Dollars - ESPN Playbook Archive: August 2012

Ed HochuliMark J. Rebilas/US PresswireAre experienced NFL referees worth such a small investment of the league's overall revenues?
When companies replace one ingredient for another in order to save product costs, the first question they ask is: What is the opportunity cost?

That is, what do you gain and what do you lose from making a decision like the NFL has in locking out its referees?

The immediate answer for the NFL is that they save money. But how much money is it, and is it worth the trouble?

Here's what you have to know:

The average NFL game official last season made $8,764 a game. Under the NFL's last proposal, that would increase to at least $11,117 per game by 2018.

The league is paying the head replacement referee and the other replacement officials $3,500 and $3,000 per game, respectively.

When taking into account the entire package of where the NFL Referees Association and the NFL stands now, a source tells me the difference between them is north of $45 million over seven years.

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It's going on quietly, but no one in all of sports is working harder to sell tickets than the Philadelphia 76ers.

First consider that the team is coming off the best attendance increase in the game, up nearly 3,000 fans per game from the previous season. That's off a work stoppage -- with roughly 40 percent of the team's games in January -- and the team says it reduced the amount of comp seats it handed out by roughly 25 percent.

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Philadelphia 76ersThe 76ers are sending out postcards to prospective ticket buyers with personalized shoes on the front ...
Friday, team CEO Adam Aron told the Sixers have doubled their season-ticket base (92 percent of season-ticket holders renewed with some prices raised) and quadrupled sales of their 10-game plans as compared to last year.

Fresh off buying the team in July 2011 for $280 million, owner Josh Harris and Aron have taken a bulldozer and redone everything. They flew in "American Idol" contestant Ayla Brown to sing the National Anthem at all their home games. They doubled the size of the dance team and the dunk team and booked quality halftime acts. Aron took to Twitter (@SixersCEOAdam) to reach out to the fan base and has accumulated more than 22,000 followers. Being good obviously didn't hurt -- as Derrick Rose's injury allowed the Sixers to knock off the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs last season, before falling to the Celtics in the second round.

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The city of Atlanta is expected to score big with this weekend’s doubleheader Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games.

Last year, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game accounted for a $30.5 million economic impact in Atlanta and $1.3 million in tax revenue. Tonight’s matchup between North Carolina State and Tennessee is the first of the two Kickoff Games, which organizers expect will have a $65 million economic impact on the city. More than 130,000 fans will be at the games, and the region will get exposure from a horde of media attending the games: 553 credentials have been issued, compared to about 250 to 270 for the Chick-fil-A Bowl game.

“Our concept is unique,” said Matt Garvey, vice president of communications for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. “The back-to-back concept is unique. As far as we can tell, it’s never been done before by one organization at the same venue and with teams of the same magnitude.”

For four years, the Kickoff Game has matched Top 25 teams. This year, only Clemson, which will play Auburn Saturday night, is ranked in the AP’s Top 25, but both games will feature teams from the SEC and ACC, all of which have strong alumni bases in Atlanta.

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JetBlue planeDavid Baghdassarian JetBlue sent its Jets-themed plane after a fan requested it on Twitter for a flight to New York.
David Baghdassarian is a huge Jets fan.

His Florida license plate is JTSFN, his tailgating grill is green and white and he dressed as Rex Ryan for Christmas. No, not Halloween. Christmas.

So when Baghdassarian was getting ready for a trip back to New York, where he was born and raised, he thought he'd give it a try: Get JetBlue to fly him home in its Jets plane.

As part of its partnership with the Jets, the company has been flying around a plane wrapped with a Jets logo since October 2010. Where it flies to and from is usually random, but this Jets fan wanted to change that.

On Aug. 23, a week before his flight, Baghdassarian (@bags) tweeted to JetBlue executives, who have been particularly active on Twitter.

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Every year, Golf Digest lists golf’s top earners, on and off the course. Not surprisingly, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson topped the last list, followed by several of golf’s greatest: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman. Although tour winnings can be worth several million dollars a year, it’s the logos golfers place on their collars, shirtfronts and hats -- and other sponsorship deals -- that can bring in tens of millions of dollars per year in earnings.

