Moag & Company Sports Notes (21 Jul 2022)

Date: Jul 2022

Trivia

Who is the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer?

Last Week’s Answer: The First Tour de France occurred in 1903

Football:

The Cincinatti Bengals are looking to "sell naming rights" to Paul Brown Stadium, and “are hopeful” a deal could be made before the start of the NFL season, according to the Cincinatti Enquirer. The Bengals have “alerted city and county officials to be prepared to move quickly on approvals should they be needed.” The team is “hopeful a deal would be signed" and a "new sign in place by the time the season starts.” The Bengals "indicated a deal could be made soon" and want to "make sure the city and county are prepared for the approval process so it can move quickly.” Paul Brown Stadium, named for Bengals' founder Paul Brown, is one of three NFL stadiums without naming rights. The others are the Packers' Lambeau Field and the Bears' Soldier Field. The team’s lease with the county “outlines a complicated profit-sharing formula that gives the county less money from a naming rights deal as time goes on.” Under the lease, the Bengals would "get the first $60.5 million and then 70% of the remaining revenue." The other 30% "would go to Hamilton County." The lease also said that even if “no money from the deal flows to the county," county commissioners still "must give written consent." Having the additional revenues from a naming rights partner “would enhance the capacity of the Bengals’ football operations department to keep the core players together and be able to spend up to the project salary cap levels in future years”.

Basketball:

Philadelphia 76ers owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer are partnering with Philadelphia developer David Adelman on a $1.3B proposal to "try to build a new NBA arena,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. It is “not the first time the Sixers have shown interest in vacating the Wells Fargo Center” to find their own home. The last time a sports venue was proposed in Center City, the plan “met a ton of opposition.” The Chinatown location favored by then-Mayor John F. Street was “in the mix for the Phillies’ new home” in the early 2000s. But neighborhood advocates, ticket holders, and even Phillies execs “snubbed the proposal.” The Sixers have “tried and failed to generate support” for a new home a bit closer to Center City. In 2020, the franchise “lost a bid” to build a new complex along the waterfront at Penn’s Landing. They have been “looking to move out of the Wells Fargo Center since at least 2020.” The Center City venue “would be ready to open by 2031,” just in time for the Sixers’ current lease at the Wells Fargo Center to expire.

Baseball:

MLB agreeing to a $185M settlement in the payment suit brought by former minor leaguers is the "latest step" in a "general reorganization of minor league baseball that included the takeover of the minor league system by the 30 major league clubs and the contraction and reorganization of the teams and leagues," according to David Waldstein of the N.Y. TIMES. Now, MLB "will have to arrive at a new system to pay minor leaguers." The co-counsel for the plaintiffs, Korein Tillery partner Garrett Broshuis, said, "Things are getting better, and this case is a big reason for that." MLB must "formally notify all clubs that they can no longer prohibit teams from paying players during spring training, extended spring training or any work period that is not during the championship season, which includes the regular season and the playoffs." Broshuis' firm would earn 30% of the payout, "according to the terms of the settlement," or $55M plus an additional $5M in fees. As MLB works on a new system of compensation, it "will do so unilaterally because minor league players are not represented" by the MLBPA, "or any other union, and there is no bargaining unit with which to negotiate".

Soccer:

La Liga club Atletico Madrid announced a new naming-rights partnership with Spanish real estate firm Civitas Pacensis following the club's previous stadium deal with Wanda expiring earlier this summer, according to Libertard Digital. Under the new deal, the name of the club's home will change from Wanda Metropolitano to Civitas Metropolitano. During the announcement of the new naming-rights deal, Atletico also revealed new information about its plans for a training facility next to the stadium. The club's partnership with Civitas will include collaboration on the construction of the new facility, and it is believed that the deal is worth around €10M ($10.25M) per year.

Other:

Fiume Capital and Juggernaut Capital Partners “led the purchase” of Thrill One Sports & Entertainment in a deal backed by current and former execs who built the UFC into a $4B company, and “plan to use their industry experience to expand action sports-focused Thrill One,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Sources said that the transaction, which gave former Thrill One backers Raine Group and Causeway Media Partners “an exit,” was valued at "about $300 million.” Co-investors included the venture creation studio of former professional skateboard and reality TV host Rob Dyrdek, UFC President Dana White and television producer Craig Piligian. Thrill One founder & CEO Joe Carr sees an opportunity to “build action sports along the lines of what UFC did to popularize mixed martial-arts competition.” Silver Lake-backed talent agency WME-IMG and other investors “bought UFC for about $4 billion” in 2016. Carr said that he “expects to make a series of acquisitions,” bringing additional action sports “into the Thrill One fold.” Ultimately, he said that, he envisions Thrill One “becoming the go-to place for action sports” much like UFC and WWE are for their respective genres. Juggernaut founder & Managing Partner John Shulman said that Thrill One “provided a logical next step after the firm and Fiume invested in 3 Step Sports LLC," a youth sports club and event operator.

Sources: SportsBusiness Journal, Sportico, Cincinatti Enquirer, Front Office Sports, Philadelphia Inquirer, Libertard Digital, WSJ

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