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Volume 21 No. 1
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How you see it: 9th Annual Reader Survey

Presenting the results of the ninth annual SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily Reader Survey

We asked readers to sound off on nearly 100 questions about the state of the sports business, and their responses provide an interesting perspective on the industry.

More than 1,700 votes were cast in the survey, which covered the top leagues and sports, facilities, sponsorship and media. Among the highlights:

Readers take the prospects of an NFL franchise overseas seriously. Nearly 42 percent said the NFL will be the

first U.S. sports property to put a franchise overseas, while in years past the NBA was the most frequent response. Nearly 40 percent of voters expect an overseas franchise will be in place within the next five years.

Wi-Fi access continues to be the area in which readers think sports facilities could do better. Much better, in fact, as 80 percent of readers gave the sports facility industry a grade of “C” or lower for the wireless connectivity it provides to fans.

LeBron James slipped in front of Peyton Manning in voting for the most marketable athlete. New to this year’s survey, we asked readers to identify the athletes they see as the face of Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL, NHL and NASCAR. You’ll find those results, and maybe a couple of surprises, inside.

The NFL’s proposed concussion settlement was identified as the sports business story of the year. And the concussion issue was cited, for the second year in a row, as the biggest threat to the success of the league.

The NCAA took its licks, with more than 60 percent of voters giving the organization a grade of “D” or below for its job on rules enforcement. Readers were evenly split on whether they think Mark Emmert will still be NCAA president a year from now, and on whether they think college athletes should be paid.

ESPN easily garnered the most votes when readers were asked to select the network that has been the most innovative in deploying live content on digital platforms. But voters gave MLB Network a tip of the hat as well, placing the network second over CBS, NBC and Fox.

Turnkey Sports & Entertainment handled the technical aspects of the survey, setting up the online site where readers could vote and then tabulating the results. The survey was conducted Oct. 21-Nov. 8.

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

See the results:

About the industry







Teams & Leagues




Best of the Rest

Want to compare the latest results to previous years? Check out the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 results.