WCOS: Hints on the NFL and L.A.
Attendees also looked ahead to that year’s World Cup in South Africa, the return of Tiger Woods to competitive play, and the tough labor talks that awaited the nation’s top sports leagues.
AEG’s Tim Leiweke said “The NFL will be in L.A. The NFL needs to be in L.A.”
And Wasserman Media Group’s Casey Wasserman added that there may be other places that are more compelling for an NFL stadium than a site proposed by Ed Roski in City of Industry, Calif.
Later in 2010, AEG and Wasserman pitched the idea of a $1 billion downtown stadium adjacent to L.A. Live. Farmers Insurance has already signed a naming-rights deal should the project materialize and land an NFL team.
Nick Raffaele, Callaway vice president of sports marketing, said the company was disappointed initially when the Tiger Woods scandal broke, but the company had since changed its mind.
Raffaele added, “He’s come back. Augusta is the season opener. There’s a lot of pent-up demand. Now we’re looking at it as a positive. Tiger’s going to come back and he’s going to win.”
Tiger did return to competitive play at Augusta, but has failed to win since his return to play and at some events has even failed to make the cut.
SCP Worldwide’s Dave Checketts, owner of the St. Louis Blues, said the big issue in the backdrop of labor talks facing the top leagues is the change in owners and players since recent work stoppages.
“These guys that are here now were not there in ’99 when [the NBA] lost half a season. They weren’t there in the ’80s when we were at the table with players. They don’t understand yet, in my view, how damaging [a work stoppage] can be.”
Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO of Tennis Channel, echoed sentiments about the potential to increase sports media revenue in the U.S.
“In the entire world of entertainment, what has the upside? I bet on sports over anything except maybe $300 million motion pictures. I don’t think the blush is off the rose in terms of exploiting the value of what we have.”
Joseph Ravitch, founder and partner of investment bank Raine, said, “From a sports rights owner’s perspective, the most important area is going to be international. You’re seeing the acceleration of mobile and broadband technologies as well as paid television in a lot of these markets.”
Spain celebrates 2010 World Cup win.
Audience members predicted that ratings for the World Cup would be up in the summer compared with 2006, with 38 percent predicting ratings would increase significantly, 44 percent predicting they would be slightly higher, 14 percent predicting they would be flat, and just 7 percent saying they would be down.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup averaged a 2.1 U.S. rating and 3.261 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. Those figures were up 31 percent and 41 percent, respectively, from a 1.6 rating and 2.316 million viewers at the 2006 event.