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Volume 21 No. 1

Year End

NHL faces another lockout

A hockey fan protests outside the NHL's headquarters.
Photo by: Getty Images

The NHL implemented its second lockout in eight years, and the third in the 20-year tenure of Commissioner Gary Bettman. Taking its cue from recent labor agreements in the NFL and NBA, the NHL hoped to procure a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue with the players. But getting to 50-50, and agreeing on core economic issues such as revenue sharing, did not prove to be simple.

Photo by: Getty Images
London delivers

The world assumed the London Games would pale in comparison to the Beijing Games that preceded them. But the Brits — and the athletes who competed — proved the world wrong. From Danny Boyle’s distinctly British opening ceremony, to Michael Phelps’ record-setting 18th gold medal, to Usain Bolt’s captivating 100-meter sprint, the 2012 Olympic Games captured the imagination of the world and became the most-watched U.S. TV event in history.

Rights market heats up
Photo by: Getty Images

The market for sports media rights has never been hotter, with the past year marked by several billion-dollar deals. MLB doubled its rights fees with ESPN, Fox and Turner, and NASCAR saw a healthy increase when Fox opted to extend its deal early. ESPN capped things off by agreeing to pay the BCS $500 million a year.

Photo by: Getty Images
Cycling world gets rocked

Lance Armstrong gave up his years-long defense against doping, a move that erased his seven Tour de France titles and sent most of his sponsors packing. The downfall of cycling’s most decorated athlete sent a shock wave throughout the sport, making it more challenging for other cyclists to land sponsors and for the sport, in general, to maintain respect.

AEG goes on the block
AEG's holdings include Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Photo by: Getty Images

When AEG Chairman Phil Anschutz announced plans to sell the company, people wondered who would have pockets deep enough to bid for a company that has a financial stake in virtually every aspect of sports and entertainment. AEG’s reach extends from ownership and operations of teams, arenas, a ticketing outlet and a merchandise company to running AEG Live, North America’s second-largest concert promoter.

Photo by: Getty Images
Blockbuster deal in L.A.

Expectations were already high entering 2012 for the Los Angeles Dodgers to become the most lucrative baseball team sale ever. But Guggenheim Baseball Management wowed the sports industry with a whopping $2.15 billion purchase, nearly doubling the prior record for the sale of any North American sports franchise.

Bountygate shakes up the NFL
Photo by: Getty Images

It began as a shocking development: the New Orleans Saints had a slush fund to pay teammates to knock opposing players out of the game. Suspensions came quickly, but the proceedings have since been dragged before the judiciary, arbitrators and the court of public opinion. Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, acting as an arbitrator, this month threw out the league’s player suspensions and fines, but that likely won’t be the last we hear out of this case that has become a thorn in the side of Commissioner Roger Goodell.

David Stern
Photo by: NBAE / Getty Images
Bud Selig
Photo by: Getty Images
Commissioners make their exit plans

The year saw two of the top commissioners in sports plan their exit strategies. NBA Commissioner David Stern said he will step down in February 2014 after serving as commissioner for 30 years. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said he likely will retire after the 2014 season, when his current deal expires. Have we heard that one before? The 78-year-old Selig has been MLB commissioner since 1992.

The conference shuffle
Photo by: Getty Images

After yet another round of realignment in 2012, one thing hasn’t changed: SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany have the power to flip college sports on its ear. Those two men sit at the controls and will determine whether we enter an era of super conferences.

Photo by: Getty Images
College football playoff

What was once thought impossible is soon going to be a reality. Conference commissioners finally OK’d a four-team playoff to start with the 2014 season. Of course, all that led to was conversation about when the playoff will expand to eight teams.

Nets find a home in Brooklyn
Photo by: NBAE / Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets finally moved across the Hudson River into the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The move, along with the name change and a new branding effort, has revived the franchise and stoked competition between the Nets and Madison Square Garden and the New York Knicks.

Year of the RSN
The power of live sports on television was clear in 2012, when 10 sports channels launched. The Pac-12 conference launched its suite of seven channels in August, followed a little more than a month later by two local sports channels in Los Angeles from Time Warner Cable and one local sports channel in Houston from Comcast.

Presidential power

Photo by: Getty Images

Bill Clinton
Without the help of the former president’s foundation, the tournament formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic would have died a slow death in the California desert. Clinton was front and center during the new Humana Challenge in February, leading the discussion about health and wellness issues that gave the tournament a dual purpose.

Photo by: Getty Images
The negotiator

Jeremy Jacobs
The owner and chairman of the Boston Bruins has been at the center of the firestorm between the NHL and NHLPA during the lockout. Jacobs, who is also the chairman of the NHL’s board of governors, is regarded as the top labor hard-liner among the owners of the league’s 30 franchises.

Cleveland's new boss
Photo by: Getty Images

Jimmy Haslam
Haslam may have wanted to buy his home state Tennessee Titans, but he had to “settle” for the Cleveland Browns. Haslam, who is selling his 12.5 percent interest in the Pittsburgh Steelers, bought the Browns from Randy Lerner, who had inherited the team from his father, the original owner of the new Browns. He’ll need to energize a fan base that has grown tired of losing.

Photo by: Getty Images
On the prowl

Shahid Khan
The Jacksonville Jaguars may still struggle on the field, but off the field the club has an international, dynamic new owner in Khan. He has caught the attention of news magazines and even “60 Minutes,” and not only for his already acclaimed moustache. Khan has embraced the NFL’s London effort, making a four-year commitment to the league’s International Series.

Waiting game

Photo by: Getty Images

Lester Bagley
For 13 long years, Bagley toiled to land a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. This year, his patience and persistence finally paid off. The team’s vice president of public affairs and stadium development played a key role in getting a deal done with state officials to build a $975 million stadium in Minneapolis, ensuring the team’s future in the Twin Cities.

