Pro Sports Postponement: Empathy, Not Divisiveness, Is Key With Fans and Players

Giannis Pro Sports postponement protests

This week, the NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS all postponed games in wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year old black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The shooting occurred on Sunday, August 23.

Unfortunately, the issue of police brutality has become so divisive in United States society. Many players have come to the forefront for causes they believe in, such as police reform and voting rights mainly.

Athletes Need Fan Support When Deciding to Boycott Pro Sports

Professional athletes are taking a stand. These athletes will not stand for police brutality and voter suppression, but are being met with push back by some fans. There are people that believe that players should shut up and play. Fans may feel this way because they could not decide to not go to work, for example, and be able to take a stand in a way similar to what professional athletes have done.

However, it is close-minded to think that players do not have a distinct purpose and reason for their actions. Yes, they are in a position where they can afford to protest by not “working” in a sense. But for change to occur in society, there needs to be prominent figures at the forefront. The players made the right decision to postpone games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday because now there is more attention on issues that US citizens should care about. Whether or not one agrees with some of the positions that players have on these issues, players need fan support in the same way they need fan support on game night.

Decision to Postpone or Play Games Should Be Players’ Decision

There have been many people who have called for pro sports teams for the postponement of their games, while some have decided to play their games. If fans want to truly support their players, they will realize that each player views the situation differently. Some players believe that they can show solidarity by not playing. Others feel like playing gives them a platform to be vocal about these issues. Players have been both praised and criticized for the position they have taken.

In the end, the decision to play or not play should be up to the players. Fans can choose whether to support the players’ decision or not. There are charity events and initiatives that players give their time to for the fans. It is time that fans support players in whatever decision they make about playing, whether or not they agree with it.

Anchor // iTunes // Spotify // Breaker // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic // Castbox 

Leagues Had Different Ways of Handling Postponement of Pro Sports

The NHL players played on Wednesday. On Thursday, they made a united decision to postpone games Thursday and Friday. There was backlash from certain people over the decision to play Wednesday. Some, including Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault, were so focused on playoff hockey. There simply was not enough time for some people within the NHL’s two hub cities to fully grasp the situation.

NBA players were already thinking about their actions days earlier. That is the main reason they were able to come to their decision quicker. They thought about the potential ramifications of their decision and decided to resume play on Saturday. NBA players have been the most vocal about the issue of police brutality. They are the reason that August 26, 2020, will always be remembered.

However, the way both leagues handled the situation was acceptable. Even though the NHL was late to the party, they are playing their games in another country. It was better for the NHL to fully digest the situation from an outsider’s view and make an informed decision.

Divisiveness a Main Narrative Being Written About the USA Right Now

Some fans do not want to watch sports anymore because they feel that through protesting that politics are being brought into sports. Fans may not agree with the avenue in which players are protesting or the causes they are protesting for. This is okay. But right now, the players need to know they have fan support.

There are numerous narratives being written about what is going on in the United States of America right now. However, when some say blanket statements that single other people out in a negative light, they should not expect a positive reaction from their opponents.

A frustrating aspect of these protests is the partisanship that could be associated with them. For example, Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma tweeted Wednesday night about how momentum would need to continue “even if we get a Democrat in the office.” Someone who supports the decision by the NBA players to protest, but does not necessarily identify as a Democrat, could be put off by this statement. However, the divisive political rhetoric of 2020 is the reason that Kuzma feels this way.

There is rhetoric from people that identify as both Republican and Democrat that is extremely frustrating to see. Kuzma tweeted about his belief that there was fear-mongering from Kimberly Guilfoyle, who was speaking at the Republican National Convention. When the term “lawlessness” is being thrown around by people like Kimberly Guilfoyle when describing protests in communities where people like Jacob Blake lived, of course there is going to be outrage.

Issues are Divisive, and People Not Acknowledging Different Viewpoints Could Be Damaging

Kimberly Guilfoyle fails to acknowledge that the majority of people in the streets are peacefully protesting. The protesters want to see a positive change in society. They also realize how real the problem of systemic racism is in the United States of America. People like Guilfoyle come under fire from so many people is because they have not made a simple acknowledgment to Black people that their lives matter. Guilfoyle and many others spoke at the Republican National Convention. They failed to show any solidarity towards the Jacob Blake shooting or the issues that players care about.

Everyone’s vote matters. Every US citizen should have the right to vote. If people want to go to the voting booth, it should be an easy process. Governments have to aid in this effort, and it seems like this is where part of the player’s protest is coming from.

However, Kuzma’s comment might make one question what the push to get people to vote is really about. Someone could interpret it as certain players having an agenda to help a single party out. People can truly educate themselves about all of the candidates, and realize there are more candidates to choose from than the ones with the D and R next to their name. However, it still has to be the person’s option on who they want to vote for, or even if they want to vote. They are given the right to vote, but voting is not required by law.

Postponement of Pro Sports Being Used to Encourage People to Vote and Empathize With the Black Community

We cannot afford to live in a society that preaches fear. When people go to vote, they need to feel assured that their vote is fair. At this point, it has been assured that citizens do not feel confident in their ability to vote. There are flaws in the voting system, and certain groups are marginalized.

The postponement of pro sports games was sparked by a police officer deciding to shoot a black man seven times in the back. This type of behavior by police officers simply cannot be tolerated, and athletes from all sports have spoken. Try to put yourself in this situation. Should someone have to be shot seven times in the back because they may be holding a knife? Jacob Blake did admit to holding a knife, but does he deserve to be handcuffed to a hospital bed? The answer is no.

