Moag and Company Sports Notes (19 October 2018)

Date: Oct 2018

Trivia

Who was the first NHL player to score more than 70 goals in a season? 

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:

NFL owners voted at the league's fall meeting to "lift the longstanding cross-ownership prohibition, meaning they are now free to own a different professional sports team in cities that have an NFL team," and the change "could have a significant impact on the sports landscape," according to the L.A. Times. One of the main reasons the rule was put in place was so that fellow NFL owners were "not pitted against each other and competing for the same sports dollar." But many owners believe those reasons had "outlived their usefulness, and that the NFL is capable of standing on its own." NFL teams have also "gotten so expensive" that the "universe of people who can afford them is minuscule." A controlling owner "must have a minimum of 30% equity in a team, and there are firm debt limits in place, so those owners have to have piles upon piles of money." The NFL "doesn't allow corporations to own teams." When the Carolina Panthers were put up for sale, there "reportedly were some NBA owners interested in the team who couldn't participate in the bidding because of NFL rules." Following the passing of Seattle Seahawks Owner Paul Allen, if the team "were to go up for sale at some point, the NFL's lifting of the cross-ownership restrictions could pave the way for a potential buyer" such as Los Angeles Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer. With the "relaxing of the rules, current NFL owners are free to go baseball, basketball or hockey shopping in other markets".

Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen died at the age of 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and his death "raises questions about what happens to the two sports franchises" he owns, according to the Seattle Times. Allen had "no spouse and no children to leave anything to," and it is unclear whether his sister, First & Goal Vice Chair Jody Allen, "wants to take over ownership of the Seahawks and Trail Blazers, or one or both". In Portland, reports claim Jody Allen is a "Seahawks fan and is a good bet to emerge as a more visible presence" with the organization. However, a source said that she does "not enjoy the Trail Blazers." Nobody who knows her "thinks she'd be interested in wanting to run an NBA franchise on a daily basis." Trail Blazers Vice Chair Bert Kolde would "likely have interest in ownership" of the NBA team though. Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan, who serves as the team's alternate governor, will “continue to represent the Blazers at all ownership meetings” following Allen’s death. There is "likely a contingency plan already in play". Reports claim there likely will not be "anything that’s necessarily going to disrupt the business operations of the Seahawks or other sports business interests because everyone knew this was coming".

The Los Angeles Chargers in their second year in L.A. have "struggled to fill" StubHub Center, but the team believes it has "priced season tickets in a way that will change that" once it moves to its new Inglewood Stadium in '20, according to the L.A. Times. The least-expensive general seating section for the Chargers in the Inglewood stadium, which will be shared with the Los Angeles Rams, will cost $50 per game and "require a one-time personal seat license fee of $100." The Rams last month "announced their season tickets will start at $60 a game," with PSLs beginning at $1,000. Chargers President of Business Operations A.G. Spanos said the team "priced independently of the Rams." He added that their goal was to "appeal to as many fans as possible." The Chargers announced that their new home will "feature more than 26,000 seats prices between $50 and $90 per ticket, plus the $100 seat license fee." The team is still "trying to establish itself" with the L.A. community. Spanos said, "It's going to take a while for us to share memories and build relationships with fans here. ... As we have continued success, that's going to continue to grow". A "major discussion topic" among NFL owners and execs at the league meetings in N.Y. was the "Chargers' viability in L.A." While there was not a "formal presentation on it this week," it was a "topic of private conversations." PSL sales "have been a struggle." Sources said that the team is "expected to revise" its revenue goals at the new Inglewood stadium "sharply to a more realistic number," from $400M to around $150M.

Baseball:

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  opted out of their Angel Stadium lease with the city of Anaheim, setting the stage for another "round of negotiations over whether the team remains in its longtime host city or finds a new home elsewhere in Southern California," according to the L.A. Times. Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, who "led the drive against a tentative agreement between the city and the team for an Angel Stadium renovation" in '13, is in his final term. Voters in Anaheim will "elect a new mayor and three new council members next month." Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey said that the decision to opt out was "not meant to influence voters." She added that the lease "required the team to opt out" now or wait until '28 for "another chance to do so." The Angels "ended negotiations with Anaheim" in '14, then revived them briefly in '16. The team explored options for new ballparks in L.A., Carson and Irvine, but "prioritized a proposal" for a new ballpark in Tustin. The Angels and Tustin are "believed to have focused" on a ballpark that would have seated about 37,000 and cost about $700M. Tustin officials said then that they would "not provide taxpayer funding" for ballpark construction. By exercising the opt-out clause, the Angels can "leave Angel Stadium" after the '19 season.

Basketball:

The Houston Rockets’ home opener against the New Orleans Pelicans is "sold out," and the team expects that to "be the norm this season, with hopes to sell out the entire season," according to the Houston Chronicle. On the heels of having the best regular-season record in the NBA last season, Rockets CEO Tad Brown said, “We’re the healthiest we’ve ever been organizationally.” The Rockets "set a franchise record for season-ticket renewals" of 95% since last season. NBA franchises typically consider 85% renewals and "more than 10,000 full season tickets sold to be 'healthy.'" Rockets CRO Gretchen Sheirr noted renewals last year were at 93%. The Rockets also have signed a multiyear deal with Rokit Phones, which will place its "logo on their jerseys." Rokit is a "challenger cell phone startup" that launched in August as a subsidiary of Rok Brands. In addition to the jersey patch, the telecom brand also will partner with the team on "various community outreach efforts throughout the season." The deal also will include "select Rok Drinks brands," as three lounges at Toyota Center will be "re-branded as Bogart's Lounge, ABK Beer Garden and Bandero Tequila Terrace".

Soccer:

A group that includes Cleveland Browns Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam has come to an agreement with MLS to acquire the Columbus Crew and keep the club in Columbus, according to sources. Current Crew Owner Anthony Precourt has been in discussions to move the team to Austin, TX. It is expected that Precourt will receive the rights to operate a club in that city, according to a source.

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