August 30, 2022

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Front Office Sports


Manchester United is off to a shaky start this season, both on and off the pitch, but that’s only bolstered a bidding war between Amazon and Netflix for a docuseries on the third-most valuable club in the world. Responding to the success of Amazon’s “All or Nothing” series featuring Arsenal, both streaming giants are reportedly offering millions of dollars for access to the Red Devils.

LM Otero

More than 50 years after he played his last game, legendary New York Yankee Mickey Mantle is back on top — of the collectibles market.

On Sunday, a 1952 Topps Mantle rookie card sold for $12.6 million, setting a new record for sports collectibles as the most valuable sports card ever sold at auction.

“An eight-figure auction result in the sports market was the stuff of fantasy just a decade ago,” said Chris Ivy, Heritage Auctions’ Director of Sports Auctions. “We always knew this card would shatter records and expectations.”

  • Sold by Heritage, the card was graded a Mint+ 9.5 by Sportscard Guaranty Corporation.
  • Its price surpassed a T206 Honus Wagner card sold for $7.25 million earlier this month.
  • The card also beat the $9.3 million sale of a jersey worn by soccer player Diego Maradona. 

The prized Mantle card was brought to market by Anthony Giordano, who purchased the coveted collectible for $50,000 in 1991 — at the time a record for a sports trading card.

Lucrative Opportunity

Ken Goldin, founder of collectibles marketplace Goldin, told Front Office Sports in January that he expected to host at least $500 million in transactions on his platform this year, up from $330 million in 2021 and $100 million the year prior.

Meanwhile, eBay plans to take advantage of the booming market with its acquisition of TCGplayer — an online marketplace for sports cards — in a deal that could fetch up to $295 million.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

Apple is laying the groundwork to help you get fit in virtual reality.

The company has filed trademark applications for its long-rumored VR and AR headsets, a move which hints at a focus shift toward health and fitness.

  • Apple has filed trademarks in the U.S., E.U., and many other countries for names including “Reality One,” “Reality Pro,” and “Reality Processor.”
  • The trademarks are filed under a shell company called Immersive Health Solutions LLC, which was incorporated in February. The trademarks indicate the device will have health-related functions, per Bloomberg.

The $2.59 trillion company’s fitness efforts have centered on its Apple Watch series, which tracks numerous biometrics, and its Apple Fitness+ subscription service, which integrates that data into its fitness programs.

Liteboxer CEO Jeff Morin told FOS in June that his connected fitness company’s VR offering will eventually integrate with Apple’s hardware. Morin sees VR and AR as key to Liteboxer’s future.

Apple’s next product release event is scheduled for Sept. 7, with the tagline “Far out.”


Apple may be looking to change the game when it comes to sports media consumption, as the new headset could allow users to watch sports in VR. Apple has stepped up its efforts to acquire sports rights, purchasing MLS streaming rights in a 10-year, $2.5 billion deal.

The company could end up paying that amount annually if it is awarded rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Open is seeing a surge in demand for high-end experiences as it hosts the end of one of tennis’ most storied careers.

New “Courtside Premier” ticket packages are becoming a hot item. The program was launched last year by the US Tennis Association and Elevate Sports Ventures, a sports experiences company backed by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment and Arctos Sports Partners.

  • Ticket packages can top $10,000 for certain matches.
  • In addition to courtside seats, the packages include food, beverages, and the chance to meet retired champions including Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, and Lindsay Davenport.
  • Hotels are charging inflated prices during the tournament.

Kirsten Corio, the USTA’s chief commercial officer, told Bloomberg that packages have been bought by cryptocurrency and luxury goods companies, among others.

The USTA is expecting $50 million in revenue from courtside seats and certain suites and mezzanine seats.

Serena’s Swan Song

Serena Williams has said she will retire from competitive tennis following the U.S. Open and focus on her business endeavors. She won her first match of the tournament in straight sets Monday night.

Her announcement caused a 40% jump in ticket prices on StubHub. Tickets were already hitting prices 60% above last year.

The legend’s VC firm, Serena Ventures, has invested in more than 60 startups, 16 of which are valued above $1 billion. She is also part-owner of the Miami Dolphins and Angel City FC.

She made $35.1 million in the last year, per Forbes, nearly all of which came from off-court earnings.

Sacramento River Cats

The NBA’s Sacramento Kings are the new majority owner of a minor league baseball team.

The Kings have teamed up with Arctos Sports Partners to take an ownership stake in the Sacramento River Cats, who will remain a Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

  • Arctos purchased a 17% stake in the Kings in September 2021, reportedly valuing the team at $1.8 billion.
  • Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé and Arctos bought out the shares of several River Cats minority owners.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but reports earlier this month stated that a consortium led by Ranadivé was close to securing a $90 million takeover deal that includes Sutter Health Park, the team’s $46.5 million home field that opened in 2000.

The previously reported price tag would make it the highest purchase price for a minor league baseball team.

Current owner Susan Savage, whose late husband purchased the team in 1998, will stay on as an owner and strategic business advisor.

All About Arctos 

The Kings’ announcement comes less than a week after Arctos invested in a different NBA team. Arctos announced plans to purchase a stake in the Utah Jazz through a deal with Smith Entertainment Group, which is pending approval from SEG’s board of governors.

Arctos, which was reportedly the first firm to offer private equity funding across MLB, MLS, the NBA, and the NHL, has investments in more than 20 professional sports groups and franchises.

  • When Northwestern defeated Nebraska in Ireland on Saturday, the internet went down at Aviva Stadium in Dublin and attendees were able to get free beer. Would you wait in this line for a $0.00 cold one?
  • From the first pitch to the soccer pitch, Atmosphere Sports is bringing sports back to the center with scores, highlights, and more. Find out what they’re all about.*
  • HBO Max announced that it is producing a documentary about the infamous Bishop Sycamore football program.

*All times are EST unless otherwise noted.

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

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Monday’s Answer

73% of respondents think Formula 1 should always race in Europe.