Sports Business

Sports Business '15 to Watch': Spieth on pace to shatter Tiger's career earnings

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Sports Business '15 to Watch': Spieth on pace to shatter Tiger's career earnings

1. Superstar Spieth wins FedEx Cup and $10 million additional bounty. The “official” PGA Tour season ended Sunday at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. The President’s Cup in Korea formally finishes the season, but most would agree the drama ended Sunday. Spieth winning over $20 million as 2015 prize money – the most ever in professional golf. While Spieth is still well behind Tiger Woods' $109.8 million career earnings on the course, he is well ahead of the pace that Woods set early in his career. This year Spieth more than doubled the $10.9 million record for a single season that Woods set in 2007. At 22 years old, Spieth earned almost 10 times the $2.9 million in career earnings that Woods had at the same age. That pushes his 2015 on-course earnings to over $22 million. He is also the youngest player since 1929 to win five events in a year. Represented by Lagardere Sports, Spieth continues to generate substantial off-course endorsement monies through AT&T, Under Armour, and others. At this pace, Spieth will destroy Woods’ record for most career earnings. More importantly, the Tour seems to have completely recovered from a “Tiger-less” stretch – with Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Jason Day leading the “business” well into the future.

2. Sunoco signs on at Daytona. Daytona International Speedway has signed Sunoco as the sponsor of its fourth "injector" entrance that is being built of as part of the $400 million Daytona Rising renovation project. The four injectors had asking prices of $2-2.5 million annually over 10-15 years. The other three previously announced injector partners are Toyota, Florida Hospital, and Chevrolet. A unique activation method for sports sponsorships, each partner is being allowed to design their entranceway however they see fit. Chevy’s entrance will resemble a car dealership, while Florida Hospital’s will feature healthy concessions. Sunoco plans to design its entrance in a way that recreates the feeling of being on pit road or in victory lane during the middle of or after a race. The Daytona Rising renovation will include expanding the track’s grandstand, widening the concourses, and adding concession stands, all in an effort to enhance the fan experience at races. The upgrades also are expected to boost parent company ISC's annual revenue at the track by $20 million. As the facility opens during Speedweeks 2016, it should revolutionize the perception of racetracks into motorsports/entertainment facilities. Look for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara and Daytona Rising in Daytona to be the two major sports business events of early 2016.

3. At the crossroads of Sports & Technology. Several MLB teams including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals have been using iPads in the dugout during games this season under strict guidelines set up by MLB. One of those guidelines is that the iPads cannot be connected to WiFi during the game, so all information on the device, such as scouting reports, must be downloaded before the game. Despite the limitations, users such as Cardinals coach Mike Matheny said that using the iPad has cut some prep work in half. While the MLB has been slow to adapt tablet usage, all NFL teams have Microsoft Surface Pros on the sideline through the league’s sponsorship deal with the tech brand. Microsoft in 2013 committed to spending $400 million over five years through its partnership with the league. However, like MLB, the tablet’s capabilities are limited. Coaches and players can only use tablets to look at still pictures from previous plays. Tablets replaced binders filled with black-and-white photographs in 2014. In any event, look for teams to continue to adopt tablet technology in the years to come. Teams in all sports grapple with new technology – how to use it, and how to gain a competitive edge. Look for leagues to provide identical equipment to all of their teams (preferably through sponsorship deals with technology companies), and draft specific usage and implementation rules around them – to ensure a level playing field.

4. Daily Fantasy Sports Report. A category that didn’t even exist a few years ago, Daily Fantasy Sports today is one of the biggest advertisers on TV. The two biggest players in the space, DraftKings and FanDuel, have combined to spend $500 million on advertising already this year. Across the NFL’s TV partners – CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and NFL Network – the companies have spent $200 million.  Most of the money has come from venture capital funding, as the two daily fantasy leaders fight to acquire new customers. While more than 50 million people are believed to play fantasy sports, only 1.5 million play daily fantasy. While the emphasis has been on – and the money has come from – FanDuel and DraftKings, the attention placed on the fantasy sports industry is good for all companies. For example, the SportsManias app has been a game-changer in fantasy sports. Fantasy players can import their teams from CBS, ESPN or Yahoo and receive real-time news feed on their players from the top experts and news sources. This will give them an edge to make smarter roster moves. The SportsManias app makes it easy for consumer to access content from the best sources, giving them an edge while increasing traffic for media companies. It’s as simple as downloading the SportsManias app, importing your team, and dominating your league. Look for more “investigations” in the future at all levels – at both the state and federal levels. In reality, look at this more as a hunt for new taxation revenue, rather than a “moral quest to eliminate gambling.”  

