10 to Watch Week of 4/10/17

NHL Has Officially Announced That It Will Not Be Sending Its Players To Pyeongchang For The 2018 Winter Olympics.

According to the Boston Globe, this means that the NHL’s streak of participating in five consecutive Olympic cycles, dating back to 1998, is set to be snapped. The NHL made the final decision without coordinating with the IOC or the NHLPA. Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin insisted that he will still represent Russia next winter, regardless of the NHL’s stance. Players from all other professional hockey leagues around the world are still allowed to participate as of now, making the NHL the only one to have withdrawn thus far. In a statement following the decision, the IOC wrote, “This must be a huge disappointment for the players who definitely wanted to play. The decision is even more regrettable, as the [IIHF] had offered the same conditions to the NHL as at previous Olympic Games.” Tough decision for Gary Bettman and the NHL, but the right one. Unlike the NBA, the NHL would have to suspend its season for a long period of time; the NHL has made major commitments to the Olympic movement and as a positive experience from the World Cup to grow the game.

With new NFL stadiums set to be built in Los Angeles and Las Vegas in the coming years, naming rights records could be rewritten

According to SportsBusiness Journal, Gemini Sports Group believes that the Raiders’ stadium “could fetch between $15-$18 million a year over 20 years” from a corporate partner. In Los Angeles, the Rams-Chargers stadium is expected to bring in up to $20 million annually, but could potentially reach $30 million a year driven by hosting two teams and “its location in the country’s second-biggest market.” The Rams have already hired Legends Global Sales to sell the naming rights for their Inglewood stadium, which is set to open for the 2019 NFL season. The biggest naming rights deal in North American sports currently is MetLife’s contract with the New York Giants and Jets, which pays out $16-$25 million a year. With the economy improving, digital media values increasing, and corporate hospitality becoming more significant, look for a major deal in L.A. to then be emulated in Vegas.

Despite claiming to be a historic “soccer city,” St. Louis will not be awarded an MLS team anytime in the foreseeable future after voters rejected public stadium funding.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, city voters voted against funding a 22,000-seat MLS stadium in downtown, yet voted in favor of “imposing a half-cent sales tax increase for expanding the city’s MetroLink light rail system.” About 53% of voters were opposed to the MLS bid, while 60% approved of the MetroLink ballot; both propositions “needed to pass in order to fund the stadium.” MLS Commissioner Don Garber noted the other week that without funding and concrete plans for a new stadium, St. Louis “would not get a team.” SC STL, the club that was set to be promoted to the MLS pending approval, spent over $1 million to date through a PAC on both propositions, “promising jobs for the city, massive private investment and a big return on public investment.” A set back for MLS, and a public/private partnership that requires restructuring or starting over. Clearly, the St. Louis region is reassessing the economics of the sports business.

With plans to officially relocate to Las Vegas, spoke about his “frustration and sadness” over the issue.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Davis said, “I’m not celebrating anything like I would like to be…I still have a feeling for the fans in the Bay Area. And I’ve met with a number of them. And anything I say to them isn’t going to soothe them, and it makes this whole thing bittersweet.” Davis noted that he spoke with the MLB Oakland A’s about doing a joint stadium deal with them and selling them 20% of his franchise as part of the transaction, but ultimately “Oakland never presented a viable plan to keep the team.” Back in 2013, the Raiders began talks about trying to find a new stadium in Oakland with the A’s, but those talks failed when the A’s signed a 10-year lease to stay in the Coliseum. Now it is Oakland’s turn to “save” its last remaining professional franchise. The Oakland A’s stadium process takes on new political, economic, and psychological significance.

Sitting right in the heart of Chicago, DePaul University’s new Wintrust Arena is set to open this fall “with a pair of gala fundraisers.”

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the 10,000-seat, $164 million arena that will host both DePaul men’s and women’s basketball teams is expected to attract nearly triple the number of fans who have become accustomed to making the trek to All-State Arena in Rosemont. Wintrust Arena Assistant General Manager/Entertainment David Kennedy is excited about the facility’s ability to attract events to McCormick Place. “We’re not really competing with the United Center, Soldier Field or Wrigley Field that have tens of thousands of folks,” said Kennedy. “We have the flexibility to shrink the venue down a little bit to what they call a half-concert for a few thousand people or to go to the larger number of 7,000 to 9,000.” The goal is to book 50 events in the first year – Kennedy noted they are more than halfway there. Chicago becomes the next city to complement its major league professional arena with another economically viable facility.

