The Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up is back for another edition. Before we get started though, I just wanted to take a second to say thank you to everyone who read and engaged with our new format last weekend. A fair bit happened this week and there’s a fair bit of finance news as well. Anyway, here are the big stories of each day over the last week.
Similar to last Monday, we started the week off with some financial news as it was announced that Premiership Rugby Clubs would be propped up with an £88m loan from government as part of the latest tranche of funding from the winter phase of the Sport Survival Package.
This is an important announcement as it will allow the league to complete its 2020/21 season. The support covers essential costs due to the lack of spectators for an extended period due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said “We know that the restrictions on spectators continue to have consequences for many sports. That includes rugby union and its clubs at the elite level through to the grassroots.
“That’s why we’re helping our major spectator sports, with money already benefiting more than 100 organisations, from women’s football, to netball, badminton and basketball, with more to follow as we navigate our roadmap back to normality.
“This funding will support the survival and continued visibility of men’s domestic rugby at the highest level, allowing the league to complete its season.”
It is good to see sports receiving the vital support they need to help them through the pandemic whilst fans are not allowed to attend matches. Fingers crossed it won’t be too long now before we can all return to watching the sports we love.
There were a few interesting bits that happened on Tuesday so here’s a quick summary.
- The EFL secured a £117.5m loan from MetLife to support Championship clubs after it was unable to agree a loan through the UK Government’s emergency finance scheme for sport.
- Real Madrid are building a casino into the Santiago Bernabeu which they are currently renovating. Insider Sport are reporting that the casino alone will generate around €120 million a year for the club.
- Inter Milan revealed their newly designed badge to mark their 113th birthday. The new badge is simplified and predominantly white compared to the old, classic design. Thoughts?
This news kind of broke overnight but I was asleep so it happened on Wednesday…
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Champions League and ideas of restructuring the competition. However, UEFA has delayed a decision to reform the Champions League until April 19th.
The revamp wouldn’t happen until the 2024-25 season and it would see a ‘Swiss model’ adopted. In this model, the group stage would increase in size from 32 teams to 36, each team would play 10 games and the top ranked 16 teams would then progress to the knockout stages.
UEFA are trying to come to an agreement with the ECA (European Club Association) over the creation of a new company that would see clubs have a larger say on the sale of commercial rights to the Champions League. The Associated Press news agency, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, reported yesterday that Uefa and the ECA must resolve the details of the joint venture before the Champions League reforms can be ratified.
This revamp is separate to the talks of a breakaway European Super League but it will certainly be interesting to see if an agreement can be reach on a new format for the Champions League and if this makes the rumours of a Super League disappear.
There were three bits of news that caught my attention on Thursday and two of them are to do with finances.
- Endeavor is looking to buy the rest of the UFC as part of IPO bid. They currently own 50.1% of the company but according to The New York Post they hope acquiring the full 100% will make them more attractive to potential investors. They will need to buy the remaining 49.9% from investment firms Silver Lake Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR).
- Fenway Sports Group (FSG) has closed equity deals with RedBird, LeBron James making them partners. The investment now puts the valuation of FSG now at $7.3 billion. FSG own the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC. According to the Financial Times FSG will now be looking to add more professional sports teams to their portfolio.
- TikTok has added another social media partner with Extreme E, the new all-electric racing series officially joining up with the video platform. The collaboration will see TikTok promote the racing series via its video channels making sure the emphasis is on Extreme E’s message of the impacts of climate change. They will also promote Extreme E as a gender-equal platform as every team consists of both a male and female driver.
One area I didn’t think we’d ever really end up writing about, well not so soon yet was sport and politics but anyway, here we are…
The MLB is moving the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft out of Atlanta after the state of Georgia recently passed voting rights laws. The new laws, signed on March 25th by Governor Brian Kemp will introduce more stringent ID requirements for absentee voting, severely restricts the use of ballot dropboxes and also makes it illegal for volunteers to bring food and water to voters waiting in line.
Rob Manfred, MLB Commissioner released a statement after consulting with teams, former and current players, the Players Association and Players Alliance – a group of Black former and current players. He said “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.”
Many see the law as a voter suppression tactic by Republicans in the US to try and help them win the upcoming Governor and Senate races next year. The Atlanta Braves also released a statement saying “we will continue to express the importance of equal voting opportunities.”
The biggest losers from this situation will be the city of Atlanta as the MLB All-Star Game brings in somewhere in the region of $60 million to $89 million for the host city.
That’s it for this week and the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up, thanks again for the feedback on the new format. Here’s a link to last weeks edition if you missed it. This week saw us cover a lot of finances so hit us up on any of our social media platforms to let us know your thoughts and to also keep up to date with everything else we’re posting.