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Feb 24, 2024

Murky Future: Everything You Need to Know About the A’s Move to Las Vegas

The A’s are set to begin an incredibly awkward MLB season. They are preparing to move to Las Vegas but will play at least one more season at the much-maligned Oakland Coliseum amid fan protests. The team is still sorting through issues at the site of the Tropicana hotel and casino, where it intends to build, and—with its lease at the Coliseum ending after the 2024 season—has not settled on a ballpark for ’25–27 while its new stadium is being constructed.

The relocation was meant to end a 20-year saga in which the team has sought a new home while largely ignoring its current one falling into increasing disrepair.

Here is everything you need to know about the ongoing situation around the team’s attempted move to Las Vegas.

Is this the A’s last season in Oakland?

Murky Future: Everything You Need to Know About the A’s Move to Las Vegas

Feb 24, 2024

Arizona Coyotes move to cut Adam Ruzicka after social media video appears to show him flashing cocaine

The Arizona Coyotes have placed forward Adam Ruzicka on unconditional waivers to terminate his contract after a questionable social media post.

Ruzicka posted a video on his Instagram story that showed his face before turning to a credit card and a white powder that appeared to be cocaine, the Associated Press reported Friday. While the post has been deleted, screen recordings of the video continue to circulate.

With Ruzicka under scrutiny, the Coyotes announced Friday that the 24-year-old is going on waivers for termination purposes. The team offered no further comment.

He's in the last season of a two-year deal worth $1.525 million. He had only been in Arizona for about a month, arriving to the team on Jan. 25 after being claimed off waivers from the Calgary Flames.

Arizona Coyotes move to cut Adam Ruzicka after social media video appears to show him flashing cocaine

Feb 24, 2024

MLB pitch clock change for 2024 season 'should have warranted a much longer dialogue,' says union chief

MLB Players' Association executive director Tony Clark said on Saturday that the decision to decrease the pitch clock with runners on base by two seconds came too soon.

"That's a conversation that should have warranted a much longer dialogue than what we had," Clark said via the Associated Press. "We voiced those concerns, players voiced those concerns, and yet, the push through of the change to the pitch clock still happened."

As part of the new rules package for the 2023 season, a pitch clock was introduced, giving pitchers 15 seconds to begin their motion with bases empty and 20 seconds with runners on base.

The league's competition committee, which includes six owners, four players and one umpire, gave approval in December to cut the time with runners on base to 18 seconds beginning with the 2024 season.

MLB pitch clock change for 2024 season 'should have warranted a much longer dialogue,' says union chief

Feb 24, 2024

Duke's Kyle Filipowski, projected top 10 draft pick, injured as Wake Forest fans storm court after upset

No. 8 Duke was upset in an 83-79 loss to Wake Forest on Saturday, and star Blue Devil Kyle Filipowski was injured in the celebrations.

The court was immediately stormed by fans when regulation ended. Filipowski, a projected top 10 NBA Draft pick, was walking off the court when a fan sprinted in his path. He appeared to roll his ankle during the chaos, leading teammates and personnel to rush and help him off the court.

Duke head coach Jon Scheyer called for change as he spoke to reporters after the loss:

“Flip sprains his ankle,” he said. “When are we going to ban court stormings?”

When Filipowski spoke, he clarified that he injured his knee. He can be seen grabbing it in an aerial view of the incident, which also appears to show him attempting to shove the fan out of his way. The 20-year-old sophomore's status going forward is unclear.

Duke's Kyle Filipowski, projected top 10 draft pick, injured as Wake Forest fans storm court after upset

Feb 24, 2024

Pay-for-Play Is Here: Federal Judge Says NCAA Cannot Enforce Any NIL Rules

It’s the NCAA’s worst nightmare: pay-for-play is here.

On Friday, Judge Clifton Corker in the Eastern District of Tennessee granted a preliminary injunction to plaintiffs—Virginia and Tennessee attorneys general—in a case over the legality of the NCAA’s restrictions on name, image, and likeness rules. The case was first filed in January.

The NCAA cannot enforce any NIL restrictions until the case is settled or goes to trial, including its original Interim NIL Policy. It also won’t be able to enforce its “rule of restitution,” which punishes athletes for following interim court decisions that are later reversed. The immediate effects of the ruling will likely be felt during the next transfer portal window between April 15 and April 30.

Pay-for-Play Is Here: Federal Judge Says NCAA Cannot Enforce Any NIL Rules

Feb 23, 2024

NCAA Committee on Infractions exploring change to possibly penalize ADs, presidents and others

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NCAA Committee on Infractions began exploring legislation adopted last month that directly penalizes non-coaching staff members who are at the center of NCAA enforcement action — that includes university presidents.

In a meeting Thursday, the committee discussed the scope of penalties that could be levied on several school athletic and academic officials in infractions cases, including compliance officers, athletic directors, presidents and chancellors. They agreed to examine the matter on a “case by case” basis, said Matt Mikrut, the NCAA managing director for the Office of the Committees on Infractions. They will determine penalties based on the person’s activity and involvement in violations and their role within the university.

Also during Thursday's meeting, open to a select group of media, the committee decided to use the identities of those at the center of investigations — i.e. coaches, administrators and presidents — in public infractions reports. Names of individuals are often kept anonymous.

NCAA Committee on Infractions exploring change to possibly penalize ADs, presidents and others

Feb 23, 2024

MLB Seeks Minimum Wage Exemption in Arizona

MLB is trying to get assistance from the state of Arizona.

