Sports Finance Report: Apple Watch To Become Must Have; Bjorn Borg Thinks It Can Compete with Nike and Adidas

Editor’s Note: Welcome to a new daily column we’re running 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. You can sign up here.


Amazon (AMZN) purchased the rights to stream 11 Thursday Night Football games during the 2017 season, starting with the Bears/Packers game on September 28th; and they fully intend on maximizing their global audience. The e-commerce giant will offer 4 unique streams of each game in addition to the CBS broadcast; Spanish, Brazilian and Portuguese versions, as well as secondary English feed. Each feed will have their own announcers calling the game over the CBS-produced video.

Howie Long-Short: CBS Chairman Sean McManus doesn’t think Amazon streaming the game is going to have any effect on their ratings. It’s hard to argue against him. Amazon boasts 80 million Prime subscribers; but Twitter (TWTR) has 300+ million active monthly users and they only drew an average of 265,000 viewers/min during last season’s TNF games. How does Amazon even match those numbers?

Fan Marino: Relax NFL fanatics. The secondary English feed isn’t going to feature “homers”, a coaches film room or a roundtable of personalities. It’s designed for an English-speaking audience that is new to the game. Think Football 101.


Apple (AAPL) has confirmed a report that it has teamed up with Stanford University on a heart study to determine if the Apple Watch can accurately detect cardiac arrhythmias. The goal of the study is to convince the FDA that the Watch’s heart rate monitor is accurate/sensitive enough to be used as a screening tool. Up until now, AAPL has been able to avoid federal oversight as the Watch has been classified as a wellness tool. The company also reported that it is expanding its partnership with Aetna (AET), to determine if the Watch can reduce overall health costs.

Howie Long-Short: CEO Tim Cook has stated “medical health activity is the largest or 2nd largest component of the economy, depending on the country”; so, the outcomes of these studies are going to be crucial to the future of the Watch. If AAPL can make the successful transition from fitness to medical, the Watch becomes a “must have” for high risk patients and sales soar. I’m of the belief that it isn’t a matter of if, but when they can prove they are saving lives.

Fan Marino: The latest AAPL watch includes LTE, meaning you no longer need to have your iPhone with you and connected to make calls, run apps, etc. It’s a big development for people who use the Watch for fitness tracking functionality, but if you don’t already have the Watch, it’s not convincing you to buy one. It’s certainly not convincing me.


Bjorn Borg AB (STO: BORG) will be expanding into the U.S., U.K., and Germany, as the company looks to become a global brand. Once known for their brightly colored underwear, BORG has spent the last 3 years transforming itself into a sportswear brand that intends to compete with the likes of Lululemon (LULU), Nike (NKE), Adidas (ADDYY) and Under Armour (UAA). The company has yet to decide if it will open brick and mortar stores, find a wholesale partner or sell its product through department stores as it prepares to increase its presence in London and Berlin.

Howie Long-Short: BORG already has some of its product in London stores and hasn’t gained any significant traction. The U.K. and Germany combined are generating less than 10% of company sales. To expect them to drive growth in 2019 is wishful thinking. CEO Henrik Bunge insists that Bjorn Borg’s fame/name will enable him to compete within the U.S. market. I’m telling you that they can’t compete and shouldn’t try.

Fan Marino: Not a tennis fan? Between 1974 and 1981 Bjorn Borg won 6 French Open Titles and 5 Wimbledon Championships. In 1979 he became the first player to win $1 million in prize money in a single season. He’s among the all-time greats.

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.

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