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Morning Consult Sports: Disney Receives Final Bids for Regional Sports Networks


Top Stories

  • The Walt Disney Co. received final-round offers for the 21 remaining regional sports networks it agreed to sell as part of its purchase of 21st Century Fox Inc’s entertainment assets, with Liberty Media Corp., Sinclair Broadcast Group and Ice Cube’s Big3 basketball league among those who bid, sources said. Though analysts initially estimated the RSNs –which have to be sold within 90 days of the March 19 close of Fox deal — would fetch $20 billion to $22 billion, bids have been around $10 billion due to some potential bidders bowing out of the process and the YES Network being off the market. (Bloomberg)
  • After posting an NHL season-best 62 wins and securing the highest point total (128) since the league’s current system began in 2006, the Tampa Bay Lightning were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite outscoring opponents by 103 goals in the regular season, Tampa was outscored 19-8 in four games against Columbus, including a 7-3 loss in Game 4. (The New York Times)
  • Amid what some critics have referred to as virtual free agency in college athletics, the NCAA Division I Council is expected to vote by Friday on an amendment that would require a graduate transfer to count against a program’s scholarship total for two seasons regardless of how many years of eligibility a student-athlete has left. The amendment, which includes an exception for those who complete their graduate degree requirements before the beginning of their second year, could possibly slow the movement of graduate transfers between men’s basketball programs, where the practice has been most frequent. (The Associated Press)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

04/20/2019
San Diego State University 5th Annual Sports Business Summit
04/23/2019
Betting on Sports America 9:00 am
Digiday Future of TV Summit 1:00 pm
04/24/2019
Betting on Sports America 8:30 am
Digiday Future of TV Summit 8:30 am
View full calendar

The Brands That Define American Culture and Commerce

Morning Consult analyzed over 400,000 survey interviews to determine this year’s rankings. See who made the list.

General

Jim Nantz on Tiger Woods’s Masters win: ‘It’s the best event I’ve ever covered’
Ben Strauss, The Washington Post

Tiger Woods won his first major tournament in 11 years Sunday at the Masters, and longtime broadcaster Jim Nantz was on the call for CBS. “The return to glory,” Nantz intoned as Woods’s championship-sealing putt settled into the 18th hole.

Anthony Joshua’s opponent, Jarrell Miller, submits positive PED test
Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times

Unbeaten heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller of Brooklyn, N.Y., has submitted a positive test for a banned performance-enhancing substance, throwing into peril his fight against three-belt champion Anthony Joshua on June 1. The positive test, first reported by ESPN.com, stemmed from a random urine test Miller (23-0-1, 20 knockouts) took March 20.

NFL

NFL schedule announcement to reveal Patriots’ opener, Thanksgiving Day games
Matt Bonesteel, The Washington Post

The NFL revealed Tuesday that it will announce the 2019 regular season schedule at 8 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday night (though news about specific matchups often leaks out in the hours preceding the NFL Network show). So far, we know that the season will open on Thursday, Sept. 5, with a game between the Bears and Packers, the league eschewing its usual practice of putting the Super Bowl champion in the prime-time opener so it can give two of the NFL’s legacy franchises the spotlight as its 100th season kicks off.

Badgers won’t let Watt wing it at commencement
Sarah Barshop, ESPN

J.J. Watt was prepared for his May 11 commencement address at the University of Wisconsin. Or at least he thought he was. Then he was asked to send a copy of his speech when he was done writing it.

NBA

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka interviews 76ers assistant Monty Williams for coaching job
Tania Ganguli, Los Angeles Times

Few answers have emerged about what the Lakers’ power structure will look like moving forward, but general manager Rob Pelinka continued the process of finding a new head coach. Pelinka met with 76ers assistant Monty Williams in Philadelphia on Tuesday, in the middle of their playoff series, with plans to meet with former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue on Friday, according to people familiar with his plans but not authorized to speak publicly.

