Sports Business

Sports Business '15 to Watch': Jordan Spieth loses British Open, wins social media


Sports Business '15 to Watch': Jordan Spieth loses British Open, wins social media

1. Riveting British Open across the pond concludes Monday. Jordan Spieth has taken the golf world by storm this season, which has translated into thousands of new followers across social platforms. Spieth’s follow count across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram crossed the 1 million threshold following his playoff win at the PGA Tour John Deere Classic, according to data from analytics firm MVPindex. Spieth had around 500,000 followers when he won the Masters this April, seeing a 76 percent jump after capturing the green jacket. He then saw a 13 percent increase after winning the U.S. Open in June. He also significantly benefits his sponsors, and generates substantial interest that Lagardere Unlimited can capitalize on. Incidentally, MVPindex was co-founded by Spieth’s father Shawn.

2. Milwaukee Bucks arena opportunity. Originally reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but found in an article and accessed from the Sportsmanias app, the site that provides fans with real-time information on their favorite teams, the Wisconsin State Senate approved a $250 million funding plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena. The State Assembly must still approve the measure, but for the first time in months, the arena proposal has momentum. The NBA has given the Bucks until Fall 2017 to vastly improve or replace their existing arena. Governor Scott Walker may have had a false start, but the Fall 2017 deadline may stir significant progress; Las Vegas and Seattle are anxiously waiting.

3. Finally, soccer in Miami? David Beckham has reached a deal with the city of Miami to build a $250 million soccer-specific stadium on land next to Marlins Park. The location provides for the opportunity to create a thriving sports and entertainment district in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. The stadium itself will be privately financed. While all sides trumpet a victory, facility development in South Florida is a long and tedious process.

4. More money for student athletes. A U.S. district judge orally approved a combined $60 million settlement against video-game manufacturer Electronic Arts, Collegiate Licensing Company, and the NCAA over the use of players' names, images, and likenesses in video games. About 400 to 450 current athletes – along with more than 20,000 former athletes made claims against EA, CLC, and the NCAA. Note the significant victories may mean small dollars for all 20,000 former athletes, but significant revenues ahead for future players in all sports.

5. NFL training camps set to open: significant process in St. Louis and Los Angeles. NFL executives met with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to discuss financing for a proposed St. Louis Rams stadium. The NFL reps received a comprehensive update on the status of the proposed $998 million stadium planned for the city's riverfront. The state’s stadium task force is counting on the city to provide a portion of the stadium funding. Nothing has changed regarding process; incumbents have an opportunity to create a definitive plan in St. Louis, San Diego, and Oakland before the NFL begins the next round of “franchise musical chairs.” 

6. NBA labor peace up for grabs? The NBPA wants teams to open their books after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver indicated that several franchises are operating at a loss. NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts in the past has challenged the principle of a salary cap and mocked the suggestion of NBA owners losing money. The union can opt out of the current CBA in 2017. New free agency has set all records, and a $90 million+ salary cap in the next two years should hopefully spur a settlement.

7. The retail juggernaut continues in college sports. The University of Michigan’s new apparel deal with Nike is worth a reported $169 million over 11 years, with an option to extend for an additional four years. The pact tops Under Armour's 10-year, $90 million deal with Notre Dame as the most lucrative in college sports. Michigan is one of those top priority branded schools, but others will clearly follow suit given the numbers and financial precedent.

8. The FIFA backlash. A U.S. Senate subcommittee last week held a hearing into the corruption scandal surrounding FIFA. The hearing covered what involvement or knowledge U.S. Soccer officials had of the possible criminal activity at FIFA, as well as questions about worker rights at Qatar stadium sites. U.S. Justice Department indictments lead to political hearings at the U.S. Senate level, ultimately leading to a new election and potential unseating of Qatar in 2022.

9. Major League Baseball newest multipurpose facility: Atlanta Braves. 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, the Atlanta Braves and Live Nation have struck a deal to develop and manage an entertainment venue adjacent to SunTrust Park. The venue will have standing room-only capacity for 4,000 and feature about 40 music and comic shows annually. The theater is designed to help drive activity to the site on non-gamedays. Latest example of a well done master development plan spurring economic activity around a suburban ballpark.

10. NFL economic issues: more legal uncertainty. DirecTV and the NFL are facing a class-action lawsuit alleging that their exclusive agreement for NFL Sunday Ticket is anticompetitive and harms commercial entities. The suit seeks to recover damages for the overcharges and an injunction against the enforcement of the exclusivity provision of the NFL's agreement with DirecTV. DirecTV attempting to solidify its case as one of the “major players” in the NFL media industry.

11. NBA media grab. ESPN next season is expanding its NBA coverage by televising Saturday night games on ABC. Starting on January 23, ABC will air games beginning at 8:30pm ET, preceded by "NBA Countdown." With the addition of the Saturday night games, ESPN will offer NBA telecasts on four days a week from January to April. NBA coverage has expanded based on league popularity, superstar identification, and major corporate sponsorship.

12. Real meaningful FIFA change: corporate unrest. Coca-Cola has told FIFA that it wants an independent third-party commission to oversee the organization’s reform amid several reports of corruption. Coke wrote to FIFA that it believes establishing an independent commission is the most credible way for FIFA to approach its reform process. Best way to cause massive FIFA reform is intense and universal sponsor angst. Coke is the next in line to make that case. 

13. MLB All-Star troubles. Fox had 10.9 million viewers for the MLB All-Star Game, just above the event’s record-low audience in 2012. The 2015 All-Star Game viewership is down 4% from 11.3 million viewers last year, and down 25% from 14.6 million viewers in 2009. Ratings continue to decrease, even though all networks should receive kudos for their attempted creative restructuring of the Home Run Derby.

14. NFL off-season economic issues: Part Two. As Apple prepares to launch an over-the-top TV service, there’s some speculation that the tech giant could offer a special NFL package. Apple CEO Tim Cook at a recent media conference was spotted chatting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft. NFL attempts to create other media partners to put pressure on traditional media bidding processes – DirecTV is a good example, and Apple may be next.

15. MLB positive attendance trends. At the midway point of the MLB season, league-wide attendance is up 0.4% compared to the same period last year. Coming off their World Series appearance, the Kansas City Royals are seeing the league’s biggest year-over-year attendance gain of 47.8%. The Los Angeles Dodgers lead the league in per game attendance at 46,279. A tale of two other cities: Chicago Cubs average 34,785 attendance after 45 home games; 7.1 percent increase; 89.2 percent capacity; 1.57 million total attendance. Chicago White Sox averaging 21,937 attendance at 39 home games; 6.7 percent increase; 54 percent capacity; 855,000 total attendance. In the Bay Area, San Francisco Giants average 41,670 attendance after 47 home games; 0.2 percent increase; 99.4 percent capacity; 1.96 million attendance. Oakland A’s average 22,369 attendance over 44 games; 63.8 percent capacity; 7.3 percent decrease; 984,000 attendance.

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