The reason these protests are happening is that people are not getting equal treatment. Justice is not happening for all right now. It is important that we listen and validate everyone’s concerns with police relations with all communities, especially the African American community. It is important that all of us – athletes, fans, government officials – show the African American community that their lives matter.

Sports Law Issues Don’t Stop During Coronavirus Shutdown

Coronavirus sports lawsuit LeBron James Jimmy Butler Lamar Jackson

The effects of the Coronavirus is being felt in every industry. The sports industry is no different, but that has not stopped lawsuits involving LeBon James, Jimmy Butler, and Lamar Jackson. Roughly two weeks ago the NBA suspended their season after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the Coronavirus. Soon after, his teammate Donavan Mitchell tested positive. Both players have recently been cleared of the Coronavirus. However, the continued reality of the threat of the Coronavirus led the MBL, NHL, and MLS to suspend their seasons as well. The NCAA was forced to cancel all spring sports and the March Madness tournament. Most recently, Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the 2020 Summer Games to 2021.

Accordingly, sports fans are relying on the rebroadcasts of classic games for entertainment. Even though the entertainment portion of the sports has come to an unexpected halt, the business of sports keeps turning. This is especially true in the realm of sports law. In the last week, three lawsuits involving some of sports favorite athletes came to light. Two cases involve two of the NBA’s most notable players, LeBron James and Jimmy Butler. The third case involves the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player of the Year, Lamar Jackson.

Hold on King James…That Photo Does not Belong to You

During LeBron James’ 17-year career, he has been the focal point of some pretty iconic NBA photos. There are photos of James blocking Andre Iguodala’s shot in game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. There is the iconic photo of Dwayne Wade and King James on the Miami Heat when James lays down a monster slam dunk. Before the NBA season was abruptly halted by the Coronavirus, King James was caught in yet another timeless photo. On December 19, 2019 photographer, Steven Mitchell was working the Lakers versus Heat game. Mitchell caught an awesome moment of King James dunking over Meyers Leonard.

Soon after the game, the photo was cropped and posted to James’s Facebook account. The post, which is still up has received over one thousand likes, has been shared 92 times, and has 61 comments. The picture was also posted on James’ Instagram Account. There it received over 2 million likes. To many, this may not seem like a big deal. What could be wrong with James posting a picture of himself? The answer is that it could be a copyright law violation. Accordingly, the photographer, Steven Mitchell, sued LeBron James alleging that posting the photo onto James’ social media platforms infringed on his copyright law protections.

Anchor // iTunes // Spotify // Breaker // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic // Castbox // Overcast 

Does James’ Post Violate Mitchell’s Rights in the Photo Under Copyright Law?

Copyright is an intellectual property right grounded in the United States Constitution. Authors are granted copyright protection for their original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright protection applies to photos. As such, Mitchell sued LeBron James, Uninterrupted Digital Ventures, and LRMR Ventures for copyright infringement. Mithcell alleges that James and the other defendants infringed on his copyright in the photo when it was cropped and posted on James’s Facebook and Instagram pages without Mitchell’s consent. The complaint asserts that Uninterrupted Digital Ventures and LRMR Ventures operate James’ Facebook page. Mitchell requests a jury trial to determine whether the federal Copyright Act was violated. He also seeks damages up to $150,000 per infringement.

Independent Sports and Entertainment Says Jimmy Butler Needs to Pay Up

Independent Sports and Entertainment (ISE) is telling Miami Heat star, Jimmy Butler, to “show them the money.” ISE has sued Jimmy Butler for breaching a Public Relations Agreement (PR Agreement) he entered into with them in July of 2013. ISE is an integrated sport, media, entertainment, and management company that represents talent throughout the entertainment industry. ISE assists professional athletes’ with their off the field and off the court activities. In the complaint, ISE alleges that Jimmy Butler breached their PR Agreement by failing to give them their share of profits from two deals Butler made with Nike.

Per the PR Agreement, Butler is required to pay ISE a 15% gross compensation fee in exchange for ISE’s services assisting with his personal marketing and public relations. ISE alleges that while Butler was under the PR Agreement, he entered into a contract with Nike where he earned $616,666,67. ISE has not received its 15 percent commission in the amount of $92,250. Butler later entered into an addendum on the contract. On the addendum, Butler received at least 5 million dollars. ISE has not received its 15% commission in the amount of $750,000 on the addendum.

In the complaint, ISE stipulates that the non-breaching party must provide notice of the breach to the breaching party and allow the breaching party 30 days to cure the breach. ISE alleges that they provided written notice to Butler and made attempts to collect the amounts due. Furthermore, ISE alleges that they were put in contact with Butler’s financial advisor Ken Kavanaugh who acknowledged that Butler owed the 15% fee and that payment would follow. The payment never came leading ISE to file this suit. Per the complaint, ISE is seeking damages for the amounts owed on the Nike contract and addendum.

Lamar Jackson Tells Amazon to Stop Selling his Unauthorized Merchandise 

Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback, Lamar Jackson, filed suit against and Services, Inc. (hereafter collectively referred to as Amazon) in a federal district court for infringing on his right to publicity. In the complaint, Jackson alleges that Amazon has directly advertised and sold items bearing Jackson’s name, nicknames, and images without being authorized to do so by him or the NFL. The alleged infringing items include items such as a “LAMARVELOUS Vintage Baltimore Football QB Jackson MVP T-Shirt.” In the complaint, Jackson acknowledges that Amazon had received negative publicity for facilitating the sale of items that infringe on others’ intellectual property rights by third parties in the Amazon Marketplace. However, Jackson contends that the sale of his items is different in that the sale of his items are not in the Amazon marketplace.

