SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: July 25, 2022

Episode Summary

What's next for WWE; Packers financials shed light on NFL team revenue; Will Red Sox patch deal set MLB market?

Episode Transcription

I had a great few days at our Thought Leaders retreat at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Yes, Olympic City USA. If you haven't been, definitely take it in. Then I took a few days to go see my friend up in Whitefish, Montana, and he showed me Glacier National Park. And we had a wonderful few dinners and wine from his porch, overlooking a beautiful lake. I will say, Montana is epic. Thanks for all your great suggestions about what to visit, you were all spot on. So a great week away, and it's great to be back with you on the Buzzcast. And this is your Buzzcast for Monday, July 25th. I'm Abe Madkour.

I hope you're all doing well. Like I said, I was in Montana, about to enter Glacier National Park on Friday, when I got a text with a single word saying, "Wow." And I had a link to news that Stephanie McMahon and WWE President Nick Khan would take over as co-CEOs after Vince McMahon announced he was retiring as WWE chair and CEO. It was just a very surprising move as Vince McMahon, as we all know, is the WWE and has shaped that company for so many decades. Vince McMahon will reportedly not retain any role in the WWE's creative side.

Remember, Vince McMahon stepped aside as chair in June when the company's board of directors announced it was investigating allegations of misconduct, but this move does raise questions about where the uber successful WWE goes from here. Vince McMahon will still be the WWE's largest shareholder, he owns the bulk of the voting power. In addition, don't overlook the announcement that Paul Triple H Levesque has resumed his post as executive vice president of Talent Relation. Levesque has been away from his role while recovering from a health-related issue. But he and his wife, Stephanie McMahon, have great credibility within the WWE, and Paul Levesque's return was extremely well received among Talent according to the Wall Street Journal. But the future of the WWE is one of the stories I will continue to watch, and I'm sure many in the sports business will be talking about.

Let's move on. So you want to run a business where you get nearly $350 million in a disbursement before you do anything else, any local business. That's not a bad business model or a business structure, is it? Well, that's the NFL, everybody, as the Green Bay Packers outlined their year-end financial results late Friday. And it showed that the team posted nearly an $80 million operating profit in the 2021 season on nearly $580 million in revenue. But a key part of that revenue was nearly $350 million from the NFL that is league television and sponsorship revenue for 2021. And yes, that means each team received $347 million before they sold a local ticket, a local sponsorship, or generated any local revenue.

Just think about that for a minute. You get a check for $347 million before you even have to do anything locally. You know what your salary cap expense is. Again, if you're an NFL team, it makes financial planning a little bit easier. So yes, NFL teams share just north of $11 billion in TV and sponsorship revenue. That comes out to $347 million each. While that figure is huge, it doesn't reflect the massive television rights deals that were inked previously. That revenue will show up in future years.

Now, the Packers did generate $232 million in local revenue. Overall, revenue was up nearly 10% compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 season. The Packers said they are between eighth and 10th in the league in local revenue. Now remember, as a comparison, during the COVID season the Packers posted nearly a $40 million overall loss on $371 million in revenue. Those figures have been turned around quite dramatically as the team, again, will post nearly an $80 million profit on nearly $580 million in total revenue. So it's good to own an NFL team, and the Packer's financial report is important because it's one of the only official disclosures of NFL finances at any level. I know that many people will be parsing through those revenue figures. And if you get a chance, you'll learn a lot about NFL team finances by reviewing that report.

I want to hit on a couple of topics that were discussed at SBJ's Thought Leader retreat, and one of the topics, among so many executives, was the number of jersey patches out on the market, especially with MLB now entering the marketplace. Everyone I spoke to is watching to see the deals around the Yankees and the Mets from the leading New York City marketplace. I'm hearing numbers like 25 million to $30 million a year for the jersey patch. I also heard a lot about the Red Sox recently completed deal that no one really wanted to elaborate on, but SBJ's Terry Lefton, who was out in Los Angeles for the All-Star game, reports that the buzz in LA was that the biggest jersey patch deal so far is the Red Sox, with MassMutual agreeing to a 10-year deal for around $17 million a year. With performance incentives for the team that could hit much as $20 million a year. Overall, that would be a massive deal for the Red Sox.

Now a Red Sox official called this report a rumor. The reason the deal has not been announced, as this comes as the Red Sox have a competing financial services brand, John Hancock, as a longtime sponsor. Again, this is a big story in the business. There is more supply out there than demand because the NBA's in the marketplace, the NHL is in the marketplace, and Major League Baseball is in the marketplace. So keep your eyes on the inventory and the prices for some of the major market teams.

We've talked on the Buzzcast about the impact of the Women's Euro 2022, especially around attendance. And a sellout crowd of 85,000 is expected at Wembley for the final, which will be this week. And again, it shows the massive appeal of women's soccer and the growing appeal of women's soccer. And as one astute reporter outlined, this could be great news for FIFA's Women's World Cup in 2027, which still doesn't have a host country. The bidding process for the 2027 Women's World Cup will start sometime in August and September. So far there's just been one confirmed bid involving Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, but the US still has to decide if they want to host the 2027 or 2031 Women's World Cup. But there are a number of other countries that will likely be interested, based on the growth of the women's game throughout the world. So keep your eye on who makes a bid for the Women's World Cup for 2027.

Speaking of big events, the World Track and Field Championships, they ended yesterday from Eugene, Oregon. I will have more from them later this week on the Buzzcast, but they have to be considered a major success for American and the American athletes. The US won 33 medals metals in total. That breaks the record of 31 medals won by East Germany in 1987. The US also won a very strong 13 gold medals. So the energy in Oregon was strong, but we will look at the total engagement numbers and just how well this event played.

The sport's global governing body is World Athletics, and its president, Sebastian Coe, offered some concern about the marketing and reach of the overall event. He acknowledged that Track and Field has not been marketed as well as it could be in the United States. He called the United States market critical for the sport, saying it's important, but it's not punching its weight as it currently sits. So we'll do a full recap of the event later in the week, but share me any thoughts you may have on the World Track and Field Championships and its place in US sports.

And there was a lot of talk on sports betting at the Thought Leaders retreat and its impact on the sports landscape. Here's one more interesting story to watch. Legal Sports Report states that FanDuel is looking to rebrand its TVG racing channel to FanDuel TV as part of a plan to create the first watch and wager TV network in the United States. So FanDuel is also reportedly adding former NFL Network host, Kay Adams, to be the face of the FanDuel TV network. The rebrand is planned for September around the NFL season, and this all goes to increasing consumption, increasing education, increasing engagement around sports betting. So a FanDuel could have a watch and wager betting network, that could go a long way to increasing awareness and interest in sports betting.

And finally we'll end with this. We talk about what people wanted to talk about at Thought Leaders retreat. One thing they didn't want to talk about on the record was LIV Golf. Many had some comments off the record, but everybody is watching as LIV Golf heads to Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster this week. And LIV Golf officially announced that David Feherty would be joining its broadcast team, starting this week, from New Jersey. So many wondered why he was leaving NBC for LIV Golf, and of course now we're all watching to see if Charles Barkley gets an offer to be a commentator for LIV Golf. A lot of discussion, a lot of focus, and a lot of interest on LIV Golf as it heads to Trump National Golf Course this week in New Jersey.

That is your Morning Buzzcast for a very busy Monday, July 25th. I'm Abe Madkour. Hope everybody has a great start to their week. Remember, stay healthy, be good to each other, and I'll speak to you tomorrow.