Moag & Company Sports Notes (23 Sept 2022)

Date: Oct 2022

Trivia

What NFL team was originally called the “New York Titans”?

Last Week’s Answer: In 1956, Don Larson pitched the only no-hit game in World Series history.

Football:

Apple Music has struck a deal to become the next title sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show, the NFL announced. Apple replaces Pepsi, which did not renew its rights this spring after a 10-year run. The deal runs for five years and will cost Apple about $50M annually, a source said, on the high end of what the NFL had been seeking when Pepsi left. The halftime show is typically the peak-viewership time for the largest annual TV event. It drew 120 million viewers in February for the lineup of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar. Apple remains in talks with the NFL on a possible deal to carry the Sunday Ticket out-of-market package and buy part of NFL Media properties. But other streaming companies have also bid, and a mega-deal is not imminent, sources have said. “Music and sports hold a special place in our hearts, so we’re very excited Apple Music will be part of music and football’s biggest stage,” said Apple VP/Apple Music and Beats Oliver Schusser. As it became clear that Pepsi was not likely to renew in 2021, the NFL began to describe a vision of working with a modern tech or content company to dramatically increase the content and media opportunities around the 12-minute concert. Few details were shared in the official announcement, but the NFL has foreshadowed its hopes for this deal in the past.

Baseball:

There “seems to be a decreasing chance” that the Oakland City Council will reach a deal with the Oakland A’s and vote on it “before the end of this year, as the A’s have been strongly requesting,” according the S.F. Chronicle. Council member Noel Gallo said it is "not going to happen” by the end of the year. Gallo said his fellow council members are “increasingly concerned about protecting the city’s general fund from being eaten alive by cost overruns or miscalculations.” Gallo “is pushing hard” for the A’s “to ditch” the Howard Terminal project and build a ballpark at the Coliseum site. When asked whether the city of Oakland had heard from the A’s since the City Council meeting, Gallo said, “No, no, they’re not talking. We tried, and they say they’re sitting there, waiting. They’re waiting for us to make a commitment to the dollars for the off-site (infrastructure) and cost overruns, and raising the money.” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the City Council “seemingly have bent backward about as far as they can without breaking, but the A’s seem to be waiting for the breaking.” The mayor and City Council “are really motivated to see this deal get done on their watch.” But they can "bend only so far without joining political predecessors who hurt Oakland deeply by caving in to greedy team owners". Oakland leaders “painted a stark picture” of negotiations between the city and the A’s on a $12B waterfront ballpark project and surrounding development, saying that the two sides "still need to hammer out how to pay for millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades, and agree on affordable housing and a non-relocation agreement.” City Administrator Ed Reiskin said that negotiations “would have to be completed within the next week or so” to get a final vote from the City Council before the end of the year -- which is “what the A’s have been hoping for.” But with outstanding issues “still on the table, it’s unclear if the two sides will reach an agreement this year.” Oakland officials said they are “in the process of securing close to $320 million” in federal and state funds to pay for off-site infrastructure upgrades, but “cautioned that public costs would be ‘significantly’ more.” The A’s have urged the City Council to take a final vote before the end of the year, when a new mayor will take office and the makeup of the City Council will change. The A’s “have to budget a little bit more, they have to be more transparent, they have to maybe offer a little bit more than they have offered” if they want to remain in Oakland. “This city council and this mayor have done more for the Oakland A’s than any other previous mayor and city council … and right now, it’s all about infrastructure and who will pay for it.” The “problem with Oakland is it’s basically broke and they’re still paying for the monstrosity that is” the legacy of Al Davis and now Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis. “They’re still paying for what Al Davis did many, many years with the expansion of the Coliseum, and they don’t want any more overruns with this project.” If the A’s do try and relocate to Las Vegas, would 75% of MLB owners “give the entire Northern California” area to the San Francisco Giants, when there are "three teams in Southern California?" Also, would 75% of the owners "agree that the A’s would move to Vegas to forfeit all that expansion money,” possibly $2.2B for an expansion team.

Basketball:

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that he "backed" Robert Sarver’s plans to look for buyers for the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, according to of the Wall Street Journal. Silver last week defended his sanctions against Sarver, who said that he would "begin the process of finding buyers for the basketball teams," after an investigation into his workplace conduct prompted the league to suspend him for a year and fine him $10M. Silver said the sale of the franchises is the "right next step for the organization and community." NBPA President and New Orleans Pelicans G CJ McCollum "thanked Sarver 'for making a swift decision that was in the best interest of our sports community.'" Suns Legacy Partners, the entity that manages and operates the Suns and Mercury, issued a similar statement, adding: “Today’s news does not change the work that remains in front of us." WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the league “welcomes the news that the process of seeking buyers for the Phoenix Mercury has begun, and remains committed to upholding the diverse and inclusive values that the league has stood for over 25 years.” A sale of the Suns could "continue to raise the price tag of franchises in the NBA." In 2017, the Nets sold to Joe Tsai at a record $2.3B valuation.

Soccer:

Manchester United reported fourth-quarter revenue of $133.5 million, a 26.1% year-over-year increase, and $657.1 million in annual revenue, an 18% spike. Matchday revenue for the quarter jumped 830.4% to $24.1 million, commercial revenue increased 22.4% to $71.44 million, and broadcasting revenue fell 15.5% to $37.97 million. The increases were primarily attributed to the return of fans to Old Trafford. Man United achieved several records over the fiscal year. Women’s season tickets for the upcoming season have generated a 55% increase. The club has sold a record number of global memberships and sold out of its new premium membership tier. United had a “record number of executive club renewals with the fastest sellout ever at record revenue levels.” E-commerce revenues hit a record, nearly doubling 2021’s figure. As of June 30, the club’s net debt was around $580 million. The club expects FY2023 revenue to fall between $653 million and $676 million. Forbes last valued Man United at $4.6 billion — the third-highest soccer club. The owners of Manchester United — the Glazer family — have faced growing criticism for their handling of the club, with fans calling for them to sell. Since January, the club has held two quarterly meetings of its Fans’ Advisory Board with chairman Joel Glazer in attendance. The meetings give fans an opportunity to meet with club representatives. Man United has also hired its first head of fan engagement and appointed Erik ten Hag as manager in May.

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; ESPN.com; San Jose Mercury News; N.Y. Post; S.F. Chronicle; Wall Street Journal

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