Sportsmasnhip

Dallas Stars CEO admits the NHL team is losing fans

Dallas Stars CEO Brad Alberts has said the NHL team is losing season customers due to the pre-game BLM protests but “stands by our organization’s commitment and support our players 100% to express their views.

What these multi-millionaire sports stars fail to grasp is that their homes and neighbourhoods aren’t being destroyed. So the last thing their (former) fans – who drive past smouldering building shells where police precincts once stood or plinths with no statues atop – need is a lecture.

Fans want to watch sports to distract them from the toils and stresses of life. Not to have it thrust in their face before a whistle has been blown. The irony is that the NHL had avoided woke displays of social justice and ratings were rising as a result. Perhaps they’d drawn eyeballs from the weaker viewing numbers in NBA, MLB and NFL. Instead of heeding common sense, the NHL followed suit and have shot themselves in the foot. 

The leagues and teams are well within their rights to push politics in sports but we will have no sympathy when fans abandon them. Just like any business. To risk alienating core customers through badgering is never a smart move. Did we need Gillette to demand men check their toxic masculinity? Do we need Nike to serve up messages using players who embody some of the worst aspects of team and sportsmanship?

What we don’t quite understand is why the leagues are so eager to push causes where the people they name were hardly role models in society before they became known? Drug abuse, domestic violence, armed assault, battery, sexual assault, trespassing, outstanding warrants and resisting arrest. 

To top it off, the player strikes just add to the patronizing behaviour of these well-paid celebrities. To strike when fans are turning off in droves is a bit like sending emails to an ex-girlfriend after she dumped you. You might claim she is nothing without you but at some point, you realize that all of that correspondence has been directed to her junk folder. 

Get woke, go broke. 

Isaac jersey sales surge after he refused to kneel

Do you remember when Orlando Magic NBA player Jonathan Isaac bucked the trend last week and stood tall whilst others knelt (on towels to protect their precious knees) for the national anthem? Even though Isaac copped much vile abuse on Twitter for not cowering to the mob, his jersey sales have gone through the roof to be #2 after LeBron James.

It is more than likely that LeBron James jerseys are produced in far more abundant quantities due to his long term superstar status but Isaac could well find this popularity continues and causes the few remaining collective brain cells amongst the NBA management to consider the message fans are sending – “We endorse individual freedom. Get the politics out of sport!”

380 million reasons to feel oppressed

Mookie Betts (middle) has just signed a $380 million 12 year contract with the LA Dodgers baseball team. We don’t doubt his abilities.

Betts has agreed to make a charitable contribution of $100,000 annually out of the $27m he makes per annum. The egregiously unfair part of the deal is that he will be forced to stay in 4/5-star hotel suites while on road trips.

Imagine what he might have received if America wasn’t so systemically racist?

Cynically, one wonders whether kneeling for the BLM movement, while Marxist in its roots, might end up helping the agents of minority players leverage woke teams to offer even bigger paydays to atone for decades of oppression? Good on them if they can exploit capitalism for their own benefit.

We just hope these teams factor in the possibility that turning sports into politics may end up eroding the fan base by such an extent that they may end up unable to honour the deals to maturity.

WNBA – Why NoBody Attends

WNBA

We went back through the data to see just how the WNBA stacks up against the NBA. It came as no surprise to see it reflect other sporting codes like football. The men’s game has been at it longer and has 123x the revenue of the WNBA to prove it.

Over the years we have compared the USWNT vs the USMNT and the Socceroos vs the Matildas soccer teams to make the case for why there are discrepancies. These are just published facts. Data.

As an aside we have always advocated paying women more than men if the viewership reflects that – championship tennis is a case in point. We also made it clear at the time of Serena Williams’ tantrum that the statistics showed umpires were harsher on men than women over the last 20 years, even though she claimed the opposite. Once again, facts matter. Not feelings.

Put simply, when fans are asked to put hard money down, both men and women tend to support the male codes more than the female versions. It isn’t sexist. It’s the commercial reality. That translates to advertising and sponsorship dollars too. It is a virtuous circle that can always become vicious.

We think the WNBA’s political stunt which involved players walking off the court before the national anthem was played will backfire spectacularly and alienate what few viewers the league has managed to accumulate. It was a choice that the woke league backed. They should live with the consequences and not cry foul should attendance drop.

