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Friday
Sep212012

NFL Network, Time Warner Reach Agreement

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Football fans in many parts of the country have reason to rejoice. The NFL Network has come to terms on multi-year agreements with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, the country’s second and sixth largest cable providers.

The deal allows the two providers to carry both the NFL Network and the NFL RedZone channel starting this Sunday, September 23rd. The NFL Network is home to Thursday Night Football.

Until Friday’s agreement, fans in 12 NFL markets, including New York City, Dallas and San Diego, were without the channels.



Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep062012

NFL's Average Ticket Prices Up 2.5 Percent

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New York Jets can at least call themselves champions in one category: ticket prices.

The Jets have the highest average, non-premium ticket price in the league at $117.94, according to Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index, which was released Thursday afternoon.

The Jets topped the Patriots, who have sold out every game since 1994, by 10 cents ($117.84).

In its annual survey, Team Marketing Report (TMR) found that the average NFL ticket, purchased from a team, will cost $78.38 this season, up 2.5 percent from last year. The average cost to bring a family to the game and buy four regular tickets (not suite or club), two beers, four hot dogs, parking, a program and two adult size hats is $443.93, up 3.9 percent from last year.

Besides the Jets and Patriots, three other teams have non-suite tickets that are selling for more than $100: the New York Giants ($111.69), the Chicago Bears ($110.91) and the Dallas Cowboys ($110.20).

The teams with the cheapest average tickets are the Cleveland Browns ($54.20), the Buffalo Bills ($58.36) and the Jacksonville Jaguars ($59.54).

TMR says that 10 teams raised ticket prices by at least one percent this year, that up from the nine that dared to make increases coming into the lockout last season. The largest increase? The Chicago Bears at 9.3 percent. The average cost of a beer at a game is up 15 cents from last year to $7.28, the study found.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

Nike Unveils Light, Sleek New NFL Uniforms

Nike(NEW YORK) -- It wasn’t your average fashion show. The NFL unveiled new uniforms, made by Nike, for each team in pro football Tuesday. The uniforms were shown at a gridiron-themed presentation attended by NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell and New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz, among other players, and featured 32 models who weren’t exactly sample size.

The new designs are a result of Nike’s new licensing partnership with the NFL. The league’s previous apparel partner, Reebok, had been in charge of the NFL’s gear for more than a decade.

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The new uniforms feature lightweight materials and a tighter fit that, the company says, allows for easier movement.

“It feels good,” said Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, who said there was a better range of motion in the new uniform. “The way they have the uniform cut, I mean, I think they have it down to a T.”

In addition to uniform’s new fabric, they also feature “customizable baselayer padding” that can be moved and helps to protects players.

From a distance, most of the uniforms do not look dramatically different.  The Seattle Seahawks did use the occasion to update their look, which now features a bit of neon green and a few design elements that give more emphasis to the Native American heritage of the Pacific Northwest.

For most teams the most striking change will be on the player’s gloves, difficult to spot from the stands. Each pair of gloves will feature the team’s logo, visible only when a player interlocks his fingers.

The new uniforms will make their debut on the field during the upcoming 2012 season.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb072012

Seized: $5 Million In Fake Super Bowl Souvenirs

The Official NFL Logo (NFL)(WASHINGTON) -- The New England Patriots aren’t the only ones who had a bad Super Bowl Sunday. Counterfeiters and vendors trying to make a buck hawking fake NFL t-shirts, caps and souvenirs, found themselves in the crosshairs of a federal crackdown that seized more than $5 million in counterfeit NFL goods, according to federal officials.

The nationwide, multi-agency law enforcement operation targeted stores, flea markets and street vendors selling knock-off, game-related sportswear in Indianapolis and throughout the country.

And the effort didn’t end with the retail outlets. Special agents and officers also targeted illegal counterfeit imports into the United States, and seized hundreds of websites engaged in selling counterfeit NFL gear or illegally streaming NFL games.

“In sports, players must abide by rules of the game, and in life, individuals must follow the laws of the land. Our message is simple: abiding by intellectual property rights laws is not optional; it’s the law,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

The Super Bowl is traditionally a bonanza for counterfeiters, who rip-off NFL team logos and images to create knock-off t-shirts, caps, jackets and trinkets to sell to souvenir-hungry fans. But this year, law enforcement and the NFL geared up to defend against the counterfeit offensive. “Operation Fake Sweep,” launched Oct. 1, was a joint effort of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indiana State Police, all in partnership with the NFL.

