NFL’s concussion settlement
Facing mounting scrutiny over its handling of head injuries, the NFL moved to end what has been its biggest public relations challenge. While admitting no wrongdoing, the league proposed a $765 million (almost $1 billion with legal fees) settlement for thousands of claims against the NFL by former players for alleged injuries they suffered. More lawsuits have already begun, however, promising to keep the issue in the spotlight.
The bombings at the Boston Marathon echoed throughout the sports industry, forcing a review of the planning, logistics and spending around event security. But the weeks following the tragedy also demonstrated the ability of sports to unite people, helping them to heal and find hope in the shadow of incredible grief.
Fox raises the stakes
Fox Sports 1’s imprint on the sports landscape occurred well before its August launch. In fact, it occurred well before Fox announced plans to turn Speed and Fuel into all-sports networks, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. It was the creation of these two channels that caused Fox Sports to invest so heavily in sports rights over the past years, cutting deals with everyone from Major League Baseball and UFC to college football and basketball.
The era of Jacques Rogge, who restored credibility and solvency to the International Olympic Committee during his 12-year presidency, came to an end in September. The organization elected German attorney Thomas Bach as his successor, making Bach only the ninth president in the IOC’s 119-year history. Bach has begun pushing the organization in a new direction, calling for changes to the way sports are selected for the Olympics, and calling for improvements to the bid-city process for hosting the Games.
Agencies in the spotlight
AEG was put on the market in late 2012, poised to be the biggest sports deal of the decade, but it will be remembered instead as the $9 billion blockbuster that never happened. Owner Phil Anschutz never got the price he wanted, pulled AEG off the market and parted ways with longtime CEO Tim Leiweke. Six months later, Forstmann Little put IMG up for sale. It is expected to close a more than $2 billion sale of the company before the end of the year to groups led by either William Morris Endeavor, CVC Capital or The Carlyle Group.
NASCAR drives a hard bargain
With TV ratings stabilizing, NASCAR signed media rights deals with Fox and NBC that are worth $820 million annually through 2024. That figure represents a whopping 46 percent annual average increase over NASCAR’s previous deals with ESPN, Fox and Turner. After years of suffering through declining TV ratings, the new deals ensure the sport’s financial health into the next decade and illustrate the value networks place on live sports.
When Guggenheim Baseball Management bought the Los Angeles Dodgers 19 months ago for a record $2.15 billion, the purchase price was premised significantly on striking a local TV rights deal that also would make history. But even the most aggressive of external expectations were blown away when the club announced a 25-year deal with Time Warner Cable worth an estimated $8 billion. The deal promises to shake up the market for sports media rights, cost structures in the cable TV business, and revenue sharing within baseball.
Getting back on the ice
Perhaps the only thing more resilient than hockey players is the NHL itself. In January, the league returned after its third lockout in two decades and didn’t appear to sustain serious financial injury. Television ratings for the playoffs were strong and, this season, more than half of the league’s teams were playing to 100 percent capacity into December. The NHL wants to increase its revenue by $1 billion within the next three years and received a boost toward that goal with a 12-year, $5.3 billion Canadian media rights deal.
Major League Soccer added its 20th and 21st franchises, both to begin play in 2015. The owners of the New York Yankees and English Premier League’s Manchester City paid $100 million — MLS’s highest expansion fee in history — and are looking at a potential stadium site adjacent to Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, in Florida, Orlando City FC is building a downtown stadium after paying MLS $70 million to join the league.
The NCAA’s image issue
Ed O’Bannon v. NCAA, first filed in 2009, picked up steam in 2013 as the case moved into class-action status. The case over whether college athletes should own the rights to their likeness is scheduled to go to trial in the summer of 2014, but the momentum it gained this year for the first time made administrators wonder if the NCAA’s amateurism rules will hold up in court.
Brave new world
|John Schuerholz outlines what the Braves have in store.
The Atlanta Braves, led at the negotiating table by senior club executives John Schuerholz, Derek Schiller and Mike Plant, stunned Greater Atlanta and the sports industry at large with their plans to leave Turner Field and build a new ballpark and mixed-use development in suburban Cobb County. The team’s bold plan, valued at more than $1 billion, seeks to take advantage of both population and economic migration patterns, as well as ancillary development projects that have become increasingly important in baseball.
