Sports Finance Report: Marlins Sale Approved, Cuban Has Answer To Cord Cutting

Editor’s Note: Welcome to a daily column we run here at BroBible breaking down the day’s biggest stories in sports finance with commentary from the equities analyst and sports fanatic perspectives. It comes to us via our friends at JohnWallStreet, publisher of a free e-mail newsletter focused on sports related public equities and their subsidiaries. You can sign up here.


MLB owners unanimously approved sale of the Miami Marlins franchise, from Jeffrey Loria to an investment group led by Bruce Sherman (46%) and Derek Jeter (4%), for $1.2 billion ($800 million in cash, $400 million in debt). Sherman, a venture capitalist, will act as the controlling owner; Jeter will oversee baseball and business operations. The sale is expected to close within the next week.

Howie Long-Short: The Sherman/Jeter group plans on slashing payroll (from $115 million to as low as $55 million), lacks the liquid capital necessary to carry a large payroll in the future and has no front office experience. This deal was approved because there simply were no other viable ownership options for the Miami franchise. The only other bidder Jorge Mas, balked at paying $1.2 billion for a business that is losing $70 million this season.

Fan Marino: Jeter & Co. have already started with some high-profile payroll cuts. Last week the group fired special assistants Jeff Conine (Mr. Marlin), Jack McKeon (who lead team to 2003 World Series Championship), Andre Dawson and Tony Perez. Giancarlo Stanton, who leads MLB in Home Runs and slugging, is 2nd in RBIs, 3rd in WAR (wins above replacement) and 4th in OPS (on base + slugging) is going to be the next to go; if the team can find someone to take the 10 years and $295 million remaining on contract. Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon are also likely to be traded. Marlins fans have seen this story before, it will be their 4th fire sale in the franchises’ 25-year history.


Mark Cuban stated earlier this week that pro sports leagues can prevent cord cutting, by “advertising the fact that watching a game on television is the best viewing experience”. Cuban insisted that despite their popularity, streaming services like Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN) are not viable competitors to cable and satellite providers for sports programming. While acknowledging streaming services have effected television broadcast ratings, the founder pointed to the buffering issues created by bandwidth requirements/constraints, as the primary reason why TV remains a fans best option.

Howie Long-Short: NBA media rights are tied up through the 2024-2025 season, so Cuban isn’t negotiating through the media here. He’s right, television is currently the best way to watch a sporting event. Technology moves fast though and we’re not far off from a day when games on broadcast on cable, satellite and OTT streaming services are indistinguishable.

Fan Marino: I watched the Jags/Ravens game last Sunday morning; via the Amazon website, on my laptop. The feed was good, I didn’t experience any buffering, but the picture clarity wasn’t always HD quality. I’m not streaming games if the option to watch them on cable or satellite exists. 


Television programmers, operators and sports leagues have reportedly expressed interest in working with WinView; seeing the company as a potential new revenue stream in a changing sports media landscape that includes second screen viewing. The free ad-supported mobile application syncs with the live TV broadcasts and enables fans to make “prop” bets on sporting events; with the most successful players winning small cash prizes. The company plans to add an entry-fee option that will give users the opportunity to win larger payouts and intends on integrating with smart TVs so its service to run alongside game broadcasts.

Howie Long-Short: WinView owns a significant amount of intellectual property, securing 41 patents on its second screen live sports prediction platform. The company, which boasts of 130,000 users, raised a $12 million Series B round in May. Both Graham Holdings (GHC) and Discovery Communications (DISCA) participated in that round. The financing is being used to add sports to the platform (currently MLB, NBA & NFL are offered) and to expand beyond American sports through collaboration with DISCA’s Eurosport network.

Fan Marino: A prop bet is a novelty bet on an occurrence (or non-occurrence) within a sporting event (i.e. player X will run for more/less than 100 yards). Not confident in your ability to pick a winner? Tony Romo, who has been calling out plays before they occur, is doing color on the Bears/Packers game tonight. That’s your chance to win some money. Just follow his lead.

What is JohnWallStreet?

JohnWallStreet is not a person or location, but a destination for the educated sports fan.

While we won’t be publishing “hot takes” on LeBron’s relative greatness to Jordan, we will be offering up the most relevant sports related finance news, in easily digestible bites, with commentary from both the equities analyst and sports fanatic perspectives.

We’ll cover publicly traded professional teams & stadiums, television networks, apparel & footwear companies, equipment companies, ticketing companies, content and facilities providers. If it trades on Wall Street, and has a sports angle, it’s in our wheel house.

Howie Long-Short and Fan Marino will be providing their expert opinions on each story. They have slightly different areas of expertise. Fan Marino is a firm believer that the SEC is the premier football conference. Howie Long-Short knows it as the Security & Exchange Commission. Fan Marino lives and dies with the college selection of 5 star, blue chip recruits. Howie Long-Short spends his days analyzing blue chip stocks. Howie Long-Short knows that Black Monday occurred on October 19th, 1987. Fan Marino swears it happens every January after Week 17. You get the point.

Want the best of JohnWallStreet sent to your inbox? Sign up here!