5. Nike continues to grow in domestically and internationally. This past week Nike came out with its Q1 report in which it “posted a 23 percent jump in quarterly profits and particularly strong sales gains in China,” according to Germano & Stynes of the Wall Street Journal. The sportswear company reported a $1.18 billion three-month profit to begin fiscal year 2016, as sales rose 5 percent from a year earlier to $8.41 billion. Nike reported that its global sales rose 14 percent last quarter, and China led all regions in revenue growth, as revenue jumped over 30 percent to $886 million. In what used to be a tough spot for Nike to succeed, China is now a popular, thriving, and growing market for the company to tap into. Domestically, Nike saw a revenue increase of 3 percent for Converse, thanks in part to the new Chuck II’s that released earlier this year. Companies are expanding their revenues in all contexts (especially across the pond): retail revenue in all continents; transmission revenue and capability with Globecast and other hi-tech entities; league and team values “across the pond.” This trend will obviously continue.

6. Bucks continue to move forward in arena deal. Construction in Milwaukee will begin as soon as possible on the Bucks new facility after a $47 million city spending plan “won Common Council approval,” the final endorsement needed for a $250 million public financing package that “includes state and county cash,” according to Tom Daykin of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The council voted 12-3 in approval of this plan, a huge step for the city of Milwaukee and the Bucks franchise. The Bucks also need council approval for the $500 million project’s design, with that review likely to occur later this Fall. A big step in this process is the remaking of a 1,243-space parking structure; the old one will eventually be demolished and replaced with a privately financed entertainment center with restaurants, taverns, and possible retail space. It looks like the arena is a “done deal” (if that is ever possible in the turbulent world of facility development). The public revenues are generated primarily from income taxes on NBA players who would not be contributing but for the arena. Even former presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker can certainly support this plan.

7. eSports beginning to make headlines. Two of sports media’s largest companies have teamed up with the hopes of tapping into a largely untouched demographic: young male gamers. With the world of eSports growing at an exponential rate, now more than 205 million people watch eSports worldwide, Turner Sports and WME-IMG officially announced their partnership with the intention of making a new competitive gaming league. While details of this partnership have yet to be announced, this deal has been under work for the past year and is expected to be a long term one. WME-IMG Chief Content Officer Mark Shapiro said, “I don’t think any property has a better hold on that young male audience than eSports. While it has been consoles and online and in-arena up until now, adding that last component of such a powerful medium as television to the equation will ultimately take this to another level.” This effort has the best of all worlds: fantasy, league camaraderie, “skillful” outcomes, young demographics, advertising benefits. Look for this to expand wildly in years to come.

8. Investigation of Sepp Blatter continues. The FIFA scandal involving former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has gone from bad to worse. Swiss authorities have now opened an investigation on Blatter with “suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation,” according to Sam Borden of the New York Times. The case involves a contract in which the former president is “said to have signed that assigned valuable World Cup television rights to the control” of former CONCACAF President Jack Warner. The new charges "accuse Blatter of violating his fiduciary duty to FIFA in his role as president by signing the contract in 2005, which it called 'unfavorable to FIFA.'” All of this comes after Blatter was pressured into stepping down from his position; he became the centerpiece of a massive corruption scandal of soccer’s top officials’ worth over $100 over two decades, and now is also being accused of making a “disloyal payment” of just over $2 million to UEFA President Michel Platini. The investigation has been multinational from the start, but Switzerland is intensifying its criminal searching as well. Just as FIFA makes its “unpopular” decision to move the 2022 World Cup to November/December in Qatar, the Blatter investigative heat intensifies.   

9. Evidence tampering in Kane case causes confusion. In what has already been yet another long, strenuous, and confusing case of alleged sexual assault against a professional athlete, Patrick Kane’s situation took an unexpected turn when it came out that a police evidence bag in the case “had been tampered with.” But the Hamburg (N.Y.) Police Department said that no evidence “had been tampered with under its control.” All while this is going on, Kane did not travel with the team in their preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, but the NHL “is backing the Hawks’ decision to put Kane on the ice” while he sits in limbo during the ongoing investigation. Many have suggested that the NHL launch its own independent investigation against Kane, similar to what the NFL did during the Ray Rice incident that found him guilty of suspected abuse. The creation of a uniform, comprehensive, transparent domestic abuse policy is clearly easier said than done. How does a league process relate to a police investigation? When does the league decide to step in with an investigation as the justice system evolves? What standard of evidence should prevail? The NFL has dealt with all of these questions and more after Rice. Now it might be the turn of the NHL.  