Photo by: Getty Images
Golden moment

Sebastian Coe
The Olympic gold medalist’s stirring speech to the International Olympic Committee in 2005 was credited with clinching the votes that awarded London the 2012 Olympics. Coe followed that by leading an organizing committee that hosted a memorable Summer Games, unblemished by any major issues.

Nothing but nets
Photo by: Patrick E. McCarthy
Photo by: NBAE / Getty Images

Mikhail Prokhorov
Brett Yormark

Brooklyn Nets owner Prokhorov and Nets chief executive Yormark orchestrated the team’s move from New Jersey into the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The move has revived interest in the rebranded Nets as the team competes with the New York Knicks for local basketball supremacy.

Photo by: Getty Images
Fighting back

Michael Weiner
MLBPA chief Weiner already had a reputation for a tireless work ethic, and little has changed even following a shocking diagnosis in August of an inoperable brain tumor. While undergoing treatment, Weiner has kept a regular work schedule, traveled extensively during the postseason, and has been negotiating with MLB on changes to the sport’s drug policy.

The marketer
Photo by: Steve Smith

Marc Pritchard
Marketing ties for Procter & Gamble’s portfolio of 26 billion-dollar brands now reach across Major League Baseball and the NFL and into the Olympics. The company’s marketing efforts around the 2012 Summer Games, as directed by Pritchard, will generate $500 million in incremental sales for P&G. Now that’s ROI.

Photo by: Getty Images
Moving Maryland

Wallace Loh
Loh was the driving force behind the University of Maryland’s secretive move to the Big Ten Conference. Faced with an athletic department that was broke, the university’s president spearheaded the decision to leave the ACC, a conference that Maryland helped start. In doing so, Loh expects the department to be in good financial hands for the foreseeable future.

Hoop dreams
Photo by: NBAE / Getty Images

Robert Pera
Pera and his ownership group paid a reported $377 million to buy the Memphis Grizzlies from Michael Heisley. But Pera went beyond the typical deal by adding star-studded investors to his group, including entertainer Justin Timberlake, the NFL’s Peyton Manning and former NBA star Penny Hardaway.

Photo by: Getty Images
Title run

Roger Penske
After 40 years of competing in NASCAR, Penske won his first Sprint Cup championship. The achievement was celebrated by peers who were happy to see success come to a man who has done so much for the sport, from building a speedway in California to running a full-time race team for 22 years.

The blown call heard ’round the league

Photo by: Getty Images

The grumbling over replacement refs had been building, but it was a blown call during the “Monday Night Football” game between the Packers and Seahawks that rained down criticism on the league’s failure to reach a new deal with its regular refs. Within a few days of the fiasco, a deal was struck and the regular refs were back on the field.

Toasting a new champion
Photo by: Getty Images

Driver Brad Keselowski celebrated his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship by posting the moment on Twitter and chugging a glass filled with beer from primary sponsor Miller Lite, showing the sport that he would be anything but a conventional champion. He not only revved up an enthusiastic crowd at the track, he gave NASCAR an appealing personality that could fire up its overall fan base.

Pulling the plug on email
Photo by: NBAE / Getty Images

Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis unplugged both his Caps and Wizards email accounts, saying he had found a decreasing usefulness in his email exchanges. Leonsis said he finds more benefits from meeting with people one-on-one, being on message boards, holding season-ticket-holder meetings, and reading Facebook and Twitter messages. Said Leonsis: “I have lots of other ways to get input and interaction; this one just ran its course.”

GM’s Man U deal backfires
The massive deal led to the departure of CMO Joel Ewanick.
Photo by: Getty Images

It was hard for some to fathom the scope of General Motors’ nearly $600 million sponsorship with EPL club Manchester United. Apparently the numbers stunned GM’s leadership as well. Shortly after news of the deal emerged, GM sacked its CMO, Joel Ewanick. Sources said the automaker believed that Ewanick failed to disclose the full cost of the deal.

Not in the Longhorn playbook

For all the benefits the Longhorn Network touted as bringing to University of Texas athletics, football coach Mack Brown wondered aloud if he was spending precious time on air that could be used preparing for games. He also stressed concern that opponents may be gaining a competitive advantage from watching the network. Said Brown: “There’s no question it takes away some of your time. And when you do a show, if your mind is somewhere else, you’re screwing that up, too.”

F1 finds some traction
Photo by: Getty Images

Austin rolled out a 3.4-mile road course and made Formula One’s return to America a successful one. While not all the numbers for Circuit of the Americas met projections, the event earned high marks from both F1 and the enthusiastic crowd that attended.

No big splash
Photo by: Getty Images

The Miami Marlins started the season with the type of enthusiasm that only a new ballpark could generate. But the paint had hardly dried before fans saw that the team was going to be a bust on the field. At the end of the season, the team fired its manager and dumped many of its top players in a massive trade with Toronto. That’s caused more than a few ripples among fans in South Florida.

Stopped in its tracks
Crews pack up the marathon's props.
Photo by: Getty Images

For most of the week leading up to the ING New York City Marathon, it appeared the show would go on, despite the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. But when Mayor Michael Bloomberg faced criticism that he favored runners over devastated neighborhoods, he called off the event barely 36 hours before its start. For its role in the debacle, the New York Road Runners faced a public relations crisis of its own and was forced to switch to damage control.

Benson steps in
Photo by: NBAE / Getty Images

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson secured the future of the NBA’s Hornets in the Crescent City by purchasing the franchise from the league for $338 million. Benson once walked away from a potential bid, but re-entered the discussion for fear another buyer would relocate the team. Said Benson: “When I was on the phone with Gov. [Bobby] Jindal, telling him what I was going to do, I thought he was coming through the phone to kiss me.”

Costas takes on guns
Photo by: Paul Drinkwater / NBC

NBC Sports’ Bob Costas used the halftime of the Eagles-Cowboys “Sunday Night Football” game to speak about gun control following the tragedy involving Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins. While some praised Costas for his stand and comments about the nation’s gun culture, others wondered if halftime of a football game was the proper place to tackle the topic.

