Forbes released its annual list of NFL team valuations and for the 11th straight year the Dallas Cowboys are on top, up 14% YOY ($4.8 billion). The Patriots, Giants, Redskins, 49ers and Rams also scored valuations north of $3 billion. On average, team values increased by 8% YOY (up to $2.5 billion), with the NYJ being the only team that did not see growth YOY. Valuations have skyrocketed over the last 5 years. In 2012, the Cowboys were the only team worth $2 billion; now all but 5 teams are, with the lowest valued team at $1.6 billion (Buffalo).

Howie Long-Short: Operating profits were on average a record $101 million/team last year, with every single team making at least $40 million; but somehow Forbes doesn’t think the Jets increased in value. It’s laughable to peg the team at just $2.75 million. NBA teams are now going for $2 billion+. The Jets/Giants each own 50% of a $1.2 billion stadium. If a NY based NFL team ever hit the market, the number would be closer to $4 billion than $3 billion.

Fan Marino: The Raiders are up 14% YOY (behind only ATL, DAL and N.O.), so from a fiscal perspective, the decision to announce the move to Las Vegas was the correct one. Then you see this, this, and this, and know the league should have done more to keep the team in Oakland.

The Dallas Cowboys Head The NFL’s Most Valuable Teams At $4.8 Billion


CBS, NBC (CMCSA), FOX (FOXA) & ESPN (DIS) expected to generate $2.5 billion in advertising revenues during the 2017 season; but a 12% YOY ratings decline in Week 1, followed by a 15% YOY decline in Week 2, may indicate the networks will fall several hundred million dollars short of that estimate. A 10% viewership decline would likely cost the networks more than $200 million in potential earnings. Between the Sept. 7 start of the NFL season and the end of Week 2, shares of DIS, CMCSA & CBS were down 3, 5 and 7% respectively; with shares of FOXA up 2%.

Howie Long-Short: Look for the league to change its stance on legalized gambling should the ratings continue to slide.

Fan Marino: How come no one wants to talk about the fact that since 2009, only 3 QBs drafted (and still starting) have won a playoff game (Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck). The product is stale.

NFL TV Ratings Slide Worries Wall Street


XTECH Protective Equipment has revolutionized football equipment; utilizing military grade XRD foam to create state of the art shoulder pads. The 6 year old company manufactures and distributes pads marketed as the lightest weight, most protective product on the market. Super Bowl Winning Coach Brian Billick is an investor in the company, which now boasts of players on 28 NFL teams wearing its product including; Khalil Mack, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.

Howie Long-Short: XTech has an exclusive contract with XRD Impact Protection for using its foam in NFL, college and youth football pads. XRD is owned by Rogers Corporation (ROG), a technology company focused on creating innovative solutions for power electronics, advanced foams for cushioning and protective sealing, and high frequency printed circuit materials. The company reported net sales of $201.4 million for Q2 ’17 (up 27.9% YOY) and gross margins of 40% (a record), up 180 basis points.

Fan Marino: Players like the pads because they can hit hard without feeling anything. Don’t take their word for it? Watch Founder Bob Broderick slam his bare hand with a helmet.

Revolutionary shoulder pads catching on in NFL


Research firm NPD Group reported that Adidas (ADDYY) has overtaken Jordan Brand as the 2nd best seller of U.S. sport footwear (NKE, which they track separately from Jordan Brand, remains number one). ADDYY sales rose 41 and 45% respectively over the last 2 quarters, increasing the company’s market share to nearly 13% (NKE has 44%, Jordan Brand has 9.5%). The rapid growth is stunning when you consider the company had just 4% of the market and forced its CEO out, as recently as 2015. NPD Group’s Matt Powell said “I’ve never seen a brand in the sneaker industry grow this fast.”

Howie Long-Short: Basketball shoe sales were down 40% for the month of August, with UAA sales down 50%, Jordan Brand sales down 33% and NKE sales down mid-single digits. That trend didn’t seem to effect Adidas though, their basketball sneaker sales rose 40%. When you’re hot, you’re hot.

Fan Marino: “Yeezys jumped over the Jumpman”, but it has little to do with Kanye’s signature line. His sneakers are produced in such limited numbers, their sales don’t move the needle on the company bottom line. The Superstar, NMD and Stan Smith are driving the Adidas resurgence.