10. NFL reportedly wants one team in L.A. After planning a move to potentially bring not one, but two NFL teams to Los Angeles, the league may have had a change of heart. According to a source cited by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the NFL “may ultimately move only one team” to L.A., and that would “happen not as a short-term thing, but as an indefinite move that could result in a second team never going” there. It is suspected that if only one team were to move to Southern California then it would be the St. Louis Rams, as owner Stan Kroenke has already purchased land and has plans to build a one-team stadium in Inglewood. This move would complicate things for the San Diego Chargers, a team that is looking to move into a new stadium. This shift in mindset to only wanting one team in L.A. stems from the league’s “intense desire to get it right” by not oversaturating the number two market in the U.S. Nothing has changed: Oakland, St. Louis, and San Diego have the “incumbent advantage” to complete their respective stadium processes by roughly the end of this season. At that point, there should be a rapid deployment of “musical chairs” by the NFL to resolve all uncertainties by Super Bowl 50 in early February.

11. Fanatics Authentic signs MVP Curry. 2015 NBA MVP and NBA Champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors just signed an exclusive autograph and memorabilia deal with Fanatics Authentic; the company wants to capitalize on Curry’s rapid rise to stardom around the world. While Curry’s new multi-year contract with Fanatics does not preclude him from signing for fans for free, this new deal will include signed shoes and jerseys, as well as game-worm memorabilia. Fanatics Executive Vice President Victor Shaffer said, “There was no question that after the MVP and the title, the velocity of orders picked up. But we also saw that his fan base was expanding way beyond his traditional markets.” Fanatics add depth to their already talented roster with the addition of Curry, they have exclusive contracts signed with Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, Red Sox DH David Ortiz, Broncos QB Peyton Manning, Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin, and Spurs PG Tony Parker. Fanatics has chosen quality over quantity in previous years. Curry is no different. His Q scores, likeability index, and Power 100 ranking are all consistently higher than ever before. Look for the annual Horrow Sports Ventures Power 100 to be released in mid-October.

12. 2024 Olympic bids heating up. In a plan that has largely remained a mystery to those surrounding it, new details have emerged about Rome’s bid for the 2024 Olympics. Bid chair Luca Cordero di Montezemolo recently revealed a list of “iconic venues” that will take “full advantage of Rome’s historic settings and Italy’s television-friendly backdrops.” While it is still in the works, it is reported that cyclists would finish the road race with a “sprint on the majestic Via dei Fori Imperiali,” sailing would take place off Sardinia, Sicily, or the Amalfi Coast, and the marathon route would run alongside Rome’s synagogue and mosque to “promote interfaith peace.” In regard to Rome’s readiness, Montezemolo said, “We can do the opening ceremony and athletics tonight, (we’re) ready. Swimming tonight… 70 percent of the venues are existing.” Meanwhile in Los Angeles, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun feels the Americans are deserving of being given the bid because 85 percent of the venues are “already in place, along with a stellar Olympic pedigree” as a two-time host. He also noted that if they want to make this push and campaign a success then “We need everyone aligned in this effort. We need to find the right formula to national L.A. 2024; to make it America’s campaign and make sure all of our constituents, their families, and friends are engaged in support of L.A.’s quest.” Olympic selection may be more competitive off the field than on. Cities like Rome and LA will compete against Paris, Hamburg, and Budapest for the selection in 2017. Look for the Los Angeles bid to generate widespread support and optimism throughout America.

13. Warriors new arena concerns. With plans of building a brand new, privately financed arena to host the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors in Mission Bay, Warrior executives may be forced into a tough situation with an unexpected road bump. A group of 20 scientists from the University of California–San Francisco sent a letter to Mayor Ed Lee voicing “familiar concerns” that the Warriors’ new arena “will make Mission Bay less alluring to biotech researchers and that it will create a traffic mess that endangers people needing to get to the three UCSF hospitals nearby” when the 18,500-seat arena opens to host nearly 200 events per year. While the Warriors arena will be privately funded, public support remains critical for infrastructure, retail development, and other aspects of the entire project.  

