Moag and Company Sports Notes (21 Jun 2019)

Date: Jun 2019

Trivia

Who was the first baseball player to hit two grand slams in 1 game?

Last Week’s Answer: Team USA won their first soccer World Cup title in 1991. They defeated Norway 2 to 1 to win the Soccer World Cup in Guangzhou, China.   

Football:

Denver Broncos President & CEO Joe Ellis said that the succession plan to replace late Owner Pat Bowlen "remains unchanged," according to the Denver Post. Ellis: "I’m going to be careful and be sensitive to the family. ... I would just tell you that nothing has changed." Ellis' comments can be "viewed as a sign he and the trustees are not in a time crunch to find a successor or sell the team." Two of Bowlen’s seven children, Beth Bowlen Wallace and Brittany Bowlen, have "expressed their desire to replace their father" as controlling owner. It is "believed the Broncos still plan to bring Brittany Bowlen, 29, back to the organization by the end of this year," She previously worked for the team for one year. It appears Pat Bowlen’s death has also "not changed any aspects of his brother Bill’s lawsuit against the trustees." Meanwhile, Ellis said that the Broncos will "honor Bowlen during the season with a decal 'Mr. B' on the jerseys and helmets". Broncos President of Football Operations & GM John Elway said the ownership situation "will play itself out." Elway: "There’s a transition plan that Pat [put] together and I’m sure Joe will execute it the way Pat wanted it." Ellis said of the late owner, "He put a plan in place. It was his plan. As a trustee, it’s my obligation and our obligation with my other two fellow trustees to carry out the plan".

Baseball:

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred believes the Tampa Bay Rays potentially splitting their home games between Tampa Bay and Montreal could not only "preserve baseball" in Tampa-St. Pete but also "improve the economics of the club overall," according to the Tampa Bay Times. Manfred said the MLB Exec Council gave the Rays "permission to explore this alternative in an effort to strengthen a franchise that's performed great on the field but continues to be pretty limited from an economic perspective." He said the split-season plan was a "longer term project" for the Rays. The plan would "face several significant hurdles before being implemented," which likely would not take place until at least '23. That includes "negotiating permission from the city of St. Petersburg" -- the team's lease requires all home games be played at Tropicana Field through '27 -- and getting "approval from the players union." It would also require "arranging for a new or vastly renovated facility in Montreal; working out logistics on how the schedule would be split; and getting formal approval from MLB based on working out a number of other issues, such as TV rights, sponsorships, currency exchange rates and more". The reaction from political leaders across the governments of Tampa and Hillsborough County "ranged from worry to optimism to resignation". However, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman said, "I have no intention of bringing this latest idea to our city council to consider. In fact, I believe this is getting a bit silly".

Hockey:

The St. Louis Blues' ownership group led by Chair Tom Stillman "completed its acquisition of the minority interest in the team previously held by Sports Capital Holdings and now owns every bit of the club," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The acquisition was "approved unanimously" by the NHL BOG at its meeting. SCH was the "holding company of the previous Blues ownership group, which was in place" from '06-12 under the leadership of former Owner Dave Checketts. With the new arrangement, "every member of the existing ownership group remains in place, with Stillman continuing" as Chair & Governor. Stillman "declined to disclose what percentage of the total franchise value the minority interest held." The agreement was struck for the Blues' ownership group to buy the minority share a "little more than two months ago." Stillman said, "Having an all-local group insures that the direction of the club is set with St. Louis top-of-mind, and with an understanding of what's important to St. Louis and to St. Louis Blues fans".

The NHL BOG "unanimously approved billionaire entrepreneur Alex Meruelo to purchase a majority share" of the Arizona Coyotes, with the sale expected to be "finalized in July," according to the Arizona Republic. Sources said that Meruelo’s focus will "remain on securing a permanent future in Arizona for the franchise." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Meruelo is "committed" to finding a new arena in Arizona, adding that Gila River Arena in Glendale is "not viable long-term". Although the Coyotes "couldn't leave Arizona anytime soon due to NHL rules prohibiting new owners from immediately applying for relocation, Bettman pointedly didn't rule out the long-term possibility." Bettman said Meruelo "wants to make it work" in Arizona, and he is "going to try very hard for that to be the case".

Soccer:

The public contribution to the Columbus Crew's new stadium in downtown Columbus, a "revamped practice facility at Mapfre Stadium and a city recreational park surrounding the current stadium has grown" by at least $25M, to $140M, since the project was unveiled in December, according to the Columbus Dispatch. With a funding date of Aug.15 "looming for the team owners and the public partners to finalize the deal, no agreement has yet been reached to purchase land" for both the downtown stadium and the recreation area. The stadium itself "would cost" $244.9M, including "city infrastructure work but not including the cost of acquiring the land." Most of the site is owned by Nationwide Reality Investors. The Crew "must have a land-purchase agreement with Nationwide Realty" by Aug. 15 unless it "exercises options to extend the deadline by up to a year." The city of Columbus has agreed to "pay an undisclosed sum toward the land purchase." While a yet-to-be-created stadium authority "would own the stadium, the facility’s 'acquisition, design, construction and development' would be controlled" by the team, which would pay $10M a year to "use the stadium for 30 years." The Crew "would market, control and have the rights to all revenue from the new stadium." That includes "naming rights, but no name can be 'objectionable' to the city or county".

Other:

Shaquille O’Neal has "closed on his investment in nine Atlanta-based Papa John’s restaurants" as part of an endorsement deal he signed with the pizza chain back in March, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Papa John's will pay O'Neal, who also joined the company's BOD in March, $4.125M as part of the endorsement agreement. The deal also "includes more than 87,000 shares of Papa John's stock." In return, the company will have "full access" to O'Neal's services, "including using his name, nicknames, voice, video or film portrayals and certain intellectual property rights." In connection with the agreement, O'Neal "invested approximately $840,000 and receives a 30% ownership stake" in his Atlanta-area Papa John's restaurants. O'Neal is "required to promote Papa John’s products at least once a month on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram." Each social post is "created by Papa John’s, but the posts are subject to approval by O’Neal’s team." O’Neal will also "participate in at least eight 'service days,' which include as many as four production days with Papa John’s creative agency and personal appearances." During each contract year, O’Neal is "required to make himself available for one hour of interview time with media to promote Papa John’s".

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic; ESPN.com; Denver Post; St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Arizona Republic; Columbus Dispatch; Atlanta Business Chronicle; Tampa Bay Times

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