SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: February 28, 2022

Episode Summary

MLB reaches its deadline day, Russia faces more sanctions and where will NFL’s Sunday Ticket land in 2023?

Episode Transcription

The MLS season kicked off over the weekend and included expansion club, Charlotte FCs debut at DC United. If you take out the better than 67,000, who watched Atlanta United play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the league averaged just a tick under 20,000 fans for the other 13 matches from opening weekend. There was quite a party at Nissan Stadium on Saturday night as a crowd of 68,000, watched the Tampa Bay Lightning's three to two win over the Nashville Predators in the NHL Stadium Series. The lightning sold out its 20,000 ticket allotment and seemed to have at least another 10,000 fans in the stands. Scott McLaughlin won the first indie car race of the season down in St. Petersburg, Florida in front of a crowd that was said to be up nearly 50% compared to 2019. It also gave Team Penske victories in both the NASCAR and IndyCar season openers.

Good morning, it's Monday, February 28th and this is your SBJ Morning Buzzcast. I'm David Albright filling in for Abe Madkour. MLB labor talks are scheduled to resume at 10:00 AM, Eastern in Florida and today is the latest MLB says it can wait before canceling games. No formal proposals on a new CBA were exchanged in Sundays talks, which an MLB spokesperson characterized as productive. Those meetings between owners and players lasted longer than usual, around six hours. The union has expressed no optimism that a deal will be reached in time. The MLBPA source said that there were a lot of discussions on Sunday and that the talks were much calmer and business like than they were on Saturday. MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, and several owners were on site at Roger Dean Stadium where the negotiations are taking place, but only members of the MLB negotiating committees met with the MLBPA squad. The sides have yet to agree on a single major economic issue, but both believe that if significant progress is made today, their talks could extend into Tuesday or even later in the week without needing to delay or shorten the 162 games season.

Poland is refusing to play its World Cup qualifier against Russia on March 24th, in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Polish Soccer Federation announced the decision and said that it was in talks with other federations to present a unified front to FIFA. Sweden on Saturday, also followed with its own plans to protest to FIFA. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic Football Association said that its national team will not play Russia should both teams meet in the World Cup playoffs, the decision ramps up the pressure on FIFA to reach a resolution with every team on Russia's qualification path now refusing to play them.

The IIHF council is scheduled to decide today how to handle participation by both Russia and Belarus in sanctioned events. That includes this year's men's world hockey championship and the world juniors, both events are scheduled to take place in Russia in 2023, and there might be provisional suspensions on the country serving as host. Additionally, should the US OPC not allow their athletes to compete against Russian athletes that will put immense pressure on a lot of other national federations to do the same.

In the new weekly edition of SBJ John Ourand writes, it appears likely that Sunday Ticket will move exclusively to a streaming service in 2023, as several have described Apple and Amazon as the front runners to get the NFLs out of market package. Disney has not ended its negotiations for the package, which it would run on ESPN Plus, though the amount that Disney is told the NFL it will pay is said to be well below the amount Apple and Amazon have discussed. Because negotiations are on go going is difficult to determine exactly where the bids are but sources said that it's likely the NFL will get more than 2 billion per year for Sunday Ticket. DirecTV, which holds the packages rights through next season, currently pays an average of 1.5 billion per year as part of a deal signed back in 2014. DirecTV is negotiating wind up with a commercial license that will allow the satellite company to sell Sunday Ticket to restaurants and bars.

Phil Mickelson will no longer serve as host of the PGA Tour's the American Express event in LaQuinta California after having served as tournament hosts since 2020. In addition, the Tour confirmed that the Mickelson foundation formed 2019 specifically to be the charitable arm of the tournament will no longer be part of the event. Mickelson's departure from the tournament does not endanger the long term status of the American Express. Meanwhile, Callaway has joined the list of sponsors who are distancing themselves from Michelson. Callaway spokesperson said the company has agreed to pause the partnership and will reevaluate the ongoing relationship at a later date. Mickelson has been with Callaway since 2004.

Executive producer, Chris Licht formerly of Morning Joe and now the person in charge of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert has been selected by Discovery CEO David Zaslav to be CNN's next president places, Jeff Zucker, and unlike Zucker, his purview will not extend to sports.

And finally consider this a personal service announcement. If you haven't already it's time to save the date of May 18th for the 2022 Sports Business Awards. The ceremony will be back live and in person at the Marriott marque in New York City. For more information on program and how to attend go to the events page on May 18th, mark your calendar. That's your SBJ Morning Buzzcast for Monday. I hope everyone has a great day. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning.