Moag and Company Sports Notes (12 April 2019)

Date: Apr 2019

Trivia

What was Tiger Woods first PGA tour victory?

Last Week’s Answer: The Miami Heat won their first NBA Championship in 2006. They defeated the Dallas Mavericks 4 games to 2 to take the championship. Heat Guard Dwyane Wade was the MVP for the series.  

Football:

Two class-action lawsuits "have been filed this week by former employees" of the AAF after the league's abrupt suspension of operations earlier this month, according to ESPN.com. The players' suit was "filed in the Superior Court of the State of California," and former Birmingham Iron Dir of Community Relations James Roberson Jr.'s suit was "filed in the U.S. District Court" in Northern California. Roberson is "suing the AAF and its LLC, Legendary Field Exhibitions, along with a handful of investors," including former NFLers Jared Allen and Troy Polamalu. League co-Founder Bill Polian, AAF Head of Football Operations J.K. McKay and MGM Resorts Int'l also are "listed as co-defendants." The players' lawsuit, filed by Iron P Colton Schmidt and Orlando Apollos LB Reggie Northrup under the name "AAF Players," targets Legendary Field Exhibitions, AAF Chair Tom Dundon, co-Founder Charlie Ebersol and the Ebersol Sports Media Group. Attorney Boris Treyzon, representing the players, said that Schmidt and Northrup are the "only players named for now, but others have expressed interest in joining." The players are "requesting each plaintiff and class-action member get three times the damages they endured, general damages and punitive damages".

Baseball:

Miami Marlins Owner Bruce Sherman and CEO Derek Jeter are now in their second year running the franchise, which is a "crucial stretch -- that could determine the organization's long-term financial stability," according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Two of the "crucial building blocks are the on-going negotiations for a new TV contract" and the search for ballpark naming rights. With one of the "worst media rights deals in the league," the Marlins are leaving upwards of $60M annually on the table and "missing out on another consistent revenue stream with no partner attached to Marlins Park." The Marlins said that they have "added 50 new corporate partners" since new ownership took over. One of Marlins VP/Head of Partnership Development & Strategy David Oxfeld’s "key tasks will be securing a naming rights partner" for the ballpark. Oxfeld said that the franchise "doesn’t have any self-imposed deadline for securing naming rights." Meanwhile, the Marlins are "entering the tail end of a 10-year contract" with FS Florida that is one of the "worst in baseball." While a nine-figure deal "isn’t likely, the Marlins will see a significant revenue boost with the future deal." Negotiations with FS Florida on the new TV contract have been "on-going for over 18 months".

Basketball:

The Indiana Pacers and Indianapolis have agreed to a $295M deal that keeps the team in the city "for the next 25 years," according to the Indianapolis Star. The Marion County Capital Improvement Board "voted unanimously in favor of the deal" that is "contingent on the Indiana General Assembly finding money to pay for the majority" of the agreement. The CIB, "funded through that legislation, would provide" $270M toward upgrades of Bankers Life Fieldhouse "over the course of the 25-year extension." The city "would contribute" the remaining $25M, "contingent on the City-County Council's approval." CIB President Melina Kennedy said that there are "several clauses in the contract to protect the CIB to ensure the Pacers won't try to break the lease." The upgrades, which will be "fast-tracked over the next three years, will include a public plaza to host year-round events" like "concerts, ice skating and even basketball games." Inside the arena, there will be "more public areas where people can congregate." The top eight rows of seats will be "removed on the east and west ends to create horseshoe-shaped gathering places." The Pacers also will "add observation decks and enhance the suite areas." The Pacers had previously agreed to contribute about $65M for improvements to the arena and "related facilities, such as the parking garage". The "unprecedented agreement" commits the CIB to spending up to $120M on technology upgrades, an average of $14.5M per year on operating expenses, $17.6M on maintenance and repairs and $4.6M to license the video and sound system. The agreement is the "longest -- and most expensive -- deal between the city and the Pacers yet." It replaces the current Pacers lease, which ran through the '23-24 season.

Hockey:

NHL regular-season viewership bounced back during the ‘18-19 campaign on NBC Sports, with viewership across TV and digital platforms up 2% from last season. NBC, NBCSN and NBC Digital combined to average 424,000 this season, rebounding from 417,000 last season -- NBC Sports’ lowest mark under the current media-rights deal, which began prior to the ’11-12 season. Two seasons ago, that figure was 474,000 viewers. Games on NBC this season averaged a total audience delivery (TAD) of 1.3 million viewers, up 2% from ’17-18. That increase was buoyed by the best Winter Classic audience since ’15. NBCSN had a TAD of 313,000 viewers for a record number of games in ‘18-19, up 4%. For NBC’ digital platforms, there was an average minute audience of 10,700 viewers this season, marking a new record and up 36% from ’17-18. For games on NBC and NBCSN, Pittsburgh led all markets with a 1.3 local rating, followed by Buffalo (1.2), Las Vegas (1.0), St. Louis (0.9) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.7).

Other:

Endeavor is "close to a deal to buy On Location Experiences, the high-end hospitality firm partly owned by the NFL," according to sources cited by the Sports Business Journal. The two sides have "agreed on a price" north of $650M, but they "still are negotiating some of the deal’s finer points." Majority owners RedBird Capital and Bruin Sports Capital, whose "combined investment with the NFL helped create On Location four years ago, had been looking for opportunities to sell for several months." The firms will "exit with a staggering profit on their initial investment, believed to be in the neighborhood" of $70M combined. On Location’s revenue "grew dramatically" from $23M in '14 to more than $600M last year. Specifics "still are being worked out, but it looks like the NFL will be the only one of On Location’s four current owners that stays with the company," keeping its 20% stake in the business. That is "important because of On Location’s status as the NFL’s official hospitality provider and the source of Super Bowl tickets." Other primary owners -- Bruin (which owns roughly 30%), RedBird (30%) and Carlyle Group (10%) -- will "cash out and leave the partnership".

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic; ESPN.com; South Florida Sun Sentinel; Indianapolis Star

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