SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: January 2, 2024

Episode Summary

Welcoming In 2024 with The News You Need To Know

Episode Transcription

Welcome to 2024. I hope everyone had a nice relaxing break and are ready to take on a new year, and this is your first morning Buzzcast for 2024. It's Tuesday, January 2nd. Good morning, I'm Abe Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast.

Well, the final CFP to feature four teams certainly was a very strong addition. Two fantastic tense games on Monday night. There should be some strong ratings for ESPN. You have a fond farewell for the Pac-12 with Washington and a rousing start to the new reconfigured Big Ten with Michigan and Washington, and I think you have a solid, not a perfect, but a solid matchup next Monday night with Michigan-Washington.

Meanwhile, if you watched yesterday afternoon, you saw great visuals from Seattle with more than 47,000 fans at T-Mobile Park for the NHL's Winter Classic, and finally, you had the launch of a new league for the new year. Yes, the launch of the Professional Women's Hockey League. It launched Monday, for example, in the Toronto market, you had a sold out crowd of more than 2,500 fans at the old Maple Leaf Gardens. It's now called the Mattamy Athletic Center as the New York franchise, shut out Toronto. We will have more details of this historic launch later in the week on the BuzzCast.

Let's move on. What will the NFL do about Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, after a video clip went viral where Tepper appeared to toss a drink from a luxury suite in the direction of Jaguar fans in the stands at EverBank Stadium on Sunday. This came during the fourth quarter of a game, which the Jags won 26-0. It was unclear if Tepper was reacting to a play on the field or comments from fans. The NFL said it was aware of the video, but had no further comment.

Now the 66-year-old David Tepper could face league discipline as owners are subject to the NFL's personal conduct policy as well as players, and this is just the latest controversy surrounding David Tepper. I live in Charlotte and he just has no support here. In just over five years, the team has not played well. There is very little energy around the Panthers brand here. David Tepper has blown through head coaches. He's had turnover in the business side as well. He walked away from an ambitious development about 20 miles south of Charlotte in Rock Hill, South Carolina. It's really hard to think of how any owner could have been less successful in their first five years and now we have this act of him apparently throwing a drink at fans. It's another bad look, and we're going to have to see how the NFL comes down on David Tepper.

If you watch Fox NFL on Sunday, that's the pre-game show, you saw the big announcement on spring football. Yes, the combined XFL and USFL will launch March 30th under the name United Football League. Now you had co-owners, The Rock and Danny Garcia on Fox NFL Sunday. They outlined the launch of the league. The Rock kept coming back to providing more and more opportunities for players who dream of playing professional football. Now XFL President Russ Brandon, will be the president and CEO of the United League. USFL President of football operations Daryl Johnson, will lead football ops. The United Football League has retained four franchises from the USFL and four from the XFL. So the league will have two conferences, the USFL Conference and yes, the XFL Conference.

So the XFL Conference includes Arlington, Texas, DC, San Antonio and St. Louis. In the USFL Conference you have Birmingham, Houston, Memphis, and Michigan. So eight teams. The league will be broadcast across ESPN, ABC, and Fox, and remember the groups behind this relaunch league. You have The Rock, you have Danny Garcia, you have Gerry Cardinal from Redbird Capital Partners, you have USFL owner Fox Sports, as well as Disney and ESPN, all partners in the new United Football League, which will launch March 30th.

A new era for two NBA teams begin with the New year as the NBA formally approved the sale of the Mavericks to the Adelson and Dumont families. Those are the two families who own Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Mark Cuban sold his majority stake in a sale price that valued the Mavericks between 3.8 and $3.9 billion.

Here's how it breaks down. The Adelson and Dumont families will hold 73% of the team, Mark Cuban will hold 23%. He will have operational control of the team, but Sands President and Chief operating Officer Patrick Dumont, will join the NBA Board of Governors as the Mavericks rep, and really at the end, he will have final say as the team's governor, but Mark Cuban does not expect Patrick Dumont to be heavily involved in basketball decisions. Most anticipate the Dumonts and the Adelsons to focus on the business interest, including building an arena that would include a resort hotel and casino near Dallas City Limits.

