Blogs & Comment

Sports business: Take 1

Blogs are like excuses: everybody seems to have one these days. Do you really care what I think about, say, Nortel Networks execs apparently spendingbut reportedly not payingUS$55,000 on food, drinks and other goodies while watching the Dallas Cowboys play last year? Doubt it. But the purpose of this blog is to explore the arena where sports and business intersect. And, for the record, Nortel’s dodgy move is just another example of the appalling lack of judgment at the company, which is why it had to seek protection from its creditors in January.
Of course, schmoozing is part of the corporate world. US$55,000 seems like a lot to spend by a company trying to cut costs, but thats the way business is done. At least, it was before the meltdown last fall. Now everybody should be paying closer attention to such extravagances and making sure they give good ROI.
While this blog will focus mainly on North American news, I have a soft spot for football (thats soccer to us), especially European and, more specifically, British. Imagine the NFL and NHL all rolled into one all-consuming passion and you get an idea of how football is treated overseas.
But even there, teams are in trouble. The latest? Southampton FC, whose parent company today fell into administrationa.k.a. bankruptcy protectionafter failing to finance its 24-million (about $40 million) debt. Southampton Leisure Holdings shares on AIM were suspended Tuesday after it failed to publish its semi-annual report on time.
Before trading was halted, the companys shares had dropped to an all-time low of 9.5 pence (about 17 cents) and has a market cap of 2.7 million (about $4.9 million). Its woes can be traced back to the building of a 32,689-seat stadium for the club in 2001.
The club is currently second last in the Championship (English footballs second-tier division) and in danger of being relegated to the third tier, but its operations are not affected. League rules state that points be deducted from clubs that enter administration, but, fortunately, the rules do not apply to holding companies so Southampton FC should not suffer that embarrassment.
Nevertheless, its a sad fall from grace for a team that was one of the founding members of the Premiership division in 1992 and played in the top tier for 27 straight years before falling back in 2005.
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome, as is criticism. Ive been a goalie (on the ice, not the pitch) for 35 years, I can take it.