Monday, March 25, 2013

Sacramento Attempting to Keep the Kings

About two months ago, it was reported that the Sacramento Kings were sold to a group headed by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer a Microsoft executive. This group planned to take the team to Seattle. I wrote about the impact that the move would have on both cities and the National Basketball Association.

The NBA Board of Governors have the final decision in whether or not the deal goes through. This decision is expected in mid-April. The city of Sacramento have recently made this decision more complicated.

Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson, has strongly opposed any move that would take the Sacramento Kings to another city. Mayor Johnson and other Sacramento city officials have put together a preliminary deal to build an arena in Sacramento. The purposed plan would cost a total of $447 million.
Kevin Johnson
The $447 million cost would be paid for by the city and by a new investment group. The city of Sacramento would contribute $258 million to the project. The new investment group made up of Vivek Ranadive (Silicon Valley software), Mark Mastrov (24 Hour Fitness founder), and Ron Burkle (billionaire) would contribute the remaining $189 million.

The next step in moving forward with this plan is to get approval from the city council. This vote will happen TODAY.

Final Thought
The result of the city council's decision could be impactful on the NBA Board of Governors decision. If the arena deal is approved, the city of Sacramento may seem more fit to continue to host the NBA franchise. At the end of this deal, either the city of Sacramento or the city of Seattle will be devastated. The city of Sacramento could lose the franchise that they have been cheering for years. The city of Seattle thought they were finally getting an NBA franchise back to the city, that dream could be destroyed.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Elvis Dumervil Loses Out

After a rather strange scenario, Elvis Dumervil was cut by the Denver Broncos. Dumervil was set to make $12 million for the 2013 season. After the Broncos negotiated with Dumervil, they decided that his base salary for the 2013 season would be cut to $8 million in an effort to save the team cap room.

Both sides agreed to the new contract and all that was left was the finalization. This is when things got weird.

In order for the new contract to be valid, Dumervil a his agent had to submit the paperwork by Friday at 4 PM eastern time. If the paperwork was not submitted in time, the original contact would be valid. After some confusion, Dumervil was scrambling to get the contract in on time. Reportedly Dumervil was in Miami searching for a Kinko's to fax the contract.  

The contract did not get in on time by the deadline and the Broncos were forced to cut Dumervil. If the Broncos had not cut Dumervil, they would have been forced to pay him the original $12 million base salary that would have hit the Broncos salary cap for $13.6 million.

As a result of the mixup, Dumervil fired his agent, Marty Magid. Marty made it clear that not everyone knew of all the details that went into the contract negotiation. He said about his firing, "I know the people in Denver think I should be fired, but like I said, there were a lot of reasons for why it happened." After the incident, Marty recieved hundreds of angry emails from Denver Broncos fans wondering what happened. 

Final Thought
I dont care what other reasons there were to not having the contract sent it on time. This is terrible. An agent is responsible for making sure his client gets the most value he can. The Broncos offered Dumervil fair compensation and everyone seemed to agree. Marty failed as an agent in this situation because something as serious as a new contract should be taken care of before the last minute deadline. Marty needed to make sure the contract got signed and faxed in. This potential financial loss for Dumervil is enough reason for Dumervil to fire his agent. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dollars & Sense - Atlanta Falcons New Stadium

Sometimes I like to joke with people about being old.  Deep down, I know I'm not old.  But do you know what really makes me feel old?  The Atlanta Falcons have received financing for a new $1 billion stadium.  Their current stadium was built in 1992...

On Tuesday, Drew Rosen wrote about the Carolina Panthers looking for $250 million to $300 million in funds for renovations for their stadium.  They asked the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina for a total of $184.5 million of that $250 million total price tag.  To make matters all the more infuriating, Deadspin had acquired documents that pegged the Panthers' profit over the 2011 and 2012 seasons at almost $100 million.

The Falcons Stadium construction asked for $200 million of the $1 billion price tag to be tax payer funded.  Sure, percentage-wise it's not too high compared to the Panthers' ask, but $200 million is no small number for the currently cash-strapped government.  

(Interested in reading more about sports welfare? Check out Dave Zirin's "Bad Sports")

As if billionaire owners asking struggling cities for hundreds of millions of dollars for stadiums is not enough, just look at who exactly the owner of the Atlanta Falcons is.  

