Moag and Company Sports Notes (8 December 2017)

Date: Dec 2017

Trivia

Who holds the NFL record for the most sacks in season?  To date, the record for the most sacks in an NFL season was compiled by Michael Strahan of the N.Y. Giants. In 2001 he had 22.5 sacks.

Last Week’s Answer: The Houston Astros entered Major League Baseball in the National League as the Houston Colt .45s. They played their first game on April 10, 1962, against the Chicago Cubs – a game they won. They changed their name to the Astros in 1965. The Astros moved to the American League for the 2013 season. 

Football

The NFL extended the contract of Commissioner Roger Goodell for "another five years, ending an unusually rancorous months long standoff" with Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, who "wanted to derail the deal," according to the N.Y. Times. The NFL compensation committee "signed off on a contract" worth roughly $200M over five years, which is "in line with his current deal." But unlike Goodell's current arrangement, nearly 90% of the "potential compensation will be paid only if a variety of financial targets are met." The league still has $14B in annual revenue, a "big reason the owners are comfortable keeping Goodell" for another five years. But with "anxiety over the league's weaknesses growing, Jones and other owners wanted to ensure Goodell continued to focus on growing the league's business." As a result, they have "insisted that most of his compensation in the coming years be based on the NFL hitting financial targets." Goodell's "guaranteed salary before those potential bonuses" will be about $4M a year. Contrary to Jones' efforts to undermine the deal, Atlanta Falcons Owner and Compensation Committee Chair Arthur Blank said that there was "nearly a consensus to offer Goodell an extension and to move quickly 'to avoid further controversy surrounding this issue.'" The committee had been "working since May on the new contract, which would take effect" in March '19. Goodell's extension would "keep him in place through the league's negotiations" for its next CBA with the NFLPA and its "next set of television contracts".

Baseball

The plans by the Oakland A's to "build a 35,000-seat ballpark in downtown Oakland near Lake Merritt derailed when the community college district that owns the land "halted talks" with the team, according to a the S.F. Chronicle. The move "shocked" the A’s, who "hired a design team last month for the ballpark and had support from Peralta Community College District Chancellor Jowel Laguerre." But at a closed-door meeting, the college district’s BOT "ordered Laguerre to end his talks with the A’s." The decision that Laguerre announced was "immediately hailed as a victory by students and faculty." Laguerre, however, later suggested that there is "still hope for a ballpark" at Laney College. The A's, who "hoped to open" a ballpark in '23, appeared to "take the trustees' decision as a defeat." It is "unclear what the team’s next step will be." A’s President Dave Kaval previously said that there was "no Plan B if the ballpark site near Laney College didn’t work out." MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that he "wants talks for an Oakland site to continue." Oakland politicians had given only "lukewarm support to the team’s preferred site." Mayor Libby Schaaf "wanted the ballpark built at Howard Terminal along the Jack London Square waterfront." City Council President Larry Reid "hoped it would stay at the Coliseum site in his East Oakland district." Schaaf "reiterated her support for keeping the team in Oakland".

Rogers Communications reportedly is considering selling assets including the Toronto Blue Jays, but it is "too soon to say" if the company has "definitively placed a 'for sale' sign" on the team, according to SPORTSNET.com. There "don’t appear to be any firm plans, processes or timelines in place to put the club out on the open market, and any potential transaction will be very complicated." But the possibility of a sale is "quite clearly getting very serious senior-level consideration as made clear" by Rogers CFO Tony Staffieri. Staffieri said, "There isn’t anything imminent that we’re about to announce, but we’re certainly looking at the alternatives." The concept of "surfacing the value" of non-core company assets such as the Blue Jays "has been mentioned" by Rogers execs before, most notably by President & CEO Joe Natale during an October conference call with analysts. Staffieri’s comments were the "most specific public indication to this point that the idea of selling the Blue Jays is far more than a concept being casually tossed around." If sold, MLB "would likely prefer the team go to an individual, as opposed to another corporation," with Blue Jays Chair Edward Rogers -- son of the company's late founder Ted Rogers -- one "speculative possibility." A commitment to keep the Blue Jays' broadcast rights with Rogers "would no doubt impact any potential sale, as would the need for hundreds of millions in renovations at Rogers Centre".

