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Bust, Boom, and Hope: May 20, 2013

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

May 20, 2013

“Bust”: Top Five Reasons the Armageddon is Near

1. Major college athletic departments last year saw operational spending increase by more than $665 million, this despite revenue increasing just $385 million. Of the 228 public schools in Division I, only 23 were self-sustaining, and of those, only seven didn’t receive some sort of subsidy.

2. MLB is being criticized for banning pink bats without Louisville Slugger logos on Mother’s Day. Louisville Slugger’s parent company made a large donation to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the league’s charity partner, in exchange for pink bat exclusivity. Among the players who couldn’t use a pink bat was Baltimore Orioles OF Nick Markakis, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor.

3. The family of late NHL player Derek Boogaard has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the league. The suit claims the NHL is responsible for the physical trauma and brain damage Boogaard sustained over six seasons in the league. Boogaard committed suicide in May 2011 at the age of 28.

4. Through the first two months of the regular season, MLS attendance is down 8% compared to last year. Four teams are seeing double-digit declines in year-over-year attendance, lead by Chivas USA, whose attendance at the Home Depot Center has fallen nearly 40%.

5. The first round of the NBA playoffs saw viewership decline 9% compared to the first round last season. The first round this year averaged 2.96 million viewers for 45 games, compared to 3.27 million viewers over 44 games last year.

“Boom”: Top Five Reasons that Prosperity is Right Around the Corner

1. The Seattle group bidding to buy and relocate the Sacramento Kings increased their offer by $75 million to $625 million, as well as included a $116 million relocation fee, the richest in league history. The increased bid came after the NBA’s relocation committee recommended keeping the Kings in Sacramento.

2. Coors Light has agreed to title sponsor the NHL’s newly created Stadium Series, which will feature six games in outdoor football and baseball stadiums. While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Coors Lights already is the biggest sponsor in NHL history, having signed a seven-year, $375 million deal with the league in February 2011.

3. Fast food chain Zaxby’s has signed sponsorship deals with 25 universities as it attempts to brand itself as “The Official Chicken of College Sports.” The schools partnering with Zaxby’s are concentrated in the Southeast, which is where most of the restaurant’s chains are located.

4. The National Baseball Hall of Fame has generated lots of digital traffic from its recent online release of scouting reports for thousands of current and former players, according to Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal. The archives are part of a new exhibit called “Diamond Mines,” designed to look at how scouting reports are developed.

5. MLS signed a six-year deal with Topps to make the company the “official trading card producer” of the league. Topps hopes to release its first MLS collection this July. In addition to the MLS, Topps also has deals with the NFL, MLB, and English Premier League, among other sports leagues.

“Hope”: Top Five Reasons That Creativity is the Key to Economic Survival

1. Barclays Center has signed a marketing deal with the University of Southern Cal for brand exposure during home football games at L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The three-year deal is worth in the low to mid-six figures annually, and gives Barclays Center a hospitality presence of the West Coast.

2. The NBA plans to begin informal negotiations on its next TV rights contracts this summer, according to John Ourand & John Lombardo of SportsBusiness Journal. The league’s current media partners, ESPN and Turner, pay a combined $930 million annually for the rights, but that total is expected to increase at least 20% when new deals are signed.

3. MLB is seeking a protective headgear product for pitchers, though no solution is imminent. The issue was heightened after Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ was hit in the head by a line drive last week. The biggest obstacle is finding a product that both provides protection and is comfortable for pitchers to wear.

4. Orlando City Soccer Club is actively looking for new stadium options after the Florida Legislature failed to vote on a measure that would provide public money for stadium construction. The club, which hopes to be named a MLS expansion franchise, wanted to build a $110 million stadium, but without state funds, may have to settle for a $60 million facility.

5. The NHL is close to committing its players to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, pending approval from team owners. The league and its players association were unable to reach an agreement on Olympics participation in their new collective bargaining agreement, signed earlier this year.

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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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