1. With the 2018 PGA Championship returning to St. Louis for the first time in 26 years, the event is expected to generate $102 million for Missouri’s economy, according to the PGA of America. That number is right in line with recent previous economic impacts of the PGA Championship: $100 million at Quail Hollow in Charlotte last year, $100 million at Baltusrol in New Jersey in 2016, and $102 million at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin in 2015. According to the National Golf Foundation, the total size of Missouri’s total golf economic impact in 2010 was $1.7 billion with a direct golf economy of $888.6 million. This includes supporting 21,000 jobs and $485.1 million in annual wage income. There are a total of 320 golf facilities in Missouri. And a study by TEConomy Partners found that golf is an $84 billion industry, up 22% in the last five years, and impacts nearly two million jobs while supporting $58.7 billion in annual wage income. After his WGC-Firestone win on Sunday, all eyes will be on Justin Thomas in St. Louis this week, as Thomas attempts to defend his PGA Championship title and join Tiger Woods as the only players to win back-to-back in stroke play. (A few eyeballs may be on Tiger, too.)
2. Power of Sports, presented by Group1001, profiles college football teams and notable coaches’ efforts off the field to make a difference in the community. This month’s episode includes a one-on-one interview with University of Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban. In the interview, Saban discusses his philanthropic initiatives, including working with wife Terry as part of Nick’s Kids Foundation. Saban, who was inspired to lead the foundation based on his father’s example, says, “There’s not much that we do that can make us feel better than when we help someone else.” The organization supports local youth by promoting their education through juvenile delinquent centers, first-generation scholarships, community centers in church communities, and more. The episode also highlights University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s former head coach, Tom Osborne, and his TeamMates, a school-based mentoring program that supports kids by pairing mentors and mentees as they connect over the course of the academic year. Texas A&M, University of Oklahoma, Auburn, and University of Illinois are also featured. As college teams return to camp to prepare for the season ahead, it’s rewarding to be able to report uplifting stories in the midst of the usual scandals, controversies, and trash talk.
3. On the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports betting in all 50 states, the NBA has become the first major American sports league to sign an official gaming partner. According to SportsBusiness Journal, the NBA signed a multiyear sponsorship with MGM Resorts International, reportedly worth more than $25 million over three years. As the league’s official gaming partner, MGM will be given access to “official league data for use in betting,” though the NBA will still retain the rights to license its data to other gaming operations, which seems likely to happen. The deal also includes rights to the WNBA. The deal struck by Commissioner Adam Silver was done in a fashion to give the league flexibility going forward in the rapidly emerging and evolving space. “Rather than re-litigating the integrity fee, which is still being hotly discussed state by state, it was about finding an approach unique to us where we both feel we’re being fairly treated,” said Silver. For MGM, getting the NBA’s data was crucial. “I know the value of data,” said MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren. “To be able to have the official NBA data for sports bettors around the world is very valuable. I was willing to, and I’ve paid for that.” The gaming partner ice is broken – expect other American pro leagues to look very, very closely at similar deals.
4. Oak View Group executives remain confident that Seattle’s push to land NBA and NHL teams will ultimately come down to the arena. According to the Seattle Times, KeyArena’s estimated $700 million in upgrades are meant to make the iconic venue a “top-third revenue producer for both the NHL and NBA.” The way that the arena is being renovated, with dedicated locker rooms for three teams, including the WNBA Storm, will add another 50,000 square feet to the arena, expanding the walls outward while preserving the existing roof. Construction is expected to being no later than early November so that the project can be completed by October, 2020 “in time for that year’s NHL season opener.” The seating capacity at KeyArena will be expanded for both sports expected to be played there, jumping several hundred up to 17,400 for NHL and 18,600 for NBA games. Seattle is a proven hoops town, so those 18,000+ seats shouldn’t be hard to sell out – in year one, anyway.
5. The NCAA Commission on College Basketball, chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, has recommended that new, regulated summer camps should replace a number of shoe brand-sponsored tournaments. According to JohnWallStreet, the Commission believes that these shoe-sponsored tournaments, mostly on the AAU circuit, have largely led to what has now become a full-blown scandal with FBI involvement across college hoops. By replacing some of these tournaments across the country, the new camps would hopefully mitigate some of the influence that such preeminent shoe companies as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour have over young players. The new regional summer camps would be run by USA Basketball and “supersede (in terms of talent/coaches attending) existing tournaments.” A vote will take place within the next 30 days based on the Commission of College Basketball’s final recommendations and, if approved, “the changes could be implemented in time for summer 2019.” The payola shoe, it appears, is no longer on the other foot.
