Sports Business

Sports Business '15 to Watch': Bettman suggests Vegas franchise fee


Sports Business '15 to Watch': Bettman suggests Vegas franchise fee

1. Comcast has dropped its plans to acquire Time Warner Cable due to pressure from regulators. The failed merger has implications in the sports world, as Los Angeles Dodgers executives previously said that the TV impasse with SportsNet LA would be resolved once the Comcast-TWC deal went through. Seismic ripple through the entire industry with the multiple implications becoming clearer this week; cable, Internet, broadband, mega-events, team rights, league negotiations, technological advancement – all altered by this decision!

2. As originally reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, but in an article found and accessed from the Sportsmanias app, the site that provides fans with real-time information on their favorite teams, a group led by Tony Ressler has agreed to purchase the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena for $750 million. The sale price is the second highest in NBA history behind Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers last year. Deal might even be higher after the “dust settles”; significant franchise appreciation reflects stability, television revenue, relative labor peace, and (by the way) good Atlanta Hawks basketball.

3. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman suggested that the expansion fee for a new Las Vegas franchise could be around $500 million. That would mark a significant increase from the $80 million price tag Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, and Minnesota paid when the NHL last expanded in the 1990s. Last-minute maneuvering might push the franchise price even higher as the expansion process changes from a multiple city “beauty contest” to a hand-picked Las Vegas public/private partnership.

4. Through their global reach and local presence on each continent, Globecast’s “one stop shopping” allows broadcasters to get mobile and fixed satellite uplink/downlink, multicast distribution on any screen, including an IP feed broadcast who can be embedded into any web portal during the event. Another example of media international efficiencies causing transmission capabilities that maximize revenue, profit, and long-term growth.

5. The NBA will test for HGH under the league’s anti-drug program beginning next season, with stiff penalties for positive results. Players will receive a 20-game suspension for the first positive test, 45 games for a second positive test, and dismissal from the NBA after the third. Another example of league stability, player relations, and labor peace providing the appropriate “framework” to deal with issues that are also important to the game (performance enhancing drugs).

6. NBA regular-season viewership fell on cable TV during the 2014-15 NBA season, with TNT’s games down 12 percent from last year and ESPN’s down 10 percent. The drop in national viewership was attributed to the struggles of big-market teams and star players suffering season-ending injuries. Exciting playoff matchups, new deals with Nike and Pepsi, and long-term growth and development fuel NBA profits – obviously have to improve the “other” teams in the New York and Los Angeles markets.

7. The decline in value of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar has hurt the value of the NHL’s TV rights contract with Rogers Media. The deal is paid in Canadian dollars, and Commissioner Gary Bettman declined to say if any hedging was done to minimize losses. Interesting dynamic with cyclical economics – Atlanta moves to Winnipeg at a time of “favorable exchange rates” – now the “economic shoe may be on the other foot.” Players and agents can earn a “makeup” through negotiations, but owners have nowhere to turn.

[RELATED: Sports Business '15 to Watch': Manfred makes his mark]

8. YouTube is seeking a $10 million commitment from advertisers interested in the company’s new NFL channel. YouTube is asking for $5.2 million for a full football season’s worth of ads, as well as an equal spend on non-football content. The NFL and Google in January reached a multiyear deal to launch the YouTube channel. The deal includes in-game highlights and NFL promotions on Google search pages. NFL enjoys creating value for their partners, which will inevitably generate more revenue for them in years to come.  During the next television rights bidding cycle, look for players like YouTube to be instrumental in increasing the value of traditional rights negotiations.

9. The University of Cincinnati signed a lucrative new apparel deal with Under Armour. The 10-year agreement includes more than $11 million in cash and more than $36 million in equipment. The school’s expiring deal with Adidas is worth about $2.7 million annually. Under Armour validates its claim as the “second retailer” in the North American market.  It has surely come a long way since the outlandish Kevin Plank Maryland uniforms.

10. DirecTV on signed Colts QB Andrew Luck and Cowboys QB Tony Romo to multiyear deals to endorse its NFL Sunday Ticket package. The pair will join Broncos QB Peyton Manning and Giants QB Eli Manning in a variety of PR, advertising, and marketing activations to promote the satellite TV provider's exclusive subscription service. Four “high character” quarterbacks, four substantial paydays, one huge conglomerate intending to increase its value through NFL endorsers – with contracts that are no doubt shorter, smaller, and easier to terminate.

11. The University of Texas athletic department sent representatives to Dubai to explore ways to grow the brand internationally. Texas officials also are looking at hosting a future football game in Mexico and will open its basketball season with a game in China. Kudos to entrepreneurial Athletic Director Steve Patterson for “pushing the envelope” globally.  Maybe the Longhorns will learn how to play defense during their visits to the desert.

12. The NHL and NHLPA have opened negotiations with at least four apparel companies interested in supplying jerseys for the World Cup of Hockey. Reebok, Nike, Bauer, and Under Armour are all interested in winning the contract, which could be worth $6 million for the league and union. New revenue streams abound as the World Cup looks toward its initial tournament; television, apparel, tickets, sponsorships, etc. all will be treated as “newfound revenue” for the NHL and NHLPA.  

13. BET has partnered with Roc Nation Sports to air up to nine live, two-hour telecasts of boxing events in the next 18 months. In addition to the actual boxing matches, telecasts will be supplemented with a live musical performance as well as a DJ. A positive unintended consequence of Pacquiao-Mayweather is the validation of the recovery of the boxing business.  Look for more opportunities to promote boxing in different corners of the globe.

