Happy Friday! Hopefully you’re as ready for the day as new Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell. He orders two Venti Starbucks coffees every morning... with two shots of espresso each.
In today's Sprint:
🏈 Forbes releases NFL valuations.
⚽️ Messi and Barcelona part after 21 years.
🥇 US is going for gold.
Trivia: The Puskas Award is given to the player who scored the most impressive goal of the season. How many has Lionel Messi won?
*Answer at the bottom
WATER COOLER TALK
⚽️ Manchester City signed Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for $140M, the most expensive Premier League transfer ever. City manager Pep Guardiola has spent over $1 billion in his time at City (there is no limit to that Emirati money). It’s Champions League or bust.
Franchise valuations rose 14% over the last year, up to $3.5 billion on average despite a 20% drop in league revenue in 2020. The $112 billion in media rights sales the NFL did in March likely helped.
Valued at $6.5 billion, the Cowboys lead the league in valuation with the Patriots second at $5 billion.
⚾ The Cubs plan to build a sportsbook right next to Wrigley Field, and yesterday a local commission gave final approval. The team will partner with DraftKings to create the venue, which will be one of the first betting venues at a pro stadium. We hear Chicago is nice in the summer.
DraftKings continues to invest in live spaces, not just mobile betting. This news comes a week after the company announced sports bars opening in Nashville and Detroit.
It's Not You, It's Me
Lionel Messi and Barcelona are parting ways just a month after verbally agreeing to a five-year extension. The club said “financial and structural obstacles” got in the way.
What do “financial and structural obligations” even mean? Despite Messi agreeing to a 50% wage cut, Barcelona would still be in violation of La Liga’s financial fair play rules if they signed the superstar.
Most thought yesterday’s $3.2 billion investment into La Liga by private equity firm CVC (of which Barcelona would get ~$270 million) would be enough to complete the deal. But clubs are limited to using 15% on players.
Besides, Barcelona and Real Madrid are opposing the deal because they don’t want to give up future revenue to the firm.
The bottom line: After a series of expensive signings and a huge drop in revenue due to Covid-19, Barcelona can’t afford to re-sign its biggest star.
Messi's unbelievable records at Barcelona:
778 games - 672 goals - 305 assists
10x La Liga champ
4x Champions League winner
6x Ballon d’Or winner
Let's check out the biggest games:
Looking ahead: Manchester City likely put itself out of the running for Messi by dropping so much money on Jack Grealish. At the time of the transfer, Messi was expected to re-sign with Barcelona.
Instead, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has emerged as the favorite. Messi has two important connections to PSG:
PSG is full of fellow Argentinians, from manager Mauricio Pochettino to Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi.
Neymar, who starred with Messi at Barcelona for five years, plays for PSG.
A front three of Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe sounds like something out of Fifa Ultimate Team, but it looks like a real possibility in Paris.
*As of 11pm ET 8/5
⚽️ The USWNT took home bronze after a thrilling 4-3 win over Australia. Veterans Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe scored two goals apiece.
The US was up 4-1 before Australia mounted a comeback, including a goal in the 90th minute to give US fans quite the scare.
🏀 Down 3 at halftime, the US men’s basketball team relied on Kevin Durant (23 pts, 9 reb) and Jrue Holiday (11 pts, 9 reb, 9 ast) to dominate the second half. Final score 97-78.
⚾️ US Baseball will chase after its second-ever gold medal after beating South Korea 7-2 in the semis. They’ll play Japan, who paused their major league season to allow their top players to be available.
🏃 Canada’s Damian Warner led from start to finish in the Men’s pentathlon, becoming the oldest gold medalist in the event (31 years) and setting a new Olympic record with 9,018 points.
🏃🏿 Steven Gardiner won gold in the 400m, taking home the Bahamas' first track and field medal in Olympic history.
🏀 With his team up 1 with less than 10 seconds remaining, Nic Batum saved France with an immaculate block to take down Luka Doncic and Slovenia in the semifinals.
France advances to the gold medal match against Team USA (who they beat last month). Luka, who is now 17-1 with Slovenia, faces Australia for bronze.
AROUND THE LEAGUES
Pittsburgh Steelers16vs. Dallas Cowboys 3
The highlight in an otherwise uneventful game was 7th round pick Pressley Harvin’s incredible punt, pinning the Cowboys on the one-yard line. We missed football.
Stat:Joey Votto has hit 10 home runs in 10 games.
Quote:“I’m getting him to smile. That’s one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve had so far.”
- Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on his teammate Nick Chubb, who is apparently all business.
Feel good: 53 days after suffering cardiac arrest during the Euros, Christian Eriksen was back with teammates at Inter Milan practice. There’s no timetable for his return.
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