Sports Business

Sports Business '15 to Watch': Goodell loses Deflategate battle


Sports Business '15 to Watch': Goodell loses Deflategate battle

1. Are you ready for some football? In a major defeat for commissioner Roger Goodell on the eve of the NFL season, Judge Richard Berman overturned the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his role in the Deflategate scandal. The league will appeal the decision, though it appears unlikely the NFL can keep Brady off the field when the season starts on Thursday. This is just the latest Goodell suspension to be overturned upon appeal. Other examples include the New Orleans Saints' Bountygate scandal, Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. Goodell is planning to skip the season-opening game this Thursday in New England, but with Brady planning to take the field, broadcaster NBC can expect to see a significant increase in ratings. For all of the negative PR surrounding Deflategate, the league’s media partners — who will pay a combined $5 billion this season — must be happy with the attention the scandal is getting and Judge Berman’s ruling to let Brady play. The New England fan base acted like it won another Super Bowl as the Berman decision was announced. The luster has not worn off even a week later. Globally, last year’s numbers showed the average NFL team was worth $1.43 billion, up 23 percent from the year before (the biggest year-over-year increase since 1999). Despite the courtroom setback, the brand continues to excel.

2. And are you ready for some fantasy football? Other than Deflategate, arguably the biggest story heading into the NFL season is the growth of the billion-dollar fantasy sports industry. In additional to fantasy stalwarts CBS, ESPN and Yahoo, new daily fantasy providers DraftKings and FanDuel are spending millions of dollars in an attempt to lure new players. One company that’s generating new content around this industry is Sportsmanias, which is releasing a new feature on its app to provide personalized player alerts and feeds. The feature is agnostic in the sense that it’s compatible with the major fantasy platforms. With over 60 million fantasy players spending $465 million per year, it's a $26 billion annual industry and growing faster than any sports industry market segment. The Sportsmanias campaign features a simple plan: Download the app, import your team and “dominate your league.” Most ads are based on gaining the competitive advantage (either for money, pride or both).

3. Meanwhile, for the NFL, the Los Angeles threat looms large. The NFL offseason always provides a massive game of relocation musical chairs as coaches, veterans and rookie players scramble to find the appropriate housing. But no summer in recent memory brought more relocation uncertainty as at least one, if not two NFL teams are likely to move to L.A. next year. Players like Raiders rookie Amari Cooper and Rams receiver Tavon Austin — as well as their attentive agents from Lagardere Unlimited — must now not only deal with their current season housing situations, they might want to think very short-term lease. As the season starts, the deadline winds down for Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis. However, my experience confirms that most of these deals are done at the last minute, with a realistic deadline looming. Los Angeles stadium sites in Carson, Inglewood and downtown, as well as at the Coliseum, can plan — but they must continue to wait.

4. The U.S. Open enters its second week. The event will generate an estimated $700 million in economic impact for the New York market over the next two weeks. That total doesn’t even include sponsor spending. As Serena Williams attempts to complete the “Serena Slam” — winning all four Grand Slam tournaments this calendar year — she’s helped bring new advertisers to the sport. In addition to official U.S. Open sponsors JPMorgan Chase, IBM and American Express, new companies like Dick's Sporting Goods are buying inventory within live match coverage. Williams has become a definitive U.S. Open “cottage industry,” boosting awareness, corporate activation, advanced ticket sales and other economic indicators 20 to 25 percent this year. The weather has not hurt either. Clearly, two-week tournament records will be shattered.

5. The college football season rolls on, but it’s a costly one for many athletic departments. While the Power 5 conferences say that approval of a cost-of-attendance measure was inevitable, the stipends are exacerbating an existing imbalance between the Power 5 and the other leagues and within conferences. Most Division-I programs already operate at a loss, and that’s before accounting for the new expense, which can cost more than $1 million per year. Across D-I, more than $160 million is being earmarked for cost-of-attendance stipends. Professional sports grapple daily with reconciling the “haves” vs. the “have-nots.” With the new recruiting of high school superstars that will become the inevitable norm, the Power 5 conferences and their teams face the same competitive issue.

