Posted in Canada, Guest Blogger, Sports, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Are we witnessing the end of America’s Past time?


Even though Major League Baseball (MLB) and it’s players were quite far apart on a deal needed to play a season this year, baseball will be played in 2020 and I don’t know why. Between issues with COVID-19, the locations chosen to play the games in, racism, homophobia, and the underlying issues related to owners refusal to budge on monetary issues and players a demanding full pay while playing less than half a season – the game is broken… Very broken.

Regardless of what is actually happening, this very public bickering could be the beginning of the end for America’s past time.

Take a look at the staggering figures below to get an idea what it must be like for owners of team’s must be facing when they look at paying players ever increasing salaries. Taking into consideration the very slight increase in attendance over the past 40-years (the league added more teams during this period), the total league payroll has gone from a quarter billion dollars to 4 billion dollars a year.

With less people attending games, the teams need to make up the revenue somewhere, right? You can only increase ticket prices so much, plus fans in cities with non-competitive teams historically draw fewer fans than cities with competitive teams. But it theoretically takes revenue to build a team, does it not? If fans stop showing up, then teams don’t have the revenue to field better teams. We’ve all been told that, at one point in time.

That might have been true, back in the day, but in present days, teams – even non-competitive teams – turn profits because of their TV deals.

TV deals range from a low of $20 million dollars to the Miami Marlins to $289 million dollars being paid to the LA Dodgers. The average seems to lie around $45 million dollars. With average payrolls of $133 million, and taking out the TV revenue, it still makes for a huge loss for the owners.

But the players want to get paid, and they want a piece of everything the owners make. When you consider the average of 10K fans per game in Miami, $15K in Tampa Bay, and $16K in Baltimore, you have to think how much longer this can go on.

Looking at Miami, for example, with $20 million dollars a year in TV revenue, and total team payroll of $75 million, the team begins the season down $55 million dollars. At 10K fans per game and an average ticket price of $22/game, the Marlins earn $220,000 per game, or $17,820,000 over 81 home games (around $18 million).

This does not include any additional revenues from parking, concessions or products sold, nor does it account for salaries of employees, advertising, rent, property taxes, concessions to be sold, or other costs like taxation.

What makes matters a bit more obscure is that teams drawing below a certain threshold are provided support from other teams, such as the Yankees who exceeded payroll ceiling by $52 million dollars in 2019 and had to pay a luxury tax of $26 million dollars – or 1/3rd of Miami’s payroll.

Throwing all of these numbers together, and staying in the space of averages and previous year’s reported figures, the Miami Marlins made around $250 million in revenue.

How?

See how the players become skeptical of the owners figures?

Without fans, and that gate revenue, a considerable portion of the revenue disappears.

Attendance is dropping. Speculation is that it’s a result of outdated stadiums or a bad product on the field, but truth be told, it’s likely the $10 hot dog, $20 beer and $30 to park a car that has been driving fans away.

Attendance Avg Game Attendance League Payroll Avg Team Payroll
2019 68,494,752 28,198 $3,999,827,072 $133,327,569
2018 69,671,272 28,659 $3,964,096,903 $132,136,563
2017 72,678,797 29,908 $3,983,892,634 $132,796,421
2016 73,159,044 30,131 $3,761,011,880 $125,367,062
2015 73,719,340 30,349 $3,680,887,206 $122,696,240
2014 73,739,622 30,345 $3,398,869,156 $113,295,638
2013 74,027,037 30,451 $3,150,727,861 $105,024,262
2012 74,859,268 30,806 $2,950,092,506 $98,336,416
2011 73,425,667 30,228 $2,872,256,542 $95,741,884
2010 73,061,763 30,066 $2,757,480,197 $91,916,006
2009 73,430,580 30,218 $2,791,645,244 $93,054,841
2008 78,624,315 32,382 $2,694,090,063 $89,803,002
2007 79,484,718 32,696 $2,499,198,987 $83,306,632
2006 76,043,902 31,306 $2,337,874,617 $77,929,153
2005 74,915,268 30,816 $2,189,013,398 $72,967,113
2004 73,022,972 30,075 $2,078,657,943 $69,288,598
2003 67,630,052 27,831 $2,128,862,128 $70,962,070
2002 67,944,389 28,006 $2,028,877,522 $67,629,250
2001 72,581,101 29,881 $1,969,086,313 $65,636,210
2000 71,358,907 29,377 $1,685,767,602 $56,192,253
1999 70,139,380 28,887 $1,503,589,250 $50,119,641
1998 70,601,147 29,030 $1,285,345,371 $42,844,845
1997 63,168,689 27,876 $1,127,440,885 $40,265,745
1996 60,097,381 26,509 $958,715,050 $34,239,823
1995 50,469,236 25,021 $951,698,367 $33,989,227
1994 50,010,016 31,256 $928,257,287 $33,152,045
1993 70,257,938 30,964 $903,115,234 $32,254,115
1992 55,870,466 26,529 $803,497,323 $30,903,743
1991 56,813,760 27,002 $613,253,418 $23,586,669
1990 54,823,768 26,044 $460,267,193 $17,702,584
1989 55,173,096 26,198 $375,490,540 $14,441,943
1988 52,998,904 25,237 $319,514,557 $12,289,021
1987 52,011,506 24,708 $304,799,122 $11,723,043
1986 47,506,203 22,589 $309,189,518 $11,891,904
1985 46,824,379 22,265 $264,965,530 $10,190,981

 

With players now opting out of the 2020 season and citing issues related to negotiations, racism, sexism, cheating (yes you, Astros and likely Red Sox), it’s not putting the sport of baseball in such a good light. Certainly these cannot result in increased attendance, unless significant changes are made. MLB could lead the way and lure fans back to the stadiums in drove, if they took a back to basics approach, lowered ticket prices, and concession prices, kept people safe and put a diverse product on the field.

