Moag & Company Sports Notes (28 Oct 2022)

Date: Oct 2022


Which is the only country to have played in each and every World Cup?

Last Week’s Answer: William Howard Taft was the first president to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a Major League Baseball game.


The Tennessee Titans released more detailed renderings of their planned 60,000-seat stadium following the announcement that the team and the city of Nashville had reached an agreement for a new $2.1B enclosed stadium. The renderings show a boxy, angular stadium indeed enclosed by a circular, translucent, ETFE roof, but also exterior terraces and porches, attractive social spaces with panoramic views of Nashville’s downtown, a feature the new building would share with the Titans’ current home, Nissan Stadium. The team also mentions a 12,000-square foot community space that could be utilized year-round. The Titans haven’t picked a design architect or architect of record for the new stadium project yet, though. The team is aiming for a US Green Building Council LEED Gold certified stadium project, and plan to use high tech and sustainable materials throughout the structure. The stadium will sit amid a wider development on the East Bank of the Cumberland River.


St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak confirmed "what had been expected” -- an “increase in payroll for the 2023 season,” according the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As the Cardinals “plotted their way out of a pandemic-shortened season and limits on ticket sales,” they saw 2023 “as a return to what had been steady payroll growth due to increase broadcast-rights revenue.” And then they “hit jackpot in 2022,” with DH Albert Pujols’ return. Pujols' "second-half thunder toward 700 career home runs and his farewell tour" with C Yadier Molina was "good for business,” restoring the Cardinals’ ticket-sales attendance to second in the league and ahead of estimates. Mozeliak said that revenue “will spill over into payroll.” The Cardinals finished the 2022 season around $170M, per MLB’s luxury tax calculations. That put them at the 12th-highest payroll, outside of the top 10, “where they had ranked often before COVID-19 crowd limits.” They also ranked “last among the NL playoff teams.” Eleven Cardinals are “arbitration eligible and due raises,” but with other contract relief and departures, the Cardinals “can exert the power of their purse, if they choose.” The Cardinals “could see one of the largest single-season leaps in spending and still stay shy” of $200M. They will “narrow that gap, not close it”.


Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin has sold his 10% stake in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, "completing a divestment as a limited partner" of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils. David Adelman purchased "a substantial share of Rubin's stake" and now joins HSBE co-founders Josh Harris and David Blitzer "as a limited partner in the Sixers and Devils." Adelman is the Chair of 76 Devcorp, a real estate development company "working to build a new 76ers arena" in downtown Philadelphia. Rubin "divested his 11-year stake" in the Sixers and Devils "largely because of looming conflicts in the expansion of his Fanatics business into sports betting and individual player partnerships". Forbes "estimated the 10% stake is valued" at roughly $250M.


Las Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley said that he has submitted his application to the Premier League to buy the club AFC Bournemouth and is “hoping to get approval by mid-November,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He said that the transaction, “expected to cost $133 million,” has been “signed and he will have the funds to finalize it Oct. 31.” Foley has “bought a house in the area and obtained permits for a new training facility.” He also “wants to revamp Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium or build a new one,” because the maximum capacity of “about 11,300 is the smallest in the league.” Foley said that he wants to “have 22,000 to 24,000 seats.” While he figures that out, he “plans to be active” when the transfer window for buying and selling players opens in January. Bournemouth is 12th in the Premier League standings but “only four points clear of relegation.” Foley hopes to “improve the team’s attack,” as it has scored 10 goals in 11 games. He said, “My whole character is about doing something new, doing something different, learning. That’s what I’m going to be doing with football”.

With NWSL Portland Thorns and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson under “growing pressure to sell" the teams, competing groups have "formed hoping to buy stakes in the vaunted yet troubled soccer franchise,” according to the Portland Oregonian. Former Nike exec Melanie Strong, who left the company in 2019 after she “confronted top management about widespread pay inequity at the company between men and women," confirmed that she and her team are “interested in acquiring a stake in the organization.” Another group called Onward Rose City surfaced “championing a grassroots community effort to buy both soccer teams.” Hillsboro venture fund Elevate Capital exec partner Chris Bright is “leading the effort,” which “appears to have the support of the influential fan groups that sing, chant and pound drums during games.” The group “envisions a type of community ownership" similar to the Packers. 107 Independent Supporters Trust President Gabby Rosas confirmed her group has "met with multiple ... would-be buyers or investors.” Mounting pressure for Paulson to "divest from the teams is coming from all quarters," including the "three people competing to hold the state’s highest office.” All three candidates for Oregon governor when asked during a debate Wednesday whether Paulson should sell the teams, “without equivocation, said yes.” Paulson has “yet to indicate he will sell” and “insists that neither the Timbers, the Thorns nor Peregrine, are for sale”.

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily;; S.F. Chronicle; USA Today; ProFootballTalk; St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Philadelphia Inquirer; Las Vegas Review-Journal; Portland Oregonian

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