive traffic in stores.”

  • Biggest opportunities for U.S. sports? Outside the U.S., owners say

    Expansion beyond U.S. borders remains the biggest opportunity for professional sports leagues, a group of four team owners said during a panel session at the 2014 IMG World Congress of Sports. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan said his NFL franchise has benefitted from playing some of its home games in London. “Shockingly enough, we thought a year-and-a-half ago when we were planning this thing that it was going to be ex-pats and people who were in London buying tickets,” Khan said. “But they are less than a third of it. The biggest segment we have is people coming from Europe buying this. A lot of them really don’t know football. They have no idea where Jacksonville is. It’s wonderful. You see people speaking different languages wearing Jacksonville Jaguars T-shirts.” Khan described the U.S. market as saturated with limited growth opportunities for the league. “Our upside is going to come from overseas,” he said. Josh Harris, Philadelphia 76ers managing partner and New Jersey Devils managing member, identified international expansion as a priority for both the NBA and NHL. “Basketball is making enormous strides all over the world, particularly in China,” he said. “Hockey also is growing internationally.”

    Quick hits:

    Daryl Jones, general partner, Ice Arizona, and owner, Phoenix Coyotes, on buying the team: “We bought a bankrupt hockey team in the desert, which to most people is a crazy proposition. We can probably get to break-even in the next couple of years, which is a big route for a franchise that had been losing $30 million plus per year.”

    San Diego Padres lead investor Peter Seidler on buying back into baseball: “The business has changed so much, if you compare it to 1998. At that time, baseball had probably something like 30 years of consecutive battles with the players union, and that was damaging to the game. A season was cancelled. A World Series was cancelled. Since then there’s been labor peace, which is a big driver to the success of baseball, as well as the explosion in national TV contracts and local TV contracts.”

    Khan on buying a team: “If you set the NFL aside, all of the other sports franchises value is something of a state of mind. I don’t think you should get into a sport just because the value is going to go up. You have to see the kind of money and some of the benefits you are going to get out of it.”

    Harris on operating teams as businesses: “These businesses are flipping from being live entertainment businesses like an event to being media businesses. The value of these businesses are going up and the cash flows are going up. Certainly the NFL is the most profitable sport. Both the NBA and NHL are making great strides in terms of improving profitability and getting to significantly positive free cash flow.”

    Harris on revenue sharing: “It’s amazing to see some of the richest people in the world argue over revenue share in the NBA. I won’t name names. There are so many issues that come up that if the league can get the ownership groups to take off their individual city hats and team hats and put on a team hat, it may be a little less good for you than, maybe, for someone else. The league does a very good job in focusing the ownership group on the greater good, whether that be sponsorship deals, media contracts or tricky issues like revenue share, where you can’t have a league five big market teams. You need to work out how the small market teams are going to be able to survive. That’s a tricky issue.”

    Khan on the difference between the NFL and English Premier League: “The NFL is partnership. It’s a centrally controlled institution. The NFL would be bigger than some of the 32 clubs put together. The EPL is like a loose collection of federations, something like Italy in the 1840s. With relegation [and] promotion, you really don’t know who’s going to be in it or not be in it. So you don’t have all the best practice sharing and the camaraderie, the fellowship and the partnership that you have in the NFL.”

    Jones on hockey’s biggest challenge: “For hockey, especially in our market, it’s really growing the game. Hockey is the fourth sport in the U.S. and the top sport in Canada. The challenge for the league and owners is to broaden, educate and expand the game in the U.S.”

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