CALLAWAY BUYS TRAVISMATHEW FOR $125.5 MILLION; 11.8X EBITDA

Callaway Golf Company (ELY) has agreed on terms to acquire TravisMathew, LLC, a high-growth golf and lifestyle apparel company, for $125.5 million. The price of sale values the brand at +/-11.8x projected 2017 EBITDA. The company has projected net sales to be in the range of $55-60 million for 2017, $10-15 million of which will count towards Callaway’s H2 financials. TravisMathew currently has distribution at high-end country clubs, resorts, department stores and experiential retail locations.

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Callaway Golf Company To Acquire TravisMathew For $125.5 Million

Fan Marino: TravisMathew is a more modern/casual take on Lacoste/Polo. I’m a fan of the brand and Callaway continuing to target a younger demo.

ADIDAS SALES UP 20% YOY; E-COMMERCE UP 66% FROM Q2 2016

Adidas (ADDYY) reported a huge 20% YOY increase in sales for the 2nd quarter, with e-commerce growth up 66% from the same time period last year. The growth was largely driven by sales in the U.S and China, up 26% & 28% respectively. Despite the significant growth, CEO Kasper Rorsted believes the company has plenty of room to grow; announcing a commitment to spend nearly an extra billion dollars on marketing by the end of the decade, to grow key territories and build out its digital initiative.

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‘We’re by no means where we need to be,’ says Adidas CEO as sales rise 20%

Howie Long-Short: After being tossed in the dumpster in 2014, Adidas has been on a tear for two years, taking share from the competition. Clearly they’ve been getting something right design-wise. I have no idea what. My obsession with athletic shoes ended around age 18.

Fan Marino: I said I wouldn’t do it. I said I was firmly in the Nike camp. I sold out.

DESPITE 40% YOY DROP IN DEVICES SOLD, FITBIT BEATS ANALYSTS Q2 EXPECTATIONS

Despite a 40% YOY decline in devices sold, Fitbit (FIT) managed to exceeded analyst expectations during the 2nd Quarter. FIT reported sales of $353 million (compared to estimates of $341 million) and losses of $.08/share (compared to estimates of $.15). The once high-flying fitness band company is hoping a pivot to becoming a digital health company, focused on corporate wellness, will change its fortunes. CEO James Park announced the company’s new smartwatch will be released in time for holiday shopping, and is expected to drive second half sales.

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Fitbit Tops Sales Estimates on Renewed Demand for Fitness Bands

Long-Short: The beauty of low expectations. There’s not much room downward left for this stock.

Fan Marino: The FIT stock has dropped 90% in 2 years. A pivot is in order, but I don’t see a need/market for the smart watch.

ADIDAS SUBSIDIARIES WANT PIECE OF LUCRATIVE SPACE ECONOMY

While space colonization isn’t likely to occur in our lifetime, the space economy is booming (space suits represent a $20-$25 million annual market) and big name retailers like Reebok (ADDYY) & Y-3 (ADDYY) want in on the action. Reebok teamed up with space outfitter David Clark Company to release the first updated space boot in 50 years, the SB-01. The boots, which use Reebok’s patented Floatride foam, “will accompany the final space suit that will shuttle astronauts to and from the International Space Station”.

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Work It! How Reebok, Adidas, and Y-3 Will Dress Future Space Explorers

Fan Marino: How did Reebok go from Dave & Dan to Neil Armstrong in 25 years?

POOR 2ND QUARTER PUTS CABELA’S/BASS PRO SHOPS MERGER AT RISK

It has been nearly a month since Cabela’s (CAB) shareholders voted to approve a merger with Bass Pro Shops, but the company’s future remains as murky as ever. CAB‘s Q2 earnings report revealed a 9.3% decrease in revenue from the same time last year and a big EPS miss (reported $.41/share; analysts expected $.60/share). The outdoor recreation retailer had agreed to a buyout worth approximately $61.50 per share, but after recent bad news, Bass Pro Shops could be looking for a way out of the $4.2 billion deal, and may just have it. If Cabela’s fails to gain Federal Reserve approval to sell its credit card business to Synovus Financial prior to October 3rd, then Bass Pro Shops can walk from the deal without penalty.

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Cabela’s reports drop in second-quarter sales, largely due to slump in firearm purchases

Howie Long-Short: Add Cabela’s to the list of companies hurt by weak gun sales. Amazing how much politics drives this.

Fan Marino: My uncle is a hunter. 21 years. 1 deer. True Story.

LOS ANGELES TO HOST 2028 SUMMER OLYMPICS; NBC WILL SET RECORDS FOR ADVERTISING REVENUES

NBC will host the first “home” Olympics since 2002, with the announcement that the 2028 Summer Games are set to take place in Los Angeles. The network, which set records for consumption during the Salt Lake City games, will broad marquee events like track & field and swimming in primetime. Just don’t expect those broadcasts to necessarily be on traditional television. NBC has exclusive rights to broadcast events on cell phones, tablets and any other forms of technology that develop between now and then, making it likely the network will set records for advertising revenues.

