SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: May 26, 2022

Episode Summary

The future of Seahawks and Blazers; timing for '30 and '34 bid decisions and women's hockey gets more horsepower

Episode Transcription

Tune into Twitter spaces for a special Stanley Cup Playoff edition of Strictly Business. With our special guest Abbey Mastracco. Join us to discuss the hot topics in the sports business today at 2:00 PM on Twitter. For more details and updates, be sure to follow Sports Business Journal on Twitter at SBJ.

This is your Morning Buzzcast, it is Thursday, May 26th. Good morning, I'm Abe Madkour, hope everybody is doing okay today. While the Broncos are for sale, there is always a rumbling that the Seattle Seahawks could be sold. Questions about how long owner, Jody Allen, has wanted to hold on to the team have persisted for some time, but a report in the Seattle Times suggested that the Seahawks are not for sale and that there is no indication they will be anytime soon.

Now, this comes as Seahawk's Chair, Jody Allen, has been selling off some of her other assets in recent months, but, sources stress that there's been no indication of a sale of the Seahawks. Now remember, Jody Allen also owns the Portland Trail Blazers and connected Pacific Northwest sports reporter, John Canzano, wrote that insiders do expect the Trail Blazers to be positioned for auction in the next six to 18 months.

A number of potential ownership groups have been rumored to be interested in pursuing the Blazers and among the names that have been heard most frequently are, Oracle's Larry Ellison, and philanthropists, MacKenzie Scott, and Laurene Powell-Jobs. So, keep your eye on the Pacific Northwest and the future of the Seahawks and the Trail Blazers.

We've talked a lot on the Buzzcast about the global sports calendar and how it could impact the United States. You have the World Cup in 2026. You have a chance to bid on the Women's World Cup in 2027. You have the Olympics in 2028, and, there's talk about getting the Winter Games in Salt Lake in 2030 or 2034. Leaders in Utah believe they will know by this December if they've made the final cut in their bid to host the '30 games or the '34 games, that is when the IOC plans to enter into what they call targeted talks with the preferred hosts. They will start first with the '30 games, but they may also begin talks on the '34 games.

Now, there are various opinions of whether the U.S. should bid for the '30 winter games or the '34 winter games. The competition for 2030 looks like Sapporo, Japan, Vancouver, Canada, and Salt Lake City. A delegation from Utah and the U.S. OPC next month in June will travel to the IOC headquarters in Switzerland to make their case. If they push for the '30 games, the cost would be an estimated 2.2 billion dollars. Pushing the date back to '34 would bring it closer to 2.6 billion dollars.

Either way, these are very, I would say, inexpensive bids to host the games. These would be easily the least expensive of the host cities, in terms of the costs to secure the games. Many believe that Sapporo is the favorite to win the '30 bid. And that stems interestingly from a belief that the IOC almost owes Japan a other Olympics. Remember after Japan took on most of the costs for postponing the 2020 Tokyo games a year into 2021 because of COVID. But that global sports calendar, certainly worth keeping your eye on. And those winter games in 2030 or 2034, really an interesting moving piece.

Let's shift to football. The Washington Commanders, we talked about on the Buzzcast, unveiled plans for a billion dollar stadium complex in Woodbridge, Virginia on Monday. But now those plans seemingly are tenuous. That is because a plan in the Virginia General Assembly to pass a bill supporting a new NFL stadium in Virginia, that one time seemed like a slam dunk, is now very much in doubt.

A key Senator, who is one of the key backers of the project has withdrawn his support for the bill that was expected to come before the General Assembly next week. Here are the details. That bill began as a one billion dollar aid package, but now it's been reduced to 350 million dollars, because there are concerns in the state about offering aid to the Commanders. Now, the Senator, Chap Peterson, one of the original backers of the bill said last night, Wednesday night, he doesn't plan to support Virginia's pursuit of an NFL franchise. He also added, he didn't have confidence in the Washington Commanders as a viable NFL franchise. Ouch.

So that aid is on the cusp of defeat, which would be a serious setback to the Commander's plans to build the stadium in Virginia. And one piece of trivia from our friends at Morning Brew. Virginia is the most populous state in the U.S. without a professional sports team in one of the top four leagues, NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL. And if this bill goes to defeat, it would certainly seem to be a setback to lure any NFL franchise to Virginia.

More news around women's sports. The Professional Women's Hockey Players Association has entered into a formal relationship with Billy Jean King Enterprises and the Mark Walter Group, to explore the launch of a new professional women's hockey league. This was first reported by the Athletic. The Walter Group and Billy Jean King Enterprises will try to aid the Association's goal of creating a financially stable professional league. They have targeted former PAC 12 commissioner Larry Scott to lead the efforts. He would work with Alana Claus, who was Billy Jean King's longtime partner and CEO of Billy Jean King Enterprises.

Now the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association has been working with Deloitte and SOCA Bank over the past 12 months to build a business plan. Remember, the Professional Woman's Hockey Players Association and the Premier Hockey Federation are both vying to launch viable professional women's hockey leagues. So we'll have to see how this plays out, but with the backing of the Walter Group and BJK Enterprises, the PWHP a just got a major, major shot in the arm.

Speaking of a shot in the arm, ticketing platform Game Time has secured a new 30 million dollar round of funding. Now, this company was founded by former 40 under 40 honoree, Brad Griffin in 2013. It said it is experiencing record breaking ticket buying volume and revenue, with sales projected to exceed 500 million this year. Now Game Time specializes in last minute ticket sales to sports events and concerts. Game Time has now raised $41 million dollars over six funding rounds during its existence. The company will use the new investment to accelerate product development and boost its efforts to reach younger ticket buyers, which is the company's kind of core target.

And as we talk about hot sports a lot on the Buzzcast, are you ready for darts? Yes. Some believe the hot sport, the next hot sport could be darts. So keep your eye on the popular Professional Darts Corporation, which is bringing its competition to Madison Square Garden's, Hulu theater, June third and fourth. It will be streamed by the Zone. They expect 6,000 fans to attend the theater event. I didn't know this, but the Professional Darts Corporation reportedly ranked second only behind the Premier League in television ratings in the UK.

So a lot of interest in the UK on this Professional Darts Corporation, they are backed by Eddie Hern. He is the boxing promoter, of course. He believes the appeal of darts will grow significantly in the United States. He's bringing this event to Madison Square Garden. We'll keep our eye on that, to see if darts can get any traction in the United States.

So that is your morning Buzzcast for Thursday, May 26th. I'm Abe Madkour. Hope everybody has a good day. Stay healthy. Be great to each other. I'll speak to you tomorrow.