Morning Consult Sports: Michael Jordan in Talks to Sell Majority Stake of Charlotte Hornets, per Report


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March 17, 2023
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Today’s Top News

  • Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is reportedly in “serious talks” to sell a majority stake to a group fronted by the team’s minority owner Gabe Plotkin and Atlanta Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall, both of whom would also likely serve as the organization’s co-governors but a deal is not said to be imminent. Jordan, who paid $275 million for a majority stake in the Hornets 13 years ago and is the league’s only Black majority owner, is expected to keep a minority stake in the franchise if a deal is completed, a source said. (ESPN)
  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced the prize money for the 2023 women’s FIFA World Cup will be $150 million, including $42 million distributed to teams whose players participated in the tournament, marking a three-fold uptick from 2019. The total prize money for last year’s men’s World Cup was $440 million, but there could be pay parity for future men’s and women’s World Cups in 2026 and 2027, a “most complicated” initiative that will depend on sponsorships and money from broadcasts, according to Infantino. (Reuters)
  • Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter pled no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing related to a car crash that killed Bulldogs offensive lineman Devin Willock and Georgia recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy. The top NFL draft prospect was given 12 months’ probation, a $1,000 fine and a 120-day driving suspension, while he must also complete 50 hours of community service and a defensive driving course as part of the agreement. (The Associated Press)

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What Else You Need to Know


Yankees manager Aaron Boone joining Jomboy Media

Andrew Marchand, New York Post

Aaron Boone is becoming a podcaster this season, the Yankees manager told The Post. The manager of the Yankees traditionally has a once-a-week, six-figure paid spot on either the radio flagship of the team, WFAN, or with its rival station, ESPN New York.


Michael Kay opts for massive ESPN New York deal over retirement

Andrew Marchand, New York Post

Michael Kay will stay on his ESPN New York afternoon show, he announced Thursday. It is a seven-figure deal per year and is for multiple years, according to sources. 


Baseball Warns Bankrupt Broadcaster to Pay Up, or Fight in Court

Steven Church, Bloomberg

Major League Baseball warned America’s biggest local broadcaster of professional sports games that it must televise hundreds of upcoming baseball games — and pay the related fees — even though the company is in bankruptcy.


Sources detail Troy Aikman’s rocky relationship with MNF crew in wake of production shakeup

Sean Keeley, Awful Announcing 

Last Friday, ESPN announced that MNF director Jimmy Platt and producer Phil Dean were being swapped out for Derek Mobley and Steve Ackels, respectively. The move caught the attention of the sports media world given that MNF’s 2022-2023 season was, in large part, considered a successful operation, including the way the broadcast team handled the Damar Hamlin injury.


Aaron Rodgers-Backed Firm Hits It Big In Dog Food Investments

Jacob Feldman, Sportico 

When Nate Raabe co-founded RX3 Growth Partners with NFL QB Aaron Rodgers and Roth Capital CEO Byron Roth, he didn’t foresee the firm investing in dog food. Launched in 2018, RX3 positioned itself as a growth equity firm backed by athletes and celebrities (which make up roughly half the investor base) as well as professional investors.


Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic and why this NBA MVP race just got good

Tim Bontemps, ESPN

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MLB tells teams it will step up ‘sticky stuff’ enforcement: What you need to know

Jayson Stark, The Athletic

For the third straight season, Major League Baseball is taking measures to cut down on the use of “sticky stuff” by pitchers across the sport. MLB vice president Michael Hill sent a memo to all 30 teams Thursday, informing them that it will encourage umpires to refocus on the use of sticky substances this season.


Video calls to allow fans window into umpires’ replay talks

Joon Lee, ESPN

Zoom is making its way from the office to the baseball broadcast. Starting with the 2023 season, the technology will be integrated into baseball broadcasts on MLB Network and Apple TV+, allowing viewers to watch umpires connecting with the MLB replay operations center in Manhattan in an effort to provide transparency to fans in critical game moments.


Yankees dethrone Braves as StubHub’s top ticket-selling MLB team

Evan Drellich, The Athletic 

Could MLB’s new speed-it-up rules eventually influence more people to come to the park?


