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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Greg Crawford On Sports Biz, Edition 8

Into the 8th week of doing Greg Crawford On Sports Biz, really appreciate the many emails and feedback that you have sent to me. Plan to keep doing this as long as I can on either Saturday or Sunday for your reading enjoyment.

Please also do not forget to read Crawford's Court, and Crawford's Clubhouse, each week at On to today's sports biz column.

More Sports---Several people with lots of money are starting to make waves that they want to start sports networks. Of course the leaders now are Comcast/NBC, Fox and ESPN. One of most vocal about having his own sports network is Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and of course the person that stirs the pot greatly with all of his Fox networks.

One of the driving forces behind people creating new networks beyond the financial aspects is that there is not a hotter property in the world right now than the NFL and soon the NFL Thursday night package will be up for grabs at an estimated $1 billion per year. And to think that is just for eight games.

Maybe someday, someone will explain the fascination of the NFL, but you can't buck the trend. Fans are fanatic about it, fueled by fantasy football and gambling of course, two things gladly I am not involved with.

In reality for next 25 years, I see nothing stopping the NFL from becoming even more popular, with the exception of former players pursuing legal action in regards to concussion injuries which could have a huge impact on the financial picture of every team and it is something everyone should keep their eye on for the near future.

Monday Night---Speaking of the power of the NFL, nothing ever tops Monday night, not to mention the continued powerful force of the Green Bay Packer name. A perfect example of this is the Monday night game on September 24th. Per STUBHUB, the average ticket price for the Seattle Seahawks who are hosting the Packers is $67.26. For this games, the average price people are purchasing tickets on STUBHUB is $241.00, a mark up of 258 percent.

Monday night football and the Green Bay Packers cache continues and probably forever.

SEC---The most powerful college football conference, the Southeast Conference, is set to to debut their own network in 2014-15, which you have to bet will be modeled similar to the Big Ten and Pac-12 networks.

At present the SEC has TV deals with the CBS and ESPN which were set to end in 2024, but now have to be renegotiated because of expansion by the league of adding Texas A&M and Missouri. The current payout from these contracts is 55 million per year, divided equally among all schools, but that number is expected to jump close to 70 million in the next couple of years.

It is interesting to note that during the 2011-12 season, the average viewership for each SEC football game was 4.4 million, compared the average for the Pac-12, of 2.1 million. Surprisingly basketball viewership does really well in the SEC with an average viewership of 1.2 million per game, once again compared to the Pac-12 of 783.000 for the 2011-12 season. The Pac-12 number will obviously climb this season with the Pac-12 network coming onboard.

NHL---The impact of the lockout is wide and varied throughout the entire National Hockey League. Some teams are standing pat, not doing any layoffs and trying to use their employees with other properties that have ownership in varied other sports interests.

The same can't be said for every team, as a few teams have laid off employees, cut salaries for some staff, including coaches and senior executives by 50 percent and support staff by 15 percent.

Teams are also offering up to 5 percent interest for fans that have already paid their season ticket monies, rather than refunding, although every game missed will be refunded or credited by all teams in total.

It is safe to say that NO one wins in a lockout or strike, documentation and history can prove that over and over.

ATTENTION: If you are looking for a great speaker for lunch, dinner or conference engagement, please think about Portland Trail Blazer broadcaster Brian Wheeler. Brian has a powerful message to deliver and will have everyone on the edge of their seat. For more information, please visit,

Emails on today's column to or twitter @wchoops

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Greg Crawford On Sports Biz, Edition 7

About Greg Crawford: Greg Crawford loves sports business, that is why he loves writing this column and most important wants readers to totally enjoy this.

Greg Crawford is the COO of Kiyokawa Crawford Sports Management, , which also includes Greg Crawford Speaks,

Greg Crawford also writes three blogs each week for, Crawford's Clubhouse, and Crawford's Court, Greg also works part time in the cancer unit of Adventist Medical Center.

Greg strongly encourages everyone to read, "Marketing Outrageously, Redux" by Jon Spoelstra, a book he reads at least once per month.