AT&T’s Olympic performance

AT&T deserves a medal itself for how the Olympic sponsor integrated record-breaking and award-winning performances of Team USA athletes into TV ads. The spots, created by BBDO New York, aired the day of the respective event. The turnaround to produce the ads was quick, but the spots left a lasting impression.

Hanging with the mayor

London Mayor Boris Johnson was left dangling inelegantly in front of a small crowd after he took the inaugural ride on a zip line in Victoria Park during the Summer Olympics. He spent about five minutes suspended from the line, but made the most of the situation by going patriotic, waving flags and leading the crowd in cheers. It was a trademark moment of goofiness for the politician, and a demonstration that the mayor was willing to do almost anything to make sure locals and visitors were having fun.

Jan. 4
■ Shahid Khan becomes the sole owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars when an electronic wire transfer of funds is completed. The deal is valued at $770 million.

Jan. 5
■ More than 200 million viewers watch NFL games during the 2011-12 regular season, with an average of 17.5 million per game, making it the second-highest viewership average since 1989.

Jan. 6
■ Lagardère Unlimited enters the Major League Baseball and golf player representation business, announcing it has acquired Gaylord Sports Management.

Tim Finchem
Photo by: Getty Images
Jan. 11
■ PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem receives a contract extension through June 2016. Finchem became commissioner in 1994.

Jan. 13
■ The IOC and McDonald’s announce that the company has extended its TOP sponsorship through 2020, keeping the company the official restaurant of the Olympic Games.

Jan. 23
■ NBC signs the Breeders’ Cup to a multiyear media rights deal beginning in November.
■ Legacy Sports Group, the baseball player representation firm, merges with athlete marketing company The Agency. The merged company is known as The Legacy Agency.

Jan. 25
■ The NFL extends Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract another five years to March 2019.

Jan. 30

■ Women’s Professional Soccer suspends operations for the 2012 season. In May, the league would officially fold.

Jan. 31
■ NASCAR and Turner Sports announce a deal that will see NASCAR buy back its digital rights from Turner and take over the management of in 2013.
■ Fans are allowed to attend Super Bowl Media Day for the first time, and 7,300 fans take advantage of the opportunity, some buyers paying more than $350 on the secondary market for a $25 ticket.

Feb. 3
■ The NFL approves $200 million in league financing for the San Francisco 49ers’ planned stadium in Santa Clara, clearing one of the last hurdles to building the first new football stadium in California since the 1960s.

Photo by: Getty Images
Feb. 5
■ NBC attracts 111.3 million viewers for the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLVI broadcast, making the game the most-viewed program in U.S. television history.

Feb. 8
■ Honda Center officials break ground on a $20 million dining project intended to help attract an NBA team to the Anaheim venue.

Feb. 16
■ Emirates Airline announces a deal with the USTA to become title sponsor of the U.S. Open Series and the official airline of the U.S. Open. Sources value the seven-year deal at more than $90 million.

Feb. 17
■ The Boston Red Sox give dignitaries a tour of JetBlue Park, the team’s new spring training location in Florida that is designed as a miniature version of Fenway Park.

Feb. 22
■ The PGA Tour announces a five-year extension of FedEx’s sponsorship of the tour’s seasonlong points championship through 2017.

Feb. 25
■ NBA Commissioner David Stern says he will recommend Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to succeed him as commissioner when he retires.

Feb. 26

Derrick Rose
Photo by: NBAE / Getty Images

■ Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose secures one of the richest shoe endorsement deals in history, a package with Adidas that could pay him more than $200 million across the remainder of his career.

March 1
■ MLB decides to expand the playoffs from eight to 10 teams, starting this season.
■ Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross moves to form a sports and entertainment company, and hires former New York Jets executive Matt Higgins to run the venture.

March 2
■ The Philadelphia Eagles team with solar company NRG, which will design, build and operate the biggest solar array in the NFL.

March 5
■ Allstate signs a multiyear contract to become an NCAA corporate partner.

March 12
■ The NFL says it will take away millions of dollars of salary-cap space from the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins for front-loading contracts during the uncapped 2010 season.

March 13
■ Hollywood Park will be known as Betfair Hollywood Park after signing a five-year naming-rights deal with the betting exchange company, the first for a U.S. horse racing track.

March 14
■ The Big 12 has nearly wrapped up a blockbuster TV contract with ESPN that will earn the conference — combined with its Fox contract — $2.5 billion over the next 13 years.

March 16
■ The Los Angeles Galaxy signs a 10-year, $44 million renewal with Herbalife as the team’s jersey sponsor. The deal is the longest and most lucrative jersey deal in Major League Soccer.

Peyton Manning
Photo by: Getty Images
March 20
■ The Denver Broncos win the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, signing the quarterback to a five-year, $96 million deal.

March 21
■ The NFL slams the New Orleans Saints with penalties for a bounty program the team ran from 2009-11 that allegedly paid bonuses for hits that knocked opponents out of a game. Among the penalties: Saints head coach Sean Payton is suspended for a full season without pay.
■ The PGA Tour approves changes to the structure of its qualifying system, establishing the Nationwide Tour as the primary way to gain tour membership.

March 22
■ NFL player representatives unanimously vote to re-elect DeMaurice Smith as executive director of the NFLPA.

March 28
■ A group led by basketball hall of famer Magic Johnson and former Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves President Stan Kasten emerge as the winner for the Los Angeles Dodgers, striking a deal for $2.15 billion.

March 30
■ Wasserman Media Group receives a $25 million investment from Highbridge Capital Management, and plans to use the money for acquisitions and strategic growth initiatives.

April 3
■ Nike and the NFL unveil the new jerseys for the 2012 season, marking the brand’s debut as the league’s uniform and apparel partner.
■ The AVP announces that AOS Group has bought 100 percent of the pro beach volleyball league’s assets from DFA PVA II Partners for $2 million.

