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Winners and Losers--June 7, 2013


By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

June 7, 2013

MLB

Winner: El Paso hosted an official groundbreaking ceremony for its new downtown baseball stadium that will host the PCL Triple-A Tucson Padres. Financing for the $50 million stadium, scheduled to open next spring, was approved by 70% of El Paso voters in a November referendum.

Loser: Through the first two months of the MLB season, league-wide attendance is down 3% compared to last year, with daily interleague play cited as a key factor for the decline. Eight of the league’s 30 teams are experiencing double-digit, year-over-year drops, with the Miami Marlins down an MLB-worst 38%.

What it means: In just their second year at Marlins Park, the Marlins are on pace to have the lowest attendance in MLB this season. It’s been such a bad year for the Marlins that the team is responsible for 40% of the league-wide 3% drop in attendance. The Marlins’ offseason fire sale also is having a negative impact on teams in all sports hoping to publicly finance a new stadium.

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NFL

Winner: Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has signed an endorsement deal with EpiPen after he was forced to use the product during an allergic reaction last year. In addition to EpiPen, Peterson this offseason signed an endorsement deal with Castrol Edge and renewed his contract with Nike.

Loser: The NFLPA last year received just $2.15 million in licensing payments from video game maker EA Sports, well below the $30 million annually the union typically receives. It’s possible EA Sports frontloaded payments to the union in advance of the 2011 NFL lockout, resulting in such a low number this year.

What it means: The best endorsements are ones where an athlete actually uses and appreciates a product. While Peterson acknowledged that he hopes to never have to use an EpiPen again, he does carry one with him just in case he has another allergic reaction. This is one endorsement deal that makes a lot of sense for both sides.

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College Sports

Winner: The SEC for the 2012-13 fiscal year will distribute a record $290 million to its 14 member schools. The amount is up from $244 million last year and $220 million during the 2010-11 fiscal year. The distribution comes to approximately $20.7 million per school.

Loser: Rutgers University reportedly paid $70,000 to a search firm for a background check on new AD Julie Hermann. The check failed to turn up accusations of verbal and emotional abuse from former volleyball players against Hermann, who previously coached at the University of Tennessee.

What it means: This marks the 24th straight year that the SEC has reported a revenue increase. With the SEC TV Network set to launch last year, plus soon-to-be tapped revenue streams from a new Sugar Bowl deal and the recently announced College Football Playoff, the conference’s annual revenue should continue to grow for years to come.

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MLS

Winner: Recently retired soccer star David Beckham was in Miami last week exploring the market for a potential MLS expansion bid. As part of his original contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy signed in 2007, Beckham has an option to purchase an MLS franchise for below market value. In addition to Miami, he also plans to visit Orlando and San Antonio.

Loser: Two former MLS Chivas USA youth coaches are suing the team for discrimination, claiming they were fired for not being Latino. Chivas USA owner Jorge Vergara last summer reportedly told staffers that anyone who didn’t speak Spanish would be fired.

What it means: Chivas USA hasn’t made the playoff since 2009, doesn’t have a local broadcasting deal, and draws MLS’s worst average game attendance. With the team in such disarray, maybe Commissioner Don Garber could help facilitate a sale to Beckham, who could then relocate the team to whatever market is the most viable.

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NBA

Winner: The new Sacramento Kings ownership group is close to finalizing its purchase of the downtown site on which they plan on building a new arena. The ownership group and the city of Sacramento hope to have the $448 million arena complete in time for the 2016-17 NBA season.

Loser: Former Kings bidder Chris Hansen suggested that he might not have pursued the team in hindsight given the strong support from other owners to keep the franchise in Sacramento. Earlier this year, most analysts predicted that Sacramento had little-to-no chance of retaining the team.

What it means: The Kings decision was more about rewarding Sacramento for finding an ownership group and getting an arena deal than it was about penalizing Seattle. Seattle remains the most viable non-NBA city. With NBA Commissioner-in-waiting Adam Silver believed to be a strong proponent of bringing the NBA back to the Emerald City, Hansen might have another chance very soon.




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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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