Andy Dolich's Top 10 Bay Area Biz Ball stories of 2015
Top sports business stories of 2015
The Bay Area has become a national focal point for the business of sports thanks to the Giants' three World Series championships, the Warriors' NBA domination, Oakland’s efforts to hold onto its teams, Santa Clara getting Super Bowl 50, All-Star athletes, new venues, and industry-leading sports-centric technological breakthroughs. Biz Ball Insider Andy Dolich tees up this year's top stories from No. 10 to No. 1...
10. Fry’s ends ownership of San Jose SaberCats
How does a team go from their greatest season ever to being shut down by the family that owned the franchise for 20 Years? After winning the 2015 AFL championship, Fry’s announced that were ending their involvement with the AFL. The franchise had a record of 198-98. It is unclear whether the team will come back under new ownership during the upcoming 2016 AFL season and if so where they will play.
9. Earthquakes open Avaya Stadium
The San Jose Earthquakes inked a deal with Avaya for their new $100 million dollar soccer specific stadium adjacent to the San Jose airport. The Quakes will host the MLS All-Star game in 2016. The Avaya naming rights deal is worth $20 million over 10 years.
8. Christian McCaffrey running for the Heisman
Nobody saw this coming. His 3,496 all-purpose yards are an NCAA record and he is only a sophomore. His 461-yard national eye-opener in the Pac-12 championship vaulted him into the Heisman conversation. If Stanford had pushed harder, we might be looking at the Heisman winner. Reminds me of the lost Heisman opportunities for Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck. This is a tough market for college athletics and you have to spend marketing money to play with the big boys.
7. Kings making progress on new Sacramento arena
Mayor Kevin Johnson and Kings owner Vivek Ranadive teamed up to fasttrack the new Golden 1 Arena downtown. The building is slated to open in October of the 2016 season. The arena is budgeted at $507 million dollars with the city paying $223 million, which is a significant public contribution in a time when little or no public money is available for sports facilities in California. Golden 1 is paying $120 million over 20 years for naming rights. The Kings' arena project Includes a $250 million 16-story office tower. This was big win for Sacramento when it looked like the Kings were about to move to another kingdom.
6. Warriors Mission Bay arena moves ahead
The recent unanimous decision by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to move ahead with the billion dollar project puts the score at NBA-1, MBA-0. The MBA (Mission Bay Alliance) is taking their opposition to court hoping to slow down the planned opening for the 2018-19 NBA season. The miraculous script being written by the Warriors has gone a long way in leaping over every political/legal hurdle put in their arena-planning path.
5. 49ers lose momentum
The path was paved with gold as the 49ers hoped to become unbeatable in Year 2 at their New $1.5 billion dollar Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. They believed they had a star quarterback in the making. They dreamed of being the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl in their own stadium. They believed that Jim Tomsula would create an atmosphere in which every player and fan would have a smile on their face. Many of those fans who accounted for $600 million worth of seat licenses and tickets will be looking at film and reviewing their 49ers investment game plans for the future.
4. Raiders of the Lost Park
This ongoing multi-episode soap opera will continue at least until the NFL owners finally decide how to multi-billionize the revenue-generating machine that is the NFL in the Los Angeles market. In regards to Oakland and its loyal sports fans, a Raiders move south could mean that the city that has been the proud home of three pro teams could be down to one. At least baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has told the A’s to focus on a developing a new stadium in Oakland and forget San Jose.
3. Steph Curry becomes international superstar
The silent assassin led his team to its first NBA title in 40 years and vaulted the Warriors from ho-hum to Holy Cow in 2015. The NBA MVP spent the offseason getting magically better by working his butt off. The true definition of outstanding character is revealed when nobody's watching. Now Golden State is a can’t miss watch whether you are sitting in Oracle or live streaming in Beijing. The Curry business is on the way to becoming a global conglomerate.
2. Warriors win NBA championship
The cash registers were ringing all season long and the short offseason helped launch the Warriors with a start for the ages. We live in a market of business incubation and innovation guided by brilliant risk taking entrepreneurs. There is no better example of a business that went from bust to boom than the Warriors. The original investment of $450 million dollars by the Lacob, Guber Group is now worth at least the $2 billion dollars that Steve Ballmer paid for the LA Clippers.
1. Super Bowl 50 comes to the Bay
The ultimate sports spectacle, which is attached to unlimited corporate expense accounts, is coming to the Bay Area. Multiple millions of dollars have already been spent everywhere from Alameda to the zoo. Prices for everything SB 50 are already at record levels. While San Francisco will be the beneficiary of the bounty, the Super Bowl 50 Committee has worked effectively on spreading out the disposable income throughout the Bay Area.