Basketball

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that the league "intends to move quickly" to put a G League franchise in Mexico City, according to the N.Y. Times. Silver: "Mexico is a flourishing basketball market with growing fan interest and increased youth participation." A Mexico-based G League team would be "owned and operated locally and potentially begin play as early as next season, although a specific timetable is not yet official." Establishing a G League franchise would be the "latest serious step by the NBA in its efforts to gain a foothold in Mexico and gauge the viability of putting an NBA team in the largest market in Latin America." While stressing that the league is "not actively pursuing expansion or relocation for any of its 30 current franchises, Silver has described Mexico City as a natural contender for an eventual NBA team on numerous occasions this year." The G League is "scheduled to have franchises owned or directly affiliated with 27 NBA teams next season as it continues to work toward its long-stated '30 for 30' goal, which calls for every NBA franchise to have a direct affiliate in the developmental league." A Mexico City franchise is "likely to begin operations" before the G League reaches 30 NBA-owned franchises, but "would be owned and operated separate from the NBA. Silver said that other Mexican cities "could also be considered if the G League team does move south of the border." He added that the league was "exploring the cost involved in a Mexican G League franchise". Silver also announced plans to "launch an NBA Academy" in Mexico City. Both plans "demonstrate the importance of the Mexico City market to the league's desire to further grow in Latin America".

Hockey

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that Topgolf Chair Tom Dundon has "signed a purchase agreement to buy a controlling interest" in the Carolina Hurricanes from current Owner Peter Karmanos Jr., according to the Raleigh News & Observer. Bettman said that the transaction "was not completed but could be in the next few weeks." He also said that the team "would remain in Raleigh." Karmanos will "retain an equity stake in the team." Whether the Centennial Authority, the public board that administers PNC Arena, would have to "approve the transfer of the arena lease to Dundon would depend on how the sale is structured." If Dundon becomes a part-owner of Gale Force Holdings, the Hurricanes’ current parent company that also manages the arena, there would "potentially be no alterations to the lease." That would change if Dundon "created a new entity to operate the team and arena." A group headed by sports attorney Chuck Greenberg put together a term sheet that had Karmanos’ approval, but Greenberg had "trouble lining up enough investors to meet Karmanos’ selling price." Karmanos said that price was between $450M and $500M. A source said that Dundon will "own close to" 52% of the team and Karmanos "would retain" the rest. The source also said that Dundon has an "option in three years’ time to buy the remaining shares off Karmanos". Dundon said that he would "like to put off discussing the deal in detail until after the transaction closes."

The NHL announced an expansion process that "likely will lead" to Seattle gaining the league's 32nd franchise, according to the Seattle Times. Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the NHL has "received a request to file an expansion application" from TPG Capital Partner David Bonderman and filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer, who have already "partnered" with Oak View Group. OVG earlier this week finalized a deal with the city for a $600M renovation of KeyArena. The NHL has "agreed to review the application," has set a $650M expansion fee and "now will gauge progress by the Seattle group in coming months before deciding whether to award a franchise." Bettman said, "We've agreed as a league to take and consider an expansion application and to let them run -- at some point in the next few months -- a season-ticket drive." Baker notes the process will be "similar" to what the Las Vegas Golden Knights did "ahead of being awarded an NHL expansion team." Bettman reiterated that the process is "exclusively about Seattle when asked whether Quebec City might again be considered." Bettman also mentioned that relocation of one or more teams is "still on the table and did not rule that out." A renovated KeyArena is "not expected to be ready" until October '20 at the earliest, leaving "no place to accept a relocated team in the short term." The league also would stand to "gain double in expansion fees what it would get from any group offering to take in a relocated team".

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