Moag and Company Sports Notes (11 Oct 2019)

Date: Oct 2019

Trivia

Who were the first 3 major league baseball players to become members of the 500 home run club?

Last Week’s Answer: Jim Zorn was the first QB to play for the Seattle Seahawks.   

Football:

Oakland Raiders President Marc Badain said that about 96% of the PSLs for the 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium "already have been sold, with the sales process expected to wrap up by Thanksgiving," according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Raiders are "already a big hit" in Las Vegas, as the "surge of buying has surpassed the team's original goal set about three years ago." Badain said, "They've certainly outpaced initial projections. But once we had the deposit list and we knew what the demand was we realized demand was a lot stronger than we initially projected." He added that all premium seating is "accounted for, with some reserved seats available in the first and third decks of the stadium." The Raiders' PSLs "range from $500-$75,000." The Raiders' "robust PSL sales have afforded the team to add" $130M in upgrades to the stadium. Badain said that the wait list for PSLs in the future is "expected to be large." Badain: "Of the deposit campaign there should be 15,000-20,000 that we unfortunately wouldn't have a chance to get to. We're getting deposits every day. We'll create a different list, probably a ticket waiting list for single tickets or things of that nature".

The NFL "remains an anomaly" in the midst of a season where the "price of a 30-second commercial in a majority of broadcast TV's premiere shows is on a decline," according to ADAGE.com. NBC's "SNF" once again "came in at No. 1 on Ad Age's annual pricing survey of media agencies," with Fox' "TNF" coming in at No. 2. Advertisers paid an average of $685,227 for a 30-second commercial on "SNF" so far this year, "flat compared with last year." While the price for a "SNF" ad "hasn't meaningfully increased in the last two seasons, it also hasn't seen the same erosion as broadcast's entertainment programming." Meanwhile, "TNF" was one of the "biggest price gainers of the season, with a 30-second spot costing $540,090 on average," up 24% from last year's average price of $434,078. Fox' national Sunday windows, which are "not technically in primetime, cost about $689,988 for 30-seconds of commercial time, flat with last season.

Baseball:

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is "looking to revive talks" for a new MLB ballpark in the city, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Castor, who was at Tropicana Field for the Tampa Bay Rays' ALDS Game 4 win, said, "It's very, very important to keep the Rays in Tampa Bay. We've shown that we can support all of our sports teams, and we just need to work with the Rays to decide what the best location is for the stadium." Castor confirmed that there are "not any active talks" to bring a Rays ballpark to Tampa or Hillsborough County. She said that the Rays' playoff run "reminds the community of the need to work together to keep the team in Tampa Bay." Castor: "I just want to sit down and have those discussions with the Rays. If it's in conjunction with St. Pete, with Pinellas, with Hillsborough, with Tampa, just bring everybody together and figure out what's best for the region." Castor reiterated that Tampa would "not pay for a new ballpark with taxpayer funds".

The city of Oakland "could be backing off from its lawsuit against Alameda County after a stark warning" from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred that Oakland "could lose yet another pro sports team if the Oakland A's aren't able to build" a new waterfront ballpark, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The lawsuit seeks to "block the proposed sale of Alameda County's half-ownership share" to the A's. Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan and member Larry Reid indicated that it was their "desire for the city and the county to work out a 'shared strategy' for the future of the Coliseum site outside of court, and that city staff has been directed to negotiate with the county to make that happen." Reid confirmed that the City Council will "discuss the lawsuit again in closed session Oct. 15; the council could vote to drop it then." The A's intend to "redevelop the Coliseum site in East Oakland into a mixed-use complex" while simultaneously "building a 35,000-seat ballpark at the 50-acre Howard Terminal site".

Soccer:

Columbus has "reported its public contribution" of $50M for the Columbus Crew's new stadium, but the city's "total cost is really much higher -- close to double" that, according to the Columbus Dispatch. As city department heads earlier this year "planned for the stadium, documents show they didn't have one budget, but two." One was for costs included in the $50M, and one for "those outside of it, spread across various departmental budgets and funding sources." In one spreadsheet circulated among city officials, City Auditor Megan Kilgore "tallied up what at the time were the project costs" of almost $98M, split between two sections: the $50M and "Other Projects." But most of the "Other Projects" listed in the document "now are formally city obligations under the draft development contract released in June between the city, the Crew and Franklin County." The contract "assigns city obligations of: a new riverside park and new pedestrian bridge across the Olentangy River at the stadium site, burying high-voltage AEP power lines at the stadium site, completing site environmental remediation, donating city land, making added street and traffic signal improvements near the site, and building a 600-plus-car parking garage." The contract "hasn't yet been consummated with the parties' signatures," so details "can still change -- even as the team has scheduled a stadium groundbreaking." That "might shed light on why the land needed for the new stadium, owned by Nationwide Realty Investors, has not yet been purchased".

The addition of FC Cincinnati helped MLS hit an all-time attendance mark in '19 (8.7 million), though average game attendance (21,322) was down 2.5% from '18. Part of the drop could be attributed to the 18 weather delays this season, double from last year. Atlanta United continued to lead all clubs with a 52,510 average at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, followed by the Seattle Sounders at 40,247. Minnesota United, playing in its newly opened Allianz Field stadium, sold out every match this season and drew 19,723 on average. FC Cincinnati averaged 27,336 fans in its inaugural MLS season at Nippert Stadium.

Hockey:

AHL Charlotte Checkers COO Tera Black said that the team "made strides last season toward breaking even financially" en route to winning the Calder Cup championship, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. Winning the Cup "helped push revenue past" $5M from a range of $4-4.5M in recent seasons. With the Checkers' fifth season at Bojangles' Coliseum starting, team execs are "optimistic they can make additional gains with ticket and sponsor sales." Meanwhile, "renewal rates for full-season tickets grew" to 90% heading into '19-20, up from 80%. To that point, Checkers Senior VP Shawn Lynch said that "overall, season-ticket equivalents have reached 2,000 for the first time." Revenue at the Bojangles' Coliseum complex, which includes nearby Ovens Auditorium, is projected to "reach $9 million during the current fiscal year," triple the amount in '15. The team played at Spectrum Center from '05-15, but since returning to Bojangles' Coliseum ahead of the '15-16 season, attendance "has grown," reaching a per-game average of 6,682 in '18-19.

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic; ESPN.com; Las Vegas Review-Journal; ADAGE.com; Tampa Bay Times; San Jose Mercury News; Columbus Dispatch; Charlotte Business Journal

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