Paulie’s Perspective: Time For Sports To Return & Rich Folk

Sports has been out of our lives for a month and a half now, and it looks like it’s going to return whether we like it or not. As you may have noticed, NBA and MLB seasons have been scrapped, along with NCAA March Madness. Well NASCAR is going to be leading the charge back to televising sports.

May 17, NASCAR will resume racing on television again, with no crowds, but plenty of cars and sponsors. It will air on Fox Sports and I’m sure everyone is going to be glad it’s back.

Some sports however, never left. Vince McMahon has continued airing his wrestling shows from their training center in Florida this entire time, twice a week. No fans in the stands, but at least the sponsors got their ads on the air. 

PGA is returning June 8, with the Charles Schwabb Challenge. Golf courses aren’t exactly cramped spaces, so social distancing should be pretty easy to achieve. 

Horse racing is returning in late May with the Arkansas Derby on NBCSN. Another sport where things aren’t exactly crammed together. I think even if a jockey should sneeze, it’ll just blow back into his own face. 

Among all these announcements, LeBron James has stated that he would love to find a way to somehow salvage the basketball season. Maybe finish out what’s left without crowds – but Basketball isn’t exactly a social distance friendly environment. Guys get spit on all the time and it’s a pretty close contact sport. So we will see how that plays out. 

All these announcements, of course, have good reason, and that is of course, money. Sports channels are under immense pressure now from pay-tv providers who have subscribers paying specifically for sports, and having no sports to air. The New York Attorney General has sent letters to cable companies asking them to provide fee relief to subscribers since they are now essentially paying to watch nothing. Altice, a cable company, has said discussions have begun regarding fee adjustments, and I can guarantee you nobody likes those kinds of talks. Charter CEO Tom Rutledge has said that since no sport has been cancelled outright, no relief should be given. If a sport is completely cancelled, only then will cable companies begin to give subscribers some relief. Looks like everyone is doing all they can to keep their hefty paychecks and multiple yachts in their harbors. 

While we are on the subject of rich folk. Let’s talk about all these CEO’s who have sworn off their million dollar salaries during these tough times to show solidarity to the common man and maybe be a little bit more liked by board members so they don’t get voted out of their cushy jobs.

A few CEO’s in the entertainment biz said they don’t want their salary during these times. Noble? Not really. Not when you look at their income. Their salaries are the lowest number on their income sheets. Not a horrible sacrifice to say the least. Let me show you what I mean.

Disney’s Bob Iger – 3M Salary / 10M Stock / 9.6M Option awards / 21.75M incentive plan compensation / 1.9M Pension / 1.1M Other

Discvery’s David Zaslav: 3M Salary / 13M Stock / 6.9M Options / 21M incentive plan compensation

FOX Corp’s Lachlan Murdoch 3M Salary / 1.7M Bonus / 23M Stock / 4.9M Options / 5.7M Incentive plan compensation

Netflix’s Reed Hastings 700,000 Salary / 37.4M Options

ViacomCBS Bob Bakish 3.1M Salary / 12.4M Bonus / 16M Equity 

AT&T Randall Stephenson 1.8M Salary / 19M Stock / 5.28M Incentive plan compensation / 1.5M Other

I could go on and on but you get the point. Their salaries are their lunch money. So hey it looks great to the people on the street, and the board is cheering them on, but are they hit hard in the bank account? Not really, no. Will be they go from eating out every night to a box of cereal a week? Hardly. It’s more of an empty gesture than a sacrifice. Is a mere 3M going to change anything, anywhere? No. Will it save thousands of layoffs? It should, but it won’t. And saving jobs is exactly the kind of promise these CEO”s should be making at times like this. Not giving up their lunch money only to continue to have steak for dinner. 

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