Adam Silver Is Influential But There Are Many Others Too

Sports Business Daily editors and writers list Adam Silver as sports most influential person in 2016.

In journalism there is always some end of year list which generally means a lot of people are not concentrating on TV, radio, the Internet, newspapers or magazines looking for new material. So the lists recalling the most important or influential are just fillers and are of little intellectual consequence. Having written that, let’s review the Sports Business Daily’s Top 50 of 2016. All the sports league commissioners are on it, all the television executives are there along with agents but there is something missing.


If Sports Business Daily was around about 110 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt probably would not be on the list. All he did was force college football presidents to make football safer with the amounting death toll from injuries suffered on the field. The sports daily probably would have left Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Douglas off the 1922 list after baseball’s National and American Leagues were granted an antitrust exemption from business laws by Justice Homes and his colleagues. In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt would have been considered even after he told baseball to keep playing during World War II.

Neither Congressman Emanuel Celler nor President John F. Kennedy would have been acknowledged for their roles in the Sports Broadcast Act of 1961. Louisiana Senator Russell Long and Louisiana Congressman Hale Boggs would have been recognized for their roles in the 1966 American Football League -National Football League merger.

Ronald Reagan would have been ignored in 1984 for the Cable TV Act of 1984 which changed sports or in 1986 for the tax code revisions that changed how stadium and revenues were publicly funded.

in 2016, Rome, Italy Mayor Virginia Raggi shout down Rome’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics by refusing to fund it. Nevada elected officials are willing to spend money to build a stadium for Mark Davis (who is on the list) and his fellow Oakland Raiders owners. The Sports Business Daily list is an interesting read but far from complete.


Not one Las Vegas or Nevada elected official or business leader is on Sports Business Daily’s most influential 50 sports people despite getting an NHL expansion team and approving a record subsidy to build a football stadium.

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. Absent from the list are politicians, the ones who actually create the laws that allows people to run sports. Sports Business Daily has National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver at the top of the chart because of money and that is what this list is all about.  He is allowing advertising on team shirts. That is one of Silver’s achievements. Additionally, Silver and his owners have allowed players and coaches to discuss political issues freely which is a major change in sports.


Number 2 on the list is the Disney CEO Bob Iger and ESPN unit head John Skipper and why not? Disney has earmarked about $7 billion in 2017 for sports expenditures. How Disney is going to pay that money may become a serious issue if more subscribers drop cable TV in 2017. Third is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Only three TV executives are in the top 10. There are five US entities that control sports on national TV, Disney, Comcast, Time Warner, CBS and FOX. Rupert Murdoch’s FOX group which invests a lot of money in sports is not near the top of the list nor is CBS. There are no players on the list. Oakland Raiders front man Mark Davis is in the Top 50, but Sheldon Adelson and Las Vegas and Nevada politicians who are attempting to get Davis to move to Las Vegas are absent. It is a just somebody’s list.