April 4

Marlins Park
Photo by: Getty Images

■ Marlins Park plays host to its first regular-season game, before a crowd of 36,601 fans.
■ The San Francisco Giants say they plan to convert AT&T Park’s parking lot into a development featuring houses, offices, shops and restaurants. The $1.6 billion project will be called Mission Rock.

April 6
■ The cable channel created for the Mountain West Conference — the Mtn. — announces plans to shut down and go dark May 31.

April 9
■ IMG agrees to buy the ATP and WTA tour events in Memphis and move them to Rio de Janeiro to be part of its Brazil venture, IMX.

April 13
■ The NFL notifies its teams that the league’s ban on accepting casino ads has been lifted.

April 15
■ NBA Commissioner David Stern secures the signature of New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson on a contract to buy the Hornets from the NBA for $338 million.

April 16
■ Mountain Dew negotiates a new title sponsorship for its Dew Tour, run by NBC’s Alli Sports, that will result in a wholesale reinvention of the property and give the sponsor a management voice in its operation.

Tiger Stadium
Photo by: Getty Images
April 19
■ LSU’s Tiger Stadium will undergo the venue’s third major expansion in the last two decades as the south end is expanded, part of a $100 million project that will also include facility improvements for gymnastics, tennis, and track and field.

April 30
■ The Nets unveil their new team logos and black and white color scheme as the franchise moves closer to its relocation to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The logo was created by rapper Jay-Z, a Brooklyn native and part owner of the franchise.
■ The United Center’s owners — Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz — announce plans for a $75 million to $85 million retail development adjacent to the arena.

May 1
■ A year after it opened bidding to host three new X Games events, ESPN announces that it will take its action sports spectacle to Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil; Munich; and Barcelona, Spain. The cities will host their first X Games events in 2013 and subsequent events in 2014 and 2015.

May 8
■ Casino developer Steve Wynn abandons plans to build a Foxboro gambling resort on land near Gillette Stadium that is owned by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The move comes after anti-casino candidates sweep the Foxboro selectman race.

May 9
■ The ACC’s newly renegotiated media contract with ESPN will pay $3.6 billion over the next 15 years, an average of $240 million per year. The ACC’s new deal was the byproduct of conference expansion from 12 to 14 teams with the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

May 10

New Vikings stadium
Photo by: Minnesota Vikings

■ The Minnesota Senate approves a $975 million Vikings stadium, clearing the last major legislative hurdle for the project.

May 12
■ AEG and the Houston Dynamo hold the inaugural MLS game at the team’s new $95 million home, BBVA Compass Stadium, before a sellout of 22,039 fans.

May 15
■ The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission approves a controversial deal to surrender day-to-day control of the historic venue to USC. The deal calls for the university to put $70 million into upgrades and to take control of the coliseum’s revenue.

May 21
■ General Motors says it will forgo advertising in the next Super Bowl rather than accept a price increase, as the automaker overhauls its marketing operations.

May 22
■ Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank secures the naming rights to the Bradley Center in Milwaukee as part of a new six-year sponsorship.

May 24
■ The U.S. Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee agree in principle on a new revenue-sharing agreement that will preserve the USOC’s revenue at current levels and includes an escalator for inflation. The agreement guarantees the USOC approximately $410 million per quadrennium, plus inflation and a percentage of revenue from new growth areas.
■ Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios lays off all of its nearly 400 employees, leaving Rhode Island on the hook for paying $75 million in bonds to fund the Providence-based video game developer.

Photo by: Getty Images
May 30
■ After an apparent pledge from the players to make the Pro Bowl more competitive, the NFL says it is returning the game to Hawaii for 2013. The future of the annual all-star game had been in doubt after a lackluster effort by the players in this year’s game.

June 4
■ EA Sports announces it has acquired a multiyear, multi-title video game license from the UFC, ending several years of often bad blood between the two properties.
■ The NFL locks out referees after the two sides fail to agree on terms of a new contract.
■ The Cleveland Indians say they are scrapping the Snow Days concept after a disappointing year. Snow Days ran for the last two years at Progressive Field, offering snow tubing, ice skating and hockey games.

June 5
■ A unit of News Corp. agrees to buy ESPN’s 50 percent equity interest in ESPN STAR Sports. News Corp. will own and operate all of the ESS businesses.

June 8

Photo by: Getty Images

■ International Speedway Corp. takes early steps to revive and expand its former Daytona Live! project, seeking city approval to nearly double the space for a planned entertainment complex across from Daytona International Speedway.

June 11
■ The Memphis Grizzlies announce that owner Michael Heisley has agreed to sell the club to Ubiquiti Networks founder and CEO Robert Pera. Sources value the deal in the $350 million range.

June 14
■ The USTA will spend an estimated $500 million through the coming decade to build a new Louis Armstrong Stadium, a new grandstand on unused land at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and a double-deck viewing area for fans to watch players practice during the U.S. Open.

June 18
■ The Philadelphia Eagles are planning major changes at Lincoln Financial Field, including adding seats and building field-level suites.

June 20
■ BCS commissioners announce that they have developed a consensus behind a four-team seeded playoff for college football.

Ballpark Village
Photo by: The Cordish Companies
June 27
■ The St. Louis Cardinals and Anheuser-Busch InBev reach a licensing and sponsorship agreement for a restaurant and beer garden as part of the $100 million, first phase of Ballpark Village, the long-awaited development alongside Busch Stadium.

July 2
■ The NFL will water down its TV blackout rule this season, giving teams the option of allowing local broadcasts for games even when as few as 85 percent of tickets are sold.

July 5
■ The USOC decides against submitting a bid for the 2022 Winter Games and will instead consider bidding for the 2024 and 2026 Olympics.

