HIGHTOWER: The Sporting News 100

Time now for Hightower's "Wide, Wide, Wide, WILD World of Sports."Today's feature: America's sport's powerhouses. No, I don't mean such teams as the Yankees, the Cornhuskers, the Bulls, the Fighting Irish, the Cowboys . . . but, instead, such heavy corporate line-ups as Nike, Disney, Anheuser Busch, GM and Coca Cola.The Sporting News has just issued its 1996 edition of "the most powerful people in sports," counting both amateur and professional games. The top gamers turn-out not to be Michael Jordan, Danny Wuerffel, Mario Lemieux, Jerry Rice or Cal Ripkin, but such out-of-shape, non-starters as Dick Ebersol, Philip Knight, Michael Eisner and Philip Guarascio.Who the hell is Philip Guarascio? He's the VP of Advertising for General Motors, who throws ad dollars at everything from the Olympics to yachting events, and has a big hand in deciding what sports get covered. Eisner is the head of Disney's sports and media empire; Knight is top dog at Nike, whose little corporate swastika brands athletes in every sport everywhere; and Ebersol is "The Man" at NBC Sports, where he is in charge of coverage by the leading sports network on TV.These guys join Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, Bud Selig, Jerry Jones and other media, advertising and management executives who are the powerhouses of today's sportsworld. It is not until number 27 of The Sporting News 100 that an actual athlete makes the list, and then it's Michael Jordan, the megamillionaire who makes more money as a shill for corporate products than he does for playing basketball. Out of 100 sports powers, only four are players.It's not how you play the game that matters these days, but how you run the business of sports. It's just another step toward the total corporatization of our country's culture.Source:The Sporting News: December 30, 1996.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.