Sinclair makes moves toward its DTC service, Audi and Porsche make F1 plans and Lambeau Field has summer soccer in its future.
There wasn't a lot of drama on the opening night of the NHL playoffs, as three of the four games were won by a combined score of 14 to 1. Winners included the Hurricanes, the Maple Leafs, and the Blues. The only close encounters saw the LA King score a third period goal to win in Edmonton 4 to 3. The other four series get underway tonight and it's a little hard to believe we had to get to May to see playoff hockey.
Good morning. It's Tuesday, May 3rd. This is your SBJ Morning Buzzcast. I'm David Albright filling in for Abe Madkour. The NFL has concluded that an independent review of allegations made by former Cleveland Brown's head coach, Hugh Jackson, that he and other high ranking members of the organization were incentivized financially to lose, found that none of the allegations could be substantiated. The 60 day independent review was conducted by Mary Jo White and a team of lawyers. Jackson had initially agreed to meet with investigators, but ultimately did not do so. The investigation did include interviews with Brown's owner, Jimmy Haslam, and current and former members of the organization.
Sinclair made its strongest move so far in its effort to launch a direct-to-consumer service around its local sports rights by naming a board of directors for its Diamond sports groups subsidiary that has a ton of experience in local sports rights and streaming services. Reports are John Ourand. New board members include Randy Freer who ran Fox Sport's RSNs and served as CEO of Hulu and David Preschlack who ran NBC Sport's RSNs and his sports gambling initiatives. Former NBA exec Bob Whitsett and NFL exec Maryann Turcke also will join the board as will Sinclair CEO, Chris Ripley. As part of his announcement for the new board, Ripley said his company will soft launch a direct-to-consumer service later this quarter in five RSN markets.
That means the soft launch will occur in Miami, Tampa, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Detroit. Those are all markets where a Sinclair RSN holds local MLB rights. In September Sinclair plans to complete a full direct-to-consumer launch. With all eyes on the debut of the Miami F1 race, this weekend, there was some related news on Monday as Volkswagen brands, Audi and Porsche will join F1 after the German auto making group was convinced that the move will bring in more money than it will cost. There has been some speculation for several months that the two brands were negotiating partnerships to enter F1, which for much of the last decade has been dominated by Volkswagen's German rival Mercedes. Audi is ready to offer around $556,000,000 for British luxury sports car maker, McLaren, as a means to enter a source said, while Porsche intends to establish a long term partnership with racing team Red Bull starting in several years time.
When Apple music launched in 2015, it was ridiculed. Many of the features it promised didn't work at first and the service became the butt of jokes. Still, the service signed up about 20 million paying customers within a year. Apple improved the service after the launch, and it now boasts more U.S. subscribers than Spotify. New York times reporter, Tripp Mickle, a former SBJer suggested that Apple's much ridiculed start to its MLB streaming deal could follow the same path. Mickle's new book on Apple, After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion Dollar Company and Lost its Soul will be released tomorrow. Apple is set to be a big player in sports and the book gives an in-depth look into the services business, the reason Apple is getting into sports. It details the tension between creative and operations, which is a tension that sports media execs live with every day.
Lambeau Field will host the July 23rd exhibition soccer match between the Bundesliga's Bayern Munich and premier league club Manchester City.
The match dub the U.S.A. Cup will mark the first soccer competition at Lambeau, which has steadily increased its non-NFL events with concerts and college football games. The Packers partnered with Chicago based agency Cardenas Marketing Network to land the soccer event, which will be part of Bayern Munich's pre-season Audi Summer Tour.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, however, Packers season ticket holders and supporter clubs for both soccer franchises will have pre-sale windows that start today. Ticket prices range from $35 to $160.
The PGA Tours acquired a minority equity stake in augmented reality startup Quintar as part of its new expanded partnership with the company reports sport techies Andrew Cohen. Quintar will serve as the official mobile augmented reality developer for the PGA Tour over the next three seasons through 2024. Quintar first began working with the PGA Tour AR mobile app in 2020. Fans onsite tournaments can open the app and point their iPhone towards select holes to have their screen display shot link data such as apex height and ball speed, as well as graphics of T-shot trails, distances to the pin and 3D models of the greens.
The AR features will expand to signature holes at 10 PGA Tour events this year, including the Tour Championship and the President's cup. PGA Tour betting partner Draft Kings will sponsor Quintar's augmented reality experiences.
We'll end on a quick programming note, tune in to Strictly Business on Twitter spaces ahead of the F1 Miami Grand Prix. Join us to discuss the race this Thursday at 2:00 PM Eastern. For more details and updates, be sure to follow Sports Business Journal on Twitter @SBJSBD. That's your SBJ Morning Buzzcast for Tuesday. I hope everyone has a great day and we'll see you back here tomorrow morning.