Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Welcome to this week's edition of Extra Innings. Happy Holidays! Hopeful those of you on the East Coast survived the snowstorm and managed to dig yourselves out. This upcoming week means the return of the NBA; the NHL is not far behind. Both leagues are looking to find more sellable assets in their stadiums and on their uniforms. Elsewhere in the sports world, the MLB offseason is offering some interesting developments.
The NBA is set to begin its 2020/2021 season early next week as the pandemic sees another resurgence going into the holiday week. With the resurgence and additional lockdown restrictions being applied in counties across the country, teams are scrambling to add more sellable assets in their arena ahead of their first home games.
There will be a 72 game season with little to no fan attendance at the start of the season. This will result in a significant loss for the NBA teams. Navigate, a market research firm estimates that new sellable assets such as tarping seats and new baseline signage could bring in $25 to $50 million per year for teams. The same company estimates that these inventory pieces could generate $200 to $350 million for all teams for nationally televised games.
It’s important to remember that the NBA controls the advertising for all nationally televised games, which, in a normal season, means that team sponsors lose value for those games. This season the NBA will not transition advertising, in nationally televised games, to NBA sponsors in an effort to boost value for the individual team sponsors.
Forbes has released its NHL franchise valuation for the 2020/2021 season. The news is not great for the league as the average value of each team dropped by 2%. This announcement comes on the heels of the NHL facing a disappointing end to its 2019/2020 campaign, as the league lost $4.4 billion in revenue, a 14% decrease from the prior year.
The uncertainty behind future fan attendance is a key driver in falling valuations. A deal was not reached until Friday evening between the NHL and the NHLPA to solidify a potential start date for the upcoming, reduced season. By mid-January, the NHL could lose out on one-third of its season, which, coupled with a shortened season last year, means exacerbated losses.
Notable Information From the Sports World:
NHL: NHL teams can place sponsor branding and logos on helmets starting this season. The helmet advertisements are going to be an experiment for the league before deciding on jersey sponsorships.
MLB: A second stalemate between owners and players could emerge as owners are pushing for a later start date to ensure all players are vaccinated. A shortened season with a larger playoff would bring in more money to the teams through television deals, but the players are concerned about a shortened season affecting their salaries for the 2021 season.
MLB: Two years ago, the Cleveland Indians phased out Chief Wahoo, and this week, they announced that the team name would be retired. The team did not immediately announce a replacement name, which could be problematic as fans can purchase trademarks for potential new names. The names “Cleveland Baseball Club” and “Cleveland Spiders,” have already been claimed.
PLL: The Premier Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse have merged, consolidating outdoor professional lacrosse. This is a huge development for the sport as it means there will be no competition for players, sponsors, or fans moving forward. The PLL will add an eighth team moving into its third season. More details regarding a player draft and expansion of the league will be released in the future.