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Start your morning with Buzzcast: Boehly approved on Chelsea; Anaheim walks away from Moreno deal; Combine to stay in Indy for now and Chase Center gets new GM.

Anaheim nixes Angel Stadium sale amid turmoil

The Anaheim City Council last night voted unanimously to "kill the sale of Angel Stadium and the surrounding property." On the day after mayor Harry Sidhu resigned amid an FBI investigation, Councilman Jose Moreno said that the "probe had raised the curtain on what he called 'a pandemic of corruption' in Anaheim and called the stadium deal 'the fruit of a poisoned tree.'" The decision to terminate the deal "does not leave the Angels homeless." Since the sale "never has been finalized," the ballpark "remains under the ownership of the city, and the Angels remain under a lease that binds the team to Angel Stadium" through '29, with an option to stay through '38. The council meeting "had the flavor of a revival, or a pep rally." The business interests that "routinely speak up in favor of the deal were silent, in the week after the longtime leader of the Anaheim chamber of commerce was charged with fraud" (L.A. TIMES, 5/24).

Kerr, sports world react strongly to shooting

The sports world "reacted swiftly" to news of the deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Outspoken Warriors coach Steve Kerr "urged Congress to mandate background checks for gun purchases" before his team faced the Mavericks in Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference finals. Kerr:  “I’m fed up. I’ve had enough. We’re going to play the game tonight. But I want every person here, every person listening to this, to think about your own child or grandchild, mother or father, sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?” (AP, 5/24). As the game began in Dallas, the "video board went dark, the crowd hushed, the teams stood motionless, and the public address announcer’s voice wavered as the show went on" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/25).

Columnists weighed in after Kerr's words:

NFL to proceed with launch of streaming service

By Ben Fischer

ATLANTA -- The NFL will proceed with the creation of its own streaming service, NFL Plus. A launch is expected in July. Live games on mobile phones and tablets will be the content centerpiece of NFL Plus, which will sell for about $5 monthly, though a source cautioned the pricing structure may change. It will likely include other content as well; possibilities include radio, podcasts and miscellaneous team-created content. The live mobile/tablet games will be limited to what fans could otherwise see in their local TV markets. Until this year, those games were distributed to tablets and laptops via Yahoo and on mobile phones through major carriers, deals that have since expired.

NFL Plus comes to the front as talks continue over possibly selling an equity stake in NFL Media properties, with Apple and Amazon the front runners. If one of those deals comes to fruition, NFL Plus could be folded into that package. Along with that flexibility, going it alone on this streaming product will give the NFL new data on its users, sources said.

Todd Boehly now in the clear to acquire Chelsea

Todd Boehly's deal to buy Chelsea was "finally sealed by Government, the Premier League and Europe." A "fraught two month sale saga was finally resolved" shortly after 7:00am London time today, as Roman Abramovich was told that he "will now receive the approval licence he needs from the U.K." Portugal and the European Commission are "expected to confirm the deal this morning, having signalled to the U.K. that they are happy." Proceeds from the initial US$3.1B sale are "expected to start changing hands almost immediately as ministers now draw up a licence amendment," which means Chelsea "can be sold as a frozen asset." Last-minute European permission, "which caused further delays, was necessary because Abramovich is also sanctioned there and he has had a Portuguese passport" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/25).

Guaranteed Rate extends bowl title sponsorship

By Austin Karp

Guaranteed Rate liked what it saw as title sponsor for the bowl game at Chase Field in Phoenix, as the Chicago-based mortgage lender is extending its deal with the Fiesta Bowl organization that operates the bowl for another four years. Guaranteed Rate signed a one-year deal initially prior to the ’20 bowl season, but that year’s game was canceled due to COVID, and the brand first was attached for the ’21 iteration of the Big 12-Big Ten matchup. Guaranteed Rate as part of its deal gets category exclusivity in mortgages, home loans and home buying. The game -- formally known as the Cactus Bowl, Insight Bowl and Copper Bowl -- airs annually on ESPN airwaves.