According to Axios, the league has asked Arizona lawmakers to exempt players from the state’s minimum wage laws for spring training. To do so, it will require the support of reluctant Democrats.

The West Coast home for spring training, Arizona, could lose teams if they aren’t able to comply with player contracts. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who played college baseball at Yale, signed a similar exemption for minor league players last year. Florida is the East Coast hotbed for spring training facilities.

In April 2023, MLB owners approved a five-year labor agreement with minor league players that more than doubled their previous salaries, which is why the players support the league’s ask. The labor deal included spring training pay below Arizona’s minimum wage of $14.35 an hour. The Arizona state government has a Republican majority in both the House and Senate by one single seat in each, making the majority to approve the exemption seem improbable but not impossible to pass through.

MLB Seeks Minimum Wage Exemption in Arizona

Feb 23, 2024

Despite Nike’s Efforts, MLB Uniform Controversy Isn’t Looking Good

Nike has made its first overt attempt at damage control surrounding MLB’s new and oft-criticized uniforms, but the step has only served to further inflame the growing controversy.

After more than a week of player unrest surrounding the lighter and more flexible but see-through designs, developed in partnership with Fanatics, Nike issued a public statement late Thursday about its efforts.

“We always put the athlete at the center of everything we do,” Nike said. “We worked closely with MLB players, teams, and the league to create the most advanced uniforms in the history of MLB, which are lighter and more flexible. The quality and performance of our product is of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to work with MLB, the players, and our manufacturing partner to address player uniforms.”

The sentiment, however, has not helped to quell the concerns, as MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark reiterated Thursday that the uniform issue—and particularly the see-through pants—is top of mind among the union membership.

Despite Nike’s Efforts, MLB Uniform Controversy Isn’t Looking Good

Feb 23, 2024

NFL Salary Cap Sees Historic Spike Ahead of 2024 Season

The NFL’s salary cap just took a massive leap.

The league announced the 2024 salary cap will be $255.4 million per team with an additional $74 million per club payment for player benefits, which include performance incentives and benefits for retired players. In total, player costs for ’24 will be just under $330 million per team, totaling up to $10.5 billion for the entire NFL.

The historic $30 million increase in the cap resulted from increased media revenue for the 2024 season and deferred payments from the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the cap’s unprecedented spike.

NFL Salary Cap Sees Historic Spike Ahead of 2024 Season

Feb 23, 2024

Diamondbacks Heading Into Another Season With MLB in Charge of Media Rights

The Diamondbacks are entering a second season with their media rights under the MLB umbrella, with no RSN or local TV deal in sight.

The league stepped in back in July when Bally Sports Arizona and bankrupt parent Diamond Sports Group rejected the Diamondbacks’ deal. Other Phoenix teams—the Sun, Mercury, and Coyotes—have over-the-air deals and their direct-to-consumer partnerships with Kiswe.

But the Diamondbacks elected to stick with MLB for a second year. The yearly streaming deal costs $99.99 for D-Backs.TV, or $199.99 to bundle with MLB.TV. Club president and CEO Derrick Hall told Sports Business Journal on Thursday that the league is negotiating with distributors, including DirecTV and Cox, which aired games last season.

The team spoke with the Suns and their broadcaster, Gray Television, and a partnership could be in the cards after this year, Hall said to SBJ.

Diamondbacks Heading Into Another Season With MLB in Charge of Media Rights

Feb 19, 2024

Nets fire head coach Jacque Vaughn 5 days after 50-point loss to Celtics

The Brooklyn Nets announced on Monday that they have fired head coach Jacque Vaughn. The move was first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Nets are promoting assistant coach Kevin Ollie to replace Vaughn on an interim basis for the rest of the season, according to ESPN. Ollie, the former UConn head coach, joined the team as an assistant last summer.

The Nets are 21-33 and currently in 11th place in the East, and while that's far from the worst in the NBA, they have been struggling significantly. According to SNY reporter Ian Begley, several players had "lost confidence" in Vaughn.

The Nets' last game before the All-Star break may have been the final straw for the front office. Brooklyn got absolutely embarrassed by the Boston Celtics, losing 136-86. There have been some pretty lopsided scores in the NBA this season, but a 50-point pantsing is hard to ignore.

Nets fire head coach Jacque Vaughn 5 days after 50-point loss to Celtics

Feb 19, 2024

NHL Sets Attendance Records With MetLife Stadium Series Games

Sixteen years into the NHL’s run of outdoor games, the league is still breaking new ground.

The NHL drew a crowd of 70,328 on Saturday for Devils-Flyers, the first of a two-day run of Stadium Series games at MetLife Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Giants and Jets. The attendance was the largest in 13 Stadium Series games dating to ’14. The record, however, would only stand for about 18 hours as Sunday’s Rangers-Islanders game then drew 79,690, the third-largest crowd in NHL history, as the league reopened a chunk of lower-bowl seats that was blocked off on Saturday for a pregame Jonas Brothers concert.

Only two prior Winter Classics—the 2014 game at Michigan Stadium and the ’20 event at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas—have featured bigger crowds for the NHL.

The weekend success at the gate now sets the stage for another historic attendance total next year as the league also unveiled plans for the 2025 Stadium Series game, which will feature the Red Wings playing the Blue Jackets at Ohio Stadium. Representing a hockey version of arguably college football’s top rivalry, the matchup is set to become just the second NHL game to top 100,000 in attendance, joining that ’14 Winter Classic at the Big House. Next year’s Stadium Series contest will join the ’25 Winter Classic, which will return to Wrigley Field in Chicago for Blackhawks-Blues.

