All Las Vegas sports teams should include, in the cost of a ticket to attend a game, a built-in bet on the home team to win the game that pays the full price of the ticket if the bet wins.
Basically I'm saying that a ticket that costs $100 currently should cost $200 in Vegas - $100 for the actual attendance and $100 for an even money wager. Well it wouldn't exactly be even money because the casino taking the bets would have to have a small house advantage, but you get the idea. This would be amazing not only for the vested interest it would force into existence for home team fans, but also the conflict it would cause for rival fans attending games at their stadium/ballpark/rink/arena/etc. - "Fuck, I really want my team to beat them, but if my team loses I get all my money back!"
Top Ten Greatest Male Players in Challenge History - No. 4 - C.T. Tamburello
Honorable Mentions - Abram, Dan S., Jamie, Mike M., Theo V., Turbo, Wes No. 10 - Alton Williams (Real World: Las Vegas) No. 9 - Mark Long (Road Rules: USA - The First Adventure) No. 8 - Darrell Taylor (Road Rules: Campus Crawl) No. 7 - Derrick Kosinski (Road Rules: X-Treme) No. 6 - Kenny Santucci (Fresh Meat) No. 5 - Evan Starkman (Fresh Meat) No. 4 - C.T. Tamburello (Real World: Paris)
C.T. carrying the Johnny Bananas backpack is the greatest highlight ever recorded in Challenge history.
Before the backpack moment, we hadn’t seen C.T. in three years. He was rumored to be forever banned after almost killing Adam King on the Duel II. On Cutthroat, when T.J. announced the heavy hitters twist and C.T. came walking out the dark, challenge fans all around the world were not prepared for what they were about to witness. C.T. was finally let out of his cage and Johnny Bananas became absolute prey.
If there were ever to be a logo for the Challenge, a visual image of the C.T.-Bananas backpack moment would be it. Picture this: Replace the Jerry West silhouette in the red and blue NBA logo with a white silhouette of C.T. mid power-walk and Bananas in the back of him imitating a backpack. Then, replace “NBA” with “MTV”. Now, you got your MTV Challenge logo. C.T. being at the front and center of a hypothetical challenge sports logo makes perfect sense considering C.T.’s athletic performances changed the landscape of the Challenge from a regular game show to the series becoming known as America’s Fifth Sport.
C.T. is the Peyton Manning of the Challenge.
Peyton Manning is the greatest regular-season quarterback in the history of the NFL. C.T. is the greatest regular-season competitor in the history of the Challenge.
Peyton Manning only has two Superbowls (and won his second one in his final season in the NFL, while being a shell of his former self). C.T. has three championships (and won his final one while being in his worst physical shape ever).
Both, Peyton Manning and C.T.’s regular-season career numbers lead you to believe that they should have had twice as much championships than what they currently have. However, their own blunders (C.T.’s boneheaded mistakes and gassing out right before the finish line on the Exes 2 final = Peyton’s choking) throughout their careers hold them back from reaching extreme success in the post-season.
To continue this comparison, Johnny Bananas is Tom Brady (6 championships). C.T. is the more natural athlete and talented challenger between him and Bananas, but Bananas has had the better legacy (Peyton’s the more talented QB between him and Brady, but Brady accomplished a greater legacy).
C.T. has seven of the greatest regular season competitive performances that didn’t result in championships.
The Inferno: In C.T.’s rookie debut, the higher end competition consisted of Abram, Darrell, Mike Mizanin, Shane and Timmy. C.T. won 4 life shields. C.T. led all the males in life shields and actually won more life shields than the higher end competition as one whole collective (Darrell, Mike Mizanin, and Timmy each won one life shield, totaling up to 3). C.T. was the best performer of the season as a rookie. He made the final challenge, but his Real World team lost to Road Rules in a close race.
Inferno II: C.T. was the life shield king. He racked up 6 life shields this season in one of the most competitive male casts to ever be assembled in Challenge history. C.T. led the season in life shields again, Landon came in 2nd with four, Mike in 3rd with three, and Derrick came in 4th with two. C.T. made the final, but he and the final remaining Bad Asses got blown out the water in a triathlon.
The Duel: C.T. won three missions and landed in the top 2 seven times. In C.T.’s third season, he was the second best competitor behind Evan, who won six missions (but half of them were due to having the superior partner in Jodi in comparison to C.T. having Diem). Despite being a top 2 performer, C.T. got disqualified against Brad in the final male duel and didn’t make it into the post-season.
Gauntlet III: C.T. was co-captain of one of the most dominant regular season teams ever, the G3 Veterans. C.T. was either the best or second best athlete on the team (along with Evan, the other team captain). C.T.’s performance in Piñata Pit (which I delve into later) proved what a freak of nature of a competitor C.T. was.
Rivals: C.T. managed to win two missions and landed in the top three overall six times with an average partner (Adam). Rivals C.T. was the scariest. The whole season was based around J.E.K. and friends trying to take him out, because he was such a force to be reckoned with. C.T. lost right before the final because of Adam’s performance in the T-Bone elimination.
Exes: C.T. and Diem won two out of eight missions, only second to Bananas and Camila’s three. C.T. and Diem made the final, but got second place. C.T. and Diem had the lead the whole final, but C.T. collapsed moments before the finish line.
Dirty Thirty: C.T. was competing in his 11th season and still putting up the best scoring numbers in one of the toughest male casts ever assembled. C.T. won 6 missions. That’s the most out of all males on Dirty Thirty (Not a single other player won 5, Hunter won 4, Nelson and Leroy won 3, and the rest have 2 or less). C.T. made the final on D30, but got third place because his gas tank can’t keep up with the other two finalists.
C.T.’s ATG Physical Strength, Aggression, and Athleticism is the most lethal combination in Challenge history.
If the Challenge were to ever have a Madden-esque video game, C.T.’s player rating regarding his athleticism and strength would look something like: STR: 99. SPE: 99. AGI: 99. A prime C.T. was a cheat code. The Bananas Backpack moment attests to this. Below are some other missions and eliminations where C.T.’s strength and athleticism proved to us he was of a different breed.
In Piñata Pit (G3), players from both teams had to jump in a mud pit, retrieve a ball, and return it to the starting line. The mission was played in rounds. Each round, there were fewer balls than there were players. Players were getting eliminated round-by-round. The game of Piñata Pit came down to the two best players on each team, Veteran C.T. and Rookie Derek McCray. You’re probably reading this wondering who Derek McCray is. I don’t blame you. Let me give you some background information on him. The moment Derek M. first stepped into the Challenge, he was immediately viewed as a competition threat, even with no performance log to back for it. Derek M. came into the Gauntlet 3 with instant respect, based off the fact that he had been recruited by more than 200 colleges for his football talent. Considering Piñata Pit contained all the aspects of a game of football: running, tackling, stripping a ball away from an opponent, and taking it to the end zone, the average betting man would’ve bet on Derek to score and win it for the Rookies. Challenge fans, however, knew to bet differently. When the final round went underway, Derek reached the ball first, but C.T. was inches behind Derek as he gained possession of the ball. C.T. then proceeded to slam him to the ground effortlessly and Derek literally yelped as he was getting manhandled. C.T, with what looks like half an effort, popped the ball out of Derek’s arms and took it back to the end zone to win it for the Veterans. In Piñata Pit, C.T. basically took the manhood out of a Division 1 athlete.
In the T-Bone elimination (Rivals), C.T.’s “Choo! Choo!” train almost killed Johnny and Tyler. It’s the biggest near death experience in Challenge history. I have a theory: We haven’t seen C.T. in a physical combat elimination ever since for good reason. I’m positive that’s a calculated decision by the Challenge Gods, not one that’s left up to chance.
C.T. faced off against Leroy in Wrecking Wall (FA), an elimination where both players had to punch through a 30-foot dry wall to make holes to climb up until they were able to reach the bell at the top. First player to ring the bell won. Leroy is an elimination beast; he’s won 8 career eliminations because of his physical strength and athleticism alone. He was no match for C.T. though. Anyone who watched the Duel 2, knows C.T.’s punching power is nothing to be played with. His punching power knocked out a whole wall on that season.
In the Flying Leap mission (Duel), players, one at a time, had to jump back and forth from one end of a platform to another that was suspended from a crane 20 feet above water. Numerous flags were hanging from poles located on both sides of the platform. Players had to grab as many flags as possible within a three-minute time limit; Whoever collected the most flags won. C.T. won Flying Leap with flying colors. He was the only male to not land on his body when jumping or not use any running momentum to assist his jumping sequences. C.T. instead showed us his athletic prowess, by setting his feet, loading his hips, exploding and jumping across, landing on his feet every time. Everyone on the sidelines watched in awe. C.T. made it look like a walk in the park.
C.T.’s All-Time Great Intelligence.
C.T. is the perfect two-way player. He not only has the brawn, but he has the brain as well. His long history of solving puzzles makes him an ATG intelligent male player. Below are some of C.T.’s greatest moments in which he had to put his brain to work.
C.T. eliminated Evan in Ascender (Duel), an elimination game in which players had to climb up a rope, pull a handle at the top of the rope, to release a basket containing puzzle pieces. The players then had to climb back down the rope to assemble a tiling puzzle similar to a tangram. C.T versus Evan was the second last male elimination on the original Duel. Up to that point, Evan was the clear #1 best competitor of the season and C.T. was the second. The two best players were going mano a mano. Evan got raddled under the stage lights (got caught trying to cheat), and the brain of the cold blooded killer, C.T. solved the tangram with ease.
In the Rivals 2 final, C.T. completed the puzzle checkpoint in a flash that Johnny/Frank fell behind in. Upon seeing the puzzle, C.T. straightaway figured it out because the puzzle was one that he played when he was hungover at a breakfast country club.
