Moag and Company Sports Notes (5 April 2019)

Date: Apr 2019

Trivia

When did the Miami Heat win their first NBA Championship?

Last Week’s Answer: The Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Anglese Lakers) were the first to win 3 or more NBA championships in a row. They did it in 1951/52, 1952/53, and 1953/54. Of course, the kings of winning multiple NBA championships in a row are the Boston Celtics. They won 8 in a row starting with the 1958/59 season and ending with the 1965/66 season. 

Football:

The AAF is suspending operations three weeks before the end of its first regular season. AAF Chair Tom Dundon, who bought the league after the first week, decided the league could not survive without a formal affiliation with the NFL.  Dundon bought in when the AAF faced a funding crunch. At the time he pledged to finance the venture going forward, but his tune changed just over a month later when he said the AAF needed a pipeline of practice squad players from the NFL. That had never been the plan under previous owners Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian. They were overruled by Dundon, who has effectively ended the league. The loss of the AAF will leave a programming hole on CBS, TNT and NFL Network, which were scheduled to air games. CBS had planned to televise a Memphis Express-San Antonio Commanders game as the lead-in to its Final Four coverage on Saturday. The demise of the AAF also will leave Vince McMahon’s relaunched XFL without competition when it starts play next year.

XFL Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck lists the "capital contribution and the capital commitment" from league Founder Vince McMahon and the "time to plan, and plan properly," prior to its launch next year as reasons why the spring football league will not suffer the same fate as the AAF. Luck appeared on ESPN's "OTL" and said the two-plus years between the league's announced relaunch last January and its first games in February '20 has "allowed us to plan -- to plan our workers' comp system, to plan our general liability insurance, stadium leases, practice facilities." Luck said, "All of those things take some time. ... We're going to launch in a much better position, quite honestly." Meanwhile, McMahon earlier this week sold $272M in WWE stock to help solidify XFL funding. One reason for the AAF's suspending operations was the lack of a working relationship between itself and the NFL. Luck said while an XFL-NFL relationship is a possibility, McMahon at first "wants us to focus on building a sustainable stand-alone league." Luck added the XFL would "love to have, as we do, very friendly relationships with not just the league office" of the NFL, but the "various franchises." Luck said it is "not our intent" for the XFL to become a development league, but "certainly we want to have friendly relationships with all the members of the football ecosystem".

Baseball:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim spokesperson Marie Garvey said the team hopes to make a decision "by the end of the year" as to whether it will remain in Anaheim or if it will move to a new venue on Long Beach. The Angels' lease on Angel Stadium expires after next season, and the Long Beach Arena could be demolished to "accommodate development" in one of the scenarios discussed in talks between the Angels and Long Beach. In Anaheim, negotiations are "on hold while the city awaits an appraisal of the Angel Stadium site." In Long Beach, an "appraisal of the potential ballpark site and surrounding land has not been conducted".

Basketball:

San Antonio Spurs Sports & Entertainment announced that Peter J. Holt has "succeeded his mother," Julianna Hawn Holt, as Chair & co-CEO of the company, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Julianna Hawn Holt had held the posts since March '16, when she "succeeded her husband," Peter M. Holt, after he "stepped down following a 20-year stint." The Spurs also announced Peter J. Holt and Corinna Holt Richter would "succeed their parents on the organization’s board of managers." Peter M. Holt allowed Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and President & GM R.C. Buford to run the team "without interference," a model that helped pave the way "for the club to become one of professional sports’ premier franchises." Stephen Lang, the only remaining original Spurs investor, "predicted it would be 'business as usual' for the club with the younger Holts in charge." Lang said, "I have no reason to think otherwise. They are both quick studies, and I think highly of them." Peter and Julianna Hawn Holt became the Spurs’ "largest shareholders" in '96. They are "believed to own" about 40% of the team. Popovich said that he expects the Holt children to "continue the tradition of low-key ownership established by their parents." Popovich: "We have full confidence in them. They’re really intelligent, hard-working people who understand the organization. They’ve grown up with it".

Soccer:

EPL’s Tottenham Hotspur announced a world-record profit of £112.9M in '17-18, breaking the £106M benchmark set by Liverpool during the same period. Spurs’ profits for the 12 months through June last year were up from £36.2M for the previous set of results and were "largely driven" by player trading, principally the sale of Kyle Walker to Man City in the summer of '17 for around £50M. Since the financial year in question, "two transfer windows have passed without Spurs making a single new acquisition." The club also announced the "extent of its borrowing" to fund its new stadium, which stood at £445.3M as of June. Tottenham's turnover increased to £381M, up from £310M. There are "three main factors behind Spurs' impressive growth:" a full season of playing at Wembley, which "boosted" matchday turnover from £45M to £71M, reaching the knockout stage of the Champions League, worth £53M in prize money, and "much improved commercial income" of £109M. Tottenham’s wage bill "continues to be small" compared to the other Big Six clubs. Spurs' salary costs rose 16% to £147.6M, but that is "less than half" of ManU’s £296M, and "way behind" Arsenal’s £223M.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and city officials are embarking on an "aggressive push" to land an MLS franchise that includes are proposing a $33M package of "fee waivers, tax rebates, advertising rights and infrastructure financing" for a downtown stadium, according to the Sacramento Bee. The package was "negotiated over the last few months" between city officials and USL club Sacramento Republic FC lead investor Ron Burkle. Steinberg said that the deal "represents the city's good faith effort to show MLS and the Burkle group that Sacramento supports the team." The MLS BOD will meet in L.A. in two weeks to "discuss adding a 28th team to the league;" Sacramento and St. Louis are seen as the leading candidate cities. The Burkle group has an agreement to "buy 31 acres in the downtown railyard" that would house a $252M stadium and "other adjacent development." Steinberg and city negotiators have "agreed to set up a special infrastructure financing district on the 31 acres to capture tax revenue" to pay for up to $27.2M in infrastructure around the stadium. Under the package, the team would "build the infrastructure," and the city would then "rebate future increased property taxes from the site back to the team." The team would also "pay to build, own and operate the stadium," and will "pay for all upgrades." The team's name "must start with the word Sacramento; the plan is to continue to call the team Sacramento Republic FC".

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic; ESPN.com; San Antonio Express-News; Sacramento Bee

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