SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: May 11, 2022

Episode Summary

The Brady impact; PGA Tour v. LIV Golf gets real; Arctos makes new investments and agencies wrestle to land jersey patch deals.

Episode Transcription

A big news day, so let's get right to it. This is your Morning Buzzcast for Wednesday, May 11th. I'm Abe Madkour. The big news yesterday was that Fox has landed Tom Brady, who will join their NFL broadcast booth as their Lead NFL Analyst after he retires. Yes, whenever that will be. It's a strong move for Fox. What a coup, who of course, they lost their number one team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Now, I don't have a great sense of how good Brady will be in the booth, but I will say he is certainly more open and more relaxed these last few years ever since leaving New England. The eye-popper for me is the money involved. While Fox said the terms reported were not correct, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported the deal is for 10 years and $375 million. That's right, $375 million over 10 years, making it easily the largest deal in sportscasting history.

Brady's deal more than doubles what CBS's Tony Romo and ESPN's Troy Aikman earn in an average annual salary of about $18 million per season, and Brady will also be a company ambassador for Fox. He will help in sponsorship and promotional activities as part of his deal, but it's just a massive deal for on-air talent. Remember, Troy Aikman goes from Fox to ESPN because he wanted to make more money than Tony Romo, and now here comes Brady, with all his Super Bowls, and now he doubles the set market rate. I didn't see this influx in spending on talent coming at all. So what do you think? Will Brady be good in the booth? Let me know. Love to hear your thoughts.

Let's move on. Here's a story that may not get the attention it deserves, but please do not overlook it. FIFA, the massively successful EA Sports video game, is coming to an end after almost 30 years. This wildly successful relationship between FIFA and EA Sports will not continue over differences in philosophy. The current deal for EA's FIFA game will end after this year's World Cup in Qatar, and the Woman's World Cup next summer. After that, EA will introduce a new game with a new name, called EA Sports FC. The relationship between FIFA and EA Sports has been one of the most lucrative ever. The game has generated more than $20 billion in sales over the past 20 years, but there have been changes.

EA Sports wanted some form of exclusivity. The New York Times reports that FIFA was seeking to at least double the $150 million it gets per year from EA Sports. There are also apparent differences of what should be included in the new agreement. So, what to look for now? Well, I'll be looking to see the directions that these two companies go in. FIFA is already speaking very confidently and promising it will unveil the next generation of gaming, while EA Sports still has plenty of licensing rights. They have rights to the EPL, they have rights to the UEFA Champions League, so they can continue to make compelling product, but the EA FIFA game to end and EA to introduce a new game in late 2023.

Let's shift to some news around finance. Elevate Sports Ventures has received some new funding, landing investment from Arctos Sports Partners and marking Arctos' first investment in an agency. Arctos will join Elevate Sports Ventures' current equity partners. That includes Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Oak View Group, Live Nation Ticketmaster, and the San Francisco 49ers. Now, sources did not indicate the size of Arctos' investment or whether it impacts the ownership split among Elevate's current equity partners. Now remember, Arctos Sports Partners was founded by Ian Charles and former CAA executive Doc O'Connor. It has largely focused its investments on minority stakes in sports teams, but now they have put some funding into Elevate, which is based right here in my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Elevate has various vertical businesses, including ticketing and sponsorship sales, there's brand consulting and advising, there's hospitality. Elevate was founded in 2018, it states it currently works with 175 teams, brands and venues across the world. Staying with Arctos Sports Partners, it has also kept up its team investments, as it was reported yesterday that it has acquired a 6% stake investing $36 million in the Serie A club Atalanta, which is co-chaired by Steve Pagliuca. Pagliuca reportedly made the connection or introduction between Arctos and the team for the investment. Remember, Steve Pagliuca is of course a co-owner of the Boston Celtics and familiar with Arctos. Arctos also holds a minority stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns Liverpool, so you see kind of the breadth and the depth of Arctos Sports Investments, and Arctos is one of many private equity firms who have invested into sports, specifically believing that team valuations will continue to increase. So, Arctos continuing to make investments not just in team sports, but now in an agency with Elevate Sports Ventures.

Let's shift to golf. Do not look for PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and Greg Norman to break bread anytime soon. Last night, it came out that the PGA Tour has denied players permission to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series event, which is scheduled next month for London. Now, this is a surprise. Remember, players asked for waivers to play in the LIV Golf event, but the PGA Tour has apparently said no, and notified players late Tuesday. Many didn't believe the PGA Tour would make this move. They felt that they would grant the waivers for the event, especially with it being in London and not in the United States. But this shows just how strongly the PGA Tour feels about this rival series. They do not want LIV Golf to get any oxygen. LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman is slated to meet the media today in London. In a statement, he called the PGA Tour's moves anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive. I personally can't see how this doesn't end up somewhere in court.

Let's shift to some interesting news in the agency world, because the agency battle to sell baseball jersey patches continues to heat up, as SBJ's Terry Lefton reported that Endeavor's WME Sports has won an agency shootout to sell the MLB San Francisco Giants jersey ad patch. Now, this is a big win for WME Sports. Remember, they hired Joe Januszewski last summer from the Texas Rangers. He heads their property sales division, and this deal to land the Giants jersey patch is one of his first really big, big wins. Now, he wouldn't reveal any estimate or pricing for the Giants ad patch, but industry estimates are that the Giants jersey patch could get up to $20 million or more per year. Yes, you heard that correctly, $20 million per year potentially for the ad patch on the San Francisco Giants jersey.

Remember, these four by four inch ad patches won't be on jersey sleeves until next season, but these deals could exceed what these teams already receive for their naming rights deals. So these are massive, massive new revenue opportunities, and look at the agencies involved. You have WME Sports selling the Giants. You have Excel Sports Management selling the Angels. Oak View Group selling the Mets patch. Elevate Sports Ventures working with the Orioles and the Tigers, and SPORTFIVE is selling the sleeve patch for the Los Angeles Dodgers. So, a major agency competition. What type of companies, are they global, are they local, are they regional, will be a buyer and at what price? These are just very interesting elements to watch in the MLB jersey ad patch program. But this agency competition certainly heating up and the dollars are significant.

And finally, if you're interested in sports betting and gaming, check out the job board at Fanatics and the talent site There are currently more than 40 job listings for vacant jobs at Fanatics, as it launches a sports betting and gaming vertical. There are a number of positions, including Director of Engineering for In-Venue Sportsbook, Director of Business Intelligence, and Sportsbook Assistant Manager. All those jobs listed as remote, so these could be your opportunity to get into the sports betting and gaming scene. That's my referral for the day. Fanatics is certainly hiring, with more than 40 job listings related to their upcoming launch of a sports betting and gaming vertical.

So, that is your Morning Buzzcast. It's Wednesday, May 11th. I'm traveling the rest of the week. I will not be with you Thursday or Friday. Buzzcast will be brought to you by Managing Editor David Albright. Until I speak to you again, I'm Abe Madkour. Stay healthy, be good to each other, and have a great rest of your week.