NHL Sets Attendance Records With MetLife Stadium Series Games

Feb 19, 2024

As college football's elite is engulfed in a power struggle, G5 left just trying to survive: 'We are a farm system'

This offseason, Will Hall will be a football coach for just a few hours a day. He’ll attend morning winter workouts and, once spring practice starts, lead his Southern Miss football team on the field.

Aside from those instances, Hall is a fundraiser. On a random Wednesday in February, Hall, the coach, starts his day at 7 a.m. observing workouts. By 10 a.m., Hall, the fundraiser, is meeting with donors in his office. At 11, he jumps in his car for the 90-minute drive to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where more donor meetings are held at 1:30 and then 3. His goal is to meet with 12 donors a week.

“I do zero football anymore. Zero football in my life right now,” Hall said. “I do culture and recruiting.

“Most of my day is spent all across the southern United States raising money,” he said before pausing, “for NIL.”

As college football's elite is engulfed in a power struggle, G5 left just trying to survive: 'We are a farm system'

Feb 19, 2024

Nationals owner Mark Lerner said franchise is no longer up for sale after nearly 2 years of exploration

The Washington Nationals are no longer on the market.

Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner confirmed to The Washington Post on Monday that he was no longer working to sell the team. He said that he and his family, after nearly two years of trying to find a buyer, came to the decision “a while ago.”

“Nothing has really changed,” Lerner said, via The Washington Post. “We’ve just decided that it’s not the time or the place for it. We’re very happy owning the team and bringing us back a ring one day.”

The Lerner family first purchased the Nationals for $450 million in 2006 from Major League Baseball, just one year after the team relocated to Washington and rebranded itself after starting out as the Montreal Expos. Mark took over control of the club from his father, Ted Lerner, in 2018. Ted died last year at 97.

Nationals owner Mark Lerner said franchise is no longer up for sale after nearly 2 years of exploration

Feb 19, 2024

Pushback From NHLPA, Local Unions Could Kill Coyotes’ Last Chance in Arizona

The Arizona Coyotes’ latest attempt to build a new arena is facing a fresh obstacle: the NHL Players Association.

Earlier this month, NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh said he was “extremely disappointed” with owner Alex Meruelo and team president Xavier Gutierrez about their not keeping the union apprised of the team’s plans to acquire roughly 100 acres in north Phoenix for a privately financed $3 billion mixed-use arena project with roughly 17,500 seats. But Walsh’s public statements are just part of the Coyotes’ issues with unions that could hamper the team’s latest—and potential final—push to keep the club in Arizona.

Walsh’s comments irked Coyotes management, whose members insist that the new arena plan is solid, a source close to the Coyotes with direct knowledge of the situation told Front Office Sports. That source suggested that Walsh’s “chirping” had contributed to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman “getting skittish” over the team’s future in Arizona.

Pushback From NHLPA, Local Unions Could Kill Coyotes’ Last Chance in Arizona

Feb 17, 2024

DraftKings Trends Toward the Black, Buys Lottery App

DraftKings continues to grow, but perhaps not as fast as Wall Street would like.

The sports gambling company posted quarterly results Thursday that missed multiple estimates but still increased its revenue by 44% year over year. Later in the day, the company announced it was expanding into lottery games by buying Jackpocket, a lottery app in a cash and stock deal for $750 million.

“We are very excited to enter the rapidly growing U.S. digital lottery vertical with our acquisition of Jackpocket,” said Jason Robins, DraftKings CEO and cofounder.

“This transaction will create significant value for DraftKings not only by giving our customers another differentiated product to enjoy but also by improving our overall marketing efficiency similar to how our daily fantasy sports database created an advantage for DraftKings in [online sportsbooks] and iGaming.”

DraftKings Trends Toward the Black, Buys Lottery App

Feb 17, 2024

Mavericks traded away player because of his 'yapping,' not being in shape: report

With the NBA trade deadline having come and gone, the Dallas Mavericks apparently are pretty happy with how theirs went.

Dallas has won four straight games since the Feb. 8 deadline (six straight dating back to Feb. 5), as they ride hot heading into the All-Star break.

But moves apparently needed to be made, including the one involving forward Grant Williams.

The Mavs sent Williams to the Charlotte Hornets just prior to the deadline, and there seems to be a lot of reasoning behind it.

Williams apparently was "yapping" and not in good shape, leading Dallas to be frustrated with him.

Mavericks traded away player because of his 'yapping,' not being in shape: report

Feb 17, 2024

C.J. Stroud's agency tells NFL its prospects will skip all pre-draft cognition tests

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud made the warnings about his pre-NFL Draft cognition test results look foolish this season, and now the agency that represents him is taking things a step further.

Athletes First is reportedly directing its 2024 prospects to forego all intelligence testing in light of Stroud's low results being leaked. While the agency doesn't represent any of the top quarterbacks in the upcoming draft class, the decision could very well influence other firms to follow suit with their clients.

“After much internal discussion, the agents at Athletes First have directed our draft prospects to respectfully pass on participating in any cognitive or psychological testing during the pre-draft process (e.g. AIQ, S2, etc.),” the company wrote in an email to NFL clubs obtained by The Athletic. “We understand that many of your teams use these tests or protocols as part of your prospect evaluation process, however, our recent experience with these exams has been less than positive. Specifically, the fact that certain results and performance were leaked publicly last year demonstrates that there truly is no confidentiality with these tests. It is not right for a player's intelligence, aptitude or mental processing to be subject to public discussion and ridicule — no other job interview carries the same scrutiny.”