A slip of the wrist sent Clint Bowyer’s car spinning just before the end of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race at Richmond. The intentional move changed the outcome of the race and put Bowyer’s Michael Waltrip Racing teammate, Martin Truex Jr., into the Chase. But it proved costly. NASCAR penalized the team $300,000, Napa dropped its sponsorship of the team, and Waltrip, who appeared complicit in the scheme, was left apologizing and seeking to regain the trust of fans.
Jay-Z entered the sports agent business with a splash by launching Roc Nation Sports and signing free agent first baseman Robinson Cano in a partnership with CAA Sports. Since then, the rap mogul has become certified to represent players in the NBA and Major League Baseball, and added Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith as clients.
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas used Twitter to become the loudest critic of the NCAA and its amateurism model. The former Duke basketball player exposed how the NCAA used student-athlete names in its search function for jerseys. That spurred a flurry of stories about whether college athletes should be compensated and made Bilas the primary spokesman for the athletes.
Madison Square Garden completed a three-year, $1 billion renovation to bring a fresh look to the 45-year-old arena. MSG President Hank Ratner spearheaded the massive redevelopment, topped off by the Chase Bridges, the project’s signature feature. Architect Murray Beynon designed the bridges, which hold 430 seats at the top of the arena and provide spectacular views of the action on the court and on the ice.
The Sacramento Kings faced an uncertain future, and a possible move to Seattle, until a group led by Vivek Ranadivé stepped forward and purchased the franchise for $534 million. Ranadivé’s commitment to Sacramento, with plans for a new downtown arena and adjoining mixed-use development, fired up the fan base and brought new hope to the Kings faithful.
A change at the NBPA
Billy Hunter’s 16-year reign as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association ended in February when player representatives voted to fire him. A union-commissioned investigation had alleged that Hunter acted in his own interests and against those of players. Hunter is now suing the NBPA while the union conducts a search for a new executive director.
International Speedway Corp. announced a $400 million makeover of Daytona International Speedway that rethinks the track experience. Under the watch of track President Joie Chitwood, Daytona will be largely rebuilt, resulting in big league amenities and a fresh approach to hospitality and premium areas. With other tracks looking to attract more fans, Daytona’s moves will be watched closely.
Directing the NFL’s media moves
The eyes of sports media were trained on Brian Rolapp in July, when the NFL announced that he would be replacing Steve Bornstein as the league’s top media executive in the spring. One of Rolapp’s first responsibilities will be to figure out what to do with the NFL’s Thursday night package. Given his background with digital media, Rolapp also will be looking into how the league deals with over-the-top providers and social media companies.
After four years under league ownership, the Phoenix Coyotes were purchased in August by George Gosbee and his partners. Gosbee immediately committed to keeping the franchise in Glendale, Ariz., long-term and the news seemed to give the team’s players some extra pep: After the first third of this season, the Coyotes were one of the best clubs in the stacked Western Conference.
■ NASCAR unveils a new website that emphasizes a cleaner, simpler design and full-screen imagery. The site’s debut comes a year after the sanctioning body agreed to buy its digital rights back from Turner.
■ NHL players and team owners agree to a tentative labor deal that calls for a 48-game season to begin Jan. 19.
■ IMG acquires New York-based Catalyst Public Relations, adding domestic client PR capabilities for the first time, along with social, digital and content development expertise.
■ The Los Angeles Dodgers unveil approximately $100 million worth of renovations to Dodger Stadium, including two new hexagonal video boards, wireless upgrades, wider concourses and new clubhouses.
■ T-Mobile signs a major three-year sponsorship with MLB, giving baseball its first league-level telecommunications sponsorship deal in nearly 15 years. Sources say the deal is worth about $125 million.
■ MLB and the MLBPA announce a series of changes to their joint drug agreement, implementing random, in-season blood testing for HGH beginning this year as well as new protocols to test for heightened testosterone.
■ Nike unveils a new TV spot featuring golfers Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods after the announcement that McIlroy had signed a multiyear sponsorship deal with the company.
■ Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. purchases the naming rights to Cleveland Browns Stadium, marking the first time a corporate name would be on the stadium.
■ After 15 years of defiant denials, Lance Armstrong tells Oprah Winfrey that he had used performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France victories.
■ Daytona International Speedway shares the first images of the racetrack’s $400 million renovation plan, illustrating a sweeping redesign that would convert the simple, 50-year-old facility into an NFL-style stadium with grand entrances, wide concourses and improved amenities.