14. Stance bringing fashion to NBA. After signing on to be the NBA’s official on-court sock provider, Stance is “turning athletic socks into a big fashion business” with the company’s popularity being the “result of savvy partnerships and marketing, but the socks are also simply a product that customers consider a huge improvement over existing options,” according to Evie Nagy of Fast Company. With the exceptions of Christmas and a few other special events – when the NBA came out with themed socks and gear – players were limited to wearing the generic NBA socks. But with a large investment in the company from Miami Heat G Dwyane Wade, Stance has catapulted itself onto the scene and throughout the league, giving players a new, unique, team-specific sock option that they did not have before. The Stance sock deal should send a positive message to other smaller companies seeking high visibility and exposure in exclusive categories. Look for all sports teams and leagues to use this as an example of generating new corporate support in previously untapped areas of corporate interest.

15. Blue Jays playoff push drawing record crowds. This past week’s three game series between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, one in which the Jays clinch their first playoff birth in 22 years, averaged a staggering 1.8 million viewers per game on the Canadian-based network, Sportsnet. The net’s season-to-date average comes in at 933,000 viewers, marking the highest season average ever for Sportsnet and up 59 percent from this point last year – all thanks to Jays’ rapid rise to success this season in the always-competitive AL East. When the Jays actually clinched the postseason birth, ticket sales went off the charts. Four minutes after playoff tickets went on sale at 9:00am ET, 4,911 "had been sold, 9,000 were in transition, and 25,000 people were in the queue." Around 12:20 p.m., 70,000 people "were waiting." The Blue Jays "declared the Division Series tickets sold out" at 11:40 a.m., and "just as quickly, they were being resold for double and triple the original price." Kudos to Rob Manfred to lead the seamless transition from Commissioner Bud Selig. Revenues are up; labor peace abounds; franchise values increase; and markets like Chicago, Toronto, Houston, and others are reenergized as a consequence of this year’s race.

1.           Superstar Spieth wins FedEx Cup and $10 million additional bounty. The “official” PGA Tour season ended Sunday at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. The President’s Cup in Korea formally finishes the season, but most would agree the drama ended Sunday.  Spieth winning over $20 million as 2015 prize money – the most ever in professional golf. While Spieth is still well behind Tiger Woods $109.8 million career earnings on the course, he is well ahead of the pace that Tiger Woods set early in his career.  This year more than doubled the $10.9 million record for a single season that Woods set in 2007. At 22 years old, Spieth earned almost 10 times the $2.9 million in career earnings that Woods had at the same age. That pushes his 2015 on-course earnings to over $22 million.  He is also the youngest player since 1929 to win five events in a year. Represented by Lagardere Sports, Spieth continues to generate substantial off-course endorsement monies through AT&T, Under Armour, and others. At this pace, Spieth will destroy Woods’ record for most career earnings.  More importantly, the Tour seems to have completely recovered from a “Tiger-less” stretch – with Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Jason Day leading the “business” well into the future.

 

2.           Sunoco Signs on at Daytona. Daytona International Speedway has signed Sunoco as the sponsor of its fourth "injector" entrance that is being built of as part of the $400 million Daytona Rising renovation project. The four injectors had asking prices of $2-2.5 million annually over 10-15 years.  The other three previously announced injector partners are Toyota, Florida Hospital, and Chevrolet. A unique activation method for sports sponsorships, each partner is being allowed to design their entranceway however they see fit.  Chevy’s entrance will resemble a car dealership, while Florida Hospital’s will feature healthy concessions.  Sunoco plans to design its entrance in a way that recreates the feeling of being on pit road or in victory lane during the middle of or after a race. The Daytona Rising renovation will include expanding the track’s grandstand, widening the concourses, and adding concession stands, all in an effort to enhance the fan experience at races. The upgrades also are expected to boost parent company ISC's annual revenue at the track by $20 million. As the facility opens during Speedweeks 2016, it should revolutionize the perception of racetracks into motorsports/entertainment facilities. Look for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara and Daytona Rising in Daytona to be the two major sports business events of early 2016.

