SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: February 7, 2023

Episode Summary

The Mat Ishbia era begins in Phoenix; The perils of NIL and how it's rocking college sports; Endeavor tabs a new communications leader

Episode Transcription

Well, I'll be off to Phoenix in a few hours. It's sure to be a very busy week with meetings and events, but if you're on the ground in Arizona and can say hello, let me know. It should be a very productive week. And by the way, who's your Super Bowl pick? Let me know. This is your Morning Buzzcast for Tuesday, February 7th. Good morning, I'm Abe Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast. Let's start with the NFL and Fox's Greg Olson will continue to be able to thrive at Fox Sports for another year. We all know the positive buzz the team of Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olson have been receiving and many were concerned that Greg Olson would be relegated to the B team when Tom Brady and if Tom Brady joined the Fox Sports booth in 2023. Well, Brady made it official yesterday.

He will not go immediately from the football field to the broadcast booth. He wants to take some time. He will not start his broadcasting career with Fox until 2024. Remember, Brady signed a 10 year deal with Fox last May to become the network's top analyst, and he is being paid or will be paid $375 million over 10 years as part of that deal. But Brady said he didn't want to immediately rush into broadcasting. He wanted to observe, learn, catch up on some other parts of his life. So that means more time for the number one booth of Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olson, who will call of course their first Super Bowl on Sunday. As of now, there are no plans for Tom Brady to be a part of Fox's coverage at all on Sunday. Let's move to the MBA. The Mat Ishbia era begins in Phoenix as he was formally approved as the new owner of the Phoenix Suns and the WNBA Mercury.

He will be introduced at a news conference Wednesday in Phoenix. Good timing with all the media in the city for the Super Bowl, ISIA is buying a 57% controlling stake that he got for $2.28 billion. That's according to ESPN. That values the organization at $4 billion. Now that the deal will close, there will be of course changes to the Sun's organization. We saw it already on Monday. Team President and CEO Jason Raleigh resigned. Raleigh had been with the team since 2007 and team president since 2012. You could see more changes coming to the Phoenix Suns with new ownership. Well, some pretty stunning news coming out of the Premier League that could have significant ramifications as one of the gold standards in the league, Manchester City has been charged with more than 100 alleged breaches of financial regulations covering 14 seasons back to the 2009, 2010 season.

If proven guilty, Man City could face some harsh sanctions including heavy fines, possible expulsion from the Premier League. Man City expressed surprise at the allegations. They said it would challenge any allegations of financial impropriety. The charges have been referred to an independent commission and they will be heard in a confidential hearing, but this is big. It's akin to one of the top teams in the NFL being charged with financial improprieties. Man City has grown to be one of the most popular and successful organizations in global soccer. Remember, City Football Club that owns Man City has teams around the world. Man City has been a leader in the Premier League with six championships since 2012, including four of the past five. So this news certainly rattles the Premier League and one of their top organizations. And this will certainly be a story you'll want to keep your eye on.

Let's move on to college basketball because some may have missed over the weekend, Syracuse's, Jimmy Boeheim speak about the problems and challenges facing college sports. And I'll just say it's consistent with what I've been hearing for months now, yes, Jim Boeheim can be emotional at times, but he said over the weekend, college basketball is in a quote "awful place." He said it's over the money and the failure to have any guardrails or rules around name, image, and likeness. He accused some of his competitors of buying teams. He later retracted that, but he also said that none of his major donors at Syracuse are stepping up to pay players a significant amount of money. He said it's only going to get worse and that the transfer portal and NIL are why former coaches Jay Wright and Coach K, both quick college basketball. Now you can take his comments for what they're worth, but I'll say the issues surrounding name, image, and likeness in particular are growing more and more concerning.

Every college administrator I speak to expresses serious frustration on just how fast this train is running uncontrollably off the tracks after just 19 months. The amount of dollars, the role of the collectives, the overt recruiting of players is causing even the most senior leaders, administrators, and coaches to reevaluate their comfort levels navigating this terrain with no standards or no enforcement. I'm told a number of high profile coaches don't know if they even want to stay in the game. In addition, insiders I talk to are reluctant to really speak publicly about the problems of name, image and likeness because they're afraid of looking like they are against a player's ability to monetize their rights, which is viewed as not a good look. And most of them support NIL in concept. They do not support NIL as it's being executed today. And another point I question is that college leaders are continuing to count on Congress to solve this name, image, and likeness issue for them.

They had hoped that a Republican sweep in November would have paved the way for name, image and likeness legislation to move forward. But even though that's not the case, some remain optimistic about some action coming out of Washington, but who believes Congress will do the right thing here? Who believes that NIL is really top of mind for Congress? I'm not convinced. And so there are a number of issues involved here and this has to be one of the priorities of the NCAA's new President, Charlie Baker and his incoming administration. But if I'm you, I am really keeping your eye on name, image and likeness transfer portal and the impact on college sports. A few more things on the Buzzcast this morning. Anheuser-Busch in Bev is getting involved in Formula One. Yes, the brand is seeing how hot F1 is in the United States.

It wants to be a part of it and now it is getting involved in it. Anheuser-Busch's, Michelob Ultra has become the official North American beer partner of the F1 team Williams Racing. Michelob will get branding on the car and it will activate around three races in the United States plus the F1 race in Montreal. But this is a big move for Anheuser-Busch to get involved in F1. They see the incredible, I would say, energy around the sport and they really like the new fan base it's drawing and they want to be a part of 11 and so they step up to support Williams Racing.

We're going to end the Buzzcast around some names. The first name Dan Snyder. And I wonder if this is a hint that Dan Snyder really is looking to sell the Commanders. There's a lot of questions about whether he's really interested in selling the team. That'll be a topic of discussion all week in Phoenix. But here's an interesting sign. Dan Snyder officially put his home in Potomac, Maryland on the market and it's on the market for $49 million. That would be a record price for a Washington DC area residential sale.

Snyder's House is called The River House. It sits on 15 acres. It is a French chateau inspired home. He has put it officially on the market. And again, it might not mean anything, but it could, it could be a possible sign of possible changes to Dan Snyder's life. And I want to end around two executive transactions. First, Maura McGreevy has been named Endeavor's Chief Communications Officer. She has been at IMG and 160over90 for a long time. She has been the head of communications for those two groups since 2014. She will now oversee Worldwide Comms for Endeavor and that includes the UFC, that includes the PBR.

It is a big job. She will have a lot of influence within the walls of Endeavor. She was a member of the 2020 SBJ Forty Under 40 Class. She takes over the position from longtime executive Christian Muirhead who was at Endeavor, but now he was promoted to WME co-chair in the fall. But Maura McGreevy has the confidence of leadership at Endeavor. Ari Emanuel, Patrick Whitesell, Mark Shapiro, they all are big believers and supporters of Maura McGreevy and now she will lead the messaging and communications and strategy for this large giant global group, Endeavor.

And finally, the LPGA has a new sales leader as it has named Nicole Metgzer as Chief Sales and Partnership Officer. She has years in the sports business. She was most recently senior vice president of national sales for the college multimedia company, JMI Sports. She will have a broad purview in really leading the LPGA tours, business development and corporate partnerships. And again, right now we're seeing a lot of energy around women's sports. Nicole Metgzer taking this big role with the LPGA.

So that is your morning Buzzcast for Tuesday, February 7th. I'm Abe Madkour, I'll be in Phoenix the rest of the week. David Albright will bring you the Buzzcast Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Until I speak to you next week, stay healthy, be good to each other and enjoy your Super Bowl week.