Sporticast: Kevin Warren’s Big Ten Blues, Ben Navarro’s Tennis Buys

·1 min read

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 recent Sportico story about the tumultuous first few years of Kevin Warren’s time running the Big Ten Conference.

Daniel Libit, who wrote the story, joins to discuss Warren’s transition from an NFL executive with no college sports experience to the commissioner of one of the NCAA’s most powerful conferences. Libit uncovered never-before-reported details about the Big Ten’s struggles with COVID-19, infighting about the league’s future, and controversy centering around different Big Ten executives.

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The hosts then discuss Ben Navarro’s looming purchase of the Western & Southern Open, an annual tennis tournament that is a top-tier stop for both the WTA and ATP Tours. Navarro, who was a finalist in bidding for the Carolina Panthers, recently agreed to pay nearly $300 million for the ATP sanction and the lease to the WTA event. It will provide a great return for the USTA, which currently owns about 94% of the ATP sanction.

Lastly, they discuss the NWSL’s upcoming expansion. Inner Circle Sports was recently hired to handle the process. There are two slots available, with one almost definitely heading to Salt Lake City, which means a handful of ownership groups in a number of different cities will likely vie for that 14th franchise slot.

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