 


 

3.           At the Crossroads of Sports & Technology. Several MLB teams including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals have been using iPads in the dugout during games this season under strict guidelines set up by MLB.  One of those guidelines is that the iPads cannot be connected to WiFi during the game, so all information on the device, such as scouting reports, must be downloaded before the game.  Despite the limitations, users such as Cardinals coach Mike Matheny said that using the iPad has cut some prep work in half.  While the MLB has been slow to adapt tablet usage, all NFL teams have Microsoft Surface Pros on the sideline through the league’s sponsorship deal with the tech brand.  Microsoft in 2013 committed to spending $400 million over five years through its partnership with the league.  However, like MLB, the tablet’s capabilities are limited.  Coaches and players can only use tablets to look at still pictures from previous plays. Tablets replaced binders filled with black-and-white photographs in 2014.  In any event, look for teams to continue to adopt tablet technology in the years to come. Teams in all sports grapple with new technology – how to use it, and how to gain a competitive edge. Look for leagues to provide identical equipment to all of their teams (preferably through sponsorship deals with technology companies), and draft specific usage and implementation rules around them – to ensure a level playing field.

 

4.           Daily Fantasy Sports Report. A category that didn’t even exist a few years ago, Daily Fantasy Sports today is one of the biggest advertisers on TV.  The two biggest players in the space, DraftKings and FanDuel, have combined to spend $500 million on advertising already this year.  Across the NFL’s TV partners – CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and NFL Network – the companies have spent $200 million.  Most of the money has come from venture capital funding, as the two daily fantasy leaders fight to acquire new customers.  While more than 50 million people are believed to play fantasy sports, only 1.5 million play daily fantasy.  While the emphasis has been on – and the money has come from – FanDuel and DraftKings, the attention placed on the fantasy sports industry is good for all companies.  For example, the SportsManias app has been a game-changer in fantasy sports.  Fantasy players can import their teams from CBS, ESPN or Yahoo and receive real-time news feed on their players from the top experts and news sources.  This will give them an edge to make smarter roster moves.  The SportsManias app makes it easy for consumer to access content from the best sources, giving them an edge while increasing traffic for media companies.  It’s as simple as downloading the SportsManias app, importing your team, and dominating your league. Look for more “investigations” in the future at all levels – at both the state and federal levels.  In reality, look at this more as a hunt for new taxation revenue, rather than a “moral quest to eliminate gambling.” 

 

5.           Nike Continues to Grow in Domestically and Internationally. This past week Nike came out with its Q1 report in which it “posted a 23% jump in quarterly profits and particularly strong sales gains in China,” according to Germano & Stynes of the Wall Street Journal. The sportswear company reported a $1.18 billion three-month profit to begin fiscal year 2016, as sales rose 5% from a year earlier to $8.41 billion. Nike reported that its global sales rose 14% last quarter, and China led all regions in revenue growth, as revenue jumped over 30% to $886 million. In what used to be a tough spot for Nike to succeed, China is now a popular, thriving, and growing market for the company to tap into. Domestically, Nike saw a revenue increase of 3% for Converse, thanks in part to the new Chuck II’s that released earlier this year. Companies are expanding their revenues in all contexts (especially across the pond):  retail revenue in all continents; transmission revenue and capability with Globecast and other hi-tech entities; league and team values “across the pond.”  This trend will obviously continue.

 


 

6.           Bucks Continue to Move Forward in Arena Deal. Construction in Milwaukee will begin as soon as possible on the Bucks new facility after a $47 million city spending plan “won Common Council approval,” the final endorsement needed for a $250 million public financing package that “includes state and county cash,” according to Tom Daykin of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The council voted 12-3 in approval of this plan, a huge step for the city of Milwaukee and the Bucks franchise. The Bucks also need council approval for the $500 million project’s design, with that review likely to occur later this Fall. A big step in this process is the remaking of a 1,243-space parking structure; the old one will eventually be demolished and replaced with a privately financed entertainment center with restaurants, taverns, and possible retail space. It looks like the arena is a “done deal” (if that is ever possible in the turbulent world of facility development). The public revenues are generated primarily from income taxes on NBA players who would not be contributing but for the arena. Even former presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker can certainly support this plan.

