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Winners and Losers--June 21, 2013


By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

June 21, 2013

Baseball

Winner: The Los Angeles Dodgers and MLB have reached a tentative deal that would allow the team to keep up to $6 billion from its TV rights agreement with Time Warner Cable. A settlement between the two parties would avert a case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court and indicate the overall value of the TV deal at $8.5 billion.

Loser: Plumbing issues at O.co Coliseum resulted in raw sewage flooding the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners’ locker rooms during their game on Sunday. The building, which experiences regular plumbing problems, blamed this weekend’s incident on the added water usage from an unlikely A’s sellout.

What it means: The A’s have been trying to relocate to San Jose for years, but the San Francisco Giants hold territorial rights to the city and MLB has convened a panel to investigate a move. The latest embarrassment at O.co Coliseum could force Commissioner Bud Selig to expedite a decision on letting the A’s leave for San Jose.

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Hockey

Winner: The New Jersey Devils signed a new lease agreement with the city of Newark, ending a longstanding dispute between the two sides. Per the deal, Newark will pay the Devils $2.7 million per year in parking revenue, while imposing a 1.37% tax on all ticket sales at the arena.

Loser: The Phoenix Coyotes could relocate to Seattle if a new lease agreement isn’t reached with the Glendale City Council by July 2. Despite negotiations with several groups, the NHL has been unable to sell the team since buying it out of bankruptcy in 2009.

What it means: None of the prospective ownership groups that have tried to buy the Coyotes have been successful reaching a deal with Glendale on a new lease or with the NHL on price. Seattle has an arena deal in place after an attempt to lure the NBA Kings fell through. Regardless of if relocation is a real possibility, the threat of moving to Seattle is a strong negotiating chip in trying to get an improved lease in Glendale.

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Football

Winner: Still two months from the start of the NFL season, NBC is on verge of matching its 2012 “Sunday Night Football” ad sales revenue. At the same point last year, the network had commitments for 75% of its total from the 2011 NFL season. The automotive and technology sectors are among this year’s biggest ad buyers.

Loser: The Steelers are at odds with the Pittsburgh-Alleghany County Sports & Exhibition Authority over who will pay for upgrades to Heinz Field. The issue hinges on the team’s lease with the county, and what constitutes a “capital improvement” as opposed to a “modification.”

What it means: The total cost of the Steelers’ proposed renovation is $40 million. If the team can get the upgrades classified as capital improvements, the Sports & Exhibition Authority would be required to pay two-thirds of the cost. Otherwise, the Steelers could be on the hook for the whole project.

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Basketball

Winner: The Phoenix Mercury has seen interest spike this season thanks to the presence of rookie Brittney Griner. The team’s season-ticket sales are up 39% over last season, while group sales are up 33%. Several WNBA teams are promoting games against Griner and the Mercury as a way to boost their own sales.

Loser: Despite the increased foot traffic in Brooklyn since Barclays Center opened last year, only some local businesses in the vicinity of the arena are seeing their sales increase. The mixed results have led some critics to question the true impact Barclays Center is having on its surrounding neighborhood.

What it means: After an incredible college career, Griner is the most recognizable and most marketable player to join the WNBA in years. It should come as no surprise that team’s across the league already are reaping the benefits of her presence.

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Auto Racing

Winner: NASCAR next month will open its exclusive TV rights negotiation window with ESPN and Turner Sports. Both networks have expressed interest in retaining their package, though it’s unclear at what cost.

Loser: Daytona International Speedway’s annual fan survey found that one of the biggest complaints from this year’s Daytona 500 was the cancelling of the pre-race military flyover because of weather concerns. Additionally, of the fans that said they wouldn’t return to another 500, 54% cited the cost as their reason why.

What it means: Sports media rights are going through a bubble, and NASCAR last year signed an extension with Fox that represented a 33% increase from their previous deal. If either ESPN or Turner balks at the price increase, expect NASCAR to take its rights to the open market, where either CBS or NBC are certain to make an offer.




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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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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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