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What a Los Angeles Olympics means for NBC

Howie Long-Short: This should help make up for the 3 games in Asia, but 2028 is a long way away.

Fan Marino: Biggest regret I have as a sports fan is failing to attend the ’94 World Cup & the ’96 Atlanta Games. I won’t blow it this time around.

CHURCHILL DOWNS TO OFFER GAMBLERS A NEW WAY TO LOSE

Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN) is building an 85,000 sf, $60 million facility, to host historical race wagering by the fall of 2018. Historical race wagering; or instant racing, is similar to slot machines and models games after previously run races. The company will start with 600 machines, and if successful, could look to add similar facilities to its portfolio in the future.

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Churchill Downs CEO sheds more light on $60M gaming facility, Derby’s huge TV showing

Howie Long-Short: What is this, CHDN’s attempt to hedge in case PETA ever gets horse racing banned, like Shamu? Biff Tannen is delivering me a horse racing almanac as we speak. Retirement, here we come.

David Price/Earnings: Sounds like this could be quite profitable down the stretch, if marketed right.

Fan Marino: How big of a degenerate does one have to be, to gamble on a horse race that’s already been completed? Asking for a friend.

MSG ENTERS WORLD OF ESPORTS; ACQUIRES COUNTER LOGIC GAMING

Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has purchased a controlling interest in Counter Logic Gaming, an eSports powerhouse, with millions of fans across various social platforms and significant growth potential. While CLG gets access to MSG’s experience in completing marketing partnerships and media rights deals, MSG is now positioned as a power player in the world of competitive gaming. With the global eSports market estimated to be worth $1.5 billion, by 2020, that would seem to be a desirable place to sit. It should be noted that MSG has hosted and sold-out eSports events in the past, giving CLG the confidence it will be able to create and operate ticketed events at the World’s Most Famous Arena.

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Madison Square Garden Company Buys Counter Logic Gaming (CLG)

Howie Long-Short: HotShotGG? This makes me feel old. I don’t get eSports and I haven’t seen a real revenue model yet, but it clearly is receiving a ton of attention.

David Price/Earnings: A great move for both sides, although quite hard to call video gamers ‘professionals’.

Fan Marino: Do eSport athletes have a signing day? Do they line up hats?  A lot of questions to be answered here.

COLLEGES/UNIVERSITIES NO LONGER HAVE PROBLEM CASHING BEER COMPANY CHECKS

Colleges & Universities that were once were steadfast against beer company sponsorships are now coming around on the revenue potential associated with beer sales, in stadium signage, media and licensing opportunities. Texas, which began to sell beer in 2015, reported $1.3 million in profits from beer sales during the 2016 season; so it’s no surprise that others are looking to get in on the action. 36 on-campus stadiums will sell beer during the 2017 season (with 14 more pouring at off-campus venues), while the number of school marks and intellectual property being used in beer marketing campaigns at an all-time high. There is no doubt that the change in thinking is driven by revenue potential, but school administrators maintain that controlling beer sales will keep students safe, helping to curb the binge drinking that occurs prior to and during halftime of games.

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Howie Long-Short: This makes sense, though I’m surprised given the politics.

David Price/Earnings: Beer marketers’ thirst for new income streams have found a new home in the perfect spot; colleges & universities. Sounds like a slam dunk to me.

Fan Marino: I’m not sure it’s going to curb the binge drinking, but it certainly seems sensible. Why shouldn’t adults of legal age be permitted to purchase a beer at a football game?

WWE EYES GLOBAL EXPANSION AFTER SETTING DOMESTIC RECORDS FOR PROFITS AND RATINGS

As WWE (WWE) continues to strive domestically with record profits and ratings, the company sees the potential for additional growth with global expansion. WWE has partnered with Lagardère Sports, a subsidiary of Lagardère Group (EPA: MMB), to provide global sponsorship support and analysis, with a focus on the Indian market. With more than 500 live events/year, WWE is looking to take advantage of the increased amount of live, in-ring content shown on the company owned WWE network. The company has acknowledged that in order to continue recording record growth numbers (subscriber base up 16% since Q1), and to continue increasing its brand power, global expansion is a necessity.

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The WWE Is Exploring Overseas Opportunities For Further Revenue Growth

Howie Long-Short: Does what sells in the trailer park really sell in China too? I think WWE will have a tough time expanding globally. But they’ve already done better than I expected since launching their own network.

Fan Marino: With India a focal point, it’s no surprise that Vince & Co. are pushing Jinder Mahal.