Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

WWE: Why Is McMahon "Eliminating" Chris Benoit?

Chris Benoit who? photo composite

As far as the WWE   is concerned, Chris Benoit never existed. That's because they've taken the wrestler who killed his wife and son before killing himself off their Web site. A page that used to be his bio reverts to the current front page of the Web site, as does every major article written on his successes. Strangely, out of all the clicking I did Sunday night, the WWE still has its Benoit tribute piece up on the site. They've also pulled all the Benoit merchandise off the site. When you search for Chris Benoit on, it comes up discontinued.

I'm not criticizing the WWE for pulling everything. I understand why they want to move on. The question is, at least as far as I'm concerned, will the stockholders finally allow the WWE to move on? A little more than a month ago, WWE shares were at $18.34. They opened today at $15.99--a 12.8 percent decrease.

There's no evidence so far that the WWE's business is suffering. Ratings are still high--RAW is still rated No. 1 in the weekly cable ratings and the shows are still sold out. So if the business is still good, what are investors concerned about? I will say that the WWE does have to be more concerned though if investigators find out that the change in the Wikipedia entry that did in fact come from WWE headquarters. I mean, out of all the places in the world where a person could post news of Benoit's wife's death before police found her, it certainly is the strangest coincidence that the writer of the entry was from the same town where the WWE is based.

One more thing to point out. There are still plenty of Benoit lovers out there. A month ago, the average closing price of a Benoit item was $5.65, this past week, the average Benoit item bought on the site went for $17.39. Now check this out. From April 2 to June 24, 635 items were sold on eBay . Last week alone, fans bought 2,468 pieces of Benoit merchandise.

Discouraging Bonds Signs Bad For Business
Across Major League Baseball parks, many teams have been actively policing signs disparaging Barry Bonds, even though the league has no set policy on it. While the decision by teams, profiled by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada of the San Francisco Chroniclemight seem like the right thing to do, it's actually a really bad business move. Teams should let fans hold up whatever signs they want, especially as more and more people go to Giants games to voice their opinion on how they feel. Over the last couple months, as Bonds has approached the record, the Giants have become a more popular road team to watch.

A month and a half into the season (May 14), the Giants were 14th in the league in road attendance with 30,663 fans per game. Now they're seventh, drawing 36,607 fans per game. Since it's pretty much Bonds pushing the increase--the Giants are last in the NL West and aren't a great team to watch otherwise--why should teams turn away fans for the next couple weeks?

All-American Football League Has Tryouts
That football league that will feature the graduates of universities on the same teams in their college markets is having tryouts today and tomorrow. More than 200 former college players will try out at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. To be honest, we're not impressed with the names. They're pitching fans the opportunity to see former Gators Travis McGriff, Vernell Brown and Shane Matthews. Matthews, who finished fifth in the 1991 Heisman voting, did nothing special in his seven-year NFL career and McGriff caught one touchdown in his 17-game professional career. The league reports that former college coaches including Marshall's Bob Pruitt and Texas A&M's R.C. Slocum, who has indicated that he might coach the Texas team, will be in attendance.

The league's eight charter teams will be playing in top college football markets including Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Texas and Arkansas beginning in 2008. The league said in its news release that Florida State athletic director Dave Hart is strongly considering hosting a team in 2008. League officials obviously haven't done the math on the salaries. There is no way that they'll be able to pay the players an average of $100,000, as they've been saying. They'll only be able to do that if they fill stadiums and I'm not sure they will.

Mauresmo Puts Dent In Wimbledon

Amelie Mauresmo

The organizers of Wimbledon are not too fond of Amelie Mauresmo. Her whipping of Mara Santangelo on Saturday cost them $1 million. It was a brutal day of rain on Saturday and the folks on Centre Court only got to see the Mauresmo-Santangelo match. Luckily for them, Mauresmo won in 57 minutes and the rain policy is that they get a full refund if they don't see a full hour of tennis. Court One spectators saw a little bit more tennis and can get half of their money back.

Dolphins Win Thanks To Bateman
Brian Bateman won the Buick Classic on Sundaywearing a Miami Dolphins polo. It isn't the first time a player has won wearing NFL apparel. Ben Curtis won the Booz Allen Classic last year wearing a Washington Redskins outfit and the 84 Lumber Classic in Sept. 2006 wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers outfit.

Questions?  Comments?