Sports Role Model – US versus the World

Go Lean Commentary

This is a big weekend in the world of sports, its the US versus the World … again. This time, its the Little League World Series, the baseball tournament in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Even though baseball is played in many countries around the world, the expectation is that it takes an All-Star team from the rest of the world to compete against one American team.

This is the tournament’s Final Four teams, (see Appendix-Bracket below):

US: Chicago* -vs- Las Vegas
World: South Korea* -vs- Japan
* = Winner

The attitude of the US versus the World is the attitude in many other sports endeavors as well; sampled as follows:

  • The NCAA College Baseball Championship Tournament is called the College World Series.
  • The NBA Playoff Champion is referred to as World Champions.
  • Major League Baseball Championship Best-of-Seven Match-up is branded the World Series.
  • National Hockey League All-Star Game is a Match-up of North America (US and Canada) versus the World.

It is evident that the sports eco-system is bigger in the US, than anywhere else in the world. Needless to say, the Caribbean region pales in comparison in accentuating the business of sports. Deficient would not even be a fitting adjective, as there is NO arrangement for intercollegiate sports in the region, despite having 42 million people in 30 different countries. The Caribbean misses out on many opportunities associated with the games people play – especially economic ones: jobs, event bookings, media coverage.

This is the assertion of the book Go Lean…Caribbean, that the Caribbean can be a better place to live, work and play; that the economy can be grown methodically by embracing progressive strategies in recognizing and fostering the genius qualifiers of many Caribbean athletes. So many times, those with talent have had to flee the region to garner the business returns on their athletic investments.

It does not have to be.

The following news article indicates that even amateur Little League baseball is big business:

Title: Little League means big business as revenues soar
By: Josh Peter, USA Today

CU Blog - Sports Role Model - US versus the World - Photo 1The images remain quaint — kids sprinting around the base-paths, fans watching from grass hills, Norman Rockwell-like scenes abound at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., which culminates Sunday with the championship game. But make no mistake, Little League is big business.

Little League Inc. reported revenue of almost $25 million and assets of more than $85 million in 2012, according to the most recent publicly available tax return it must file to maintain tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Over a five-year period, compensation for Little League Inc.’s CEO, Steve Keener, nearly doubled to $430,000 a year. And in 2012, the 100-person full-time staff made almost $7.5 million in salaries — a year before ESPN agreed to more than double broadcast fees as part of an eight-year, $76 million contract to televise the games during the two-week tournament.

“That’s a lot of money when all the grunt work is volunteer,” said Randy Stevens, president of the Little League in Nashville, Tenn., whose all-star team qualified for the World Series each of the past two years. “Now I’m wondering where it’s all going.”

Keener, elected as CEO in 1996, said revenue has grown at a steady pace and said new money is going back into the program.

“I’m not going to apologize for generating revenue to support the programming issues of this organization,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “But I would apologize if I felt we were not using it to the best of our ability in a prudent manner and getting the most out of the money to benefit this program.”

Keener said the majority of the organization’s costs stem from maintaining the national headquarters in Williamsport, five regional centers — in Connectcut, Georgia, Texas, California, Indiana — a full-time facility in Poland and offices in Hong Kong, Puerto Rico and Canada.

When Little League signed its contract with ESPN in 2007, Keener said, it lowered affiliation fees for the local leagues. He also said Little League pays for 125 criminal background checks for each local league and provides training program for coaches.

“Those are ways we try direct the funds right back to the local programs,” he said.

Little League also pays for travel, lodging and food costs for 16 teams, each of which include 13 players and three coaches. But Stevens, affiliated with the Nashville-based league, said families of the players should receive financial help for travel costs.

He estimated the parents of his players needed up to $35,000 to cover those expenses. A father with the team from Chicago said parents were unsure how they would pay for the trip until five Major League Baseball players offered to cover all travel expenses for the parents.

Keener said the idea of travel assistance is not under consideration.

“I’ve learned never to say never, but it’s unlikely at this point,” he said. “Our responsibility is to provide the travel, the accommodations and all the expenses related to participating in the World Series for the players and the coaches and the umpires who are here working the World Series.”

Keener said giving the players money that could be used for scholarships is not under consideration.

“Anything we would do for one group of kids, we would do for all of the kids. And it’s just not feasible to think that they’re all going to head off to college when they’re getting out of high school, particularly with the kids from the international region,” he said. “It’s just not something we feel is necessary for us to be thinking about when they’re 12 or 13 years old.”

Little League does not charge admission for games at the World Series, but officials do solicit donations while passing around cans during games.

“Whatever money they’re getting, they’re looking for more,” said Ellen Siegel, affiliated with the team from Philadelphia.