6. Entering the home stretch of the NHL’s expansion efforts. Las Vegas and Quebec have begun the final stage of the NHL’s expansion process. The third stage reportedly involves the NHL reviewing the applicants’ business plans and revenue projections. While the NHL has not revealed the details of the process, the stage is scheduled to end this month. The NHL last expanded in 2000 with the addition of the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets. At the time, the teams paid expansion fees of $80 million. That figure reportedly could jump to $500 million in the next expansion. Look for the expansion process to parallel the ongoing arena/lease negotiation/drama in Arizona. Seattle has not formally applied, but many insiders would love a franchise to be relocated there — depending on the arena-financing timetable.

7. Las Vegas and Quebec aren’t the only cities hoping to land a new sports team. A Portland group is renewing its effort to bring a Major League Baseball team to the market and has been in contact with the league office about its ambitions. The group, led by Portland-based Sports Management World Wide President Lynn Lashbrook, has long wanted to lure a team to the city, either by relocation or expansion. While nothing specific is in the works, an MLB expansion fee could nearly double the $500 million the NHL reportedly is considering. Commissioner Rob Manfred has not brought up expansion since his tenure began, and most markets seem to be settled beyond a relocation threat/leverage. Nevertheless, leagues always enjoy nurturing a possible expansion/relocation candidate for future action.

8. Book a flight to see the richest naming rights deal among college sports stadiums. Alaska Airlines has signed a 10-year, $41 million deal for the naming rights to the University of Washington’s football stadium. The deal is the largest of its kind in college sports. More than half of Alaska Airlines’ money will go to directly to student-athlete scholarships and welfare. As part of the deal, UW has also created an Athletic Village presented by Alaska Airlines, which incorporates all of the athletic facilities located around the football stadium. College athletic directors rejoice every time a new naming deal is done. It helps confirm and crystallize the revenue sources available: naming, stadium alcohol sales, unique merchandise/uniforms, etc.

9. After spending heavily on his roster, Brooklyn Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov looks to go all-in in another way. Prokhorov is nearing a deal to buy all of the Barclays Center and the Nets from Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Enterprises. Prokhorov has been in talks to buy the remaining 55 percent of the arena and 20 percent of the Nets that he does not already own. The Nets are valued at an estimated $700 million, but after subtracting $210 million of debt, the franchise has an equity value of $490 million. Ironic that Prokhorov seeks to consolidate arena and stadium ownership as his “veteran player strategy” seems to have passed its point of reasonable success. The NBA usually likes owner consolidation processes, regardless of who owns the franchise.

10. Sports teams continue to seek record franchise sales. As originally reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but in an article found on the Sportsmanias app, the site that provides fans with real-time information on their favorite teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins are asking for a record $750 million for the franchise but could accept less money if a potential buyer is willing to forgo development rights on the old Civic Arena site. If the Penguins get their asking price, it would be the most paid for a U.S.-based NHL franchise, more than doubling the previous high of $320 million that was paid for the New Jersey Devils in 2013. This clearly might be the right time for the sale of NHL franchises with the $500 million expansion announcement, record revenues, labor peace and enlightened management. The proof will be if and when an actual sale is done and a price is announced.

11. For one NFL team, an international presence represents a large growth opportunity. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan hopes to extend his team’s contract to play a regular-season game in London each year through 2030. The London home game accounts for 15 percent of the team’s local revenue. Though the NFL recently signed a 10-year deal to play games at EPL club Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, Khan said he would prefer to continue to play games at Wembley Stadium. NFL International continues to thrive with executive Mark Waller looking to expand revenues and reach. Mexico, Germany, Brazil, China and other markets seem poised for NFL attention.

12. After the weirdest free agency drama in NBA history, one athlete makes a predictable agent change. Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has parted ways with his representatives at Relativity Sports. Jordan informed his agents of the decision a few days after the NBA fined the Clippers $250,000 for violating rules designed to keep teams from offering players unauthorized business or investment opportunities. The Clippers made the violations during their pitch to Jordan on July 2, as they apparently discussed marketing opportunities that the NBA said included a third-party endorsement deal with Lexus. Jordan’s decision highlights the volatility of the team sport agency business. Here today, gone tomorrow. Obviously, incumbent on agencies to provide ongoing financial, endorsement and contract assistance to stay ahead of mercurial athletes.

