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Bust, Boom, and Hope: Football, Baseball, Soccer, Auto Racing, College Sports

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

April 19, 2013


Winner: The sports and entertainment company founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has organized a new international soccer tournament beginning this summer. Real Madrid, Juventus, and the Los Angeles Galaxy are three of the eight teams that will participate in the inaugural International Champions Cup, which has a title sponsor and a three-year TV rights deal.

Loser: The Dolphins could post a $14 million loss next year amid debt payments and renovations to Sun Life Stadium. A review of the team’s financial statements by Miami-Dade County also found the Dolphins have recorded $70 million in cash losses since Stephen Ross bought the team in 2008.

What it means: One of the advantages of organizing the new soccer tournament is that Ross can host the finals at Sun Life Stadium. This is critical for both the stadium renovation plan and for Ross’ desire to turn South Florida into an international destination for top soccer teams.



Winner: The city of Chicago and the Cubs reached a deal for a $500 million renovation to Wrigley Field. Per the agreement, Cubs owner the Ricketts family will contribute $300 million for Wrigley and $200 million for a new hotel next to the ballpark. In exchange for the investment, the Cubs get more night games and are allowed to install new advertising signs.

Loser: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has declined to meet with San Jose’s mayor to discuss the Oakland A’s desire to move to his city. Selig more than four years ago put together a committee to study the potential move, but no conclusion has been reached. At issue is the San Francisco Giants’ territorial right to San Jose.

What it means: Despite being funded privately, the Cubs needed to work with Chicago because of Wrigley’s status as a historic landmark. The Cubs hope to have all of the renovation plans figured out by September, so work can begin once the regular season ends.



Winner: Dubai-based Emirates Airline is close to signing a jersey sponsorship deal with Real Madrid valued at nearly $40 million annually for four to six years. The airline also is the shirt sponsor for top clubs in England, France, and Italy.

Loser: The Brazil stadium scheduled to host the opening Confederations Cup match in June won’t be completed until days before FIFA takes over the venue, prompting FIFA to express ’’great concerns’’ with the delay. This is the second major stadium issue Brazil has encountered this month as the country prepares for next year’s World Cup.

What it means: In addition to Real Madrid, Emirates also owns the jersey rights for Arsenal, Paris St. Germain, and AC Milan. These are some of the most valuable soccer clubs in the world, all of which are based in cities with major international airports. Emirates is very obviously, and carefully, picking the clubs its sponsors.


Auto Racing

Winner: Formula 1 CEO Bernie Eccelstone is rumored to be interested in bringing the circuit to Long Beach during the 2015 season. F1 hasn’t held a race in Southern California since 1983, but one insider called Eccelstone’s plan "inevitable." The circuit currently has two U.S. races on the 2014 calendar: one in Austin and one outside of NYC.

Loser: NASCAR has cancelled its annual pit crew challenge after being unable to find a title sponsor. The All-Star weekend event had been sponsored by Sprint, but the company in January reallocated the funds to take over naming rights of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.

What it means: NASCAR hopes to bring the put crew challenge back in 2014, but it’s uncertain whether it would do so without a title sponsor. In addition to Sprint, other previous sponsors included Motorola and Craftsman.


College Sports

Winner: The SEC is partnering with ESPN to launch its own conference TV network next August. The conference in recent weeks reacquired its third-tier TV rights from IMG College, Learfield Sports and CBS Sports, giving ESPN full control of SEC football with the exception of CBS’s one weekly game.

Loser: Arizona State University doesn’t plan to let Notre Dame back out of their scheduled 2014 football game, saying it would hurt the school competitively and financially. Notre Dame wants to cancel the game because it’s obligated to play five ACC opponents each year beginning in 2014.

What it means: If we’ve learned anything from the Big Ten Network, it’s that conferences popular schools and worthwhile game rights have a lot of leverage in distribution and subscriber fee negotiations. SEC schools can expect to reap a financial windfall when their TV network launches next summer.

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Beyond the Scoreboard
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.
Beyond the Scoreboard eBook
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.
Beyond the Scoreboard: Chapter 1. The Mega-Master Super Series XLXL eBook chapter

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