Bust, Boom, and Hope: December 16, 2013


Bust, Boom, Hope: College Sports

Bust: Temple University has cut seven of its 24 sports teams to boost funding for its remaining programs. School officials cited costs, poor facilities, and Title IX for the decision. The cuts, which will save the school $3 million annually, will take effect at the end of the current academic year.

Boom: Indiana University is considering a $30-40 million renovation to Assembly Hall. The renovation would include luxury seating and a modern video board, while maintaining the arena’s current seating configuration. At no point would the renovation render the arena unusable.

Hope: Half of the organizations staging college football bowl games will hold gift suites or shopping sprees for game participants, according to David Broughton of SportsBusiness Journal. The NCAA lets bowl games give up to $550 worth of gifts per player, while schools can supplement that total with awards worth up to $400.


What it means: The cuts at Temple affect 150 student-athletes, who can keep their scholarships as long as they stay academically eligible, or they can transfer to another school. Among the programs being eliminated are baseball, softball, and men’s track and field.


Bust, Boom, Hope: MLB

Bust: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig this summer reportedly rejected the Oakland A’s proposed relocation to San Jose. The league is facing an antitrust lawsuit brought by San Jose, which claims it’s been injured by MLB giving the city’s territorial rights to the San Francisco Giants.

Boom: The Seattle Mariners signed free agent Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million contract. The deal is tied with Albert Pujols for the third richest in MLB history. With the deal, the Mariners’ payroll next season will exceed $100 million for the first time since the 2008 season.

Hope: Former Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner hopes that if his namesake baseball stadium is demolished, the area becomes public green space. City officials have yet to determine future plans for the ballpark, which was built for the 1996 Summer Olympics and later converted for baseball.


What it means: According to MLB insiders, Selig’s decision was based on a specific proposal from the A’s, not against relocating in general. The league could revisit a move once the lawsuit is resolved. In any event, Selig has shown no urgency in helping the A’s move out of arguably MLB’s worst ballpark.



Bust, Boom, Hope: NFL

Bust: The Buffalo Bills are looking for a way to get out of their Toronto Series contract. In the six years since the series began, the Bills haven’t been able to create a home-field advantage at Rogers Centre. This year’s Toronto Series game drew just 38,000 fans, at least 10,000 short of a sellout.

Boom: Fox sold out of its Super Bowl ad inventory by Thanksgiving, more than two months prior to the game, according to John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal. By comparison, CBS for last year’s game didn’t sell out of its inventory until January. Advertisers for this year’s game paid between $4-4.5 million per 30-second spot for the game.

Hope: The NFL is considering implementing a "centralized replay" system next season to shorten game times and minimize the number of officiating mistakes. Under the proposed system, decisions would be made out of New York, with the league’s VP of Officiating overseeing the process.


What it means: The Toronto Series has been a losing proposition for both parties, as the Bills can’t draw fans and Rogers is losing millions of dollars. Given the series’ lack of success and most Canadian residents being against a permanent team, its unlikely the NFL expands or relocates north of the border anytime soon.



Bust, Boom, Hope: NBA

Bust: Miami Heat star LeBron James hasn’t been wearing the new model of his Nike basketball shoes on the court this season because he isn’t comfortable with the fit. James has worn the LeBron 11 shoes for only two full games, opting to wear last year’s model instead.

Boom: The Sacramento Kings are seeking at least $120 million over 20 years for naming rights for their planned downtown arena. With a new ownership group and a long-term future in Sacramento, the Kings lead all NBA teams in year-over-year attendance growth at 24%.

Hope: Incoming NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league’s Competition Committee would examine the idea of eliminating divisions. While the initial goal of divisions was to enhance geographic rivalries, Silver expressed doubt that’s still happening.


What it means: LeBron hopes to be permanently wearing his new shoes by the end of the calendar year. Despite the issues LeBron has had, sales of his shoe haven’t suffered. Sales are up 18% so far on the season compared to the same period last year, and because of the 11’s higher selling price, revenue is up 35%.



Bust, Boom, Hope: NHL

Bust: The Toronto Maple Leafs were the only NHL team to abstain from voting on the NHL’s new $4.9 billion Canadian TV contract with Rogers Communication. Both Bell, which lost out on NHL TV rights, and Rogers own 37.5% of the Leafs.


Boom: The NHL salary cap is expected to be $71 million next season, a 12% increase over this season’s $64 million cap. Additionally, the salary floor likely will rise from $44 million this year to $53 million next year. The substantial increases are the result of increased TV revenue.

Hope: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is fielding inquiries from cities and ownership groups interested in expansion franchises, though he refused to make any guarantees that the league will grow beyond 30 teams. If the NHL does expand, Seattle and Quebec City are considered frontrunners, with Houston, Portland, Kansas City and Las Vegas also possibilities.


What it means: Bettman reportedly had to talk Maple Leafs Chairman Larry Tanenbaum out of voting against the TV deal. While the vote’s passage never was in jeopardy, Tanenbaum’s abstention speaks volumes about the rift between Rogers and Bell, especially in the aftermath of the new TV rights contract.

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