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Sports Business Update: March 3, 2014

Jerry Jones Celebrates 25 Years
Jerry Jones last week celebrated his 25th anniversary as owner of the Dallas Cowboys. He originally purchased the team and Texas Stadium in 1989 for a then NFL record $140 million. It’s safe to say that investment paid off. Today, the team alone is worth $2.3 billion. He also built AT&T Stadium – nicknamed “Jerryworld” – for $1.3 billion. In his time as an NFL owner, Jones has been one of the league’s most instrumental owners. In the early 1990s, he was outspoken against giving TV networks a rebate on NFL media rights, which later sold for over $1 billion. The league’s current TV deals are worth an aggregate of nearly $5 billion annually. He also took the risk of filing an antitrust lawsuit against the league so he could control his team’s licensing rights.

While Jones’ business savvy helped win him three Super Bowls in the 1990s, the Cowboys haven’t matched that success since. Jones is criticized for refusing to relinquish the General Manager title he’s bestowed upon himself. But there’s no arguing the fact that whether or not the Cowboys are good, the league is better with Jerry Jones as an owner.

Anheuser-Busch Petitions for National Holiday
It’s one of the most effective sports marketing campaigns in recent memory. St. Louis-based beer giant Anheuser-Busch and baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith are teaming up on a petition to make MLB Opening Day a national holiday. The two parties are trying to get 100,000 signatures by the end of March in order for the petition to be posted on the White House’s website.

Whether or not the petition even gets close to the necessary signatures is irrelevant. This is strictly a marketing ploy that’s taken on a life of its own. Major news outlets ranging from Time and Fox News have written stories about the campaign, which Anheuser-Busch is supporting with major ad buys. In addition to a 90-second commercial, the company created digital ads for websites such as and Anheuser-Busch brand Budweiser has been MLB’s official beer for more than three decades, and the company owns naming rights to Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Alcohol at College Sports
The trend is starting to gain steam. More and more colleges are beginning to offer alcohol at sporting events. The latest school – and easily the biggest one of all – is the University of Texas, which will begin selling beer and wine at Longhorn sporting events this spring. School officials are using the less attended spring events as a test before rolling out alcohol sales at football games this coming fall. UT becomes the sixth school in the state to sell alcohol at sporting events.

Texas isn’t the only college making alcohol-related news in recent weeks. The University of Minnesota is hoping to continue alcohol sales at home football games after concluding what administrators consider a successful two-year experiment. The school generated $1 million in beer and wine sales at TCF Bank Stadium last year, and reported no increase in alcohol-related incidents.

Gary Player & Social Media
Golfing icon Gary Player might not be the most likely of people to be active on social media, but the Grand Slam champion is approaching Twitter and Facebook like everything else in his life: to do it, he’s going to do it right. Player is among the most active professional golfers on social media.

Social media is just another way that Player continues to prove that age is just a number. He sees Twitter as a way to reach and engage with fans, journalists, and charities across the world. In fact, not a day goes by when Player isn’t checking the latest news on Twitter and engaging with followers.

Always passionate about growing the game and helping golfers, Player does not shy away from lending his golf advice learned over his professional career that has spanned over 60 years. In addition to golf advice, Player posts countless inspiration, motivational, upbeat and positive quips, photos, and quotes throughout the week. He also makes sure to send out congratulatory tweets to tournament winners each Sunday or Monday.

El Paso’s Booming Downtown
El Paso’s new Minor League Baseball stadium, scheduled to open next month, not only is getting citizens excited for baseball season, it’s also helping generate new business for the city’s downtown. Since the Pacific Coast League El Paso Chihuahuas began construction on the $60 million ballpark last year, businesses have been flocking downtown to capitalize on the excitement. According to the El Paso Downtown Management District, approximately $9.4 million was spent last year just to redevelopment business facades. The new downtown businesses include sports bars and restaurants. The city says it receives multiple calls a day from downtown businesses inquiring how they can best prepare themselves for the changes the ballpark may bring.

New business such as this is why El Paso voters in November 2012 opted to spend $525 million on projects to redevelop their downtown. In addition to the baseball stadium, money was earmarked for a multipurpose arena, zoo renovations and museums. Like they say, it’s all good in El Paso.

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