Moag and Company Sports Notes (2 Aug 2019)

Date: Aug 2019

Trivia

In baseball, what does WHIP stand for?   

Last Week’s Answer: The designated hitter (DH) has been around in the American League since 1973. The Silver Slugger awards were instituted in 1980, thus the first DHs could not win the award. The first DH to win the Silver Slugger for the DH position in 1980 was “Mr. October”, Reggie Jackson of the New York Yankees.

Football:

Carolina Panthers Owner David Tepper "no longer is a minority shareholder" in the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his "stake in the franchise has yet to be transitioned to another buyer," according to TRIBLIVE.com. Steelers President Art Rooney II said that Tepper's estimated 5% ownership stake, which "remains in limbo, likely will be purchased by an outside investor and will not be redistributed among the current 18 shareholders." Rooney said, "We're still in the process of finalizing all of that. Probably in the next few months we'll get everything cleaned up on that end." Tepper "had to sell his shares" when he bought the Panthers in '18. 

Carolina Panthers Owner David Tepper "dreams" of a new stadium in Charlotte with a "retractable roof to be built within the next decade that could host not only NFL football, but set up North Carolina" to host an NCAA Final Four for the first time since '94, according to the Charlotte Observer. Such a stadium could also "fast-track" an MLS team and "establish Charlotte as a true epicenter of the Carolinas for sports and entertainment." Tepper said, "I've been talking about some sort of a new stadium. It's really a whole, big statewide sort of deal." He added, "If we do football, and if we do end up with a soccer franchise, and then have all the other events there -- have a Final Four there -- that would be the cherry on top. It's not like idle chatter; it's something I'd really like to see done. To say that I'm going to do it in the next year, that's not true." Tepper also said he would like any new stadium to "be as close" as possible to Bank of America Stadium's current location. Tepper “made it clear the current stadium doesn’t have all the bells and whistles he would like." Charlotte City Councilman Larken Egleston said of tax dollars being used, “It’s kind of just the way these work now … and investment in the stadium would come from that hotel/motel tourism tax. It’s same way we’re paying for the improvements to the convention center and for those types of things that’s what that bank of money is there for". A new stadium like the one Tepper has described would "likely cost more" than $1B and "require taxpayer funds.".

Baseball:

The Oakland A's new Access plan has caused season-ticket totals to "skyrocket" this season, according to the S.F. Chronicle. The A's for '19 sold 9,535 Access plans -- which is essentially a full 81-game subscription to general seating at the RingCentral Coliseum -- "doubling the previous year's season-ticket totals." Access plan members are, on average, 11 years "younger than previous season-ticket holders." MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred met with A's Managing Partner John Fisher, President Dave Kaval and COO Chris Giles to "hear more and asked for a summary." Twenty of Giles’ counterparts around MLB have also "talked to him about the business model." The A's announced "changes to next year's A's Access plan." For '20, all fans with Access plans and seats for at least 24 games can "add on a full member for $199, while those with half-season or full-season plans can add on members for just $99." Additionally, the plan for '20 is "all access -- every fan with a membership can go anywhere in the stadium." In addition, the A's are "eliminating variable pricing for Access members." A's Access for next season will go on sale with "plans starting at $33 a month".

Basketball:

The Big3 has yet to make money during its three-year existence, but the principles behind the 3-on-3 league "expect to turn a profit in year four," according to HBO's Real Sports. Big3 Founder & CEO Jeff Kwatinetz and actor/rapper Ice Cube have "invested millions of dollars of their own money in the Big3." Kwatinetz said, "We're not making money yet, but we're not supposed to make money yet. I mean, the UFC lost money for nine, 10 years." The league at one point might have been "dismissed as a gimmick, but for one small detail: there's growing evidence that it's working." The Big3 has "expanded from eight teams to 12 and its tour has grown from 10 cities to 18." Additionally, the league's new rights deal puts games on CBS, while ticket sales "are on the rise." Kwatinetz said, "The attendance is about 10,000 a game, which is pretty extraordinary".

Soccer:

MLS has not officially announced a timetable for when its next three expansion teams will be introduced, but "at least three markets seem to be in the front of the pack: St. Louis, Sacramento and Charlotte in that order," with St. Louis the "clear frontrunner," according to SOCCERAMERICA.com. MLS Commissioner Don Garber ahead of the All-Star Game in Orlando said that the league was "in 'advanced talks' with St. Louis and Sacramento and he planned to visit Sacramento and Charlotte in the next month." St. Louis and Sacramento have "been the favorites since the last board of governors meeting in April when it gave Garber and his staff the go-ahead to negotiate agreements with the two groups." Since David Tepper became the Carolina Panthers Owner in May '18, Charlotte has "emerged as one of the most aggressive bidders." The current bid would have the MLS team playing in a renovated Bank of America Stadium, but Garber cautioned that a soccer-specific stadium was "important to the league without saying how it might impact the league's interest in Charlotte". Garber said that both St. Louis and Sacramento "are aiming" for a '22 entry to the league. He said, "We have plenty of time for them to get their projects finalized and put their plans in place to be able to launch their teams".

Hockey:

The Calgary City Council voted to approve a financial agreement with the owners of the Calgary Flames to "build an event centre and replace the 36-year-old Saddledome," with the cost of the $550M (all figures Canadian) venue to be equally split between the city and Calgary Sports & Entertainment, according to the CP. The 35-year agreement "keeps the Flames in Calgary for that term, with options to extend the agreement." Calgary vows municipal property taxes will "not increase to pay for the event centre." CSE Vice Chair & CEO Ken King estimated it will "likely take three or four years to complete the arena once construction starts." CSE is "putting up the same amount of up-front cash it was prepared to give two years ago" -- $275M. One major difference in the current deal is the Flames will "not pay property tax as the city proposed two years ago." The city will "own the building." CSE has "agreed to hand over" 2% from every ticket sold at the new venue to the city as a "facility fee, which is estimated to bring in" $155.1M over 35 years. All revenues "generated by the event centre" go to CSE, "minus its commitment to the city." The Flames "will be responsible for the operation, maintenance and day-to-day repairs of the event centre." CSE has also "committed to upping its contribution to local sport groups," which the city says amounts to $75M over the course of the 35-year term.

Other:

Houston real estate investor Lee Zieben has "agreed to terms with Immortals Gaming Club to purchase" the Overwatch League Houston Outlaws for a "total deal value" of $40M, according to ESPN.com. The deal is "expected to close in late August." Sources said that Zieben will pay $30M in "cash and securities" and assume the $10M debt in "remaining payments" to the OWL for the Outlaws franchise. Immortals is selling the team after they "acquired Infinite Esports & Entertainment, the parent of OpTic Gaming and the Outlaws," and will "retain their ownership of OpTic." With the acquisition of Infinite, the OWL "required Immortals to sell the Outlaws to a third party as quickly as possible, due to Immortals' ownership" of the OWL L.A. Valiant.

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic; ESPN.com; TRIBLIVE.com; Charlotte Observer; S.F. Chronicle; "Real Sports," HBO; SOCCERAMERICA.com; the CP

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