Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sports business

Coming back home this morning I passed thru Gary, Indiana this morning and one of the places I passed by was the Genesis Convention Center. This is the home of the minor leagues basketball team Gary Steelheads.

That brought to mind this piece by Chicago Argus. Gregory Tejada discusses how the struggling economy is affecting these smaller minor league franchise in such cities as Gary. The major league franchises are doing OK but not those franchises that aren't as well known as those of the NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA.

I remembered that while it's important to follow the action on the field, rink, or court. My thing is that I choose to follow the business aspect of professional sports. It's isn't about following every draft, trade, waiver, release or whatnot. But certainly the activities of the franchise owners.

Ideally the goal of sports owners is to win although some FAIL at that more than others. Or I could say that some probably aren't intentionally allowing their franchises to tank, but they aren't making the best possible decisions to insure the success of their sports franchise. I could point to the late Bill Wirtz for example he probably wanted to see the success of his franchise before he passed away, but it seemed to many die hard fans he wasn't always making the best decisions for the success of his franchise.

Another guy I talk to at school who's from Detroit we talk sports sometimes and we talked about the Lions almost on the verge of going 0-16 and he says he doesn't think it'll happen. I told him that I follow the business side of sports more and I often wondered why some teams seem to succeed while others struggle or fail. But it's interesting that the Lions aren't a team famous for their success in the NFL.

Also I've been following the sale of the Chicago Cubs. It's been interesting to see who MLB wants to own them and who they don't. Also the one who MLB doesn't want to join their group also got slapped with some insider trading charges. This sale is also impacted by the slowing economy because of the lack of credit available and this requires the selling Tribune Company (owned by Sam Zell) to have to perhaps own a larger share of the team than they would like.

I suppose this is an interesting time to watch the sports business. From these small minor league franchises to the large major league BIG-TIME franchises. Let's see who can whether these changes and who can't.

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