Jackson contends that the infringing items at issue are directly falsely promoted and advertised by Amazon as they are designated as “ships from and sold by” Jackson claims to have requested that Amazon remove and stop selling the items in question. However, Amazon has failed to so. As such, Jackson seeks a permanent injunction requiring Amazon to stop the sale of the items in question. Jackson alleges that the unauthorized sale of items bearing his name, image, and likeness on Amazon has negatively affected his own clothing line business. Accordingly, Jackson also seeks damages and disgorgement of Amazon’s profits.

MLB, NBA, and NHL: What to Expect From The Return to Sports

Mike Trout contract LeBron james NBA NFL highest paid

Sports have returned, as the return of MLB baseball to television screens occurred last week. The NBA and NHL seasons will resume this week, as the NBA starts their seeding games on Thursday. The NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers start this Saturday. There is plenty to look for as sports are returning on television screens across the United States.

Fans are interested to see how the gameday dynamic differs between each of the three sports. Players will have to adjust to playing with no fans and new possible distractions during play. In the NBA, there will be giant video screens behind the basket that could impact the game. It will also be interesting to see how people react to the fake crowd noise in these arenas.

What to Look for In MLB Return: Strategy Changes Amid Rule Changes

The MLB has returned, and there have been a few instances of the minor league rule of having a runner on second base to start extra innings. In the Angels-Athletics game this past Friday, Angels manager Joe Maddon decided to go with a five-person infield once the A’s loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th inning. It did not matter, as A’s first baseman Matt Olson hit a walk-off grand slam to end the game, but it gave a lens into how managers may try to approach extra innings. The A’s won the game, 7-3.

Another rule change that the MLB implemented even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit was that relief pitchers either had to face three batters. This rule change means that managers cannot use pitchers for individual matchups as readily as they would like. It will be interesting to see if relief pitchers do better or worse because of this rule. Managers will also have to manage their bullpen vastly different now.

One interesting tidbit of information from opening weekend is that no team was swept. Every team has already won a game. The gameplay proved to be competitive. Because of the shortened season, look for less sweeps to happen throughout as teams may have more of a focus on each individual game rather than the whole series.

What to Look for In NBA Return: How Teams Mesh Based on Roster Changes

In the NBA, there are certain teams whose rosters will look vastly different. The Brooklyn Nets will not have either Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant due to injury. They have also had four additional players opt out of the restart. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Andre Roberson made his first appearance in two years.

One of the interesting teams to watch in Orlando will be the Denver Nuggets. Before the pandemic, Nuggets fans were clamoring for Michael Porter Jr. to get more playing time. Now they will campaign to see Bol Bol get more playing time after his great performances in the Nuggets’ scrimmages together. It would be hard for any team to be able to defend a frontcourt with athletes of the caliber of Bol and Nikola Jokic. The Clippers and Lakers are the two favorites out west, but the Nuggets may force their way onto the national radar more if they can get production out of Bol Bol.

What to Look for In NHL Return: How Much Parity Will Be on Display in Stanley Cup Playoff Qualifiers

In the NHL, the 5-12 seeds will be playing five-game series to qualify for the 16-team traditional Stanley Cup Playoff bracket. These series have the potential to be closer to five games because of the long layoff. Still, expect teams with great individual talent on the offensive end to start off fast in this tournament. Some people believe that the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens have chances in their series because of their goaltenders. However, the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, New York, and Montreal’s respective opponents, have better rosters. I think most of the higher-seeded teams will end up winning these qualifying series.

Also, it will be interesting to see how much the round-robin play for the top four seeds in each conference affects how they will play the rest of the way. One of these teams could technically lose all three of their round-robin games and still win the Stanley Cup. It will be interesting to see which of the top teams is able to peak in these early games, and if that will lead to further success in the playoffs.

Grab your popcorn, chips, or whatever you eat when you watch sports, because there is going to be a lot to watch on your TV screens for the next few weeks.

Return of USA Pro Sports: Common Ground Between Leagues and Fans

LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard

As the return of pro sports in the United States draws closer, leagues are getting set to embark on seasons that they have never had to deal with before, there are specific needs that have needed to be addressed between players, owners, and fans in each respective league.

Return of USA Pro Sports Scheduled To Start With MLB

The MLB has had the most contentious path to resuming their season thus far. Luckily for baseball fans, the season looks like it will start around July 23-24. The highlight of Opening Day looks like it will be the defending champion Washington Nationals hosting the New York Yankees. A possible Gerrit Cole-Max Scherzer pitching duel on Opening Night should be something that MLB fans salivate over. In a 60-game season, there is a chance that Opening Night has a playoff feel to it already.

NBA Players’ Concerns Need To Be Addressed Despite Responsibility to Fans

For the NBA, the season is set to resume on July 30. The Opening Night to the season resumption will be highlighted by a Clippers-Lakers showdown. This game will set the tone for the race to the playoffs for the NBA. If the Clippers win, it will be game on for the number-one seed in the Western Conference. If the Lakers win, then they will be in the driver’s seat for the number-one seed.

However, some players on the 22 teams set to resume play at the end of July have backed out due to their own concerns regarding COVID-19 and social justice issues.

Fans that may be upset at players backing out have their right to be. However, a player should be taking their own well-being into account when deciding if they want to put themselves in a situation where they are putting themselves and others at risks. Brooklyn Nets forward Wilson Chandler cares about the well-being of his family and will be spending time with them instead of playing in Orlando. In a profession that requires so much time away from one’s family, it is understandable why Chandler is making this decision.

