President Donald Trump and Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren chat on the phone, William Hill eyes merger with Caesars Entertainment online casino, AT&T wants to keep Warner Bros. gaming division, and leagues are split on when to expect fans.
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
President Donald Trump has inserted himself into the discussion to resurrect the Big Ten’s fall football season. Trump called Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren yesterday after a White House representative reached out about how the conference can return to playing college football.
While Trump called the conversation “very productive,” the decision to play isn’t his, nor is it up to Warren, school athletic directors or even football coaches. Instead, it’s up to the university presidents who voted 11-3 last month to postpone the season, as noted in a response to a lawsuit filed against the conference by several Nebraska football players.
Ohio State President Kristina Johnson — who voted against postponement, along with Iowa and Nebraska — said she’s hopeful a season will be played this year. The Big Ten said it’s “exhausting every resource to help student-athletes get back to playing.”
Mike Lawrence-Evansville Courier & Press via Imagn
William Hill continues to expand its U.S. sports betting business, wrapping up a deal last week to acquire sportsbook operator CG Technology. Now, the London-based company is looking to merge its U.S. operations with Caesars Entertainment’s online casino operations.
Caesars already owns 20% of William Hill’s U.S. operations as part of a deal with Eldorado Resorts, which took over Caesars in July. In the coming weeks, William Hill will have 170 retail locations in 13 states.
Together, the two companies are projected to generate $700 million in revenue in 2021. One projection suggests the combined operation could be valued at $7 billion if publicly traded.
Last week’s deal to buy CG Technology was for likely less than $50 million. The deal gives William Hill prominent retail sportsbook locations on the Las Vegas Strip, including in the Cosmopolitan, the Venetian and the Tropicana.
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Mortal Kombat 11
AT&T is backing away from earlier reports it could sell its Warner Bros. video game unit. In July, AT&T was reportedly exploring a potential sale of the division for upwards of $4 billion with major game developers as potential suitors.
The gaming unit publishes a variety of games, including titles under the Harry Potter and Mortal Kombat brands.
While that asset is off the table, AT&T continues to look to spin off parts of its business as reports suggest it’s exploring deals including its digital ad unit and DirectTV.
These discussions come a few months after there were reports DraftKings was interested in purchasing Bleacher Report from the company. A potential Bleacher Report sale hasn’t surfaced again recently, but the media company did shutter its B/R Mag long-form unit earlier this month.
Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
NHL and NBA executives are worried their bubble seasons won’t be the only ones without fans. Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts said having fans is imperative to financial success, as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver previously estimated 40% of league revenue comes from fans in the building.
NBA: Silver has said the season will likely start later than the planned Dec. 1 date in hopes of having fans.
NHL: Stakeholders are discussing the timeline for the start of next season — planned for Dec. 1 — and if a full 82-game slate can be played.
NFL: As of Tuesday, just six NFL teams have said they plan on welcoming fans. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he believes some teams that begin with no fans could welcome them as the season progresses.
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