Published December 05, 2011
Here's our weekly look at the intersection of sports and business:
NBA Lockout Winners
Now that the NBA lockout is in the books, here are two of my biggest winners:
NBA Owners- Arguably the biggest point of contention in negotiations was the division of basketball related income (BRI). Players received 57% of BRI in the last labor deal, which resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars lost annually for owners. In the new CBA, the players cut of BRI won’t top 51%. For owners, that amounts to nearly $3 billion in savings over the length of the deal.
Small Market Cities- Portland, Memphis, Oklahoma City and others rely on their NBA teams as the only major league professional game in town. Sacramento is looking for a new arena, or else the Kings might move to Anaheim. And in Orlando, where the NBA All-Star Game is scheduled for late February, $100 million of local economic impact hung in the balance.
NBA Lockout Losers
Here are two of my biggest NBA lockout losers:
Players in China- When NBA players began signing overseas, guys going to China went with the understanding that they would have to play in China until the regular season ends in March. That’s tough luck for guys like Kenyon Martin, Wilson Chandler and JR Smith.
NBA TV-- During the football lockout, NFL Network did wonders for its credibility and viewership by tackling the issues head on. The same can’t be said for NBA TV. Instead of talking about the lockout, NBA TV showed dozens of reruns of Teen Wolf and other old basketball movies. At one point in October, the network had the second lowest viewership on cable.
Jacksonville Jaguars Sold
Wayne Weaver is selling the Jacksonville Jaguars to businessman Shahid Khan for a reported $760 million. The deal happened under the radar, with Weaver last month issuing a statement that he wasn’t trying to sell the team. If Khan’s name sounds familiar, it’s because the Flex-N-Gate President previously bid on the St. Louis Rams. He lost that deal when minority owner Stan Kroenke exercised his right to match the offer. NFL owners will vote on the sale on December 14, and league Commissioner Roger Goodell already has approved Khan as an owner. Despite rumors, Khan says he’ll keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville.
Bottom Line: It’s easy to doubt his intentions, especially with two proposed Los Angeles stadiums waiting for a tenant. For that reason alone, the Jags remain one of the frontrunners to relocate. But there still are several conversations to be had, and neither of the proposed stadiums has so much as a shovel in the ground. That’s not to say a Jaguars move to LA won’t happen – just that the relocation isn’t as big of a touchdown as expected.
College Football Coaches
After weeks of speculation, Urban Meyer officially agreed to become the next football coach at Ohio State University. Meyer’s contract is for $24 million over six years, making him one of the five highest-paid coaches in college football. His deal includes such benefits as a golf membership, private aircraft use and an auto stipend.
Of course, jobs like Ohio State don’t usually become available without another coach being let go. In Meyer’s case, interim coach Luke Fickell is being demoted to an assistant role. Additionally, coaches at Arizona State, Illinois, Kansas, UCLA and several other schools were fired last weekend after their regular season ended. In response to being let go, ex-UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said the Bruins need to do a better job of “financing their expectations.”
Bottom Line: The end of the regular season is primetime for school’s to change coaches, so don’t be surprised to see more action. It remains to be seen how Meyer’s decision to jump back into coaching will affect his marketability. He’s loved in Columbus, but the rest of the country probably isn’t buying what Urban’s selling.
This weekend the Heisman Trophy will be awarded for 77th time. The two frontrunners for the coveted award are Stanford QB Andrew Luck and Alabama RB Trent Richardson. Whoever wins the Heisman joins college football’s most exclusive fraternity. With the Heisman comes a lifetime of marketability and endorsement opportunities, which is good for some winners who have fizzled in the NFL.
One notable example is former Oklahoma QB Jason White, who owns and operates A Store Divided, an OU/OSU memorabilia store with several locations across the state.
As for Heisman winners that have gone on to the NFL, seven of the last ten were first round draft picks. Former USC QB Carson Palmer has the biggest contract of any former Heisman winner, a nine-year, $119 million deal he signed with Cincinnati back in 2005.
Bottom Line: Few, if any, other awards have the lifetime prestige of the Heisman Trophy. Though running a business may not be as lucrative as playing professional football, whoever wins the award Saturday night can rest easy knowing they’ll always be able to make a living.
Rick Horrow is the "Sports Professor," and is the Sports Business Analyst for Fox Sports. He has been the Visiting Expert on Sports Law at the Harvard Law School, and has authored "When the Game Is on the Line" and "Beyond the Scoreboard: An Insider's Guide to the $750 Billion Business of Sports." His show "Beyond the Box Score" is posted on a weekly basis on FoxSports.com, and the latest emerging trends in sports business can be found at www.horrowsports.com. Watch Rick talk about sports every Monday at 1 p.m. ET with FBN's Tracey Byrnes on "FoxNews.com Live."