MLB revenue drops in shortened season, Circa Las Vegas opens world’s largest sportsbook, Xbox revenue gains help boost Microsoft’s latest quarter, and Equinox is launching an e-commerce presence.
MLB Revenue Slides
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
MLB successfully navigated its way through a pandemic-shortened 2020 season to the World Series, but the league suffered a $3.1 billion loss. Teams have shed hundreds of jobs — with some not expected to return.
The Atlanta Braves are among the teams that laid off employees after experiencing a 95% year-over-year revenue dip April to June. Other teams that suffered large layoffs include the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants.
Xbox content and services revenue was up 30% year-over-year, helping contribute to a strong first quarter of Microsoft’s 2021 fiscal year. Microsoft reported its net income was up 30% overall — led largely by cloud services.
During the pandemic, Microsoft saw a surge in xCloud and Game Pass services, announcing that it had 15 million Xbox Game Pass Subscribers earlier this year. Now, Microsoft is preparing for its Nov. 10 launch of the next-gen Xbox Series X and Series S.
If Sony’s early reported demand for its next-gen console — PlayStation 5, due out Nov. 12 — is any indication, the release will be a boon for Microsoft’s current quarter. Sony said it pre-sold as many PlayStation 5 units in 12 hours in the U.S. as the first 12 weeks of PlayStation 4, which has sold more than 100 million to date.
Microsoft Q1 2021:
$37.2 billion in revenue
$13.9 billion profit (up 30% year-over-year)
$11.85 billion in “more personal computing” revenue, which includes Xbox and PCs
30% increase in Xbox-only revenue — up from flat a year ago and down from the 65% year-over-year increase last quarter
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Vegas’ New Gem
Circa Las Vegas opened what it calls the largest sportsbook in the world today. The pandemic has heavily impacted travel and tourism, but CEO Derek Stevens wants to help reestablish Las Vegas as a sports betting destination.
The $1 billion resort is highlighted by its three-story, 1,000 seat auditorium and a 78-million-pixel video wall that requires 10 people to operate. Sports betting media company VSiN also has a dedicated broadcast studio in the building.
On top of the resort is a rooftop with a 143-foot TV and six pools that will have poolside mobile wagering kiosks. Circa also boasts “Nevada’s longest indoor bar” at 165-feet with 40 double-stacked TVs.
Sports Betting Headlines
U.K. betting data firm Genius Sports will go public through a $1.5 billion SPAC deal.
BetMGM named former ESPN senior vice president of social & digital content Ryan Spoon as its new chief operating officer.
DraftKings announced its naming rights deal for Major League Eating’s Halloween candy eating contest. It also extended its deal to power Gibraltar-based MansionBet’s sportsbook and casino.
Equinox Launches E-Commerce
Gym chain Equinox has entered the e-commerce space with an online store featuring more than 80 apparel, wellness and skincare brands in a new commitment to retail. The endeavor is an effort to test products that could be added to retail spaces at its 105 clubs, as well as boost its overall revenue.
The chain’s 350,000 members each spend an average of $3,500 per year, with gym dues starting at $2,200. Amplifying spending outside regular membership fees will help battle pandemic losses and the company’s mounting debt.
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Veteran college basketball reporter Rob Dauster spoke with Front Office Sports about a new podcast network, The Field of 68, he founded with reporter Jeff Goodman. The network will focus on local men’s college basketball coverage and long-form feature reporting.