These situations are imperfect, but the leagues, players, and fans have to make the best of their unique individual situations.

Return of Pro Sports During a Pandemic Lose-Lose Situation on Surface, but Could Be Big Win For Society

For example, the criticism of the MLB and the players from the fans was definitely warranted. In a middle of a pandemic where the regular person is looking for any form of escapism that they can find, they will become disheartened quickly at negative developments as far as sports returning.

As far as the commissioners are concerned, they have been put in a lose-lose situation. The leagues are already going to lose money because of no fans being present at the games. Sure, it will be interesting to see how much television ratings increase. However, the actual plausibility of certain scenarios will not be known until they are put into practice.

The MLB is going to keep games in teams’ home cities. However, the NBA and NHL have a benefit of a shorter timeframe because they are resuming, not starting, their seasons. They will have one and two hub cities, respectively, where all the teams will be secluded to a “bubble”.

The NFL does not have the luxury of keeping its players in a bubble. There are simply too many players on the rosters. It will be interesting to see if the NFL eventually allows expanded rosters. The issue of pay may also come up during the season also. What will players do if there is a sudden reduction of salary? The one thing that the NFL differs greatly from the MLB is that they already agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement. Thus, it is highly unlikely that the NFL and NFLPA would feud over money.

Sports Leagues Returning Across the World Should Be Encouraging For USA Pro Sports

COVID-19 cases are not rising in Europe like they are in the United States. Therefore, it is an encouraging sign for sports league everywhere that the top European soccer leagues have started to finish their 2019-20 seasons. The German Bundesliga was the first of the four main European soccer leagues that was able to finish their season. Some players on some of these teams, including Barcelona (La Liga), have taken pay cuts.

2020 has had its challenges on society, but having sports back will be a great benefit to the United States. It will both be able to bring important issues to light through sport and offer a source of escapism from the news for fans. Sports coming back will hopefully help the country stay connected through interacting with other fans on social media. Although fans may not be able to celebrate their favorite teams together, they will have the ability to cheer on their teams. It will mean a lot to everyone involved.  

Which is Better: NBA or NHL Season Covid-19 Return Format?

NBA NHL LeBron James Sidney Crosby

Both the NBA and NHL are looking to bring basketball and hockey to television screens. The leagues have agreed to not finish the regular season as originally planned. Therefore, the NBA regular season will resume with 22 teams. All of these teams will play games in Orlando, Florida. Meanwhile, the NHL completely did away with the regular season, instead opting for a 24-team Stanley Cup Playoff. The NBA will have eight “seeding games” per team to determine the final playoff seeds.

NBA Keeps Regular Season in Imperfect Format

The NBA elected to give teams the chance to improve their seeding before the actual playoffs begin. Each of the 22 NBA teams returning will play eight regular-season “seeding games” to better determine how the playoff field is shaped. Thirteen Western Conference teams will go to Orlando, while only nine Eastern Conference teams will.

It may have been better for the league to go in the direction of not making the playoff brackets based on conference standings. The more practical approach could have been for the playoffs to not be conference-based, but rather league-based. Although it would have broken from tradition, it would have provided a better assurance of the 16 best teams being in the playoffs.

Another point of contention from the NBA’s return-to-play plan is that despite teams having different numbers of games played, every team going to Orlando will be playing eight games. The standings will be based on win percentage. This puts teams like the Dallas Mavericks at a disadvantage, as far as seeding, because they have played 67 games. The teams in front of the Mavericks have the same number of wins as them (40), but have only 24 losses, compared to Dallas’ 27.

Check out the GW Podcast

Anchor // iTunes // Spotify // Breaker // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic /

However, there is also an argument to be made about competitive balance as far as all teams playing the same number of games upon arrival to Orlando. It just seems like the Mavericks got the raw end of the deal. Three more NBA games does not sound like much, but one could argue the Mavericks lost those games due to the fact they had to play (slightly) more often than their opponents. Competitive balance is an issue, but fans will be happy to see this NBA season returning.

NHL Does Away With Regular Season, Opting For 24-Team Playoff

The NHL’s return-to-play plan is more succinct than the NBA’s, as teams already know who they will be playing in the first round of the playoffs. It was a good thing for the league to go 12 teams deep in each conference, as it feels like teams that would have been normally left out of the playoffs are getting a fair shot. However, some may not be happy if one of the teams who would have been normally left out of the playoffs ends up winning the Stanley Cup. Overall, the NHL made the right decision because teams that were gearing up to make a run for one of the final playoff spots simply were not able to do so. Also, if the higher seeds are truly better, they should be able to take care of business against the lower seeds.

The best part of the NHL’s 24-team playoffs is that the top four teams from each conference will get to play each other once to determine their exact seed for the playoffs. This means a team like the Colorado Avalanche, who ended up one single point behind the St. Louis Blues when the season was paused, will have a shot to basically jump ahead of them in the standings. The situation in the East is also unique, as the Philadelphia Flyers had arguably the best form of any team before the pause. The Flyers would have been the 4-seed, but now they will get the chance to show how much of an improvement they have made as they play Boston, Tampa Bay, and Washington to determine their exact seed line.

Both Leagues’ Postseasons Will Be Fun to Watch, But NHL’s Format May Be Better

The NBA and NHL both came up with creative ways to finish their seasons. One thing is for sure: they will both be entertaining to fans that have a thirst for the top-four major American sports leagues to come back. However, the edge in terms of which league had the better plan has to go to the NHL for now. Even though they may have let too many teams into the playoffs, it gives teams who were within a few games a guarantee at a chance to win Lord Stanley’s Cup.

