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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Greg Crawford On Sports Biz, Edition 4

Lance Armstrong---In case you would like to know the numbers on Lance Armstrong, they are pretty staggering all across the board.

His foundation since 1997 has raised $470 million and has helped over 2.5 million people get free services for their post cancer treatment.

On the personal side, Armstrong makes north of $10 million dollars per year from speeches and his endorsement deals with 11 sponsors. Now how those sponsors react to the recent events of the past few days remain to be seen. As expected, one of his key sponsors Nike, is sticking with him, but it is expected also that some of his other key sponsors will probably pull the plug.

Just a few of his sponsors,  all powerful companies like Oakley, Radio Shack, Trek and Michelob Ultra. It didn't take long for people to choose sides and almost every poll conducted is split, on how people feel about Armstrong. Of course they would be much more anti, if it weren't for his work with cancer and raising money to fight it.

We are a nation that forgives easily, actually Armstrong in the long run might come out of this stronger than he is at present, but there will be some pain along the way.

Pay To Play---I have been saying for quite sometime that around 2020, I personally think that you will no longer see high school sports. Everything on that level will be private club sports and you will not see athletics in high schools as we know them today.

To back up my opinion around the country you are starting to see more "pay to play" every year. The average cost involved in "pay to play" nationwide is anywhere from $75.00-$100 per sport. With this economy as bad as it has ever been in everyone's lifetime, that is a big hurdle for many families and that is why nationwide there is a 14 percent decline in high school students playing sports.

One district in Ohio starting this fall will be charging each athlete some really hight costs. If a student wants to participate in these sports they will pay-----Cross Country $521.00, Golf $715.00, Football $783.00 and if they dare to play tennis, the cost will be $933.00. Gee, I hope if a student is a multi sports athlete they at least get a discount.

Despite my last sentence's attempt at humor, this is not a funny situation. Independent study after study tells us that exercise and participation in sports for students in high school, makes them a better student and makes them more prepared for the future.

You can dispute this all you want, but once again it is all about the money. The business side of sports goes all the way down to grade school, so we just better get use to it and we as well, are all going to feel the pain when it comes to lack of physical education and fitness.

NFL---Business wise the NFL continues to dominate. Ad space on all games is sold out for this year and new sponsors are scrambling to get into the market place alongside the old stand-bys.

Just one quick example, for Sunday Night Football on NBC, a 30 second ad is valued at $540,000. The average viewership last year of Sunday Night Football was 21.5 million fans per each Sunday. That comes out to be roughly $25.00 a sponsor is spending on each viewer. Now that if you ask me is a bargain, a real bargain.

NBA---In 1988, Micky Arison bought the Miami Heat for $32 million. The estimated value of the Heat after winning the NBA title this past season is $457 million. Since LeBron has arrived, the value of the team has increased by 23 percent.

At the same time, since James left the Cleveland Cavs, their estimated value has dropped by 26 percent, to a value of $355 million.

Most of the time in professional sports, if you get the right super star you are going to have to pay outrageous sums, but you often will get an outrageous gain. Knock LeBron all you want, but the guy is moving the needle right now more than anyone in sports.

Social Media---My good friend and colleague at, Chris Haynes continually compliments me on my use of social media and the fact that despite I am an old man, I have not resisted it, but instead embraced social media. Thanks, I think Chris.

But, speaking of social media and its power, when the recent baseball all-star game was in Kansas City in July, the always progressive politicos of Kansas City set up their own social media "war room" to help promote the city and answer questions from visitors. It was a huge success, so much so that three businesses have indicated they were so impressed, they plan on moving a division or their entire company to Kansas City.

As much as it is easy to resist social media, if you want your business, or your employment to succeed, you better learn it and get use to using it. Technology should never be ignored, even when it comes to sports, so Chris, even though I am old, I am going to continue to learn everything I can about social media and how it can help me business wise.

Please if you get a chance and as you know, I appreciate it so much,  read my other blogs on

Also, if you need help with public speaking/presenting or if you would like a great speaker for an event, lunch or dinner engagement, please contact us and we can for sure help.

Finally, but equally important, if you really want to improve your life, business skills and sports business, then it is simple. Just read, "Marketing Outrageously, Redux" by Jon Spoelstra. I recommend this book to everyone and 100 percent, people come back and say thank you, wish I would have read this book sooner.

emails to or twitter @wchoops

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Greg Crawford On Sports Biz, Edition 3

Thanks for all the great feedback on me writing this sports business column. It is great to have so many readers and I love doing this and also love hearing from all of you.