In the Final Redemption Challenge on D30, players had to read a code that provided a combination to a lock that contained puzzle pieces. The first two players to retrieve and complete their puzzle would return to the game, while the rest were eliminated. C.T.’s competition in this challenge was Dario, Jordan, Leroy, and Bananas. C.T. was the first male to successfully figure out the code and complete his puzzle, and re-entered the game as a result.
C.T. eliminated Darrell in Knot So Fast (Invasion). It was the last champions elimination of the season. The grandest stage of them all was set and the two all-time great champions had to rely on their strategical intelligence to win this one. Darrell put up a good fighting effort in trying to undo C.T.’s knot, but it looked like a physically impossible task. It actually was. According to Darrell on Challenge Mania, C.T.’s knots were so tight that production had to cut them off with machetes after the elimination was over. C.T. broke the Knot So Fast elimination. That’s how intelligent C.T.’s strategy was. The elimination win versus Darrell gave C.T. a spot in the finals, where he faced off against underdogs Cory and Nelson, who were fifteen years younger and in the athletic prime of their lives. In the final challenge, C.T. still managed to acquire his second season win and proved to the rest of the Challenge world that the underdogs were no match for the champion of champions.
C.T. has the All-Time Greatest Eating Abilities.
Eating is such an important trait to have in the challenge. It’s often identified as the most difficult portion of the final challenge each season. Players hate it. We’ve actually seen players quit in the final before because they couldn’t stomach eating disgusting things. We’ve seen C.T. devour all types of disgusting things without looking fazed in the slightest, that makes you question whether or not he has taste buds.
Remember the pickled fish soup in the Rivals 2 final? C.T. drank his like he was chugging a beer, while everyone around him was vomiting all over the place. Wes couldn’t bother to even taste his drink, so C.T. chugged it down for him.
In the Exes 2 final, C.T. ate the deer head and sheep blood as if it was everyday dinner. When he finished his plate, C.T. decided to go for seconds and helped Diem finish up her plate as well.
C.T.’s eating abilities are inhumane. Not only is C.T. known for downing disgusting foods in final challenges as if it were nothing, but he’s also known for winning regular season competitions where you had to eat a ridiculous amount of food (Toss Your Cookies v. Shane, eating the entire birthday cake on Race to the Altar in Exes).
C.T.’s first championship and third championships (Rivals II and WOTWII) were social-political clinics.
C.T. played his first eight seasons without winning the big one. It wasn’t until Rivals II, his ninth season, where he finally got his first challenge gold medal. As usual, C.T. crushed it on the field, but off the field, in the Challenge house, he played one of the best political-social games I had ever seen. On Rivals II, the opposite sex had control over the votes on male elimination days. C.T. was wooing all the girls, and they thought they were going to be apart of the next love big story on the Challenge. C.T. was never voted in because at least one player within four of the female teams had a fling with C.T. or were falling heads over heel for him on Rivals 2 (Anastasia, Cooke, Diem, and Nany).
On War of the Worlds II, C.T. was a member of the U.K. Team. He was apart of Cara’s Cult/The Royal Family. The physical shape C.T. was in this season was his worst ever, so him not ever being considered for elimination by his own team is mind blogging. C.T.’s social game was on a whole another level this season. My favorite C.T. moment on WOTWII is when he turncoats on Cara’s Cult right before the final and saves Tori from elimination to strengthen U.K.’s team for the final. C.T.’s political-social finesse on WOTWII rightfully earned him his third championship.
C.T.’s social-political skill, in general, deserves more recognition. Every time I hear people talk about C.T.’s eliteness, people only bring up the competition juggernaut and not the social-political mightiness he’s established over the course of his sixteen season career.
C.T. has only done three less seasons than Johnny Bananas, but he’s been in 11 less eliminations. Other than the first Rivals, I don’t recall there being a time where he wasn’t at the top of social structures. He has a whole catalogue of seasons where he was either pulling strings from the top or aligning with the biggest playmakers that were ones doing the pulling (i.e: Inferno 2 – CT was in a four person alliance with Derrick/Brad/Darrell where there duties were to not nominate each other in the inferno selections; The Duel – CT/Evan/Derrick/Brad each were paired with the best athletic girls and controlled the chain selections; Exes 2 – in an alliance with Mark/Robin, Johnny/Camila, and DunbaPaula that ran the game till the very end).
C.T. made history twice on Invasion and War of the Worlds II.
C.T. won his second championship 22 seasons after his rookie season. He debuted on the original Inferno, which took place in 2004, and won Invasion of the Champions in 2017. That’s a span of 13 years. C.T.’s Invasion win broke the previous record of the longest span between a rookie debut and championship win, that was held by Johnny Bananas. J.B. won his sixth championship 16 seasons after his rookie season. He debuted on the original Duel, which aired in 2006, and won Rivals 3 in 2016 (a 10 year span).
C.T.’s new breaking record was broken again by none other than C.T, just a few seasons later. C.T. won War of the Worlds 2, which took place 27 seasons after the Inferno, and 15 years later.
C.T.’s Overall Assessment.
If you read up until this point, I’m guessing a lot of you probably refuse to agree with my opinion of C.T. being the fourth greatest male challenger ever. Here’s my argument: C.T. is the greatest Challenge talent ever, but he doesn’t have the greatest legacy. Like mentioned earlier, he’s the Peyton Manning of the Challenge and I don’t consider Peyton Manning the #1 G.O.A.T. of Football (Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, and Tom Brady fit that bill better). In my eyes, Bananas, Jordan, and Landon are those three guys. The combination of their talent, winning percentage, and accomplishments fair just slightly better than C.T’s.
C.T. has just three championships in a sixteen season career. The rest of my top three have won just as much in a lot lesser time (Jordan, Landon) or doubled his wins in the same type of lengthy career (Bananas). C.T.’s temper and poor decision making tossed three years of his absolute prime down the drain (Inferno III, Gauntlet III, Duel II) and his inability to perform in the clutch tossed another year (Exes). That’s five seasons where the ultimate competitor, C.T., missed out on championships.
On the Inferno III, C.T. is cast on the Bad Asses; He was the best player on the cast, but he gets sent home the first night in South Africa because he punches Davis. C.T. would’ve been a lock for the final this season, he threw another potential championship out the window.
In the Gauntlet 3 final challenge, Big Easy cost C.T. and all the other final remaining veterans a championship win. You’re probably confused as to how this is C.T.’s fault, but he actually had a major hand in letting Big Easy ride to the final. If you go back to the first gauntlet deliberation where Johnny got sent in against Evan, Johnny plead to the rest of the Veteran males that Big Easy should have to go in, because he was going to lose them a final. C.T., who was the leader of the team, didn’t buy into Johnny’s plea; He had personal dislike towards Johnny and his reason for not throwing Big Easy in was because he loved partying with him. What’s the logic in that? C.T., the whole season was preaching about “trimming the fat” (getting rid of the girls on their team) and never worrying about Easy once was a horrific example of how to play a winning game. Prime C.T. was always finding a way to be the author of his own demise.
On the Duel 2, C.T. went into cannibalism mode. C.T. would’ve legitimately smashed Adam’s head and ate Adam’s head if it wasn’t for like thirty cast and production crew members successfully capturing him (and then tranquilizing him and putting him in his cage). There’s no guaranteeing C.T. would’ve won the D2, since the top crop of males this season was stacked. But this is an absolute peak C.T. we’re talking about, who’s in contention for the best men’s competitor all-time, so a championship victory is never out of the question.
In the Exes final, C.T./Diem lead the whole way until the final run up the mountain. Right before the finish line, C.T.’s tank ran out of gas (mirroring Peyton’s ability to choke in the playoffs) and he delayed winning his first championship for even longer.
C.T.’s competitive abilities (ATG physical strength, aggression, athleticism, intelligence, and eating) and his championship success in his career’s second half are sufficient enough to get him into the Challenge Mount Rushmore, but the four seasons he tossed down the drain in the first half of his career are a little too detrimental to have him in the top trinity. I think about it like this: Would I consider drafting Prime C.T. (Inferno - Free Agents) as my first pick when constructing a team in an-all time draft? Nope. He, was easily #1 in terms of competitive talent, but he was a complete hothead with bad decision making and only won one championship in ten seasons. Would I consider drafting Dadbod C.T. (Invasion - Total Madness) number one? Not at all. He’s won two championships in six seasons, with a phenomenal social-political game, but his competitive abilities are half of what they were before. Every version of C.T. comes with a small albatross that keeps him from having top three legacy.
