SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: November 18, 2022

Episode Summary

Surprises from Qatar keep coming; Infantino's run to continue; more fallout from FTX and highlights from SBJ's Awards Week in NYC.

Episode Transcription

SBJ had a tremendous awards week in New York this week. First, we had more than 520 people at Chelsea Piers on Tuesday night to honor our 2022 Class of Forty Under 40. We had all 40 honorees there. We had Tucker Kain from Fanatics getting into the SBJ Hall of Fame. That's making our list three different years. We also had 50 previous honorees there as well. ESPN's Max McGee introduced the class and it was a very festive night. Then on Wednesday night, we celebrated our fourth class of New Voices Under 30 at Marquee New York, a very cool venue on 10th Avenue. The 30 young honorees celebrated with friends and family, and the DJ kept the energy high.

Let's just say the 360 degree photo booth was a hit among attendees. A great few nights of award celebrations in New York City. We missed you this year. Hope to see more of you next year. This is your Morning Buzzcast for Friday, November 18th. Good morning. I'm Abe Madkour. Hope you're all doing well and ready for the weekend. I know I am. But as we prepare to start the World Cup, the AP is reporting that World Cup organizers will ban the sale of all beer with alcohol at the eight stadiums used for the tournament. This is a pretty stunning move coming only two days before the World Cup game start.

You would think this would have been figured out long before this. Remember, it was 12 years ago that Qatar and FIFA agreed to a deal, and you would've thought that FIFA would've prioritized protecting its commercial partners. I can't imagine FIFA or Anheuser-Busch is very pleased with this move. Now, the AP is reporting that non-alcoholic beer will still be available. Alcohol is still expected to be served in the hospitality areas at the venues, but not in general seating. Like I said, this move has to really infuriate and frustrate Anheuser-Busch InBev, which, of course, pays around $75 million for each World Cup for exclusive alcohol beverage rights.

They expected to be able to sell their product at the venues. This partnership with FIFA started in 1986 and they are in talks now about a renewal. Not really good timing. AB has to be surprised by the move because Qatar has already moved the beer stalls to less visible locations within the perimeter of the facility. All in all, less visibility and fewer points of sale for Budweiser. Budweiser will be sold during the evening's official FIFA fan zones where they expect 40,000 fans to gather to watch the games on big screens, but beer with alcohol not for sale in the general seating at the stadium. Big news, there, just a couple of days before the start of the games.

Meanwhile, let's stay with FIFA because its leadership will continue with continuity as President Gianni Infantino will really run unopposed and will land a new four year term when next March's election is held. Nobody stepped up to run against him. Infantino, of course, has been with FIFA for years. But in 2016, he won a five candidate race to replace Sepp Blatter. He was reelected unopposed in 2019, and it seems like he will be reelected unopposed again in 2023. He is now set up to stay in his job beyond the '26 World Cup, which, of course, will be held in the US, Canada, and Mexico.

His term at FIFA and his leadership at FIFA could actually extend well into 2031, which would make his tenure one of the most influential of all global sports leaders, but Gianni Infantino remaining as the head of FIFA for the foreseeable future. Let's move on away from the World Cup. Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy Told the Boston Globe that there's tremendous amount of interest in Liverpool, as Fenway Sports Group is exploring a sale of the club. Now, Kennedy said there has been a great deal of interest from numerous potential partners considering a full takeover of the club or buying in as minority partners.

Now, he did say it is very early in the process and he said any potential sale of Liverpool is not tied to any interest Fenway Sports Group has in owning an MBA franchise in Las Vegas. But the bottom line here is there are a lot of eyes right now on John Henry, Tom Werner, and Fenway Sports Group. There's a lot of buzz, of course, about them interested in an NBA expansion franchise in Las Vegas. They are also known to be looking at the Commanders. Again, a lot of interests in what John Henry and Fenway Sports Group's plans are as they look to change their sports portfolio, and it could come by selling Liverpool.

I know this was talked about in the Buzzcast, but this was very big news for Major League Soccer and the New York City Football Club as they have formalized plans for their own standalone stadium for NYCFC. This will be part of a mixed-use economic development plan in Willets Point in Queens that's close to city field and it will be anchored by a 25,000 seat soccer specific stadium. We know how long this has been in development as NYCFC has been looking for its own soccer specific stadium since it joined MLS in 2013. It's been playing most of its games at Yankee Stadium since 2015, but NYCFC and MLS love this new location in Queens.

They believe it is central to a very large group of potential fans, including fans in Long Island. NYCFC will pay for the cost of the stadium, which wasn't really reported. The stadium is expected to be ready in 2027. Like I said, it's part of a mixed-use development that includes affordable housing, a hotel, and an elementary school in the area across the street from city field. This will be quite the development, but very important and big news for NYCFC. And finally, more fallout from the FTX bankruptcy. We're seeing more and more I would say sports organizations being impacted. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said FTX's bankruptcy was jarring and that the league continues to monitor it.

But he said do not expect baseball's umpires to continue wearing FTX sponsor patches on their uniform shirts next year. Baseball signed a five year deal with FTX in June of 2021, but Manfred said the league would obviously proceed with caution in the future in this category, but added that the FTX deal was a meaningful deal for MLB. Now the league will look to recoup that revenue. Monumental Sports and Entertainment in Washington DC is stopping its promotion of FTX. The Wizards will continue with four fan giveaways that were sponsored by the company and they had already been produced.

The first of them is actually for tonight's game, Friday night's game. But after that, Monumental doesn't plan any more promotion of FTX. Monumental signed a multi-year deal with FTX last December. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors, which is one of the first teams to sign a deal with FTX, they also stopped all FTX related promotional assets. Like many, these leagues and these teams understandably thought they had a good long-term partner with FTX, but now they are seeing those lucrative deals, and they were lucrative, they are seeing those deals unravel and those revenue expectations not come to fruition.

Still a lot of fallout left to feel with FTX's bankruptcy. That is your Morning Buzzcast for Friday, November 18th. I'm Abe Madkour. Thanks for listening to the Buzzcast. Hope everybody has a great weekend. I know we all need it. Stay healthy. Be good to each other. I'll speak to you on Monday.