The NBA teams that are going to Orlando are given that assurance to, but indirectly. They could be going home without playing an official playoff game. Also, it seems unbalanced in the fact that there are four more Western Conference teams that are returning than Eastern Conference teams. The teams in the East have a better assurance of making the playoffs than the teams in the West, which could be seen as unfair.

Fans will surely be entertained by both formats, but there was more clarity with the NHL’s return-to-play plan, despite the fact that there has been no announcement about the hub cities in which the teams will be playing. The NBA’s format could prove to be more successful, but on the surface, the NHL’s playoff format gives teams a more fair chance to win that respective league.         

Will the NBA, MLB or NHL Overtake the NFL As America’s Favorite Sport?

Will the NBA, MLB or NHL Overtake the NFL As America's Favorite Sport?

America Loves Football

Football. It’s Goliath and America’s favorite sport. Since the 1970’s, America transitioned to loving football more than baseball and its fans haven’t turned back. According to polls in 2018 by Ranker and a Gallup, the NFL is the leading choice for favorite sport by fans. In addition to this, the NFL has led all sports leagues in America, and the world itself, in revenue. But, with declining viewership in 2016 and 2017, political issues, and the expansion of other professional sports, will football reign king in 2030?

In order to find out, this article will review America’s Big-Three:

  • The National Football League (NFL)
  • Major League Baseball (MLB)
  • The National Basketball Association (NBA)

This article will also discuss the rise of the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

Major League Baseball (MLB)

Although baseball is no longer America’s Pastime, it has still done very well in recent years. Major League Baseball has seen 16 consecutive years of gross revenue records. “Since 1992, when Bud Selig took over as commissioner on a full-time basis, league gross revenues have grown 377% when accounting for inflation.” In 2018, Major League Baseball totaled 10.3 billion dollars in revenue. Baseball got paid. Even with a four-percent drop in attendance in 2018, its television revenues remained stable while sponsorship increased. In addition, Fox signed a new extension with Major League Baseball that runs from 2022 to 2028 and totals 5.1 billion dollars.

The problem with baseball’s overall popularity is it’s singular nature. Most baseball fans couldn’t care less about any league other than Major League Baseball. College baseball, Triple-A baseball have limited fandom attached. NCAA football and basketball are huge. Soccer has a plethora of different sports leagues spanning the entire globe in addition to the World Cup for both women and men. Basketball also has the NCAA tournament for women and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Baseball doesn’t have that. It is an isolated sports league in revenue, views and fans. So it makes sense that many American’s don’t choose baseball as their favorite sport.

However, as far as fans per league go, baseball is still mainstream. As of 2017 data, Major League Baseball, when compared to other American professional sports, had:

  • Highest attendance
  • Second-most active fans
  • Second-most Avid fans
  • Second-most fans of any interest
  • Second-most television views
  • Second-most purchased clothing/apparel with team logos

Will Major League Baseball outgrow the National Football League? It’s highly unlikely. Nonetheless, Major League Baseball revenue, attendance, and television viewership will keep it relevant for years to come.

The National Basketball Association (NBA)

Basketball is attempting to make a major push as a contender. In an interview with CNBC, Washington Wizards majority-owner Ted Leonis compared the NBA to a growing stock. High speed cameras, data, and transparency have set up the NBA for gaming and gambling. Considering the supreme court recently declared sports gambling legal, this is an incredibly smart move by the NBA. The Wizards even broadcasted games on an alternate local channel that was designed for sports gamblers. Including real-time odds and contests may seem insignificant, but attracting a new and growing sports gambling market will set the NBA up quite nicely.

One argument against the growth of basketball is the ratings of the 2017-2018 NBA Finals. Just a few years prior, the 2015-2016 NBA Finals had the best ratings since Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls had their second three-peat. The 31 million viewers put Game Seven of the 2015-2016 NBA Finals in elite company. Only two other NBA Finals games, both in different three-peat Championship games of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, had over 30 million viewers. But in the 2017-2018 NBA Finals, the average viewers dropped nearly 3 million from the previous season.

Perhaps this is due to fans seeing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers battle Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors for the fourth-consecutive season. Fans were bored. It was the same story each year. LeBron dragging a team to the NBA Finals only to lose to the Golden State Warriors wasn’t anything new. But lucky for the NBA, this will be the first post-season without LeBron James since the 2004-2005 season. The 2018-2019 NBA Finals will also be the first LeBron-less finals in nine seasons. This season is different and the parity will be refreshing for basketball followers.

NBA Global Expansion

Ratings aside, the NBA is evolving and pushing worldwide expansion. Striking international broadcast deals and making games/highlights more viewable for international audiences is the NBA’s newest target. The top-five markets for NBA basketball outside the US are China, Austrailia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. There are currently over 178 million Chinese followers of the NBA across social media channels in addition to over 300 million Chinese basketball players. More than 30-percent of the NBA league pass subscriptions are in Asia. Basketball is also the second-fastest growing sport in India and the league in running Junior NBA schemes across Asia and Australia.

This global expansion is welcomed and operated by owners and players alike. Ted Leonis described international games as business trips. Winning the game was only one part of the goal for players and management. Public appearances, sponsorship meetings and media deals were just as important to the league. Making NBA basketball global has a huge monetary incentive. Creating a larger market allows for a greater chance for sponsors, media deals and merchandise sales. It also increases the likelihood of talent. India and China alone combine for nearly 2.8 billion people. They make up 36-percent of the world’s population. Capitalizing on that market is the NBA’s best chance to compete with the NFL.

