2 Quick Hits On Sports Media and The Stock Market

1. Has anyone noticed that its impossible to trust a single word uttered about coaching changes, the draft, trades and even celebration parties these days ?

Bloggers, sports websites and even the print media have gotten so desperate they seem to have come to the conclusion that fabricated stories, passed off as rumors, are a better way to drive traffic and create awareness of a website or blog than actual reporting.

Unfortunately, ESPN and local newspapers, radio and TV media have become the patsies of bloggers.  If some random blogger reports that “he has heard that a trade of Joe for John is being discussed”, then the traditional media, as they have told me many times “is requested by their editor to run it down and see if its real”.    Its almost like a sad joke.  How do you make an ESPN reporter jump ? Make up something and put it on your blog. Somewhere a bunch of sports bloggers are playing a drinking game.  Chug if the other guys made up trade rumor makes the ESPN crawl.

How to stop it ? ESPN.com puts up a page of blacklisted blogs and websites who’s posts they wont comment on or report on in any way.  It will create a short term surge of traffic for those sites, but then they will go away as the proprietors of the sites realize that being discredited is not a good thing.

2. I did a quick and dirty interview with The Motley Fool. They asked me about Buy and Hold for Stocks. My answer was simple.

“Buy and hold is long dead. It has always been a sucker’s bet.  Proponents point to charts of index performance over the long term; unfortunately, things like house repairs, kids, and college tuition don’t follow the same chart.

Buy and hold is a great marketing slogan for funds that want to take your money. Nothing more or less.”

Then they had John Bogle ,founder of Vanguard and creator of the Vanguard 500 comment on what I had to say.  I’m glad to say that Mr Bogle made my point.  In what should have been a simple answer for him, was not.  Plus he managed to take a  few shots at me.   Hey, if you can’t counter a point, slam the messenger ! Here is what he had to say.  Notice all the qualifiers.

“Cuban embargo … is what we need after those silly statements.

Of course buy and hold is a sucker’s bet where individual stocks are concerned (just ask the guys that bought and held Mark’s own company!)
And while buy and hold for all of American business (a stock index fund) may produce long years of plenty interrupted by years of famine, putting equity capital to work in that way will be great so long as America is great.
And as a group, all investors, by definition, are buy and hold investors! Not complicated! And mathematically, those who themselves are buy and holders (without costs) will — not might — outperform those who trade back and forth with one another, who capture the same market return but let all those croupier costs destroy their returns.

Finally, if buy and hold refers not to stocks or the stock portfolio but to one’s aggregate investment portfolio, reducing the stock commitment as age takes its toll, it is the most certain way to wealth that exists in our uncertain world.

He’s right about the marketing slogan — except when it is applied to the strategy described in the immediately preceding paragraph.”

I stand by what I had to say.  Buyer beware.

43 thoughts on “2 Quick Hits On Sports Media and The Stock Market

  1. To clarify, when I say buy and hold is the best strategy, I don’t mean buying an index fund and holding it for 5-10 years. I mean carrying a diversified portfolio that is rebalanced/reallocated (managed) by an advisor at least annually. That is really the only way to outperform the market, which is what you are trying to do in the first place. Visit : http://www.evolve-mma.com

    Comment by informationevolvemma -

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  3. They change the stocks when the stock is performing very badly.
    This is why! None of these stocks have predictable cash flows unless you are a banker. Are you a banker Reboyle? How do you know which one’s to concentrate on? Even Buffett lost money recently.

    What special situations are you talking about? You mean inside info. I have to be a mind reader to figure you out.

    quality of revenue- is not losing money. lol
    free cash flow-no such thing, in the stock market.

    “then study what others do , or find a manger who does know.”–Reboyle
    Since you are a manager you tell me. Study what?

    You have not told me anyway to make money in the stock market whatsoever.

    Now the other guy Bruce up above you now he made sense.

    I would give anything to go to Harvard. Not as fortunate as you Reboyle.

    Dats Life.


    Comment by wildwhitewoody -

  4. Your partially correct that the DOW and various Indexes do change the stocks that make them up , i.e AIG, Merrill Lynch etc , ones that took 30:1 leverage and CDS risks, are sometimes replaced by the index sponsors , and those indexes have risen or fallen and your holdings get changed as the index changes; but other equities that have predictable cash flow, products that sell and generate revenue which flows down to cash flow,.. these are the ones to concentrate on , along with special situations. Learn what quality of Revenue is, and what free cash flow is, then study what others do , or find a manger who does know.