Hyundai to sponsor NHL, NHLPA in Canada

By Alex Silverman

The NHL and NHLPA have signed Hyundai as their official automotive partner in Canada beginning with the '22-23 season. The multiyear deal, specific terms of which were not disclosed, will also make Hyundai’s Genesis brand the official luxury automotive partner of the league and union in Canada. Honda, which is currently the NHL’s auto partner in the U.S. and Canada, will cede the designation in Canada after this season, but will remain the league’s auto partner in the U.S. The NHLPA does not have a U.S. auto partner.

Under the new agreement, Hyundai will receive exposure associated with the league’s Canadian outdoor game, the Heritage Classic, as well as the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It will have the right to use the NHL name and logo, and current and former players through the NHLPA and the NHL Alumni Association. Innocean Worldwide Canada, Hyundai’s agency of record, helped facilitate the deal.

PWHPA joins with BJK, Walter Group on league plan

The PWHPA has "entered into a formal relationship with Billie Jean King Enterprises and The Mark Walter Group to explore the launch of a new professional women’s hockey league," a source said. With a letter of intent signed, the Walter Group and BJK Enterprises’ involvement "marks a major step forward toward the PWHPA’s goal of creating a financially stable, professional league." They have identified Larry Scott to "lead their group’s work during a period of exclusivity with the PWHPA," alongside Ilana Kloss, Billie Jean King’s longtime partner and CEO of BJK Enterprises. According to a source, the PWHPA "has been working closely with Deloitte, an advisory firm, and Scotiabank, a financial institution, over the past 12 months to build a business plan" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/24).

Steelers' Omar Khan expected to be named GM

Steelers VP/Football & Business Administration Omar Khan is "expected to be named the team’s new general manager, replacing Kevin Colbert," per multiple sources. Khan, who has been with the organization for 21 years, "has served primarily as the Steelers’ lead contract negotiator." As part of the arrangement, the Steelers also are expected to hire Eagles VP/Player Personnel Andy Weidl as assistant GM. Khan was "one of six finalists who received second interviews" with team President Art Rooney II to replace Colbert, who is retiring after 22 seasons with the Steelers (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 5/24).

Warriors hire Donna Daniels as Chase Center GM

By Eric Prisbell
Daniels will be in charge of operating the venue, including parking and guest experienceWarriors

The Warriors are naming Donna Daniels GM of Chase Center. With more than 30 years experience in professional sports and live entertainment -- including 25 years at the NBA league office -- Daniels will oversee all Chase Center operations. She will report to Warriors President & COO Brandon Schneider and begin her new role June 20. Daniels most recently worked for Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, where she served as Prudential Center Exec VP & GM from '19-21. Much like in that role, she will be in charge of operating the venue, which encompasses parking, guest experience, engineering and converting building security, among other priorities. She also will be tasked with booking Chase Center, as well as box office responsibilities. The Warriors used the search firm Nolan Partners.

Daniels was particularly enthralled by the vision exuded by Warriors co-Owners Peter Guber and Joe Lacob. "People want to go to an organization that has amazing people," Daniels told SBJ. "I've had the privilege of knowing that organization for a long time through my tenure at the NBA, and it's always had amazing people. It is a world-class organization, a world-class venue and obsessed with the fan experience. And I am obsessed with the fan experience." As the Warriors continue to bolster Chase Center and surrounding Thrive City as a "global destination," Schneider said they will lean on Daniels' leadership, vision and perspective to enhance the in-venue fan experience.

Daniels left HBSE last November to spend more time with her mom after her dad died in February '21. Earlier in her tenure at HBSE, from '16 to '19, Daniels served as the HBSE Senior VP/Business Operations. Prior to HBSE, Daniels held various positions at the NBA, most recently serving as VP/Team Marketing & Business Operations from '11-16. Throughout her career, she has earned numerous honors, including in '19 when Crain's New York named her to its Notable Women in Sports Business list. "I come from two organizations -- the NBA and HBSE -- where there was the relentless pursuit of perfection," Daniels said. "That is how I live my life, both personally and professionally. It is why I'm so excited about going to this organization, because it is who they are. The standards are just so high and what we deliver across the board."

Some new names honored at Sports Emmys

The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on last night in N.Y., and some "usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware." Some of the awards of note: NBC’s Mike Tirico won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be "SNF" broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst. But the "new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning." Brady’s "Man in the Arena" won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were "rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series" (BARRETT SPORTS MEDIA, 5/25).