This is an example of fundamental DD that takes place at ‘smart’ money institutions based on my professional experience in IBD, Private Equity & most recently at a HF (mods can message me for proof). Not thoroughly fleshed out b/c you autists have limited attention spans, but a summary. Figured I’d take the time to give back to this community that has provided many lolz, & should be a good measuring stick when evaluating other forms of fundamental DD posted here. NFA. DKNG - DraftKings, Inc.: vertically integrated US mobile betting operator that also provides retail sports betting & back-end betting solutions through SBTech. Think of SBTech as the tech ‘market-maker’ for traditional sports betting, they do all the funny math to set the betting odds & seem to be working on back-end solutions for DKNG Casino The Big Picture
Total annual US Gambling Revenue: ~$90Bn 
Illegal Sports Betting: ~$13Bn
Horse Racing: ~$0.8Bn
Daily Fantasy Sports: ~$0.4Bn
Only ~2% of the ~$90Bn gambling revenues were placed online which is the lowest in the world where betting online is legal. For example, in other countries online gaming activity represents ~6% - ~52% of total gambling revenues, with ~12% being the average. Wall Street expects online gaming revenue to be $20Bn-$40Bn within the next 10 years. For this to be achieved, the online gambling market will have to achieve a ~30% penetration rate on total country gaming revenues. There is an expectation that this is could be easily achievable given penetration trends overseas - see page 11 of this: https://s1.rationalcdn.com/vendors/stars-group/documents/presentations/TSG-Investor-Day_March-27-2019.pdf Other catalysts include increasing adaptation of sports betting in more states. States that have both legal sports betting + online sports betting permitted: NV, NJ, WV, PA, IA. Sports betting permitted but no online: DE, MS, RI, MO, AR. Prior to COVID there was ongoing discussions across many States, especially ones with growing deficits to explore how permitting sports betting could create a fresh avenue of tax dollars. Post COVID there is an expectation that these discussions will be given extra focus as many States will be hungry for incremental tax dollars. Important to note that currently 43/50 States allow DFS, but given the small share DFS has on total Gaming Revenues, it increasingly looks like DKNG is banking on traditional sports betting for a variety of reasons, more later. There are entire articles on Google arguing this catalyst so I’ll end this here. Digging Deeper DKNG’s main offerings are Daily Fantasy Sports (“DFS”) products & traditional sports book products to its clients. Long story short, a metric to look for in my opinion (that is curiously not reported by management or remarked on) is the hold % in traditional gaming sector parlance or the ‘rake’ & compare it to the ‘traditional’ gaming products like sports betting & Blackjack. For DFS: DKNG takes ~15% of the prize pool (note: used to be ~6-11% ). Curiously, their main competitor FanDuel also has moved up to a ~15% rake recently. Google searches show the smaller competitors have a rake in the ~13% range. This ‘rake’ has grown ~2x in 6 years, but it has been a delicate move on behalf of management. Why? B/c the more ‘sophisticated’ DFS players (equal to autistic day traders on Robinhood) have noted this increase & based on some Googling, some have moved down market to the smaller players. As a side note, many live casino games have their rules altered to grow the Hold %. For example, Blackjack games with 6:5 payouts on 21 have materially higher Hold % than the traditional BJ rules that pay out 3:2. Given the findings so far, DKNG may not have much room to materially increase its hold % in DFS games in the near-term from current of 15%. More on this later. Now why the fuck is this important? This is important b/c the typical sports book (ex-Parlays) have a ~5% hold %/rake. Parlays have up to a ~30% hold (which is why it’s commonly known as the sucker’s bet), & just for reference, the average Blackjack table clocks in 14.5%. What this means: Every dollar put into these games, the “House” or DKNG, will take 15% of your money for DFS games, for sports bets they will be pocketing ~5%, up to ~30% if you’re into parlays, & we’ll just use the standard 14.5% BJ hold for the DraftKings Casino platform. So why the acquisition of SBTech & a foray into the traditional sports gambling market? As you can see previously, the illegal sports betting market is >30x the size of the current daily fantasy sports market. So it’s clear that the DFS providers including DKNG are foraying into the space to capture this user base & hopefully convert them into games that have a higher hold %, such as DFS/DKNG Casino. As of May 2020, DKNG has achieved a 30% penetration rate on its ~4mm ‘monetized’ DFS clientele to its Online Sports Book (OSB), from the OSB+DFS clientele, DKNG has converted 50% into its DraftKings Casino platform. Including non-monetized users, user base totals at 12mm. Based on these unit economics: every 1mm of additional users -> 333k monetized users for DFS -> 100k users for OSB -> 50k users for DraftKings Casino. Some Numbers – Italicized/Bolded the important
In total, DKNG has DFS paying clientele of ~4mm, the metric management focuses on is “Monthly Unique Payers (MUP)” which spans across DFS & online sports betting***. As of Q1’20 they reported 720,000*** MUPs, representing +16% YoY growth 
Average revenue per monthly user (ARPU) of ~$41, +11% YoY
Based on previous observation of Hold %, looks like ARPU growth will be limited
Since ’17, MUP has grown at a ~11% CAGR & ARPU has grown at a ~19% CAGR
As a side note: the ~4mm monetized user base was acquired at ~$122/user over 3 years. Total users cost them $41/user over the last 3 years .
They are currently EBITDA negative & Wall St expects them to be positive by 2023
I took a dive into the math driving this, here is a summary:
Based on their current cost structure they will need to have ~1.7mm MUPs at an ARPU of ~$46 to break-even. This implies total monetized users of ~10mm from ~4mm currently
Numbers that represent Risks to Long Thesis
DKNG’s user base of ~12mm is on the low end of the sector vs. its ‘brick & mortar’ competitor's user bases (online betting platforms with physical casino presence)
CZR with 55mm, MGM with 33mm, ERI with 10mm (in pending merger with CZR, could have a lot of overlap), FanDuel with 8.5mm
Is there a concern for increased marketing costs to increase user base? Let’s look at a case study of NJ, the first state to open both mobile & retail sports betting:
FanDuel + DraftKings have held 80%+ of the OSB market share since 12/2018 which is estimated to be driven by the conversion opportunity from DFS that is unique to both companies 
On the flipside, a case study to examine going forward is how DKNG can get OSB customers in a State that does not allow DFS. Nevada. Home to Las fucking Vegas. Prior to NV pushing FanDuel/DKNG out (highly likely due to casino lobbying), NV was a top-15 State in terms of revenue for them. NV is home to the fattest sports book in the US, & recently the gaming commission started to parse the data on sportsbook wagers done online vs. in-person, & it came out to roughly 50/50. It will be interesting to see how they try to capture market share in a state with no DFS
Long-term EBITDA margin target of 35% requires huge growth in MUPs
Based on their estimated '22 cost structure: Holding ARPU of ~$46, MUPs will have to be ~5.2mm, a 7x increase from current to achieve a EBITDA margin of 35%
A focus on future earnings will be management's ability to shift to a more fixed-cost structure which would effectively lower the MUP requirement for profitability
Things to look for when going Long - Progress of additional States legalizing sports betting – specifically, States with DFS already legalized - Cost structure evolving to a more fixed mix vs. the mostly variable mix currently as this will be the forward figure that determines profitability - Increasing User Base (Curr.: 12mm) -> Monetized Base (Curr.: 4mm) -> MUP (1Q’20: 0.7mm)
Management seems to be focused more on the first step, but one thing to note is that the 33% monetization rate is very high when compared to something like League of Legends which isn’t entirely comparable but in 2013 had a ~4% monetization rate . This, combined with the below implies that this conversion rate may be the ceiling for now
As a side note, ~6 years ago FanDuel had ~300k monetized on an ~800k user base for a monetization rate of ~37% 
Share Price Target Given the cost structure of the company, I’m going to base the price targets around Enterprise Value / Revenues (driven by MUPs & ARPUs).
MUP sensitivity of 5mm - 6mm
ARPU sensitivity from $41 - $47 for an average of $44, just a $3 increase from current of $41.
Share Price targets based on 2.0x - 4.5x EV / Sales.
Note: Flutter Entertainment (FanDuel ParentCo) trades at ~3.6x EV/Sales
Bear Case MUP: 5mm -> $20.32 - $45.73 Base Case MUP: 5.5mm -> $22.27 - $50.10 Bull Case MUP: 6mm -> $24.21 - $54.47 These MUPs imply a monetized customer base of 28mm – 33mm. At the high-end, this implies that DKNG monetized customer base will equal MGM’s current total user base. At yesterday’s close of $43.70, DKNG is trading at 3.5x – 4.5x forward Revenues on an expected >5,000 MUPs. Share Price drivers / considerations: - Continued multiple expansion
Consideration: A 1x premium to FanDuel's 3.6x, implies a ~15% upside to current. They're bigger than FanDuel, do they deserve the premium?
- MUP Growth exceeding beyond targets
Consideration: Stock currently implies that they should on average be growing at 40% QoQ – during 2018 they had on average +30% growth QoQ in MUPs, marking their best year
Management Team Jason Robins, 39 – Co-Founder & CEO. Duke BA, started DraftKings from day 1 in 2011. The 2 other buddies he started the Company with are still at DKNG. Dude navigated the Company through the scandal that rocked them in ’15 & ’16, and was the trailblazer in getting DFS labeled as a non-gambling product that enabled it to open in States without a gaming designation. This shit is the stuff that gets people in history books. His accomplishments make him seem like a very competent guy. Has 3 kids now, and only ~3% economic ownership in DKNG but has 90% of the voting power through his Class B share ownership. Also he actively participates in venture investments, sitting on 10 boards. His comp plan performance bonus target is pretty murky, but main drivers are EPS growth, revenue growth, then a bunch of margin & return metrics, along with share price returns. Overall, very open-ended & it’s safe to say as long as shit doesn’t hit the fan, he will be eligible for his max payouts year over year. I’m assuming the lawyers tried to encompass everything possible for maximum flexibility to justify him earning his max comp as long as DKNG is still around. Since he’s got voting control of 90%, I’ll end the specific-person overview here, but want to note that they have a very bloated C-suite. 12 folks at DKNG, 8 folks at SBTech, all with C-suite designations. Whereas their main competitor FanDuel, has 3 guys with a C-suite designations & 1 EVP, but is a sub under a larger ParentCo that has its own management team of ~5 guys. Looking through glassdoor you can see the biggest complaint among employees giving bad reviews is based on management, all of the specific issues they point out IMO are a result of a top-heavy company. Seems like a good starting point to optimize their cost structure, but given Robins' history of sticking this entire thing through with his co-founders since '11 stuff like this doesn't seem to be a part of his playbook. They’re a public company now though, so it’s going to be interesting to see going forward. TL;DR: If I were to initiate a position in DKNG, the stock would have to fall to the $35-$37 range for me to be a buyer of the stock, and based on this rough intro analysis I'll be considering Put options if it breaches $50. I would not touch Calls at this level.  Susquehanna Research – U.S. Online Gambling 6/27/19  https://rotogrinders.com/articles/bang-for-your-buck-a-look-at-dfs-industry-rake-153302  https://draftkings.gcs-web.com/static-files/8f3a5c5a-7228-45bf-aab2-63604111c48d  Goldman Sachs Research – DKNG Initiation 5/19/20 https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/223071/Dont_monetize_like_League_of_Legends_consultant_says.php  https://rotogrinders.com/threads/how-many-people-actually-play-dfs-regularly-252044
If The Challenge had a Player Efficiency Rating system, Derrick’s Career PER would be at the very top. He’s one of the most consistent elite challengers ever.