C.J. Stroud's agency tells NFL its prospects will skip all pre-draft cognition tests

Feb 17, 2024

Jordan Spieth disqualified for signing incorrect scorecard at The Genesis Invitational

LOS ANGELES — Jordan Spieth was disqualified from the Genesis Invitational on Friday after he signed an incorrect scorecard.

Spieth, who posted a 2-over 73 on Friday at Riviera Country Club, signed his card stating that he made a par at the par-3 fourth in the second round. He actually made a bogey after his drive missed the green, and then he missed a 5-foot putt to save his par by just a few inches.

While the bogey was noted in real time on the leaderboard, Spieth signed his scorecard incorrectly when he turned it in following his round. Because of that, he was automatically disqualified from the event.

Jordan Spieth disqualified for signing incorrect scorecard at The Genesis Invitational

Feb 17, 2024

MLS set to start 2024 season with replacement officials during CBA dispute

The 2024 MLS season kicks off Wednesday with Lionel Messi and Inter Miami hosting Real Salt Lake, and it's likely that replacement officials will be working the game.

As of Saturday morning, the league is preparing for that situation after a proposed new collective bargaining agreement was rejected by the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA), the labor union that represents MLS, NWSL, and USL officials.

According to the PSRA, of the 97.8% of eligible members who voted, 95.8% voted "no" to ratify a Feb. 14 proposed tentative agreement.

Due to this, the Professional Referees Organization (PRO), the referees' employer, is set to lock out MLS officials beginning at 12:01 a.m, ET on Feb. 18.

MLS set to start 2024 season with replacement officials during CBA dispute

Feb 16, 2024

Caitlin Clark breaks NCAA women's basketball all-time scoring record, sets single-game record as well

Caitlin Clark grew up watching the most prolific scorers in Division I women’s college basketball and now her name sits above them.

The Iowa superstar broke the all-time scoring record on Thursday. She passed former record-holder Kelsey Plum, who poured in 3,527 career points over 139 games at Washington from 2013-17.

“The coolest thing is just the names I get to be around,” Clark, 22, said when she took over No. 2 on the list on Jan. 31. “Those are people that I grew up watching, especially Kelsey Plum, Brittney Griner, Kelsey Mitchell. Those are really, really great players.”

Clark, a 6-foot senior point guard, eclipsed the all-time mark against Michigan in her 126th game. She needed just eight points Thursday and hit the record-breaking shot early in the first quarter against the Wolverines.

Caitlin Clark breaks NCAA women's basketball all-time scoring record, sets single-game record as well

Feb 16, 2024

Kansas City shooting: Two teenagers facing weapons charges with more charges expected

Two teenagers detained after Wednesday’s Super Bowl parade shooting in Kansas City have been officially charged.

The Jackson County Family Court Division said Friday that the two unidentified juveniles had been charged with counts relating to gun possession and resisting arrest. The court also said that “additional charges are expected in the future as the investigation by the Kansas City Police Department continues.”

One woman, Elizabeth Galvan, was killed and over 20 people were wounded by gunfire minutes after the Chiefs parade rally ended. Half of the wounded were kids ages 16 and under and the youngest victim is 8 years old. Children's Mercy Hospital has said that all nine of its patients with gunshot wounds are expected to recover.

Kansas City shooting: Two teenagers facing weapons charges with more charges expected

Feb 16, 2024

Pac-12 officially parts ways with commissioner George Kliavkoff

George Kliavkoff is out as commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference, the league announced on Friday.

Kliavkoff's last day will be Feb. 29 and the Pac-12's statement, which noted the sides "mututally agreed to part ways," said that "details about new leadership" will be announced next week.

Sources told Yahoo Sports' Ross Dellenger that Pac-12 deputy commissioner Teresa Gould is expected to take over once Kliavkoff is gone.

Kliavkoff replaced Larry Scott as Pac-12 commissioner in July 2021 after years working in various roles for MGM Resorts International, MLB Advanced Media, NBCUniversal and Hearst Communications, among others.

Pac-12 officially parts ways with commissioner George Kliavkoff

Feb 16, 2024

Jimmy Garoppolo reportedly suspended 2 games for violating NFL's Performance Enhancing Substances policy

The NFL has suspended Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo two games for violating the league's Performance Enhancing Substances policy, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Garoppolo reportedly used a prescribed medication without having a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption.

According to Schefter, Garoppolo will not appeal the suspension and will miss the first two games of the 2024-25 NFL season.

Which team Garoppolo will be on when he serves the suspension is yet to be determined. The Raiders are expected to cut the 32-year-old next month before he's due an $11.25 million roster bonus.

Jimmy Garoppolo reportedly suspended 2 games for violating NFL's Performance Enhancing Substances policy

Feb 16, 2024

Manfred Faces a Very Full Plate in What Will Be His Last Term

There is now a defined endpoint for the Rob Manfred era in baseball, as the MLB commissioner confirmed Thursday he intends to retire in January 2029 with the end of his contract extension signed last summer.

It’s already been a highly impactful and often-tumultuous nine-year run for Manfred, with his tenure to date including transformative rules changes such as the pitch clock, a big attendance resurgence following many years of decline, a 99-day lockout of players before the 2022 season, a historic overhaul of the affiliated minor leagues, and the Astros’ cheating scandal from ’17.