Arthur Blank.

If his name does not ring the bell of irony in this matter, I'll give you a quick lowdown.  Arthur Blank is the 70 year old billionaire owner of the Falcons.  Do you know how he made his fortune?  He made his fortune by being the - wait for it - co-founder of The Home Depot.  You know, the same orange Home Depot that preaches do it yourself.  

In the case of the Panthers, the city and state turned down their proposal.  And rightfully so.  Could threats of moving to Los Angeles be next?  Eh, maybe, only time will tell there.  The Falcons' proposal, though, was accepted.  

Although the Falcons' proposal for $200 million of their stadium to be taxpayer funded was accepted, it has not come without its public relations struggles.  According to an article published on Monday in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, groups are demanding a public vote on whether or not the city of Atlanta should be throwing so much taxpayer money towards the project.

I commend Charlotte and the state of North Carolina for holding their ground against the Panthers.  I also hope that the people of Atlanta vote against their money being used.  In a time where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, sports welfare has no place.  It's time for these billionaire owners to do it themselves.

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Carolina Panthers in the Welfare Line?

In the 2011 and 2012 season, the Carolina Panthers made a combined $112 million in revenue. After interest expense, their net income was just over $97 million.

With a seemingly healthy financial organization, why would the Panthers be looking to the public for funding?

Because they can.

Professional sports means so much to many cities and the residents of those cities. The constant threat to move a team will scare many people into giving into demands by a team.

The Panthers are looking to renovate Bank of America Stadium at a cost of $250 to $300 million. To pay for the renovations, the Panthers asked Charlotte City Council for $125 million that would help to pay for new escalators, video board improvements and improvements to club boxes and suites. In addition to asking the city for the $125 million, they have also asked for an additional $19 million over 15 years to go toward stadium maintenance and traffic control.

The Panthers have also looked beyond the city for funding. Panthers owner, Jerry Richardson, has also asked the state to contribute $62.5 million. North Carolina Governor, Pat McCrory, said "we don't have the money in the state to address that issue."

In a still recovering economy it is difficult to imagine cities or states using valuable funds to fund stadiums. The Panthers have found a possible source of revenue from the city. Currently the city of Charlotte has a one percent tax for prepared food and beverages. A proposed legislation would double this tax to two percent. This additional revenue for the team would guarantee the Panthers stay in Charlotte for another fifteen years.

Final Thought
Whether or not the Panthers receive funding from the city of Charlotte or the state of North Carolina should not determine the future of the team in the city of Charlotte. The problem of public funding for stadiums go beyond this situation. Many cities have had to pay to keep a professional franchises. It is not right. Team owners use a city for money because they understand the attachment a team has to a city. The job creation and stimulation of the local economy never truly benefit enough to justify funding stadiums for Billionaire owners.

I hate public funding of stadiums.



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dollars & Sense - Dennis Rodman: American Diplomat

The bizarre-o scale has officially peaked.  I mean, come on, what is more bizarre on a scale of one to Dennis Rodman watching a basketball game with Kim Jong-un in North Korea?  

Nothing.  Nothing even comes close.

You all know Rodman's story.  One of the all-time greatest rebounders in NBA history.  One of the crazy human beings in the history of planet Earth.  One of the most public and obvious battles with addiction for a professional athlete.  But now, add foreign diplomat to that diverse resume.

Travelling to North Korea to meet with the controversial leader Kim Jong-un along with members of the Harlem Globetrotters, Rodman took in a basketball game with Jong-un.  The sight was about as odd as you could imagine it to be, and the incident created just about as much parody coverage as it did real news coverage.  

(Sports on Earth's Leigh Montville gave us a look at what he imagined the conversation between the two to be like.)

The phenomena even trickled down to Seth Meyers' deck on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update": 

Amazingly, Jay Pharoah's interpretation in the parody skit may have been less ridiculous than Rodman's actual interview conducted by ABC's George Stephanopoulos upon his return to the United States.  The one thing that was bothersome was Rodman's lack of desire to talk about the inhumane practices of Jong-un and North Korea's elite.  Of course, the news coverage naturally covered the topic, but Rodman's comments made it seem like he was looking to make a friend rather than aid any social crises.  The trip put the practices in the spotlight, but it could have been more.  Realistically though, maybe we should just be happy with the outcome.  