Top MLB Players Love the World Baseball Classic. Executives Live in Fear of It.

Lindsey Adler, The Wall Street Journal 

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Chicago’s New Manager Has a Clear Message: Details Matter

Tyler Kepner, The New York Times

The star-laden White Sox underperformed last year. Pedro Grifol plans to wake up the A.L. Central’s “sleeping horse.”


Ryan Reynolds not to be underestimated in Senators sale process

Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet

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College Sports

Henderson, Princeton stun Arizona 59-55 in NCAA Tournament

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press 

Ryan Langborg lifted Princeton to its first lead with 2:03 to play and the Tigers used a late-game run to earn their first NCAA Tournament win in 25 years, topping No. 2 seed Arizona 59-55 on Thursday.


The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Is South Carolina’s to Lose

Rachel Bachman, The Wall Street Journal 

The defending champion Gamecocks could face challenges from fellow No. 1 seeds Indiana, Stanford and Virginia Tech.


AT&T’s Lily Hams It Up With NCAA Stars—Past and Present—in March Madness Ad Blitz

Leslie Blount, Adweek

The spots from BBDO LA are part of a large-scale marketing push for the major tournament sponsor.


Bracket Madness Could Cost Employers Billions, Study Projects

Owen Poindexter, Front Office Sports

Office pools are a March Madness tradition in many workplaces, but the hours spent filling out brackets take a sizable chunk out of the workday, according to one firm’s analysis. U.S. employers lose $17.3 billion in productivity, per estimates by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.


At Men’s March Madness, $170M Is Up For Grabs

Amanda Christovich, Front Office Sports

In 2023, the NCAA will send $170 million to schools from the “Basketball Performance Fund,” and $10 million for participating in the tournaments. The total NCAA revenue distribution for 2023 will top $638 million, according to NCAA documents.


A Top WME Agent Ushers in New Era of College Sports with NIL: Bloomberg deals

Kamaron Leach, Bloomberg

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Alabama’s Greg Byrne refutes story placing Kai Spears at shooting

Alex Scarborough, ESPN

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne refuted a New York Times report placing men’s basketball walk-on Kai Spears at the scene of a shooting in January, saying it was “inaccurate” and “untrue.”


Pitino again a hot commodity at 70 and with checkered past

Ralph D. Russo, The Associated Press

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Newcastle United Owner Said to Discuss Multiclub Move With 777

David Hellier, Bloomberg

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Argentina friendly sold out in ticket frenzy

Ramiro Scandolo and Janina Nuno Rios, Reuters

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FIFA drops plan for Saudi agency to sponsor Women’s World Cup

Kelsey Ables, The Washington Post

FIFA has scrapped plans to have the tourism agency of Saudi Arabia sponsor the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the soccer body’s president Gianni Infantino said.


NWSL’s KC Current Tap SeatGeek for New Soccer Stadium Ticketing

Emily Caron, Sportico 

The Kansas City Current have extended their partnership with SeatGeek through at least the 2024 season—when the NWSL club’s new stadium is set to open. SeatGeek will ticket the club’s inaugural season at Kansas City Current Stadium at Berkley Riverfront Park, the first venue built specifically for a women’s professional soccer team.

Golf and Tennis

NBC tries out Phil Mickelson’s ’obnoxious greed’ broadcast idea

James Colgan,

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Amazon’s Twitch CEO steps down nearly 10 years after acquisition

Annie Palmer, CNBC

Emmett Shear, the CEO of Amazon’s livestreaming service Twitch, is stepping down from his role effective immediately, the company announced Thursday.


New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu unveils first signature shoe, Nike collection line

Jaylon Thompson, Sportico 

New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu is the latest WNBA athlete to receive a signature shoe. The Nike Sabrina 1 shoe is expected to launch this fall. On Thursday, Nike released the official images of the basketball sneaker and new collection line. It will arrive in different colorways that include ‘Photon Dust’, ‘Oxygen Purple’ and ‘New York Liberty’ among others.

Morning Consult