Adidas passed Jordan Brand as the 2nd-biggest U.S. sports shoe brand. That’s a big deal.


ESPN (DIS) released confidential NBA financial records indicating 9 of the league’s 30 teams lost money during the 2016-2017 NBA season; despite the teams combining to generate $530 million in net income. While the league has a $24 billion TV contact that is equally shared amongst its 30 franchises; each team negotiates their own local media rights deals, giving a significant financial edge to the teams in the largest markets (The Lakers received $149 million from Time Warner (TWX) for ’16-’17 season, while the Grizzlies received a league low $9.4 million). With total league revenues determining the salary cap (and floor), local revenues keep teams profitable, and that has small market owners concerned. If the large market teams can pay significant luxury tax penalties while remaining profitable, they can theoretically hoard stars and alter the competitive balance within the league.

Howie Long-Short: There is no need to pass around a collection basket for NBA owners. For starters, the net income figures used in this report only reflect “basketball operations”. Several teams own their own arenas. Non-basketball related revenues generated are not included in the calculations. More importantly, the value of these franchises continues to rise with each sale. Leslie Alexander just sold the Rockets for $2.2 billion, 15x (after inflation) what he paid for them just 25 years ago. It is important to remember that no one loses money owning a professional sports franchise.

Fan Marino: The small market owners are worried about the size of local media rights deals altering the league’s competitive balance? What competitive balance? 4 teams have a chance to win the 2017-2018 NBA Championship (BOS, CLE, GSW, SAS). While we are talking about competitive balance, you want the worst team to have the #1 pick. Lessening those odds to prevent tanking is a bad idea.

A confidential report shows nearly half the NBA lost money last season. Now what?


2011 College Basketball POY, Jimmer Fredette was the leading scorer in the Chinese Basketball Association last season, averaging 37.6 PPG, while winning the league’s MVP award. He was rewarded with a two-year $3.6 million contract (he’ll return to the Shanghai Sharks) and a new shoe contract. Chinese footwear brand 361 Degrees has just unveiled a signature shoe line for the former BYU star. No information pertaining to the price of the shoe or the terms of the agreement were released.

Howie Long-Short: 361 Degrees International Limited has over 5,500 shoe & sporting goods retail stores in China. The company trades over the counter under the symbol OTC: TSIOF. The company reported that H1 ’17 revenues rose 9.5% to $2.8 billion Yuan, with footwear sales making up 46.8% of the company revenues. Look for that number to continue to grow. Chinese fans consider Jimmer a “god”; they are going to buy these shoes.

Fan Marino: No American has had more success in the Chinese Basketball Association than Stephon Marbury. The 2x NBA All-Star won 3 CBA Championships and a CBA Finals MVP award, during 9 seasons in China. At 40 years old, Marbury has recently expressed interested in returning to the NBA.


Fox Sports (FOXA) laid off +/- 20 writers back in June, announcing they would be eliminating the writing staff to invest in more lucrative video production. For the first time since that announcement, digital page view figures have been released. According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated (TWX), Fox Sports’ websites lost 88% of its website traffic between the end of the written era, May 27-June 25 (143.9 million views), and start of the all video era, August 19-September 17 (16.7 million views). It is worth noting for comparison purposes that ESPN had 83.4 million unique digital viewers during the month of August.

Howie Long-Short: I’m going to reserve judgement on the pivot until Q3 financials are released. It’s entirely possible that the company is running lean, having dumped +/- 20 salaries, while generating more ad revenue from the video content. Of course, advertisers aren’t going to continue paying high ad rates if the company has no page views.

Fan Marino: Jamie Horowitz, who loves himself a hot take and was behind the pivot, is no longer running things at Fox Sports. Company President and CEO Eric Shanks said at the time of Horowitz’s dismissal that the company would continue to “execute our playbook”. As a fan, I’m booing the play calls and asking for a new offensive coordinator. Give me high-quality in-depth investigative reporting, not the most outrageous comments a carnival barker can shout on video.


IMG College, which holds multi-media and sponsorship rights to more than 90 schools, has agreed to a blockbuster merger with Learfield, which holds rights to 130 other collegiate athletic programs; meaning together they will control the marketing and media rights for 70% of D1 programs and 90% of P5 conference schools. Industry experts speculate the new company could be worth more than $2 billion. Learfield CEO Greg Brown is expected to lead the new entity. Terms of the deal are expected to be finalized in the coming days.

