🔥Upside Chat: Dr Ron Dick, Duquesne University, Ex NBA/NCAA exec on 2026 Soccer World Cup, the NHL's $5B Milestone, the Warriors, the Liv Golf League & Nadal’s 22 Grand Slam Title
This week we had the honor to interview again Dr. Ron Dick, associate professor of sports marketing at Duquesne University in the school of business. Ron also worked for 20 years in sports, including 15 years in the NBA with the Sixers and the Nets, and then four years in the NCAA.
📝Show Notes: Through this interview, we touched on the 2026 Soccer World Cup in the US, the NHL expected to reach $5B in revenue. We also discussed the Warriors winning their 4th NBA title, the Liv Golf league, and Nadal’s 22 grand slam title.
🚀Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Ron:
On the potential economic impact of the 2026 Soccer World Cup in the US and a new study from 2018 that found that North America could collectively see $5B in economic impact from the 2026 Soccer World Cup:
“ I think it's really good for those 11 particular cities in our country. And the other cities we mentioned in both Canada and Mexico. Those people come to watch those games. They are going to fly in and out of the airport. We call them the “heads and beds”. They are going to eat and sleep someplace. And it's real money that comes in and gives our economy a jump start. So I think it's wonderful”.
“ Soccer is the number one sport in the entire world. There's no question. I'm thinking basketball might be number two (..) It's something that gives the MLS and the United States more credibility. We're used to having the best of everything supposedly with the leagues”.
“The MLS is not even close to the best league in the world for soccer. It's probably somewhere between 10 to 15. It certainly has gotten some stars out of South America and stars out of Europe that has helped the league get more credibility and up the level of play. So this can only help us in the soccer world especially globally”.
On the Golden State Warriors winning their 4th NBA championship and if they are a dynasty now:
“So they won four titles in eight years and they got a game seven in the series against the Cleveland Cavs. Back then they were up three to one and they probably should have won that series, but they did not. They lost game seven against LeBron and Cleveland. So, yeah, I think it's already a dynasty at the same time”.
“Do I think they can get to six NBA titles considering the age of the players? If I had to pick a side, I would say no, but it would not surprise me though, if they did. And they seem to have a lot of the guys under contract, the core players, and they made some really nice additions. Wiggins was a nice addition to the team. They've also made some other nice draft picks. So they've got some young blood there too. These shooters get older and that is, of course the last thing that leaves us as a basketball player, our jump shot. But I wouldn't be surprised if they get two more NBA titles”.
On the 2022 NBA draft and the fact that the Timberwolves passed on Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the past:
“That's what makes the NBA draft so important when you have a chance to get one of those players, but hey, how many teams passed on Kobe Bryant? 13 teams passed on Kobe Bryant. And Kobe got in in 1996. They called him a high school kid and Kevin Garnett had just come out the year before in 1995 and he had a pretty good rookie year with Minnesota”.
“People make mistakes. Everybody talks about Tom Brady going in the sixth round in the NFL draft, but The Patriots passed on him five times. If he goes in the sixth round, that means the Patriots didn't think he was worthy of a top five round pick. So there are a lot of teams that are kicking themselves as well”.
On the NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, saying that the NHL league is set to generate record revenue of at least $5.2B.
“Bettman was assistant to the great David Stern, who in 1984, took over the NBA commissioner's job from Larry O'Brien in 1984 and he did wonderful things for the NBA. So Bettman modeled the NHL after the NBA. So they got into terms like East and West, and they made the NHL a very digestible product for the masses, not just for the hardcore fans in Canada who will always be with you. So I think the fact that the NHL recently got involved with ESPN had an impact and many of their games have been broadcasted on ABC, ABC, ESPN and Disney”.
“So, yeah, I'm not surprised the revenue's up. I think that's wonderful. And I think that can go even higher. It just seems like a good time for that. And we all need programming (..) And of the course I think gambling's probably going to help them a little bit. We have people betting on hockey right now”.
“I would think Colorado is going the Stanley Cup this year. I think they play a tremendous defense. We were just down there in Tampa and they love their team. And do they support that team in Tampa?”.
On the new Liv Golf kicking off its first golf tournament:
“I think there's a lot of things going on. I think the PGA is worried about being extinct. They are using the human rights issues in Saudi Arabia as leverage to say that this is wrong to participate in it. And I don't know if that is something that makes sense. It seems like they're hand picking one particular group. I mean China has some issues too but yet we do events in China”.
“Pro golfers get paid to play golf. It is very similar to tennis and their individual entities and brands. And it is not uncommon that tennis players and golfers get paid for appearance to just try out, to appear and fly somewhere and go golfing. People will buy tickets to see those golfers and nobody's bigger than Tiger Woods”.
“My question is where is this money coming from from Saudi Arabia? Are they broadcasting the games on television somewhere and, and making that much money that they can pay the players? Is it coming from ticket sales? You mentioned earlier when we were in the green room, where we were just talking that the first match was played in England, right? So obviously England doesn't have a problem with the money”.
“I think the PGA is in trouble and the Liv Golf league is definitely a threat for them. Golfers could also start their own league in the United States and they could dissolve the PGA and we could call it the Tiger Woods league. And I think people would still watch on television. So I think the PGA may be shooting themselves in the foot and I think they're fighting for their own existence right now”.
On Rafael Nadal’s winning his 14th French open championship this month and his 22nd Grand slam title:
“I think it was the year, 2000, 2002, when Federer was the first one to hit the scene and then quickly after that Nadal and Djokovic came in. Could you imagine how many of these championships these guys would've won if they weren't going head to head against two of the other greatest players of all time? I think they've won every grand slam since 2002, 2003, except for maybe a handful. Certainly we know for a fact that Nadal is the greatest player on clay of all time. I mean, to win any one of them for 14 times at the French Open tennis that's as dominant as he can get.”
“Rafael Nadal seems like a very likable guy and he's beloved in Spain. I think that Djokovic is the only one that could possibly catch him, but who's to say Nadal is not gonna win a 15th French Open a year from now. It seems like athletes in general are just playing longer, and they are healthier. They are using the Tom Brady model, who is obviously number one in that category. But the fact that all these guys are so good at the age they're at is very impressive”.
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