Moag and Company Sports Notes (8 Nov 2019)

Date: Nov 2019

Trivia

What is the record for the longest NCAA Division I football winning streak?  

Last Week’s Answer: The Boston Celtics won their first NBA championship in 1957 defeating the St. Louis Hawks four games to three.

Football:

The NFL and the Los Angeles Chargers have said that they are not moving to London, but some owners and league officials are looking at the team as a "long-term viability" in L.A., according to the NFL Network. Some owners have said that they "don't like what they see in terms of there just not being much support whatsoever for the Chargers," and it will be "interesting to see 3, 4, 5 years from now if they're going to be able to make any headway in that market." The NFL cannot force Chargers Chair Dean Spanos to leave L.A. because the league "gave him this opportunity." The Athletic reported "not every owner" wanted the Chargers to move to L.A., and it has "undercut some of what the Chargers have been trying to do." Everyone "knew that the Chargers weren't going to walk into Los Angeles and just boldly claim themselves property of Los Angeles," and the Chargers "forging their own way ... is unfolding in a way that many predicted." The team needs the "time to just stay in Los Angeles, be committed to it, be understanding of the fact that it's going to take some time and just be committed to that process".

Baseball:

Chicago Cubs season-ticket holders will see an "average price decrease of about 2.5%" in '20, according to the Chicago Tribune. This is the "first average season ticket price decrease" since '13. Cubs VP/Ticketing Cale Vennum said that the decrease has "more to do with the added early-season home games" than the team's failure to make the postseason for the first time in five seasons. The Cubs finished fourth in attendance this year, averaging 38,208 per game -- a "slight drop-off" from '18 but a 4.3% decline from '16 when the team won the World Series. For the '19 season, the team had 12 home games in March and April, often "playing in cold and rainy conditions." Due to an earlier start to the '20 season and an "unfavorable schedule," there will be 18 home games during March and April next year. Prices for individual games will "increase in several categories for season ticket holders," but those additional games in "lower-priced tiers" bring the overall cost down.

Basketball:

Investment firm Silver Lake Partners is "angling to buy a big stake" in the New York Knicks and NHL Rangers "before they're spun off into a publicly traded company," according to the N.Y. Post. Silver Lake owns close to 10% of the teams' parent company, MSG, making it the "largest outside investor in the entertainment conglomerate" controlled by James Dolan. Sources said that Silver Lake "wants more, but only when it comes to the sports teams." One source said that Silver Lake has "approached MSG with multiple plans to take a bigger stake" in the sports franchises, with one proposal "resulting in a private sale to Silver Lake at the time of the spinout." Dolan will continue controlling the Knicks and Rangers even as MSG "spins off about two-thirds of the value of the teams" to current MSG shareholders. Nevertheless, MSG has said that it is "open to selling some of the one-third stake it plans to retain" in order to "invest the proceeds in its remaining businesses".

TD Bank has had "serious discussions" with Miami-Dade County about "acquiring naming rights" to the Heat's arena, according to the Miami Herald. One source referred to TD Bank as the "front-runner." But another said that "other companies also remain in the mix" to replace American Airlines at the 19,600-seat facility. American in September announced that it was not renewing its 20-year deal, which expires Dec. 31, so Miami-Dade "hopes to have a new name on the building as soon as possible." American has been paying $2M a year for "naming rights to the tax-funded arena," costing the county about $5.5M a year in subsidies. Superlative Group President Myles Gallagher, hired as a county consultant to pursue the deal, told commissioners in October '18 that the building's naming rights were "worth at least triple" what American has been paying. Meanwhile, if the county cannot secure a new sponsor by Jan. 1, it is "required to pay the Heat" $2M in sponsorship revenue even if "no deal is in place." This provides an "incentive for the county to consummate a deal fairly quickly." Superlative Group negotiated a 5% commission on "any sponsorship revenue." Currently, TD Bank is 14 years into a 20-year, $100M contract for naming rights at TD Garden.

Other:

Roger Penske agreed to purchase Hulman & Co.’s racing assets for $300-350M, according to sources close to the deal, in a pact that will give him control of IndyCar and IMS. Sources say the deal’s value reflects how IMS has been the money-maker of the Hulman & Co. portfolio, helping to underwrite the series that has traditionally not turned a profit. Penske will also likely invest tens of millions of dollars in facility upgrades over the coming years. The deal is expected to close in January.

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic; ESPN.com; NFL Network; Chicago Tribune; N.Y. Post; Miami Herald

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