But the next 59 months are likely to be even more dramatic as Manfred puts his final stamp on the game, concluding a three-decade-plus association with the league that began with his work as outside labor counsel before joining MLB full time in 1998. Among the key issues still in front of Manfred:

Manfred Faces a Very Full Plate in What Will Be His Last Term

Feb 12, 2024

Unable to send Kadarius Toney home with pay, the Chiefs might have done the next closest thing

In 2005, the Eagles (coached by Andy Reid) had enough of receiver Terrell Owens. After suspending him four games without pay for conduct detrimental to the team, they sent him home for the rest of the season, with pay.

Several months later, the CBA was rewritten to prevent teams from placing players on paid suspensions.

Eighteen years later, it seems as if the Chiefs and Reid decided after the Week 15 win over the Patriots to put receiver Kadarius Toney on ice for the rest of the year.

In that game, Toney had another drop, which became an interception. The prior week, he lined up offside and wiped out a touchdown he scored after catching a lateral from tight end Travis Kelce. Toney was then unrepentant about his mistake, even though multiple different camera angles showed that he lined up incorrectly and did nothing to adjust before the ball was snapped.

Unable to send Kadarius Toney home with pay, the Chiefs might have done the next closest thing

Feb 12, 2024

'Just shut up': WM Phoenix Open crowds infuriate pros all over the course

For years, the WM Phoenix Open was a bucket-list destination for fans and a grin-and-bear-it stop for pros, a place where the normally staid sport of golf turns into a college football tailgate for a weekend. Everybody knows going in that it's going to be a loud, chaotic, unruly party.

But this year, the party appears to have broken loose from any kind of containment, and quite a few pros aren't having it.

Saturday is traditionally the wildest day at the tournament, and this year held true to form. The tournament suspended alcohol sales and closed the gates to new arrivals, and a look at the scenes from Saturday will give you a good idea as to why:

'Just shut up': WM Phoenix Open crowds infuriate pros all over the course

Feb 12, 2024

Key Legislator: Leonsis Arena Project ‘Not Ready for Prime Time,’ ‘An Absolute No’

Ted Leonsis is now facing his biggest setback to date in an already-challenged effort to build a $2 billion arena and mixed-use development in Alexandria, Va., for his Washington Wizards and Capitals.

As Leonsis is seeking roughly $1.5 billion in state-issued bonds from Virginia to help fund the project, a key legislator has declared legislation backing the Monumental Sports and Entertainment plan is “not ready for prime time.” That opposition adds to growing residential resistance and marks the most serious broadside to date.

“The more we use the reputation of the commonwealth to finance billionaires’ projects, the more we risk not being able to finance our own projects,” said L. Louise Lucas, a prominent Virginia state senator and chair of that body’s finance and appropriations committee. Lucas is refusing to stage a hearing on the arena project in her committee, though a separate effort regarding the development remains alive in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Key Legislator: Leonsis Arena Project ‘Not Ready for Prime Time,’ ‘An Absolute No’

Feb 12, 2024

Kansas City’s Back-to-Back Super Bowl Wins Set Up Huge Financial Growth Opportunity

The Chiefs beat the 49ers 25-22 in overtime to win Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday to become the first NFL franchise to clinch back-to-back Lombardi Trophies since the New England Patriots during the 2003 and ’04 seasons.

Despite the unprecedented success under coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes—which includes a third Super Bowl victory in 2019, another AFC championship in ’20, and an appearance in the conference title game each of the past six years—the Chiefs were most recently valued at $4.3 billion on Forbes’ preseason list, just 23rd out of the NFL’s clubs. But the Hunt family, which founded the franchise in 1959, now has even more ammo to capitalize on to grow off-field revenues.

Just as Mahomes, with three Super Bowl victories himself, now chases Tom Brady’s seven rings, the Chiefs will look to mimic the growth experienced by Brady’s Patriots, which ascended from 10th in NFL valuation rankings in 2000, before Brady and coach Bill Belichick arrived that same year, all the way up to No. 2 after six Lombardi Trophies, the last of which came in ’18. (New England is currently valued at $7 billion, behind the Cowboys’ $9 billion estimate.)

Kansas City’s Back-to-Back Super Bowl Wins Set Up Huge Financial Growth Opportunity

Feb 12, 2024

Usher Didn’t Get Paid to Play the Super Bowl—but He Did Earn $52.5M in Exposure

Despite putting on a thrilling Super Bowl halftime performance full of dazzling dance moves, roller skates, and special guests last night, Usher didn’t get paid by the NFL. The league covers expensive production costs, but it doesn’t pay the main act.

The biggest TV draw of the year attracts singers for another reason: exposure. Album sales tend to skyrocket after an artist plays the Super Bowl. But how much money does that exposure generate?

Usher earned an estimated equivalent of $52,479,822 in exposure while performing (and appearing in a related pregame sit-down interview on CBS) on Sunday, Apex Marketing Group tells Front Office Sports. Those are the same folks who calculated last month that Taylor Swift had generated an equivalent of $331.5 million for the NFL and the Chiefs this season.

Usher Didn’t Get Paid to Play the Super Bowl—but He Did Earn $52.5M in Exposure

Feb 10, 2024

Bo Jackson awarded $21M in extortion case against niece and nephew

Former superstar athlete Bo Jackson was awarded $21 million in a civil case against his niece and nephew who he says were blackmailing and stalking him.

The lawsuit, filed in April, alleged that Thomas Lee Anderson and his sister, Erica M. Anderson Ross, tried to extort $20 million from the Pro Bowler and MLB All-Star through harassment and intimidation.

Jackson claimed the harassment started in 2022 and included threatening social media posts and messages, public allegations that put him in a false light and public disclosure of private information intended to cause him severe emotional distress.

