The Washington Nationals completed their fairy tale season by winning the World Series for the first time in franchise history. Manager Dave Martinez brought the city its first baseball championship in almost a century in only his second year. The success of the Nationals mirrored the unlikely achievements of the Toronto Raptors, who won its first NBA title earlier in the year. The two teams have another thing in common. Stephen Strasburg, who won the World Series MVP, and Kawhi Leonard, who won the NBA Championship MVP, both attended and played their respective sports at San Diego State University. What makes it even more remarkable is that while San Diego State has always been competitive in baseball and basketball, it is not considered an elite sports college. Both athletes were good in high school but were not considered top prospects and only received scholarship offers from a small handful of mid-tier programs. I find it interesting that while the business of sports is bigger and more sophisticated than ever, many of the top stars who rule professional sports such as Tom Brady, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lilliard, and Paul George, were not considered top prospects in their day. Brady was drafted in the 7th round, selected immediately after a punter. Like in life, the top achievers are usually the ones who are the toughest mentally, and who are relentless in their pursuit of their goals – something that is usually difficult to see in young people.
The NFL markets its brand as well as any enterprise in the world. I heard a comedian once say that the NFL is so popular, it has its own day. NFL football is huge. Each NFL franchise brings in approximately $400M a year in revenue; almost double the annual revenue of NBA teams and 2 ½ times as much as MLB clubs.