SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: April 8, 2022

Episode Summary

Flores lawsuit gets more plaintiffs, UFC rolls out new fighter bonuses and the Diamondbacks offer last-minute student discounts.

Episode Transcription

You've got day two of the Masters on the schedule where the weather looks okay in terms of rain, but the forecast calls for wind gusts in excess of 30 miles per hour this afternoon, which could make for an interesting run to the cut line.

And it's opening day part two in Major League Baseball with eight games involving teams that didn't play on Thursday, including the Red Sox, Yankees and Mariners, Twins games that were postponed by rain. Tonight also marks the beginning of the new Apple TV Plus deal and two games, Mets at Nationals and Astros at Angels will be exclusive on the streaming service.

Good morning. It's Friday, April 8th. This is your SBJ Morning Buzzcast. I'm David Albright filling in for Abe Madkour. Former Arizona Cardinals coach, Steve Wilks, and defensive assistant, Ray Horton, have joined Brian Flores as plaintiffs in the former Dolphin coach's discrimination lawsuit against the NFL. In an amended complaint filed Thursday, Horton alleges the Titans interviewed him for their head coaching vacancy in 2016, despite having already promised the job to interim head coach Mike Mularkey. Wilks claims he was unfairly and discriminatorily fired by the Cardinals in 2018 after one season. The amended complaint also includes new allegations that the Texans and Dolphins retaliated against Flores in the two plus months since he first filed the suit. The league declined to comment on these latest developments.

LA Dodgers principal owner, Mark Walter, is now among the executives trying to buy Premier League club Chelsea. Source told the athletic that Walter is joining the bid led by Todd Boehly, one of his partners in the ownership of the Dodgers. Boehly is regarded as the favorite to purchase Chelsea. The addition of Walter who has a net worth of 4.4 billion, according to Forbes, figures to put the Boehly group on even stronger financial footing. Next week is the deadline for bidders to forward their final offer to the Raine Group who is overseeing the sale.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA Lynx reached a multi-year deal with Kraft Analytics Group to focus on evolving three aspects of the team's business, fan insights and engagement, ticketing and sales, and organizational and technological capabilities. This comes amid an ownership transition from Glen Taylor to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez who can become owners of 80% of the teams by 2023. Already, the two sides have worked on season ticket pricing ahead of the 2022/23 renewal period. Team was on pace to renew 90%, and unheard of figure in the post Kevin Garnett era. Discussions about working together began last August. The deal is unique for [inaudible 00:02:34] in that it will be providing short term consultative help, along with technology support, including its data platform. It's the first time [inaudible 00:02:42] has done both with one organization and the Lynx are the first WNBA team they've worked with. [inaudible 00:02:48] now has roughly two dozen clients in addition to all 32 NFL teams.

UFC rolled out a new fighter paid bonus promotion with where fans will be able to vote for their athletes of the night after pay per view events and the winners will be paid in Bitcoin, reports are Adam Stern. Starting this weekend at UFC 273 in Jacksonville, UFC and its official Crypto sponsor will start a new fan bonus of the night feature where after every pay per view event, people will be able to log onto's website and select three fighters as their picks of the night. The UFC fighter with the most votes will get 30,000 in Bitcoin, second place gets 20,000 and third place gets 10,000. The microsite to vote will be on's website so the promotion will help the Crypto company amass customer data. The voting will start right after an event and last for one hour and fans anywhere in the world can vote. The new Crypto bonus will be in addition to the usual ones that UFC president, Dana White, hands out after big events to reward fighter performances. Those regular bonuses are paid in US dollars.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have relaunched a college student focus ticketing initiative with season share that allows students to select tickets to Dbacks' games at Chase Field at last minute discounted rates. Reports are Brett McCormick. Last minute college student tickets are available within the MLB Ballpark app and students can register to receive future offers which, along with seat delivery, are communicated via text. There is also a sit with a friend social commerce functionality, enabling groups to attend together. Now defunct, Experience used to run the program for the Dbacks. Season Share launched in 2019 and is integrated within Ticketmaster's platform. The Dbacks are Season Share's first MLB partner.

Opening day is as good as any time to look at where the crossover is between fans of MLB and eSports. An SBJ analysis of data from Zoomph shows that Yankees fans are the ones most into eSports among the 30 MLB teams. In terms of affinity, fans of the Cubs, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Dodgers round out the top five. The MLB fan bases that haven't quite gotten on the e-sports bandwagon yet, the Padres, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Rays and Rockies. Check out the SBJ eSports newsletter to see where your favorite team ranks on the list.

In people news, Cleveland Cavaliers CEO, Len Komoroski, will step away from his role at the end of the season. He has been the CEO since 2013 and began with the Cavaliers as president in 2003. Komoroski will remain affiliated with Rock Entertainment Group and will be focused on company's growth and development, as well as special projects and initiatives. Komoroski worked on a recent deal with the city of Cleveland in Cuyahoga County that led to a $185 million renovation of the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Finally, a programming note, if you haven't already, mark May 18th for the 2022 Sports Business Awards. The ceremony will be back live and in person at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. For more information on the program and how to attend, go to the events page on That's your SBJ Morning Buzzcast for Friday. I hope everyone has a great day, an even better weekend, and we'll see you back here Monday morning.