SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: October 25, 2023

Episode Transcription

Good morning on this Wednesday, October 25th. Once again, I'm SBJ senior writer Joe Lair, filling in for a mad core on the SBJ Morning Buzz cast. The World Series matchup is set. The Texas Rangers will face the Arizona Diamondbacks who won 84 games and claimed the National League's third Wild Card. Even their best player star rookie Corbin Carroll told Nick Macor of the Arizona Republic about their season trajectory. And I quote, it's so improbable adding that. There's just something about this team that finds a way it's worth remembering. The off-season commotion that Arizona contended with this season as well. The parent company of the Regional Sports Network filed for bankruptcy in the off season and ballet Sports Arizona stopped broadcast production in mid-July. Major League baseball took over those duties for the rest of the season. The DACs had signed a 20 year $1.5 billion contract in 2015 with what was then Fox Sports before a series of acquisitions.

Granted those rights to Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair and will be pledged that it would pay 80% of any team's RSN Rights deal, but did not specify how long that commitment would last. Those TV agreements remain a critical source of revenue for every baseball organization. So it's worth keeping an eye on fan and viewer interest going forward, particularly now that the club is playing for a World Series that starts on Friday night in Texas and will be carried by Fox Sports. The UFC has signed the largest sponsorship deal in its history as Anheuser-Busch InBev is returning as the MMA League's official beer sponsor. In a six year nine figure deal sources told S BJ's Terry Lefton AB and Bud Light had been to UFC's beer sponsor from 2008 through 2017 before seeding that role to Modelo. But it is now back with all the expected activations for such a monumental deal, branding in the Octagon, social and digital content, broadcast integrations, and other venue signage.

Bud Light has lost ground to Modelo falling outcry from some conservatives, many of whom endorsed a boycott of the brand. After transgender influencer, Dylan Mulvaney promoted a giveaway on Instagram back in April. Anheuser-Busch later indicated that it would focus most of its marketing muscle on sports and music. And as Tony Pon, the former head of AB Sports who negotiated the original Bud Light UFC deal, told Leftin that AB is clearly trying to reach their core consumer in stabilize market share, adding they are losing shelf space and this is an attempt to reclaim some of that back then. And now this is a square shot at grabbing those 21 to 34 male drinkers following a landmark regular season in which it broke attendance records. Major League Soccer begins its playoffs this evening with single elimination wild card games between the eight and nine seeds in each conference. The New York Red Bulls are hosting Charlotte FC and Sporting KC is home against the San Jose Earthquakes adding Lean on messy Midseason, certainly boosted league interest ticket sales and viewership, and though he helped enter Miami win the league's

Cup and reach the final of the US Open Cup, the club had too big of a deficit in the standings to reach the MLS postseason. But MLS and Apple Hope, the new playoff format that was implemented for 2023 will entice fans. This wild card round is a new edition. Previously only seven clubs from each conference made the postseason, not nine and beginning this weekend, the quarterfinals will be a best of three series, which is yet another Americanization of this global sport. In the case. You're wondering how that'll work in a sport rife with ties, well draws won't be allowed. Every match will be played until there's a winner. There's no overtime either just right to penalty kicks after 90 minutes and stoppage time. The format then returns to single elimination play for the conference semifinals and finals. And then the MLS cup. The intent is clearly to create more high stakes match inventory for new broadcast partner Apple.

It's a hard balance to strike given that Apple is trying to appeal to both domestic and international fans. But as always, the quality of the competition will dictate the reaction among the highlights of yesterday's SBJ Game Changers event Honoring, pioneering Women in Sports was a speech from former longtime Octagon EVP and Global Chief Marketing and Inclusive Diversity Officer Lisa Murray. She was a member of s BJ's inaugural Game Changers class in 2011 and shared wisdom from her own career emphasizing the importance of being confident and prepared, creating clear goals for oneself, exceeding expectations whenever possible, and persisting through apathy and resistance. And it's clear that those in attendance took much away from that. And on a news year note, NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman also took the stage and said her league's reported rights deal was not yet finalized, but noted that the rights fees and also the easier fan access to finding matches on the screen would be transformational.

And she said it's going to change the future of our league in the days prior to Saturday's World Cup final between New Zealand and South Africa World, rugby announced monumental change to the sport that some have called the most consequential update since Rugby's professionalization in 1995, beginning in 2026, which happens to be the 200th anniversary of the sports founding world. Rugby will mandate the alignment of the schedules for club and country. The woman's game has never had such a formalized calendar before. And the men's game we'll see the World Cup expanded to 24 nations in 2027. In the addition of a new biannual competition in 2026 with two divisions of 12 teams. The top flight will begin with the Six Nations constituents, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales, as well as the four Southern Hemisphere members of Sanzar. That's the acronym for South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina. Two others will be selected later and beginning in 2030, there will be a promotion and relegation system enabling upward and downward mobility for the dozen involved countries. World Rugby's own announcement of the news said that these changes will deliver long-term certainty of content for the first time, supporting increases in competitiveness, interest in value ahead of a landmark

World Cup in the USA in 2031. It's also worth adding that the American Pro League Major League Rugby also continues to grow each season already and stands to benefit from more overall interest in the sport. The NHL. Following discussions with the union and the Player Inclusion Coalition reverse course on Tuesday to permit players from taping their sticks and support of social causes. Arizona Coyotes defenseman, Travis Dermot used rainbow colored pride tape during a game over the weekend in direct opposition of the ban, which sparked new conversations and the change in policy. Finally, I'd be remiss not to mention that the New York Knicks landed a New Jersey patch partner Sphere Entertainment. It's not exactly hard to imagine how this deal was consummated, both our owned by MSG of course. But it's worth noting how rare it is for any venue or idea or event to be so universally loved and raved about as the sphere seems to have been in its early days since opening. And that's a perfect segue for me to sign off as I've got a flight to catch to. Yep, you guessed it. Las Vegas to see you two at the sphere. Hard to beat my favorite band playing in the world's most tech-centric venue. Thanks for tuning in these past two mornings with me tomorrow, Abe takes the reins back. Until next time, be well. Everybody.