6. The Oakland A’s continue to struggle to find a new stadium location, facing opposition from local political groups everywhere they turn. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s current location of choice, Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal near Jack London Square, is now being protested by a group identifying itself as “Project Oakland’s Shoreline Economy.” The anonymously-run group has posted a flyer outlining a list “of drawbacks to the proposed move, including severe tragic impact to nearby warehouses and neighborhoods and the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded infrastructure that will be needed.” This type of local opposition is very similar to what negated the A’s chances of building a ballpark next to Laney College near downtown Oakland, the team’s initial first choice. The club has tried to renovate its current home, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, to make it more fan-friendly, but a new stadium is still badly needed.
7. Since being given the green light to start MLS play in a few years, Nashville bid organizers still need to figure out their stadium situation. According to the Nashville Tennessean, under a deal proposed by Nashville Mayor David Briley, local club owners would be forced to pay the city $200,000 annually over 30 years “to lease land at the fairgrounds for a private mixed-use development next to a new stadium.” Financial terms for this deal were previously undisclosed. That $200,000 annually would eventually equate to at least $6 million over the deal’s lifetime – a significant cash windfall for the booming city. The club would still retain all of the parking revenue generated by MLS games, though the deal calls for the team to “split proceeds from non-soccer events at the stadium with the fairgrounds.” Further, Mayor Briley’s Communications Director Michael Cass confirmed that if the fairgrounds’ piece of revenue comes out to more than $200,000 in any given year then the “fairgrounds will get that larger amount instead of the base rent.” As lucrative as an MLS team is poised to be for local franchise owners, bringing a team to Nashville seems poised to provide a financial boost for the city as well.
8. LeBron James opens school, offers free uniforms, meals, and bikes. LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools (APS) announced a partnership to design a new Akron public school, called the I PROMISE School. While committees of local leaders, educators, parents, and experts are currently forming that will determine many of the logistics of the new school, the proposed vision for the I PROMISE School is an expansion of APS curriculum with a STEM, hands-on, problem-based, learning focus infused with LJFF’s “We Are Family” philosophy. “This school is so important to me because our vision is to create a place for the kids in Akron who need it most – those that could fall through the cracks if we don’t do something,” James said in a statement prior to the opening of the school. “We’ve learned over the years what works and what motivates them, and now we can bring all of that together in one place along with the right resources and experts. If we get to them early enough, we can hopefully keep them on the right track to a bigger and brighter future for themselves and their families.” By 2022, the school will have about 1,000 students in first through eighth grades. President Trump, take note.
9. Derrick Rose launches college scholarship fund. Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose announced he has started a college scholarship program, which will award more than $400,000 in tuition money. The Rose Scholars program will focus on students who are “civically minded and demonstrate a willingness to lead.” “I hope to provide students a path to college that was not previously available to them, I am proud to continue to help children pursue higher education as a means to better themselves and their communities,” said Rose. He added that one grand prize winner can win up to $200,000, and two other winners can win up to $20,000 each. The program is open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
10. Dodgers break ground on 50th Dreamfield. Fifteen years ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and its partners constructed the first Dodgers Dreamfield in an effort to increase baseball and softball access for young athletes in underserved communities throughout the Los Angeles area. Last week, the program came full circle with the groundbreaking ceremony for a milestone 50th Dreamfield at Algin Sutton Recreation Center, home of the very first Dreamfield in 2003. “In 2003, we made a promise to the city of Los Angeles that we would build these 50 fields, and today is really a celebration,” said Nichol Whiteman, executive director of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. “It’s really special to be able to provide these places, these positive recreational spaces, to children in underserved communities.” The latest Dreamfield is a $300,000 baseball and softball playing field that is partially funded by donations from the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the Tyler Development Corporation, the LA84 Foundation, and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. Since 2003, more than $10 million has been invested in the Dodgers Dreamfield program.