Another interesting factor about this deal, it's believed to be the largest cash transaction in NBA history with no debt service. So a new day for the Mavericks. Also, a new day for the T-Wolves and Lynx. Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez are expected to exercise their option to acquire controlling ownership of both the T-Wolves and the Lynx. They faced an end-of-the-year deadline to purchase the final 40% of the franchises from Glen Taylor. That gives Marc Lore and A-Rod 80% of the two teams by early this year, and once they do that, this would close a process that began in April of 2021 for these two to purchase the teams in installments from Glen Taylor. Glen Taylor keeps a 20% share in both teams with an option to sell that to Lore and Rodriguez later. So Marc Lore and A-Rod moving even closer to majority control of the T-Wolves and the Lynx.

Shifting back to college sports. Boy, all eyes are on Florida State as the school's lawsuit against the ACC could have, will have, major implications across college sports. It's all about money and Florida State is seeking to erase more than $500 million in penalties if they left the league, if they left the ACC. We have known for some time that Florida State is not happy being in this conference as the revenue gap has widened between the ACC schools and those in the Big Ten and SEC.

So remember, the key here is that Florida State wants to avoid the penalty around this grant of rights. This was the mechanism the ACC put in years ago that tied media revenue to each school, which they would have to pay back if they ever left the conference. Many have seen this as ironclad, but Florida State, testing it in court, the ACC filed its own action in court in North Carolina, and that's trying to stop Florida State from challenging this grant of rights agreement. It's been known that Florida State's legal counsel and law firms have had to go to the ACC's office in Charlotte to review the grant of rights as the legal documents are only, only in the ACC offices.

So why is this so important? Well, if Florida State is allowed to leave without penalty, other members, Virginia, North Carolina, Clemson, they could also look to leave the ACC. This is a huge test for Commissioner Jim Phillips. He spoke before the Orange Bowl over the weekend. He did not mince words. He says the conference is incredibly disappointed in Florida State and they are ready to fight. So this is one case you have to keep your eye on.

You know over Christmas I read the Alan Shipnuck book, LIV and Let Die, which chronicled the launch of the LIV tour, and I found it to be a fun, interesting read. The new year came and there was no deal between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund, or even with Signature Sports Group. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan told players in a memo on Sunday that they are extending negotiations based on the progress in these negotiations made so far. So Monahan told the players the goal is for a deal in 2024 with both Strategic Sports Group, the Saudi Public Investment Fund, and the DP World Tour, bringing them all on board as minority co-investors in PGA Tour Enterprises. So the deal continues to be negotiated but not done yet.

And finally, one name certainly worthy of mention. I remember when I worked on Capitol Hill for Patrick Leahy and frequently came in contact with former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl from Wisconsin. He was always gracious. He loved sports. He saved the Bucks in Milwaukee. Well, Herb Kohl died late last week at the age of 88, and his leadership in sports should never be overlooked. Of course, he made his money in the family business, the family stores, Kohls, and he purchased the Bucks in 1985 for a then record price for a team, $20 million, and with that deal, it was widely seen as saving the Bucks from leaving the city of Milwaukee. He owned the team until he sold it to Marc Lasry and Wes Edens in 2014 for $550 million. He also pledged $100 million to the construction of Fiserv Forum.

So Herb Kohl an incredibly important figure in the history of the Milwaukee Bucks, but it wasn't just basketball. Herb Kohl was also part of the group of investors that brought baseball, yes, the Seattle Pilots to Wisconsin, to become the Milwaukee Brewers. Herb Kohl loved sports and he was critical to the success of pro sports in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

So that is your morning BuzzCast for Tuesday, January 2nd. I'm Abe Madkour. Again, happy New Year. Stay healthy, be good to each other. I'll speak to you tomorrow.