Posts Tagged ‘CBS Sports’

Player Control Foul: Eric Gordon Saga Demonstrates Athletes’ Desire for Control

Eric Gordon wants to play for the Phoenix Suns, and the Suns want Gordon to play for them. That’s why the Suns offered him $58 million over four years to make the Grand Canyon State his new home. Sounds like a win-win, right?

Wrong. The New Orleans Hornets, the team for which Gordon played for during the 2011-12 season, have the right to match the contract offer and keep the shooting guard in the Emerald City. Thus, the Hornets hold the cards in this scenario.

Gordon’s only hope is that New Orleans chooses not to match the contract offer from Phoenix and lets him leave. Gordon was not shy when asked about his feelings regarding leaving New Orleans for Phoenix:

Perhaps the best way to explain this is to try and put it into terms the average person can understand. Pretend you are a recent college graduate with an entry level job. You’ve been at your job for three years, and you find an opening for a new job with another company. They see your resume, think you would be a good fit, and offer you a position with an elevated salary. But rather than give your two weeks to your current boss, you find that your company has the right to match the salary and keep you for at least another year.

Huh?

Such is life in the modern sports world with the advent of restricted free agency. To summarize in short, restricted free agency (RFA) means a player who was drafted in the first round can accept an offer from another team after his fourth year in the league. But the team he was currently with has the opportunity to match the offer and keep him. This rule allows small market teams the opportunity to keep their star players before they can be bid for by bigger market clubs.

On the surface, this rule makes sense, but it definitely puts players in an unusual position. All Gordon wants is to play for the Suns, but the Hornets have the right to keep him. The only solution he saw fit was to publicly chastise New Orleans in the hopes it would scare them away. Call it sports’ version of mudslinging if you will.

Gordon’s words have resonated in the hoops world, but not in an endearing way. Sporting News NBA writer Sean Deveney penned a mock letter that Gordon sent to New Orleans that opens with three powerful words: I hate you. Hornets 247 blogger Joe Gerrity pointed out how foolish Gordon looks for calling out a team that wants to shell out $58 million for him, a season after Gordon only played nine games. Fans who shell out big money to go to games have right to question Gordon’s sense of what is right and wrong.

From Gordon’s perspective, there is some reason to his argument. He wants to choose where he can play and the team he wants to play for also wants him. And though he will become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) next summer — meaning he will be able to sign wherever he wants without another team matching the offer — there is some risk in that scenario. What if Gordon gets injured again and can only play a limited number of games, like he did in 2011-12? Teams are unlikely to give big contracts to a player coming off back-to-back injury seasons, so there is risk in playing even one more year before hitting UFA status. And though Gordon is likely to make a lot of money even if he were to get hurt again, fans have to remember that athletes have a limited number of years to hone their craft before they are finished. If they’re lucky, players make it to about age 40 before their bodies betray them and they have to retire. That’s not the case if you’re an accountant or consultant.

CBS Sports writer Matt Moore perhaps summed up Gordon’s situation best by pointing out that these are the rules Gordon chose to play by. The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement expired after the 2010-11 season, which is what prompted the league’s lockout last winter while a new CBA was agreed to. The NBA Players Association negotiated with the league’s owners, and topics such as restricted free agency were undoubtedly part of the conversation. In the end, the CBA was ratified by the players, and the Gordon has to abide by the rules he agreed to.

Just because Gordon has rules in place for him doesn’t mean he has to stay quiet about them. But anytime someone complains about a $58 million contract being disrespectful, it’s not good for anyone.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?: Roger Goodell and the Saints’ Bounty Scandal

Monday was expected to be the appeal day for suspended NFL players Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith. The four were in New York to appeal their respective suspensions, handed down in early May for the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.

Fujita, Hargrove and Smith chose not to attend the appeal session and instead released a joint statement criticizing Goodell for his handling of the situation, and especially his withholding of evidence against the players. Vilma meanwhile showed up to the appeal with is attorney, but left after only an hour at the league offices, telling the media outside that the process was “a sham.”

CBS Sports managed to obtain a copy of the league’s evidence against the players, which includes a $5,000 knockout pool for injuring a quarterback, but nothing else. If there is more evidence against the players, the NFL isn’t releasing it.

The most striking quote from today’s events comes from Vilma, who questioned the players’ ability to get a fair trial through due process.

“I don’t know how you get a fair process when you get [Roger Goodell as] judge, jury and executioner,” Vilma said.

That begs the question: Is Roger Goodell too powerful? Certainly Goodell is not the only commissioner in major professional sports who has the power to suspend players. Bud Selig hands out punishment in Major League Baseball, and David Stern does the same in the NBA. But these sports, by their nature, don’t have the amount of incidents that would warrant suspension.

Hockey and football do, and in the NHL there is a separate executive in charge of suspensions. Brendan Shanahan, who played 21 years in the league and won three Stanley Cups, is the league’s Senior Vice President of Player Safety and hands out suspensions, each with a video explanation  he posts on his Twitter page. Shanahan’s decisions are not without outcry from players and teams, but at least it is handled by a former player who understands the game and not commissioner Gary Bettman.

