Moag & Company Sports Notes (05 Aug 2022)

Date: Aug 2022


What Year did Wrigley Field Open?

Last Week’s Answer: John Stockton is the NBA all time assists leader


The DirecTV will carry “Thursday Night Football” to commercial establishments, including bars and restaurants, this NFL season. Amazon holds the exclusive streaming rights to the NFL package, but it has agreed to have DirecTV carry it to bars and restaurants. Nothing has been signed and specific deal terms have not leaked. Both companies declined comment. News of the pending deal will bring a sense of relief to restaurant and bar owners who were faced with the prospect of having to upgrade their video systems to handle streaming video. Sources said some of the country’s biggest chain restaurants, like Buffalo Wild Wings, are not fully equipped to handle streaming video. As DirecTV walks away from the NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market package, look for the satellite company to focus more on supporting its commercial business for the next several years as bars and restaurants continue to upgrade their video to handle streaming services and Big Tech picks up more exclusive sports rights.


MLB announced that the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will play a two-game series on 24-25 June 2023, at London Stadium, after plans to play in London in 2020 were "canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic," according to the AP. The league last played in London in 2019 when the New York Yankees took on the Boston Red Sox at London Stadium. The London Series is "part of an international slate that was approved in the March labor agreement" between MLB and the MLBPA. It also "calls for London games in 2024 and 2026, the first France games in 2025, annual Mexico City games from 2023-26, an Asian opener in 2024 and a Tokyo opener in 2025". The Cubs are "playing internationally for the second time." They opened the 2000 season in Tokyo for two games against the Mets. They also traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico -- a U.S. territory -- in 2003 to play a three-game series against the Expos.

The Oakland Athletics’ encountered another roadblock to staying in their home city. A lawsuit challenging a key vote was filed, arguing that the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission violated environmental law. In June, the commission voted to redesignate the Howard Terminal area, where the team seeks to build, to be not exclusively for port use.  The lawsuit challenges that decision, saying the commission failed to take the environmental impact of the A’s proposed development into account. The Athletics’ seek to build a $1 billion stadium as part of a $12 billion development that would include housing, retail, restaurants, hotels, and a park area. Beyond the lawsuit, the major remaining hurdle is to strike a deal with Oakland’s city council. The council is on recess until September. Any delay in the process could be consequential: Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf has been the A’s strongest backer in city government, but she is termed out and will be replaced following November’s election. Casino magnate Phil Ruffin reportedly traveled to the Bay Area on Tuesday to discuss a potential Las Vegas stadium site with A’s executives. Ruffin owns Circus Circus and the neighboring Las Vegas Festival Grounds. The festival grounds were considered a potential site for a Las Vegas stadium but seemed to fall by the wayside over the course of the A’s search. Ruffin’s visit suggests that the site has reemerged as a possibility. Previous reports stated that the A’s had narrowed their Vegas search to two sites.

U.S. Music City Baseball, the group pushing to bring an MLB franchise to Nashville, has a "new site in mind for a potential stadium,” according to the Nashville Business Journal. The group is “zeroing in” on Tennessee State Univ. as the site of a ballpark for a potential Nashville Stars franchise. Music City Baseball’s current goal is to have construction “start on the multipurpose stadium in 2024,” with the timeline “focused on the Nashville Stars playing their first potential season in 2027.” Music City Baseball Managing Dir John Loar said that the group “will continue considering sites on the East Bank and in Williamson and Rutherford Counties, however more than 90% of the group's focus has shifted to TSU.” A partnership with TSU has "not yet been established," however site selection is a "key priority for Music City Baseball moving forward." A financing plan for a future stadium has "not been solidified," and Loar did "not disclose the amount of private financing the group has raised." Music City Baseball Entertainment Partnerships & Digital Strategy and Marketing Manager Connor Loar said that baseball games “would fill the stadium only 22% of the year," so to "activate the stadium on non-game days, Music City Baseball is looking into a residency model similar to what Las Vegas does”.


UEFA Champions League media rights in the U.S. will be decided in two weeks, and it could "end up being a battle" between CBS/Paramount+ and Amazon Prime Video. Current rights holders CBS/Paramount+ and Univision are entering the last season of a three-year deal. CBS/Paramount+ pays $100M, while Univision puts in $50M per year. The next deal "likely will look different" that has been "agreed to before." UEFA is "taking bids for six years of rights," as opposed to its "traditional three-year contracts." This has "made it more attractive to streamers," because it is a "must-watch competition." With the three-year deals, by the time a company had "its mojo with Champions, it had to re-up." UEFA appears as if it will "strongly consider handing the tournament exclusively to a streamer," like Prime Video. Amazon already has the Champions League in Italy, Germany and just did a deal for half the package in England, beginning in 2024. Marchand: "Considering the worldwide viewership, it makes sense for Amazon to try to be as global as possible with this event; especially because it has no soccer imprint in the United States for its Amazon Prime Video service." UEFA has enlisted Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’s company, Relevent Sports, to "run the negotiations".

Sources: SportsBusiness Journal, The Nashville Business Journal, The Associated Press, Colorado Springs Gazette

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