Moag and Company Sports Notes (16 November 2018)

Date: Nov 2018

Trivia

What team has the most MLS Cup championship losses?

Last Week’s Answer:  Scotty Bowman, now retired, won 9 Stanley Cups in his coaching career with 3 different teams (Montreal in 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979; Pittsburgh in 1992; and Detroit in 1997, 1998, and 2002).

Football:

After making the call to move Kansas City Chiefs-Los Angeles Rams game from Mexico City to L.A. due to poor field conditions at Estadio Azteca, the NFL was "quick to promise the decision wouldn’t alter its long-term plans in the country," according to the L.A. Times. NFL Exec VP/Int'l Mark Waller said the league's efforts in Mexico are "not a day-to-day, week-to-week proposition." Waller: "In the next 20 years the Mexican economy is going to grow. So it’s important for us that we’re part of that long-term future". The AP noted the move has "left many Mexicans disappointed, angered and wondering how it will affect the relationship with the league." Waller is in Mexico City to "discuss next year and what needs to occur" at Estadio Azteca to "keep the NFL interested in playing there." The Mexico City game is "usually scheduled on the third weekend of November, when Mexicans celebrate the Revolution's anniversary." This year's fan fest was set to take place in the "main square located in downtown Mexico City" and event planners had "scheduled a 5k and 10k race for Sunday." Local authorities have "not said whether both events will continue". Rams players may be “happy that they get to go home,” but the organization “really wanted to play” in Mexico. The Rams “want to build a fan base” in the country and will “continue to go there and do things within the community”.

Baseball:

MLB signed a seven-year media rights renewal with Fox Sports that sources say is worth $5.1B, or $728.6M per year. The deal formally was announced at the MLB owners meetings in Atlanta. Fox currently is in the middle of an eight-year pact and pays $525M annually through '21, meaning the new agreement is worth nearly 39% more per year. The deal, which keeps MLB tied to Fox and FS1 through '28, looks much like Fox’ current deal, in part, because that was all MLB could sell as its other media packages are not up. MLB has held renewal talks with its other partners -- ESPN and Turner Sports -- but sources said those companies are not yet close to renewal deals. Fox will carry the World Series, All-Star Game, one LCS and one LDS during the length of the new deal. It also will continue to carry regular-season games on Saturday and have Spanish-language rights for Fox Deportes. The deal gives MLB a great deal of revenue certainty for the next decade and extends their ties with one of their closest partners.

The New York Yankees' talks about buying back the rest of YES Net "amounts to 'a foregone conclusion'" that the club will "exercise their right of first refusal" and purchase the remaining 80% of the RSN it does not currently own, according to the N.Y. Post. YES Net is part of the stable of RSNs Disney is set to acquire and then divest as part of its $71.3B deal with Fox. The Yankees obtained the right of first refusal in '14 when Fox upped its stake to 80% in a deal that "allowed a buyback should it ever sell." A source said that the terms of that deal "require Disney and the Yankees to agree to a YES buyback price -- or accept one from an impartial third party." YES is considered the "crown jewel" of the 22 RSNs. A source said that some bidders will "lose interest in the 21 RSNs" with YES out of the auction.

Basketball:

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said as "great a job" as Commissioner Emeritus David Stern did leading the league, he "never thought we would be in the same conversation with some of the other major-league sports." Appearing on CBSSN's "We Need To Talk," Silver said, "In my tenure, I think there's been a lift for all sports with this notion of premium live sports content." He added sports is "appointment viewing and because of that, you can aggregate an audience around it." Silver: "In the roughly five years that I’ve been commissioner, it's accelerated more than anybody would have anticipated." Meanwhile, fans recognize that a courtside seat at an NBA game is "one of the best seats in all of sports," and Silver said the next big thing for the league is figuring out how to "replicate that experience." He noted in "taking advantage of a strong team in the Bay Area in the Golden State Warriors and the tremendous interest from the tech community in the NBA, we went to the technology leaders and said, 'How do we replicate the courtside experience?'" Silver: "Through virtual and augmented reality, and all kinds of immersive experiences in media, we're getting closer." Silver said the NBA's global impact has led to China becoming "our second biggest market." Silver: "People predicted when Yao (Ming) retired, interest would go down, and it's only continued to accelerate." He added kids in China are "really into basketball," and there is "probably more basketball being played than any other sport" in the country. Silver said the impact of social media has been "very positive for the league." Silver: "Right now, we have roughly 1.5 billion people who are following the teams and players in some way on social media." And while social "does get out of hand once in a while," the league has "found in working with the players that they get it" in terms of how they represent themselves and the NBA.

Soccer:

Hopeful owners of an MLS team in St. Louis are "prepared to pay" cash for a $250M downtown stadium, but are "asking for tax-dollar help" to build the venue, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Enterprise Holdings Foundation Senior VP & Exec Dir Carolyn Betz said that the nine-person prospective ownership group has "no plans to borrow money to build the 20,000-seat structure." Betz also said that MLS "hasn't told" the ownership group "precisely how many spots are left in the league." However, she believes that St. Louis is "in control of its own destiny." Betz: "I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I could get a team." The city has proposed giving owners a 50% break on ticket taxes, a "full tax exemption on stadium construction materials," a $30M tax break from the state of Missouri, a 3% sales tax on stadium goods and the "free use of land" for the stadium. However, Betz said that there were "still many unknowns." She added MLS has "not discussed a franchise or expansion fee -- which could crest" $150M -- with the ownership group. Betz said that her group is "beginning to think about engineering and stadium design," and she hoped to get MLS Commissioner Don Garber to St. Louis for an "on-site tour by mid-December".

Minnesota United CEO Chris Wright said that private investors "have backed" Allianz Field, the "players and day-to-day operations, including league membership," to the tune of $450M. That number has "shot up as the club has invested" $50M more in Allianz Field and other investments, including a $100M expansion fee to MLS. Wright added that Minnesota United "cut off season ticket sales" for '19 at "about 14,000 to ensure there are at least 5,000 tickets available per game for everyday fans." Meanwhile, Allianz Field "could host entirely different sports, too." Wright: "We're looking at lacrosse. We're looking at rugby. We actually had a meeting the other day on drone racing and There will be at least one concert weekend".

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