In just over five years as commissioner, Goodell has already handed out more suspensions than any other boss in NFL history. He isn’t called “the most powerful man in sports” for nothing. But for all his power, it’s clear Goodell has made some enemies during his tenure, and that’s not good for the future of the league.

The players are understandably upset, but they agreed last summer to have Goodell continue overseeing discipline when they signed the new collective bargaining agreement. As CBS Sports’ Clark Judge pointed out, Vilma and others signed off on Goodell’s power, so they should direct their anger elsewhere.

This may be true, but it’s not what’s best for the league going forward.

Eye of the Tiger: Tiger Woods’ Victory at Memorial Shows Golf Needs Number One Player

Ever since his groundbreaking victory in the 1997 Masters, Tiger Woods has captured the attention of golf fans around the world. Woods’ quest to overtake Jack Nicklaus for most major professional wins — and the title of best golfer ever — has made his 18 holes of play an attention grabber for sports fans.

Of course that all changed in 2009 with his infidelity scandal and rash of knee injuries, both of which kept him from chasing history. Without a signature win as he entered his mid 30s, many wondered if the era of elite Woods dominance was over.

On Sunday Woods roared back to the top of the sport, winning the Memorial Tournament to tie Nicklaus with 73 career PGA Tour wins. The victory alone was gratifying for Woods, but it was his shot on the 16th hole that had spectators reminiscing of the vintage Woods.

Having Woods in contention during the final round paid major dividends for the sport as the Memorial drew a 138 percent viewer increase compared to last year’s tournament. The 3.8 overnight rating was the highest rating for the event’s final round since 2004.

To give you an idea of how intriguing Woods can be: Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers admitted to being late to the TD Garden for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat because he got caught up watching Woods in the final round. Think about that, an NBA head coach showed up late to the arena for a playoff game because he was watching Woods. That’s Woods’ appeal.

Woods’ victory has a financial trickle-down effect for a number of business entities. Nike, NBC, CBS and ESPN are just some who benefit from the re-emergence of Woods. Television networks are undoubtedly hoping Woods can stay hot to keep viewers tuned in.

Even if Woods does not overtake Nicklaus in wins, his presence alone might already solidify him as the biggest name in golf history. Though it hinders their winnings, golfers on tour know that when Woods is competing it benefits the sport, creating an odd scenario in which they are internally hoping for their greatest competitor to succeed.

Everyone can agree, golf is better when Tiger is on the prowl.

I Get By With A Little Help From My (Blogging) Friends

Since starting this blog about sports and money, I’ve learned that good blogging is nothing without good sources. Here are some of my go-to websites for information on the financial side of sports.

My first stop is typically to Darren Rovell’s “Sports Biz” blog on CNBC.com. Rovell is generally regarded as one of the most-trusted sources for information on sports business. I really like his hands-on approach to reporting. He tries very hard to get one-on-one interviews with subjects and is willing to travel anywhere and do anything to bring unique content. Rovell does even better work on his Twitter account, constantly updating his followers at an astounding rate.

Another of my favorites is the Wall Street Journal’s sports section. The WSJ has interesting feature stories, like this one on the history of Harvard’s basketball program, and always has an eye on stories that aren’t being covered elsewhere, such as the battle between the state of New Jersey and the Giants and Jets over a new shopping mall.

Similar to WSJ, Forbes has a sports section dedicated to sports and money. I like Forbes because the stories focus on the economic implications of news items that are grabbing headlines, but explain them in a simple manner. An example is the work they did on Mark Sanchez’s new contract with the Jets.

In terms of in-depth investigation, no site does it better than Sports by Brooks. The stories are mostly based on scandals in sports, such as the Penn State fiasco. What sets Brooks apart is the extraordinary amount of detail he puts into investigations via interviews, and especially in researching court documents.

One website that brings in guest writers who have knowledge of specific subjects is Business of College Sports. Devoted purely to university athletics, the site digs up interesting facts and figures, such as this chart on college basketball revenue and attendance.

These are my main sites for generating content. Others I check out include: Awful Announcing, Boston Sports Media Watch, CBS Sports, ESPN, NBC Sports, Sports Law Blog, Sports Media Journal, Sports Media Watch and Yahoo! Sports.

Follow the Leader: Using Twitter to Enhance My Blog

Until Tuesday I was a member of the minority who did not have a Twitter account. For me Twitter was just another social media network that I would have little interest in using or checking. That finally changed when @patrickmchugh89 joined the Twitter universe.

The most popular bird on the Internet

In the interest of gathering more information for my blog, here are some of the people I follow, what they tweet about, and how they help me.

@darrenrovell is the Twitter handle of CNBC’s Darren Rovell, whose popular blog Sports Biz looks at the business aspect of sports, including endorsements, advertisement, ticket sales, contracts, etc. Rovell tweets lots of facts and figures on these topics, and is often in the field covering events to post twitpics as well.

@paulsen_smw is the Twitter handle of the person who writes and runs Sports Media Watch, which examines how sports are being broadcast on television and how many people are watching. The Twitter feed alerts followers when a new article has been posted to the website, but unfortunately doesn’t add much beyond that.

@SPORTSbyBROOKS is the Twitter handle of Brooks, the main writer for Sports by Brooks. The website has a lot to say about sports scandals, especially in college sports. The Twitter feed has a little bit of everything, from quick factoids to updates about new articles being posted, as well as debates with followers over the topics he is covering.

@awfulannouncing is the Twitter handle of Brian Powell, who writes the blog Awful Announcing, which has been “putting announcers on notice since 2006.” As a sports announcer myself I find Powell’s blog entertaining and informative because he pays close attention to who is calling the games and how they’re doing. He conducts a lot of interviews with media personalities, and posts about these and updates to his blog on his Twitter feed.

@bruceallen is the Twitter handle of Bruce Allen, whose blog Boston Sports Media Watch examines how Boston’s local teams are covered in the media. Allen mostly retweets the stories and blog items when they have been posted.

@SBJSBD is the Twitter handle of Sports Business Journal Daily, which covers sports business from a variety of angles. The blog breaks its coverage into subcategories such as Marketing and Sponsorship, Media, People and Pop Culture and Research and Ratings to name a few. The Twitter feed alerts followers when a new item has been posted to the website, which is helpful considering how many subcategories there are.

@SMJournal is the Twitter handle of Keith Thibault, who writes the blog Sports Media Journal about where to find coverage of sports items, as well as critiques this coverage. The Twitter feed alerts when new items have been posted, which is helpful especially for the podcasts.

@Ourand_SBJ is the Twitter handle of John Ourand, who writes for Sports Business Journal. Ourand is one of the better writers on SBJ and gives interesting insight on his Twitter feed, as well as mix in some humor.

@BizCollegeSport is the Twitter handle of BusinessofCollegeSports.com, which looks at financial trends in college sports. The feed posts quick hits on news items and enjoys some fun banter with followers.

@WSJSports is the Twitter handle of Adam Thompson, who writes for the Wall Street Journal’s sports department. Thompson tweets about the latest financial trends in sports, and posts links to his latest blog items.

– Finally, a collection of handle I follow that tweet about sports in general: @ESPN, @ESPNResearch, @NBCSN, @CBSSports and @YahooSports.

Photo (cc) by eldh and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

The Payroll: Good Sources of Information on Money and Sports

As every good journalist knows you can’t make it in the business without good sources. To help me in my quest for anything and everything related to the business of sports, here are some websites I will be following, and you should too:

Darren Rovell speaking to some Rays fans. Safe to say Darren has a larger audience on his blog.

The gold standard is Darren Rovell’s Sports Biz blog on CNBC. What makes Sports Biz the best is that it’s the perfect blend of sports and money. Rovell is a sports enthusiast at his core and does a lot of cool field work, including running the NYC Marathon, challenging Dwyane Wade to some hoops, and co-piloting with NASCAR racers among other adventures. Match that with CNBC’s financial acumen and Rovell becomes the go-to person in terms of trends, endorsement deals, contract signings and a host of other topics. For those of you who love the Twitter machine, you can follow him here.

Advertisers always want to know who is watching what, and Sports Media Watch does a great job breaking this down. SMW studies which games or shows received the highest TV ratings and gives its take on these trends. For instance, the watchmen found the Patriots-Broncos playoff game scored surprisingly lower than CBS execs predicted. How could Tom Brady and Tim Tebow not equal ratings galore? SMW points out that Saturday night is when people like to go out, so putting the game on Sunday likely would have drawn more viewers. Check out the Twitter page for more goodies as well.

Sports by Brooks gives some interesting insight into sports business, focusing mostly on scandals in the games we love. Not surprisingly, the Penn State fiasco has taken over the site in the last month. Follow the Twitter birdie here.

Since the advent of ESPN (I’ll get to them in a bit) the personalities who cover sports have become nearly as famous as the athletes themselves. Awful Announcing is a site that puts these personalities under the microscope and looks at the good, the bad and the ugly of the industry. Twitter handle here.

Similar to Awful Announcing, Boston Sports Media Watch is one of my favorites on a local level. The site looks at how the local teams (Pats, B’s, C’s, Sox) are covered, who is covering them, and includes links to local newspaper, radio and TV websites. Consider it sports business on a micro level. Author Bruce Allen is on Twitter here.

One blog I find strikingly similar to what I plan to look at is the blog Money Players by Marc Isenberg. The blog’s tagline: “The Money. The Players. The business of professional sports, from high school to college to the pros.” I stumbled upon this site only recently, but it looks like it should provide some topics to brainstorm on.

Finally in terms of straight sports coverage I’ll check out ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS Sports, and NBC Sports among others. The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network has taken some flak recently for going too heavy on the entertainment on going too lightly on the sports. This is certainly true, but it still remains the “Worldwide Leader” for a reason.

Photo (cc) by Fifth World Art and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.