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What is a Real Sports Psychologist?

Before you choose a sports psychologist it is important to understand what the difference is between someone who has completed a sports psychology/sports science education and a licensed psychologist. There are many people in the world who are perceived as sports psychologists but they lack the actual credentials to practice psychology in their state.

Most states require anyone who is practicing clinical psychology to be licensed by the state that they are practicing in. This helps to set a minimum standard of care and protect the general public. It would be against the law in most states to use the title “Psychologist” if you were not properly licensed.

A student who has successfully completed a sports psychology education will not be fully qualified to practice as a psychologist and will not be able to obtain a license from the state to do so. Their knowledge may be significant and they may be best known as a sports psychologist, however there is still a clear distinction between this type of sports psychologist and a licensed psychologist who is also a sports psychologist.

The most significant difference is that a clinical psychologist has been educated and trained in general psychology. This means that they have been trained to deal with general mental disorders and conditions like depression and anxiety. These are important fundamentals for all psychologists regardless of whether or not they focus on sports and athletes.

A real sports psychologist is someone who has been trained and educated in general psychology in addition to sports psychology.

I received a Master’s Degree from one of the best sports psychology programs in the country and I recall that in that process I learned very little about how to assess, counsel, or diagnose an athlete who had a general problem. Clinical psychology programs suffer from a similar fault in that the students here will learn very little about how to increase performance through mental skills training. There are numerous areas of study that a psychologist needs to become familiar with before they are truly qualified to practice as a sports psychologist.

So what is the most important element of training for a sports psychologist? While the initial education and classroom time is important to laying down the ground work for your knowledge base, the most valuable part of a psychologist’s education is the time spent doing on-the-job training.

This is where psychologists learn about how to interact with their patients and how to actually counsel them. This element is not part of most sports psychology programs and this is what I consider to be the most valuable part of the education phase. Psychology programs are set up to offer and require this while sports science programs are not.

In order to provide the best counseling and the most help for patients, a psychologist needs to understand their patients both as “people” and as “performers”.

So is it really necessary for someone to make sure that a potential sports psychologist is a licensed psychologist? Yes, the majority of the time that I spend counseling (even when working with athletes) is usually spent diagnosing, discussing, and resolving general issues that are not directly related to the sports field. In some cases this might be much as 70% of what we discuss.

While this article will likely provide a little bit of insight for my readers here, this is not any kind of revelation to the psychology world. Other publications like Sports Illustrated and the New York Times have published similar articles to this one that have made exactly the same point.

Mind Games: Miami Must Get Better on Defense

Sports psychology in Canesport Magazine – October 4, 2011 – John F Murray – Publisher’s Note: “Mind Games” is a column written for CaneSport each week by John Murray, a noted sports psychologist and author who has developed an index for evaluating the mental performance of players and coaches in games. We think it will provide all of us with a unique viewpoint as the Hurricanes navigate through the season.

While many Miami faithful squirmed and complained early during the recent victory over Bethune-Cookman, and rightly so, all’s well that ends well in this convincing 45-14 victory.

It was a win more than needed for this team and community and new head coach. The devastating loss to Kansas State by inches after having a first and goal on the two stung for a long time, but the win over “boys who wanted to play for Miami but got snubbed” sort of righted the ship. “Sort of” implies that we are far from out of the woods with the daunting task of V-Tech in Blacksburg looking like a very rough assignment.

But isn’t this what we live for in sports? Challenge is what it is all about. So bring on the mighty Virginia Tech program. Bring them all on. This is the “U,” and while this U might not be as successful as the great teams of the past, there is no shortcut to greatness. We might as well shut up, face as many great teams as possible, and get used to it.

But before we jump into the line of fire too quickly, remember that all great athletic (like military) accomplishments must be led by intelligence and wisdom. By understanding our recent clashes, we are in a better position to battle hard in the upcoming skirmish. And the MPI combined with traditional statistics and percentiles gives us an edge over all those other fans, coaches, players and teams who do not use the MPI. It helps us to see more precisely what really happened so we can prepare for V-Tech by knowing how our team is doing in a precise way that also includes mental performance.

While Bethune Cookman was having its way with Miami early in this game, several angry fans posted all sorts of crazy messages on the message board at I enjoy rating these games in my favorite sports bar with wi-fi, so I got in on the action and encouraged fans to relax and look at the MPI stats. Once Miami scored, I predicted a 42-14 blow-out win, and I was not far off from the 45-14 final score.

The point is not to brag, but to demonstrate again that the numbers I get show what is likely to happen in a game. In all of Super Bowl history, for example, teams that perform better on the MPI-T (total performance) win about 90 percent of the time (see this all in my new book “The Mental Performance Index: Ranking the Best Teams in Super Bowl History“).

Performance does not lie. It is not always aligned with winning, but it seems to be about 9 out of 10 times. Performance (including mental performance) is the best we have at rating a team and I had noticed that despite Bethune’s success the trend was changing quickly in Miami’s favor. As Bethune started playing worse, Miami performed better and I sensed a blow-out win even with the score tied at seven. This was less hunch, and simply performance related statistics!

Keep in mind that Bethune-Cookman has a lot of talented players. While they are no match for a team like Virginia Tech, they were hardly a teenage girl’s touch football program either. They were damn good, and many were transfers from big division one schools! Miami should be proud of the win and the way they won, and that is what we are going to now analyze

The first thing that jumps out at me is that Miami’s special teams, which started slowly, ended up dominating this game in a manner that is seen in fewer than 1 in 1000 games! Miami (MPI-ST=.661) has been playing great on special teams all year, and combined with Bethune’s horrific showing (MPI-ST=.266), this unit dominance of almost 40% represents the 99.9th percentile for the Hurricanes. It is almost unheard of in football. The significance of this, however, is probably not appreciated by the vast majority. But you are Canes fans!

The second most influential factor was the number of penalties committed by Bethune (12) along with two turnovers and -1 takeaway minus giveaway statistic. This is a very sloppy performance and this team was not going to get away with it against a more talented team like Miami. Their penalty total alone places them at the 99.6th percentile in number of penalties (higher percentile being bad in this case).

