Moag and Company Sports Notes (09 November 2018)

Date: Nov 2018

Trivia

Who is the NHL hockey coach to win the most Stanley Cups?

Last Week’s Answer:  The Minneapolis Lakers (now the LA Lakers) were the first to win 3 or more NBA championships in a row. They did it in 1951/52, 1952/53, and 1953/54. Of course, the kings of winning multiple NBA championships in a row are the Boston Celtics. They won 8 in a row starting with the 1958/59 season and ending with the 1965/66 season.

Football:

The NFL "is fun once again," and with the '18 season at its midpoint, the league is "riding a new high, with television ratings up and fans filling stadiums to cheer their favorite teams," according to the AP. Recently, a "shootout in New Orleans was widely entertaining" -- the New Orleans Saints beat the previously unbeaten Los Angeles Rams 45-35 -- as well as a "showdown of quarterback greats" in the New England Patriots' Tom Brady and the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers. Meanwhile, a "group of exciting young quarterbacks are letting everyone know the future of the sport is in good hands." That is one reason why scoring is at "record levels" and why 27 of the 32 teams are "averaging more than 20 points a game." These are "good times for a league that has taken blow after blow the last few years only to emerge with its position of America's favorite sport safely intact." What at one point "looked like a season lost is now looking like a season to remember".

Baseball:

The Atlanta Braves' Q3 revenue increased by $15M, from $185M-200M, "compared with the same period a year earlier," continuing an "upward trend since the Braves moved to SunTrust Park" prior to the '17 season, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves' operating profit before depreciation and amortization also grew by $24M in Q3, from $48M-72M, compared to Q3 in '17. The team's revenue growth was attributed to "'increased ticket prices, higher attendance and increased concessions per turnstile' and to increased operations at The Battery Atlanta." Of the Braves' $200M in Q3 revenue, $190M "came from baseball" and $10M from The Battery. The Braves' operating profit after depreciation and amortization was $45M, "up from a loss" of $9M in the same period a year ago. The two home NLDS games against the Los Angeles Dodgers last month were "not included in the financial results".

The Los Angeles Dodgers "plan to keep their player payroll below" the luxury tax threshold for "at least the next four years," according to a document prepared for potential investors and reviewed by the L.A. Times. The team's final '18 payroll was $195M, and by cutting it to the "point where they were not assessed a tax, the Dodgers reduced their tax rate for future years." Under the projections, the Dodgers would spend $185M in '19 and '20, $191M in '21 and $196M in '22. Those projections are "not binding," and one team official "called the figures a 'forecast.'" Another official indicated that he would be "'shocked' if the player payroll did not top" $200M next season. MLB's luxury tax will be $206M in '19 before growing $2M in both '20 and '21; the '22 threshold has "not been set." It is "uncertain whether the Dodgers could reduce their payroll" to $185M next season. Should C Yasmani Grandal and P Hyun-Jin Ryu accept a "qualifying offer, and if the team extends salary arbitration to seven players," payroll would stand at about $190M for 16 players. The Dodgers this season were able to "avoid paying a luxury tax for the first time" in Guggenheim Baseball Management's six full seasons of ownership.

Basketball:

Delaware North is "taking the wraps off of the biggest expansion in the 23-year history of the TD Garden" -- a 50,000-square-foot, $100M addition "designed to add concessions, spruce up club areas, increase seating and ... give the Garden a proper front door," according to the Boston Globe. The new main entrance is "connected to the 1.9 million-square-foot Hub on Causeway project, which Delaware North and Boston Properties are building on the adjacent site of the old Boston Garden." That will allow TD Garden to "expand and offer fans a wider array of ways and places to watch a game." The project includes "expanding the two main concourses, at the lodge and balcony levels, and adding pop-up food areas and bars, and huge TVs for fans who would rather linger in the hallways." Delaware North will "build a new club area -- for the newly renamed 'Boston Garden Society' -- on the fifth and sixth floors with views of the downtown skyline." There also will be a "new bar on the eighth level and, on the ninth floor, another club area -- 'Rafters' -- with a new row of seating hanging out over the Garden’s existing stands." All told, the improvements will "increase the arena's capacity by more than 400." Most of the work is "scheduled to be complete by next fall," in time for the '19-20 Bruins and Celtics seasons. There also will be some "nuts-and-bolts changes, including new seats in the arena's bowl, new locker rooms for the Celtics and Bruins, and expanded women's restrooms".

Soccer:

David Beckham "scored the biggest victory yet" in his quest to field an MLS team in Miami after about 60% of voters "endorsed plans to transform a city-owned golf course into Miami Freedom Park, a massive stadium and commercial complex," according to the Miami Herald. Now Inter Miami FC's ownership group has "permission to negotiate a lease of city land" next to Miami Int'l Airport for a 73-acre "redevelopment that would include a 25,000-seat stadium, at least 750 hotel rooms and at least 1 million square feet of office, retail and commercial space." However, the deal will "require four out of five votes from city commissioners, and those votes were far from assured." The pro-stadium campaign "benefited from strong support from soccer fans who have longed for an MLS team throughout Beckham’s five-year odyssey to field a side in South Florida." The ownership group "spent nearly $900,000 on the campaign." Beckham acknowledged that there were residents who "remain unconvinced, and there is still work to be done to reach a final agreement". In the run-up to election day, Inter Miami Managing Owner Jorge Mas said that there is "no Plan B -- and the group wouldn't reconsider abandoning the Overtown site if the measure lost." Inter Miami is slated to begin play in MLS in '20 at a temporary home.

Other:

Apollo Global, one of several private-equity firms considering a bid for Disney's 22 RSNs, has "held early talks with LeBron James' media company, Uninterrupted, about bringing them on as a strategic partner," according to sources cited by NBC News. Sources said that Apollo's talks with Uninterrupted have "focused on a strategic partnership deal that could see James contributing and advising on content for the networks." There has been "no talk of an ownership stake" for Uninterrupted. The 22 RSNs are "highly coveted properties at a time when sports and live events are the coin of the realm for linear television." The question is "what to do with those networks when the games aren't on." The talks with Uninterrupted "point to a possible solution". Meanwhile, TMZ.com reported rappers LL Cool J and Ice Cube are "joining forces" to create a "powerful group looking to bid" on the 22 RSNs. Joining them in their bid is jewelry company Alex & Ani Founder Carolyn Rafaelian. Sources said that the group is also "in talks with other sports and cultural icons who are interested in participating in the bid. Sources expect a deal to close in Q1 of next year and could fetch around $20B. Up to 40 bidders have signed an NDA to look at the RSNs. Regulators have told Disney that it needs to divest the RSNs as a condition of its $71.3B acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets.

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