Other Sports

12.13.19 Rick Horrow sits down golf icon Gary Player

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USA TODAY Sports

12.13.19 Rick Horrow sits down golf icon Gary Player

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick sits down with golf icon Gary Player and shares his top sports technology & media issues of the past decade.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

1. High Definition (HD). The most essential element for the sports consumer? Watching the game. High definition pushed the envelope this decade so much that now anything non-HD seems archaic – just think about what those old “Wide World of Sports” clips look like. The first major sporting event broadcast nationwide in the U.S. in HD was Super Bowl XXXIV, broadcast by ABC on January 30, 2000. By the 2014–2015 television season, every network show producing new episodes had transitioned to high definition. And virtually all HD technology was developed by global sports league partners, with broadcasting live sporting events that delivered almost the same immediacy as being there a top-line goal for developers. Over 90% of U.S. homes have an HD television, and nearly 30% have a 4K TV. 4K (UltraHD) is here and 8k coming, virtual reality is next, the envelope is still being pushed. 

 

2. Connectivity. WiFi, Bluetooth, mobile data plans, cloud services, the Internet of Things (IoT) and getting devices communicating with other devices have created opportunities limited only by creativity. When devices can interact and share information, the smarter decisions media and tech companies can make. From minor league ballparks to arenas, soccer-specific stadiums, and the almost completed $4.93 billion SoFi Stadium and entertainment complex in Los Angeles, the “Connected Facility” over the last decade has become the absolute standard in sports stadia, empowering teams and vendors every bit as much as fans. At SoFi (named by a tech company, of course), according to CNBC, “Technology that will make the stadium experience unique includes a 70,000-sq-ft Oculus display board that will have 4K double-sided video; 5G communications network; Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of wireless to deliver faster speeds, and digital ticketing provided by Ticketmaster.

 

3. Media rights. This past decade was defined by mega deals in sports media rights. Whether it’s new networks, broadcast rights, digital rights, streaming rights, on-demand, or over the top, the media rights deals now are now not uncommon to be in the billions. U.S. sports rights are estimated to be worth a total of $22.42 billion in 2019, about 44% of the total worldwide sports media market, according to SportBusiness Media. And a rising number of major sporting events available via streaming services is set to drive the revenue for global broadcast rights beyond $85 billion by the end of 2024, according to a recent Rethink TV report. The Sports Rights Forecast to 2025 paper shows the global value of sports rights currently at around $48.6 billion, though the report predicts an increase of 75% over the next five years due to a growth in audiences choosing direct-to-consumer (DTC) content.

 

4. Ticketing. Going to a sporting event is still core to the sports experience. In this past decade, the ticketing business saw tech-related advances like dynamic pricing, paperless tickets, and digital second market sellers, all of which backed by data and CRM. As with so many things in our lives now, your mobile phone is now your sports ticket. At that Next Big Thing sports tech lab otherwise known as SoFi Stadium, CNBC notes the SafeTix digital ticketing provided by Ticketmaster “uses a rotating entry token that refreshes an encrypted barcode every 15 seconds to prevent counterfeiting and improve security. The digital ticket will also send customized messages to the ticketholder on a host of things — from VIP events to updates on parking information and merchandising offers.” And just last week, Swiss ticketing firm Viagogo agreed to buy StubHub for $4.05 billion, looking to leverage the brand globally.

1.27.20 Rick Horrow sits down with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue

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USA TODAY Sports

1.27.20 Rick Horrow sits down with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick Horrow sits down with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and takes you through the biggest sports business stories of the week.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

Remembering Kobe Bryant, the statesman entrepreneur. USA Basketball chair and Sport Business Handbook contributor Jerry Colangelo, during an ESPN interview on Sunday, described himself as “shaken to the core” upon hearing the news that Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning, and credited Bryant with leading Team USA to their gold medal Olympic performance in Beijing. “Gold Medal” perhaps best summarizes the span of Bryant’s all too short career. After his two-decade NBA run, Bryant dove into business with the same passion he had exhibited on the court. He started a business incubator and venture fund so that others could get their businesses off the ground. He wrote inspirational books for both children and adults. He made a highly-regarded documentary, “Kobe Bryant’s Muse,” with filmmaker Gotham Chopra. And in 2018, he wrote and produced an animated short, “Dear Basketball,” that won an Academy Award. On Sunday night, Lizzo, the most-nominated artist heading into the 2020 Grammy Awards at Staples Center, kicked off the show by telling the crowd, “Tonight is for Kobe.” And it
was, as surely as Bryant will be honored at the Super Bowl, the Oscars, the NBA All-Star Game, and throughout many days, nights, and years to come.

 

Remembering Kobe Bryant, the philanthropist. Kobe Bryant was also known for his contributions to the community off the court. His goals extended way beyond the hardwood, and he was committed to promoting basketball and other sports to young people, girls in particular. Through his Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation, the charity the
NBA star founded with his wife in 2006, Bryant was the official ambassador for a children’s charity called After-School All-Stars. The organization provides after-school programs to 72,000 inner-city kids in need. Bryant also founded the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, and single-handedly sponsored the Mamba Cup basketball tournament there – the event to which he and daughter Gianna were headed when their helicopter crashed on Sunday. And he and Vanessa, according to WUSA9, were “Founding Donors” to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, giving at least $1 million in financial support. Bryant’s legacy as a great athlete and champion will long be remembered, as will his dedication and commitment to
using sport as a means for young people to realize their dreams.

