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For better or worse, owners run the show. And so it’s owners who shape the long arc of a team’s history, sustaining the persona of the Raiders or Spurs across eras—or molding a new identity for the Cubs or Clippers by breaking with the past. Major sports teams provide owners monopoly rights, barrels of TV cash and public subsidies; really, every owner should push the limits of how much money can be made (legally) in this great country. But there is huge variation in how owners find GMs, invest in talent, sell tickets, show loyalty to locals. The best owners treat a franchise as a public trust, the worst as a plantation. And due to this disparity, some leagues are better positioned to leverage their appeal in coming decades.
- Powerful and unique insights from Mag contributor Marin Cogan on the complicated relationship between the Ricketts family and the city of Chicago; enterprise writer Kurt Streeter’s take on Clippers standout point guard Chris Paul and the power shift in the NBA; and senior writer Tim Keown’s portrait of atypical team owner Mark Davis and the future of the Oakland Raiders;
- Perspectives on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning from The Mag’s Kevin Van Valkenburg; the story of the rise of “little brother” Michigan State football over “big brother” Michigan from Ryan McGee;
- In-depth evaluation from fans who voted on their favorite teams for The Mag’s Ultimate Standings, a ranking of all 122 major sports franchises;
- A photographic look at diamonds in the dust, the last vestiges of the Negro Leagues in South Carolina from Gerry Melendez;
- 2015-16 NHL Preview: The numbers say Tampa Bay is favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
ON THE COVER: There’s a power shift happening in the NBA, and as president of the players’ union, Chris Paul is at the center of it all. With the collective bargaining agreement talks on the horizon, how will Paul and the union leadership take it on? The Mag’s Kurt Streeter dives deeper into all things NBA in “Chris Paul will not be played.”
Owners Issue features and highlights
Who owns what
The demographics of team owners are changing—from the oil magnates and legacy owners in the NFL to the tech mavens and CEOs snatching up NBA teams. We examine the state of ownership in sports, breaking down exactly who owns what. By Peter Keating
The Cubs are finally winning! And that’s good news for the four Ricketts siblings who co-own the team. Pete, Tom, Laura and Todd have had plenty of conflict with the city of Chicago since buying the team in 2009, particularly with mayor Rahm Emanuel, who refused to speak with the family at times. As the landscape around the team changes, we delve into what that means for this family and the city. By Marin Cogan
Just live up to your dad’s name, solve the NFL’s L.A. problem and don’t piss off your fan base, baby!
Mark Davis has been the principal owner and managing general partner of the Oakland Raiders since his father died in 2011. That basically marked the first time Davis, then in his late 50s, had a real job. So Davis is far from the typical owner—he considers the players friends, and he also cares deeply about football—the family business—in a way other owners don’t. As Davis considers the future of his team (which just might include a move to Los Angeles), we uncover exactly what goes into being Mark Davis. By Tim Keown
Once again, we asked fans to vote on their favorite teams to help us rank all 122 sports franchises from top to bottom. The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, perennial leaders in these rankings, came out No. 1 again. We break down the elements that propelled this team to the top and highlight some of the biggest movers and most interesting results from the other 121 teams. By Peter Keating
Also in this issue:
- The Truth: Columnist Howard Bryant examines how Serena Williams’ quest for tennis’s calendar grand slam was much more than about making history in the sport. Along with the historic victory of Viola Davis’ Emmy win, it underscores the quest to erase the decades of invisibility for women of color and the feeling that they don’t count or can’t win in American culture.
- NFL: Denver Broncos star QB Peyton Manning is entering the twilight of his career, and after a poor showing in Week 1, many pundits were writing his obituary. The Mag’s Kevin Van Valkenburg, who watched the 39-year-old Manning (and his defense) engineer a come-from-behind win against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2, takes a look at how the quarterback is still managing to compete in “The Audacity of Peyton Manning.“
- COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is the Tom Izzo of college football, a motivator who does less with more and goes largely unnoticed and underappreciated. Now, with the Spartans ranked No. 2 in the AP Top 25 poll, receiving two first-place votes, The Mag’s Ryan McGee details how Dantonio wins despite recruiting mostly two- and three-star players and what it’s like for the team to roll past “big brother” Michigan on the field.
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Carrie Kreiswirth – (646) 547-4686 or email@example.com
Jen Cingari – (646) 547-5840 or firstname.lastname@example.org