Morning Consult Sports: Manchester United Owners Consider Sale of Premier League Club


Essential sports industry news & intel to start your day.
November 23, 2022
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Morning Consult Sports will be off for the rest of the week for the Thanksgiving holiday. The newsletter will resume on Monday.


Today’s Top News

  • The Glazer family, the U.S. owners of soccer club Manchester United, is working with financial advisers as they explore potential outside financial investment, which could lead to infrastructure redevelopment or a sale of the Premier League team, according to a team statement, which said the board “has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives.” (Reuters) Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo is set to leave Manchester United “with immediate effect,” according to the team, after the Portuguese star criticized manager Erik ten Hag and team owners during an interview with Piers Morgan. (The Associated Press)
  • Electronic Arts Inc.’s “EA Sports College Football” video game series will return in the summer of 2024. EA Sports Vice President and General Manager Daryl Holt said the company wants to “find a meaningful way” to include real players in the game, and anyone who is featured will be compensated, per a company source. (ESPN)
  • Tiger Woods beat Rory McIlroy to finish first in the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program for the second consecutive year, collecting $15 million despite playing only nine total rounds in 2022 and failing to win a tournament. Among the 20 players awarded, McIlroy took home $12 million, while Jordan Spieth earned $9 million to round out the top three recipients who had the biggest impact on the tour’s business this year. (CBS Sports)
  • The NCAA announced future tournament sites of four men’s Final Four championships, including at the Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium in 2028, marking the first time the city will host the event. The other announced Final Four host cities include Detroit (Ford Field) in 2027, Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium) in 2029 and Dallas (AT&T Stadium) in 2030. (Front Office Sports)

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What Else You Need to Know


What Will Iger Do With ESPN and Hulu?

Andrew Ross Sorkin et al., The New York Times 

With Robert Iger back in charge at Disney, his to-do list takes shape: turn around the streaming businesses, and groom a successor.


World Cup Opener Viewership Blows Past 2018 Numbers

Michael McCarthy, Front Office Sports 

The World Cup Opener in Qatar Sunday was watched by over 7 million television viewers in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. Fox Sports’ English-language coverage of Ecuador’s 2-0 victory over host Qatar was watched by 3.228 million viewers on the FS1 cable network and other platforms. 


The Athletic to double women’s sports coverage

Sara Fischer, Axios

The Athletic plans to double its coverage of professional women’s sports through a multiyear partnership with Google, its chief commercial officer Seb Tomich told Axios. 


The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo Eyes Scripted TV Move As He Strikes New Podcast Deal & Signs With UTA

Peter White, Deadline 

Ryen Russillo, a big voice in sports media, is expanding his patch. The host of The Ryen Russillo Podcast has struck a new long-term deal with The Ringer and signed with UTA.


Once forbidden, gambling now embraced by NFL

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press 

Gambling has gone from the forbidden topic in the NFL to a key part of the league’s present and future. The days of lobbying against widespread legalized sports betting, preventing broadcast partners from even discussing point spreads and even prohibiting players from holding a fantasy football convention because it was at a casino are firmly in the past.


The Rams Bet It All for a Title. The Tab Is Coming Due.

Mike Tanier, The New York Times 

The ring-winning nucleus of Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey remains intact but is loping through the 2022 season without solid support from the rest of the roster.


Police investigating after Browns’ field vandalized by unknown driver

Jake Trotter, ESPN 

The Cleveland Browns’ field at FirstEnergy Stadium was vandalized early Tuesday morning by an unknown individual who drove circles around the turf. 


Miami-Dade asks for right to remove FTX name from Heat arena

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press 

Miami-Dade County has asked a federal bankruptcy court for immediate permission to end its naming rights deal with FTX and strip that brand off the arena where the NBA’s Miami Heat play.


Phillies extend Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball ops, through 2027 season

The Athletic 

The Philadelphia Phillies have extended president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski through the 2027 season, the team announced Tuesday. 


Inside the Evander Kane bankruptcy: ‘A vicious cycle of loan after loan’

Daniel Kaplan, The Athletic 

The Oilers wing’s top creditor is trying to block his bankruptcy, questioning where the money went and a lack of gambling loss records.

College Sports

Jury: NCAA not to blame in ex-USC football player’s death

Brian Melley, The Associated Press 

In a verdict that could affect countless claims by athletes who sue sports organizations for head injuries, a Los Angeles jury on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit seeking $55 million by the widow of a former USC football player who said the NCAA failed to protect him from repeated head trauma that led to his death.


Kansas rewards Lance Leipold with contract extension through ’29

Pete Thamel, ESPN

The University of Kansas and head football coach Lance Leipold have agreed to terms on a new contract that includes an extension through the 2029 season, sources told ESPN.


The U.S. National Team’s Jekyll-and-Hyde Return to the World Cup

Joshua Robinson, The Wall Street Journal 

The young American squad’s confident first half against Wales gave way to momentary lapses into chaos in the second half. 


German retailer ends sponsorship to protest FIFA’s decision on #OneLove armbands.

Andrew Das, The New York Times 

The retail giant Rewe ended its long sponsorship of Germany’s soccer federation on Tuesday in protest of FIFA’s decision to prevent several European teams, including Germany, from wearing rainbow-colored armbands at the World Cup.


Hundreds of fans report World Cup ticket woes for 2nd day

Isabel Debre and Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press 

Handwritten paper tickets were given to some fans to enter a World Cup game on Tuesday as hundreds more in Qatar struggled to retrieve their digital passes amid problems with FIFA’s mobile application for a second day. 


Rainbow-wearing soccer fans confronted at Qatar World Cup

Leo Sands and John Hudson, The Washington Post 

Soccer fans wearing the rainbow, a symbol of LGBTQ inclusivity, have said they were refused entry into World Cup stadiums and confronted by members of the public to remove the emblem, despite assurances from FIFA, soccer’s governing body, as well as Qatari officials that visitors would be allowed to express their identities during the tournament.


England Had a Game, but First Its Fans Had a Quest. For Beer.

Sarah Lyall, The New York Times 

Qatar’s late changes to the rules for drinking at World Cup stadiums is only a temporary inconvenience if you know where to look.


LGBTQ+ Ad Organization Calls on Brands to Condemn World Cup Restrictions

Stephen Lepitak, Adweek 

According to a survey by the U.K.’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, almost half (49%) of all adults would respect brands more for speaking out around the Qatar World Cup. That statistic rose to 63% of 18- to 34-year-olds and was higher among men (52%) than women (47%) of all ages. 


The French Mastermind Behind Saudi’s Historic Upset of Argentina

Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg, The Wall Street Journal 

Hervé Renard has made it his specialty to turn around national teams in Africa and Asia.


This Is Where Most of the World’s Soccer Balls Come From

Jun Michael Park, Bloomberg Businessweek 

Sialkot, a city in northeast Pakistan, produces about 70% of the world’s supply—including Adidas’s Al Rihla, the official ball of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.


Saudi Arabia shock Messi’s Argentina with comeback victory

Andrew Carthorne and Shady Amir, Reuters 

The young American squad’s confident first half against Wales gave way to momentary lapses into chaos in the second half.


Ex-Mercedes employee leaves FIA role amidst after just 6 months

Jaden Diaz-Ndisang, Sports Illustrated

The FIA has released a statement announcing the departure of Shaila-Ann Rao, who formerly worked at Mercedes as an advisor and general counsel (2018-2022). 

Golf and Tennis

A ‘wonderful’ opportunity: When it comes to LIV, Gary Player changes tune again

Golf Channel 

Just months after ripping LIV Golf it appears Gary Player is again taking a softer stance toward the Saudi-backed circuit.


NHL expands and rebrands esports ecosystem for 2023

Tom Daniels, Esports Insider 

The National Hockey League has announced significant changes to its esports operations for 2023. Now entering its sixth competitive esports season, the NHL will introduce more esports activations and events including live Twitch streams, club tournaments, in-person events and NHL player content.


Argentina’s crypto token plummets after historic World Cup upset of Leo Messi’s squad by Saudi Arabia

Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, Fortune 

Argentina’s World Cup loss to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday has players, fans, and now crypto investors reeling, as the token sponsored by the Argentine Football Association fell more than 20% in the aftermath. 


Fanatics, Nike take sports merchandise model global in deal with Yomiuri Giants, Japan’s most popular baseball team

Riley de León, CNBC

Fanatics is expanding its partnership with Nike to manufacture sports merchandise for the Yomiuri Giants, Japan’s most successful and popular baseball team.