As you can tell from the first two most important factors, Bethune shot themselves in the foot more than Miami cleaned them up. In fact, time of possession was a huge advantage for Bethune (at the 96th percentile) but it did not matter because they made so many mistakes and could not cash in with their skill players the way Miami did.

The third decisive factor was Miami’s offensive unit (MPI-O=.585) which achieved in this game at the 88th percentile combined with Bethune’s overall lousy play on offense, defense and special teams (MPI-T = .437), at the 8th percentile only for total performance.

Neither defensive unit performed well (Miami’s MPI-D = .493, Bethune’s MPI-D = .411) but Bethune was much worse, and made worse too by Miami’s skilled passing attack and Lamar Miller’s exceptional running (over 100 yards again).

In summary, Miami won this game on special teams, on mistakes by Bethune Cookman, and on offensive firepower. And this scares me a little as the Hurricanes prepare to face Virginia Tech.

Had Bethune-Cookman played only average on special teams and reduced their penalties greatly, the game could have been much closer. Thank goodness that Jacory Harris and his receivers are beginning to sync up, but there is an obvious talent difference between Miami’s explosive passing attack and Bethune’s woeful secondary.

To Miami’s credit, it reduced penalties to six, only committed one turnover, and had a plus 1 takeaway-giveaway statistic. The more talented team prevailed because it made many fewer mistakes, killed the opponent on special teams, and got the offense rolling against an inferior opponent. I am concerned about the defense entering Blacksburg.

Let’s take a comparison look at a Miami’s MPI scores on offense and defense in its first 4 games. The defense is performing 6.8% worse than the offense.

In game one, the Miami offense scored .479 compared to .424 for the defense.

In game two, it was .551 compared to .518.

In game three against Kansas State, it was .533 on offense and .439 on defense.

Against Bethune-Cookman, it was .585 for the offense compared to .493 for the defense.

The averages come out to .537 for the offense and .469 for the defense.

These numbers really bring to life the truth so far about the 2011 version of the Miami Hurricanes football program. The have an above average offensive performance overall and a below average defensive performance overall and the offense is performing 6.8% better than the defense.

What does this say about this Saturday?

Virginia Tech is ranked 34th in rushing in the country, 15 spots better than Miami’s 49th-ranked rushing attack. Virginia Tech is much better in points against, ranked eighth overall compared with Miam’s No 28 ranking. The offenses are similar in terms of passing the ball and points for. Given the MPI defensive weakness in Miami combined with the Virginia Tech rushing attack, Miami is going to be in for a long long day if it does not get some things fixed on defense in a hurry.

I know that Clemson had its way last Saturday in Blacksburg, but this should do very little to make Canes fans feel comfortable. This will only strengthen the resolve of the home opponent. If I were advising Coach Golden, I would do everything and anything possible this week to improve the defense, especially against the run, keep encouraging the offense to find the big play, and encourage the special teams unit to keep winning games for this team.

Blacksburg will be an epic battle and I am excited to watch it. It is a chance for Miami to grow-up a little bit more and totally erase the bad feelings from the KSU and Maryland losses, and look forward to a much brighter future soon or a wake-up call of continued suffering.

FOCUS ON BETTER DEFENSE is my final message to the team this week.

Dr. John F. Murray, described as “The Freud of Football” by the Washington Post, is a South Florida native and licensed clinical and sports psychologist in Palm Beach. He provides mental coaching and sports psychology services, counseling, speeches and seminars. He recently authored his second book, “The Mental Performance Index: Ranking the Best Teams in Super Bowl History,” destroying stigmas about the mental game in sports and showing football teams how to perform better and win more games by enhancing team performance assessments and training. For further information call Dr. Murray at 561-596-9898 , visit or email

Top 25 Articles by Traffic 2009-2010

Sports psychology is a growing profession and science and below are the top 25 most popular articles on the website of Dr. John F Murray over the past 1.5 years.

1. “The Field and Science of Sports Psychology” by John F Murray, 2009

2. “Offsides Beyond the Game: The Pre-Game Speeches” by Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune, January 31, 2010.

3. “Earl Morrall Shares Wisdom with Sports Psychologist” by John F. Murray, June 6, 2009

4. “Visser Set to Become First Female NFL Analyst on TV” by John F. Murray, September, 2009

5. “Sports Psychology in Sports Illustrated” by Mike McNulty, Sports Illusrated Work in Sports, October 14, 2003

6. “Best Books Survey Results” by John F. Murray, November, 2007

7. “NFL Teams Examine Minds of Potential Draft Picks Too” by Kent Babb, McClatchy Newspapers, April 19, 2009

8. “Wanted: Insane Tennis Parents” by Huan Hus, Slate Magazine, June 2, 2009

9. “Concentration is Crucial in Football” by John F. Murray, September 7, 2009

10. “Mind Game: Crossword Craze Hits Devil Rays’ Clubhouse” by Roger Mooney, Bradenton Herald, May 15, 2005

11. “Games People Play” by Richard Pagliaro, Tennis Week, October 22, 2008

12. “What is Real Sports Psychology” by John F. Murray, 2005

13. “Baseball’s Most Ejected Managers” by Monte Burke, Forbes, June 22, 2009

14. “Dr. John and Vince Spadea on Social Facilitation” by John F. Murray, 2008

15. “Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback Warren Moon: Psychology Helped Me Achieve Greatness” by Bob Glauber, Newsday, September 7, 2009

16. “Little Kangeroo Hops into Tennis All the Way From Australia” by Lesley Visser, CBS Sports, December 9, 2009

17. “Bending the Rules: Shady Ethics Deeply Ingrained in Baseball” by Harvey Fialkov, Sun Sentinel, November 3, 2005

18. “The Psychology of Missed Field Goals: Was Nate Kaeding’s Performance Part of Choking Outbreak?” by Ian Yarett, Newsweek, January 22, 2010

19. “NFL is Number One on SportsPro Ranking of World’s 200 Most Valuable Sports Properties” by John F Murray, 2009

20. “Gold: Coaches Go From a Scream to a Whisper” by Jon Gold, Los Angeles Daily News, March 14, 2009

21. “Badri Narayana Talks Out about Sports Psychology: Letter from Tennis Coach in Salt Lake City” 2008

22. “Michael Jackson Fame is Dangerous” by John F. Murray, 2009

23. “Simple Formula Fuels UFC’s Appeal” by Adam Hill, Las Vegas Review Journal, July 9, 2009

24. “Ground Strokes Canada Cover Feature of Dr. John F. Murray, Author of Smart Tennis” by Lin Conklin, Ground Strokes Canada, December, 2009

25. “Knowing When to Stop Key in Sports” by George Diaz, Orlando Sentinel, July 12, 2005

I trust you enjoyed this contribution from the world of sports psychology.

