In this week’s SportsMoney Playbook: Soccer’s most valuable teams, the executive behind the Warriors’ transformation and Japan’s new golf king. Plus: how one broadcaster overcame cerebral palsy to find TV success.
If the NCAA makes good on its threat to pull college sports championships from states that pass anti-LGBTQ laws, those states will suffer little in the way of financial losses, say professors who study the economics of college sports.
Hideki Matsuyama‘s Masters victory has him poised for the kind of endorsement success that tennis stars Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori have enjoyed—or even more, given golf’s dominance in Japan‘s sports scene.
British sportswear brand Castore hopes the addition of Patrick “Captain America” Reed to its roster will help the company crack the U.S. market and reach its 2021 target of £100 million in global sales.
Track operator Speedway Motorsports is capitalizing on Nascar‘s willingness to test out new venues by leasing out the Circuit of the Americas, which traditionally hosts Formula One and IndyCar races, for a weekend in May.
Frank Kelleher, an intern at Daytona International Speedway nearly 20 years ago, is taking over as the track’s new president and is eager to earn the respect of fans. “I’m going to take the energy that I had going to corporate America and channel that all into the fan experience,” he tells us.
Unable to return to Toronto because of Canada’s Covid-19 border restrictions, the Blue Jays will soon leave Florida for a temporary home in Buffalo, where they also played last year. The park has gotten a facelift since then, however.
With three of the first five picks in tonight’s WNBA draft, the Dallas Wings are in a position to quickly reshape their future. “You can never have too much opportunity to acquire too much talent,” the team’s president and CEO tells us.
After rebranding itself as NJ/NY Gotham FC, the NWSL club formerly known as Sky Blue FC hopes to take the next step with a permanent home at Red Bull Arena, a restructured front office and a re-energized fan base. The league could soon be in for a shakeup as well.
With the debut of skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics this year, Team USA hopefuls Mariah Duran and Heimana Reynolds see an opportunity to let the world know skateboarders are “real athletes.”
With in-person events on hold, Activision Blizzard‘s Overwatch League is hoping to solve its connectivity problems by splitting its four best clubs between Hawaii and Tokyo, which have a direct internet cable running between them.
Now worth $4.76 billion, FC Barcelona is the most valuable soccer team in the world, claiming the top spot for the first time by edging out its rival Real Madrid ($4.75 billion). While those two clubs saw their valuations appreciate 18% and 12% in the last two years, one top-ten club put them to shame with a jaw-dropping 129% gain, to $2.5 billion. See who it is here, along with the rest of the top 20.
Upon Further Review
After more than 40 years of playing what Adam Silver called “a transformational role in the creation of the modern NBA,” Rick Welts is retiring. Welts created All-Star weekend and the Dream Team’s marketing program and helped launch the WNBA, but his most recent project has been revitalizing the Warriors as team president, taking Golden State from No. 12 on our list of the NBA’s most valuable teams in 2011 all the way to No. 2. No major pro franchise appreciated more over the last decade. New team president Brandon Schneider will have big shoes to fill.
The Last Word
“I had an executive tell me very early on point blank, ‘You should keep honing your craft at radio.’” – Jason Benetti
Early in his career, as he tried to rise through the broadcasting ranks, Jason Benetti knew people wondered why he couldn’t look at the camera or focus his eyes properly. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a young child, he sometimes questioned whether TV success was possible. But Benetti, who serves as the play-by-play voice of the White Sox and recently called his first nationally televised NBA game for ESPN, has proved his doubters wrong. Read more on Benetti’s journey.
You can subscribe to the SportsMoney Playbook here.