Rory McIlroy
AP Photos/Henny Ray AbramsOne of Rory McIlroy's major endorsement deals is with a luxury hotel operator.
For example, according to Golf Digest, here’s what a player might earn from deals on the front of a golfer’s hat and the left side of a shirtfront:

“These might go for $250,000 to $2 million annually for a regular tour member, $125,000 to $500,000 on an LPGA or Champions Tour player, and $25,000 to $50,000 for a Tour player, agents say. A logo on the side of the hat or collar could be worth $5,000 on the low end to $200,000 for PGA Tour players.”

Some players piece together as many sponsors as they can in order to maximize their earnings. A Nike player like Tiger Woods or Jhonattan Vegas, however, agrees to logo exclusivity in exchange for compensation equal to what they could earn doing it piecemeal.

Woods and Mickelson, the top two players off the course, earned $62 million and $38 million last year, respectively.

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New York Giants fans coming out of New York City's Penn Station might do a double take.

Tom Brady
Darren Rovell A 225-foot-tall Tom Brady looms over NYC on behalf of UGG.
That's because on a building across from the train station that also houses Madison Square Garden is a humungous painting of their nemesis, Tom Brady.

Commissioned by his sponsor UGG, the painting of the New England Patriots quarterback stands 88 feet wide by 225 feet high.

"We're not doing it for the shock value," Connie Rishwain, the president of the shoe and apparel brand told "We're doing it because New York is our biggest market."

Last year, the company, most famous for its women's boots, signed Brady to an endorsement deal as it planned to jump-start its men's business.

"The reaction has been great," Rishwain said. "I don't think we could have picked a better spokesperson. He's respected by men and liked by women as well. He could have been a male model."

Brady is also featured on what they call "tall walls" in Boston and Los Angeles, but the one in New York, which painters started painting on Aug. 22 and will be completed Saturday, will likely get the most buzz.

Rishwain says that despite the rivalry, putting Brady in New York makes sense. The company has its sole men's-only store in the city as well as two other stores that are among the brand's highest grossing.

UGG will be rolling out a broader ad campaign next week that will feature Brady in television and magazine ads.

UGG, which is owned by Deckers Outdoor Corporation, said last month it expects sales to grow by 10 percent over last year.
ESPN and Major League Baseball have announced a new eight-year rights deal, worth a total of $5.6 billion, a number first cited by the Sports Business Journal.

So what stands out?

Well, first the number: The $700 million-a-year average is an increase over the old deal, which averaged $350 million annually. If you assume that Fox and Turner -- whose deals expire after next season -- or even a new player like NBC, also pay double, MLB will be pulling in about $1.5 billion a year in total national rights from 2014 through 2021. That puts MLB ahead of the NBA, which currently pulls in $930 million a year from its TV partners, and the NHL, whose latest deal has the league pulling in $200 million a year from its only national U.S. TV partner, NBC.

For what it's worth the MLB deal is a far cry from the deals for the country's most popular league, the NFL. Excluding the NFL Network, because we didn't include MLB Network rights, the NFL's new deals -- which start in 2014 and expire in 2022 -- are worth a combined $4.95 billion a year. That doesn't include another $1 billion from DirecTV.

Major League Baseball really makes its money being the ultimate content provider. As networks look to fill more and more air with live games, no sport offers what baseball does. In the new eight-year deal, ESPN is guaranteed 808 games on television. That compares to 136 games ESPN gets from its "Monday Night Football" deal in an eight-year period.

As everyone knows by now, sports generates its value by being live. More than 99 percent of viewers who have ESPN on their TVs are watching it live and that includes studio shows. When fans are watching live, commercials have more value.

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Two weeks ago, officials with Take-Two Interactive announced that its NBA 2K13 game would have the 1992 "Dream Team" in it. Everyone except Scottie Pippen that was. The video game maker and the former Chicago Bulls star could not come to terms on a deal.

But, on Tuesday afternoon, the company announced that due to "feedback on forums, social media and community interactions," Pippen eventually signed a deal that will allow gamers to play with him both on the 1992 Dream Team and on the classic Bulls teams.

Pippen, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley had to be signed separately because they are not part of the retired players group licensing deal.

The game hits stores on Oct 2 and retails for $59.99.
Maria SharapovaAP Photo/Paul J. BereswillGone are the days when Maria Sharapova used a Prince racket. But the company is still swinging.
When the big brands stumble, it's often about failure to evolve and complacency at the top.

That's not the case with Prince, which heads into this year's U.S. Open hoping to mount a comeback.

The stalwart tennis company, famous for inventing the oversized tennis racket, emerged from bankruptcy earlier this month after driving itself into debt by pushing its new age technology, while forsaking almost everything it had built in the past.

