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Volume 20 No. 41

Reader Survey

It was your chance to sound off, and you responded. Readers cast more than 1,300 votes, weighing in on more than 100 questions that spanned all facets of the industry.

Among the highlights:

Rising ticket prices again drew the most votes when readers were asked to identify the biggest threat to sports. However, readers also clearly identify the threat that improvements to the in-home viewing experience pose to game attendance. Nearly a quarter of readers voted that as the next-biggest problem for sports, a gain of nearly 10 percentage points compared with our 2011 survey.

When at the game, wireless connectivity matters. Big time. Improving Wi-Fi networks was the top suggestion that readers gave to facilities for improving the fan experience, even over parking and concessions pricing. And speaking of concessions pricing: Readers said they start to get squeamish when beer prices reach the $7 to $8 range.

Readers saw concussions as the biggest threat to the NFL, even over rising ticket prices and improved technology for at-home viewing. In fact, more than half said they would not want their child to play full-contact football because of the threat of concussions.

However, when it comes to the NHL, readers still liked their hard knocks. Nearly 75 percent said fighting is a part of the game and should not be banned by the league.

When looking over the fine print in sponsorship agreements, readers said that exclusivity is the most important inventory in such deals. The least important? Signage.

Best uniforms? Readers loved the pinstripes, easily crowning the New York Yankees as the team with the best unis and logos.

Finally, readers didn’t appear to be early adapters of live mobile video. Nearly 40 percent said they had watched live video of a sporting event on a mobile device only one to five times in the last three months, while 32 percent said they had never done so during that time.

Once again, Turnkey Sports & Entertainment provided the technical expertise for the survey, setting up an online site where readers could vote and then tabulating the results. The survey was conducted Oct. 8-26.

The highlights that follow show only the top vote-getters for each of the questions. Look for additional coverage this week at

Outlook for the sports business over the next five years

Very optimistic 47%
Somewhat optimistic 43%
Neither optimistic nor pessimistic 7%
Somewhat pessimistic 3%
Very pessimistic 0%

Responses 1,304

Most powerful brand in sports

ESPN 33%
Nike 33%
N.Y. Yankees 16%

Responses 1,299

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Most marketable athlete

Peyton Manning 18%
LeBron James 15%
Tom Brady 12%
Robert Giffin III 10%
Derek Jeter 10%

Responses 1,277

Most influential person in sports business

Roger Goodell 40%
John Skipper 16%
Bud Selig 6%
Tim Leiweke 5%
David Stern 5%

Responses 1,292

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Biggest threat to sports

Rising ticket prices 27%
Improvements to the in-home viewing experience hurting attendance 24%
Inflated athlete salaries 14%
Integrity of the game 12%

Responses 1,297

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Biggest sports business story of the year

London Olympics 22%
NCAA hits Penn State with severe penalties in the Jerry Sandusky case 18%
Los Angeles Dodgers sold for $2.15 billion to Guggenheim Baseball Management 14%
College football agrees to a playoff 12%

Responses 1,298

Most OVERPRICED major sports property

NFL 29%
MLB 10%

Responses 613

Most UNDERPRICED major sports property

MLS 17%
NHL 15%
UFC 7%
No opinion 18%

Responses 613

MOST VALUABLE property assets in a typical sports sponsorship package

Exclusivity 44%
Intellectual property (team/league marks, etc.) 40%
Branded content 23%
Hospitality/tickets 19%
Athlete rights and appearances 17%
Advertising inventory 17%
Rights to property's business in the category 12%
Signage 9%

Note: Readers could make two selections.
Responses 622

LEAST VALUABLE property assets in a typical sports sponsorship package

Signage 30%
Hospitality/tickets 29%
Athlete rights and appearances 25%
Rights to property's business in the category 22%
Branded content 17%
Advertising inventory 16%
Exclusivity 13%
Intellectual property (team/league marks, etc.) 10%

Note: Readers could make two selections.
Responses 612

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Corporate sponsor you would most want aligned with your property

Nike 39%
Apple 26%
Coca-Cola 22%
Anheuser-Busch 19%
American Express 12%
Visa 12%

Note: Readers could make up to three selections.
Responses 618

Property a corporate sponsor would most want to identify with

NFL 53%
MLB 9%
PGA Tour 8%

Responses 624

Don Muret / Staff

Compared to before the recession, how important is hospitality/tickets in a sponsorship package?