    Comment by reboyle -

  5. Yes Bruce Fenton Thank you so much this is one of the only truthful posts on here after Mr. Cuban.

    I was led to believe the same. That 45 degree north line graph explains the con. What they do not include is all the stocks that have went bankrupt and they have took out of their precious portfolio. The Dow top 100 switches stocks like Van Damme switches wives.
    You have woke me up to maybe the bank managers or low level representatives believe this to be true and just follow the the group(brainwash). Maybe they are not all trying to rip of their clients and actually think they are helping in the long run. I never really realized that until told me about your own predicament.

    Ty for the youtube click and for having the fortitude to come forward.


    Comment by wildwhitewoody -

  6. the myth of “buy and hold” is a marketing scheme designed to appeal to citizens

    … its all marketing — very little in the investment world is out to actually help the customer

    how do I know? because I’ve worked in the business and believed the nonsense myself as well once

    What your Financial Advisor isnt telling you…

    Comment by brucefenton -

  7. Who the hell would by the Indians. There team is the worst in their division. They have always been losers. In this economy who in their right mind would by that team and is it even for sale?


    Comment by wildwhitewoody -

  8. Mark, I know you probably won’t read this, and I know this comment is unrelated to your blog post, but please hear me out, as I have the biggest challenge for you that you’ve ever faced.

    Cleveland needs you, Mark. We have gone 45 years without a major sports championship. That’s 124 seasons (3 major sports franchises) without a winner. YOU are the man that can buy the Cleveland Indians and turn it around.

    I’m not sure how else to reach out to you. But I’m hoping to somehow get your opinion on this. To be the man that finally brings a championship to this city…we’d build a bronze statue of you in Public Square.

    Comment by jimcleveland -

  9. WEll I put my email out there. Not one legitimate plan to make money in the stock market.

    I even had something sent from John Bogle himself or one of his lynchman. Telling me why to hold long term and saying be patient and
    all the great investors do it then shows a list of Warren Buffett and other millionaire fund managers.
    Well what did I do with this so called “wisdom for investors.”
    Well with due diligence I sent it where it belongs in the garbage bin. That and a number of million dollar schemes.
    I feel bad for the people that are gullible and believe everything they read. Cause they will be conned and ripped off for sure.
    I am too cynical for your traps scam artists. Its sad that there is not one person with honest and helpful advice. And not some SCAM.

    What will be the next big thing on the horizon? More security garbage.

    The internet is getting a little boring. The same ole same ole. It seems like everything has been done and done.
    Will there be some new invention coming in the future or will people regress to the enjoyment of the past??(nature,fishing,hiking)


    Comment by wildwhitewoody -

  10. As a young man, I worked for a bank and later brokerage, and watched and studied what type businesses could borrow money and use the cash flow generated in the business to pay back the loan and leave remaining equity $. I watched which ones could rinse and repeat this process.
    Something they don’t offer in college, but I did touch on when I taught is simplisticly valuable.
    Then I went out and looked for the same businesses that generated that type of cash flow mentioned above and found ways to buy smaller ones, or found ways to partner with others to by the larger ones, operate them and then later sell them.
    Look for repeatable revenues, then look for the amount of repeatable cash flow you think will come from thoses revenues. (FCFR free cash flow rate)
    In the 80s it was cable systems, or propane distributorships, then market dominate yellow page books, then communication towers with FCC blessings, lower risk natural gas or oil cash flow properties, and leased Real estate cash flow. Most were sold to public companies or stock swapped. Stocks as an investment, are only good if you know something along the lines above is likely to happen.
    I’m looking at deals now.
    I’m ready to do it some more. btw, Hi Mark, rboyle@boyleoil.com

