1. This year’s MLB All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. generated a record $44.8 million in ad revenue. According to Marketing Dive, despite low viewership numbers on FOX, ad revenue for baseball’s mid-season All-Star Game surpassed that of any other major league sport this past year. In comparison, “the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in February brought in $43.9 million, the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl in January generated $3.9 million in ad revenue and the 2017 Major League Soccer All-Star Game generated $1.6 million.” Baseball tends to have an older viewership crowd with more fans attracted to traditional television as opposed to digital streaming which is one reason that advertisers are still motivated to purchase ad space at high and expensive rates. The All-Star Game’s top advertisers were Softbank, Mastercard, Berkshire Hathaway, Ford, and Exxon; AT&T and Berkshire Hathaway were the two most common advertisers across baseball, basketball, football, and soccer’s all-star classics. The MLS numbers will likely increase exponentially this week, as the league convenes its annual All-Star Game on Wednesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta against Juventus – a popular new destination featuring a marquee team and the World Cup “bump” will help.
2. As NFL training camps get underway in earnest, the Miami Dolphins are in line to receive a windfall from local government. According to the Miami Herald, the Dolphins and Miami-Dade County have agreed to an “extension of an existing 20-year subsidy agreement that could deliver the team” an extra $57.5 million in “exchange for moving its training camp from Davie” to a new $70 million facility in Miami Gardens. The original proposal listed on the county commission’s agenda had a “more modest boost for the Dolphins as a reward for moving” its headquarters out of Broward County. That original proposal “could have earned the Dolphins” an extra $12 million. But one commissioner “introduced last-minute legislation that dramatically changed the proposal by extending the existing deal for another 10 years,” adding $57.5 million to the “potential payout” through 2046. If this move comes to fruition, Dolphins owner Steve Ross will take yet another step towards creating a mini-empire in Miami Gardens, including the soon-to-move Miami Open tennis tournament. The strategy is similar to what the Cowboys have done in Frisco, Texas.
3. While the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris just got a lot more interesting with Francesco Molinari’s Open Championship win and Tiger Woods’ top finish, sales for on-course hospitality for the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straights are booming. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, sales are “so strong that PGA officials decided to add new options at Whistling Straits to accommodate demand.” The PGA of America sales team has “set October 1 as the target date” for companies to sign letters of intent for corporate hospitality suites and viewing space. 2020 Ryder Cup Director Jason Mengel said that the PGA “already sold out” 65% percent of the Hole 1 Village hospitality suites and has “only a few spots remaining for the ‘village’ at Whistling Straits’ iconic Hole 17.” Mengel said that the PGA “added corporate hospitality to the first tee for the first time ever at a Ryder Cup.” The “remaining Hole 1 spots are for 30 guests and cost $185,000.” Remaining at the Hole 17 Village are “one 150-guest chalet for $600,000 and a 100-guest chalet for $450,000.” To accommodate “more fans in a hospitality setting, the PGA added the 10th-Tee Village.” This is a “departure from traditional hospitality areas in that it is designed to create a social atmosphere with a video board and an outdoor bar.” The fan experience is paramount in pro sports, and golf is certainly no exception.
4. Youth on Course, the organization renowned for its record-breaking national growth to provide affordable golf access – continues remarkable growth with state and regional golf association partnerships increasing 120% in the last 18 months. In 2018, more than 41,000 members are on pace to complete 115,000 rounds at 900-plus golf courses nationwide. Now in 26 states, this marks Youth on Course’s largest growth period to date, continuing their upward climb towards their goal of providing $5 golf to kids in all 50 states. At the end of 2017, Youth on Course had 30,000 members across 19 states. According to the National Golf Foundation, golf is an $84.1 billion industry with golfers ages 6-17 making up 11% of all players. In 2017, 2.7 million juniors played golf, an increase of 12.5% since the last time this study was conducted in 2011. In addition to subsidized rounds, Youth on Course also facilitates college scholarships, paid internships, and a caddie program. Since the inception of the scholarship program in 2008, Youth on Course has awarded 222 students with scholarships totaling more than $1.4 million in financial support. The current Youth on Course scholarship retention rate is 98%, with 53 students already graduated. This is an exceptional program that not only provides a strong pipeline for golf industry growth, but will benefit the job market as a whole over time as well.
5. In addition to hosting the 2026 World Cup, the U.S. could find itself as host for another World Cup in 2027: the Rugby World Cup. According to the London Independent, San Francisco’s AT&T Park recently hosted the Sevens World Cup with more than 100,000 packed into the 41,915-seat stadium. “Hitting 100,000 is terrific, it’s a hugely-supported tournament in San Francisco itself and people have come here and really embraced the event,” said World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper. “I think this is obviously going to be a destination for the World Cup one day.” Similar to soccer, rugby has consistently remained more popular overseas than in the U.S., though hosting a World Cup could flip that script. The next Rugby World Cup is set to be held next year in Japan, with the following one coming in 2023 in France. The 2027 tournament bidding process is expected to come within the next two years, giving the United States time to plan and formalize a potential bid. The U.S. has an excellent track record hosting mega events – this should be no different.
