Several notes from the last few days:
Will John Henry Save the Globe? – Jason Schwartz in Boston Magazine has a feature on the new owner of the Boston Globe. The feature overall is very good, an informative look at the new stewardship of Henry, and his ideas and goals for the paper.
A few points of interest:
One Monday after a Patriots game early in Henry’s reign, the new owner walked into McGrory’s office, sat down, and started thumbing through the Sports section. Why, he asked, weren’t there more ads? Soon after, McGrory and his fellow editors launched a new Patriots recap section called “Score”—with more space for big, eye-catching photos, and hopefully greater appeal to advertisers.
There’s your motivation for the special NFL section. Not to deliver a better experience for the reader with higher quality stories and features. Just more ads.
After Henry bought Liverpool FC in 2010, Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy made a habit in his column of asking whether he was spread too thin to effectively run the Red Sox (in case you’re wondering, McGrory says Shaughnessy has “the safest job in New England”). Now Henry has the Red Sox, Liverpool, and the Globe.
Well gee, I sure am glad that Shaughnessy is assured of future employment. I think that kind of says it all about the Globe and how it feels about sports and it’s readers, don’t you?
The Herald yesterday had a story on Henry looking to sell the Globe’s headquarters and move to a smaller site in the city.
Experts have told the Herald that Henry could actually fetch $75 million for the property. He technically paid $38.4 million for the site — which is its assessed tax value — in the $70 million deal with The New York Times.
So the rest of the paper – the “talent”, etc was worth $31.6 million? Consider that the same package was sold for 1 Billion dollars 20 years ago. A Shaughnessy just isn’t worth what it used to be, I guess.
A BSMW reader also made the following observation:
“Technically” accounting rules require that you first assign the purchase price of a business to the identified tangible assets (eg the Morrissey property), and then assign the residual to the intangible assets (eg the trade name, customer lists, workforce, goodwill). In this instance, after assigning $75 million to the property, Henry is left with something quite rare: negative goodwill. Translation – he agreed to takeover a money losing, worthless business in a dying industry in return for a 7% discount on a nice piece of real estate. Assessed value is meaningless.
He went on to point out that you can make the argument that the Boston Globe provides more value to the owner of the Boston Red Sox than it is to any other potential buyer.
In other Globe news, great to see Shaughnessy again today making himself the focus of a story, while saying that no one “hates” David Ortiz in Boston. Shaughnessy and others who say this clearly don’t listen to sports talk radio and some of the things that are said about Ortiz both by hosts and callers.
In a bit of positive news, congrats to Celtics beat man Baxter Holmes.
Holmes has been a great hire for the Globe. He’s done some great work – the three part feature on coach Brad Stevens being one – and more importantly from a reader standpoint, he does it the right way. The focus is on the story, and telling stories, and he’s been very impressive during a tough Celtics season.
’EEI tanks after morning drive – Inside Track has the latest on the WEEI woes. The morning show is lauded despite dropping from 2nd to 4th in its time slot.
Tom Werner says Jenny Dell is free to leave NESN – Chad Finn has the Red Sox saying that Dell is free to seek out other opportunities if she desires.
The other owner: How Mike Gordon has become a key Red Sox figure – If you didn’t check out this feature by Alex Speier on the man who owns more of the Red Sox than anyone not named John Henry, its worth a look.