Crypto

Sports Assets Remain Strong Amid Crypto Slump, Says Fitch

If this winter’s “Crypto Bowl” made you think that the NFL might become too reliant on the tech-for-profit, don’t worry. The implosion of cryptocurrency broker FTX and the fall of Bitcoin this year didn’t even create a ripple in league bond ratings.

Ten months after cryptocurrency ads dominated during the Super Bowl and six months after the NFL opened the door to teams chasing blockchain sponsors, Fitch hasn’t even mentioned the crypto meltdown in his last debt rating for the league, confirming the investment grade scores in its latest review, published Friday morning.

“The structure of the NFL promotes the financial stability and competitive balance of the league through a high revenue share percentage and potential additional revenue sharing. The NFL maintains a robust and stable domestic fan and spectator base,” Fitch said in its memo. The agency rates $1.37 billion in debt for NFL Ventures at A+ and $8.6 billion in league-wide credit facilities at A. These ratings are unchanged from previous ratings by Fitch. , even though the league increased the amount of debt a team can have to $600 million from $500 million at its recent owners’ meeting. The additional debt does not hurt the rating “due to strong media revenue visibility under the league’s domestic media contracts,” the agency wrote.

Likewise, strong credit and franchise support from MLB helped the New York food‘The stadium retains its BBB rating from Fitch in a concurrent rating. (MLB’s debt-holding entities are rated A and A- by Fitch.) Queens Ballpark Company (QBC), the entity that owns Citi Field, has had its rating affirmed for $624 million of bonds issued in 2006. “The Mets franchise operates in the robust, yet competitive New York City market, with strong levels of personal wealth and the largest population and deepest business base of any metropolitan area in the United States.” United States,” Fitch wrote. The 101 win total in the 2022 season, tied for third in the league, also helped. “Stadium attendance and fan support showed volatility correlated with on-field performance,” Fitch said.

Citi Field also benefits from the high percentage of naming rights fees supporting the municipal bonds used to build the facility, Fitch noted. While sponsorships from crypto-firms cause problems for the NBA Miami Heatthe Mets are likely relishing their decidedly old-fashioned financial naming sponsor, Citigroup: It’s America’s third-largest bank, with more than $1.7 trillion in assets.

Perhaps the only negative for the Mets in the Fitch report is the inevitable comparison to the other baseball team in town. “Yankee Stadium is ranked a notch above QBC, reflecting the strength of the Yankees franchise and the more stable and robust levels of attendance and ticket revenue.”

The rating agency also confirmed its rating for the USTA National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, located not far from the Mets in Queens. The Tennis Center holds an A- rating thanks to long-term broadcast agreements that provide about half of the promised revenue to support its obligations. The other half comes from US Open ticket sales, which have a proven track record of steadily growing average ticket prices, the agency noted.



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