Another major injury for DeMarcus Cousins means another summer of uncertainty awaits
Ben Golliver, The Washington Post

The grand triumph of DeMarcus Cousins’s comeback arrived in early April, when the Golden State Warriors center poured in a season-high 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a blowout win over the Denver Nuggets. Cousins, still yet to fully recover from a January 2018 Achilles’ tendon tear that sidelined him for a year, gave Denver’s all-star center, Nikola Jokic, more than he could handle.

A Hunger Artist Off the Bench, Lou Williams Helps the Clippers Feast
Scott Cacciola, The New York Times

Lou Williams, who has the unusual role of leading the Clippers in scoring while coming off the bench, does not run around the court so much as flutter across it. At 6 feet 1 inch and 175 pounds, he has embraced his identity as a butterfly among a herd of cattle.

Nike Wrote a Charming Storybook About Dirk Nowitzki, Europe’s Top Contribution to the NBA
David Griner, Adweek

Nike has long excelled at turning athletes into heroic figures worthy of deification atop Mount Olympus, but perhaps what’s most impressive is the range of ways the brand and agency Wieden + Kennedy have found to tell those epic tales over the decades.

MLB

The Average Umpire Is Almost 50. The Best Ones Might Be in Their 30s.
Jared Diamond, The Wall Street Journal

The archetypal image of a baseball umpire originated in Norman Rockwell’s 1948 painting Tough Call, which depicts three signal-callers looking skyward as rain starts to fall during a game. The real-life umpires shown—Larry Goetz, Beans Reardon and Lou Jorda—had an average age of about 53, establishing the standard for what the men responsible for maintaining law and order on a major-league field should look like.

Sources: MLB investigating racist messages sent to Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. on social media
Patrick Mooney, The Athletic

Deeper,​ darker​ emotions​ had​ already​ stirred​ inside Cubs​ reliever Carl​ Edwards Jr. when he got demoted to​ Triple-A Iowa earlier​​ this month. He could understand the baseball reasoning behind the move, the need to clear his head and reset his pitching mechanics in the minors.

Yankees Send Red Sox Deeper Into Their Early-Season Gloom
Tyler Kepner, The New York Times

The Boston Red Sox welcomed back the veteran catcher Sandy Leon for Tuesday’s game in the Bronx. Leon usually coaxes the best from Chris Sale, their struggling ace, so the Red Sox summoned him from the minors and dropped Blake Swihart from the roster.

NHL

Kings hire Todd McLellan as their new head coach
Curtis Zupke, Los Angeles Times

In the aftermath of the worst Kings season in more than a decade, general manager Rob Blake knew what he needed from his next head coach. He pinpointed structure, a modern style of play and motivation for an aging sector of their roster that has become admittedly complacent.

Islanders finish off Penguins 3-1 for stunning playoff sweep
Will Graves, The Associated Press

Barry Trotz had questions when he took over the New York Islanders last summer. About the defense. About the goaltending. About where the scoring would come from if star John Tavares bailed in free agency.

Soccer

A Genius in Full Bloom, Lionel Messi Lifts Barcelona
Rory Smith, The New York Times

Still, they gasp. Still, after all this time, after all he has done, long after his brilliance should have become commonplace, after our expectations should have been adjusted and our capacity for surprise dulled, Lionel Messi can still draw the breath and dazzle the eyes and bring a crowd of nearly 100,000 to its feet.

Ajax eliminate Ronaldo’s Juve with scintillating display
Brian Homewood, Reuters 

Ajax Amsterdam followed up their elimination of Real Madrid by producing a spell-binding display of inventive, passing football to win 2-1 away to Juventus on Tuesday and end the Serie A team’s dreams of winning the Champions League.

Italian football club AS Roma has banned its players from taking pictures with Drake because he’s so unlucky
Alan Dawson, Business Insider

The theory that Drake jinxes athletes whenever he is photographed with them, or curses sports teams whenever he supports them, refuses to go away. Italian soccer club AS Roma has even banned its players from socializing with the rapper, as it seemingly does not want anything — normal or paranormal — getting in the way of its hunt for a qualification spot into next season’s lucrative UEFA Champions League competition.

