SBJ/April 3-9, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

League ready for another OTT game from London

The NFL is again in the market seeking an over-the-top technology partner for one of its four regular-season games in London, said Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s chief media and business officer. Two seasons ago, the NFL streamed a London game on Yahoo, and the game was available on broadcast television only in the home teams’ markets. The league did not have an OTT game last season. The development comes as the league is also in the market for a streaming partner for “Thursday Night Football.” Twitter streamed it last year and is in the mix again. A decision on both OTT and “TNF” streaming are expected this month.

MORE THAN A LOAN: The talk leading up to the Raiders’ relocation was that team owner Mark Davis would assume massive amounts of debt. And indeed, his lender, Bank of America, is providing an $825 million credit facility. But that does not tell the whole story. The Raiders plan to borrow $473 million. They also are projecting $250 million in PSL sales. If those sales falter, then the team would tap into the credit facility to make up the difference. The team is also borrowing $200 million from the league through the stadium financing program. The state of Nevada is providing $750 million of immediate subsidy, bringing the total project cost to just under $1.7 billion. Nevada is also responsible for stadium upkeep and other costs that the NFL estimates over time will come to $200 million. The Raiders are responsible for construction cost overruns and may have other costs associated with the three years before the stadium opens in 2020. The Bank of America credit facility will cover those potential costs as well.

The NFL extended its moratorium on teams’ signing primary ticketing deals until the end of October. The league passed a moratorium in October 2016 that was set to expire March 31. The reason for the moratorium is to give the league more time to assess the rapidly changing primary and secondary ticket markets.

There could be an addition to tailgating at Miami Dolphins games: tennis. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is proposing a project costing up to $100 million to build a tennis venue beside Hard Rock Stadium to house the Miami Open. The stadium itself would become the main court. WME-IMG owns the event, which is based in Key Biscayne and has struggled to expand its footprint because of litigation. It’s unclear whether the agency is serious about moving the event or just using leverage locally. The event has long marketed itself for the access to nearby beaches. The Dolphins play in the northern part of Miami-Dade County, not exactly causeways and white sand. The Ross plan would carve out a parking lot for a permanent venue, landscaped apart from the other lots.

Hard Rock Stadium could get a tennis venue; the Lions (below) will hold club seat premiums out of the league pool to help renovate Ford Field.

Owners voted to allow the Detroit Lions to hold back their contribution of club seat premiums to a general pool to help pay for a $100 million renovation of Ford Field. The Lions will recoup $29 million toward the project through what the league calls a club seat waiver.

The Atlanta Falcons have begun taking prospective suite holders and season-ticket buyers for the first time to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, still under construction. The team is confident it will sell out season tickets, which require a PSL, and it is close to selling out premium suites. Falcons owner Arthur Blank also owns the new Atlanta United FC of MLS, which has 30,000 season-ticket holders. Of those, only 3 percent overlap with the Falcons’ season-ticket holders.

The estate of late Coca-Cola President Donald Keough won approval to transfer his 4.5 percent interest in the Carolina Panthers to a trust for public works in Atlanta. Meanwhile, the Panthers emphatically denied a report that the team was for sale. … Kansas City Chiefs President Mark Donovan said that while no renovations at Arrowhead Stadium are scheduled, communal viewing areas are ultimately needed to address the viewing habits of millennials. … NFL folks were raving about the presentation from wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who talked about the need for players and owners to work together on cause marketing. The league may now invite an active player to every annual meeting to speak. … The NFL still is not ready to let coaches uses tablets for video replays on the sidelines. Officials said there are kinks, but it is no secret some coaches are opposed. … Owners and NFL officials often must wade through a scrum of reporters peppering them with questions. Some call this gauntlet “Stalkers Row.” … A handful of Raiders fans showed up to protest the relocation vote, but hotel security promptly escorted them off the property.

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