Derrick has participated in 10 challenge seasons. He’s either made the final challenge or lost right before the final eight out of ten times. The other two times, he was sent home fifth. If you go back and analyze every individual Derrick performance, you’ll soon come to realize that he’s never had a bad season under his belt.
Missions Performance-Wise, Derrick was: 2nd best on Fresh Meat (after Evan), 2nd best on Cutthroat (after Abram), 3rd best on Inferno II (after C.T. and Landon), 3rd best on Gauntlet II (after Landon and Alton), 3rd best on Dirty Thirty (after C.T. and Nelson), 4th best on Inferno III (after Abram, Alton, and Johnny), and 5th best on the Duel (after Evan, C.T., Wes, and Brad). The Island had no missions, but Derrick was the clear-cut number one competitor (Ring Wrestle and Ball Buster are cold hard evidence). The missions on the Ruins were too team-oriented to determine a ranking system, but Derrick was at the very least top five and you can make an argument he was in the top three. That’s 9 out of 10 seasons where Derrick was a top five male performer.
The only season where Derrick wasn’t a top 5 male competitor was on his rookie season, Battle of the Sexes II. But even on that season, Derrick still left his fans with a career highlight moment in his short stay. And it was in his the first mission he’s ever participated in, Dangle Drop. In this mission, competitors had to hold on to a punching bag dangling above a lake for as long as possible. Derrick (alongside Abram) won the competition for the Guys, by outlasting everyone in his preliminary heat and then beating Coral and Rachel in the final heat. Young Derrick’s cockiness and drunken behavior didn’t rub off too well within the males team on the first day of Sexes II. If he would’ve just performed average in Dangle Drop, he was potentially the first boot. But Derrick proved to the rest of the team that he was a worthy competitor with a whole lot of fight in him. Derrick became a victim of Elimination Hill on Sexes II after the fifth mission (regardless of having outperformed Mike the Miz up to that point). Mike was an established veteran who had strong social ties to the Men’s team upper echelon, and because of this, he was saved.
Derrick’s showing on Dangle Drop (Sexes II) was a sneak peek to his ATG mental strength, Surf Torture (Inferno II) cemented it.
Surf Torture was the premier mission of Derrick’s sophomore season. In Surf Torture, pairs made within both the Good Guys and Bad Asses teams had to endure physical tests that were assigned to them by highly trained navy seals. The series of physical tasks ranged from wheelbarrows to having to lift heavy logs up and down the shore of a beach. When physical fatigue kicked in and the pairs were no longer performing the exercises in a sufficient manner, they were eliminated from the competition.
When Surf Torture commenced, pairs dropped left and right because of how physically demanding the tasks were. The final 2 pairs came down to Abram/Derrick (Bad Asses) and Landon/Mike The Miz (Good Guys). You couldn’t have written a better final showdown for a mental strength competition. Determination. Drive. Heart. Those four guys embody those intangible qualities better than anyone else in Challenge History.
Here’s what the four mental strength titans had to say during Surf Torture’s final showdown: “I’m dying, so I know they’re hurting just as bad as I am” (Abram). My hamstrings are starting to cramp up and I’m trying to get myself away from thinking about [the pain]” (Landon). “[My] whole mind is saying ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this anymore” (Mike The Miz). “It’s coming down to the wire. As much as this mission is torturing us, as much as I’m hurting, I’m not gonna give up to the Miz or Landon” (Derrick).
The last physical exercise of Surf Torture was the upper body decimator, the wheelbarrow. The first mission of the season literally weighed on Derrick and Mike’s shoulders, chest, and arms (All Abram and Landon had to do was hold onto their partners legs). Derrick was far from an empty gas tank. He was maneuvering up and down the shore with at least a quarter of his inner drive left, nodding his head from side to side whenever the navy seal asked if he was ready to quit. The Miz was a whole another story. He was running on fumes. Derrick was on his hands in a push-up position, meanwhile Mike was dragging his entire body through the sand (elbows and belly touching the floor). Mike’s engine eventually shut down and the navy seals eliminated him and Landon, giving Derrick, Abram, and the rest of the Bad Asses the first mission win of Inferno II. Derrick’s drive in Surf Torture is a frontrunner for greatest display of mental strength in a Challenge ever.
Other than Surf Torture, Derrick was the shining star of two other Inferno II missions. (1) Time To Ride: Players had to drive miniature motorcycles through a zig zag course above water. Derrick posted the fastest time out of all seven males and the times weren’t close. Derrick - 57 seconds, Landon - 1 min. 49 sec., C.T. - 2 min. 50 sec., Darrell - 3 min. 16 seconds, Abram and Mike Mizanin DQ’ed. Derrick put on a clinic for other all-time greats. (2) Dodge Yer Balls: Derrick and C.T. looked like professional dodgeball players, whereas Brad, Darrell, Landon, and Mike Mizanin performed as they had just picked up a dodgeball for the first time. Derrick and C.T. wiped out the entire Good Guys Team all by themselves in easy fashion. Although it was a joint effort, production made an error in giving C.T. the life shield. Derrick deserved it as he eliminated four Good Guys as opposed to C.T. eliminating three, and Derrick also had two game winning catches (C.T. had none). So, in actuality, the life shield ratio between C.T. and Derrick on Inferno II should’ve been 5 to 3.
On the Gauntlet II, Derrick makes it known that when all is said and done, he’ll go down as pound for pound the greatest challenge player ever in America’s Fifth Sport.
For about the entire first half of his career, Derrick weighed in at about 150 lbs. In the Challenge, that’s the lightest weight to ever exist in the men’s division. The other notable names I can think of within Young Derrick’s weight class are Adam King, Ryan Kehoe, and Luke Wolfe. None of these guys hold a candle to what Derrick has gone on to accomplish in the first half of his career. The club of 150 pounders is always viewed as the bottom of the food chain for Challenge heavyweights to devour. The smallest guys every season are always called into elimination first and are picked off rather easily. Young Derrick was an exception to this design within the game. More times than none, he wasn’t the heavyweights prey. It was the complete opposite. He was the one who preyed upon those bigger and stronger than him.
On the Gauntlet II, Derrick went into five physical eliminations. Derrick was victorious in the first four. The opponents he feasted on were: 170 lb. Brad, 180 lb. Adam, 190 lb. Ace, and 220 lb. Syrus. He defeated Adam Larson and Brad in Name That Coconut (a trivia game and a physical battle mixed into one) and beat Ace and Syrus In Beach Brawl (a sumo wrestling contest on sand). The Derrick vs. Syrus elimination was highly believed to be “Derrick’s swan song”. However, the combination of Derrick’s drive and wrestling experience helped him shock the world as he came out on top against Syrus, 3-1. Derrick suffered season-ending defeat in his fifth elimination, versus a 200 lb. Timmy in the final male gauntlet before the final challenge.
Derrick’s one hell of a regular season on Gauntlet II earned him nickname “The Pitbull”. He also received a nod of approval from the most respected veteran in the game, Mark Long. Mark praised Derrick for “[having] so much heart, and being the guy who went against the monster every time and [slaying] the monster”. Mark Long declared retirement at the G2 reunion, but as he was doing so, he passed his signature bandana over to Derrick (to represent a passing of the torch). “From the First Road Ruler to the Last Road Ruler”, Mark knew that Derrick was ready to be at the front and center of the Challenge’s future.
After Gauntlet II, it was just a matter of time before “The Pitbull” would get his first challenge victory. The only question was when.
On Fresh Meat, Derrick was paired with Diem and they placed 4th overall out of 13 teams. Together, they won three missions (the second most out of any team behind Coral/Evan). They won Batten Down The Hatches (agility based), Jump Down Under (swimming based), and Deep Blue (tested ability of holding breath under water). Derrick continued to prove how well rounded of a competitor he was to add to his bulletproof mental strength and tip-top wrestling ability.
Derrick’s fifth challenge was The Duel. Although he was eliminated at the halfway point, he still gave us some moments to be proud of. Derrick did something we thought he would never do and that’s win a puzzle elimination. Derrick’s intelligence has always been his biggest weakness, so him winning Ascender vs. Tyler is a nice outlier experience we can appreciate in his long line of work. We also got traditional Derrick in Push Over, a mission where players, having their hands tied together, had to wrestle one another off a large plank that was attached to the end of the boat. Derrick did what Derrick knows best and that was get low and use leverage to push his opponents off. The mission was done tournament style with 8 male participants. Derrick managed to take out C.T., Big Easy, and Brad to win Push Over. I have Derrick’s low man execution in Push Over as the third best mission highlight of the Duel (behind C.T. in Flying Leap and Wes in Sunken Treasure).
On the next season to take place, Inferno III, Derrick gets called in as a replacement for C.T. who punched Davis the first night in South Africa. Derrick didn’t expect to be on the season, which probably means he didn’t do any prep training in the off-season and it best explains why his mission performances on the Inferno III were teetering more towards middle-of-the-road than being the number one guy on his team. He didn’t win a single life shield, but still managed to put up solid numbers in the mission stat sheet. Derrick’s finest showing on I3 was his Cornerball win vs. Davis, where he roughhoused Davis in a 1-on-1 game of rugby. After six valiant efforts, Derrick finally got his long awaited championship on Inferno III.
Throughout his career, Derrick’s pitbull mentality has piled up a phenomenal highlight reel. On the flip side, Derrick’s social mechanics are one of the best the game has ever seen.
