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MLB's billion-dollar spending spree (AXIOS Sports) Corey Seager, SS: Rangers (10 years, $325M)
Marcus Semien, 2B: Rangers (seven years, $175M)
Javier Báez, SS: Tigers (six years, $140M)
Max Scherzer, RHP: Mets (three years, $130M)
Robbie Ray, LHP: Mariners (five years, $115M)
Kevin Gausman, RHP: Blue Jays (five years, $110M)
Starling Marte, CF: Mets (four years, $78M)
Eduardo Rodríguez, LHP: Tigers (five years, $77M)
Jon Gray, RHP: Rangers (four years, $56M)
Avisail García, RF: Marlins (four years, $53M)
Steven Matz, LHP: Cardinals (four years, $44M)

November was brutal for NFL bettors (AXIOS Sports) Driving the news: November was among the worst months ever for the betting public thanks to underdogs covering the spread nearly 60% of the time and winning 23 games outright.
Notable games: Jaguars over Bills in Week 9; Dolphins over Ravens in Week 10; Texans over Titans in Week 11.

Mayor Cooper announces fairgrounds racetrack deal (AXIOS Sports) Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced an agreement with Bristol Motor Speedway on Tuesday, setting the stage for fairgrounds racetrack renovations and the return of NASCAR.

Liberty agrees naming rights deal for A-League Women (SportsPro Insider)
  • Multi-year deal includes promotions in stadia, on kits and across A-Leagues’ online properties
  • Agreement comes after Isuzu UTE signed up as title sponsor of men’s competition

East Asia Super League gets Raine Group investment ahead of 2022 tip-off (SportsPro Insider)
  • Latest investment will be used to help launch the new competition
  • League also unveils full format for inaugural home and away season
Basketball’s East Asia Super League (EASL) has secured investment from financial advisory firm the Raine Group and former National Basketball Association (NBA) players Baron Davis, Metta World Peace and Shane Battier.

Report: Apax Partners mulls fresh Serie A investment offer (SportsPro Insider)
  • Deal could differ from CVC-led bid and include a larger debt element
  • Serie A has reportedly been looking to revive private equity talks
Private equity firm Apax Partners has renewed its interest in Serie A and is working with other potential investors to put together a proposal for the Italian top flight at the start of 2022, according to Bloomberg.

MLS Thanksgiving game draws 1.89m viewers for Fox (SportsPro Insider)
  • Thanksgiving matchup was most watched MLS game since 2004
  • MLS’ eight-year Fox deal, reportedly worth US$90m per year, expires in 2022
Major League Soccer’s (MLS) decision to schedule its first ever Thanksgiving game paid off as 1.89 million viewers tuned into Fox and its Spanish-language channel Fox Deportes to watch the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers playoff match.
The audience figure marks the league’s highest rated postseason match of all time, with the Timbers’ 1-0 win against the Rapids also ranking as the most-watched MLS match ever on Fox.

Tecnifibre Tennis Rackets On The Upswing Behind Medvedev, Swiatek (Forbes SportsMoney)

Lacoste purchased the French-based company in 2017, but Tecnifibre has enjoyed growth in both technology and recognition in the years since. With Medvedev, the 2021 U.S. Open champion and year-end World No. 2, and Swiatek, a 2020 French Open Champion and year-end World No. 9, both sporting signature models of Tecnifibre, the two brand ambassadors have created more visibility and excitement while lending additional credibility to the relatively young brand in the tennis racket space. 

FC Barcelona Reignite Interest To Sign Chelsea Star (Forbes SportsMoney) But for all the talk of signing the €50mn ($56.5mn) rated Ferran Torres, who his Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has already warned won't come as a "gift", FC Barcelona have to be realistic and look for more economically viable options given their financial predicament.

NBA, Bleacher Report Launch Art Series To Celebrate League’s 75th Anniversary (Forbes SportsMoney) Throughout the past 75 years, the NBA has transcended the hardcourt, crossing over into fashion, music, art, politics, lifestyle and pop culture.