Bo Jackson awarded $21M in extortion case against niece and nephew

Feb 10, 2024

Super Bowl 2024: As most bettors back the Chiefs, there's one outcome sportsbooks really don't want to happen

Sportsbooks across the country are rooting against one specific outcome in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

The Kansas City Chiefs have remained 2-point underdogs to the San Francisco 49ers at BetMGM and other sportsbooks for nearly the entirety of the build-up to the Super Bowl. That line has held steady despite a majority of money coming in on the Chiefs. As of Friday, 68% of bets and 70% of money bet against the spread at BetMGM is on the Chiefs.

With the Chiefs staying slight underdogs, there’s a result that can lead to a worst-case scenario for sports books: a one-point 49ers win. If the 49ers win 24-23, 31-30 or by any other one-point margin, Chiefs bettors taking the points will still cash in. And books will have to pay out San Francisco futures tickets, too.

“There has been lopsided action on the Chiefs to win and cover the spread in the Super Bowl,” BetMGM senior trader Spencer Davis said. “BetMGM will be cheering for the 49ers. San Francisco winning by one point would be the worst outcome for the sportsbook, allowing Niners futures and Chiefs spread bets to all cash.”

Super Bowl 2024: As most bettors back the Chiefs, there's one outcome sportsbooks really don't want to happen

Feb 10, 2024

Furman football player Bryce Stanfield dies after collapsing during workout

Furman football player Bryce Stanfield died on Friday, two days after he suffered a medical emergency during a Wednesday morning workout at the team's Paladin Stadium. He was 21 years old.

The junior defensive tackle and three-year letterman died while “surrounded by his family and his Furman family," university President Elizabeth Davis wrote in a letter to the community.

He was taken to a hospital and placed on life support after collapsing during the training session, Davis said. Stanfield's coaches told Fox Carolina that his participation in workouts was limited by a back strain he sustained before practices started up. They reportedly had the defensive tackle undergoing rehabilitation for the injury and were unaware of any other medical issues.

Furman football player Bryce Stanfield dies after collapsing during workout

Feb 10, 2024

Fan hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after fall at WM Phoenix Open

A woman was hospitalized after falling from the grandstands on the 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Friday.

The Thunderbirds, who host the PGA Tour event at TPC Scottsdale, released a statement saying the woman's injuries are non-life-threatening and that “Scottsdale fire and bike team paramedics reacted quickly at the scene to give the injured fan immediate medical attention and then provided safe transport to a local medical center for further evaluation."

"The WM Phoenix Open works closely with local law enforcement, fire and medical organizations and the PGA TOUR to strategically place emergency units throughout tournament grounds to promptly address health and safety situations," the statement said. "We will provide additional details if or when appropriate out of respect for medical privacy."

Fan hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after fall at WM Phoenix Open

Feb 10, 2024

Amazon to Exclusively Stream a 2025 NFL Playoff Game

Amazon is following NBC’s lead.

After the Chiefs-Dolphins AFC playoff game was streamed exclusively on Peacock earlier this year, Amazon will now have its own exclusively streamed playoff game on its own platform in 2025, according to The Wall Street Journal. That Chiefs-Dolphins game drew both criticism for the decision, and high viewership to the tune of 23 million, making it the most streamed U.S. event ever.

Amazon was offered the chance to stream a game for this season’s playoffs, but passed, which cleared the way for NBC and Peacock to get the opportunity. Now offered another chance, the company seized it. The NFL has been aggressive about streaming and has spread its rights throughout multiple platforms instead of keeping its assets on just the traditional networks.

Amazon to Exclusively Stream a 2025 NFL Playoff Game

Feb 9, 2024

The NFL’s Long Road to Las Vegas Harmony

Twenty years ago, the NFL’s chilly relationship with Nevada and sports gambling began to thaw at a clandestine meeting with Las Vegas sportsbook officials that involved the NCAA and other sports leagues.

“They were just really curious at how we managed the line, how we came up with the numbers, and what we look for as far as suspicious activity or any type of red flags,” a gambling exec who attended the briefings (which, he says, also included representation from the FBI) tells Front Office Sports. “Our message was this: ‘We’re on the same side as you. We want to protect the integrity of these games; the integrity is our product. We want fair and true games. We don’t want to be taking wagers on something that’s predetermined.’”

This meeting—confirmed by another trusted gambling industry source—predated Roger Goodell’s ascent to NFL commissioner, in 2006. It came well before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in ’18, which legalized state-sanctioned betting nationwide. And, of course, before Las Vegas was selected more than two years ago as the host of Super Bowl LVIII.

The NFL’s Long Road to Las Vegas Harmony

Feb 9, 2024

A Billion-Dollar Future? SEC Reports $853 Million in Revenue for 2023

It just means more … money.

The Southeastern Conference brought in $853 million in revenue during the 2023 fiscal year, new tax reports showed Thursday. The league earned about $50 million more than the previous fiscal year.

The 14 member schools each received about $51.3 million in distributions. In 2022 the average distribution was nearly $50 million per school.

Last year’s haul puts the conference on pace to crack a billion dollars this current year as college sports giants the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas are set to join the conference in a year in which the College Football Playoff expands to 12 teams, hypothetically giving more in-conference teams a shot at the title—and the money that comes with it. The conference’s new TV deal, worth $3 million, and ESPN as a primary partner over CBS, doesn’t hurt either.

