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The Top News in #Sportsbiz – 08.05.13 – 08.12.13


Take a look at this week’s top news in the sports biz.  The top stories include the Mark Emmert and the NCAA dropping out of the jersey business, The Whistle as a startup company, ServiceMasters becoming title sponsors, FIA Formula E, and Orlando City Soccer club pushing for a new stadium.

Sports Business

NCAA to quit selling jerseys

Mark Emmert in sports bizAfter being called out by Jay Bilas earlier this week on Twitter, the NCAA is closing its doors on the memorabilia business.  The web store,, was accused of profiting from player likenesses.

As Jay Bilas pointed out, by searching for “Manziel” in the website’s search bar, a list of products would be found relating to Johnny Manziel, such as numbered Texas A&M jerseys and shirts.  This can be considered “profiting from the likeness of a player” because under NCAA rules the jerseys cannot be credited to an athlete.

Now, the decision has been made to shut down the portion of the store that sells NCAA member school products.  NCAA’s president Mark Emmert had this to say on the topic:

“I think seeing the NCAA sell those kinds of goods is a mistake.  It’s not what the NCAA is about. So we’re not going to be doing that any longer.”

In the upcoming days, the site will be shut down to make the changes.  Because the NCAA still sees a market for branded merchandise, it will re-launch the website in a few weeks and will include official NCAA championship merchandise only.

Read more here.

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Sports Media

Fox Sports and FIA Formula E Championship strike multimedia deal

FIA Formula E in sports bizIn case you were wondering, FIA Formula E Championship is the first fully-electric car racing series.  Thanks to their new deal with Fox Sports, perhaps F1 won’t be the only fast paced racing you will want to watch.

With the cars powered purely by electricity and speeds of up to 220 kph, Fox Sports is looking to give the world a look at the future of motor sports.  The deal that has been struck between Fox Sports and the FIA Formula E organization is international, which includes transmission rights across 80 territories.  Alejandro Agag – CEO of Formula E Holdings – is proud to announce the agreement:

“This global broadcasting deal will bring our Championship to nearly 90 countries and a potential 180 million households worldwide, giving our partners, our teams, and our team’s partners a platform to visualize the association to the values of this competition. We are particularly happy to join FOX at the time when FOX Sports 1 is being launched. America is a key market for electric cars and to show our races live in the US will be central to promoting this type of mobility.”

In case you were wondering, the new all-sports network Fox Sports 1 is set to launch in the US on August 17th.  Meanwhile, The FIA Formula E championship will consist of 10 teams of two drivers each.  The racing will take place in major cities, such as London, Beijing, and Los Angeles.  Look for the flag to drop in September of 2014.

Read more here.

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Sports Marketing

Orange County commissioners question new soccer stadium financing

Orlando City Soccer in sports bizIn a move to land a Major League Soccer team, Orlando City Soccer Club owners are asking for $20 million in tourism taxes to build a new soccer stadium.  Orange County commissioners are vying for another professional sports team, but several members remain weary about the financial and locational aspects of a new stadium.

In order to attract an MLS team, a new $85 million stadium has been coupled with requests for funding to finish the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts as well as Citrus Bowl renovation funds.  The Citrus Bowl renovations alone will cost around $191 million dollars.  However, the backing for a new, but cheaper MLS stadium has mixed support.

“I still have some reservations,” Mayor Teresa Jacobs said but later stated that she’s “jazzed up and trying to find a way to make it happen.”

Naming rights, concessions, ticket surcharges, and other stadium revenue sources are likely to be needed in order to finance a portion of the stadium.  Other options for funding include stadium lease and rental funds.

“We’ve got some work to do,” said Orlando City Soccer Club president Phil Rawlins.

You can read more about the project here.

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Sports Sponsorship

ServiceMaster becomes title sponsor of Phoenix Nationwide race

ServiceMaster in sports bizServiceMaster has recently stepped up its sponsorship status in NASCAR by becoming the official title sponsor of the race at Phoenix International Raceway.  This is an improvement from its current “yellow flag” sponsorship.

ServiceMaster has a current sponsorship deal that will run through the end of the 2013 season.  This title sponsorship will sweeten the deal.

“We’ve been in racing as you know the last five years or so and continue to look at ways to leverage our investment, look at ways to get our brand message out and connect with the NASCAR race community.” said Eric Eurich, VP of marketing at ServiceMaster.

The company is very happy with the relationship they have with NASCAR and their fans.

“It’s been a great relationship; we get a lot of value; the exposure both from a (business to business) perspective as well as getting very good exposure to the consumers out at the various race venues”

Not only will the company get great exposure from the ServiceMaster 200 on November 9th, but the weekend has three other NASCAR events scheduled as well:  K&N Pro Series West, Camping World Truck Series, and the Sprint Cup Series.

You can read more here.

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Sports Media

YouTube Sports member joins The Whistle

The Whistle in Sports BizJulie Kikla was one of the founding members of the YouTube Sports team and was part of some major deals as Content Manager.  Because of this, she now finds herself acting as Head of Content Partnerships and Digital Strategy for The Whistle.

What is The Whistle you ask?

“The Whistle platform is being built to serve a generation of digital natives who look to their phones, tablets, gaming consoles and YouTube specifically to learn about and enjoy sports.” said CEO and founder John West.

Julie spent two years at YouTube and the National Agency Team at Google.  During that time, she came to realize just how much marketing potential there was for “Generation C” and sports content and entertainment.  Julie had this to say about her recent move:

“The Whistle has made tremendous progress and the chance to be a part of a rapidly growing company in the digital media and sports space is a fantastic opportunity. My goal will be to forge new partnerships with leagues, teams and content creators that reaches and inspires kids on every platform and device”.

The Whistle has been dubbed one of the “most revolutionary market-ready startups” in the nation.  The company is quickly growing with content partners including Major League Lacrosse, the NFL, and the PGA Tour.

The Whistle’s Mission:

Our mission is to entertain, inspire and equip kids with critical life skills through sports media.

It sounds like Julie should fit in well with The Whistle and their vision.  Read more here.

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