SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: February 5, 2024

Episode Summary

FIFA lands on Met Life for WC Final; Big Ten and SEC form rare partnership; NHL wins the weekend in Toronto

Episode Transcription

It was great to have a longtime morning Buzzcast listener Scott visit the SBJ headquarters on Sunday. He was in Charlotte, wanted to see where the sausage gets made and also talk some sports business. Great to have him in the office. If any of you ever pass through Charlotte, let us know. We'd love to have you come by.

And this is your morning Buzzcast for Monday, February 5th. I'm Abe Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast. It is Super Bowl Week. I'll be giving you the Buzzcast Monday and Tuesday. I'll leave for Vegas Tuesday night. Hope to see many of you out there. My producer, Reggie Walker, what's your feeling about your Super Bowl pick? I know it could change, but as of Monday, who do you like?

I think the thing to remember in this game is both defensive coordinators are really, really good experienced guys. One of those guys groups will make a big play. I love the linebackers for the 49ers, but I don't think they make enough plays. Patrick Mahomes wins again.


There you go. I know you've been going against Mahomes on this playoff run. I know also Joe Lemire will ask you your final pick on Friday before the Super Bowl. Let's move on.

Big news in the world of the other football, the 2026 World Cup will be here before you know it. And yesterday, Sunday, many sources texted me that they were a bit, a bit surprised that FIFA named MetLife Stadium as the host of the World Cup Final.

Speculation around the location of the final came down to MetLife and AT&T Stadium. A report out of London last month actually stated that AT&T Stadium would win and host the final. So reports out of Dallas today have that the city's contingent was very disappointed about not being chosen as the host for the final. But while they won't host the final, AT&T Stadium will hold the most matches of any host site with nine. So they get nine matches there at AT&T Stadium. Here's how it'll break down.

The semifinals one on July 14th at AT&T Stadium, the one July 15th Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, quarterfinals at Gillette Stadium, at SoFi Stadium, at Arrowhead Stadium and Hard Rock Stadium. The third place game will be held at Hard Rock Stadium as well.

Now the US team will train in suburban Atlanta ahead of the tournament. But again, here's the breakdown. Dallas gets nine World Cup matches, New York City eight, Atlanta eight, LA eight, Boston, Miami, Houston, and Vancouver with seven. So again, with AT&T hosting nine World Cup matches, FC Dallas' Dan Hunt said it'll be like hosting nine Super Bowls. So the World Cup coming into shape.

I know the NHL had a very successful weekend in Toronto, but I also want to talk about what I believe to be some of the biggest news of the weekend, and that's the SEC and Big 10 creating an advisory group of university presidents, chancellors and ADs to address the issues of college sports.

So why is this so important? Well, it's the first instance that I can remember of these two conferences working closely together and it's clear what could come from this namely, "Hello, we'll take it from here everybody." So yes, you could see them be a very powerful combined force in addressing any of the reforms that NCAA President Charlie Baker wants to enact. You could see them lead on name, image, and likeness and other issues.

Now in announcing this venture SEC's Greg Sankey and the Big Ten's Tony Petitti dismissed the notion that the creation of this advisory board is any move toward breaking away from the college sports institutions. But let's be clear, that's what many people think could eventually happen and that this could be the first step. What also shouldn't be overlooked is the close relationship that Greg Sankey and Tony Petitti have formed, and that is very rare and unique among these two conferences.

Let's move to the NHL because I mentioned the league and its players have to feel good about its All-Star Weekend in Toronto, as by most accounts it was a big hit. The biggest news we saw is the return of preeminent global competitions as the NHL and the Union will launch a new owned and operated tournament and return to the Olympics in both '26 and '30. So this is a big move.

The NHL has not participated in the Olympics since the 2014 games in Russia. And the last international tournament was the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. The league and the players wanted to play on a global stage. They wanted to be back in the Olympics and they get both.

This new tournament, which will launch in 2025 is called the Four Nations Face Off. I love this. It'll feature teams from the US, Canada, Finland and Sweden NHL players, seven games in total in mid-February played in one US city and one Canadian city. And early reports have those cities being Boston and Montreal.

Now this four team tournament could be a building building block to a larger World Cup. But once the schedule is set, you'll see the NHL play on the global stage every two years with the Olympics and a World Cup alternating. And that was the goal of both the league and the Players Union. So again, kudos to that to get back on the world stage.

Meanwhile, Marty Walsh is not pleased at all with the ownership situation of the Coyotes. He criticized ownership for failing to meet multiple deadlines to build an NHL worthy arena in the Phoenix market. He also criticized ownership for failing to meet with player reps to discuss the team's future in Arizona. He also suggested that the club could be moved to another city. He specifically noted Utah and believes a franchise in the Utah market could be as successful as the Golden Knights or the Seattle Kraken.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes announced they are moving forward with a plan to buy some land in North Phoenix. And they said they're looking at multiple sites but are not ready to announce a location. But it's clear more and more pressure being put on Coyotes' ownership to find a long-term home.

Meanwhile, NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman said, while the league has no plans for expansion, he said there has been significant interest in NHL teams from various cities. He said that the NHL has talked to markets or leaders in Houston, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Omaha. Some observers see the league possibly getting a $1 billion expansion fee. And let me just say if that is the price, that could certainly peak the interest of owners to possibly expand.

Let's shift to some stadium news because a very interesting report over the weekend stated the Chicago Bears have changed their focus for a new stadium and are now looking closely at the city center of Chicago after long focusing on the suburbs and Arlington Heights.

The report stated that Bears CEO, Kevin Warren really wants to be in the city of Chicago and is looking at a location just south of Soldier Field for a dome stadium that would look to host all major events. In addition, Kevin Warren seems to have struck up a very positive relationship with New Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson, who is known to be an advocate of sports in the city of Chicago. So this is a developing story, but a very important one if the Bears do decide to stay in the city.

I love how fans are responding to women's college basketball. For example, take Iowa and Caitlin Clark for example. Every Iowa road game this season has been sold out. Iowa played at Maryland on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd at the Xfinity Center, and that game was sold out since December. So you see the road show and the popularity of Iowa and Caitlin Clark. Great to see.

Finally, I'll end with this. I was listening to Sports Talk radio over the weekend when driving back from a funeral on Saturday, and it amazed me the vitriol the show host had for Bill Belichick as he seemed to be almost gleeful about the fact that Bill Belichick won't be coaching on NFL sidelines next season. I do not share in that feeling at all. I believe the NFL is worse off by not having Belichick on the sidelines. And it's certainly interesting now how Belichick is being portrayed in quite a negative light recently, and it shows how things turn in terms of coverage.

There are a lot of reasons Belichick won't be on the sidelines. All those are understandable. But if you didn't see it, you should look at the full-page thank you letter Belichick wrote to Patriots fans in Sunday's Boston Globe, where he touted his appreciation for New England sports fans, he touted his love of coaching the Patriots, and as he said at the end, "We experienced some amazing moments," and they really did. Bill Belichick's full-page letter to Patriots fans in the Boston Globe certainly worth a read.

And so that is your Morning Buzzcast for Monday, February 5th. I'm Abe Madkour. Stay healthy, be good to each other. I'll speak to you tomorrow.