Moag and Company Sports Notes (17 May 2019)

Date: May 2019

Trivia

When and where were the Texas Rangers founded and what was their original name?

Last Week’s Answer: The New York Yankees won their first World Series Championship in 1923 defeating the New York Giants 4 games to 2.  

Football:

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is "about to become" the RingCentral Coliseum, with the California-based communications firm set to pay $1M per year for the next three years for the "right to hang its name" atop the venue, according to the S.F. Chronicle. RingCentral has an "option for a fourth year." Coliseum Authority Exec Dir Scott McKibben said that the "goal is to bring" the naming-rights deal to the authority for a vote soon. RingCentral would be the first naming-rights partner since Overstock.com -- or O.co -- which pulled out of its $1.45M-a-year deal for the Coliseum's naming rights in '16 after the Oakland Raiders announced their move to Las Vegas. Though the Oakland A's will be "playing at the Coliseum for another few years, that tenure could stretch out indefinitely if their new ballpark doesn't pan out." The reduced price on the new naming-rights deal was "based on the idea that only the A's would be playing in the stadium." The Coliseum Authority will get the full $1M from RingCentral, whereas in the past they "split the revenue with the Raiders -- the A's got nothing then or now." If the authority directors "approve the deal, the name change would go into effect immediately -- although it will likely take another two months for the new signs to go up".

Baseball:

A proposed waterfront ballpark to attract the Los Angeles Angels to Long Beach could cost more than $1.1B, and the city has "received a study that explores options for paying some or all of that cost," according to the L.A. Times. The Angels have "not committed to move to Long Beach, and the city has not committed to pay anything toward the construction" of a ballpark. However, the report comes as California’s large coastal cities have for the most part "rejected the idea of paying for professional sports facilities." Even if the Angels agreed to move to Long Beach this year, a new ballpark probably "wouldn’t open" there before the '25 season. The menu of financing options presented to the city "included several that would require voter approval, which could be challenging to secure." As they "evaluate opportunities in Long Beach, the Angels are preparing to start discussions with the city of Anaheim for a similar project." The city of Anaheim is "awaiting the results of an Angel Stadium land appraisal before negotiating" with the team. The Angels have said that they "hope to decide between Anaheim and Long Beach by year’s end”.

Hockey:

The Nashville Predators plan to invest $350M in "renovations and maintenance at Bridgestone Arena over the next 20 years" under a proposed new lease agreement, according to the Nashville Tennessean. The Predators will "no longer receive an operating subsidy, which covered the losses they incurred by running the arena," and which had cost the city about $3.5M annually. However, the Predators will "still receive incentives in the form of sales tax collections and ticket tax revenue, which they will use to invest in maintaining and improving Bridgestone Arena." The Nashville Sports Authority board is "expected to vote on the new lease next month." Under the plan, the "first major upgrade" will come in '21 when the team "intends to add about 1,200 seats to the upper level in addition to a new press box." Predators President & CEO Sean Henry said that a new tower at the northwest corner of the arena "remains a possibility." A venue study in '17 "identified that part of the building as a possible hotel in the future." Henry also "identified the southeast side of the building, which currently houses a large rehearsal hall that country artists use before launching their tours, as an opportunity for renovations as well." Rau notes the Predators have already put $80M in upgrades at the arena in the last eight years. Under the new deal, the Predators "bear the responsibility for capital improvements, not the city." Members of the ownership group "will no longer be required to file annual guarantees proving their net worth eclipses their financial commitment to the city".

Soccer:

Growing speculation about MLS expansion "distracts from the very real issues" the league faces in big markets that "drive value and national relevance," especially as the '22 FIFA World Cup and the next round of TV rights negotiations approach, according to SI.com. N.Y., the No. 1 MLS market, "remains a puzzle" that the league "has never solved." But Chicago (No. 3) and Boston/New England (No. 10) have been the "biggest concerns," as neither the Chicago Fire nor New England Revolution has "won a major trophy in a dozen years." Both play in "out-of-the-way venues ill-suited for the league MLS is becoming," and both have "fatigued fans convinced their owners don't care." But this month, those owners "made overdue statements of intent." Fire Chair Andrew Hauptman and Vice Chair Joe Mansueto "agreed to spend" some $60.5M to "cancel the club's onerous lease" at SeatGeek Stadium. Meanwhile, the Revolution "made genuine waves for the first time in forever" by hiring Bruce Arena. In cities like Chicago and Boston, a "successful, ambitious, relevant team would enhance the narrative and carry weight well beyond the borders of its metro area." While MLS is a "better league with Cincinnati, Columbus and Austin in the fold," it "needs Chicago and Boston, not to mention New York, Houston and Philadelphia." That is "going to take commitment, ambition and money".

Other:

The WWE’s profile is expected to "soar to new heights this fall" as "SmackDown Live" premieres on Fox, giving the company the "potential to become a profit-minting machine in the coming years," according to Variety. The WWE’s new rights deals with Fox and NBCUniversal ("Monday Night Raw" airs on USA Network) are valued at an average of $465M a year over the five-year term, which "amounts to 3.6 times the value of the WWE’s previous licensing deal with NBCUniversal," pegged at about $130M a year. The WWE has a "bumper crop of what investors want most from media companies: guaranteed revenue streams, little exposure to the cyclical nature of advertising and unique IP that cannot be easily replicated by competitors." "SmackDown" was "clearly a perfect fit with Fox’s new focus" of news and sports. WWE co-President George Barrios said, "Fox was super aggressive, and we came to a deal pretty quickly." The net has "committed to promoting WWE and its personalities across its Fox Sports broadcast and cable programs." Plugs for WWE during NFL games "can only help bring new viewers to wrestling." WWE CEO Vince McMahon said, "It’s going to be a totally integrated approach. We’ve never had a platform like this in terms of promotion. Fox is going to go all-in, and they’re great promoters. ... NBCU is going to step up as well to the equivalent of what Fox is going to do".

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