Sports Buffet for 05/04/10

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SptsBuf

The Sports Buffet will be a regular feature of FPS.

NFL

UFA S FS Darren Sharper (NO) is reported to have had microfracture knee surgery during the off season according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Sharper was a key part of the Saints D and their playoff run. The typical recovery time for that procedure is 18-24 months. That would also explain why he had such a delay in getting a contract offer. He has signed back with the Saints on a 1 year deal for 1.5M.

The Jones formerly known as “Pacman” is still shopping his services around the league. He went to Detroit last week and visited the Bengals recently. There was no interest by the Lions but the Bengals are at least considering an offer.

The 49ers signed LB Patrick Willis to a new 5 year deal worth 50M with 29M guaranteed.

With the draft of QB Tim Tebow, QB Brady Quinn could be on the move again. The Jags are reported to be interested in obtaining the former Browns 1st round pick.

NBA

There is a very fine line between a veteran team and just an “over the hill” team. Teams can go from one side of that line to the other in a single playoff series. The problem is that there is no way back except to blow the roster up and rebuild. After building a 11 point lead in game 1 vs. the Cavs, the Celts looked like they crossed the line at half time by losing the game by 8. However, they came back in game 2 and now have stolen home court advantage. The most interesting part of that game was that the “old” Celts outscored the Cavs 31-12 in the 3rd quarter. There is an old adage, in the NBA it isn’t a series until a home team loses a game. Now that the Celts have smacked the Cavs up side the head, it will be interesting to see if the Cavs can recover.

MLB

It is still VERY early in the season but there are a couple of things we can see now. The Red Sox are reeling. At 12-14 they are digging themselves a hole that will be very hard to crawl out of. They look old and done. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has gotten off to a really good start. It is hard to see them challenging the Yanks all year but they are playing well now. My two favorite teams are looking forward to high picks in this year’s draft–The Cubs and Indians.

NHL

The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking for a new coach AGAIN! Is there anyone out there that can turn what seems to be a team with a couple of very good players into a winner. If not, the city of Columbus will let the team leave. Central Ohio will not support a loser and that is all the CBJ have done. In their history they have had just 1 sniff of the playoff coffee beans.

College Football

The new NCAA rule changes include the right of a ref to take a TD off the board if the player “showboats” on his way to the endzone. Having spent some time in zebra stripes myself, I must give the officials some advice. Be VERY careful how and when you make that call. If it were made against the home team at Ohio State, Texas, Notre Dame or any number of CFB hotbeds, it might result in a tumult that would make the Hundred Years War seem like a minor disagreement between two 3 year old girls at a church picnic.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,NFL Draft,Saints,Bengals,Lions,Sharper,Jones,Tebow,NBA,Celtics,Cavilers,NBA Championship,NBA Playoffs,MLB,Tampa Bay,Red Sox,Indians,Cubs,NHL,College Football,NCAA,RULES
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Professional and college sports teams face tough times ahead.

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Welcome to the first season of the Los Angeles Jaguars. What about Jacksonville? The city and state cried poverty and neither government would pony up any money for a new facility or even a decent makeover. The people of the city also didn’t come to the games so the Jags left.

Thank heavens that has not happened yet but it could happen soon.

Teams in every professional sport are struggling financially. Part of that is their own fault. They spent too much on players when things were good. Now that the economy has turned down, they are still spending more than they can afford.

They are also notoriously bad marketers. Some teams got a bump in attendance by building a new facility with state and or city help. Those that did got only a temporary bump no matter how nice the new digs were. Within a year or 2 they were back to seeing a lot of empty seats at every game. But in addition to the same old attendance they had a boat load of debt. With the government borrowing so much money, eventually interest rates will have to go up. The debt load teams are carrying will sink them and for the first time even the NFL could find no takers with enough cash to bail out the teams that will go belly up.

The Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL are a perfect example. They signed a contract when they were created to play in a privately owned arena because public money couldn’t be approved by either the city or state. Now they are facing empty seats and financial hardship because they say their rent is too high. The problem was while the CBJ was building its arena down town, the Ohio State University was also building a new multi-purpose arena on campus just a few miles away. The old OSU arena is also still in use but is empty most of time. The CBJ is asking the government to take over the building so that they can stay in Columbus and get a lower lease. Both the city and state are in much worse financial shape then they were when the building was proposed and are in no position to buy anything more costly than a box of paper clips. The owners of the building are not going to be able to sell the structure because no one is going to buy an arena where the only lessee is threatening to leave.

If things weren’t bad enough both the NFL and NBA face possible strikes/lockouts soon. The NFL will likely survive but the NBA could be devastated by a lockout. The NBA is riding a down wave of popularity and could suffer like the NHL did with a significant lockout. The NHL lost its major TV deals and is now stuck with games on the Verses Network.

Both leagues are trying to reduce the percentage of revenue dedicated to the players. The NBA is also struggling with guaranteed contracts. The NFL is trying to avoid the mistakes of the other leagues like guaranteed deals. The US financial situation is so bad that the NFLPA has come out in favor of a salary cap which just over a year ago they said they would never allow to be part of any new Collective Bargaining Agreement. They don’t like the idea of capping the amount a team can spend but desperately want to establish a minimum that a team must spend on players.

College teams are struggling as well. At Ohio State the basketball team was in a position to insure a share of the Big 10 title. And yet there were more than 1,500 empty seats hours before the tip off. Schools that have had no problem increasing the tuition 5 times the rate of inflation will drop any sports program that is not self supporting like it was a stolen knockoff Prada purse.

So what will happen?

Professional teams will go out of business. Players on those rosters will be distributed to the teams that survive. Several NBA teams will wither on the vine if they lose the key player upon which the attendance is based. The Cavs for example will be in serious trouble financially should LeBron James leave.

Even the NFL has teams that are in serious danger of disappearing. Teams like the Bills, Jaguars, Panthers, and Rams regularly fail to fill their stadiums. When the TV money goes down, as it will have to if the US economy continues to struggle, those teams will find it hard to make payroll.

There is also a down side for any business that depends on attendance at games for revenue. They will be hurt in cities that keep their teams. Where teams are gone the businesses that depend on them will be gone as well.

So what can fans do? Perhaps a better question is what should fans do? There is not much fans can do. However, I have some suggestions.

For Pro or college teams that are doing their best to compete:

If you can afford to go to games and your team is providing quality entertainment, do it. That is great. Even if you can’t afford the tickets you can call their radio and TV sponsors to thank them and tell them how much you appreciate their support of your team. Let them know that you will use their products or services because they support your team. Then call the team and the radio and TV stations that carry their games. Let them know that you called the sponsors to thank them. Thank the team for doing the right thing and the station for carrying the games. Call your sports call in programs and suggest the other fans do the same thing. It will help insure that the stations will continue to carry the games and the stations and team will continue to enjoy success.

For Pro teams that are just going through the motions or are incapable of competing due to bad management or ownership:

If you find that the team is not showing any interest in becoming competitive, call the team and let them know why you aren’t buying their tickets. Call the stations that broadcast the games and let them know that the community needs the station to put pressure on the team to get it’s act together. Call the key sponsors to ask them to ask the stations to put pressure on the team to do better. Tell sports radio call in programs what you are doing and ask the other fans to do the same.

For college teams that are not trying to compete:

Colleges react to just one thing–money. Again the stations carrying the games are a pressure point just as the pro teams above. But there is one other thing that can have an effect–Donors. Call your sports radio programs and suggest that donors contact the presidents of the college to tell them to give their sports more emphasis. That will not work often but when a donor calls a president, he or she gets attention. A few big dollar donors calling will change the attitudes of the coaching staff and the culture of the team.

Those fans that become proactive will find that things in sports can change based on public opinion. Too bad things don’t seem to work the same way in Washington D.C.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl,nhl,mlb,nba,money in sports,Cavilers,LeBron James,DeMaurice Smith,nflpa,CBA,Collective Barganing Agreement,Spors talk radio,College football,Ohio State,Colubmus Blue Jackets
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