Moag & Company Sports Notes (26 Aug 2022)

Date: Aug 2022

Trivia

What sport used the term ‘home run’ long before baseball?  Cricket-- A home run occurs in baseball when a hit of the ball allows the batter to completely run the circuit of the bases and score a run.

Last Week’s Answer: The only sport to be played on the moon is a round of golf.

Football:

The Big Ten has finalized media rights contracts with CBS, Fox and NBC that will total more than $8 billion over seven years, making it the most lucrative conference rights deal in the history of college athletics. The three deals combined will pay the conference over $1.1 billion per year and put the Big Ten’s schools well ahead of their peers in revenue. The conference in its previous media rights deals with Fox and ESPN was making $440 million per year, meaning the new deals will provide the Big Ten with nearly a three-times increase starting with the 2023-24 season and going through the 2029-30 fiscal year. Fox has the premier package with 30-plus football games, while CBS and NBC will have 15-16 games each. The most notable absence in this set of deals is ESPN, which had a 40-year relationship with the Big Ten, but couldn’t come to terms with the conference during the most recent negotiations. ESPN’s current rights with the Big Ten go through 2022-23, however sources indicated there’s a possibility that talks could re-open to bring ESPN back to the table for a smaller package of games than what they originally negotiated. Even without ESPN, the Big Ten’s new set of partners will provide a powerhouse lineup of college football on Saturdays in the fall. It will start with Fox’s “Big Noon Saturday” at noon ET, followed by CBS’ 3:30 p.m. window and NBC’s new “Big Ten Saturday Night” game in prime time. The Fox-CBS-NBC triumvirate will provide the Big Ten with an NFL-like lineup of games on over-the-air TV. “The goal was to own each of these windows,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, the former Minnesota Vikings COO who used the NFL as a model for the Big Ten’s own rights negotiations. “To capture the hearts and minds and the fan avidity, I think you’ve got to make it very simple for your fans. So, I always had this visual, especially coming out of the NFL, that we’d have partners in each one of those windows. And then we’d have some special events, like two games on Black Friday.” FS1 and Big Ten Network also will carry a heavy dose of college football across its airwaves. Big Ten schools will benefit financially from the rights fees increases, but not right away. The conference has paid out right around $50 million per school under its current terms. That per-school average is not expected to change much in 2022-2023, the final year of the current deal.

Baseball:

Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno “has been thinking about” selling the team for a bit, and while the collapse of the deal for Angel Stadium “was one straw ... it wasn’t the only straw,” according to the L.A. Times. There has been a "lot of criticism lately of how the Angels have been run, and not unjustifiably because results are results. Beyond the win/loss record, it’s thin in the minor leagues, it’s thin in player development, it’s thin in scouting, it’s thin in marketing. It just needs a refresh, and I think Arte got to the point where he didn’t really want to deal it anymore.” The Angels are "never getting a ballpark built” and have a "cumbersome scenario with their finances. This team is a complete mess right now. I’m sure that drove Arte over the brink”. After years of “failures and Moreno’s misguided free-agent signings,” the Angels need a “dynamic and deep-pocketed owner (more likely owners) who will provide the vision and resources for a revival and then get out of the way, allowing baseball experts to build quality depth on the roster and rebuild a sorry scouting and development system.” The Angels are expected to “sell for more than the $2.2 billion valuation Forbes gave them this year” and “likely will require a group of investors.” Finding partners and forging alliances “could take time”. Moreno "offers a fixer upper for something like $2 billion, and probably more.” The team comes with a fan base that "showed up 3 million strong from 2003, his first year as an owner, through 2019, the season before the pandemic.” However, they also have a “bottom-five farm system” and a "ballpark that is lovely in spots, merely playable in others and fraying on the edges.” That Moreno and the Angels "squandered much" of CF Mike Trout’s prime “grew particularly galling over the past five seasons," when Trout was joined by P/DH Shohei Ohtani. Moreno “ignored baseball scouts and saddled the team with massive contracts for high-priced players who, unsurprisingly, underperformed.” After finding himself with both Trout and Ohtani, Moreno “suddenly turned into a cheapskate and didn’t surround them with a competitive team.” Everyone points to 2012 as the “beginning of the end.” That is when Moreno signed Albert Pujols to a 10-year contract. Instead of learning his lesson, Moreno “doubled down and kept signing past-their-prime players” like Josh Hamilton and Anthony Rendon, neither of whom panned out.

Basketball:

The Gail Miller family is "selling 'a portion'" of their remaining ownership of the Utah Jazz, according to the Deseret News. It is “not known” how much the family still owns, how much that stake is worth or who might but it. The move to sell was “initially agreed” upon when Ryan Smith bought majority ownership of the Jazz. The family “will retain ownership" of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League Salt Lake Bees. A source as saying that the move to sell was "tied to the recent announcement that Smith Entertainment Group was bringing in private equity firm Arctos Sports Partners as a minority investor." It was reported that Arctos and another partner “bought roughly a 10% stake from the Miller family." It is expected that SEG will, “at some point, buy the remaining shares from the Miller family." The family has had "zero input on management decisions since the original sale” in 2020 that saw a group headed by Smith acquire 80% of the Jazz from the Millers.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer "isn't sparing any detail" when it comes to the more than $2B privately funded Intuit Dome, and Ballmer has "his fingerprints all over what will be Inglewood's latest modern sports palace," according to ESPN.com. He "visits the construction site monthly" and has given "input on everything from the 38,375-square foot halo-shaped LED board to the 640 restrooms (twice as much as any other arena) down to the inches of space between fans' knees and the seat in front of them." Ballmer has "spent billions on the present and future of the Clippers." The team is not "just trying to compete with 29 other teams for a title." They "have to live and play in a city that has long been a purple and gold town." Ballmer is "trying to change that," even if it means "planting the Clippers logo in as much pavement as possible." The franchise's "first true home in Southern California" is "a futuristic L.A. landmark that will be designed to give fans every comfort in hopes of developing an actual home-court advantage." Ballmer and Clippers execs "visited at least 16 NBA arenas and venues overseas in Europe." Ballmer said, "You just copy ideas. These guys have a great practice facility. Copy that idea. These guys have great player space. These guys have family spaces. Very important".

Hockey:

In a move to gain more control of his teams’ local media rights, Ted Leonsis’ Monumental Sports & Entertainment is in the process of buying the NBC Sports Washington RSN from Comcast. Monumental, which already owns 33% of the channel, has agreed to buy the remaining two-thirds for an undisclosed price. “Fundamentally, we believe in the value of our local, live rights,” Monumental President of Media & New Enterprises Zach Leonsis said. “There’s been a lot made of the decline of the regional sports network industry. We very much believe that the value of our rights continues to increase and we think that it’s highly strategic for us to own our own destiny moving forward”.

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; ESPN.com; L.A. Times; Deseret News

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