5.24.2024

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Good morning. It's Friday, May 24, and we're covering a landmark NCAA settlement proposal, a lawsuit taking on a concert titan, and much more. First time reading? Join over 3.5 million readers. Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

College Athlete Pay Settlement

The National Collegiate Athletic Association and five power conferences—collectively representing more than 60 schools—agreed yesterday to a $2.8B class-action settlement, paving the way for universities to directly pay college athletes for the first time. If finalized, the plan would go into effect as soon as next year and reverse the amateur college sports model in place since 1906.

 

Yesterday’s proposed settlement is a revenue-sharing model in which schools would pay athletes a cut of the money received from sponsorships, broadcasting rights, and ticket sales. Division I schools would have the ability to distribute up to $20M per year to their athletes. The settlement would also resolve claims of missed back-pay for current and former college athletes dating back to 2016, ending three antitrust cases, with a fourth case—Fontenot v. NCAA—still pending.

 

The agreement now heads to a federal judge for approval, a process that could take months.

 

Live Nation Antitrust Suit

The Justice Department and 30 states launched an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation yesterday in a bid to break up the country's largest concert promoter and ticket seller. The suit alleges Live Nation and its subsidiary Ticketmaster wield a monopoly to reduce competition and increase prices for customers.

 

Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010 under a DOJ consent decree. The conglomerate now controls 70% of the ticketing and live events market, manages over 400 music artists, and owns or operates over 260 concert venues. The lawsuit alleges Live Nation uses its stakes across these business areas to leverage fees from one area to dominate others—including by setting exclusive contracts with venues—in a "flywheel" cycle. In response to the lawsuit, the company argued its profit margins are low and its market share is in decline.

 

The company came under fire in November 2022 after mishandling presales for Taylor Swift's now-historic Eras Tour, where no tickets were left for general sales. 

 

Record-Breaking Hurricane Forecast

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to have above-normal activity, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicting an 85% chance of 17 to 25 named storms, the highest number NOAA has ever forecast in its preseason outlook. 

 

Among named storms (see list), eight to 13 are expected to become hurricanes (wind speeds of at least 74 mph), with four to seven major hurricanes predicted (exceeding 111 mph). Contributing to storm development are near-record warm Atlantic temperatures and the predicted transition to La Niña conditions—leading to cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Pacific and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns that reduce the wind shear capable of interrupting storm formation (see explainer). Other factors include an above-normal West African monsoon, which can produce easterly waves capable of developing into strong storms.

 

The season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with peak activity typically between mid-August and mid-October. An average season has 14 named storms. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> The 108th Indianapolis 500 takes place Sunday (12:30 pm ET, NBC) from Indianapolis Motor Speedway (More) | Footage released of world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler’s arrest last week outside PGA Championship venue (More)

> Charlie Colin, founding member of rock band Train, dies at 58 after slipping and falling in shower (More

> Toronto awarded WNBA franchise, will be first non-US WNBA team when they begin play in 2026 (More) | NBA MVP Nikola Jokić, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Luka Dončić headline All-NBA team (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Atomic-level images reveal the first few layers of ice begin to melt around minus 240 degrees Fahrenheit, far below the bulk freezing point; helps resolve decades-old debate over why ice is so slippery (More

> Researchers discover crows can produce deliberate number of calls on demand, demonstrating counting skills only previously seen in humans (More

> Study finds two distinct cell groups involved in fentanyl addiction, one developing when the drug is taken and one upon withdrawal; findings may lead to new treatments for opioid dependence (More

 

Business & Markets

> Markets tumble (Dow -1.5%, S&P 500 -0.7%, Nasdaq -0.4%), with Dow notching its worst day of 2024 and more than 400 of the S&P 500 falling on the day amid Federal Reserve concerns over persistent inflation (More) | Boeing drops more than 7% as company forecasts negative free cash flow (More)

> US business groups file suit to block Biden administration rule requiring mandatory overtime pay for salaried workers making less than $1,128 per week; plaintiffs argue regulation would negatively impact small businesses and nonprofits (More)

> Top venture funds a16z, Sequoia, and Tribe reportedly to join $6B funding round for Elon Musk's artificial intelligence xAI startup; raise values the company at $18B (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> US Supreme Court rejects claim that removal of Black voters from swing district constitutes illegal gerrymandering (More) | Democrats call for investigation of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito after controversial flag reported flown outside his vacation home (More) | What is the "Appeal to Heaven" flag? (More)

> Louisiana state Senate passes a bill treating abortion medication as controlled substances akin to Ambien, Valium, and Xanax; if signed into law, anyone who is not pregnant or a licensed medical provider could face up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines if found carrying mifepristone or misoprostol (More

> China holds military drills around Taiwan following inauguration of President William Lai; Taiwanese officials say the drills mark first-ever simulation of a full-scale attack as opposed to economic blockade (More)

 

In-Depth

> An Ode to Summer 

Tangle | Isaac Saul. Ahead of the holiday weekend, take a break from politics and news and reminisce over the best parts of the summer season. (Read)

 

> Excavating Alexander the Great

Archaeology | Alex Rowson. New digs in the ancient Macedonian capital of Pella—Alexander's birthplace—reveal fascinating details on the young emperor's childhood. (Read)

> Getting a Leg Up

Pretendians | Angel Ellis, Robert Jago. (Podcast) The story of a Hell's Angels mob leader who, upon landing in federal prison in Canada, falsely assumed the identity of a native to exploit pro-Indigenous programs. (Listen)

 

> Italy's Vanished Skyscrapers

Present Past | Jochem Boodt. You've heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa—but what about the dozens of 100-foot-tall towers of medieval Bologna? A history sleuth tracks down the evidence and purpose of the structures. (Watch)

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Etcetera
 

The Fleet Week warships honoring Memorial Day in NYC.

 

Microwaves, freeze-dried fruit, and other items with military origins.

 

It's not too late to catch the Flower Moon.

 

Ten-year-old websites are disappearing.

 

The snakes causing power outages in Tennessee.

 

Rolls-Royce wins contract for nuclear-proof doomsday plane.

 

... and rogue planets are free-floating in the Milky Way.

 

The world's tallest steer is 6-year-old Romeo. (w/photo)

 

Clickbait: Piglet yoga.

 

Historybook: Samuel Morse sends first commercial telegraph message (1844); The Brooklyn Bridge is opened in NYC (1883); Jazz legend Duke Ellington dies (1974); Mass shooting at Uvalde, Texas, results in 21 deaths (2022); Tina Turner dies (2023).  

"Art is the perpetual motion of illusion. The highest purpose of art is to inspire."

- Bob Dylan

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