Morning Consult Sports: NFL, Rams and St. Louis Reportedly Near Settlement Over Relocation Lawsuit
 

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Essential sports industry news & intel to start your day.
November 24, 2021
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Morning Consult Sports will be off Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. The weekday newsletter will resume Monday. 

 

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  • Following a Tuesday mediation session, a financial settlement is close in the case brought by the city of St. Louis against the NFL and the Los Angeles Rams over the team’s 2016 relocation, according to a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations, and lawyers were reportedly working late last night to inform all NFL owners of the deal. Details of the settlement, which would bring the case to an end before the start date for a trial in January, were not disclosed. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • Penn State signed head football coach James Franklin to a 10-year contract extension worth a guaranteed $7 million per year, plus annual retention bonuses worth $500,000. The deal includes built-in bonuses, including $350,000 for winning the Big Ten championship game, $400,000 for making the College Football Playoff and $800,000 for winning a national championship. (ESPN)
  • MLB Network President Rob McGlarry, who has been with the network since its launch in 2009, informed staff members via email that he is stepping down next month. McGlarry cited the difficulties of working through the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor in his decision and did not elaborate on his plans going forward. (Sports Business Journal)
 

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Angels, Padres lead MLB teams on social

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What Else You Need to Know

 
Media
 

Cowboy Up: Dallas-Kansas City Skirmish Draws 28.1 Million Viewers

Anthony Crupi, Sportico

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the Fox broadcast of this weekend’s Dallas-Kansas City skirmish averaged 28.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched NFL game of the season thus far. The Chiefs’ 19-9 victory unseated the Week 4 Bucs-Pats showdown (26.7 million TV viewers) on NBC, which marked Tom Brady’s first appearance in Foxborough since taking leave of New England in March 2020.

 

Dick Vitale gets emotional during first broadcast since cancer diagnosis

Joseph Staszewski, New York Post

An emotional Dick Vitale was back courtside for his first broadcast since being diagnosed with lymphoma. The 82-year-old Vitale broke down during the open to the college basketball game between No 1. Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA, won 83-63 by the Bulldogs, Tuesday night on ESPN.

 

Turner Sports is betting feud between golf stars DeChambeau and Koepka will be Black Friday TV draw

Jabari Young, CNBC

Following a day that families will spend trying to steer clear of politics and avoid fights, Turner Sports is counting on conflict and drama to lure viewers to its Black Friday golf showcase. Turner’s network TNT is airing the fifth installment of The Match 5 on Nov. 26, a head-to-head game between PGA Tour golfers Bryson DeChambeau, 28, and Brooks Koepka, 31, who have emerged as heated rivals in the past couple years.

 

How will CBS, NBC and ESPN divvy up live PGA Tour coverage in 2022?

Adam Woodard, Golfweek

On January 1, 2022, a new nine-year domestic media rights deal takes effect for the PGA Tour that will feature a change to PGA Tour Live and how the FedEx Cup Playoffs are televised each year. 

 

Bally’s Chair: RSNs Could Shift to Streaming Model

Owen Poindexter, Front Office Sports

While regional sports networks face an uncertain future due to cord-cutting, Bally’s chair Soo Kim said he sees ample present and future value in them. Sinclair’s plan to bundle its RSNs into a streaming service would be an attractive proposition for Bally’s because it would allow the company to integrate watching and gaming into a single screen.

 
NFL
 

NFL seeking over $1 billion from insurers in concussion litigation coverage

Daniel Kaplan, The Athletic

Since 2012, the NFL has litigated against a group of insurers to cover the concussion settlement and related litigation. Through all that time, and roughly 800 filings, it’s been unclear how much the NFL is seeking. Until now. In a court filing this month, the insurers revealed the NFL wants 10 figures from its carriers.

 

NFL Stadiums Are Looking More Like Branded Theme Parks

Jason Notte, Adweek

Hollywood Park is just the latest example of how National Football League franchises are using mixed use development to lure fans, sponsors and even people who may never watch a down of football.

