Archive - January 2013
- Column: Dodgers' Media RightsJanuary 28, 2013
If you were surprised and shocked at the reported figures in the Dodgers’ new TV deal, you shouldn’t have been. Speculation is the deal with Time Warner Cable, scheduled to take effect in 2014, will be for $7-8 billion over 20-25 years. Although we don’t have “accurate” numbers yet, we can reliably say that the deal will be the largest of its kind for a sports franchise in this country. And some people thought the new owners were crazy to pay $2 billion for the franchise in bankruptcy court last year. Not anymore. The question other baseball teams are asking is whether this is indicative of a bubble, a unique situation, or a trend that will continue on an upward trajectory. Well, it may be a little bit of all three. The Dodgers’ timing was perfect. They are the last major sports team in the greater L.A. market to come up for a new media rights deal. The Lakers signed a 20-year deal with Time Warner last year that will pay the team $150 million per year. With twice as many games as the Lakers, the Dodgers’ deal falls right in line with their NBA counterparts.
- Column: Armstrong's ConfessionJanuary 21, 2013
Here are several of my takeaways from Lance Armstrong’s sit-down with Oprah. Full confession: I have never been an Oprah fan. Her self-promoting style – the name of her network, Oprah Winfrey Network, says it all – has always been a turnoff for me. But her two- part interview with Armstrong was nothing short of masterful. Oprah was in control from start to finish. She led off by asking Armstrong to respond with one word answers – yes or no – to the key questions everyone tuned in to hear: Did you dope? Did you use EPO? Armstrong was put on the defensive from the outset, and it allowed Oprah to set the tone for the entire interview. Oprah was no Mike Wallace, whose fawning interview of Roger Clemens on 60 Minutes was a love-fest. Wallace has a reputation as an aggressive interviewer who drills his subject matter until he/she becomes uncomfortable. But he played the role of a fan and let Clemens off the hook repeatedly. And Clemens wasn’t nearly the challenge that Armstrong was. The cyclist is smarter, more devious, evasive, and measured in his responses than his PED-consuming baseball counterpart. Oprah repeatedly asked pointed follow up questions and rarely backed down until Armstrong responded directly.
- Column: Hall of Fame VotingJanuary 14, 2013
For the first time since 1996, and the eighth time in history, the Baseball Writers Association of America pitched a shutout when they failed to elect a single player to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. In the short term, the vote will have a devastating effect on the businesses in and around Cooperstown, New York. In an average year, attendance at the summer induction ceremonies averages between 15,000 and 20,000. Many of those in attendance eat in restaurants, stay in hotels, and purchase souvenirs and other products from local merchants. This year, the Hall will induct three members elected by the Veteran’s Committee, all of whom died before 1940. Good luck attracting a crowd for that ceremony.
- Column: NHL is BackJanuary 7, 2013
The NHL is back and while both the owners and players will declare victory, you can chalk this one up as a big win for the players. You wouldn’t expect the owners to admit they “lost” after essentially giving away almost half a season at the cost of $8-10 million per day. But this is all on the owners. They’re the ones who instituted the 113-day lockout. And for what? Everyone knew going into these negotiations that the 57% take of league revenues the players had enjoyed under the old CBA would end up being a 50-50 split. And that’s how the final deal ended up. But the long and tortious road that led to this point was totally unnecessary. For no apparent reason other than to unite the players against them, the owners opened the negotiations with an offer of 43% of revenues. The owners should have known that with Don Fehr at the helm, the players would not be pushed around until they knuckled under as they had done so many times in the past. The owners had only to look at Fehr’s record in MLB for guidance on that issue. But arrogance and stubbornness ruled the day and the owners refused to allow themselves to believe the players would stand united.