■ The New Orleans Hornets officially announce that the team’s name will switch to the New Orleans Pelicans beginning with the 2013-14 season.
■ Legends Chairman and CEO Dave Checketts announces that he has sold his interest in Real Salt Lake to the Major League Soccer team’s minority owner, Dell Loy Hansen.
■ Time Warner Cable’s $8 billion, 25-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers becomes official. The deal will lead to the creation of a sixth regional sports network for the Los Angeles market.
■ The NFLPA is funding a 10-year, $100 million research project at Harvard Medical School to reduce the impact of on-the-field injuries and improve the long-term health of players.
■ The Mercedes-Benz Superdome suffers a 30-minute blackout during the Super Bowl, in which the Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.
■ The WTA Tour is set to finalize a three-year, multimillion-dollar sponsorship with Xerox, a deal that will be the circuit’s most significant such pact since Sony Ericsson departed as lead backer in 2012.
■ Vans signs a three-year deal to replace Nike as the title sponsor of the U.S. Open of Surfing.
■ The St. Louis Cardinals break ground on a long-awaited but scaled-down Ballpark Village near Busch Stadium. The $100 million first phase calls for 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment outlets to open by spring 2014.
■ The University of Texas athletic department records $103.8 million in football income in 2011-12, the first time a college has reported $100 million in revenue from one sport.
■ NBPA player reps vote unanimously to terminate the contract of Executive Director Billy Hunter following a report that he placed his interests above those of players.
■ Two years after the PGA of America and the European Tour jointly announced their drive to find global Ryder Cup sponsors, Standard Life Investments of Scotland becomes the first company to acquire Ryder Cup rights on both sides of the Atlantic.
■ The seven schools referred to as the Catholic 7 will start their own league next season and will keep the Big East Conference name, with Xavier and Butler joining as members.
■ Ticket reseller StubHub signs a six-year naming-rights deal with AEG for the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. StubHub also gets marketing rights to the Los Angeles Galaxy, marking the company’s first partnership with an MLS team.
■ Fox formally announces plans to convert Speed into its new Fox Sports 1 cable network. The company says the channel will debut on Aug. 17.
■ GE, the NFL and Under Armour jointly unveil plans for $60 million of research into concussion prevention and diagnostic research called the Head Health Initiative.
■ AEG announces that the company is being taken off the market by Chairman Phil Anschutz after seeking a buyer for months, and is parting ways with longtime President and CEO Tim Leiweke.
■ The Seattle Mariners unveil their new scoreboard at Safeco Field, which contains the largest video screen in MLB.
■ The WNBA signs a six-year extension with ESPN that is separate from the network’s NBA deal. Sources said the deal is worth $12 million per year, which amounts to about $1 million per WNBA team, and runs through the 2022 season.
■ Entertainer Jay-Z announces he is opening his own sports agency, Roc Nation Sports, and signing New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
■ The former Big East Conference announces it will adopt the name of the American Athletic Conference.
■ The Pac-12 will be the first major conference to create a network from its official school websites. The conference’s multimedia arm, Pac-12 Enterprises, has selected NeuLion to make the unified digital platform for all 12 of its member schools.
■ The annual NASCAR pit crew competition, a staple of Sprint Cup All-Star weekend activities the past eight years in Charlotte, is canceled because of a lack of sponsorship.
■ NBC announces it will offer live digital streams of all its marquee sports events, including action on its NBC Sports Network cable channel and Golf Channel.
■ A pair of bombs tear through the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 200 others.
■ The Seattle Mariners announce that the club has purchased a controlling stake in a new regional television sports network to be run with DirecTV that will carry their games through the 2030 season.
■ Notre Dame and NBC Sports announce a renewal of their football media rights deal for 10 more years through 2025.
■ Tennis player Maria Sharapova signs a three-year deal with Porsche to become the automaker’s first global endorser.
■ The ACC’s 15 current and future member institutions announce that they have agreed to a grant of media rights, which allows the conference to retain a school’s television rights if it leaves the league. The defensive move is intended to discourage member schools from moving to other conferences.
■ The Ivy League announces plans to launch its own digital network in August, with NeuLion handling the video platform for the eight school channels plus a conference channel.