Now, company's primary creditor, Authentic Brands Group, has taken over Prince's property and licensed the brand to three partners throughout the world. The main partner is a company called Active Brands, an Omaha-based investment company whose majority owner is Norman Waitt, who co-founded Gateway Computers.

"People in the industry like to bash the brand and say Prince has gone away," said Chris Circo, CEO of Active Brands, which has the rights to the Prince name for the next 40 years. "But the reality is, the business is on the mend and we'll be back to where we once were."

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US OpenDarren Rovell/ESPN.comLevy Restaurants created the culinary grand slam at Flushing Meadows -- the ahi tuna sandwich.
NEW YORK -- As usual, the U.S. Open has many stellar items for those fans hoping to fill their stomachs.

Many of those items, like at most sporting events, are not cheap.

That's why I'm steering you right to the star of the class that I think is worth the price of admission.

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Darren Rovell/ESPN.comMore lobster and less celery, please.
If you're heading out to the Open, go to Aces, the restaurant in Arthur Ashe Stadium, and order the ahi tuna sandwich.

The potato roll is perfectly grilled, the tuna is cooked through (I wish it was more rare) and it's topped with bacon, avocado and arugula.

The price of the Levy Restaurants creation is steep at $25, but it's worth it. The sandwich comes with chili sea salt fries, which are done nicely.

Despite the overabundance of lobster this season, the price of the U.S. Open's lobster roll ($28) hasn't fallen. Plus, the one we tasted was clearly off in the celery-to-lobster ratio. It tasted more like a celery roll.

Over the course of the 20-day event, Levy Restaurants will serve 7.5 tons of crab, shrimp and lobster.
Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin IIIUS Presswire/Getty ImagesAndrew Luck hasn't focused on cashing in on endorsements yet, as RG3 has.
The battle between No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck and the guy who was selected right behind him, Robert Griffin III, hits the field today as the Indianapolis Colts play the Washington Redskins.

But how do the two shape up off the field?

As anyone who has been watching sports TV can tell, RG3 is everywhere. Luck? Not so much.

RG3 struck a nontraditional deal with Castrol Motor Oil for the NFL draft and already had a deal to be on the cover of Electronic Arts' "NCAA Football 13."

The Redskins quarterback's most visible endorsement is Subway, thanks to his presence in the company's nonstop ads. RG3's deal is probably as good for him as it is for the company, as there are now more Subways than any other restaurants in the country (yes, more than McDonald's).

His biggest deal is his contract with adidas, whose strategy is to sign select game-changers because it clearly isn't in the same business as Nike, which seems to collect players.

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Lance Armstrong says he will no longer fight doping charges, which in turn led the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles, and will instead focus on Livestrong, his foundation to fight cancer. How his sponsors reacted:

"As Lance’s longtime supporter and partner, Oakley respects his decision and his restated commitment to focus on the Foundation he created to help battle cancer. He has inspired many and the Foundation is an example of his work. Oakley will continue to support The Lance Armstrong Foundation, and as we have stated in the past, Oakley supports its athletes who respect and honor the ethics of sports until proven otherwise.”

Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman, whose Sporting KC soccer club has a stadium naming rights deal with Livestrong:
"The naming rights partnership between our stadium and Livestrong provides an opportunity to spread health and wellness messages that emphasizes the spirit of cancer survivorship. Livestrong’s focus is the fight against cancer and the support of 28 million people around the world affected by this disease, and we believe strongly in this mission. The statements made last night by the Lance Armstrong Foundation speak for themselves: moving forward and continuing the fight against this horrible disease."

FRS, a company that makes natural supplements with quercetin:
"We will continue to support Lance and his commitment in raising awareness and fighting the war against cancer as a proud sponsor of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. His achievements in raising awareness and funds for cancer advocacy embody the spirit of FRS, which is all about health, wellness and life performance."

"We are saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted. Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position. Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors.

