Financial times have become so hard, even sports franchises fear their pockets might be forced to go on a diet.
A who’s who from all the major pro sports (sorry bowlers, but the PBA's invite got lost in the mail) sipped mojitos in Miami at the IMG World Congress of Sports and talked about the gloom and doom facing franchises and athletes.
But the topic everybody was talking about was lowering salaries for athletes.
How on earth are pampered athletes supposed to survive on $3 million a year instead of $8 million?
Somewhere, former NBA star Latrell “I can’t feed my family on $10 million a year” Sprewell must be fuming.
“It's so difficult out there. They just took the double cheeseburger off the Dollar Menu at McDonald's," Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank said. "That'll give you a sense of what the economy is like."
Who knew CEOs were Dollar Millionaires, too? That’s news in itself.
But changing sports' financial landscape could come sooner than later with most collective-bargaining agreements in the major sports up for renegotiation in the next two years. That's if owners have the guts to stand up to the players' unions.
Officials also talked about how proposed new stadiums nationwide might need to delay construction – words the Marlins brass would prefer be whispered in these parts.
"We're facing the greatest economic challenge of all of our lifetimes," said Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which oversees arenas including the Staples Center in Los Angeles. "We have never seen anything like this and I pray that we never see anything like this again. And if you look at our industry, sports in particular ... we have to reinvent ourselves."
Coincidentally, saving fans money by slashing ticket prices or making team merchandise more affordable was not discussed. That discussion is being delayed indefinitely, it seems.
If Sprewell is available, he’d make a good keynote speaker.
Copyright AP - Associated Press