The NBA is a strong contender for 2030’s top American sports league. If they continue to press these three goals:

  • Capture Sports Gambling Market with Gambling-Friendly Broadcasts
  • Increase Talent Pool Worldwide
  • Grow International Revenue and Media Deals

The National Hockey League (NHL)

With the expansion to Seattle in 2021, the National Hockey League will have its 32nd franchise, equaling the NFL’s total. Hockey has been growing in the US and making its way across the states. This can be seen by its revenue jump in the past decade. Since the 2006-2007 season, the NHL’s revenue has doubled. Gathering in over 4 billion dollars in revenue in 2017-2018 pushed the NHL to become the fifth-highest sports league in the world in revenue. Expansion to more cities and national growth of fans has been great to the NHL.

Of note, hockey has also seem a substantial increase in youth popularity. While the percentage of 6-12 year olds playing youth football, basketball, baseball, and soccer has declined, youth hockey has seen a 64-percent rise in recent years. There are also roughly 45 thousand high school participants in ice hockey.

From the fans that have been paying attention, it’s no surprise that hockey is on the up and up. However, the idea the NHL will surpass the NFL by 2030 is short of a dream. The NFL brought in roughly three times the amount of revenue. With that being said, the NHL putting itself in the Big-Three by 2030 and edging out Major League Baseball does have a small chance.

Major League Soccer (MLS)

The dark horse of all American sports leagues is Major League Soccer (MLS). Many consider Major League Soccer the little brother (or distant relative) of European soccer. Yes, the Premier League does garner much success, ranking fourth in revenue in worldwide sports league. Yes the MLS has been in the shadow of other professional sports, but it has seen a hockey-like surge. Since 2008, Major League Soccer went from 14 teams to 24 and will have 27 teams by 2021. The league will also name its 28th team next season. Soccer is expanding across cities in the US.

Major League Soccer was also Yahoo Finance’s Business of the Year. Both ticket revenue and attendance were up in the 2018. Global stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic entering Major League Soccer have drawn support and increased followers of the league.

Most important, Major League Soccer’s 30th anniversary will coincide with the 2026 FIFA World Cup. This World Cup will take place in America. Due to a joint bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, games will be played in Mexico, Canada and the United States. In addition, the quarterfinals through the final will all be played in the United States. This will be monumental for Major League Soccer. Hosting the world’s most popular single-sport competition will certainly give Major League Soccer a major boost.

Nevertheless, just like the NHL, Major League Soccer will not be able to compete with the NFL. If it can grow to the revenue currently experienced by the NHL, that would be a large success. But don’t set expectations high for MLS soccer.

The National Football League: The King Stay the King

Following 2017, many thought that the NFL was losing its grip on America. It experienced a drop in ratings in back to back years. But that didn’t last long. TV viewership in 2018 had resurged five-percent from 2017. Sunday Night Football also was the top primetime show seven years in a row. Viewers are no longer an argument against the NFL.

Views aside, its best to review money. If money talks, the NFL is shouting. In 2018, the NFL brought in 13.68 billion dollars in revenue, averaging 427 million dollars per franchise. The 2018 purchase of the Carolina Panthers should also be noted. David Pepper’s 2.2 billion dollar purchase was an 800 million dollar increase from the price paid for the Buffalo Bills in 2014. This revenue increase and demand is associated with commissioner Roger Goodell.

Since taking over as league commissioner in 2005, Goodell has led a revenue increase from 6.5 billion to 13.68 billion dollars. He aims for 25 billion dollars by 2027. Changing league rules, negotiating media contracts and expanding global reach to London and Mexico keeps the NFL at the top.

The introduction of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) and the reintroduction of the XFL will also raise football’s fandom. These leagues will make games more affordable to attend as a gateway to NFL game attendance. They also will act as development leagues for players, schemes, coaches, rules and business. Utilizing them in such a way will provide the NFL exactly what it needs to remain king.

Final Rankings for 2030

As much as some would love the NFL’s top spot to be taken over by 2030, it just won’t happen. Football has a firm grasp on America. Fantasy football was large enough to support “The League” for seven seasons on FX. The Super Bowl is America’s most-watched game. And roughly a third of Americans polled by Gallup picked football as their favorite sport. Football just has too much. Roger Goodell has also proved that he is willing to alter the game each season and push revenue forward for league owners. Ever evolving and popular, the NFL will still be at the top.

With that being said, the NBA will close the gap significantly with the NFL by 2030. International expansion, rising young stars and LeBron’s development with the Los Angeles Lakers will bring the NBA to sports royalty. Two giants competing with one another. Football and basketball will be the Big-Two.

In conclusion, here are my 2030 rankings for America’s sports leagues by revenue with one bold prediction for hockey:

  • Big-Two: The NFL (No.1) and the NBA (No. 2)
  • Next Up: The NHL (No. 3) and the MLB (No. 4)
  • Keep Climbing: The MLS (No. 5)

NBA rises to meet NFL.

MLB falls below the rising NHL.

Soccer still has ground to cover.

NHL: 10 Things you need to know about the 2018 Season!

10 things you need to know for new NHL season!

10 things you need to know for the new NHL season! More Speed, more young super rookies, and the East will once again be the best conference. 2018-2019 will have a lot of exciting storylines so let’s drop that puck, skate, check, score that goal and talk some hockey, eh!

