Moag & Company Sports Notes (15 Jul 2022)

Date: Jul 2022

Trivia

What year did the first Tour de France occur?

Last Week’s Answer: In 1996, the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year was Tiger Woods.

Football:

The Pittsburgh Steelers' Heinz Field will be renamed Acrisure Stadium after the Michigan-based brokerage firm, according to Pittsburgh-based KDKA-FM. KDKA-FM first reported the new name and noted an "official announcement could come as soon as Tuesday." A web domain and Twitter handle have “already been secured.” Acrisure specializes in "insurance, reinsurance, real estate, cyber services and Asset Management.” The company also has the naming rights to Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, home to the Kraken's AHL affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds. Heinz has had the naming rights to the stadium since it opened in 2001. Steelers owner Art Rooney II “seemed optimistic that Heinz would renew the naming rights agreement” back in February. Heinz paid $57M for the "original 20-year agreement." The Steelers “should be able to yield a significantly better return than that” in 2022. Acrisure has "ties to Steelers minority owner Thomas Tull". Tull in a statement said, “This is great partnership and will have a tremendous impact on both organizations as well as the greater Pittsburgh community. The Steelers and Acrisure share the same core values of winning and excellence and I could not be prouder to be partnered with both”.

Every NFL team received above $345 million in national revenue for the 2021 season according to people familiar with the leagues financial results. It was a record tally and 12% higher than in 2020. The total represents national media rights, league sponsorships and shared revenue and royalties from the leagues various affiliates and subsidiaries. The league’s media contracts make up the bulk of the shared revenues, but teams got a bump from hefty league sponsorship revenue; it increased by 23% according to sponsor tracking firms. Additionally, the league has signed sportsbooks as both partners and to secondary deals in 2021. The league revenue distributed to the 32 clubs was $11.1 billion and represented more than 60% of their total estimated revenue of $18 billion during last season. The annual check per club will top $400 million when the next round of media contracts kicks off in 2023.

Basketball:

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told sources that while the league “has an eye on Las Vegas," specific expansion talks "have yet to occur,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He said that before those talks can happen, the NBA “has to work through some key issues, including a changing media landscape." He also said that he believes Southern Nevada can “accommodate an NBA team as well as the other pro sports teams that have taken root here.” In a sense, Silver sees the NBA Summer League as Las Vegas’ “unofficial NBA team,” and he still claims that the NBA was the "first" professional sport in Las Vegas, not the NHL or NFL. Silver: “We have a big presence, so nobody can have any doubt how much we enjoy being in this market.” Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority President & CEO Steve Hill said that the agency has had “recent talks with NBA officials.” Those talks “didn’t revolve around expansion,” but rather “further growing the league’s footprint in Las Vegas.” The NBA also has “various marquee events” such as the annual NBA Draft and All-Star Game, which the city hosted in 2007. Silver did not “name specific possibilities for Las Vegas either,” but noted the league is “open to bringing any of its events to Las Vegas, calling the city an expert at hosting events”.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league posted a record year for revenue with the 2021-22 season, surpassing $10 billion for the first time.  The league, which is about to enter its 76th season, reported the results following two shortened seasons hampered by limited fan attendance amid pandemic-related restrictions.  For the 2018-19 campaign, revenue for the NBA reached $8.8 billion. A season later, the league generated $8.3 billion in revenue. The 2020-21 season saw roughly a 33% drop in revenue compared to the year prior. That season, sponsorships brought in a record $1.46 billion in revenue. The NBA, like many other professional sports leagues, has benefited from expensive media rights deals — its coveted rights make up roughly $2.6 billion of the league’s annual revenue. 

Baseball:

Golden State Warriors’ co-owner Joe Lacob said that he had an "agreement to buy" the Oakland A’s, but was "rejected" by MLB, according to the S.F. Chronicle. Lacob said, “I had the A’s done. It was just taken away from me. You know what, everyone’s confident in their own abilities, obviously. I think we would’ve had a stadium a long time ago if I had bought it.” Instead of a Lacob ownership, the Oakland Athletics were purchased by John Fisher and Lew Wolff in 2005. Lacob: “I easily qualified; that wasn’t the issue. ... I learned a little lesson from that, which is it’s not all about money. You’ve got to have the right friends in these leagues.” Lacob said the “reaction to what happened with the A’s kind of helped me get the Warriors.” But he "remains interested in buying the team" if Fisher “agrees to sell.” Lacob: “I’ve had a standing offer to buy the Oakland Athletics from John Fisher for I don’t even know how long. Over a decade. It’s up to him; it’s his business." But Shea wrote Lacob buying the A’s is “still a wish -- so long as the Oakland Athletics don’t bolt for Las Vegas." Lacob: "That is what baseball does. That’s the playbook, threaten to move, then try to get municipalities to put up the money. ... It’s very, very hard to get things done in the Bay Area. I just think there’s a great opportunity if the team were to stay here

Soccer:

UEFA and Relevent Sports Group launched the sales process today for the U.S. media rights to the European governing body’s club competitions -- including Champions League, Europa League and Conference League -- beginning with the 2024-25 season. A source said UEFA expects to more than double its annual haul of about $150M under the new deal and that bids are due Aug. 15. A deal is expected prior to the start of the upcoming season in early September. The incumbents, CBS and Univision, hold the English- and Spanish-language rights, respectively, through the 2023-24 season. While UEFA had previously sold rights for its club competitions in three-year increments, it is now soliciting bids for both three- and six-year packages through 2026-27 and 2029-30, respectively.

Sources: SportsBusiness Journal, Sportico, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Front Office Sports, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, The S.F. Chronicle, Associated Press

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