SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: May 12, 2022

Episode Summary

Disney hints at DTC future, the Bucs take a ride with Hertz and the ACC looks at football without divisions.

Episode Transcription

The wait is over. The full 2022 NFL schedule release takes place tonight at 8:00 PM Eastern on NFL Network. The League started announcing a few select games during the NFL Draft and has continued to do so over the past couple of weeks, and one final drip will hit at 6:00 PM Eastern, when teams announced their first home game opponent. Verizon has been the official presenting sponsor of the NFL Schedule Release Show on NFL Network since 2014, and a League-level partner since 2010. For those of you that like to plan ahead, the regular season starts on Thursday, September 8th.

Good morning. It's Thursday, May 12th, and this is your SBJ Morning Buzzcast. I'm David Albright, filling in for Abe Madkour. After the bell yesterday, Disney reported overall revenue of 19.1 billion for its most recent quarter, falling nearly one billion short of Wall Street expectations. Disney generated linear network operating income of 2.82 billion on revenue of 7.12 billion. The company said it's quarterly cable television operating income was down year over year, due in part to increased NFL programming costs.

Remember, ESPN carried five NFL games, including the Pro Bowl, compared to a single game in quarter two of 2021, not to mention increased rights fees for the College Football Playoff, NBA and College Basketball. ESPN Plus reached 22.3 million subscribers as of the beginning of April, adding one million subs over the prior three months. Disney reported that ESPN Plus experienced greater losses during the quarter, due to increased programming costs and fewer UFC pay-per-view buys.

Speaking to investors last night, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that ESPN will one day pivot to a fully direct-to-consumer product, though he declined to share details about what the future model might look like, how long it would take to reach profitability, though Chapek suggested such a pivot won't happen in the immediate future due to Disney's current reliance on cash flow from linear television.

Hertz has signed on as the Tampa Bay Buccaneer's car rental sponsor at the team's highest Pewter Partner level. The deal unites the rental car company's newfound team rights with its partnership featuring Bucs' quarterback Tom Brady, a Hertz endorser since last year when he did a TV ad touting Hertz's Tesla fleet. The sponsorship includes a stadium suite, branding on press conference backdrops at away games, presenting sponsor status during streamed preseason games on the Bucs app and website, stadium signage, and other team controlled media assets, including sponsorship of a chat bot on the team's mobile app.

Fellow Bucs Pewter Partner sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Coke, Fifth Third Bank, Ford, Hyundai, MillerCoors, Progressive Insurance, Raymond James, and Verizon. Hertz initially used its Buccaneer's rights for posting on team social channels during the recent NFL draft. The only other sports sponsorship for Hertz, which emerged from COVID chapter 11 bankruptcy less than a year ago, is a deal with the Professional Pickle Ball Association.

Major League Baseball, MLB players Inc, and Paris based Sorare, today announced plans to launch the league's first NFT based free to play game as part of a new partnership. The game is set to be released this summer. Sorare, which is forging into North American sports for the first time after previously being involved only in soccer gaming since it's 2018 launch, becomes the official NFT baseball game partner of MLB.

One Team, the MLB PA's group player licensee partner facilitated the deal. Sorare's new venture into baseball gaming offers an MLB team management experience with digital NFT cards that fans can purchase, collect and trade before competing in tournaments with their assembled team.

The ACC is moving closer to adopting a new football scheduling format, that would scrap divisions and give teams an opportunity to play each other more frequently, starting as early as 2023. Though, no vote was taken to formally change the format during the conference of spring meetings in Amelia Island, Florida, commissioner, Jim Phillips and multiple athletic directors discussed a three, five, five scheduling model, in which teams would play three permanent opponents, then rotate through the rest over a two year period, five one year, followed by five the next.

Earlier this week, the NCAA Football Oversight Committee recommended conferences no longer be required to have divisions to hold a conference championship game. The Division One Council is set to vote on it later this month, when it is expected to pass. Charlotte's new Michael Jordan backed college basketball event, dubbed the Jumpman Invitational has signed Novant Health as it's presenting sponsor and will have as many as three associate corporate partners by the time at tips off in December, at the Hornet Spectrum Center.

Two associate sponsors, both locally based, have committed to the event, Lowe's and Truest Financial. One more company may be added later this year. All of the sponsorship agreements are for three years. The four school, two night event will feature men's and women's teams from the first college schools to wear Nike, Jordan brand uniforms in both basketball and football. That would be North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, and Oklahoma.

Fox Sports' surprising move to sign Tom Brady as its top NFL game analyst, even before he's finished his playing career, is the main topic on this week's Sports Media Podcast. SBJ's John Ourand and the New York Post Andrew Marchand tackle this topic from all angles, including how this move affects other NFL analysts like Greg Olson and Drew Brees. They also try to make sense of Brady's huge 37 and a half million per year contract. You can download the Sports Media Podcast on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

We'll end on a quick programming note. Tune in to Strictly Business on Twitter spaces at 2:00 PM Eastern today, to discuss eSports. For more details and updates, be sure to follow Sports Business Journal on Twitter at SBJ SBD. And that's your SBJ Morning Buzzcast for Thursday. I hope everyone has a great day and we'll see you back here tomorrow morning.