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September 12, 2007
JAMES CRAMER: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is James Cramer. I'm the senior director of communications for the PGA TOUR, and it's a pleasure to welcome the media that are assembled here at the TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola and also the media that are joining us via AT & T national teleconference and also on pgatour.com. With that I'd like to turn it over to Commissioner Finchem for some comments before we take questions. Commissioner?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you, James. Thank you, all, for being with us. Let me just start by, as I did at the Payne Stewart Awards ceremony, thank Coca-Cola again for their partnership and the East Lake Foundation for their hospitality this week.
I will make a couple comments about the TOUR this year and then talk a little bit about the FedExCup. Before I do, I would like to make a couple of announcements. First of all, with regard to charitable giving on the PGA TOUR, we're delighted to announce that this year the EDS Byron Nelson Classic has generated a charitable contribution of $6.4 million. That amount puts the EDS Byron Nelson over the $100 million mark in terms of all-time charitable giving. Brooks Cullum is with us, the tournament chairman, and Janie Henderson, and we're delighted to have you here with us today to make that announcement.
I think the important thing about that is that not only is it a special number, but the EDS Byron Nelson -- Byron's tournament has for years now led the way in terms of what can happen in the community to use the partnership of PGA TOUR golf and local charitable interests to do some pretty special things. It certainly is a milestone, and congratulations to the tournament and everybody involved.
I should mention parenthetically there that while the EDS Byron Nelson is the all-time leader by a pretty good margin, they were edged out this year because the FBR Open in Phoenix raised a record $7.8 million, so it's a terrific job for them, especially for how far they've come in just a short period of time. So our hats off to everybody in Phoenix and the Thunderbirds, as well.
Also I'd just like to mention in terms of looking back at the year, we're not done yet. A couple of things, one, we feel that the television arrangements that we've seen executed upon this year went very well thus far in the year. This is the first year of six-year agreements with the networks and a long-term agreement with the Golf Channel, and in both areas we think we've seen terrific improvement, the production quality from HD television on the weekends and with some distribution on Thursdays and Fridays with Golf Channel has been well-received by our fans. Our reach on Thursday and Friday has been terrific and the total household tune-in with replays Thursday and Friday night has exceeded many weeks our historical pattern, so we think we have a real rosy future with the Golf Channel as their distribution continues to increase the next few years. So we want to thank other television partners, CBS, and then of course this week The Golf Channel and NBC. I would also like to thank of course CBS and NBC and The Golf Channel for additional resources they've put into production quality during playoff events. They've really stepped up to do some extra special things, which I think made some telecasts quite compelling, and I'll come back to that in a minute when I talk about the FedExCup.
The Fall Series, which gets going next week, is shaping up as a really great series. We're going to have over $30 million in prize money, significant charitable commitments from those tournaments, and more and more I hear about how players want to play. So I think it's going to accomplish a lot of different things for some great fall golf and a great series of golf on The Golf Channel.
Also I would mention that the Presidents Cup in two weeks, and we couldn't be more pleased with the excitement and enthusiasm in Canada, as we all know the Canadian golf fan is one of the more rabid golf fans in the world, and it's coming out in a lot of different ways. We expect great crowds and terrific competition. I just spoke to the captains a couple days ago. They'll be up there early on the weekend getting ready, and the players seem quite keen to get on with the competition.
Obviously the United States has done well since the inception of the Cup with the exception the two times we've gone outside the United States, the Americans lost fairly handily in Australia and then we had the tie in South Africa, so we're looking forward to more history coming up in two weeks.
Let me turn now to the FedExCup. I know I've been hit with a lot of questions the last ten days or so, and I'll be happy to try and answer your questions today. But let me just make a few general comments.
I think the most important thing from our perspective is, and always has been, is the FedExCup, and as a part of that, the Playoffs, accomplishing what we set out to accomplish. There has been a fair amount of focus on some details of the system or opinions about the system, whether it be from fans or players. That's great, and we think that's actually contributed to a lot more interest in what the FedExCup is all about.
But in terms of evaluating it, we continue to look at what we set out to do, and that was to strengthen this period of the season, be able to carry the television audience into the football season to some extent, create more value for the players, create more excitement for the fans, and continue to grow the tournaments that are involved in this part of the season, including, of course, the playoff events.