But Keener said the $25 million a year pales in comparison to organizations such as the Boys Scouts of America, which reported revenue of $240 million in 2012. He said Little League could not operate without the support of about 1,250,000 volunteers in 7,500 communities.

As far as his salary is concerned, he declined to comment other than to say his compensation is set by a committee of Little League Inc. board members.

Davie Jane Gilmour, Little League International Board of Directors Chairman, said Keener’s salary — and that of the other senior staff members, who in 2012 earned between $100,000 and $250,000 apiece — are in line with salaries at comparable non-profits.

“To be perfectly honest with you, there are many board members on that (compensation) committee who think that our senior staff, and in particular Steve, are underpaid at this point in time,” Gilmour said. “There’s a a pretty strong feeling on the compensation committee that they are highly marketable based on their success here in their work here at Little League.”

The claim of the book Go Lean … Caribbean is that excellence in sports requires a genius qualifier and that genius ability can be found in abundance in the Caribbean. Further that there is something bigger than sports alone at play here, that this is the full effect of globalization in which the Caribbean can export products and services to benefit the homeland.

This commentary has previously promoted the monetary benefits of the sports eco-systems and how Caribbean progeny participate on the world stage: St Croix’s Tim Duncan to Return to Spurs For Another Season Caribbean Players in the 2014 World Cup Sports Landlord Model of the College World Series Time Sports Bubble – Franchise values in basketball Sports Landlord Model – The Art & Science of Temporary Stadiums Caribbean Sports Revolutionary & Advocate: FIFA’s Jeffrey Webb Sports Nature -vs- Nurture: Book Review of ‘The Sports Gene’ Bahamians Basketballers Make Presence Felt In Libyan League The Need for Collegiate Sports Eco-System in the Caribbean Could the Caribbean Host the Olympic Games?

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), a technocratic federal government to administer and optimize the economic/security/ governing engines of the region’s 30 member-states. At the outset, the roadmap recognizes the value of sports in the roadmap with these statements in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 13 & 14):

xxvi.      Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxxi.      Whereas sports have been a source of great pride for the Caribbean region, the economic returns from these ventures have not been evenly distributed as in other societies. The Federation must therefore facilitate the eco-systems and vertical industries of sports as a business, recreation, national pastime and even sports tourism – modeling the Olympics.

The Go Lean roadmap calls for the market organizations to better explore the economic opportunities for sports. Sports can be big business! But even when money is not involved, other benefits abound. As such the CU will enhance the engines to elevate sports at all levels: amateur, intercollegiate and professional.

The Go Lean book’s economic empowerment roadmap features huge benefits for the region related to sports. The strategy is create leverage for a viable sports landscape by consolidate the region’s 30 member-states / 4 languages into a Single Market of 42 million people. The CU facilitation of applicable venues (stadia, arenas, fields, temporary structures) on CU-owned fairgrounds plus the negotiations for broadcast/streaming rights/licenses will elevate the art, science and genius of sports as an enterprise in the region. As depicted in the foregoing article/VIDEO, even young children, Little League, will participate/benefit in the sports eco-system.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean to lean-in to the following community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies detailed in the book Go Lean … Caribbean to re-boot the delivery of the regional solutions to elevate the Caribbean region through sports:

Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives in Predictable Ways Page 21
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Negotiations Page 32
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Strategic – Vision – Integrating Region in to a Single Market Page 45
Strategic – Staffing – Sporting Events at Fairgrounds Page 55
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Sports & Culture Administration Page 81
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Fairgrounds Administration Page 83
Implementation – Steps to Implement Self-Governing Entities (Fairgrounds) Page 105
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Local Government – Parks & Recreation Page 169
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Events Page 191
Advocacy – Ways to Promote Fairgrounds Page 192
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Expositions Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Youth Page 227
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Sports Page 229
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Urban Living – Sports Leagues Page 234

The foregoing VIDEO features many sub-stories associated with this year’s Little League World Series (LLWS) tournament, the compelling stories of the rise from the despair of the Chicago inner-city, and Philadelphia’s Mo’ne Davis, the only girl in the tournament. The drama of sports is a microcosm for the drama in life.

Despite the presence of a Caribbean team in this LLWS tournament, no compelling Caribbean stories have emerged. This is an American drama: the United States versus the World. This is not just an attitude in sports, but in many other endeavors as well. The drama and challenges in the Caribbean are of no consequence in the US, we are just a playground for their world.

We need our own tournament to foster Caribbean sports drama and economic benefits.

We need to lean-in to the Go Lean roadmap to build the sports eco-systems to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. We must elevate our own society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


APPENDIX – LLWS BRACKETS   (Double-Click for a legible Viewer)

CU Blog - Sports Role Model - US versus the World - Photo 2

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