13. Fool me three times, shame on both of us. As originally reported by the Miami Herald, but in an article found on the Sportsmanias app, the site that provides fans with real-time information on their favorite teams, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria once again is expected to make sweeping changes to his baseball operations staff at the end of the season. Loria has hired 10 managers in his 13 years as the Marlins owner, including notoriously moving general manager Dan Jennings to the dugout this season despite Jennings having no managerial experience. Loria’s relationship with Jennings reportedly has become strained during this disappointing season. Even with a new stadium and their World Series history, the relationship between South Florida fans and the Marlins continues to be strained. In many ways, this offseason might be a watershed one for the franchise.

14. Sports teams face a never-ending quest to improve the fan experience and generate more revenue. The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to expand their in-seat concession ordering options at Quicken Loans Arena through a partnership with a local app company. During a 22-game trial run last season, customers using the Tap.in2 app spent an average of $32 per arena visit. Fans who used the app received their orders in an average of fewer than six minutes, and the technology was used by 25 percent of the 5,000 potential customers. Another example of combating “de-couching” — the perilous choice between first-class high-tech home and mobile media vs. the new stadium/arena experience. Kudos to the Cavaliers for taking this issue on directly.

15. College sports might be looking to diversify the coaching ranks. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said he would support a version of the NFL's Rooney Rule in college sports. The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head-coaching and senior football operation jobs. Among D-I football schools, only 11 football coaches are black. Scott has become a pioneer among conference commissioners. The minority-hiring rule applied to colleges might be long overdue, appropriate and a move in the right direction.

NBC Sports Chicago provides extensive coverage of Bulls and Blackhawks drafts

NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago provides extensive coverage of Bulls and Blackhawks drafts

Chicago, IL (June 19, 2018) – With the Chicago Bulls holding the #7 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft and the Chicago Blackhawks holding the #3 overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, NBC Sports Chicago - THE Home of the #AuthenticFan - is set to provide fans with extensive multi-platform coverage of both drafts on Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21.  Please note NBC Sports Chicago’s draft coverage details below:


THURSDAY, JUNE 20 -- BULLS/NBA Draft coverage

  • 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM CT -- “The 2019 NBA Draft Preview Show” - NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) previews the upcoming draft featuring NBC Sports Regional Networks NBA experts from coast-to-coast, including NBC Sports Chicago’s Mark Schanowski. Hosted by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Amy Fadool, “The 2019 NBA Draft Preview Show” will be presented in two live airings this day and fans can submit their draft questions to the panel by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #NBAdraftNBC (NOTE: This digital-exclusive presentation will stream live on and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app; fans located anywhere in the U.S. can download MyTeams for free on iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.)
  • 6:00 PM -- “SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado” - Special NBA Draft preview edition LIVE from the Bulls/NBA Draft headquarters at the Advocate Center. (NOTE: Live stream available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at
  • Between 7:30-8:30 PM (time approx.) -- Live #7 pick reaction/commentary from NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls experts Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Will Perdue via an extended Periscope segment on the network’s dedicated Bulls Twitter handle (@NBCSBulls), which will include the trio’s responses to fan questions and comments.
  • 10:30 PM -- “Bulls Draft Special presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois” - Featuring Schanowski, Gill, and Perdue live from the Advocate Center, the Bulls Draft Special will dive into detailed discussion surrounding the Bulls first and second round picks, along with showcasing podium moment highlights/interviews featuring the new Bulls rookie from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, an overview of every trade made throughout the evening, plus, post-draft press conference coverage featuring Bulls Executive VP/Basketball Operations John Paxson, along with a post-draft recap interview with Haberstroh. (NOTE: Live stream also available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.)
  • 11:00 PM -- “Bulls Outsiders: Draft Special” - Hosts Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine recap the NBA Draft from their perspective, along with their thoughts on how the Bulls first round pick will impact next season’s roster.  In addition, the Bulls Outsiders: Draft Special will also emphasize heavy viewer interaction via fan engagement on a number of the network’s social media platforms including Twitter (@NBCSBulls; fans urged to utilize the Twitter hashtag #BullsOutsiders in their posts) and Facebook Live ( (NOTE: Live stream also available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.)
  •”MyTeams by NBC Sports” app – NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls digital reporter/producer Mark Strotman will also provide fans with thorough digital coverage of the NBA Draft from the Advocate Center on Thursday night, which will include real-time coverage/commentary throughout the night via @NBCSBulls and on the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.  In addition, “Sights & Sounds” moments from the Advocate Center will be provided from ‘NBCSChicago’ through Instagram and Instagram Stories. For full NBA Draft content and videos, fans are urged to visit the network’s dedicated Bulls section at  
  • “Bulls Talk PODCAST presented by Coors Light” - Bulls fans can also download NBA Draft preview/recap editions of NBC Sports Chicago’s “Bulls Talk PODCAST” throughout the week. Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.


