SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: April 10, 2023

Episode Summary

A longtime Pac-12 administrator is on the move, SBJ’s cover story examines American ownership in the Premier League and MLB’s betting handle is expected to rise

Episode Transcription

If you didn't find a way to your TV until Sunday afternoon, you might not realize how much the weather impacted the Masters earlier in the weekend. That's because the setting and the backdrop looked picture perfect once the final round commenced. And when the last shot dropped, John Rahm had turned a two shot deficit into a four shot victory to take home the record, 3.24 million dollar first prize. The victory brings Rahm's PGA tour earnings this season to 13.29 million, the second most single season earnings in PGA tour history behind only Scottie Scheffler's 14.05 million last year. It's barely April.

Good morning. It's April 10th. This is your SBJ Morning Buzzcast. I'm Reginald Walker filling in for Abe Madkour. Longtime Pac-12 administrator, Jamie Zaninovich is leaving the conference to join Texas-based global communications agency, TrailRunner International, where he'll work on sports and non-sports advisory business.

Zaninovich, a deputy commissioner and chief operating officer at the Pac-12 has been a central figure in the leagues ongoing media rights negotiations and its analysis on expansion. Zaninovich told SBJ that he'll remain with the conference through Friday. He's also agreed to consult with the Pac-12 on media rights and expansion decisions as part of his job with the agency. Zaninovich will be managing director at TrailRunner whose clients include Spotify and Levi's among others, and site strategic communications, financial communications, and crisis communications as its specialties. He'll specifically work on growing TrailRunners' base of sports clients. Zaninovich first met TrailRunner executive chairman and founder, Jim Wilkinson when Wilkinson was at Alibaba and Zaninovich was at the Pac-12. Alibaba served as the title sponsor of the Pac-12's Annual Basketball Games in China, which was part of the conference's global initiative that Zaninovich oversaw.

Previously the commissioner of the West Coast Conference, Zaninovich, a member of SBJ's 40 under 40 class in 2010, joined the Pac-12 in 2014. He also spent time as a senior administrator at his alma mater, Stanford, as well as Princeton. At the Pac-12, Zaninovich worked for commissioners, Larry Scott and George Kliavkoff and spearheaded efforts to grow the Pac-12's brand in China, while also developing Team Green, a first of its kind sustainability platform for the conference and several college basketball initiatives.

In this week's SBJ cover story, Bruce Schoenfeld reports the Premier league's American driven globalization is not about name or culture, but an acceleration of optimization to reduce financial uncertainty. There have been missteps, but despite some hairpin turns along the way, growing American ownership in the Premier League has led to significant changes to increase club financial stability. Over the past two decades since Malcolm Glazer first started buying shares of Manchester United in 2003, some two dozen Americans have purchased significant pieces of UK soccer clubs.

They come in to try to make them completely successful and more profitable. Golden Knights owner, Bill Foley, is the most recent acquiring controlling interest in Bournemouth for 130 million last year. But at least one more acquisition, the investment arm of the 49ers buying Leads United is on the horizon with several more suitors for various club circling.

Why so many? Well, for one thing, Premier League clubs are comparatively cheap. Sure, the valuations of the top six or seven clubs are measured in the billions. But even with Bournemouth off the market, it's still possible to buy a Premier League club for well under $200 million. Now consider the next wave of MLS expansion franchises, which will hope to eventually sell their best players to Dutch and French and German clubs that will then try to sell them for profit to the Premier League. Those MLS clubs are priced at $500 million.

Read this week's SBJ cover story to learn why nearly every American ownership group has at least initially struggled in the Premier League. Some eventually adapted. Others didn't. Only a few years ago baseball betters generally were limited to three types of bets, spread, money line and over under, which all typically offered payouts that hovered around even money. It wasn't the most compelling product for a casual better. This season all the leading sports books were offer a lengthy menu of bets on each game, especially when it comes to player props. FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars have an array of prop odds for just about every player in every lineup every day. DraftKings even prompts users to click on an individual player to find all the bets involving him. Sports books increasingly are keeping those bets available through the early innings. Considering the way player parlay betting took off during the NFL and NBA seasons, MLB is eager to see how betters respond to the evolution of the product around its games.

In the April 10th issue of SBJ, Bill King writes that the odds are high that a huge increase in available baseball bets will boost the 2023 handle. And we'll end this warning's buzzcast on a programming note, unleash the potential of multi-industry innovation with Force New York, a new two day event experience brought to you by Leaders in Sports Business Journal. On May 23rd and 24th, join us and over 450 industry pioneers at Chelsea Industrial to explore the ever-growing intersection between sport, lifestyle, culture, and entertainment. See firsthand what great collaboration looks like and expand your inter industry black book. Visit for more information. And that is your SBJ Morning Buzzcast for Monday, April 10th. I'm Reginald Walker Reginald Walker filling in for Abe Madkour. I hope everyone has a great day and we'll see you back here tomorrow morning.