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Winners and Losers: January 20, 2014

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
January 20, 2014

College Sports

Winner: FSU is ready to cash in on their BCS Championship win, the school’s first national title since 1999. The title couldn’t have come at a better time for FSU, which should see donations increase as the school is in the midst of an unprecedented $1 billion fundraising campaign.

Loser: Washington State University is on pace this year to post a school-record deficit for its athletics department. The school’s deficit for the 2014 fiscal year could exceed $10 million, primarily because of bond payments due on its football stadium and the construction of a football operations building.

What it means: Washington State has lost $10 million over the last two years combined, after going eight straight years turning a profit. The school hopes that increased TV revenue beginning in 2015 will help reduce it growing debt.



Winner: In addition to setting attendance and TV records, the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic earned a $20 million profit for the league, according to Chris Botta of SportsBusiness Journal. Of the game’s $30 million in revenue, ticket sales were responsible for approximately $20 million, while retail and ad sales brought in an additional $10 million.

Loser: The Florida Panthers claim they’re losing between $20-30 million annually, and the team has turned to Broward County to help keep the franchise operating. The Panthers want the county to pick up the $4.5 million in annual arena debt payments the team is on the hook for over the next 14 years.

What it means: How much more successful was this Winter Classic than other games? The 2012 game is believed to have generated a $5 million profit, while regular season games in big markets like Toronto and Chicago bring in between $2-3 million. Not bad for a day’s work.



Winner: The NFL has formally asked TV networks to bid on a Thursday night games package, which the winner would split with the league-owned NFL Network. The league is auctioning off a one-year deal that would feature eight regular season games, but no playoffs.

Loser: Construction of the new Minnesota Vikings’ stadium could be delayed because of an unexpected legal challenge to the planned $468 million bond sale. According to the team, due to an ambitious construction schedule, a two-week delay in the bond sale could push the stadium’s opening from 2016 to 2017.

What it means: How much more successful was this Winter Classic than other games? The 2012 game is believed to have generated a $5 million profit, while regular season games in big markets like Toronto and Chicago bring in between $2-3 million. Not bad for a day’s work.



Winner: MLS’s new TV deal with ESPN and/or Fox could be worth $70 million annually, a substantial increase over the $27 million per year the league currently receives from NBC, ESPN, and Univision, according to John Ourand & Chris Botta of SportsBusiness Journal. The lucrative increase comes despite MLS posting poor TV ratings over the last few years.

Loser: FIFA executives are worried that match-fixers could threaten the lives of players at this year’s World Cup in Brazil. FIFA has measures in place to combat match fixing at the 12 stadiums hosting games, and the organization is in touch with major betting houses to monitor unusual gambling trends.

What it means: Even if ESPN & Fox put together a joint bid, which is a strong possibility, the big rights fee increase indicates two things: 1) we’re undoubtedly in a sports media rights bubble, and 2) the need for original content is resulting in bidding wars.



Winner: MLB Advance Media is partnering with World Wrestling Entertainment to launch and support the first-ever 24/7 streaming network. For $9.95 per month, WWE Network subscribers will have access to all of the entity’s pay-per-view events and other original content.

Loser: The Houston Astros could move their Spring Training site to Arizona after a new stadium in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was rejected by the city council. The Astros have held their camp at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee since 1985, but their lease expires in 2016.

What it means: In addition to their deal with WWE, MLB Advanced Media also signed reached an agreement with Sony to provide video support for their upcoming TV service. These two deals show how innovative MLBAM is, and how great of a ROI the entity has been for team owners, which provided the original startup money.

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