Jumpman Invitational tips off; Early NBA viewership steady; Dour days in Denver and Jon Miller gets a new title at NBC Sports
SBJ's John Ourand speculated Monday night that a deal for NFL Sunday ticket could be imminent. Last week, commissioner Roger Goodell described the talks as being at a very critical point and on the buzz cast yesterday we talked about reports that Apple was out, Google could take over as the favorite and Amazon was reengaging. So add all this up and Ourand wonders if a deal could be announced for Sunday ticket as early as this week and the NFL completes a deal before Christmas. That will be one to watch.
And this is your morning Buzzcast for Tuesday December 20th. Good morning, I'm Abe. Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast. Speaking about Buzz, a much buzzed about new college basketball event starts tonight as the Jumpman Invitational begins right here in my hometown of Charlotte. The event gathers the four original schools that the Jordan brand sponsored in football and basketball, North Carolina, Michigan, Florida, and Oklahoma for two days of double-header basketball, men's and women's at the Spectrum Center. Now the Jordan brand and the Charlotte Sports Foundation signed a three-year deal during the summer of 2021 for the event, it does start tonight. Tuesday's games will feature Michigan women's team against UNC before the Florida men's team plays Oklahoma and on Wednesday they flip it. Michigan's men's team against UNC before Florida's women face Oklahoma.
So on both nights, games are slated for seven and 9:30. Organizers aim to continue this event and make it one of the premier regular season basketball events in the country. Jumpman Invitational begins tonight in Charlotte. Staying with basketball, early season numbers for the NBA are pretty healthy and the league has to be pleased that its early season national television viewership is down just 2% heading into its marquee Christmas Day slate of games. SBJ's Austin Karp crunched the numbers and found that TNT is having its best start to the NBA season since 2017. That's surely a good sign. TNT's Tuesday night double-headers are up 2% over last year, ESPN meanwhile is down 5% for games on that network so we'll continue to watch NBA ratings as the season continues. Of course, everybody believes the NBA's television year starts with the Christmas Day slate of games.
Let's shift to golf because the PGA tour disclosed its tax filings and the Wall Street Journal reports that it was a very strong year for the PGA tour in 2021 as the tour's finances rebounded quite well from the prior pandemic year of 2020. If you look at the numbers, in 2021, revenue for the PGA tour increased nearly 40% to $1.59 billion. That was up from the $1.16 billion in 2020. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan's total compensation for 2021 was just under $14 million. The PGA tour overall is in a very healthy financial place and I expect revenue to continue to increase at the tour.
Let's shift to some news around the NFL. The Athletic reported that NFL owners invested in the apparel and footwear brand NOBULL. Now NOBULL is a sponsor of the league's scouting combine. How much the NFL invested could not be determined, but the NFL's investment was made from 32 Equity. That is the NFL's venture capital fund. The league also agreed to put another $5 million into 32 Equity, bringing ownership's overall commitment to the investment fund at just over a hundred million dollars. The Athletic reports that 32 Equity looks to invest in companies that are within sports and can benefit from their relationship with the NFL and they obviously feel that's the case by investing in apparel and footwear brand NOBULL.
Staying with the NFL. These are not pretty days in Denver around the Venerable Broncos franchise and you just have to wonder what changes the new owners, the Walton family, will decide to make in the off season. Fan apathy is seemingly at an all-time high. For example, Sunday's Cardinals Broncos game saw a massive number of no-shows and that to me is the biggest indicator of fan apathy. There were more than 18,000 no-shows at Empower Field at Mile High. The Denver Post reported that that was the third largest collection of reported no-shows in Bronco's franchise history. Now the Broncos are four and 10 and they have just had their third game of at least 12,000 no-shows since December of 2018 so the last few years have not been very positive or healthy around the Broncos. On Sunday, the 500 level of Empower Field was noticeably sparse and when ownership looks out, they can't be happy.
And I expect to see major changes happening to the Broncos over the off season. Now we know the Broncos owners are investing a hundred million dollars in renovations to Empower Field over the off season. Most of those efforts will be completed before the start of next season. Now it's really unclear what those renovations might mean for the potential of a new stadium. When the Walton's took over the franchise from the Bowlen Family Estate, many speculated a new stadium for the Broncos might be in the works, but for now though a new stadium is not something the new ownership group is addressing as the team's lease does not expire until 2030 so they have a little bit of time, hence the renovations. But overall, some unsteady days in Denver around the Broncos.
And let's end the Buzzcast like we do around people. Two big names in the news today. First, Michael Neuman, who was well known in sports business as Scout Sports and Entertainment founder and managing partner is resigning. Michael Neuman started Scout, which is part of Horizon Media in 2010 and his resignation comes five weeks after the launch of Horizon Sports and Experiences, which we have talked about on the Buzzcast and that is a sports and entertainment and experiential agency which Scouts Sports and Entertainment was folded into. Now we have talked about Horizon Sports and experiences that will be run by co-CEOs, Chris Weil and former Turner President David Levy, both of whom Michael Neuman has been reporting into but Neuman said he was ready to try something new and that the resignation was his idea. He'll stay at Horizon through mid-March.
Now Neuman did a great job building a successful agency, they had a staff of about 30. They've had such clients as Buffalo Wild Wings, Burger King, GEICO. Michael Neuman told our Terry Lefton he's looking forward to some downtime before assessing his next move. But Michael Neuman moving on from Horizon and Scout Sports and Entertainment after 12 years.
Staying with well-known executives in sports, NBC Sports Executive Jon Miller has worked at that company for 45 years and he has been a part of every major rights negotiations the network has had from the NFL to the Premier League, to the Kentucky Derby, to the NHL when they had the NHL, to the NBA when they had the NBA. He has really seen so much and he has created so many sports events that we all know like the PNC Championship just last week. He has relationships at the highest levels of sports and has always done it with class. While Jon Miller just signed a new deal with NBC Sports and has a new title, NBC Sports President of Acquisitions and Partnerships.
In his new role, Jon Miller will manage the network's relationships with rights holders, including the new one with the Big 10 and continue with the Premier League and others. This should suit Jon Miller very well as it's what he's really been doing for a number of years and just adds another step to his already very accomplished career. So Jon Miller getting a new title as NBC Sports President of Acquisitions and Partnerships.
And that is your Morning Buzzcast for Tuesday, December 20th. I'm Abe Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast. Stay healthy, be good to each other. We'll bring you our final Buzzcast of 2022 tomorrow.