July 6
■ Philadelphia 76ers minority owners Erick Thohir and Jason Levien have agreed to become co-owners of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United.

July 11
■ The Detroit Pistons this summer will begin a $15 million arena improvement project at the Palace of Auburn Hills that will eliminate 16 suites and renovate 40 others.

July 16

Photo by: Getty Images

■ ESPN agrees to pay an average of $80 million a year for rights to the Rose Bowl.
■ Montreal Canadiens President and CEO Geoff Molson announces plans to build a $177 million skyscraper on the team’s Centennial Plaza.

July 23
■ The NCAA imposes several sanctions against the Penn State football program in connection with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The penalties include a $60 million fine.

July 27
■ Seven years of meticulous planning come to a spectacular climax with the opening ceremony of the London Games.

July 30
■ General Motors’ Chevrolet brand formally unveils its seven-year sponsorship deal with English Premier League club Manchester United valued at nearly $600 million.
■ Churchill Downs Inc. formally announces the creation of The Mansion at Churchill Downs, part of a $9 million renovation. The premium area will be available to 320 invitation-only customers.

Aug. 2
■ Pilot Travel Centers President and CEO and Pittsburgh Steelers investor Jimmy Haslam III reaches an agreement with Randy Lerner to buy the Cleveland Browns. Sources value the deal at about $1 billion.

Aug. 6
■ Turner Sports announces it has purchased online sports destination Bleacher Report. Sources value the deal at $175 million.

Photo by: Getty Images
Aug. 7
■ The O’Malley group purchases the San Diego Padres from John Moores for approximately $800 million.

Aug. 14
■ Former CBS Sports executive Mike Aresco is officially announced as the new Big East Conference commissioner.
■ The Pac-12 Conference turns on its television networks, a venture projected to funnel millions of additional revenue to member schools.

Aug. 17
■ Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander is in the final stages of negotiations to buy Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo and secure the 30-year lease and development agreement on BBVA Compass Stadium.

Aug. 20
■ Augusta National Golf Club invites former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina-based financier Darla Moore to become the club’s first female members.
■ The company owned by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft wants to expand its Patriot Place development at Gillette Stadium with hundreds of housing units, several restaurants and a hotel.

Aug. 24
■ Cyclist Lance Armstrong will be stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles after deciding to abandon his long fight against doping charges.

Aug. 27
■ Los Angeles sports, government and law enforcement officials announce the adoption of a uniform Southern California Fan Code of Conduct.

Aug. 28

■ ESPN agrees to a deal that locks down MLB rights into the next decade. Sources say the eight-year deal is worth $5.6 billion.

Aug. 29
■ Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announces the selection of the Sabres, team owner Terry Pegula and HarborCenter Development as the preferred developer of the Webster Block, a 1.7-acre, city-owned site across from First Niagara Center. The estimated $123 million project includes two new ice rinks, a hotel, retail space, a restaurant and new parking structure.
■ Jorge Vergara and his wife, Angelica Fuentes, buy out partners Antonio and Lorenzo Cue to become the sole owners and managing partners of Major League Soccer’s Chivas USA.

Aug. 30
■ Home-improvement retailer Lowe’s agrees to a multiyear deal to sponsor nearly 80 universities in one of the largest college sponsorship deals ever signed.

Aug. 31
■ Allen High School in Allen, Texas, raises the curtain on its latest field: a $59.6 million sunken-bowl stadium that covers 72 acres and includes a high-definition video screen and free Wi-Fi for the more than 18,000 in attendance.

Sept. 5
■ American sports car racing’s premier series announce the merger of Grand-Am Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series into a unified series, beginning in 2014.

Sept. 10
■ The Florida Panthers sign a long-term extension with BB&T for naming rights to their arena, a deal that could extend over 20 years. Sources value the deal at $3.7 million a year.

Photo by: Getty Images
Sept. 11
■ HBO and ESPN announce a multiyear boxing programming and marketing agreement. The deal includes coordinated support for major pay-per-view events, including sharing programming content, cross-promotion elements and highlight packages across ESPN and HBO platforms.
■ The Seattle City Council has a tentative agreement with investor Chris Hansen to build a proposed $490 million basketball and hockey arena in the city’s SoDo neighborhood.

Sept. 12
■ The ACC unanimously votes to accept the University of Notre Dame as a new member. The school will compete as a full member in all conference-sponsored sports except for football, though Notre Dame will play five games annually against league programs.

Sept. 14
■ The Pittsburgh Steelers and local political leaders negotiate the framework of a deal to finance the construction of an additional 3,000 seats at Heinz Field.

Sept. 15
■ The NHL locks out players beginning at midnight, after owners and players are unable to agree on a new labor deal.

Sept. 19
■ AEG is put up for sale, a move that could reshape the face of sports ownership in Southern California. The company owns and manages a range of sports and entertainment properties, including the L.A. Live complex, NHL Kings, MLS Galaxy, O2 Arena in London, and the O2 World Berlin.

Sept. 20
■ MLB is close to finalizing deals with Fox and Turner that would tie up the league’s media rights through 2021. Similar to MLB’s ESPN deal, Fox and Turner agree to eight-year deals worth more than double what the two companies were paying previously. That means Fox will pay around $4 billion over eight years and Turner will pay around $2.8 billion over eight years.

Sept. 21
■ After 10 years, Time Warner Cable and NFL Network finally agree to a carriage deal. TWC was the final remaining holdout among the top cable operators.

Sept. 26

Photo by: NBAE / Getty Images

■ WNBA teams average 7,457 fans per game this season, marking the league’s lowest average since it began play in 1997.
■ The NFL and NFL Referees Association reach an agreement on an eight-year deal that immediately puts the regular refs back on the field.
■ Centerplate officials announce that they will complete a management-led buyout of the sports concessionaire in the fourth quarter in a partnership with investment firm Olympus Partners. The transaction is valued at $551 million.