In his ten season career, Derrick only had 2 seasons where he was at the bottom in terms of social positioning (Sexes II and Gauntlet II). The other 8 seasons Derrick has been on, he was at the top of the totem pole in terms of alliances. For example, on I2, Derrick/C.T./Brad/Darrell kept each other safe from ever calling one another out for the elimination. Three of four of these guys never saw an elimination and made the final (Derrick was one of them). This was the only secret alliance on the I2, as alliances were considered taboo during the Golden era. On Fresh Meat, the main alliance that ran the entire second half of the game was Derrick/Diem, Darrell/Aviv, and Theo/Chanda. On Cutthroat, Derrick was the most well-connected player on the Blue team, and could’ve gone without seeing an elimination the entire season had Ty never been such a catastrophe.
Derrick’s social game on his second and third championship seasons (The Island and The Ruins) were perfect.
On The Island, from the public perception, there were village leaders (Kenny, Johnny, Paula, Johanna, Dunbar) and the rest of the village were outsiders. Derrick was the only player on the entire island who was happily welcomed by the leaders group, but also had a great relationship with the rest of the outsiders. Derrick was great friends with Kenny and Johnny, but unlike the two of them, he never bullied Robin, Tonya, or Evelyn. These people were his actual friends who thought highly of him. For this reason, Derrick’s key was never in consideration to get taken throughout the entire season. You couldn’t say the same for Kenny, Johnny, Dunbar, and Paula (all of whom either had their key stolen or were in danger of getting it stolen). Derrick’s untouchable social game on the Island is best highlighted when he threw a face-off just to give Johnny a key. Late in the season, people without keys were jumping at each other throats to get into the face-off, but yet, no one batted an eye when Derrick who already had a key volunteered for a second time. Had anybody else done this, it would’ve been seen as cynical, but because it was Derrick, people genuinely didn’t seem bothered by it. The plan of Johnny getting his key worked, and Derrick won a 10-1 landslide vote versus Cohutta. Derrick was respected so much that Cohutta’s plea was him essentially telling everyone that Derrick was a better fit for the final boats.
On the Ruins, Derrick was the third member to the J.E.K. coalition. He was the silent partner in crime (hence his first name initial not being included in the alliance name). Derrick benefited from all of Evan and Kenny’s political moves without being seen as a member of the alliance. Derrick had the strongest social ties in the game (Along with J.E.K., he was great friends with all the old schoolers - Syrus, Darrell, Katie, Tonya, Veronica, and Ibis). Derrick had to conform with the J.E.K. political movement by sacrificing old school friends in order to get his way to the end. Derrick, however, was not punished for his actions, because after all he was just doing what was best for his game (Derrick was a respectful sportsman to everyone unlike the rest of his J.E.K. associates).
Derrick’s overall player qualities stood the test of time on Dirty Thirty.
When our beloved all-time greats come back from a grand layoff (5 season break or more), the narrative arc in their comeback season is always the same: They fall short of the final challenge. We seen it with Darrell on Invasion, Mark on Exes, Alton on Seasons II, and Brad on Vendettas. Derrick broke the curse on Dirty Thirty. Although he had been missing in action for nine seasons, Derrick made it all the way to second place behind his all-time great comrade Jordan.
Dirty Thirty was an extremely mentally strenuous season with all types of twists and turns. The season also has one of the most stacked male casts of all-time, but this didn’t seem to bring out a single ounce of ring rust in Derrick. He was the only male to never be sent to the redemption house. Derrick won three missions, an elimination, and was apart of the top alliance of the house (with Bananas/C.T./Jordan/Tony/Leroy). Derrick’s well-connected social game was best highlighted in Veronica going to bat for him by turning the vote towards Leroy in the greatest political move of the season.
Derrick is the true elimination king, not Wes.
Wes’ 14-8 elimination record is the most padded and highly overrated statistic in Challenge history. His win against Derrick in Pole Wrestle is praiseworthy, but his best wins after that are beating Zach/Zahida in Lights Out or Jamie in blindfolded soccer (those victories aren’t much to write about for a second and third best of a hailed “elimination king”). He also has five exile wins that are basically non-canon in these debates (as him and Casey had 40 lbs. less luggage to carry, per average, than their opponents). Wes’ seven other victories were versus: Chet, Nick Brown, Davis/Tyrie, Brandon/Ty, Nate/Priscilla, and Nate/Christina. In Wes’ 8 losses, he was dominated four times: twice to Leroy, once to Bear, and once to Big Easy (although he was at a large weight disadvantage). His four other losses were versus Bananas in a crapshoot, Dario in an agility contest, Cohutta in a strategy based elimination, and his stamina failed him in an exile where the luggage factor was no longer benefiting him (versus Luke/Evelyn).
Derrick, on the other hand, is 8-4, arguably 9-4 (if you count his mercenary win against Joss in Vendettas as an official elimination). Derrick’s three best elimination wins are (1) vs. Joss in Crazy Eight: The Pitbull came out of the doghouse one last time and it’s jaw was locked to the 8-figure that him and Joss were fighting for. There was no letting go, and after 20 rounds of back-breaking battle, Joss’ mental fatigue kicked in and Derrick prevailed in the Vendettas death match. (2) versus Syrus in Beach Brawl (3) and versus Bananas in Reel World. The other opponents Derrick has knocked out throughout his career were Adam Larson, Ace, Brad, Brandon, Davis, and Tyler.
Derrick’s four losses are the most honorable Challenge deaths imaginable and take nothing away from him as a competitor. (1/2) He lost to Timmy and Tyler in strictly weight based eliminations (otherwise known as eliminations that hold the least amount of weight in judging competitors, no pun intended). Derrick was at a 50 lb. disadvantage in both contests, and there was nothing he could’ve done to win. No physical contact was allowed. It was just push or pull with all of your body weight. (3) Derrick/Diem lost to Darrell/Aviv on FM1 exile. Derrick/Diem had 75 more lbs. of luggage to carry than Darrell/Aviv. They stood no chance before the elimination even began. Fresh Meat exiles, in general, are considered unlawful in all-time great discussions. (4) Derrick lost to Wes in what people call today, the most memorable elimination to ever go down in Challenge history. Derrick’s performance here is a moral victory. Wes, in his post-elimination confessional, said he wanted Derrick to be The Godfather to his first child because of how much respect he had for Derrick after their elimination.
Although a prime Wes beat Derrick head-to-head, Derrick is not only the one to have knocked out the bigger names throughout their elimination career, but he’s also won more beautifully and lost more honorably. This is why Derrick rightfully deserves to sit on the throne for Elimination King (only C.T. and Darrell challenge him for a seat).
Derrick’s Overall Assessment.
In the league of Challenge legends, Derrick is seventh best. Most challenge fans would probably disagree with having Derrick one spot ahead of Darrell. But in my eyes, the only thing Darrell really has over Derrick is championship belts. Derrick has had a more consistently efficient career with more competitive highlights. When you break down their careers side-by-side: Derrick’s best competitive seasons (Inferno II, Gauntlet II, Fresh Meat) are greater than Darrell’s best (Inferno, Fresh Meat, Invasion). Derrick’s best social game performances (Island, Ruins) are better than Darrell’s best social game seasons (Inferno, Inferno II). Derrick’s worst showings (Sexes II, Duel) are a whole lot more memorable than Darrell’s (Fresh Meat 2, Dirty Thirty).
Derrick has ATG mental strength, aggression, and wrestling ability, whereas Darrell has ATG physical strength and stamina. Both have poor intelligence. Although they’re both close competitively speaking, Derrick edges out Darrell by being more well rounded in other areas such as agility and balance (two areas Darrell is inconsistent in, since he’s afraid of heights).
In eliminations, you can’t go wrong with picking either or. In missions, I’d take Derrick. In a final challenge, I’d take Darrell, but the question is would Darrell even get there? Derrick has shown time and time again he’s in for the long haul, whereas Darrell has been sent on the first flight home one-fourth of his career. This, along with a more well-connected social game is why I believe Derrick is the slightly safer choice between the two.
Derrick’s ceiling is the 7th position. His highly questionable intelligence molds him as a second place finisher in Challenge finals today (Dirty Thirty is proof of this). To be in consideration for the Challenge Mount Rushmore, you have to be a betting favorite to not only make it to the end, but also win a modern final all by yourself. The rest of the six legends that have yet to be revealed have all shown to be more than capable of enduring an entire season and accomplishing a first place finish. They’re also a lot more independent in constructing their own destinies from beginning to end, whereas you can always argue Derrick’s winning legacy might’ve not been as decorated if he never would’ve joined forces with Kenny Santucci (Derrick’s three championships have all been with Kenny on his team, who was always politically in charge of the game’s operations).
[OC] An insight in the world of football kits - 454 teams that play in the most unusual colors
I would like to start with a humble warning, that this will be a longer than "usual" post. Hopefully, it will compensate with the amount of information you might deem as interesting. :) After finishing my first journey into the world of colors in football, by counting which teams play in red & black color combination, I decided to pursue my next curiosity: How many football teams in the world play in unusual colors? By this, I was thinking of teams which have a “main” color that is rarely used (grey, brown, purple, pink, etc.) or use an uncommon color combination. Because of this coronavirus madness that is going on, I was able to spend more hours for this project than I planned, so in the end I was able to go into almost every single league in the world. I checked teams from over 400 divisions, of different tiers, from all continents. Although it’s not an official list, I tried to include as many clubs as possible on it. Now, you're probably asking yourself "How do you measure how rare or how common is in football a color / combination of colors?" An exact answer is impossible to give, so I started the study using my own experience as a football supporter, finally finding an useful purpose for the thousands of hours spent on watching football games. Therefore, I used a subjective point of view and excluded the color combinations that I, personally, considered to be the most common in football teams, namely:
One-color kits: white, black, red, blue, yellow, green
Most 2-color combinations that contain white or black: white-blue, white-red, black-yellow, black-green, etc.