If You Want Your Honey, Fire Your Lawyer

Special to – By John F. Murray, Ph.D. – August, 2010 – Warning: This article is rated R for “relationshipâ€? – Relationships and marriage are always hot topics, but this area has been covered infrequently at and is long overdue. Let’s apply a high performance model to something very important that we all deal with one way or another. In fact, the first time I appeared on the NFL Network and ESPN television from my office it was to discuss issues of love and hate in sports rather than my more traditional topics of mental preparation and performance in athletics, or more general psychological health. They wanted to know about love and hate, and here I go again in this article.

Recent relationship articles I’ve contributed to include one in the New York Post on the New York Yankees A-Rod of baseball and actress Kate Hudson
one on love among sports stars in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and a Times of India story about Tiger Woods’ extramarital relationship revelations. I’ve also been on local television (CBS 12 with Ben Becker) several times recently talking about Tiger Woods and relationships. I’m a strong proponent of social support for success in my articles, and my PhD dissertation at the University of Florida revealed social support as the big winner in helping injured players recover on the 1996 national champion Florida Gators football team. Relationships are a huge issue in life and sports, so come into my office and let’s talk a little about it.

Nothing stirs the emotions like issues of love, passion, and romance, or their counterparts of conflict, arguments and divorce. They say that love makes the world go round and it’s so true. The hottest, steamiest, most controversial, and most intriguing topics in the media and Hollywood usually deal with issues of marriage, love, romance, sex and jealousy. Although divorce rates in America have declined some recently, statistics still show that roughly half of marriages end in divorce. As of 2003, 43.7% of custodial mothers and 56.2% of custodial fathers were either separated or divorced.

How do people fall in love psychologically and why if it is so good would they do anything to disturb that marvelous state of being and destroy relationships just as often as they are created? It makes no sense, so I turned to the scientific literature as we often should when there are serious questions or we would like to understand something better.

Passion and emotion have long been known to be quite different from clear thinking and logic. Neuropsychology has identified areas in the temporal cortex as more responsible for regulating and controlling emotions whereas the frontal lobe is responsible for more rational and logical processing or cold thinking. In working with clients, I will often show them how their behavior is represented in the central and peripheral nervous system and this comes from my years of training and understanding of neuropsychology, but we are always learning new things from science all the time so it’s very important to stay current with findings.

Recent studies (reported thanks to Steve Connor, Science Editor of The London Independent, 2008) have discovered the biological basis for the two most intense emotions of love and hate. Neural circuits in the brain responsible for hate are often the same as those that are used during the feelings of romance, even though love and hate appear to be polar opposites. Looking at the areas of the brain that are active when people look at a photograph of someone they say they hate has found that the “hate circuit” shares something in common with the love circuit. These findings could explain why both hate and romantic love can result in similar acts of extreme behavior – both heroic and evil.

Like love, hate is often seemingly irrational and can lead individuals to both heroic and evil deeds. How can two opposite states of mind lead to similar behavior?” The study involved subjects who professed a deep hatred for one individual. Most chose an ex-lover or a competitor at work. The researchers in the study Professor Zeki and Romaya analysed the activity of the neural circuits in the brain that lit up when the volunteers were viewing photos of the hated person and found that the hate circuit includes parts of the brain called the putamen and the insula, found in the sub-cortex of the organ. The putamen is already known to be involved in the perception of contempt and disgust and may also be part of the motor system involved in movement and action. “Significantly, the putamen and the insula are also both activated by romantic love. This is not surprising. The putamen could also be involved in the preparation of aggressive acts in a romantic context, as in situations when a rival presents a danger,” Professor Zeki said.

A major difference between love and hate appears to be in the fact that large parts of the cerebral cortex – associated with judgment and reasoning – become de-activated during love, whereas only a small area is deactivated in hate. “This may seem surprising since hate can also be an all-consuming passion like love. But whereas in romantic love, the lover is often less critical and judgmental regarding the loved person, it is more likely that in the context of hate the hater may want to exercise judgment in calculating moves to harm, injure or otherwise exact revenge,” Professor Zeki said.

This amazing research is just beginning to offer clues to some of our most complex behavior, but I am not at all surprised about it when you consider the course of a normal romantic relationship. We know that in the early months and years during the infatuation phase, individuals are goo goo and ga ga about their partner, very much “in love,â€? less critical, and more happy overall. They hold hands all the time, use terms of endearment frequently, and see the glass as always half full rather than half empty. In short, they are in the right place mentally and behaviorally to provide to the other person what they need to feel because they are not overly critical and see the goodness in that person, and express it fully.

As the relationship progresses to a more rational state after the infatuation has worn off (anywhere between 6 months and two years usually) I’ve seen in my work that couples who were once non-judgmental and extremely supportive emotionally can soon become their partner’s worst nightmare with constant criticism, judgment, polarized thinking and henpecking. One big key to relationship success then would be to try to get back to doing the things you did for each other when the relationship was new, when love was less rational and when the mere fact of having one another trumped most any obstacle.

