Here are my recommendations and quick picks for this week:
Book: Money Players: The Amazing Rise and Fall of Bob Goodenow and the NHL Players Association by Bruce Dowbiggin – This book was recommended to me by a former classmate of mine in the ASU Sports Business program, and it’s a must read for anyone who has ever been interested in hockey. Dowbiggin does a great job going through the history of the relationship between the league and the players, the development of the players association, and the final conflict between them that led to the 2005 lockout.
Website: Forbes Business – SportsMoney (www.forbes.com/business/sportsmoney) – I can’t believe that I didn’t know this site existed. There are some great articles from Forbes about a wide variety of sports business topics, including naming rights, team valuation, and more. Most of the articles focus on economics, finance, and revenue, which makes sense since it is from Forbes.
Team: Tampa Bay Rays – For the first time in their franchise history, the Rays will play in October. From a business perspective, it will be interesting to see what the response is from the Tampa community. The team has always had trouble selling tickets, so will they be able to sell out their playoff games? The assumption is that playoff games always sell, but the Diamondbacks had trouble with this last year, so there is no guarantee. Also, what will the local and national television audience be like? You can be sure that MLB will be watching this. (Edit: I’m a bit late on this one – ESPN.com reported earlier this week that the first two games have sold out already. I hope they can keep this up and sustain the interest into next season (they were 12 out of 14 in the AL in attendance this season, even with one of the best records in MLB).
Other: The BCS – With USC’s loss to Oregon State, people are already talking about all the situations that will complicate this year’s BCS Championship Game. Beyond the traditional arguments over which teams deserve to play, there will be plenty of discussion about the system itself again this year, and more people calling for an actual playoff system. The bowls will resist any significant changes, but I have to believe that ultimately the system will change. The negotiations between all the parties involved (conferences, bowls, colleges, television stations) will be interesting to follow.