■ The Texas A&M Board of Regents approves a $450 million renovation plan for Kyle Field that will increase the stadium’s capacity to 102,500, making it the biggest stadium in the SEC.
■ The NCAA football rules committee announces the ban of all URLs and hashtags from the field for 2013, as they represent an advertisement. The only ads allowed on the field are for the NCAA, the conference, the bowl game or the home team.
■ CBS Sports and Turner Sports announce that the Final Four will be moving to cable television for the first time next year. TBS will broadcast both national semifinal games in 2014 and 2015 with CBS covering the national championship games.
■ The San Francisco 49ers announce that they have signed a naming-rights deal with Levi Strauss for the team’s new $1.2 billion stadium under construction in Santa Clara. Levi Strauss will pay $220 million over 20 years, and the venue will be called Levi’s Stadium.
■ Betfair Hollywood Park tells the California Horse Racing Board it won’t seek 2014 racing dates and will close at the end of the year. The track opened in 1938.
■ For the first time in more than four decades, the U.S. Open tennis tournament semifinals and finals will be moving to a new TV home. ESPN is close to a deal to obtain all rights to the tournament beginning in 2015. CBS has broadcast the tournament every year since 1968.
■ A Sacramento-based group led by Vivek Ranadivé reaches a deal with the Maloof family to buy a controlling stake in the NBA Kings. The deal would set the team’s overall value at an NBA-record $535 million.
■ MLS announces that New York City FC, a partnership between English Premier League club Manchester City and the New York Yankees, will begin play in 2015 as the league’s 20th team.
■ Microsoft and the NFL unveil a major partnership, pegged by sources at about $400 million over five years. The pact includes sideline rights allowing coaches to use Surface tablets for communications, play calling and photo viewing.
■ Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan announces that the franchise has applied to the NBA for a name change to the Hornets.
■ Excel Sports Management agent Mark Steinberg says that client Tiger Woods is close to signing a new deal with his longtime equipment and apparel sponsor Nike that will keep him as golf’s top-paid endorser.
■ Verizon is close to taking the lid off a four-year, $1 billion extension of its NFL rights. The new deal, which starts in 2014, will allow Verizon to stream every NFL regular-season and playoff game to mobile phones.
■ NBA teams are getting two new areas inside their arenas as sources of revenue starting next season: on the court in front of team benches and atop the backboards.
■ The Philadelphia Eagles plan $125 million in privately financed renovations to Lincoln Financial Field over the next two years, including a seating expansion, two new high-definition video boards, and Wi-Fi installation.
■ The Los Angeles Dodgers have a tentative agreement with MLB in which they would retain more than $6 billion out of their 25-year rights deal with Time Warner Cable.
■ The Detroit Downtown Development Authority approves a plan offered by Red Wings owner the Ilitch family for a $650 million multipurpose arena and entertainment district within walking distance of Ford Field and Comerica Park.
■ SAP and Sharks Sports & Entertainment formally unveil the newly named SAP Center at San Jose, a five-year deal valued at $3.35 million annually.
■ The University of Minnesota unveils a $190 million athletic facilities master plan, which will affect every university sport.
■ Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan buys English Premier League club Fulham FC, in a deal sources valued between $226 million and $301 million.
■ ESPN names Austin its X Games host city from 2014-17. The event will be held at the city’s new 1,500-acre Circuit of the Americas.
■ ING officially informs the New York Road Runners that it is leaving as title sponsor of the New York City Marathon, ending a 10-year run.
■ Sources say that NBC will pay $4.4 billion over 10 years for rights to ESPN’s entire NASCAR Sprint Cup package, plus half of Turner’s six races.
■ D.C. United and city officials reach a preliminary $300 million deal to build a 20,000- to 25,000-seat stadium for the MLS franchise. The venue is expected to be built in time for the 2016 season.
■ Cowboys Stadium will be known as AT&T Stadium under a multimillion-dollar naming-rights deal. Sources estimate the value of the deal at up to $18 million a year.
■ The San Francisco Giants outline plans to construct an edible garden at AT&T Park. Giants Garden will be the first such facility at any professional sports venue in the United States.
■ Churchill Downs says that new grandstand seating near the Kentucky Derby starting gate will add 2,400 seats as part of a $14.5 million renovation project.
■ Fox Sports and NASCAR have closed a new $3.8 billion television rights agreement that adds three Sprint Cup races, 14 Nationwide Series races and two years to the deal the broadcaster cut with NASCAR last year.
