Moag and Company Sports Notes (20 Dec 2019)

Date: Dec 2019

Trivia

What U.S. professional sports team has been in the same city with the same name for the longest period of time?

Last Week’s Answer: The first NBA game was played on November 1, 1946 in Toronto. It featured the New York Knicks against the Toronto Huskies. The Knicks defeated the Huskies 68-66. The Huskies then folded in 1947.

Football:

The Oakland Raiders have played their last game in Oakland ahead of their move to Las Vegas next season, but they leave behind a $65M "debt on the botched deal" that brought the team back from L.A. in '95, according to the S.F. Chronicle. If the city of Oakland and Alameda County "continue to pay down the debt at the current schedule, the total will come" to $75M by the time the last payment is made in '25. The debt service for RingCentral Coliseum is $6.4M "per year each for the city and county." Interim Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority CEO & Exec Dir Henry Gardner said, "Before you even get to the debt service, the stadium is running at an $8 million-a-year loss, even with the Oakland A's playing in the stadium." Oakland City Council member Larry Reid said in total, it comes to about $11M a year "each, for both Oakland and Alameda County." The "biggest expense" was the $100M that both the city and county in '95 "agreed to spend to add 15,000 new seats and 125 luxury boxes to the Coliseum." The plan had been to "pay off the deal through the sale of personal-seat licenses." Twenty-four years later, this has resulted in the city and county "still paying down the outstanding bonds." There are "ideas for keeping some revenue coming in from the Coliseum complex," including using it for events like "monster truck shows, motocross races and the like".

Baseball:

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said that part of her confidence in keeping the Tampa Bay Rays in the region comes from her "increasing comfort with the idea of the team playing half the season in Montreal," according to the Tampa Bay Times. Castor said, "If you look at it from the perspective of baseball, the in-person attendance is dropping nationwide while TV is going up. When people are watching baseball on TV, they could have the two media contracts. And then you don't have 81 games, which is difficult for even the most hardcore baseball fans to attend. So, you know, let them explore it. It's something new." Castor has had "several informal discussions" with Rays co-Presidents Brian Auld and Matt Silverman since St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman "closed the door on the split-season concept" two weeks ago. The Rays' use agreement with St. Petersburg expires at the end of the '27 season, and Castor said discussions were within the "2028 arena." Still, she said that it "would be 'more than likely' the team would seek to work out a settlement" with St. Petersburg to "shorten the contract if things work out across the bay in Tampa." In the previous effort to "woo the Rays," Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan was the "point person" in negotiations. Hagan and County Administrator Mike Merrill now "plan to arrange a meeting with the Rays sometime in January".

Basketball:

Miami-Dade County will "need to use county dollars to pay" the Miami Heat up to $2M in '20 to "cover the missing naming-rights revenue when the existing deal with American Airlines expires Jan. 1," according to the Miami Herald. When American's deal ends, Miami-Dade will take over "sponsorship responsibility from the Heat." The first $500,000 "quarterly payment to the Heat is due March 31, covering the first three months of the year." Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said that he is "confident the lapse in sponsorship deals won't end up costing Miami-Dade anything, since higher fees from the new deal will make up for what the county would have earned in early 2020 under the existing payment structure with American." The county board "concluded its final meeting" of '19 "without an agreement in place." For now, it is "unclear what the current 'AA Arena' will be called on Jan. 1." However, sources said that talks last month "identified TD Bank as the leading contender to have its name on the downtown Miami arena" in '20.

Golf:

CBS and NBC have agreed on the broad terms of new deals that will see the PGA Tour reap a sizable rights fee increase of around 60%, sources said. The Tour also has agreed to terms with Golf Channel, which will see its rights fee more than double. It is not known if the Tour will take an ownership stake in Golf Channel as part of the deal. Nothing has been signed yet, but the Tour and networks essentially have agreed on terms with only a few minor sticking points remaining. The PGA Tour opted for long-term deals that will run for nine years from '22-30. By early estimates, it is likely that the PGA Tour could bring in around $700M per year with these new deals, compared to its current deals that were worth around $400M. CBS and NBC essentially will keep the same regular-season packages. The big difference will be seen with the FedExCup Playoffs. CBS and NBC will produce all three playoff tournaments, including the Tour Championship, in alternating years. As part of the nine-year deals, NBC will carry the playoffs five times and CBS will carry them four times. The big hold-up is with digital rights, which are currently held by NBC Sports as part of PGA Tour Live and are still being negotiated. ESPN has made an aggressive play for the rights. ESPN+ would carry the digital rights. Discovery also has emerged as a serious contender for the digital rights and appears likely to share them with NBC Sports if they can manage to work out a deal. After initial interest, it appears that Amazon has dropped out of the bidding.

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; ESPN; S.F. Chronicle; Tampa Bay Times; Miami Herald

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