On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including Lionel Messi’s shocking departure from Barcelona. The decision is part of a larger story about clubs, like Barcelona, struggling to get their expenses in line with revenue shortfalls associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Had Barcelona signed Messi, even at a discounted rate, its player salaries would have been 110% its revenue, according to club president Joan Laporta. Even without him, the club would be at 95%, while the target is about 70%. One prominent soccer economist told Sportico that letting Messi walk “might be the only way to save the club financially.”
The hosts also discuss the Tokyo Olympics, which wrapped up over the weekend, and the looming Beijing Winter Olympics, which start in less than six months. Those Games could be even more difficult than the Tokyo Games were for sponsors, given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and global outcry over the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang, which the U.S. government has labeled a genocide.
Soshnick and Novy-Williams also talk about DraftKings’ plan to acquire Golden Nugget’s online gaming business in a $1.56 billion all-stock transaction, and a notable new NIL deal, in which the NHL’s Florida Panthers are partnering with Miami quarterback D’Eriq King.