SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: August 21, 2023

Episode Summary

The Messi Effect continues, recapping the WWC, College Gameday's new sponsors, and the Celtics' Jaylen Brown thanks the media.

Episode Transcription

Make your plans early as SBJ's DRIVE conference will be in St. Louis, September 19th to the 21st. If you work for a team, a league, a venue, or are doing business with any of these entities, you will want to be there as the conference will cover topics including team operations, facility operations, ticketing, revenue, business analytics. You'll also get site visits of the Enterprise Center, Ballpark Village, Busch Stadium, and CityPark. It's going to be a very valuable week, so I hope you'll join me. Sign up and register on our website or let me know if you have any questions.

And this is your Morning Buzzcast for Monday, August 21st. Good morning, I'm Abe Madkour. Hope you're doing well. Yes, there's NFL pre-season. There are MLB pennant races, but this felt like a soccer weekend. MLS has to be thrilled by its Leagues Cup in season tournament. Nashville was brimming with energy and excitement. I have friends in the city who went to the Saturday night match, Leagues Cup final, raved about the experience at Geodis Park. More than 30,000 fans were on hand as Lionel Messi and Inter Miami beat Nashville SC during the final. It was a big night, a big night for Inter Miami, a big night for Nashville SC, and for Major League Soccer. The Messi legacy continues. People on site said with the sellout crowd of more than 30,000, there appeared to be about three quarters Nashville SC fans and about a one quarter Messi, Inter Miami base. Onsite, in Nashville, you had two of the teams, limited partners, Giannis and Reese Witherspoon, on hand. You had Nicole Kidman, a Nashville resident, on hand. And of course you had David Beckham. So a lot of star power at the Leagues Cup final, and with the victory, Inter Miami earns $2 million. It's just amazing what Messi has done for that franchise and really for MLS.

Commissioner Don Garber had to be pleased. On Saturday night, he called the opening installment of Leagues Cup a smashing success and I bet it is. There could be some minor changes as they evaluate it for next year. Garber acknowledged that they will have to take a look at the calendar and see if it fits during the August month or some other windows. There are more and more international soccer competitions happening in North America, in the years ahead. Meanwhile, we talk about Messi and he is still the talk of sports and certainly the talk of soccer. And Garber encouraged each and every MLS club to optimize Messi's presence in the league. He said, "The league will not tell teams how to promote and sell around Messi. Instead, it's the responsibility of the local clubs to do what they think is best to build their fan base." Now that's smart. It's not a top-down approach, but teams have to be working with their business intelligence units to maximize the ticket revenue around Messi's appearances in the various markets. And that's a story that we are continuing to watch in the final months of the MLS season, because many teams will certainly see a revenue boost when Messi comes to town.

I said it was a soccer weekend and we will look back at the legacy of the 2023 Women's World Cup and see this as another strong step forward for women's sports, as you had Spain's first Women's World Cup title. They beat England in front of more than 75,000 fans at the final at Stadium Australia. The turnout, the attendance at this event, unbelievable, incredibly strong. And Sunday's final was played in front of tennis legend Billie Jean King. Overall, a great tournament for FIFA and a great tournament for the host Australia and New Zealand, and we will see how women's soccer continues to grow around the world.

If you're going to the US Open, starting next week for the night sessions, you will continue to see two matches each night at Arthur Ashe Stadium despite complaints by players over the late finishes. We know some of these matches, or some of the evening matches, end in the early morning hours. But US Open Tournament Director, Stacey Allaster, said the late night matches were discussed, the start times were reviewed after last year's Open, which saw some high profile matches finish as late or as early as 3:00 AM in the morning. Yes, 3:00 AM, matches were still continuing at Flushing Meadows and despite some players complaining about that late second match of the evening, the USTA is moving ahead with the schedule again this year.

Let's talk about some college football. We know how successful ESPN's College GameDay has been over the years, especially for its presenting sponsor The Home Depot. Well, some other brands want to get into the action and so Inspire Brands, that is the parent company of Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings and Dunkin' and Jimmy John's and some others, has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with ESPN's College GameDay. Adweek noted that you'll see these brands attached to College GameDay at the start of the season, around Labor Day, as the show enters its 30th year. So you'll see Buffalo Wild Wings, you'll see Arby's, and you'll see Dunkin' be integrated into the show as part of a food theme feature called Weekend Menu. I think that's a smart activation.

Dunkin' will also be on site, activating each week around the show with fans who are of course always in the perimeter or in the background of this popular show. We know how strong this show's following is, and The Home Depot is back for its 21st year as presenting sponsor. DoorDash is back for its second year. And interestingly Old Dominion Freight Line, that sponsors the fan bleachers every week. So some brands have been very smart, attaching themselves to College GameDay, and now you'll see Buffalo Wild Wings, Arby's and Dunkin' on the broadcast this season.

I spent parts of my weekend catching up on Hard Knocks and so far it's fine. Maybe not as much insight into the front office and coaches observations of players that I normally like, but we're only in episode two. And staying with docuseries, I told you last year how much I enjoyed NASCAR's production of Race for the Championship, which was on USA Network. Well that was produced by NASCAR and now NASCAR will link with Netflix, as SBJ's Adam Stern reported on Friday, that the two will join on a docuseries around this season's playoffs and Netflix will be onsite, filming content, pretty soon around the 10-week NASCAR playoffs. NASCAR's drivers and teams have been informed of Netflix's plans. They are working with NASCAR on the effort, but it's unclear when the show will debut on Netflix, but certainly that is a shot in the arm for NASCAR to partner with Netflix on this docuseries. More details certainly to come.

And look for the Chris Del Conte era to continue at Texas and as it should. Texas wants to lock him down for a long time, as he's one of the strongest ADs in the country, and one of the funniest, and one of the most charismatic executives in college sports. The University of Texas has recommended that Del Conte receive a contract extension through 2030. He would be guaranteed 2.8 million, 3 million and 3.1 million during the three years that have been tacked on to his current deal. A reworked, seven-year contract would be worth close to $20 million for Del Conte. Now Chris Del Conte has done a number of smart business moves, including the addition of the popular Bevo Boulevard and remember, Texas open the $375 million Moody Center, which is one of the best venues in college sports. Texas also renovated parts of the football stadium, South End Zone, during Del Conte's tenure. So a lot going on at Texas, all under the aggressive watch of Chris Del Conte, a very strong body of work for him and the university will reward him with a new contract extension.

And here's something you do not see a lot of; a player thanking the media. Celtics guard Jaylen Brown was voted by the basketball media to the All-NBA Team last season. Now that qualified him to receive his record $300 million super-max contract by the Celtics, which he signed over the summer. Brown was so pleased that he sent personalized notes to every media member who voted for him for the All-NBA Team last season. Not a move you see much, but Jaylen Brown showing his appreciation to the basketball sports media.

And that is your Morning Buzzcast for Monday, August 21st. I'm Abe Madkour. Hope you have a great start to your week. Stay healthy. Please, be good to each other. I'll talk to you tomorrow.