    Comment by reboyle -

  11. Hi Mark, Here is a pretty good business for you to think about. My company has the rights to a ethanol producing patent using biomass. It works like this. We turn all the pine trees that were once used to make paper into sawdust. Then we feed it to microbes that convert the sugar into ethanol. This uses about a 1/3 of the mass. The remaining mass we feed to other microbes and algae in varying stages. We then are able to press the algae for biodiesel. The next step is to feed the pressed algae and microbes that consumed the remaining pulp to different microbes which now convert this material (which has an accessible sugar content) to ethanol. This is simplified of coarse but the process yields 300 gallons of ethanol and 25 gallons of biodiesel for every ton of pine chips. We will import about 4.5 billion barrels of oil this year producing 90 billion gallons of gasoline. We have in this country over 1.3 billion tons of renewable biomass every year. If our process is put on a fast track we could be producing nearly 400 billion gallons of ethanol and 33 billion gallons of diesel every year. That would give us an exportable energy product. Ethanol has a higher octane content and is actually more efficient as a fuel than gasoline. The problem is that cars are designed to operate on the gasoline so are not efficient using ethanol. The Indy series winners use ethanol because of these principles. Because we now own GM we could mandate the motors be designed for ethanol. Our supply of both cars and fuel could meet at the same point in time and pull us out of this jam we are in now. Think about it then write me if you have an interest. We are pursuing government grants and have some financial backing in the millions but to put this thing into gear and build multiple plants simultaneously it will take more resources than what we have going now. This is the answer to global warming and our energy dilema in one neat package. Think about where the jobs will be === in rural america and the small towns in the most economically impacted areas. michaelb@emeraldcoastenergy.com

    Comment by emeraldcoastenergy -

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  14. Come on Mark, I know why you really called out bloggers: http://upperdeckblog.com/?p=982

    Comment by Toby Wachter -

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  17. Re: Buffett

    1) Warren Buffet advises people on how to manage wealth differently than how me manages wealth. (red flag in my book)

    2) Buffet’s companies are publicly traded, so he has an enormous incentive to advise the public to buy and hold securities. (red flag #2)

    There’s no doubt that Buffett is an intelligent and successful man. But that shouldn’t further translate into following his advice without requiring it to make sense.

    Comment by Jeff Nabers -

  18. doogs01,

    I DID cherry pick that example but only to prove a point.

    Anyway, you keep investing in index funds. By the way, why are you using mutual funds anyway? Buy an ETF and save yourself the fees.

    My real point was that someone who takes time to educate themselves about the capital markets and simple economic theory can easily design a methodology to outperform indexes.

    Unfortunately, people spend more time planning a wedding than they do managing and planning their finances.

    Comment by akslc -

  19. The current structure of the trading market encourages what is essentially a pyramid scheme. Protracted… but it’s bunk, no less.

    I know it is a silly movie, but the point is valid… “The only winning move is to not play.”

    Comment by ryanrutledge -

  20. Happy Fathers Day.

    Ok ty for your honest post Mr. Cuban. Going against the mainstream is tough. Very wise advice in regards to the stock market.
    So many people like John Bogle will try to attack a different opinion. Especially if it is true and is a threat to the establishment.

    ESPN—> LMFAO sorry inside joke. So I won’t go there.

    The Stock Market- Well I totally agree long term holds are for sucker’s. I have lost much on long term holds. I have seen family lose a lot as well.

    hmm CDS and TIPS I will have to look at these. Tx for the tip.

    In my heart I still feel I can win in the market. Maybe on short term picks with a stop. Is there anyone that has a successful system to winning in the stock market.
    A mechanical system, algorithms or a proven system that works in real time. I will be indebted forever.
    If so email me at mwfarwell@hotmail.com

    Happy Fathers Day.


    Comment by wildwhitewoody -

  21. Mark…We met at HDNET FIghts II where one of my fighters, Nissen Osterneck, fought at your event in Dallas. I just found out about your stimulus package and wanted to see if you were still funding companies? Here is my proposal:

    Here is an opportunity to become a part of the fastest growing and most exciting sport in the World…Mixed Martial Arts….inside the country where it all began….Brasil!!

    I am a Mixed Martial Arts promoter / manager and have worked with top promotions such as the UFC, HDNet Fights, WEC, Strikeforce, Affliction, K-1, World Muay Thai Council, World Boxing Council and I just returned from taking one of my fighters to the WBC Muay Thai, K-1 and Sanshou Championships in Beijing, China.

    I have traveled to Manaus, Amazonas, Brasil 13 times in the past 3 years. My cousin / business partner, Josafa Dos Anjos, Jr., has put on 5 Mixed Martial Arts / Vale Tudo events in the past 2 years in Manaus. He is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and his family owns and operates a police / security training center in Manaus: http://grupomarshal.com.br.

