Sports Business

Sports Business '15 to Watch': Manfred makes his mark


Sports Business '15 to Watch': Manfred makes his mark

  1. MLB’s new pace of play rule changes have proved successful thus far, with the average game this season being completed nearly ten minutes faster than last year.  Among the changes that were implemented are a between-innings clock and making hitters keep a foot in the batters’ box.  Rob Manfred makes his mark yet again – 48 percent asset appreciation, nearly $10 billion in revenue, international expansion and a quicker game as a consequence of relatively modest rules changes.  America’s pastime continues to get stronger on a regular basis.
  2. A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that just 16% of NFL players go bankrupt within 12 years of retiring.  While the number is troublesome, it’s far less than a 2009 Sports Illustrated report that said 78% of players are bankrupt or in financial trouble within two years of retiring.  There's a need for all involved to take significant responsibility in improving these numbers: the player and his family, coaches and management, the Players Association and the league itself.  As the economics get bigger and the stakes get higher, these issues will be more significant in the years ahead.
  3. Lagardère Unlimited Golf solidified its PGA Tour dominance with an impressive 1-2 finish at Augusta at the 2015 Masters Tournament.  Twenty-one-year-old phenom Jordan Spieth won his first Masters green jacket, while legend Phil Mickelson finished second at the tournament.  The company has done a stellar job in restructuring the Under Armour relationship for Jordan Spieth while not overexposing him. Phil Mickelson provides significant “business experience.”  The two clients (in addition to the rest of the athletic stable) provide significant diversity, experience and corporate reach over time.
  4. National and international television distribution is a major component of the economics of teams, leagues and television networks.  Globecast is expanding significantly throughout North America, complementing its worldwide presence.  Part of the Orange international conglomerate, Globecast manages and transports over 10 million of hours of video and rich media each year, across five continents.  Some examples of their major sports events include the ESPN Cricket World Cup, Roland Garros and the Tour de France.  More efficient and lucrative international distribution means more revenue for teams, leagues, players and the industry as a whole.
  5. The NBA and Coca-Cola have ended their partnership after 29 years.  Coke used its NBA league sponsorship to help revive its Sprite brand in the 1990s.  The NBA has already reached a five-year deal with Pepsi to take over rights to the sponsorship category.  The NBA always leverages one large sponsorship/partnership deal into a larger one.  
  6. As originally reported by the L.A. Times, 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 MLBPA is preparing for a fight with the Los Angeles Angels should the team try to recoup money from Josh Hamilton.  Hamilton is set to make $23 million this season, but he may not play for at least another month while he recovers from substance abuse issues.  Another example of the risks involved in “superstar athlete brand management.”  Hamilton seems to be approaching this issue with great respect and care, but the corporate sponsors and team owner will continue to monitor the impact on their respective brands.
  7. Nike is close to reaching a deal with the NBA to become the league’s new apparel partner.  While the framework of an agreement reportedly has been reached, there are still several details that need to be finalized before signing a deal.  Nike's new on-court rights will take effect before the 2017-18 season.  Nike and Under Armour continue to fight it out on and off the court, with adidas still involved. As the NBA apparel issue is resolved, next up: jersey sponsorships and the revenues that follow.
  8. Lagardère’s North American expansion continues at a rapid pace, and the award nominations continue to stream in.  LU received two nominations at the prestigious Sports Business Awards, as a finalist in the categories of “Best in Talent Representation and Management” and “Best in Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services.”  Major North American expansion of a worldwide conglomerate means more opportunities for athletes, event promoters, teams, leagues and the industry as a whole.  High quality competition is good for everyone.
  9. The NBA averaged a league record 17,826 fans per game this season, as almost 22 million fans attended games.  NBA teams also had 700 sellouts, passing the previous record of 676 sellouts from 20 seasons ago.  The Chicago Bulls led all teams with 21,866 fans per game.  Another successful NBA season at the gate, coupled with $9 billion in revenue, the $2 billion Ballmer sale raising all values and other substantial NBA benefits leading into the playoffs.
  10. Taking advantage of MLB’s shift on liquor sponsorships, the Kansas City Royals signed a multiyear deal with McCormick Distilling to produce limited-edition Royals-branded bottles of its 360 Vodka.  The Royals join the Cubs as the only two teams licensing its logo for liquor packaging.  Look for this as the “tip of the alcohol iceberg”; teams should actively pursue liquor sponsorship deals (as long as they are tastefully done and coupled with the admonition against excess).  This should very easily expand into all other sports at a rapid rate – more money for everybody.
  11. As originally reported by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, 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 Browns unveiled new Nike-designed uniforms with the word “Cleveland” displayed prominently on the front, making them the only team in the NFL with just the city name on front of the jersey.  Besides the city name, the Browns will be the only NFL team with its nickname on the pant leg.  The team will couple the nondescript helmet orange with a “busier” jersey and pant leg.  More money for the team, more money for Nike and more merchandise sales for the NFL.  Now a note to the Browns player personnel department: couple the logo excitement with positive team performance.
  12. Army has rebranded its athletic department and will now be known as “Army West Point.”  The school collaborated with Nike for 18 months on the rebranding, but also consulted the U.S. Army and Academy leadership, current and former cadet-athletes, coaches, historians and West Point graduates.  Another example of reaching the secondary logo and merchandise market through another method.  Not just changing logos and colors, but actually rebranding the athletic department – change of image, merchandise, logos, etc.
  13. Through Globecasts’s global reach and local presence on each continent, Globecast secures contribution, international distribution and broadcasts production for every type of sporting, news and festive events.  Globecast broadcasters 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.  Key in the television industry is to provide international reach, diverse services and an opportunity to more efficiently enhance revenues.  Look for Globecast to continue to be a major player in all aspects of media transmission and distribution.
  14. Georgia Tech is hosting a Rolling Stones concert at Bobby Dodd Stadium as a way to generate additional revenue to help cover the full cost of attendance.  Georgia Tech AD Mike Bobinski estimates that holding the concert could add an extra $500,000 to the school’s athletic department budget.  More schools will create more concerts for more additional revenue as well.  As the pressure on schools to provide more revenue for student-athletes grows, look for diverse merchandise, possible alcohol sales, corporate stadium names and additional stadium events like the Rolling Stones, across America.
  15. The NFL and Harris County are at odds over NRG Stadium improvements in advance of Super Bowl LI.  The NFL wants the luxury boxes and club seats at NRG Stadium to undergo a $50 million upgrade at the county’s expense, but county commissioners say the use of public money is a non-starter.  As new stadiums complete their initial financing/lease period, teams are renegotiating improvements based on latest technological and architectural advances.  In most cases, public/private partnerships remain critical in the base lease, subsequent renewals and refinancings for the overall facility as well.

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.