In every aspect, we think, even though we have one more week to go, a full four days of competition, that it's been a very, very successful run, and we're very pleased with the impact. We're pleased with the steady growth of fan interest during the course of the year. We're delighted with the value that has been generated for sponsors. The tournaments that have been conducted thus far have significantly been elevated in terms of their charitable impact, their sales in the marketplace. We've had big crowds.
The golf has been superb and well-received by the fans, and the fans generally not only are supportive of the overall concept but intrigued by the elements of the concept, witnessed, of course, by their focus on some of the suggestions that have been made by them and others in terms of changes going forward.
So we're very pleased with where we are. That's not to say that it can't be done better, and I'll come back to that in a minute.
With respect to television, of course we felt we could carry the audience into the football season, and based on last week, we have. I mean, clearly based on -- we won't have all the numbers in until Thursday, but on the preliminary numbers, that first week into the NFL season, the second week into the college football season, was the highest number of households watching our product, watching PGA TOUR golf and PGA TOUR players ever on Sunday in the fall season, better than Ryder Cups, better than The Presidents Cup, better than the World Golf Championships, better than the historical position of the TOUR Championship.
That in and of itself I think demonstrates success in that particular area. We estimate that 25 to 27 million households tuned in during the course of the week last week at some point. I think everybody concentrates on the ratings except our sponsors. Our sponsors look at total viewership. That's what they invest in. That's what they want to know, how many households are focused during the course of many, many hours of coverage -- not that many households sit there and watch television for four hours on a Sunday afternoon. We're pleased with the overall rating, we're pleased with the overall household reach.
In addition to that, I think a big part of it has been the quality of play. The top players have performed, they've been challenged well by players who have come from not so much at the top of the list coming into the Playoffs. That's always an exciting thing in golf.
We're pleased by the support the players have given the Playoffs, in particular, and the FedExCup throughout the year. During the year total starts of our top players, whether you look at Top 30 World Rankings, Top 30 last year's Money List, top 50, the total starts players have made this year compared to last year is up and moving in the right direction. So we're pleased to see that.
In terms of playing four playoffs in a row, this is the first time -- well, I would put it this way: Eight of the Top 10 players played four weeks in a row. The next highest number of weeks in which that ever happened was two. That dynamic has worked well, and the vast majority of players have played all four. In fact, I guess of the total number of starts in the four playoffs, 98 percent of the players played. And in our culture as a sport where you're not under contract to do anything, you make up your own schedule, you set your own goals, we think that that demonstrates a compelling story.
Now, let me turn from that and talk generally at least about questions that I've gotten about are you going to change this, are you going to change that, here's an email from John Doe in Omaha that suggests we do this with the points, Player X thinks we should make this change, et cetera. As I've said all along, I hesitate to get into details because I don't want to distract fans away from the continuation of Playoffs. There will be plenty of time later in the year to evaluate how to make the Playoffs better.
I will say, and I've said this steadily, I think, for -- because we really believe this, that whether it's a golf tournament, a golf Tour or the FedExCup Series of events or the Playoffs, any of those elements can always be done better. Any tournament that wants to get better, the folks from Byron Nelson who are here today know this, if you want to make the Byron Nelson better every year, you have to sit down and make up a list of things, go at it. It's true at THE PLAYERS, it's true at the Memorial, all our tournaments. How hard you go after the attempts to improve tells you how good you're going to be.
It's the same thing with the FedExCup. We have to evaluate how we can make it better. I think it's performing its task well, but anything can always be better. If something can't be better, all of us should be doing something else. What I'd like to do is just see if I can give you some clarification about our general thinking right now at this juncture, and we're learning more all the time.
If you were to ask me, as you have, what are you thinking about doing, I sort of categorize it in three buckets. One bucket would be those things that relate to making the system itself as compelling as it can be. And by that I mean a system that people can understand, a system that players relate to well, the fans comprehend and look at, things we've seen on television the last few weeks or scenarios of what could happen versus the history, and a system that the media enjoys reporting upon and can report upon reasonably well given the limitations that the media has, whether it be written or electronic or the space that the producer on television is going to give you to talk about the system.