See Rodman's comments for yourself:

(Think Progress pulled the top quotes for your convenience.)

As crazy as Rodman is, let's be serious, you have to be pretty crazy to go to North Korea especially as an American.  Sure, the operation was insanely risky with Rodman being such a volatile character, but by the sounds of it everything went well.  

I tend to agree with The Nation's Dave Zirin on this issue.  Zirin was on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Monday afternoon and said that regardless of Rodman's motives (there was a documentary film crew following the events), this is a good thing.  Rodman's presence - for whatever reason - created not only a significant bit of buzz around North Korea's inhumane practices, but it seems to have yielded positive results in terms of country to country relations.

Believe it or not, Rodman now joins the likes of Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe among others who have visited foreign countries in the midst of political turmoil.  As much as this entire situation may or may not resemble one big long headline on the front page of The Onion, it was so crazy that it just actually worked.

Could this be a blueprint for the future?  Using high profile athletes for foreign diplomacy is a very touchy proposition.  It requires a certain level of desire from the athletes themselves.  An athlete certainly cannot be forced into such a role just as not all athletes are cut out for such a role.

(Not sure if Rick Reilly is advocating for Rodman to do more of this or is mocking Rodman.)

Whether you agree with it or not, Rodman's trip to North Korea and meeting with Kim Jong-un was a success.  Yes, he had some delusional comments about Jong-un being a great guy, but Rodman is an inherently delusional kind of guy.  What we can take from this is the light that it has shined on social and human welfare issues in the country of North Korea.  Rodman's trip has certainly done that whether he is willing to talk about it or not.

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Update: Early Thursday, news came out that North Korea vowed to preemptively bomb the United States.  Though it's probably unrelated to Rodman's visit, who knows.  If North Korea were to bomb us (and I don't think they will) and Rodman was safely housed in North Korea at the time, then please completely ignore all of the nice things that I said in above blogumn.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Wait Pays Off For Flacco

At the conclusion of the 2011 NFL season, Joe Flacco was in talks for  a long term deal with the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens had offered Flacco a deal that would pay him about $15 million a year. Flacco and his agent Joe Linta decided that they were not interested in the offer. That decision paid off in a big way for the Joe's. Flacco said the entire time that he thought he was worth more and deserved more respect.

Flacco has become the recent recipient of a six year deal worth $120.6 million. Of this deal $52 million is guaranteed. The guaranteed money includes a $29 million signing bonus. In comparison, Drew Brees signed a five year deal worth $100 million. Of the $100 million, $40 million was guaranteed. The new deal for Flacco has many wondering if he is worth the money.

Flacco was the beneficiary of great timing. His contract expired the year after he won the Super Bowl. Although he may not be the most talented player in the NFL, it is difficult to imagine Flacco not making the big bucks coming off a Super Bowl championship. Timing was a key factor for Flacco's huge deal, but his numbers also show his consistency as a quarterback.

Since 2008, Flacco has played in all 16 regular season games. In the five seasons, Flacco has thrown for 102 touchdowns to 56 interceptions. He has a completion percentage of just over 60 percent. His regular season number may seem just a bit better than average, but his playoff numbers have shown he is a clutch quarterback.

Flacco has shown improvement when it comes to playoff football. I his five seasons, he has made the playoffs and played more than one game every season. His first season in 2008, he played in 3 playoff games but only had one touchdown and threw three interceptions. The story was similar in 2009. Flacco played in two games and did not throw a touchdown and had three interceptions. The 2010 playoffs showed improved numbers. In the two games he played, he threw three touchdowns and one interception. The 2011 playoffs in which Flacco played two games, he posted average numbers. This season Flacco had a breakout playoffs. In the four playoff games he played he did not throw an interception, he also had eleven touchdowns.

Final Thought
Flacco timed his contract perfectly. He put on an impressive performance throughout the playoffs that concluded with him being named the Super Bowl MVP. The Baltimore Ravens were put in a position that they needed to pay the franchise quarterback. I do not think this contract means that Flacco is the most talented quarterback in the league. I do however feel Flacco is worth every penny of the contact that will make him the highest paid player in the National Football League.