Or, they could fight over millions and billions of dollars while North Americans struggle with earning income, racism, sexism, and intolerance, and a general lack of respect for each others lives.

The ball is in your field, MLB… Batter Up!

Posted in Sports

CoronaVirus NHL Myth #8


There is absolutely no truth to the theory that the CoronaVirus was spread by Canadians so that Alex Ovechkin would not surpass Wayne Gretzky as the NHL all-time leading goal scorer.

Ovie, or the Great 8, stands 8th overall on the all-time goal list, and currently is the only active player among this list of elite players.

Wayne Gretzky is the all-time leading scorer in NHL history having netted 894 goals.

2nd, is Gordie Howe with 801.

3rd is Jaromir Jagr with 766

4th is Brett Hull with 741

5th is Marcel Dionne with 731

Phil Esposito stands 6th with 717

Mike Gartner is 7th with 708, and,

Alexander Ovechkin is 8th with 706.

 

Born in 1985, a lost season would make it more difficult for the 35-year-old Ovechkin to make up the 188 goals he needs to surpass the Great One.

 

Posted in Community, events, Sports, The Urban Daddy

March 16th, 2020 is Austin 3:16 Day! (Cause Stone Cold said so!)


Sandwiched between Pi Day (March 14th), and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) is Stone Cold Steve Austin Day (March 16th).

What the hell is Stone Cold Steve Austin Day, you ask?

Let me educate you!

As a life long wrestling fan, there have been many memorable events and occurrences which shape the wrestling landscape. In the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) sphere, there was an event in 1996 called the King of the Ring – a tournament of which the winner was declared to be the “King of the Ring”.

After defeating Jake “The Snake” Roberts to be crowned the 1996 King of the Ring, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, in his post-event interview, berated his vanquished opponent and exclaimed, “Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!”

Why did that reference matter? Well, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, at the time, had been portraying a former alcoholic man who was able to defeat alcoholism with his faith, which made the mocking even that much more direct and to the point.

That moment changed the face of the WWE and marked the beginning of the WWE’s extremely popular “Attitude Era”, and launched the career of Stone Cold aka the Texas Rattlesnake to epic proportions.

In the years that followed, Austin – famously adorned with a black T-shirt with simple, large, white lettering that read “Austin 3:16” –  became one of the most popular wrestlers of all time.

Austin became known for doing what he wanted, when he wanted, and that included flipping the bird to anyone and everyone and doing whatever it took to get the job done and score the win.

So on this 16th of March, grab a Steveweiser (beer), ready your two-finger salute, watch some clips on YouTube or the WWE Network, and take no prisoners because that’s the bottom line, ‘cause “Stone Cold” said so!

Posted in Canada, hockey, Sports, The Urban Daddy

Am I too old to beg? My open plea to the National Hockey League (NHL)


I’ve been meaning to send a tweet out to my former classmate, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada, or to the best hockey skill coach on the planet, Dusan Kralik of Creative Hockey Development, to discuss something that really bothers me.

I guess I could tweet NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, or maybe try David Amber (our boys went to camp together), or Pierre LeBrun whom I used to see at the Forest Hill Arena over the years.

I want to see what it’s going to take to make a change to the game to correct one of the most annoying things in all of the NHL.

Yes, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the NHL and the game of hockey, such as the idea that “finishing your check” is allowable, or that fighting is still a part of the game (its really not). But aside from stepping into the 2020’s and making the players wear full facial protection, there is something that just drives me crazy!

When a team scores…

Why the fog horn?

Tell me? Why? Why? Why?

It’s loud, annoying, and since we’re not on a boat, its unnecessary noise intended to cover up either an anticipated lackluster response to a goal, or the league things we are sheep and need to know when we should be happy and cheer..

I particularly detest the fog horn in Ottawa.

I mean, how many kids these days say they want to see their home team score because they love the horn? Likely none… ever.

Or those stupid songs they play when a team scores… Why?

Can’t we just enjoy the moment and not be forced to feel something we don’t want to. A little silence or quiet in the game is not going to be the death of anyone…

OMG… I’ve become my father.

But seriously, please, if you know anyone who is anyone in the NHL, please tell them to leave the foghorns for the sailors.

I beg you…

Posted in Canada, hockey, news, politics, Sports, Toronto

TSN 1050 Radio, Really? The Dan Patrick Show?


Is there a reason why after the morning rush, we have to listen to the “Dan Patrick Show?”

Do we not have enough Canadian content that we have to import content from the US?

I mean, surely having anyone on the radio at that time has to be better than listening to a show that doesn’t acknowledge Canadian sports, are not knowledgable about Canadian sports, or talks about sports which Canadians are interested in…

If I’m wrong, please tell me.

Is that time slot, and the content so important for Canadians to learn about college football, college basketball or car racing?

I don’t know.

I just know that when the morning show is over, I have to find another station to listne to.

What about taking college graduates and throwing them on the radio, see what the next generation thinks about sports, or run something about the business of sports. There must be a better option, no?