Moag & Company Sports Notes (06 Aug 2021)

Date: Aug 2021

Trivia

Who was the first president to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a Major League Baseball game?

Last Week’s Answer: Lichtenstein has competed the most times in the Summer Olympics, but has not won any medals. 

Football:

The Buffalo Bills and the state of New York already to seem to be on different pages about a potential new stadium, as Pegula Sports & Entertainment is claiming the $1.1 billion figure that the team is seeking from the state was inaccurate, but declined to say if the figure was higher or lower, according to Buffalo News. The Bills have not made public any specifics that would affect the cost such as the number of seats. If the team is seeking a 100% publicly financed deal, the request would likely be higher than $1.1 billion. PSE said that the company is "not seeking any public assistance for updates to KeyBank Center," and called reports about an ask to the state and Erie County for such funds pure fiction. They added that the aforementioned request for KeyBank funding by the government "is not and has not been a part of the discussions over a new stadium for the Bills." PSE did not dispute that they are “seeking a public financing arrangement for a new Bills Stadium." A source said that the team "had not threatened to move the Bills to another city" but that the team "made clear that other cities are interested in getting an NFL franchise." Precious notes the team's lease at its Orchard Park stadium expires in 2023. ESPN reported that Austin is one possible destination among cities.

Baseball:

MLB has signed a multiyear partnership with America250, the official commemoration of the United States’ 250th anniversary coming in 2026 according to Sports Business Daily. The first sports league to join the commemoration, MLB’s involvement will include telling stories of the sports' roots. MLB will make a contribution to the America250 Time Capsule. MLB will hold its 2026 All-Star Game in Philadelphia, which will be a hub of America250 celebrations. Philadelphia also hosted MLB’s All-Star Game in the bicentennial year, 1976. Baseball hall of famer Cal Ripken Jr. agreed to sit on the America250 Sports and Entertainment Advisory Council. Another sports connection to America250: the group’s VP/Communications and PR Keri Potts formerly worked in ESPN’s PR department.

Basketball:

A scathing report that found the NCAA has prioritized the D-I men's basketball tournament over the women's event is a footnoted, detailed and widely anticipated reckoning for the NCAA, which has spent years extolling its commitment to women’s athletics, according to The New York Times. The report detailed one slight after another and how the contracts that make the NCAA a financial force contributed to a pattern of inequities. Investigators commissioned by the NCAA found the financial dependence on men’s tournament has long fueled gender inequity in college sports, and they challenged the association to overhaul its approach. The report, prepared by civil rights litigator Roberta Kaplan and her law firm, also found that the organization was earning far less than it should for television rights to the women’s basketball tournament. An analysis predicted that the contract to broadcast the women’s basketball tournament would be worth at least $85 million a year in 2025. Under a contract that last went to market 20 years ago and has not been materially renegotiated since its renewal a decade ago, the NCAA currently values the television rights for the women’s tournament at less than $6 million a year. The report offered more than two dozen recommendations, including staging the men’s and women’s Final Fours in the same city; reworking the NCAA organizational chart for oversight of basketball; and essentially rebooting the budgeting process for the tournaments.

Soccer:

The EPL has been granted government permission to roll over its existing domestic TV deal with broadcasters for a further three years as reported by Sports Business Daily. The new deal with Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and BBC Sport will run from 2022 to 2025. The previous deal was worth $6.5 billion. The U.K. government granted an exclusion order under the Competition Act, allowing the league to renew without a normal tender process, as a temporary measure in response to the pandemic. Clubs had been concerned that, after a 10% drop in value when the last rights deal was agreed in 2018, there would be a further downturn if the usual open-market auction was insisted upon. U.K. Sport Minister Nigel Huddleston said concerns about consumers facing higher prices as a result of the decision were carefully considered but the risk was deemed low and outweighed by the significant public policy benefits that would be delivered by providing stability to the English football pyramid. As part of the arrangement, the EPL has agreed to pay an extra $139 million in solidarity and good causes funding to women's soccer, League One and League Two clubs as well as the National League competitions and grassroots game.

Barcelona said that it could not agree to terms to keep Lionel Messi, in a stunning turn of events according to ESPN. The LaLiga club said that it could not afford a previously agreed upon deal due to economic and structural obstacles. Messi last month agreed to a 50% pay cut from the $594 million he made on his last deal. Messi had been open about his issues with the club board, and his particular aversion for former Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu, who resigned last October. Barcelona is the only club he’s ever played for. Meanwhile, Real Madrid are considering taking legal action against LaLiga and CVC Capital Partners over the Spanish league's recent agreement to sell 10% of its business to the investment fund for $3.2 billion, according to sources. There had been speculation that the deal would help Barcelona retain Messi. Meanwhile, sources said that Barcelona is pouring over the finer details of the deal with CVC because they have doubts about voting it through at the general assembly.

Other:

Fox Corp.’s revenue rose in the latest quarter, as the company expects the return of live sports and entertainment events will continue to propel its growth Sports Business Daily reports. Revenue for the company’s Q4 was $2.89 billion, up 20% from 2020 Meanwhile, EA reported its earnings for Q1 of its FY 2022, which ended June 30. The developer and publisher recorded a 6.3% increase in net revenues to $1.55 billion from $1.46 billion in the same period last year. Finally, Acushnet Holdings, the company that owns golf brands Titleist and Footjoy, released Q2 numbers that topped Wall Street expectations. Acushnet reported a Q2 profit of $81.1 million. The golf products maker posted revenue of $624.9 million in the period, also exceeding Wall Street forecasts. Acushnet expects full-year revenue in the range of $1.93-1.99 billion.

Sources: Buffalo News, ESPN, SportsBusiness Daily, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal

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