Moag and Company Sports Notes (13 Dec 2019)

Date: Dec 2019

Trivia

What NBA team was the winner of the first NBA game?

Last Week’s Answer: The four players in MLB history that have recorded at least five straight 40-homer seasons are Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa and Adam Dunn.

Football:

NFL Cheif Media & Business Officer Brian Rolapp said Amazon's EPL broadcasts in the U.K. "will be very interesting to watch" in the coming weeks as the league weighs its broadcast future. Rolapp: "They're getting some pretty high concurrents there." He added that production and promotion are just as important as technical capacity for an NFL rights package. Rolapp: "You're going to have to be able to produce it. You're going to have to be able to distribute it at a high level of quality -- no fan is going to accept less than HD, high-res all the time. You're going to have to sell it from an advertising standpoint and market it. So, we need to see that from any partner, and be satisfied with that before we entrust any game package to them." Rolapp also foreshadowed an easing-in approach for streamers that would avoid the biggest viewership windows. Rolapp: "Maybe these guys aren't ready for 4:25 games. Maybe there's some 1 o'clock games they're ready for. Maybe there's some early games they're ready for. We'll have to see. ... We will not sacrifice reach for something less valuable, including a higher rights fee. We will maximize our reach. We think we can get both, but the reach is really important".

Baseball:

Tampa Bay Rays Owner Stu Sternberg said that "splitting future seasons in Montreal remains the most likely" way to keep the team in the Tampa Bay area, "calling the chance to instead stay in a new full-time home even less than the previously phrased 'highly unlikely," according to the Tampa Bay Times. Sternberg said that the Rays will "continue to push hard for the Montreal plan." He added, "Something we would have liked to have happen in 2024-25 will happen in 2028." The team's work, "primarily on determining the viability of a plan that calls for new open-air stadiums to be built in both markets, will be aggressive." Sternberg said that this is because the Rays "need to know in the next 12 months or so whether it will work as well as they expect." If the splitting plan cannot be worked out, Sternberg said that he would either "start looking for a new home elsewhere or, more likely, sell the team to someone who would move it." He also said a Hillsborough site would "no doubt" be the choice over St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, Sternberg said the Rays are "not looking to break their lease" at Tropicana Field to leave before the end of the '27 season. Sternberg: "It could come to that but that's not the way I'm approaching it".

The Anaheim City Council is "expected to approve a sale" of the Angel Stadium property next week, but the city "may have to wait until midway through the next decade to get most of its money," according to the L.A. Times. Angels Owner Arte Moreno's company SRB Management has "agreed to buy the 153-acre site" for $325M. Under the agreement, SRB would "make a series of deposits." The total deposits "could range" from $70-100M, and the payments to the city "could be staggered" from '20-23, depending on when SRB submits development plans to the city. The majority of the payment "would be due when the deal closes," as late as '25. It is "unlikely the city would get" all $325M. The development agreement is "not anticipated until next year." City Councilman Jose Moreno, unrelated to Arte Moreno, said that the delay "would put the council in the position of approving a land sale without any guarantee of what the city's payment might ultimately be, and without any legal commitment for what SRB might do with the land or when it might actually build".

The New York Mets under the ownership of the Wilpon family had "periods of success, but also dysfunction, intense rivalries among relatives and a financial crisis that, for a time, threatened much of what the family had built," according to the N.Y. Times. Some family members grew "increasingly wary" of Mets COO Jeff Wilpon being in charge of the family's "most valuable heirloom." Tensions between Jeff Wilpon and his relatives had been "brewing for years," as some of them "questioned his choices behind the scenes." Former team execs said that the organization "changed philosophies from year to year, and sometimes from month to month." Sources said that the Mets have lost more than $60M in "each of the past two seasons, as the team struggled to attract fans." Also, they are at the "limit of debt allowed" by MLB rules.

Soccer:

A letter sent by Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles to MLS Commissioner Don Garber details how the city is "willing to set aside" $110M in "hospitality funds" to land the 30th MLS team, according to the Charlotte Observer. The letter "offers the clearest picture to date of how much tourism money will be allocated to support the bid." MLS has "not yet confirmed" that Charlotte will be home to its 30th team. Garber said the league is in "very, very advanced discussions" with Carolina Panthers Owner David Tepper, who is leading the charge to bring MLS to the city. Lyles said the $110M in hospitality funds will be "set aside to help ensure a successful venture over the next many years." She did "not spell out how that money would be spent, or how long it will take to generate and distribute the funds." The city also publicly released a "permit showing an event will take place in uptown around Levine Avenue of the Arts" The event next week is "widely expected to be for the official MLS announcement." Meanwhile, the city council "still needs to take a public vote on the incentives package”. Incentives are "usually deliberated and decided prior to an announcement of a project." However, sources said that a "final council decision and vote" on an MLS incentives package will come in '20.

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic; ESPN.com; Tampa Bay Times; L.A. Times; N.Y. Times; Charlotte Observer

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