Certainly things change, but as they change some basic expressions of love and caring and support I believe need to remain and be constantly replenished in a creative way. Otherwise, one or both partners will soon feel cheated without having access to the same ingredients that made it work for the person before, and left thinking that things got worse and that there must be greener grass elsewhere. It’s as if your favorite restaurant suddenly fired the chef and hired someone who used totally disgusting and less tasty ingredients in preparing the meal. How long would you want to keep going there when you could do better at a Subway or McDonalds?

It would be far better if the couple found a way to increase their expressions of affection over time even if it is hard work, or sometimes seems impossible. In the absence of this success, memories of past bliss take over and the person feels constantly that he or she is no longer receiving what they did before and what they are getting currently compared with those earlier times.

Some relationships in the infatuation phase of nonjudgmental love begin with marriage and end in divorce when feelings wear off and both fall back to earth and begin dwelling on qualities of the other person they despise. Even qualities once seen as cute or unique are now viewed with disgust or disdain. Making sense? The more rational brain is at it again!

Still other couples survive the initial reduction of infatuation phase, go on to marriage or at least long-term love, and last a lifetime if both partners are able to keep it more positive than negative and find a way to overcome conflict and differences. I would estimate that almost as many of these more mature relationships also end in break-ups or divorce if the parties are unable to communicate effectively or find a way to give the other person what they need emotionally.

Communication is usually cited as the number one reason why couples split or stay together, so its qualities need to be constantly understood, learned and practiced. The easiest way to destroy a relationship is to stop talking or expressing, or to only say what you think the other person wants to hear as if you are a robot. The key, I believe, is for each partner to be allowed to express himself or herself and also be heard authentically by the partner whether that person agrees or not. Why should you both always agree? You are different people, but be careful about anything that might destroy the basic elements of love that you felt in the infatuation phase! One way to do this is to preface your comments of difference with little terms of endearment (e.g., “I love you honey and I don’t think you mean it, but I felt completely unheard and disrespected when you ignored me in front of your family for three hours last nightâ€?).

Another key is that each partner not try to control or micromanage the other’s behavior or activities, but allow them to develop and grow in their own individual and unique way as long as they aren’t stealing candy from children, setting up dog fights, selling drugs on the street corner, or stealing credit cards (other crimes are fine .. just kidding!). I’m sure you can think of some other deal breakers, but if the person is a responsible citizen and developing as they need to develop their individuality should be allowed to shine rather than be snuffed out or repressed because of what the other person thinks you should do, think or feel.

Love should not be made conditional or contingent on doing what the other person wants. In conditional love, what one person wants may not be what the other one wants. Why should it? We are all different. We are all responsible for our own actions and our own feelings and we all have a different developmental path and calling in life, but once we cross the line into telling our partner what they should be doing, feeling or thinking, I believe we have gone too far because we will always create conflict that way, or if not conflict a repressed and unhappy partner and if your partner is not happy nobody will be.

Ideally, the couple needs to find a place where they can be allowed to grow as the individuals they are, and also as a couple without one person trying to control the other. If despite all that the couple can still not resolve their differences, then there is nothing wrong with divorce or breaking up. It may be the best solution by far in many cases. But I feel that many couples trip up on the more basic issues before they even get to this stage, and one of the big ones I have seen over the years is making love conditional.

Love was not conditional when you started and when you entered that infatuation phase. Why should it change? You loved the person for who they were before, or at least you made the person feel that way. Why should you then change and withhold love unless the person changes? It seems absurd and it is. Give love freely or forget it. If you only give love when a person does something for you or what you want them to do, that is not really love anymore but an earned service. Accept your partner for who they are and try very hard to understand why they are who they are even if you do not agree with their behavior. Why would you agree? You are different. But unless you are able to find a place where your partner feels the same love of earlier infatuation, it is simply not going to work.

When conflict does arise, as it always does, what should the couple do? One solution often chosen is to visit a top family law attorney, find out what your rights are, and start talking about divorce because of how your rights have been violated. It’s like introducing your new puppy to the fox den and then asking the foxes for advice about the care and nurturing of your puppy. The foxes will probably ask you to leave your puppy with them overnight. Ok, I know you are laughing and so am I, and I do not hate lawyers, but I had to have fun with that.

Lawyers are certainly needed if your rights have been abused and you want out of the marriage, but keep in mind that lawyers are usually smart paid fighters and modern day warriors, and their job is to help you win as much as you can in an adversarial legal system that is not designed to resolve conflict harmoniously or expediently and it is certainly not designed to save marriages. I had one year of law school in my youth and I hated it so I eventually became a psychologist and sports psychologist. The first day of law school, the professor told us that we were embarking on a profession not unlike the knights of the past. Lawyers are the modern day equivalents of F-14s and ballistic artillery. These tools all work great if you are ready for war and want to win by force. Like all professionals lawyers also earn a living by providing a service at an hourly rate. More hours equals more money for them.

There is nothing wrong with lawyers if you have already reached the point that you want out and you have no interest in trying to save the relationship, but keep in mind that they make much more when you get divorced, not when you stay together. My advice to all those couples out there who are struggling is to first see if you can work it out in counseling. A good clinical psychologist or marriage therapist may also want to work with you for a while in order to have an impact, and they earn good money too. But they earn their living when they develop a reputation for helping people improve relationships, communicate more effectively, and save marriage if possible rather than telling you how to divorce and terminate all those terms of endearment.

The bottom line is that if you want your honey back the way he or she was in the early infatuation phase of your relationship, it all starts by giving out those vibes yourself and by offering positive comments and love rather than the opposite behavior that we now know is housed in the same brain areas and is even more potentially dangerous to the relationship. With the addition of clear rational thinking associated with neurological hate, you are even more informed about the risks of not trying to go back to earlier bliss or at least trying to recreate some reasonable facsimile of it in your current relationship rather than giving in to your more hateful and rational brain! Now do you know why you needed me to write this article and why you also needed to read it?

If you want to save your relationship which started with a bang, then get in your time machines and go back mentally to that bang and replicate almost everything about it in your daily behavior. William James often said that if you behave a certain way you will start to feel that way. If you act loving again, you will soon start to feel love, and if your partner does this too you will feel double love! It is not always easy to do, but what is the alternative?

