SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES OFFERING FOX ‘TENS OF MILLIONS’ FOR ’18 WC VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and Snap Inc. (SNAP) are said to be among the companies offering 21st Century Fox (FOXA) tens of millions of dollars, for the rights to stream video highlights from the 2018 World Cup. The recent demand for premium video content, from social media companies, provides Fox with a significant new source of revenue and means to promote its television coverage. Fox paid $400 Million for the exclusive rights to air games from the next 3 World Cups (2018, 2022 & 2026), on broadcast and cable TV, in the U.S.

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Facebook, Twitter Are Said to Seek World Cup Clips From Fox

Howie Long-Short opines: SNAP is looking for another negative-margin revenue line? I’m not sure why FOX would want to empower future competitors.

Fan Marino says: You have to hope Twitter wins the bidding war. As a real-time news source, it’s the only logical place for game highlights. Your modern day SportsCenter.

TICKETMASTER TO USE AUDIO SIGNALS FOR ATTENDEE VERIFICATION; COLLECT DATA ON HABITS/PREFERENCES

Ticketmaster (LYV) has partnered with Cincinnati based start-up Lisnr, as it plans to use ultrasonic sound technology, known as smart tones, to power attendee verification. The signals, inaudible to 90% of humans, are sent from your cell phone as you approach the venue and are verified by scanner at the point of entry, expediting the entry process. Cost, efficiency, the need for fraud protection and the ability to gather data related to attendee habits/preferences, are driving the move to digital ticketing.

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Ticketmaster will soon admit you to events using audio data transmitted from your phone

Howie Long-Short opines: I had to scan 13 tickets Saturday. This would have been useful, but I don’t see it having a big impact on the stock price.

Fan Marino says: Technology has caused a loss of jobs, privacy and interpersonal connection, but it is those ticket stubs, mementos of a bygone era, I miss most. Collecting StubHub (EBAY) printouts isn’t exactly the same.

NIKE TO SELL PRODUCTS THROUGH INSTAGRAM

Nike (NKE) CEO Mark Parker announced a partnership with Instagram (FB), enabling the company to sell products “seamlessly” within the photo sharing app. It’s the second major partnership (AMZN) recently announced by Nike, as the company looks to increase revenues by selling directly to the consumer. Instagram, who will not be taking a cut of purchases, now enables brands to tag their products in photos and enables consumers to purchase products within the application.

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Instagram and Nike Reach for Fashion’s Holy Grail

Howie Long-Short opines: Nike’s playing catch-up in the digital world. This makes sense though. After trying to defend direct channel exclusivity via stores and nike.com for years, they’re finally facing reality. Amazon cannot be ignored.

Fan Marino says: Kendall Jenner got $250,000 for a single Instagram Post. In my next life, I would like to come back as a brand influencer.

INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY: FALLS JUST SHORT OF EARNINGS PROJECTIONS; ONE DAYTONA SET TO OPEN IN Q4

International Speedway (ISCA) released its Q2 EPS ($.30), $.02 shy of analyst estimates. The company reported $165.3 Million in revenue for the quarter, short of the $166.79 Million estimated. CEO France Kennedy said the results met expectations and that the company remains on track for a 4th Quarter GRAND OPENING of One Daytona.

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International Speedway (ISCA) Misses Q2 EPS by 2c

Howie Long-Short opines: Boutique hotel? If you ain’t in an RV, it ain’t NASCAR.

Fan Marino says: The Daytona, is going to be a 145-room upscale, full-service boutique hotel, designed with motorsports in mind. I have to imagine the beds will look something like this.

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IS CHURCHILL DOWNS UNDERVALUED? BOARD AUTHORIZES $250 MILLION BUYBACK

The board for Churchill Downs (CHDN) authorized the buyback of $250 Million in outstanding common shares. The authorized amount includes $114.6 Million that remains from a buyback program authorized back in February 2016. Buyback programs are often an indication that a company believes its stock is undervalued.

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Churchill Downs Incorporated Announces New $250 Million Share Repurchase Program

Fan Marino says: Drinking a mint julep at the Kentucky Derby should be on EVERY sports fan’s bucket list. JWS road trip in 2018? Who’s coming with me?

Howie Long-Short opines: The Kentucky Derby is one of a kind, but how bright is the future of horse racing?

