Moag & Company Sports Notes (01 Oct 2021)

Date: Oct 2021

Trivia

What pitcher holds the record for most complete games in an MLB career?

Last Week’s Answer: The Philippines has competed the most times in the Summer Olympics yet hasn’t won a gold medal.

Football:

The succession plan for when New Orleans Saints Owner Gayle Benson dies is something no one "anticipates being enacted anytime soon," but it is "ready to go and has been approved by the NFL," according to the New Orleans Advocate. The Saints "will be sold," and the proceeds -- "likely billions of dollars -- will be given away through charities to benefit the people of New Orleans." Team execs are "already working to ensure that whoever buys the Saints will keep them in the city." According to the succession plan, Benson has the "authority to decide the benefactors and how the money will be distributed." She has "provided a list of beneficiaries" to Saints President Dennis Lauscha, who will "serve as the executor of the estate." She "isn’t disclosing the organizations that are already in line for gifts." But "most operate in the fields of education, health care, arts and sciences and humanitarian causes." Some of the proceeds of the sales "could go toward outstanding debts, taxes or other noncontrolling shareholders." And "not all of the money will be given out immediately." Saints officials said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "has endorsed Benson’s plan and signed off on Lauscha as executor." The league typically allows teams "up to five years to find a new owner and complete a sale." Lauscha said "it certainly won't be a rushed decision." Benson added that her "instructions on the sale are clear." Benson: "That's going to be one of our stipulations when we sell the team -- that it stays here. Dennis won’t sell it to another person that wants to take it away".

Pro Football Focus, owned by NBC's Cris Collinsworth, "sold a minority stake to private equity firm Silver Lake as the data company plots an expansion into markets including soccer," according to Bloomberg News. Cincinnati-based PFF already works with "all 32 NFL teams, as well as more than 95%" of Power Five college football programs. A source said that Silver Lake "invested about $50 million for the stake." Launching a set of tools for soccer, which is likely to happen next year, "opens up a massive potential market for PFF." The data service was "initially created" for coaches and team execs to "analyze individual players, plays and team performance." The PFF deal was made through what it calls its "Long Term Capital strategy, which gives the firm the option to hold the asset for longer than a traditional private equity fund".

Baseball:

A group led by Pro Baseball HOFer Frank Thomas has "purchased a controlling interest" in the company that owns All-Star Ballpark Heaven and the "iconic Field of Dreams movie site." Thomas will serve as CEO of the new venture, This is Heaven LLC, while former Dodgers GM Dan Evans will be COO. The transaction "involves the purchase of all the interests in Go the Distance Baseball, which is owned by the Denise M. Stillman Trust." This is Heaven LLC  is a venture "between Thomas and Chicago real estate developer and entrepreneur Rick Heidner." Heidner was an "initial investor in Go the Distance Baseball and will retain his original minority investment." The Field of Dreams complex in Dyersville, Iowa, will host its second MLB matchup next season with Reds-Cubs on Aug. 11.

Hockey:

The Washington Capitals reached the NHL's first jersey sponsorship deal, with Caesars Sportsbook for the '22-23 season, and the deal is "noteworthy because it's a public proclamation of how much gambling will play a role in the future of the NHL financially," according to The Athletic. When teams initially sold helmet ads they were not "allowed to sell the space to gambling companies," but that stance has "changed considerably." This deal should not "be a surprise when you consider the Capitals' relationship with gambling." Earlier this year, Caesars in DC opened the first brick-and-mortar sportsbook inside an American arena, and Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis has "been a proponent to pushing the gamification of American sports in both the NHL and the NBA." The Capitals are "the first NHL team to sell advertising space on its jersey." The Caesars' patch will appear on the Capitals' home jerseys. The team will "use a different sponsor for its road uniforms".

Soccer:

Barcelona's "financial crisis has deepened" after LaLiga cut another €300M ($348M) from its spending limit, with six clubs in LaLiga "now permitted to spend more than them." Real Madrid has the highest limit in the league at €739M ($857M), while Barcelona's has been reduced to €97M ($112.4M). Barca's limit for last season was €382M, while the season before that (prior to the pandemic), it was as high as €600M. LaLiga Corporate Director Jose Guerra explained that the Catalan club's limit, which is less than clubs such as Villarreal and Real Sociedad, is down to losses of nearly €500M ($580M) for the previous campaign. Guerra: "They acknowledge much higher losses than what they had initially estimated, so the impact is greater on their spending limit." Barca recently confirmed losses for the '20-21 season of €481M ($558M). That was around €200M ($232M) "higher than had originally been estimated following an external audit."

Sources: SportsBusiness Journal, New Orleans Advocate; Bloomberg News; Des Moines Register;  The Athletic

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