15 to watch (Week of 11.22.15)
Rick Horrow's "15 to Watch"
CSN Bay Area Sports Business Insider Rick Horrow takes you off the field with his 15 top Biz Ball trends for the week of Nov 22.
Laying down rules for DFS
This past weekend, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey laid out a proposed set of rules for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) businesses operating within the state. According to a front-page Boston Globe piece, the rules set by Healey “would ban players younger than 21, seek to prevent sophisticated contestants from dominating games, prohibit contests on college sports, and force the companies to change their advertising practices.” If these regulations end up being implemented, they would make Massachusetts the first state to establish specific conditions that would allow the DFS business to operate. Industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel each issued tentative support of Healey’s proposal, though DraftKings expressed “concerns.”
Honda hearts hockey
Honda has elected to renew its title sponsorship of the NHL All-Star Game this season when it heads to Nashville. Looking to replicate their success at the 2015 NHL All-Star contests in Columbus, Ohio, Honda agreed to not only renew, but expand the multi-year partnership – giving the auto manufacturer an option to take the entitlement on a yearly basis. NHL Vice President/Integrated Marketing Brian Cull confirmed that the company will also sponsor the breakaway challenge and a social media voting platform during the skills competition, as well as the All-Star Game MVP award. All-Star breaks provide unique branding platforms: when all eyes are on the stars of a sport, all eyes are on its sponsors.
Warriors breaking records on court & TV
Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors are breaking records on the court, but the team’s current win streak is helping break local viewership records as well. CSN Bay Area drew its best Warriors game rating on record last Tuesday during the Toronto Raptors visit to Northern California. Meanwhile, over at TNT, the network drew their highest local rating on record for a Warriors regular-season game for the Clippers-Warriors game on Thursday. As long as the double-digit game win steak continues, expect viewership numbers to rise as well.
Fallout from Paris attacks
The last two weeks have marked a bittersweet fortnight for French media conglomerate Lagardere SCA. In the wake of the Nov. 13 terror attack in Paris, it was revealed that the iconic Bataclan concert hall, one of the worst hit sites, was acquired by Lagardere in September. Lagardere’s majority acquisition of the music temple was a savvy addition to its growing global sports and entertainment portfolio, and its innocent role in the tragedy was no doubt devastating to Lagardere CEO and Parisian native Arnaud Lagardere, who toured the site the following day. In a sign of hope, days before the Paris attacks: Doubles legends Mike and Bob Bryan, longtime Lagardere clients, were awarded the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year Award for their charitable foundation’s off court work. There’s no question about what endures in our world today: a solid contribution to global culture and society.
The Kristaps Porzingis hype machine is revved up, and sporting goods chain Modell’s is taking full advantage of the craze surrounding the hottest player in New York. Modell’s online store sold out of the young Latvian’s No. 6 jersey, as did the chain’s Madison Square Garden store. According to the company, sales over three days last week equaled all sales from the full week prior. In advance of Black Friday, a Modell’s spokesman guaranteed that the 40 stores throughout New York will be fully stocked with Porzingis gear. While the Porzingis hype is nowhere near what Jeremy Lin and Linsanity reached a few years back, expect the energy surrounding the budding star to only increase.
Bringing old to the new
U.S. Bank Stadium, set to be the new home of the Minnesota Vikings when completed next year, is already primed to receive an upgrade. The Vikings have announced a surprise addition to the plaza outside the team’s new stadium: a stylized ship that’s a nod to the state’s Nordic heritage. The massive ship will rest in front of the five pivoting glass doors of U.S. Bank Stadium facing toward downtown Minneapolis. Serving as the ship’s 55-foot sail will be a 2,000-square-foot video board, which will show live clips from Vikings games played in the stadium. The bow will be a 43-foot-high dragon’s head with Vikings horn and lit up purple eyes. In the quest to connect with fans, sometimes everything old is new again – even if the idea is 1,000 years old.
Derailment to LA Olympics?
Recent developments concerning the construction of an Olympic Village could potentially derail Los Angeles’ 2024 bid. Plans to build a community for 17,000 athletes near downtown appeared in doubt when the numbers didn’t add up. LA 2024 originally proposed a $1 billion development on a downtown rail yard, with essentially all of the financing needed coming from an unrevealed private investment. But City Councilman Mitch O-Farrell told a committee that buying the rail site, conducting a complete environmental cleanup, and relocating the yard could cost up to $2 billion before any construction would even begin. Even though the city has up to 75 percent of the athletic venues and facilities already in place ahead of the IOC’s selection, this costly project could significantly hurt LA’s Olympic bid.
