By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
December 5, 2011
“Bust”: Top Five Reasons the Armageddon is Near
1. Disagreements between Canada’s two largest telecom companies, BCE and Rogers, have killed their alliance to buy the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan 80% stake in Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment. The sale price was valued at $1.3 billion. MLSE’s assets include the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC.
2. The Chinese Basketball Association does not intend to release from their contracts NBA players currently playing in China. When NBA players began signing overseas, guys going to China went with the understanding that they would have to stay until the Chinese regular season ends in March.
3. College football coaches at Arizona State, Illinois, Kansas, UCLA and several other schools were fired last weekend after their regular season ended. In response to being let go, ex-UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said the Bruins need to do a better job of “financing their expectations.”
4. Women’s Professional Soccer is in danger of being demoted to Division 2 status if the league doesn’t have eight teams by next season. WPS currently has just five teams, but needs a minimum of eight for sanctioning by U.S. Soccer. The league in 2011 requested and was granted a one-year sanctioning waiver despite not having the required eight teams.
5. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are cutting season ticket prices for 80% of seats at Raymond James Stadium next year. The Bucs, who average 55,000 fans per game in a stadium that seats more than 60,000, have had 12 games blacked out on local TV over the last two seasons.
“Boom”: Top Five Reasons that Prosperity is Right Around the Corner
1. Wayne Weaver is selling the Jacksonville Jaguars to businessman Shahid Khan for $800 million. Khan previously bid on the St. Louis Rams, but minority owner Stan Kroenke exercised his right to match the offer. NFL owners on December 14 will vote on the sale, and Commissioner Roger Goodell already has approved Khan as an owner. Despite rumors, Khan says he’ll keep the team in Jacksonville.
2. EA Sports signed international soccer star Lionel Messi to a multi-year endorsement deal for its FIFA video game franchise. The signing is a big coup for EA Sports since Messi previously was the main endorser for a rival soccer video game, Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer.
3. After weeks of speculation, Urban Meyer officially agreed to become the next football coach at Ohio State University. Meyer’s contract is for $24 million over six years, making him one of the five highest-paid coaches in college football. His deal includes such benefits as a golf membership, private aircraft use and an auto stipend.
4. The announcement of a new NBA labor agreement boosted shares of Madison Square Garden stock by more than 10%. The company, which is controlled by the Dolan family, has a market value of $2.1 billion.
5. Visa Canada signed a three-year extension of its sponsorship agreement with the NHL and NHLPA. The deal, which includes branding opportunities at special NHL events in Canada and is valued in the low-seven figures, designates Visa as the official payment card of the league and union in Canada.
“Hope”: Top Five Reasons That Creativity is the Key to Economic Survival
1. Texas-based Mission Foods introduced the NachoTron 3000 at the November 26 Border Showdown between Kansas and Missouri. The device, called “the world’s first interactive, competitive nacho-making machine,” allows fans to throw footballs at targets to win nacho toppings and points.
2. Roger Goodell is looking to add games as early as next year to the Thursday night TV package that currently airs on NFL Network. There were rumors earlier this year about the NFL selling eight Thursday night games to another network for $700 million, but Goodell decided to delay the sale.
3. A new NBA labor deal brings additional hope to the Sacramento Kings’ arena efforts. The city of Sacramento has until March 1, 2012, to put a financing deal together, or the Kings could relocate to the Honda Center in Anaheim. It should be somewhat easier for Sacramento to get a deal with the Kings in-season.
4. The Buffalo Sabres are collaborating with arena naming partner First Niagara Bank to offer student ticket discounts for select games this season. As part of the Student Surge promotion, at least 200 tickets to five Sabres games this season will be marked down to $20 from $40.
5. The Columbus Crew unveiled new yellow and white jerseys for the 2012 MLS season. The yellow jersey features the initials "LH," in remembrance of Crew Founder Lamar Hunt. The white jersey marks the first time since 1999 that the color has been significantly incorporated into the club’s uniforms.