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Posts from April 2024.

With so many recent headlines of high profile individuals finding themselves in high risk, low reward situations, this week I’d like to take a step back in hopes of recalibrating everyone’s cost-benefit meters. At the risk of sounding too fatherly (appropriately so--I do have two scamps of my own and have been known to crack a dad joke from time to time) what were these guys thinking?

Just a few months removed from an impressive rookie season capped by a Super Bowl victory, Kansas City Chiefs Wide Receiver Rashee Rice caught a case, putting himself in legal jeopardy for his role in a hit and run on a Dallas highway after the Lamborghini he was racing caused a massive pile-up.  Having nothing to gain and everything to lose (his football career, endorsements and even his life) was not enough to overcome the untouchable mindset.

Then there’s the case of Toronto Raptors two-way player Jontay Porter, who this past week found himself receiving a lifetime ban from the NBA after he was found to be involved in gambling on NBA games. Most egregiously, Porter checked himself out of a game due to “illness” so as to allow gamblers to cash-in on so-called “prop bets” that he would underperform his projected stats. Porter was also found to have placed numerous bets on his online Sportsbook account, including wagering against the Raptors—generating a $20K profit. For an average Joe, $20K seems like a nice take, but when you’re a professional athlete on the precipice of a multimillion dollar contract—that risk sounds like a head-scratcher. Porter now finds himself disgraced and on the unemployment line (though if he learns Japanese, I hear the Los Angeles Dodgers have an opening for an interpreter…).

Lucky enough, you’ve bucked the trend and made a low-risk, high reward choice in reading the Spotlight. 

    • Taylor Swift’s new album “The Tortured Poets Department” comes out today. If you’re looking for the Dead Poets Society, it’s the down the hall, first door on your left.

    • Major League Rugby continues to show signs of growth in popularity with increasing sponsorship coming in for teams such as the Western Conference League Table leader Seattle Seawolves (who happen to be sponsored by a law firm by the name of “Foster Garvey”) and Washington D.C.’s Old Glory. Both seem appropriate because the US is hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2031, but the latter is that much more so since our Nation’s Capital is increasingly filled with scrums amongst oddballs.

    • The rags to riches story for Wrexham A.F.C. rolls on, with securing a second consecutive promotion, positioning the squad just one rung below the English Premier League. Raising ample capital to make the jump poses a challenge that may require owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney to sell minority holdings of the club, but for now, sponsorship deals such as the recent one from Gatorade should be enough to quench their thirst.  

If you’re joining me as a reader this week, kudos to you for having used proper eye protection for the solar eclipse. This week, between the college basketball season coming to an end, and the NBA and NHL’s regular season winding down, I wanted to focus in on the young baseball season—namely, my beloved New York Yankees. It’s early, but something about this year’s team is special and exciting. Newcomers (Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo and Marcus Stroman) have stepped seamlessly into the lineup alongside other big names like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton and have already contributed remarkably not only on the field but to the team’s culture. 

Meanwhile, young prospects Oswaldo Cabrera and to a greater extent, Anthony Volpe have become rising stars. The team chemistry and energy is palpable and has already propelled these “DAWGS” to a a handful of come-from-behind victories en route to the best record in the MLB. The established talent and star power (and yes, substantial payroll) of the Yankees roster—as in years past—has never been in doubt. Yet, the Yankees have consistently underperformed for a decade. The lesson? You can have all the talent in the world on your team (an agent, a business manager, a lawyer), but without quality people around you to support and motivate you as a family would (in good times and bad), you’re unlikely to reach the heights you aim to achieve. Through the first few weeks of the season, the Yankees appear to have something.

    • eBay purchases major sports memorabilia auction house Goldin Auctions from Collectors Holdings. Not only was the transaction motivated by an apparent desire to compete with Fanatics, but also free shipping and a 99.8% Feedback Score.

    • This week Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara was charged by U.S. Attorney’s Office for bank fraud, allegedly stealing $16 million from Ohtani for illegal gambling (talk about surrounding yourself with the right people!). In uncovered text messages to his bookie, Mizuhara damningly says “technically I did steal from [Ohtani]. It’s all over for me.” To my chagrin, there was no text reading “Ohtani boyyy, the Feds, the Feds are calling.”

    • Step aside pickleball, the sport professional curling (essentially an icy version of shuffleboard with large kettle-sized stones and brooms) may be taking a move into the mainstream with a strategic acquisition by an investor group with lofty ambitions for the sports. But with the amount of ice dwindling on the planet, it might be a better investment to put the big bucks behind sports that can be played on barren wastelands. 

Suffice it to say that the Women’s basketball revolution was indeed televised, as this past week 12.3 million viewers tuned in to watch Caitlin Clark’s University of Iowa Hawkeyes take on Angel Reese’s Louisiana State University Tigers in a rematch of last year’s national championship game. This year, it was Clark who had the upper hand, powering her team to victory and on to their second consecutive Final Four appearance. Both stars, propelled into American households in no small part due to their talent and availing themselves of name, image and likeness (NIL) deals, are certain to square off again in the WNBA (endorsing rivaling chocolate and peanut butter candy bars would be a layup, too). But let’s get back to the numbers. 12.3 million viewers is more than any other ESPN televised college basketball game ever, more than any other women’s college basketball game ever, more than any MLB, NHL and MLS game last season and more than nearly all other NBA basketball games and College Football games last season. Oh and the average ticket price of this year’s Women’s Final Four is about double that of the Men’s Final Four. Seems *oh so* reasonable given that media rights and pay for women’s sports is in parity with men’s sports…right??? (Checks notes…sighhh…) Never mind. But hey, there’s no time like the present for a change! 

    • Beyoncé’s Country Album “Cowboy Carter” spurs a rewriting of the history books, becoming the most single day streamed album in Spotify history.
    • The premiere of Season 3 of Ryan Reynolds’s and Rob McElhenney’s “Welcome to Wrexham” is being delayed from April 18 to May 2 for reasons currently unknown. In other words, if you had plans to host a viewing party on April 18, this news wrecks ‘em. 
    • Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Center Joel Embiid was well-received in his return to action this week, notably sporting Skechers basketball sneakers. In so doing, Embiid joins Snoop Dogg as a high profile endorsement partner. For those keeping track at home, there’s two “I’s” in Embiid, two “G’s” in Dogg, no “T’s” in Skechers and I before e, except after c. 

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