The Big Deal Weekly: Chiefs' Super Bowl glory, Crows' captaincy call, Dangerfield's mid-season draft pitch, NBA's madcap trade deadline day, Pep punchy as Man City face charges and more
Newsletter No. 22, 13 February 2023
Welcome to The Big Deal.
Super Bowl LVII proved to be one for the ages as Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs came from behind to win - but not before shattering the dreams of a former St Kilda player punting for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The AFL season is starting to inch closer and there’s been a fascinating leadership change at Adelaide - one which Warren Tredrea called back in September!
While Patrick Dangerfield’s been watching with envy as some of the biggest NBA names trade places mid-season. He reckons it’s time to make it happen in the AFL.
Make sure you keep up to date with our weekly podcasts by subscribing on Apple Podcasts and Spotify - Darren Cahill made international headlines around the world with his chat to us on The Big Deal last week.
Here’s what’s been happening in sports business at home and around the world.
IN THIS WEEK’S WRAP OF THE BIG DEALS
Chiefs trump Eagles in epic Super Bowl LVII
Jordan the new king of Crows
Danger plumps for AFL mid-season draft
Phoenix rising after NBA trade deadline
Highs and lows of LeBron’s record-breaking night
Pep punchy after City charges
Darren doubles down on Halep’s innocence
Adidas profits heading south after West divorce
Wallaroos in the money
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AUSSIE SIPOSS MISSES SUPERBOWL GLORY
Patrick Mahomes became the first NFL MVP to win the Super Bowl since 1999 as the Kansas City Chiefs came from 10 points behind to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35.
Mahomes, who earns around US$45 million per season to sit behind only Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott, overcame a rolled ankle in the first half to lead the Chiefs to their third Super Bowl win and second in four seasons.
He was also named Super Bowl MVP.
But there was disappointment for former St Kilda player Arryn Siposs who failed to become the first Australian to take the field in a winning Super Bowl.
His 38-yard mistimed second half punt came back with interest when Kadarius Toney rushed a 65-yard punt return which led to a key touchdown on the next play.
It was the biggest punt return in Super Bowl history.
Siposs shouldn’t be too disappointed having played in the NFL’s showpiece match having been cut by St Kilda after 28 games from 2011-14.
His salary of around A$1.1m would place him in the AFL top 10 - something he could have only dreamed of a decade ago.
The victorious Chiefs players will each receive a bonus US$157,000 in prizemoney from the NFL as well as a championship ring.
But not everyone was happy.
Fans vented their fury on social media with the slippery state of the field at Phoenix’s State Farm Stadium causing players to constantly lose their footing.
The grass was reportedly laid just two weeks ago, having been grown for the past two years at a cost of US$800,000.
Oddly, the price of tickets plunged by up to 30 per cent in the final days leading up to the match.
A surplus saw the cheapest ones plummet from US$6000 to US$4200 - if you call that a bargain.
But the best tickets on resale sites were still going for nearly US$40,000 the day before the game.
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JORDAN THE NEW KING OF CROWS
There’s been a changing of the guard at the Adelaide Crows with former Sydney star Jordan Dawson the new captain.
He replaces Rory Sloane who had been either co-captain or lone leader since 2019.
But did Sloane step down or was he tapped?
The Crows say Sloane decided to “pass on the captaincy” and stand down from the leadership group all together.
But their own website even quotes Sloane as admitting he could have continued in the role.
“We have been talking about this for five to six months, and I could 100 per cent keep going as captain, but there is someone else who is ready to take the club forward,” Sloane said.
In mid-November, Sloane sure still had designs on continuing as captain.
“It has been a privilege to lead this footy club and I'm just looking forward to being able to do that on the field next year,” he told Zero Hanger.
The Big Deal’s Warren Tredrea read the tea leaves as early as September:
Replacing Sloane is clearly the right call.
He’s only played 34 games in the last three seasons with his on-field impact waning and his average possessions per game dropping below 20.
He has been a fine servant and warrior for the Crows since being selected with pick 44 in the 2008 draft.
But the Victorian’s body is clearly almost at the end of its capabilities after many seasons at the coal face.
The big question now is, what impact will this decision have on the other man groomed and now overlooked for the role, Tom Doedee.
The timing could scarcely be worse for Adelaide with Doedee to become a restricted free agent at season’s end.
DANGER PLUMPS FOR AFL MID-SEASON DRAFT
Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield has run a Twitter poll which found more than 63 per cent of respondents favour an AFL mid-season trade period.
Dangerfield was inspired to revisit the idea after a crazy final day of NBA trades which saw Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving among the key players who swapped sides.
Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is among the big names who support the move.
“I voted yes,” he commented on Twitter.
“Players hold too much power. Need to give clubs more capacity to improve their lists and their prospects above and beyond year by year.”
Even departing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan supports the concept.
“There are very good players who are not getting games at clubs that would make a difference to (another) team within a season,” he said on SEN last year.
“It makes no sense to me that you can’t facilitate that.”
PHOENIX RISING AFTER NBA TRADE DEADLINE
It was head-spinning stuff on the NBA’s trade deadline day and the Brooklyn Nets were the big losers, going from dream team to ghetto.
