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Bloomberg Business of Sports

Author: Bloomberg Radio

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Michael Barr, Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams follow the money in the world of sports, taking listeners inside decisions that power the multibillion dollar industry. From media and technology to finance and real estate, leagues and teams across the globe have matured into far more than just back-page entertainment. The show explains the money behind the final score.

305 Episodes
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Scott Soshnick, Eben Novy-Williams and Michael Barr discuss a host of issues related to the business of sports, including an economist's examination into what certain student-athletes should have been paid while still in school. It was estimated that New Orleans Pelicans standout and former Duke basketball player Zion Williamson, for instance, would've made more than $5 million while with the Blue Devils. The study was done by David Berri, a sports economist and professor of economics at Southern Utah University. Also discussed are sagging National Basketball Association ratings this season, particularly those on national telecasts, and a plan being considered by the New York Times to offer its sports section as a standalone digital subscription. In addition, Barr has a discussion with auto racing legend Roger Penske, who recently reached agreement with Hulman & Co. to purchase the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series.
Scott Soshnick, Eben Novy-Williams and Michael Barr discuss a host of issues related to the business of sports, including a conversation with Ahmad Nassar, the chief executive officer of a newly created company aimed at helping athletes maximize the value of their name, image and likeness rights. Backed by private equity firm RedBird Capital, the NFL Players Association and the Major League Baseball Players Association have created OneTeam Partners, which will seek associations with athletes in all sports around the world. Prior to that conversation, the hosts discuss the weekend workout of exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who had a private showcase with representatives from eight NFL teams in attendance. Kaepernick and the NFL clashed over the rules that would've governed the workout, prompting the player to change its venue shortly before it was scheduled to start. Also talked about is the carriage dispute that's keeping the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche from being seen locally, and ESPN's scheduling of the Sierra Canyon School boys' basketball team, which includes the sons of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Heidi O'Neill, President of Nike Direct, joins Scott Soshnick, Eben Novy-Williams and Michael Barr to discuss a host of issues related to the business of sports, including how Nike views the future of selling sneakers and sports apparel. Nike did almost $40 billion in sales last year and O'Neill runs the company's retail strategy. She discusses the company's recent decision to stop selling goods directly on Amazon, a move that might reverberate across the industry, and the many ways in which Nike uses data to grow revenue. O'Neill also discusses recent allegations made by pro runner Mary Cain, who accused a Nike-sponsored running team of body-shaming and other practices that damaged her health, and more broadly about women in executive positions across the business world.
Scott Soshnick, Eben Novy-Williams and Michael Barr discuss a host of issues related to the business of sports, including a recent New Jersey lawsuit in which a high school baseball coach was sued after one of his players was injured sliding into third base. The lawsuit, which took over seven years to resolve, has led to a wider discussion about youth sports and culpability of coaches when kids get hurt. Also discussed are new allegations that the Houston Astros were using outfield cameras to steal opposing teams's signs during their World Series title run in 2017. Though stealing signs isn't against MLB rules, it is considered cheating to use technology to do it. Also touched on is the surprise resignation of new Brooklyn Nets CEO David Levy. Levy's departure comes less than two months after he took the job at the Joe Tsai-owned club. He was also part of Tsai's family office.
Scott Soshnick, Eben Novy-Williams and Michael Barr discuss a host of issues related to the business of sports, including Stephen A. Smith's new contract with ESPN that reportedly pays the sportscaster $8 million a year. It would make Smith, who is known for his bombastic deliveries on all sports topics, the highest-paid personality at the Walt Disney Co.-owned network. Also discussed is CBS Corp.'s acquisition of the U.S. broadcast rights to the UEFA Champions League, European soccer's biggest annual event. CBS will have the event for three seasons start in 2021, taking over when the existing deal with AT&T's Turner Broadcast ends. Univision is keeping the Spanish-language rights, which it has held since last year. The two networks are together paying a reported $150 million annually for the package -- that's about $50 million more than their current deals. And also touched on is Madison Square Garden Co.'s approval of a plan to spin off all of its sports teams, including the New York Knicks and Rangers. The plan would keep MSG's entertainment operations as a publicly held company with no equity interest in the sports business.
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment President Hugh Weber joins Scott Soshnick, Eben Novy-Williams and Michael Barr to discuss a host of issues related to the business of sports, including how the company approaches ownership of so many sports-related assets, including the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Weber also discusses the company’s philosophy on corporate culture, which includes the idea that greater talent doesn’t necessarily mean greater tolerance for misbehavior. Weber also talks about how the in-arena entertainment differs for each franchise, and how the club benefits from legalized sports betting. Weber also talks about how professional sports teams and their players generate content, and the opportunities that are available for investment in sports-related entities.
Scott Soshnick, Eben Novy-Williams and Michael Barr are joined by National Lacrosse League Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz to discuss a host of issues related to the business of sports, including this weekend's college football showdown between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama. It's being billed as the biggest game of the season, but CBS chose earlier in the year not to air it in primetime, a decision that could hurt viewership numbers. The group also discusses the NLL heading into its 34th season and the growth of lacrosse at all levels, plus a new $600 million funding round for Bruins Sports Capital. Also talked about is a new list of the most valuable esports franchises in the world, which tops out at $400 million.
Scott Soshnick, Eben Novy-Williams and Michael Barr discuss a host of issues related to the business of sports, including Silver Lake Partners' interest in acquiring a stake in the New York Knicks and Rangers before the professional sports teams are spun off into a publicly traded company. Silver Lake, which has investments in Tesla and Alibaba, owns almost 10% of Madison Square Garden, parent of the teams. Jim Dolan would retain control of the franchises. Also discussed is Under Armour, which plunged after the company disclosed that federal officials have been probing its accounting practices for more than two years. The company reported earnings today with mixed results. And also talked about is billionaire Roger Penske's purchase of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series -- a move that relinquishes control of the iconic speedway from the Hulman family after 74 years.
New York Road Runners President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Capiraso joins Scott Soshnick, Eben Novy-Williams and Michael Barr to discuss a host of issues related to the business of sports, including the economics behind this weekend's New York City Marathon. Capiraso, who previously worked at the National Football League and Major League Baseball, discusses everything from his role in menial preparation tasks to making decisions while actually running the 26.2-mile course on marathon day. Also discussed are the organization's revenue streams, and how digital innovation could boost the NYRR's bottom line. Capiraso also addresses the controversy surrounding Nike's Vaporfly Next% shoe, which is designed to improve running economy by at least 4%. He also touches on the organization's sponsors, which include New Balance.
Scott Soshnick and Michael Barr discuss a host of issues related to the business of sports, including the NCAA, under growing pressure from California and other states, taking a step toward letting student-athletes benefit from use of their name, image and likeness. The board of the governing body for college sports voted unanimously to have its three divisions consider bylaw and policy changes that let students market themselves. The board set a deadline of January 2021 for changing the rules. The announcement came about a month after California's governor signed a bill that makes it easier for athletes at schools in the state to profit from their image. Also talked about is Tiger Woods's most recent PGA tour victory -- career No. 82 -- and the host of entities that benefit when he's winning. And also discussed is the apology issued by Houston Astros owner Jim Crane to a Sports Illustrated reporter.
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