Moag & Company Sports Notes (16 July 2021)

Date: Jul 2021


What sport is best known as the ‘king of sports’?

Last Week’s Answer: Lester Patrick came off the bench to lead his team to victory in the 1928 Stanley Cup.


NBC has "sold out of about 85% of its commercial time in Super Bowl LVI." NBCUniversal said that the net is "pacing way ahead of where it was at the same point when it last aired" the Super Bowl in 2018, adding that NBC "doesn’t typically reach the same level of sold time until January" according to Ad Age. The high demand is "driven by smaller advertisers who are buying ads for the first time, which was also seen during the 2021 game." It is a "trend NBC has seen during other sports programming and tentpole events." NBC is "asking for as much as $6 million for a 30-second commercial, which is inclusive of broadcast, streaming." That compares to the $5.6 million CBS asked for during the 2021 game.

When a Missouri Judge ordered five NFL owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell to turn over their finances in order to asses potential damages in a lawsuit from a consortium of St. Louis-area municipal outlets against the league over the relocation of the Rams to L.A. in early 2016, it "came as a shock," since the lawsuit "has been plodding along for four years," according to The Athletic. The court ruling by Judge Christopher McGraugh is "confusing in that it is laying the groundwork for damages before a trial, even before an August 25 summary judgement hearing." Feinstein sports attorney Irwin Kishner said that he has "never heard of financial disclosures for damages at this stage of litigation." Kishner: "Seems to me is that there's a very hostile bench, that could be, trying to say, 'Boy, St. Louis didn't get a great deal on this one.'" The Athletic noted the NFL is almost sure to appeal the ruling. But McGraugh had "already rejected a dismissal motion from the NFL and clearly would not have let the case last four years if he did not believe St. Louis had standing." The jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 10. There is "always a possibility that the two sides settle," especially since the NFL "may not want its dirty laundry aired." But some of that "already happened." The move to seek financial information from high-profile owners who were involved in the relocation process "would suggest the judge is holding them personally responsible".


Fitch Ratings has assigned an A rating to MLB Trust Securitization’s $102 million senior secured note issuance, as well as an A- rating to the MLB Facility Fund LLC’s $135 million senior secured notes according to Sports Business Journal. The A rating and Fitch’s "Stable Outlook” designation reflects, in part, the strength of MLB’s media agreements and figures in MLB’s recently approved debt increase of 25%, allowing teams under the MLB Trust Securitization to borrow up to $125 million (up from the previous $100 million). The overall MLB Trust Securitization currently has $1.2 billion in commitments but will be amended to permit up to $2 billion, while extending the maturity date from December 2022 to July 2026. Twenty-eight MLB clubs participate in the MLB Trust Securitization, while just 10 participate in the MLB Facility Fund.


ABC averaged 9.38 million viewers for Game 2 of the Suns-Bucks NBA Finals down from 13.38 million viewers for Raptors-Warriors Game 2 on a Sunday night two years ago (in the normal early June slot for the NBA Finals) according to Sports Business Journal. Game 2 this year is up from 6.61 million viewers for Lakers-Heat Game 2 last year, which aired on a Friday night in early October (and marked the least-watched Game 2 on record). Excluding last year, the least-watched Game 2 is Spurs-Nets from ’03 (8.06 million). Bucks-Suns Game 2 delivered ABC a primetime win among all networks in all key male and adult demos. The telecast peaked at 11.1 million viewers from 10:45-11:00pm ET. Game 2’s overall audience also was up 10% from Game 1. The last time the NBA had its first two games on a Tuesday/Thursday schedule (Heat-Thunder in 2012), the viewership growth between those games was only 3%. Bucks-Suns also continued to be hot in participating markets. Phoenix drew a 24.9 local rating, which is its best NBA Finals figure since 2000, while Milwaukee drew a 24.8, that market’s best figure since 2001.


Lionel Messi and Barcelona have reached an agreement on a new "five-year deal," according to sources. Messi was a free agent after his contract at Barca, which was worth over $594 million over four years, expired on June 30 as reported by ESPN. He had "courted interest" from PSG and Man City since first revealing a desire to end his 20-year relationship with Barca last summer. However, with the return of Joan Laporta as president in March, Messi "grew more open to staying at Camp Nou." An official announcement is "expected in the coming days" Messi is expected to earn around $23.6 million next season, representing a more than 50% pay cut. Barca sources assure that the contract was "already sent" to the LaLiga headquarters but bosses did "not want to make any comments on the matter". After leaving Barcelona, the "next step in Messi’s career could be" in MLS. Messi, who "bought a mansion in Miami two years ago," confessed in an interview his "desire" to live in the U.S. Considering Messi’s plans, the new contract will "include a clause for an amount he will be due if he leaves Barcelona" in 2023. Including the "signing bonus for the extension, two years of salary and a contract termination bonus," the total cost of those two years would be "slightly under" $235.5 million.


Investment-focused social media app has struck a new partnership with the Premier Lacrosse League, its first sponsorship in the sports space according to Sports Business Daily. Terms were not released for the deal, but it will focus on making lacrosse fans aware of the product, which lets users own fractional shares of stocks and ETFs as well as engage with other users. Activation plans include having six PLL players join Public’s app and participate in its social community that focuses on investment education and conversation. That will be on-site at events, as well as through digital/social media content and campaigns, and integration into broadcasts with NBC Sports. The content plans include a series with the Rabil brothers in which they will educate PLL host RJ Kaminski on investing. The first such promotion will be a sweepstakes that will see the winner get $10,000 to invest in the Public app. PLL co-Founder, CMO and player Paul Rabil was an early adopter of the app and has been using it for some time. Fellow PLL co-Founder Mike Rabil and VP/Marketing Katie Perry helped set up the deal. Public is based in N.Y. and has raised $310 million to date. The deal adds to PLL’s recent haul of new corporate partners, a roster that includes Ticketmaster, Gatorade, Progressive, Vineyard Vines, adidas, HEX Performance and Champion.

Sources: Ad Age, ESPN; SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic

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