It is that silly time of the year in sports journalism where some writers and editors put out lists of who is important in an industry and why they are important. The Sports Business Daily has its sports leaders list and the people who run the publication-website have the usual suspects, sports commissioners, TV executives, player agents, and assorted owners. The list is strictly arbitrary but if someone is responsible for bringing in money, chances are pretty good that the people at Sports Business Daily will have them on the list. This year the list starts with Donald Trump who has put a rather unusual Presidential stamp on sports matters. Every President prior to Trump pushed sports whether it was for business purposes or in Franklin Roosevelt’s case keeping baseball going during World War II for the country’s morale. Trump trashed the National Football League for allowing players national anthem protests and the NBA Champions Golden State Warriors refused to celebrate the team’s championship at the White House. Trump did help all sports owners looking for new buildings by pushing for maintaining federal tax exemptions for bonds issued to pay for the construction of venues.
Numbers 2, 3 and 4 are Commissioners, the NBA’s Adam Silver, Major League Baseball’s Rob Manfred who does not look so good in the wake of the Miami Marlins sale followed by the NFL’s Roger Goodell. NBC Sports head Mark Lazarus comes in at fifth although any TV sports executive could have been placed here, John Skipper who left ESPN because of substance abuse issues was number seven. Sports Business Daily does not think too highly of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who has had a really good year or MLS Commissioner Don Garber as they did not crack the top 10. There are owners, players and agents on the list as well but just one politician. Trump.
Adam Silver is the new number 2.