With the state of North Carolina deciding to repeal HB2, the NCAA has officially lifted its championship ban on North Carolina.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the state has faced sharp criticism ever since it passed HB2, a bill that nullified a Charlotte LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance that, “among other things, allowed transgender people to use bathrooms based on their gender identity.” The NCAA is currently picking future championship sites for 2018-2022; Charlotte is “bidding to host men’s basketball tournament games” at Spectrum Center for three years – 2020-2022. The championship sites awarded for next year are final, meaning that Charlotte is still set to host “the first and second rounds of the men’s basketball tournament at the Spectrum Center in March 2018.” Meanwhile, Texas is still facing similar bans to North Carolina after passing an HB2-like legislation of its own earlier this year. From a political perspective, sports should be viewed as big business. Cities and states have lost conventions, concerts, and major sporting events because of the unpopular political stances they have taken. Just like Arizona and its Martin Luther King holiday, communities receive the benefits of the events after they change their political positions.

Some Big Names Are Emerging As Potential Bidders To Purchase The Miami Marlins.

According to Fox Business, among those who have expressed interest in buying the team are former MLBer Derek Jeter and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Jeter is “being represented in talks” with Marlins President David Samson by former Morgan Stanley Wealth Management President Gregory Fleming. Conversely, Bush has teamed up with Citigroup to finance his possible bid. The third group that could potentially submit a bid is reportedly being back by Goldman Sachs. While the Marlins’ ownership group has made it clear they are willing to sell the franchise, they also noted that they may ultimately decide “not to sell the team if they can’t get an offer close to $1.6 billion.” Both Jeter and Bush are big names, but financing remains the key element in this potential transaction. The Marlins “auction process” might yield significant numbers, especially with the publicly-funded stadium and the World Series legacy.

The deteriorating condition of the iconic Aloha Stadium in Halawa, Hawaii, has “led consultants to suggest building a smaller, more modern” facility to replace the current structure.

According to KGMB-CBS, the 50,000-seat stadium originally opened up in 1975 and has required significant upkeep costs since then. While Aloha Stadium only cost $37 million to build at the time, nearly $100 million has been spent since 1990 on facility upgrades. The suggested replacement facility has a recommended capacity of 30,000 to 35,000 seats and would be built adjacent to the current stadium. The new stadium could “expand to 40,000 seats for special events, and would have a hotel, housing and retail space.” The consulting report added that the new stadium would cost $324.5 million and require 36% “less square footage, reducing operating expenses.” Hawaii has experienced tremendous economic impact through this historical venue. Seemingly, it is time to move on.

Merely weeks before Kentucky Derby race weekend, Churchill Downs unveiled a new $16 million clubhouse renovation.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the renovation has turned the second-level Clubhouse area at the park from “a large somewhat shabby space into vibrant, welcoming quarters.” A few finishing touches still need to be made before the area will be ready to welcome thousands of visitors on May 5 and 6, but it has opened for local track-goers to pass through. Renovations to the Clubhouse area include more wagering locations, additional concessions stands meant to shorten the lines, and doubling the number of bathrooms. Track officials said that the modernization has “encompassed most of the 95,000-square-foot Clubhouse area and was designed to improve the track experience for the roughly 13,000 guests that typically enter the space on Oaks or Derby Day.” Facility renovation and modernization is critical in all sports – even ones whose primary athletes have four legs. Look for increased economic impact and long-term stability as a result.

Billionaire Entrepreneur Richard Branson Newest Venture Is In Sports.

According to CNBC, Virgin Sport, a two-year-old company that is set to run its first event in the coming months, is officially ready to pursue sponsors. “Sponsors [often] get involved in something that already fully exists, so [our] partners have a great chance to start out,” said Virgin Sport Global CEO Mary Wittenberg. “We will go fewer rather than more partners and try and integrate partners across our events, our content and eventually our community.” “Festival-style events” will be run in the United Kingdom and United States, with the first event coming in London. The aim of Branson’s new company is to “reach the sweet spot” between extreme events such as Tough Mudder and lighter events such as a “fun run.” This marks the first of many new entries into the entertainment/festival space by companies expanding their consumer reach.

 

 

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