26 Nov

Thankful for Football

What would Thanksgiving be without football?  Excluding seasons affected by World War II, the NFL has hosted games on the holiday every year since 1920.  This year is no different, as the Lions and Cowboys continue a tradition of hosting afternoon games.  Also playing a home game on the holiday this year is San Francisco.  For the first time since the AFC merger, however, no AFC team will be represented on the slate of Thanksgiving Day games.

The NFL this year has a lot to be thankful for.  The league’s business is booming, as Commissioner Roger Goodell continues his quest to get NFL revenue up to $25 billion by 2027.  TV ratings continue to be strong, particularly the new package of Thursday night games.  Finally, the league has unprecedented labor peace with a collective bargaining agreement that runs through 2021.

Whatever your reason is for being thankful, be sure to enjoy some turkey with your Thanksgiving football this Thursday.

PHOTO: Craig Hawkins

25 Nov

Salary Cap News: NHL, NBA, MLB

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The issue of a salary cap comes up frequently in collective bargaining negotiations.  While all of the Big Four leagues have long-term labor deals, in recent weeks, we’ve seen examples of how their salary structures differ.

NHL GMs are no longer operating under the assumption that the salary cap is going to increase next season as a result of the projected decline of the Canadian dollar.  The salary cap could start around $69 million, $5-6 million lower than previous optimistic expectations.

In basketball, NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts objects to the notion of the league having a salary cap and is pushing for players to receive a bigger piece of basketball-related income.  Players and owners currently split BRI 50-50.  The labor agreement between the two sides runs through 2021, but either party can opt out after the 2017 season.

On the other end of the spectrum, in an interview with GQ, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is quoted saying he wishes the league had a harder salary cap, “From a league-office standpoint, the ideal league would be for all thirty teams to compete based on the skill of their management and players, as opposed to one team paying more to get better talent.” Look for those issues to be front center during the 2017 CBA Negotiations.

Finally, MLB doesn’t have a salary cap and that allowed the Miami Marlins to give star OF Giancarlo Stanton have the richest contract in MLB history, a 13-year deal worth $325 million.  The deal is MLB’s first $300 million contract and is $50 million more than Alex Rodriguez’s famous deal with the New York Yankees.

PHOTO: Keith Allison

24 Nov

Turkey Economics: The Numbers behind Thanksgiving Sports

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

American Thanksgiving tradition generally dictates that the most competitive thing we do on the third Thursday of November each year is eat. According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories from our stuffing and pie-laden holiday dinners and snacking throughout the day.

Maybe we need all this carbo-loading to fuel us for our other favorite Thanksgiving sport: shopping.

Over “Black Weekend” 2013, shoppers spent an estimated $22.2 billion, according to data from Shopper Trak. This year, online shopping on Black Friday is expected to surge 28% from last year, to $2.48 billion, while Cyber Monday is expected to see $2.6 billion in online sales. On Turkey Day itself, eager shoppers will flood the likes of Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target, while online sales are projected to reach $1.35 billion, up 27% from 2013 per data provided by Adobe Systems.

Shopping and stuffing aside, Thanksgiving Day is a busy time in the realm of real sports. In honor of our national holiday, we take a look at Turkey Trots, ski resorts, and heavy TV consumption of our true national pastime, NFL football.

The Turkey Trot

While Turkey Trots are not new—Buffalo, NY founded its turkey trot in 1896 and claims title to our nation’s oldest continuously running public footrace—more people participate in races and other organized workouts on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year, according to Athlinks, an athletic-event data aggregator.

Last year, roughly 870,000 people ran in an organized Turkey Day race, a 770% increase from 100,000 participants five years earlier. These big numbers are not only good for runners’ waistlines, they’re a boon to communities, sponsors, and local charities.

In Dallas, 35,000 people are expected to line up to run in the city’s annual Turkey Trot. Second only to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Official Capital One Bank Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot is the largest Thanksgiving event of its kind in the world. “Last year we were excited to be recognized in the ‘Top 5 Fun Runs’ to try in the United States,” said YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas’ Sarah Byrom.

Ten years ago, Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino and his wife Leslee founded the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, after realizing that the city of Sacramento was lapping the Bay Area when it came to Turkey Day events.

For their first outing in 2005, according to the San Jose Mercury News, the Guardinos hoped to have 1,000 participants and collect $100,000 to be divvied up between Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara/San Mateo Counties, the Housing Trust Silicon Valley, and Healthier Kids Foundation Santa Clara County. But that inaugural race actually netted $132,000 for the three charities, with 1,900 runners and walkers participating.

