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Bust, Boom, and Hope: September 4, 2013


By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

September 4, 2013

“Bust”: Top Five Reasons the Armageddon is Near
1. ESPN and the NFL are under fire following a report that the league forced the network to pull out of an investigative documentary about head injuries in football. If true, it wouldn’t be the first time ESPN made an editorial move at the insistence of the NFL. In 2003, under pressure from the league, ESPN cancelled its controversial TV series Playmakers.
2. The NASCAR Hall of Fame continues to struggle to draw fans, seeing its attendance drop by 20,000 this year and losing $1.6 million. Since opening in 2010, the museum has continually fallen short of revenue and attendance projections. To date, the Hall has lost nearly $5 million.
3. The Osceola County Commission voted against building a new $98 million Spring Training complex for the Washington Nationals. If the Houston Astros leave for South Florida when their Osceola County Stadium lease expires in 2016, the county could be left without a Spring Training team.
4. The Golden State Warriors’ plan to build an arena on the water in San Francisco is falling behind schedule as costs for the project increase. The repair cost for piers to be able to hold the venue already have increased by $50 million, putting in serious jeopardy the team’s desired 2017 opening.
5. Penn State saw its royalties from licensed merchandise drop $700,000 last year, due largely to the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The $3.1 million in royalties the school generated during the 2013 fiscal year was down nearly $1 million from the school’s record licensing revenue in 2011.
“Boom”: Top Five Reasons that Prosperity is Right Around the Corner
1. The NBA can expect a sizable revenue increase in its next national TV rights contract after its current deals expire in 2016. With FS1 expected to make a play for the rights when they become available, ESPN President John Skipper said his network would be “aggressive” in remaining the NBA’s broadcast partner.
2. Electronic Arts released the 25th edition of its iconic Madden NFL video game franchise. Since first being released in 1988, the game has sold nearly 100 million copies, including an estimated 5 million copies last year. On average, Madden generates about $240 million annually for the company.
3. The Houston Astros are on pace to make an MLB-record $99 million in operating income this season, according to a report by Forbes. The before-tax profit is as much as the operating incomes of the last six World Series champions combined.
4. The University of Nebraska unveiled a $63.5M renovation to Memorial Stadium. The renovation adds 6,000 seats to the stadium, making it the fourth largest in the Big Ten Conference. Nebraska originally announced the expansion in 2010, just months after joining the Big Ten, a move that’s helped the school generate millions of dollars for the athletic department.
5. Former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch has signed a multiyear contract to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing beginning next season. Busch, who will be sponsored by Haas Automation, joins SHR’s stable of high-profile drivers, which features Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, and Kevin Harvick.
“Hope”: Top Five Reasons That Creativity is the Key to Economic Survival
1. MLBAM acquired distribution and sponsorship sales rights for the 2013 Global Citizen Festival, a Central Park benefit concert aimed at fighting poverty, according to Eric Fisher ofSportsBusiness Journal. Though the concert has no connection to baseball, MLBAM CEO Bob Bowman said the company wants to gain experience selling worldwide rights.
2. DirecTV is exploring different pricing options for its NFL Sunday Ticket package. The company is considering Internet-only and team-only options. NFL Sunday Ticket has been an important asset for DirecTV to attract and retain subscribers.
3. At least 20 of the 120 D-I college football programs will be wearing new uniforms at some point this season. One of the most notable trends is a chrome helmet, which will be sported by Baylor and Indiana, among other schools. Unique jersey combinations are hot sellers for retailers and are popular amongst players and recruits.
4. The NBA is considering splitting its 2015 All-Star Weekend festivities between Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center. Under the plan reportedly being looked at by the league, Barclays would host the skills competitions on Friday and Saturday night, while MSG would host the actual game on Sunday.
5. NASCAR is partnering with HP to create a “Fan & Media Engagement Center” to better monitor digital and social media interactions. Also as part of their sponsorship deal, NASCAR intends to work with HP to develop technological innovations it can pitch to other current and prospective sponsors.



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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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