In an effort to not only celebrate the league’s anniversary but also further its involvement in the art world, the NBA and Bleacher Report teamed up with five artists across a variety of disciplines and mediums to create a one-of-its-kind collaboration.

NBA 75: Artist Series features original 1-of-1 works of art, 75 exclusive artist editions and an apparel collection designed by Frank Miller, Sue Tsai, Greg Yuna, Bandulu and Hank Willis Thomas.

New York Mets Alter Their Roster With Significant And Costly Free Agent Signings (Forbes SportsMoney)  So far, the New York Mets are kings of the MLB offseason.
Mets owner Steve Cohen isn’t fooling around. He is sending a loud and expensive message to the National League.
Cohen hired former Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler to lead the baseball operations of his club. Eppler has totally transformed the roster since being hired November 18.
With the offseason now in full steam, according to MLB.com, Cohen and Eppler have agreed to terms with four very consequential free agent players, making the Mets among the most improved teams so far in baseball. 

Brian Kelly's 10-year deal with LSU football includes $1.2M loan for residence, eye-popping bonuses (USA TODAY) LSU’s new football coach, Brian Kelly, is set to receive just over $100 million in basic compensation over 10 years, according to a term sheet USA TODAY Sports received from the school Tuesday night.
The deal – which is subject to a satisfactory background check and approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors – makes Kelly the first coach at a public school with a nine-figure contract.

Brian Kelly's contract with LSU tops list of 10 biggest deals in college football history (USA TODAY) Upon his arrival at Texas A&M, Jimbo Fisher signed what was, at the time, the largest coaching contract in college football history: A 10-year deal worth $75 million.
In the four years since, however, five other coaches have eclipsed that mark.
And three have come in the past week alone.
The recently-announced 10-year deals for Brian Kelly, Mel Tucker and James Franklin all rank among the five richest contracts in the history of the sport in terms of , according to salary data compiled and analyzed by USA TODAY Sports.
Kelly is due to make $100 million over the length of his deal with LSU, becoming the first public-school football coach to sign a nine-figure deal. Tucker and Franklin signed extensions for $95 million and $85 million with Michigan State and Penn State, respectively.

A Premier League soccer pundit sparked outrage after launching a 2-minute-long anti-gay tirade during a live match (Business Insider) An Egyptian soccer pundit has sparked outrage after a two-minute-long rant live on TV in which he described homosexuality as being against "human nature."
Retired player Mohamed Aboutrika, one of the best-known soccer stars in Egypt's history, made the comments during an appearance as a pundit on Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports' coverage of the Premier League.

NFL says ‘certainty’ of revenues in new TV deal provide freedom to experiment in digital (SportsPro Insider)
  • New ten-year deal is worth a reported US$110m
  • NFL has been on FTA TV in the US since 1939
  • CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and Amazon will share games from 2023
The National Football League’s (NFL) head of digital media says its huge domestic broadcast rights deal, reported to be worth US$110 million, gives it the certainty and flexibility to adapt to changing technologies and viewing habits without risking reach and revenue.

AEW TBS Title Tourney Matches Are 3 Times Longer Than WWE Queen’s Crown Matches (Forbes SportsMoney) Through seven matches, AEW’s TBS Championship Tournament has featured three times as much wrestling as all seven matches of WWE’s Queen’s Crown Tournament last month.
WWE’s inaugural Queen’s Crown Tournament came under fire for its lack of ring time among women wrestlers. The shortest match of the tournament saw Shayna Baszler defeat Dana Brooke in a matter of seconds, 85 seconds to be exact. The Queen’s Crown tournament featured a total of 21 minutes and 15 seconds of ring time, while AEW’s TBS Championship Tournament has already amassed a whopping 61 minutes of ring time after the same amount of matches. The median match time for a Queen’s Crown match was 2:45, compared to 9:47 for the AEW TBS Tournament, which continues tonight on AEW Dynamite with a quarterfinals match between Kris Statlander and Ruby Soho. 

