SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: December 18, 2023

Episode Summary

Deals set to close out '23 and more details emerge of Monumental's move to Northern VA.

Episode Notes

Deals set to close out '23 and more details emerge of Monumental's move to Northern VA.

Episode Transcription

Abe Madkour:

Yes, we have the home stretch of 2023. I know a lot of you are winding down, hopefully relaxing with friends and family all this week, but as we know, the end of the year also comes with plenty of deals. And this is your Morning Buzzcast for Monday, December 18th. I'm Abe Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast. And speaking of deals, a multi-billion dollar deal between Strategic Sports Group and the PGA Tour is said to be very close. And the PGA Tour is also hoping to reach a deal with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Now the agreement with the Strategic Sports Group, that's Fenway Sports Group, Steve Cohen, Arthur Blank, a consortium of US team owners, that would infuse more than $3 billion into a new for-profit entity called PGA Tour Enterprises. The New York Times actually reported that the investment would be 3.5 billion and the newly formed company would have a valuation of up to roughly $12 billion. So if a deal is reached with Strategic Sports Group and the Saudi PIF, more than $7 billion could be put into PGA Tour Enterprises. And that would of course combine the commercial assets of the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour, LIV Golf. And so you see just how heavily funded this would be.

Now, a deal with Strategic Sports Group might be announced before the end of this year, under the agreement the PGA Tour would retain control of PGA Tour Enterprises and Strategic Sports Group, and the Public Investment Fund would be minority owners. This week, PGA Tour, Jay Monahan is scheduled to meet with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan. And they were previously scheduled to meet earlier in December, but those meetings kept getting pushed back. They're scheduled to meet this week. Their meeting should bring more clarity to what's going to happen, but the next two weeks seem to be very important to the future of the PGA Tour.

Another major deal was the surprising announcement last week that Monumental Sports would move to Capitals and the Wizards to a massive new development in Northern Virginia, in Alexandria. And the Washington Post reported over the weekend that the development plan in Northern Virginia would receive the largest ever public subsidy for a project of its kind, an estimated $1.35 billion in state and local funding if the plan goes forward. Now, a study produced by J.P. Morgan for the state of Virginia showed that to build the $2.2 billion project, Virginia would need to create a sports and entertainment authority that would issue 2 bond offerings and would need to contribute an additional $300 million from existing city and state funds. Meanwhile, Monumental Sports & Entertainment would provide a total of $400 million up front. That's a new figure, we had not seen that figure. So $400 million up front and sign a 40-year lease. Over those 40 years, the total contribution by Monumental Sports, the up front fee and the lease could total more than $819 million. That's from Monumental.

But the study does show the net cost to taxpayers could hit 1.35 billion. A major figure, sure to be heavily debated. Remember, this is more than arena. It's a concert hall, massive parking, a conference center, a Wizard's practice facility, Monumental's corporate offices, and a media studio. Currently, what's there is a shopping plaza, there is Potomac Yard Metro Station on site, additional private development, calls for two hotels, shopping and apartments beginning in 2029. So you see the size and scope of this project. It is being heavily debated. It's been a tough week for Monumental Sports' Ted Leonsis, who is getting pretty criticized in the Washington media. But again, the deal is not done, the agreement was nonbinding, but all signs point to Monumental Sports & Entertainment taking its two teams and building a massive development in Northern Virginia.

If you think you've seen a lot of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on TV this season, well, you're right, your eyes aren't deceiving you. Travis Kelce has appeared in more commercials during NFL games this season than any other celebrity. He's been on-screen in 375 commercial spots that have aired during NFL games this season. That is through December 11th. And that's more than any other athlete or actor or any celebrity. And that's according to data from iSpot. Who's number two? Well, his teammate Patrick Mahomes. And Kelce beat out Mahomes by about 34 airings. Kevin Miles, who was better known as Jake from State Farm, took third place with 247 ad appearances during NFL games so far. Now, Kelce's commercials were filmed before his relationship with Taylor Swift became public, but some of his partners and sponsors publicly acknowledge they changed their media plans to capitalize on the spotlight that followed this couple after they announced their public dating sometime in September. So Travis Kelce, certainly a commercial darling so far this year.

Let's move on. The sports portfolio of Michelle Kang continues to expand. We have talked about her on the Buzzcast. She is a strong US business leader, she owns the NWSL Washington Spirit and the French club, Lyon. Now she has acquired the London City Lionesses and that team sits in English soccer's second division. It has been known that Kang is eager to build a global sports organization that features multiple teams. Now, the Lionesses are an independent women's soccer club that's part of the Barclays Women's Championship League. The deal gives Michelle Kang one of the 24 teams in the Woman's Super League, which is splitting off from the English Football Association to operate independently beginning next year. And like I said, Kang has bigger ambitions. She admitted that she is looking to Asia, Africa, Mexico, South America, and other parts of Europe for future team acquisitions. So Michelle Kang is someone I'm paying attention to. I would suggest you also keep your eye as she builds out her sports organization.

We have talked about the private equity fund, Arctos Partners and the minority investments it has made in a number of sports teams. They've invested in Liverpool, the Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Golden State Warriors. Well they recently made an investment in League One French club, Paris Saint-Germain. And the club is really hoping that Arctos can help it grow its fan and sponsor base in the United States. The team believes there is a big opportunity for growth in the US and Paris Saint-Germain has big sales ambitions. They have an annual sales target of more than a billion dollars, which is extraordinary. And the club will hit over $870 million in sales for this year, which would be among the highest sums in European football. So they look to grow and where do they want to grow in the US, and they believe the investment from Arctos Partners can help them boost sales and sponsorship and merchandise and licensing. So again, keep your eye on PSG.

And finally we'll end with this. Tigers fans in Detroit should get ready for an improved viewing experience at Comerica Park as Daktronics is building the second-largest video board in baseball for the Tigers. It will be ready in time for this coming season. The display will sit above left field and is a 15,000 square foot digital canvas and 14.1 million pixels. And this main board, this big board in left field, is part of a broader project that will see five additional boards installed around the ballpark. So the Tigers' viewing experience for fans, much more enhanced with all these LED boards. Daktronics has had a very strong year. It has video displays in more than half of all pro sports venues in the US and Canada. Earlier this year, Daktronics put in major new video boards at Rogers Center in Toronto, Citizens Bank Park in Philly and Target Field in Minneapolis for the 2023 season. Now they'll build the second largest one in baseball at Comerica Park in Detroit. The Mets currently have the biggest scoreboard in baseball. Now the Tigers will be number two.

And so that is your morning Buzzcast for Monday, December 18th. I'm Abe Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast. Stay healthy and be good to each other. I'll speak to you tomorrow.