This Week’s Most Interesting Sports Business Stories

In this week’s SportsMoney Playbook: another Premier League club with Russian connections, the Mets’ big profit and a Nascar sponsor shakeup. Plus: the former private-equity CFO leading a team into the NCAA basketball tournament.

Baseball

With team valuations skyrocketing and money flowing into the sport, MLB Players are more resolute than ever as they take a stand against ownership, says one former union official. They can point to the Mets—Who made a huge profit at Citi Field last year even as attendance was lower than before the pandemic — not to mention the $ 115 million annual boost the league just landed from streaming deals with Apple and NBC Sports.

Soccer

MLS‘s newest franchise, Charlotte FC, just broke the league’s single-game attendance record. Club executives told us how they plan to build on the success.

Pro Basketball

The NBA‘s League Pass streaming service is booming across the globe, with double-digit viewership increases in Australia, Brazil and the Philippines.

College Basketball

Six years after leaving his post as CFO of a private-equity firm for a low-level college basketball job, Griff Aldrich has led Longwood University to its first NCAA tournament berth.

With March Madness days away, Duke‘s Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga‘s Chet Holmgren have signed NIL deals to promote Yahoo‘s bracket game.

Auto Racing

Nascar‘s diversity, equality and inclusion efforts are yielding new sponsors, new driver initiatives and even new merchandise.

Mars Wrigley is dropping out of Nascar after three decades as a sponsor. Richard Rawlings also won’t return to the series as a sponsor with his automotive repair and customization business, Gas Monkey Garagebut he plans to invest in other motorsports.

Trans Am Series driver Michele Abbate‘s skill on the track speaks for itself. What may take her to the next level is her ability to lure sponsors.

Sports Betting

Sportsbooks across the US are implementing their own sanctions against Russia, no longer accepting bets on Russian sporting events. “It was an easy decision,” one bookmaker tells us.

Calvin Ridley‘s suspension for wagering on NFL games serves as a vote of confidence in the league’s partnership with sports data company Genius Sportsbut it also hints at broader integrity issues in the game.


Featured Story

Everton FC’s Russian Connections Could Hurt The Club And Its Owner

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has shaken up one Premier League club, Chelsea FC, which is now exploring a potential sale. Could Everton FC face similar scrutiny? It’s a question supporters of the Liverpool-based club may have to consider if majority owner Farhad Moshiri’s Russian connections attract attention from the British government. Read more on Everton’s Russian business ties.

Hot Reads:


Upon Further Review

Hockey Hall of Famer Angela James and retired NHL forward Anthony Stewart are among the investors who just bought the PHF’s Toronto Six and became the fledgling hockey league’s first BIPOC owners from Canada. They’re getting a star-studded team that includes 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree Mikyla Grant-Mentis.


The Last Word

“I was like, ‘I’m going to choose where I go to college for meteorology, and if the basketball thing worked out, it worked out.'” – Harrison Prieto

Harrison Prieto, a six-year walk-on at Florida State, is preparing to chase a new career: meteorology. It’s been on his mind about him ever since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. “Honestly, my whole college experience has been fulfilling that situation that happened so long ago,” he tells us. Learn more about Prieto’s journey.


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