Other combinations: red-blue, red-yellow, blue-yellow, yellow-green.
An exception was the color orange, where I excluded only the orange+black combination, which is much more widespread than all other combinations that include orange.
The selection criteria for the teams were as follows:
The team should have their main kit in colors which are different than the ones enumerated above;
The team must have played or been associated with the colors for several seasons;
The team should be currently active (dissolved clubs were not included).
But enough introduction, let’s jump straight into the list of the most uncommon kit colors in the world of football:
CATEGORY I - Teams with 1 main color
1.Purple(includes purple+white or purple+black) - [73 clubs] Notable teams: Fiorentina, Anderlecht, Toulouse, Austria Vienna, Real Valladolid. Other teams (by conference): UEFA (photo gallery here) - CE Carroi (Andorra), SV Austria Salzburg, Austria Klagenfurt (Austria), K Beerschot VA (Belgium), Etar Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria), NK Dubrava (Croatia), Daventry Town FC (England), Istres (France), VfL Osnabrück, Erzgebirge Aue (Germany), Ujpest, Békéscsaba 1912, Kecskemet TE (Hungary), ACD Legnano, AS Ostia Mare, Gioiese, Casoria Calcio 1979 (Italy), St. Andrews FC (Malta), FC Argeș, ASU Politehnica Timișoara, ACS Poli Timișoara (Romania), FK Graficar (Serbia), KFC Komarno (Slovakia), NK Maribor (Slovenia), Real Jaen, Alameda de Osuna EF, CD Becerril, Atletico Guadalajara, CD Guadalajara, CD Liendo, CD Santurtzi, CD Palencia, La Baneza (Spain) (Spain), Afjet Afyonspor, Hacettepe, Orduspor (Turkey). Rest of the World (photo gallery here):
COMNEBOL - Club Villa Dalmine, Sacachispas FC, Club Atlético Quiroga (Argentina), Deportes Concepcion, San Antonio Unido (Chile) Defensor Sporting, CA Fenix (Uruguay), Metropolitanos FC (Venezuela).
CONCACAF - Orlando City, Louisville City FC, Oakland County FC (USA), Pacific FC (Canada), CD Chalatenango (El Salvador).
CAF - Mountain of Fire and Miracles FC (Nigeria), Mbeya City FC (Tanzania), AS Denguele Foot (Ivory Coast), Fovu Baham FC (Cameroon), AS Sonabel (Burkina Faso).
AFC - FC Anyang (South Korea), Kyoto Sanga, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Fujieda MYFC (Japan), Heilongjiang Lava Spring (China), Hanoi FC (Vietnam), Nagaworld FC (Cambodia), Persita Tangerang, Persik Kediri, PSGC Ciamin (Indonesia), Al-Ain (UAE), De Abasin Sape (Afghanistan), Perth Glory (Australia).
OFC - AS Manu-Ura (Tahiti).
2.Burgundy (includes burgundy+white, or similar shades: maroon, claret, dark red, wine red) - [74 clubs] Notable teams: AC Torino, Metz, Sparta Prague, CFR Cluj. Other teams (by conference): UEFA (photo gallery here) - FK Sarajevo (Bosnia), Chelmsford City, FC Northampton Town (England), JJK Jyväskylä (Finland), Dynamo Berlin (Germany), AEL Larissa (Greece), UM Selfoss (Iceland), Galway United (Ireland), Reggina, Cittadella, Salernitana, Trapani, Livorno, US Pontedera, Arezzo, Reggio Audace FC, Fano, US Capistrello, AC Morrone, AC Locri, ASD Bovalinese, Borgosesia Calcio, Milano City FC, Union Clodiense Chioggia, USD Breno, Olympia Agnonese, ASD Travestere Calcio, AC Nardo, ASD Citta di Acireale (Italy), FC Džiugas Telšiai (Lithuania), Nardo FK (Norway), CD Fatima, Clube Oriental de Lisboa (Portugal), Rapid Bucharest, Viitorul Ianca (Romania), AC Libertas (San Marino), Heart of Midlothian FC, Stenhousemuir FC (Scotland), NK Triglav Kranj (Slovenia), Independiente de Vallecas, CD Cenicero (Spain), Hatayspor, İnegölspor, Bandirmaspor, Elazigspor (Turkey), Cardiff Metropolitan University FC (Wales). Rest of the World (photo gallery here):
COMNEBOL - Lanús (Argentina), Jacuipense, Ferroviaria, S.E.R. Caxias do Sul (Brasil), Deportivo Liberacion (Paraguay), Club Atletico Torino (Peru), Carabobo FC (Venezuela)
CONCACAF - Sacramento Republic FC (USA), Valour FC (Canada), Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica)
CAF - Manzini Wanderers FC (Eswatini), Generation Foot (Senegal), Moroka Swallows FC (South Africa)
AFC - Vissel Kobe, FC Ryukyu (Japan), Al Wahda (UAE), Al Markhiya (Qatar), Shahr Khodro FC (Iran), Al Nasr SC (Kuwait), PSM Makassar (Indonesia), Nejmeh SC (Lebanon)
OFC - Matavera FC (Cook Islands), FC Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands).
UEFA - HNK Sibenik (Croatia), Blackpool (England) SV TEC (Netherlands), Hapoel Rishon LeZion (Israel), Pistoiese (Italy), FK Banga Gargzdai (Lithuania), Bruk-Bet Termalica Nieciecza, Zagłębie Lubin (Poland), CD Burgos Promesas (Spain), AFC Eskiltuna (Sweden), Alanyaspor, Adanaspor (Turkey), FC Mariupol (Ukraine).
COMNEBOL - Nova Iguaçu FC (Brazil), Cobresal, Cobreloa (Chile) Envigado FC (Colombia), Universidad César Vallejo (Peru).
CONCACAF - Houston Dynamo, Rio Grande Valley Football Club Toros (USA), Deportivo Achuapa (Guatemala), Cibao FC (Dominican Republic), Guayama FC (Puerto Rico)
CAF - RS Berkane (Morocco), FC Nouadhibou (Mauritania), Polokwane City FC (South Africa), Akwa United (Nigeria), Dire Dawa Kenema (Ethiopia), Salitas FC (Burkina Faso), Côte d'Or FC (Seychelles), Fosa Juniors FC (Madagascar)
AFC - Jeju United FC (South Korea). Shimizu S-Pulse, Omiya Ardija (Japan), Ratchaburi, Sukhothai FC, Nakhon Ratchasima, Sisaket FC, Kasetsart FC, Udon Thani FC (Thailand), FELDA United (Malaysia), SHB Đà Nẵng (Vietnam), Albirex FC Singapore, Hougang United FC (Singapore), Borneo FC (Indonesia), Sporting Clube de Goa, FC Goa, NEROCA FC (India), Saipa FC (Iran), Sanat Mes Kerman (Iran), Brothers Union FC (Bangladesh), Ajman Club (UAE), UMM Salal (Qatar), Al-Hala SC (Bahrain).
UEFA - CS Sedan Ardennes, US Lusitanos Saint Maur (France), Alba Adriatica, Union Feltre (Italy), Speranța Drochia (Moldova), SP Cailungo (San Marino), Amio SD, Laracha CF, Apurtuarte Club, CF Jacetano (Spain), Amed SK, Karşıyaka S.K., Diyarbakirspor (Turkey)
COMNEBOL - Club Agropecuario, Sportivo Atlético Club Las Parejas (Argentina), Portuguesa RJ, Pato Branco EC (Brazil), Boston River (Uruguay)
CONCACAF - AD Carmelita, AD Guanacasteca (Costa RIca), SV Robinhood (Suriname)
CAF - Stade Tunisien (Tunisia), MC Alger, JSM Bejaia (Algeria), Africa Sports d'Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Teichman City FC (Ghana), Canon Yaounde (Cameroon), Defense Force SC (Ethiopia), AS Pikine (Senegal), Masters Security FC (Malawi).
AFC - Lokomotiv Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Adamstown Rosebud FC (Australia).
UEFA - OFC Sliven 2000 (Bulgaria), Braintree Town FC, Mansfield Town FC (England), Lions Gibraltar FC, ASD Czarlins Muzane (Italy), Aalesunds FK (Norway), AE Roses (Spain)
COMNEBOL - Duque de Caxias (Brazil), Academia Puerto Cabello (Venezuela)
CONCACAF - FC Cincinnati (USA), Lobos UPNFM (Honduras)
CAF - Real Kings FC (South Africa), Sunshine Stars (Nigeria)
AFC - Albirex Niigata (Japan), Queensland Lions FC, Riverside Olympic (Australia), Wellington United (New Zealand), Thai Port FC (Thailand), Al Fayha (Saudi Arabia), Al Karamah SC (Syria), Homenetmen Beirut (Lebanon)
UEFA - Enosis Neon Paralimni FC (Cyprus), Scunthorpe United, Weymouth FC (England), Argja Bóltfelag (Feroe), Glacis United (Gibraltar), Cobh Ramblers FC, Drogheda United (Ireland), USD Vipo Trento, FC Rieti (Italy), Gzira United (Malta), Veles Moscow (Russia), Keith FC (Scotland), Pontevedra CF (Spain), AC Bellinzona (Switzerland), Colwyn Bay FC (Wales)
2.Blue + Yellow + White [1 club] -CA Bella Vista (Uruguay) 3.Blue + Yellow + Black [1 club] -Real Sport Clube (Portugal) 4.Blue + Green + White [1 club] -St. Louis FC (USA) 5.Blue + Orange + White [2 clubs]
2.Red + Yellow + Blue + White [1 club] -ASDC Verbania (Italy) 3.Red + Yellow + Blue + Black [1 club] -Coras de Nayarit (Mexico) Here they are. 454 teams from across the entire the world, from Feroe Island to Papua New Guinea or the 4th Italian league. This should be about it. However, if there are by any chance teams that I might have missed, please feel free to leave a comment and I will add them on the list. Thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed it!