Today, the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot boasts of being the largest timed Turkey Trot in the U.S. For 2014, Carl Guardino hopes registrations will reach their 30,000 capacity and bring in a record $1 million in donations to the three charities (adding to the $4 million raised over the last decade).

Alpine Sports

Here’s a well-kept secret about Turkey Day skiing and snowboarding: While mountain resorts across the county aim to open by Thanksgiving weekend every year, Thanksgiving Day itself tends to be sparse on crowds, with short lift lines and reduced lodging rates. This is a prime reason why diehard skiers and snowboarders look to Thanksgiving Day as a bonus Snow Day. 

In Colorado, some resorts have been operating for over a month, led by Arapahoe Basin, where skier Nate Dogggg (he claims that’s his real name) camped out for three days to claim the first chairlift ride of the North American ski season for the 19th year in a row.

Outside of this Dogggged effort, Beaver Creek resort continues its Thanksgiving Day tradition via the World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition, which features five finalists baking 1,000 cookies each.

In Vermont, Stowe Mountain Resort opens Saturday with help from a new $10 million snowmaking system, while Mount Snow starts the day after Thanksgiving with the Turkey Hangover Hill Climb.

In Utah, Brighton Ski Resort is the first to open for the season. On Tuesday, the resort offered $37 opening day lift tickets, a tiny flake of the $1.29 billion and 20,000 jobs that winter sports contribute to Utah’s economy, according to Ski Utah. Snow sports also play a key role in how the state is marketed to the rest of the world.

California’s Mammoth Mountain, finally, wishes that the recent Arctic blast was a little more westerly. While the Sierra Nevada resort is ready for Thanksgiving, only a tiny portion of the mountain is open—and this following a dry 2013 that saw a sharp revenue drop of roughly $22 million, out of its usual $140 million annual ski area haul. 


NFL

What would Thanksgiving be without football?  Excluding seasons affected by World War II, the NFL has hosted games on the holiday every year since 1920.  This year is no different, as the Lions and Cowboys continue a tradition of hosting afternoon games on CBS and Fox respectively. Also playing a home game on the holiday this year is San Francisco, hosting Seattle in a divisional rivalry, and a clear ratings boon for broadcaster NBC and such brand partners as Braun shavers—Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is fronting Braun’s “FaceGreatness” campaign.

No NFL team is more closely associated with Turkey Day than “America’s Team” Dallas Cowboys. The NFL’s most-viewed regular-season game in 2013 was the Thanksgiving Day Raiders-Cowboys matchup, with 31.7 million viewers. With the Cowboys facing a huge rivalry game against the Philadelphia Eagles, this year’s ratings look to be even higher.

Pitbull will be the marquee halftime entertainer at the Cowboys’ annual Thanksgiving Day home game. The rapper’s performance will help kick off the Salvation Army’s annual red-kettle fundraising campaign. The Salvation Army campaign has raised nearly $1.9 billion since the Cowboys partnership began in 1997, including $136 million last year.

In general, the NFL has a lot to be thankful for, as Commissioner Roger Goodell continues his quest to get league revenue up to $25 billion by 2027. TV ratings continue to be strong, particularly the new package of Thursday night games. And the league has unprecedented labor peace with a collective bargaining agreement that runs through 2021.

Whatever your reason is for being thankful, be sure to enjoy some turkey with your Thanksgiving sports come Thursday.

Follow Rick Horrow (@RickHorrow) and Karla Swatek (@kswak) on Twitter.

PHOTO: Steve Voght

24 Nov

NBA Commissioner Calls for Legalization of Sports Betting

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for the legalization of sports betting in the U.S.  Silver wants Congress to “adopt a federal framework that allows states to authorize betting on professional sports, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards.”

His op-ed came just days after the NBA announced a four-year deal with FanDuel that makes the company the league’s exclusive one-day daily fantasy partner.  The deal also gives the NBA an equity stake in the company.   As far back as 2009, Silver is on record as saying he viewed legalized sports gambling as inevitable, particularly because of the NBA’s globalization.  However, the timing of his high-profile op-ed relative to the announcement of the FanDuel deal cannot be a coincidence. 

The daily fantasy sports industry is booming, and as long as Silver can continue protecting the integrity of the NBA, there’s no reason not to engage in new business opportunities that also increase interest in the league.

PHOTO: Keith Allison

21 Nov

Turkey Economics: The Numbers behind Thanksgiving Sports

By Rick Horrow

American Thanksgiving tradition generally dictates that the most competitive thing we do on the third Thursday of November each year is eat. According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories from our stuffing and pie-laden holiday dinners and snacking throughout the day.

