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Basch Report
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jul. 28, 202204:00 AM EST

Report: Jaguars ticket revenue near league bottom

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The team ranked 30th of 32 NFL teams in 2021.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

The Jacksonville Jaguars ranked near the bottom of the NFL in attendance in 2021 so, not surprisingly, the team also ranked near the bottom in ticket sales revenue.

A July 19 report by sports business website Sportico said the Jaguars were 30th among the 32 NFL teams in home game ticket revenue, finishing ahead of Washington and Detroit.

The Detroit Lions came in last with ticket revenue of $51 million, Sportico said, but it did not give figures for the Jaguars.

The Las Vegas Raiders were No. 1 with $119 million in ticket revenue last year.

The revenue includes sales of general and club seats, but not luxury suites.

The Jaguars’ place in the money ranking lines up with 2021 attendance figures. The Jaguars finished 30th with average home attendance of 59,968, according to ESPN data.

That put the team ahead of just Washington, which averaged 52,751, and Detroit, which averaged 51,522.

The Raiders actually ranked far down the attendance list at 26th with an average of 61,185, according to ESPN. But as they opened their new Las Vegas stadium to fans for the first time in 2021 after 2020 coronavirus restrictions, it charged by far the highest prices, Sportico said.

The Dallas Cowboys had the highest average attendance in 2021 with 93,421, ESPN said.

Ticket sales generate a relatively small portion of annual revenue for NFL teams. Most of the money comes from shared national revenue, including payouts under the league’s television contracts.

A separate report by Sportico said the NFL’s national revenue was $11 billion last year. That translates into more than $340 million for each of the 32 teams, including the Jaguars.

The Jaguars said in a statement the team could not give details about its ticket revenue.

“The NFL rankings document cited by Sportico on July 19 is not distributed publicly, so we cannot comment on it directly, other than to reiterate that the Jaguars have one of the lowest average ticket prices in the NFL and our total ticket revenues reside in the bottom quartile of the league,” it said.

CSX paid $601 million for Pan Am Systems

From the time it announced the deal in November 2020 through the time it closed June 1, 2022, CSX Corp. did not disclose the terms of its acquisition of Pan Am Systems Inc.

However, when CSX reported second-quarter earnings July 20, it finally revealed it paid $601 million to acquire the 1,800-mile rail network that expands the company’s operations in the Northeastern U.S.

CSX said it exchanged stock valued at $422 million and paid $179 million in cash to buy Pan Am.

The company said its second-quarter results included $18 million in expenses related to the acquisition. CSX’s total expenses in the quarter were $2.1 billion and it recorded an operating profit of $1.7 billion.

CSX’s annual report had said the deal was “not expected to be material” to its financial results.

Pan Am expands CSX’s operations in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts and adds Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to its 23-state network. It was the company’s first major rail acquisition since it acquired 42% of Conrail Inc. in 1998.

The second-quarter report said Pan Am added 659 employees to CSX’s headcount as of June 30. Total employment at the company was 21,712 at the end of the second quarter, up from 20,866 at the end of the first quarter with the addition of the Pan Am employees.

CSX has reported ongoing difficulty hiring train crew workers and said it averaged 6,667 train and engine employees during the second quarter. 

CEO Jim Foote said in the company’s conference call with analysts the company needs about 7,000 train and engine workers to fully operate its rail network that runs throughout the eastern U.S.

Analyst upgrades CSX to ‘buy’

That 7,000 target is a key metric for CSX, Loop Capital analyst Rick Paterson said as he upgraded his rating on CSX from “hold” to “buy” after the earnings report.

“CSX expects to hit the magic 7,000 number before the end of Q3,” Paterson said in his research note.

However, his upgrade on the stock is “unrelated to management’s assurance above that they’re going to turn this thing around in the next 10 weeks,” he said.

“Getting a melted-down Class I out of the ditch is difficult, unpredictable — even for management—and requires a bit of luck (e.g., light volumes, absence of external shocks),” he said.

“Even if a Q3 inflection occurred, it’s going to be a slow spin-up given the fact that CSX’s customers, interchange partners, and other supply chain partners would remain dysfunctional to varying degrees.”

Paterson said his upgrade on the stock reflects recent price declines, which left CSX’s market price 28% below his $38 price target.

Also, “CSX, and the rest of the railroads, should be good places to park some money in the event of economic softness in 2023 given they always have pricing power and have easy comps next year because of all the meltdowns this year,” he said.

Landstar truck network expands

Trucking companies also have had difficulty hiring drivers who want to haul loads of freight around the country.

However, Jacksonville-based Landstar System Inc., which does not employ drivers but contracts with independent truckers to haul freight, continues to expand its truck network.

During Landstar’s quarterly conference call with analysts July 21, CEO Jim Gattoni said the company ended the second quarter with 11,887 trucks provided by business capacity owners – drivers who own their own trucks.

That was 48 fewer trucks than at the end of the first quarter but 23 higher than its year-end 2021 truck county.

“As typical, in an environment with increasing fuel costs and a lower revenue per mile month-to-month, it’s not unusual to experience an increase in BCO turnover,” Gattoni said.

Besides the BCO drivers who have exclusive contracts with Landstar, the company also has a large pool of drivers who haul freight under nonexclusive arrangements.

Including the nonexclusive drivers, Landstar’s available truck capacity has increased by almost 10,000 since the end of 2021 to 111,126 at mid-2022.

“Our network is strong and continues to attract third-party truck capacity,” Gattoni said.

Landstar reported lower-than-expected second-quarter earnings but Gattoni said the company’s business model of contracting drivers helps in the current economy.

“The current environment with high inflation and slowing consumer demand makes for an unpredictable freight environment. Regardless of the freight environment, Landstar’s highly variable-cost business model generates significant free cash flow,” he said.

“In our view, the current environment for Landstar continues to remain strong. We continue to focus on profitable load volume growth and increasing our available capacity to hold those loads.”

Margo Caribe earnings drop

Margo Caribe Inc. reported second-quarter sales fell 14% to $16.7 million and earnings fell 39% to $2.3 million, or 58 cents a share.

Jacksonville-based Margo Caribe produces home and garden products through subsidiary Margo Outdoor Living Inc.

The company said the sales drop was related to a single customer and excluding that customer, sales fell less than 1%.

“We believe our sales growth to be consistent with industry segment growth levels given the impact of inflation on discretionary sales for our big-box customer base and a natural pull-back from pandemic fueled e-commerce sales,” CEO Michael Spector said in a July 21 news release.

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