Moag and Company Sports Notes (2 February 2019)

Date: Feb 2019

Trivia

What team won the first Super Bowl?  

Last Week’s Answer:  In 1973 O.J. Simpson of the Buffalo Bills rushed for 2,003 yards to become the first player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

Football:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league "may" get involved in the Denver Broncos' ownership dispute, and it is "sad" such a dispute has occurred, according to The Athletic. Goodell said, "It's not something I think Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen, who I knew very well, would have wanted. The Broncos meant a great deal to him and his family." In October, Pat Bowlen's brother, Bill, filed a petition in Arapahoe County District Court "seeking to have the three trustees running the Broncos" -- Broncos President & CEO Joe Ellis, Exec VP & General Counsel Rich Slivka and Denver-based attorney Mary Kelly -- "removed from power." Bill Bowlen alleged the trustees have "not acted in the best interest of Pat Bowlen and his family, and have failed to execute his wishes for the team." The lawsuit was filed five months after Beth Bowlen-Wallace, one of Pat Bowlen's daughters, "publicly stated her desire to become controlling owner." A few months later, Ellis indicated 29-year-old Brittany Bowlen was the trustees' "preferred candidate among Bowlen's seven children to become controlling owner." The trustees "requested NFL arbitration to settle the dispute and keep it out of the courts." Now the "question is whether Bill Bowlen can be compelled to arbitration since he is not employed by the league or a team and has no ownership interest in the team, as the NFL's bylaws require." Goodell's comments yesterday were also a "departure from his comments in years past regarding Broncos ownership." Goodell the last two years "praised Ellis and the trustees for their management of the team and execution of Pat Bowlen's wishes".

The Oakland Raiders have "begun sales" on the final tier of PSLs for their Las Vegas stadium, the "least expensive" in the venue, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The third phase of PSL sales are "mostly in the highest levels of the stadium" and range between $500-3,900 per seat. The Raiders initially anticipated generating $250M in revenue through PSL sales, but with strong sales, the estimate is "expected to be higher." When PSL sales are completed, it is expected that 55,000 of the 65,000 seats "will be under license with the team retaining control of the remaining seats for team officials and charitable causes." Third-tier sales "began sooner than initially expected," and if they are as "robust as the previous phases, the team could potentially sell out their PSL inventory by the end of summer, nearly a year ahead of the scheduled opening of the stadium".

The Kansas City Chiefs will update Arrowhead Stadium this offseason, including a "modernization" of the scoreboard, a "re-application of waterproofing measures to the entire upper deck and new seats in the upper deck," according to the K.C. Star. Chiefs President Mark Donovan said it has been a "decade since our last major renovation." Jackson County (Mo.) Sports Complex Authority Exec Dir Jim Rowland said that the updates will cost over $10M, with the Chiefs "paying for the work." However, Rowland said that in the future, the team can "request to be reimbursed" by the JCSCA. The scoreboard on the west end zone will "remain the same size and shape," but will have "new LED panels that are expected to enhance the clarity." New seats in the upper deck will have "cup holders for the first time." Work on the venue "could begin next week". Separately, the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission said that the Chiefs are "obliged to pay $930,000 in back taxes plus interest" on a $375M renovation to Arrowhead Stadium from a decade ago. The taxpayers "paid for the lion's share of the project" -- $250M -- through Jackson County sales taxes. MAHC Commissioner Sreenivasa Dandamudi said that he would have been "inclined to increase that amount for taxes that should have been paid on other purchases," specifically the $1.3M the Chiefs spent to "outfit Arrowhead's Hall of Honor and Children's Learning Center."

Baseball:

ESPN "very well could make a run" at Turner's MLB postseason games, including an LCS every year, according to the N.Y. Post. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro and his Disney bosses will "likely try to add" more baseball to ESPN+, and to "make it work, as a subscriber driver, there likely would need to be some exclusivity." Turner still has its MLB rights for two more years, and is "waiting for its new parent company, AT&T, to fully take over." Turner "may want to continue" with MLB, but it is "unclear how aggressive AT&T will want to be". Rumors are that ESPN is "actively in negotiations" with MLB for an extension of their media rights to show live games. A new deal would "come on the heels" of Fox reaching an extension that runs for seven years beginning in '22 for $5.1B. ESPN's current agreement with MLB expires in '21, and has a total value of $5.6B over an eight-year span. There had been "some questions as to whether ESPN was fully committed to baseball content" with the news that "Baseball Tonight" would "stop as a daily show." In some ways, the news that ESPN will "continue to provide MLB content should come as no surprise given commitments that have already transpired around baseball".

Hockey:

With "costs climbing" on the KeyArena renovation, Oak View Group officials are "seeking to defer" at least $80M in sales tax payments related to that project and an NHL training facility, according to the Seattle Times. OVG CEO Tim Leiweke, Business Development President Francesca Bodie and others were "meeting with state representatives" before putting forth a bill later this week to "delay the start of those tax repayments" until January '22. The bill is "similar to tax deferrals previously given" for the publicly subsidized construction of T-Mobile Park and CenturyLink Field, and Leiweke was "quick to insist he isn't asking for any debt relief for his all-private venture." If approved later this spring, the proposal "would allow OVG to put off its current monthly sales tax repayment obligations" until Jan. 1, 2022 -- when the "first of what would then become eight annual installments would be due." Those installments would "include interest at a rate yet to be determined." By that point, the arena will have already had its spring '21 reopening, a full WNBA Seattle Storm season and be "partway through an inaugural NHL season".

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic; ESPN.com; The AP; Las Vegas Review-Journal; K.C. Star; N.Y. Post; Seattle Times

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