Sporticast: What Diana Ross Can Teach NFL Players for the 2023 Season

On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams speak with sports consultant Marc Ganis, a close advisor to Roger Goodell and other NFL owners, about the business of the world’s richest sports league.

First, the group talks about the enduring career of Motown star Diana Ross, who is still performing around the globe, and what athletes can learn from the former lead singer of The Supremes. More and more athletes are finding that their public careers continue well past their playing days, but is that easier now for NBA stars than NFL stars? Ganis discusses the difference between athletes in those two leagues.

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The NFL season kicks off on Thursday, This is the first year of the league’s new $130+ billion in media deals, which include more exclusive rights for Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and a new home for the league’s NFL Sunday Ticket product, which has moved from DirecTV to Google’s YouTube TV (Nasdaq: GOOG). Ganis talks about the thinking behind those deals, and shares a critical piece of the NFL’s philosophy: Most of the big TV deals run 11 years, but the NFL has an opt-out after seven years, which could give the league more options if media consumption continues to shift, or if the deep-pocketed streaming companies start prioritizing sports rights.

Talk later turns to the NFL’s ownership rules, which are stricter than any other major U.S. league. Those rules were in the spotlight over the last 12 months as a group led by Josh Harris pursued the Washington Commanders. Harris’s group had a combined net worth of more than $45 billion, but still struggled to put together a financing plan that the league would approve. They ultimately bought the team for $6.05 billion.

NFL valuations are soaring, but debt limits, controlling stake requirements, limits on LPs and prohibition of institutional capital have made buying a team significantly harder. The trio discusses when that might change, and if it does, which lever the NFL might choose to pull first.

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