A Billion-Dollar Future? SEC Reports $853 Million in Revenue for 2023

Feb 9, 2024

Fans to receive refunds following Lionel Messi's absence in Hong Kong friendly

Fans who attended Sunday's Lionel Messi-less friendly between a Hong Kong XI and Inter Miami will receive 50% refunds after Messi did not play due to injury.

Tatler Asia, the publication that organized the friendly, responded to backlash from the Hong Kong government and Chinese state media by offering the refunds, which will come to about $7 million in total.

“We apologise to all those who were disappointed by the football match between the Hong Kong Team and Inter Miami CF on Sunday, February 4th. An event that we had hoped to be the pride of the city, and which we have worked very hard on for months, has become the source of great heartbreak,” the company said in a statement.

Fans to receive refunds following Lionel Messi's absence in Hong Kong friendly

Feb 9, 2024

Former New York Mets GM Billy Eppler suspended through 2024 World Series for fabricating injuries

Former New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler has been suspended by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred through the 2024 World Series for violating the league's injured list rules, the league announced Friday.

Eppler, who resigned as Mets GM at the end of the 2023 season, is being punished for "improper use of Injured List placements, including the deliberate fabrication of injuries; and the associated submission of documentation for the purposes of securing multiple improper Injured List placements during the 2022 and 2023 seasons," according to MLB.

The league, which did not provide specific examples of Eppler's actions, spent four months investigating the issue and interviewed more than three dozen people. They found that Eppler, who was cooperative, was not influenced by Mets ownership. No other team executives were mentioned in Manfred's findings.

Former New York Mets GM Billy Eppler suspended through 2024 World Series for fabricating injuries

Feb 9, 2024

Manfred’s Patience Wearing Thin? Commish Makes Stance on A’s Clear

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has made it abundantly clear the Oakland A’s are on the clock.

Speaking at the end of the owners’ meetings this week in Florida, Manfred reiterated his strong hope that the Oakland A’s maintain their target of opening a new ballpark in Las Vegas to open the 2028 season.

“I would be disappointed, let me say it that way, if we didn’t open that stadium Opening Day 2028,” Manfred said. “Disappointed, just in the sense I think it’s best for the A’s and best for the game.”

Manfred’s comments arrive as the MLB club’s planned relocation is facing an increased set of problems. While the A’s are still grappling with how to build a stadium on a 9-acre site along the Las Vegas Strip, marking one of the smallest ballpark footprints in the league, a legal challenge has been filed against $380 million in public funding toward the project, planned stadium renderings are increasingly behind schedule, and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman earlier this week said the current ballpark plan “does not make sense.”

Manfred’s Patience Wearing Thin? Commish Makes Stance on A’s Clear

Feb 5, 2024

What Happens When the NFL Welcomes Hundreds of Players to a Locale It Once Shunned?

It was just nine years ago that the NFL barred then Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo from hosting a fantasy sports convention in Las Vegas because it would have taken place at a space adjacent to a casino. The NFL treated Las Vegas, the most concentrated hub of legal gambling in the U.S., like a toxic waste dump and a threat to the integrity of the sport. “There was always a Berlin Wall separating the NFL from gambling,” says longtime NFL agent Leigh Steinberg.

That, of course, changed with a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that lifted bans on sports betting. The NFL gradually embraced gambling, adding sportsbook sponsors and data partners; it moved the Raiders to Vegas; it staged the draft there in 2022; and now the league is all in, with the city looking like a regular part of the Super Bowl host rotation.

As the NFL (including Romo himself, as part of CBS’s lead broadcasting team) descends on Sin City for Super Bowl LVIII, it’s worth noting there are a few remaining guardrails that restrict what players can do in Vegas. But the NFL rule that once completely barred players from even entering a casino has been discarded into the trash bin of history, alongside leather helmets and single-bar facemasks.

What Happens When the NFL Welcomes Hundreds of Players to a Locale It Once Shunned?

Feb 5, 2024

Messi Mania Turns Sour, Even Before the 2024 MLS Season Starts

The Lionel Messi experience in MLS ended 2023 in downbeat fashion, and ’24 is starting even uglier, spotlighting the risks for the league and Inter Miami in counting on the Argentinian superstar for sustained, large-scale business growth.

After injuries to Messi and a six-match winless streak marred the conclusion of Inter Miami’s season last year following an initial surge of fan interest, a preseason tour by the club has revealed more problems.

An ambitious and still-ongoing trip that has included stops in El Salvador, Dallas, Saudi Arabia, and most recently Hong Kong has generated just one win and a tie in five matches. More troubling, a Sunday match in Hong Kong featured fans booing and demanding ticket refunds as both Messi and teammate Luis Suárez did not play due to further injuries.

Messi Mania Turns Sour, Even Before the 2024 MLS Season Starts

Feb 5, 2024

Christian Horner investigated by Red Bull over alleged ‘inappropriate behaviour’

Christian Horner is under investigation by Red Bull following an accusation of “inappropriate behaviour”.

The PA news agency understands the allegation has been made by another member of staff for the British-based Formula One team which last year carried Max Verstappen to his third consecutive world championship.

Horner, 50, who has been Red Bull team principal since 2005, will remain in his role during the investigation. He strongly denies the accusation.

Horner said: “I completely deny these claims.”

Christian Horner investigated by Red Bull over alleged ‘inappropriate behaviour’

Feb 5, 2024

Despite Phoenix Progress, Salt Lake City Looms in Coyotes’ Arena Efforts

The Arizona Coyotes’ long-planned effort to build a new arena and mixed-use development has taken another step forward. But that hasn’t stopped chatter that a move to Salt Lake City might be the preferable outcome.