An article written by Sarah Ko about the WNBA ended up debunking her own argument. Essentially the men were all ego and money but the women were all just celebrating the love of the game, not the paycheck.

Then Ko spoke about the recent event where the WNBA complained that they only take 20% of the winnings when the NBA teams took 50%. Could it be that there is a bare minimum level of cost to run a league – salaries, administration, marketing and promotion- that would be drastically curtailed if the players got their wish, which ultimately would see them paid less over a lifetime.

Ko also mentioned that WNBA tended to have older fans. At some point, the WNBA administration has to make a commercial decision about how to broaden the supporter base. Having its players cynically hijack a social justice movement to gain attention to boost its audience numbers is risky. Writing ‘Black Lives Matter‘ on the court won’t help either. Why do they only advertise the names of dead black females? Don’t all female lives matter?

Sport has always been a great distraction from the stresses of daily life. Fans will desert in droves when the very identity politics they went to the game to escape are rammed down their throats before a whistle has been blown.

The ultimate irony will be when the very capitalist system they expected would boost their pay clashes with the same hand they bit to feed it.

How serious are the Redskins when they’re still selling merchandise with the logo?

Ultimately the Washington Redskins are a sporting franchise and the team website is still selling items bearing the Redskins name/logo, albeit at a discount. This is the same as L’Oreal removing the names of “skin-whitening” products but selling them anyway.

Makes us wonder if the management truly wished to reflect strict obedience to the cancel culture they would have immediately ceased the sale of these items too. They haven’t which speaks volumes about true commitment.

Put simply, the Redskins’ owners are proving to be unwilling passengers in this ordeal forced by sponsors and a sporting code which are holding them at gunpoint.

There is only one place the team and NFL are heading. The scrap heap. All so some woke liberals can appease some activists and feel good about themselves despite not creating one extra benefit to the very community they proclaim to support.

Are we witnessing sporting suicide?

People used to be able to watch sports in order to be able escape financial stress, relationship pressure, horrible bosses or politics for a couple of hours. Now politics comes as standard and is being actively shoved straight in paying customers’ faces.

The NBA has just announced it will paint “Black Lives Matter” on the courtside.

Retired NFL defensive end Marcellus Wiley explained why he thought it is a bad idea for the NBA to do it based on the divisive manifesto of BLM.

This follows on from the NFL’s pandering to identity politics and promotion of segregation by introducing a “black national anthem” before Week 1 games.

As one astute reader posted this with respect to the NFL post we wrote today,

If this causes a loss of attendance will the excuse be that those missing were therefore racist? And how does that help pay the bills? What will be the steps taken to address shortfalls in revenue ? Presumably reductions in salaries and jobs to those whose livelihood depends on the attendance?

This is a very emotive issue and no one is denying that it is not an important one but enforcing dictats onto paying customers is never a good idea – asking for help to change is better than demanding change and alienating a section of society who for the most part were already onside -you cannot force their cooperation – you will just make reasonable people unreasonable.

We think the NBA and NFL are making extremely poor decisions. As corporations they have that right but since when has treating customers with contempt been a good strategy?? Gillette anyone?

We wrote a piece on the divisive nature of sports being ruined by political activism a few weeks back.

Perfect Execution

What a great match. Australia wins the 2020 ICC Women’s Cricket T20 World Cup by 85 runs.

It started with an exemplary innings from Alyssa Healy, who was living proof of what happens when girls grow up playing in boys teams. She dominated. A joy to watch. Beth Mooney held the rest of the innings together to get the highest ever score in a final.

Meg Lanning’s captaincy has been superb all tournament. Field placements to bowling changes.

The stand out was the catching by the Aussie girls. Not one dropped catch, something that cost the Indians who spilled the two highest scorers who added 120 more.

Good to see 86,174 fans watch the game. There is a lot to be said about women’s cricket going forward if this is the standard. It should only get better.

Cancel culture on centre court

It is hard to know where to start. A lack of professionalism? Bereft of understanding?What about a failure to ask the opinion of the very person John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova want the stadium renamed after?

FNF Media doesn’t much care for Margaret Court’s views on same sex marriage. They are her own. She has a right to hold those thoughts, no matter if others find them abhorrent. At 77yo, many of her generation probably have similar opinions. Doesn’t make it right or wrong. People should respect not everyone thinks alike. What have her views on same sex marriage got to do with tennis anyway?

