Marc Daniels Friday Notebook: PGA Tour Today - The Dallas Cowboys Tomorrow?

Dallas Cowboys v Carolina Panthers

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If you tried to play the game of not buying anything from countries or people you think you don't support it would make it almost impossible to get through an hour, let alone a day. And the reality is most people don't take the time to learn about where your food, clothing and other objects really come from.

For example, I had to correct my good friend Mike Bianchi when on a recent radio show he said that when he put gas in his car the money was going to Saudi Arabia so how can he really be overly critical of LIV. The two don't really connect and the reality is there is a 95% chance the gas you put in your car is NOT from Saudi Arabia because we import about 5% of our oil from the region. There is a greater chance when you pump gas into your car it's coming from Canada. And the iPhone comparison many use about not supporting China also doesn't really apply. While most iPhones are assembled in China most of the parts that make up the iPhone come from many countries- including the United States.

That doesn't mean one cannot have strong opinions regarding the tragedy of 9/11 and the evidence known regarding the background of the individuals involved in the attacks and the source of their funding.

Fair or not- and life is not fair- the Personal Investment Fund is worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Its purpose is to not just fund the game of golf. In fact, one of the biggest missions of the PIF is to shift the economy of the country from oil to other industries as many experts project the demand and supply of the country's richest asset will continue to drop in the coming years and decades. The leaders of the country believe tourism is the biggest market for growth and have plans to continue to grow their sports investments as a means of promoting the country for worldwide visitors. Will it work? I have no idea and time will tell.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan is the governor of Saudi Arabia's PIF and he has spent billions and billions on sports properties in recent years. He led the move to take majority control of Newcastle United in the English Premier League and spent heavily on players and the return on that investment is a top four finish in the EPL and a ticket to the lucrative Champions League next season. And recently two of soccer's biggest names have signed massive deals to play in the Saudi based league, which is considered well below MLS on the rankings of top leagues in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo signed for what is said to be more than $200M per year and Frenchman Karim Benzema, who recently played for Barcelona, signed for more than $100M per year to come to the Saudi based league. The PIF is now heavily invested in Formula One and sees golf as a portal to promote their country to the rich and famous and anyone else.

So why should anyone think Al-Rumayyan and the PIF is not about to take the next step? American sports team ownership.

One thing about billionaires is that they like more billions. And one thing anyone can notice in the last decade is that owning a pro sports team in America is profitable when you want to sell. Oh sure, owners will always complain about barely breaking even or do some fuzzy math and tell you they are losing millions after taxes. But do you know what doesn't happen when someone sells? They never lose money. Pro sports teams in the United States appreciate quite well. 

Franchises are going far above what people have projected them to be worth. The Washington Commanders are selling for north of $6B. The Denver Broncos went for $4.5B and Matt Ishbia used his money from a successful mortgage company to overpay for the Phoenix Suns and their WNBA team when he paid $4B for both. The list goes on and on when it comes to teams and what other rich people will pay. Sports ownership has become about image and ego and the PIF is no different, except it has more money than anyone to spend.

So what's next and who would be next if Al-Rumayyan decides to go shopping in the US. One natural thought is to buy an MLS team. LAFC is said to be the first MLS team to be valued at $1B. That would be easy. In May, MLS announced San Diego as the 30th team for the league and chose the city over Las Vegas. Can you imagine if the PIF wanted an expansion team in Vegas and agreed to pay well above the expansion fee for the team and build its own stadium?

Most fans are more vocal about foreign ownership until they see what kind of spending they will do. Fans in the English Premier League still don't like any American that takes control of one of their clubs because their view is that US owners don't respect the traditions of the sport and the passion of fans. The Glazer sons(Manchester United), John Henry(Liverpool) and Stan Kroenke(Arsenal) won't win popularity contests in England. The Glazers have battled financial issues for years, but Henry and Kroenke have spent money on their teams and that's all fans care about.

But back to Al-Rumayyan and PIF: What if James Dolan ever decided to cash out of his Knicks and Rangers and Madison Square Garden? Name the price.

Jerry Jones said he could never see himself selling the Dallas Cowboys. I actually believe him. Jones is 80 and wants to see his team win another Super Bowl. His net worth is said to be $13.2B so there is no financial need to sell. The Cowboys are said to be valued at $8B. Could you imagine if Al-Rumayyan called Jerry and the two had lunch and played a round of golf and along the way to the green at the fourth hole the billionaire with more than $300B to spend ask the other billionaire if $12B closes the deal? I mean Jerry has to pause and think, doesn't he?

Whether Jones would sell or not, someone will. It's inevitable and don't think the PIF hasn't already thought about how the new business partnership with the PGA opens the door for their name to become normalized in the United States that by the time they go after a pro team the outrage from LIV is not at the same volume.

Most people have a price. Some are more willing to take the money quicker than others. LIV is not the first, just the newest in the PIF's venture in sports and more are to come. It's not a question of if, but when and how much when it comes to a US pro sports team, or more like teams...

Nuggets: Nothing like watching college football coaches tell Congressional leaders about the awful world of NIL and the transfer portal, including some of the best coaches who took the money and ran to the next job...If you don't know who Elly De La Cruz is, go find out. And if you think you might buy one of his baseball cards as an investment, you are too late. The Reds' rookie sensation hit his first home run Wednesday night. A team rep went to negotiate with the fan who got the ball and the two sides settled on a meet and greet, signed pictures, bats and baseball for the fan and his friends. There was no money exchanged in the deal. Good for the fan and good for De La Cruz who is a star for years to come...It's the 50th anniversary of Secretariat's famous run at the Belmont Stakes where he won the Triple Crown winning by 31 lengths. Today(June 9th) is the actual anniversary day and yet this year's edition of the mile-and-a-half race may not be run because of the smoke from the Canadian wildfires. Thanks Canada...Zion Williamson, really? C'mon man...

Final note: If placed in a small goldfish bowl, the average goldfish lives less than two months. Yet, if a goldfish is placed in a larger tank, they could live up to two to five years.

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