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Stricker Says Proposed PGA Tour Policy
Will Go In Front Of Board Later This Fall
Golfer Steve Stricker yesterday said a PGA Tour policy change that would require elite golfers to expand their schedules to include struggling events is "going to happen," according to Rick Brown of the DES MOINES REGISTER. Stricker, one of 16 players on the PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council, said, "It will go in front of the board later this fall. If passed, I'm sure it will be in effect next year." He indicated that three to six PGA Tour tournaments "will be designated next year, events that could most use field enhancements." Stricker: "Then we'll come to maybe the top 50 players from the previous Fed Ex Cup year and ask them to add another tournament from this list." He added the tour is "just asking for one tournament, they're not asking for two or three or four." Stricker: "If we can't do that, we've got problems." Stricker said that there will be "consequences for not playing in one of those designated-field events, but details need to be worked out" (DES MOINES REGISTER, 6/9). PGA Tour Exec VP & COO Rick George said that talks are "still in the early stages." George: "We would do it because we think it would help the quality of the field at a few events. We know that's important to our sponsors." Golfer David Toms: "Moving forward, it's going to be a little bit tougher to sell corporate sponsorships, just like in all sports. As players, we have to do whatever we need to do. If that means playing more, or playing certain events that need the help, I think it's a good idea" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 6/9).
MEMPHIS BLUES: In Memphis, Phil Stukenborg notes the PGA Tour St. Jude Classic, which tees off tomorrow, has a presenting sponsor in Smith & Nephew but "desperately needs the cash infusion a title sponsor brings." The event lost Stanford Financial as a title sponsor in February '09 and "without a replacement title sponsor, the tournament could be a Tour casualty." George said that the Tour is "'still diligently working for a title sponsor long-term' and appreciates the support shown by not only Smith & Nephew but also by former title sponsor FedEx." He said that the tournament "should be attractive to potential title sponsors on several fronts, including being one of the longest-running events on Tour and its consistently strong fields." George noted that besides the SJC, "only one other event -- the Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. -- is operating without a title sponsor" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 6/9). St. Jude Classic Tournament Dir Phil Cannon said that "four or five possible title sponsors will be represented at the tournament" this year. Smith & Nephew is an "obvious candidate" for a title deal, while Boeing -- "with an order to build 30 planes for FedEx -- is another that might make some sense" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 6/9).
German Bundesliga Tops EPL As
World's Most Profitable Soccer League
Deloitte's Review of Football Finance found that the combined revenue of the EPL, French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga during the '08-09 FY grew $9.4B (all figures U.S.), or 3%, from the previous year, "helped by a variety of factors, from strong broadcast deals to off-field commercial activity and solid ticket sales," according to Matthew Saltmarsh of the N.Y. TIMES. The Bundesliga posted the "highest absolute and relative growth of any of the major leagues," and the league's commercial revenue rose 16%. The EPL's revenue increased $70.6M, or 3%, but its revenue in euro terms fell 5% "because of the pound's decline against the euro." Meanwhile, Ligue 1's revenue "touched 1 billion euros for the first time," or $1.19B. However, Deloitte in the report indicated while the "'big five' leagues have shown admirable resilience to the economic climate in terms of revenue generation, the imbalance between revenue and costs has, in the main, worsened." Deloitte indicated that one area "of particular concern is wages, where the inflation shows little sign of moderating," as salaries in the leagues increased by $364.2M, or 6%, in '08-09. The report also indicated that the net debt of EPL clubs in '08-09 increased to $4.76B from $4.61B the previous season (N.Y. TIMES, 6/8).TOP FIVE EURO SOCCER LEAGUE '08-09 REVENUESLEAGUE (COUNTRY)REVENUEYEAR-OVER-YEAR % +/-EPL (England)$2.73B-5%Bundesliga (Germany)$1.91B10%
La Liga (Spain)$1.79B4% Serie A (Italy)$1.79B5% Ligue 1 (France)$1.19B6%
NO LONGER ON TOP: REUTERS' Alan Baldwin noted the Bundesliga in the report overtook the EPL "as the world's most profitable league in 2008/09 despite English soccer enjoying record revenues." EPL operating profits "more than halved" from $266.8M in '07-08 to $113.9M in '08-09, while the Bundesliga's '08-09 operating profits were $206.8M. Baldwin noted the $70.6M rise in EPL revenue "was less than half" the $190.3M "increase in wage costs which reached more than" $1.87B (REUTERS, 6/7). The BBC's Bill Wilson noted the report indicated that "soaring wages are threatening the stability" of EPL clubs, who "spent 67% of their revenues" on player wages during '08-09. Deloitte Sports Business Group Partner Dan Jones: "That's too high." Wilson noted only 10 of the 20 EPL clubs "made an operating profit in 2008/09, one less than a year before" (BBC.co.uk, 6/8). In London, Mark Fleming noted spending on player salaries among EPL clubs has "rocketed" in the last three years, as wages have "soared by more than 55 per cent in that period." EPL clubs are "so concerned about the prospect of fighting off the demands of players and their agents they have yet to announce just how much money has been raised by selling the league's TV rights overseas" (London INDEPENDENT, 6/8).
WAKE-UP CALL? In London, Rory Smith writes the report is a "clear warning for clubs in light of Portsmouth's demise" and with UEFA "determined to force teams to spend within their means" (London TELEGRAPH, 6/8). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Michael Kavanagh noted the report indicated that Serie A "saw 73 per cent of total revenues absorbed by wages, while France's Ligue 1 at 69 per cent also had a worse ratio" than the EPL. La Liga "stood at 63 per cent of revenues," and that league suffers the "largest disparity of income between clubs." The Bundesliga's player wage levels were 51% of total revenue (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/8).