TEXT-Fitch: NFL, NBA and MLB roll positively into 2013, NHL faces uncertainty

Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:12pm EST

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Link to Fitch Ratings' Report: 2013 Outlook: SportsDec 14 - Collective bargaining agreements, stable aggregate game-day
attendance, viewership trends, and robust national and local television
contracts in the NBA, NFL, and MLB underscore stability in rated league-wide
borrowing programs moving into 2013 and through the medium term, according to a
Fitch Ratings report.

Further, ongoing collective bargaining between the National Hockey League (NHL)
and the NHL Players' Association adds risk to Fitch's facility ratings,
broadcast rights fees, and the league's overall brand value.

Most arena ratings retain flexibility in the short term despite the NHL lockout
from reserves and other anchor tenants. However, another full-season lockout
amidst a more uncertain climate than in 2005 after the last full-season lockout
will affect financial flexibility, and Fitch will continue to monitor arena
performance and fan willingness to pay once NHL teams return to the ice. All
arena ratings would experience rating pressure in the unlikely event that the
lockout persists into next season.

Going forward, the maintenance of a Stable Outlook in the sports sector depends
on successful renewals of key facility revenues, particularly seating products
and sponsorship agreements. These contracts will face pricing pressure given the
continued uncertain economic conditions and amidst natural fluctuations in team
performance. Continued focus must also remain on digital, wireless, audio, and
video improvements to sports facilities as the multimedia fan experience at home
continues to modernize.

Fitch believes sports-related ratings have demonstrated their ability to
withstand economic downturns and continues to believe that they retain financial
flexibility to manage the uncertainties facing the sports industry in 2013 and
over the next few years.

The report, '2013 Outlook: Sports,' is available at 'www.fitchratings.com' or by
clicking on the above link.

Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
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