14. As originally reported by the Dallas Morning News, 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 NFLPA could sue the NFL over the suspension the league levied against new Dallas Cowboys DE Greg Hardy. At issue for the union is that the league did not mention domestic violence in its announcement, which would have triggered a six-game suspension. Instead, Hardy got 10 games for conduct detrimental to the league. First series of cases post new NFL domestic abuse policy will trigger the most careful scrutiny ever; while everyone argues about the length of the hardy suspension, all seemingly agree that the new policy provides a more appropriate framework for future discipline.  

15. The Rose Bowl has decided not to bid on hosting the 2020 College Football Playoff title game. The Rose Bowl, which currently is one of six bowls that can serve as a semifinal in the College Football Playoff, spent months studying the feasibility of hosting. Economics of hosting the mega-events always looks better for the host venue than it might actually be; economic impact around the community, television, exposure are key – not always so for the venue itself.

NBC Sports Chicago delivers new Race In America: A Candid Conversation episode

NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago delivers new Race In America: A Candid Conversation episode

Chicago, IL (June 18, 2020) – Following up on last week’s premiere airing, NBC Sports Chicago has announced it will deliver a NEW two-part Race in America: A Candid Conversation special presentation with Part I set to air this Sunday evening, June 21 at 9:00 PM CT.  This Sunday’s special will once again be hosted by NBC Sports Chicago’s Laurence Holmes and will feature the following panelists: former Bulls/NBA great and current NBC Sports Chicago Bulls analyst Kendall Gill, former Bears defensive end/current NBC Sports Chicago Football Aftershow analyst Alex Brown, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls Pre/Postgame Live host Jason Goff and NBC Sports Chicago digital podcast producer Tony Gill.  Holmes and the panel will continue the discussion surrounding the death of George Floyd and how the effects his passing and countless others will have on race relations and hopeful mindset changes in our country moving forward.  NOTES: Authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers can also stream Race in America: A Candid Conversation online at; NBC Sports Chicago will also re-air Part I of this new special Thursday, June 25 at 9:00 PM; Part II air date/times TBA.

“It’s imperative that we continue the conversation about race relations, along with the simple fact that we just need to collectively listen and learn more from one another,” said Kevin Cross, Senior Vice President/General Manager, NBC Sports Chicago.  “I’m proud that our network can deliver a program like this to our diverse viewing audience to hear some honest and candid talk from some of Chicago’s most respected voices.”

Please note the following highlighted quotes from NBC Sports Chicago’s NEW special presentation of Race in America: A Candid Conversation, premiering Sunday, June 21 at 9:00 PM CT:

Kendall Gill
“It’s unfortunate that I have to say ‘this time,’ but I believe that this time there is going to be epic change in the world…this time we see all races are fed up with this crap. The country has to do something about it…everyone is fed up with this stuff and it’s about time for change.”

Alex Brown
“I think it’s just bringing awareness to what’s been still here forever. People have become really good at hiding it, that’s it. People don’t say anything. For me, it starts at home, that’s where it starts. I love that people are out and doing and helping so much, but we would truly get rid of it if we just started at home. This isn’t something that you’re born with, you have to be taught this hate. If we start teaching our kids the right stuff at home - and that’s everybody, I’m talking Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, whatever it is - everybody teach their kids the same thing, it’ll go away. It doesn’t take a lot of craziness to fix this whole thing, but it does takes time. It’s not going to happen in five years, it’s not going to happen in ten years, but 30 years of doing the right thing, we’ll be on a different road.”

Jason Goff
“It’s not just social justice anymore. There are a lot of people who are throwing these things out there like social justice, racial injustice, and human injustices. And I think that’s the part that we as Black men and women have to get across to everyone that it isn’t just about race, that it isn’t just about socioeconomic class, it’s about treating us like humans and all the rights that we deserve.”

Tony Gill
“Just the impact that young people have had, going out and protesting, helping with cleanup, all in a bad time has been inspiring, because now it’s ‘I have to actually get up and do something instead of going to Twitter or Facebook or Instagram and posting about all the wrongs right now that’s going on…I have to do something, and who can I bring with me to help contribute to doing something and helping out.’ That’s been the biggest thing that’s been affecting me. This is real, this is serious, and it’s affecting all of us in a real way, and now it’s time for everybody to acknowledge it, and now it’s the time for action as well.”

NOTE:  For the latest news, analysis, team/league updates and team-specific podcasts, fans are urged to visit or download the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.  

NBC Sports Chicago, a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago White Sox (MLB) and the NBC Sports Group, features over 275 live pro games in high definition each year.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago delivers extensive pre/post-game coverage for its core pro team partners, as well as Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs multi-platform coverage, plus - local sports discussion programs that includes SportsTalk Live, and massive cross-platform coverage provided by the network’s growing digital platform,, the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app, and its variety of fan-focused social media outlets. Fans can follow the network on Twitter via @NBCSChicago.  

NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 35 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia +, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington + and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago/NBC Sports Chicago+, and NBC Sports Northwest. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit

Illinois legislature passes bill that could help build casino in Chicago

Illinois legislature passes bill that could help build casino in Chicago

The Illinois state legislature passed a bill that could help entice developers to build a casino in the Chicago city limits, according to the Chicago Tribune.

According to the report, both the House and Senate passed a bill which would restructure the tax structure for a potential casino-- something that had been viewed as an obstacle to draw interest from potential developers.

If a casino is built in the city, it would likely come with a sportsbook so that gamblers could stay closer to home to bet on games.

The bill now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk where he is expected to sign the bill into law.

The Chicago casino could also help fund the $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan that Pritzker signed last year.

RELATED: First legal bet in Illinois was made on the White Sox

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.