More important 34%
Less important 25%
About the same 35%
No opinion 6%

Responses 619

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League/property with the best overall digital strategy

MLB 44%
NFL 20%
NBA 11%

Responses 677

Network that does the best job covering the NFL

ESPN 33%
Fox 23%
CBS 16%
NBC 16%
NFL Network 12%

Responses 684

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN

Sports network that consistently has the highest production values

ESPN 36%
NBC 18%
Fox 13%
CBS 12%
Turner 4%
They are basically the same 15%

Responses 684

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Best produced sports event on television

Super Bowl 36%
Masters 24%
Final Four 12%

Responses 690

Best NFL analyst on television

Cris Collinsworth, NBC 30%
Jon Gruden, ESPN 29%
Phil Simms, CBS 16%
Troy Aikman, Fox 13%

Responses 684

GettyNBC Photo / Zade Rosenthal

Best NFL play-by-play personality on television

Al Michaels, NBC 37%
Jim Nantz, CBS 21%
Mike Tirico, ESPN 19%
Joe Buck, Fox 11%

Responses 683

Best MLB play-by-play personality on television

Bob Costas, MLB Network 31%
Joe Buck, Fox 24%
Dan Shulman, ESPN 21%

Responses 683

Scott Clarke / ESPN

Best MLB analyst on television

Orel Hershiser, ESPN 22%
Tim McCarver, Fox 16%
Terry Francona, ESPN 14%
John Smoltz, Turner 14%

Responses 677

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Best NBA play-by-play personality on television

Marv Albert, Turner 35%
Mike Breen, ESPN 21%
Mike Tirico, ESPN 17%

Responses 672

ESPN has a different culture under John Skipper compared to George Bodenheimer.

True 30%
False 21%
No opinion 50%

Responses 678

How often have you watched live video of a sporting event on a mobile device in the past three months?

1-5 times 37%
6-10 times 13%
10 times or more 18%
Never 32%

Responses 682

Favorite non-network sports website

Yahoo! Sports 22%
Bleacher Report 17% 17%
Deadspin 16%

Responses 687

Favorite major league website 36% 23% 12% 9%

Responses 671

Favorite sports-related mobile app

ESPN ScoreCenter 26% At Bat 20%
WatchESPN 13%

Responses 681

Favorite network-affiliated sports website 75% 13% 7%

Responses 674

Best college football play-by-play personality on television

Brent Musburger, ABC 28%
Verne Lundquist, CBS 21%
Gus Johnson, Fox 17%
Brad Nessler, ESPN 17%

Responses 674

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN

Best college football analyst on television

Kirk Herbstreit, ABC 57%
Gary Danielson, CBS 12%
Todd Blackledge, ESPN 8%

Responses 672

Best NASCAR play-by-play personality on television

Mike Joy, Fox 14%
Allen Bestwick, ESPN 13%

Responses 649

Best NASCAR analyst on television

Darrell Waltrip, Fox 14%
Dale Jarrett, ESPN 9%

Responses 646

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Best NBA analyst on television

Jeff Van Gundy, ESPN 42%
Steve Kerr, Turner 19%
Hubie Brown, ESPN 12%
Reggie Miller, Turner 10%

Responses 667

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Most effective NFL team owner

Robert Kraft (New England Patriots) 39%
John Mara/Steve Tisch (New York Giants) 15%
Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys) 10%

Responses 622

Biggest threat to the success of the NFL

Concussions 31%
Improved technology for at-home viewing 25%
Rising ticket prices 19%
In-stadium fan behavior 10%

Responses 639

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Knowing the concern with concussions, would you want your child to play full-contact football?

Yes 35%
No 56%
No opinion 9%

Responses 638

Favorite window (ET) for watching NFL games

Thursday, 8 p.m. 1%
Sunday, 1 p.m. 44%
Sunday, 4:15 p.m. 29%
Sunday, 8:15 p.m. 19%
Monday, 8:30 p.m. 7%

Responses 626

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Has Commissioner Roger Goodell acted responsibly or overreached on player discipline?

Has not done enough 11%
Has acted responsibly and adequately 48%
Has overreached 37%
No opinion 4%

Responses 639

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Least effective NFL team owner

Daniel Snyder (Washington Redskins) 10%
Mark Davis (Oakland Raiders) 9%
Ralph Wilson (Buffalo Bills) 8%
Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals) 8%

Responses 597

NFL team that has shown the most innovation in its business practices

Dallas Cowboys 27%
New England Patriots 11%
Green Bay Packers 8%
Pittsburgh Steelers 8%

Responses 568

Team you would most want to work for

New York Giants 14%
New England Patriots 13%
Green Bay Packers 8%
Pittsburgh Steelers 8%

Responses 611

Sponsor that does the best job activating around the NFL

Anheuser-Busch 22%
Papa John’s 15%
Verizon 10%
Gatorade 9%

Responses 615

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Most effective MLB team owner

