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HUMAN KINETICS

Bust, Boom, and Hope: College Sports, Baseball, Golf, Basketball, NASCAR


By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

March 1, 2013

College Sports

Winner: The “Catholic 7” basketball schools that broke away from the Big East are closing in on a TV deal with Fox Sports, estimated to be $30-40 million annually depending on how many schools join the league. The deal is worth more than the $20 million per year TV deal the Big East signed with ESPN.

Loser: For-profit prison operator GEO Group has received almost universal criticism since buying the naming rights to Florida Atlantic University’s football stadium. Late-night talk shows have made a mockery of the sponsorship, and the powerful ACLU lobby has called on the school rescind the deal.

What it means: In 2011, as the cost of sports TV rights soared, the Big East took a huge gamble in turning down a $150 million per year offer from ESPN. The gamble didn’t pay off. Instead, the conference ended up splitting. Combined, the Big East and the Catholic 7 will earn no more than $60 million annually.

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Baseball

Winner: MLB Advanced Media over the first week of Spring Training reported record streams and downloads across MLB.TV and the MLB.com At Bat app. Users accessed 1.2 million live video and audio streams, up 53% from the same period last year, while At Bat registered 1.7 million downloads.

Loser: The New York Mets expect to lose $10 million this year, which would mark the third consecutive season the team has posted a loss. Additionally, the team’s attendance at Citi Field is projected to fall for the fifth straight season. MLBPA chief Michael Weiner recently called out the Mets for their lack of spending.

What it means: The Mets owners will make $65 million from their regional sports network SNY, but will spend $43 million of those profits on Citi Field’s debt payments. That leaves little money for the team to use on players. The Mets’ opening day payroll is projected to be $75 million, the team’s lowest since 1999.

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Golf

Winner: Standard Life Investments has signed on to become the first company with worldwide sponsorship rights for the Ryder Cup. The deal is valued in the high seven-figures. The PGA of America and European Tour hope to have four worldwide sponsors.

Loser: Echoing the sentiments of many of his players, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem declared his opposition to the USGA and R&A’s proposed 2016 ban on anchored putting. The divisive issue has created a de facto “power struggle” over the control of the sport.

What it means: The PGA Tour wouldn’t be bound by the rule change, but it’s unlikely the Tour wouldn’t comply if the rule were enacted. With the ban not expected to go into effect until January 1, 2016, there’s still plenty of time for the debate to continue.

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Basketball

Winner: Pittsburgh Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness co-Founder Mark Mastrov have confirmed they will submit a bid for the Sacramento Kings and have plans for a new downtown arena. The bid is believed to be $425 million, and includes 20 local investors each pledging $1 million.

Loser: Few NBA teams made trade deadline deals because of the financial implications in the league’s new collective bargaining agreement. Beginning next season, the CBA imposes stiffer penalties for team’s spending above the salary cap. Only 21 players were dealt at the deadline, down from 27 last year and 49 in 2011.

What it means: NBA Commissioner David Stern has said that the Sacramento bid will receive fair consideration, while the prospective Seattle group has already filed documents with the league to relocate the Kings next season. Owners will have a tough decision to make when they vote on the bids in mid-April.

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NASCAR

Winner: International Speedway Corporation unveiled plans for a $250 million renovation to Daytona International Speedway. The proposed changes include a grand entrance, wider concourses, and escalators. The track hopes to receive state tax rebates if it self-funds the renovations.

Loser: NASCAR drivers have found passing to be difficult in the highly touted Gen-6 NASCAR cars, which made their Sprint Cup Series debut at Daytona. Their inability to pass led to a relatively unexciting Daytona 500. The Gen-6 cars are made to look more like individual Chevys, Fords, and Toyota.

What it means: The Daytona International Speedway renovations won’t change the character of the track as much as it will modernize it. The Speedway already has received local government approval, and will present the plans to ISC’s board later this year. The renovation plans could add sturdier fences following the scary Nationwide Series crash.




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Rick Horrow, America’s leading expert in sport business, and coauthor Karla Swatek give fans an inside look at the multibillion-dollar world of professional sport.
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Rick Horrow, America’s leading expert in sport business, and coauthor Karla Swatek give fans an inside look at the multibillion-dollar world of professional sport.
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