posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 05:56 PM
Tagliabue tops Sporting News power ranking; NASCAR's France second
By Associated Press
January 4, 2005
ST. LOUIS – NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue is the most powerful person in sports, according to a Sporting News power ranking announced Tuesday.
NASCAR president Brian France is ranked second.
Tagliabue moved up one spot from last year, replacing ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer atop the St. Louis-based publication's "TSN
Power 100," which appears in the issue on newsstands this week.
Sporting News cited, among other things, Tagliabue's leadership in securing the NFL's $11.5 billion television contracts.
"The NFL has labor peace and a brand new television contract that increases revenue," Sporting News editorial director John Rawlings said. "Show me
any other league that can match that, along with the unprecedented interest in the sport.
"Some people are complaining about 8-8 teams in the playoffs, but the NFL is built on the notion that every fan begins the season fervently believing
his team has a chance to win the Super Bowl," Rawlings said. "What better way can that possibly play out? The other sports could learn a lesson or two
France, who took the reins from his father Bill France Jr. in late 2003, introduced a new playoff-like format into NASCAR's top series this past
season. The "Chase for the Nextel Cup" was designed to generate increased excitement and ratings in the latter part of the NASCAR season via a 10-race
shootout among the top 10 drivers in the standings.
Nextel replaced R.J. Reynolds' Winston brand this past season as the title sponsor of NASCAR's Cup division.
The complete top 10 in the power ranking:
1. Paul Tagliabue.
2. Brian France.
3. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
4. NBA commissioner David Stern.
5. George Bodenheimer.
6. IMG (sports agency) board chairman Ted Forstmann.
7. Anheuser-Busch president August Busch IV and media and marketing vice president Tony Ponturo.
8. Fox Sports Television Group chief executive David Hill.
9. NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol.
10. Nike chairman Phil Knight.