🔥Upside Chat: Dr Ron Dick, Duquesne University on COVID-19, Messi, Clubs' Debts, Sports Betting, and Tom Brady.
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 state of COVID-19 now, as teams in college in the NFL, for example, are going back to play. We also discussed the 1.3 billion euros debt announced by Barcelona Football Club. We also touched on Leo Messi, who got traded to Paris Saint-Germain and I happened to be, part of this is going to get paid in tokens. Lastly we talked about sports betting, which is set to become a big revenue generator for major sports leagues.
🚀Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Ron:
On the state of COVID-19 and whether or not colleges and teams are prepared this time: “We're so much better than we were a year ago. I haven't been in a classroom in almost a year and a half. It was March 20th of 2020, when they told us that we're no longer meeting face to face. And we were going to go through Blackboard and online to finish up the rest of the semester. That's all we did in the summer of 2020 was online. And then in 2021, that school year was 100% online. And then I just taught three courses this summer online. So to actually be in a classroom face-to-face with students, many of which are student athletes, it's really invigorating. And it feels so normal compared to what was going on before. And I think we have the vaccination to thank for that”.
On whether or not we will all have to take a COVID-19 shot every year: “That might be the new norm, yeah, absolutely. That we might need the booster to make sure that we try to kill this thing as it morphs into whatever it's going to do and whatever variation it is. And I'll defer to the medical experts to figure that out for us”.
On Barcelona’s debt: “So obviously someone has mismanaged the finances and the costs are all the same. If we look at a simple balance sheet, it would be player salaries, rental of the building. If you rent it, if you operate and own the building, which is just like owning a house, you still have to air condition it, heat it, you have to clean it, you have to secure it, that's your responsibility. You have traveling costs, which are very high and you also have front office costs like for the coaches and things. So, I mean, they're all the same. Somebody mismanaged the money obviously. And if they build a brand new building, then that has a real cost to it. In our country, many times we get the city to pay for it and not the owners, which really leaves a bad taste in the taxpayer's mouth. I'm not sure exactly how you do that in Europe. You would have to kind of clear that up the finances of it, but yeah, they made a mistake, they overspent in a certain area and they can't afford this, Michael Jordan type player that play soccer for them anymore”.
On part of Leo Messi’s salary being paid in Token at PSG :“So we've had that happen in the United States, not paying players per se, but we saw that the San Jose Sharks in the NHL hockey let their season ticket holders pay off their thousands of dollars of season tickets in Bitcoin. That was groundbreaking. That had never happened in any other of the four major sports that I've heard of. That was in the spring. So that was in like May, June of this year for the new season for 21/22, they offered Bitcoin. Now of course, that part in particular is very progressive in the United States. That is in the Silicon Valley, where all the technologies really comes from in the United States. So I'm not surprised that was the area that had happened in California. So what does that mean? When I interviewed some presidents in the league, I said, "Are you going to follow suit in the NBA?" And they said, "No, what we'd like to do right now is just take their money, their sponsorship money and let them sponsor signs in the arena and then signs for television that Bitcoin and things of that nature. But we're not comfortable enough taking that as revenue. We're still going to stay with the American dollar." So that's what they did”.
On the state of sports betting: “Now, as far as betting is concerned, it is no question. It has helped the value of all the four major sports in the United States. Unfortunately, gambling, similar to alcohol and drugs and the nicotine and smoking like all that stuff that addictive behavior, it can ruin families. And they make it very enticing for you to do that first bet where you almost get a guaranteed win and then you start thinking, you know something you don't really know about sports. I've had friends call me and say, "Hey, Ron, what do you think about this game or that game?". I'm like, "Please don't ask me. Don't ever bet on any advice I give you, because if I really, really knew, I would bet it.And I'm just afraid it's a little bit of addictive behavior. They get these people hooked and they always end up with, "Hey, gamblers anonymous." But it's definitely another way to connect with the players and the fans and the coaches. And yeah, it's here to stay and there's a real profit in it for all the four major teams. They called it an integrity fee. When I say they, the NBA in particular, they asked for a one percent of the proceeds and the different casinos said, "No, we're not doing that." Then they said, "How about one 10th of one percent?" And they said, "No." And they want to call it integrity.
On Tom Brady’s ability to win another Superbowl this year: “I think that he's been around long enough that we should know not to bet against Tom Brady. And I do realize that there's an old saying in the United States that the only person that's undefeated is Father Time and Father Time is undefeated. So Father Time will catch him eventually, but he shows no signs of slowing down, but I would step back kind of zoom back here and look at what they did with the roster. They've retained all 22 starters. So all the 11 starters on offense, all the 11 starters on defense are still on the team. And next year, the salary cap explodes in the NFL for the 22 season. They may be able to do it again, so I think they have a chance of coming out of the NFC and they're going to probably have to play the Chiefs against somebody pretty good in the AFC. So I would say the chances of them repeating are less than half, but the fact that we're even talking about if it's possible, I would not bet against them”.
On Serena Williams’ ability to win one more major: “Do I think she can rev it up one more time and win one of those four majors? Yes, I do”.