Sports Business with Darren Rovell!
Darren blogs on ESPN Insider, has a weekly podcast available on Apple.com and is the author of the upcoming book, First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned The Science of Sweat Into A Cultural Phenomenon.
Deals, endorsements, agents, contracts -- Darren's knows all the dirt! Send in your questions now, join him for the answer on Tuesday!
darren rovell (2:00 PM)
Ok. I'm ready to go. Ask away folks.
Gavin (San Diego)
Does Drew Rosenhaus's credibility and client list take a hit for the way he has (in my opinion) totally mishandled both TO and Jevon Walker?
darren rovell (2:02 PM)
Drew is certainly an interesting character in our business. I do give him great credit for always answering his own phone. It's nice when you don't have to deal with people who don't give agents and other execs messages. I think that the tactic that Drew took ultimately won't work because there are too many players that these teams have that can still help them win. If this were basketball, the tactic would be more effective.
Chip (New York City)
Has Drew Rosenhuas lost his mind? Does he not see how (upon taking his advice) TO is being portrayed around the nation? Does it not occur to either of them how much this could be costing them both in terms of endorsements? Who wants a whiny cry baby endorsing their sneakers or juice?
darren rovell (2:04 PM)
Lot of Drew Rosenhaus questions. Endorsements aren't that big in the NFL. Only five guys make more than $1 million and TO and Jevon aren't included and they never will be. Endorsements don't matter as much as contracts do.
How does the Nhl expect Sidney Crosby to help bring hockey back if he is in Pittsburgh? Wouldnt New York have been a better place?
darren rovell (2:06 PM)
I think a lot of people got this wrong. Crosby isn't necessarily best in New York. Financially, hockey is fine in New York. He'll be seen plenty in New York -- he'll play 12 games in the NY/NJ area this upcoming year. He's actually better off in Pittsburgh, a team that really needs him. Maybe getting far into the playoffs and the interest will enable them to get a much needed arena in order for them to be financially stable in the future.
Why hasn't anyone created a hotdog that has mustard already in the dog? this would save millions of white t-shirts per year
darren rovell (2:07 PM)
Ed, That's a great idea. Now hope not many people are reading this chat and go to the US Patent Office with it!
Peter (Albany, NY)
Darren, how can I become a sports agent? I'm pretty sure I could dole out bad advice as well as some of these guys...
darren rovell (2:08 PM)
Don't do it Peter. The competition is absolutely brutal and the differentiation between guys is not that much. We have two agents for every player in the NFL, yet people continue to start up businesses. It's not a good proposition.
Im a rising Junior studying Sports Management with my main interest in Sports Marketing as I am interning right now... Where is the money in this business? With an individual team or with a sports marketing company?? thanks
darren rovell (2:09 PM)
The money in the sports business is in video games and product placement. In the next two years, companies are going to be looking for people to manage placement in games and in TV shows Coca-Cola already has a guy who is head of gaming.
John (New York)
Could Team owners ever decide to collude and alienate certain sport agents for their actions?
darren rovell (2:10 PM)
John, there are certainly teams right now that won't draft a player or trade for a player if they don't like the agent.
J.B (Boondocks, New Jersey)
Hi Peter, I read Moneyball, and now have pipe dreams of working in the front office for a professional sports team, what's the best way to make this happen?
darren rovell (2:12 PM)
I didn't know there was a specific place called "Boondocks." Nice work, J.B. Assuming that's your real name, of course. How do you work in the front office? Come up with a great formula for evaluating players on the field and financially, present it to a team and have them adopt it. Too many people think they'll get a job by sending resumes. I can guarantee you, there's no way to get a job that way.
Do you foresee some of the lower-payroll teams with smaller fan bases and perpetually struggling to win succumbing to contraction in MLB?
darren rovell (2:13 PM)
if the owners want to do it, they can unilaterally contract after next season. Tampa Bay should go, but what is the other team?
Do you think there is enough of a fan base/interest/money in South Florida to keep the Panthers around or is a move to somewhere like Vegas imminent?
darren rovell (2:16 PM)
Nick, They can stay afloat at 15,000 per game in attendance. But I'll tell you this, the race for Vegas is going to be fast and furious. The NHL would be smart to get there first if they can get a sweetheart deal., even though the fan base might not be that high. I say baseball gets there by 2009.
Darren, I am going to begin my first year of law school in about three weeks, and I was curious, comissioners such as Tagliabue got into office via the legal avenue, who do you have to know, or where did guys like Tagliabue start to maneuver their way to become commissioner? Dream job would be to take over for Selig one day, or his successor
darren rovell (2:19 PM)
I feel like I'm Dear Abby today. Ken, Tagliabue, Stern and Bettman obviously started in law firms. Selig in a used car lot. Realize though, it's a thousand times harder to become a commissioner of a sports league then even making it to the professional level. Bettman and Selig have been in office for more than a decade and Stern for two decades, so the turnover rate is not that great either. Still, it's good to have a goal and a dream.
Patrick Fuller (Edmond, OK)
Darren - Whether or not they admit it, professional sports target certain demographics. It seems as though the 3 major professional sports - 5 if you include college football and basketball - market heavily toward a younger hip-hop demographic, of all races, which tends to be completely motivated by merchandising, seeing as the demographic for game attendence is very different. How much more income is realized in merchandising compared with revenues derived - in all areas - from game attendance?
darren rovell (2:22 PM)
merchandising is a nice chunk. NBA, NFL and MLB have $2 billion to $3 billion in gross merchandise sales each year. That's not the number they bring in, it's probably 1/4 of that number. What's interesting about merchandising is that individual teams, besides college teams and NASCAR teams, have virtually no incentive to sell product because they have to equally split all the dollars earned with the rest of the league. That's a great deal for the Kansas City Royals and a bad deal for the New York Yankees.