FOX’S PROPOSED ACQUISITION OF SKY ON HOLD PENDING REVIEW; CONCERNS RE: MURDOCH INFLUENCE

21st Century Fox’s (FOXA) proposed acquisition of the remaining 61% in Sky, PLC (LSE: SKY), is now on hold pending a Phase 2 investigation on the grounds of media plurality. The concern is that a full takeover of Europe’s leading cable provider would give Murdoch the 3rd largest total reach of any news provider in the U.K., behind only BBC & ITN, and in turn provide him with the ability to influence the overall news agenda and political processes. The proposed deal, valued at $15.2 Billion, would greatly enhance 21st Century Fox’s paid TV position in Britain, Ireland, Austria, Germany and Italy.

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Britain Says Fox Bid for Sky Gives Murdoch Too Much Power Over News

Howie Long-Short opines: This has been in the works since before the phone hacking scandal. Don’t bet against Darth Vader. After politicians passed the buck to the regulators, I think this finally gets done. Fox is certainly desperate for it to close. After it failed in 2011, and then their lost bid for HBO, the clock is ticking as they try to keep up with the likes of Netflix and gain control of a widely-distributed premium network.

Fan Marino says: Considering a former Prime Minister has expressly stated Murdoch had tried to get him to change policy, and considering that Murdoch is now looking to expand influence by taking over one of the country’s most influential broadcasting companies, fans of a free press can only hope this transaction does not go through.

JAMIE HOROWITZ OUT IMMEDIATELY AMID SEXUAL HARASSMENT INVESTIGATION

Jamie Horowitz, the President of National Networks for Fox Sports has been fired amid an internal investigation by 21st Century Fox (FOXA), into claims of sexual harassment. Horowitz, who has run programming at Fox Sports since 20015, is the latest high ranking Fox executive (Ailes, O’Reilly) accused of inappropriate behavior with women. The move comes less than a week after Horowitz let go of 20 writing & editing staffers, as the company moves towards a focus on video.

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Jamie Horowitz, head of Fox Sports programming, fired in sexual harassment probe

Howie Long-Short opines: It’s a never-end saga at Fox. Dare I say culture problems? I don’t think this has impacted Fox stock much yet, but the risk is Fox News ratings deteriorate if they keep losing all their “talent”.

Fan Marino says: Chris Sacca, Dave McClure and now Jamie Horowitz. Big week for the anti-creep movement.

FOX SPORTS: WRITTEN CONTENT OUT; VIDEO IN

Fox Sports (FOXA), in an effort to attract eyeballs and advertising dollars, has decided to eliminate 20 writing and editorial positions, and replace them with jobs in video production, editing and promotion. The company is hoping that the significant investment in video content will drive advertising growth for both its web & TV programming. Ad sales for digital video are up 39% YOY since 2009.

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Fox Sports Cuts Web Writing Staff to Invest More in Online Video

Howie Long-Short opines: Was anyone reading this stuff to begin with?

Fan Marino says: I’m concerned for millennials. They lack interpersonal communication skills due to their obsession with texting/smart phones. Is illiteracy next? It’s also very weird to go to a website without any written content.

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS TO OFFER SPORTS-FREE STREAMING BUNDLE

Charter Communications (CHTR), the country’s 2nd leading cable provider (behind CMCSA), will be introducing a sports-free streaming service under its Spectrum brand. The bundle will include 25 news & entertainment channels, but NO sports channels, for just $19.95/mo. The base package does not include any ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports or CBS Sports channels.

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Charter Communications testing a sports-free skinny bundle offering

Howie Long-Short opines: The break-up of the bundle continues. ESPN is a victim of their own success. Margins and subs are under pressure, though still hugely profitable. As for sports leagues, OTT could actually lead to more bidders and ever-higher value for sports rights.

Fan Marino says: ESPN is paying 4x the amount paid in 2015-2016, for NBA games through the 2024-2025 season. The 2nd leading cable provider is planning on offering a bundle without ESPN. When does the cost of programming begin to exceed the revenue generated from NBA broadcasts?

KNIGHT: NOT EVEN TIGER IN HIS PRIME COULD MAKE GOLF EQUIPMENT PROFITABLE

Nike (NKE) co-founder Phil Knight said in an interview that aired on Wednesday (6/28) on Bloomberg TV, that despite Tiger Woods’ enormous success and popularity, “we lost money for 20 years on equipment and balls”.  The company exited the golf equipment space in 2016, while Woods has since signed an equipment deal with TaylorMade. Adidas (ADDYY) sold TaylorMade Golf earlier this year, to PE firm KPS Capital Partners, for $425 Million.

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Nike lost money on golf equipment for 20 years, according to co-founder Phil Knight

Howie Long-Short opines: Nike poured money into R&D in golf’s version of an arms race for years. The space is finally rationalizing, which should be good for those left.

Fan Marino says: I can’t help but think that Tiger’s little 2009 Thanksgiving incident, wasn’t exactly the catalyst Nike needed to turn a profit on golf equipment.