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Bust, Boom, Hope: February 10, 2014

by Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek


Bust, Boom, Hope: NFL

Bust: The NFL’s HGH drug-testing policy is being held up over a dispute with the players association regarding whether the commissioner or a neutral arbitrator will handle appeals. The league & union have gone three seasons without testing for HGH, despite including the issue in their most recent CBA.

Boom: The NFL awarded its eight-game Thursday night TV package to CBS in a one-year deal worth an estimated $300-350 million. The eight CBS games will be simulcast on NFL Network, allowing the league-owned cable channel to continue receiving a $1.20 monthly subscriber fee.

Hope: The NFL this summer will release a new app called “NFL Now,” a personalized video service providing fans with news, analysis, and highlights on their mobile devices. While the NFL Now app will be made available at no charge, fans have the option to purchase additional premium content.

What it means: CBS definitely comes as a surprise winner, beating out ESPN, Fox, and NBC for the rights. The deal is a big win for the NFL, which will keep a season’s worth of games on NFL Network and is having CBS cover all of its production. The NFL was intent on putting the games on a broadcast network, not cable.


Bust, Boom, Hope: NBA

Bust: The Golden State Warriors have conceded that their proposed waterfront arena in San Francisco will not open by 2017, and the team is in talks to stay at Oracle Arena beyond its current lease. In addition to some project costs doubling since initial estimates, protesters are trying to put the arena deal to a public vote.

Boom: Sales of NBA 2K14 are pacing well ahead of last year’s edition of the game. According to Take-Two Interactive, parent of 2K Sports, the company has sold more than 5 million copies of this year’s game, and lifetime sales of the franchise now top 35 million units.

Hope: New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver formed a committee to advise him in advance of the league’s upcoming media rights negotiations. Though the NBA’s media rights deals don’t expire until 2016, the league has expressed interest in beginning renewal talks with ESPN and Turner.

What it means: Even though rival EA Sports brought back its NBA video game franchise after a four-year hiatus, the 2K series hasn’t lost any market share. 2K has arguably the best basketball game on the market, as evidenced by sales continuing to grow year-over-year.


Bust, Boom, Hope: College Sports

Bust: Because of travel costs and coach incentives, Wichita State actually lost money last year by making the Final Four. The athletic department’s expenses were up 16% compared to the previous year, and though schools receive more money the deeper they progress into the tournament, payouts are made over six years.

Boom: The University of Texas athletics department posted $165.7 million in operating revenue for the 2012-13 school year, a record for college sports, and net income of nearly $19 million. Texas is one of the few schools in the country that doesn’t receive funds from student fees or state sources.

Hope: Navy’s men’s basketball team last week held “Rock-Paper-Scissors Night,” in which fans that beat the school’s mascot in a game of rock-paper-scissors could attend the game against Boston University for free. Fans that won RPS and already had a ticket to the game received a voucher for a future game.

What it means: Everything’s bigger in Texas, but even with as lucrative of a year as UT had, the school has grander aspirations. New athletic director Steve Patterson is targeting $200 million in annual revenue in the near future.


Bust, Boom, Hope: NASCAR

Bust: For the second consecutive year, Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s reigning 11-time Most Popular Driver, is beginning the season with 13 unsponsored races. Team owner Rick Hendrick said he won’t discount the price for an Earnhardt sponsorship, and has no timetable to land a deal.

Boom: NASCAR unveiled a major overhaul to the Chase for the Sprint Cup, increasing the postseason field to 16 drivers and adding three elimination rounds. The new format will guarantee a winner-take-all race to end the season at Homestead Motor Speedway.

Hope: Rapper 50 Cent’s SMS Audio brand signed a deal with Swan Racing to put the company’s logo on both of Swan’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars and drivers. The deal also calls for 50 Cent to make appearances at races throughout the 2014 NASCAR season.

What it means: The new Chase for the Sprint Cup format is almost certain to increase interest and TV viewership in NASCAR’s season finale. Additionally, with there guaranteed to be four racers vying for the title in the season’s last week, Miami should expect to see a boost in economic impact from its Homestead race.



Bust, Boom, Hope: MLB

Bust: The Washington Nationals’ plan to relocate their Spring Training site to Ft. Myers reportedly is in jeopardy after the developer linked to the project pulled out because of high costs. Ft. Myers has been attractive for the Nationals because of its proximity to other Spring Training sites.

Boom: The Los Angeles Dodgers are increasing ticket prices up to 140% next season due to what the team called unprecedented demand. Since an ownership group led by Mark Walter and Stan Kasten purchased the Dodgers in 2012, the team has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the roster and stadium.

Hope: The Texas Rangers announced a new stadium naming rights deal with Globe Life Insurance. The 10-year deal is the stadium’s first naming partnership since Ameriquest backed out of its sponsorship in 2007. The stadium will be called Globe Life Park in Arlington.

What it means: Fans understandably are upset about the sharp increase in Dodgers ticket prices. However, you can’t blame the team for following the rules of supply & demand. If there’s enough interest in tickets that the team is able to increase prices up to 140%, then it’s hard to fault the Dodgers for doing so.

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