Maybe we need all this carbo-loading to fuel us for our other favorite Thanksgiving sport: shopping.

Over “Black Weekend” 2013, shoppers spent an estimated $22.2 billion, according to data from Shopper Trak. This year, online shopping on Black Friday is expected to surge 28% from last year, to $2.48 billion, while Cyber Monday is expected to see $2.6 billion in online sales. On Turkey Day itself, eager shoppers will flood the likes of Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target, while online sales are projected to reach $1.35 billion, up 27% from 2013 per data provided by Adobe Systems.

Shopping and stuffing aside, Thanksgiving Day is a busy time in the realm of real sports. In honor of our national holiday, we take a look at Turkey Trots, ski resorts, and heavy TV consumption of our true national pastime, NFL football.

The Turkey Trot
While Turkey Trots are not new—Buffalo, NY founded its turkey trot in 1896 and claims title to our nation’s oldest continuously running public footrace—more people participate in races and other organized workouts on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year, according to Athlinks, an athletic-event data aggregator.

Last year, roughly 870,000 people ran in an organized Turkey Day race, a 770% increase from 100,000 participants five years earlier. These big numbers are not only good for runners’ waistlines, they’re a boon to communities, sponsors, and local charities.

In Dallas, 35,000 people are expected to line up to run in the city’s annual Turkey Trot. Second only to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Official Capital One Bank Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot is the largest Thanksgiving event of its kind in the world. “Last year we were excited to be recognized in the ‘Top 5 Fun Runs’ to try in the United States,” said YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas’ Sarah Byrom.

Ten years ago, Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino and his wife Leslee founded the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, after realizing that the city of Sacramento was lapping the Bay Area when it came to Turkey Day events.

For their first outing in 2005, according to the San Jose Mercury News, the Guardinos hoped to have 1,000 participants and collect $100,000 to be divvied up between Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara/San Mateo Counties, the Housing Trust Silicon Valley, and Healthier Kids Foundation Santa Clara County. But that inaugural race actually netted $132,000 for the three charities, with 1,900 runners and walkers participating.

Today, the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot boasts of being the largest timed Turkey Trot in the U.S. For 2014, Carl Guardino hopes registrations will reach their 30,000 capacity and bring in a record $1 million in donations to the three charities (adding to the $4 million raised over the last decade).

Alpine Sports
Here’s a well-kept secret about Turkey Day skiing and snowboarding: While mountain resorts across the county aim to open by Thanksgiving weekend every year, Thanksgiving Day itself tends to be sparse on crowds, with short lift lines and reduced lodging rates. This is a prime reason why diehard skiers and snowboarders look to Thanksgiving Day as a bonus Snow Day.

In Colorado, some resorts have been operating for over a month, led by Arapahoe Basin, where skier Nate Dogggg (he claims that’s his real name) camped out for three days to claim the first chairlift ride of the North American ski season for the 19th year in a row.

Outside of this Dogggged effort, Beaver Creek resort continues its Thanksgiving Day tradition via the World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition, which features five finalists baking 1,000 cookies each.
In Vermont, Stowe Mountain Resort opens Saturday with help from a new $10 million snowmaking system, while Mount Snow starts the day after Thanksgiving with the Turkey Hangover Hill Climb.

In Utah, Brighton Ski Resort is the first to open for the season. On Tuesday, the resort offered $37 opening day lift tickets, a tiny flake of the $1.29 billion and 20,000 jobs that winter sports contribute to Utah’s economy, according to Ski Utah. Snow sports also play a key role in how the state is marketed to the rest of the world.

California’s Mammoth Mountain, finally, wishes that the recent Arctic blast was a little more westerly. While the Sierra Nevada resort is ready for Thanksgiving, only a tiny portion of the mountain is open—and this following a dry 2013 that saw a sharp revenue drop of roughly $22 million, out of its usual $140 million annual ski area haul.

NFL
What would Thanksgiving be without football? Excluding seasons affected by World War II, the NFL has hosted games on the holiday every year since 1920. This year is no different, as the Lions and Cowboys continue a tradition of hosting afternoon games on CBS and Fox respectively. Also playing a home game on the holiday this year is San Francisco, hosting Seattle in a divisional rivalry, and a clear ratings boon for broadcaster NBC and such brand partners as Braun shavers—Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is fronting Braun’s “FaceGreatness” campaign.

No NFL team is more closely associated with Turkey Day than “America’s Team” Dallas Cowboys. The NFL’s most-viewed regular-season game in 2013 was the Thanksgiving Day Raiders-Cowboys matchup, with 31.7 million viewers. With the Cowboys facing a huge rivalry game against the Philadelphia Eagles, this year’s ratings look to be even higher.

