Winners and Losers--September 13, 2013

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

September 13, 2013


Winner: EPL Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale has joined La Liga powerhouse Real Madrid for a world transfer record fee of $132 million. The amount tops the previous record of $123 million Real Madrid paid Manchester United in 2009 for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Loser: FIFA President Sepp Blatter acknowledged that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar might have been a mistake. Aside from bribery accusations during the World Cup bidding process, Qatari summers are unbearably hot, and it’s unlikely the tournament would be moved to winter because of scheduling conflicts with European soccer leagues.

What it means: The Qatar World Cup red flags have always been visible, but what’s most surprising is the FIFA President Sepp Blatter is alluding to the mistake so far out. FIFA could opt take the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar and give it to a country like the U.S., which has sufficient soccer stadium infrastructure; though no decision is imminent.



Winner: Time Warner Cable has signed on to be the primary sponsor on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 car for five races, buying up the car’s remaining inventory this season. Though financial terms weren’t disclosed, Hendrick Motorsports had been seeking $750,000 per race for Earnhardt’s car.

Loser: NASCAR is replacing Martin Truex Jr. with Ryan Newman in the Chase for the Sprint Cup as punishment against Michael Waltrip Racing for manipulating the outcome of last weekend’s race. Truex’s teammate, Clint Bowyer, is accused of intentionally spinning out at the end of the Richmond race in order to force a caution and cost Newman the last spot in the Chase.

What it means: The punishment against Michael Waltrip Racing is being called the most severe penalty in NASCAR history. The reality is that sports are nothing if fans lose faith in the legitimacy and integrity of the product. NASCAR absolutely did the right thing in handing down such a stiff penalty.


College Sports

Winner: Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has donated $200 million to the University of Michigan, the largest single gift in the school’s history. The money will be split between the school’s athletic department and the school of business, which is named after Ross.

Loser: A 10-month investigation by Sports Illustrated found evidence of no-show jobs, academic misconduct, and drug use within the Oklahoma State football program. A majority of the alleged incidents occurred between 2001 and 2007, but some allegations are as recent as 2011.

What it means: It’s ludicrous that Stephen Ross had to defend himself for giving money to his alma mater rather than commit more funds to a Sun Life Stadium renovation. The Sun Life deal was never about whether Ross had the money, but rather what was fair given other recent stadium deals. He should be commended for giving such a large gift to Michigan.



Winner: The Chicago Cubs renewed their sponsorship deal with Anheuser-Busch for 10 years, giving the brewer exclusive malt beverage rights at Wrigley Field, according to Don Muret of SportsBusiness Journal. As part of the deal, A-B will receive rights to some of the new signage opportunities recently approved by the Chicago City Council as part of Wrigley’s $300 million renovation deal.

Loser: The Wisconsin restaurant group that had a licensing deal with Ryan Braun has severed its relationship with the disgraced Brewers star. SURG Restaurant Group also plans to change the name of its of its 8-Twelve MVP Bar & Grill, named after Braun and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.

What it means: No surprise that the restaurant group wanted to distance itself from Ryan Braun, who’s become one of the more toxic athlete endorsers. However, with Braun personally calling Brewers season-ticket holders to apologize for his PED transgression, it’s a sign that he realizes and accepts the long road to rehabbing his image.



Winner: A Minnesota state review found the Vikings owners the Wilfs have sufficient funds to proceed with their new stadium development despite having recently lost a multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit. The Wilfs are personally responsible for $477 million of the $975 million total cost on the HKS-designed stadium.

Loser: The NFL and the Players Association are at odds over who will assume appeal power in HGH testing. The union wants an independent arbiter to have control in cases where there isn’t a positive drug test, but there is evidence of drug use, whereas the league wants that power to rest with the commissioner.

What it means: Now that concerns about the Wilfs’ financial stability have subsided, the team can move forward with its planned development. As of now, the building remains on schedule for a July 2016 completion, though any further delays could push the opening into the 2016 NFL season.

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