■ MLB suspends 13 players for their ties to the Biogenesis clinic, the biggest single-day drug action in the sport’s history.
■ The U.S. Golf Association and Fox Sports announce a 12-year deal that will see Fox and Fox Sports 1 air the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open Championship, as well as the USGA’s national amateur championship and other live content, beginning in 2015. Sources say the deal, which runs through 2026, is worth about $100 million a year.
■ NCAA President Mark Emmert says the organization will stop selling player and school-related memorabilia and apparel on its ShopNCAASports.com website. The site had come under fire for, among other things, selling jerseys identified by individual players.
■ The Dallas Cowboys and the city of Frisco approve a $115 million deal that will finance a new indoor training facility and corporate headquarters for the team.
■ The Portland Trail Blazers announce that regional health insurance provider Moda Health has signed a 10-year naming-rights agreement to rename the Rose Garden as the Moda Center. Sources value the deal at $40 million.
■ IMG has been hired to run the nascent licensing agency for NFL retirees created by the preliminary settlement of a 4-year-old lawsuit brought by former players against NFL Films.
■ New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek sells the team and Prudential Center to Philadelphia 76ers owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer. The deal is valued at more than $320 million.
■ U.S. Tennis Association officials unveil $550 million worth of planned improvements to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, a project that will eventually yield two new stadiums, up to three covered courts and a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium.
■ Fox Sports 1 officially launches and averages 1.78 million viewers for its first prime-time telecast, “UFC Fight Night.”
■ Castrol announces that it will end its sponsorship of John Force Racing after next season, closing out three decades of support.
■ In a surprise move, Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul is elected player president of the NBPA.
■ The NFL reaches a proposed settlement of $765 million with the more than 4,500 retired players who sued the league over the dangers of head trauma.
■ Tokyo is awarded the 2020 Summer Olympics during the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
■ NASCAR levies the biggest penalty in its history and alters the makeup of its playoff field following a controversy over alleged race manipulation at Richmond International Raceway. NASCAR later unveils a new set of rules aimed at preventing a similar controversy in the future.
■ German lawyer and former Olympic fencer Thomas Bach wins a six-candidate race to succeed Jacques Rogge as IOC president.
■ MLS club FC Dallas announces a long-term stadium naming-rights deal with Toyota.
■ Nationwide Insurance will exit as title sponsor of NASCAR’s secondary series after the 2014 season, but the company plans to increase its spending in the sport by sponsoring a Sprint Cup team, buying media, cutting track deals and maintaining its position as NASCAR’s official insurer.
■ Texas Motor Speedway announces plans to build a 124-foot-tall by 218-foot-wide Panasonic video board that will be nicknamed “Big Hoss TV.”
■ MLB Commissioner Bud Selig formally declares his plans to retire when his current contract ends on Jan. 24, 2015. Selig’s planned retirement will end his tenure as commissioner after more than 22 years.
■ The NFL and Twitter have struck a deal for the league to be part of Amplify, Twitter’s emerging advertising platform. The NFL will embed highlights, news, fantasy content and other video material within the microblogging site, with individual clips preceded by short ads.
■ IT services and consulting giant Tata Consultancy Services sign an eight-year deal to be the new title sponsor of the New York City Marathon. Sources valued the deal at around $100 million.
■ ESPN announces that it is shuttering its Global X Games property after one year and concentrating instead on its Winter and Summer X events in the U.S.
■ NBC reaches a long-term deal with the PGA of America that will see the Ryder Cup stay on the network through 2030.
■ The Indiana Pacers broker a deal with the Indiana Economic Development Corp., becoming the first NBA team to sell courtside ads emblazoned on the hardwood.
■ Bristol Motor Speedway announces plans to play host to a Virginia Tech-Tennessee college football game in 2016. With seating at the track for 160,000, the game has the potential to set the NCAA record for highest single-game attendance.
■ London-based Chime Communications announces a $76 million acquisition of Just Marketing International, the Indianapolis-based motorsports marketing agency.
■ EA Sports says it is parting ways with Tiger Woods for its golf video game, ending one of the gaming industry’s most prominent athlete endorsements after more than 15 years.
■ The Orlando City Council agrees to sell the Orlando police station and a public garage to the Magic, clearing the way for the development of an entertainment complex that could cost as much as $200 million.