Racing

Who’s paying for NASCAR upgrades in Nashville? Speedway Motorsports floats $54M public option
Yihyun Jeong, The Tennessean

Speedway Motorsports, the company trying to bring NASCAR back to Nashville, pitched a plan that called for $54 million in bond payments and $2 million in cash from the city, according to city officials. Mayor David Briley’s administration rejected the proposal, but ongoing discussions could end with tax revenue collected at the track financing part of the project.

Golf and Tennis

Golf Looks to a Tiger Boom 2.0
Kevin Draper, The New York Times

Through Tiger Woods’s 11 years in the wilderness between major tournament wins, professional golf searched for a successor. Would it be Phil Mickelson, the once-snakebit lefty who is actually older than Woods but who got over the hump in 2004 to become his most formidable early-career challenger?

New York Lawmakers Tee Up Tax Bill That Takes a Swing at Golf Courses
Keiko Morris, The Wall Street Journal

Golf-industry advocates have sounded the alarm about a bill that could result in raising property taxes for golf-course owners in New York. The proposed legislation would give local governments the option to assess and tax golf courses based on “highest and best use,” which, for many facilities, could mean being considered as a residential development with a much higher value.

College Sports

Barnes says buyout likely kept him from taking UCLA job
Steve Megargee, The Associated Press

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes believes he would be settling in as UCLA’s coach right about now if buyout negotiations hadn’t broken down. Barnes’ contract requires Tennessee to receive approximately $5 million if he leaves for another job with five years remaining on his deal.

Virginia junior Kyle Guy announces he will enter NBA draft, leaves open possibility of return
Gene Wang, The Washington Post

Virginia junior guard Kyle Guy announced Tuesday afternoon on social media that he is declaring for the NBA draft, leaving the Cavaliers, at least for the time being, without the three core players who sparked a run to the school’s first national championship in men’s basketball.

Their grades kept them from Division I. A junior college in Scranton offers one final shot.
Samantha Pell, The Washington Post

At 7:30 a.m. on the first day of spring football practice at Lackawanna College, Mark Duda stood on the third floor of the players’ dormitory and pursed his lips around a small black whistle. With a gleeful expression, Duda, the winningest active coach in the National Junior College Athletic Association, took a deep breath and blew five earsplitting chirps.

UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi looks to make final statement on floor
Joe Reedy, The Associated Press

Katelyn Ohashi wrote a poem called ”Fame ” that ends “Not everyone’s destiny is going to be the same. Set your own goals and make your own fame.” As the 22-year old UCLA senior gets ready to compete for the final time at the NCAA Championships, she has lived up to her own words with a trio of viral floor routines that have given her an audience outside the world of gymnastics and a platform to speak out on issues of empowerment.

Esports

New ‘Gears 5’ Series, Esports Tournament Debuts in June
Stefanie Fogel, Variety

“Gears 5” makes its esports debut this summer with the “ELeague Gears Summer Series: The Bonds and Betrayals of Brotherhood,” Xbox and ELeague announced during an Inside Xbox episode on Tuesday. The six-part event series and live tournament focuses on the stories and players behind the world of Gears Esports, they said.

A new reality show about forming an Overwatch team is reportedly launching in Korea
Andrew Amos, Dot Esports

A Korean national broadcaster, KBS, is set to produce a new show called God of Overwatch to scout upcoming Korean Overwatch talent and form a professional team according to a report from a Korean gaming news site. The show is taking submissions up until April 30, with preliminary matches being filmed on May 13 at the KBS Hall in Seoul.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Should the Redskins go after a young QB or snag a player that will help them immediately?
Rick Snider, The Washington Post

The draft is always about the future, but for Redskins coach Jay Gruden the future is now. Either the Redskins make the playoffs next season or someone else is coaching these draft picks in 2020.

What is UCLA getting in Mick Cronin? Cincinnati insider shares his observations
Paul Daugherty, Los Angeles Times

West Side Mick does West Side Los Angeles. Some of us are a little surprised.