#Sportsbiz Recap – September 4, 2016

Tennis Channel to Reach 60M Homes by 2017 by Mike Farrell


  • Tennis Channel acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting Group for $350m earlier in 2016.
  • According to ComScore, current distribution of Tennis Channel is at 47 million households
  • Sinclair Broadcasting plans to have reach of 60 million homes at some point 2017.

Sinclair Broadcasting bought the Tennis Channel (along with approximately $200m in debt). Sinclair Broadcasting has the reputation and additional channels in order to influence carriers for both wider distribution and subscriber fee’s. They’ve already shown leveraging their other relationships in order to influence better carriage for Tennis Channel. Tennis Channel was started in 2001 and was an independent channel, unlike Golf Channel which is owned by NBC Universal. Tennis Channel has slowly accumulated some rights to majors and other substantial tournaments along with a respectable stable of talent. They had been sub-licensing some of their rights to other entities in the past, but with the support of Sinclair Broadcasting should be better positioned moving forward.

Columbus Crew Seeking Next Jersey Sponsorship


  • Crew expect its next multiyear uniform naming-rights deal to be around $3M annually.
  • Current uniform naming-rights holder is Barbasol and they pay under the $2-4m that other MLS teams are currently averaging.
  • Last year, Columbus landed their first naming rights sponsor in the history of the 17-year old stadium. Mapfre Insurance is estimated to be paying $1-2m annually.


Major League Soccer continues to expand but the Columbus Crew have been one of the stalwarts of the league for over a decade. Unfortunately, being located in Columbus, OH leaves them at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to sponsorship compared to some clubs located in soccer hotbeds such as the Northwest or major cities (New York, Los Angeles, Houston, etc.). The major assets available sponsorship wise continue to be the jersey sponsorship and stadium naming-rights. It’s important for Columbus to secure a market rate jersey sponsor in order to sustain long-term financial health of the club.

White Sox get no new money from naming rights deal with Guaranteed Rate by Peter Matuszak


  • The White Sox will receive only the remaining value of the original 2003 agreement with U.S. Cellular, which amounts to $20.4 million. The remaining $4.7 million will go to the state agency that serves as landlord of the ballpark, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.
  • The deal to change the facility’s name to Guaranteed Rate Field, which was announced last week, runs through 2029.
  • The new naming rights deal for the publicly owned stadium where the White Sox play baseball is worth $25.1 million but will deliver no additional money to the team.

The funds generated from the naming-rights deal will not go directly in to the White Sox coffers, instead they will be used in a manner that is agreed upon by the Illinois Sports Facility Authority and the team. The most likely scenario is the funds will be used to update the facility. The team will not receive the funds due to terms of the lease. Public-private ownership of facilities always seem to play out in the favor or the private tenant. The tenant holds much of the leverage these days by threatening relocation.

Marketers Invest $2.5 Billion in NFL Telecasts by John Consoli


  • the league’s four major TV networks partners have already cumulatively sold north of $2.5 billion of commercial time.
  • Making the networks’ NFL ad sales take so far even more impressive is that they had to overcome a cumulative loss of about $150 million in ad spending by daily fantasy sport companies DraftKings and FanDuel.
  • Every one of the four TV networks carrying games says new pharmaceutical advertisers have bought ad time in their NFL telecasts.
  • For the Sunday afternoon games, buyers say CBS averaged about $600,000 for the 4:25 p.m. national games, while Fox averaged $700,000. For the 1 p.m. regional games, CBS and Fox sold units between $350,000 and $500,000.
  • NBC, according to buyers, averaged about $675,000 for a unit on Sunday Night Football. NBC averaged 22.5 million viewers for its SNF primetime telecasts last season, up 6% from 2014 and the best ever average for SNF on NBC.
  • Buyers said they like the system of buying one set of ads to appear on both and paying for them together rather than having to buy TV ads and digital ads separately and at different pricing. This season the WatchESPN audience is built into the TV rate.

Most interesting takeaway from this article was that the sales were not hurt by the Olympics sales which were north of $1.2b. It’s interesting as ratings of other entertainment units continue to fall and primetime programming is not as strong as a decade ago, that the NFL continues to see high single digit to low double digit percentage increases every year. ESPN selling a singular advertising unit across linear and digital will drive up the rate they are able to command but also strengthens their position with advertisers as reaching the younger fan base that many NFL advertisers are trying to reach.

Published by Barney Carleton

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

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