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Boom, Bust, and Hope: August 26

Bust, Boom, Hope: NFL

Bust: Multiple Los Angeles groups backed out of bidding on the Buffalo Bills due to potential relocation backlash. Relocation also is affecting the bid of singer Jon Bovi Jovi, who’s rumored to be interested in moving the team to Toronto. Former Bills great Jim Kelly refused to join Bon Jovi’s bid over relocation concerns.

Boom: CBS has sold presenting sponsorships around its pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for its new Thursday Night Football package. The network also has sold 80% of its ad inventory available for the inaugural Thursday night schedule. CBS paid $275 million for the rights to eight Thursday night games this season.

Hope: Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall this season will appear on Showtime’s weekly “Inside the NFL” talk show. Marshall is the first active NFL player to appear as a regular analyst on the show in its 37-year history. He’ll fly to New York on off days to tape his segments.

What it means: Although CBS’s Thursday Night Football package is only a one-year agreement, the network hopes the deal is a precursor to a longer arrangement. As such, CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said the network’s promotional campaign around the Thursday football is one of the biggest in the company’s history.


Bust, Boom, Hope: Baseball

Bust: The tax revenues used to build several Cactus League Spring Training facilities are coming up short of original projections. As a result of the poor numbers, cities such as Glendale and Goodyear, Arizona, may not receive any of the $100 million in repayments they were promised for building the ballparks.

Boom: The only of the Big Four leagues without a salary cap, MLB is seeing incredible parity amongst its teams this season. The Dodgers are the only first place team in MLB with a payroll over $140 million, while the A’s and Royals are playoff teams with payrolls ranking among the lowest 10 in the league.

Hope: A free pizza promotion at Cincinnati Reds home games has been a big hit for the chain. Cincinnati-based LaRosa’s Pizzeria gives away a free, small, one-topping pizza to attendees anytime a Reds pitcher strikes out 11 batters. The chain last year gave away over $1 million worth of free pizza to Reds fans.

What it means: Aside from seeing league revenue grow exponentially during his tenure, outgoing Commissioner Bud Selig should count parity as one of this major accomplishments. During Selig’s 23 years running MLB, 11 of the league’s 30 teams won the World Series, and 19 have played in the World Series.


Bust, Boom, Hope: NHL

Bust: With less than five months to go until their signature event, the NHL still hasn’t finalized the venue for the New Year’s Day Winter Classic. Though the game has been given to the D.C. area and the Capitals, hurdles remain to playing the game at either Nationals Park or FedEx Field.

Boom: A week after being accused of backing out of a deal, Charles Wang has agreed to sell the New York Islanders to former Capitals investor Jon Ledecky and London-based investor Scott Malkin. While financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Wang will remain majority owner for two years.

Hope: The NHL reportedly is supportive of a group interested in bringing a franchise to Seattle. The prospective franchise would be co-owned by Chris Hansen, who in 2012 negotiated a deal to build a new NBA and NHL arena in the city. It’s unknown whether the league would expand to Seattle or relocate a current team.

What it means: The NHL does have precedence for waiting this long to announce its Winter Classic stadium. For 2012, it didn’t officially award the game to Citizens Bank Park until late September. Given that the Redskins play a home football game four days before the Winter Classic, the event likely will end up at Nationals Park.


Bust, Boom, Hope: College Sports

Bust: The University of Notre Dame removed four starters from its football team amid an investigation into academic fraud at the school. School officials didn’t elaborate whether or not the investigation could extend to other sports, but the scandal includes an unspecified number of students who don’t play football.

Boom: The Big Ten Network’s subscriber count is up 15% since the end of the 2014 academic year thanks to new carriage deals in the New York and D.C. markets. The channel will have 60 million subscribers when the college football season begins later this month, up from 52 million last year.

Hope: The University of Minnesota wants the “Redskins” moniker to go unmentioned at TCF Bank Stadium when the Vikings host Washington on November 2. Among the school’s requests are having the team wear throwback jerseys that don’t say “Redskins,” not having any Washington apparel sold on the premises, and not having “Redskins” in the game program.

What it means: One of the major reasons conferences have been expanding in recent years is grow their TV footprint. This is particularly impactful for the Big Ten, which has its own TV network, and makes big bucks from subscriber fees. The new carriage deals in New York and D.C. are the byproduct of adding Rutgers and Maryland to the conference.


Bust, Boom, Hope: NBA

Bust: The Toronto Raptors were fined $25,000 after rapper and team Global Ambassador Drake made comments about Kevin Durant possibly joining the franchise. The NBA reportedly deemed Drake’s comment a violation of its anti-tampering rules.

Boom: The WNBA expects at least six teams to post a profit this season, according to John Lombardo of SportsBusiness Journal. The league attributes the teams’ profitability to two new promotional efforts, its new TV deal, and new sponsorships with Diageo, Samsung, and Essence.

Hope: The NBA has lifted its ban restricting franchises from partnering with fantasy sports operators, opening the door for teams to sell sponsorships in the category. Deals signed this season will be limited to one-year agreements and will not include team or league logo rights.

What it means: Drake has never been shy about his friendships with NBA players, nor has he ever hid his loyalty to his hometown Raptors. However, as long as he’s in an official role with the organization, he’s subject to the league’s rules. In this case, there’s no doubt the penalty was warranted.

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