LA vs Rome
Every city that puts forth a bid for the Olympics has a focus. Los Angeles’ Olympic leadership is focused on how hosting the games will help eliminate inequality and further unite the city. Rome, on the other hand, is pitching that city’s “unique cultural history” that will present athletes with a chance “to live in the Olympic spirit.” The Italian capital last hosted the Olympics in 1960, and Luca Pancalli, Vice President of Rome 2024, is hopeful and confident that his city can secure the Olympic bid in the upcoming years. Rome and Los Angeles appear to have formidable, yet drastically different bids, but a lot can change in the years to come for all competing parties.
MLB goes digital
MLB and Fox Sports recently reached an agreement for a three-year deal to begin in-market streaming for the 15 clubs in Fox’ RSM portfolio at the start of the 2016 season. This represents a significant breakthrough in what had been a years-long battle between baseball and its media partners to offer games locally on digital platforms. While this deal has not been officially signed yet, it will call for in-market games to be available to Fox RSN subscribers through the Fox Sports Go application and through distributors’ websites and apps. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, while speaking in Dallas last week, spoke about this huge move forward for baseball, saying, “This is a huge step forward for the industry. ...The media landscape is changing very rapidly, and we think it is a real positive to have our content available on as many platforms as possible.” Manfred hopes that all 30 teams will have this streaming within two years.
The 2016-17 NHL season will be a time of change and experiment, where all 30 teams will get “an NFL-style ‘bye week,”’ according to ESPN.com. The league and NHLPA have “committed to building a ‘five-day bye week’ for each team into the schedule next season.” The five-day break is scheduled to be implemented during the months of January and February for every team, giving players a much-needed break to let their bodies rest and recover. Players who will have just participated in the World Cup of Hockey before the season will especially need of a break, as those guys will have played a whole lotta hockey.
New arena, new business
Set to open in 2017, the Detroit Red Wings are highly anticipating moving into their new state-of-the-art arena. And with a new arena comes new business: all 52 corporate suites and all but three of the 22 mini-suites have already been sold, according to the Detroit News. The corporate suites are being leased at about $300,000 per year for seven to ten years, while the mini-suites, which can house up to eight people, are leasing for around $100,000 per year. Olympia Entertainment President & CEO Tom Wilson spoke of the exciting development, commenting, “The buzz is amazing. People see what is happening there, they want to be part of it.” Sports facilities don’t only provide entertainment. They provide community.
Ballmer banks on casino
In a three-year sponsorship deal announced this past weekend, Agua Caliente Casino Resorts (ACCR) is set to become the Los Angeles Clippers official and exclusive casino partner, according to the Desert Sun. The ACCR logo will be “prominently featured” on all Clippers advertising, including at Staples Center and in the Palm Springs area. ACCR will be the team’s first casino sponsor under new owner Steve Ballmer; in April 2014, after four seasons as a presenting sponsor, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians dropped its relationship with the Clippers after alleged racist comments by former owner Donald Sterling. This move by Agua Caliente Casinos shows their effort to expand their reach in LA.
Kansas City cashing out
As MLS continues to grow, more sponsors are hopping on board. The most recent leap comes in Kansas City, as Sporting KC has signed a new 10-year partnership with Children’s Mercy KC that will give the pediatric medical center naming rights to its soccer-specific stadium, currently known as Sporting Park. Financial details have yet to be revealed, but a source familiar with the deal said that it is comparable to other MLS stadium naming-rights deals, which typically fall in the annual range value of $1.5-2.5 million. Children’s Mercy will also assume naming rights to the club’s training center and like facilities at Swope Soccer Village. MLS rights are considered a bargain compared to the “big four” sports, but real value is derived by the league’s marketing partners.
Houston, do we have a problem?
Arena management giant AEG, part owner of the Houston Dynamo, appears close to selling its 50% share of the MLS franchise, according to the Houston Chronicle. AEG owns 50% of the club and the remaining 27 years on the 30-year lease at BBVA Compass Stadium. The other interest in the club is owned by Golden Boy President and co-Founder Oscar De La Hoya and Brener International Group Chair & CEO Gabriel Brener, each of whom owns a 25% stake. A source said that at least one member of the group trying to buy the soccer franchise is local, but potential buyers have yet to be identified. MLS Commissioner Don Garber has made it clear that his goal is for every club to have only one owner. Even with AEG selling their share, the Dynamo will have three.
All Day I Dream About Soccer
Coming in as the most expensive kit deal in Argentinian soccer history, Adidas extended its partnership with Argentine first division side River Plate. The agreement between the two sides is set to last through 2021 and be worth $60-100 million annually. Cross-city and league rivals Boca Juniors currently have a deal in place with Nike worth $8 million per year, falling $2 million short of Adidas’ new deal. Back in 2012, Adidas failed to sign Boca Junior when the club decided to renew a partnership it has had with Nike dating back to the 1990’s until 2019. The German sportswear brand is making a strong push to ink major soccer clubs to long-term, lucrative contracts – just like they did with German side Bayern Munich and EPL giant Manchester United.