Month: November 2020

Mandel’s Musings/Politics: A List of Media Figures in the Sports World Who Contributed Their Hard-Earned Money Towards Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. Very Interesting.

By Scott Mandel

Three of the four sports Commissioners align themselves with the Democratic party, at least when it comes to political donations, according to NewsMeat. David Stern, Gary Bettman and Bud Selig give more than 90 percent of their political donations to the Democratic party. Roger Goodell of the NFL donates 23 percent to Democrats and 77 percent to the GOP.

Other sports media notables:

From the left

  • Chris Berman, ESPN: 100 percent of his donations go to Democrats.
  • Lee Corso, ESPN: 100 percent to Democrats (which surprised me for some reason).
  • Dick Ebersol, NBC: 75 percent to Democrats.
  • Bob Griese, ESPN: 100 percent to Democrats.
  • Tom Hammond, NBC: 100 percent to Democrats.
  • Michael Jordan: 72 percent to Democrats.
  • Armen Keteyian, CBS: 100 percent to Democrats (remember that when you see him on CBS News).
  • Jim Lampley, HBO: 71 percent to Democrats (he also writes for the liberal-friendly Huffington Post).
  • John McEnroe, NBC, CBS: 80 percent to Democrats.
  • Jon Miller, ESPN: 100 percent to Democrats.
  • Dikembe Mutombo: despite sitting next to Laura Bush at the State of the Union, he only gives 33 percent to the GOP.
  • Digger Phelps, ESPN: 100 percent to Democrats.
  • Joe Theissman, ESPN: 100 percent to Democrats.
  • Isiah Thomas: 100 percent to Democrats.
  • Brian Urlacher: toughest Democrat ever? 100 percent to Democrats.

In the middle

  • George Bodenheimer, ESPN: 61 percent goes to special interests; 20 and 19 percent go to Democrats and Republicans, respectively.
  • Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner: 72 percent to special interests; 14 percent to Democrats and Republicans, respectively.
  • George Steinbrenner, N.Y. Yankees: 51 percent to Democrats, 27 percent to the GOP.
  • Paul Tagliabue: 41 percent to the GOP, 34 percent to Democrats.

From the right

  • Jack Buck (D): donated 100 percent of his donations to the GOP.
  • Cris Collinsworth, NBC: 100 percent to the GOP.
  • Don Criqui, CBS: 100 percent to the GOP.
  • Dan Dierdorf, CBS: 100 percent to the GOP.
  • Mike Ditka, ESPN: 98 percent to the GOP.
  • Brian France, NASCAR: 83 percent to the GOP.
  • Mike Francesca, YES: 100 percent to the GOP.
  • Curt Gowdy (D): 78 percent to the GOP.
  • Keith Hernandez: 92 percent to the GOP.
  • Hootie Johnson: amazingly, 33 percent to the Democrats (60 percent to the GOP).
  • Mario Lemieux: 100 percent to the GOP?
  • Peyton Manning: 100 percent to the GOP.
  • Tim McCarver, FOX: 100 percent to the GOP.
  • Al Michaels, NBC: 100 percent to the GOP.
  • Jim Nantz, CBS: apparent golfing buddy of Bush 41; donates 60 percent to the GOP.
  • Vin Scully, L.A. Dodgers: 100 percent to the GOP.
  • Pat Summerall, FOX: 100 percent to the GOP.
  • Lynn Swann: despite running for Governor of Pennsylvania as a Republican last year, he donates 19 percent to the Democrats.
  • Steve Young, ESPN: 100 percent to the GOP.

* (D) stands for deceased.

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12:  Peyton Manning attends the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony 2016 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on December 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)
Peyton Manning is a big Republican supporter. Surprised?

The Clock May be Ticking for Online Sports Publication, The Athletic

by Scott Mandel

The Athletic, a subscription-based sports website, was introduced in 2016 with an interesting business model – an ad-free environment providing national and local coverage in 47 North American cities as well as the United Kingdom.

It’s ambitious plan included the recruiting of some of the best-known, highest-paid sports journalists in the country, those who already had large followings on either a national or local level. The Athletic reportedly paid exorbitantly high salaries to these reporters, many of whom had already been laid off by their local newspapers as part of an industry-wide crash that has been evolving over the past two decades, as the internet became the main source of information for consumers of news and sports.

The Athletic’s roll-out, beginning in 2016, has been impressive. Starting with one market, Chicago, in which all of that city’s sports teams were thoroughly covered, it has rolled into every major market in the United States. With nationally-known reporters such as Ken Rosenthal, Jason Stark, and Peter Gammons on the baseball beat; David Aldridge, Shams Charania, and Zach Harper on the NBA, Michael Lombardi on the NFL, and Steward Mandel on NCAA sports, along with top local writers, The Athletic has certainly gone for quality journalism. And, it has raised over $139 million dollars from a variety of investors over the past four years. All very impressive.

But, there are possible chinks in the armor beginning to appear for the four-year old publication. The Athletic is now offering deeply discounted subscriptions at the ridiculously low price of $1 per month. When The Athletic began publishing, the subscription rate was $9.99 per month, more commensurate with other online publications with well-known brand names like Sports Illustrated, Fortune, New York Times, and others.

As their advertisement on social media like Facebook, below, indicates, they are changing their subscription pricing, drastically.

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“The Athletic has become a force in sports journalism”

Either The Athletic is trying to beef up its overall readership numbers or possibly, gain more casual sports fans who don’t want to invest deeply to satisfy their sports mojo. Or, The Athletic is in deep trouble with its main source of revenue, its subscription base, through faltering renewals of existing subscriptions or an inability to attract new subscribers.

Of course, one cannot underestimate the role of a the global pandemic on the sports business, which includes publications which cover those games and teams. But, as we have seen over the past couple of decades, publications such as The Sporting News, Sport Magazine, and a painfully thinning Sports Illustrated are disappearing from the newsstands and mailboxes of sports fans.

The owners of The Athletic, now essentially a consortium of investors, are probably hoping for a million or more fresh one dollar subscriptions, as well, for the revenue jolt a million bucks would provide them. The clock is ticking on The National, which was a very good idea in 2016.

Steve Cohen, Lifelong Mets Fan (and Billionaire) Takes Over Franchise

By Scott Mandel

Today, for Mets fans, begins what they hope and believe will be viewed someday, as the golden age of the New York Mets Baseball Club. With the transfer of ownership of the team from the Wilpon/Katz families to one Steve Cohen, a financial whiz on Wall Street with a net worth of $14 billion, Mets fans are rejoicing as if Cohen had just defeated Donald Trump for the presidency of the United States.

In a wide-ranging Zoom press conference this afternoon, Cohen laid out his plans for the franchise. If his words and goals are true, the Mets, struggling for decades as an undercapitalized professional sports team in the city of New York, will no longer be limited by the silly question, “So, how much will that cost us?”

Cohen is now the richest owner in the sport, possibly the wealthiest individual owner of a sports franchise in the world. If Cohen wants to sign a free agent because he believes that player is the difference between winning a championship or not, he will not get out-bid.

New Mets owner, Steve Cohen during today’s zoom conference

“If I don’t win a World Series in the next three to five years — I’d like to make it sooner — but if I don’t do that, I would consider that slightly disappointing,” Cohen said. “We are a major market team” that “should have a budget commensurate with that.”

“I’m essentially doing this for the fans,” Cohen said. “When I really thought about this, I can make millions of people happy. What an incredible opportunity that is. That’s how I’m thinking about this. I’m not trying to make money here … it’s really about building something great, building something for the fans, winning and I just find this an amazing opportunity and I’m so excited for it.”