 

7.           eSports Beginning to Make Headlines. Two of sports media’s largest companies have teamed up with the hopes of tapping into a largely untouched demographic: young male gamers. With the world of eSports growing at an exponential rate, now more than 205 million people watch eSports worldwide, Turner Sports and WME-IMG officially announced their partnership with the intention of making a new competitive gaming league. While details of this partnership have yet to be announced, this deal has been under work for the past year and is expected to be a long term one. WME-IMG Chief Content Officer Mark Shapiro said, “I don’t think any property has a better hold on that young male audience than eSports. While it has been consoles and online and in-arena up until now, adding that last component of such a powerful medium as television to the equation will ultimately take this to another level.” This effort has the best of all worlds:  fantasy, league camaraderie, “skillful” outcomes, young demographics, advertising benefits. Look for this to expand wildly in years to come.

 

8.           Investigation of Sepp Blatter Continues. The FIFA scandal involving former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has gone from bad to worse. Swiss authorities have now opened an investigation on Blatter with “suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation,” according to Sam Borden of the New York Times. The case involves a contract in which the former president is “said to have signed that assigned valuable World Cup television rights to the control” of former CONCACAF President Jack Warner. The new charges "accuse Blatter of violating his fiduciary duty to FIFA in his role as president by signing the contract in 2005, which it called 'unfavorable to FIFA.'” All of this comes after Blatter was pressured into stepping down from his position; he became the centerpiece of a massive corruption scandal of soccer’s top officials’ worth over $100 over two decades, and now is also being accused of making a “disloyal payment” of just over $2 million to UEFA President Michel Platini. The investigation has been multinational from the start, but Switzerland is intensifying its criminal searching as well.  Just as FIFA makes its “unpopular” decision to move the 2022 World Cup to November/December in Qatar, the Blatter investigative heat intensifies. 

 


 

9.           Evidence Tampering in Kane Case Causes Confusion. In what has already been yet another long, strenuous, and confusing case of alleged sexual assault against a professional athlete, Patrick Kane’s situation took an unexpected turn when it came out that a police evidence bag in the case “had been tampered with.” But the Hamburg (N.Y.) Police Department said that no evidence “had been tampered with under its control.” All while this is going on, Kane did not travel with the team in their preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, but the NHL “is backing the Hawks’ decision to put Kane on the ice” while he sits in limbo during the ongoing investigation. Many have suggested that the NHL launch its own independent investigation against Patrick Kane, similar to what the NFL did during the Ray Rice incident that found him guilty of suspected abuse. The creation of a uniform, comprehensive, transparent domestic abuse policy is clearly easier said than done. How does a league process relate to a police investigation? When does the league decide to step in with an investigation as the justice system evolves? What standard of evidence should prevail?  The NFL has dealt with all of these questions and more after Ray Rice. Now it might be the turn of the NHL. 

 

10.       NFL Reportedly Wants One Team in L.A. After planning a move to potentially bring not one, but two NFL teams to Los Angeles, the league may have had a change of heart. According to a source cited by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the NFL “may ultimately move only one team” to L.A., and that would “happen not as a short-term thing, but as an indefinite move that could result in a second team never going” there. It is suspected that if only one team were to move to Southern California then it would be the St. Louis Rams, as owner Stan Kroenke has already purchased land and has plans to build a one-team stadium in Inglewood. This move would complicate things for the San Diego Chargers, a team that is looking to move into a new stadium. This shift in mindset to only wanting one team in L.A. stems from the league’s “intense desire to get it right” by not oversaturating the number two market in the U.S. Nothing has changed:  Oakland, St. Louis, and San Diego have the “incumbent advantage” to complete their respective stadium processes by roughly the end of this season. At that point, there should be a rapid deployment of “musical chairs” by the NFL to resolve all uncertainties by Super Bowl 50 in early February.

 

11.       Fanatics Authentic Signs MVP Curry. 2015 NBA MVP and NBA Champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors just signed an exclusive autograph and memorabilia deal with Fanatics Authentic; the company wants to capitalize on Curry’s rapid rise to stardom around the world. While Curry’s new multi-year contract with Fanatics does not preclude him from signing for fans for free, this new deal will include signed shoes and jerseys, as well as game-worm memorabilia. Fanatics Executive Vice President Victor Shaffer said, “There was no question that after the MVP and the title, the velocity of orders picked up. But we also saw that his fan base was expanding way beyond his traditional markets.” Fanatics add depth to their already talented roster with the addition of Curry, they have exclusive contracts signed with Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, Red Sox DH David Ortiz, Broncos QB Peyton Manning, Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin, and Spurs PG Tony Parker.  Fanatics has chosen quality over quantity in previous years.  Curry is no different.  His Q scores, likeability index, and Power 100 ranking are all consistently higher than ever before.  Look for the annual Horrow Sports Ventures Power 100 to be released in mid-October.

