Moag & Company Sports Notes (9 July 2021)

Date: Jul 2021

Trivia

What coach came off the bench to play for his team in the Stanley Cup finals?

Last Week’s Answer: The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable sports team in the world.

Football:

The owners of the XFL said they won’t attempt to field a season in 2022, confirming widely held suspicions that too much work remains in rebuilding the defunct property to launch so quickly. The SportsBusiness Journal reports the announcement came at the end of a statement confirming that strategic discussions with the Canadian Football League, announced in March, had ceased. “While our discussions with the CFL did not ultimately lead to a collaboration, the effort reinforced our belief and commitment to developing the XFL for international spring football,” an XFL statement read. “We look forward to seeing everyone for kickoff in spring of 2023”. After acquiring the XFL from Vince McMahon out of bankruptcy for $15 million in August 2020, the group including RedBird Capital, Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia initially said they were aiming to relaunch in spring 2022, and had been looking for a “chief football officer” to lead the way. But when the CFL talks were disclosed, the XFL said its plans were on hold. Now, they are going their separate ways. In a statement, the CFL said the talks were “positive and constructive.” The CFL reiterated it is focused on executing the 2021 season, which starts Aug. 5. The XFL-CFL idea garnered plenty of attention as fans and commentators imagined a possible merged, North American league, but insiders never gave many specifics about what might be accomplished together. 

Hockey:

The Tampa Bay Lightning's 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final sealed a 4-1 series win and "made Tampa Bay just the second team since the salary cap era began in 2005-06 to win back-to-back Stanley Cups." The Lightning also are the "first team to win the Cup on home ice" since 2015. After celebrating last year’s championship in an "empty arena in Edmonton after 65 days in a playoff bubble, the Lightning brought Lord Stanley home in front of an announced capacity crowd of 18,110" at Amalie Arena according to the Tampa Bay Times. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, "Full arena, incredible energy and another championship in Tampa. It feels like things are normal". Sports fans in the Tampa Bay area are "on an 11-month bender unlike anything we’ve ever seen before." A Stanley Cup that was "followed by a World Series appearance that was chased by a Super Bowl title and was then topped off with another Stanley Cup".

Baseball:

Oakland Athletics’ team brass are "set for their third trip to Las Vegas for meetings tied to a possible relocation to Southern Nevada," according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A’s Owner John Fisher and President Dave Kaval "will lead the team scheduled to be in Las Vegas", with "plans to meet with elected officials, hotel operators and again tour potential ballpark sites." When team execs took their second trip to Southern Nevada last month, they "hoped to trim the list of possible stadium sites, but instead that list grew to over 20." Although the club "again hopes to cut down that list on this visit," there "isn’t yet a clear-cut favorite site in the Las Vegas Valley." The A's are "still patiently waiting for a July 20 vote" by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff and the rest of the Oakland City Council on the "term sheet for a proposed waterfront ballpark and surrounding mixed-use development". Oakland city officials said that the A's "should stay in the city for 45 years," as taxpayers "could be on the hook for supporting community benefits around the team's $12 billion waterfront ballpark development." But the A's are "committing to no more than 20 years." The gap in proposed terms of a nonrelocation agreement between the A's and Oakland "emerged during an Oakland City Council committee workshop" as a "nonbinding term sheet for the team's proposed Howard Terminal project nears a July 20 vote of the full City Council." The July 20 meeting "is critical." Kaval has said that the franchise "needs City Council to commit to its vision of Howard Terminal".

Basketball:

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced two new NFT-based bits of news this morning, including the team’s first NFT minting and the purchase of three pieces of NFT digital art for public display in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse according to SportsBusiness Journal. The Cavs’ first move into the blockchain world was a partnership with blockchain outfit RECUR to mint an NFT of the team’s locker room. Over 50 of the NFTs were gifted to corporate partners at a private business conference earlier this month. The process was in some ways a test for upcoming NFT announcements that the Cavs are planning for their fanbase ahead of the '21-22 season. Also, as a digital extension of the team’s Public Art Program, the Cavs recently acquired three basketball-themed NFT art pieces to be featured on LED videoboards at the arena. The pieces -- "Transcendence," by Dillon Hutchins, "Lemon Dunk Tree," by Isaac Garcia, and "Brick Squad," also by Hutchins -- were purchased on NFT marketplace Foundation. The works are displayed on the four-story tall, eight-million-pixel Canyon LED board just inside the Fieldhouse’s public entrance.

Soccer:

LaLiga President Javier Tebas addressed the possibility of Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona this summer, saying, "We always want the best players, but Neymar left, Cristiano Ronaldo left and we're still here, still growing. And as far as I know neither Serie A nor Ligue 1 have grown as much as they would have liked.” Tebas added, "When the Italian league took Ronaldo, they said broadcast rights would go up. They have just lost $237 million on international television rights and on a national level it's 10% down. I would be sorry if Messi left, he's the best ever, but we should not become obsessed with individual players." According to Manchester Evening News, Tebas said that he believes Messi is "closer" to re-signing for Barcelona, but doesn't know "if he would be registered in time" for the start of the '21-22 LaLiga season, as the club reportedly cannot register any new players "until they show they have reduced their debt." Tebas said when asked about City possibly signing Messi, "City have lost $320 million during the pandemic so obviously they wouldn't even consider signing Messi on his previous salary." The LaLiga president also said that "owners investing in their clubs as City do is damaging the football ecosystem" Tebas insisted that LaLiga "would not be flexible when it comes to registering Messi's new deal," saying that he believes Barca will make the necessary cutbacks. Barcelona President Joan Laporta reacted to Tebas' comments, saying, "Everything is going well" when asked about the negotiations with Messi.

Other:

As the NCAA's new NIL policy begins, there are likely to be a handful of deals consummated with some of the top athletes/influencers that "could be worth upwards of $500,000," according to CBS Sports. Sources have continually said that only the "top 2% or so of athletes will get the really big deals." However, Opendorse Co-Founder & CEO Blake Lawrence said that "everyone will get something -- with 100% of Division I athletes receiving 'at least one NIL deal.'" Dodd noted while that figure "might seem high," another source providing NIL platform services for athletes "put it at 'easily 60% and probably more.'" Lawrence said that three quarters of athletes in revenue sports "should get an NIL deal in excess of $1,000".

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; BizJournals, CBS Sports; Manchester Evening News; Tampa Bay Times; Las Vegas Review-Journal

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