6. Spanish heavyweight Real Madrid is in the process of raising $467 million capital to fund a massive set of renovations at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. According to El Confidencial, Real Madrid is currently contacting banks and venture capital funds to source the money, following rival Barcelona’s recent move of contacting preeminent investment bank Goldman Sachs to “provide advising as the club looks to finance renovations to Camp Nou.” The club’s stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu, has a current capacity of 81,044 and is one of soccer’s grandest stages, having been constructed in 1947. The club “has to approach banks and private equity funds after the collapse of a deal it had with IPIC, which was going to provide the capital for the project in exchange for naming rights to the stadium.” One of the wealthiest clubs and biggest brands in international soccer, Real Madrid is not expected to have much difficulty securing the funding.
7. Formula 1 launches tech and business education series with MIT. Formula 1 is partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to teach executives about technology and innovation on race days. Formula 1 and MIT will jointly create a technology and education series, the F1 Extreme Innovation Series with MIT Sloan Executive Education. The program will be held at select Formula 1 races and will give business executives around the world the chance to learn from F1 experts and MIT management school faculty researchers. According to F1, the program aims to lift the lid on the leading motorsport series’ high-performance environment to benefit business leaders. Sean Bratches, Formula 1’s managing director of commercial operations, said the racing league can teach business executives how it has been able to use “rapid innovation” to remain competitive in the crowded motorsports space and how to “embed F1-level innovation within their business.” “Formula 1 has not just been a sporting triumph, but a blueprint for business success as well,” Bratches said. “On-track performance from our teams relies on relentless technological innovation that corporations can learn from.” Subjects on the F1 Extreme Innovation Series agenda include how to gain an edge amid intense competition, how to build a winning platform, how to build a loyal customer base, and how to exercise resilience to succeed.
8. Microsoft brings esports to Special Olympics. Microsoft has been a major collaborator with the Special Olympics since 2014 by donating its time, money, and technology to the organization. This year, though, the technology company took on a much larger role as a premier partner, and brought something entirely new and innovative to the relationship: the addition of an esports tournament. Held at the University of Washington in Seattle earlier this summer, the inclusion of the Xbox Gaming Tournament featuring “Forza Motorsport 7” marked the first time that video games and esports were able to be included in the Special Olympics USA Games. The Special Olympics Games exist specifically to “serve as a catalyst for inclusion that showcases the power and joy of sports at the highest level, and create a community where people with disabilities are fully welcomed and valued.”
9. Cornell hockey game raises $120,000. The fourth annual Racker Rivals Big Red game raised more than $120,000 dollars for charity. The exhibition hockey game was played on July 14 in front of 2,000 fans at Lynah Rink. The game featured a star-studded lineup including Hockey Hall of Famers and several NHL and Cornell Hockey alumni. Among the participants were three-time Stanley Cup champion Joe Nieuwendyk, U.S. Olympic captain Brian Gionta, and U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mike Richter. More than $120,000 will go to Franziska Racker Centers, an Ithaca-based organization, that has been supporting individuals with disabilities and their families for 70 years by offering opportunities to learn and be connected with others, and fostering an environment of inclusion, where all people know they belong. “I’ve been involved on many levels with this organization since my days of playing as a student athlete,” Topher said. “We hope this grows to be one of the community’s most well-attended philanthropic events.”
10. INFINITI donates millions through NCAA partnership. INFINITI is proud to announce it has donated $1,160,680 to charitable organizations as part of the brand’s ongoing corporate partnership with the NCAA and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Phil O’Connor, director of Marketing Communications and Media at INFINITI Americas, presented the checks to the winning philanthropies at INFINITI’s North American headquarters. INFINITI also donated an additional $349,000 to multiple charities individually selected by participating NCAA Division I men’s basketball coaches through the INFINITI Coaches’ Charity Challenge, in which fans voted for their favorite coaches on social media and online. Head coach Dave Rose of Brigham Young University won the challenge, and $100,000 was donated to Simmons Center for Cancer Research at BYU. “We’re proud to partner with INFINITI, the NABC and our NCAA coaches on the INFINITI Coaches’ Charity Challenge, which provides funding to organizations who in turn help individuals in need,” said Ellen Lucey, director of NCAA championships and alliances, corporate relations, marketing and branding. “The charity challenge is a great example of how the NABC and INFINITI support coaches around our NCAA men’s basketball tournament.”