 


 

12.       2024 Olympic Bids Heating Up. In a plan that has largely remained a mystery to those surrounding it, new details have emerged about Rome’s bid for the 2024 Olympics. Bid chair Luca Cordero di Montezemolo recently revealed a list of “iconic venues” that will take “full advantage of Rome’s historic settings and Italy’s television-friendly backdrops.” While it is still in the works, it is reported that cyclists would finish the road race with a “sprint on the majestic Via dei Fori Imperiali,” sailing would take place off Sardinia, Sicily, or the Amalfi Coast, and the marathon route would run alongside Rome’s synagogue and mosque to “promote interfaith peace.” In regard to Rome’s readiness, Montezemolo said, “We can do the opening ceremony and athletics tonight, (we’re) ready. Swimming tonight… 70% of the venues are existing.” Meanwhile in Los Angeles, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun feels the Americans are deserving of being given the bid because 85% of the venues are “already in place, along with a stellar Olympic pedigree” as a two-time host. He also noted that if they want to make this push and campaign a success then “We need everyone aligned in this effort. We need to find the right formula to national L.A. 2024; to make it America’s campaign and make sure all of our constituents, their families, and friends are engaged in support of L.A.’s quest.” Olympic selection may be more competitive off the field than on.  Cities like Rome and LA will compete against Paris, Hamburg, and Budapest for the selection in 2017.  Look for the Los Angeles bid to generate widespread support and optimism throughout America.

 

13.       Warriors New Arena Concerns. With plans of building a brand new, privately financed arena to host the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors in Mission Bay, Warrior executives may be forced into a tough situation with an unexpected road bump. A group of 20 scientists from the University of California–San Francisco sent a letter to Mayor Ed Lee voicing “familiar concerns” that the Warriors’ new arena “will make Mission Bay less alluring to biotech researchers and that it will create a traffic mess that endangers people needing to get to the three UCSF hospitals nearby” when the 18,500-seat arena opens to host nearly 200 events per year. While the Warriors arena will be privately funded, public support remains critical for infrastructure, retail development, and other aspects of the entire project. 

 

14.       Stance Bringing Fashion to NBA. After signing on to be the NBA’s official on-court sock provider, Stance is “turning athletic socks into a big fashion business” with the company’s popularity being the “result of savvy partnerships and marketing, but the socks are also simply a product that customers consider a huge improvement over existing options,” according to Evie Nagy of Fast Company. With the exceptions of Christmas and a few other special events – when the NBA came out with themed socks and gear – players were limited to wearing the generic NBA socks. But with a large investment in the company from Miami Heat G Dwyane Wade, Stance has catapulted itself onto the scene and throughout the league, giving players a new, unique, team-specific sock option that they did not have before. The Stance sock deal should send a positive message to other smaller companies seeking high visibility and exposure in exclusive categories. Look for all sports teams and leagues to use this as an example of generating new corporate support in previously untapped areas of corporate interest.

 


 

15.       Blue Jays Playoff Push Drawing Record Crowds. This past week’s three game series between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, one in which the Jays clinch their first playoff birth in 22 years, averaged a staggering 1.8 million viewers per game on the Canadian-based network, Sportsnet. The net’s season-to-date average comes in at 933,000 viewers, marking the highest season average ever for Sportsnet and up 59% from this point last year – all thanks to Jays’ rapid rise to success this season in the always-competitive AL East. When the Jays actually clinched the postseason birth, ticket sales went off the charts. Four minutes after playoff tickets went on sale at 9:00am ET, 4,911 "had been sold, 9,000 were in transition, and 25,000 people were in the queue." Around 12:20pm, 70,000 people "were waiting." The Blue Jays "declared the Division Series tickets sold out" at 11:40am, and "just as quickly, they were being resold for double and triple the original price." Kudos to Rob Manfred to lead the seamless transition from Commissioner Bud Selig. Revenues are up; labor peace abounds; franchise values increase; and markets like Chicago, Toronto, Houston, and others are reenergized as a consequence of this year’s race.

 

 

Kelly Crull talks about covering the Bulls with Laurence Holmes

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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

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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.