    Manaus is located in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest and is the birth place of Brazilian Vale Tudo sport fighting. Vale Tudo means “Anything Goes” in Portuguese and is where Ultimate Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts all began. Manaus has a population of more than 2 million people and is the chief port and hub of the Amazon River and Amazon Jungle.

    Maurice Travis and I took one of our UFC fighters, Nissen Osterneck, to Manaus to compete in the last MMA event Josafa held and we had such a great turn out to see the Brazilian take on the American. (the video on the website link is footage from the last event) So, Josafa, Maurice and I came up with a unique marketing concept, Brasil vs USA Vale Tudo Championships. We have put together a team of 8 Brazilian and 8 American fighters to compete for the pride of their countries.

    We have a 12,000 seat venue and a great team of a legal, marketing / pr, tv stations, dance teams and martial arts academias ready to put on an incredible series of shows and become the top fight promotion in Brasil!!

    Below is a link to the event trailer I put together from footage at our last event. Also, enter the Social Network I built to generate revenue, ticket sales, market, and live stream the event:

    Here are our thoughts for the investment terms..open for discussion:

    30% return on a $75K Investment x 3 Events within 6 months
    (it will take 2 months to prepare for each fight)
    10% return after first fight = $7.5K
    -roll the initial $75K into fight 2
    10% return after second fight = $7.5K
    -roll the initial $75K into fight 3
    10% return after third fight = $7.5K

    TOTAL = $22.5K return
    (plus your initial $75K investment return)

    Please email cwcmac@hotmail.com or me or give me a call 843-283-8940 if you are intereseted.

    Thank you for your time!


    Comment by cwcmac -

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  23. > How to stop it ? ESPN.com puts up a page of blacklisted blogs and websites who’s posts they wont comment on or report on in any way.

    You mean like the sports section of the Post-Gazette? Or John Perrotto’s new gig with Ogden Nutting’s piratereport? Jeez Mark, we wouldn’t have ANY coverage of the Pirates left to read in Pittsburgh if ESPN did that.

    Maybe the better way is to have beat reporters acknowledge they post organizational PR once in awhile in an attempt to “help” the home team? And you know, maybe that’s why some bloggers do it too? But I agree, too many blogging bozos litter the landscape.

    Comment by rucmng2pit -

  24. Didn’t Warren Buffet take some major losses as well.

    Not everyone has his ability to select stocks. Following a lesser experienced investment advisor would be a sucker play.

    Comment by johnqeeg -

  25. Warren Buffett has been telling people to buy and hold for years.

    Comment by kpurfield -

  26. I think Warren Buffet may disagree.

    Comment by wrx2005 -

  27. Been following your posts for a while and love them. We seem to have some of the same sentiments on financial advisors/brokers. Funny part is that I have been a financial advisor for the last 8 years but finally hit eject last Thursday to start http://www.fabeetle.com. Check it out as I think you will like the idea. You can actually see video of me quitting here: http://www.fabeetle.com/video

    Comment by bgadoci -

  28. akslc,

    Way to cherry pick the absolute worst example. An investor buying the NASDAQ at its all time peak. Though actually you might make Bogle’s case even stronger. Lets compare putting $10,000 at NASDAQ 5000 into the S&P 500 index vs. actively managed funds and compare who came out on top. My guess is the index outperformed 80% of funds.

    The point is WHATS THE ALTERNATIVE?? I’m sure Mark can think his capital to better use, good for him, he’s a billionaire and has opportuntities to invest in companies/start ups that the rest of us don’t… plain and simple.

    Comment by doogs01 -

  29. buy and hold is dead?? uhhh… right Mark. Lets put it into actively managed funds. Oh wait, the index outperforms 80% of those on a long term basis. Ok, lets give it to our broker? uhhh no thanks. give me a better alternative with statistics to back it up and I’ll think about it… love your blog, but you are way off base on this one.

    Comment by doogs01 -

  30. Gentsev,

    I just read your comment. Your question was simply “do you have an alternative that you think the average person can actually execute?” The answer is simple: Yes. If you can add, subtract, and divide, you can beat a simple buy and hold strategy.