Be careful about engaging the legal system or legal advice too soon. Especially in this difficult economy there are going to be lawyers out there like those foxes coaching you to leave your precious puppy in the fox den at night. Then imagine your new puppy trying to get some sleep as the foxes sneak up on him for their supper.

Again I am poking fun at attorneys and do not want you to get the wrong impression. Many of my best friends and clients are attorneys and many are great individuals and there are good and bad people in all walks of life, but these attorneys have long told me that their job is to protect you and fight for your rights rather than fight to save your marriage. They are of ten needed to do just that – to fight to end your marriage if you want that.

As long as there is still hope to make it work as a couple, choose counseling first, keep trying to get back to the earlier state of bliss, engage in those earlier more romantic behaviors again (hand holding, terms of endearment, saying “I love youâ€?), and by all means take your precious puppy to a proper dog kennel or friend’s home and avoid the foxes den.

Good luck and I hope you enjoyed this little article from the world of sports psychology!

Music Video of the Week

Enjoy this Growing List of Dr. John’s Favorite Music Videos Chosen Each Monday Based on Personal Preference and Reader Suggestions. “The music must inspire in a big way” said Murray.








NFL is Number One on SportsPro Ranking of World’s 200 Most Valuable Sports Properties

Sports psychology special for – SportsPro Magazine ranked the world’s 200 most valuable sports properties in their July issue. This a fun and fascinating list and all people interested in sports should consider a subscription to this London based magazine (editors Adam Nethersole and David Cushnan) read by the top executives in many sports worldwide. Enjoy the story below.

SportsPro magazine has published the world’s first ranking of sports properties in its July issue. Unsurprisingly, the National Football League (NFL) is ranked as the world’s most valuable sports property, with a value of US$4.5 billion. It is followed at the top of the table by three other American properties – Major League Baseball (MLB) (US$3.9 billion), the NBA (US$3.35 billion) and Nascar (US$1.9 billion).

The newest property in the list is the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is valued at US$1.6 billion – a staggering achievement for a two-year-old property.

The highest ranked European team property is the Ferrari Formula One team (7th) at a value of US$1.55 billion, followed by Manchester United Football Club (8th) at US$1.495 billion. The most valuable American sports club is the Dallas Cowboys (10th), the NFL team, valued at US$1.278 billion.

Tiger Woods (11th) is the highest rated athlete property with a value of US$1.25 billion, followed by Jack Nicklaus (16th) at US$1 billion. Golfers dominate the athletes’ table because of the high earnings from designing golf courses; Tiger Woods is expected to earn over a billion dollars from designing courses in the next decade and will almost certainly eclipse his on-course earnings. David and Victoria’s Beckham Brand Ltd property (88th) is valued at US$375 million.

Many single annual events appear, led by the Wimbledon tennis championships (22nd) valued at US$900 million.

Unsurprisingly, the most valuable competition is the Fifa World Cup (5th) valued at US$1.7 billion, ahead of the Summer Olympic Games (15th) at US$1.04 billion. The Uefa Champions League (13th) is valued at US$1.1 billion, eclipsing the Summer Olympics due to its annual status.

OVERALL TABLE (200) (Top Ten tables below)