■ The NBA is partnering with the Disney Institute to create a leaguewide customer service program to improve the fan experience at NBA arenas.
■ AEG and MGM Resorts International unveil renderings of their $350 million, 20,000-seat venue planned for the Las Vegas strip.
■ The University of Texas announces it will hire Arizona State Athletic Director Steve Patterson to replace current men’s AD DeLoss Dodds, who is retiring after 32 years.
■ The San Diego Padres announce that Petco Park will play host to a Davis Cup match next year. It will mark the first time a Davis Cup event will be played in an open-air baseball stadium in the United States.
■ The Atlanta Braves announce that they will not extend their lease at Turner Field after 2016 and instead will move to Cobb County, Ga., where they will build a new stadium as part of an integrated mixed-use development.
■ The Cleveland Browns announce a two-year plan to deliver $120 million in upgrades to FirstEnergy Stadium including a new scoreboard, audio equipment and physical changes that will allow fans to move about more freely.
■ Turner Sports and CBS announce that they will produce three different telecasts for each of the two NCAA men’s basketball national semifinal games, each with its own set of announcers.
■ The NFL has been forced to adjust how it handles its Super Bowl volunteer program as a result of a class-action lawsuit brought against MLB in July for not paying volunteers at the All-Star FanFest at the Javits Center. As a result of the lawsuit against MLB, which has not been settled, the NFL for Super Bowl XLVIII has elected to hire and pay its own 1,500 workers to help out at events.
■ MLS officially names Orlando City SC as the league’s 21st franchise, expected to begin play in March 2015. Sources said that the club’s entry fee into the league is $70 million.
■ FIFA and Adidas formally announce an extension of their long-term sponsorship deal that gives the apparel maker official partner, supplier and licensee rights for the World Cup and all FIFA events through 2030.
■ The NHL has signed a new Canadian media rights agreement with Rogers Communications for 12 years and $5.2 billion (Canadian). The deal starts next season and continues through the 2025-26 season.
■ Ten former NHL players have filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that the league has not done enough to protect players from concussions.
■ Talladega Superspeedway officials confirm that the track will see its seating capacity reduced to approximately 80,000 seats by next season. The track’s most recent listed capacity was 109,000.
■ NASCAR has been identified as the buyer of Iowa Speedway. The track plays host to three NASCAR-sanctioned events.
■ Michelob Ultra will replace Corona as the ATP’s lead sponsor in the U.S. next year, putting the low-carb beer brand on the nets at the circuit’s 10 U.S. tournaments through 2015. Anheuser-Busch InBev inherited the Corona sponsorship when it acquired Grupo Modelo.
■ The MLBPA Executive Board unanimously selects Deputy Executive Director Tony Clark as executive director, making him the first former major leaguer to lead the union. Clark had served as interim executive director since the death of Michael Weiner on Nov. 21.
■ Fox Sports has emerged as the likely winner of UEFA Champions League rights, according to sources. UEFA was considering bids from Fox, NBC Sports Group, Univision and beIN Sport.
■ Temple University says it will cut seven of its 24 intercollegiate sports programs — nearly a third — to boost funding for the remaining sports and become more competitive in the American Athletic Conference. The cuts, to take effect in June, will save more than $3 million in Temple’s $44 million athletic budget.
■ Each BCS conference that holds a conference championship game saw an increase in attendance in 2013. The Auburn-Missouri SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome led all title games with 75,632 fans.
■ Indiana University is considering $30 million to $40 million worth of renovations to Assembly Hall. The renovations would not alter the current seating configuration, but would include premium seating and a modern video board.
Source: SportsBusiness Journal and SportBusiness Daily archives
Flyers feel the force
The Philadelphia Flyers posted images of Ilya Bryzgalov’s new Star Wars mask featuring Yoda, Darth Vader, and R2D2. However, Star Wars fans were miffed because Yoda was seemingly holding a red light saber, traditionally a symbol of the Sith Lords. Like, duh! The artist said he was simply going for an orange-ish color as a hint of the Flyers’ colors. Lucasfilm Ltd. got in touch with the Flyers as well and asked that the colors be changed to match the original look of Yoda in the Star Wars movies. The artist made the changes and gave Yoda the proper green-colored saber.
