10 to Watch Week of 7/31/17

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Battles with the Chicago Cubs Over Night Activities

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Emanuel “flatly rejected” a request by Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney to allow the team to play more night games at Wrigley Field. Emanuel defended his stance, saying the defending World Series champions had the choice of staging concerts for profit or playing more night games, and the team picked the former option. “They could have used it for night games. But then, they would have to share it with Major League Baseball,” said Manuel. “The concerts they keep all for themselves…They made those choices. Now, they want to change the consequences of the choices they made.” The Cubs are currently allowed 46 night events at Wrigley, which comes close to the 54 that Kenney requested the team be granted. Compromises are a fact of life in all public-private partnerships, and it appears this one remains a work in progress.

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, Atlanta Falcon Matt Ryan And Cleveland Cavalier Lebron James Top The Horrow Sports Ventures 2016-17 POWER 100 Proprietary Annual Ranking Of The World’s Most Powerful Athletes.

For the third time in seven years, the NBA toppled the NFL for the No. 1 position, with the top ten positions overall revealing a remarkable balance of power among athletes from a range of sports. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook (No. 1), Matt Ryan (No. 2), and LeBron James (No. 3) top the Horrow Sports Ventures 2016-17 POWER 100 proprietary annual ranking of the world’s most powerful athletes. In its seventh consecutive installment, The POWER 100 uses a complex statistical model to accurately compare performance and influence through on-field and off-field attributes. This metric is collectively known as POWER, and enables equitable comparison across otherwise incomparable sports. The 2016-17 POWER 100 focuses on long-established sports and the U.S. market specifically. Key indicator statistics were used as predictors of performance per sport. On-field attributes comprise 50% of the athletes’ POWER. The other 50% is based on off-field components like social media presence as measured by MVPindex. Combining on-field (50%) and off-field (50%) attributes yields the POWER score. Athletes are then ranked based on POWER to find the Top 100. The POWER 100 continues to generate discussion as an invaluable tool to evaluate an athlete’s brand.

Phoenix Raceway Is Engaged In Naming-Rights Talks As The ISC-Owned Track Is In The Midst Of A $178 Million Renovation That Is Slated For Completion Late Next Year.

Track President Bryan Sperber in a statement said, “From the moment we announced the project in January, we’ve had tremendous response from new and existing partners. This transformation of our venue into a world class entertainment facility has unlocked a myriad of opportunities, including unique branding platforms, new events, breakthrough technology, and even naming rights for the facility.” If PIR sells the naming rights, the move would make the raceway just the second track that hosts a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race to have a brand attached to the facility’s name, with the other being fellow ISC venue Auto Club Speedway. One brand that has already closely associated itself Phoenix Raceway’s renovations is California-based clean energy company DC Solar. PIR hosts two Cup races a year, as well as a Verizon IndyCar Series race, and under Sperber’s enlightened guidance, a naming rights deal is likely eminent.

Months After The Original Opening Date Was Set, The Roof At The Atlanta Falcons’ New Mercedes-Benz Stadium Continues To Have Issues.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the roof is now facing another delay, with speculation that it will be open “at some point” during the team’s 2017 season. When the stadium is opened officially, the roof will remain closed, and will remain that way for an “undetermined period of time beyond that,” as confirmed by AMB Group CEO Steve Cannon. When functional, the sunflower-shaped roof is supposed to open and close in 12 minutes with all eight swiveling panels moving in unison. Cannon said that it “typically takes 40 days to ‘mechanize’ such a roof after its last ‘[construction] move.’” Since three such moves are “scheduled in the coming weeks, the 40-day clock won’t even begin until after those moves.” Even with a rigid roof, the NFL and Atlanta welcome that city’s new football icon, and eagerly anticipate the upcoming season. Ticket prices on StubHub.com should reflect the increased demand Falcons fans will have to see their hometown team.

The Majority Stake Of The Brooklyn Nets May Be Up For Sale In The Near Future.
According to the New York Post, current Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has been focused on selling a minority stake in the NBA franchise recently, trying to a find a buyer for 49% of the Nets for nearly a year. But Prokhorov has “warmed” to the possibility of offering up a controlling stake in the team. A source said that the “change of heart comes after the initial reaction to the minority stake sale was weak” – and with interest in the Rockets sale “heating up.” Sources said that the Nets “believe some of the suitors who look at the Rockets will also take an interest in them.” The Russian billionaire just recently was granted approval to split the corporate ownership of the Nets and their home arena, the Barclays Center, from the NBA Finance Committee. Clearly, the anticipated demand for the Rockets will resonate throughout the NBA, and potentially influence dozens if not hundreds of would-be investors.