1 National Football League; 32 NFL franchises Football – US$4.5 billion
2 Major League Baseball; 32 MLB franchises Baseball – US$3.936 billion
3 National Basketball Association; 30 NBA franchises Basketball – US$2.344 billion
4 Nascar France family; Motorsport – US$1.9 billion
5 Fifa World Cup; Fifa Soccer – US$1.7 billion
6 Indian Premier League BCCI (India) Cricket US$1.6 billion
7 Scuderia Ferrari; Fiat Motorsport – US$1.55 billion
8 Manchester United FC; Malcolm Glazer Soccer – US$1.495 billion
9 Formula One; CVC/Royal Bank of Scotland Motorsport – US$1.45 billion
10 Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones Football US$1.278 billion
11 ETW Corp/Tiger Woods Design Tiger Woods Golf US$1.25 billion
12 New York Yankees George Steinbrenner Baseball US$1.19 billion
13 Uefa Champions League Uefa Soccer US$1.1 billion
14 Real Madrid Club Members Soccer US$1.073 billion
15 Olympic Games (Summer) International Olympic Committee Multi-Sports US$1.024 billion
16 Nicklaus Design and Golf Equipmt Jack Nicklaus Golf US$1 billion
17 Washington Redskins Daniel Snyder Football US$999 million
18 PGA Tour PGA of America Golf US$970 million
19 New York Giants John Mara/Steven Tisch Football US$932 million
20 New York Jets Robert Wood Johnson IV Football US$927 million
21 Arsenal FC Stan Kroenke Soccer US$910 million
22 The Wimbledon Championships All England Lawn Tennis Club Tennis US$900 million
23 US Tennis Open United States Tennis Association Tennis US$880 million
24 New England Patriots Robert Kraft Football US$861 million
25 World Wrestling Entertainment McMahon Family Wrestling US$837 million
26 Miami Dolphins Wayne Huizenga/Stephen Ross Football US$828 million
27 Liverpool FC George Gillett/Tom Hicks Soccer US$801 million
28 Arnold Palmer Design Arnold Palmer Enterprises Golf US$800 million
29 Great White Shark Enterprises Greg Norman Golf US$800 million
30 Uefa European Championship Uefa Soccer US$800 million
31 FC Barcelona Club Members Soccer US$793 million
32 AC Milan Silvio Berlusconi Soccer US$774 million
33 National Hockey League 30 NHL franchises Ice Hockey US$760 million
34 Rugby World Cup Rugby World Cup Ltd/IRB Rugby Union US$750 million
35 The Masters Augusta National Golf Club Golf US$750 million
36 Michael Jordan Michael Jordan/Nike Basketball US$725 million
37 Houston Texans Robert McNair Football US$725 million
38 Philadelphia Eagles Jeffrey Lurie Football US$723 million
39 FC Bayern Munich Club members Soccer US$721 million
40 ICC World Cup International Cricket Council Cricket US$700 million
41 ATP World Tour Assoc. of Tennis Professionals Tennis US$700 million
42 Indianapolis Colts James Irsay Football US$699 million
43 Chicago Bears McCaskey Family Football US$692 million
44 Baltimore Ravens Stephen Bisciotti Football US$690 million
45 Denver Broncos Patrick Bowlen Football US$689 million
46 Tampa Bay Buccanneers Malcolm Glazer Football US$685 million
47 Carolina Panthers Jerry Richardson Football US$676 million
48 Cleveland Browns Randy Lerner Football US$673 million
49 New York Mets Fred Wilpon Baseball US$665 million
50 Green Bay Packers Shareholders Football US$664 million
51 Kansas City Chiefs Hunt Family Football US$660 million
52 Pittsburgh Steelers Rooney Family Football US$659 million
53 Seattle Seahawks Paul Allen Football US$657 million
54 Boston Red Sox John Henry/Thomas Werner Baseball US$651 million
55 Chelsea FC Roman Abramovich Soccer US$634 million
56 Cincinnati Bengals Michael Brown Football US$612 million
57 New Orleans Saints Thomas Benson Football US$608 million
58 St Louis Rams Chip Rosenbloom/Stan Kroenke Football US$603 million
59 Detroit Lions William Clay Ford Football US$597 million
60 Arizona Cardinals William Bidwell Football US$594 million
61 Team McLaren-Mercedes; Mercedes/Mumtalakat/Ron Dennis/Mansour Ojjeh Motorsport – US$580 million
62 San Diego Chargers Alexander Spanos Football US$577 million
63 Buffalo Bills Ralph Wilson Jr. Football US$574 million
64 Tennessee Titans Kenneth Adams Jr. Football US$569 million
65 Atlanta Falcons Arthur Blank Football US$567 million
66 San Francisco 49ers Denise DeBartolo York Football US$561 million
67 Oakland Raiders Allen Davis Football US$559 million
68 Minnesota Vikings Wilf Family Football US$545 million
69 Monaco Grand Prix; Automobile Club de Monaco Motorsport – US$520 million
70 Olympic Games (Winter) International Olympic Committee Multi-Sports US$504 million
71 America’s Cup Société Nautique de Genève Sailing US$500 million
72 Golden Boy Promotions Oscar de la Hoya Boxing US$500 million
73 Ryder Cup PGA of America/PGA European Tour Golf US$500 million
74 Jacksonville Jaguars Wayne Weaver Football US$497 million
75 Internazionale Massimo Moratti Soccer US$481 million
76 Juventus Agnelli Family Soccer US$476 million
77 Los Angeles Dodgers Frank McCourt Baseball US$469 million
78 Chicago Cubs Tom Ricketts Baseball US$455 million
79 Commonwealth Games Commonwealth Games Federation Multi-Sports US$450 million
80 New York Knicks Cablevision Systems Basketball US$405 million
81 Australian Open Tennis Australia Tennis US$400 million
82 LeBron James LeBron James Basketball US$400 million
83 Six Nations Six Nations Rugby Ltd. Rugby Union US$400 million
84 Chicago Bulls Jerry Reinsdorf Basketball US$399 million
85 Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver Basketball US$381 million
86 WTA Tour Women’s Tennis Association Tennis US$380 million
87 Los Angeles Lakers Jerry Buss/Philip Anschutz Basketball US$379 million
88 Beckham Brand Ltd. David Beckham/Victoria Beckham Soccer US$375 million
89 Detroit Pistons Karen Davidson Basketball US$374 million
90 Boston Celtics Wycliffe Grousbeck Basketball US$353 million
91 Major League Soccer MLS Soccer US$350 million
92 Tour de France Amaury Sport Organisation Cycling US$350 million
93 Hendrick Motorsports; Rick Hendrick Motorsport – US$335 million
94 AS Roma Sensi Family Soccer US$331 million
95 FC Schalke 04 Club members Soccer US$331 million
96 MotoGP; Dorna Sports Motorsport – US$330 million
97 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Arturo Moreno Baseball US$330 million
98 Toronto Maple Leafs Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Ice Hockey US$325 million
99 Philadelphia Phillies William Giles Baseball US$322 million
100 St Louis Cardinals William DeWitt Jr. Baseball US$315 million
101 Roush Fenway Racing; Jack Roush/John Henry Motorsport – US$313 million