Fumbling the message
On the morning of the BCS National Championship Game, some Notre Dame and Alabama fans woke up to an email from Amazon.com congratulating their team on winning the game, despite the fact that kickoff was hours away. The email touted championship merchandise that was available. Amazon quickly apologized for the slipup, sending out a note that said: “Well, this is really embarrassing … we completely fumbled our congratulation email for tonight’s game.”
A billboard to promote season tickets to UNLV basketball accidentally featured former Rebels basketball coach Lon Kruger instead of current hoops coach Dave Rice. The school attributed the mistake to the billboard company posting the ad before the school’s marketing department saw it. Kruger has long since moved on to Oklahoma. Rice rolled with the mistake, even finding the humor in the mix-up himself. “Hey, if Coach Kruger can help us sell tickets, great.”
The Klement’s Racing Italian Sausage, part of the famous mascots seen at Milwaukee Brewers games, went bar hopping in Cedarburg, Wis., delighting patrons and posing for photos. The only problem: No one could say who was wearing the $3,000 costume, which had just been stolen from the city’s Winter Festival. A witness saw the 7-foot-long weenie walk out of the Milwaukee Curling Club’s Cedarburg location during a fundraiser on Feb. 16. The Italian walked into TJ Ryan’s bar in Cedarburg an hour later and also appeared around midnight at The Roadhouse Bar and Grill. A mustard company offered a year’s supply of mustard as a reward for anyone who returned the costume. In the end, the costume was anonymously dropped off at TJ Ryan’s.
That’s gonna leave a mark
During the Chevrolet Home Run Derby, the Oakland A’s Yoenis Cespedes blasted a pitch beyond the center-field wall, hitting a Chevy truck on display and cracking its windshield. Chevrolet officials were pleased to demonstrate that the “Like a rock” trucks could take a beating. Cespedes went on to win the Home Run Derby, and a Chevy Silverado truck for doing so, although not the one with the cracked windshield.
Gone with the wind
Progressive Field in Cleveland removed the corkscrew wind turbine mounted atop the southeast corner of the ballpark, only one year after it was installed. The Indians had agreed to host the new turbine to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. However, it was taken down much earlier than planned because it was damaged, ironically, from the wind.
Bacon as bait
The women’s basketball team at Kansas State offered free bacon for fans who showed up in November for the team’s game against Tennessee State. The school originally ordered 75 pounds of bacon, but when word of the promotion spread on social media, the school increased the amount to 300 pounds.
Charmin pulled into NASCAR’s Sprint Cup All-Star Race with a simple message: Stop skidmarks. The toilet paper brand cut a deal with Charlotte Motor Speedway to hang two enormous signs in the shape of men’s briefs with the words “Stop Skidmarks” above the Charmin UltraStrong logo and a trace of tire skidmarks. It was an attention grabber, to say the least.
Not leaving until we're heaving
The Rapid City Rush of the Central Hockey League held a promotion
Jones scores and store pays up
Baltimore area company Gardiners Furniture offered a promotion in which all furniture bought between Jan. 31 and 3 p.m. on Super Bowl game day would be free if the Ravens scored a kickoff return touchdown at the start of the game or just after halftime. The company ended up giving away $600,000 of free furniture after Jacoby Jones’ TD to open the second half. Fortunately for Gardiners, it had taken out an insurance policy just in case the company lost the bet.
The Chicago Blackhawks have started selling limited-edition vials of melted ice from their 2013 Stanley Cup season, with proceeds going to charity. Each vial of melted ice from the United Center costs $99 and includes an etched number of 1 through 2,013 and a certificate of authenticity.
Source: SportsBusiness Daily
Tennessee Titans owner
NHL player agent
Los Angles Lakers owner
Former USGA president
Former NFL player and TV analyst
Former LSU athletic director
Pro Football Hall of Fame member
ATP executive chairman and president
Former New England Patriots coach and general manager
Former Proskauer Rose sports attorney
George Gund III
Former owner of the San Jose Sharks and Cleveland Cavaliers
Former ABC Sports senior vice president of programming
Pro Football Hall of Fame member and former Carolina Panthers president
Former Clemson University athletic director
Professional wrestling personality
Former University of Alabama athletic director
Former Houston Oilers coach and general manager
Former MLB Umpires Association executive director
Homestead-Miami Speedway founder
Former CBS and Fox announcer
Professional golfer and longtime television commentator
MLBPA executive director
Former Philadelphia Eagles owner
Seattle Mariners owner
“Frank, we lost the A-feed.”
