August 17, 2022

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It seems like every athlete is into wine these days, and former NFL safety Will Blackmon — who won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants in 2012 — is at the forefront of the movement. He’s traveled the world exploring different vineyards, created his own concierge service, and has a lot to say about how football informed his POV on the space.

Check out the full conversation with Front Office Sports editor in chief Ernest Baker on the latest episode of My Other Passion — streaming on Apple, Spotify, and YouTube! 🎧

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame should reportedly expect around $60 million annually for its next media rights contract — more than doubling its current deal that’s worth roughly $25 million per year.

Outlets reported in July that Notre Dame was seeking $75 million annually from NBC, which drew speculation due to the school’s lower-than-expected ratings. The non-conference school negotiates its football media rights deals independently.

  • A report from November 2021 revealed viewership for Notre Dame’s football games was down 48% year-over-year, with an average of 2.5 million viewers. The team did, however, bring in a record streaming audience during the season.
  • In 2020, Notre Dame produced the most viewers since 2005.
  • But in 2019, viewership hit a record low for NBC with 2.1 million viewers.

Sports Business Journal reported the $60 million figure, but noted the landscape could change when NBC’s current deal is up in 2025.

Big Ten Broadcasts

Notre Dame had no matchups against Power 5 teams ranked in the AP Top 25 for the 2021 football season, but a new deal with NBC could mean the Fighting Irish would face Big Ten teams more often. 

NBC and CBS are reportedly “front-runners” for a broadcasting rights deal with the conference, with each expected to pay around $350 million per year.

ESPN, which has aired the Big Ten for 40 years, declined the conference’s final offer for a seven-year deal worth $380 million annually.

Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Former Masters champ Patrick Reed accused the Golf Channel and network analyst Brandel Chamblee of conspiring with the golf establishment “to destroy LIV” and defaming him for nearly a decade in a lawsuit seeking more than $750 million in damages. 

While Golf Channel and Chamblee are the only named defendants, the lawsuit filed in a Texas federal court on Tuesday alleges the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour are “acting in concert” to “maliciously defame Mr. Reed, LIV, and other golfers.” 

A spokesperson for the Golf Channel declined comment. 

The lawsuit details the feud between Reed and Chamblee.

  • Chamblee “has shown himself to be a disciple of the Skip Bayless school of sports analysis,” and his critiques of Reed are made “in order to leech attention, notoriety, and fame.”
  • Reed alleges the “longstanding pattern and practice of maliciously defaming” includes a 2019 segment where Chamblee said on air that Reed’s “ego is as big as Jupiter.”
  • Chamblee, both on air and via Twitter, said players on the Saudi-backed series are accepting “blood money.” 

“Mr. Reed has never accepted ‘blood money,’” Reed’s lawyer, right-wing activist attorney Larry Klayman, wrote in the lawsuit.

LIV Litigation

Earlier this month, Phil Mickelson and 10 other LIV Golf players filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, and Matt Jones, plaintiffs in that federal case, also sought a temporary restraining order in order to play in the FedEX Cup Playoffs, but the trio were denied the injunction last week.

Tencent

Tencent reported $19.77 billion in second-quarter revenue, a 3% decrease from the same period last year — the company’s first-ever year-over-year revenue decline.

In the Chinese tech conglomerate’s gaming division, revenue for domestic and international games both fell 1% year-over-year to a respective $4.7 billion and $1.6 billion, accounting for just under a third of Tencent’s total revenue.

Domestic games experienced “a smaller digestion period due to transitional issues,” according to Tencent, which include fewer game releases, lower user spending, and gaming regulations for minors.

  • In 2021, Chinese regulators created a rule to limit the amount of time minors could play video games to just three hours per week.
  • Between July 2021 and April 2022, regulators would not grant approval of new games — Tencent launched only three mobile games during Q2.

Meanwhile, international games are being affected by “a post-pandemic digestion period,” with gamers spending less time online as countries open back up.

Tencent owns or has stakes in Riot Games, Wake Up Interactive, Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, Roblox, and Discord, among others. Popular games including “League of Legends,” “PUBG,” and “Moonlight Blade Mobile” also experienced revenue declines during the quarter.

Matter of Time

While gaming regulations have slowed Tencent’s momentum, it shouldn’t be for long. 

Tencent president Martin Lau said the regulatory environment in the country is “progressing from rectification to normalization,” and the company expects to receive game licenses from regulators soon.

  • In The Leadoff, the Washington Nationals have a timeline for ownership bids, European women’s soccer could reach $698 million in annual commercial value, and Signa Sports and Genius Sports report quarterly revenue. Click here to listen
  • The Chicago White Sox have invested in NIL, creating a program called CHISOX Athlete and signing eight college athletes from multiple sports and schools in the region to NIL deals — all of whom grew up in Illinois.
  • LIV Golf hasn’t secured a major media rights deal in the U.S., despite having talks over the last several months with major networks and streaming services, but a deal remains a “priority” for the tour.
(Note: All as of market close on 8/17/22)

The Las Vegas Aces host the Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday at Michelob ULTRA Arena in the first round of the WNBA playoffs.

How to Watch: 10 p.m. ET on ESPN

Betting Odds: Aces -16 || ML -1650 || O/U 167.5

Pick: Expect the top-seeded Aces to win at home. Take Las Vegas to cover.

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