So there are tweaks in the system that we think can help in those areas, although candidly now three-quarters of the way through the Playoffs, we think that the fundamentals of the system have worked pretty well. But if it's point distribution, changing the point distribution so there's no volatility, changing the point distribution so there's more or less advantage based on how you play during the course of the season before you get in the Playoffs, all those things are worth looking at and we'll look at them.
The second bucket is really a question of the basic schedule. Does the schedule work for the fans, does it work for the TOUR as a whole, does it work for the players. And there are some challenges with the schedule. You know, I think that it's worked well. Obviously virtually all the players have supported it. However, as we go into the -- we do the schedules on a four- or six-year basis, we have to evaluate the extent to which it impacts the events before and after to some extent and whether we can command strong player support and something that the fans can follow easily.
So by that I guess I'm saying that if we had more space in a couple of the years coming up, it would be helpful. Whether we can achieve the space and make some changes, I don't know. I don't think it's critical to the future of the Cup if we don't. But it would be better in some instances in some years if we did, and we'll be looking at that.
The third thing is I think areas that relate to enthusiasm that players feel for the competitions, particularly the Playoffs. I think you don't have to go in farther than the quality of play to conclude how the players have mentally prepared for this competition of the Playoffs and executed it, it's been phenomenal.
On the other hand, over the long-term, I think you always look for ways, whether it's a golf tournament again or this Cup, of how you can improve it. And there I'm talking about where we play, golf course selection, we're going to be, as we said, publicly rotating the Barclays in New York, we want to rotate it in the best possible fashion. Same thing with the Western in Chicago and maybe beyond that.
But these are things in terms of preparation, setup and golf course selection that go to the heart of a player's enthusiasm. I think we've done a good job this year. I think maybe some tweaks in that area based on our current long-range plan might be in order.
The payout in terms of FedExCup payout, some players clearly would prefer a cash payout versus retirement, although we're not convinced yet of their excitement on that issue. We have the last couple of weeks been spending more time, and perhaps we were deficient in the time and energy we spent heretofore in educating players about the elements of the retirement -- deferred competition retirement plan, but the balance that exists in the Playoffs between prize money on the one hand and deferred compensation on the other is something we're going to look very hard at in the weeks to come.
I don't know when we will have more to say about any details about what we're going to do. It won't be this week, it won't be next week, it won't be Presidents Cup week, but as we get into the fall we'll have more to say on each of these areas.
In the first area I mentioned, candidly, we are still getting and digesting a lot of fan input on things they would like to see, and in that area -- I mentioned this earlier, we like a lot of the controversy that has surrounded elements of the system. We like it because it gets people talking about the Cup, it gets people interested in the Cup and it's fun.
So as we see these emails come in and blogs from the fans suggesting this, that and the other, some of them are crazy, some of them are too smart, some of them make a lot of sense, we have determined that starting at the first of the year or as soon as we can execute it, we are going to create a place on pgatour.com where fans can go and speak openly of their attitudes about anything with respect to the TOUR. If they're in the Playoffs and they want to go on and do blogs and say this is the dumbest thing I've ever seen, they can do that, it will be on our site. If they want to make suggestions, they can do that. If they want to applaud Brandt Snedeker for doing a good interview with some of the media, they can do that. It's going to be wide open. The only thing we'll edit on this portion of our site is we might edit for obscenities or things we don't want young fans to look at or something like that.
But the product and the content of what fans can post is going to be unabridged. It'll be an interesting step.
We really have enjoyed the repartee of arguing amongst ourselves, with the players, with media and now fans about elements of this process. We think it's a healthy thing and we want to encourage it going forward, so we're going to take that step next year.
With that said, I'll just finally say that with respect to this week, I'd like to thank the staff here at East Lake and the PGA TOUR agronomy team for a world-class job in very difficult circumstances hanging on to these greens. Looking at the weather patterns, we felt like we had 10 to 12 days after the weather breaks to get superb greens. That weather is not breaking until actually late this week, and it's been very difficult, but our guys did a terrific job. I think we're going to have very playable conditions this week and conditions that look well to the fans, and we just couldn't be more pleased with so many people here on the staff of the club and our own staff worked very hard. So appreciate that very much. I'll be happy to answer your questions.
Q. FedExCup issues aside, what are some of the two or three other things you're focusing on for next year, concerns you have or things that you're looking into?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, we don't have a lot of big changes next year. Most of the changes were for this year. You'll see if I was to go through the year, we will be talking about some adjustments in our schedule earlier in the year for '09. It's too early to talk about what they might be, and they won't be major.
