Sports Finance Report: Mike Golic Discusses Some Personal Finance Decisions, Trey Wingo Shares His Thoughts On Goodell

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Goodell Asking For $49.5 Million Annually, Trey Wingo Says He’s Not Overpaid

The NFL’s 6-owner Compensation Committee will hold a conference call later today to discuss Commissioner Goodell’s proposed contract extension, despite opposition (i.e. threat of a lawsuit) from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The commissioner’s salary and compensation package is at the top of the agenda; with reports indicating that Goodell has formally requested $49.5 million in annual salary, plus the lifetime use of a private jet and healthcare for his family. At least one NFL owner agrees with Jones, saying “that number for Roger just seems too much. It’s offensive. It’s unseemly.” Goodell made $34 million in 2015, the last year that the league maintained a tax-exempt status that required his salary be made public.

Howie Long-Short: $49.5 million would have made Goodell the 3rd highest paid CEO in 2016, behind only Les Moonves (CBS, $68.6 million) and Tom Rutledge (CHTR, $98 million). For comparison purposes, Moonves’ CBS Corp. generated $13.17 billion in 2016, while Charter Communications brought in over $29 billion in ‘16 revenue. Goodell has grown NFL revenues to over $15 billion; perhaps his asking price isn’t nearly as “offensive” as it initially appears.

Fan Marino: I asked NFL Live Host Trey Wingo if he thought Commissioner Goodell was worthy of a $50 million annual salary. His response, “here’s the deal. You are worth what someone is willing to pay you. Jerry Jones was one of the 31 (Packers are public) owners that voted unanimously in favor of Roger’s contract extension. The 6-person Compensation Committee will decide what fair compensation is. Now, Jerry is upset with Roger and is trying to spearhead a change on something he’s already voted on. At the end of the day, you’ve already negotiated this. You can’t go back now.” Trey’s right, Jerry voted in favor of Goodell’s extension and knew his compensation would be determined at the sole discretion of the Compensation Committee. His opportunity to present opposition has passed.

Note: Beginning Monday November 27th, Golic & Wingo will air weekdays from 6-10a EST on ESPN radio, with simulcast on ESPN2 (moving to ESPNU in January).

Mike Golic Talks About Some Personal Finance Decisions

ESPN’s long-running morning drive radio show Mike & Mike, is coming to an end; with the last show scheduled for Friday. Beginning Monday November 27th, Mike Golic will be joined in studio by new co-Host Trey Wingo. Golic & Wingo will air weekdays from 6-10a EST, with simulcast on ESPN2 (moving to ESPNU in January). JohnWallStreet had the opportunity to catch up with the guys to discuss finance, the NFL and their new show. In part 1 of a 3-part series, Mike Golic talks about some of the personal finance decisions he’s made.

JWS: Who handled your finances during your time in the NFL?

Golic: When I got into the league at 21 years old, my brother (Bob) was with IMG out of Cleveland; so, I went with them as well. I made the decision without even thinking about it. I hired them as my agent and they did everything. All my bills went to them. I was a business major, so it wasn’t like I was inept; but I said this is what you guys do, you offer this, I’m going to take it. You guys take care of my money to the point of paying my rent and bills.

JWS: Did you think that you would make enough money playing football to carry you through the balance of your life?

Golic: No, I was in the league for 3 years before I made $100,000. This was before free agency, so even if I had been an all-pro player, the monster deals weren’t out there. I knew I could make some money.  In my 9 years, my salaries equaled up to a little more than $2 million. Certainly, nice money, but it wasn’t going to take care of me for the rest of my life.

JWS: Did you overspend during your playing career?  

Golic: I got drafted by the Houston Oilers and broke my ankle in training camp, so I was on injured reserve my whole rookie season. I went out a lot and when I went out a lot, I would buy drinks a lot; for a lot of people. 3 months in to the season, my agent and financial advisor called; he said, just because your credit card has a limit every month, does not mean you hit it.  That was my ding-ding moment. I’m not seeing anything because everything was going to them. I was only making $62,000 and I was just kind of spending it. I learned the lesson of man, know what is going on.