1 Defenders of the Cup!

No hangovers here for the defenders of the holy grail. The Washington Capitals ended years of playoff futility, and Alex Ovechkin got the monkey off his back. He will now be concentrating on scoring more goals and increasing his legacy among the all-time greats. Raising the banner, beating the Bruins 7-0, and Ovie scoring in the opener equals a whole lot of awesome! A deep roster with developing star Kuznetsov looks like he is still getting better makes it a tough challenge to slow down this team. The team is a bit ornery as well after Tom Wilson’s received a 20 game suspension. The defending Stanley Cup champs will be tough to beat yet again which makes them the top story for 10 things you need to know for new NHL season!

2 Tavares will stop the futility

The pressure is on John Tavares! #91 who will be trying to end 50 years of misery in Toronto. This roster is full of young talented players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander. It’s very rare that an NHL franchise player moves from a team in his prime and being his boyhood favorite (Slept in Maple Leafs sheets as a kid), John Tavares will carry the expectations of a Hockey crazed town on his shoulders. Hey NHL 19 predicts the Leafs will host the cup so maybe this is the year? Think of LeBron James going to Miami from Cleveland as the last time I can think of a young superstar who switched cities and needed to prove himself with such high expectations. No one player is expected to do more making this a huge story for 10 things you need to know for new NHL season!

3 The Best Rookies for 2018-2019

Some Rookies you better get to know because they are special!  This kid in Vancouver, Elias Pettersson is someone to watch. Scoring in his first game has many Canucks fans very excited.  I can’t wait to see Rasmus Dahlin the Buffalo Sabres #1 overall pick from the 2018 draft. He will outshine Josh Allen by a lot in that town. This kid has superstar Erik Karlsson skills!  Other names to watch for include Brady Tkachuk Ottawa Senators, Filip Chytil NY Rangers, and Andrew Svechnikov Carolina Hurricanes. Some exciting new names are a big story for 10 things you need to know for new NHL season!

4 A career year ahead for the best player in the NHL!

Connor McDavid is fantastic, but this year barring injury he will be even better. I should have placed McDavid a bit higher in our 10 things you need to know about new NHL Season, but everyone is expecting gigantic success.

The Oilers franchise has produced Wayne Gretzky Mark Messier, Glen Anderson, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, and Grant Fuhr believe Connor is in that same class of greatness. His world-class speed (40 MPH) blowing past defenseman will be in full effect in Edmonton. Now entering his fourth season (256 points in 209 games), he has matured and is committed to improving every aspect of his game. I’m expecting this year that he breaks his own scoring best (108 points) and leaves no question to whom is the best player in the NHL.

5 Will Tampa Bay live up to the lofty expectations

The Lightning should have the best hockey team in the NHL. You can argue they the deepest as well.  On my 10 things you need to know for new NHL season, Tampa might have the most pressure of any North American based squad. If they don’t win the Stanley Cup in 2018-2019, then heads will roll this year.  Here is the list of All-Stars on this roster (Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and when healthy Tyler Johnson) add to that super rookies Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev this team needs to win now!

6 Teams that are rebuilding

10 things you need to know for new NHL season is many famous franchises might be tanking. A huge list indeed for those teams who will try to suck for Jack Hughes! Is he that good? Yes, he is!  The Arizona Coyotes who seem like they are always rebuilding have a bigger question to answer like will they even remain in Phoenix? The Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, N.Y. Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, and the NY Rangers are all in the hunt to be in the Jack Hughes sweepstakes. Its hard to imagine the Rangers, Canadiens and Red Wings are on this list but its true.

For Henrik Lundqvist, it appears he is okay with New York restocking for next year. He’s 36 years old, and you wonder if he will ever get that elusive Stanley Cup. The Blueshirts might be closer than people think with such young players close to being ready (Brett Howden, Lias Andersson, Filip Chytil, Vitali Kravtsov, and Igor Shestyorkin). I’m sure Gary Bettman is in his office cringing at the thought of the Rangers, Canadiens, and Red Wings all rebuilding at the same time. The Original Six needs Toronto, Boston, or Chicago to carry that old school Hockey to greatness!

7 Can Vegas avoid the sophomore slump?

Yes, they can. Gerard Gallant has a stacked roster, and the off-season acquisition of Paul Stastny will help.  They did lose James Neal and David Perron but youngster Alex Tuch is about to take center stage!  The Golden Knights might not be as good during the regular season as they were last year but they will make a deep run in the NHL Playoffs.  Never doubt the greatness of Marc-Andre Fleury and William Karlsson (43 Goals) is killer!

8 Will Nashville bring a Stanley Cup to Graceland or are they just a tease?

You want to see or meet celebrities, attend a Predators game in Nashville. Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Kings of Leon, Dierks Bentley, Nicole Kidman, Connie Britton show up to see them play.  Okay, maybe Carrie doesn’t count her husband played for them, but this city loves its Hockey.  They should; the Predators are very good with such stars like (P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg, Pekka Rinne, and Viktor Arvidsson). Nashville scares you because that defense pushes the play and scores a ton of goals!  Las Vegas has Nashville as the favorites to win it all. Let’s hope the Predators aren’t Hound Dogs but true Saber-tooth monsters!

9 Are the Flightless Fowl on the decline?

One of these years the Penguins are going to falter. They are the New England Patriots of the NHL. Very consistent and always a threat to hoist the Cup.  They still have the marquee names (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang) but they are all getting long in the tooth. Could one last Cup run be in order?, I wouldn’t doubt it.  This team finds a way. Crosby (1,116 career points) and Malkin (930 points) on certain nights can be the best two Hockey players in the world. They are also the two players who hated to see the Caps raise the cup more than anybody.

