15 to Watch (Week of Aug. 2)
Rick Horrow's "15 to watch"
CSN Bay Area sports business analyst Rick Horrow presents his top sports news/marketing/deal-making/business/corporate/endorsement issues for the week of Aug. 2.
Beijing making Olympic history
Beijing was selected to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, becoming the first city awarded both the Winter and Summer Games. Beijing narrowly defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a vote of the International Olympic Committee. The Chinese capital, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, came in to the vote as the strong favorite, despite its lack of natural snow. IOC chose the more “certain” candidate -- even with prior cost overruns and empty facilities -- over an “emerging” region. Trend, or not?
Russell Wilson gets paid
The Seattle Seahawks and QB Russell Wilson agreed to a four-year deal worth $87.6 million with $60 million guaranteed. The deal puts Wilson on par with Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers as the NFL's highest-paid player with a deal worth an average of $22 million annually. Validates the spending pattern that contenders have used to guarantee the “franchise QB,” even with a high guaranteed number. Seahawks remain a stable cornerstone of the NFL.
Cardinals' pockets getting deeper
More money for free agency. As originally reported by MLB.com, the St. Louis Cardinals signed a 15-year media-rights deal with Fox Sports that gives the team an equity stake in FS Midwest. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Fox reportedly will pay the team around $50 million in the first year of the new deal, which starts with the 2018 season. Ironic that the Cardinals made fewer moves in free agency, they’ll now have a “war chest” bigger than most. Regional cable TV deals will be the biggest differentiator between the “haves” and “have nots” in the future.
$455 billion out there
International media revenue exceeds $455 billion. A good example of an international global media company is Globecast. The global solutions provider for media again was contracted to bring one of the world’s great sporting spectacles to screens around the globe: The 2015 Tour de France. From the Grand Départ in Utrecht to the final iconic sprint on the Champs Élysées, Globecast successfully rose to both the technical and logistical challenges posed by this year’s event. Look for the major media players to continue to take advantage of incredible growth and entrepreneurialism in the worldwide industry.
Serena seeking slam
Six weeks until the U.S. Open, U.S. hard court tennis season is upon us with an event in Washington. When Lagardère Unlimited’s corporate consulting group scored an impressive win earlier this year, landing the Citigroup global sports and entertainment business, the agency had already established an excellent relationship with the financial service brand due to its longtime stewardship of the Washington, DC pro tennis tournament now known as the Citi Open. Serena Williams and her quest for the Grand Slam will continue to maintain significant interest in tennis over the summer; the Washington event is a critical component of that momentum on the men’s side.
"Deflate-gate" hitting federal court
"Deflate-gate" now in federal court. New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft called the NFL's decision to uphold Tom Brady's four-game suspension “unfathomable” and said the league's handling of the entire "Deflate-gate" situation has been “extremely frustrating and disconcerting.” Kraft still stands behind Brady, calling him a great ambassador for the NFL. This is clearly the No. 1 issue -- but it will evolve daily. Look for mounting pressure to settle the case under judge Berman’s watch -- either before the Aug. 12 first hearing or the Aug. 19 calendar call.
Rio rampant with bacteria
An Associated Press investigation found dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from sewage in venues where athletes will compete in the 2016 Olympic water sports in Rio de Janeiro. Nearly 1,400 athletes competing in the Summer Games will come into contact with waters that have suffered from rampant sewage pollution. Infrastructure controversies always are major news items a year before any major event. Environmental, health, and safety concerns are another matter -- incredibly important to see how the Brazil executives respond in the next couple months.
The NHL has signed a five-year North American renewal with Bridgestone, which will keep the tire maker as the title sponsor of the Winter Classic as well as the official tire of the NHL. In addition to the continuation of its Winter Classic deal, Bridgestone will also make a significant media commitment to the NHL. NHL continues to satisfy their core sponsor partners. Look for even more corporate relationships in the years ahead considering the higher TV ratings, World Cup, and potential expansion.
Pac-12 paving way with media deal
Adidas has agreed to a three-year marketing and media deal that will make it the official athletic apparel and footwear partner of the Pac-12 Conference. The agreement gives Adidas rights at all Pac-12 championship events and the Pac-12 Networks. The category was not previously filled. Race to generate as much revenue as possible at the collegiate level -- both with conferences and individual programs!
Sports in Arizona
As originally reported by the Arizona Republic, preliminary discussions have already taken place about the possibility that the Coyotes will become anchor tenants along with the Suns in a new arena in downtown Phoenix. There is also preliminary interest in building a new facility for the two teams in Scottsdale that would be part of an existing gaming resort. The NHL process should move in tandem with the Las Vegas and Quebec application process. Other arena locations in the Valley of the Sun, Seattle interest, and the like.
Trout trending larger than life
The Los Angeles Angels unveiled a life-size bobblehead in the image of CF Mike Trout outside Angel Stadium. The six-foot-six bobblehead doll has Trout in a home uniform holding his 2014 AL MVP award. The team erected the statue after noting the popularity of bobblehead giveaways with fans. Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant, and other young superstars are rapidly becoming the marketing face of MLB. More to come in this area.
Super Bowl LVII in Pittsburgh?
The Pittsburgh Steelers filed a formal application to bring Super Bowl LVII to Heinz Field in 2023. The application is the first step toward securing approval from the league to submit a formal bid to host the game. Steelers owner Art Rooney said Pittsburgh would benefit from adding a few more full-service hotels. Cold weather NFL cities waiting in line after New York -- Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, Charlotte, and others. Now, Pittsburgh.
Falling short of forecasts
Revenue from fans attending concerts at Gila River Arena is about $1 million short of projections. IceArizona, the Coyotes ownership group, projected two years ago it could book at least 23 shows annually with 15,000 fans per show, but the city of Glendale reports show that attendance at 14 non-hockey events over the past year never topped 14,000 per event. See the items above -- all of these processes will be linked together in an entrepreneurial NHL expansion process.
Rupp Arena getting makeover
The Lexington Center BOD voted unanimously to approve a $15 million renovation of Rupp Arena. The upgrades include a new center-hung scoreboard, wireless Internet for fans, and changes to the roof infrastructure so the arena can attract more concerts and major events. Look for the arena to host a number of other events; and potentially expand its horizons for major league professional franchises as well.
Olympics in California?
With Boston out of the running, Los Angeles now is the clear favorite to be the US candidate to host the 2024 Olympics. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum could potentially serve as an Olympic venue in 2024 should a new NFL stadium not be built in time. The relatively quick decision by the USOC should allow significant analysis of LA before Sept. 15 -- good for the US process overall.