10 to Watch Week of 9/21/17

The Olympics are officially returning to the United States with the announcement that Los Angeles won the bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympics.

The IOC just cemented the announcement in Lima, Peru, weeks after the story first broke that Paris was awarded the 2024 Olympics. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, an instrumental figure in bringing the Olympics back stateside, called this a “huge win” for the United States. “L.A. has the Olympics in our blood, in our DNA,” boasted Garcetti. “Casey [Wasserman] and I were kids in 1984 when we hosted the Olympics…and we want to reignite the movement.” The U.S. has bid for the Olympics “more than any country” over the past few decades, yet has not been able to win as many of those bids as it would like. What makes the L.A. Olympic bid so special is that “it’s the first time in an Olympic Games” that not a single new venue will have to be built. The 2028 Games will undoubtedly prove to be an economic boon to L.A. just like the 1984 Games before them. Even better, brands looking to hitch their wagons to the Games will have a decade to watch opportunities unfold.
The Oakland A’s have finally picked a site for a new ballpark.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the franchise selected a patch of land by new Laney College as their “preferred spot for a 35,000-seat, privately financed ballpark” to replace the rundown Coliseum. The site is approximately 13 acres and under the most optimistic projections, construction would begin in 2021 and be completed in time for the 2023 season. The other sites that were considered were the current Coliseum site and another parcel on the waterfront northwest of Jack London Square. Ticket sales on StubHub for the A’s have been less-than-impressive over the past few years, so hopefully a new facility will boost those numbers. In total, the cost of the stadium is expected to surpass $500 million. The A’s hope to then convert the current Coliseum site into a “community sports park and urban youth baseball academy in partnership with MLB.” After negotiating with the college district to buy or lease the land, the team will have to complete an environmental impact report. At long last, and after many false starts including a San Jose ballpark “tech laboratory” backed by Cisco Systems, it appears the A’s hunt for a nicer new home may be drawing to a happy conclusion. Stay tuned.

Oak View Group is forging forward with its plan to renovate KeyArena in Seattle.

According to the Seattle Times, OVG is set to shell out $600 million by October 2020 as part of the renovation process, all with the hope of luring an NBA and NHL team to the Pacific Northwest city. As part of the arrangement with the city of Seattle, the group would commit “$40 million to improve traffic, transportation and parking beyond any requirements stemming from a mandatory environmental impact review.” The 55-year-old facility with its iconic design has been a hotly-debated facility, as multiple financing groups initially placed bids to land the renovation rights. With the renovation’s current timeline, officials hope that an NHL team could start play by the 2020-2021 season. OVG has “partnered with billionaire investment banker David Bonderman and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer to be Seattle owners of an NHL franchise.” From the Super Sonics to the Seahawks and the Sounders, Seattle has long been a great sports city, and it’s only fitting that the city and backers are gearing up for not one but two additional pro sports teams.

Initial talks are beginning to take place out West, where Salt Lake City and Denver officials are contemplating bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

According to the Associated Press, no American city has hosted the Winter Olympics since Salt Lake City did back in 2002. Park City and Salt Lake City have hosted about 75 winter championships and World Cup sport events since 2002, so the area is well-equipped to host the mega sporting event again. Sources close to the USOC noted that the committee is focusing on the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles for the time being, but that could all change on behalf of IOC President Thomas Bach, who is leading a “streamlining of the bid process.” In doing so, Bach hopes to avoid a similar situation to the one that arose for the 2022 Winter Games bidding process, when China and Kazakhstan were the only bidders. In the modern era, it’s clear that the only cities that can truly afford the Olympics’ multi-billion price tag are ones with a majority of infrastructure already in place. As such, we’re seeing “everything old is new again” in Beijing, Paris, and Los Angeles. Utah may indeed be next.

Sponsorship space for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics is in hot demand.

According to SportsBusiness Journal, the Tokyo organizing committee has sold 43 domestic sponsorships worth a staggering $2.8 billion, “blowing past the prior sales benchmark for a single Games.” Making this marker even more impressive is that sales are still underway, as confirmed by Tokyo Organizing Committee CEO Toshiro Moto. “This is a record number of local sponsors,” commented Moto, “We are aiming to increase the value of the Games through sponsorship activations through partner companies, and securing even more local sponsors.” Some of the more unconventional sponsorship deals have come about thanks in part to the “nationalistic business culture and robust interest in the Games.” While this paints a rosy revenue picture, expenses will likely continue to rise. The Games currently has a $12.6 billion operating budget – more than double its original bid projection.

