All Articles Tagged "professional sports"
By Jay Anderson
America has a peculiar love/hate relationship with professional athletes. We love them when they’re playing well. We think they’re overpaid, whiny babies when they don’t. We build them up to tear them down, only to then (sometimes) build them back up again. We have watched some of our favorite athletes fall from the heights of sports success, to the depths of injury and incarceration – only to praise their resurrections. Here are 10 such tales of destruction, redemption and in some cases intense struggle back to the pinnacle of athletic achievement.
After spending time in jail for dogfighting, Vick’s climb back to the top has been slow, but steady. After a season as the Eagles’ third string quarterback, a combination of luck of hard work has thrust Vick back into the starting lineup and superstardom. By ringing up 3,018 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2010, the once discarded Vick was given the franchise tag by the team in February, and recently signed a new deal with Nike. Vick’s challenges has changed him into an appreciative man that brands want to identify with again.
(Inc.) – Avery Johnson overcame the odds as a player in the NBA. Despite going undrafted in the 1988 NBA Draft, Johnson went on to play 16 seasons in the league for six different franchises, becoming one of only two players less than six feet tall to play in more than 1,000 games. In 1999, he was the floor leader of the San Antonio Spurschampionship team (and was nicknamed the “Little General” for his leadership skills). In 2004, he joined the Dallas Mavericks as a player/coach, but before the season began he decided to retire as a player and to concentrate on coaching. In his first full season as head coach in 2005–2006, he was named NBA Coach of the Year as he guided the Mavericks to their first-ever NBA Finals appearance. He left the Mavericks in 2008, and after spending three years as an ESPN/ABC studio analyst, was hired as the new head coach of the New Jersey Nets before the 2010/2011 NBA season.
(New York Times) — A federal judge gave N.F.L. players a significant victory Monday, granting an injunction to stop the league’s six-week-long lockout. The league filed a brief Monday night asking United States District Judge Susan Richard Nelson to stay her decision so that it does not have to open for business immediately. If the stay is not granted by Nelson or the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the N.F.L. will have to put rules in place that would allow players to return to work and free agency to open within days. If a stay is granted, the N.F.L. will remain dormant while owners appeal Nelson’s decision. That would probably keep the league shut down until at least mid-June and perhaps into early July, about a month before teams usually open training camps. A final decision on the stay is likely to take no more than several days. Late Monday night, e-mails were circulating among players encouraging them to report to team facilities on Tuesday and informing them that if there is no stay, it would be a violation of Nelson’s ruling for them to be turned way.
(ESPN) — The WNBA went for business acumen instead of basketball experience in naming the league’s third president on Thursday. Laurel Richie became the head of the 15-year-old league, taking over the helm five months after Donna Orender stepped away from the job in December. Richie comes in at a time when the league appears to have reached its equilibrium. The WNBA begins its 15th season in June, following a relatively quiet offseason that included no team relocations or franchise foldings. This is in stark contrast to a year ago, when the league lost the Sacramento Monarchs, nearly lost the Atlanta Dream before a new owner stepped in, and watched the Detroit Shock franchise move to Tulsa.
According to Forbes, the average NBA team is now worth $369 million, 1% more than last year, but still lower than than the average peak of $379 million from two years ago. This year, the New York Knicks replaced the Los Angeles Lakes to take the number one spot as the most valuable team, and part of that can be attributed to the signing of Amer’e Stoudemire. From Forbes’ coverage of The Business of Basketball, we take a look at the ten most profitable teams in the league. Each franchise’s value was accumulated based on the market size, stadium, sport (or revenue shared among all teams) and brand management.
Team Value: $399 million
Brand Management–$35 million
(Wall Street Journal) — Salih Eroglu prepared carefully for the Los Angeles Clippers’ big day-after-Christmas basketball game. The 33-year-old gathered Turkish baklava pastries, sparkling “evil eye” pendants and sunflower seed snack packs. He ordered 1,000 red “Turkiye” baseball caps and 1,000 T-shirts emblazoned with images of Hedo Turkoglu, Istanbul-born forward of the visiting team, the Phoenix Suns. On hand, too, were Turkish dancing girls, a Turkish pop star to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and raffle stubs for an airline ticket to Istanbul.
No NFL season in 2011? It’s a distant and far-fetched thought that now seems to be an impending reality. When I first heard the news about the proposed NFL lockout for next season, my mind erroneously began to think about why the NFL players’ union wanted to go on strike relative to the upcoming season. With such a wonderful season and Super Bowl last year and the league off to a great start this year with very competitive games, the idea just seem to be too idiosyncratic. Then, I begin to think, “Wait, this is not a strike; this is a lockout.” Just like any other business model, the lockout means that the owners of the organizations are actually “locking” the employees out of work, which is the diametric opposite of a strike. Why would the NFL owners want to engage in such antics? And, if the lockout does occur, will the NFL be able to recover? I would like to explore each of these three questions.
First, why would the NFL owners want to engage in a lockout? Objective documentation indicates that the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have not been able to reach a consensus on the collective bargaining agreement that expires in March 2011. Moreover, the owners reportedly would want players to take an 18 percent pay cut — the $340,000 per-player-average figure to generate additional revenue and a safety net and to purportedly sustain the league. Some commentators would state this is a relatively small pay cut for most multi-millionaire players in the league. To a certain degree, I would agree with this assertion.
But, why would players have to accept an 18 percent pay cut, when the NFL will make over $5 billion from its network television deals even if no games are played in 2011? Additionally, the owners have not mentioned that they will take a pay cut. Taking this into consideration, it would lead one to contemplate that there is an unspoken reason why these respective owners are preparing for a lockout. Beneath the veneer of the dialogue, I truly believe that prideful posturing is the underlying culprit. How beautiful would it be for NFL owners to let their players, which are primarily African-American, know who really is in charge?
According to Brian Frederick, “Since 1990, 28 of the 32 NFL teams have either opened a new stadium, done major renovations to an existing stadium, or are currently in the planning and negotiation stages for a new stadium.” With NFL average game attendance being slightly lower this year and in 2009 compared to previous year, it would appear that the NFL owners would honestly blame the construction of these opulent stadiums. Instead, the owners solely place negative culpability on the players whom they believe are overpaid. Certainly, it is safe to state that many NFL players and owners are overpaid. But, a win-win model is needed to sustain the league over the years- not one side still acquiring more profit and revenue.
The NFL owners should really think about the collateral damage that will occur as a result of the lockout. In a weak economy that is still suffering, the loss of a myriad of jobs (e.g., parking attendants, security, concession stand workers, maintenance workers, etc.) due to the lockout is unacceptable. The proposed lockout would obviously leave many fans that look forward to the games to lift their spirits and to enjoy time with their families will certainly be disgruntled. And, morale among NFL players will certainly be low, as it would be with employees in any workplace where the owners display such negative behavior.
Certainly, I believe that the NFL will recover and will be fine for a number of years, even if the lockout does occur in 2011. But, similar to Wall Street, it would be relatively tragic to see lives affected by pride and greed.
An excellent athlete is usually part of a great team: their own. Athletes combat stress and unfamiliar situations by surrounding themselves with helpful, knowledgeable, and creative people. These people range from coaches to fellow athletes, managers to family members, financial advisers to psychologists. An athlete’s team forms a tight network around him. They protect him from disastrous personal relationships, spiraling credit card debt, and unfriendly media attention. Athletes and advisers agree one of the first jumps in sports, from college to pro, can be the hardest.
Hampton Tignor, a recent draft for the Anaheim Angels, was formerly a catcher on the University of Florida baseball team. Tignor says there is a big difference between the structure of college and professional baseball.
“In college, we had a whole team of staffers making sure we got good grades, ate right, and trained right. In pro ball, we have an athletic trainer and we have a strength coach. It’s up to the individual (player) to do the right things,” said Tignor.
Pam Provo, executive vice president of business development of Athlete Advisory Services, works with clients who play on a variety of professional teams. These include the National Football League, the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball League, and European basketball leagues. Provo says many new athletes trust the wrong people. “(It’s because) they’re on top of the world. They feel invincible,” she said.
Chris Henry, director of player development for the National Football League, agrees. “(Joining a professional team) adds a great deal of pressure. Are you going to say you’re stressed out because you signed a $50 million contract? You’re going to act happy,” said Henry.
Provo says she assists new players by teaching them how to read the Wall Street Journal, explaining the concept of interest, and defining what is bad about having debt. Even with self-education, many players hire personal financial advisors when they go professional. Teams typically do not provide or refer financial advisors to a player unless that athlete is on an extreme downward spiral. Some leagues, such as the National Football League, has player’s associations with a financial education program for athletes and an official training program for financial advisors.
Although athletes typically get bigger salaries as they grow as players, the problem of managing money does not get easier over time. Experienced athletes typically continue to have difficulties tending to their finances. “That’s why we created a (financial planning) program called GAP, an acronym that stands for ‘grow and protect,’” said Provo.
Provo says the term also refers to the gap of time, usually 20 years, between a player’s financial career and the point where they can access their retirement funds. Provo improves her planning program by taking suggestions from her firm’s professional athlete’s advisory board. The board includes current and former players.
Henry also believes athletes can help each other. He says the annual NFL rookie symposium contains a lot of advice from “players, not trainers or doctors.” “We have breakout groups (in which) players talk about things (they’ve) already experienced,” said Henry. “Players learn from each other and solve problems constructively. We try and mix it up to send an overall message. How do you deal with success? How do you deal with injury?”
Henry says the symposium covers almost everything: Twittering during the game, bad investments, friends and family who ask for money, and drug and alcohol abuse. “We do not advise players. Our job is to educate players so they can make the best decision for themselves,” he said.
by Steven Barboza
In professional sports, there are often financial incentives tied to winning. How much are they and how do they relate to figures like a team’s valuation, star salaries and revenue generation? The Lakers provide a good case study.
The Los Angeles Lakers, who won their 16th NBA championship, get to take home the Larry O’Brien trophy for the second time in as many postseasons. The team also gets to take home a little pocket change: $2,125,137 in playoff bonus money. In fact, even the losers of the NBA Finals are winners in a sense. The Boston Celtics get to split a $1,408,168 pool, or roughly two-thirds of the Lakers’ take.
In the NBA, there is no championship prize money – just a $12 million bonus pool split by the playoff teams. “Like most professional sports leagues, there is a pool of playoff money generated from a portion of home gate receipts that is allocated to players on playoff teams,” said Patrick Rishe, Director of Sportsimpacts and associate professor of economics at Webster University in St. Louis, MO. “The team amount earned escalates as one’s team advances in the NBA playoffs.”
Considering the relatively high salaries of professional athletes, and considering the fact that we just witnessed one of the best rivalries in sports, the NBA bonus pool isn’t an earthshaking amount. But it’s hardly chump change either.
The Lakers’ $2.1 million bonus will be split according to each player’s relative value or contribution to the team, but every player comes out looking like a winner. The playoff pool is icing on the cake. The monies come with a year’s worth of bragging rights – and the potential to earn tens of millions of dollars in product endorsements.
“It’s kind of the old saying: ‘to the victor goes the spoils,’ and I think that does translate individually to players in helping them get individual sponsorship deals,” said John Black, director of communications for the L.A Lakers.
In addition to the Lakers’ and Celtics’ share, the $12 million NBA playoff pool is distributed to teams as follows:
Best Record in NBA: $346,105
Best Record in Conference, $302,841each (for $605,682)
Second Best Record in Conference, $243,411 each ($486,822)
Third Best Record in Conference, $181,706 each ($363,412)
Fourth Best Record in Conference, $142,800 each ($285,600)
Fifth Best record in Conference, $118,990 each ($237,980)
Sixth Best Record in Conference, $81,157 each ($162,314)
Teams Participating in First Round, $179,092 each ($2,865,472)
Teams Participating in Conference Semifinals, $213,095 each ($1,704,760)
Teams Participating in Conference Finals, $352,137 each ($1,408,548)
(Smart Money) –The fate of the civilized world of course rests with where LeBron James decides to play in 2010 once the NBA’s free agency fanfare commences on July 1. Whether Dan Gilbert (owner of LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers) protects his investment in the franchise by retaining his star player remains to be seen, and will be based in part on Gilbert’s cost-benefit assessment of keeping Mr. James.