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Volume 10 No. 22
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London Olympics, Rangers Dominate Headlines In The U.K.

The SBD Global staff compiled the top sports business stories globally of '12, in no particular order. Here are the top stories from the U.K.

RANGERS FALL FROM GRACE: Few football clubs had a more roller-coaster year than Scottish Football League's Rangers. The club's financial troubles and dispute with U.K. tax authority HMRC forced the club to fall from the Scottish Premier League to SFL’s Third Division as opposed to the First Division, as was proposed. In June, Charles Green purchased Rangers for more than $8M.

OLYMPIC FUTURE: London’s Olympic Stadium was the scene of the dramatic glitz and glitter of the London Olympics and Paralympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Once the Games left town, however, the hotly debated fate of the venue remained in flux. In December, though, EPL West Ham United was named the preferred bidder to take over the venue, which will be fitted with a new roof and retractable seats.

MANU FLOATS ITS BOAT: ManU made its debut on the N.Y. Stock Exchange midway through the year with hopes of raising up to $383M by selling a 10.2% stake in the club. The flotation prompted ManU supporters to be critical of owners the Glazer family, claiming they were cashing in on the club’s IPO.

EPL TV RIGHTS BONANZA: The Premier League broadcasting landscape in the U.K. changed drastically in June when BSkyB retained broadcast rights in a $4.7B deal. BT also won the rights to broadcast 38 live matches per season. The deal was a $1.9B increase from the previous EPL deal.

The London Olympics was another memorable storyline in the U.K. this past year. Here is a look at three storylines from the Games.

  • EMPTY SEATS: The London Games got off to an ominous start. After just one day of competition, it was realized there were more empty seats than bodies to fill them. Rows upon rows of empty seats were seen at football stadiums, Wimbledon, the Aquatics Centre and beyond. Troops were even drafted to fill empty seats at some venues.
  • RATINGS: The London Games accounted for four of the top eight most-viewed programs in ’12 in the U.K. The Closing Ceremony was the most-viewed program, attracting 24.5 million viewers on BBC1. The Opening Ceremony attracted 24.2, good for second place. The men’s 100m final was the fourth-rated program. The women’s 400m final was eighth.
  • SECURITY FIASCO: The London Games came under scrutiny when security firm G4S failed to recruit enough staff -- more than 10,000 guards -- to secure the event. G4S CEO Nick Buckles revealed his firm took a $79M hit from the scandal.