Moag and Company Sports Notes (18 Oct 2019)

Date: Oct 2019

Trivia

Who was the first pitcher to pitch a perfect game in a World Series?

Last Week’s Answer: The first 3 major league baseball players to join the 500 home run club were: 1) Babe Ruth who hit his 500th home run on August 11, 1929. 2) Jimmie Foxx who hit his 500th home run on September 24, 1940. 3) Met Ott who hit his 500th home run on August 1, 1945.

Football:

The NFL plans to have one team play "back-to-back games in London as part of its exploration into a franchise being based in the capital," according to the London Times. The league "wants to test the water" with one team playing successive games in the city. NFL Exec VP and Chief Strategy & Growth Officer Chris Halpin said, "As part of our long-term effort, that is something we want to see to test out a team being in London for two games over a week. Whether that is in 2020 or another year we are not sure yet. That is a key element of exploration of a franchise in London." The NFL has been "delighted by the experience" recently of the Chicago Bears-Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers games at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which "had sell-out crowds over two weekends." London Mayor Sadiq Khan also "held talks" with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week about "maintaining the number" of NFL games in the city with the "eventual goal of a franchise." Halpin would "not comment on whether a London franchise would be part of the next collective bargaining agreement talks".

Baseball:

MLB will allow investment funds to "take minority stakes in multiple clubs, a move that lets the league capitalize on sky-high team valuations," according to Bloomberg News. Sources said that the change, which was made earlier this year, could "bring in cash from Wall Street firms and college endowments." It is MLB's "answer to a problem affecting all the major U.S. sports leagues: Teams' multibillion-dollar valuations have made it difficult for part-owners ... to find buyers for their stakes when it's time to sell." Sources said that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred recently confirmed that MLB changed its rules "almost a year ago," and they provide "flexibility for a new ownership group in terms of putting the capital structure together".

Soccer:

The NWSL, which concluded its regular season on Saturday night, "averaged 7,386 fans a game, breaking the league record for average attendance in a season," according to SOCCERAMERICA.com. That represented a 23% increase over the previous high of 6,024 set in '18. It is the "second-highest average in the history of women's pro soccer behind the average of 8,116 set in WUSA's inaugural season" in '01. The Portland Thorns "became the first women's team to average more than 20,000 fans a game." The Thorns, who have led the NWSL in attendance in every season, were "aided by the expansion of Providence Park." The Thorns' average attendance this season is higher than the average for 15 of the 24 MLS teams. Seven of the nine NWSL teams -- all but the Houston Dash and Orlando Pride -- "broke their season record for average attendance, and every team registered double-digit gains year-over-year." Teams "benefited from the buzz that followed" the USWNT's World Cup title. Six of the nine teams -- all but the Dash, Pride and the Utah Royals -- "broke their single-game attendance records in the aftermath." The jump in attendance in the World Cup year is comparable to '15 when NWSL average attendance increased almost 22%.

Other:

NASCAR is finalizing a deal that will make Geico the first company to sign as a premier partner for its new Cup-level sponsorship model, sources said. The deal has not yet been signed, though it has been verbally agreed to and will be reached barring an unforeseen late complication. NASCAR has been in the market looking for three to five top-tier partners for its new model, which will replace the title sponsorship system that is in place. NASCAR has been asking $15-20M annually over several years for the deals. While NASCAR is in advanced talks with multiple companies, sources said that Geico is the first company to be closing on a signed deal. Geico already signed on earlier this year as NASCAR's official insurance partner in a deal that sources at the time said cost Geico a low-seven-figure annual fee. This new agreement will effectively supersede that deal. With a low-eight-figure asking price spread over multiple years, Geico is likely making a mid-eight-figure commitment with the new deal, which includes not just league assets but also those from tracks and media-rights partners Fox Sports and NBC Sports.

Endeavor has officially "withdrawn its intention to go public," according to the L.A. Times. In a filing, Endeavor Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Secretary Joel Karansky told the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission that the company "no longer wishes to conduct a public offering of securities at this time." In September, Endeavor "canceled its much-anticipated initial public offering a day before its shares were expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange, citing hazardous market conditions." At the time, Endeavor had "left open the possibility that it might return to the public market if conditions improved." The about-face was a "rare setback" for Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, whose ambition is to make the company into a "global entertainment juggernaut." The IPO was "supposed to help fuel its ascent by raising cash to chip away" at its $4.6B debt and "fund future acquisitions".

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic; ESPN.com; London Times; Bloomberg News; L.A. Times SOCCERAMERICA.com; 

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