On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including a pair of major sports deals to kick off the new year.
Fanatics is buying the Topps trading card business for just under $500 million, a deal that will rapidly accelerate Fanatics’ push into sports cards. Michael Rubin’s company shocked the whole industry in August, when it secured exclusive sports card licenses from many of the major American sports leagues. The move scuttled a $1.6 billion SPAC deal for Topps. Now Fanatics is buying the company whose future it upended.
In the other big deal, a group that includes David Blitzer (co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils) and Ryan Smith (owner of the Utah Jazz) has reached an agreement to purchase the MLS club Real Salt Lake for just under $400 million. The deal, which also includes Arctos Sports Partners, is the latest major MLS transaction and a signal of the changing face of MLS ownership. More and more league investors tend to be owners with established track records in other leagues.
Lastly, the pair discuss Wasserman’s acquisition of The Montag Group, a move that will help athletes transition from the playing field to the broadcasters’ booth. Wasserman is one of the biggest agencies in pro sports, and The Montag Group’s clients include on-air talent like Mike Tirico, Kenny Smith and Jim Nantz.