Mark Cuban: The Man Who Can Fix Everything In Sports
As an entrepreneur, Mark Cuban has an impressive track record. While clearly benefiting from a time known as the dot-com bubble which led to him selling his company Broadcast.com in 1999 to Yahoo for 5.9 billion in Yahoo stock, Cuban has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to build successful businesses, and have the foresight to cash out at the appropriate time. As we all know, his wealth from the technology sector has presented Cuban – a huge sports fan – with the ability to make a splash in the professional sports world.
On January 4, 2000, Mark Cuban purchased a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks for $285 million. While the controversial owner is not your typical sports franchise owner – he wears jerseys on the sideline during games that he attends by flying his private Gulfstream jet to road games – the winning percentage after Cuban arrived on the scene is much better than the winning percentage in the years before he arrived. The team is indeed relevant, and Cuban absolutely makes them interesting.
Cuban was not satisfied with just being a part of the NBA. In recent years, Cuban has made attempts to acquire stakes in professional baseball teams such as the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and New York Mets. So far, he has been unsuccessful. There are reports that most major league baseball owners along with the commissioner were determined to not let Cuban join their club. Major League Baseball apparently would rather stick to tradition and watch ratings decline on an annual basis than allow such a wild card in Mark Cuban to have a seat at the table.
So as Cuban continues to dabble in the MLB to an extent, he has turned his sights to a third sport, college football. While Cuban has admitted he’s always trying to make money on his pursuits, he has a larger mission this time around, at least in his mind: fixing college football and giving the fans a playoff. How noble!
On a side note, is Mark Cuban the Al Gore of the sports world? I mean seriously, Al Gore created the internet, won the presidency – err, at least the popular vote – and depending on your point of view, either successfully warned the planet of impending doom or creating one of the biggest hoaxes in the history of the world in global warming. He also sits on the board of Apple, one of the biggest and well known companies in the world. Is there anything that this giant dork of a man can’t do? Cuban after fixing college football, will likely then move on the bring hockey and soccer (gasp!) to mainstream America.
So now Cuban has started Radical Football – the official company which will be working to provide an alternative to the BCS. While he seems determined, Cuban admits that he doesn’t have the actual answer, but wants to create the dialogue and discussion that ultimately will lead to the best solution – although he knows it has to be some form of a playoff.
One of Cuban’s more interesting ideas – and you can read his ramblings at his blog at www.blogmaverick.com – is to do an in-season tournament/playoff, where the best teams from the first half of the season are then seeded and put into a playoff, and these playoff games become the last few weeks of the season. This helps to force the best teams to play eachother while not ruining the sacred regular season of college football. Of course, even this idea, has plenty of holes in it – every proposed idea does.
As Cuban continues to push and attempt to influence the college game to move away from the BCS, it’s tough to discern whether or not this is just another hobby for Cuban that is a result of being bored with the NBA and blocked from the MLB, or if this will actually materialize into something. Obviously, his chances of changing the way the college football champion is crowned is a major uphill battle with some strong and determined opposing forces, but hey, at least it gives us something to talk about.