#Sportsbiz Recap — August 21, 2016

Atlanta Mayor Approves Plans for Future Turner Field


  • Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves and the 1996 Olympics, will get its “third life” when Georgia State University converts it to a college football stadium
  • Officials announced a signed purchase and sale agreement between Georgia State and the real estate firms Carter and Oakwood Development Group. Details of the financing weren’t immediately available, though Reed has told reporters that Georgia State has committed at least $200 million toward redevelopment of the 70-acre site.
  • Georgia State, with more than 53,000 students, is one of the nation’s largest universities. Its main campus is in the heart of downtown Atlanta, just north of Turner Field.

Georgia State will continue to compete in Atlanta for fans with Georgia Tech. Neither State nor Tech will be able to outgrow University of Georgia in terms of football fandom. Georgia State’s investment in to Turner Field and the development of the 70-acre site will have additional benefits for the school. While lauded as a move for their football team, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this venue after receiving renovations look to compete with other local venues for small to mid-size events such as football and soccer games.

Dolphins’ deal with Hard Rock worth a quarter of a billion by Barry Jackson


  • The 18-year deal to rename the facility Hard Rock Stadium is believed to be worth about $250 million, equal to $14 million per year.
  • AT&T pays the Dallas Cowboys about $19 million per year for naming rights, while MetLife’s deal for the Giants/Jets stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is worth $16 million annually.
  • “Instead of selling [personal seat licenses] to fans for $100,000 a seat or something, this money helps us partly pay for that $500 million [stadium] renovation,” Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel said.
  • Hard Rock International chairman Jim Allen said the company had been approached about stadium naming rights deals in other markets but “this was the only one of interest to us, because of the location, the tribe being here, and Miami is a gateway to Latin America.”

I don’t necessarily agree with Hard Rock International that this agreement makes sense. This will be the 10th official name change and the fourth different ‘brand/name’ attached joining Sun Life, Landshark and Pro Player respectively. Will the Miami fans identify with this new name? The length of the deal along with the financial terms are great news for the ownership in Miami that just made a large investment in to the infrastructure of the stadium. This naming-rights deal hinges upon Stephen Ross securing additional soccer games at the venue and being able to get the Super Bowl back in Miami. If Miami is able to swing multiple Super Bowl’s out of this, it could pay off handsomely for Hard Rock International. Garfinkel said this will help them to avoid hefty PSL fee’s, I am unsure if they have the market in Miami to sell the PSL’s.

ESPN Tops Sports Sites In July Unique Visitors, But MLB.com Leads In Avg. Time Per User by Eric Fischer


  • MLB.com avg. time per user beat out ESPN: 65.5 minutes to 59.4 minutes
  • ESPN tops ranks in reach engagement for 29th straight month and unique visitors by a long shot
  • MLB At Bat remains most popular app with over 5 billion minutes of consumption since start of 2016 season.

MLB has an aging fan base per many recent articles but their digital products are top of the line. ESPN remains the World Wide Leader, but their consumption numbers are down on digital platforms from a year ago, albeit at a much smaller loss than their linear subscriber rates. ESPN has no competition in terms of unique visitors, but it will likely raise some alarms that their avg. time per user has been eclipsed. The MLB.com visitors are most likely utilizing MLB.TV to stream games which raises the avg. time immensely. ESPN needs to continue to find ways to keep visitors on their sites engaged for longer periods of time. They have the content rights, now it’s just a matter of re-packaging that content for digital consumption.

Area colleges boost spending on sports teams to lure students by Jay Tokasz


  • Sports expenses nationwide ballooned to $10.8 billion in 2015, up 30 percent over five years.
  • Spending per athlete increased at 16 of 18 area colleges during the last five years including up 23% in Western New York.
  • This trend is true of not only DI, but DII and DIII as well.
  • Economist Andrew S. Zimbalist says that deep down college administrators know athletics are ‘simply not a profitable venture’.
  • Some collegiate administrators argue that increased revenues are driven from sports through tuition and ancillary fees such as housing, meal plans, etc.
  • Very interesting interactive chart is available for New York based schools in regards to their average spending per athlete.

I will expand on my thoughts in another blog post. This is a very intriguing albeit minuscule look at a larger debate. Recommended reading for all…

Published by Barney Carleton

Senior Manager, Media Operations & Technology at the NBA. St. John's University BS '13, MBA '15

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