The Denver Broncos Still Do Not Have A New Stadium Naming Rights Partner Despite An Ongoing Search That Has Lasted Months.
According to the Denver Post, team President and CEO Joe Ellis is “a little disappointed” that the team has not signed a new partner, but remains optimistic because some of these deals “take longer periods of time than others.” Since the team has not found anyone to replace Sports Authority, current signage will stay on the stadium until a new agreement is in place, meaning the Broncos will be playing their home games at Sports Authority Field at Mile High again. Ellis defended his point of not rebranding the stadium without a new naming rights partner yet: “We’re not going to do that. If we’re going to spend money to do those kinds of things, or take the time, we’re going to do it to make the game-day experience better for the fans.” A brand as strong as the Broncos, only one season removed from its last Super Bowl win, should demand only strong brands as partners, even if developing that relationship requires more time.

The English Premier League and other English soccer leagues have welcomed an influx of foreign investments from such countries as the United States, Russia, and China.

But the leagues have yet to welcome any investments from the Korean Peninsula. According to the London Daily Mail, that trend may be changing soon with Seoul-based sports marketing firm Sportizen ramping up talks to acquire National League side Woking. Current majority shareholder Peter Jordan would have to agree to give up control of the fifth-tier club, which finished a dismal 18th in the National League this past season. Chankoo Shim is the leader of the group to buy Woking; his “business ethos” has earned him the nickname “the Jerry Maguire of Korea.” Shim wants to bring more young Korean soccer players to compete and play in Europe, and if the purchase of Woking goes through, this could provide a major pipeline for him.

Baltimore Ravens Center And Mathematician John Urschel Retires From The Ravens

Baltimore Ravens Center and mathematician John Urschel has retired from professional football in wake of an alarming CTE study just released. According to ESPN.com, Urschel “abruptly announced his retirement” at the age of 26, despite previously saying that his passion for football outweighed the risk of CTE. Urschel is widely considered one of – if not the smartest – player in football, as he is pursuing his doctorate at MIT in the offseason, “focusing on spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra and machine learning.” This new CTE report paints the clearest picture yet of the stark connection between football and brain damage. Researchers who published the report studied the brain of 202 dead football players, and among the 111 “former NFLers whose brains were donated for the study, all but one was found to have the disease.” Urschel is just one of many players who routinely retire before the season starts, but that number appears to be rising.

Ochsner Health System Is Expanding Its Footprint Across Professional Sports In Louisiana With Eight Year Deal With Both The New Orleans Saints And Pelicans.

Ochsner Health System Is Expanding Its Footprint Across Professional Sports In Louisiana With Its New Eight-Year Deal With Both The New Orleans Saints And Pelicans. According to SportsBusiness Journal, the deal will include naming rights for the combined practice facility the two teams share in Metairie, Louisiana. The newly-named Ochsner Sports Performance Center “is the only training complex in pro sports that houses both NFL and NBA teams, plus administrative offices.” The healthcare system already has an existing deal in place with both teams, but this deal piggybacks on those. Financial terms have not yet been disclosed. About 10 years ago was the first time Ochsner starting sponsoring professional sports, and “around six months ago, the Saints and Pelicans approached Ochsner about extending its deal to include naming rights.” This deal is expected to help spread cancer awareness and overall fitness messaging among the greater New Orleans marketplace.

The English Premier League is truly global, as exemplified by its list of jersey sponsors for this coming season.

According to the London Daily Mail, only four of the 20 teams in the EPL will have British-based companies as their title sponsor for the 2017-2018 season. Those four clubs and their sponsors are Liverpool with Standard Charter, Southampton with Virgin Media, Stoke City with bet365, and Watford with FxPro. The sponsorship roster of the 20 teams in England’s top league also reveals the “continued significance of gambling firms in the game,” with nine clubs remaining tied to gambling and the industry. Clubs will also command additional sponsorship worth an “expected $26.1 million” by selling separate sponsored sleeve patches for 2017-2018 – “shirt space freed up by Barclays no longer being the Premier League sponsor.” Companies from countries such as Japan, Thailand, the UAE, Malta, Kenya, and the United States are kit sponsors, among others, and with good reason – the EPL remains a sound investment.

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