Sports Business

Sports Business '15 to Watch': Beijing to host 2022 Winter Olympics


Sports Business '15 to Watch': Beijing to host 2022 Winter Olympics

1. 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?

2. 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. It 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.

3. More money for free agency. As originally reported by, but in an article found and accessed from the Sportsmanias app, the site that provides fans with real-time information on their favorite teams, 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.

4. 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.

5. 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, D.C. 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.

6. Deflategate 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 Deflategate 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.

7. 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. Nearly 1,400 athletes competing in the Summer Games will come into contact with waters that have suffered from rampant sewage pollution. Infrastructure controversies are always 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.

8. 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.

9. 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!

10. As originally reported by the Arizona Republic, but in an article found and accessed from the Sportsmanias app, the site that provides fans with real-time information on their favorite teams, 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. With Boston out of the running, Los Angeles now is the clear favorite to be the U.S. candidate to host the 2024 Olympics. The L.A. 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 L.A. before September 15 – good for the US process overall.

The Daily Line: Week 6 Football Picks


The Daily Line: Week 6 Football Picks

The Supreme Court opened the door for sports betting legalization with its May ruling that struck down a 1992 law that banned commercial sports betting in most states. Sports betting is not yet legal in Illinois, but with football season underway, former Northwestern offensive lineman Eric Olson will take a weekly look at the odds surrounding the action on the field.

Eric is traveling this week so Bears producer Paul Aspan will fill in with a weekend of picks. Unlike Eric, he certainly does not have a Masters in Predictive Analytics and his football ‘career’ came to a crashing halt a few Falls ago with the loud pop of a hamstring on a Lincoln Park flag football field. Suffice it to say, you should not expect him to replicate Eric’s 11-1 heater over the last two weeks.

Steelers at Bengals, Sunday 12PM CT

Spread: Bengals -2

Betting Percentage:  62% of bets on the Steelers; 75% of the money on Steelers

The pick: Steelers +2

I just don’t believe in the Bengals. Whether they’re 4-1 this year or 8-0 in 2015, there has to be some psychological impact knowing that your ceiling is the Wild Card game. The Steelers have won six straight games against Cinci, and I’m trying to figure out what exactly the Bengals do well. Yes they score points (thanks for pointing that out).  But their defense isn’t very good, they don’t get off the field on third down and they’re actually middle of the road in every offensive category: passing, rushing, 3rd down…everything outside of the one that matters most – scoring (where they’re 5th) - they’re somewhere between 12th and 23rd in the NFL. It’s not like the Steelers convinced me they’re fixed by beating Atlanta last week, but they do get to the quarterback (they lead the NFL with 19 sacks) and if this is a last score wins game, I’ll take Roethlisberger over Dalton all day.

Bears at Dolphins, Sunday 12PM CT

Spread: Bears – 3.5

Betting Percentage:  61% of bets on the Bears ; 55% of the money

The Pick: Dolphins +3.5

This line jumped from Bears -1.5 to -3 almost immediately, and late in the week it’s creeping higher. Everything points to the Bears this week, which I hate as far as taking their side. The Dolphins offensive line could be down three starters against the best pass rusher in the entire NFL in Khalil Mack. Starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil has practiced on a limited basis this week but is in the concussion protocol and watching his backup Sam Young get destroyed by the Bengals late in the Dolphins Week 5 collapse has to have the Bears foaming at the mouth. Home dogs have been hot (4-0 ATS last week), so I’m going back to that well and counting on the hook to make the difference.

Which brings me to a home dog teaser.

Two 12 PM CT games

  • Dolphins +3.5 vs Bears
  • Raiders +3 vs Seahawks (in London)


Two 3:25PM CT games

  • Titans +3 vs Ravens
  • Cowboys +3 vs Jaguars


Tease them all up 6 points at +260 odds (a $10 bet would win $26), and it looks like this:

  • Dolphins + 9.5
  • Titans +9
  • Cowboys +9
  • Raiders +9


Yes, I’m including the Raiders in my home dogs teaser. Who were the original Raiders? Pretty sure guys like Blackbeard and Jack Sparrow were British as hell. Factor in Mark Davis’ Beatles haircut and the Raiders should feel right at home at Wembley. The Seahawks had their Super Bowl last week, throwing everything they had at the Rams. They appeared to get past the Earl Thomas contract / injury backlash and the Russell Wilson favoritism fall out but this feels like a house of cards that might now just fall apart.

The Ravens – as we discussed on The Daily Line podcast – disgust all of us with their inconsistency. They’re currently 10/1 to win the Super Bowl which is insane, and I can’t not take the points against Joe Flacco with a Titans team that suffered a not all that unpredictable letdown in Buffalo after beating the defending Super Bowl champs the week before.

The Cowboys red zone defense balled out against the Texans but once again Jason Garrett’s (lack of) strategy & job security is already a hot topic in Big D. And speaking of QBs you can’t trust, Blake Bortles made sure to remind everyone last week with a nice little 4 INT game in Kansas City.

And I’ll just add this to the Dolphins: they lead the NFL in interceptions (10) as they suit up against young Mitchell Trubisky. Now that I’ve tried to pounce on the hot home dogs trend (16-6 ATS this season), here’s to hoping it waits at least one more week to regress.

Obscure College Pick of the Week:

Middle Tennessee State vs FIU Saturday 6:30PM CT

Total: O/U: 56.5  

Betting Percentage: 37% Bets, 64% of the money on the Over

The Pick: Over 56.5

To be honest I was just looking for a lopsided discrepancy between the percentage of bets (public money) and percentage of money (sharp money). And I knew I didn’t want to take an under because cheering for no points is no fun. So here we are.

The total opened at 58 and dropped to 56.5. Only 37% of the bets are on the over, but 64% of the money is on the over, so count me in on the over. And if that’s not enough of a draw for you, this is a battle for first place in Conference USA’s East division and features a father-son Coach-QB combo of Rick Stockstill & Brent Stockstill for Middle Tennessee State. Just don’t ask me how (or if) I plan on watching this game on Saturday.

The Daily Line Podcast, Chicago edition : Debut episode

NBC Sports Chicago

The Daily Line Podcast, Chicago edition : Debut episode

On the debut episode of the Daily Line on NBC Sports Chicago, Ryan McGuffey and Paul Aspan are joined by VSIN’s Joe Ostrowski & Sam Panayotovich to take a look at the Bears and the rest of the NFL thru the eyes of the sports bettor.

How Vegas views the Bears after their 3-1 start and heading into Sunday’s game as a favorite in Miami. Is there any value on the Bears at 25/1 to win the Super Bowl or Khalil Mack at 28/1 to win MVP?

Plus NFL teams that are frauds and for real after 5 weeks. And of course a 6-pack of picks to get you thru the weekend. 

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below