By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
March 25, 2013
“Bust”: Top Five Reasons the Armageddon is Near
1. What’s left of the original Big East officially signed a seven-year, $126 million TV rights agreement with ESPN, significantly less than the nine-year, $1.17 billion contract on the table in 2011. The new agreement averages out to $18 million per year, less than what some schools in other conferences make.
2. A New York judge has at least temporarily banned StubHub from opening a store next to Yankee Stadium designed to allow fans to pick up tickets before the game. The Yankees are one of only two teams that opted out of MLB’s sponsorship deal with StubHub, working with rival Ticketmaster instead.
3. The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will have to open next season on the road because of a scheduling conflict with the Orioles and MLB. The Orioles currently play a game during the NFL’s Thursday Night Kickoff, which the Super Bowl champion typically hosts at home. Downtown Baltimore isn’t equipped to handle the logistics of both events going on at the same time.
4. NHL players may be forced to wear visors because of insurance concerns. One insurance agency said it would no longer supplement the coverage supplied by the league if a player doesn’t wear a mouth guard and visor. The league has long sought to mandate visors, but can’t without NHLPA approval.
5. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ season-ticket renewal rate is at just 70% amid the team increasing ticket prices next year. The low renewal rate comes despite a 10% money-back guarantee if the team doesn’t make the playoffs. The Timberwolves haven’t finished above .500 since 2005.
“Boom”: Top Five Reasons that Prosperity is Right Around the Corner
1. The NFL and Providence Equity are partnering to invest $300 million in start-ups that work within sports, media, and technology. The move comes 15 months after NFL owners approved a $32 million strategic investment fund. The NFL/Providence fund will look for companies seeking $25-50 million in exchange for significant equity.
2. The University of Maryland will receive a $20-30 million travel subsidy from the Big Ten to offset the increased costs incurred by switching conferences. The school projects its travel budget to increase from $3 million to $6 million when it joins the Big Ten in 2014.
3. New York-area Hyundai dealers have increased their sponsorship of the Mets and Citi Field to a six-figure sum that includes rights to the premium field-level club, according to Terry Lefton of SportsBusiness Journal. With Citi Field hosting this year’s All-Star Game, Hyundai and other Mets partners have increased their activation and sponsorship spending at the ballpark.
4. Sellouts are becoming the norm for the New Jersey Devils this season, as the team has sold out 13 of their first 15 home games. The team is playing at 98% capacity at the Prudential Center and is averaging nearly 17,300 fans per home game, up 12% over last season.
5. Interest in Seattle Sonics tickets has been “overwhelming” since an online waitlist went live last week. The NBA Board of Governors is scheduled to vote on April 18 on the proposed sale of the Sacramento Kings and relocation to Seattle.
“Hope”: Top Five Reasons That Creativity is the Key to Economic Survival
1. Chicago suburb Rosemont has offered the Cubs a 25-acre parcel of land to build a new ballpark and whatever else the Ricketts family would want on a stadium complex. The Cubs want to renovate the 99-year-old Wrigley Field, but have run into issues with the stadium’s historic landmark status.
2. The city of Santa Clara has agreed to waive its 9.5% hotel tax for league officials and players in the event the city’s new football stadium hosts Super Bowl 50 in 2016. Miami, the other city in contention for the milestone Super Bowl, is not waiving the hotel tax, which would raise millions of dollars.
3. The Buffalo Sabres hope their HARBORcenter development project will attract new visitors and NHL free agents to the area. The $172 million development, scheduled to open in September 2014, will include two NHL-size ice rinks, a hotel, sports bar, and retail.
4. The University of Texas is looking into selling alcohol at football, basketball, and baseball games. If the school does end up making the move, it would join Iowa State and West Virginia as the third Big 12 program selling alcohol at football games.
5. The Boston Celtics next season are moving season-ticket holders to a digital card that will serve as a ticket, rewards program, and tracking device. The team, which is giving season-ticket holders the option to continue using paper tickets, expects a 70% of fans to adopt “Parquet Pass.”