Let's start by being accountable for last year. I was right on the fact that the Olympics opening ceremony would be the most amazing spectacle is sports history. (I know, subjective).
I was right that the league networks would only make small gains.
I was right that all-you-can-eat became all the rage and I might still be right that the Cubs and related assets will sell for $980 million and that Charlie Weis will get bought out in '08.
I was wrong on saying Steve & Barry's was on the rise and that Nike would dump Michelle Wie (2009 is actually the last year of her current contract).
1.Kobe Bryant will lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA championship and become a true marketing icon again.
Once a marketing darling, Bryant will be restored. He'll add on to his deals with Nike, Vitaminwater and Activision.
2.There will be a UFC Fight in Madison Square Garden.
The biggest brand in mixed martials arts can't fight in New York State because the state is one of eight states that has athletic commissions that doesn't sanction fights. That will change and a big fight will take place at "The World's Most Famous Arena" in the fall of next year.
3.The IOC will take away the 2014 Olympics from Sochi, Russia.
This is probably the boldest prediction I've ever made. For the IOC to take back a winning city's bid would be a big deal, but I feel like if it's ever going to happen, it's going to happen now with Russia. I just think there's a possibility here considering not too much has been done, funding is going to be an issue as will security. Quietly, the U.S. TV networks bidding for the package that includes the 2014 games is worried about the logistical nightmare of this location.
4.By year's end, the Major League Baseball Network will become the most relevant league network.
They might have been the last of the four majors to launch their own network, but it will count the most. Launching Jan. 1, the MLB Network will be the largest launch in cable history with carriage deals that provide for viewing in more than 50 million households. Given what MLB did with MLB.com, we're expecting a great fresh look and commentary that will make viewers switch over after they watch their team's game and maybe ESPN's "Baseball Tonight."
5. Brett Favre will announce he's coming back immediately after the season.