Moag & Company Sports Notes (10 Feb 2023)

Date: Feb 2023


What NFL team was originally called the ‘New York Titans’?

Last Week’s Answer: The New York Knicks won the very first NBA game in 1946.


Fox Sports officially sold out Super Bowl LVII ad inventory, selling its final in-game spot in the week before the NFL conference championship games. The network only has two spots left in its pre-kick show that runs right up until kickoff, and it currently is selling spots for an overtime that may not occur. Some one-time advertisers are paying more than $7M for a 30-second spot. Most are paying in the mid-$6M range. Fox Sports EVP/Sales Mark Evans said, “It’s certainly far and away the most money that we’ve ever booked in a Super Bowl.” Evans cited three reasons this Super Bowl’s ad sales came slower than previous years, especially considering that Fox started the regular season with the Super Bowl 90% sold. First, there’s the collapse of FTX and other crypto companies, which had bought several spots early. FTX, in fact, had committed to a 60-second spot. A few other unnamed advertisers had to back out on commitments because of supply chain issues that affected some of the products they had planned to advertise during the game. Finally, some companies were jittery about the economy. Evans said to expect familiar brands pitching their wares during the game. “You're going to see the telcos that you would expect and the salty snacks and the package goods and the autos that you expect,” he said. “All of the usual suspects are there”.


MLB is "preparing to take over telecasts" from Sinclair and Diamond Sports Group if the broadcasting network and the RSNs it operates fail to "make payments for local broadcasting rights to 14 teams." MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said, "You should assume that if Diamond doesn’t broadcast, we’ll be in a position to step in." Manfred: "Our goal would be to make games available not only within the traditional cable bundle but on the digital side, as well." He added, "Our No. 1 goal in terms of preparations is that if for some reason Diamond isn’t broadcasting, that we want to be in a position to make sure our fans are going to get their games".


The WNBA Seattle Storm have "sold minority stakes in the team" that value the franchise "at a record" $151M, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Storm’s valuation is "about 15 times the sale price of several WNBA teams sold previously," a jump that reflects the Storm’s "success in particular and the increasing value of women’s sports properties in general." Storm owners Ginny Gilder and Lisa Brummel said that the sale of stakes to 15 investors will help finance a $64M, 50,000-square-foot "practice facility and business office" for the team, which is "set to break ground this month." Gilder said that the "exercise of explaining the team’s vision for the new practice facility was challenging." In the past decade, a few other WNBA teams sold for $10M or less, so some people "struggled to grasp the Storm’s ambitions" and $151M valuation, which is the "sum of an outside firm’s analysis plus the funds from new investors." The Storm will "continue to be controlled by Force 10 Hoops LLC." Gilder and Brummel "declined to identify the outside investors".


At least five serious bidders are "preparing to do battle in the bid to buy Manchester United," with British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe "stepping up his interest by involving major investment banks JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs." Ratcliffe remains the "only potential buyer to have so far gone public on his desire" to buy the Premier League club, but the cost, with the Glazers expecting more than US$6B, would "take a huge chunk of his fortune." He is understood to have "sought potential partners." Meanwhile, a fund linked to the Qatari royal family "remains undecided" on whether to bid. Raine has "received plenty of interest," even if some has been "limited to making an investment rather than a full-scale takeover." But sources believe that there is "sufficient interest to secure a price acceptable to the Glazer family". Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family -- whose consortium was "one of the final four shortlisted Chelsea bids" -- will "not be among the bidders" for ManU.


MSG Sports generated $353.7M of revenue during the second quarter of FY 2023, a 22% increase year-over-year. Operating income was $51.5M (up 43% year-over-year), according to the company’s SEC filing. For the fiscal 2023 second quarter, average per-game revenues for tickets, suites, sponsorship and food, beverage and merchandise all exceeded results for the prior year period and led to a $64.1M increase in revenue. Additionally, local and national media rights fees were higher ($118.2M in Q2 FY 2023 compared to $112.3M in the same period the year before), primarily due to contractual rate increases. The New York Rangers played six more home games during the quarter compared to the previous year, which contributed to increases in all the previously mentioned lines of business, including sales of suite products and $12.5M more in suite license revenue fees. Sponsorship and signage revenue grew $10M year-over-year, while operating expenses during the quarter also grew 17% because of more events. MSG Sports Corp. returned $250M to investors during the second quarter of FY 2023, partly through a $7 per share dividend (approximately $173M).

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily;; Washington Post; USA Today; ProFootballTalk; The Athletic; L.A.Times;; Wall Street Journal; London Times

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