ESPN's new look


  • U.S. markets: Stocks surged. Some credit a tweet from Trump saying a Syria attack might not be as imminent as he suggested on Wednesday. Markets also geared up for today's big earnings day, when big banks take the stage.
  • Earnings today: Citigroup, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, PNC. These companies could set the tone for what many are predicting to be a stellar Q1.

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SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son Scores a Goal with FIFA

It was another marvelous day on the pitch for SoftBank, which pitched a $25 billion investment to FIFA. Other investors from China, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. backed the offer, with one objective: create global tournaments for FIFA in addition to the World Cup.

The game plan? Expand the Club World Cup, now just a seven-team tournament, to 24 teams by 2021. Then, use the dry-erase board to draw up a new tournament—one that has national teams competing every two years instead of four. FIFA would own a 51% stake in the joint venture.

Meet FIFA's head coach, aka President Gianni Infantino

He may not have removed his button down and run laps around the conference room, but let's just say, he really likes this plan.

That's because FIFA is in trouble. And not the Zinedine Zidane, headbutt-your-opponent kind of trouble. More like the "international corruption scandal" kind of trouble. Infantino joined as president after a big story broke in 2015: for years, top ranking FIFA officials were accepting hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes for guaranteeing large media contracts (and a whole lot else).

The aftermath has left FIFA hurting (and it's not faking this one). It lost $391 million before taxes in 2016 and projected losses of $489 million in 2017.

Those numbers just aren't cutting it

And here's why: This week, UEFA's Champions League club tournament saw Roma complete its dramatic comeback over Barcelona, while Cristiano Ronaldo and his 32-pack abs crushed Juventus's dreams. UEFA's popularity helps it rake in $15 billion in revenue over a 4-year cycle.

Over that same period, FIFA brings in $5.5 billion...most of which comes from the World Cup.

But SoftBank's proposal could turn things around, driving more revenue through broadcasting rights, tickets, and sponsorships. It's all very promising, but the deal still has a number of refs in its way.


WeWork Goes Skinny Dipping in China

Our morning routine? Wake up, brush our teeth, learn about another WeWork acquisition...

This time it paid $400 million for Naked Hub, a Chinese co-working startup with 10,000 members across 24 offices. The number crunchers at Recode say WeWork now averages about one acquisition every two months.

Refresher: In the past few years, WeWork bought Meetup, Flatiron School, Unomy, and several others. But only two of these acquisitions have been other co-working startups—Naked Hub and Singapore-based SpaceMob.

And the move beyond co-working is intentional. According to CEO Adam Neumann, "WeWork is as much a co-working space as Amazon is a bookstore."

But this is actually about co-working: With Naked Hub in the fold and $4.4 billion in funding from Masa Son, WeWork is gunning for Greater China, where it's hoping to grow from 13 to 40 locations by the end of 2018. The main hurdle? Stiff competition from co-working co-mpetitors Ucommune and Kr Space.


President Trump Gives CPR to TPP

Economic advisors Larry Kudlow and Robert Lighthizer were all ready for a relaxing Thursday night with a single malt scotch...

...right up until President Trump jolted them with a homework assignment: take another look at TPP, because the U.S. might consider re-entering negotiations.

TPP? Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement with 11 other countries (notably, China isn't one of them). President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal last year, calling it a "disaster" for American workers.

The latest update: Trump was meeting with lawmakers from agricultural states—the parts of the country that would suffer the most from a trade war with China. After the meeting, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse (a big proponent of free trade) said the president seemed pretty serious about re-joining TPP on better terms.

Bottom line: Fans of TPP argue the pact could accomplish the same goal as Trump's tariffs: pressure China to play by the rules. The difference? Twelve pressure points instead of one.


Sports Fans Rejoice: ESPN's Streaming Service Is Finally Here

Some of Disney's defining moments: Introducing Mickey Mouse, Marlin finding Nemo (talk about a nail-biter), and as of yesterday, ESPN releasing ESPN+.

For $4.99 per month (or $49.99 per year), the new service is Disney's first major foray into the magical world of streaming. And now, sports fanatics can swipe through a library of content on ESPN's newly redesigned app.

What it includes: Some MLB, some NHL, and lots of soccer, cricket, boxing, golf, tennis, and college sports. You'll also have the option to stream original ESPN content like 30 for 30 documentaries and OJ: Made in America.

What it doesn't include: Most other live sports and regularly scheduled ESPN programming.

New ESPN CEO Jimmy Pitaro tried to strike a balance. Cord-cutters continue to hurt ESPN, which still drives most of its revenue from traditional TV. So providing a perfect alternative would only speed up the exodus.

Bottom line: ESPN+ is Disney's first test of many. In the coming years, it's going all-in on streaming.


  • A federal judge ruled Uber drivers are independent contractors and not company employees.
  • Uber is introducing annual criminal background checks on its drivers.
  • Per the FT, Santander is launching a cross-border payments system built on Ripple's blockchain tech.
  • British regulators said Disney would need to bid for the rest of Sky if its Fox deal goes through.
  • Tesla (-2.28%) has been removed from a NTSB investigation into last month's fatal accident involving Tesla's Autopilot system.



Who doesn't love a list on Fridays?

It wasn't too long ago when we all thought we'd work from home in the future. Seriously, what could be better than waking up at 8:59 am, reaching for your laptop, and hammering out some emails before your afternoon nap?

But it's 2018...and we're still far from that reality. In fact, companies are spending even more on real estate in desirable areas.

According to JLL, here are the top 10 most expensive streets for office rents in the U.S. ($ per square foot)...and what types of businesses you can expect to find there.

  1. Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park (CA)—Venture capital ($119.38)
  2. Fifth Avenue, New York—Law firms, hedge funds, and investment banks ($116.04)
  3. Mission Street, San Francisco—Tech and financial services ($93.68)
  4. Main Street, Cambridge (MA)—Life sciences and tech ($90.00)
  5. Greenwich Ave, Fairfield County (CT)—Hedge funds ($86.53)
  6. Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C.—Law firms, lobbyists, and presidents ($80.00)
  7. Ocean Ave, Los Angeles—Incredible views of the Pacific Ocean ($78.20)
  8. Boylston Street, Boston—Financial and legal center of Boston ($68.87)
  9. Royal Palm Way, West Palm Beach (FL)—Wealth management and finance ($61.80)
  10. Congress Ave, Austin (TX)—Finance and state government ($58.20)


Hooked by Nir Eyal—After receiving his MBA from Stanford, Nir Eyal went on to become a thought leader in consumer psychology, and was featured in Harvard Business Review, Psychology Today, TechCrunch, and many other publications. His book, Hooked, offers actionable insight into what it takes to create a habit-forming product. And if you're trying to grow a business, mastering Eyal's formula is a no-brainer. You'll be hooked on Hooked.

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