He may be retired from the NBA, but that does not mean that Kobe Bryant is done having an impact on the global basketball community.

According to the South China Morning Post, Bryant has “joined forces” with NBA China and Chinese resort Mission Hills to set up the country’s first-ever NBA Basketball School. Mission Hills released a statement with details on the school, noting that it will be open for both males and females at the “sprawling resort on China’s holiday island.” The school is set to start construction this year with the goal of completion by 2019. “The Chinese youth will benefit from a complete approach to player development that combines NBA-quality coaching with NBA-level training,” commented Bryant. This development is only the most recent sports engagement for the resort, which has a partnership with FC Barcelona for a similar arrangement as well as a tennis academy in association with Boris Becker.

 

Despite the Calgary Flames stopping talks about a potential new arena, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi continues the push toward building a facility for the team.

According to the Canadian Press, Nenshi is working toward finding a solution that the team approves of while not impacting peoples’ taxes – a tricky task to say the least. The office of the Mayor is set to release financial details in the near future regarding a potential entertainment district in Victoria Park. Tensions between the Flames and Nenshi first began when the mayor “downplayed the economic benefit of a new arena.” Current proposals call for both the city and the Flames to pay about $550 million, approximately one-third of the total cost for each party involved; a ticket surcharge is expected to cover the remaining third of costs. Sources close to the deal blame Nenshi “for talks on a new NHL arena going sideways.”

The Jacksonville Jaguars have adopted London as their second home.

According to Yahoo Sports, the Jaguars are set to play a regular season game in London for the fifth year, and that relationship might still be expanding. Team Owner Shahid Khan was quick not to rule out the possibility of playing a second London game in the same season going forward. “We’ve talked about that,” said Khan. “There might be a time where it would make sense to play more than one game.” Under the current arrangement, the Jags “keep the gate from the London game, and Wembley Stadium at capacity bring in a lot more revenue for a home date than Everbank Field,” factoring in the stadiums’ 80,000 seats all selling at a higher price than in Jacksonville. At first glance, this move might come as a surprise, but from a financial standpoint it makes sense considering almost 20% of the team’s revenue comes from that one London game.

The Golden State Warriors continue to excel at everything they do, on and off the court.

This time the Warriors are in the news for the jersey patch deal they signed with Japanese tech holding company Rakuten. According to ESPN.com, the reigning NBA champions have signed the “largest of the NBA ad patch deals,” with sources noting it to be worth up to $20 million annually. That number is nearly double the next-largest patch deal, which the Cavaliers signed with Goodyear. Rakuten’s red and black logo is set to appear on the left breast of the Warriors’ jerseys this coming season. Shockingly, the $20 million annually that Rakuten will shell out is not even the most the Warriors were offered. “We actually had multiple finalists,” said Warriors CMO Chip Bowers. “This was not the biggest deal that we were offered.” Rakuten is making a splash in the sports world, as this deal comes on the heels of signing a $235 million kit deal with FC Barcelona. And the Warriors are in the enviable position of not having to accept an offer from the highest bidder, but rather seeking to find a good fit for their team philosophy and brand.

In an interesting twist to the competition, the Giro d’Italia cycling race will begin in Israel next year.

According to the AP, this will mark the first time that any leg of cycling’s “three Grand Tours will take place outside of Europe.” Details regarding the exact route of the first three stages being held in Israel have not yet been confirmed, though officials did say that the race would begin in Jerusalem. While the Giro has started outside of Europe 11 times in its historic 101-year history, it has not ventured into the Middle East before. Past locations outside of Italy include Monte Carlo; Athens; and Belfast, Northern Ireland. In hosting the early stages of the race, Israel is preparing to host the country’s biggest sporting event in history, which is expected to draw “tens of thousands of tourists to the country.” With the historic 2018 race will no doubt come historic levels of security that require the utmost in creative planning, as race routes are exponentially harder to secure than stadia.

 

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