Moag & Company Sports Notes (17 Feb 2023)

Date: Feb 2023


Who was the youngest player to score 10,000 points in the NBA?

Last Week’s Answer: The New York Jets are the NFL team originally called the ‘New York Titans’.


After closing on the Arlington Park property, the Chicago Bears maintain a new stadium and development are "still big 'ifs,' dependent on the team getting property tax limits and public subsidies to help build infrastructure for the project," according to the Chicago Tribune. The team in an open letter said that the purchase was "'an important next step' to see if the plan is feasible." Chicago officials responded that they will "negotiate with the team to keep it in the city." By shelling out $197M for the 326-acre Arlington International Racecourse site, Bears officials "plan to leave behind" Soldier Field in "favor of owning their own stadium." The announcement comes shortly after a "megaprojects" bill was "introduced in Springfield that could help the Bears finance their plans by freezing the property tax assessment for up to 40 years." But Illinois state lawmakers from Chicago are "unlikely to help the Bears leave," and downstate legislators will "want something in return." There already is "opposition in Springfield to tax breaks for the Bears to leave Soldier Field." Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker also has "voiced his objection to state subsidies." The relocation would "come with a penalty if the Bears break their lease early at Soldier Field, which runs through 2033." If the team left in 2026, it would be "on the hook" for an $84M penalty. Should the team proceed, the development "would be one of the largest projects in Midwest history".

The CFL announced that it was taking control of the Montreal Alouettes, and team interim president Mario Cecchini believes that the sale of the team will “take place before the end of the season,” according to the Montreal Gazette. Cecchini said that “multiple groups are interested” and will “have access to the team’s financial records.” However, those records “don’t paint a pretty picture.” While last season’s deficit “could hit” $5M, that is 50% “better than four years ago.” Any new owner will “inherit a franchise without its own facilities, one that plays in the CFL’s smallest venue -- Molson Stadium.” It is believed owners Sid Spiegel and Gary Stern “paid approximately” $6M for the franchise in 2020, but there is “no way of determining what the league’s asking price is now.” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie will “make his ownership recommendation, which needs to be approved by the board of governors.” But this time, it is “very likely that local and/or provincial ownership will be involved.”


Washington Nationals founding owner Ted Lerner’s death has led to “curiosity about what, if anything, his passing meant to the future" of the club and many close to the situation do "not expect clarity soon,” according to the Washington Post. The Lerner family's intentions to explore a sale of the club were announced ten months ago, but the process has “been anything but swift, and no deal appears imminent.” Sources said that any predictions about what the family’s next steps -- whether moving forward with a complete sale, taking on a new minority partner or retrenching and reinvesting themselves -- are “premature.” Principal owner Mark Lerner has been the control person for the Nationals since 2018, but sources said that “behind the scenes, Ted’s opinion continued to serve as the animating force,” including the "decision to explore a sale.” It was “unclear even to some within the organization” whether Ted’s widow, Annette, and her children will “continue to push for a sale in accordance with his wishes”.


Execs at Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. and Qatar Investment Authority have “expressed their interest in NBA ownership" and are "actively hunting for a possible match,” according to Bloomberg News. While there is “no certainty” that either will buy a minority stake in a team, the prospect of NBA ownership became possible late last year after the league’s BOG "approved a rule change to allow sovereign wealth funds to buy as much as a 20% stake in teams.” Previously, such funds could “only do so through indirect exposure.” Any international deal for an NBA team would “face significant scrutiny and likely require a lengthy due diligence process before securing league approval.” Gulf countries have “been on a spending spree for marquee sports teams and events as their coffers have swelled.” Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi each own a Premier League club, while Qatar holds stakes in Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and Portuguese Primeira Liga’s SC Braga.


Diamond Sports Group will not make its $140M interest payment, the company officially announced. The company, which owns and operates the Bally Sports-branded regional sports networks, has opted to enter a 30-day grace period that is expected to lead into a bankruptcy filing. Diamond Sports was due to make a $140M payment on interest from its 6.625% senior unsecured notes due 2027, 5.375% 2L senior secured notes due 2026 and 5.375% 3L senior secured notes due 2026. In a statement released, Diamond Sports said that its channels will continue to carry games through this 30-day period, and it plans to continue negotiating with all sides on a restructuring plan. Diamond: “The company intends to use the 30-day grace period to continue progressing its ongoing discussions with creditors and other key stakeholders regarding potential strategic alternatives and deleveraging transactions to best position Diamond Sports Group for the future. Diamond Sports Group expects that its business will continue as usual, and it will keep broadcasting quality live sports productions for fans while it addresses its balance sheet.”

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily;; Washington Post; USA Today; ProFootballTalk; The Athletic;; Wall Street Journal; Chicago Tribune; Montreal Gazette; Bloomberg News

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