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May 22, 2014 10:42 AM
The NHL Winter Classic became the first sports event to be recognized twice as Event of the Year. The league took the 2014 edition of the event to Michigan Stadium and played on a snowy day before 105,491, the largest crowd ever gathered for a hockey game. A combined audience of 8.2 million people in the U.S. and Canada tuned in to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings in a shootout 3-2.
NHL COO John Collins said, “The magnitude, the weather, having 105,000 fans for anything is impressive. Having it for a hockey game is something we’ve never seen before.” It was an impressive enough to best a competitive field that included Super Bowl XLVIII, the NFL’s first championship in New York City. Collins said, “[The NFL] did a great job. They were deserving of the recognition, so obviously the recognition is well-appreciated.”
May 21, 2014 10:53 PM
CAA Sports won its fifth Sports Business Award, but first in property consulting. Its year of mammoth deals included the latest in a total $650 million of sponsorship contracts sold at the San Francisco 49ers new stadium, and sales agreements with the NCAA and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Intel Inside jersey deal with FC Barcelona.
“This is very rewarding, because on this side of the business, we had not been recognized and the sales side is something we really value and it’s special to us,” said CAA’s Mike Levine. “Our culture benefits us, because we all work as a team or we don’t work. With the size and scope of the projects we take on, that’s the only way it could work.”
May 21, 2014 10:50 PM
The NHL won the 2014 Sports Business Award for League of the Year, a key part of an overall monster night for the league that also saw wins in the Sports Event and Executive of the Year categories. Coming off a work stoppage in to begin 2012-13 season, the league returned to play early last year barely missing a beat with near-capacity crowds, strong TV ratings, the expansion of its Winter Classic into a seven-game series of outdoor events sponsored by Coors Light, and the signing of a massive new media rights pact in Canada.
Long seen as the distant fourth leg of the Big Four of U.S. professional sports, the NHL buttressed by its media and growing roster of corporate partners now operates with a swagger largely unseen in its long history. “There are so many important building blocks,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “Our partners have been so supportive, ownership has been great, and our players are not only great athletes but great people. We worked really hard coming out of our labor issue in 2004 to create a foundation for growth, and we’re now seeing a lot of fruits of that.”
May 21, 2014 10:38 PM
Dan Rooney said thank you in Irish to begin his acceptance of his Lifetime Achievement Award, a nod to his heritage and to his time as ambassador to Ireland in President Barack Obama’s first term.
The audience gave the legendary owner of the Steelers a rousing standing ovation, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell introduced him by saying, “He is one of the greatest men I know.”
Goodell mentioned several reasons for his admiration, but the first is perhaps the most striking: Rooney has hired only three head coaches in four decades, the commissioner said, and one is a hall of famer (Chuck Noll), and the other two (Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin) may be.
Rooney let his son, John Rooney, read his speech, which extolled the Steelers, the NFL, and the incredible growth football has enjoyed in the last 80 years.
“I can still remember my father telling me he actually paid WWSW to broadcast our football games,” said John Rooney, reading his father’s speech. “He felt it was necessary to have our games broadcast on public radio.”
“[And] earlier this year there were more than 122 million people who watched the telecast of Super Bowl 48 [XLVIII],” Rooney said.
May 21, 2014 10:30 PM
May 21, 2014 10:28 PM
NBC Sports Group swept all three media awards of the Sports Business Awards, marking the first time the same company has won all three media awards on the same night. NBC Sports Group’s final award was for Best in Sports Media.
“This is quite a night for the NBC Sports Group,” NBC Sports Group CMO John Miller said. “It’s a remarkable honor. We did have a great year. The Olympics. The Premier League. The growth of the Golf Channel. The National Hockey League with record performance. It was a team effort.”
NBC Sports Group was honored for a performance during the Winter Olympics that saw more than 76 percent of U.S. TV homes watch some portion of the Games on an NBC channel and more than 10.8 million hours of video consumed on NBC’s digital
platforms. NBC was honored for dominating prime time for 18 consecutive nights during the Olympics, plus producing the year’s top-rated prime-time show in “Sunday Night Football.”
NBC has won much critical praise for its production of the English Premier League and made noise during the year by picking up media rights to NASCAR starting next year.
May 21, 2014 10:27 PM
It was a memorable night at the #SBJAwards. Congrats to the winners and nominees! Proud to be in this industry.— GMR (@GMRMarketing) May 22, 2014
The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was named Sports Event of the Year at the 2014 Sports Business Awards tonight. #SBJAwards— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 22, 2014
May 21, 2014 10:23 PM
May 21, 2014 10:12 PM
The Golden State Warriors won the 2014 Sports Business Award for Team of the Year, representing perhaps one of the surprise winners of the night competing in the category against league champions such as the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Seahawks. But the Warriors continued a sharp trajectory in 2013 under owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber that produced strong, extensive on- and off-court gains, and a pathway to a new arena in San Francisco.
Long one of the NBA’s most moribund franchises, the Warriors are now widely seen as a progressive thought leader driving best practices around the sport in areas such as social media, ticketing and digital content. “I always thought that under the right ownership and the right plan, the sky was the limit for this franchise,” said Rick Welts, Warriors president and COO.
May 21, 2014 10:07 PM
Duke University’s Kevin White won the Athletic Director of the Year award after a year that saw both on-field success for the school’s football team, which reached the ACC Championship Game, and off-field influence — White is one of three conference ADs on the television committee. “We’re going through some interesting times in college athletics, that’s perhaps to say the very least,” White said as he accepted his award. “As turbulent as they are, I think we have a great cohort of colleagues. We’re going to find a better day and are working toward that end.”
After leaving the stage, White said that he felt that he needed to address the upheaval in college sports. “To borrow a phrase from the financial community, we’d been in market corrections before,” he said. “The next iteration will be better, and we’ll figure it out. It’s just a lot of competing interests. It’s a bit of a new frontier. We’ve got an eclectic group of schools in the NCAA, and we couldn’t be more different. It’s a very difficult leadership and management assignment for the parent organization, which is the NCAA.”