FRIDAY, JUNE 21 -- BLACKHAWKS/NHL Draft coverage

  • 6:00 PM CT -- “SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado” - Special NHL Draft preview edition featuring on-site, pre-draft reports from NBC Sports Chicago Blackhawks expert Pat Boyle and Blackhawks digital reporter/producer Charlie Roumeliotis LIVE from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C. (NOTE: Live stream available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at
  • 6:30 PM -- 2019 NHL Draft (LIVE on NBCSN) – NBCSN will provide live first round coverage of the 2019 NHL Draft from Rogers Arena, which will feature in-depth player profile coverage of the Blackhawks #3 overall pick (live stream available via and the NBC Sports app). Liam McHugh and Kathryn Tappen will host coverage alongside Emmy Award-winning analyst Pierre McGuire and NHL Insiders Bob McKenzie, Craig Button, and Darren Dreger.
  •”MyTeams by NBC Sports” app (Blackhawks draft coverage presented by Elgin Hyundai/Dundee Ford) – Boyle and Roumeliotis will be on location in Vancouver throughout the weekend providing fans with thorough digital coverage of the Draft, which will include draft capsules of every Blackhawks draft pick, along with scheduled interviews featuring Blackhawks SVP/GM Stan Bowman and VP/Amateur Scouting Mark Kelley. NBC Sports Chicago will also deliver up-to-the-minute coverage/commentary throughout the weekend via NBC Sports Chicago’s dedicated Blackhawks Twitter handle @NBCSBlackhawks and on the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app. In addition, “Sights & Sounds” moments from Rogers Arena will be provided from ‘NBCSChicago’ through Instagram and Instagram Stories. For full NHL Draft player profiles, content, and videos, fans are urged to visit the network’s dedicated Blackhawks section at    
  • “Blackhawks Talk PODCAST presented by” - NBC Sports Chicago will also deliver NHL Draft preview/recap editions of its “Blackhawks Talk PODCAST” featuring Boyle, Roumeliotis, along with special guest interviews. Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.



NBC Sports Chicago, a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago Cubs (MLB), 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 postgame coverage, local sports discussion programs that includes SportsTalk Live, and massive cross-platform coverage provided by the network’s growing digital platform,, the new “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




Both Illinois House and Senate pass bill to legalize sports gambling

Both Illinois House and Senate pass bill to legalize sports gambling

When the Supreme Court lifted the federal restriction on legal sports betting outside of Nevada in May 2018, it was off to the races to see which states would legalize sports betting and how it would happen.

Illinois is on the verge of that happening following a legal sports betting bill getting passed in both the Illinois House and Senate. It passed 87-27 in the House on Saturday and passed 46-10 in the Senate on Sunday. All that is missing is governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature, but he is expected to sign given he has been a proponent of legal sports betting.

The bill would allow for betting in sports venues such at Soldier Field or the United Center, but it isn’t yet clear how that would be implemented. Betting on Illinois college teams would be banned as part of the proposal.

Sports betting would be taxed at 15 percent.

Additionally, the bill includes casinos that would be built in Chicago as well as Waukegan and the south suburbs. The bill would also make it possible to have slot machines at O’Hare and Midway airports.

It is not clear when the bill would take effect.