On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including the looming sale of the Nashville Predators. Sportico was the first to report last week that former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam was in advanced talks to purchase the NHL franchise.
Haslam is the brother of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, and he is buying the Predators in phases, coming in now as a minority partner with the ability to purchase a controlling stake in the coming years. The Predators are currently owned by a consortium widely credited with keeping the franchise in Nashville. The team has been very successful on the ice, and built a loyal following in Tennessee’s largest city. It also benefits financially from musical acts that play at Bridgestone Arena.
They also discuss Major League Soccer’s new 10-year broadcast agreement with Apple. MLS is the first major U.S. league to go streaming-only with its main media package, and it is the largest commitment from Apple so far for live sports rights. MLS has a profit-sharing agreement so it can potentially benefit from new subscribers to Apple’s platform, but the league also has to carry the cost to produce games, which will likely be tens of millions of dollars per year. The 10-year time horizon likely means it will be years before a full assessment of the deal can be made.
Lastly, the pair discuss Susquehanna’s big sports betting investment. The trading giant recently paid ~$65 million to acquire about 38 million new shares in PointsBet, making it the largest shareholder in the Australian operator. Susquehanna believes North American bettors will eventually gravitate toward the sportsbooks with the best pricing, and given its track record in securities trading, thinks it has the experience and expertise to make PointsBet a leader in that respect.
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