We have a little different schedule before The Masters where we play Houston and New Orleans -- New Orleans and then Houston leading into The Masters, so Houston moves up a little earlier and we'll see how that plays out.
At THE PLAYERS we'll be making -- we talked to you earlier about we have three phases at THE PLAYERS, and we'll now be getting into phase 2 in terms of improvement of THE PLAYERS which will relate more to staging and presentation and accommodating off-site parking and things of that nature that will be coming on-line.
There's a raft of things like that during the year, but I don't think there's anything fundamental in terms of kinds of things we're seeing change in '07 or '06. We hope to have some more distribution of HD early in the week on The Golf Channel, and we'll be watching The Golf Channel distribution, which is north of 80 million now, and we'd like to see it get into that 92, 93 million overall, but our overall handicap on The Golf Channel is very positive right now.
Q. It's quite possible if Tiger doesn't win that you'll have a different winner of the Player of the Year and a different winner of the FedExCup. Is that a problem in the playoff system, something you feel needs to be addressed?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, I feel strongly that if -- we talked at length about this last year. I think it's a good thing. I think it's a great thing for Player of the Year if that were to happen. I think maybe the best thing for Player of the Year is that six different players win four majors, THE PLAYERS, and the FedExCup, and the players have a hell of a time deciding who they're going to vote for. That focuses attention on -- to have a player that it's a foregone conclusion who's going to win, probably the most fun year was the year that David Duval -- well, two years. It was kind of there between Vijay and Tiger in '03, and then in '98, I think, Duval and O'Meara were really -- nobody knew. That was more fun. I'd rather see it that way and players would probably rather see it that way.
Certainly if a player wins -- five players win the four majors and THE PLAYERS and one of them wins the FedExCup, does that give a player a leg up? So those kind of scenarios I think would be great, and we'd like to see that develop.
Q. Two questions kind of unrelated. Firstly, on the greens, the first memo to players said that East Lake would have Bermuda greens for next year. My question is, was this talked about earlier? Was there any discussion in '05 when the concept of the FedExCup was first introduced for East Lake to go to Bermuda greens for this time of the year, and why didn't it happen sooner?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, it's been talked about for a couple years because we know that bent gets stressed in Atlanta. The history here at the club, however, has been that the weather breaks pretty well before that, and they've had pretty good conditions here. But we've always been concerned about it. We did sit down and talk about it in '06, about redoing the greens for this year, and we determined to wait another year, and by that time there was a lot of stuff scheduled at the club.
Had the weather improved this year like it normally does, if we had good greens right now, I don't know where we'd have come out. But we had pretty much concluded last year that when we got through '07 we were rebuilding. And my guess is that's where we would have come down anyway, just took any debate out of the question and be committed to do it.
The only question remained -- well, there's a couple of detailed questions like the construction start date and things of that nature that are being worked out. There's two good options, Champions Bermuda, which has worked well at different clubs in the Atlanta area, and Miniverdi, which we have at Sawgrass, which is out here on the chipping green.
Our agronomists have told us it's six of one, half dozen of the other and let the club decide because either would be great.
Q. Was money an issue in terms of who would pay for it?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Only as to how it was going to be shared between the tournament, the club and the TOUR. Once we made the decision to do it, Tom Cousins and I decided in about five months, so it wasn't anything of note as an issue.
Q. And the other question, some of the players have talked about making it feel like more of a playoff by starting with fewer players. If that's an option, how would you square that with tournaments such as Deutsche Bank, which as a tournament itself would prefer a full field for its community experience?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I don't know the answer to that last part of your question. If we make any changes in field size structure, it would be in concert with discussions with the various tournaments. We'd have a conversation about it. I can't imagine if we reduced the tournament -- depending on how small the field got, I guess it could have an impact, but I just don't know how -- I've never had that conversation -- I've never heard Boston say they were wedded to any size field. Certainly Deutsche Bank didn't have any hesitation in reducing it to this year's size. So I just don't know. I haven't talked to them.
