Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama + Sports = Love?

Thanks to Evan for pointing out this article about Barack Obama's potential impact on sports. The choice excerpts:

A review of his campaign statements and position papers as well as interviews with his friends and former colleagues at the University of Chicago indicate that an Obama administration is likely to:

• produce major tax increases for team owners and players;

• slow sales of professional teams;

• increase the powers of player unions;

• more vigorously enforce the requirements of Title IX;

• and begin to resolve the serious clashes between sports cable networks such as the NFL Network and the Big 10 Network and cable providers such as Comcast.

Obama's views on other critical sports issues, including performance-enhancing drugs and stricter controls on the powers and the finances of the NCAA, are unknown.

Experts agree that Obama's support for Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid will be critical and that his presence in Copenhagen could easily win the Olympics for Chicago. Former British prime minister Tony Blair's charismatic presentations were said to have led the IOC to pass over Paris, which seemed to have the leading bid after New York City's attempt to get the Games collapsed, and give the 2012 Olympics to London...

Japanese Olympic officials already have expressed their concern that Obama could turn the tide in favor of Chicago when the IOC votes in October.

"Mr. Obama is popular and good at speeches, so things could get tough for Japan," said Tomiaki Fukuda, a senior Japanese Olympic Committee board member...

Part of the Obama prescription for the economy could hurt both owners and players. Throughout his campaign, Obama promised that he would increase taxes on individuals who earn more than $250,000 per year. That would take money out of the pockets of wealthy team owners and well-paid players. The Major League Baseball minimum salary, for example, will be $400,000 next year.

"It will be an increase that they will notice," Sanderson observes.