It’s been so much fun listening to the absolute angst of people who are curled up in the fetal position over Elon Musk trying to buy Twitter.
Billionaires shouldn’t own media properties or have influence is the popular rallying cry, and it’s been notably led by people at the Washington Post. Of course, if you know anything about the world, the Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the world’s second-richest human being at an estimated $177.5 billion. Not to be outdone, Bloomberg has had some not-too-nice things to say and let’s not forget that Michael Bloomberg has a net worth of $82 billion. Other examples include Time Magazine, which is owned by the $8 billion-man, Marc Benioff; and The Atlantic, owned by Laurene Jobs and her $17 billion. There are several others but, yeah, it’s Elon Musk that’s the problem.
Now do Pete Rose
Remember those days when sportsbooks and gambling outfits were absolutely frowned upon in the world of sports? Remember those days when professional sports leagues would never go near Las Vegas because of the threat of influence? I do.
Not really a problem now because sports gambling and sports organizations haven’t just jumped into bed together, they’ve consummated the relationship quite liberally. Athletes are now taking the plunge into sponsorships from those who flaunt the flutter and outfielder Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies is about to show you just how blurred the line has become. Blackmon is signing on to become a brand ambassador of MaximBet, a betting outfit based in Colorado. Now, it makes sense because Blackmon plays in the state and the company is getting someone very well-known, a four-time all-star.
Is that a problem? No, because if it’s legal, then what’s the problem? The only question I have is if Blackmon can do this and stay in Major League Baseball (MLB), why can’t MLB allow Pete Rose to come back? Yes, I can hear some of you — Rose bet on games while a player and manager and that’s bad. But it’s a rather thin line, wouldn’t you say? Under MLB rules, Blackmon can’t actively bet on games and it’s a strictly endorsement-only deal. Still, with all that Rose did, is this really a good look for MLB?
League commissioner Rob Manfred has said that in-game betting (props, as they’re termed in the parlance of prognostication) is going to become a big thing in baseball. Sure. But if MLB is willing to allow betting houses to become part of the fabric, it’s time to take a real deep dive into allowing MLB’s all-time leader in hits to come home for good.
A solid start
Spring football is back with the United States Football League (USFL) being the latest entrant to take a shot at filling the gap between gridiron seasons.
Eight teams are playing in the inaugural season — all based in Birmingham, Alabama. The Birmingham Stallions defeating the New Jersey Generals, 28-24, in the league’s third re-birth on April 16. Some of you may recall the USFL of old with Donald Trump being the former owner of the Generals back in the 1980s. Anyway, it was a rather entertaining contest on April 16. Ratings-wise, the game brought in a combined average of about three million watching or streaming the game at some point. Not terrible and not very far behind the other sports on offer that day.
The trick for the USFL is to keep people engaged and to keep the numbers up. I can understand the new league aiming to reduce costs by having everything happening in one place but it can be awfully tough for a city to get behind a team where it isn’t playing. The league wants to have its teams playing in its home locales by season three and hopefully the initiative can last that long.
At the end of the day, it all depends on what the National Football League wants because, well, it’s obvious to anyone who watches football that the NFL is the kingmaker.
And finally …
Good Idea: Playing for a $25-million purse.
Bad Idea: Not having many big names to play for a $25-million purse.
Have you heard about this LIV Invitational golf tournament happening in England in June? It’s promising to be one of the richest tournaments ever held with $25 million — all provided by the Saudi Arabian government — up for grabs and a first-place cheque of $4 million. Not a bad pay day for anyone who wants to jump in, but so far, no one with any sort of name value has stepped forward.
You see, it isn’t endorsed by any of the big tours, even though Greg Norman is putting his weight behind it, and players must get a waiver from the tour they’re playing on currently in order to enter. Robert Garrigus is seeking that permission. He’s not the most unknown professional golfer on the planet: a past PGA Tour winner, top-three finish at the U.S. Open and has put around $15 million in earnings. But he’s currently ranked 1,043rd in the world and is looking to play in this event. He’s petitioned the PGA Tour to let him head over.
You know there are plenty of players sizing up this chance. The money is too good to pass up, even if it’s dubious in nature, and everyone has a price. I can guarantee you those on the lower rung of the PGA Tour or any of the feeder tours will be giving it serious thought. We’ll find out by the end of the day today, April 25.
Until next time, folks …