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Volume 24 No. 114

2013 Year In Review

THE DAILY concludes our look back at the sports business year of ’13. We present some of the highlights from the best new ideas of the year, a few of the more memorable tweets from '13 and our favorite daily downloads from the past 12 months.

Each year, some sports business concepts are an all-out success, while others fall somewhat short of that. Here are some ideas that were either a hit or miss in '13.

NASCAR had its first race on a dirt track since '70
and saw nearly 20,000 fans in attendance
NASCAR makes its first trip to a dirt track since ’70 with a Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway, and a packed house of around 20,000 fans get quite a show. With the trucks sliding around the track, the event easily lives up to the hype of one of the most anticipated races of the season. While the track is not on the ’14 schedule, NASCAR officials have strongly indicated they intend to return in the future.

Other Hits:
* Jason Collins becomes the first active player in one of the major U.S. pro team sports to announce he is gay, drawing an outpouring of support from peers.
* Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick are praised for addressing the Aaron Hernandez situation with honesty, humility and humanity.
* UFC debuts its women’s division with a fight between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 to great fan reaction.
* Kansas State draws a solid crowd for the women’s basketball team’s season opener by giving away slices of bacon.

Manning (l) got the better of Flacco in the game
for which they were the subject of posters
Broncos fans become upset with the NFL when giant posters of Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco are placed on the side of Sports Authority Field in anticipation of the season-opening Ravens-Broncos game. Broncos officials go out of their way to make sure fans know it was the league, not the team, that approved the signs. However, Peyton Manning has the last laugh, throwing a league-record seven touchdowns in the game.

Other Misses:
* The Red Sox’ salute to longtime nemesis Mariano Rivera becomes more of a roast, raising the eyebrows of some Yankees execs.
* The hosts of the morning show on Atlanta’s WQXI-AM are fired after mocking former NFLer Steve Gleason, who is battling ALS.
* Soccer star Lionel Messi is chided after not meeting with fans following an exhibition soccer match at Soldier Field.
* Mets phenom Matt Harvey seems more intent on plugging Qualcomm during an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” than talking about his elbow injury.

Every year sees the creation of new concepts and new people step into the spotlight, while others bid a bon voyage. This year certainly was no exception.

Johnson (r) was instrumental in landing Ranadive
to spearhead the Kings' ownership group
Entering the summer, the NBA Kings and Coyotes both faced the possibility of starting their ’13-14 seasons in different locales with their ownership statuses up in the air. But a pair of new groups quickly put those scenarios to rest. Newly formed IceArizona comes to the rescue at the last minute to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, while Sacramento Mayor Kevin’s Johnson’s efforts to land new owner Vivek Ranadive to keep the Kings in town will not soon be forgotten. The Coyotes negotiate a 15-year deal for Arena, while the Kings are planning a new $448M downtown arena.

Other hellos:
* The Yankees partner with EPL club Manchester City to form NYC FC, an MLS expansion team scheduled to debut in ‘15.
* KISS rocks the AFL by signing up to bring a pro football franchise back to L.A. beginning in the ’14 season.
* Jay Z jumps into the sports representation business and helps guide Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240M deal with the Mariners.
* Sloane Stephens, behind her improbable run to the Australian Open semis, leads a new generation of American female tennis players.

Billy Hunter was unanimously voted out as Exec Dir
after accusations of nepotism
Billy Hunter’s tenure with the NBPA comes to an inglorious end in February with a unanimous, 24-0 players’ vote to oust him from his Exec Dir role. Led by LeBron James and Jerry Stackhouse, Hunter is accused of putting his own interests above those of the players. Hunter denies the allegations and vows to fight for the $10.5M he is still owed on his contract. He later sues the NBPA and President Derek Fisher in May, citing defamation and breach of contract.

Other goodbyes:
* Fallout from Lance Armstrong’s confession leads Sporting KC to part ways with Livestrong as its Sporting Park naming-rights partner.
* After Phil Anschutz decides to pull AEG off the market, Tim Leiweke leaves the company where he had been President & CEO since ’96.
* Dan Dierdorf announces this will be his last year in the booth after a stellar broadcasting career at CBS and ABC.
* Just 3 ½ years after its launch, ESPN shutters its 3D network due to limited viewer adoption.

THE DAILY compiled a list of the Daily Downloads that stood out over the past year. Below is the list in chronological order.

READING THE COVERAGE: The staff at viral video sensation Bad Lip Reading turns their attention away from movies and the political theater to have some fun with NFL footage.

GETTING THE SHAKES: The “Harlem Shake” phenomenon takes over the sports world in the spring, including this version by the Univ. of Kansas basketball team.

LOOK WHO'S TALKING: Google and adidas unveils the Bluetooth-connected “Talking Shoe" at SXSW in March as part of Internet company’s “Art, Copy & Code" initiative.

KNOWING YOUR CRAFT: Oakley and golfer Bubba Watson teamed up to develop a way to improve the traditional golf cart concept.

A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME: Social media allows pro athletes and celebrities to have a closer connection to their fans, but sometimes the connection can be a little too close as illustrated by these NBA players and on-air personalities reading mean tweets directed at them on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

WE TALKIN' ABOUT PLAYOFFS? College Football Playoff Exec Dir Bill Hancock discusses the sport's new postseason format that begins next year with the ACC Digital Network's Jeff Fischel.

EAGLE EYE: The Auburn athletic department offers behind-the-scenes interviews with football players as they prepared to board a private flight bound for the SEC Media Days. The interviewees included CB Chris Davis, who would play an integral role in helping Auburn land in the title game.

PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF: Comedy Central sketch show "Key & Peele" promotes its third season with a new installment of its popular sketch lampooning football players’ in-game intros at the East/West Collegiate Bowl.

