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Bust, Boom, and Hope: Racing, NBA, MLB, NFL, Soccer


By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

February 15, 2013

Bust, Boom, Hope: Racing

Bust: Procter & Gamble brands Gillette, Head & Shoulders and Old Spice dropped their official NASCAR sponsorship in advance of the 2013 season. The deal was valued in the low-seven figures annually.

Boom: The NHRA in 2012 saw revenues increase for the first time in four years and posted its first profit since 2008. The strong financial performance was attributed to a new race in St. Louis, increased attendance, and renewed sponsorship deals.

Hope: Indianapolis Motor Speedway is seeking state money to help fund $100 million in track improvements. Track officials want to create a motorsports investment district in order to collect various taxes generated around the speedway. The taxes could raise an estimated $5 million annually for the project.

What it means: The decision to drop their sponsorship ends Gillette’s ten-year tenure as NASCAR’s official shaving product. In addition to the P&G brands, NASCAR has also lost deals with DirecTV, Office Depot, and Featherlite Coaches since last year. The 2013 Sprint Cup Series season begins with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 24.

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Bust, Boom, Hope: NBA

Bust: Dwight Howard’s marketability has plummeted over the last year following his high-profile exit from the Orlando Magic and the drama surrounding this year’s Los Angeles Lakers. Howard remains one of the highest-paid endorsers in the NBA, but companies have been less inclined to use him in national ads recently.

Boom: Despite drops in total viewership, Turner Sports already has grossed more revenue this season from NBA ad sales than in any past full regular season. The network has sold an estimated 85% of its remaining regular season ad inventory.

Hope: The Golden State Warriors unveiled a new alternate jersey that features short sleeves. The Warriors will wear the jerseys three times through March 15, becoming the first team in the modern NBA era to wear something other than a tank top during the game.

What it means: The Warriors’ new alternate jerseys might be divisive, but they’re certainly generating a lot of buzz. Even if they’re nothing more than a temporary fad, expect strong sales of these unique, short-sleeve uniforms in the Bay Area.

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Bust, Boom, Hope: MLB

Bust: The Miami Marlins’ annual preseason fan festival was sparsely attended, as fans protested the team’s ownership group and recent fire sale. Attendance at Marlins Park this season is expected to plummet compared to last year, and the numbers might not improve until owner Jeffrey Loria sells the team.

Boom: The St. Louis Cardinals broke ground on their long-delayed Ballpark Village development project next to Busch Stadium. The project’s $100 million first phase will include 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, and entertainment space, and is scheduled to be completed by next spring.

Hope: The New York Yankees are partnering with Ticketmaster to create an in-house ticket resale service. Having opted out of a league-wide deal with StubHub, the Yankees Ticket Exchange allows season-ticket holders to sell their seats for only a 5% commission, one-third of what most secondary market ticket sites charge.

What it means: Several groups, including one led by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, reportedly were rebuffed in their attempts to buy the Marlins from Loria. Loria’s made a mockery of Marlins fans and the city of Miami, and his lopsided stadium deal has created big problems for the nearby Dolphins in their quest for Sun Life Stadium renovations.

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Bust, Boom, Hope: NFL

Bust: There won’t be a NFL Experience during next year’s Super Bowl in New York because the league wasn’t able to find suitable space for the exhibit. The decision, which surprised some sponsors, marks the first time in two decades the Super Bowl won’t include an Experience.

Boom: The Charlotte City Council tentatively approved a deal to provide nearly $145 million for Bank of America Stadium upgrades and keep the Carolina Panthers in town through 2027. The Panthers will contribute $96 million to the upgrades, with the state of North Carolina adding another $62 million.

Hope: The Miami Dolphins have agreed to hold a public referendum so voters can decided on allocating tax revenue to Sun Life Stadium renovations. The Dolphins hope to get the issue before the public by May 22, which is when NFL owners will vote on Super Bowls 50 and 51.

What it means: Cross the Panthers off the prospective Los Angeles list. The Panthers were considered a dark horse to relocate to the proposed Farmers Field because the team owns Bank of America Stadium, and thus, doesn’t have a lease. Until a team actually moves to L.A., NFL franchise will use Farmers Field as leverage to get new stadium or renovations to their existing one.

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Bust, Boom, Hope: Soccer

Bust: The NASL New York Cosmos face several issues as they seek a soccer-specific stadium near Belmont Park on Long Island. The Cosmos want to build their facility independent of MLS, which is working on a competing stadium proposal 10 miles away in Queens.

Boom: Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain expects to sell 150,000 David Beckham jerseys by the end of this season. In his career, Beckham has raised $1.6 billion in jersey and shoe sales, with $23.5 million expected from his upcoming, five-month Paris stint, according to Alex Miller of the London Daily Mail.

Hope: MLS from February 25-28 will hold its inaugural Jersey Week, which will celebrate the art of each team’s jersey. Twelve clubs will unveil at least one new jersey this year, and beginning in 2014, all 19 MLS teams will unveil at least one new jersey every season.

What it means: MLS has long been interested in expanding from 19 to 20 teams, and the league hasn’t been shy about its desire to put its next franchise within one of New York City’s five boroughs. The long held assumptions were that the Cosmos would be that team with Flushing Meadows the location. The Cosmos would be best served sticking to those assumptions, rather than trying to go at a stadium plan on its own.




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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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