102 Asian Games Olympic Council of Asia Multi-Sports US$310 million
103 Indianapolis 500; Tony George Motorsport – US$310 million
104 Cleveland Cavaliers Daniel Gilbert Basketball US$310 million
105 San Francisco Giants William Neukom/Susan Burns Baseball US$305 million
106 Houston Rockets Leslie Alexander Basketball US$304 million
107 Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban Basketball US$304 million
108 Copa America Conmebol Soccer US$300 million
109 French Open French Tennis Federation Tennis US$300 million
110 PGA European Tour PGA European Tour Golf US$300 million
111 Ultimate Fighting Championship Zuffa LLC Martial Arts US$300 million
112 Chicago White Sox Jerry Reinsdorf Baseball US$292 million
113 New York Rangers Cablevision Systems Ice Hockey US$291 million
114 Atlanta Braves Liberty Media Baseball US$289 million
115 Houston Astros Robert Drayton McLane Jr. Baseball US$288 million
116 Seattle Mariners Nintendo Baseball US$277 million
117 San Antonio Spurs Peter Holt Basketball US$269 million
118 Washington Nationals Theodore Lerner Baseball US$264 million
119 Texas Rangers Tom Hicks Baseball US$262 million
120 Singapore Grand Prix; Ong Beng Seng/Singapore Government Motorsport – US$261 million
121 Baltimore Orioles Peter Angelos Baseball US$260 million
122 Cleveland Indians Lawrence Dolan Baseball US$260 million
123 San Diego Padres John Moores Baseball US$260 million
124 Toronto Raptors Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Basketball US$260 million
125 Panathinaikos Giannis Vardinagiannis Soccer US$254 million
126 Arizona Diamondbacks Ken Kendrick Baseball US$253 million
127 The Open Championship Royal & Ancient Golf US$252 million
128 Tottenham Hotspur FC Daniel Levy Soccer US$250 million
129 Colorado Rockies Charles Monfort/Richard Monfort Baseball US$241 million
130 BMW-Sauber F1 Team; BMW Group Motorsport – US$240 million
131 Detroit Tigers Michael Illitch Baseball US$240 million
132 Philadelphia 76ers Comcast Spectacor Basketball US$234 million
133 Utah Jazz Miller Family Basketball US$233 million
134 Minnesota Twins James Pohland Baseball US$232 million
135 Toronto Blue Jays Rogers Communications Baseball US$229 million
136 Washington Wizards Abe Pollin Basketball US$229 million
137 Sacramento Kings Maloof Family Basketball US$227 million
138 Orlando Magic Richard DeVos Basketball US$226 million
139 Milwaukee Brewers Mark Attanasio Baseball US$225 million
140 Cincinnati Reds Robert Castellini Baseball US$222 million
141 Renault F1 Team; Renault Motorsport – US$220 million
142 Sachin Tendulkar Sachin Tendulkar Cricket US$220 million
143 Golden State Warriors Christopher Cohan Basketball US$217 million
144 Montreal Canadiens George Gillett Ice Hockey US$217 million
145 Denver Nuggets Stan Kroenke Basketball US$213 million
146 Tampa Bay Rays Stuart Sternberg Baseball US$208 million
147 Oakland Athletics Lewis Wolff/John Fisher Baseball US$207 million
148 Kansas City Royals David Glass Baseball US$204 million
149 Manchester City FC Abu Dhabi United Investment Group Soccer US$202 million
150 Australian Football League AFL AFL US$200 million
151 English FA Cup English Football Association Soccer US$200 million
152 FC Porto FCPorto SAD Soccer US$200 million
153 Atlanta Hawks Atlanta Spirit Basketball US$199 million
154 Portland Trail Blazers Paul Allen Basketball US$199 million
155 Miami Heat Micky Arison Basketball US$196 million
156 Detroit Red Wings Michael Illitch Ice Hockey US$196 million
157 Indiana Pacers Herbert Simon/Melvin Simon Basketball US$196 million
158 Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling Basketball US$195 million
159 Aston Villa FC Randy Lerner Soccer US$195 million
160 Minnesota Timberwolves Glen Taylor Basketball US$195 million
161 Oklahoma City Thunder Clay Bennett Basketball US$195 million
162 Memphis Grizzlies Michael Heisley Basketball US$191 million
163 New Jersey Nets Bruce Ratner Basketball US$191 million
164 Werder Bremen Werder Bremen and Co. Ltd. Soccer US$190 million
165 Fenerbahce Fenerbahce S.K. Soccer US$190 million
166 Toyota Racing; Toyota Motor Corp. Motorsport – US$190 million
167 Volvo Ocean Race; Volvo Event Management UK Sailing – US$190 million
168 Pittsburgh Pirates Robert Nutting Baseball US$188 million
169 Charlotte Bobcats Robert Johnson Basketball US$184 million
170 New Orleans Hornets George Shinn/Gary Chouest Basketball US$184 million
171 Milwaukee Bucks Herbert Kohl Basketball US$180 million
172 Florida Marlins Jeffrey Loria Baseball US$179 million
173 Philadelphia Flyers Comcast Spectacor Ice Hockey US$178 million
174 Dallas Stars Tom Hicks Ice Hockey US$177 million
175 Celtic FC Dermot Desmond Soccer US$172 million
176 VfB Stuttgart Club members Soccer US$171 million
177 Boston Bruins Jeremy Jacobs Ice Hockey US$170 million
178 Hamburger FC Club members Soccer US$165 million
179 Galatasaray Galatasaray SK Soccer US$160 million
180 Vancouver Canucks Francesco Aquilini Ice Hockey US$153 million
181 Borussia Dortmund Borussia Dortmund GmbH Motorsport US$150 million
182 Colorado Avalanche Stan Kroenke Ice Hockey US$150 million
183 Olympique Lyonnais Jean-Michel Aulas Soccer US$150 million
184 New Jersey Devils Jeffrey Vanderbeek Ice Hockey US$144 million
185 Olympique de Marseille Robert Louis-Dreyfus Soccer US$141 million
186 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; Teresa Earnhardt Motorsport – US$140 million
187 Minnesota Wild Craig Leipold/Philip Falcone Ice Hockey US$140 million
188 Los Angeles Kings Philip Anschutz Ice Hockey US$136 million
189 Everton FC Bill Kenwright Soccer US$133 million
190 Ottawa Senators Eugene Melnyk Ice Hockey US$133 million
191 Chicago Blackhawks Wirtz Family Ice Hockey US$132 million
192 Anaheim Ducks Henry Samueli/Susan Samueli Ice Hockey US$131 million
193 Calgary Flames Calgary Flames LP Ice Hockey US$131 million
194 Tampa Bay Lightning Oren Koules/Len Barrie Ice Hockey US$130 million
195 Glasgow Rangers FC Sir David Murray Soccer US$126million
196 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux/Ronald Burkle Ice Hockey US$126 million
197 Newcastle United FC Mike Ashley Soccer US$120 million
198 Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant Basketball US$120 million
199 San Jose Sharks Kevin Compton/Greg Jamison Ice Hockey US$116 million
200 Penske Racing; Roger Penske Motorsport – US$115 million

