Sports Bulls and Bears: Missouri atop the baseball world; FIFA under seige

 

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

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

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

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

BULLS OF THE WEEK

Less than three weeks after it seemed there was no better place to be a baseball fan than in greater Los Angeles — with the Dodgers and Angels both clinching their divisions and the latter carrying the best record in Major League Baseball — those two big market franchises are mere footnotes on the post-season. Instead, there’s no place to be like Missouri this week. The Show Me State is home to two of baseball’s final four, the 11-time World Series-champion St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals, in the post-season for the first time since they won it all in 1985. Some 320 kilometres apart on opposite sides of the state, the Cardinals and Royals own 50 per cent of the spots left in October despite accounting for 2.2 million television households, or only two per cent of the TV market in the U.S. We’re talking about the 12th-largest market in the National League against the 14th-biggest in the American League. St. Louis, the corporate home of Anheuser-Busch (whose founding family names its baseball park), Enterprise car rental, Purina and six other Fortune 500 companies, is the 24th-biggest in MLB and Kansas City, the home of Sprint and H&R Block, is 29th. Yet despite those humbling market size statistics, Missouri joins Massachusetts as the only states left in the union where baseball is the most popular pro sport. The prospects of an all-Missouri World Series — which would be a rematch of 1985 — makes TV rights holders and advertisers antsy, at least in terms of national reach and appeal.

BEARS OF THE WEEK

It’s been one of those months for international sport governing bodies. Last week, the IOC could only watch and squirm as Oslo, Norway, stepped aside in the bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, leaving only Beijing and the Kazakhstani city of Almaty standing as candidates and calling into question the IOC hosting formula. This week, it’s FIFA that is the world’s most embarrassed sports organization. The bearish week in the stock market of sport came together with FIFA under siege on several fronts, including a lawsuit filed against it and the Canadian Soccer Association alleging gender discrimination over the use of artificial turf at the 2015 women’s World Cup, to be held in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton, N.B. That suit may be a tough case for the plaintiffs before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, but it is nonetheless receiving global media attention as another hot potato for FIFA. Meanwhile, president Sepp Blatter continues to suggest the recent report on FIFA corruption should be kept private, tone-deaf to what is required to restore any faith in the selection processes that gave the world Russia and Qatar as controversial World Cup host countries in 2018 and 2022. Yet the icing on the cake for FIFA is the tepid reaction that has greeted the soccer film United Passions. Funded with $27 million of FIFA’s money, this is a vanity project that sums up everything that is wrong with FIFA. After flopping at Cannes in June and this week at the Zurich Film Festival, United Passions has garnered less than $200,000 in worldwide box office receipts. Imagine the grass fields that could have been funded with even part of that $27 million.

Tom Mayenknecht is host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and TSN Radio, where he regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business. Listen to The Sport Market on TSN 1040 Saturdays 7-11 a.m. Bulls & Bears air at 9 a.m., followed by Weekend Extra with Sun Sports at 9:30 a.m. Follow Tom Mayenknecht on Twitter @TheSportMarket.

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

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

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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