Hockey in 40 degree heat: Potential catalyst for MGM
Gonna keep this relatively short because this isn't exactly ground-breaking shit. The NHL is announcing its two hub cities for the playoffs on June 22nd. It looks like Vegas will almost certainly be one of the cities selected. Once of the articles below talks about how MGM is keeping some hotel spaces open for NHL teams. The NHL also signed a partnership with MGM on gambling in 2018 so the company already has a relationship with the league. Of course the NHL playing in Vegas won't bring fans-a-flocking as games will be played in an empty arena, oh by the way MGM also owns the NHL arena in Vegas. Honestly, I'm too lazy and stupid to figure out how all of this will lead to revenue for MGM, but it definitely will. Idiot millionaire hockey players from Saskatchewan playing blackjack, the arena stuff, extra gambling hype cause games are in Vegas, etc. As I hope everyone has realized by now, fundamentals don't mean shit in this market anyways. It's the news dropping and surrounding hype that should lead to a pump, a pump that I expect to be especially big given that MGM is basically a Robinhood/WSB meme stock now. So, announcement is next Tuesday, I'm looking at buying July dated calls on any and all pullbacks this week. MGM 25C 07/17 MGM 23C 06/26 for the true autists TL:DR — Vegas will be an NHL playoffs hub city (announcement next Tues.). MGM stands to benefit. https://www.reviewjournal.com/entertainment/entertainment-columns/kats/nhl-hub-city-picks-to-come-june-22-mgm-preparing-for-las-vegas-selection-2052030/ https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/vegas-nhl-hub-city-announcement-expected-june-22/ https://www.nhl.com/news/nhl-mgm-resorts-sports-betting-partnership/c-301392322
TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there. Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored. So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD. Welcome to the Thunderdome USL Premiership First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements: - League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three - Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value. - Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones - 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people. - All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000 The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand. Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair? Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces. So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do? For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined. Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594) Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion) Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem. Candidate: Charleston Battery Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700) Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion) Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal. Candidate: Charlotte Independence Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314) Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion) Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021. Candidate: Hartford Athletic Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066) Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion) Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something. Candidate: Indy Eleven Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421) Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion) Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there. Candidate: Louisville City FC Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000) Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion) Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital. Candidate: Memphis 901 FC Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325) Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion) Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option. Candidate: Miami FC, “The” Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000) Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion) Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club. Candidate: North Carolina FC Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583) Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion) Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close. Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450) Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion) Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.” Candidate: Saint Louis FC Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494) Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion) Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea: If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history. Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518) Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion) Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign. Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be. Candidate: Austin Bold FC Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594) Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion) Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price. Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939) Time zone: Mountain Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692) Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion) Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage. Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC Location: El Paso, Texas Time zone: Mountain Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500) Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion) Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note: Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s? Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000) Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion) Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed. Candidate: New Mexico United Location: Albuquerque, N.M. Time zone: Mountain Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion) Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion) Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem. Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066) Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion) Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach. Candidate: Orange County SC Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250) Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion) Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining? Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962) Time zone: Arizona Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400) Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion) Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock. Candidate: Reno 1868 FC Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000) Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion) Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it. Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion) Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion) Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface. Candidate: San Antonio FC Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000) Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion) Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf… Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561) Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million) Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support. Candidate: FC Tulsa Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000) Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion) Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark. And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our… VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field). Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight. But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League: Hartford Athletic Indy Eleven Louisville City FC Miami FC North Carolina FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Tampa Bay Rowdies Saint Louis FC San Antonio FC New Mexico United Phoenix Rising FC Las Vegas Lights FC Orange County SC San Diego Loyal SC Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories. Firm “yes” Hartford Athletic: It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here. Indy Eleven: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million. Louisville City FC: Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in. Miami FC, “The”: Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami? Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league. Saint Louis FC: Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs. Tampa Bay Rowdies: With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem. Las Vegas Lights FC: Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on. Phoenix Rising FC: Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer. San Diego Loyal SC: New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle. Cautious “yes” New Mexico United: You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted. North Carolina FC: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black. Orange County SC: It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that, but believe me when I say “it could happen.” Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight. San Antonio FC: Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through. Cautious “no” Birmingham Legion FC: The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in. Memphis 901 FC: Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue. Austin Bold FC: See the other two above. FC Tulsa: Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top. Firm “no” Charleston Battery: Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk. Charlotte Independence: A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances. El Paso Locomotive FC: An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one. Oklahoma City Energy FC: Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse. Reno 1868 FC: Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid. Rio Grande Valley FC: All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through. Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship: Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Charlotte Independence Memphis 901 FC Austin Bold FC Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC El Paso Locomotive FC Oklahoma City Energy FC Reno 1868 FC Rio Grande Valley FC FC Tulsa With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Forward Madison FC Greenville Triumph SC Union Omaha Richmond Kickers South Georgia Tormenta FC Tucson Format of Assorted Leagues – This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion. USL Premier – We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs. USL Championship -- 11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small. USL League One – While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up. And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated. Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
DraftKings CEO Sees Potential Growth in In-Game Betting
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins says the company is developing more in-game betting opportunities for users of the company’s popular sports wagering website, calling it “our No. 1 focus from a product perspective.” “In the U.K., in-game is about 75% of the revenues at sports books and here’s it’s much lower,” Robins tells Barron’s. “You can bet on almost anything in an EPL (English Premier League soccer) game including who will get the next yellow card. Arguably, U.S. sports like baseball are better built for this because of the stoppage in play.” “Think about baseball, there is so much opportunity to make prop bets,” Robins says, referring to wagers unrelated to the outcome of the game. Outside the U.S., tennis is popular for in-game wagering. “People are betting on every point. It’s literally at that level,” Robins says. Viewers of the charity pro-am golf match on Sunday between the team of Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady got a chance to see DraftKings in-match odds onscreen during the broadcast. DraftKings (ticker: DKNG) offered betting on the individual holes and the overall match, which was narrowly won by Woods and Manning. The match was the biggest golf event ever for DraftKings, doubling its previous top handle, a company spokesman said Tuesday. The in-game betting was a major factor, and golf is well-suited to it. Shares of DraftKings were up more than 3%, at $30.08, at midday on Tuesday. The stock has surged about 70% since April, valuing DraftKings at $10 billion, behind only Las Vegas Sands (LVS) in the U.S. gambling sector. https://www.barrons.com/articles/draftkings-ceo-sees-potential-growth-in-in-game-betting-51590510965?mod=article_signInButton
2020 NFL Draft Review FINAL - AFC West + links to all divisions - Analysis and Career Predictions for Each Team's Draft Class
The AFC West is the final division in the 2020 NFL Draft review series. Catch up on the other installments of this 2020 NFL Draft review series with the NFC West, AFC South, NFC South, AFC East, NFC East, AFC North, and NFC North. Every year after the draft, I write a way-too-long review of each team’s draft. The purpose of this draft review is to give predictions for the careers of each team’s drafted players. I’ve watched film of each player I’m commenting on. Draft grades are overly optimistic and unrealistic. Unlike the majority of post-draft coverage out there, I will pick busts. Keep in mind that 23.4% of all first-round picks bust. Let me preface this by saying: predicting the career of an NFL draft pick is a ridiculous exercise. There is so much unknown that goes into whether a player succeeds or fails at the next level. I can make educated guesses based on team situation, supporting cast, and research about the prospect’s character and work ethic, but there’s a reason teams make so many mistakes every year. You simply don’t know for sure how a player will react to being a pro. Injuries are also a huge factor in the fate of a player and impossible to predict accurately. Nevertheless, this is a fun exercise and gives us a chance to review how each team approached the draft.
