By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
September 24, 2012
“Bust”: Top Five Reasons the Armageddon is Near
1. The Big East unofficially could be downgraded to a mid-major football conference if it loses a major bowl tie-in. The ACC reportedly is finalizing a deal with the Orange Bowl to have its champion play Notre Dame, a Big Ten team, or a SEC team beginning in 2014. The Big East was hoping for an Orange Bowl guarantee.
2. EA Sports announced it’s delaying indefinitely the release of “NBA Live 13,” the company’s troubled basketball title. The delay is the latest in a series of setbacks for the franchise, which has been on a two-year hiatus since they cancelled “NBA Elite 11” last year.
3. Attendance for the 160 affiliated Minor League Baseball teams fell 1.8% from last season, equating to 440,000 fewer tickets sold. Of the 14 affiliated leagues, 11 experienced year-over-year declines. The Short Season Single-A New York-Penn League had the biggest drop at 6.2%.
4. The Miami Dolphins drew their worst attendance for a season home opener since 1982. The 54,245 tickets sold was 18% smaller than the team’s least-attended home opener in the 2000s. The Dolphins took advantage of the NFL’s new blackout policy to televise the game locally.
5. The Pastrana-Waltrip Racing team that brought action sports star Travis Pastrana to the NASCAR Nationwide Series is folding, according to Tripp Mickle of SportsBusiness Daily. Pastrana wants to race full-time next year in the Nationwide Series if he can find a team.
“Boom”: Top Five Reasons that Prosperity is Right Around the Corner
1. The Northwestern University Board of Trustees approved a plan to build a new multipurpose, on-campus sports facility that would benefit several of the school’s teams. The project is expected to cost between $225-250 million, with school officials targeting an August 2014 completion date.
2. American Express is back in the NFL sponsorship game, agreeing to a comprehensive partnership with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The deal includes activation at EverBank Field and perks through the AmEx Delta Skymiles Card. The Jaguars are the only NFL team sponsored by AmEx, which hasn’t been active in the league since Visa took over payment card rights in 1995.
3. MLB unveiled its schedule for the 2013 season, and with several new twists, league executives expect attendance to increase next season. Among the schedule changes are interleague play everyday, increased division play, and the creation of an interleague “Prime Rivals” week.
4. The Phoenix Suns and the city of Phoenix are combining to spend $10 million on renovations for US Airways Arena. The Suns are using the money to replace seats in the arena and to convert some luxury boxes into smaller theater ones.
5. Best Buy announced a renewal of its sponsorship deal with Roush Fenway Racing for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Per the deal, the retailer will serve as primary sponsor of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s No. 17 Ford, which is 70% sold for 2013.
“Hope”: Top Five Reasons That Creativity is the Key to Economic Survival
1. A group of community leaders in Louisville recently met with the city’s mayor to discuss the possibility of acquiring a NBA franchise. Louisville already has a NBA-ready arena in the KFC Yum! Center, but any deal would have to include an agreement with the University of Louisville, which controls scheduling at the facility.
2. The Buffalo Bills are expected to announce an extension to their Toronto Series as early as this November. The team could play as many as eight games in Toronto over the next five seasons as they seek to strengthen their fan base in Southern Ontario. The original five-year deal between the Bills and Rogers Communications ends this season.
3. In the aftermath of Oakland A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy being hit in the head by a line drive, MLB is looking into headgear for pitchers. The league probably wouldn’t go so far as to make pitchers wear helmets, but it will investigate existing products that can comfortably fit under a hat.
4. Oregon State is collaborating with Nike on a rebranding effort that could include a new logo, color scheme, and font type. Oregon State has had difficulty differentiating itself from other “OSU” schools, including Ohio State and Oklahoma State.
5. Ford is close to resigning with Richard Petty Motorsports for next season’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. RPM has been running Fords for the last three seasons, but the relationship has been in jeopardy since March when Ford signed a deal with Penske Racing.