Pitbull will be the marquee halftime entertainer at the Cowboys’ annual Thanksgiving Day home game. The rapper’s performance will help kick off the Salvation Army’s annual red-kettle fundraising campaign. The Salvation Army campaign has raised nearly $1.9 billion since the Cowboys partnership began in 1997, including $136 million last year.
In general, the NFL has a lot to be thankful for, as Commissioner Roger Goodell continues his quest to get league revenue up to $25 billion by 2027. TV ratings continue to be strong, particularly the new package of Thursday night games. And the league has unprecedented labor peace with a collective bargaining agreement that runs through 2021.

Whatever your reason is for being thankful, be sure to enjoy some turkey with your Thanksgiving sports come Thursday.

Follow Rick Horrow (@RickHorrow) and Karla Swatek (@kswak) on Twitter.

The post Turkey Economics: The Numbers behind Thanksgiving Sports appeared first on Bloomberg Sports.

From:: The Sports Professor Rick Horrow on Bloomberg Sports

21 Nov

Lagardere Wins Citigroup

Sports and entertainment company Lagardere Unlimited scored a major win in the sponsorship industry, securing the Citigroup account for global sports marketing.  Lagardere was selected from an original list of nearly a dozen agencies that were vying for the account.  Citi already holds several major sports assets.  The bank holds a 20-year naming rights deal for the New York Mets’ stadium, is a U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor through the 2016 Rio Games, and is a major partner of the PGA Tour’s Presidents Cup.  Citi also is the title sponsor of the ATP Tour Citi Open in Washington D.C., an event that is produced by Lagardere.

Lagardere over the last year has made a big splash in the U.S sports agency business.  In August 2013, the company hired former IMG exec Andy Pierce as its president and CEO.  They’ve also made several acquisitions to grow the business.  Among Lagardere’s other sports clients are Bridgestone, MetroPCS, and Pfizer.

PHOTO: Tassilo Von Parsival

20 Nov

Taco Bell Becomes Official Sponsor of College Football Playoff

Taco Bell signed a multiyear agreement with ESPN to become the official quick serve restaurant of the College Football Playoff.  As part of the deal, Taco Bell will create the Live Mas Student Section at all three CFP games.  Taco Bell had been a BCS sponsor since 2006.  The restaurant has long been a financial supporter of college football, especially because they share the same core demographic – men in their late teens and early 20s. 

Where Taco Bell’s deal likely cost a few million dollars a year, title sponsorship fees under the new CFP go for around $25 million per year with a six-year commitment. That’s compared to $15-20 million for naming rights under the old BCS.  But if you think the semifinal sponsorships are pricey, it pales in comparison to the championship game, which will be held at AT&T Stadium in January.  The new College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy is sponsored by Dr. Pepper, which is paying an estimated $35 million per year for the rights.

19 Nov

NHL Looks to Tap New Revenue Streams

Always looking to tap new revenue streams, the NHL is considering two unique opportunities to enhance the league’s business. Jersey ads have been talked about for years, but they might finally be close to becoming a reality.  NHL COO John Collins at the SportsBusiness Journal Sports Media & Technology Conference said that jersey sponsorships are both “coming and happening.”  League officials estimate that jersey ads could generate $120 million annually, or $4 million per team.  Collins cited manufacturers’ branding on jerseys as a form of advertising that already exists. 

On the TV side of the business, the NHL is testing virtual ad technology that would allow broadcasters to replace ads on home team dashboards with their own signage.  If approved by owners, the technology could be used as soon as the 2015-16 NHL season.

PHOTO: Kaz Andrew

18 Nov

Emirates Airlines Pulls World Cup Sponsorship over Corruption Allegations

Emirates Airlines has opted against renewing its sponsorship with FIFA for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Qatar and Russia, respectively.  Emirates, which had been the organization’s official airline sponsor for the last three World Cups, said the decision was made after evaluating FIFA’s contract proposal.

Even though Emirates said the decision not to renew its FIFA deal was due to contract terms, it’s hard to ignore the recent corruption allegations surrounding soccer’s governing body.  Emirates’ move comes as other sponsors including Coca-Cola, Adidas, Sony, and Visa express their concerns about the lack of transparency at FIFA.  FIFA generates $350 million annually from global sponsorship deals.

The soccer world already isn’t happy with the prospect of playing the 2022 Qatar World Cup in the winter, and that’s even before considering the ongoing bribery scandal.  If more sponsors jump ship, FIFA will have no choice but to consider holding the event elsewhere.

PHOTO: Billy Wilt