Johnson Health Tech, which makes a line of fitness equipment with the Livstrong name on it:
"In light of the recent developments between the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and Lance Armstrong, Johnson Health Tech (JHT) reaffirms our support of Armstrong and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. JHT fully supports the great work they do helping families throughout the world overcome cancer's financial, practical and emotional challenges. With each purchase from our LIVESTRONG line of fitness equipment, a donation is made toward their cause. We look forward to continuing our support of Armstrong and the Foundation as they work tirelessly to support people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities."
Matt Barkley, EJ Manuel, and Montee BallUS Presswire, US Presswire, Getty ImagesMatt Barkley, EJ Manuel and Montee Ball are among college stars whose jerseys will be sold at retail.
Each year, athletic departments talk to their apparel licensee and tell them what numbers to put on the back of college football jerseys that will hit stores in the fall. To avoid having to pay players, the names are not permitted to be sold on the jerseys. So I've gone through the lists and done the hard work for you. In some cases, a particular jersey number is a classic and just happened to be assigned to the guy we mentioned.

The most interesting school in the college football jersey world might be the Florida Gators, who make only Nos. 1, 15 and 96. No. 1 is the most common number, 15 is for Tebow (of course), and 96 is for the year they won the national championship. Aside from Tebow, the school says the policy on the numbers has been in place since the late 1990s but that it would consider additional numbers in honor of special achievements, such as national championships or Heisman winners.

Here's the list of players from prominent teams who correspond to the numbers on jerseys being made this year by Nike, adidas and Under Armour.

Alabama: 10 - AJ McCarron, 42 - Eddie Lacy, 45 - Jalston Fowler, 83 - Kevin Norwood

Arizona State: 6 - Cameron Marshall, 8 - Brandon Magee

Arkansas: 7 - Knile Davis, 8 - Tyler Wilson, 11 - Cobi Hamilton, 45 - Alonzo Highsmith

Auburn: 1 - Trovon Reed, 10 - Kiehl Frazier, 20 - Corey Grant, 22 - T'Sharvan Bell, 23 - Onterio McCalebb, 43 - Philip Lutzenkirchen, 55 - Corey Lemonier, 80 - Emory Blake, 94 - Nosa Eguae

Boise State: 1 - Bryan Douglas, 2 - Matt Miller, 20 - Mitch Burroughs

Clemson: 2 - Sammy Watkins, 6 - DeAndre Hopkins, 10 - Tajh Boyd, 23 - Andre Ellington

Florida State: 3 - EJ Manuel, 80 - Rashad Greene, 84 - Rodney Smith

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Lance ArmstrongPeter Muhly/AFP/Getty ImagesLance Armstrong's foundation generates millions of dollars each year for fighting cancer.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation is the largest athlete charity in history. To give you an idea of how big the business of fighting cancer for Lance Armstrong has been, take a look at the numbers below.

10: Licensees of the Livestrong brand (American Century, Giro, Johnson Health Tech, Nike, Oakley, RadioShack, Sporting Club, thinksport, Trek and Demand Media).

27: Number of trademarks the Lance Armstrong Foundation has for the word "Livestrong."

81: Amount, in cents, the Livestrong Foundation says it invests in fighting cancer for every dollar donated.

550: Number of organizations the foundation has provided funding to since its inception.

5,708: Days the Lance Armstrong Foundation has been incorporated.

225,700: Number of people the foundation says it served -- in person, online or on the phone -- in its cancer network last year.

$15.7 million: Royalties and licensing fees the Lance Armstrong Foundation generated in 2011.

$16.7 million: Amount the Lance Armstrong Foundation generated in event revenue last year.

$43 million: Amount the Lance Armstrong Foundation had in investments by the end of 2010.

$85 million: Amount of grants the foundation has funded through 2011.

$100 million: Money generated from sales of $1 Nike yellow Livestrong wristbands.

$470 million: Total amount raised since the foundation began in 1997.

Source: Lance Armstrong Foundation Annual Reports, tax statements and press releases
Lance Armstrong, who has often taken to Twitter to state his case to his 3.6 million followers, is among the most-followed athletes on Twitter.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano), 12.4 million followers
2. Kaka (@KAKA), 12.3 million followers
3. Shaquille O'Neal (@SHAQ), 6.1 million followers
4. LeBron James (@KingJames), 5.8 million followers
5. Neymar (@Njr92), 5 million followers
6. Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney), 4.7 million followers
7. Ronaldinho (@10Ronaldinho), 4.4 million followers
8. Andres Iniesta (@andresiniesta8), 4.2 million followers
9. Cesc Fabregas (@cesc4official), 3.9 million followers
10. Gerard Pique (@3gerardpique), 3.78 million followers
11. Dwyane Wade (@DwyaneWade), 3.71 million followers
12. Chad Johnson (@ochocinco), 3.67 million followers
13. Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong), 3.6 million followers