“Bust”: Top Five Reasons the Armageddon is Near
1. The NHL’s future Winter Olympic participation could be in jeopardy, as owners and league officials are unhappy with the two-week break in play. Some markets have difficulty regaining attendance momentum after shutting down for such a lengthy period.
2. Rutgers University has agreed to pay an $11.5 million penalty for withdrawing early from the American Athletic Conference. The penalty will come from the school’s athletic budget, but payments will be made over the next four years. Rutgers officially joins the Big Ten on July 1.
3. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league is not currently considering plans to place an expansion team in Seattle, despite continued interest from investor Chris Hansen. Silver said the NBA’s top priority is helping the Milwaukee Bucks settle their long-term arena concerns.
4. MLB owners last month voted to allow teams to cut or completely eliminate pension plans for non-uniformed personnel. While the decision could affect front office staff members from executives to secretaries, no teams have made changes thus far.
5. The Cleveland Browns are in disarray, as owner Jimmy Haslam has fired his entire front office for the second time in 16 months. The Browns had already been considered dysfunctional for firing head coach Rob Chudzinski after just one season, but the latest shake-up makes Haslam look that much worse.
“Boom”: Top Five Reasons that Prosperity is Right Around the Corner
1. The NFL is aiming for $25 billion in annual revenue by 2027, up from about $10 billion this season. In order to attain that goal, the league anticipates its annual media rights fees will increase substantially when they expire after the 2022 season.
2. The Edmonton Oilers announced they are moving ahead with plans to build a new $440 million arena, which will open in time for the 2016-17 NHL season. Plans for an arena district – which could include a casino, hotel, housing, and retail – will be unveiled this spring.
3. Nebraska is expecting a big payday in 2017, when the school finally receives a full share of Big Ten revenue. Conference projections suggest disbursements to member schools in 2017 will be between $40-50 million, significantly more than the $9 million Nebraska last received from the Big 12 four years ago.
4. The Texas Rangers’ new stadium naming rights deal with Globe Life Insurance reportedly is worth $50 million over 10 years, making it one of the most lucrative naming deals in MLB. Only the New York Mets ($20 million) and Houston Astros ($6.3 million) make more per season from naming rights deals.
5. Boosted by having the best record in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers this season are seeing big gains in attendance, TV ratings, and merchandise sales. Overall attendance is up 19% over last season, while ratings on FS Indiana are up 138%.
“Hope”: Top Five Reasons That Creativity is the Key to Economic Survival
1. The Florida, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Texas men’s basketball teams in 2018 will participate in a “barnstorming tour,” playing doubleheaders in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles over an eight-day period. During the course of the event, created by Michigan State AD Mark Hollis, players from all four schools will travel together on a chartered airplane.
2. Retired basketball star Shaquille O’Neal is partnering with Macy’s to launch a line of Big & Tall suits. The collection will be available this month in 100 Macy’s stores nationwide, and will range in price from $150 for a pant to $400 for a jacket.
3. Rogers Communications and the NHL are planning a ten-city Canadian tour to research fan viewing habits. As part of the trip, reps from both sides will visit sports bars, local hockey leagues, and people’s homes. Rogers recently signed a 12-year deal for the NHL’s Canada media rights.
4. The Miami Marlins and New York Yankees next month will play a Spring Training series at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, marking the league’s first trip into Panama since 1947. The series is being branded as an event to honor recently retired Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who’s from the country.
5. Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh has hired Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports to represent him in future contract and marketing negotiations. Suh, who has existing marketing deals with Nike, Subway, and Chrysler, becomes Roc Nation’s most established football client.