Sports Business

Sports Business '15 to Watch': Fallout from DeflateGate

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Sports Business '15 to Watch': Fallout from DeflateGate

1. Tom Brady’s off-field brand image could take a big hit after the New England Patriots QB was implicated in the “Deflategate” scandal. Forbes last year listed Brady’s endorsement income at $7 million through deals with Dodge, Ugg Australia, and Under Armour. The Wells Report should lead to swift disciplinary action – no matter what the result. Interesting positioning for Players Association: support one of their highest visibility players, or the notion of protecting the “integrity of the game” for all players? NFL should move swiftly through this so it can be a distant memory as training camp starts.

2. NFL Draft was an astounding success of all levels: $150-200 million of economic impact; stage set for rotating-city format; television ratings “off the charts.” Arguably no sports agency had a better class of prospects taken in the NFL Draft than Lagardere Unlimited. Lagardere had a total of 10 players drafted in the first four rounds, plus three undrafted players who ended up signing deals with teams. The headline of Lagardere’s draft class was Alabama WR Amari Cooper, who was selected fourth overall by the Oakland Raiders. Mega-agencies offer full service/globalized services – more of a necessity these days for high profile “international clientele.”

3. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said a financing plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena is being put on the backburner while the state deals with bigger issues. The team hopes to receive nearly half of the proposed arena’s $500 million cost from the state. Bucks plan now in a form of “political limbo.” National presidential aspirations may take precedence over the resolution of a key local economic issue. Hopefully, the ultimate public/private partnership will be put in place before “relocation threats” materialize.

4. As originally reported by ESPN New York, 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 New York Yankees refuse to pay Alex Rodriguez a $6 million marketing bonus for hitting his 660th career home run. The Yankees believe they are not obligated to pay Rodriguez since he has admitted to PED use and was suspended for the 2014 season. Contract bonus is merely the “tip of the perception iceberg.” If A-Rod plays astoundingly week (and the Yankees succeed because of it), interesting unexpected impact on his long-term legacy.

5. MLB Advanced Media is exploring spinning off its digital video streaming business, according to Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal. While specific figures aren’t available, the third-party part of MLBAM is valued at at least several billion dollars. Baseball’s Internet entity continues to set the “gold standard” for league-based spinoffs. Unexpected revenue/value from MLBAM driving franchise net worth higher in every instance.

6. With the current collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the MLBPA set to expire after the 2016 season, the union has expressed interest in shortening the regular season to 154 games. The current 162-game schedule has been in place since 1962. Quicker games and shorter seasons – Commissioner Manfred expresses his preferences (and, potentially, his significant mark on the game in very short order). Unprecedented labor peace provides a solid bank of goodwill from which to proceed.

7. The UAB Athletics Assessment Task Force has raised nearly $6 million in pledges to help reinstate the school’s football, bowling, and women’s rifle programs. The next step is converting the pledges into official UAB gift agreements. Easy maxim to remember: harder to resurrect a team or program after the plug has been pulled – Houston Oilers, St. Louis football Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, UAB Blazers.

8. Bayer’s Dr. Scholl’s brand signed a three-year deal to become an NBA promotional partner and will use league marks to market its foot-care products, according to Terry Lefton of SportsBusiness Journal. Bayer’s hope to use its NBA partnership to gain incremental sales in large sporting goods retailers. First sneakers, then socks, then bandages – the NBA finds novel and intriguing ways to monetize feet!

9. As David Beckham’s Miami stadium efforts continue to stall, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said it is no guarantee that the market will land an expansion team. Garber is expected to travel to Miami in the near future to help Beckham negotiate a stadium deal. It took us eight years to build the first Miami Arena and receive the Miami Heat expansion franchise in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Actually, no one should expect that this is any different in a highly charged multilingual political South Florida landscape.

10. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the “Todd Gurley Bill,” making it illegal to entice student-athletes to break NCAA rules for money. The law’s name references the ex-University of Georgia star who was suspended last year after accepting $400 in exchange for autographs. NCAA can go only so far – state and federal legislation can pick up the slack. In this case, the precedent is set for as many states as possible to follow Georgia’s lead. This is especially critical in the highly charged, competitive SEC.

11. Under Armour announced a special edition shoe to commemorate endorser Stephen Curry being named the NBA MVP. The black, white, and gold shoe is called the "MVP Limited Edition" and will launch on Under Armour's website and select retail locations in June. Another example of Under Armour being “all in” on their athlete spokes-brands – Stephen Curry is a high ceiling, low risk investment that is another testament to Kevin Plank’s entrepreneurialism.

12. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has reached out to the Washington Redskins about bringing the team back to the District. Bowser said DC is working on a number of scenarios at the RFK Stadium site, including a new stadium with park space and other surrounding development. Many real estate scenarios abound – tax credit enhancements, federal land swaps, and other significant public incentives. While the 2024 Olympic choice of Boston instead of Washington might slow this process down, it does not stop it altogether.

13. DC United is using the mobile dating app Tinder to sell discounted tickets. The team says it has been exploring emerging social media channels as a way to grow its fan base. The Atlanta Hawks held a Tinder promotion this year, but that was focused on helping fans meet each other while at a game. Another way to meet eligible singles – at a sporting event. Appropriate, demographically-oriented, publicly acceptable, and probably fun!

14. As originally reported by Toronto Sun, but in an article found and accessed from the Sportsmanias app, the site that provides fans with real-time information on their favorite teams, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment unveiled a $99 million renovation of BMO Field that the company says puts the Toronto soccer stadium on par with NFL facilities. The renovation expanded the stadium’s capacity to 30,000 seats, making it the biggest soccer-specific venue in MLS. Example of the vertically integrated sports development agency of the largest city in Canada reaching out to adapt its facilities to the future – technologically and culturally.

15. The NCAA has approved three new college football bowl games for the 2015 season. The new games in Austin, Orlando, and Tucson, brings the number of bowls up to 42, more than double the total from 20 years ago. Approximately 64 percent of FBS schools will participate in bowl games. Another example of the “economic viability” of niche bowl games: highly charged television, intensely avid fan base, tourism and promotion enhancement, and a “holiday window” reserved for that specific game. Pundits and cynics questioned whether the playoff would eliminate the “minor bowl games” – this is obviously the answer!

The Daily Line: Week 7 Football Picks

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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.

The Daily Line Podcast: How will Khalil Mack's injury affect the Bears-Pats spread?

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NBC Sports Chicago

The Daily Line Podcast: How will Khalil Mack's injury affect the Bears-Pats spread?

On this week’s Daily Line podcast, VSIN’s Sam Panayotovich joins Ryan McGuffey and Paul Aspan to take us inside the scene in Vegas as last week’s Bears-Dolphins line jumped from Bears -3.5 to Bears -7 on the news that Brock Osweiler would replace Ryan Tannehill (3:00). We look ahead to the Patriots (-2.5) at the Bears, discuss what kind of impact Khalil Mack’s injury could have on this week’s spread (6:30) and Sam gives us his best bets of the week (7:30). Joe Ostrowski of the Early Odds podcast also joins the show to discuss the how to get the best of the number (14:00) and whether home underdogs will stay hot. Plus, the guys make their picks for week 7 (18:00) and a quick thought on the Bulls over under. (32:00)

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