Early Entrants: Sports Business “Rumblings” Before the News Breaks


Editor Note: Below you’ll find the Volume 1 of “Early Entrants”, a bi-weekly newsletter from JohnWallStreet that will introduce sports business “rumblings” before the news breaks. Have a tip for the 2nd edition? Have thoughts on our newest product? Send them to JWS@JohnWallStreet.com.

Editor Note II: Have a colleague (or 3) that would find “Early Entrants” or the JohnWallStreet daily newsletter to be useful? Sign them up at JohnWallStreet.com/sign-up.

1. Disney Exploring Entrance to the Sports Betting Space

The Walt Disney Company (DIS) is exploring avenues to enter the sports betting space, reportedly modeling several consumer facing strategies (see: ESPN+ integration or standalone product) that would allow for the roll-out of a gambling product without tarnishing their family friendly brand. We’ve seen this strategy from DIS before, back in ’89 Michael Eisner introduced Hollywood (and Touchstone) Pictures so that the company could produce films for a mature audience.

2. Endeavor IPO?

There is heavy speculation that Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG) could file for an IPO in 2019. The company isn’t struggling, but after investing $4 billion on the UFC, $1 billion on Serie A rights and $150 million to acquire NeuLion, there appears to be a need for cash to pursue additional acquisitions and to fund their growth initiatives.

3. SEC Football to Remain on CBS

Despite stories to the contrary, rumblings indicate that CBS is close to extending their current pact (runs through ’23) with the Southeastern Conference. Their current deal with the conference is amongst the most favorable in sports, with the network paying just $55 million for 15 games (including the SEC championship game); for comparison purposes, ESPN pays the NFL $110 million/MNF game. Don’t be surprised if company overpays to land a secondary SEC game of the week on CBS Sports Network.

4. Eleven Sports Network Close to Collapse

Eleven Sports Network is said to be on the brink of collapse in US, UK, Taiwan, and Singapore as corporate losses continue to pile up. The company’s inability to gain traction with subscribers and its failure to find carriage with established cable providers has Eleven Sports unable to cover the costs of the broadcast rights they’ve acquired; some false hubris amongst high-level decision makers hasn't helped matters.

Interested in Sports Business? Sign-up for our free daily email newsletter list, here!

Join the Community on John Wall Street
Enter your email address and press the Join Now button to sign up for updates from John Wall Street

Early Entrants