 

HSBC Bank USA will collaborate with Rick Horrow to create unique experiences for customers and prospects geared towards financial literacy. The partnership will center around the launch of Horrow’s latest book, The Sport Business Handbook: Insights from 100+ Leaders Who Shaped 50 Years of the Industry. Curated events will be held in markets
across the U.S. where book contributors will share the lessons that helped shape their athletic careers and future successful business endeavours. Entitled “SportBusiness 50: Lessons and Leadership from Legends of the Game,” the partnership will launch its initial event in Miami, coinciding with Super Bowl LIV. The announcement is another example of HSBC’s commitment to supporting the growth of its local communities and the customers within each. It follows the bank’s launch of the HSBC Financial Wellness Center in early 2019 powered by EVERFI, a leading education technology company. The online platform features a series of engaging modules focused on financial literacy topics such as buying a home, planning for higher education, and building credit. The platform is available to
anyone looking to advance their own financial literacy, inclusive of corporate partners as well as clients and non-clients of the bank.

 

1.24.20 Rick Horrow sits down with LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan

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USA TODAY Sports

1.24.20 Rick Horrow sits down with LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick Horrow sits down with LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan and takes you through the biggest sports business stories of the week. 

Family-friendly Gainbridge LPGA event offers something for everyone. Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio kicks off this week with 108 of the world’s best female golfers teeing it up in the four-day championship, January 23-26. Event officials have outlined additional family-friendly and affordable tournament week offerings for the whole community. The tournament kicks off on Monday with the Gainbridge Junior Golf Clinic at Osprey Point Golf Course. LPGA Players and certified golf instructors will be on hand to offer free golf instruction to kids ages 5 and up. On Tuesday, #GainbridgeLPGA is teaming up with Versant Health for a Women’s Leadership Summit that will feature a panel headlined by female business leaders, a fireside chat with a LPGA Tour pro, and presentations from pioneering female leaders. Next weekend, A.D. Henderson University School will offer free onsite STEM activities for kids of all ages. “Gainbridge is committed to making sure the week is affordable for the entire family and that there is something for everyone, beyond golf,” said Lesley Baker, Executive Director. “We are thrilled the tournament is able to offer several programs throughout the week in year one, and we invite everyone in the community to come out and experience the event.”

 

NHL All-Star Game takes the ice and the streets in St. Louis. The NHL has lined up its roster of activations for the 2020 NHL Fan Fair, the official fan festival of the2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend, running January 23-26 in St. Louis. Partners gearing up for the event include Enterprise, Honda, New Amsterdam Vodka, Truly, Discover, Dunkin’, Bud Light, GEICO, Great Clips, MassMutual, and SAP. Highlights of the four-day, family-friendly festival include autograph sessions featuring former and current NHL All-Stars; a Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit featuring the St. Louis Blues; NHL memorabilia and trophy displays, including the Stanley Cup; and the sixth annual NHL Mascot Showdown featuring all 29 NHL Mascots. Additionally, the NHL and Green Day will build on their multiyear partnership with the band’s headlining performance at the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game on January 25. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees will perform outside Enterprise Center shortly before they take the stage inside during the second intermission presented by Ticketmaster. The performance – as always, aimed at expanding hockey’s demographic reach – will be televised as part of the live All-Star Game broadcast on NBC and throughout Canada. 

 

The WNBA and its players’ union have come to terms on a new eight-year collective bargaining agreement that includes higher salaries, improved family benefits, and better travel accommodations. This represents a turning point for women’s basketball and could ultimately lead to a substantial shift in how female athletes — across all sports — are compensated. The average WNBA cash compensation will reach nearly $130,000, and top players will be able to earn upwards of $500,000. Players will also receive a full salary while on maternity leave, and an annual child care stipend of $5,000. WNBA teams, which provide housing, will now guarantee two-bedroom apartments for players with children. And while players will still have to fly commercial, they’ll finally get their own individual hotel rooms. “We believe it’s a groundbreaking and historic deal. I’m proud of the players; they bargained hard, they unified, they brought attention to so many important topics,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. The implications of this agreement reach beyond basketball into the larger workplace, at a time when women are demanding increased pay and benefits, on their merit and as a challenge to historically unequal pay.

 

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred came down hard on the Houston Astros last week for illegally stealing signs in 2017. Penalties Manfred imposed included a $5 million fine, the forfeitures of several top draft picks, and one-year suspensions from the game for manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow – who were subsequently fired by Astros owner Jim Crane. While the Astros have suffered irrevocable damage as a result of this investigation, ripple effects extend far beyond Houston. Former Astros bench coach and Boston manager Alex Cora was also fired by the Red Sox for his involvement in the Houston sign-stealing, and former Astros player Carlos Beltran, whom the Mets hired as manager just days before the first sign-stealing story broke, was canned and thus had the shortest tenure in Mets history. The sign-stealing scandal also likely extends beyond Boston and Houston, and the league will have no choice but to pursue all future leads now that the precedent has been set. While MLB’s strict punishment will likely help dissuade teams from breaking the rules, further action is still required to quell public concerns about cheating.