 
NBA
 

RJ Barrett Files Trademarks for “Made Different” Clothing Line

Shlomo Sprung, Boardroom

Attempting to capitalize on his success and popularity in New York City, Knicks guard RJ Barrett filed for a couple of trademarks last month that would indicate the formation of a clothing line, per trademark attorney Josh Gerben of Gerben Intellectual Property. The Duke product filed for two trademarks as RJ BARRETT GROUP, LLC, a company organized in Florida.

 

Michael Jordan, Giannis Antetokounmpo lift luxury watch start-up WatchBox to valuation nearing $1 billion

Jabari Young, CNBC

WatchBox said on Tuesday that it raised $165 million in its latest financing round. Joining Michael Jordan were Milwaukee Bucks star and reigning championship MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks owner Marc Lasry, Phoenix Suns stars Chris Paul and Devin Booker, and Wall Street investor Bill Ackman, among others.

 
MLB
 

MLB, union move tender deadline amid lockout uncertainty

The Associated Press

Major League Baseball and the players’ union have agreed to move the upcoming deadline for teams to offer contracts to certain players in order to keep them out of potential limbo in the event of a work stoppage next month. The tender deadline was moved from Dec. 2 to Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. 

 

MLB’s Looming Lockout, Tax Hike Primes Market for Free-Agent Frenzy

Michael McCann and Robert Raiola, Sportico

Star MLB players have two reasons to negotiate a new contract over the next couple of weeks: the twin threats of a lockout and a federal income tax hike. The current CBA will expire on Dec. 1, and unless MLB and the MLBPA reach a new deal, the league is expected to lock out players the following day.

 
NHL
 

Mediation set for Blackhawks, former player in assault case

Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press

The former player who sued the Chicago Blackhawks alleging the team did nothing when he raised allegations of sexual assault against an assistant coach in 2010 has agreed to mediation in hopes of settling the case. Kyle Beach’s attorney, Susan Loggans, confirmed the development Tuesday.

 

NHL’s Olympic participation facing new concerns and hurdles

Pierre LeBrun, The Athletic

The fact that so many Olympic-bound NHL players will be flying directly from the All-Star weekend in Las Vegas from Feb. 4-5 to Beijing for the Games has some concerned about the potential for COVID-19 cases landing in China. This is why, according to sources, the NHL Players’ Association has been pushing for tighter protocols for players at All-Star weekend in Vegas to avoid that as much as possible.

 
College Sports
 

Capital One named Rose Bowl presenting sponsor

John Ourand, Sports Business Journal

Disney Advertising Sales signed Capital One Venture X as the presenting sponsor for the Rose Bowl, which will be played on New Year’s Day. Capital One first bought a presenting sponsorship for the game last year, when it was held in Dallas’ AT&T Stadium due to COVID and hosted one of the College Football Playoff semifinals.

 

Unbeaten Cincinnati joins Georgia, Ohio State and Alabama in CFP’s coveted top four as Oregon slips

Mark Schlabach, ESPN

For the first time in the eight-year history of the College Football Playoff, a team from a Group of 5 conference has cracked the top four in the selection committee’s rankings, which would assure it a spot in one of the two semifinals games on New Year’s Eve.

 

Liberty’s Hugh Freeze secures new deal, will average more than $4 million annually, sources say

Chris Low, ESPN

Liberty has reached a new deal with Hugh Freeze that will make him one of the highest-paid non-Power 5 coaches in college football, sources told ESPN on Tuesday night. Sources told ESPN that Freeze’s total financial package would average more than $4 million annually over the length of the contract and run through the 2028 season.

 

Penn benefactor pulling donations because of men’s basketball national anthem protests

Mike Jensen, The Philadelphia Inquirer

The decision by most of Penn’s men’s basketball players to sit during the national anthem before games has ignited debate, gathering both passionate support and vehement opposition.

