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Volume 26 No. 181
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Fox Sports, MLB, ESPN Top Sports Business Awards Winners; Paul Tagliabue Honored

After a year that saw it surprise the sports world by picking up rights to the FIFA World Cup and UFC, Fox Sports won two of the three sports media trophies at the fifth annual Sports Business Awards, setting a pace matched only by ESPN and MLB, which also took home two trophies each. The night also featured unexpected winners in several categories: the '12 PGA Tour Humana Challenge won Sports Event of the Year over such high-profile events as Super Bowl XLVI and the '11 NBA Finals; The Marketing Arm took the award for Best in Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services; and MLB won in the Sports League of the Year category. The awards show was attended by a record crowd of 800 people, who saw 15 winners named from among the 77 nominees. The event was held at the Marriott Marquis in N.Y. Fox Sports Media Group Chair David Hill was gracious in his acceptance speech, describing the quality of sports production among all the networks as being so good that there is no more than “a cigarette paper of difference” between them. “I consider the standard of production of all of us now to be at the highest point ever,” Hill said. “The sports fan now is better served than ever before.”

Executive of the Year NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
Sports Event of the Year '12 PGA Tour Humana Challenge
Best in Sports Media Fox Sports
Sports League of the Year MLB
Sports Sponsor of the Year Bridgestone
Best in Corporate Consulting, Marketing
and Client Services
The Marketing Arm
Sports Facility of the Year Amway Center
Best in Sports Television Fox Sports
Lifetime Achievement Award Paul Tagliabue
AD of the Year Michigan State AD Mark Hollis
Best in Property Consulting, Sales
and Client Services
Best in Sports Technology ESPN's WatchESPN
Sports Team of the Year Boston Bruins
Best in Digital Sports Media ESPN Digital Media
Best in Sports Event and Experiential Marketing MLB/Fan Cave
Best in Talent Representation and Management Wasserman Media Group

SECRET OF FOX’ SUCCESS: This was a year that saw Fox Sports’ co-Presidents & COOs Randy Freer and Eric Shanks, in particular, build out their cable properties, acquire rights for Fox Soccer Channel and Fuel and expand programming on Speed. Fox also created college football windows on FX. With former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and several NFL owners looking on from the audience, Hill talked about how the network’s NFL programming has helped define Fox. In the past year, Fox agreed to spend $1.1B to keep NFL rights through '22. Hill mentioned his NFL pregame show (Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Strahan and Curt Menefee) as the embodiment of Fox Sports. “'Fox NFL Sunday' is the cornerstone of what we are,” he said. After accepting the sports media award, Hill told THE DAILY that he was most proud of the gains made by, which has seen its traffic increase as it has rolled out video and star-driven columns.

Rooney (r) introduces Tagliabue during last
night's Sports Business Awards
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Tagliabue was honored with a lifetime achievement award that recognized his career accomplishments and his influence on the industry. Tagliabue was introduced by Dan Rooney, the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and patriarch of the family that owns the Steelers. “The NFL has become the most successful sports league in the world,” said Rooney. “Paul brought stability and direction to it. Paul saw the need for diversity in the NFL. He created a committee to bring a sensible policy for every person to receive a fair and equitable opportunity to achieve their goals.” Tagliabue mentioned the theme of social responsibility in his remarks, encouraging the audience to use their positions in such a popular industry to leave a positive mark on society. “As leaders in sport -- now more than ever -- we must keep a clear eye and a sharp focus on the unique values of sport at each level of organization and participation,” he said. “We cannot allow entertainment, commercial or celebrity interests to overrun sport at all levels. If we do so, we will have failed to accomplish at each level what we are responsible for accomplishing. For all of us who benefit from professional sports, let’s be certain to recognize -- without having to be paid to do so -- the impact and value of supporting youth, collegiate and Olympic sports.”