Moag & Company Sports Notes (11 Aug 2023)

Date: Aug 2023


What NHL hockey team holds the most Stanley Cup titles?

Last Week’s Answer: Ken Griffey Jr. holds the most home run derby titles.


MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s reign has been “most notable for its rapid rate of change,” achieved through a “hard-charging style and accompanied by a strong determination to keep his bosses – the game’s 30 franchise owners – satisfied,” according to USA Today. That “recipe” earned Manfred a four-year contract extension “which expires in January 2029.” Manfred “survived an occasionally contentious election process” – multiple ballots were needed to reach the 23 votes from owners -- to gain approval as baseball’s 10th commissioner in August 2014. He assumed office in January 2015 and has “presided over arguably the game’s most dizzying and transformative period in its modern history.” The Athletic reported that Manfred believes the "most vital work remaining in his time as commissioner" is his "economic reform committee that is charged with evaluating the best way for MLB to deploy its TV rights going forward." Manfred said, “When I think about our goals, I’d like to work through the media crisis. And I’d like the sport at the end to look more national than it looks right now. I think it’s the key to our success. I think it’s a big piece of promoting competitive balance and honestly, it’s the key to marketing your players.” Moreover, Manfred's “most recent, radical directive” – the pitch clock – has been met with almost "unanimously positive reviews.” Yet that “triumph has been accompanied by recent warts” – the pending relocation of the A’s and a 99-day lockout – that “compel fans to associate the commissioner’s office with anything but the best interests of the game.” Manfred’s public approval ratings “will never match those in the owners’ room” simply because he “has a knack for insulting his non-voting constituents – players and fans.” But he has “made a point of meeting with players and entire clubhouses both after the lockout and this season,” in the wake of the pitch clock implementation. Ultimately, he “manages to foster something resembling a partnership with players, be it forging a domestic-violence policy or hammering out a new CBA.


The Josh Harris group and Daniel Snyder have officially closed the deal finalizing the $6.05B sale of the Commanders, sources confirmed. The swift conclusion of the transaction less than 24 hours after NFL owners approved the deal paves the way for Harris to make a celebratory appearance at a media conference last week at team HQ in northern Virginia. Law firms involved in the deal included: Cravath for Snyder; on the buy side, Davis Polk and Hogan Lovells for Josh Harris, Sidley Austin for Mitchell Rales and Magic Johnson. The new owners of the Commanders see developing a new stadium as "among their top priorities” and “may start the process anew," according to the Washington Post. Josh Harris, who leads the group purchasing the team, has "yet to earnestly begin a thorough search for a stadium location." Harris said there are “lots of opinions, lots of factions, lots of politics, and we’re going to basically try to dig in and focus on how we provide the best fan experience," but "we don’t really have answers coming in right now.” Harris’s group “may focus primarily on assessing the team’s operations to start and making smaller improvements to fan experience.” The search for a new stadium is “among new ownership’s long-term priorities," but the process is "fraught with complications and will span D.C., Virginia and Maryland.” Danaher Corp. co-founder Mitchell Rales, an investor in Harris's group, said, “We have no idea where we’re going to build the stadium.” Rales added, "We haven't seen the work that the Commanders did during their process, but my guess is we’re going to have to get out a clean sheet of paper and start all over again.” Jhabvala wrote FedEx Field is a "crumbling eyesore” that former owner Dan Snyder had "hoped to ditch for years.” But measures to “drum up competition between D.C., Maryland and Virginia proved fruitless.”


The Philadelphia 76ers have proposed a new arena in Center City and made clear they do not have a backup option. The future of this new Center City arena now “lies in City Hall,” where “dimensions of power and persuasion will hold sway as key deadlines approach,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. A “vital factor” is whether the outgoing Philadelphia City Council will “take up legislation to approve the arena or put off action in light of the political reordering that will take place in January,” when a new Council, Council president and mayor will be seated. Councilmember Mark Squilla is “skeptical that legislation could be passed this year.” Squilla: “This is a big, big project, and you can’t rush stuff like this.” Bills that “don’t pass this year must be reintroduced in 2024,” when the new, full-sized Council will be seated. Former Deputy Mayor, Managing Dir and interim Philadelphia school-district CEO Phil Goldsmith said his sense is the team is “not really selling it to the public.” Goldsmith: “I don’t think that’s their intention. They’re selling it to the insiders, the movers and shakers, people in City Council, the unions. They have to get votes on City Council.” 76ers co-owner and lead developer David Adelman said that “no alternate sites are being considered.” Adelman in June said, “I have no Plan B. I don’t operate that way.” The 76ers promise that the arena will be “privately financed” and say that while they are “open to state and federal funding, no city dollars will be sought.”


The PGA Tour made another effort to mend relations with players following the fallout from the framework agreement with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, announcing new transparency measures and adding Tiger Woods to its Policy Board. Woods' addition to the board comes as a player director, with the Tour upping the number of player directors to six with his addition. The Tour said a replacement for Randall Stephenson, the former AT&T CEO who resigned his spot on the board in early July, would be announced soon. Woods' addition to the board comes as he has been notably silent on the framework agreement, having issued no statement or comment since it was originally announced June 6. As part of the transparency agreement, the Tour said it would amend the policy board's governing documents so no major decisions could be made without the approval of the player directors. The framework agreement with the PIF was notably put in place largely in secrecy and with little to no player input. The Washington Post reported that the moves came just a day after Woods and 40 other players sent a letter to the Tour and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan demanding more say in the future. One of the requests in the letter was for Woods to be added to the board. 

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily;; Espn; The Athletic; The Philadelphia Inquirer; The Washington Post; USA Today

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