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Bust, Boom, Hope: March 10, 2014


Bust, Boom, Hope: NFL

Bust: Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis said the team has made no progress in its ongoing quest for a new stadium. The Raiders have been actively lobbying for a new stadium for years. Their current home, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, is the oldest unrenovated stadium in the NFL.

Boom: The NFL salary cap for the 2014 season will be $133 million, up $10 million from last year’s cap. Because of the NFL’s new TV contracts, the salary cap is expected to increase significantly over the next few years, potentially reaching $150 million by 2016.

Hope: Support is growing amongst NFL owners to expand the playoff field by two teams, beginning as early as the 2015 season. With a bigger playoff field, only one team per conference would receive a first-round bye. A total of six games would be played during the opening Wild Card weekend.

What it means: The Raiders had the opportunity to share Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers, but ultimately decided they wanted their own stadium. The Raiders go into next season with a one-year lease extension, which owner Mark Davis says might be the last one Oakland gets. Could Los Angeles be calling? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Bust, Boom, Hope: PGA

Bust: PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said the title sponsor and location of next year’s WGC-Match Play Championship are undetermined. One Arizona reporter speculates there’s a 1% chance Accenture renews its sponsorship that expired this year, while there’s a 90% chance the event leaves Tucson.

Boom: A strong field and great weather helped the Honda Classic shatter its attendance record. The tournament at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens drew more than 193,000 fans, up 14.3% from last year’s event and double the crowd in 2010.

Hope: Stout Partners, a Dallas-based social media consultancy co-founded by PGA star Jordan Spieth’s father, launched a new and innovative social media index. The MVPindex measures athletes, leagues, and teams based on their social media reach, engagement, and conversation. The rankings are updated in real-time.

What it means: At launch, the MVPindex has three clients — Under Armour, Lagardère Unlimited and TaylorMade. Under Armour is Jordan Spieth’s apparel sponsor, while Lagardère represents him. The index is meant for brands and agencies that want to see the social media power of the athletes they work with.

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Bust, Boom, Hope: MLS

Bust: MLS is still negotiating a new TV rights deal with ESPN and Fox despite reports in early January that an agreement with the two networks was close. An ESPN executive said talks are taking longer than they had hoped because of the complexity of dealing with two different properties.

Boom: MLS has bought Chivas USA from owner Jorge Vergara for $70 million, assuming responsibility for the club’s operations effective immediately. Vergara’s ownership tenure was marred by discrimination lawsuits. The league is insisting the next Chivas owner build a soccer-specific stadium in L.A.

Hope: Chipotle signed its largest sports sponsorship deal to date, reaching an agreement with MLS and 12 of the league’s teams. Per the deal, the chain will sponsor the inaugural Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game during the league’s All-Star Week in Portland later this summer.

What it means: Buying out Chivas owner Jorge Vergara might have been expensive, but if MLS can find a buyer for the team in the near future, it’ll be a wise investment long-term. Vergara was arguably the league’s worst owner, and it was in MLS’ best interest to cut ties at almost any cost.

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Bust, Boom, Hope: MLB

Bust: Cincinnati Reds owner Bob Castellini is not happy with team’s offseason media coverage, saying negative local news prevented the Reds from reaching their season-ticket sales goal. Cincinnati media was critical of the team’s lack of free agent signings in the offseason.

Boom: At least 14 MLB teams will have payrolls over $100 million this season, with the Los Angeles Dodgers leading the way at $217 million. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, and Milwaukee Brewers are three teams that could post $100 million payrolls for the first time in franchise history.

Hope: MLB Advanced Media unveiled a new player tracking system that will create new defensive metrics. The system combines optical tracking and radar technology to measure the speed and path of players and the ball, according to Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal.

What it means: Big payrolls are the new norm in MLB. Many teams are flush with cash after signing new local TV rights deals, some worth more than $100 million annually. There exists a gap between teams that have signed new TV deals in recent years and those still operating under old agreements, and spending money doesn’t guarantee World Series appearances. However, most teams would rather have the money and choose whether to spend it than have to rely on the Moneyball approach.

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Bust, Boom, Hope: NHL

Bust: Add hockey commentator Don Cherry to the list of people who don’t think NHL players should participate in the Olympics. Cherry said owners would be “nuts” to send players to South Korea in 2018, especially because the league isn’t trying to grow its presence in Asia.

Boom: The Ilitch family will retain all revenue generated from the Detroit Red Wings’ soon-to-be-built arena under a deal with state and local development authorities. Under the team’s previous arena deal with Detroit, the Red Wings gave the city nearly $7 million annually generated from home games.

Hope: St. Louis Blues RW T.J. Oshie following his Sochi Olympics heroics has cracked the NHL’s best-selling jersey list for the first time. Oshie ranks 18th on the list, which counts sales on Shop.NHL.com from October 1 through February 25.

What it means: NHL owners have long loathed sending players to the Olympics. The multi-week break kills momentum, and top players are at risk of injury. Look no further than New York Islanders star John Tavares, who’s out for the season after suffering a knee injury in Sochi. The issue isn’t collectively bargained for, and the two sides will continue to fight about future participation.




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