Moag & Company Sports Notes (29 Oct 2021)

Date: Nov 2021

Trivia

In horse racing, the Triple Crown is awarded to a horse that wins which three races?

Last Week’s Answer: The diameter of a basketball hoop is 18 inches.

Football:

The Buffalo Bills' effort to build a new stadium is “beginning to pick up momentum, both in the eyes of NFL leaders and political officials" -- including the N.Y. governor's office, according to the Buffalo News. Owners and execs from the NFL’s 32 teams during meetings this week were “briefed on the status of the Bills’ negotiations with government officials for public funding to construct a stadium in Orchard Park" for a projected $1.4B. Pegula Sports & Entertainment Exec VP Ron Raccuia said that the details of that roughly 10-minute presentation “were not shared publicly," but it “illustrated a sense of ‘collaboration and effort’ between the Bills, New York State and Erie County.” Raccuia said that the sides are meeting “at least weekly, if not more than that.” Raccuia: “Everyone’s happy with the collaboration and the effort.” N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul said that she “expects the stadium project to be included in the state budget," which is proposed in January, then negotiated with legislators. It must be approved by April 1. Hochul’s comments “indicate she expects the stadium to be part of the final budget," although it "doesn’t mean the project must be included in the initial proposal.” Raccuia said that before Hochul -- a Buffalo native -- took office in August, the state of negotiators under then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo were “largely silent.” Erie County Exec Mark Poloncarz has “expressed a desire to see a deal done in the next 10 weeks or so.” He said, “We’d like to get a deal done by the end of the year.” The Bills have one more season left on their current lease at Highmark Stadium, which expires in July ’23.

Baseball:

Seattle Mariners Chair John Stanton announced that Ken Griffey Jr. has become "only the second new partner in the last 30 years and the first in the last 20 years," and his role is not honorary, it is "real, and the hope is that it will be impactful on a lot of fronts," according to the Seattle Times. The Mariners partnership group currently numbers 18; "some are individuals, some are couples (who count as one)." Every other year, a partner is able to buy and sell shares in the team. Stanton said that Griffey "purchased his shares (not disclosed) from a partner -- not deposed team president Kevin Mather." Before Griffey could join the partnership group, a "vote of the existing partners was needed," and the "decision to accept was unanimous." Griffey "actually joined the partnership group in September and took part in the group’s first partner call then." The team considered announcing Griffey as a partner at that point, but "he intervened" because he "didn’t want to shift the focus away from the team’s push for the postseason, one that ultimately fell short." The announcement "will no doubt be warmly embraced by fans, perhaps even the skeptical crowd who might only view this development as the means to build goodwill after Mather’s tone-deaf comments earlier this year cost the team president his job." The news about Griffey was "surely a breath of fresh air".

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to "support a non-binding resolution declaring the county's willingness to keep studying its financial participation in the Oakland A's planned massive development on the waterfront," according to the S.F. Chronicle. Those looking for "signs of hope that the Oakland A's might have a future in Oakland" may have seen some "glimmers" from the meeting. Alameda County "advanced the ball" or at least they "didn't take their ball and go home." A "no" vote "would have fatally kneecapped the entire project." This is "not a slam-dunk home-run touchdown opportunity for the city and county." Ostler: "There are risks. The county opted to step up to the plate and roll the dice for all the marbles." Although they can "change their collective mind at any later time." It was encouraging that A's President Dave Kaval, in his presentation to the board, was "mostly patient, civil and chipper." Kaval was a "new guy, putting aside the blaming and bullying tactics of the spring." Kaval was "more like the kind of fellow that city and county officials can work with, assuming he carries the new look into private meetings and negotiations".

Basketball:

Toronto's major pro teams all "have run relatively smoothly and quietly over a period of years," but all being partially owned by Rogers Communications and therefore embroiled in the drama surrounding Edward Rogers and Rogers Communications means they "haven’t entirely been spared," according to the Toronto Sun. The "big question is what happens next," as the courts will decide if Rogers is "still chairman of the Rogers board, or if he was successfully deposed by a group that includes his mother and two sisters." As it relates to the Rogers sports properties, unless Edward Rogers "ends up taking his ball and going home, it seems likely he will still have some presence around MLSE and, particularly, the Blue Jays," of which he remains Chair. That the story of Rogers' clash with Raptors President & Vice Chair Masai Ujiri emerged now "suggests that his ability to wreak havoc at MLSE is muted." But "what if Rogers remains in charge of the baseball team, but is effectively blocked off from the levers of power at the parent company that owns the Jays?" Stinson: "There is, to be clear, no reason to believe that the Rogers management team he has been trying to punt is any less interested in the Blue Jays". The legal battle between Edward Rogers and his family is "really a chance to dislodge this particular Rogers from the central fabric of the city." That would be "for the best." But "imagine a future where Ed Rogers has even more influence when it comes to the Leafs, the Raptors, the Blue Jays, the Argos and Toronto FC." This power struggle "will basically decide whether Edward runs Rogers alone or not," and a victory "would presumably mean his sister Melinda Rogers-Hixon wouldn’t be terribly welcome on the MLSE board of directors, not when there are Rogers flunkies lying around all over the place".

Soccer:

Las Vegas Golden Knights Owner Bill Foley is "bowing out of his quest to lead a group" to bring an MLS team to Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Foley said that another investor is "still seeking to land a team in Southern Nevada," but he "didn’t name the potential investor who is leading the charge out of respect to that person and the MLS." Foley "didn’t rule out possibly owning a minority stake or having a hand in handling front office duties for the potential franchise." Foley, through his Foley Entertainment Group, filed to "trademark Las Vegas Heroes for a pro soccer team." If Las Vegas is awarded a team, Foley said that it is possible the franchise "could play at an alternative location while an MLS stadium is built." MLS Commissioner Don Garber earlier this month said that the league’s 30th team "would be announced within the next year".

Other:

Comcast said that its Q3 net profit doubled, boosted by “strong revenue growth” at its NBCUniversal, which benefited from the Tokyo Games, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company reported Q3 net profit of $4.04B, compared with $2.02B a year earlier, surpassing FactSet analysts’ estimates. Revenue rose 19% to $30.3B. The rise in revenue comes despite NBCU drawing its "lowest Summer Olympics ratings," with the Tokyo Games averaging 15.5 million primetime TV viewers over 17 days. The event “still boosted” its quarterly revenue. The company “had used the Olympics as a springboard for Peacock," featuring most of the live events and original shows solely for Peacock customers. NBCU’s revenue for its media segment, which includes broadcast and cable TV, rose 48% to $6.8B, greatly benefiting from the Olympics, which “draws a lot of advertising revenue” for the company.

Sources: SportsBusiness Journal, Buffalo News; Seattle Times; S.F. Chronicle; Toronto Sun;  Las Vegas Review-Journal; Wall Street Journal

 
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