It is also very rewarding to hear from many of you, who went out and bought Jon Spoelstra's book, "Marketing Outrageously, Redux". of which I highly recommend not only for people interested in sports business, but for anyone in business, or anyone who just plain wants to improve your life. It is fun to recommend something that people really appreciate, which helps people either personally or professionally,  so get out there and buy the book if you have not already.

Not A Pioneer---There is no league at present that is as popular or has as much power as the National Football League. They have done so many things correctly, but when it comes right down to it, the game sells itself. (How is that coming from a basketball guy, who could care less about the NFL games).

As much as I don't care who wins and loses NFL games, I do pay attention to the business model, especially because of its success. What baffles me presently about the NFL is that the league is going through a lockout/strike with their officials. How in the world can this happen, even though I think the regular officials will be back come regular season. Actually who can blame them from not wanting to be on the field in these horrid exhibition games.

A league with this kind of resources should never worry about paying their officials, outside of the fact if they asked for $1 million per game, which obviously is not the case. NFL officials work hard, as do officials in all sports and for them to not have a contract in a wildly financially successful league is a "shame on you NFL". Take care of your people, it is a basic fact in American business.

And while I am at it, shame on Shannon Eastin. She is scheduled to work the Thursday night, August 9th game, Green Bay at San Diego. By doing so she will be the first woman to ever  officiate an NFL game. But does this really count? For years, many top women officials have been held back and have deserved better, but to make this out as some people have done that she is a pioneer is crazy. The circumstances she is doing this under do not qualify Shannon to become a pioneer, in any way shape or form. She is taking someone's place and if not for a lockout, she would not be working in the NFL. Plus, I do not like the fact that Shannon has also been doing interviews. The NFL should have never made her available.

Yes, by now the NFL should have had more than one woman official, but in no way under these circumstances and also the fact many who know much more about this than I do, tell me Shannon Eastin is in no way ready to officiate in the NFL, as compared to many other women football officials around the country.

Sorry if I offended any women in my rant, but ask the women I work with and they will tell you about my total respect for women in the work place. This just happens to be the wrong time for the NFL to move on something that has been way too long in coming.

Pageviews---Why are we still the greatest country and will be forever?  It is our people and it is our technology and the development of new ways to connect. Actually in the next five years, mark my words, your website and you twitter handle will be on your driver's license and will be as big a part of your name as your middle initial. Twitter has done so much to promote sports, but we still love our sports websites. So much that we continue to see every major sports website evolve frequently, trying to get better.

Shameless plug, I know, I am awful, but speaking of change, just today, my golf blog for got much better, just because it is part of a new sparkling golf page that Comcast SportsNet launched this morning.

Of course I have a long way to go to catch the pageviews of the Olympics page by NBC. After the first week in London, the NBC web page, received over 1 billion views. Comparison, in the 2008 Olympics from Beijing, NBC had just under 1 billion views for the entire Olympics.

Lesson here, ladies and gentlemen, keep your websites fresh and websites are not going away for a long time to come.

Coaching Pay----College football is here and the list of highest paid coaches in college football is always available, of course usually as I have found out quickly over the years, only for public schools, for private schools the information is hard to attain.

So here is the public list of top three highest paid coaches, along with what the most colorful coach in the Pac-12, Chip Kelly makes. All figures are yearly and can vary slightly.

1. Mack Brown, Texas----$5.1 million
2. Nick Saban, Alabama---$4.8 million
3. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma---$4.075 million

Out of the top 20 highest paid coaches at public universities, Chip Kelly ranks 13th. $2.8 million. It is estimated at USC, a private institution, Lane Kiffin is making $4 million.

Overdue---I have talked a little about the success of the NFL earlier, every third grader can tell you the NFL is successful actually, but what about football expansion in the United States.

A great brand of football is the Canadian Football League. I think it is time for the CFL business model to expand back to the United States, especially in some areas where it is almost certain there will never be any NFL team for a long time to come. And where am I thinking? Portland, Oregon, San Antonio, Sacramento and Syracuse. And yes, I do know this was tried in 1993 and 94, but that was different time and different media world. So much time is available to broadcast on many different networks, this would be an easy sell in my mind.

The Canadian game is fast paced and exciting, Americans love that style and I think they would embrace the game in total. Football fans are starved for more, but it takes an established league and format like the CFL to succeed.

What do you think? Since this is a sports biz column, would you be an investor if asked, even for $100.00 in a Canadian Football League team? Let us know in the comment section below.

Emails welcome to and twitter @wchoops

Please feel free to read my other blogs on college basketball and golf at  and

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