Mat Ishbia appears to have triggered the seismic reactions across the league with his new ownership of the Phoenix Suns only approved within a couple of days of the deadline.
Depending on who you believe, he has a net wealth of between US$5-11 billion.
Ishbia’s Suns secured Kevin Durant and had veteran TJ Warren thrown in as the Nets’ fire sale also saw Kyrie Irving dealt to the Mavericks.
It came just a year after James Harden’s exit from Brooklyn.
The Nets picked up Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks, a 2028 pick swap, a set of steak knives, a yearly Christmas card from the Suns and the sniggers of everyone from Water St to the Hamptons.
The Lakers were the other big players, gaining D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley as part of a three-way that saw them flick Russell Westbroook to the Jazz.
While Aussie Matisse Thybulle moved from the 76ers to the Trail Blazers as part of a four-way trade that saw the Knicks acquire Josh Hart.
Thybulle was on a four-year deal with the 76ers worth US$12.5 million.
He is due $4.3 million of that in this, the final season of that deal.
HIGHS AND LOWS OF LEBRON’S RECORD-BREAKING NIGHT
LeBron James’ record-breaking night when he became the NBA’s highest ever scorer attracted a bumper viewing audience - the biggest in five years (excluding opening nights).
An average three million people watched James pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s old mark on TNT.
There were 3.7 million tuned in when James sunk the magic bucket between 11.45pm and midnight, LA time.
The NBA’s social and digital platforms caught fire too, attracting a record 225 million views, the most for a regular season night game.
But James’ heroics have turned out to be a real bummer for those expecting he would sink the history-making shot in the follow-up game against the Bucks.
Many had already shelled out the minimum price of US$796 for that game.
Those same tickets have now slumped to just US$100.
PEP PUNCHY AFTER CITY CHARGES
The greatest scandal in English football could be unearthing with Manchester City charged with more than 100 breaches of financial fair play rules.
The accusations relate to City spending money on players which they said were sponsors’ deals but which were in reality coming out of the deep pockets of its Abu Dhabi owners.
If the charges are proven, there is no limit to the potential penalties which include being stripped of titles to points deductions and even relegation from the Premier League which would be devastating.
Manager Pep Guardiola went on the defensive after the allegations were made public, declaring his club has already been tried and convicted by the media.
“My first thought is that we have already been condemned,” he told them ahead of the weekend’s home match against Aston Villa.
“We are lucky we live in a country where everyone is innocent until proven guilty. We didn’t have this opportunity. We have been sentenced already.
“In case we are not innocent, we will accept what the judge or the Premier League decide.”
But Guardiola then asked a fair question.
“What happens if in the same situation that UEFA happened, we are innocent? What happens to restore or pay back our damage?”
Guardiola has previously gone on the record saying he would quit the club if it is proven that he has been lied to by its owners.
DARREN DOUBLES DOWN ON HALEP’S INNOCENCE
Accomplished tennis coach Darren Cahill has doubled down on his support of Simona Halep who remains suspended from playing the WTA tour.
On The Big Deal podcast, Cahill again called for the ban to be lifted and is adamant she is not at fault after failing a doping test at the US Open.
“There’s no way she’d ever cheat. She is a great woman and a great person. There’s no way she could have done the wrong thing,” Cahill said.
“I hope that whether a company made a mistake, or a medical person, or a person from WTA, or someone from her team did not do their due diligence, someone puts their hand up and takes responsibility for this because one thing I do know is that Simona is not at fault here.
“She did nothing wrong.”
Cahill, who now works with Jannik Sinner, spoke about a wide range of issues on The Big Deal podcast including the business of tennis coaching.
He also heaped praise on the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer as the next generation still struggles to end what has been nearly two decades of dominance by the trio.
ADIDAS PROFITS HEADING SOUTH AFTER WEST DIVORCE
Adidas’s divorce from Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, will not come cheaply.
The cancellation of his footwear brand Yeezy looks like leaving Adidas feeling quite uneasy and even queasy.
The sportswear company now says it is expected to lose US$1.3 billion in revenue and nearly US$534 million in operating profit this year.
These figures take into account the impact of not selling existing stock.
A further one-off cost of US$213 means the total damage could crystalise a US$747 million loss in 2023 alone.
Adidas ended its partnership after Ye’s anti-semitic posts on social media.
WALLAROOS IN THE MONEY
Rugby Australia has taken the first step toward making the country’s elite female players fully professional.
CEO Andy Marinos wants to achieve the target by the 2025 women’s World Cup in England.
Players will now be contracted across three pay tiers with the ability to earn between $30,000 and $52,000 this year.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese threw his support behind the move with the 2029 women’s rugby World Cup on the horizon.
Albanese hosted Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan, head coach Jay Tregonning and Wallaroos players at Kirribilli House to discuss the new pay structure.
“As the superstars of our Rugby Sevens have shown - the fastest and best way to grow the game is to inspire the next generation of women and girls to take part,” Albanese said in a statement
“Making sure current and future female superstars are paid a wage will play a huge part in that.”
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