Moag and Company Sports Notes (21 December 2018)

Date: Dec 2018


When Monday Night Football first aired on ABC in 1970, who were the announcers?

Last Week’s Answer:  The Basketball Association of America (BAA), founded in June, 1946, was the forerunner to the NBA. In 1949, its name was changed to the National Basketball Association when it merged with a rival organization, the National Basketball League.


Annabel Bowlen, the wife of Denver Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen, has "entered the dispute between her husband’s trustees and his brother, Bill Bowlen," according to the Denver Post. Through her attorney Hugh Gottschalk, Annabel Bowlen "filed a motion to intervene in the litigation." Gottschalk in a statement said of Annabel's reason for intervening, "Her goal is to be able to participate in the lawsuit that Bill Bowlen filed that is attempting to remove the trustees." There can be "two ways" to look at the motion to intervene. The first is that it is "not a big deal." Annabel is "not joining legal forces with the trustees, she is merely requesting a seat at the table, which would allow Gottschalk to attend closed-door negotiations and legal proceedings and allow him to have access to the files presented by both sides if the dispute reaches the discovery stage." The second is that it is a "semi-big deal." As a "beneficiary of trust, Annabel declaring approval for how the trustees have performed their duties since being installed by Pat Bowlen in July 2014 is certainly notable." If Bill Bowlen’s lawyers "oppose Annabel Bowlen’s motion, her legal team would respond and Judge Charles Pratt could make a decision next month". Annabel in June announced that she, like her husband, is "suffering from Alzheimer’s." If "deemed incapacitated, she wouldn’t be able to testify in the case." Bill Bowlen has "repeatedly expressed” that Annabel should have "absolutely no role in the management or operations of the team.” He also expressed “concerns about her management and leadership abilities”.


Signage for the newly renamed T-Mobile Park in Seattle will "begin going up almost immediately" despite a winter festival currently "being held inside" the ballpark, according to the Seattle Times. The Seattle Mariners and Bellevue-based T-Mobile formally announced a 25-year naming-rights agreement. Renderings released by the team "show a magenta glow" at the ballpark, which "follows T-Mobile's signature color." Sources said that the lights will be visible "only at night". For the Mariners, the naming-rights deal will "align with their new lease agreement of 25 years," with an annual value of $3.5M. The "total value" of the naming-rights deal will be $87.5M. Exterior signage for the ballpark is "being targeted" to be ready by Opening Day, while some internal branding "could continue after." External lighting at the street level is "planned" for '20. As part of the naming-rights agreement, the "popular fan area" between left and center field will "now be called the T-Mobile 'Pen." All fans will "have access to it 30 minutes prior to all other gates." Other activation for T-Mobile will "include a 'fast track' entry for T-Mobile customers into the ballpark and 'T-Mobile Tuesdays' that will have promotion elements including discounted tickets and exclusive offers on merchandise." There will be a "separate agreement with T-Mobile for additional activation of other sponsorship elements".

The Tampa Bay Rays franchise sent a "two-sentence letter" to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman "formally notifying him that it will not seek to extend the agreement" that allowed it to explore a new ballpark site in Hillsborough County, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The three-year period St. Petersburg granted the team to research ballpark options throughout the Tampa area is "officially over with no deal in place." The team "remains mum on its future and has not signaled that it's interested in pursuing" a new ballpark in St. Petersburg. At this point, the only contract the Rays are "bound to honor is the one that states the team must play in Tropicana Field" until '27. After that, where the Rays "choose to play their home games is as uncertain as ever." The team's letter to Kriseman "offers no clarity on that." St. Petersburg City Council Chair Charlie Gerdes said that he does not "have a sense of relief." Gerdes: "It's not time to be relieved, it's time to make sure they stay here for a long time." St. Petersburg officials have said that if the Rays "want to reignite the Ybor [City] discussion, it would require a new legal agreement." Gerdes said that the price of such a request "could mean the team gives up potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in development rights" it currently holds over the 85-acre Tropicana Field site.


MSG Exec Chair & CEO James Dolan said the New York Knicks and Rangers are "very valuable assets, and they get more valuable every year," but he dismissed any speculation of a potential sale, noting "nobody in my family wants to sell" either team, according to Dolan: "It's not just my dad. It's the whole family. It's my (five) brothers and sisters. They like being owners ... They just have no appetite for running the team. That's a different animal." Dolan added he also does not "have any appetite for running the team, either one of them," as that is "not my expertise." Dolan reiterated his love for the Knicks and Rangers, but said he still has a "responsibility" to examine potential sales. Dolan added as the "head of a public company, you can't say you can't sell, because then you're telling your shareholders that your own personal feelings about your assets are more important than their money" and they "won't invest with you if you do that." Dolan: "I could never say that I wouldn't consider selling the Knicks. Now, my family ... are the majority shareholders. They hold the majority of the vote." On the belief among some high-ranking NBA execs that he has fielded offers of upward of $5B for the Knicks, Dolan said, "No one has come through with a bona fide offer." Dolan: "Yeah, (the feelers are) around that number ($5 billion), but those things, it's like a stock price. It's only important if you're going to buy or sell."


Boston Red Sox Owner John Henry has "shown interest in buying a stake" in NASCAR, potentially "adding to a sports empire" that also includes EPL club Liverpool, according to Bloomberg News. NASCAR has been "seeking minority investors, and Henry is already involved with the stock-car racing organization" via Roush Fenway Racing. Henry's Fenway Sports Group, "formed a partnership" with Roush in '07. NASCAR is "laying the groundwork for a transaction." Last month, it bid roughly $1.9B for ISC, a deal that would "more tightly combine the companies." Both businesses are already "controlled by the France family, and merging the assets may make it easier for a new investor to step in." NASCAR is "seeking investors at a time of falling ratings and the loss of some big sponsors".

Sources: SportsBusiness Daily; The Athletic;; The AP; Denver Post; Seattle Times; Tampa Bay Times;; Bloomberg News

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