Revis’ Unconventional Approach Enabled Him to Earn “Quarterback Money”  

Darrelle Revis
New York Jets’ Darrelle Revis celebrates his interception in the fourth quarter of the Jets’ 26-17 win over the Buffalo Bills in an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

Darrelle Revis retired on Wednesday, marking the end an illustrious 11-year career. The last of the shutdown cornerbacks, Revis earned over $124 million in his career; the most of any player in his draft class (included: Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson and Joe Thomas). It was Revis’ unconventional approach to the business side of the game that enabled him to earn money typically reserved for franchise quarterbacks, consistently foregoing secure but less lucrative long-term deals for the largest possible short-term pay day. The strategy worked. Revis retired as the 2nd highest paid defensive player in NFL history (behind Julius Peppers, tied with Suh)

Howie Long-Short: Any conversation about Revis and contracts must start with his uncle and advisor, Sean Gilbert. The Washington Redskins named Gilbert their franchise player following the ’96 season. Gilbert passed on signing the one-year $3.4 million offer, before ultimately sitting out the season. The following summer Washington offered a one-year deal worth $2.97 million (avg. of 5 highest paid players at DE). Again, Gilbert wouldn’t sign a contract; God had told him in a dream not to take less than $5 million. This time though, he argued to the league office that the franchise didn’t have the right to place the franchise tag on him for a 2nd year in a row. Following a meeting between the NFL and NFLPA, Gilbert landed in Carolina (in exchange for 2 1st round picks), signing a massive deal worth $46.5 million. While Revis is often credited as the league’s “savviest negotiator”, remember Sean Gilbert was the brains behind the operation.

Fan Marino: Darrelle Revis is going be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the only question is if he’ll get in on the 1st ballot. Detractors will tell you Revis was only GREAT for 4 seasons, but no one questions Gale Sayers’ worthiness and the Kansas Comet only played in 9 games 5x; greatness is simply valued over longevity.

Those arguing on Revis’ behalf will point to 2009, the single greatest season a cornerback has ever had (Pro Football Focus has confirmed this since ’06). In a pass-friendly league, playing man-to-man coverage, Revis never gave up more than 5 catches or 58 yards in 16 regular-season games; while leading the Jets to the AFC Championship game. Revis’ impact can best be measured by the reception, yardage and TD totals of the league’s best receivers when matched up against him.

Andre Johnson (4-35-0)

Marques Colston (2-33-0)

Randy Moss (4-24-0 and 5-34-1)

Terrell Owens (3-13-0 and 3-31-0)

Steve Smith (1-5-0)

Reggie Wayne (3-33-0)

Roddy White (2-16-0)

Chad Johnson (0-0-0)

I’m looking forward to visiting Canton and watching Darrelle’s enshrinement ceremony in the Summer of ’23. Thanks for the memories #24!

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OWL Sells out Barclays Center, Grand Finals to Air on ESPN in Prime Time

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The Overwatch League (OWL) Grand Finals, set for July 27th and 28th at Barclays Center, is sold out; the esports competition will determine the city-based league’s first World Champion. More than 20,000 fans are scheduled to attend the event. The two teams that reach next weekend’s Grand Finals will compete for a share of a $1.4 million prize pool, in addition to the Overwatch League trophy. League Commissioner Nate Nanzer was surprised by the interest, saying “we knew the Overwatch League had amazing, enthusiastic fans, but this is something else.” Tickets are reportedly now selling for upwards of a 300% premium on the resale market.

Howie Long-Short: Blizzard Entertainment put Grand Finals tickets up for sale on May 18th and announced the event was sold out just 2 weeks later (June 1st). While an impressive feat for a league in its first season, fan interest lags far behind that of League of Legends (LoL) and Dota 2. Those titles regularly sell-out marquee events within minutes. In fact, LoL sold over 80,000 seats to its ’17 World Championships within a minute. Selling out Barclays Center allows OWL to finish Year 1 on a high note after watching viewership steadily over the 2nd half of the season, from over 350,000 viewers in Week 1 to +/- 200,000 total viewers for the Quarterfinals.