ICE issued these points on Tuesday to illustrate the impact of Operation Fake Sweep:

  • Authorities seized 50,703 items of phony Super Bowl-related memorabilia, and other counterfeit items, with a total value of $5.12 million.
  • In addition to Super Bowl gear, another 22,570 items of counterfeit merchandise and clothing representing other sports leagues, including Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League were seized by law enforcement.
  • In total, the operation netted 73,273 counterfeit items worth $6.69 million.
  • On line merchants were not exempt; special agents seized 386 websites. As many as 370 domain names were illegally selling and distributing counterfeit merchandise. And 16 of the sites illegally streamed live sporting telecasts over the Internet, including NFL games, according to ICE.   Authorities placed a banner reading “Seized” over the websites, and are investigating the operators.

Yonjo Quiroa, 28, allegedly operated nine of the 16 websites seized by authorities for illegally streaming live sporting events from his home in Comstock Park, Mich. He was arrested last week and charged with criminal infringement of a copyright.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb032012

Feds Bust Illegal Streaming, Bogus Sports Merchandises Websites

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Since New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady watched a live stream of Super Bowl 45 while vacationing in Costa Rica last year, it stands to reason that all NFL fans should be entitled to do the same.

Not so, said the federal government, which went on the rampage Thursday by seizing 16 websites that offer illegal live streams of sporting games and pay-per-view events in what was dubbed as "Operation Fake Sweep."  It's alleged that 28-year-old Yonjo Quiroa of Michigan operated nine of these sites.

There's a pretty good chance that Brady was watching the game from one of the sites that these websites provided links to.  This Sunday, he'll be trying to lead his Pats to victory over the New York Giants in Super Bowl 46.

The bust was necessary, according to prosecutors, because "These websites and their operators deprive sports leagues and networks of legitimate revenue, forcing spectators and viewers to bear the cost of this piracy down the line."

In other words, when the NFL and other leagues get their products ripped off, they pass the losses down to sports fans in the form of higher ticket prices and cable costs.

NBC, which is broadcasting the Super Bowl this year, is also live streaming the game to mobile devices, the first time any network has done this.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also announced that it closed down 291 sites that sold counterfeit sports merchandise.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan122012

Inspiration for 'Jerry Maguire' Files for Bankruptcy

Christopher Blumenshine/Getty Images for Mercedes Benz(SANTA ANA, Calif.) -- Sports agent Leigh Steinberg, the inspiration for the "show me the money" character in the movie Jerry Maguire, filed for bankruptcy protection for debt ranging from $1 million to $5 million.

Steinberg, who represented NFL stars like Troy Aikman, Steve Young and Ben Roethlisberger, cited his children's health problems, a "forbidden" business transaction from one of his employees, and a former struggle with alcoholism as catalysts for the financial problems.

His attorney, Alessandro Assanti, said Steinberg's two children had suffered "serious medical issues," including the eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, which can cause near-blindness. That and other problems caused Steinberg to turn to alcohol, Assanti added, though he has been sober since 2010.

Steinberg's attorneys filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection late Wednesday in Santa Ana, Calif.

He has represented at least six of the NFL's No. 1 draft picks since 1989, according to The New York Times.

Stephen Cannella, a Sports Illustrated senior editor, said in many ways Steinberg created the role of the modern sports agent -- not just in football but in every sport. He had the ability to negotiate big-money contracts and he was the first agent to develop a superagent persona.

"If you were a top-tier player, especially a quarterback, then there was little debate over who you wanted your agent to be," Cannella wrote in an email. "Having him as representation almost became a status symbol for players coming out of college, a way of announcing yourself as a start before you had even signed a contract."

He helped negotiate Aikman's contract in 1993 for $50 million over eight years, the biggest contract in NFL history at the time, according to USA Today, when he was a quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys. Aikman's signing bonus of $11 million was also the biggest in NFL history at that time. His $6.25 million package average passed Young's $5.35 million average when he was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

Despite getting a cut of some of the largest deals in sports history, somehow the money was squandered away. Steinberg listed his only asset as $475,000 in stock in the bankruptcy filing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
Sep062011

Report: Only Five Super Bowl Ad Slots Remain Available

Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Despite a dismal economy, companies are again paying big bucks for the chance to advertise during the Super Bowl. The National Football League has yet to officially kick off its 2011 season, yet all but five 30-second spots for the upcoming 2012 Super Bowl have already been taken -- at the princely cost of $3.5 million each -- a rep for NBC tells USA Today.

"We expect to sell out totally before the end of the year," says Seth Winter, head of sales for NBC Sports. Advertisers who pony up for the Super Bowl must also buy advertising on other NBC Sports programming, Winter acknowledges.

Some advertisers who've already revealed they're coming back to the big dance include GoDaddy.com, Sketchers, Teleflora, Kia, Century 21 realtors and Pepsi, which will feature the winner of The X Factor in a 30-second spot.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul012011

Nike Resigns NFL Star Michael Vick

Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images(BEAVERTON, Ore.) -- Nike has signed NFL star Michael Vick to a new endorsement deal after dropping the quarterback in 2007 amid a then-growing controversy surrounding his involvement in an illegal dog fighting operation.

