SportsBusiness Journal's 2007 List: What I Like, And Don't Like
People who read this blog regularly know that I love lists. I also like to dissect them as evidenced by my criticism of BusinessWeek's Sports Powerin September. Here's another list: SportsBusiness Journal's 50 Most Influential People In Sports Business In 2007.
Because SportsBusiness Journal does this every week, I expect this list to be better than BusinessWeek's and it is. They're not off on much, so here are some of my comments:
Brian Roberts at No. 1 is a good call. With everything going on with the cable carriers, Roberts is as relevant as there is. It's hard to eliminate any of the network heads and the commissioners, but there's really no new name in the top 10 here. These are the same names that have been in these power top 100's for years. Is the top 10 just a creature of habit or do these guys really have the most power?
For example, Bud Selig is No. 6, but Bob Bowman, who runs MLB Advanced Media is No. 29. I think an argument can be made that Bowman is actually more influential than Selig.
Good call to get a Nike name at No. 13 (Charlie Denson) and it's dead-on that it's not Phil Knight. That mistake was made by Business Week. While he's a legend, Knight doesn't control a lot of Nike's present day business. How they chose Denson over Parker, the president and CEO, is a tough call, but I suppose they wanted one name here.
Gary Bettman at No. 14 is way too high. Not even close. I guess they figure he's a commissioner so you have to put him up there. But he doesn't have the influence many listed below him have. Ditto for MLS commissioner Don Garber at No. 27.
Casey Wasserman went up five spots from last year to No. 19. Wasserman Media Group has become a big time player in the business of sports and the hiring of Gatorade sports marketer Tom Fox might have been the best hire of the year.
At No. 22, Myles Brand is way to high. He's a philosopher, but he really has no influence on anything. Glad they included Under Armour's Kevin Plank at No. 42, another miss of the BusinessWeek list. Lists aren't perfect. This effort by SportsBusinessJournal is a nice one. But that doesn't mean I'm totally happy with it.
Unfortunately, like BusinessWeek they completely left out media members (BW had John Madden of all people). I'm not sure how you can do that. Perhaps both these publications feel awkward because they are in the media, but these lists lose credibility by taking this huge part of the business out.
Give me someone. A reporter. A blogger. They're also missing an athlete. Tiger Woods isn't more influential than PGA commissioner Tim Finchem (ranked No. 16)? Come on.
I would have also put someone on this list from either Steve & Barry's or Dick's Sporting Goods . They are huge players in the sports merchandise marketplace. No one from the sports ticketing world is on this list either and this was the biggest year in sports secondary ticket issues.
We're also missing the boosters. Knight should be on the list for his $100 million donation to the University of Oregon. Boone Pickens should crack this list before Fred Smith of FedEx makes it.
Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com