Why is adidas signing Agassi to a long term endorsement deal? This seems like it would have been a good idea 5 years ago, but not now.
darren rovell (2:24 PM)
Tim, it's one of the weirdest stories I've done in my time here. Very, very strange. No matter how much money adidas gave Agassi, and i know it's for his foundation and for charity, I can't see how it could be worth so much more that he'd change brands. Especially a company that had given him more than $100 million over the years. It also seemed like adidas wasn't committed to doing too much advertising with him. Strange. But remember, they are the guys that signed Sebastian Telfair to a $2 million a year shoe contract.
Darren, can you explain the move Andy Roddick made to Lacoste and away from Reebok, seems like an odd move to me?
darren rovell (2:25 PM)
I actually like that move, Drew. Reebok didn't do as much as they could with Roddick, who I thought had good crossover appeal. Lacoste is a hot fashion brand right now, so blending performance and fashion I think will work out well for Roddick and the company.
Pittsburgh is a huge sports town that is desperate for a champion. The Steelers are the heart of the city and the Penguins are on the rebound with the new salary cap and drafting Crosby. The Pirates are pretty awful, but a great stadium has the 2006 All Star Game. When will Pittsburgh make the turn from small to large market? How instant of an impact will Sidney Crosby bring to the city of Pittsburgh? Maybe a new arena? Could a new arena bring an NBA franchise (Toronto)? I know I'm reaching here but humor me a little.
darren rovell (2:29 PM)
The Penguins have sold 150,000 tickets so far, but I wouldn't go that far with Crosby's impact yet. He's got to show up and play and prove he's the next Mario. As far as making the Pittsburgh as a whole more attractive, that's a lot of pressure to place on a 17-year-old kid. I think because of the lockout that Crosby actually has more pressure on him that LeBron James when he came into the league.
Do you think it is a good idea for Nike to start using Kobe in ads?
darren rovell (2:30 PM)
This is going to get real interesting. They paid him $40 million. They want to get their value out of him. Is that possible? I'm not sure. We'll have to wait and see.
Will the Marlins ever have a real facility to play their home games in?
darren rovell (2:31 PM)
The folks in Florida and the people in Minneapolis have stood strong for years now. Things seem to come together and then they get unraveled again. Good for them. Stadiums often don't do anything for the economy and they realize that taxpayer dollars could be spent more effectively somewhere else.
Daniel (Madison, WI)
Do you think LeBron will ever surpass Jordan in endorsement/retail/merchandise sales? Or, is the fact that Jordan formed his own Nike subsidiary too much for LeBron to overcome?
darren rovell (2:33 PM)
I bet that Jordan has made about $900 million in endorsements by now with royalties. LeBron has $135 million in deals that span him 7 years. It's going to take a while to catch up.
Darren, with the amount of money in naming rights what incentive to older stadiums/teams have to keeping their original names? $100 million is a lot of money.
darren rovell (2:35 PM)
Wrigley, Fenway and Yankee Stadium will never fall. Lambeau might.
Adam (Jamlando, FL)
Will the Orlando Magic stay or can we be seeing a move to possibly Kansas City?
darren rovell (2:36 PM)
Magic owner Rich Devos is almost 80 years old. When that team sells, I think there's a 40 percent chance they will move.
Does hockey have a TV deal in place???
darren rovell (2:37 PM)
No. But I think Comcast or ESPN will wind up televising. They will have a national TV deal by the start of the season, even if it's revenue sharing like they did with NBC.
Hack (East Haven, CT)
I work in Hartford not far from Bristol... If I just sleep outside the Worldwide Leader would they eventually hire me?
darren rovell (2:40 PM)
It depends how you pitch a tent and start a fire. There are two seasons here -- winter and building construction. So if you bring a shovel, you can always dig dirt. In all seriousness, work at a smaller organization, do some good work and get noticed.
do you think the explosion of successful americans in this years TdF will help pro cycling in the US post lance or is the sport set up for a huge crash on this side of the pond?
darren rovell (2:40 PM)
No. No one will be interested in the Tour next year.
Al (Woodstock, NY)
Have any studies been done to see what monetary effect the recent attention to performance enhancing substances has had on professional sports?
darren rovell (2:42 PM)
Al, none that I know of. But I'll tell you this -- steroids only helped baseball. It help get them back from the work stoppage of 1994-95 and it didn't hurt when all this stuff came out this year. baseball has never been better, financially speaking.
Demetri (Durham, NC)
Howdy Darren. Let's talk endorsement deals. Which NFL rookie do you think is the most marketable?
darren rovell (2:44 PM)
In the NFL, it's show me first. I heard Alex Smith got a deal with Reebok worth $300,000 a year, and that's a top deal for any NFL draft pick this year. You have to show up and you'll likely get rewarded in your local market first before national deals come your way -- example is Ben Roethlisberger from last year.
When will we see advertising on uniforms?
darren rovell (2:45 PM)
Next decade. I bet baseball makes the move and then comes the NBA.
darren rovell (2:46 PM)
I unfortunately have to run. Please check out my blog on ESPN Insider and my podcast on Apple.com. Also, my book on the history of Gatorade is coming out next month, if you are interested. If there are any questions I haven't answered, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll try to get to as many as I can.