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Posts from December 2023.

For the very last time in 2023, welcome back to the Spotlight! I know there’s still 2 weeks left in the year but I figure my readers are either going to be checked-out or buried in work to complete before end of the year. If you can’t wait for more puns and dad jokes until 2024 (like a shoe store for Shaquille O’Neal, that’s no small feat) you can email me at and/or add me on LinkedIn. But if Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani can wait 10 years to start receiving the $680 million deferred compensation balance of his recently signed 10 year, $700 million contract, I think you will manage. From mega contracts to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, to Messi’s move to Miami, to Taylor Swift’s global domination, to artificial intelligence’s emergence to the mainstream, to the continued growth of women’s sports, to pickleball and the expansion of athletes’ investment portfolios, the year has been packed with huge stories and developments in the sports and entertainment industries occurrences and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for the next pages of the calendar. Until then, I leave you with best wishes for Happy Holidays and of course the following:

    • The Washington Commanders are moving business operations off-site from their home stadium, FedEx Field. No word on whether there are plans to move winning operations in. 

    • The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team is due to be featured in a docuseries on streaming platform Peacock, virtually guaranteeing a Sean Astin cameo appearance. 

    • On the heels of the Netflix Cup golf tournament, the streaming service is continuing a push into live sporting events with a tennis match between two Grand Slam champions Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. A perfect event for viewers seeking to get their net fix.

Sports & Entertainment SpotlightWelcome back to the Spotlight! This past Tuesday, I was fortunate to attend sports business publication Sportico’s Influence live event in New York City. Besides having the pleasure of meeting a number of interesting (dare I say “influential”) attendees involved in various facets of the sports, entertainment and media business, I got to hear firsthand accounts and advice from sports executives who have adapted to the current landscape and expanded their influence through a singular attribute: authenticity.  That common denominator pervaded every panel discussion, from Barstool Sports’ growth through its creation of original content, to the origin story of the management group behind Travis Kelce and his banner year, to the unparalleled rise of Wrexham A.F.C. in the public’s consciousness to an NBA owner’s genuine love for his organization (and a tequila co-founded with other NBA owners including some guy named Michael Jordan).  In this age of disinformation and misinformation, authenticity reigns supreme. In many ways, it underpins this blog, as I strive to package authentic news and insights with authentically cringe-worthy dad jokes.  Now if you’d excuse me, I am going to celebrate the New York Yankees acquiring Juan Soto with a glass of a new favorite tequila (talk about being under influence!), but not without some parting gifts below.

    • Perhaps unsurprisingly, Taylor Swift was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2023. The news left many of her ardent supporters jubilant over the news, yet flummoxed about what a “magazine” is.
    • NASCAR and the English Premier League each strike media rights deals valued at approximately $8 billion, marking just the second thing the two have in common besides flag signals.
    • NCAA president Charlie Baker circulated a letter to Division I member colleges and universities, proposing the creation of “enhanced educational trust funds” that would enable athletic departments to pay athletes directly (rather than athletes needing to be approached with the nudge/wink deals that have emerged in the NIL era). It’s a concept so logical and reasonable that the NCAA is almost certainly going to mess it up.

Welcome back to the Spotlight! If you’re reading this week, it means that you managed to pull yourself away from your Spotify Wrapped year-end summary. As for your Spotlight Wrapped, I would like to think that your laughs over the past year have been immeasurable (or at the very least, existent) as you’ve joined me for nearly forty installments. Amongst those mentioned most frequently are Lionel Messi and Taylor Swift – the latter being, to no one’s surprise, also the most popular recording artist on Spotify.  Someone whose name has not appeared in the Spotlight this year (until now, that is) is billionaire entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of “Shark Tank,” Mark Cuban. After the news of this past week, his introduction is going to change yet again, as Cuban not only announced that the upcoming sixteenth season of “Shark Tank” would be his last, but also that he is selling a majority ownership stake in the Mavericks to the Adelson family’s Las Vegas Sands Corp for a cool $2 billion.  What’s more is that Cuban is going to be retaining full control over basketball operations, all the while presumably lobbying Texas legislators to legalize gambling so as to allow him to fulfill his dream of building a new Dallas stadium complex wrapped within a hotel and casino. I do hope we get to see that someday, too. For now, let’s build upon your 2023 Spotlight Wrapped stats:

    • Famed Rock & Roll duo Daryl Hall & John Oates find themselves on opposing ends of a “v.” rather than an ampersand, as Hall is suing Oates alleging that the latter sought to sell his interest in the duo’s joint venture that administers the duo’s intellectual property assets without the former’s permission. Given their history together, this battle is sure to heat up--like a flame that burns the candle and the candle feeds the flame.
    • A not-so-subtle reminder to hospitality industry to secure music licenses for its establishments, as a Universal Music Group affiliate is seeking $264 million from a Las Vegas karaoke bar for the unlicensed use of instrumental tracks. The final straw, I’m told, is when a patron attempted to perform “Stairway to Heaven.”
    • University of Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule made a bold assessment when asked about the merits of attracting talent with name, image and likeness (NIL) dollars through the NCAA transfer portal – that a quarterback costs $1 to 2 million. Happily he’s a football coach and not an accountant, or we’d all be out between $999,999.75 and $1,999,999.75.  

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