The Washington Times - October 3, 2008, 02:18PM

BusinessWeek has released its list of the most influential people in the world of sports, and once again it’s a fun look at some of the industry’s most powerful names. Tiger Woods tops the Power 100 list again. Big surprise.

Take a look at the list here.


In reviewing the list, I can’t say there are any horrendous ommissions. There are no D.C.-area team owners on this list, though I think you could always make an argument for Ted Leonsis and Dan Snyder. My main criticisms, which are few, center around where certain people are ranked on the list.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol is #5, and that seems a notch or two high when you consider that Fox Sports Chairman David Hill is #11. Yes, NBC has the Olympics, but its overall roster of sports programming isn’t quite as compelling as Fox Sports’. Also, if Ebersol is that high, why is Ken Schanzer, the President of NBC Sports, not even on the list?

Patriots owner Bob Kraft is at 24, while Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is at 26. I’d flip the two and put Jones a bit higher. The new stadium he’s building Dallas is going to be a mold-setter, and the huge revenues the team will bring in could have an indirect impact on the tone of the NFL’s negotiations with its labor union. 

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is at 27. Yes, he overseas the sport played by Tiger Woods, but I question the level of his actual “influence” compared to other sports commissioners.

Seahawks and Trailblazers owner Paul Allen at #36? Seems a little high for a guy that no one ever hears from.

Danica Patrick is too high at 50. At this point, the Indy Racing League’s success is no longer driven entirely by whether she wins races, and fans of the sport are finding her increasingly unlikeable. Also, where’s IRL CEO Tony George on this list?

UFC President Dana White is at 61. Since he basically controls the largest promoter of the fastest-growing sport, I’d put him somewhere around 45 or 50.

ESPN Senior VP John Walsh is at 72. His boss, George Bodenheimer is at 4. But when you really look at who does a lot of the heavy lifting in Bristol, both have nearly equal amounts of influence. There are perhaps a half dozen ESPN execs that I’d put in the top 50.

Andre Agassi at 56? He’s got a great philanthropic thing going on, but I’m not exactly sure where all of the supposed “influence” is.

Bob Bowman, the CEO of MLB Advanced Media, is at 83. He should be much higher. MLBAM has been way ahead of the curve in live streaming video, and they will have great new offerings with the launch of the new all-baseball cable network next season.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank at 95? Way, way, way too low for the head of a company that outfits many of the top college programs.

I see no one on the list representing the NFL Players Association, which seems odd given the state of the league’s labor situation. But with Gene Upshaw‘s death, there’s a still a void in leadership at the NFLPA. BusinessWeek might have been smart to set aside a spot for “whomever takes over for Upshaw.”