It has been a week since I questioned whether Vince McMahon’s fake death could lead to shareholder lawsuits since McMahon is so material to the organization’s business. Last Tuesday, the WWE said they had not received any calls from those holding WWE stock and then promptly named me a suspect in the death of “Mr. McMahon,” who they said was the character played by Vince McMahon.
Well, this morning I walked into the office and received this statement in my e-mail box from the WWE: Even though the WWE still considers Darren Rovell a "suspect," it should be noted that there actually were two stockholders (out of our thousands of shareholders) who did inquire about the status of "Mr. McMahon's" alleged demise. One purported stockholder emailed our investor relations department one week after the incident occurred, and initially did not sign his name, instead signing with several "X's." The other inquiry came via telephone from a named stockholder who was satisfied with the answer to his inquiry -- so much so that he subsequently bought additional shares.
The WWE does not consider the persons responsible for these two inquiries as suspects.
Obviously the WWE isn’t scared off by the fake death. The organization is going forward with “Mr. McMahon’s” Memorial Service tonight on Raw. It’s a three-hour special that begins at 8 p.m. ET on USA.
Because they are the NFL only team that sells stock (even though there's no dividend and the north of 100,000 shareholders can't trade shares), the Green Bay Packers are the only team that opens their books to the world. Before I give you these numbers, obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, remember the lesson that comes out of this, which is small market doesn't always mean small revenue. For those who don't realize this, Green Bay has a population of something like 102,000 people -- roughly equal to the number of people in Olathe, Kan.
Operating Revenue: Up 4.8 percent to $218 million.
Overall Operating Expenses: Down 2 percent to $183.8 million.
NFL Revenue (includes all media and licensing fees): Up 9.3 percent to $111.5 million.
Marketing Revenue: Down 1.7 percent to $40.7 million.
The entire budget shows that the Packers made $22 million, despite their 8-8 record. That means the Packers will likely be paying some money to the have-nots like the Buffalo Bills. The team also has built up what they call a "franchise preservation fund" to the tune of $125.5 million to help the team in hard times.
How healthy are the Green Bay Packers? They’ve sold out every game since 1960 and they have season ticket holders from all 50 states. Since the folks who signed up for the list in 1974 were getting off last year, I put my name in last September to see how long it would take me.
As you can see from the letter below, my “priority number” is 72,589. When I looked into this further, which the average Bear, or Packer for that matter usually doesn’t do, I found out that there are 239,038 seats ahead of me and that I was on pace to get off the list in the year 4397. So everyone who signs up on the list from now on is wasting their time unless they want to be frozen in the tundra for a couple thousand years in the hopes of seeing Brett Favre the 61st playing.
Roger Federer Jacket
As Roger Federer begins his quest for his fifth straight Wimbledon title today, he’ll be doing it in style. You might have noticed as he stepped out on the court this morning, he was wearing a gold headband and white shoes with gold on it. He’ll also be continuing his tradition of wearing a blazer and pants out onto the court. Here’s what the whole deal looks like.
The Worst Web Site
I’m usually not this harsh, but I couldn’t believe Chris Fowler when he mentioned this morning on ESPN2’s coverage of Wimbledon that Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, has a new Web site. Simply go to www.richardwilliamsthetennisfathertravel.com. I swear, I’m not kidding you. I’m sure the folks at Orbitz, Travelocity and Trip Advisor are shaking in their boots
The Worst Ad
As long as I’m on the bad stuff, I might as well get to this Steve Nash/Ahmad Rashad Raymond Weil ad.
It is probably one of the worst ads I’ve ever seen. Why? Because given the fact that Nash is the star, you look at him first -- sorry Ahmad. Then you start wondering what the hell the ad is about so you find the big watch in the bottom right hand corner. Then you notice that it’s on Ahmad, not Nash. Then you notice that the watch on Ahmad’s hand isn’t the watch that is featured in the ad. Then you notice all the way in the bottom a logo for the Steve Nash foundation. Huh? We think it’s cool that the folks at Raymond Weil gave $60,000 to the foundation for this ad, but we kind of wish they had enough money for a focus group.
Greg Norman Loses A Boatload
Golfing great Greg Norman has reportedly reached a divorce settlement with his ex-wife. The English tabloids have the price ranging from $120 million to a hard-to-believe $250 million. Norman is now reportedly dating Chris Evert, who has made two divorce settlements of her own.
Hammerin' Hank Stays Steady
I went over to eBay on Sunday night to see how Hank Aaron collectibles are holding up as Barry Bonds approaches his all-time home run record. Seems like it's too early to tell if Bonds passing Aaron will rejuvenate his collectibles or hurt them Here's the monthly data of average Hank Aaron item sold:
There are some pretty sweet items up there right now and I'm not by any means authenticating them, so do your homework. Check these two out:
A 1954 Johnston Cookies Hank Aaron rookie card
A dual signed Aaron-Babe Ruth baseball
Not Everyone Hates Barry
Judging from the number of people that boo at the ballpark when Barry Bonds gets to the plate, you'd think there wasn't much demand for him. But, according to trading card publisher Beckett, Bonds has been among the three most searched terms and among the five most purchased items on the company's Web sitesince Feb. 26, 2007, a 17-week run that represents the longest consecutive streak any player has maintained.
Beckett officials note that if you were to collect one of every Barry Bonds card ever made - there are over 10,000 of them - you would have to pay $373,221, according to the value of each of them in their price guide.
The Tampa Tribune has a good profile of a fan named Kevin Fern, who estimates he spent about $25,000 on Bonds items over the years.
With the 25th anniversary of the USFL being commemorated this weekend, I thought you all would enjoy the piece I did while I was atESPN on the $1 lawsuit check and the story behind it.
Chip Brown of the Dallas Morning-News pens a piece on the branding of Kevin Durant.
Percy Allen of the Seattle Times writes that Durant is more valuable at No. 1 vs. No. 2. Don't believe the Nike number in there for Oden - “$12 million, not including bonuses.” We hear that it's a little more than half of that.
With Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan getting huge contracts, you had to know the University of Florida's athletic director Jeremy Foley was next. And would the people in the Orlando Sentinel Web photo department just please chill out with the size of these photos?
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