Boston Red Sox---It is rumored, but also denied by the Fenway Sports Management, owners of the Boston Red Sox that the team is for sale. Of course it is for sale, every sports property is for sale for the right price. And as we all know, sports teams are not valued realistically as they for the most part are emotional buys.

And since the Dodgers were purchased earlier this year for slightly over $2 Billion, you have to think the iconic Red Sox franchise could easily garner close to $1.5 billion.

For the real facts, Fenway Sports Group owns not only the Red Sox, but also the underperforming elite soccer franchise, Liverpool FC. In addtion, FSG owns 80 percent of the New England Sports Network, which the two largest franchises shown on the network are Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins.

With the dumping of major salaries last month by the Red Sox, a lackluster season, it might be time to buy for the right person. My question to you, would the Red Sox be a franchise that you would like to own? Obviously, the team does not want to continue a backward slide on the field, going back to the years when the Red Sox, were the Cubs of Boston.

My hunch here is the Red Sox will sell in the next six months to a group that has strong ties to New England sports.

Chris Hansen---Hansen, the well known fund manager who wants to bring both hockey and basketball back to Seattle, really has to be given some credit for the job he has done in navigating his plan through the politicos in Seattle and getting approval to build a brand new arena.

Now, he has to have teams to play in the a brand new, expensive building. It will not be hard for many hockey teams to move to Seattle. There are plenty who would want to make that move today. It will be a little more difficult for a basketball team, but someone will. Quietly, the NBA insiders will tell you, that Seattle is important to the NBA, which a team in Seattle ended in 2008 after a 41 year run, of course moving to Oklahoma City.

While the common thinking is that the Sacramento Kings will move to Seattle, do not be shocked if it is the Milwaukee Bucks.

Milwaukee by most accounts is the LEAST valuable franchise in the NBA, estimated to be worth somewhere around $300 million. The Bucks are owned by United States Senator Herb Kohl, who bought the franchise in 1985 for $85 million.

Of course at one point if Kohl sold the franchise, he would have faced serious political consequences from his constituents in Wisconsin. But that is more than likely a mute point at this time, as Kohl has announced he will not seek re-election.

If Hansen dangled even close to $400 million in front of the Bucks, I would think that they have to bite and bite in a hurry. One other important issue here is that the Bucks are on a year to year arena lease, making it even easier for them to leave. Right now I put Milwaukee way ahead of Sacramento for being the next Seattle............

Biz Bites----Of course it was a great move for Notre Dame to move to the ACC, for all sports except football and hockey. It will increase revenue greatly and in my mind will also help Notre Dame win an NCAA basketball championship in the next five years, write it down, it is going to happen.

Top sellling MLS jerseys, of course number one is David Beckham, followed by Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan and Fredy Montero. Represented there is LA, New York and Seattle. Have you ever bought an MLS jersey? In most cases they retail for $99.00, but do have higher prices in some markets.

Under the radar this week, was the resignation of MSG sports head Scott O'Neil. Scott gets a lot of credit for overseeing so far what has been a successful $1 billion renovation of Madison Square Garden, adding value to MSG properties through some heavy duty sponsorship agreements with companies like Chase and Coca Cola and bringing Knicks and Ranger tickets prices into the 21st century. Look for O'Neil to land a big time job soon, with an NBA team, he will be a much sought after executive.

emails to or follow on twitter @wchoops

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Greg Crawford On Sports Biz, Edition 6

About the writer: Greg Crawford has been studying sports business ever since his father Don took him to play golf when he was 8 years old. Now 54 years later, he still loves sports business and studies it all the time. He is often asked to speak to groups on the subject in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. Greg follows one and one person only in the world of sports business, Jon Spoelstra and he strongly encourages everyone to read Jon's best seller, "Marketing Outrageously, Redux".

But as Greg often says to groups, his most important work is done in his part time job in the cancer unit of Adventist Medical Center, in Portland, Oregon.

