I once asked Bobby Leopold, who played football for Notre Dame and later for the San Francisco 49ers, why he chose to go to school at Notre Dame. There were no platitudes about quality education or hallowed traditions from Bobby Leopold, who called himself Leroy Leopold at the time. It was a business decision. "For the pub, man," he said. "Notre Dame gives the best pub."
After that exchange, I became much more observant of the media that major college and professional sports generate, and the media business model they support.
Of course there is a similar symbiotic relationship between bigtime political players and the networks that feed on their performances.
As long as players make plays, as long as the competition is still keen and the outcome still in doubt, these networks can attract the audience's attention and make money.
As so, even as we hear calls for reconciliation and healing within the Democratic party...as good as some say it would be for Hillary to bow out of the race soon...the Clintons understand that as long as they can hang in, the more pub they're able to generate, the better it is for their business and their partners in the media — no matter what the outcome of the nomination process.
Looking ahead a couple of months in the political TV season...big networks have already greenlit coverage of the party conventions with budgets and promotion schedules like for a Spielberg movie.
The Republican convention is almost guaranteed to flatline in the ratings, with an outgoing leader everyone wants to just go away and a candidate who looks and acts like Charlie Chaplin when they let him back into the country to accept his honorary Oscar.
The only hope the networks have for a ratings success is the Democratic convention, but to do that, the competition and its storyline must stay alive until June. And so Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Leroy and Bobby Leopold of the Democratic Party, are obliging their media business partners. They're making news like it's their job. Because it is their job. Between now and the June convention, the Clintons are good for more storylines than a busload of hillbillies headed for The Jerry Springer Show.
Here are few headlines we can expect to see as Leroy and Bobby play hard through May sweeps and into 'The Duel in Denver'.... 'The Rumble in the Rockies" ...'The Mile High Miracle?'
- Obama Cousin Linked to Indonesian Mosque Linked to Muslim Radicals
- Catfight! Why Michelle Hates Hillary
- Pennsyvania Punchout! Hillary's Rocky K.O.'s Obama's Apollo Creed
- One Superdelegate's 'Obama Problem'
- Iraq Vets Applaud Clinton Plan
- Experts See Media Bias Against Clinton
- Clinton Fights to Save Boy Scouts from Atheist Assault
- Poll: Gay Muslims Come Out for Obama
- Family Fed Up with 'Senator Know-It-All', Says Obama Kin
- Monstergate! Inside Obama's Secret Plot to Win Nomination
- Shocker: Monica For Hillary!!!!!
- Death Row Inmates Support Obama
- Obama's Farrakhan Problem
- Iraq Soldiers to Obama: 'We Don't Wanna Come Home!'
- Former Obama Staffer: It's a Cult!
- Obama Buddy Rezko Arrested on Real Estate Scam
- Spitzer Says Obama 'My Kind of Guy'
Leroy and Bobby understand that the source of their wealth and what gives them status in their profession, is not, after all, their politics but their pub. Making news is their game, and they are fantastically good at it. As long as enough of us are buying their stories, they'll be pitching.
Mike Bonifer is the author of GameChangers — Improvisation for Business in the Networked World. His website is www.gamechangers.com.