Q. Is next year in your view pivotal because of the complication raised by the early Ryder Cup? And are you fearful that the Cup could lose momentum simply because players will strategically say, this is the one year I just can't play even three --
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I'm sorry, would the Cup lose momentum because --
Q. Because of the Ryder Cup being so soon after the Cup and players --
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I was confused with Cups.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Yes, if that were to come to pass, yes.
The question I got in New York about Tiger not playing, I sort of thought I knew the answer. I didn't really know the answer because I didn't know yet what the fan response was going to be. But my answer at that time was, you know, players playing and their impact on the Cup depends on what fans think, their view about the whole thing, the whole year and the Playoffs, not what a given player does in a given week. It may be of interest at the moment, but in hindsight I think fans looked at Tiger now and saw a guy who played all year, got to the No. 1 seed and used it to sort of have a bye. And they seemed to be okay with that.
Fans, when Phil and Ernie missed Boston, some fans felt that -- some of the emails we got, blogs, that a player can't get into the Playoffs and take a week off, that's not right. They're pretty intrigued with a system that would create a scenario where Phil would come back in and have a chance of winning. It's not like he jeopardized the Cup because here he is trying to win and doing everything he can to win and going about it in his own way, which is kind of what a player does in our system at the start of the year. He says, okay, I want to try to be Player of the Year, I want to win historically the money title, I want to make the Presidents Cup team and the Ryder Cup team, I want to do all these things, now I'm going to lay out a schedule on how to do that. Unless you tell a player, you've got to play, he has the flexibility to do that in the Playoffs, and that's what some of the players have done. Candidly, I don't think it's hurt the Cup that much.
It's disappointing the week the player doesn't play. You want to have that same amount of drama in Chicago that you had in Boston for sure, and it's not a good thing and I don't advocate it and I want those players to play. Your question is a little different. Would this aggravate even more players taking off during the Cup is I think your question.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: And that has to be a concern, I think. I think we have to look at that and I think we have to do a good job at talking to the players after this is over and getting a full sense of now that they've been through it -- the other thing that's happened through all of this is that -- and I'm not being critical of any player because it's human nature, the closer players got to the Playoffs, the more attention they paid to what it was all about, including the schedule. Although the schedule has been up for over a year.
But you have to really go through it and see what it does. And we have some players who -- when you start back in August and take it all the way through, given just the flow of the schedule is so much different now than it used to be as they were coming on and what works for them, that it's caused some concern. So I think we have to be sensitive to that.
Whether or not we can actually make everybody happy with it or alleviate your concern, I don't know that yet. I just know we're going to put some energy behind looking at it, making sure we understand what we're facing.
Q. Several of the players have said this year they felt like it was a conscious effort by the TOUR to make the courses tougher, to make the conditions tougher. I'm wondering, is that something at the beginning of this year or the end of last year you and Harry and Mark and whoever is involved, is that something you wanted to do or has that been an evolutionary thing? The second part of that is, do you think fans would rather see more low scores or do you think fans enjoy seeing guys winning with 3-under par like Akron where Tiger is the only guy under par?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I think fundamentally fans want to see close competition, preferably with several guys in it. I think those two things, if you have that -- in Boston you had four guys in it and you had close competition. I don't think it's really important how many birdies or pars or bogeys, just close competition, I think that's the fundamental.
Now, at certain stages of the golf course, I've always said in my view that Augusta National is the greatest stage for the game and the best for television because the risk-reward element is prevalent throughout the back nine and you see birdies, eagles, bogeys and double bogeys, and that's nirvana if you're a fan. Not all golf courses are set up that way, but to say you should move from last year's winner won at 14-under, and we want single digits, we don't have that philosophy. We don't adhere to that.
On the other hand, we try to set the golf courses up to challenge players and make them make shots, and that's resulted in the last six or seven years tighter pins, players play with the square grooves and they can come at the pin from just about anywhere. Our scoring has not gone up. Our scoring has not gone up, and we've got much tighter pins.
I had Lucas Glover on the first tee at East Lake two years ago motion me over on Sunday morning and say, look down there at that hole. He said, "Do you see that pin?" The pin was tucked way on the right side of the green. I said, "Yeah, I see it." He said, "Is that on the green?" I said, "Actually, no, it's just in the fringe, but we've mowed it down pretty good for you."
But we've set pin placements tighter, we've tried to have not necessarily U.S. Open rough but more weeks where we've had flier rough, given the grooves on these clubs. We're just trying to test the players. But we don't go by scoring. In fact, on some golf courses it's better that there is more scoring, I think.
