March 24, 2022

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Front Office Sports


March Madness never disappoints, and this year is no different. The men’s tournament is averaging 9.1 million viewers across the four networks broadcasting games. That’s up 12% from 2021 — and the highest viewership in five years.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks

Formula 1 is coming to Las Vegas with the first race slated for Thanksgiving weekend in 2023, a source with knowledge of the event told Front Office Sports.

The global racing series is expected to make the announcement in the coming weeks.

  • Las Vegas could become F1’s flagship race in the U.S. The series is established in Austin, and will debut in Miami in May.
  • The expectation is that the race would use part of the city streets, in and around the Las Vegas Strip, with pedestrian bridges used as viewing areas.

F1 has also shown interest in New York, though it’s unclear if it plans to add a fourth U.S. race anytime soon.

Messages left by FOS with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority were not immediately returned.

Africa Next?

“On top of America, on top of China, I think there is a potential also to be in Africa soon,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told Sky Sports.

South Africa’s Kyalami circuit, which last hosted a race in 1993, is under consideration, with support from star Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said he can envision riding the series’ surging popularity to 30 total races. The 2022 season will have 23 Grand Prix contests.

Domenicali also said that he has had several requests to add new teams, including from American racing legend Michael Andretti, but he likes the current structure of the tournament.

Editor’s note: A.J. Perez contributed to this story.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks

The loss of both Troy Aikman and Joe Buck is fueling speculation that Fox Corp. might consider selling Fox Sports.

Fox will save up to $160 million by letting the duo go to ESPN, suggesting Fox is in “cost-cutting mode,” according to Eric Jackson, founder and president of the EMJ Capital hedge fund. “It’s reasonable to guess whether Fox Corp. is thinking of selling all of Fox Sports.” 

One television executive told FOS the cost-cutting “could mean [Fox] is going into acquisition mode.” 

Fox Sports could be a target for tech giants like Apple or sportsbooks like FanDuel:

  • Fox controls the NFL’s most-watched game window on Sunday afternoons — and two of the next three Super Bowls.
  • It has the World Series through 2028. 
  • Fox holds a majority stake in the Big Ten Network and divides rights with ESPN.
  • Its NASCAR deal runs through 2024.

Fox has been backing off some sports. At a savings of $660 million annually, Fox will hand off “Thursday Night Football” to Amazon this season and pulled out of its 12-year USGA deal seven years early in 2020. 

Fox previously sold its 21 regional sports networks as part of Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox in 2019. 

Apple or Amazon Interested?

Even if Fox Sports goes on the block, Jackson doubts Apple or Amazon would be interested. 

“Too much hair comes with owning a legacy cable asset for them,” he said.

FC Kaiserslautern/Design: Alex Brooks

Pacific Media Group founder Paul Conway is in advanced talks to take a minority stake in a German soccer team, backed by baseball executives known for data-driven analysis.

A deal for 10% of FC Kaiserslautern could reportedly be announced soon. Conway is working with investors and multi-team co-owners Chien Lee and Krishen Sud, Tampa Bay Rays co-owner Randy Frankel, and former Rays executive Michael Kalt on the bid. 

Known for targeting lower-division teams, often with a limited track record of success, Pacific Media Group co-owns a growing collection of European soccer teams.

  • EFL Championship’s Barnsley FC (Oakland A’s executive Billy Beane also owns a stake)
  • Ligue 2’s AS Nancy
  • Esbjerg FB of Denmark’s First Division
  • Belgian Pro League team KV Oostende 
  • Swiss Challenge League team FC Thun
  • FC Den Bosch of the Netherlands’ Eerste Divisie

Local investors acquired 33% of Kaiserslautern in 2020 for around $12.1 million.

SPAC on Track

Conway is seeking to claim a chunk of a more prestigious team through a SPAC he formed with Kalt, Counter Press Acquisition Corp. The blank-check company is seeking a club with an enterprise value between $250 million and $500 million.

The SPAC’s management team includes Frankel, former Rays general manager and current Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, and Angel City Football Club co-founder Julie Uhrman.

  • In The Leadoff, UEFA is set to impose new financial regulations, Adidas enters the NIL space with a nationwide ambassador program, the Premier Lacrosse League secures a deal with ESPN, and the St. Louis Cardinals’ manager launches an edtech startup. Click here to listen.
  • NENT, a Swedish rival of Netflix, has added live sports to its content lineup. The service is available in more than a dozen countries and recently secured a long-term exclusive rights deal in Britain to air events such as ice hockey and skating from various sports organizations.
  • On Thursday, New York City mayor Eric Adams announced an exemption for unvaccinated athletes and performers, allowing Kyrie Irving to make his home debut at Barclays Center on Sunday for the Brooklyn Nets. Irving can now get back to regularly doing what he does best, but his standoff certainly came with a hefty price for both his wallet and his team’s title hopes. Subscribe to Scoreboard for more on Irving and his return to Barclays Center.
  • The pivotal Concacaf World Cup qualifier happens tonight in Mexico City. Stream one of international soccer’s fiercest rivalries, Mexico vs. USA, tonight at 10 p.m. ET on Paramount+.*

*Sponsored Content

(Note: All as of market close on 3/24/22)

The Texas Tech Red Raiders (27-9) face the Duke Blue Devils (30-6) on Thursday at Chase Center.

How to Watch: 9:39 p.m. ET on CBS

Betting Odds: Duke -1 || ML -115 || O/U 136* (Bet on DraftKings)

*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.


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