Our thanks to esteemed Little Rock attorney Patrick Wilson, included in the pages ahead as part of our listing of top lawyers but most importantly, unintentional source of inspiration for a new feature introduced this month in this space: Word of the Month.
Apologies to “word-of-the-day” purveyors such as Kevin Williamson and others whose intellect and philological reach far exceed my own. Besides, Mark Twain is alleged to have told Helen Keller that all ideas are secondhand anyway. (Which begs the question — did he tell her as “Mark Twain,” or as Sam…well, never mind.)
So, word of the month. My vision is for this to become an interesting monthly exercise. Please send suggestions my way. As Patrick suggested after being informed that his use of our featured word below had powered my lightbulb moment, let’s try and avoid trends and pop-culture fare such as “new normal” and “dystopian.” Both of which I’ve used in this publication in the past six months. But hey, fresh starts and all.
As stubborn and difficult and dissociative as the English language can seem, much like the physical world it inhabits, it also is full of beautiful moments. Much like the physical world it inhabits. Our inaugural word of the month is one such Instagram sunset: bailiwick.
Like any good English word, bailiwick conveys multiple meanings. ‘Cause why not, you know, make things challenging? Dictionary.com (Webster? Bueller? Anyone?) defines “bailiwick” as 1) the district in which a bailee (future word of the month?) or bailiff has jurisdiction, and of course, as our good source intended, 2) a person’s area of skill, knowledge, authority or work.
Its origins, the internet tells me, date back roughly 1,200 years to Norman England. No, not the weird kid who sat in the back row in third grade but rather what we know of today as England, immediately post-Conquest. For the Normans, bailiffs were officers of the court responsible for executing warrants and serving orders and summonses. (Now there’s a word for ya.) The bailiwick referred to a bailiff’s assigned district. Contemporary Americans know bailiffs as peace officers, who provide security in courts of law. And contemporary Americans — well, smart ones like Patrick, anyway — know bailiwicks as an abstract term representing one’s scope of knowledge or influence. (Come to think of it, many of you likely are considering at this very moment that mastery of the written word is not a part of my, um, bailiwick.)
For me, the history behind language is fascinating. And in the true spirit of the definition, perhaps sometimes even awesome. In alternate dimensions, I’m a philologist. Maybe even an Inkling. The permanent quarterback/mike linebacker for the Hogs, and we’ve never lost a game… But I digress.
Anyway, send ’em on. Nominations for Word of the Month, that is. We’ll devote a portion of this space each month to them. And feel free to share their fascinating origins as well. As the great C.S. Lewis (and fellow Inkling?) could very well have said, language is a treasure chest with no bottom. Better yet, let’s go with the less cringeworthy, “wardrobe with no back side.” (A wink and a nod to all fellow Narnians…)
Sports = big business
If the pandemic of 2019-20 has revealed anything, it’s the absolute enormity of the business of sports. Readers will find inside this issue some interesting takes on that very subject. In the meantime, here are some numbers that reveal just how big a piece of the economic pie sports represents in the United States:
· $500 billion and 13 — The estimated total value of the global sports industry and the percentage market share represented by American football (second to soccer at 43 percent) going into 2020, per SportsandMarketing.com.
· $16 billion, $9.7 billion and $8.8 billion — Reported total revenue for the NFL, MLB and NBA in 2019, according to Forbes and Statistica.com.
· $2.7 billion and $1.5 billion — Total annual revenues and average profits for the 25 most valuable Division 1 college football programs (including Arkansas at 16), according to Forbes.
· $95 million and $53 million — Three-year average revenue haul and three-year average profit for the Razorback football program, per Forbes.
· $31.9 million — The average annual football revenue at FBS schools, according to a 2017 Business Insider report.
· $31.7 million — The combined average annual revenue of the next 35 sports at FBS schools, per Business Insider.
· $23.3 million and $4.7 million — Estimated average financial loss among Power 5 programs, and average loss per school in fan game-day spending alone, had the college football season been canceled or moved to spring, according to ESPN.
· $107 million and 25 — The projected 2021 athletics deficit forecast by CFB juggernaut Ohio State on Sept. 23, and the number of full-time positions in the athletics department it announced would be cut.
· 85 — The percentage of his department’s revenues that Oregon State AD Scott Barnes revealed to ESPN is directly or indirectly tied to football.
I’m open 24/7 at MCarter@ARMoneyandPolitics.com. As always, thanks for reading, and may your bailiwicks be ever expanding.