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Winners and Losers--July 12, 2013


By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

July 12, 2013

Football

Winner: One of the few times a sports team should be lauded for losing money, the New England Patriots exchanged more than 1,200 Aaron Hernandez jerseys, including 300 youth jerseys. The swap cost the team $250,000, but helped take several Hernandez jerseys out of circulation.

Loser: The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission rejected the Rams’ proposal for a $700 million renovation to the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams’ lease obligates the team to play two more seasons at the Dome, but if the building isn’t renovated, the team could leave St. Louis after the 2014 NFL season.

What it means: The Rams’ lease says that if Edward Jones Dome isn’t a “top-tier” NFL stadium by 2014, the team can play at the Dome on a year-to-year basis. The sides have been negotiating for over a year on renovation plans, but they remain hundreds of millions of dollars apart. Given that there isn’t a viable L.A. stadium plan with the apparent demise of Farmers Field, the Rams lack substantive relocation leverage. Bottom line: it’s likely a deal is reached to keep the Rams in St. Louis, though it might not come to fruition for a while.

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Baseball

Winner: Rare is the sports partnership that helps improve a team’s business efficiency internally, while also helping enhance the fan experience. Yet that’s exactly what the Los Angeles Dodgers’ deal with Citrix, makers of GoToMeeting, has done. Each month during the season, fans have the opportunity to win a Citrix videoconference with a Dodger legend.

Loser: Anaheim officials said that the city-owned Angels Stadium is in need of $150 million in upgrades over the next decade. The Angels can terminate their lease at the 47-year-old ballpark as early as 2016, but the city hopes they can include a renovation plan as part of lease extension negotiations.

What it means: While the Dodgers last year began using Citrix GoToMeeting with HD Faces for videoconferencing, this season, they’re leveraging the software to give Dodgers fans a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So far, Dodgers legends Steve Yeager and Ron Cey have participated.

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Tennis

Winner: After becoming the first Brit to win Wimbledon in 77 years, Andy Murray likely will reap a marketing windfall. Branding consultants expect Murray’s off-court earnings to increase from $12 million to more than $30 million annually. Among his current sponsors are Adidas, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Rado.

Loser: Despite Murray’s historic win over Novak Djokovic, TV ratings for ESPN’s broadcast of the men’s final were down 35% compared to last year. ESPN also saw ratings fall 21% for coverage of the women’s final between Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki.

What it means: Murray’s awareness and marketability are skyrocketing after the historic win on his home turf. But despite the great storyline, TV ratings were poor because neither Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal made it far into the men’s tournament, and Serena Williams failed to make the women’s final. TV execs can only hope that Murray’s rising star power can boost future ratings.

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Golf

Winner: Tiger Woods’ annual World Challenge golf tournament will proceed this December as planned. The event, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, is so important to Woods that he reportedly spent $4 million of his own money to cover the tournament’s operating costs last year.

Loser: Golf Hall of Famers Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus believe that Rory McIlroy’s new equipment contract with Nike is to blame for his poor play this season. In addition to continually trying new clubs, McIlroy also has several off-course obligations under his Nike deal.

What it means: Though McIlroy has maintained that his club switch isn’t what’s affecting his game, it’s clear from the words of Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo that the move from Acushnet to Nike is taking its toll. Whether the struggles are with the physical clubs or the mental burden of a $200 million endorsement contract, McIlroy hasn’t been the same player since making this switch this season.

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College Sports

Winner: The University of South Carolina Board of Trustees approved an athletic department record $84 million budget for the 2014 academic year. The budget is up $2.3 million over last year and doesn’t include potential bowl disbursements, which means actual revenue could be even higher than projected.

Loser: The cost of renovating Orlando’s Citrus Bowl is expected to exceed its $190 million budget by $18-27 million. Orange County already has committed $155 million to the project, including extra money for cost overruns. Citrus Bowl execs want the extra money to make the stadium competitive for a BCS bid.

What it means: South Carolina’s ever-growing budget demonstrates the financial power of the Southeastern Conference. The conference set a record this past year by distributing $290 million to its member schools. With the SEC Network set to launch next summer, schools can expect their conference payouts to continue increasing for the foreseeable future.




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Beyond the Scoreboard
Rick Horrow, America’s leading expert in sport business, and coauthor Karla Swatek give fans an inside look at the multibillion-dollar world of professional sport.
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Rick Horrow, America’s leading expert in sport business, and coauthor Karla Swatek give fans an inside look at the multibillion-dollar world of professional sport.
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