Oct. 2
■ The Chicago Cubs announce plans to add 56 seats behind home plate by moving the brick wall three feet closer to the field.

Oct. 4
■ The NHL cancels the first two weeks of the planned 2012-13 season, the first games lost to the ongoing labor dispute.
■ MLB teams average 30,895 fans a game this season, marking the league’s best attendance since the 2008 season.

Oct. 12
■ Sources say that a Tony George-led group has submitted an offer to Hulman & Co. to acquire the IndyCar Series.

Oct. 15
■ Fox and NASCAR finalize an eight-year extension of their TV rights agreement. Sources valued the deal at more than $2.4 billion.
■ The Sacramento Kings and Sleep Train Mattress Centers announce a five-year partnership that includes naming rights for the Kings’ arena.

Oct. 17
■ Nike terminates its relationship with cyclist Lance Armstrong. Several other sponsors, including Anheuser-Busch, soon follow.
■ The Big East and Madison Square Garden are poised to announce a multiyear extension that will keep the Big East’s men’s basketball tournament at the arena through the 2015-16 season.

Oct. 19
■ The Teacher Retirement System of Texas reaches a preliminary deal to acquire a 3 percent stake in Formula One, a deal valued at $200 million.

Photo by: Getty Images
Oct. 20
■ The UFL announces that it has suspended the 2012 season amid mounting financial woes.

Oct. 24
■ The New York Islanders announce they are moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, beginning with the 2015-16 season.

Oct. 25
■ David Stern announces that he will step down as NBA commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014. He will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.

Oct. 28

Photo by: Getty Images

■ NBC Sports Group acquires exclusive U.S. media rights for the English Premier League through a multiyear agreement that begins with the 2013-14 season. Sources say NBC will pay the league $80 million to $85 million annually.
■ Izod IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard resigns, ending his leadership of the series with two years left on his five-year contract.

Oct. 29
■ Augusta National is planning a major renovation and addition to its historic clubhouse.

Nov. 2
■ Damage from Hurricane Sandy forces the cancellation of the ING New York City Marathon.
■ The NHL cancels the 2013 Winter Classic, the latest casualty of failed labor negotiations.

Nov. 3
■ Big league sports officially returns to Brooklyn as the Nets play their first regular-season game in the new Barclays Center.

Nov. 7
■ Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul, former NFL players Jerome Bettis and Terrell Owens, and comedian Kevin Hart will be among eight celebrity owners in the Professional Bowlers Association’s new team league for the game’s top pros.

Trying to dry the court proved futile at the Carrier Classic.
Photo by: Getty Images
Nov. 9
■ Officials in Charleston, S.C., cancel the Marquette-Ohio State Carrier Classic after condensation on the court makes it unsafe. In Jacksonville, the second half of the Florida-Georgetown Navy-Marine Corps Classic basketball game aboard the USS Bataan is also canceled because of moisture on the court.
■ ESPN is close to securing media rights for the entire college football playoff system, with industry sources pegging the new 12-year BCS package at $500 million a year. That means ESPN would own college football’s postseason for a total of $7.3 billion over 12 years, beginning with the 2014 season.

Nov. 12
■ The BCS commissioners and Presidential Oversight Committee settle on a rotation of six bowls for the semifinals of the upcoming college football playoff system.

Nov. 14
■ Seven months after opening a new $515 million ballpark and touting the most expensive roster of players in the history of the franchise, the Miami Marlins dump payroll by trading Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays. The deal will give the Marlins around $160 million in salary relief.

Nov. 15

■ Ohio State University announces that J. America Sportswear and Fanatics Inc. won the bidding to produce OSU-licensed apparel. The 10-year deal is expected to give the school $9.7 million annually.
■ The Seattle Mariners have announced plans to install the largest video board in all of Major League Baseball. The screen will measure 201.5 feet wide by 56.7 feet tall.

Nov. 18
■ More than 117,000 fans pack into the just-completed Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, to watch the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race.

David Beckham
Photo by: Getty Images
Nov. 19
■ David Beckham announces that the MLS Cup on Dec. 1 will be his final game for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
■ The University of Maryland accepts an invitation to join the Big Ten Conference. Rutgers University later joins Maryland in moving to the Big Ten, while Louisville agrees to take Maryland’s former spot in the ACC.

Nov. 20
■ Google agrees to pay the NBA a rights fee in the low six figures to stream 350 NBA D-League games live this season.

Nov. 21
■ News Corp. will pay the Yankees $500 million as part of the media company’s purchase of 49 percent of YES Network.

Nov. 30
■ Private equity firm Calera Capital is buying endurance sports leader Competitor Group for nearly $250 million.
■ Fox Sports Ohio is close to purchasing Sports-Time Ohio for between $200 million and $250 million.

Dec. 4
■ Officials from Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch’s Olympia Development Co. outline plans for a $650 million, mixed-use development in downtown Detroit.
■ IMG College affiliate The Collegiate Licensing Co. announces it has renewed partnerships with 16 bowl partners to continue managing the bowls’ respective trademark licensing programs. CLC also has added four new bowl properties to its client roster.

Dec. 6
■ The 2013-14 college basketball season could begin on Veterans Day weekend with four games taking place simultaneously at Cowboys Stadium, based on plans currently in the works.

Dec. 8

Jack Nicklaus
Photo by: Getty Images

■ Jack Nicklaus has decided to back a proposed youth golf league. If all goes as planned, about 300 Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues will pop up this spring in city parks-and-recreation departments across the country.

Dec. 10
■ StubHub and MLBAM have signed a five-year contract extension for StubHub to remain baseball’s official ticket resale marketplace.
■ NBC Sports and Yahoo Sports have struck a digital partnership that will create by far the most highly trafficked online sports destination in the country and calls for large amounts of content and sales collaboration.