If guys are playing as good as they were in Chicago, they ought to be able to score. We've always thought that THE PLAYERS Championship with the best setup is where most of the field, if they're not hitting it perfect, is having trouble, and the guy who is hitting it perfect can still shoot 67 because he can be aggressive. It really does vary from week to week.
Q. One of the underlying things the last few weeks is you had players claiming that there wasn't communication between the TOUR and them, but the TOUR believes that there is.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: As I normally do, I don't want to get into a debate with any player. I think in hindsight, I'll say that. As I said earlier, I think it's human nature that you pay attention to something. Sometimes we pay attention to things when they're on top of us more carefully than when we're not. I do think in hindsight, in some of the areas we relied maybe too much on the institutional ways we garner player input given the scope of the changes we were making. Perhaps we should have been more aggressive in really getting in front of players with more information and insisting they look at it, given the scope of the changes. Normally I think our process works really good.
The management team we have now at the PGA TOUR prides itself on a good working relationship with the players. That is founded on good communication. I think we always have to examine ourselves and ask ourselves are we doing whatever is necessary, not are we going through the motions, are we doing whatever is necessary. That's my responsibility.
So if there has been a failing in any area, I take responsibility for it. Having looked back on it, I feel reasonably comfortable, but in a couple of areas we probably could have done more. But again, I think the guys are paying more attention to details now that we're into it. Now that we're done with it, everybody knows what it is and we can move on, and if we need to make changes we'll make changes.
Q. You seemed to suggest there's been a little bit of ambivalence in terms of the feedback from the players in terms of the deferred payment. That would seem to us -- to us that seems to be the one thing that everybody is universally agreed on in terms of the players. They all seem to think that the payment should be immediate.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, I don't think -- if you can get 50 players and get them all to agree on something, you're a better man than me (laughter).
I do think there is a preponderance of attitude that the balance is not right. You know, I've said this before, from a PGA TOUR perspective, it's not of interest to the PGA TOUR, it's just not of interest. It's only of interest in terms of having to make decisions that are in the best interest of the players.
So if we had that unanimity, it would be an easy solution. I do think there is a preponderance of attitude that the balance is not quite right, and we're talking about pretty good numbers here. We're talking about over these four weeks $28 million is going to be wire transferred in cash to players, $35 million will be transferred to players' retirement accounts. But the balance may be -- and again, I think if the emotional nexus to the competition is enhanced by shifting that balance, I suspect we should shift the balance.
The recommendations we put forward last year for player review, one was all deferred beyond the prize money, all deferred, which is where it wound up; second was all cash; and third was a split at the top where there's a top-heavy distribution in the Top 10 spots.
So moving back into that discussion, making those adjustments is not heavy lifting, and I think it's not of much interest to see fans. They just see players getting a lot of money. But is it of interest to the fans because the players are excited about the competition, these guys are professional and they play for money.
Q. To that end, wouldn't it be exciting to the fans to see that actual cash physically? I know that's not your take --
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I've heard that suggestion. We used to -- in the '60s we used to have a big TV shot of a giant check, and we kind of moved away from that because we felt like maybe that was a little gauche, I guess. I don't know if we'll go that far, but we'll see what happens.
Q. There's been a lot of -- there's been some criticism in having obviously the two most popular players skipping the events in the Playoffs. Is there a way to maybe consider making them -- making you have to play the Playoffs, giving them no out, that each guy has to play each one? I think that's been a pretty valid criticism there.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I mean, I actually don't want to get into that one because it starts to -- I start to give the indication that there is -- that from my own preference we go one way or the other. Suffice it to say we haven't had time to measure fan concern on that subject. It's too early to make conclusions. There are some ideas, but it's too early to make conclusions. We really haven't, you know, gone around and sat down with the players and said, tell us more about your thinking. So it's too early to make those kinds of conclusions.
I would say that generally mandating players to do something in our sport is something we would always shy away from. I don't particularly want to go down that path. I think that, like I said -- this is a big success this year and a huge step for the future. We've just got to look to the future and see what we are faced with and then make some adjustments. There could be a number of different things, sure, passing of regulations.
JAMES CRAMER: Commissioner, thank you.
End of FastScripts