Hal Steinbrenner (New York Yankees) 16%
Nolan Ryan (Texas Rangers) 11%
Mike Ilitch (Detroit Tigers) 10%
William DeWitt Jr. (St. Louis Cardinals) 10%
Larry Baer (San Francisco Giants) 10%

Responses 665

Least effective MLB team owner

Fred Wilpon (New York Mets) 16%
Jeffrey Loria (Miami Marlins) 14%
David Glass (Kansas City Royals) 11%

Responses 638

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MLB team that has shown the most innovation in its business practices

San Francisco Giants 14%
Boston Red Sox 9%
New York Yankees 9%
Washington Nationals 8%

Responses 626

Should the Oakland A’s be permitted to move to San Jose, despite the territorial claims of the San Francisco Giants?

Yes 63%
No 23%
No opinion 15%

Responses 680

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Team you would most want to work for

New York Yankees 17%
San Francisco Giants 12%
Boston Red Sox 10%

Responses 646

Sponsor that does the best job activating around MLB

Anheuser-Busch 35%
Chevrolet 10%
MasterCard 10%
State Farm 10%

Responses 671

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Most effective NBA team owner

Jerry Buss (Los Angeles Lakers) 27%
Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks) 24%
Micky Arison (Miami Heat) 12%

Responses 562

Least effective NBA team owner

Michael Jordan (Charlotte Bobcats) 27%
James Dolan (New York Knicks) 20%
Donald Sterling (Los Angeles Clippers) 12%

Responses 554

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Team you would most want to work for

Los Angeles Lakers 14%
Boston Celtics 12%
Brooklyn Nets 11%
Dallas Mavericks 10%

Responses 559

Sponsor that does the best job activating around the NBA

Kia Motors 24%
Nike 23%
Coca-Cola (Sprite, Minute Maid, Dasani) 16%
Adidas 10%

Responses 557

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NBA team that has shown the most innovation in its business practices

Brooklyn Nets 22%
Oklahoma City Thunder 19%
Dallas Mavericks 15%

Responses 529

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In five years, which team will "own" New York City?

New York Knicks 50%
Brooklyn Nets 23%
They will split the market 50/50 24%
No opinion 4%

Responses 582

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Most effective NHL team owner

Mike Ilitch (Detroit Red Wings) 27%
Philip Anschutz/Edward Roski (Los Angeles Kings) 12%
Mario Lemieux/Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh Penguins) 10%

Responses 453

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Region most deserving of an expansion or relocated NHL franchise

Quebec City 34%
Seattle 28%
Ontario 22%

Responses 471

Team that has shown the most innovation in its business practices

Los Angeles Kings 14%
Chicago Blackhawks 11%
Washington Capitals 9%

Responses 428

Should the NHL ban player fighting?

Yes, it’s needless violence 24%
No, it’s a part of the game 73%
No opinion 4%

Responses 488

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Team you would most want to work for

Chicago Blackhawks 11%
Boston Bruins 10%
New York Rangers 10%

Responses 437

Do you watch the Stanley Cup Final if your team isn't playing in it?

Yes 65%
No 32%

Responses 489

Least effective NHL team owner

Charles Wang
(New York Islanders)
(Phoenix Coyotes)
James Dolan
(New York Rangers)

Responses 434

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Sponsor that does the best job activating around the NHL

Bridgestone 20%
MillerCoors/Molson Beer 17%
Tim Hortons 8%
Verizon Wireless 7%

Responses 445

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The NFL game experience is one I feel comfortable taking children to

True 49%
False 40%
No opinion 11%

Responses 784

Commissioner you would want to work for

Roger Goodell, NFL 35%
Bud Selig, MLB 23%
Don Garber, MLS 19%
David Stern, NBA 18%
Gary Bettman, NHL 5%

Responses 776

Property/organization with the most growth potential

MLS 29%
UFC 10%
NHL 9%
NBA 6%

Responses 709

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Best team uniforms

New York Yankees 32%
Chicago Blackhawks 9%
Green Bay Packers 9%
Seattle Seahawks 9%
Brooklyn Nets 8%
Detroit Red Wings 8%

Note: Readers could make three selections.
Responses 742

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Best team logos

New York Yankees 26%
Chicago Blackhawks 10%
Dallas Cowboys 10%
Boston Celtics 8%
Boston Red Sox 8%
Brooklyn Nets 8%

Note: Readers could make three selections.
Responses 696

League that will be the first to place a franchise overseas

NBA 49%
NFL 27%
MLS 11%

Responses 779

Is NASCAR a buy, hold or sell stock?