Source: SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily archives

Click to learn more

Mike Krzyzewski
Photo by: Getty Images
“Where else is this in the middle of a court or playing field? There isn’t a logo in between the second baseman and shortstop. You’re not side-stepping over Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.”
— Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, supporting an NCAA rules committee decision to remove temporary decals
or logos from courts

“The best thing I can say about this season was at least it was short.”
— Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, in a letter to fans about the team going 28-38 and missing the playoffs during the 2011-12 NBA season

“It was a cocktail napkin that I wrote the deal on and I said, ‘Here’s the deal.’ The napkin was square. He said, ‘You will really sell me the team?’ I said, ‘Let’s shake hands on this deal and I’m going to sell you the team.’”
— Outgoing Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver, on his deal to sell the team to Shahid Khan

“The gentleman is a good man. He still works for me. We didn’t shoot him or anything like that.”

Bruton Smith
Photo by: Getty Images

— SMI Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith, on an engineer who authorized changes to Bristol Motor Speedway without Smith’s approval

“Melinda Witmer and I kid about it now, but it was our summer ritual where we would lose three weeks of our lives trying to come to an agreement.”
— NFL Media COO Brian Rolapp, on his annual talks with the Time Warner Cable executive prior to the two sides reaching a deal this year to carry NFL Network

“I can think of more exciting ways to spend the day. But the fans seem to be enjoying it very much.”
— New York Giants President and CEO John Mara, on the league selling tickets to fans for Super Bowl Media Day

Charles Wang
Photo by: Getty Images
“When you have a good alternative, at some point you take the alternative.”
— New York Islanders owner Charles Wang, on the team moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015-16 instead of building a new arena on Long Island

“Alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we’re going to have them. Excuse me if I sound arrogant, but that’s something we won’t negotiate.”
— FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke, on Brazil having banned alcoholic drinks at soccer stadiums since 2003

“My message to them is, goodbye. You don’t want to stay, we don’t want you.”
— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the Nets’ move to Brooklyn

“Yeah, I’d feel very badly if you didn’t ask it. You aren’t going to get a (expletive) answer.”
— MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, when asked for an update on the Oakland A’s and their stadium situation

“Why are you keeping that a secret from your audience? In the 21st century, we have this thing called the Internet. People in Swaziland know a no-hitter is going on.”
— Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Charley Steiner, on the Los Angeles Angels’ television crew not mentioning that Jered Weaver was in the middle of a no-hitter during a game against the Minnesota Twins

Cory Booker
Photo by: Getty Images

“He came to this city with a mouthful of promises and a pocketful of lies. He is a highfalutin, high-class huckster and hustler.”
— Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, on New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek, after an arbitration panel ruled that the team should get $2.7 million annually in Prudential Center parking revenue


1 2/5 Super Bowl XLVI: Giants-Patriots NBC 47.0 111,346
2 1/22 AFC Championship: Patriots-Ravens CBS 30.6 57,635
3 1/22 NFC Championship: Giants-49ers Fox 27.4 48,676
4 1/15 NFC Divisional Playoff: Giants-Packers Fox 25.3 45,100
5 1/8 AFC Wild Card: Broncos-Steelers CBS 24.0 42,371
6 7/27 London Olympics: Opening ceremony NBC 21.0 40,651
7 7/31 London Olympics: Night 5 NBC 21.0 38,719
8 8/2 London Olympics: Night 7 NBC 21.8 36,799
9 7/29 London Olympics: Night 3 NBC 21.1 36,047
10 1/14 NFC Divisional Playoff: 49ers-Saints Fox 20.5 35,600


1 7/27 London Olympics: Opening ceremony NBC 21.0 40,651
2 7/31 London Olympics: Night 5 NBC 21.0 38,719
3 8/2 London Olympics: Night 7 NBC 21.8 36,799
4 7/29 London Olympics: Night 3 NBC 21.1 36,047
5 7/30 London Olympics: Night 4 NBC 19.8 31,582
6 8/5 London Olympics: Night 10 NBC 18.0 31,262
7 8/12 London Olympics: Closing ceremony NBC 17.5 31,011
8 8/1 London Olympics: Night 6 NBC 17.0 30,804
9 8/7 London Olympics: Night 12 NBC 17.9 30,146
10 8/8 London Olympics: Night 13 NBC 17.6 29,093


1 1/9 BCS National Championship: Alabama-LSU ESPN 14.0 24,214
2 1/2 Rose Bowl: Oregon-Wisconsin ESPN 10.2 17,558
3 10/1 “Monday Night Football”: Bears-Cowboys ESPN 10.5 16,616
4 12/3 “Monday Night Football”: Giants-Redskins ESPN 10.2 16,209
5 9/24 “Monday Night Football”: Packers-Seahawks ESPN 10.3 16,167
6 9/17 “Monday Night Football”: Broncos-Falcons ESPN 10.0 15,515
7 10/8 “Monday Night Football”: Texans-Jets ESPN 9.0 14,047
8 1/2 Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State-Stanford ESPN 8.4 13,684
9 6/9 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Heat-Celtics: Game 7 ESPN 7.7 13,346
10 11/5 “Monday Night Football”: Eagles-Saints ESPN 8.2 12,857


1 1/9 BCS National Championship: Alabama-LSU ESPN 14.0 24,214
2 1/2 Rose Bowl: Oregon-Wisconsin ESPN 10.2 17,558
3 1/2 Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State-Stanford ESPN 8.4 13,684
4 6/9 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Heat-Celtics: Game 7 ESPN 7.7 13,346
5 6/7 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Heat-Celtics: Game 6 ESPN 6.8 11,068
6 6/3 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Heat-Celtics: Game 4 ESPN 6.8 11,068
7 6/5 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Heat-Celtics: Game 5 ESPN 6.3 10,251
8 1/3 Sugar Bowl: Michigan-Virginia Tech ESPN 6.1 9,572
9 6/6 NBA Western Conference Finals: Thunder-Spurs: Game 6 TNT 6.0 9,498
10 5/28 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics-Heat: Game 1 ESPN 5.6 8,989

Note: Through Dec. 3
Source: SportsBusiness Daily research

This partnership’s for the birds

The no-duh marketing deal of the year may belong to the Philadelphia Eagles, who partnered with Rovio Entertainment, the creators of the popular “Angry Birds” game. The highlight was the launch of an “Angry Birds” game featuring the Eagles mascot in a very natural role.

