Bulls & Bears: Goodell, Patriots winners and losers in ugly off-season

 

 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

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Sorting out the major winners and losers of this week — with a bottom-line twist — in the world of sports:

BULLS OF THE WEEK

Roger Goodell has had a bearish off-season, most notably in terms of policies, procedures and public relations. Yet when push comes to shove, both the league shield and its commissioner are the closest thing to Teflon in North American team sport. The league is well on its way to doubling its revenues under Goodell’s tenure, although it’s fair to question how much of that has happened despite this commissioner rather than because of him. Even flawed political leaders tend to stay in power in strong economies, and the NFL is a strong economy, checking in at a forecast of about $13 billion in league revenues this year. Goodell’s goal is to make the pigskin trade a $25-billion industry and that keeps the league’s 32 owners and governors — his bosses — salivating. So make no mistake, with combined enterprise values of more than $46 billion in 2014, regular-season television audiences averaging 17.6 million Americans per game and Super Bowls driving viewership of more than 125 million, it’s more than Goodell’s $150-million contract that keeps him in power.

BEARS OF THE WEEK

On multiple fronts, the New England Patriots are big sport business winners. Start with four Super Bowl wins in six appearances under the 21-year ownership of Robert Kraft. Add a 2014 Forbes magazine franchise valuation of $2.6 billion, the third highest among North American teams (behind only the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees at $3.2 billion apiece). Projected annual team revenues of $428 million and an estimated operating profit of almost $150 million. Consider a television draw that often makes it unclear where the Patriots end and where NFL rights holder CBS begins. Add to that a powerful global presence online and on social media, with 1.46 million Twitter followers. A home in one of the strongest sports markets in the world, where the No. 1 fan favourite Red Sox, No. 2 Patriots, No. 3 Celtics and No. 4 Bruins combine to sell more than 97 per cent of their collective seating capacity at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and TD Garden. It doesn’t get much better than this in the business of sport. Yet despite all of that, this wasn’t a great week for the Patriots’ brand. Meticulous investigative reports released Tuesday by ESPN and Sports Illustrated painted a picture of a Bill Belichick regime in which rules are more like guidelines. From Spygate to Deflategate and many more allegations of cheating, you couldn’t help but feel conflicted about the way New England has done business. Some of the pushback on the Patriots is sheer jealousy, but the respect for the way Belichick prepares his teams and how Tom Brady does his thing has been matched by an erosion of trust. That won’t matter in the least to hard-core New England fans. But it could certainly affect the long-term perception of the Patriots and their place in history.

Listen to The Sport Market on TSN 1040 AM Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Bulls & Bears airs at 9 a.m., followed by Weekend Extra with Sun Sports at 9:30 a.m. Follow Tom Mayenknecht at: Twitter.com/thesportmarket

 
 
 
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Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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