— Doug Thornton, SMG vice president of stadiums and arenas, to the NFL’s Frank Supovitz, immediately after the lights went out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome during the Super Bowl.
“It’s not a business model that you’d ever invest in.”
— University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon, on the athletic department struggling to pay for itself.
“We’re not a museum. We’re a business.”
— Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, on funding a $300 million renovation to Wrigley Field if the city would ease restrictions on the ballpark.
“I probably get more attention fighting because of how I look, but if I didn’t know how to
— Fighter Ronda Rousey, on the eve of the UFC’s first women’s fight.
“I read that the Fox guys think happy days are here again, and I’m happy that happy days are here again for them. Sorry they were not happy before because the days at ESPN have been happy for quite some time, and this is another happy day for ESPN.”
— ESPN President John Skipper, referencing a promo for Fox Sports 1 while announcing Keith Olbermann’s new show on ESPN2.
“I don’t think he’ll be quite as loud.”
— Golden State Warriors President and COO Rick Welts, on how Adam Silver will differ from David Stern as NBA commissioner.
— New York Islanders owner Charles Wang, on whether he liked being an owner, citing all the government issues surrounding ownership.
“I’ll eat my hat if we have lines for the restrooms after all we’ve done here.”
— Janet Marie Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers senior vice president of planning and development, on offseason improvements made to Dodger Stadium.
“If we ever go down the path of establishing an employee-employer relationship, we will have
— Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, on paying college athletes.
“The Pro Bowl takes a lot of grief. A lot of fans say, ‘It’s a piece of crap, we don’t want to watch it, who cares?’ Look at the ratings. You think the NBA All-Star Game would take this rating? The NHL, MLB?”
— NBC’s Al Michaels, on one reason the NFL continues to play its all-star game.
“With the players we have now? In another year or two people are going to look back and say, ‘Jeffrey, you were a genius.’”
— Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, on criticisms about his ownership style.
— Boston Red Sox left-fielder Jonny Gomes, after ESPN’s Chris Berman noted razor sales were down in the Boston area after many members of the Red Sox decided to grow out their beards.
Bridging the gap
Tiger Woods hits a ball from East to West on the Bosphorus Bridge that connects the continents of Europe and Asia. The promotion was for the Turkish Airlines Open golf tournament in Istanbul.
Catching up at the Super Bowl
A fan makes the grab for a “Bridgestone Performance Moment” at the NFL Fan Experience leading up to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Laura Robson (left) and Maria Kirilenko watch as Caroline Wozniacki plays a shot on a mirror court. The prop was part of an Adidas by Stella McCartney media launch in Melbourne, Australia.
Trade you a Prince Fielder for …
To celebrate the release of its latest baseball card series, Topps unveils this giant baseball card at Peterson Park in Lakeland, Fla. The card, which measured 90 feet by 60 feet, depicted Prince Fielder, who appears on the cover of the Topps 2013 Series 1 box.
Fans got into the action at the Denver Nuggets opener against the Portland Trail Blazers as Pepsi Max celebrated the newest chapter in its “Uncle Drew” series. The chapter features Nuggets point guard Nate Robinson as “Lights,” who fans implored to “get buckets.”
Frozen in time
An ESPN camera operator battles the elements as he works the second half of the match between Costa Rica and Team USA in Commerce City, Colo.
Cleaning up on the 7 line
As part of its activation around the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in New York City, Head & Shoulders took over several subway trains, inviting New Yorkers headed to Citi Field on the 7 line to “ride the whiff.” The activation highlighted the new Old Spice-scented shampoo from Head & Shoulders.
MilkED for all it’s worth
George Kottaras (left) of the Kansas City Royals and Robbie Ross of the Texas Rangers compete in a rookie cow milking contest sponsored by Dairy Max at Rangers Ballpark.
jumping right in
A guest poses in a booth sponsored by AT&T during the USOC 100 Days Out celebration in New York City’s Times Square. The event began the countdown to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Something to wine about
The Team Wine Shoe is on display at the NFL Consumer Products Summit in Nashville. Team Sports America said the logoed wine bottle stand has been the company’s top-selling NFL product for two years.
A really big swing
A worker adds the putter on a 12-foot-tall statue of Fred Funk installed at the headquarters of Mutual of Omaha, which sponsors the golfer.