Buy 15%
Sell 42%
Hold 37%
No opinion 7%

Responses 433

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Motorsports property best positioned for growth in the U.S.

Izod IndyCar Series 43%
American Le Mans Series / Grand-Am Road Racing 21%
AMA Supercross/Motocross 20%
NHRA 15%

Responses 407

Sponsor that does the best job activating around NASCAR 17%
Sprint 10%
Lowe’s 8%
Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) 7%
Nationwide 7%

Responses 414

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Conference realignment ...

... has made college sports MORE appealing. 21%
... has made college sports LESS appealing. 53%
... has had NO EFFECT on the appeal of college sports. 23%

Responses 605

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Companies/brands that have done the best job aligning with college sports

Allstate 39%
Capital One 30%
Nike 26%
Home Depot 22%
State Farm 19%

Note: Readers could make three selections.
Responses 577

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Grade the NCAA's effectiveness in dealing with rules enforcement:

A 2%
B 17%
C 34%
D 23%
F 20%

Responses 604

Biggest challenge that's facing NCAA President Mark Emmert

Debate over paying student athletes 23%
Commercialization of student athletes 22%
Revenue disparity among schools 16%
Rules enforcement 16%
Conference realignment 13%
Academic standards for student athletes 9%

Responses 603

How many years before the Penn State football program returns to the top 10?

Fewer than five seasons 22%
Six to 10 seasons 51%
More than 10 seasons 22%
They will never return to the top 10 2%

Note: Readers could make three selections.
Responses 607

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Most innovative conference

Pac-12 45%
SEC 21%
Big Ten 15%
ACC 9%
Big 12 6%
Big East 4%

Responses 583

If college football had a commissioner, it would be:

Mike Slive 18%
Jim Delany 12%
Larry Scott 12%
George Bodenheimer 11%

Responses 588

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Most effective conference commissioner

Mike Slive, SEC 34%
Larry Scott, Pac-12 26%
Jim Delany, Big Ten 14%
John Swofford, ACC 11%
Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 4%
Mike Aresco, Big East 3%

Responses 603

Recent naming-rights deal that will be the most effective for both the brand and the property

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y. 53%
MetLife Stadium, Meadowlands, N.J. 24%
Farmers Field, Los Angeles 18%

Responses 571

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How much is too much for a beer at a sporting event?

$5 8%
$6 14%
$7 25%
$8 30%
$9 12%
$10 or more 11%

Responses 579

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City that will solve the Sacramento Kings' arena issue

Seattle 37%
Sacramento 18%
Anaheim 13%
Kansas City 7%
Virginia Beach, Va. 3%
St. Louis 2%

Responses 569

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If you could go to one of the storied sports venues below that you haven't been to before, what would it be?

Augusta National 30%
Wimbledon 22%
Lambeau Field 16%
Fenway Park 10%
Churchill Downs 7%
Wrigley Field 7%

Responses 580

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What should facilities and teams focus on to improve the fan experience?

Wi-Fi connectivity 53%
Parking/traffic flow 45%
Concessions pricing 41%
Rowdy fans/drunkenness 38%
Concourses/pedestrian flow 18%
In-game entertainment 16%
Seating quality/dimensions 16%
Video/scoreboard system location/quality 15%
Sight lines 13%

Note: Readers could make three selections.
Responses 578

Who will build a new ballpark first?

Oakland A's 61%
Tampa Bay Rays 28%

Responses 572

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Has the UFC peaked in popularity or is there room for more growth?

Peaked 53%
Room for groth 39%

Responses 642

Biggest issue facing the IOC

Easing the financial burden on host cities 45%
Finding ways to appeal to youth 17%
Fixing ticket issues for future Olympics 10%
Selecting a new president 7%
Overhauling the TOP sponsorship program 7%
Security 7%

Responses 643

Grade NBC’s broadcast of the
London Games

A 25%
B 45%
C 19%
D 8%
F 3%

Responses 654

Grade the London Games

A 45%
B 48%
C 5%
D 1%
F 1%

Responses 654

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Are sports agents more or less powerful than they were 10 years ago?

More powerful 36%
Same 33%
Less powerful 30%

Responses 646

If you could play one golf course, it would be

Augusta National 53%
Pebble Beach 25%
St. Andrews 22%

Responses 648

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If you could watch only one golf event a year, it would be

Masters 67%
Ryder Cup 17%
U.S. Open 7%
British Open 5%

Responses 649

When will the U.S. Tennis Association build a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium for the U.S. Open?

1-2 years 10%
3-4 37%
5 years or more 28%
Never 26%

Responses 637

If you could watch only one tennis event a year, it would be

Wimbledon 69%
U.S. Open 38%

Responses 641

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