SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: February 6, 2024

Episode Summary

Sounds from Las Vegas; Fashion brands dial into sports; NLRB delivers a stunner and the NBA's glass menagerie

Episode Transcription

I still can't get over the fact that there were nearly 60,000 fans at Camping World Stadium for the Pro Bowl Games and the event was seen as a big hit. The NFL may be onto something with its Pro Bowl Games. Also, a shout-out to all the students I met Friday at the University of Mount Union Sports Sales Workshop. It was great seeing them role play and do sales training, and these young people were so excited and so earnest to start their career in sports business. Fun to see.

And this is your Morning Buzzcast for Tuesday, February 6th. I'm Abe Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast. I'll be heading to Las Vegas later today. And on Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave his State of the League Address earlier than normal. This is the first time he's ever spoken to the media on a Monday. And they did that for various reasons that we've reported on, but he did have some news to report. First, the NFL is taking every opportunity to grab any day on the calendar, including Fridays. Yes, Roger Goodell announced that the NFL's first game in Brazil will be September 6th. That is the first Friday night of the season in Sao Paulo. So the league will open on a Thursday night, the next night they will play in Brazil featuring the Philadelphia Eagles against an unnamed opponent.

I think it's a brilliant way to grab the entire opening weekend. Remember, the NFL has rarely played on Fridays over the years in part because of a congressional act designed to protect high schools and NCAA games. But that law doesn't apply until the second Friday in September. So the NFL saw a window with September 6th and moved on it. Eagles playing an unnamed opponent in Brazil. So the NFL opening on Thursday and then the next night on Friday in Brazil. Pretty interesting scheduling.

Meanwhile, Goodell also said that 25 NFL Club or league employees have been punished for violating the NFL's gambling policy. Goodell said if they were betting on the NFL, the executives were terminated automatically. This is a new disclosure for the NFL who already announced that 13 players were punished for violating the league's gambling policy. Now during his press conference, which lasted about 50 minutes, Goodell took a lot of questions about the NFL's gambling policy, the NFL's really embrace of Las Vegas and what role the NFL can play in preventing gambling addiction and abuse. That is to be expected with the game being played for the first time in Las Vegas. Finally, Goodell said, "Slow the horses on the Super Bowl going exclusively to streaming." He said that the Super Bowl will not be on a streaming service anytime during his tenure as commissioner, as he said, the NFL is committed to broadcast television. Plenty more coming from Las Vegas all week.

Let's just say the Inter Miami's Global Exhibition Tour is not the smoothest of affairs. Officials in Hong Kong are pushing back after their experience with Inter Miami and Lionel Messi and withholding sponsorship payments after Messi didn't play in a match over the weekend that drew 40,000 fans between Inter Miami and the Hong Kong team. Now, Hong Kong officials said they were guaranteed that Messi would play at least 45 minutes. They also said that before kickoff, they were told that Messi would play in the second half. At halftime, they pushed again for Messi to play, but were later informed he would not play due to an injury. Now, Messi's appearance in Hong Kong was highly anticipated and there was a lot of excitement around it. Tickets sold out within an hour last December. But let's just say the government not happy with the way that Inter Miami handled the match.

Inter Miami's coach asked fans for forgiveness after Messi spent the entire match on the bench. Regardless, this entire trip is getting headlines for all the wrong reasons. The AP has a story where it calls the tour very Messi. And while these tours are about promotion and marketing, this tour is getting mostly bad PR. The team has not performed well. They will play Wednesday in Tokyo. Messi says he's hoping to play. But the bottom line is this type of international trip shows the perils of this type of exhibition tour with great expectations and when the star players do not play or participate. So see Wednesday night to see if Messi plays in Tokyo.

I went to the Lakers-Hornets game Monday night with some sports business executives and all we could talk about outside of the Super Bowl were the major changes in college sports. And yesterday came another significant ruling that could upend the status quo. A National Labor Relations Board regional director opened plenty of eyes when she ruled the Dartmouth men's basketball team can hold a union election, which would mean the athletes are employees of their school. Now, Dartmouth said it will appeal the decision and this could be a long, drawn out process. But it's another ruling that unsettles an already unsettled college sports environment. If the Dartmouth players do unionize, they could gain the ability to collectively bargain with the school over compensation and other working conditions. In addition, they could be fired from the school. So this will be closely watched by all leaders in college sports.

I've long been interested in the new variations of the basketball court and the different digital messages that can be displayed within a full LED court. We have talked about this on the Buzzcast as these type of glass courts have been tested during international competition. Well, now we will see this during the NBA's All Star Weekend in Indianapolis, as on All Star Saturday Night, all events will be played on a full video LED court that will be installed at Lucas Oil Stadium. Now these courts are all glass and they can offer very cool interactive graphics, game stats, replays, video content, even player tracking animations. You have to check out these court designs because they can change and they really give a lot of different looks for fans, not just in the arena, but those watching at home on TV.

Now, these courts have been developed by a German company, like I said, they've been used in international competition. And while the NBA did not reveal what the courts cost, it's certainly more expensive than the traditional wood surface. Now, one thing to keep an eye on with this type of playing surface is the traction and the quality of the court. That has been one of the impediments to rolling this out. But once you see the courts and once you can see all the different elements and messages that they can display, you'll see it's a certainly different way that the game can be presented.

Let's stay with trends. One of the biggest trends we're watching at SBJ is sports and the connection to fashion. Sports and fashion brands very hot right now. And if you wanted any more proof that fashion brands are looking to play in the very dynamic sports space, look no further than what Louis Vuitton is doing around the Paris Summer Olympics. So this French based brand, Louis Vuitton, is really trying to make a statement with the games being held in Paris. The Wall Street Journal noted how many of the Louis Vuitton brands are activating around the Paris Games. They're handling the medals, the uniforms for the French athletes, even champagne and cognac in the premium areas. So Louis Vuitton and their number of brands are fully activating around the Paris Games. A source told The Wall Street Journal that the company is spending more than $160 million on the effort. That would make them the single largest local sponsor of the Paris Games. Now why the connection? Well, athletes play in the space of fashion and are very fashion-oriented. Fashion companies are seeing that, they're looking to leverage that trend and you'll see this trend continue.

And finally, veteran sports business executive Todd Kline has resigned from his most recent position as Chief Commercial Officer of Tottenham, and he's expected to take on a senior leadership role with Chelsea. So a very interesting move between Tottenham and Chelsea. Now Todd Kline's departure from Tottenham comes just after the release of some data which revealed that Tottenham had surpassed both Chelsea and Arsenal in annual revenue for the first time, ranking fourth behind all EPL clubs. Man City was one, Manchester United, two, Liverpool, three, Tottenham, four. Now with Chelsea, Todd Kline would be working for an ownership group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital. Now, there is a lot of speculation about the future of where Chelsea will play as they are looking at either a major renovation of their current Stanford Bridge or looking to build an entirely new facility on land near their existing facility. But it's a big job for American Todd Kline who is leaving Tottenham to join Chelsea.

And that is your Morning Buzzcast for Tuesday, February 6th. I'm Abe Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast. Joe Lemire will bring you the Buzzcast for the rest of the week. Until I speak to you again, stay healthy, be good to each other and I'll chat with you next week.