SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: April 25, 2023

Episode Summary

Endeavor sells IMG Academy, ESPN layoffs begin and Caleb Williams’ NIL bank continues to grow.

Episode Transcription

A couple of playoff-proven NBA veterans took matters into their own hands on Monday night as LeBron James put up his first career 2020 line to push the Lakers past the Grizzlies in overtime. Not to be outdone, Jimmy Butler poured in 56 points to lead the Heat past the Bucks. Both LA and Miami took 3-1 series leads, and watching stars be stars in playoff basketball provided some normalcy to an otherwise surreal day across the media and sports landscapes.

Good morning. It's Tuesday, April 25th. This is your SBJ morning buzzcast. I'm David Albright filling in for Abe Madkour.

Endeavor has entered into an agreement to sell its subsidiary IMG Academy to private equity firm BPEA EQT in partnership with Nord Anglia Education. The all-cash deal reflects an enterprise value of 1.25 billion and the companies anticipate the deal will close in the third quarter of this year. As part of the transaction, the business is expected to partner with portfolio company Nord Anglia Education, which operates some of the world's leading premium international schools. Endeavor acquired IMG in 2014 inclusive of IMG Academy. The Raine Group acted as financial advisor to Endeavor on the transaction, and Latham & Watkins acted as legal advisor to Endeavor.

ESPN began laying off an unknown number of employees on Monday morning as part of Disney's strategy to eliminate around 7,000 jobs, reports our John Ourand. This week's cuts are expected primarily to affect management in all departments. Employees in this wave will hear from their leader and HR partner this week. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said in a memo to employees, "We will have another wave of notifications that will be completed by the start of the summer for those that are not in front-facing talent roles. Once those summer layoffs are completed, ESPN will focus on cutting some on-air talent."

Mike Soltys, ESPN's second-longest tenured exec was a casualty of Monday's layoffs. The VP of corporate communications officially was informed Monday morning and will leave the company in late June after a 43-year run. Russell Wolff, a veteran exec who oversaw the ESPN+ streaming service is also among those leaving the company. Wolff has been with ESPN for 26 years in a variety of roles, including as EVP and managing director of ESPN International. It is unclear who will be taking over ESPN+ after his departure.

La Liga Club Barcelona has secured financing of 1.6 billion from multiple investors to begin the renovation of Camp Nou stadium. The club's assets were not used as a guarantee and there was no need to take a mortgage on the stadium. A total of 20 investors were behind the financing. The club said that the financing was composed of different installments to be paid progressively at five, seven, nine, 20, and 24 years with a flexible structure and a grace period. Barcelona will start to repay the operation once stadium work has been completed. Seating capacity once the work is finished is being increased from 99,300 to 105,000.

Trackhouse Racing has worked with rapper Pitbull to have his next album be titled Trackhouse, reports our Adam Stern. The two-car Cup Series outfit made the announcement Monday afternoon releasing an album cover and saying it would run a paint scheme this weekend at Dover to help promote it. In what Trackhouse called a remarkable next step for its brand promise of merging the world's of Motorsports and entertainment, the album cover shows the team's two cars, the numbers 1 and 99 Chevrolets on the streets of Miami in the background, while in the foreground is a Trackhouse jacket wearing Pitbull who will release the Trackhouse album on July 7th.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams has added another endorsement to a growing list of NIL deals by signing with cosmetic brand Neutrogena. The terms of the deal were not disclosed and it was negotiated by Smith and Company. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner first appeared promoting the product Monday in a video on Instagram where he showed off the company's exhibit at this year's Coachella Festival. Williams has emerged as a marketing star in the last 21 months, signing deals with Athletic Brewing Company, Fanatics, AT&T, Beats by Dre, and AC+ION Water. Since transferring to USC, Williams has seen his NIL valuation jump to 2.6 million, which ranks number two in college football behind Texas freshman quarterback Arch Manning.

United Talent Agency COO Andrew Thau has been named co-head of UTA Sports alongside Rich Paul. A major move for the agency as it continues its aggressive push into sports. Paul has led UTA Sports since the division's launch in 2019 following UTA's investment in Paul's Clutch Sports Group. In an interview, Paul and Thau both insisted that beyond signaling UTA's greater commitment to sports, the new leadership structure simply formalizes the duals existing relationship. Thau has been with UTA since 2007, will maintain his existing responsibilities overseeing UTA's corporate and legal affairs. Last year, the Hollywood Reporter named Thau one of Hollywood's 45 top deal makers.

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And that's your SBJ morning buzzcast for Tuesday. I hope everyone has a great day, and we'll see you back here tomorrow morning.