The NHL team has filed an application to buy about 200 acres of state trust land in north Phoenix, advancing on recent interest in that area and signaling that the location could be the project’s new home after voters in Tempe, Ariz., rejected building there. The Coyotes confirmed the application, but said other sites remain in consideration, and the team signed a letter of intent last August on a separate parcel in Mesa.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, meanwhile, said during the league’s All-Star weekend in Toronto that the Coyotes’ arena situation “will be addressed in the next few weeks.”

Despite Phoenix Progress, Salt Lake City Looms in Coyotes’ Arena Efforts

Feb 5, 2024

Optimism Is Growing for Labor Judge to Rule College Athletes Are Employees

On Friday, the second session in a months-long labor trial over college athlete employment status concluded at a National Labor Relations Board regional office in Los Angeles.

“I feel like we’re in an extremely strong position,” Ramogi Huma, the executive director of the organization arguing on behalf of athletes, tells Front Office Sports. “I think we’re going to win.”

The case, first filed in 2022 as a labor complaint by Huma’s National College Players Association, argues that USC football and basketball players should be considered employees of USC, the Pac-12, and the NCAA. The NLRB agreed to take up the case on the NCPA’s behalf. A win would spell the end of the NCAA’s amateurism model.

During the two-week session, the NLRB rested its case on athlete employment, and USC began its pro-amateurism arguments.

Optimism Is Growing for Labor Judge to Rule College Athletes Are Employees

Feb 3, 2024

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey: NCAA 'distracted' by NIL-related cases, needs to focus on 'big realities'

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey says the NCAA should focus on the “big realities” in college athletics rather than pursuing individual cases of recruiting violations of the association’s name, image and likeness (NIL) policy.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports this week, Sankey suggested that the NCAA and its enforcement staff are “distracted” by NIL-related recruiting cases. Though he did not address specific cases, at least two programs in his own league are under investigation over such matters, including Tennessee and Florida. The association recently levied sanctions on Florida State for NIL-related recruiting violations as well.

“I have a history of not commenting on specific matters,” Sankey said when asked about the Tennessee case. “What’s in front of us are a big set of realities. Not simply — quote — cases, but big realities. We need to be dealing with the big realities.”

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey: NCAA 'distracted' by NIL-related cases, needs to focus on 'big realities'

Feb 3, 2024

Leagues Embrace Apple’s Mixed-Reality Device But Raise Questions

Apple is taking another big technology swing, introducing Friday its new mixed-reality headset, the $3,499 Vision Pro. And not surprisingly, several sports leagues have quickly moved to build apps for the headset and take advantage of this new platform, which seeks to advance the notion of “spatial computing.” But arriving right along with the excitement are a series of pressing questions.

MLB, the NBA, and the PGA Tour were among the leagues to be first movers on a device that allows immersive digital media to be integrated with the real world—a fundamental difference from the more isolating nature of most virtual-reality applications.

Sports offerings within the Vision Pro will include live and archival games in 4K resolution, interactive statistics, and three-dimensional enhanced data visualizations—all controlled with eye tracking, speech recognition, and hand gestures.

Leagues Embrace Apple’s Mixed-Reality Device But Raise Questions

Feb 3, 2024

Kliff Kinsbury backs out of Raiders offensive coordinator job, top candidate for Commanders OC: report

The Las Vegas Raiders were expected to add Kliff Kingsbury to their coaching staff.

Earlier this week, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Kingsbury had been selected to fill the Raiders' vacant offensive coordinator position. But on Saturday, a new report from Schefter surfaced, saying that Kingsbury had decided to withdraw his name from consideration, according to his agent, Erik Burkhardt.

Kinsbury is a highly regarded offensive mind and reportedly drew interest from multiple NFL teams during the recent hiring cycle. In another surprising twist, Schefter added that Kingsbury is now "a leading candidate to become the Commanders’ offensive coordinator, per sources."

Kliff Kinsbury backs out of Raiders offensive coordinator job, top candidate for Commanders OC: report

Feb 3, 2024

NMSU player suspended indefinitely after punching opponent in the face

New Mexico State men's basketball player Robert Carpenter was suspended indefinitely for landing a sucker punch on an opposing player during a game Thursday, the school announced Friday.

The fateful blow came midway through the first half of NMSU's 79-73 overtime win over Liberty. Carpenter exchanged a pull and a shove with Flames forward Shiloh Robinson while jostling for rebounding positioning, and the battle ended with Carpenter hitting Robinson in the face as he started running in transition.

NMSU player suspended indefinitely after punching opponent in the face

Feb 3, 2024

LIV’s Super Bowl Weekend Plans Are Straight from the PGA Tour Playbook

Super Bowl LVIII isn’t the only major sporting event about to make its Sin City debut.

After LIV Golf completes its season-opening tournament in Mexico this weekend, the league will head to Las Vegas Country Club, just off the Strip, joining thousands of Chiefs, 49ers, and other NFL die-hard fans flocking to town for next Sunday’s game.

If a professional golf tournament on the same weekend—and in the same town—as the Super Bowl sounds familiar, that’s because it is straight out of the PGA Tour’s playbook: The WM Phoenix Open has coincided with Super Bowl weekend every year since 1973. In fact, the event that features the “Loudest Hole in Golf”—the par-3 16th hole surrounded by a 17,000-seat ministadium—has been contested in the exact same city as the title game three previous times (in 1996, 2008, and ’15).

LIV’s Super Bowl Weekend Plans Are Straight from the PGA Tour Playbook
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