SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: July 20, 2022

Episode Summary

Notre Dame is looking to get paid, FaZe Clan goes public and Tepper Sports & Entertainment loses another executive.

Episode Transcription

The first All-Star game at Dodger Stadium in 42 years, featured Clayton Kershaw starting in front of the home fans and included appearances from legacy stars Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera. But the final score looked very familiar. The American League won three to two for its ninth straight All-Star victory, and the 21st in the last 25 Midsummer Classics. Good morning, it's Wednesday, July 20th. This is your SBJ Morning Buzzcast. I'm David Albright filling in for Abe Madkour. As great as the evening's festivities were, the day wasn't without some controversy for Major League Baseball. Commissioner Rob Manfred met with the media ahead of Tuesday's MLB All-Star game and made headlines with his comment about minor league wages. When asked about why MLB owners don't pay minor leaguers a living wage, Manfred responded quote, I reject the premise that they're not paying a living wage.

While minor league salaries have increased in recent seasons and teams this year for the first time are mandated to provide housing, the majority of minor league players salaries are under the poverty line. Players not on the 40 man roster or with major league experience received between $4,800 and $14,700 annually and are paid only in season. About an hour after Manfred's comments, Advocates for Minor Leaguers executive director Harry Marino responded in a statement "Most minor league baseball players work second jobs because their annual salaries are insufficient to make ends meet. His suggestion that minor league pay is acceptable as both callous and false." As a reference point, Manfred's salary is $17.5 million a year. An average of 26,409 tickets were sold for each MLB game played from opening day through this week's All-Star break. That's a drop of 5% compared to the same period in 2019, according to an SBJ analysis of the league's game by game data. 21 clubs saw a decline in their average compared to the first half of 2019 with 15 of them experiencing a drop of double digits.

The Dodgers, whose 50 plus thousand seat ballpark is the league's largest, boast the highest average ticket sales at 47,883. And that tops the next closest club, the Cardinals, by more than 9,000 fans. Padres and Braves each sold a league high 93% of their annual tickets during the first half of the season.

Notre Dame reportedly is seeking $75 million annually from its longtime media rights partner, NBC sports. If it wants to maintain its independence in football and stay financially competitive with schools in the Big 10 and the SCC, Notre Dame should ask for more, according to our Michael Smith. A $75 million annual rights fee is quite a leap from the $15 million in its current contract. But even that 5X increase won't keep pace with what the Power Two are going to be collecting when their new media rights deals kick in, the SCC with ESPN and the Big 10 with Fox. How much could Notre Dame command? Take the SCC's most recent deal as an example. ESPN took CBS's package and will pay the conference $300 million annually for 15 football games and eight men's basketball games. Those aren't just any games, they're the first pick of games each week throughout the football season. That's an average of close to $20 million for each of 15 top shelf games. If Notre Dame got the $75 million it seeks, that would be a little over $10 million for each telecast as part of a seven game home schedule.

One of the biggest names in eSports and gaming is going public today, LA based eSports gaming and youth culture organization FaZe Clan completed its merger with NASDAQ listed spec B. Riley merger on July 19th, and we'll begin trading on the Exchange under its new ticker symbol FaZe today. To celebrate the occasion, FaZe Clan founders and select members of its talent roster and executive management will ring the opening bell at NASDAQ market site in New York's Times Square at 9:30 Eastern. In anticipation of the merger completion to form FaZe Holdings, the market pushed the company's share price from its $11.05 opening price on Tuesday to a closing price of $13.02.

NASCAR announced that it will hold its first ever street circuit race for its Cup Series with a July 4th weekend event next year in Chicago. The deal has been in the works since before the pandemic in 2019, NASCAR will promote the race and handle the operations around it. And the investment is expected to be well into the eight figures, though will likely rent some of the equipment it needs from another promoter to help lower costs. The 12 turn, 2.2 mile circuit will pass through Grant Park and approach the northern edge of Soldier Field where NASCAR held its only other downtown Chicago race in its history back in 1956.

Tepper Sports & Entertainment COO Mark Hart has resigned from the organization effective as of Monday. Hart was brought over to the Panthers in 2018 as Vice President of Development after serving in the same role with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hart's departure is the latest shakeup at Tepper Sports & Entertainment owned by billionaire David Tepper. TSE is the ownership group of the Panthers and Major League Soccer's expansion team Charlotte FC. Nick Kelly stepped down as CEO of TSE after three months on the job back in May and TSC president Tom Glick also left earlier this year. Hart was considered key to the capital and infrastructure development of the organization as well as the brand expansion of the Panthers back when he was hired along with Glick in 2018. Hart's departure also comes in the wake of the failed Panthers practice facility and new team headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

On the latest episode of their podcast, Andrew Marchand and John Ourand discuss how Apple or Amazon could create a new distribution model for the NFL with the Sunday ticket deal, which could be global. To discuss what's next for the Big 10 and its TV rights, ESPN Plus' monthly pay hike and what it means, David Feherty's moved to LIV Golf, the issues with the Derek Jeter doc and Tom Brady. And they end the show with the how many followers on Twitter does this person have game? You can listen to the Marchand and Ourand Sports Media podcast on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast. And that's your SBJ Morning Buzzcast for Wednesday. I hope everyone has a great day and we'll see you back here tomorrow morning.