So the economy has been a barrel of laughs lately, am I right folks? If you’re unlucky enough to be familiar with the term “mandatory furlough days,” then chances are you work at a newspaper, or for the government. Heck, I guess these are turning up in just about every type of business, come to think of it. Yes, it sucks.
(Too important to be furloughed)
But if you’re a California State University football coach, the government is willing to work with you. Other state employees are currently required to take two unpaid furlough days a month. But football coaches, who presumably put in long hours in the fall and sleep on their office sofas (your team may vary), simply can’t get away! Read more…
Yesterday we told you about Vijay Singh’s boneheaded refusal to remove the logos of financial fraudster and former sponsor Allen Stanford from his clothing, but Singh is not the only person having trouble finding new sponsorships in these tough economic times.
(This is for you, golf.)
The entire sport of golf is suffering, and nowhere is that more on display than this weekend’s U.S. Open. Between economic hardship and populist anger, companies are having a tough time justifying tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to sponsor a sport already suffering from image problems in this recession.
In many ways, the world of sports has been somewhat shielded from the massive economic meltdown affecting the rest of the world. Sure, the Yankees are having trouble getting people to the ballpark, but with an average ticket price of $230 and a sub-.500 record, those seats would be a tough sell in the best of times.
(No, it’s not.)
Other tough sells in a down economy are things like $250 basketball shoes and $100-plus basketball jerseys. That, however, is what Nike has continued to foist on the world’s sports fans despite the worst recession in generations. Today, this flawed business plan has come back to bite Nike in the rear of their overpriced athletics short as the sporting goods giant announced massive layoffs. Just do it, indeed.
Just three years removed from being named league MVP, this former superstar is now stocking shelves at Sam’s Club. No, it’s not Shaun Alexander. He’s at BJ’s Wholesale.
Emmanuel Rodriguez was a star playing Dead or Alive 4 in the Championship Gaming Series, and made a full-time job of it, complete with salary and endorsement deals. But to no one’s surprise, one of the casualties of the economy has been professional video gaming, the sport no one needed or wanted.
Any story that begins with Barack Obama and Coach K sounds like a joke, and they’re about to be joined in a bar by a priest, a rabbi and an imam. But this is no joke: a minor tiff between the Duke coach and the fricking President of the United States threatened to spiral out of control, dragging our country into a second civil war.
What started as a jab by Krzyzewski at Obama over his snub of Duke in his NCAA bracket has required a team running damage control, including Krzyzewski’s wife Mickie, Obama’s aide Reggie Love, and an ESPN investigative team. Everything seems cool now, but for a while there, Coach K might have been the leadership of the Republican party.
The hallmark of a really, really bad economy is seeing all the things we thought were recession-proof start to suffer. Professional sports as a whole has been a notable casualty. But seeing NASCAR, which makes more money than God and has unrivaled devotion among its fans, stumble in ticket sales, is a real kick in the teeth.
Next week’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway still hasn’t sold out, and if you’re not a NASCAR fan, you might not realize how big that is. Bristol has sold out the last 53 races, a streak dating back 27 years, the longest of any track. And hell, if you can’t get 160,000 people to trek to the Tennessee-Virginia border in March, you might as well just close up shop.
With the economy in the toilet, it sure looks good when local governments shell out 80 million billion dollars (number may not be accurate) on new sports stadiums, doesn’t it? For a brief moment last week, it looked like the era of publicly funded stadiums had screeched to a halt. But in the dead of night, some mysterious figure made sure that your tax dollars will still be going toward hot tubs in New Yankee Stadium.
The senate version of the stimulus bill included an amendment specifically banning any of the money from going toward stadium construction. But by the time the legislation made it to President Obama’s desk, the wording had changed; the amendment was out. And there’s nothing stopping that trillion dollars from paying for your local arena, rather than the billionaire owners.
Who killed the stadium amendment? Let’s investigate, after the jump.
Oh no! The economy’s hurting little league baseball! This is actually a big deal, because you never know who those little leaguers will grow up to become. If they hadn’t had pee wee baseball 20 years ago, sports might now be deprived of people like Chris Drury and Matt Cassel. Oh, and a whole lot of athletes who stuck with baseball too.
Little league enrollments are down across the board, and so are sponsorships. This means less players, less games, less money and less equipment. It also means, since the price of footballs and basketball hoops remain steady, baseball’s going to continue losing promising young athletes to other sports. Still, do you really want your tax dollars going to help little league baseball? Because that’s what’s happening.
Let’s see how bad the financial carnage is, after the jump.
If the economy is affecting you at your job, I’m willing to bet it’s coming down on the working man. More hours, less pay, less perks. But I doubt your superior is really hurting that much; do you really think your company’s CEO is about to lose vacation days or health care coverage? So how bad must things be for the NFL when the big boss is taking a pay cut?
Roger Goodell is cutting his compensation for 2008 by 20%-25%, the league announced this week. Additionally, he’ll be freezing his pay for 2009. With attendance and merchandise sales struggling across the league, it’s nice to see the NFL not pretending that everything’s OK. Because when I buy a ticket, I’m mostly cool with knowing I pay the players’ salaries, but I bet people are less cool knowing they’re also taking care of the execs.
I’m neither an economist, nor a safety expert. But I can think of at least one reason why it might not be the smartest idea for Indy Racing League to deal with the recession by cutting back on practice time for the Indianapolis 500. No matter how much money it’ll save, it’s probably good that the drivers get some time getting used to driving at 225 mph before throwing 33 of them on the track at the same time.
Two practice days will be cut from the Indy 500 preparations, along with all the other races in the IndyCar Series, as an attempt to save money. “It’s clearly a response to the economic times we’re facing,” league spokesman John Griffin said. He did not say how much it’ll cost to settle the lawsuit from injured drivers who didn’t get enough practice time.