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Bust, Boom, and Hope: NHL, NFL, College Sports, Soccer, NBA

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

February 8, 2013


Winner: In anticipation of releasing two new smartphones, BlackBerry has renewed its North American sponsorship deal with the NHL. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the agreement will have BlackBerry sponsor all NHL media platforms, including and TV broadcasts.

Loser: Prospective Phoenix Coyotes owner Greg Jamison’s attempt to purchase the team has fallen through after he missed a deadline set by Glendale. Jamison needed to buy the team by the end of January in order to capitalize on a lucrative management clause in the Coyotes’ Arena lease.

What it means: Unlike other companies in the cell phone space, including AT&T, Verizon, and Samsung, BlackBerry has never been an aggressive spender on sports advertising or sponsorship with the U.S. With the impending release of its new phones, expect BlackBerry to be a more aggressive sports marketer.



Winner: The NFL already is sold out of tickets to both games scheduled for London next season. The brisk sales are indicative of the U.K.’s growing support of the NFL, prompting Commissioner Roger Goodell to leave open the possibility of one day permanently placing a team in London.

Loser: Critics are questioning New Orleans’ future in the Super Bowl rotation after the Superdome power outage cast an embarrassing light on the NFL and the city. Including the 2011 seating debacle at Cowboys Stadium, this is the second time in three years the league has had a significant technical gaffe at the Super Bowl.

What it means: This is the first time since the NFL launched its International Series that London is hosting two games in the same season. The longer it takes for the league to move a team to Los Angeles, the more likely London is used as leverage.


College Sports

Winner: The Chicago Cubs and Northwestern University agreed to a five-year marketing partnership that will have various NU athletic teams, including football, play games at Wrigley Field. In addition to games, signage and ticket promotions for both the Cubs and NU will be prominent around Chicago.

Loser: Contrary to initial denials, the NCAA did approve a $20,000 payment to the lawyer of University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro to obtain information in its investigation against the school, according to The NCAA doesn’t have subpoena power, and may not have been able to get certain evidence otherwise.

What it means: The partnership with the Cubs is being hailed as a big victory for Northwestern, which is slowly becoming a bigger player on the Chicago sports scene. The school’s “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” marketing slogan has helped triple sponsorship revenue over the last few years.



Winner: French soccer club Paris St. Germain, which recently signed star David Beckham to a contract, agreed to a five-year, $171 million jersey sponsorship with Fly Emirates. The deal will be the richest in French soccer history when it goes into effect in 2014.

Loser: The MLS Houston Dynamo and Greenstar Recycling agreed to end the company’s team and jersey title sponsorship. The early termination of their three-year, $7.5 million deal comes as a result of Greenstar’s sale to Waste Management. The Dynamo next season will be one of three MLS teams without a jersey sponsor.

What it means: In addition to the Paris St. Germain sponsorship, Fly Emirates also recently signed a five-year, $200 million sponsorship deal with Formula 1. Expect to see the airline continue to spend heavily on major international sports and on teams in major international cities.



Winner: Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza has gained momentum as the potential site of a new Kings arena. The location is a favorite of Ron Burkle, considered the best candidate to buy the Kings and keep them in Sacramento. Downtown Plaza previously was studied as an arena site in 2010.

Loser: The NPBA placed Executive Director Billy Hunter on indefinite suspension, effectively stripping him of all duties. Hunter’s job status has been in question since an internal investigation found him guilty of nepotism and failing to comply with union bylaws.

What it means: Sacramento remains far behind Seattle in the race for the Kings, but Mayor Kevin Johnson should be commended for his efforts to keep the team. Burkle’s involvement is intriguing because he’s considering buying AEG and he previously stepped in to save another troubled sports franchise, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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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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