Media trailblazer Lesley Visser became the first woman to win the Sports Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award. Check out SBJ's '16 profile of her (SBJ).

Speed Reads....

The start of the second half of Warriors-Mavericks Game 4 was delayed 16 minutes “because of a roof leak in American Airlines Center.” Arena workers “covered the corner of the court in front of the Warriors’ bench with towels to contain the runoff” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/25).

Former NFLer Herschel Walker “crushed five rivals in Tuesday’s primary, easily clinching the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Georgia.” He will face Democratic incumbent Rev. Raphael Warnock in the general election this November (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/25).

The Seahawks today are expected to release the first episode “of its new ‘The Sound’ monthly video series on YouTube promising ‘behind-the-scenes’ coverage of the team.” The initial episode focusing on last month’s NFL Draft and is “expected to include” team Chair Jody Allen (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/25).

Quick Hits....

“They’ve spent more time with him than I believe they’ve spent with anybody on any personal conduct case” -- ESPN’s Adam Schefter, on the NFL's investigation into Browns QB Deshaun Watson and meeting with him multiple times (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 5/24).

Today's Events....

Major League Pickleball Founder Steve Kuhn will ring the Opening Bell on the NYSE floor. MLP is taking over the NYSE Boardroom from 8:00-9:00am ET, bringing in a mobile pickleball court. The league kicks off its season in Austin June 3-5. 

Twitter Me This....

Morning Hot Reads: Merits of the case

YAHOO SPORTS goes with, "The NFL called Brian Flores' lawsuit 'without merit.' Its actions since suggest the opposite." In the months since Flores sued the league over its hiring practices, the NFL's actions "have said 'Brian Flores is right, even non-football fans are paying attention and we have to at least make it look like we want to make things better.'" That continued Tuesday, when the league announced a "new initiative to increase the number of non-white medical athletic trainers at team facilities." There is also theCoach and Front Office Accelerator in Atlanta, where teams were invited to "choose one non-white or female front-office personnel member and assistant coach to go to the team owners' meetings for "leadership development.'" These are "typical NFL ideas: good in theory, but in practice ... well, we'll see."

Also:

Check out Sports Business Journal's weekly issue

Don't miss this week's issue of SBJ. The exciting, in-person return of the Sports Business Awards highlights this week's issue, as we honor the winners and celebrate the industry coming together to mark the occasion for the first time in two years. Also, Denny Hamlin speaks out on and off the track to reinvigorate NASCAR; the Texas Longhorns and Oak View Group are ready to take their unique Moody Center partnership to prime time; and why new multisport megaplexes are a big draw for youth sports and tourists.

If you’d like to receive the print issue at your home office, update your delivery address at any time within your account settings here. If you have questions about how and where to receive your print copy, email help@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

Final Jeopardy!

Last night’s "Final Jeopardy!" category was "The Middle Ages.”

“It was the surname of the two Scottish brothers who claimed monarchies of two different countries in the 13-teens.”

Last night’s edition of “Jeopardy!” featured the category “Sports Shorts.”
$200: “’The Stilt’ was this 7-footer’s rhyming nickname.”
$400: “The Atlanta Dream and Los Angeles Sparks play in this league.”
$600: “This Ram runneth over the Bengals’ secondary to be MVP of Super Bowl LVI.”
$800: “This team’s retired numbers include Stan Musial’s 6 and Bob Gibson’s 45.”
$1000: “He took Gold with a powerhouse free skate at the 2022 Winter Olympics.”

BONUS TRIVIA: From today's MORNING BREW newsletter: "What is the most populous US state without a professional sports team in the top four leagues (NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL)? And what is the least populous state with all four?"

Today's Back Pages....

The Morning Buzz offers today's back page sports covers from some of North America's major metropolitan tabloids:

N.Y. Post N.Y. Daily News Newsday Boston Herald Chicago Sun-Times Philadelphia Daily News

Final Jeopardy....

“What is Bruce?”

Correct responses to the “Sports Shorts” category:
$200: “Who is Wilt Chamberlain?”
$400: “What is the WNBA?”
$600: “Who is Cooper Kupp?”
$800: “What are the St. Louis Cardinals?”
$1000: “Who is Nathan Chen?”

BONUS TRIVIA ANSWER: "Virginia is the most populous with none, and Minnesota is the least populous that has all four."

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