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When Losers Win

When it comes to professional sports, this is often the case. For instance, not long after Labor Day, the Pittsburgh Pirates clinched their 19th consecutive losing season--the longest stretch of futility in any major professional American sport. Yet, thanks to revenue sharing, television contracts and other non-gate income, Pirate owners have been making millions of dollars annually. In fact, the cost of signing top-flight players to lucrative contracts would take a deep bite out of annual profits, leading some analysts and economists to conclude that if the Pirates turned themselves into winners, they wouldn’t be helping their bottom line.

This may explain why fans get so frustrated when it's obvious that the managers of their favorite teams need to hire some better players. Sports Management expert Stephen Mosher says, "The situation with the Pirates is just one example where a team would benefit more from losing than winning. Many of the owners of franchises intentionally lose money because it helps the bottom line for their other businesses. Thus, NBA Commissioner David Stern can claim half the NBA teams show a net loss. According to Mosher, "As the Major League Baseball season winds down and the wild card races heat up, several teams are confronted with the real possibility that DELIBERATELY LOSING games is in their self-interest.

"Such moral dilemmas are routinely presented to professional sports teams, but more often than not, the moral issues take a back seat to the business and entertainment goals of organizations. Given that sport is one of the few remaining enterprises in our culture that actually claims to develop good citizens and build character, is losing deliberately the best way to run an organization? The claim that 'we owe it to the game' needs to be considered very, very seriously."

When Whitley received literally hundreds and thousands of letters after putting his mail center address into "Communion," we had a moral dilemma: What to DO with all this information (NOTE: You can get a copy of "Communion" with the "famous face" on the cover from the Whitley Strieber Collection--and it comes with an autographed bookplate, designed by Whitley).

Besides reading some of these letters aloud at conferences (while keeping the senders' names anonymous), what Anne has been doing is interviewing "contactees" and letting them tell about their extraordinary experiences IN THEIR OWN WORDS. So far we have 13 of these incredible interviews and if you subscribe today, you can listen to ALL of them!



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