SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: May 10, 2022

Episode Summary

Trying to rein in NIL; Oak View Group lands Coyotes; sports going global; and a legal pioneer moves on.

Episode Transcription

This is your Morning Buzzcast for Tuesday, May 10th. I'm Abe Madkour, hope everybody is doing well today. Well the NCAA and its leaders have moved to establish some guidelines around name, image, and likeness, and it comes about oh 11 months after NIL was first established, July 1st, 2021. The new guidelines established that boosters, including these recently created collectives designed to provide athletes at schools with endorsement deals, should not have any contact with the college athletes, their family members or their representatives. So these rules were written by a working group of athletic directors and conference commissioners, who were asked to look at the current name, image and likeness landscape and the move comes as there is growing concern that some of these boosters and these companies known as collectives are offering money as incentives to attend a particular school. So I.e. pay for play.

It seems that the committee is trying to send a message that there are rules and they will take steps to enforce those rules. But many wonder if these rules are even enforceable following the Supreme Court's ruling last summer against the NCAA, but these are steps by very respected collegiate leaders trying to clarify the types of name, image, and likeness payments and booster involvement that would be considered violations. So the guidelines begin immediately. NCAA enforcement staff is directed to look for possible violations. So we will look to see if the NCAA makes any moves in terms of enforcement and what type of legal action it may result in. Many believe that any collective would sue, or booster could possibly sue in response to any action by the NCAA. But again, this is all a result 11 months later of the rushed nature that name, image and likeness was implemented last year after the Supreme Court decision and now it seems college leaders are trying to reign it in just a bit. We'll see how successful they are.

Let's shift to hockey. The Arizona Coyotes are turning to the Oak View Group to handle sponsorship sales as they move while they prepare to move to their temporary home at Arizona State University starting next season. We've talked about this on the Buzzcast. The Coyotes will move into that 5,000 seat arena on the campus of ASU. That is operated by Oak View Group, and the Coyotes will play home games at that facility for at least the next three seasons because they hope to build a nearly $2 billion arena and mixed use district in Tempe. But Oak View Group will take over sponsorship sales in the arena. The Coyotes have actually eliminated four of its five in-house sponsorship sales positions. They're going to allocate additional resources to corporate activation. So both Oak View Group and the Coyotes will seek partners that are consistent across the team and Arizona state to avoid conflicts.

Oak View Group's president of global partnerships, Dan Griffis, expects at least 90% of the brands on the ice service at the new facility to be Coyotes partners and Arizona State University partners. So again, that's an interesting dynamic here where they're trying to avoid conflict with ASU or trying to avoid conflict between ASU and the Coyotes. But this move by the Coyotes to such a small facility is one of the more interesting stories in sports business to keep your eye on.

Well, it seems like a long time ago when the Red Sox played the Yankees in London. Well, it kind of was, it was the summer of 2019, and now major league baseball has a new deal to stage more games in the UK as the league has committed to hold games in London over the next five years, including regular season games in '23, '24 and '26. Now the teams will not be decided until those schedules come closer into focus, though they will likely be East Coast teams because of the travel logistics. But playing in London for baseball was a huge hit in 2019 so this seems like a smart move as baseball looks to continue to grow the game.

Speaking of growing the game, the NBA is also looking to spread the love around basketball as they will play preseason games at Abu Dhabi in October. Now this marks the first NBA games in the United Arab Emirates and the Arabian Gulf ever. So the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks will play two games in early October in Abu Dhabi. These games join the NBA's efforts in Japan as the Warriors and Wizards will play the first game for the NBA outside of North America since January of 2020. Their games in Japan are late September, early October, and then the games in Abu Dhabi in early October. So the NBA returning to its international roster of games.

The NFL will release its schedule on Thursday. That's always a fun thing and we're seeing more and more early drops of games. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were on ABC's Good Morning America yesterday and they announced that week two of Monday Night Football will be a Monday Night Football double header, Titans and Bills on ESPN and then Vikings and Eagles on ABC. So we're seeing some of these early schedule drops over the last week, but the full schedule of course released on Thursday. Buck and Aikman were promoting their debut for Monday Night Football this fall.

Meanwhile, Richard Sherman is talking with Amazon about a key role in their NFL programming this season. Amazon continues to build out its team. Remember they have Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit. That's the main team as Amazon enters its first season as the sole rights holder for Thursday Night Football.

Some nice news around people to end the Buzzcast, ESPN's Jimmy Pitaro announced that Dick Vitale will be honored with the Jimmy Valvano Award for perseverance at the 2022 ESPY's this summer in July. This is great because Dick Vitale has been such a leader in fighting cancer. To date Dick Vitale's help has raised $55 million for pediatric cancer research. Remember, we noted that Dick Vitale is cancer free. He had recent chemotherapy, he had vocal cord surgery that kept him from really using his voice for three months. So this is a nice move by Jimmy Pitaro announcing that Dick Vitale will be honored with the Jimmy V Award for perseverance at the ESPY's.

One of the legal leaders in team sports is starting a new endeavor. Diamondback's chief legal officer Nona Lee has resigned after 22 years to open up her new business to focus on the area around diversity, equity and inclusion. Now Nona Lee is a pioneer breaking barriers throughout her time working in Arizona. First for the Suns, then the Dbacks. Now she's off to start her own business around DE&I. So best of luck to Nona Lee. Speaking of Nona Lee, she was also a leader at the Sports Lawyers Association. I will be moderating two sessions at the SLA conference on Thursday in Atlanta. If you're there, please say hi.

Finally, I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Seats for the Sports Business Awards going fast. Go to our website, buy a table, buy a seat. The Sports Business Awards, Wednesday, May 18th at the New York Times Square Marriott Marquis. It's going to be one of the best nights in sports business. So that is your Morning Buzzcast. It's Tuesday, May 10th. I'm Abe Madkour, hope everybody has a great day. Stay healthy. Please be good to each other. I'll speak to you tomorrow.