Bust, Boom, and Hope: NHL, NASCAR, MLS, NFL, MLB

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

March 8, 2013


Winner: Despite the lockout-shortened season, the NHL expects hockey-related revenue to reach $2.4 billion this year. The total would be 72.7% of last year’s record-setting $3.3 billion in hockey related revenue, despite the league playing 58.5% of those games and not having a Winter Classic.

Loser: Nassau County claims the New York Islanders and SMG owe them much as $3.8 million in unpaid Nassau Coliseum rent, utilities and other expenses dating back to 2011. The Islanders will leave Nassau County for Brooklyn when their lease expires in 2015.

What it means: The NHL’s strong start has led some critics to question whether the league should shorten its season by starting at the end of October. The league’s attendance and TV numbers have been incredibly strong since coming back from the lockout.



Winner: Lowe’s signed a two-year extension with Hendrick Motorsports to continue as the primary sponsor for all 36 Sprint Cup Series races on Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 car. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the deal is estimated at $30-35 million per year through 2015.

Loser: Some of NASCAR’s most popular drivers still have unsold car sponsorships for races later this season. Stewart-Haas Racing has six races remaining for Tony Stewart and three for Danica Patrick, while Hendrick Motorsports has 13 unsold races for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Primary car sponsorships for NASCAR’s top drivers range from $600,000 to $1 million per race.

What it means: Since partnering with Johnson, Lowe’s has built a database of 1 million fans, and has generated $130 million in media exposure since 2008. This season, Lowe’s is one of just six companies sponsoring a car for all 36 races. While Hendrick Motorsports still must find a sponsor for Dale Jr., Johnson is set for the next few years.



Winner: StubHub has signed on replace Home Depot as the naming rights sponsor of the AEG-owner MLS stadium in Carson, California. While terms of the six-year deal were not disclosed, an AEG spokesperson said the contract is more valuable than Home Depot’s original 10-year, $70 million agreement.

Loser: Attendance for MLS’s nine opening weekend games was down 9.5% from the opening games at the same venues last season. The defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy, playing their first game since the departure of star David Beckham, saw its opening game attendance drop a league-high 25%.

What it means: When the name change is official on June 19, StubHub will be the first ticketing company with naming-rights at a major sports stadium. Considering the Galaxy plays its home games at the stadium, StubHub could have plenty of tickets available on the secondary market if the team’s sales slump continues.



Winner: Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens have agreed to a six-year contract worth $120.6 million, making the Super Bowl MVP the highest-paid player in the NFL. Flacco will receive $52 million guaranteed, including a $29 million signing bonus, as part of the deal.

Loser: The Arizona Cardinals and the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority are being sued for failing to offer adequate accommodations for hearing-impaired fans at University of Phoenix Stadium. The suit calls for the Cardinals to provide game play-by-play captioning on video boards and concession monitors.

What it means: Flacco said he didn’t sign a contract extension last offseason because he thought he was worth more than the Ravens were offering. The gamble paid off. In the first three years of the deal, Flacco will make $62 million. Advice for QBs seeking a new contract: win the Super Bowl MVP in your free agent season.



Winner: Florida Governor Rick Scott will earmark an extra $5 million per year in state funding to maintain Spring Training baseball stadiums. The governor’s office also said it would spend $20 million per stadium project, provided local governments match the state dollar for dollar.

Loser: No Atlanta Braves games will appear on Turner networks this season after the team sold its remaining local telecasts to FS South and SportSouth. Turner networks had aired Braves games every year since Ted Turner bought the team in the mid-1970s.

What it means: Spring Training brings $700 million in economic impact to Florida each year, so the industry is of critical importance to the state. Since 1998, six teams have moved their Spring Training site from Florida to Arizona, and five more Florida leases expire in the next four years. With competition between the two states rampant every time a team becomes available, Scott’s earmark could help keep teams in Florida or potentially bring them back from Arizona.

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