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.

Kelly Crull talks about covering the Bulls with Laurence Holmes

NBC Sports Chicago

Kelly Crull talks about covering the Bulls with Laurence Holmes

Laurence Holmes hosts the "House of L Podcast" in addition to his role on radio and as host of the Football After Show for NBC Sports Chicago.  On the podcast, Holmes provides a more in-depth look at media and how it works.

The most recent episode is an interview with our own Kelly Crull, who in addition to covering the Chicago Cubs during games will be working as a sideline reporter during Bulls games this NBA season.

Crull talks to Holmes about the challenge of covering two beats, one beginning immediately after the start of the season. . Crull talks about returning to her first love, basketball, and also sheds light on what drives her in her career. The pair also discuss locker room and clubhouse etiquette

The Daily Line: Week 7 Football Picks

NBC Sports Chicago

The Daily Line: Week 7 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.

YTD record: 21-7 against the spread (11-1 in last 12)

New England Patriots vs. Chicago Bears 10/21 12:00pm CT

Line: Pats -3
Betting Percentages Split: 76% of the tickets on the Pats
The play: Bears +3

Listen here. I am not being a homer. In fact, I am from the Boston area and have been rooting for the Patriots my entire life. This is simply a great spot for the Bears. You have a Patriots team that is coming off the biggest win any team has had this season, beating the seemingly unbeatable Kansas City Chiefs in primetime. On the other side, you have a Bears team that just turned in one of the most disappointing performances of the season, losing outright to the Miami Dolphins and Brock Osweiler as a 7 point favorite. The Pats have been terrible outside of Foxboro and this is probably the best team they have faced on the road thus far this season. Additionally, this line has stayed firm at 3 and has even moved to 2.5 in some places despite the massive bet discrepancy favoring the Pats. What does that tell us? That the Pros are all over the Bears and refuse to move the line despite the public being all over New England. Ride the home town team catching points at Soldier Field.

Buffalo Bills vs Indianapolis Colts 10/7 1:00pm CT

Line: Colts -7
Betting Percentages Split: 55% of tickets on Colts
The play: Bills +7

If you have been reading my column throughout this NFL season you know I love bad NFL games. Go where nobody wants to go, get dirty and pick gross teams. I also have been pretty successful picking my spots betting on the Bills this year and I love going back to the well here. Simply put, the Colts should not be laying 7 points to ANYBODY at this point of the season. Sean McDermott decided to go with Derek Anderson this week and according to reports, this was to the delight of the locker room as they do not have to endure another Peterman Pix-Six Bonanza. I think this could give the Bills a little spark and anything that Anderson has left in the tank will be on display Sunday against the worst defense in the NFL. Circle those wagons, take the Bills and the points.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs 10/21 7:20pm CT

Line: Chiefs -6
Betting Percentages Split: 75% of tickets on the Chiefs
The play: Bengals +6

Good loses are a real thing in the NFL when it comes to betting perception. Not a single person is knocking the Chiefs for their primetime loss to the Pats in Foxboro. I think Vegas could have set this line at a touchdown and the public would still jump all over the Chiefs. What does that tell you? I think this a questions bettors need to ask themselves more often. What it probably tells you is that Vegas values the Bengals more than the general public does and they aren't as bought into the Chiefs hype. Side with the house, fade the public and take a very solid Bengals team getting 6 points playing a Chiefs team having to get up for two straight primetime games.

New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons 10/22 7:20pm CT

Line: Falcons -5.5
Betting Percentages Split: 75% of tickets on the Falcons
The play: Giants +5.5

I said that week of 10/7 was my grossest set of picks to date. What happened that week you ask? I went 5-0. Pick your spots and bet bad teams in the NFL. It works. This league does not operate the way you want it to and you have to be willing to make picks that feel ‘off’. Here is another example of that. By any eye test, this makes no sense. The Giants are in the running for the worst team in the NFL and the Falcons, while overall disappointing, still have shown flashes of their talented roster that brought them to Super Bowl two years ago. However, when you move past the surface, you see a matchup that actually really favors the Giants. The Falcons are ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball and the Falcons have one of the worst defenses in the league and will not be able to exploit the Giants porous O-Line like other teams have. I think these matchups are why Vegas set this line so low and why it has even moved in the Giants direction despite heavy public Atlanta action. Hold your nose and bet the G-men. 

Bonus College Game

Mississippi State vs. LSU 10/20 6:00pm CT

Line: LSU -6.5
Betting Percentages Split: 60% of tickets on LSU
The play: Mississippi State +6.5 (get 7 if you can)

LSU is the most overvalued team in the country. They have actually been out-gained in 4 of their 6 wins. That is an ABSURD statistic that just screams regression as the year carries on. Mississippi State has a really, really good defense and should be able to fluster Joe Burrow all day long. The Bulldogs put it to LSU last year and I expect them to show up again. Take Miss State and the points. Sprinkle the moneyline while you’re at it.