Nashville Mayor Agrees to Fairgrounds Speedway Revitalization Plan (SportsTravel) NASCAR, which returned to the Nashville market this past season with its first Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, may be setting up the potential for a second track in the destination to get a future Cup Series weekend.
A proposal by Bristol Motor Speedway to revitalize the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway was agreed to by Nashville Mayor John Cooper on Tuesday, setting the stage for the venue to potentially host a NASCAR event as soon as 2023.

LeBron James Out Indefinitely Under NBA’s Covid Protocols (Wall Street Journal)

LeBron James missed the Los Angeles Lakers’ game on Tuesday and will remain out indefinitely after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, indicating the vaccinated NBA star registered a positive or inconclusive test for Covid-19, which could make James the most prominent athlete with a breakthrough infection. 

FIFA Hopes to Take Human Error Out of Sports as It Trials Offside Technology at This Week’s Arab Cup (SportTechie) The Arab Cup that kicked off on Tuesday in Qatar is, in many ways, a dress rehearsal for the 2022 World Cup that commences at this time next year. One of the key innovations under trial is what FIFA has billed as its “semi-automated offside technology,” a supplement to the existing Video Assistant Referee system to help with one of the sport’s more vexing rules.

Bulls, Heat lose draft picks for jumping the gun in free agent talks with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Lowry (USA TODAY) The NBA disciplined the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls on Wednesday for what the league says were both teams "violating league rules governing the timing of this season's free agency discussions."
Both teams will forfeit the next available second-round draft pick. 
Currently, the Heat could have one second round pick in 2022, but it's likely the second round pick won't be made until 2028. The Bulls next second-round pick is scheduled for the 2026 draft. 
The league's investigation centered on the Bulls and Heat and the sign-and-trade acquisitions of guards Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry as soon as the free agency period began on Aug. 2.

Baseball's looming lockout: MLB, players still far apart in Tuesday negotiations (USA TODAY) IRVING, Texas — Major League Baseball and the players association remain far apart in their negotiations with both sides pessimistic that an agreement can be reached before Wednesday night’s deadline.

How to Quit a College Football Coaching Job (Wall Street Journal)

In the past 48 hours, college football has been jolted by the sudden departure of two successful big-name coaches. First, Oklahoma wunderkind Lincoln Riley fled Norman for the University of Southern California, which turns out to have a football team, in addition to celebrity children’s rowing. 

Tiger Woods Says Golf Career Will Never Fully Recover After Car Crash (Wall Street Journal)

Tiger Woods cast serious doubt on his professional golf future in his first press conference since a life-threatening February car crash, saying that his ability to compete will never be the same after the devastating leg injuries he sustained in the wreck. 

Woods, 45 years old, shot down notions of ever returning to play full-time. He said that, if he can ever be healthy enough to play well enough, his hope would be to play a limited schedule. Over nine months since the one-car collision in the Los Angeles area, he said even that remained a distant goal and far from a guarantee.  

The Labor Standoff That Unleashed a Billion-Dollar Spending Spree in Baseball (Wall Street Journal)

Baseball front offices have finally shown what it takes for them to start signing players before Valentine’s Day: The threat of the entire sport shutting down for an indeterminate amount of time.

The current collective bargaining agreement between the franchise owners and the players’ union expires Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. ET, and the odds of them reaching a new deal by that time appear slim. Management would likely then initiate a lockout, freezing all transactions for as long as it takes for the two parties to settle the dispute, a process that could stretch for months.

Apax Revives Interest in Italy’s Top-Flight Soccer League (Front Office Sports)

Apax Partners has renewed its interest in investing in Serie A, which has suffered significant financial losses due to the global pandemic and underinvestment, per Bloomberg. 

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