The problem with the Pittsburgh Penguins remains the defense which is weak and will Goalie Matt Murray ever stay healthy? A lot of questions to answer for the aging Penguins and worthy of a place in 10 things you need to know for new NHL season!

10 things you need to know for the new NHL season!: Get Ready Seattle the NHL is coming!

The most exciting news in Ten things you need to know about NHL season is a new franchise is on its way.  Sometime this year, we will get an announcement that Seattle will have a professional Hockey team. Apparently, with a $660 million renovation of the Key Arena and the NHL wanting to expand by 2020, all the stars appear aligned for this to happen. Hey, Expansion works in the NHL, the Golden Knights were in the Finals last year.  Great news for the Emerald City but can part of that deal somehow force the NBA to bring back the Sonics?  Then, we can all celebrate because the Sonics were fun no matter who you root for and those fans got royally screwed.

These are the 10 things you need to know for the new NHL season!  I’m sure many more will develop. The NHL playoffs are considered by many the best of the big four.  The season is pretty exciting as well. We are Unafraid to talk Hockey so let me know what you think and, let’s enjoy the fastest sport on the planet!

Which League has the Best Playoffs: MLB, NBA, NFL, or NHL?

best playoffs

Best Part of Pro Sports

The playoffs are a special time in sports. Fans are on the edge of their seats, players are little more nervous, and the margin of error is as slim as possible. The chance to win a title is a dream that keeps you up at night. It’s the culmination of all the hard work done in the offseason and regular season.

Keeping that in mind, I pose this question. What sport has the best playoffs? For the purpose of this argument, we’re choosing from the four major sports – MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL.

Let the debate begin.

4. NBA

“Why do I even bother if I already know what’s going to happen? It’s going to be the Cavs vs. Warriors in the NBA finals?” – Average fan/basketball hater.

I love the NBA. Watching the best players in the world night in and night out is great television. We live in an era that has some of the best players ever to lace them up. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, James Harden, and the legend himself, LeBron James, are all in the prime of their career. Their basketball abilities are unfathomable.

However, there is some truth to the “we already know the outcome” statement. For an 82 game season, there isn’t too much drama that occurs in the playoffs. The Warriors represented the West in four straight seasons, and LeBron represented the East in eight (!!!) straight finals. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a few series make it to 7 games, but on the flip side, there are A LOT of blowouts. That’s not exactly must-see television. Take a look at last year’s playoffs.

Thankfully, the Celtics were competitive enough to force a few Game 7s. However, as great as LeBron James was last year, the Cavs had no chance in a 7 game series against the Warriors. There is not a lot of parity. Maybe this year will be different, and a new team will emerge as champion!

Just kidding. The Warriors will beat the _________ in 5 games…again.

3. NFL

What the NFL has on its side is a favorable length to the season. 16 games to a season may be easier to watch and keep track of than a 162 game baseball season. It also stresses the importance of the regular season. In the playoffs, the NFL has Divisional Weekend, which is arguably the best weekend in sports. Crazy and exciting things seem to always happen in the Divisional Round. Just look at last season. DIGGS! SIDELINE! TOUCHDOWN! UNBELIEVABLE!

However, that doesn’t always happen every year. Compared to baseball and hockey, the unpredictability factor is fairly low. In 14 of the last 15 seasons, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Ben Roethlisberger have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl. That’s great if you’re a fan of those quarterbacks, but not so much if you root for the other teams. Also, the first round is notorious for having a few poor games and mismatches. Last year was an outlier (although the Jaguars beat the Bills 10-3), but in 2016, the smallest losing deficit was 13. It truly depends on the year, but the small amount of playoff games backfires when the games are not exciting.

2. NHL

Do you want to talk about edge of your seat television? Look no further than the NHL playoffs. It is so hard to score a goal in hockey, so when it happens in the playoffs, it’s like winning the Super Bowl. The celebrations are epic. From the announcers to the fans in the arena to the millions watching at home, the atmosphere is electric. Players are diving in front of shots on every possession. Goalies are standing on their heads to make impossible saves. If you blink, you might miss the action.

By far, the NHL has the highest unpredictability factor out of the four major sports. Chalk doesn’t always win. Two years ago, the Nashville Predators made the Stanley Cup Final as an 8 seed. Two years ago, a 2 seed defeated a 3 seed in the finals. Three years ago, a 3 seed defeated a 2 seed in the finals. There’s no stopping a hot goalie in the playoffs. Did I also mention that the Stanley Cup is the best trophy in professional sports?

1. MLB

For me, nothing beats October baseball. After a long 162 game season, 10 teams duke it out over one month for a chance to win the World Series. Just like hockey, baseball has an exciting atmosphere. I was lucky enough to attend the Wild Card game last year between the Twins and Yankees, and I thought I was going deaf after the game. I’d argue that home field matters the most in baseball as opposed to the other major sports. In terms of format, it’s the only major sport to change the number of games in each round. The Division Series is best-of-five while the Championship Series and World Series are best-of-seven.

Baseball is truly a “never say die game” because 10 teams have come back from 0-2 deficits in the Division Series and one team has come back from a 0-3 deficit, with the latter never happening in the NBA. The length of the postseason is perfect. It takes a little over one month to crown a champion as opposed to the drawn-out NBA and NHL playoffs, which last two months. Plus, teams play on consecutive days, which doesn’t happen in the other major sports. Give me the eighth inning of a tie ball game with bases loaded, two outs over any playoff situation in the major sports.

Do you agree or disagree with the Best Playoffs: MLB, NBA, NFL, or NHL rankings? Leave your thoughts in the comments.