Moag and Company Sports Notes (19 July 2019)

Date: Jul 2019

Trivia

Who was the first designated hitter (DH) to receive baseball’s Silver Slugger award?   

Last Week’s Answer: Founded in 1883 in the City of Brotherly Love as the Phillies in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies hold the record for the longest amount of time in the same city with the same name.

Football:

Demand for the Cleveland Browns is at its "highest point in decades," and the "average resale price of Browns tickets on SeatGeek has nearly doubled" from $121 in '18 to $225 in '19, according to Crain’s Cleveland Business. The Browns now have a season-ticket waiting list "in the thousands." The only remaining supply of single-game listings are "verified resale seats, which would mean the Browns are already at sellout status." Last season, the Browns' resale average "ranked 31st in the NFL." Thus far in '19, the team "checks in at No. 14." SeatGeek said that Browns games against the Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks are "producing the highest resale prices since it started monitoring the Browns market nine years ago." The other four Browns home games this season are "all producing average sales that are well above" the team's '18 norm of $121. SeatGeek said that the average sales price for Browns road games in '19 is also up 38%, or $67.

Baseball:

Fans can "expect advertising logos on MLB uniforms within three years," according to the Sports Business Journal. A handful of teams have "already reached out to marketing agencies for evaluations and pricing estimates for the proposed new marketing inventory." However, the MLBPA would "have to approve a uniform patch as part of the next CBA," which would begin in the '22 season. MLB Exec VP/Business & Sales Noah Garden said, "We're examining the patch, but clearly we have things to work through first. I'd say it's inevitable down the road, but certainly not immediate." Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment has been "assessing the potential market for a year after several MLB teams inquired." Van Wagner VP/Insights Kyle Folts said that uniform patches "could generate as much as 15 minutes of exposure per game." By Van Wagner's estimate, the average MLB team could realize $6-8M "per year from ad patches, with hallowed franchises like the Yankees getting significantly more." However, there are still "complexities to be worked through," including the "nettlesome issues of revenue splits with both teams and players".

Basketball:

Houston Rockets superstar James Harden has purchased a minority stake in the investment group that controls MLS' Houston Dynamo, the NWSL's Houston Dash and BBVA Stadium, the Dynamo announced. "I'm very excited about the opportunity to join the ownership group of the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash and proud to be a part of a club with tremendous history and a great future," Harden said in a statement issued on the Dynamo's website. "Houston is my home now, and I saw this as a way to invest in my city and expand my business interests at the same time. Soccer in general, and especially MLS, have exploded in this country throughout my lifetime. I've been a fan of the game for several years, and I know that Houston has a massive soccer fanbase, so it was an easy decision for me when this opportunity arose." It has been reported that the Rockets star has purchased a 5% stake. According to the outlet, the overall valuation of the Dynamo, Dash and BBVA Stadium -- where the Dynamo and Dash play their home games -- is "at least $475 million." The seven-time NBA All-Star signed a guaranteed $228 million contract with the Rockets in 2017. He joins an ownership group that includes majority owner Gabriel Brener, boxing legend and promoter Oscar De La Hoya, White Deer Energy managing partner Ben Guill and Portland, Oregon-based investor Jake Silverstein. All are expected to remain in the Dynamo/Dash/BBVA Stadium investor group. Brener acquired controlling interest in the Dynamo from previous owners AEG in 2015 after first investing in the Dynamo in 2008. BBVA Stadium opened in 2012 and the ownership group later bought into the NWSL in 2013.

Soccer:

Chicago Fire President & GM Nelson Rodriguez "made it clear the club is focusing its efforts on Chicago" after negotiating with Bridgeview, Ill., to break its lease early at SeatGeek Stadium, according to the Chicago Daily Herald. The Fire are "expected to move back to Soldier Field, the team's original home stadium, though the agreement with Bridgeview allows the Fire the option to play some games at SeatGeek Stadium again." The Fire also are expected to build a soccer-specific stadium near downtown Chicago, though Rodriguez said that it is "not an immediate priority." Rodriguez "made it clear he isn't worried about a club that averages a league-low 11,572 fans a game playing in a stadium that seats 61,500." He said, "It's not about the size of the venue. I do think the location of the venue matters. It's been challenging to get here for many fans. And Soldier Field is well-known, easier to get to. ... It clears out pretty easily and pretty quickly".

Other:

The Big 12 during the '18-19 academic year distributed $38.8M to each of its 10 schools, representing a 6% "increase from last year," according to the Manhattan Mercury. Speaking at the Big 12 Media Day in Dallas, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the inclusion of the member participation subsidy "varies from institution to institution" with distributions for some schools "clearly over" $40M, in addition to their third-tier activity. Of the money the conference brought in last year, Bowlsby said that it "broke down 93/7: 93% went to the schools while 7% was 'conference overhead' to help run championship events and other activities." Bowlsby said, "We are an efficient organization. I think 93% is the highest percentage of distribution in all of college athletics so we feel good about that. Our distribution has gone up 55% in the last five years. So we continue on the right kind of trend".

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic; ESPN.com; Crain's Cleveland Business; Chicago Daily Herald; Manhattan Mercury

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