Business World vs. Sports World


As many of you know, Home DepotCEO Bob Nardelli was booted yesterday - to a $210 million severance package. If he was an athlete (he actually was a star football player at Western Illinois), that would mean this contract would be the second largest in sports history in total value behind A-Rod's 10-year, $252 million deal he signed in 2000 and that's to play, not - as Nardelli's situation commands - to NOT "play." Including his severance, stock options and salary, it's estimated he made $360 million in six years. That's $60 million a year, about double what the Chicago Bulls paid Michael Jordan for a couple years in the late '90s - the all time single-season salary record.

Fans and shareholders alike complain about salaries of their top stars, even though ticket prices aren't technically affected by payroll and neither is stock price.

Its hard to say what people are worth. But Nardelli certainly wasn't A-Rod or Jordan.

With an extreme sports interest, expect Nardelli to take some of that cash and invest it in sports - either NASCAR or football. Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank is already the owner of the Atlanta Falcons.

By the way, for those of you interested in sports salaries, I'm on the West Coast this week to bring you the story of MLB superagent Scott Boras. The piece, with interviews from San Francisco Giants COO Larry Baer, the Giants new $126 million man and Boras client Barry Zito, and Boras himself. The piece will run all day, starting on "Squawk Box" on Friday.

Evaluating the Press Conferences:

Let's take a look at the conferences that happened over the past two days - Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga's conference yesterday announcing head coach Nick Saban would leave and Saban's conference today at Alabama.


Huizenga's grade: B-

He was diplomatic in saying that he still felt strongly about Saban and he didn't have any hard feelings from him walking out of the contract. I thought that was classy, though I'm not sure that's what Dolphins fans wanted to hear. I also felt his statement about getting the fans input was genuine, but I'm also not sure that fans wanted to hear that the ownership was searching for answers.


Saban's grade: A-

Nick Saban is probably a better speaker than a coach. He threw out all the jargon and by the end of the press conference, I felt like I wanted to play for him. Loved the line about how everyone should take ownership of the team - something Huizenga was trying to say, but Saban said better. Also loved how he said he wanted his players to "hate" the other teams. He lost some points by saying he wants his players to succeed as people first, as students second and as players third. It's a nice statement, but he can't truly believe that as college football's first $4 million coach. On a positive note, I thought Saban was smart not to mention the Dolphins until 11 minutes into his speech.

Topps Surprises:

Topps , which announced today the signing of Phillies star Ryan Howard to an exclusive autograph and memorabilia deal, had a great quarter. Revenues increased 8 percent and U.S. sports card sales were up 11 percent year to year - which is a shocking increase. Card sales have been on a steady decline since the collecting pinnacle in the early '90s.

Questions? Comments?