Howie Long-Short: WME-IMG is a privately held company, but you invest in it through Japanese internet/telecom giant, Softbank (OTC: SFTBY). Softbank invested $250 million into the company at a $5.5 billion valuation in 2016. That investment has done well. WME-IMG recently closed on a $1.1 billion investment round with the company valued at $6.3 billion.

Fan Marino: College Presidents looking to shake up their athletic department should place their first call to IMG President, Tim Pernetti and offer him a blank check. Prior to being made the “fall guy” in the Mike Rice scandal; he oversaw a successful Rutgers football program, set fundraising records at the school and negotiated the deal that brought the University into the Big10. I don’t believe you can hire a better A.D. than Tim Pernetti.

IMG College Negotiating Merger With Learfield To Create Media Rights Juggernaut


Camping World Holdings (CWH) and MLB have announced a multi-year partnership that will make CWH the official sponsor of the League Championship Series’, beginning with the 2017 post season. The mutually beneficial partnership will provide CWH the ability to expand brand awareness through a variety of broadcast, digital, social, mobile and in-park platforms; while offering MLB access to outdoor enthusiasts and new outlets to sell MLB gear. The partnership also makes CWH the presenting partner of Spring Training, will provide exposure for CWH subsidiaries Gander Outdoors, Good Sam, Overton’s, The House & Windward/W82 and gives CWH brands permission to produce MLB licensed items in a variety of consumer product categories. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Fan Marino: Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, a fanatical Cubs fan, is also the star of CNBC’s show “The Profit”. On the show, Lemonis offers struggling small business owners, investment capital and expertise, in exchange for ownership stake. Lemonis earned some good will last fall when he donated 2 of his 4 Field box tickets for Game 3 of the World Series, so a 97 year-old-fan and his son could attend the game.

Howie Long-Short: Camping World Holdings recently reported “record” Q2 ’17 earnings, with net income up 26.3% to $105 million and net income margin up 40 basis points to 8.2%. The company increased revenues 20.7% to $1.3 billion YOY, as it continues to expand its product offerings beyond RVs. This is what Lemonis does. He turns companies around.

MLB, Camping World announce multi-year partnership


The Monster Energy (MNST) NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are underway, with 16 drivers competing to be crowned Champion at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 19th. JWS got the exclusive opportunity to sit down with 2014 Champion, Kevin Harvick to discuss his investment portfolio, sponsorship partners and sports marketing agency.

JWS: How important is it to you to have sponsors that you would invest in?

Kevin Harvick: The companies that you believe in and invest in, are the companies that you want on your car. I can tell you Exxon Mobil (XOM) is in my portfolio.

JWS: How have you managed to maintain long-term partnerships with several of your sponsors?    

Kevin Harvick: We’ve been fortunate through the years to develop what we have with the Busch Brand (BUD), Jimmy John’s, who’s been with us since 2009 and Textron (TXT), who started with us back in 2007. We’ve kind of found the niche with each of those companies in terms of what they like to do, how they like to entertain and where they like go.

JWS: Does having KHI Management (his sports marketing agency) help in terms of signing NASCAR sponsorship deals?

Kevin Harvick: The thing that makes us unique and different is that we have a sports agency that represents 2 PGA golfers, Donald Cerrone (UFC) and Harrison Burton (motocross). We’ve tried to make ourselves more diverse so that when we are trying to cut a deal for a NASCAR sponsorship, we have a family of assets that we can blend in; golf tournaments, UFC fights, etc.

JWS: How closely do you follow the market?

Kevin Harvick: I wake up with Maria (Bartiromo). I like to understand what is happening in the world. I spend a lot of time paying attention to it because I’m intrigued by it.  

Fan Marino: Textron is a large cap aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies industrial conglomerate that happens to own E-Z-GO. E-Z-GO sells golf carts. The company reported revenues were up 2.6% YOY to $3.6 billion in Q2 ‘17. Revenue growth was attributed to the company’s May acquisition of Arctic Cat.

Howie Long-Short: The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs started this past Sunday with a race at the Chicagoland Speedway. Harvick currently sits in 3rd place in the standings, 35 points behind the leader (Martin Treux Jr.) The next race is Sunday 9/24 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.