Rank Property Owner/Majority Shareholder Sport Value
1 (1) National Football League 32 NFL franchises Football US$4.5 billion
2 (2) Major League Baseball 30 MLB franchises Baseball US$3.936 billion
3 (3) National Basketball Assoc. 30 NBA franchises Basketball US$2.344 billion
4 (4) Nascar France family Motorsport US$1.9 billion
5 (6) Indian Premier League BCCI (India) Cricket US$1.6 billion
6 (9) Formula One CVC/RBS/Ecclestone Motorsport US$1.45 billion
7 (13) Uefa Champions League Uefa Soccer US$1.1 billion
8 (18) PGA Tour PGA of America Golf US$970 million
9 (33) National Hockey League 30 NHL franchises Ice Hockey US$760 million
10 (41) ATP World Tour Association of Tennis Prof Tennis US$700 million

Rank Property Owner/Major Shareholder Sport Value
1 (7) Scuderia Ferrari Fiat Motorsport US$1.55 billion
2 (8) Manchester United FC Malcolm Glazer Soccer US$1.495 billion
3 (10) Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones Football US$1.278 billion
4 (12) New York Yankees George Steinbrenner Baseball US$1.19 billion
5 (14) Real Madrid Club Members Soccer US$1.073 billion
6 (17) Washington Redskins Daniel Snyder Football US$999 million
7 (19) New York Giants John Mara/Steven Tisch Football US$932 million
8 (20) New York Jets Robert Wood Johnson IV Football US$927 million
9 (21) Arsenal FC Stan Kroenke Soccer US$910 million
10 (24) New England Patriots Robert Kraft Football US$861 million

Rank Property Owner/Major Shareholder Sport Value
1 (11) ETW Corp/Tiger Woods Design Tiger Woods Golf US$1.25 billion
2 (16) Nicklaus Design Jack Nicklaus Golf US$1 billion
3 (28) Arnold Palmer Design Arnold Palmer Golf US$800 million
4 (29) Great White Shark Enterprises Greg Norman Golf US$800 million
5 (36) Michael Jordan Michael Jordan/Nike Basketball US$725 million
6 (72) Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya Boxing US$500 million
7 (82) LeBron James LeBron James Basketball US$400 million
8 (88) Beckham Brand Ltd David and Victoria Beckham Soccer US$375 million
9 (142) Sachin Tendulkar Sachin Tendulkar Cricket US$220 million
10 (198) Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant Basketball US$120 million

Rank Property Owner/Major Shareholder Sport Value
1 (22) The Wimbledon Championships All England Lawn Tennis Club Tennis US$900 million
2 (23) US Tennis Open United States Tennis Association Tennis US$880 million
3 (35) The Masters Augusta National Golf Club Golf US$750 million
4 (69) Monaco Grand Prix Automobile Club de Monaco Motorsport US$520 million
5 (81) Australian Open Tennis Australia Tennis US$400 million
6 (83) Six Nations Six Nations Rugby Ltd. Rugby Union US$400 million
7 (92) Tour de France Amaury Sport Organisation Cycling US$350 million
8 (109) French Open French Tennis Federation Tennis US$300 million
9 (120) Singapore Grand Prix Ong Beng Seng/Singapore Government Motorsport US$261 million
10 (127) The Open Championship Royal & Ancient Golf US$252 million

Hope you enjoyed this report from a sports psychologist!

5 Ways to Cope with Holiday or Financial Stress

I hope you are having a nice holiday! Today I have prepared a theme with 5 ways to cope with the holiday or financial stress we might find ourselves in these days. Consider the following 5 activities to help survive the psychological, economic, or family turmoil of our times:

Seek Information and Greater Knowledge

In these difficult economic times, you might be feeling more stress lately, especially when combined with the holidays. Coping with it all is truly a challenge and sometimes articles and information can help greatly. Here are two great articles that will help balance you again and you can find many more at the site:
(a) Click Here
(b) Click Here

Attend a Workshop or Seminar

Please let me know if you can possibly join Ed Tseng and I as we present a half-day sports psychology workshop in Princeton, New Jersey on February 21, 2009. If you can possibly make it and I’ll provide you with further details. We’ll tailor our talks some to dealing with this general stress and angst many of us feel.

Join a Social Group or Network

There are currently 65 members in my Facebook group and I invite you to join at no charge. The group is currently up to 65 and you can see all the other members and interact with them when you sign up at: Click Here (or just search for John F Murray’s High Performance Psychology)

Visit a Museum or Look at other Art

Looking at fine art or treasure is another great way to reduce stress. For example, I love the mechanical precision and historical significance of watches. In fact, these 5 watches are being auctioned and are closing soon but still available from my main page on ebay at: ebay page

–1947 Elgin Deluxe wristwatch awarded and incribed to the winning coach of the 1947 East West Shrine Game, George H. Sauer, who was later involved in the NFL. Auction ends in less than 24 hours!
–1955 Bulova wristwatch awarded and inscribed to Pee Wee Reese for his Brooklyn Dodgers World Series win over the New York Yankees.
–1976 Movado Zenith Surf World Series wristwatch awarded and inscribed to former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn.
–1973 Swiss Gruen Precision wristwatch awarded and inscribed to famous sports broadcaster Red Barber.
–1923 Illinois pocket watch. Again, find all 5 watches at: Click Here … and let me know if you have any questions.

Become an Even More Frivolous Sports Fan!

Along with your hard work, it helps to allowing your sports fan face and enthusiasm to show even more. In my corner of the world and orientation, the chant is “Go Dolphins” and “Go Gators!” You probably have your own teams whether you live in the USA or somewhere else. Shout it out!

I hope these 5 activities of (1) reading, (2) attending workshops, (3) joining a group, (4) looking at art, or (5) being even more of a fan will help you cope just a little bit more in these times of stress or distress. Of course, if this does not help, have you considered counseling in person or by phone? I’m always here for you, just call 561-596-9898.


John F. Murray, PhD
139 North County Road Suite 18C
Palm Beach, Florida 33480
Tel: 561-596-9898
Fax: 561-805-8662

Dr. Murray’s “high performance psychology” helps people in a variety of challenging situations in business, sports, academics and life. He is a best-selling author & columnist, and a frequent speaker and seminar leader. His commentary appears almost daily in the media. For example, Dr. Murray recently contributed to the Boston Globe, NY Times, LA Daily News, and Newsday, and he appeared as an expert on Fox Television, MSNBC and ABC Good Morning America.