Sporticast: Longest-Serving Commish Near Extension, MLS Keeps Mexico Biz

On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including a looming extension for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bettman has led the NHL since 1993, making him the longest-serving commissioner across major U.S. sport leagues, and the league has expanded dramatically during his tenure. More recently, he oversaw the NHL’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and helped negotiate a new set of U.S. TV deals that have the league back on ESPN. He previously signed a six-year extension in 2016, and he’s set for a new contract later this summer.

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The hosts also talk about Soccer United Marketing, the commercial arm of Major League Soccer, extending its relationship with the Mexican national teams. SUM negotiates sponsorships and promotes/manages the Mexican teams’ games in the U.S., which are big business. The Mexican men’s soccer team sells more jerseys and draws more eyeballs than the U.S. team in America, averages more than 50,000 fans when it plays in U.S. stadiums. The deal also comes at a critical moment for SUM, which is losing its 20-year relationship with U.S. Soccer.

Lastly, the pair discuss the XFL’s new four-year deal with ESPN. Spring professional football has failed in many forms over the past few decades, but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital are hoping their version takes off next year.

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