Blizzard Entertainment (ATVI) is the publisher behind Overwatch and the OWL is their most ambitious esports endeavor. Back on May 3rd, the company reported record Q1 net revenue ($1.97 billion, +14% YoY) and profits that rose 17% YoY (to $500 million); particularly impressive considering they didn’t release any new games during the quarter and Q1 is typically the slowest time of the year as it comes on the heels of holiday season. Any concerns that Fortnite’s popularity would impact OWL profits have yet to be realized. ATVI shares are up 10% (to $80.61) since June 27th, hitting their 52-week high on Friday July 13th ($81.64). The company will report Q2 financials on August 2nd.

Fan Marino: Speaking of viewership, Activision Blizzard (ATVI) has signed a broadcast deal with ESPN to televise OWL action (Season 1 playoffs through Season 2); immediately becoming the esport’s highest profile broadcast platform (they also have a 2-year $90 million deal with Twitch). The newly signed agreement means that next weekend’s Grand Finals will become the first live gaming competition to air on ESPN, in primetime, and the first time an esports championship to air on ABC. For those wondering, last weekend’s quarterfinals on Disney XD drew +/- 127,000 viewers.

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Anthony Joshua Looks to Expand Brand to Dubai, Nigeria

JWS: You talk about expanding the A.J. brand beyond Europe and North America. You’ve mentioned Dubai and Nigeria. Why those countries?

You can read the transcript of the full interview at https://johnwallstreet.com/heavyweight-champ-anthony-joshua/

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Mets Fire Front Office Executive Who Accused League of Paid Patriotism

Mets

The New York Mets have fired assistant director of player development Nick Francona after he publicly denounced Major League Baseball for profiting “off the memory of dead soldiers.” The former U.S. Marine (and son of Indians Manager Terry Francona) criticized the league for failing to disclose who’s entitled to the proceeds of military-themed apparel sales (worn by players on Memorial Day); products that are marketed and sold as officially licensed merchandise. Francona reportedly repeatedly requested evidence from the league that the proceeds were being donated to charities connected with military families, but was rebuffed each time; leading him to take a public stand on social media. In email correspondence provided to the New York Post, Mets GM Sandy Alderson stated Francona’s actions were “beginning to ‘undermine’ the Mets military and veterans agenda”; ultimately, the reason for his firing. Francona has called the franchise “cowardly” for caving to the pressures of the league office as opposed to standing up for what is right; the Commissioner’s Office has denied the allegations.

Howie Long-Short: “Paid patriotism” isn’t a new concept or one originated by Major League Baseball. Back in 2016, Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake blasted the NFL (and other pro leagues) for taking government funding to honor military personnel (think flag displays, family reunions). An internal audit found that between ’12-’15, the NFL signed contracts worth $6.1 million that contained elements of “paid patriotism”. To the league’s credit, they did return $723,000+ to the Defense Department; “the first organization to perform due diligence, take responsibility and return funds to the taxpayers” (according to Flake). Wondering who the biggest pigs were? Atlanta ($879,000), New England ($700,000) and Buffalo ($650,000).

Fan Marino: On the surface, it seems as if Francona has been wronged; but this isn’t the first time he’s brought negative attention on his employer. Francona was previously fired by the Dodgers after accusing the team’s director of player development (Gabe Kapler) of discriminating against him for seeking help from an organization that supports veterans with “invisible wounds of war”. MLB investigated the complaint and decided not to take action.

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Thuuz Sports Metadata Algorithm Ranks Most Exciting Teams, Games in ’18 World Cup

thuuz

Thuuz Sports, an automated short form sports video production company and metadata service, in collaboration with IBM and Fox Sports measured the excitement levels of all teams/games throughout the World Cup; using the insights gained to create customizable highlights in real time. The proprietary algorithm determined that Spain (scored 93.5), runner-up Croatia (91) and Belgium (91) were the most exciting teams to participate in the 2018 World Cup (France finished 7th); game pace, team parity, play novelty, momentum shifts, social buzz and historical context of all matchups throughout the tournament were all considered. The Croatia-Russia match received a perfect score of 100, making it the tournament’s most exciting matchup. You’ve heard the term, ‘the excitement was palpable’; as CEO Warren Packard says, “we can now verify it.”