Greg is the the COO of and also writes columns three times per week for Comcast SportsNet and, and

Greg always encourages people to comment on his writings and loves reader involvement, whether it be pro or con. Enjoy today's column please.

Stephen Strasburg---I really have no opinion on the decision to shut Stephen Strasburg down by the Washington Nationals as they prepare for the MLB play-offs. Strasburg is a super-star, has a bright future and is one person that seems to captivate everyone in the ballpark when he pitches. Of course the Nationals say they are looking to the future and want to keep the sometimes fragile right arm of Strasburg healthy. Actually only they know what should be done here, for my money.

But what I do know is the impact that Strasburg has on attendance when he pitches in the any major league ballpark. Since 2010, the average attendance when Strasburg has been the starter, is 33,214. That comes from 45 starts. Out of those 45 starts,  only one game attracted less than 30,000 people, that was in 2011 at Chase Field, home of the Diamonbacks when just over 29,000 showed up.

Surprisingly in his 25 starts since 2010 in his home ballpark, the average attendance for those starts has been 31,142, below his league wide average.

This we do know, Strasburg is important to major league baseball and its future, so everything possible should be done to keep him healthy.

Sad Attendance---How in the world can you have a first place ball club in major league baseball and your home attendance average is so pathetic. Such is the case of both the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles, who both play in magnificent ballparks.

So far this year the Orioles have averaged 25,2000 and the Nationals 29,700. In a recent home series that the Orioles had with another first place team, the Chicago White Sox, the average attendance for the four game series was 11,000.

It is also fair to say, there are probably 10 cities in the United States, Canada or Mexico, who do not have major league baseball,  that would sell out every night with first place teams. 

Looking over all of these numbers, it now appears it is legitimate to at least say, did Major League Baseball make huge mistake putting the game back in Washington, D.C.? Not only is the Washington Nationals attendance figures a disgrace, they obviously have also saturated the baseball market in the D.C. /Baltimore corridor.

The Shoe Battle---Rumors are flying all over the place that Dwayne Wade will make a big move soon and leave Nike (Jordan Brand), for Chinese Sportswear Company Li-Ning.

The obvious here is that it would give Wade some separation from LeBron James, who has his own Nike brand and a chance to work with a fairly new company that is struggling at present.

Wade and James have become great friends, but this is just one more example of friendship in most cases means nothing when it comes to money and Wade is going to get a bundle for signing on with Li-Ning as its top athlete.

There is going to be many more sportswear companies coming out of China, who are going to go after American athletes as endorsers, but it is going to be a long, long time before anyone can challenge the superiority of Nike. Nike is so strong, they may never be over taken in the market place.

$$$$$$---It is an interesting year in Major League Baseball and especially when it comes to the business side. Only one team in the league's seven teams with the highest payrolls is guaranteed to make the playoffs, that is the Texas Rangers.

The Yankees with the highest payroll in Major League Baseball at $197 million per year, are for sure on the bubble to make the postseason. Other top seven payroll teams are getting ready for next season, including Philadelphia, LA Angels, Miami and Boston Red Sox.

Funny how sports works. The payroll of the contending Orioles, Rays and Oakland,  combined is only 3 million over the Yankees total of $197 million.

You make the call, perhaps it is people and not always money that can bring out a winner.

NFL---I was slightly amused this past week about a subject that is so not funny. The NFL will be donating $30 million to advance the cause of player safety, the largest single donation the league has ever made.

But the league can't get their act together to bring back their regular officials, which also heavily involves players safety and is the most single important issue that the GMs, coaches and players are complaining about with the substitute officials on the field.

It should also be noted something has to give here, some NFL sources I have been talking with have told me the league is so bitter over the attitude of the regular officials, they are convinced in their own mind they can go with the substitute officials for the rest of the season.