Before we start, here are some of my general thoughts on the 2020 NFL Draft. Quickly on the broadcast - they did a great job given the circumstances. The production quality was great and they did more actual analysis than usual. My main gripe with draft coverage every year is that they don’t show incredible highlights (they somehow didn’t show the Aaron Dobson catch in 2013). This year, they showed more footage of actual football and I appreciated that. The only two negatives for me were the constant tragic stories and Booger McFarland. Oh, and if any poor soul bet on Justin Jefferson Under 21.5 draft position, ESPN should apologize to you. They showed him on the phone celebrating right before cutting to Goodell announcing the 21st pick - Jalen Reagor to the Eagles. Jefferson was of course on the phone with the Vikings, who took him at 22. Brutal beat. As for the draft, remember this tweet about mock drafts being “wronger” than ever? Funny, this was probably the chalkiest first-round ever in the internet age. Nothing was truly shocking to me, including the Packers trading up for Jordan Love (more on that here). I had Damon Arnette in the first round in my first mock draft this draft season. I wrote an article lauding Jordyn Brooks as an undervalued commodity. Noah Ibinoghene going in the first was surprising, I suppose. But there was no Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 or Tyson Alualu at No. 10. It speaks to how the media and internet scouts might be catching up to, or God forbid actually influencing the teams. So here is the next installment of my annual draft review. Each player will receive their career prediction in parentheses following their name. For example: Joe Burrow (5). Here's how the picks break down: 5 – All-Pro: Starter who has performed at an elite level at his position. 4 – Above-Average: Starter who has been among the best at his position. 3 – Solid: Starter or valuable back-up with significant positive production. 2 – Replacement Level: Below-average starter or back-up who made minor contributions. 1 – Bust: Player who didn’t amount to anything positive. Next up, the AFC West.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders came into the draft with needs at wide receiver and cornerback. They wasted no time addressing those positions and ended up taking two corners and two-and-a-half wide receivers total. I think they aced this draft, but not for the reasons you might think. Las Vegas opted for speed over production by selecting Henry Ruggs III (3) as the first receiver off the board. Ruggs played a supporting role alongside lead dog Jerry Jeudy at Alabama, but ran a 4.28 at the combine and aced the draft process. His speed popped on film, as he routinely cribbed slants and ran by people in the SEC. Ruggs was lauded for his competitiveness and edge, particularly as a blocker, which directly conflicts with my notes of his film. I noted missed blocks, him getting tossed, and labeled him as “weak.” Perhaps I watched the wrong games or my standards are too high. As far as receiving the football, Ruggs was fantastic, making highlight diving catches and using his hops to climb the later and show off his above-average hands. There are two major unknowns with Ruggs - how he will deal with being the No. 1 option, and how he will develop as a route-runner. Unfortunately, I do not believe he will live up to his physical attributes. Derek Carr ranked 25th in Air Yards Per Completion last year, and while accurate, has never excelled at utilizing a deep threat. I also have a hard time endorsing a player who was not the number one receiver on his own team to be the number one receiver in a loaded draft class. At No. 19, the Raiders took Damon Arnette (3), which was a surprise to some. I had Arnette going in the first round in my first mock draft of the year and liked his film more than most. His skillset is that of a quality starting corner, despite unorthodox technique and tendencies. Arnette’s play was up-and-down at Ohio State, in part due to being thrown at so much. He showed weird stances and punches from all different angles and body alignments in press coverage, but generally got the job done. At the NFL level, if unique individual technique is effective, coaches don’t care. Arnette is more comfortable in press than off and will give up the inside. Most importantly, he can get his head around defending vertical routes in man. He was competitive and alert on film, flying down in run support and showing the necessary swagger and short memory needed from a pro corner. He’s going to get beat, but I like his transition to the league as someone who’s been picked on a bit but kept getting better. At No. 80, the Raiders took one of my favorite players in the draft in Lynn Bowden Jr (4). Lynn Bowden Jr. played quarterback and receiver at Kentucky and is most known for throwing a punch in a pre-game scuffle before the Belk Bowl. Bowden’s film is that of a grown man with an edge. His receiver film shows nothing in terms of advanced route-running, but his speed absolutely plays and his hands are good enough. His quarterback and returner film shows joystick moves in the open field and elusiveness that rivals Lamb and Shenault. I don’t know if he’s a pro wide receiver (neither do the Raiders), but I’ve seen too many converted quarterbacks have success to bet against his natural football traits. I expect Jon Gruden to use him all over the field and for him to be one of the most explosive swiss army-knife weapons of this generation. 📷 With the very next pick, the Raiders again took one of my favorite players in Bryan Edwards (4) of South Carolina. Edwards was the No. 15 overall player on my board so I obviously loved this pick. Aside from injury concerns and a few miscommunication issues working the boundary with his quarterback, Edwards’ film was outstanding. He’s technically sound with strong hands, tremendous contact balance, evidence of beating press, and great concentration skills. As a physical run-after-catch threat, he’s dynamic and strong. He is the prototype big-bodied NFL receiver in terms of traits, plucking the ball and transitioning as a runner smoothly. I predict he’ll be better than Ruggs. He just needs to get and stay healthy. I think Tanner Muse (2) can be a special-teamer (tripping up J.K. Dobbins was a gigantic play in the National Semifinal), and John Simpson (3) was a steal. I love mauler guards who fall due to a lack of quickness. Simpson is physical and sometimes dominant in the run game. His stance gives away pass or run, but he can be coached and work on his body to develop into a starting guard. The Raiders took yet another one of “my guys” in Amik Robertson (4) at pick No. 139. I had Robertson ranked 75th overall and featured him in this article. Robertson is tiny and his film isn’t without flaws, but I am always a proponent of taking players whose main knock is lack of size. I think Robertson will struggle with the brute size and strength of NFL football, and I actually don’t think he’s that fast (didn’t run a 40). But as far as being a pure football player and having coverage instincts and ball skills, Robertson is unbelievable. Robertson plays big, talks a lot, and backs it up. He jacked up the 6-6 Collin Johnson at the line of scrimmage and almost mossed No. 16 on Texas. He’s able to match everything, has a smooth pedal, and gives up almost no separation in man. Slight jersey tug but disciplined hands play in the league. His production at the college level was unreal - 14 interceptions, 2 blocked kicks, 3 defensive touchdowns, and an onside kick return for a touchdown. I worry about his tackling, but I project him to be one of the best slot cover men in the league. The Raiders chose to stick with Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota, despite having enough draft ammo to move around and take one of the quarterbacks. I loved what they did with most of their picks. Carr now has more weapons and zero excuses. This is a huge year for him.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers came into the draft with primary needs at quarterback and inside linebacker. They addressed those needs in the first round, selecting the No. 3 and No. 8 players on my board. The madmen did it. They took Justin Herbert (4) at 6. After being inundated with negative Justin Herbert analysis, I went back for a second look at the former Oregon Duck. In terms of college performance, Herbert’s film is reminiscent of recent busts, including Mitchell Trubisky. He lacks ideal anticipation, inexplicably misses some throws, and wasn’t always trusted by his coaching staff. It is also fair to wonder about his transition, coming from a screen-heavy, spread system at Oregon. However, evaluating NFL prospects is not just about college performance - it’s about projecting traits. Scouting quarterbacks is difficult, and there’s a reason so many teams miss. A lot of times teams fall in love with physical traits such as arm talent and are burned because the player struggles with the complexities, speed, and decision-making difficulty of the NFL game. I believe a critical look at Herbert’s film through the lens of traits-based scouting gets him to potential franchise quarterback level worthy of a high pick. Like with all prospects, his ultimate NFL fate will come down to a lot of surrounding and unknown factors such as situation, coaching, and intangibles. I will pick my No. 3 overall prospect to succeed. His traits are that of a franchise quarterback and his intelligence and athleticism will help his transition. Arm talent, throwing on the run, short-level accuracy, ball handling, and mobility make Justin Herbert the complete package in terms of traits. He poorly placed just one throw under five yards in the games I watched. He has good footwork, touch, and excels with play-action. The translatable trait that makes me confident is his ability to look like the best player on the field in the face of pressure. Herbert can move around and deliver strikes on the run or simply use his legs as a weapon. He also showed the ability to go through full-field "rainbow" reads. Players with his running ability can afford to not be the most accurate passers in the world. He showed off his rushing skills in the Rose Bowl win against Wisconsin. I understand the negatives, but with good coaching, I think Herbert can develop into a franchise quarterback as a mix between Josh Allen and Cam Newton. 📷 After selecting their quarterback at 6, the Chargers traded up for the best inside linebacker in the draft in Kenneth Murray (5). Murray had a productive and storied career at Oklahoma, displaying all the traits of a great pro off-ball linebacker for the Sooners. His speed and instincts make him a sideline to sideline threat, and he has the strength on contact of a thumper. His tackling technique is terrific, pointing to his ability to be coachable. He’s a little out of control at times, but he’s better than Devin White. The move up was worth it. The Chargers want to bring Justin Herbert along slowly, and will look to make the playoffs with Tyrod Taylor as the starter. The surrounding talent is enough to take them there. With young stud defenders at all three levels, the Bolts just need to build an offensive line and add weaponry for Herbert to compete with the Chiefs in a few years.
The Broncos came into the draft with a clear plan - get Drew Lock some weapons. To say they achieved their goal would be an understatement. Their haul included my No. 7 overall player and my No. 1 tight end. Jerry Jeudy (5) suffered from some prospect fatigue as analysts scrambled to poke holes in his game. While most of his success did come from the slot at Alabama, it’s not like his traits don’t translate to the outside. In Denver, Jeudy can man the slot primarily, whereas if he went to the Jets he may have had to learn an entirely new position. The only question about Jeudy is whether or not Drew Lock is good enough to allow him to reach his extremely high ceiling. Jeudy has amazing quickness, length, and top-notch speed, but is known most for being an outstanding route-runner. He is the best route-runner I have ever scouted in college. He understands the nuances of changing speeds, is quick with a plan, and shows an uncommon ability to separate that surely translates to the pro game. He’ll be a star if Drew Lock proves to be competent. 📷 With their second pick, the Broncos doubled down on wide receiver with K.J. Hamler (2) of Penn State. Hamler is the prototypical deep threat and an excellent complement to Jeudy and Courtland Sutton in theory. He might be too small for the NFL, but his college film shows route-running ability on slot fades and out routes that rival most pros. His main weaknesses are due to his lack of size, as he struggles in contested catch situations and is dominated by strength in terms of ball security. Hamler made a couple of tremendous sliding catches but does not display much in terms of hands an almost exclusively body-catcher. It’s a common misconception that receivers are never taught to catch with their body as coaches will teach it in certain situations. Hamler can succeed in the NFL, but there are too many mouths to feed in Denver for him to be more than a situational deep threat. Michael Ojemudia (2) has the athletic profile and size to be a starter, but his film doesn’t show the natural football traits of a pro. He isn’t physical enough and doesn’t show great awareness in zone, letting receivers get behind him. Lloyd Cushenberry (2) was one of the most overrated prospects in the draft. He’s a classic case of a decorated collegiate who gets overdrafted due to great character. He was beaten badly by the Texas nose tackle and generally lacks balance. McTelvin Agim (1) was overdrafted as a former five-star recruit who didn’t dominate in the SEC. He has the size and tools to be a rotational defensive lineman, but plays too high and bends at the waist, losing leverage and balance too easily. Denver's best pick after Jeudy was Albert Okwuegbunam (3). His size/hands mix is rare and his physical ability is special. After last season I thought he’d be a high pick, but he never seemed to put it together. He’s an instant red-zone threat as a project with huge upside. The draft community is giving high praise to this Broncos class. I think they nailed their first pick but wasn’t overly impressed with the rest of the haul. Denver’s defense is loaded with talented veterans and a returning Bradley Chubb, so Drew Lock’s progress will be an intriguing storyline in the AFC Wild Card race.
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