Friday, June 29, 2007

Imus Coming Back? The Hints Keep Coming

from Neil Best at Newsday

The Don Imus tribute on WFAN Friday morning was interesting. Naturally, it focused on the enlightened, racially inclusive, beacon of a tolerant society side of Mr. Imus and as you would expect avoided the raunchy, racist, sexist elements of his show that got him canned April 12.

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Are WFAN and MSNBC actually trying to find a replacement for Imus, or are they just waiting for the situation to die down before bringing him back? My guess is that Imus brings in too much money to just let him go. Look at how many second chances Opie and Anthony have been given for the exact same reason. So unless WFAN and MSNBC can reel in a Bob Costas, there is no way they are going to take a financial hit with a Boomer Esiason.

Kansas City promised NHL team, sources say

from Matthew Sekeres of the National Post

The National Hockey League was prepared to deliver a team to William (Boots) Del Biaggio and Kansas City's Sprint Center as part of a plan to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh, sources told the National Post yesterday.

Del Biaggio, now the frontrunner to purchase and relocate the Nashville Predators, and Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the company that operates the Sprint Center, aggressively pursued the Penguins late last year, offering the team a rent-free lease in the new arena.

But sources said the league, which didn't want to lose a value market in Pittsburgh, asked the Kansas City investors to back off their chase of the Penguins while indicating to the group it would be next in line for an NHL franchise.

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Yesterday, I questioned why the NHL would want to put a team in Kansas City -- the 31st largest market in the US. Today I have my answer. Apparently the NHL is rewarding the Kansas City investors for not buying the Penguins and moving Sidney Crosby to a small non-traditional hockey market. I guess in that respect, this move will help NHL tv ratings, because it keeps Crosby in a market that actually watches the sport.

Best Business Deal of All Time?

from Darren Rovell of CNBC News

Let's just say there was probably some champagne passed around in the Silna family yesterday. That's because the Silna brothers, Ozzie and Dan, learned that they'll be paid some $ 136 million over the next eight years. The checks will be coming from the Denver Nuggets, the San Antonio Spurs, the New Jersey Nets and the Indiana Pacers.

If you haven't heard the story, it's a classic and is probably the best business deal of all-time.

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When I first wrote about the new NBA tv rights deal, I said that David Stern was a genuis. After all, he got $900 million per year even though regular season ratings on ABC have declined every year since 2002. Now I realize that Dan and Ozzie Silna are the real genuises.

Take me out to the ball game: Is there a real "home field advantage?"

by Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope

Dear Cecil:
Everyone's always talking about how great home-field advantage is in sports, but how important is it really? The mindless stats everyone repeats about how NFL teams with home-field advantage do better in the playoffs drive me crazy — the teams earned home-field advantage because they're better already! Also, are the home-field advantages different in different sports? — Doc, via e-mail

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Sabremetricians have made some very interesting discoveries about sports over the last 20 years or so. This is not one of them. Anyone that has played sports competively aleady knows that home field advantage is real. Sabremetricians have just proved this is correct.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Congress: NFL Should Improve Benefits

from Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press

Aging NFL retirees told Congress Tuesday that playing professional football left them with broken bodies, brain damage and empty bank accounts. Lawmakers said they may get involved if a better pension and disability system isn't created.

Former NFL players told a sympathetic House Judiciary subcommittee tales of multiple surgeries, dementia and homelessness, all while trying to fight through the red tape of the National Football League and the NFL Players Association's disability system.

The league and the players association said pensions are improving and there's no need for Congress to step in.

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The NFL Players Association should be embarrased. Football players suffer more injuries, and have shorter life expectancies than those in any other major sport. Yet the NFLPA is not taking care of players once they retire. Its bad enough that the NFL doesn't have guaranteed contracts, but when hall of fame players are literally dying homeless, something has to be done. The stars of the NFL have to take accountability and get this fixed.

Predators to Kansas City?

from Theresa Tedesco And Matthew Sekeres at the National Post

Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie's deal to purchase the Nashville Predators of the NHL and relocate the team to Hamilton appears unlikely as the current owner prepares to announce an exclusive deal with a new bidder, the National Post has learned.

According to sources familiar with the events, Craig Leipold, owner of the Predators, informed Mr. Balsillie late Monday -- less than a week before their deal was to close on June 30 -- that he has decided to walk away from the US$238-million offer announced last month. Instead, he plans to pursue a less lucrative bid from California businessman William (Boots) DelBiaggio. It is widely expected that Mr. DelBiaggio will relocate the Predators to Kansas City once Nashville's lease at the Sommet Center arena expires.

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If there is one thing that will help the NHL's horrendous tv ratings, it would have to be moving a team from Nashville to Kansas City.

Stern works his magic once again – inside the NBA gigantic TV deal

from Howard Bloom at SportsBusinessNews

With the final piece of the National Basketball Association season to be put in place tonight with the league’s annual player draft, NBA commissioner David Stern as he has done since he became NBA commissioner in 1984 delivered a new rights agreements again raising the revenues of the NBA. The key to the agreements which signify a significant increase in revenues for the NBA – Stern selling both ESPN/ABC and Turner on the big picture, where the industry is going and how the NBA and their media partners are going to a part of that move forward.

According to Mediaweek: the NBA has agreed to a new eight-year, $7.4 billion television rights agreement with ESPN/ABC and Turner Broadcasting System, with the amount of television coverage consistent with the current agreement, but giving all the TV rightsholders new, expansive digital rights.


This proves that David Stern is a genuis at negotiations. He managed to get the NBA owners almost a billion dollars a year for seven years, despite the fact that the NBA on ABC experienced a 31-percent drop in ratings and has lost 1 million viewers since 2002. Ratings drop 31 percent; tv revenue increases 22 percent. Using this ratio, and considering the drop in NHL ratings, Gary Bettman should be able to get the NHL owners 10 billion dollars per year in his next network deal.