SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: August 14, 2023

Episode Summary

Does the ACC make a move? What's next for Brewers? How will Raleigh be transformed by sports development? What's the make up of The TKO Group board?

Episode Transcription

Speaker 1:

Well, it looked like a great weekend in Springfield, Massachusetts for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday night. I loved the speeches from the likes of Dwayne Wade and Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol and Tony Parker among others. If you get a chance, check them out. They are certainly worth your time.

And this is your morning Buzzcast for Monday, August 14th. Good morning, I'm Abe Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast. It is safe to say the Messi effect is in full gear. Inter Miami is 5 and 0 since his arrival, and they will play this week in the league's Cup semifinals. That's Tuesday night. On Friday, the city of Miami, wow, quite the sports scene. You had more than 64,000 tickets distributed for the Dolphins' preseason opener. You had almost 34,000 for the Marlins' game as they hosted the Yankees, and you had more than 22,000 at DRV PNK Stadium as Inter Miami won its league's Cup quarterfinal game.

Now Lionel Messi has scored in all five of his appearances with Miami. Meanwhile, the coach of Inter Miami's next opponent, the Philadelphia Union's Jim Curtain is asking fans for a favor to ensure home field advantage when Inter Miami plays them on Tuesday night. Curtin pleaded with fans to not sell their tickets no matter how much money they're being offered. He really wants the local fans to keep their tickets, to go to the game and have a very loud home field advantage. It has been noted that Messi fans are buying up tickets on the secondary market to watch him, and that's changed the dynamic of the fan split in the venues and even the dynamic during the game. So a story that continues to bear watching is the Messi effect because right now, MLS and Inter Miami couldn't have asked for a better start.

Certainly some interesting news out of Milwaukee that dropped late Friday, and it suggests that the Brewers and the state of Wisconsin and local officials need to work on a few elements about the team's long-term future or else the Brewers could begin looking at other markets. The team, the state, and the local government have yet to reach an agreement on a taxpayer-funded package to fund improvements at the Brewer's home ballpark, American Family Field. Now that is required in the team's lease with the state. Now if a deal doesn't get signed, there is speculation that the team just might entertain options to relocate. I don't see it. As just a few months ago, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers proposed spending almost $300 million in taxpayer funds to help the Brewers stay in the state. But a final deal isn't done and the Brewers are getting more and more concerned they won't get the full funding they need for stadium renovations.

Now the team's lease does not expire until the end of 2030, but the renovations are a requirement to maintain the terms of the team's lease, meaning that if the renovations don't happen, the team has an out. But this is a deal I believe will get done. I just can't see the idea of Milwaukee losing the Brewers. But now you have this Brewers story and there is still the issue of the Orioles not signing its lease yet to remain at Camden Yards. That's a storyline I'm particularly keeping an eye on. So the future of the Orioles and the Brewers, worth your attention.

One project also to keep your eye on is what is happening in Raleigh, North Carolina and the development of the land around PNC Arena, as well as the Hurricane's long-term commitment to the facility and to the region. This week, there are meetings set and potentially votes on a new long-term lease with the Hurricanes and an agreement that would allow hurricane's owner Tom Dundon to convert what is now 80 acres of parking lots and undeveloped land. He could turn that into a mixed use, multi-use development. It's a very, very ambitious plan, and we have talked about Dundon's vision before on the Buzzcast. It includes offices, shopping restaurants, a sports book, and a live music venue, all on these 80 acres of land. Now, PNC Arena, a 24-year-old facility greatly in need of a facelift. And again, Dundon has big ideas. Construction could start as soon as next summer, and there is already $300 million in tourism tax money earmarked for this project. So this would be a pretty big renovation and a big mixed use, multi-use development in Raleigh, and that's exactly what Hurricane's owner Tom Dundon wants to see.

This is also a week to watch the ACC as schools have a Tuesday deadline to declare if they intend to remain in the conference for 2024. Meanwhile, multiple reports state that talks have slowed or even stalled about allowing Stanford and Cal into the ACC. SI reported that four schools are opposed to having Stanford and Cal join the conference, Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Sources said that Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, and Louisville are among the most vocal in advocating for Stanford and Cal to join the conference. While there is appeal among a number of presidents to add the schools from an academic and Olympic sports perspective, there is real concern about including football, about the financial terms and about the increased travel to the west coast. So right now it looks like efforts to bring Stanford and Cal into the ACC have stalled.

Last week there were differing reports. Some were even refuted that the Big 10 would play its football championship game in Las Vegas. But over the weekend, Las Vegas officials confirmed that they are in discussions with the Big 10 about hosting the conference championship football game at Allegiant Stadium. The Big 10 has asked Las Vegas to submit a proposal. Vegas said it will and that it's interested in hosting the game. The Big Ten's football championship game has been held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis since 2011. That contract with Indianapolis expires after the 2024 game, so that's why the Big 10 is looking at optionality. Meanwhile, Allegiant Stadium has hosted the PAC 12 conference football championship, but certainly the future of that game is up in the air with all the changes at the PAC 12.

A lot of NFL preseason football this weekend, the one I kept my eye on, yes, the Josh Harris era began on Friday as the Commanders got their first preseason win under their new owner. Josh Harris was in the house. It was the team's first preseason win in two years. How about starting it off on the right foot? Meanwhile, investors, Mark Ein and Mitchell Rales were also in attendance on Friday night and after the game Josh Harris was awarded an honorary game ball by the team and the coaches. So the Josh Harris era, even in the preseason, gets off to a successful start.

And we know that the Las Vegas Formula 1 race will be a night race starting as late as 10:00 PM Eastern time in November. But don't look for the Miami Grand Prix, the race held in May, to be a night race anytime soon. While there was speculation that the race could be moved to the evening hours for 2024, that is now very, very unlikely. It's not off the table for the future, but it's not imminent. Race leaders said they need more research to study the impact of moving the race to the nighttime. They really want to know what the impact would be on the fan experience at the track before deciding to move the race into the evening hours for the Miami Grand Prix.

And finally, some interesting names on the board of the TKO Group. That is the company which will be created with the merger of the WWE with Endeavor. The TKO Group will consist of I believe 11 board members. Six of the members will be named by Endeavor, five will be named by the WWE. Among the names familiar to Buzzcast listeners who are on the board of the TKO Group are Ari Emmanuel, Egon Durban from Silver Lake, Nick Kahn, Steve Koonin from the Atlanta Hawks, Jonathan Kraft of the Patriots, Mark Shapiro and Nancy Tellum. Those are just among the names who will be on this board who have sports or sports media and entertainment ties that are well-known to listeners of the Buzzcast.

And so that is your morning Buzz cast for Monday, August 14th. I'm Abe Madkour. Hope everybody has a great start to the week. Stay healthy, be good to each other. I'll speak to you tomorrow.