“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is a popular adage among coaches, and in fact is attributed to several of them (Ben Franklin, a man whose physical exertions were limited to indoor activities, actually deserves the credit). But the maxim applies to front-office activities as well, and nowhere is the proof of that more on display than in the launch of sports leagues. However popular a sport may be, turning it into a going business concern requires careful planning around everything from salaries and sponsorships to, of course, TV contracts.
Professional women’s soccer got quite a bit of that wrong the first time around, when, despite a World Cup victory, a bevy of name-brand players, and growing fan interest, it stumbled after just three seasons. Now it’s back, or about to be. Poised to launch next spring, and hopeful that August’s Beijing Olympics will provide a valuable kick-start, it has learned many lessons. Senior writer Kate O’Sullivan continues what has become a summertime tradition for us — examining the business challenges and strategies of professional sports — by sussing out the new game plan of Women’s Professional Soccer (see “Going for the Gold”).
Many other businesses would like a shot at a second chance, not least of which are those expected to file Chapter 11 this year. While historically the odds of emerging from that ordeal alive and well are not high, the advice offered by senior editor Vincent Ryan in “Mastering the Turnaround” can help.
When it comes to tax disputes, companies often get more than a second chance; a multi-tiered appeals process can keep the ball in play for years. Nonetheless, as senior writer Alix Stuart shows in “Don’t Mess with the IRS,” these days that provides scant consolation.
Longtime readers of CFO may notice a familiar face missing from this page. Julia Homer, who helped found the magazine in 1985, has been promoted into a new role in which she will oversee the content produced across all of our platforms: Web, conferences, research, and print. I am grateful for the opportunity to succeed her at the magazine. Having been at CFO for eight years, I’ve had time to take Mr. Franklin’s admonition to heart, and I look forward to continuing the franchise’s winning ways.