Howie Long-Short: Thuuz, a privately held entity, has raised $10.7 million over 2 rounds of funding. You can play the company via Liberty Global (LBTYK), who led their $4.2 million Series A round in ’12 or through ITOCHU Technology Ventures; the VC arm of Itochu Corporation. Itochu is among the largest Japanese general trading companies (#215 on ’17 Fortune Global 500 list), with an expertise in textiles, metals/minerals, food, machinery, energy/chemicals and ICT/general products/real estate; the company trades over the counter under the symbol ITOCY.

Fan Marino: France finished 7th despite winning the tournament, because overall suspense/surprise throughout all team matches carries the most weight in the algorithm. That’s logical. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who says the Warriors run to the NBA Championship was more exciting than the Eagles run to the Super Bowl. Expectations, or the lack thereof, matter.

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Anthony Joshua: Range Rover Sponsorship Aligns with Long-Term Goal

JWS: You mentioned that you’ve signed endorsement deals with brands that align with your long-term goals. How does the Jaguar/Range Rover relationship play into that?

You can read the transcript of the full interview at https://johnwallstreet.com/heavyweight-champ-anthony-joshua/

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Anthony Joshua Has a “Billionaire Mindset”

JWS: You’re open about pursuing your goal of becoming a billionaire. You have a successful line of gyms, what other businesses are generating income for you?

You can read the transcript of the full interview at https://johnwallstreet.com/heavyweight-champ-anthony-joshua/

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Anthony Joshua Implies Stake in DAZN

JWS: Mayweather made a fortune collecting on a portion of PPV receipts. Do you worry that DAZN’s subscription model will cost you money?

You can read the transcript of the full interview at https://johnwallstreet.com/heavyweight-champ-anthony-joshua/

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NFL Generated Record Revenue in ’17, Claims of League Demise Premature

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NFL teams split a league record $8.1 billion ($255.9 million/per) in national revenues (includes: TV deals, road-game rev-sharing etc.), representing a 4.9% YoY increase in 2017. The escalating value of television rights (+5% YoY) and the increased availability of Thursday Night Football (think: Amazon) drove the growth. The Green Bay Packers, the only publicly traded team, reported record revenue ($454.9 million) last season; an 8% YoY increase, that includes $34.1 million in operating profits. It’s been estimated that the league generated more than $14 billion in ’17 revenue, the most of any league worldwide.

Howie Long-Short: It’s time we put to rest the notion that the NFL is declining in popularity. Player protests. Brain injuries. Criminal Accusations (think: LeSean McCoy). None of it has had any impact on revenue generation (according to Packers President Mark Murphy). While we’re at it, let’s end the talk that the NBA is closing the gap on the NFL; it’s not. For all the overseas interest we hear about, NBA teams split just $7.4 billion in TOTAL revenue last year.

The Packers are publicly traded but stockholders hold no equity interest, shares do not pay dividends and they cannot be sold; except for back to the team at a discounted price. Great deal (rolling eyes). For those wondering, the balance of the team’s revenue ($199 million, +.8% YoY) came from sponsorships, game-day revenue, local broadcast fees, sales at the team’s pro shop and tickets to their Hall of Fame exhibit.

Fan Marino: One argument I will buy regarding the NFL is that the controversies, particularly as it relates to CTE, have negatively impacted the value of franchises. Even with newly signed TNF and streaming deals, Trump related tax breaks and legalized gambling on the horizon, the Carolina Panthers sold for 5.9x ’16 revenue; just a slight increase over in 5.6x multiple Buffalo sold for in ‘14. By comparison, the Rockets sold for 7.4x in ‘17. I continue to maintain David Tepper got a great deal.

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