 

UCF to hike season ticket prices, citing need to stay competitive in Big 12

Fox 35 Orlando

The University of Central Florida on Tuesday announced a hike in the cost of season tickets.  UCF says the current revenue that the school makes from ticket sales and per-seat donations rank at the bottom of the Big 12.  UCF’s 2021 season tickets would be the least expensive in the Big 12.

 
Soccer
 

Biennial World Cup could cost leagues 8 billion euros per season, study says

Fernando Kallas, Reuters

A FIFA proposal for a World Cup every two years and changes to the Club World Cup could cost the big domestic soccer leagues and UEFA around 8 billion euros ($9 billion) per season in lost TV rights and match day and commercial agreements, according to a report commissioned by the leagues. 

 

LA Galaxy GM Dennis te Kloese finalizing deal to join Feyenoord: Source

Paul Tenorio et al., The Athletic

LA Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese is close to returning home. The 47-year-old is traveling to Holland this weekend to meet with Feyenoord and finalize details on a contract to be the club’s GM, a source told The Athletic. Te Kloese has been Galaxy GM since December 2018.

 
Racing
 

Richard Petty Motorsports inks multi-year deal with new sponsor

Kelly Crandall, RACER

Richard Petty Motorsports has picked up a significant backing for the No. 43 Chevrolet with FOCUSfactor signing on as a 26-race primary sponsor. FOCUSfactor will make its first appearance on the car for the Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Coliseum in early February, followed by the season-opening Daytona 500.

 

New renderings revealed of downtown layout for ’23 Detroit GP

Marshall Pruett, RACER

Additional renderings of the new downtown layout for 2023’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear depicts the 1.7-mile, 10-turn street circuit that circulates in front of General Motors’ global headquarters by using Jefferson Avenue, Bates Street, Atwater Street, St. Antoine, Franklin Street and Rivard.

 
Golf and Tennis
 

WTA Stands Alone in Peng Shuai China Standoff as Olympics Near

Emily Caron and Asli Pelit, Sportico

None of the upcoming Beijing Olympics sponsors contacted by Sportico, including Airbnb, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Toyota and Visa, responded to requests for comment on the muddy situation surrounding Peng. Peng’s own sponsors, including Adidas, have yet to release any statements since her allegations.

 
Esports
 

Enthusiast Gaming pays $45M for League of Legends fan community U.GG

VentureBeat

Enthusiast Gaming is paying $45 million to acquire the League of Legends fan community U.GG. Toronto-based Enthusiast Gaming, publicly traded on Nasdaq, has acquired Outplayed, the owner of U.GG, which is one of the largest League of Legends fan communities in the world. 

 

North Carolina Governor signs $5m Esports Industry Grant Fund

Ivan Šimić, Esports Insider

Esports entertainment holding company Subnation Media and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau have announced that Roy Cooper, the Governor of North Carolina, has signed a new State Legislature budget. 

 
General
 

Will Olympics Sponsors Face Blowback Over Peng Shuai?

Andrew Ross Sorkin et al., The New York Times

A little more than two months before the Winter Olympics in Beijing, the event’s sponsors face tough questions of their own. Of the 15 companies listed as “partners,” representatives for Airbnb and Coke declined to comment, while others did not respond to requests for comment.

 

Puma is set to roll out its first women’s basketball collection under designer June Ambrose as it takes on Under Armour and Nike for market control

Matthew Kish, Insider

Celebrity designer June Ambrose’s first Puma collection will release on December 1, as women’s hoops debuts as its own category for the company. Women’s basketball continues to grow in popularity and basketball’s booming cultural relevance makes it a critical category for sportswear brands.

 

Genius Sports Raises Full-Year Outlook After Strong Q3

Justin Byers, Front Office Sports

Genius Sports raised its full-year revenue guidance following Tuesday’s third-quarter earnings report. The London-based sports data provider generated $69.1 million in revenue in Q3 2021, a 70.5% increase compared to the same period last year. 

 
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