Moag & Company Sports Notes (13 Aug 2021)

Date: Aug 2021

Trivia

Which team has the record of scoring the most points in a single Super Bowl?

Last Week’s Answer: President William Howard Taft threw out the first ceremonial pitch on baseball's Opening Day, April 14, 1910

Football:

Heinz may be on the way out as naming-rights partner for the Steelers' venue after this season, but after a relationship spanning 20 years, the brand affinity among the two sides remains strong, according to Sports Business Journal. Fans of the Steelers are three times more likely to follow Heinz on social media than the average NFL fan. A recent collaborative tweet, posted the night of Pittsburgh’s first preseason game this season, rung up more than $3,000 in social value and generated upwards of 141,000 impressions. Heinz in 2001 agreed to pay the Steelers $57 million over 20 years for naming rights to the team’s new stadium. But the long term importance of the pact came into question in 2015, when Kraft merged with Heinz and moved its HQ from the Steel City to Chicago. The original deal expired after the 2020 season, but the two sides agreed to extend it in January for one more year, through the 2021-22 season. Sources noted the brand would renew its entitlement deal only if the terms were flat -- meaning the same $4 million that Kraft Heinz paid last year. One real benefit for the Steelers is that a short-term deal allows the team to wait for a market correction and perhaps an uptick in a rights fee. The Steelers had started by asking potential sponsors what averaged out to $10 million per annum for a long-term deal with those rights.

Baseball:

Fox will rake in more ad sales revenue from MLB’s Field of Dreams game this week than from any other regular-season game during the network’s 25-year relationship with the league Fox Sports reports. Not only that, but the ad sales revenue from the game will more than double the revenue from the No. 2 regular-season game, according to. Advertiser response has been so good that Fox expressed hope that MLB will turn it into an annual event. Seth Winter of Fox Sports said “If baseball asks us, we love it. There are so many great rivalries in baseball, why not bring great rivalries every year?” Fox’s ad sales plan around the Field of Dreams game was based on keeping it as part of the network’s overall baseball package. “We didn’t allow people to buy it by itself,” Winter said. “We had a premium rate against it, just like we would an All-Star Game or post season. It was not a regular season rate.” There are no big surprises among the advertisers, which will include a lot of MLB’s official sponsors like Chevrolet and T-Mobile. GEICO is the event’s presenting sponsor.

Basketball:

Overtime continues to make moves in the college space as NIL opens up. The Boardroom noted the social media platform and now basketball league operator has a deal with USC football player Ceyair Wright, who also just starred as LeBron James' fictional son in "Space Jam : A New Legacy." He becomes the first athlete to sign with Overtime's new college athlete creator studio, which aims to help student-athletes maximize their NIL rights by growing their individual brands. He’ll also star in the next season of Overtime’s Dual Threat video series, which will follow him during his transition from high school to college. NIL deals fall right into Overtime’s sweet spot as the platform treats the athletes like influencers and rely on who the person is rather than the number of points they earned in a game. Unlike an agency, the company is not trying to represent a large cohort of college athletes and get as many endorsement deals for each of them as it possibly can. Overtime CEO Dan Porter said that it "will not represent an athlete for an appearance with a local pizzeria in their college town or posting single photo #ad on Instagram." Instead, Overtime will "be a content partner to college athletes." While getting into the NIL space is one thing, getting players to commit to a new basketball league may be tougher. Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 6 prospect in the class of 2022, says he has narrowed his list of options to the G League Ignite, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State, and also rejected a two-year seven figure offer from the Overtime Elite League due to the uncertainty around the new venture, reports ESPN's Jonathan Givony. Sharpe said NIL "will not play a major role in his decision for where to play in 2022, since the range of financial opportunity will likely be similar in all the options he's currently considering, and he's more concerned with finding a place that can best prepare him for the NBA." 

Hockey:

Wild Owner Craig Leipold discussed navigating the pandemic and said the “best news is that there’s light at the end of this tunnel and we’re expecting and forecasting we’re going to be at 100% come October” according to Sports Illustrated. Leipold said it took him "awhile to come to grips” with the season being shut down last year and the “suddenness of that moment.” Leipold added it "took us awhile to get to that point” where the team and Xcel Energy Center was generating no revenue and only accruing expenses, “but we had to get there and the realization was very humbling." The organization had “zero revenue overnight and we were still paying hundreds and hundreds of people until we could figure out what was needed, and that took months.” Leipold said it really “helped us” when the NHL “lined up loans” to help offset the cash loss “in the $60 million range.” Leipold also noted the Kraken expansion fee money for each team helped, so they started to “understand at least how we’re going to be able to survive this.” A lot of local sponsors "stayed with us and understood that it was not a good time for us". (“The Hockey News,” SI.com, 8/10).

Soccer:

Real Madrid confirmed it will take legal action against LaLiga President Javier Tebas, CVC Capital Partners and CVC Director Javier de Jaime Guijarro after the Spanish league agreed to sell 10% of its business to the investment fund for $3.2 billion according to ESPN. The league's executive committee unanimously approved the sale last week but it must be ratified in the general assembly. LaLiga needs two thirds of the 42 voting clubs in the top two tiers of Spanish football to be in favor. Real Madrid will oppose the sale and has warned it will take every action possible to prevent the deal from going through. A club statement read, "The Board of Directors has resolved to take any legal action it considers appropriate to annul and render ineffective any possible resolutions adopted by the LaLiga Assembly, due to be held on Aug. 12 2021, in relation to the agreement between LaLiga and the CVC Fund." Tebas has pushed for LaLiga to compete with the EPL on an economic level. He responded to Real Madrid's statement, tweeting, "The threatening method that FP Madrid president Florentino Perez has been using in private for years is now being transferred to the public. Clubs and institutions have been putting up with their threats for years".

Other:

The Tokyo Games were the least-watched Summer Olympics on NBC by far since the net started airing the event in 1988. NBC’s total audience delivery from Tokyo (15.6 million viewers) is down 43% from the 2016 Rio Games (27.5 million) and down 49% from the 2012 London Games (30.3 million) Sports Business Daily Reports. The closest comp to Tokyo is the 2000 Sydney Games (21.5 million), and that’s still down 28%. Just six months from the start of the Beijing Games, NBC execs will be hard pressed to find ways to stop that decline. Even with those massive drops, NBC execs will try to focus on some positives -- the primetime dominance of NBC’s Olympics coverage continued (135 consecutive nightly wins for the Summer Games) and the 17-night event likely will rank as the No. 2 property on primetime TV for the 2020-21 TV season (behind the 17.4 million for NBC's "SNF"). The Summer Games for the first time on an NBC primetime window slipped below 10 million viewers for the Closing Ceremony. The final night averaged a total audience delivery of just 9 million viewers, down 47% from 17.1 million for the last night in Rio. That came on the heels of just 10.5 million on the last night of competition which was down 36% from the same night in 2016. The final Friday night had a TAD of 12.6 million, down 40% from the final Friday in Rio.

Sources:  ESPN, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, SportsBusiness Daily, The Boardroom

 
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