Monday, November 29, 2010

Supply, meet demand

As a lifelong Mets fan, I despise the Yankees. Therefore, Derek Jeter makes me sick. The smug look, the supermodel girlfriends, the damned clutch hits. Please.

So I'm greatly enjoying sitting back and watching the chess game being played between Jeter and the Yankees regarding a new contract. Jeter, in case you don't follow sports closely, just finished a contract during which he made 189 million dollars. The Yankees, meanwhile, seems as though they can print money faster than Congress.

Jeter wants a raise. I'm reminded of the line from Wall Street in which Charlie Sheen asks Michael Douglas, "How many yachts can you water ski behind?"

Seriously, Derek, how much cash do you need? Notice that little thing called a recession lately?

On the other side, the Yankees can't mistreat a guy who has been their soul for so long. Their stance is that he's gotten old and his talent is fading. They just paid him 189 million. Should they pay for part performance, reward a guy for being a great player and staying off the police blotter?

This is going to be fun to watch.

Which brings us to the television news industry. (You're saying, "It's about damned time, Grape.") When negotiating a salary, you have to always keep in mind one simple fact: in this business, supply always exceeds demand. One job opening brings hundreds of resume tapes. A News Director knows if his first choice is too expensive, there are plenty of other choices out there who will jump at an offer.

A few years ago I worked with an anchor who had been at a station a long time. He was popular, made a terrific salary, and was well liked in the community. He liked the market and didn't want to move. Yet for some odd reason, he and his agent decided to play hardball at contract time. Instead of taking the station's fair offer he held out for a lot more. And held out.

And ended up out of a job.

TV stations and popular anchors often end up in the same situation as the Yanks and Derek Jeter. And sometimes pride gets in the way and both sides lose. The station loses a popular anchor, and the anchor loses a job.

It's important to bear this in mind when negotiating any contract. When you play hardball, you can get drilled, just like in baseball. Keep any negotiations civil, and don't ask for the moon. Because everyone is replaceable.



Anonymous said...

How do you ask for an out clause without making it seem like you want to leave?

-The Grape said...

Good question, and one that really takes a whole separate blog post. I'll address it soon.