Silly String will get you fired
It seemed like a harmless prank when Kelly Frank, in her costumed role as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s ThunderBug mascot, sprayed a Boston Bruins fan with Silly String at a Jan. 17 game. But the fan took offense and pushed ThunderBug down, a moment caught on camera and viewed by thousands on YouTube. The team, stung by the bad PR, dismissed Frank.

On second thought, the number’s fine
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson toyed with the idea of changing his number for the 2012 season, but bagged the thought after learning it would cost him “a million bucks” to do so. Players who switched numbers in recent years had to pay Reebok, the league’s uniform supplier at the time, a refund for existing jerseys. Peterson did the math: the number 28 has far fewer digits.

Photo by: NBAE / Getty Images
And now, your starting lineup!
Who needs light shows and videos to spice up player intros when you have Will Ferrell? The actor was filming a movie in New Orleans in February when he stopped by the arena to introduce team lineups prior to a Bulls-Hornets game. He took liberties with player bios, reserving most of the ribbing for the visiting Bulls. A sampling:
■ “At forward, No. 5, he still lives with his mother … Carlos Boozer.”
■ “At forward, No. 9, he collects rare birds and has a pet dolphin named Chachi … Luol Deng.”
■ “And at guard, No. 1, his favorite movie is ‘The Notebook’ … Derrick Rose.”

I’m also a client
Sure, New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker can catch, but he’s good at pitching, too. Such was the case after Welker underwent a hair restoration procedure at Leonard Hair Transplant Associates. He liked his locks so much, he later appeared in television, radio and print ads with Dr. Robert Leonard to talk about his experience and to raise awareness about hair loss.

Label this a blunder
When Ralph Lauren unveiled the uniforms that Team USA would wear in the London Olympics, all seemed well. That is, until someone realized that the uniforms were made in China. The discovery set off a firestorm of criticism, from sports radio to the halls of Congress. Stung by the backlash, Ralph Lauren said the 2014 Sochi Games uniforms will be made in the USA.

We lose, but free pizza!

Toronto-based Pizza Pizza and the Raptors have a tasty promotion that calls for a free slice of pizza for everyone in the house when the team scores 100 points. But in the waning moments of a losing game to the Orlando Magic in March, fans still began cheering as their club hit the 100-point mark. Said Raptors coach Dwane Casey: “It’s tough when your fans get more excited about a slice of pizza than us winning.”

Finding the leak
So much for secrets. First, the Houston Astros’ new logo was leaked when several Houston-area sports stores accidently, and prematurely, began selling merchandise with the rebranded look. Then MLB Advanced Media inadvertently posted photos of players in their new uniforms on bio pages.

Photo by: Getty Images
Jimmie Johnson’s new look
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson stoically conducted interviews at the June race at Dover despite the hilarity of wearing a colorful wig used to promote the animated movie “Madagascar 3.” Johnson received the wig from a gift bag intended for his daughter. Before long, his entire crew had requested wigs of their own. The movie sponsored Johnson’s car for the race, but the driver’s impromptu decision to wear the wig gave some free, and hilarious, added exposure.

Chargers sales pitch gets axed
When a San Diego Chargers ticket sales representative searched for ways to boost his numbers, he didn’t stop at Bolts fans. Instead, he sent an email seeking out rival fans to go to Qualcomm Stadium. When news of the effort spread, the team said the approach was the result of an overeager sales rep and wasn’t standard practice.

Waste no bobblehead
A crowd of 45,091 attended an August Cincinnati Reds-Philadelphia Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park that featured a bobblehead giveaway for right fielder Hunter Pence, despite the fact that the Phillies had traded Pence to the San Francisco Giants three weeks earlier. The bobblehead came with a postcard that included a message from Pence that read in part, “Thanks, Phillies fans, for the great memories. I’m glad my Bobble Figurine will still be given out even though I’m no longer in Philadelphia.”

Earthquakes dig this record
At the San Jose Earthquakes’ groundbreaking ceremony in October for a new stadium, Guinness World Records officials said that the attendance of exactly 6,256 people, most of them ordinary fans of the MLS club, surpassed the previous groundbreaking high mark of 4,532. Thousands of commemorative shovels were impaled in dirt where the pitch will be located. Fans and dignitaries staked out their spots and, on cue, dug for two minutes to set the official Guinness World Record.

Bryan Buske

Hector “Macho” Camacho
Retired boxer

Simon Gourdine
Former NBA deputy commissioner and Players Association executive director

Gary Carter
Baseball hall of famer

Beano Cook
ESPN college football commentator

Paul Dee
Former University of Miami athletic director

Angelo Dundee
Boxing trainer

Jim Fitzgerald
Former Golden State Warriors owner

Edgar Kaiser Jr.
Former Denver Broncos owner

Alex Karras
Former NFL all-pro, actor

Robert Kelleher
Tennis hall of famer

Lee MacPhail
Former MLB American League president

Rick Majerus
College basketball coach and broadcaster

Dr. Joseph “Doc” Mattioli
Founder and chairman, Pocono Raceway

Jerry McMorris
Former Colorado Rockies owner

Marvin Miller
First MLBPA executive director

Art Modell
Former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens owner

Joe Paterno
Former Penn State football coach

Steve Sabol
NFL Films president

Junior Seau
Former NFL player

Emanuel Steward
Professional boxing trainer and HBO commentator

Bert Sugar
Boxing writer and sports historian

Jack Twyman
Basketball hall of famer

Dr. LeRoy Walker
Former USOC president