“Michael acknowledges his past mistakes. We do not condone those actions, but we support the positive changes he has made to better himself off the field,” Nike said Friday in a statement provided to ABC News.

After being convicted for his role in the dog fighting operation in 2007 and serving 18 months in federal prison, Vick didn't think he'd suit up in a professional uniform again.

"At the time, it was over," Vick told ABC News' Bob Woodruff. "I think I'm a better player now because God took me to the bottom. I'm a firm believer in karma and I think it happened because of what I did, and what I allowed to happen to those animals."

Vick has since rejoined the NFL as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles and teamed with The Humane Society to promote the ethical treatment of animals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar182011

NFL Lockout Threatens Chicken Wing Business

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With NFL owners and players in a standoff, the CEO of one of the nation's largest chicken farms warns that a long-lasting football lockout would be bad news for a gameday staple, the chicken wing.

"It will be a major blow," said Joe Sanderson Jr., CEO of Sanderson Farms, the fourth largest poultry company in the U.S. "If we don't have Sunday football, the demand will go down tremendously, and of course, if that happens, the price will go down."

Chicken wings are big business. According to Sanderson, wings account for 12 percent of his company's output, and the National Chicken Council estimates that in 2011, more than 13.5 billion wings will be marketed. Of course, football and wings are inextricably linked.

"We sell about three million pounds of wings a week," Sanderson said. "And a lot of those wings to go sports bars."

And while all game days are big business for wings, the "absolute peak," Sanderson said, comes on Super Bowl Sunday. According to the National Chicken Council, more than 1.25 billion wings were consumed during last Super Bowl weekend.

Pro football owners and the players union are in a disagreement over how much pay players should earn and how long the season should last. If there is no season next year, the effects will be profound, Sanderson said.

While Sanderson says that while the NFL lockout won't force layoffs at his company, he believes that plenty of other businesses, like restaurants that cater to sports fans, will be in trouble if the season is scrapped.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar032011

Clock Is Ticking for NFL Labor Talks

Photo Courtesy - Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The clock is ticking for the NFL and the NFL Players Association to reach a deal on a new labor contract -- and they may need a Hail Mary pass to save the upcoming season.
 
At midnight Friday, the current NFL labor contract expires. It appears likely that the team owners will move to lock out the players, keeping them out of work.
 
That means no spring practice, no free agency deals and, potentially, no 2011 season.
 
Both sides have been meeting in Washington, D.C., for more than a week, trying to reach a compromise and avert the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987. A federal mediator stepped in late in February to lead the negotiations.
 
 The players still have a final option before the midnight deadline. They can decide to decertify, or dissolve the union. That would prevent the owners from locking them out, but the players would give up their right to collectively bargain. It also doesn't ensure that a deal will be reached so that football can be played again in the fall.
 
The standoff between the league, team owners and players centers on two key issues.
 
First, there's revenue sharing. NFL players currently receive 60 percent of the league's $9 billion in annual revenue, but team owners say that's unsustainable given the economic downturn. They want to take an additional $1 billion for themselves, reducing the players' share by 9 to 18 percent.
 
Second, there's the schedule. The league wants to add two more regular season games, for a total of 18. Players say that would increase their risk of injury, and they deserve compensation.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month that there are "no deal breakers," but that the status quo is "not acceptable."
 
Goodell emphasized over the last several weeks that the league and owners understand that a work stoppage would hurt the clubs, the players, the game, the fans and the league's corporate sponsors.
 
"If we are unsuccessful [in negotiations], uncertainty will continue," he said during a press conference before the Super Bowl last month. "That uncertainty will lead to a reduction in revenue, and when that revenue decreases there is less for us to share," he said, adding that would make it harder to reach an agreement.
 
Goodell has pledged to reduce his salary to $1 if there is a work stoppage.
 
The NFL players are highlighting what a work stoppage would mean for the economy in NFL cities.
 
"This Congress is concerned about jobs, jobs, and jobs," said Pete Kendall, a former offensive lineman and now a permanent representative on the union's negotiating committee. "A lockout will affect the local economy, not just those who attend the games but those who provide services at the games.
 
"We're not talking about penalizing players only," Kendall said. "This is going to hurt your parking lot attendants, your restaurants, your hotels. Everybody in your city hurts when this happens."

The NFL insists the changes it is pushing are necessary for the league's long-term financial health.
 
"This is about the future of our game," Goodell said in January. "There are things that need to be addressed, and we need to address those responsible so that everybody can win."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio