Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dollars and Sense - Potential UFC Super-Fight and Fighter's Union

After beating Carlos Condit in a bloody five round battle on November 17 at UFC 154 in Montreal, Georges St. Pierre had proven that he is unbeatable in the UFC’s welterweight division. That fight was St. Pierre’s first fight since tearing his ACL, and he still looked like his same dominant self especially when the fight went to the ground. 

Photo via

So what is next for the 31 year old Canadian?

St. Pierre’s next fight could very well come in a super-fight against current middleweight champion Anderson Silva. St. Pierre and Silva are arguably the top two fighters in the world. Being that they come from different weight classes (St. Pierre is a 170 lb. welterweight while Silva is a 185 lb. middleweight), the fight would probably be fought as a catch-weight bout somewhere in between. The significance of that is there would not be a title on the line.

Even in the catch-weight scenario where there would be no title up for grabs, a fight between St. Pierre and Silva would be huge for the UFC. Though it’s just speculation, it would most likely break the UFC pay-per-view buys record currently held by UFC 100 (Lesnar vs. Mir) with an estimated 1.6 million buys. It would also have the potential to break the gate revenue and attendance held by UFC 129 (St. Pierre vs. Shields) with over $12 million in gate revenue and attendance over 55,000 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. UFC President Dana White says that St. Pierre and Silva are the two biggest drawers.

Nothing official has come out yet, but the St. Pierre versus Silva super-fight scenario is worth monitoring going forward.

Information from


In individual sports, there is a constant chatter about a player’s union. However, because the players are less organized than team sports and individual sports take on more of a survival of the fittest mentality, the organization of a union becomes quite an involved process.

The rumors have swirled in the UFC about a fighter’s union, but early last week President Dana White squashed pretty much all of that. In an ESPN SportsNation chat White said, It's going to be tough to see a day with Silva or GSP is giving up big chunks of their money to guys who won't make two fights in the UFC."

What White said makes complete sense. The UFC is very much a top heavy organization in terms of the top fighters earning the most money by far. It really doesn’t make any sense for the top guys to give up money for guys that will fight maybe one time and then be forgotten before they were even known.

It is also worth noting that Dana White is the one that negotiates contracts with the fighters for the UFC, so he can control where the money goes and who has it all.

The next UFC event will be UFC on Fox 5 on Saturday December 8 in Seattle where Benson Henderson will defend his lightweight title against Nate Diaz.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fox Sports BIG Attempt to Lock Up Dodgers

Currently the Los Angeles Dodgers have one year left on a contract with Fox Sports for television rights. The current contract has Fox paying the Dodgers $350 million over 12 years. The final season of the contact will be next year which the Dodgers will collect $39 million. Fox Sports and the Dodgers are looking to renew the contract. The rumored terms of the contact would pay the Dodgers at least $6 billion over the next 25 years. You did read that correctly. $6 BILLION....

Thats a lot of money.

If Fox Sports were to pay the Dodgers $6 billion over 25 years, that would be an average of $240 million per year. Next year they will make $39 million. For some comparison of television rights, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Lakers also make quite the sum of money. The Lakers are in the first year of a 20 year deal with Time Warner Cable. They are making $120 million this year, which will be the least they make in the deal. The deal escalates, and will average $180 million per season. The New York Yankees have a deal with the YES network. They will make $85 million next season, but this contact is long term. In the year 2042, the contact will pay $300 million.

The contact between the Dodgers and Fox must be completed by Friday. If the contact is not completed, the Dodgers will have the opportunity to offer Fox a final offer by the following Friday. Fox would then have 30 days to decide if they want to accept the final offer. If a deal is not reached, which is not likely, the Dodgers could make a deal with Time Warner Cable or start their own cable channel.

When the Dodgers were recently purchased for over $2 billon last spring, the new owners were hopeful that a bidding war between Fox and Time Warner Cable would bring significant revenue for the team. They were right.

Final Thought
The purposed deal between the Dodgers and Fox involves a large amount of money. Although this contact may seem absurdly high, it is probably fair. The business of sports is huge and growing. The future values of television deals should follow the upward trends that we are seeing.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Dollars & Sense - Philly Fed Up

Over the summer, the hopes and prayers of Philadelphia 76ers fans were finally answered.  The fan base hasn’t seen a solid center in years, but in a part of the mega-trade that sent Andre Iguodala packing for Denver and Dwight Howard headed to Hollywood, the Sixers finally brought aboard a top NBA center.

Andrew Bynum was what Philly fans had been waiting for all these years. A 7-footer, young, supremely talented, Bynum is a true center in a time when true centers are becoming a dying breed of sorts.  Fans were eager to see what Bynum could bring to the younger yet promising Sixers team.

In his tenure thus far, Bynum has yet to see the court and seems to be bringing a somewhat negative impact to the organization.  How has he managed to do that? 

There seems to be some constant controversy swirling around Bynum’s knee injury.  Management has lied to the fan base on a fairly consistent basis. First he’s going to be back in November. Then he’ll be back in December.  Then he has a secret minor procedure. Now fans won’t be seeing Bynum’s debut in red, white, and blue until 2013. Nobody is really sure what the motivation was to lie about the injury, but what’s done is done.

Next Bynum made a change in hairstyle.  The media chose to blow Bynum’s hair out of proportion which turned the situation from an innocent whimsical rouse to a thorough distraction to the struggling team. In this day and age when the media will jump on anything they can, even something as irrelevant as hair, it’s better to play everything safe. Given the fact that the media spotlight has shown pretty bright on Bynum of late, it would have been nice if he could have just blended in until he finally sees the court.

via TheBigLead

In the latest development of the Bynum saga, news came out last Saturday night that he had hurt his knee bowling.  Yes, bowling. Why was he bowling with his already injured knee, I don’t know. How do you get hurt bowling, I don’t know that either.  No matter how you look at it, it happened and it continues a drama that shouldn’t even be occurring.

Of course, Bynum can make it all up if he plays and plays well. When that will happen remains to be seen. In the meantime, Bynum needs to quit making headlines for all the wrong reasons.  It is becoming a public relations nightmare on a team where their early season struggles aren’t helping them out much either. Philly is fed up with Andrew Bynum.

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Marlins Jays Trade Becomes Official

It is official, Commissioner Bud Selig has approved another Marlins fire sale. Not many could see this coming. Although the Marlins have notoriously had fire sales soon after winning, this time is different. This past season the Marlins moved to Miami and spent significant money for a new stadium. Well, the public spent significant money for a new stadium...

The 12-player deals sends Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio and some cash to the Blue Jays. In return the Marlins received Yunel Escobar and six other players that most have never heard of. The reason for this trade is simple. Salary dump. The Miami Marlins had $163.75 million in guaranteed salary to the players that were traded. The Marlins will see $154 million in net coming off the books, this does not include the cash involved in the deal. Clearly the Marlins are saving a lot of money by making this deal. The obvious downside for the Marlins is they will lack performance on the field.

From the Blue Jays prospective this is a significant move. The Blue Jays play in one of the most difficult divisions in Major League Baseball and are constantly battling for position within the division. This move makes the AL East an even more difficult division. With teams that include the Yankees, Rays, Orioles, and Red Sox the division will still be quite difficult to win, but this move gives them a chance to really compete. The ownership group of the Blue Jays, Rogers Communication, have proven a true financial commitment with this trade. The Blue Jays ranked 23rd in MLB with a $75 million payroll, after the trade the payroll will increase to over $120 million. This will be the first time in franchise history that the Blue Jays will pay over $100 million in payroll for a season.

Final Thought
Bud Selig made the decision to approve the trade but not without serious thought. After approving the trade Selig said, "I am sensitive to the concerns of the fans of Miami regarding the trade, and I understand the reactions I have heard since Tuesday. Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park." Selig later said that he will monitor the situation and believes the Marlins ownership is committed to long term winning.

This situation disgust me. The Marlins moved to Miami and had the public mostly fund a baseball stadium for the team to play in. After the Marlins took the money and built a beautiful stadium, the fans assumed they would be committed to winning. The Marlins then proceed to trade away the team to save some money. I hope that the rebuilding of the Marlins happens sooner than later because those fans deserve it.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dollars & Sense - Poynter Done at ESPN

This week, the Poynter Review Project ended at ESPN with their final post on Monday. 

The final Poynter post coming from Kelly McBride and Jason Fry, readers were given six takeaway lessons from the 18 month review project.  The six takeaways were: 1) ESPN isn’t a monolith 2) Repetition is method as well as madness 3) We get the ESPN we deserve 4) The Bristol bubble 5) The numbers game 6) The big picture.  ESPN announced that they would not be renewing Poynter’s contract and that although the search is on for the next ombudsman, there are no imminent plans to fill the void. 

Throughout the time that Poynter spent critiquing ESPN’s practices the company was met with critical and mixed feedback.  Many sports media experts, like SI’s Richard Deitsch, criticized the work of the Poynter Review Project at ESPN.  Criticism wasn’t necessarily for the work that actually got done but more based on the fact that there simply wasn’t a lot of work done. 

Deitsch looks specifically at the lack of work produced by Poynter saying in his weekly media review column that “they lacked the metabolism of what the job demands today: a near-daily look at the many issues that filter though ESPN’s properties.”  He is exactly right.  In the final Poynter column, McBride and Fry cite that “posts more than 800 new items a day.”  If that is true, then that is over 24,000 new content items between October 10 and Monday’s final column.  That’s a lot of content to not touch on.
I have been very critical of ESPN on I-95 SportsBiz.  Although I think that my criticism is warranted because ESPN was built on the premise of the avid sports fan and has virtually abandoned the avid fan in its marquee programming, Poynter looked at ESPN through a more journalistic lens. 

Perhaps the biggest point that Poynter made in their final column that all consumers of ESPN content should take a look at is the “We get the ESPN we deserve” point.  This section touches on the reasons why ESPN loves their debate shows even when public opinion of them may not fare so well.  Poynter reminds us that “television is a hits-driven business” and that if viewers don’t want more debate shows, then “they need to vote with their remotes.”

As much as I (and I’m sure some others) would love for it to be ESPN’s duty to give the people quality and relatively educational content, ESPN is simply giving the people what they want.  Even if the people watch First Take to see how ridiculous Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith are acting on any given day, they are still feeding the ESPN beast.  It’s just like anything that works on supply and demand principles: if the people want it, then they gon’ get it. And a lot of it I may add.

Paul Pabst, producer of the Dan Patrick Show, joked on Twitter that ESPN should hire two ombudsmen and have them embrace debate.  Come on, mocking ESPN is always funny!

The “Repetition is method as well as madness” point that Poynter makes is also a big takeaway especially for avid sports fans and ESPN-watchers.  One of the big backlashes against ESPN is that they talk about the same things all day even if the show has a different name.  Poynter is correct in pointing out that “wall-to-wall ESPN watchers are outliers.”  As tough as it may be for some of us to accept that notion, it is true.  They did mention that ESPN has gone a bit overboard in their excessive Tebow coverage, something that we can all agree on.

Maybe the Poynter Review Project at ESPN did not have the scope that we had all hoped for, but there is plenty that can be learned from it.  Keeping the giant of the sports world relatively in check is not a bad idea.  Will it ever change how they do business?  Probably not.  It will be interesting to monitor the search for the next ombudsman going forward and to see if the next (if there is a next) embraces the criticisms of Poynter.  

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ryu Hyun-jin Worth It?

The Los Angeles Dodgers have bid $25.7 million for a CHANCE to to sign Korean pitcher, Ryu Hyun-jin. Ryu is a 25 year old that has a career ERA of 2.80. He is a seven time All-Star left handed pitcher for his team the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization. The Dodgers will pay the $25.7 million bid to the Hanwha Eagles only if they are able to negotiate a contract with the pitcher. It is believed that Scott Boras will represent Ryu Hyun-jin in his negotiations.

The posting system has cost some major league teams a lot of money in recent years. The Texas Rangers bid $51.7 million to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in order to negotiate with Yu Darvish. They then had to pay Yu's former team when they came to an agreement on a six year contract worth $56 million. In addition to Yu Darvish, the bidding system has brought Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka to the MLB.

The Dodgers will only have 30 days to negotiate the contract for Ryu Hyun-jin. There may be a sense of urgency for the Dodgers. General manager, Ned Colletti, said, "We have watched Ryu pitch for a long time and he is another option to consider as we look to improve our team in 2013 and beyond." The Dodgers have not been shy when it comes to international players. In June they agreed to a seven year $42 million dollar deal with Cuban player, Yasiel Puig. The Dodgers have also talked to Japanese high-school pitcher Shohei Otani.

Final Thought
Although there is obvious risk in signing a player to a long term, high value contract when they have no Major League Experience, it could be worth it. When signing international players, there is an added value to having them on your team outside of the talent they bring. International players have been known to bring a following with them. This following is the country that they come from. Many players are representing their country when they play in the Major Leagues. It can be very valuable for teams to acquire international players because of the extra attention that they can get. It is not likely that high value bids for international players will go away any time soon.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dollars & Sense - Nike Signs McIlroy and PGA Schedule Announced

For years, the top golfer at Nike was Tiger Woods.  Now after last week’s slew of signings, Nike may not have found a name that’s bigger than Tiger Woods, but they sure opened their checkbooks.  Nike signed a trio of PGA Tour players last week: Kyle Stanly, Nick Watney, and Rory McIlroy. 

Given McIlroy’s current position in golf, he garnered a good deal of media attention with his move from Titleist to Nike.  Many were skeptical of the move away from the Titleist brand that McIlroy has seen some much success with over the past few years, but a reported $200 million-plus payday is hard for anybody to pass up. 

The McIlroy deal with Nike represents a changing of the guard on the golf scene.  Tiger may be the biggest name in the game, but McIlroy is sneaking up there.  Tiger is aging and may never win another major, while McIlroy is still only 23 and entering the prime of his career with two majors already under his belt. 

Signing Stanley and Watney can also benefit the Nike brand.  Watney has shown flashes with two wins in 2011 and one in 2012, and he is only 31 years old.  Stanley is another up-and-comer who is only 24 years old.  He got his first win on the PGA Tour in 2012 and also showed some flashes of being able to win some smaller tournaments.


The PGA Tour has also recently released their 2013 schedule. New Years Eve will mark the start of the Tour’s schedule with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii.  Tour majors will kick off with the Masters from Augusta National on April 8 and then continue with the US Open on June 10 from Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA right outside of Philadelphia.  Players will travel across the pond to Scotland for the Open Championship (British Open) starting on July 15.  The final PGA Tour major of the year, the PGA Championship, will be start on August 5 from Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, NY.  

New Nike signee Rory McIlroy will look to repeat at the PGA Championship and also at the Honda Classic (Feb. 25 – Mar. 3), the Deutsche Bank Championship (Aug. 26 – Sep. 2), and the BMW Championship (Sep. 9 – Sep. 15).

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Monday, November 5, 2012

14 Year Old to Play at the Masters

When I heard the possibility that 14-year-old, Guan Tianlang, had a chance to qualify for the Masters I did not believe it. 14. That is hard to believe. Guan's win at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship qualified him for the Masters. The age of players playing professional golf keeps getting younger and younger but it is unexpected to most that an eight grader would have the opportunity to play in one of the most prestigious golf tournament in the world.

Guan Tianlang
Guan will be the youngest player to play in a major by a month. Last summer at the US Open, Andy Zhang who was also 14 teed it up with the best in the world. The youth in golf is hard to believe but it is a good sign for the game. Many wonder where the future of golf is heading especially with recent struggles of Tiger Woods. The more talented youth in the game will make the sport more competitive and keep viewers watching.

Andy Zhang
Tiger was the clear catalyst for the popularity in the game of golf. With young talented players coming into the game, it is difficult not to watch them on TV. For many who play golf recreationally, it is nearly impossible to image someone at the age of 14 being able to compete with the best golfers in the world. That fact will make people want to watch.

Another positive from young golfers playing professionally is the impact on the demographics of the game. Many consider golf to be a sport that is only played recreationally by older individuals. If kids have golfers they can look up to that are only a few years older than them, they are more likely to go and try to play the game themselves.

Final Thought
For all the positives that come out of young talented golfers, we must be careful on possible negatives. Guan is obviously extremely talented, but he is only 125 pounds. Therefore he can drive the ball only a mere 250 yards. At many challenging professional golf course, that will cause trouble. The last thing that golf wants is to put young men on national TV on the biggest stage and embarrass them. Although these golfers must have extreme confidence to make it to the point where they are, it is difficult to imagine what one horrendous tournament can do to someones confidence. That being said, I can't wait to watch Guan at the Masters.