OUT-FOXED: The Mavericks’ YouTube channel had a busy offseason producing entertaining videos, but none tops their parody of Ylvis' "The Fox."

VOTER TURNOUT: The Warriors release this video as part of their "Dub The Vote" to encourage fans to vote their players into the NBA All-Star Game. But instead of having the players appear in the video, the team finds child actors that bear a resemblance to the players they are promoting.

Here is a list of some of the sports luminaries who died this year:

Former Sharks and Cavaliers Owner George Gund III (Jan. 15)

Lakers Owner Jerry Buss (Feb. 18)

Former ABC Sports Senior VP/Programming Loren Matthews (Mar. 22)

Former Univ. of Alabama AD Mal Moore (Mar. 30)

Homestead-Miami Speedway Founder Ralph Sanchez (Apr. 1)

Former Patriots coach and GM Chuck Fairbanks (Apr. 2)

Former Hawks GM and NBA scout Marty Blake (Apr. 7)

Former NFLer and CBS/Fox announcer Pat Summerall (Apr. 16)

Sports attorney George Gallantz (Apr. 24)

ATP Exec Chair & President Brad Drewett (May 3)

Royals Dir of Broadcast Services & Royals Alumni Fred White (May 15)

Former pro golfer and CBS analyst Ken Venturi (May 17)

Former MLB Umpires Association Exec Dir Richie Phillips (May 31)

NHL player agent Don Baizley (Jun. 27)

Pro Football HOFer Art Donovan (Aug .4)

Former Eagles Owner Jerry Wolman (Aug. 6)

Former USGA President William Campbell (Aug. 30)

CFL Calgary Stampeders Owner Sig Gutsche (Sept. 14)

Mariners Owner Hiroshi Yamauchi (Sept. 19)

Former Oilers coach and GM Bum Phillips (Oct. 18)

Titans Owner Bud Adams (Oct. 21)

Atlanta Motor Speedway PR Dir Marcy Scott (Nov. 1)

Former NFL Panthers President Mike McCormack (Nov. 15)

Former LSU AD and college basketball analyst Joe Dean (Nov. 17)

MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner (Nov. 21)

With an increasing number of sports execs, athletes and journalists taking to social media to express their thoughts, THE DAILY recalls some tweets from the past year that had us talking.

IEG Senior VP/Editorial Dir Jim Andrews: "Let's get this straight #LanceArmstrong is no longer a mktg. story. He has NO #sponsorship future. Confession is about vendetta vs. UCI, etc."

Heat F LeBron James: "So the Kings getting sold for 525M!! And the owners ain't making no money huh? What the hell we have a lookout for. Get the hell out of here."

Boston Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont: "Pope resigns, Vatican struck by lightning. Imagine what happens when Sox announce a new Fenway."

49ers CEO Jed York: “Seriously? Power is out at my house. This is getting a tad ridiculous....”

Fox Sports Radio’s Ben Maller: “Better GM spring spring training injury? Brewers Doug Melvin stung by scorpion, tops Yanks Brian Cashman breaking ankle during skydive!”

The Harvard Lampoon's Twitter feed: "America, we are sorry for messing up your brackets and also your financial system and everything else."

Campus Insider's Bonnie Bernstein: "Glad 49ers went w Levi for stadium naming rights. Otherwise, I'd fear Favre rumors: 'I'm comfortable in Wrangler... Stadium.'"

Goodwin Sports’ Nate Jones: "The Sacramento/Seattle situation is interesting given the insane valuation the league will turn down in order to keep the team in Sacramento."

Former MLS player Taylor Twellman: "Was critical of some situations with Beckham in @MLS but fact is the league was jump started when he arrived and left with 2 @MLS cups."

NFL player agent Jack Bechta: "I'm not worried about JayZ stealing my clients. However, if Kid Rock starts an agency Im screwed. Pat Angerer be the first guy out the door."

Orlando Sentinel's George Diaz: "If Edward Snowden really wants to disappear why doesn't he go to a Miami Marlins home game?"

The official ESPN Twitter feed: "Hey @SanJoseSharks, thoughts on changing your name to the San Jose #Sharknados?" 
    A response from the official Sharks Twitter feed: "Hey @espn, thoughts on showing more hockey highlights?"

Awful Announcing's Ken Fang: "Olbermann says he watched a Yankees game sitting next to Ari Fleischer. Said who would have thought that would happen?"

Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay: "Topic of money and college football is worthy of a debate. Let's have the debate in the whirlpool of Oregon's new $68 million locker room."

Grantland's Bill Simmons: "Settle down. RT @FOXSportsLive: You officially have ONE WEEK to enjoy whatever else might be on television. We're coming."
    A response from the official Twitter feed of FS1's "Fox Sports Live:" "Thanks for the welcome to twitter, @BillSimmons! We're looking forward to the @30for30 about how@FOXSports1 changed the game."

Newark Star-Ledger’s Steve Politi: “Good morning. You are waking up to a world in which the Devils are worth significantly more than the Washington Post.”

ESPN's Buster Olney: "It's always a bad idea for players/media to criticize fans for not going to games. It's the fans' money;they can spend it the way they want. ... should an owner/cook of a struggling restaurant criticize would-be customers--or adjust product/placement?"

The Jaguars' official account: "Stay classy, Denver. RT @DenverBroncos: The #Broncos' 51 points in yesterday's win are as many points as the Jaguars have scored all season."

NFL Network's Albert Breer: "Wait, so Atlanta opened the Georgia Dome in 1992 and Turner Field in '97, and they're BOTH being replaced? Camden Yards was '93, right?”

Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski: "All along, Herb Kohl's been committed to keeping Bucks in Milwaukee. He could've cashed out and let someone else move them. He won't do it."