Roger Goodell’s days are numbered.
The embattled National Football League commissioner’s decisions and actions in a crisis will no doubt become the subject of some management case study. But it’s already clear that Goodell has become an indelible part of the problem and not a part of any solution to the NFL’s Ray Rice fiasco.
Some chief executives and management academics I spoke with have been more cautious on the Goodell question. They said they would wait for the results of former FBI director Robert Meuller’s independent investigation. But I can’t see how he could or should survive that report, no matter what it concludes.
Here’s why: The report will almost certainly be part of a larger announcement. It will be wrapped in some greater commitment to deal with a serious problem. In the NFL, that means anything that threatens growth of the league’s profitability.
So can you imagine Roger Goodell standing up as the executive responsible for making good on promises of real change? Any credible plan will need a new leader.
“Now the question of his effectiveness is squarely in front of” NFL owners, said James Post, a professor emeritus of management at Boston University. “It probably turns, in a bizarre sort of way, not on the issues of domestic violence. It’s a business decision.”
One of Goodell’s principal responsibilities as NFL commissioner involves catching and containing flack aimed at the league for everything from head injuries to underpaid cheerleaders. Goodell himself has been very well compensated for that job — earning roughly $70 million over the past two years. That puts him within range of the 10 highest-paid chief executives of US public companies.
But the Rice backlash should become a tipping point for Goodell. He made at least three kinds of serious management mistakes trying to deal with the domestic abuse case.
First, everyone knows the commissioner initially handed out an insufficient punishment by suspending Rice for two games. Even Goodell conceded he blew that decision and offered tougher league policies to deal with abuse cases.
Then there were the commissioner’s comments after the devastating elevator video of Rice knocking his fiancee unconscious became public. Those statements sounded unbelievable or — at best — made him appear incompetent. Goodell said the NFL had asked for the video but never saw the incendiary images. He described Rice’s own explanation of events to the league as ambiguous (contrary to the straightforward account described by the player’s lawyer).
The third and most serious mistake? The NFL seemed to be caught completely off guard when the ongoing problem of violent and otherwise criminal behavior by some players finally blew up into a front-page story. The league didn’t have a plan for that. It didn’t appear to have a clue.
Fans had never seemed to care so much before. The off-field behavior of men paid millions to play a violent game is hard to control — certainly without stern penalties that could hurt the NFL’s product.
But some individual player and episode was bound to trigger a crisis sooner or later. This problem has gotten worse, not better, over time. It’s the kind of thing managers are paid to recognize and deal with in advance.
Goodell has been a popular commissioner among NFL owners and paid that way because the league’s growing profitability during his tenure. The value of the top 10 franchises in the league increased between 22 percent and 44 percent in the past year alone, according to rankings by Forbes. The New England Patriots, worth $2.6 billion, was that team appreciating 44 percent.
Goodell has laid out ambitious revenue growth goals for the NFL. Women are a relatively untapped demographic the league hopes to attract. Even owners who support their commissioner are likely to see him as a liability before long.
“It’s clear what their motive is,” said Marcus Stewart, a Bentley University business professor focused on leadership and ethics. “It’s the bottom line.”
The NFL is a business, as players often say when they are traded. That goes for commissioners, too.
Authored by Steve Syre via bostonglobe.com.
Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Coldplay currently make up the National Football League's short list of who they want to play the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show. But in a twist, the NFL has asked the candidates to pay the league to get the job. So who's bigger? The Super Bowl or these high-profile artists?
The National Football League doesn't usually pay the act that performs at halftime during the Super Bowl. But in a twist this year, the league has asked artists under consideration for the high-profile gig to pay to play, according to people familiar with the matter.
The NFL has narrowed down the list of potential performers for the 2015 Super Bowl to three candidates: Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Coldplay, these people said. While notifying the artists' camps of their candidacy, league representatives also asked at least some of the acts if they would be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig.
The NFL is considering potential performers for the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show, including Coldplay. The band performed at their album-release party in Los Angeles, shown above, in May.
The pay-to-play suggestion got a chilly reception from the candidates' representatives, these people said.
NFL spokeswoman Joanna Hunter said the league's contracts with performers were confidential and that its only goal was "to put on the best possible show."
Super Bowl Boost Musical acts reap big rewards after their halftime performance ends.
As for the lineup, she said, "when we have something to announce, we'll announce it." Super Bowl XLIX is to be played outside Phoenix on Feb. 1.
It is unclear how much money the NFL was seeking, and whether it would likely have amounted to more or less than the extra income the chosen performer might stand to generate from the exposure. No decision has been made yet and it is possible another act could be selected.
The Super Bowl halftime show, which this year featured the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars, drew a record 115.3 million viewers in February, according to the NFL, more than the game itself. The entire event averaged 112.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen. That was more than double the size of the audience for the Academy Awards this year, more than triple the audience for this year's Grammy Awards and more than 11 times the size of MTV's most recent Video Music Awards.
The show has always been among the most valuable promotional opportunities for the music industry, and in recent years some performers have put tickets for their tours on sale immediately following their appearance on the field, to capitalize on the exposure. Beyoncé announced her "Mrs. Carter Show" tour immediately following her halftime performance in 2013, for example, and the world tour grossed more than any other that year besides Bon Jovi's, according to trade publication Pollstar. Bruno Mars also put tickets to his "Moonshine Jungle" tour on sale the Monday after the game this year.
CD and download sales also typically get a temporary boost during the week following the artist's Super Bowl performance.
But it is impossible to know what percentage of an artist's concert ticket and album buyers were inspired by the halftime show. The impact is likely to be more significant for an up-and-coming artist such as Bruno Mars than for established stars such as Rihanna, Katy Perry and Coldplay, promoters say. Ms. Perry, for example, sold 92% of the tickets to the concerts she headlined from May to July, grossing more than $36 million, according to Pollstar. Rihanna grossed $141.9 million on 90 shows around the world in 2013; Coldplay grossed $171.3 million on 67 global dates on their last tour in 2012, according to Pollstar.
The NFL typically covers the halftime performers' travel and production expenses, which can run well into the millions. PepsiCo Inc. PEP +0.49% PepsiCo Inc., will be the title sponsor of the show for the third consecutive year in 2015, but doesn't "sign or work any deals with the talent selected," said a Pepsi spokeswoman.
Write to Hannah Karp at email@example.com