The Big Deal Weekly: AFL clubs ownership question, NRL coaching dramas, cricket fixture jostling, Fanatics' big bet, Landale's NBA future & more
Newsletter no. 33, 16 May 2023
This week we cover the case for private ownership of AFL clubs, big NRL coaching moves, the fall out from the summer cricket schedule, an Aussie betting company selling off its US operations to an emerging giant and much more.
Get straight into it and tune in below, or scroll on for the headlines and key points.
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COULD PRIVATE OWNERSHIP BE COMING FOR AFL CLUBS?
Tredders says the AFL’s broadcast pot of gold won’t last forever, and when it runs out we could see private ownership of teams become a genuine consideration.
The league doesn’t want to go down that path but if it gets to the point where the cash looks to be running out, bringing in private investment ownership groups will surely be a possibility.
It would open up opportunity for the likes of billionaires and corporate heavyweights like Bruce Mathieson to wield even more influence.
The Carlton powerbroker has launched a stunning attack on the Blues board and CEO, while predicting the demise of coach Michael Voss in a Herald Sun interview.
Carlton are under pressure but it is season over for Hawthorn, Kangaroos and West Coast.
Tredders has his say on whether uncompetitive teams are bad for the game, or just part of it.
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NRL’S BELLAMY TO STAY AFTER BACK FLIP
Melbourne Storm’s legendary coach Craig Bellamy will stay on as coach next year, after deciding to put off retirement.
By his own admission, Bellamy was ready to make a call on his illustrious career only two months ago.
But after a chat with Storm star Cameron Munster and other team leaders he’s decided to go again in 2024.
The news isn’t so good for Dragons coach Anthony Griffin.
After a disastrous start to the season, Griffin was given his marching orders by the St George Illawarra board today.
To add insult to injury, a media management bungle saw players forced to face the media to answer questions before an official announcement had been made to players and staff.
SUMMER OF CRICKET SCHEDULED AS SOUTH AUSTRALIA MAKES MOVES
Cricket Australia has released its fixture for a bumper summer of cricket but despite Sydney being named to host of the New Year’s test, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that it still remains under threat from a multimillion-dollar South Australian push to claim the event.
At this stage South Australia will again host the West Indies which is far from a drawcard, but there are promises that it will get to host India and then England over the next two years.
Men’s Test Series v Pakistan
14-18 December: Perth Stadium, Perth
26-30 December: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
3-7 January: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Men’s Test Series vs West Indies
17-21 January: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
25-29 January: The Gabba, Brisbane (D/N)
JASON DAY BREAKS FIVE YEAR PGA DROUGHT
Jason Day is back on the winners list at the PGA Tour, breaking a five year drought.
This win at the Byron Nelson also brought a $2.6 million Pay Day.
The former world number 1 golfer was ranked 112 back in January - he’s now number 20 in the world and rising fast.
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KERR THE BEST OF THE BEST
Aussie superstar Sam Kerr scored the only goal in Chelsea’s FA Cup win over Manchester United.
And she did it in style, with a backflip in front of a record crowd of 77,000 at Wembley.
It was Chelsea’s third straight FA Cup title.
Is Kerr Australia’s best international athlete at the moment?
BARCA CELEBRATIONS CUT SHORT BY FURIOUS FANS
Meanwhile Barcelona claimed the La Liga title with a 4-2 win over Espanyol, but the party was short-lived.
Barca's players were celebrating on their arch rival's turf, but that was too much for fans.
They invaded the pitch and tried to attack Barcelona players who were forced to flee down the tunnel to safety, while there were also reports hooded men tried to get into the changing rooms and attack them with "bars, chairs, batons and other objects".
FANATICS BUY POINTSBET US OPERATIONS
US sports retail giant Fanatics has bought the US operations of Australian owned bookie, Pointsbet.
It’s a $US 150 million deal, which looks cheap given the US sports betting market is relatively new and predicted to double in value to as much as US $167 billion by 2030.
The US betting market is consolidating and smaller players are struggling to keep up.
The Fanatics are a growing beast of the global sports industry, valued at $US 31 billion.
Known for online merchandise and retail, in the last year alone Fanatics has:
Acquired Mitchell & Ness
Done new deals with WWE, NHL, 2028 Olympics and college basketball
Expanded its deal with Nike
Opened its first retail sportsbook, opened up betting in NYC and just did the Pointsbet deal
And it seems they’re just getting started.
GREEN LIGHT FOR MONSTER GAMING DEAL IN EUROPE
While we’re talking big deals let’s look at gaming, one of the fastest growing sports categories in the world.
The European Union has finally approved Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Sony opposed the deal, while regulators have been evaluating whether the deal would harm competition.
It’s an odd market dynamic because the UK has blocked the deal, while it is still being weighed up by regulators in Australia and NZ.
LANDALE WANTS TO STAY AT SUNS
The NBA world took notice of Aussie Jock Landale as the Phoenix Suns bowed out of the playoffs series at the hands of Denver.
Landale was super impressive off the bench and even got his first playoffs start, alongside Kevin Durant.
But the Suns’ new owner Matt Ishbia has already sacked coach Monty Williams, and Landale is a restricted free agent.
Despite that, Landale told US media that he wants to stay in Arizona.
Either way, the big man can expect a big pay day.
NFL ‘FRONT LOADS’ BLOCKBUSTER SCHEDULE
The NFL has announced its schedule for 2023 with its usual commercialised fan fare.
Interestingly the league has front-loaded its schedule with its biggest possible games early in the season, a strategy it has used in recent years to build momentum.
This is particularly important to the media partners that air one game a week, such as Amazon, ESPN and NBC.
Fox and CBS typically look for more balance.
COMMANDERS SALE MADE OFFICIAL
Meanwhile the ownership deal for the Washington Commanders has finally been made official.
Dan Snyder sold to a group led by Josh Harris, and while the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the group reportedly agreed to pay $6.05 billion for the franchise — a worldwide record sale price for a sports franchise.
TEAR JERKING FUNDRAISER FROM RUGBY LEGENDS
Kevin Sinfield carried his mate Rob Burrow over the finishing line in beautiful scenes at the Leeds marathon.
The Leeds legends have raised millions of dollars and global awareness for those with Motor Neurone Disease after Burrow became ill with the condition in 2019.
Watch the video here … and have the tissues handy.
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