Do the two former tennis champs think by staging a stunt that seeks to rename a stadium that currently honours Court’s sporting record will somehow cause her to yield on those views? Is that how society works now? Twist the arm of a septuagenerian until she squeals that she has conformed to the orthodoxy?

Let’s not forget that 38%, or 4.87m Aussies voted just like Margaret Court. Perhaps we should find out who they are and tell their neighbours. Inform their employers to ensure they are demoted, sacked and publicly humiliated.

The ultimate irony is that Evonne Goolagong Cawley said the following about Margaret Court in 2017,

“Margaret’s my hero…great player, wonderful champion and a true professional in every way.”

So McEnroe and Navratilova’s virtue signaling stunt backfired. Not only did the activists fail to gather the support of the very person they wanted to glorify in place of the one they wished to pillory, 2GB conducted a poll which found 91% of Aussies against changing the name. Double fault.

So much for two Americans trying to make a statement in Australia. Code violation – stupidity.

If FNF Media ran the network, the two would be sacked for hijacking expensive broadcast rights for personal political gain. It is an utter embarrassment to have them conduct themselves in a country they have no voting rights.

It takes some doing to be lectured by McEnroe, who personified disobeying the orthodoxy throughout his career. He cannot be serious!

Only recently, Navratilova was hung, drawn and quartered by radical LGBT activists for suggesting trans females competing in women’s sports was unfair. Court would no doubt agree with her on that score. So Navratilova better repudiate that commonality with the Aussie tennis great before smearing her on centre court if she wants to be consistent in her efforts to appear woke.

Identity politics is poison. Period.

All cl(ass)

This is what happens when organizations roll over and pander to political correctness. It ends up eating the very people trying to appear worthy. Sports Illustrated (SI) may regret its Sportsperson of the Year award choice.

As FNFM wrote earlier in the week, US Women’s National Team soccer star Megan Rapinoe has what it takes on the field but lacks all credibility off the field with the constant bluster around identity politics. She didn’t disappoint.

Rapinoe slapped the very magazine that bestowed her with the award in her acceptance speech,

Am I only the fourth woman worthy of this honor in 60 years?…I don’t think so…Is it true so few writers of color deserve to be featured in this publication? No. Is it true so few women’s voices deserve to be heard and deserve to be read in this publication? I don’t think so.”

You get the drift.

The question will be whether SI caves in and goes on a massive overhaul of their internal hiring practices or sticks to what works with subscribers.

There are too many examples of woke businesses that have lost a bundle for failing to provide the very good/service that the end customer will pay for.

Gillette dropped $8bn in value after it’s toxic masculinity campaign. Attacking one’s core clientele wasn’t smart.

A vegan feminist cafe, Handsome Her, had to close its doors for good. It had imposed an 18% gender surcharge for men to account for the ‘wage gap’ and given women priority seating. Clearly not enough sisters to share the cause.

NBA and NFL have seen dramatic erosion in audience numbers since backing China and kneeling.

Pretty simple. The overwhelming majority of us don’t require politics dished up with whatever else companies are selling, especially the words “these actions don’t represent our beliefs” from a bank.

As always Jonathan Pie says it best about the oppression obsession.

NBA ratings take a dive post HK/China saga

Last October, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted his support for the Hong Kong protesters. Little did he know that the Rockets, the NBA and several key basketball stars of the game bowed to China by slamming Morey and apologizing on his behalf.

Rolling over was no surprise for the league given the attempts to drive the game into that populous market to make lucrative sums. LeBron James stands to make up to $1bn from Nike by the time he is 64 thanks to the China market.

Unfortunately, fans at home seem displeased. If the lessons from the NFL kneeling drama weren’t evidence enough, the NBA has also seen ratings plummet so far. Could it be that fans only watch to escape the stresses of a large mortgage, family and work?

Variety noted,

Viewership across ESPN, TNT and NBA TV is down 15% year-to-year overall, according to Nielsen figures. TNT’s coverage is averaging 1.3 million viewers through 14 telecasts, down 21% versus last year’s comparable coverage, while on ESPN the picture isn’t much prettier. The Disney-owned network is down 19%, averaging 1.5 million viewers versus just under 1.9 million viewers at the same stage last year.

Yet more evidence of how getting woke makes you go broke.

Naturally the league has blamed it on the absence of key stars due to injury. Or maybe it is because paying customers are sick of being lectured to?!