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.
COLUMBUS CREW MOVING TO AUSTIN FOR PUBLICLY FUNDED STADIUM
Columbus Crew Owner Anthony Precourt has announced the MLS team will be moving to Austin for the 2019 season, if plans for a downtown stadium in Columbus are not approved within the next 12 months. Columbus has struggled financially, finishing in the bottom 3 of every MLS business metric for a decade, as stadium amenities lag far behind league standards. Team President Alex Fischer said Precourt has turned down offers to sell the team to investors who wish like to keep the franchise in Columbus.
Howie Long-Short: Same story, different city/franchise. Precourt wants a public subsidy for his private business and since Columbus hasn’t been willing to give it to him, he will go to Austin to get it. Stadium deals are never a good investment for taxpayer funding. The taxes collected on any hypothetical “economic growth” will never off-set the upfront funding spent.
Fan Marino: Precourt has no intention of staying in Columbus, even if they were to approve public financing for a new stadium. Any pretense of staying in Columbus is about squeezing more money out of Austin. That’s a shame. The Crew are an original MLS franchise and had the league’s first soccer-specific stadium. They’re also having a good season on the pitch, qualifying for the 2017 playoffs. It’s always the fans that lose in these negotiations.
NFL OWNERS TO VOTE ON ENDING TICKETMASTER’S SECONDARY TICKET MARKET MONOPOLY
NFL owners will meet today and vote on Ticketmaster’s (LYV) exclusive control of the league’s secondary ticket market, which runs through the 2018 season. Should owners vote to end the ticket sales and distribution company’s exclusive reign, teams would have the option to select their own ticketing partners. Ticketmaster would remain the league’s preferred primary provider, with incentives to utilize the platform, but teams would be given the freedom to choose their “official secondary” partner.
Howie Long-Short: Increased distribution leads to greater competition and ultimately lower prices. Ticket Club, a platform that combines spec selling with a no-fee subscription model, estimates that fans saved $20 million on 2016 Super Bowl tickets using secondary markets; as opposed to NFL on Location, the league’s primary market vendor. Here is to hoping NFL owners vote in the best interests of the fans and provide us with a true open market.
Fan Marino: Last week a couple of Minnesota Timberwolves season-ticket holders filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the team for switching to a mobile ticketing system that “fundamentally, and unlawfully, alters the way ticket holders may use and transfer tickets”. The Wolves want fans to exclusively use Flash Seats (owned by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert), sell their tickets for at least 75% of the face value and transfer the seats using the application. Those restrictions create a lose-lose proposition. Fans are unable to unload tickets; the seat sits empty which hurts the crowd atmosphere and the team loses out on potential in-stadium revenue.
MGM RESORTS PURCHASES WNBA’S STARS WITH PLANS TO MOVE FRANCHISE TO LAS VEGAS
MGM Resorts International (MGM) has purchased the San Antonio Stars of the WNBA and has announced intentions to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas for the start of the 2018 season. The Stars, who become the 3rd pro sports franchise to announce relocation to Sin City since ’16, will play its home games at the MGM owned 12,000 seat Mandalay Bay Events Center. NBA legend Bill Laimbeer has been named the team’s head coach and president of basketball operations.
Howie Long-Short: With acquisition of the Stars, MGM becomes is the 2nd gaming company to purchase a WNBA team; Mohegan Sun owns the Connecticut Sun. While news of the acquisition isn’t going to move the MGM share price, the move makes sense as the Stars will fill open dates at a MGM venue. The Stars are the first professional sports franchise under a MGM umbrella that includes the T-Mobile Arena; home to the Las Vegas Golden Knights. MGM is treating the Stars as a trial run for an NBA team, as they would like to land a co-anchor tenant for their arena.
Fan Marino: Speaking of gambling, for the 2nd time in 3 weeks MNF finished with a wild backdoor cover. With the Titans up 7, the ball on their own 27 and just a minute to play; a single first down would have won the game and made those who bet the Colts +7.5 winners. However, on 3rd and 5, Derrick Henry broke free for a 73-yard TD to ice the game and reward those who placed their money on the Titans. Had Henry simply gone down after picking up the first down, the Titans still would have won the game but the team would have failed to cover 7.5 points.
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.