Sports Finance Report: Trent Dilfer on the Top QBs in the ’18 Draft, Kirk Cousin’s Worth and Why the XFL Can Succeed
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Trent Dilfer on the Top QBs in the ’18 Draft, Kirk Cousin’s Worth and Why the XFL Can Succeed
Panini America is the worldwide leader in sports collectibles, trading cards, and certified authentic memorabilia for the NFL, NBA, NASCAR, FIFA, Baseball, and Hockey. Ravens Super Bowl winning QB Trent Dilfer is representing the company in Minneapolis this week and found the time to talk with JohnWallStreet. Trent shared his thoughts on the top QBs in the ’18 draft class, how much he thinks Kirk Cousins is worth and a prop bet he feels good about.
JWS: After Sunday’s game, NFL fans will turn their attention to April’s draft. Which 2018 QB rookie card will be most sought after? In other words, who is going to be the Top QB selected?
Trent: This is as deep a QB class, at the top of the draft, as we’ve seen in quite a few years. Guys who like a more athletic, intuitive player are going to love Sam Darnold. Some guys (scouts/coaches/GMs) love “trait guys” (arm, height, weight, speed) and they’re going to like Josh Allen. Then there are those that love the creative Brett Farve type, making magic or making chaos happen, and that’s the Baker Mayfield crowd. I think if you’re evaluating based on pure talent it’s a toss-up between Darnold, Rosen and Allen. If you look at the player that has the skill-set most transferrable to the NFL over the past 15-20 years, I think it’s probably Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen; but, if you’re looking for a guy who’s been highly productive and finds a way to get it done, the Drew Brees type, the Russell Wilson type, then it’s Baker Mayfield.
JWS: Alex Smith just received a contract with $71 million guaranteed. It’s nearly a certainty Kirk Cousins will receive a free agent contract with more guaranteed money. Is Kirk Cousins worth that kind of cash?
Trent: I think Kirk Cousins is very, very good. I think he deserves a legitimate franchise starting QB contract. He’s been productive enough to get that; however, I don’t think he deserves Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson money. I think he priced himself out of Washington and that’s why Washington went out and got Alex Smith. I think he’s worth 10-13 QB money, I do not think he’s worth top 10 money. He may end up in a worse situation, making more money. I would be shocked if he’s as productive with his next team in years 1 and even 2 as he’s been with the Redskins. Personally, I think that is a poor decision.
JWS: The XFL won’t be competing head-to-head with the NFL in the fall, but has no intention of being a feeder league. Does the XFL stand any chance of success?
Trent: I got approached by another group this year about being the commissioner of a spring league, so I did a lot of vetting and research on it; and yes, it can be successful. It can be successful because people want to watch football and it doesn’t have to be at the level of the NFL or big-time college football. You can make a lot of money if the ratings are 1/10 of what they are; they’re still going to out-rate anything else on TV. I think if they can build in some pageantry, some rivalry; and the game doesn’t have to be star-studded, but it has to be clean and look like Saturdays and Sundays. Now, I think they’re making a massive mistake if their plan isn’t to be the developmental arm of the NFL.
Howie Long-Short: The most valuable Panini cards are the ones with unique pieces of memorabilia ingrained within them (i.e. piece of a jersey, an autograph). An autographed Tom Brady rookie card recently sold for $85,000 (and it was pulled from a Contenders pack that cost just $4.99)! I asked Trent what the most valuable piece of memorabilia (besides his Super Bowl ring) he owned was?
Trent: I was lucky enough to go to one Pro Bowl and I got a Reggie White helmet, a Barry Sanders helmet and a Chris Carter helmet; but, the coolest thing I have is a helmet with Terry Bradshaw’s facemask from Super Bowl 10. We were playing a Sunday Night game in ’98 and I wanted to honor Terry, so I called him. He actually gave me his Super Bowl 10 game-worn helmet. I was able to take the face mask off of it and put it on my helmet. I got fined for it, but still have the helmet.
Fan Marino: Which will be higher, the temperature at kickoff or the number of points scored in the first quarter? Yes, you can place a wager on that proposition.
Trent: Points in the first quarter will be higher, it’s super cold, here.
No Economic Benefit to Hosting Super Bowl, “If You’re Lucky, It’s Going to Wash”
Cities that build new football stadiums are rewarded by the NFL with a chance to host the Super Bowl. Minneapolis taxpayers contributed $498 million (nearly 50% of the cost) to the construction of U.S. Bank stadium, following the commission of an economic impact study (by the Minneapolis Super Bowl Host Committee) stating that Super LII would contribute $343 million to the city (includes $29 million in tax revenue); but, economists say there is no reason to believe they’ll be recouping anywhere close to that amount this weekend. Victor Matheson, a sports economist at Holy Cross, has found that Super Bowls generate $30-$130 million in economic activity for the host city; just “between a quarter and a tenth of what is being claimed”. Matheson added that once one accounts for the costs associated with putting on the game, “if you’re lucky, it is going to wash”.
Howie Long-Short: On average, cities contribute $250 million in taxpayer funding to construct new N.F.L. stadiums, so Vikings ownership got a sweetheart deal. The disconnect between the estimates and Matheson’s reality can be explained by looking at projections for hotel usage. The hotel committee projected 230,000 hotel night stays during Super Bowl week, but that’s a net figure; it doesn’t account for rooms that would have been booked anyway. Think that doesn’t make a difference? A recent study reflecting the impact the ’12 Super Bowl had on the city of Indianapolis showed just a net gain of 49,000 rooms (less than a quarter of their estimate). It must be noted that San Francisco (’16), Glendale (’08 and ’15) and New Jersey (’14) all lost money hosting the game.
Fan Marino: Build a new stadium and the Super Bowl will come. 7 stadiums have been built within the last 12 years and all but Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Dome (which gets the ’19 game) have hosted the NFL’s championship game. Los Angeles, which is building a new stadium in Englewood, will get the 2022 game. Miami, which completed a $425 million renovation on Hard Rock Stadium, will be the home of the 2020 Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LII to Be Lit by Ephesus’ LED for Just 2nd Time
Super Bowl LII will be illuminated by an Ephesus’ LED sports lighting and controls system, just the 2nd Super Bowl (’15 at University of Phoenix Stadium) to be lit with Ephesus’ LED lighting. Ephesus’ system provides brighter, more vibrant lighting that illuminates more uniformly on the playing surface; the result, an enhanced fan viewing experience (both live and in HD) and reduced energy output by as much as 75%. The industry leading control functionalities enables stadium operators to completely darken the venue, turn the lights on and control various colorful light shows (think: player introductions) with the switch of just a single control. The next 2 Super Bowls, the 2019 game at the Mercedes Benz Dome and the 2020 game at Hard Rock Stadium, will also be illuminated by Ephesus LED lighting.
Howie Long-Short: Ephesus’ LED systems are manufactured by Eaton, a publicly traded (ETN) power management company based in Dublin. ETN provides energy-efficient solutions that effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably; selling products in more than 175 countries. On Thursday, the company reported full-year 2017 sales increased 3.5% to $20.4 billion.
Fan Marino: LED lighting has become a fixture in pro stadiums over the last 3 years. When Glendale held the 2015 Super Bowl, “just a handful of professional sports venues and only one football stadium had made the switch to LED lighting. Today, more than one-third of the four major professional sports venues employ an LED lighting solution.” Pro sports teams aren’t in the business of putting on light shows. The reason Ephesus systems are trending is because they’re easy to install, require little to no maintenance and have a lower total operating cost than any traditional stadium lighting system.
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