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Bust, Boom, Hope: June 23, 2014

Bust, Boom, Hope: NFL

Bust: The U.S. Patent Office canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration on the grounds that the team’s name is disparaging to Native Americans. The ruling pertains to six different trademarks relating to the team. Owner Dan Snyder reiterated he has no intention to change the team’s name.

Boom: Miami-Dade County commissioners officially approved a deal with the Dolphins to renovate Sun Life Stadium. Per the arrangement, Miami-Dade will pay the team millions of dollars each year for bringing in major events in exchange for the Dolphins privately funding the $350 million renovation.

Hope: Australia’s Seven Network has signed a five-year deal to broadcast NFL games, including the Super Bowl. The company’s sister channel, 7mate, will show other NFL programs, including Hard Knocks, Sound FX, and A Football Life. Traffic volume for in Australia ranks top 5 for the NFL globally.

What it means: The Redskins plan to appeal the decision, which on an expedited basis could still take more than a year. Even without the protection, the team can still use its name and logo, but would have difficulty stopping sales of unauthorized and counterfeit merchandise.


Bust, Boom, Hope: NBA

Bust: Disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling reportedly has hired private investigators to “dig up dirt” on NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the other 29 team owners. In particular, the investigators are looking into whether other owners have made any racist or sexist jokes.

Boom: Miami Heat star LeBron James made a profit of more than $30 million in cash and stock as part of Apple’s recent $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics. James received a small stake in the company at its inception in 2008 in exchange for promoting the high-end headphones.

Hope: The Washington Mystics are the first professional U.S. sports team to stream live games locally to mobile devices, according to John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal. Given the NBA’s tendency to first test new ideas in the WNBA, it might not be long before the league allows its teams to stream games.

What it means: LeBron’s big payday from the Beats acquisition gives him a good reason to take less money should he opt for free agency. The deal is believed to be the biggest equity cash payout for a professional athlete in history, giving James $11 million more than his annual salary with the Heat.


Bust, Boom, Hope: MLS

Bust: David Beckham’s MLS stadium hopes suffered a big blow after the city of Miami took his preferred stadium site off the table. Beckham and his group plan on taking time to consider their remaining options, but MLS is insisting on a site in downtown Miami.

Boom: MLS is in preliminary talks with an El Paso group regarding possible expansion into the market. MountainStar Sports Group, which owns the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas, has met twice with MLS Commissioner Don Garber. The league plans on expanding to 24 teams by 2020, and El Paso presents a unique opportunity to MLS given its proximity to Mexico.

Hope: Chipotle Mexican Grill is activating its MLS sponsorship with a nationwide contest that offers a trip for four to Portland for AT&T MLS All-Star Week. The VIP trip will include airfare, hotel and meal expenses, as well as invitations and passes to All-Star Week events, including the Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game.

What it means: The El Paso group has made it clear that it’s on MLS’s timeline, and a conversation regarding where a stadium would be located hasn’t taken place. Beckham’s Miami team tentatively is the league’s 23rd franchise, but if his stadium plan falls through, it represents a greater opportunity for El Paso. MLS has openly considered adding another Texas-based team.


Bust, Boom, Hope: College Sports

Bust: Buffalo Wild Wings is exercising an option to end its title sponsorship of the Tempe, Arizona, December bowl game after just two years. The restaurant was paying an estimated $3 million annually for the entitlement. With Tostitos recently ending its bowl deal, the Fiesta Bowl Committee now must find sponsors for its two biggest games.

Boom: BitPay announced a three-year sponsorship deal that designates the Tampa Bay area’s annual bowl game as the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. Tickets and related merchandise will be available for purchase with bitcoin through BitPay’s processing services.

Hope: This season’s University of Louisville vs. University of Kentucky basketball game will donate a portion of its proceeds to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The game marks the second time a portion of game revenue will be donated to the Hall, as Louisville made a similar contribution in 2011.

What it means: Sponsoring a college football game unquestionably is the highest-profile marketing initiative undertaken by a bitcoin-related business. While the sponsorship deal was mocked on social media, the announcement alone generated significant media attention. Allowing fans to pay with bitcoins is critical for this deal to be considered a success.


Bust, Boom, Hope: NASCAR

Bust: NASCAR is expected to layoff more than 20 employees as part of an organization-wide restructuring, according to Tripp Mickle of SportsBusiness Journal. NASCAR was one of the few sports organizations that actually its workforce during the recession.

Boom: Homestead-Miami Speedway is likely to keep the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale after extending its partnership with Ford Motor Co. for five years, with an option to renew for an additional five years. Ford has been the official title sponsor of the three races held at the facility since 2002.

Hope: Comcast Xfinity is in advanced talks with NASCAR to replace Nationwide Insurance as the title sponsor of the circuit’s secondary series. NASCAR is seeking $12-15 million annually for the rights fees, plus media and activation commitments that could bring the total yearly bill to $25 million.

What it means: NASCAR has been looking for a replacement sponsor for Nationwide since last fall. While a deal with Xfinity hasn’t reached the contract phase, Comcast has emerged as the leading candidate. NASCAR hopes to have a deal finalized by late this summer, so the new sponsor has time to plan marketing activation.

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