2012 Sports business timeline
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ Lagardère Unlimited enters the Major League Baseball and golf player representation business, announcing it has acquired Gaylord Sports Management.
■ PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem receives a contract extension through June 2016. Finchem became commissioner in 1994.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The NFL extends Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract another five years to March 2019.
■ Women’s Professional Soccer suspends operations for the 2012 season. In May, the league would officially fold.
■ NASCAR and Turner Sports announce a deal that will see NASCAR buy back its digital rights from Turner and take over the management of NASCAR.com 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ Honda Center officials break ground on a $20 million dining project intended to help attract an NBA team to the Anaheim venue.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The PGA Tour announces a five-year extension of FedEx’s sponsorship of the tour’s seasonlong points championship through 2017.
■ NBA Commissioner David Stern says he will recommend Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to succeed him as commissioner when he retires.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The Philadelphia Eagles team with solar company NRG, which will design, build and operate the biggest solar array in the NFL.
■ Allstate signs a multiyear contract to become an NCAA corporate partner.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The Denver Broncos win the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, signing the quarterback to a five-year, $96 million deal.
■ 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.
■ NFL player representatives unanimously vote to re-elect DeMaurice Smith as executive director of the NFLPA.
■ 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.
■ Wasserman Media Group receives a $25 million investment from Highbridge Capital Management, and plans to use the money for acquisitions and strategic growth initiatives.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The cable channel created for the Mountain West Conference — the Mtn. — announces plans to shut down and go dark May 31.
■ 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.
■ The NFL notifies its teams that the league’s ban on accepting casino ads has been lifted.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
|New Vikings stadium
■ The Minnesota Senate approves a $975 million Vikings stadium, clearing the last major legislative hurdle for the project.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank secures the naming rights to the Bradley Center in Milwaukee as part of a new six-year sponsorship.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The Philadelphia Eagles are planning major changes at Lincoln Financial Field, including adding seats and building field-level suites.
■ BCS commissioners announce that they have developed a consensus behind a four-team seeded playoff for college football.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The USOC decides against submitting a bid for the 2022 Winter Games and will instead consider bidding for the 2024 and 2026 Olympics.
■ Philadelphia 76ers minority owners Erick Thohir and Jason Levien have agreed to become co-owners of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ Seven years of meticulous planning come to a spectacular climax with the opening ceremony of the London Games.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ Turner Sports announces it has purchased online sports destination Bleacher Report. Sources value the deal at $175 million.
■ The O’Malley group purchases the San Diego Padres from John Moores for approximately $800 million.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ Cyclist Lance Armstrong will be stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles after deciding to abandon his long fight against doping charges.
■ Los Angeles sports, government and law enforcement officials announce the adoption of a uniform Southern California Fan Code of Conduct.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The NHL locks out players beginning at midnight, after owners and players are unable to agree on a new labor deal.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The Chicago Cubs announce plans to add 56 seats behind home plate by moving the brick wall three feet closer to the field.
■ 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.
■ Sources say that a Tony George-led group has submitted an offer to Hulman & Co. to acquire the IndyCar Series.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The UFL announces that it has suspended the 2012 season amid mounting financial woes.
■ The New York Islanders announce they are moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, beginning with the 2015-16 season.
■ David Stern announces that he will step down as NBA commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014. He will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.
■ 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.
■ Augusta National is planning a major renovation and addition to its historic clubhouse.
■ 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.
■ Big league sports officially returns to Brooklyn as the Nets play their first regular-season game in the new Barclays Center.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ The BCS commissioners and Presidential Oversight Committee settle on a rotation of six bowls for the semifinals of the upcoming college football playoff system.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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 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.
■ Google agrees to pay the NBA a rights fee in the low six figures to stream 350 NBA D-League games live this season.
■ News Corp. will pay the Yankees $500 million as part of the media company’s purchase of 49 percent of YES Network.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.
■ 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