JWS: When did you decide to be more pro-active with paying your own bills?

Golic: When I got married and Chris (wife), who has an accounting degree, said we’re not doing this anymore. I’m going take care of the bills. The money is now going to run through us and I’m going to keep an eye on it.

Howie Long-Short: Mike earned $62,000 as an NFL rookie. Today’s NFL rookie minimum is $465,000. Had Mike played in today’s era, simply earning the league minimum in each of his 9 seasons, he would have made over $8.335 million in his playing career; more than 4x his actual on-field career earnings total.

Fan Marino: Fun Fact: One of the first investments made on Mike’s behalf was the purchase of shares in the Boston Celtics. The NBA franchise was traded on the NYSE until its 2002 sale. Currently the Knicks (MSG) and Raptors (RCI) are the only publicly traded NBA franchises. Howie seems to think MSG is undervalued.

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ESPN Announces Name, Timeframe for Launch of D-T-C Streaming Service

On Disney’s Q4 earnings call late last week, CEO Bob Iger introduced ESPN’s new DTC streaming service, ESPN Plus (ESPN +). ESPN+ will launch next spring with a fully redesigned app; offering scores and highlights, the ability to stream the network’s linear cable channels and more than 10,000 live sporting events. Iger’s comments failed to clarify if the Bam-Tech powered service will require subscribers to maintain a cable TV subscription and no pricing information was disclosed; though it is expected that the service will cost less than Netflix.

Howie Long-Short: Disney (DIS) reported fiscal Q4 revenue declined 3% YOY (to $12.8 billion) and net income declined 1% (to $1.75 billion). The company’s media segment was hit particularly hard, with net income down 12% YOY (to $1.48 billion); the 6th straight quarter that figure has dropped. ESPN contributed to the decline with affiliate revenue growth unable to offset increased programming expenses (i.e. NFL, NBA broadcast rights) and a YOY loss in ad revenue. Despite the negative news, Iger remains optimistic about sports network saying, “the brand is strong. The quality of their programming is strong. There are always opportunities to improve, but we like where ESPN is these days.” Shareholders aren’t going to be happy with DIS’ worst calendar year performance since 2008 (-1.5% YTD), but there is no question that the quality of ESPN’s programming remains elite. Bowl season and the College Football Playoffs will showcase that.

Fan Marino: On October 31st, we wrote that ESPN was likely to lay off 40-60 employees after Thanksgiving. New reports indicate that number could now exceed 100, with SportsCenter on-air talent said to be among those who will be affected. ESPN’s primetime viewership (i.e. games) remains flat, but their total day audience declined 3% YOY during fiscal Q4; so, it isn’t like the existing line-up is setting the world on fire. As I’ve said before, if ESPN must cut costs; start with the on-air talent. The audience is tuning in for the game or the highlights, not the broadcasters or anchors.

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What is JohnWallStreet?

JohnWallStreet is not a person or location, but a destination for the educated sports fan.

While we won’t be publishing “hot takes” on LeBron’s relative greatness to Jordan, we will be offering up the most relevant sports related finance news, in easily digestible bites, with commentary from both the equities analyst and sports fanatic perspectives.

We’ll cover publicly traded professional teams & stadiums, television networks, apparel & footwear companies, equipment companies, ticketing companies, content and facilities providers. If it trades on Wall Street, and has a sports angle, it’s in our wheel house.

Howie Long-Short and Fan Marino will be providing their expert opinions on each story. They have slightly different areas of expertise. Fan Marino is a firm believer that the SEC is the premier football conference. Howie Long-Short knows it as the Security & Exchange Commission. Fan Marino lives and dies with the college selection of 5 star, blue chip recruits. Howie Long-Short spends his days analyzing blue chip stocks. Howie Long-Short knows that Black Monday occurred on October 19th, 1987. Fan Marino swears it happens every January after Week 17. You get the point.