As much as I side with the regular officials, there has to be a point in time when they have to start worrying about are we going to have job in the future. The NFL under Goodell has been pretty heavy handed as is obvious, I do not see them budging much on this issue, unless about five games on one weekend could decided by poor officiating, as could happen. Never underestimate the opponent, otherwise you will come out on the short end of the business side. or twitter @wchoops


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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Greg Crawford On Sports Biz, Edition 5

About Greg Crawford---At the age of 62, I am trying to slowly build my own Greg Crawford Brand. I write this sports business blog because I have loved sports business since I was 10 years old. As for building my own brand from scratch, in the last year:
1. I have become the COO of Kiyokawa Crawford Sports Management, working with my best friend Gordon Kiykokawa---
2. I have started Greg Crawford Speaks and work closely with Portland Trail Blazer broadcaster Brian Wheeler, check us out, and contact us please.
3. I write three times per week for, Crawford's Clubhouse and Crawford's Court and alos appear 20 times per year on Comcast SportsNet TV.
4. But perhaps the most important thing I do without question is work part time in the cancer unit of Adventist Medical Center, a major hospital in Portland, Oregon.

So perhaps you can start over at 62 and I really appreciate you taking your time to read this blog.

Jon Spoelstra---Really appreciate the feedback from readers who have gone out and purchased "Marketing Outrageously, Redux" by Jon Spoesltra. It you want to improve your life either professionally or personally,  or both, reading this book is a must. Make the move today and buy it.

USC Trojans---Lots of people love to beat up on USC, but they probably might be laughing at all of us. Not only do they have a great chance to win the national championship in football this year, but for the record they are going to sellout every home game. Yes, pretty big, considering capacity of the Memorial Coliseum in LA is 93,607.

Of course the big draw is Oregon on November 3rd, but the Trojans have a following and they are putting up big bucks to watch the team.

It is also worth noting, as they openly admit to keep up with the Oregon Ducks, the Trojans have opened the $70 million John McKay Center, which is 11,000 square feet of meeting rooms, weight rooms, academic centers and a tribute to many past Trojan athletes.

USC has been playing football at Memorial Coliseum since 1923 and in talking with school officials their hope is to be there for the next 90 years, with no plans to build a new stadium. USC athletics is truly a brand of its own, no question about it, think what you want, but they are going to be a force in athletics for many years to come.

PAC-12 Network---In an open letter to all Pac-12 fans and beyond, the Pac-12 network has said to all its fans that if they want to watch the network and they have DirecTV, they should change providers.

Unless, I am totally being fooled and it is strictly a bargaining ploy, by saying this the Pac-12 network says they will not be able to work out an agreement with DirecTV anytime soon.

For this coming season alone, the Pac-12 network will be broadcasting 12 non-conference football games, 20 league games and 135 men's and women's basketball games.

Before leaving this item, the Pac-12 Network has hired Bill Walton to do analyst work on their basketball games, why in world are they not hiring Dan Belluomini, who is the best college basketball analyst in the country and also the true historian of west coast college basketball.

ESPN---I work for their major competitor, but it does not mean I can't admire and respect what ESPN does and has accomplished.

Since its first day in 1979, the network has grown as fast as any business in the United States. Revenues in 2012 are expected to exceed $8 billion (yes that is with a b) and the number of employees will exceed 7,000.

The Bristol Campus is located on 123 acres and currently has 18 buildings, with plenty of room for growth.

Andy Roddick---Naturally everyone should retire at the ripe old age of 31 years, so good for Andy Roddick. Speaking of building a brand, Roddick's earnings from tennis over his career are just over $20 miilion. His earnings from endorsement deals, triples that.

Roddick has a great career of winning events, 32 ATP World Tour Titles and 33 David Cup matches, but shockingly, he won only one Grand Slam event, the 2003 U.S. Open.

Bottom line here, you can build a brand by winning often, even if you don't win the big ones.

Nevada---Cary Groth, athletic director at Nevada since 2004 announced her retirement this week. Two candidates that I would hope Nevada would look at and people I have grown to respect greatly are Torre Chisholm, AD at Portland State University and Dave Haglund, Commissioner of the powerful GNAC Conference, both of these men are good people and without question great administrators.

Hopefully you can also read each week: and

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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me at and please follow on twitter @wchoops