Moag and Company Sports Notes (17 Jan 2020)

Date: Jan 2020


When was the Chicago Blackhawks first NHL game?

Last Week’s Answer: The first points scored in Super Bowl I were on a 37-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter from Bart Starr to Max McGee, who had replaced injured starter Boyd Dowler. Don Chandler kicked the Super Bowl’s first extra point after the touchdown.


Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping said the team is "very close" to finalizing a deal with the city of Jacksonville on the development of Lot J next to TIAA Bank Field, and the agreement could go to the City Council with an eye toward ground-breaking in the spring, according to the Florida Times-Union. Last July, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced the "financial framework for a development deal for the city" to pay up to $233.3M, including $208.3M in "hard money, for its share of the cost of building a miniature urban neighborhood anchored by an entertainment district." The concept dates back to '18, when Jaguars Owner Shad Khan joined with the Cordish Companies on "plans to bring new development to the area." Lot J would be the "launch pad for the bigger vision." Lamping said that the "estimated cost for the work at Lot J" originally was about $500M, but "has risen to near" $700M. He added that the "build-out would take about three and half years." Meanwhile, Lamping said that fans "having to sit in direct sunlight on hot days is taking a toll on the team's ability to sell tickets" for home games. He added that the Raiders, Rams and Chargers are teams that "recently dealt with stadium issues by moving" to new cities, but that is "not the game plan for the Jaguars." Lamping: "They took actions that devastated communities. Not on our watch".

The budget for PSL sales at the Raiders' Allegiant Stadium has increased by $228M "over original estimates," according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Initially projected to bring in $250M, better-than-forecast sales have "led the Raiders to increase the PSL budget" by 91.2% to $478M. All of that $478M has been "infused into" the $2B, 65,000-seat stadium. The increased budget has allowed the Raiders to "add new features such as additional suites, a 26,000-square-foot field-level club, upgraded fixtures and art and an upgraded internet connection." A total of 126 suites will be "featured in Allegiant Stadium." Raiders President Marc Badain said that the team's PSLs ranged from $500-75,000 and are 99% "sold out".


The WNBA's new CBA includes a number of improvements for the players, and the question now is how the league will "afford" the changes, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Changes include "better travel accommodations, including premium economy class status for all players for regular-season air travel and individual hotel rooms for every player." The WNBA lost $12M in '17, and new Commissioner Cathy Engelbert "pointed to the league's new 'Changemakers Partnership Platform,'" which will "provide direct support to the WNBA's business transformation." She also said that team ownership groups have "agreed to be more supportive and that the NBA will invest in a 'number of ways,' though it's not clear as to what extent." This "progressive deal" could have a "large influence on the future of the WNBA". The new CBA "aims to make the WNBA a thriving and sustainable business model for teams and players and one that will create growth and opportunities for future generations." The new deal's improvements are "significant, and while it's certainly a win for the players, it might also be a win for the league, which is betting on its players (their on-court talent and off-court marketability) to help create revenue streams that will benefit both sides." Engelbert would not have "made this deal if she didn't believe there is money out there" for the league.


The Las Vegas Golden Knights "revealed their season-ticket prices" for the '20-21 season, which will "rise an average" of 13% for five- and 10-year members, marking the first time prices have increased for these groups since the team's inception in '17, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Season-ticket members who originally made a three- or five-year commitment and extended their membership last season will see their tickets increase 4-5%, per the terms of their contractual agreement, while one-, three- and five-year members who declined the extension last season will see their tickets increase 12% on average. In addition, the team announced the "launch of the 'Knights Salute' community program, which allows season-ticket members to make a $200 charitable donation." Through the program, season-ticket members also will have the opportunity to "purchase additional home game tickets for deserving individuals".


A total of $4.55B was "wagered at New Jersey sportsbooks" in '19, the first full calendar year of legal sports wagering in the state, with $3.8B "wagered online," according to the Asbury Park Press. This yielded $299M in "gross revenue" and $36.7M in "tax revenue for the state." New Jersey sportsbooks are now "closing in on Nevada," which has had sports betting since '49, as total handle at Nevada sportsbooks through the first 11 months of '19 was $4.74B. New Jersey had "more money wagered in July and August than Nevada." The "top two players in the market" have been FanDuel and DraftKings. FanDuel "operates the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands, the state's largest sportsbook," while DraftKings has "partnered with Resorts in Atlantic City." Football was the "most popular sport to wager on" in '19, with $939M in "completed bets on the NFL and college games, narrowly edging out basketball," which had a total handle on completed bets of $934M.

The Univ. of Tennessee's annual revenue and expense report showed that the athletic department operated at a $789,730 surplus for FY '19 that ended June 30, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. This comes after UT operated at a $6.5M deficit in FY '18, when it was "weighed down by the burden of buyouts" for former football coach Butch Jones and his staff, as well as a severance for former AD John Currie. Despite the increase, the '19 surplus "pales in comparison" to previous years, as in FY '17, UT operated at a $10.8M surplus, which followed surpluses of $12.4M in '16 and $13.2M in '15. Athletic department revenues for ticket sales ($36.2M) and media rights ($34.9M) increased in FY '19, while contributions ($31.3M) decreased by nearly $3M year-over-year. Coaching, administrative and support staff salaries "remain the department's biggest expense, and they increased" by nearly $3.4M in FY '19 to $51M. Overall, UT had revenue of $143.8M, and $143M in expenses. UT football is the athletic department's "cash cow," bringing in $96.1M in revenue compared to $52.7M in expenses. Despite the team going 5-7 in '18, the football team brought in $29M in ticket revenue in FY '19.

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; ESPN; Florida Times-Union; Las Vegas Review-Journal; Chicago Sun-Times; Asbury Park Press; Knoxville News Sentinel

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