    I wish I could show you or have you contact me so I could show you, I’m just not sure this medium is able to facilitate that.

    Comment by akslc -

  31. Bogle is an idiot. The only thing that Vanguard does well is manage index funds for less money than the other guys. There is still the base argument as to whether an index fund in and of itself is good at all.

    Buying and holding doesn’t work for any financial instrument, including index funds. For example, what about the guy that bought a NASDAQ index fund when that index was 5,000? That guy is STILL under water and will probably always be under water until he is dead.

    Mark, thanks for setting people straight on this. The financial service companies in general are nothing more than licenses to steal people’s money, especially from the financially illiterate. And this is coming from a guy who has been in the industry for years.

    The bottom line is people like Bogle make a TON of money because people in general, rich and poor alike, don’t take the time to educate themselves about the financial markets. With a little time and effort, developing a methodology to outperform some ridiculous buy and hold strategy is very simple and would require little effort to implement.

    Mark, I love your blog. Even though I’m a Jazz fan, I love your passion and commitment to your team as well as your businesses. Keep telling the truth, maybe someday people will see the light…..

    Comment by akslc -

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  33. Would ESPN’s problem be solved by more transparency? Most of the time, when running a rumor, the network doesn’t credit the blog from which the story originated. If their reporting included the blog origins the amount of accountability would increase for both sides. It would also lead to a searchable record of which sites are full of it and which reporters gullible.

    Comment by smithkov -

  34. Now this is a superfanta$tic post. Okay well, ESPN ya they have the best editors on the planet. NOT. They are crying to make up new exciting stories and this is why they will listen to these bloggers.
    I’m tired of all the trades that never happen and the shenanigans there as well. The only one person there that has any charisma is Bill Simmon’s. He is at least honest and doesn’t follow the cult and the easy story. How so you ask?
    Ok I love Kobe’s game but everyone on espn was saying he has changed and Kobe is more of a team player and this is how he won the championship. THIS is WRONG. I watched the series and he played the same as he did last year. So Bill Simmons speaks the truth. Kobe is still a ball hog his statistical stats are the same as the previous year. The reason he lost last year was because of Kevin Garnett, Pierce and Allen. This year he was lucky to meet a easier Orlando team that was beatable. Also give Gasol some credit. 60% Shooting from the field he was great. So stop trying to make it a feel good story and state the facts ESPN.
    Also I am getting so tired of these Millionaire superstars. Most are never satisfied and when they get a guaranteed contract they act like Punks. Do these people know what a hard day of work is. To see Stephen Marbury making millions and refusing to play and mocking the Knicks in the stands MAKES ME SICK. It is time to get a real STERN commissioner in the NBA. How about like in the NFL no guaranteed contracts. LMAO. Then you will see players liking practice. Yes AI enjoy.
    This is why I love the MMA these guys respect it and are not payed millions. These are the true gladiators of our time. I can not wait to see St. Pierre next week. If he wins p4p the best.

    The Stock Market I agree totally with you there TRIP ACES. Buying and holding is for SUCKA’s. So many company’s go bankrupt so what do they do. They toss them off the Dow 100 and add new one’s and then the bank say’s look at what you would of made a graph showing a 90 degree angle SOUTH. TOTAL SCAM.

    I spent years watching it. I bought so many stocks that went Bankrupt after I bought the stock. These are stocks like Manhatten Minerals.(bankrupt) Crystallex down 90% and Silverado down 95%. These are stocks that consistently doubled for yrs and had a quadruple double bottoms. So I wanted to make a quick double and what happens. Bankruptcy. Or the moneymakers bankrupt the company and put it on the other exchange. This choked me. I bought Laidlaws on the Vancouver exchange for 50cents a share. They go in bankruptcy protection the shares are worthless. A week later they go on the Toronto exchange and trade for 12 dollars IPO. No wonder I am Cynical.
    Then my family say’s your paranoid, WallStreet isn’t after your money it was just unlucky.
    WEll U know what I say FU WALLSTREET. You know what I want to do as a public service is fly to New York and picket on Wall Street and tell people how you ruin people’s lives steal from the workers to get your yachts. Bankrupt company’s and put the money in other companies. You Bait and Switch Suit and Tie Sob’s. YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A WHITE COLLAR CASINO.
    I sweat my a$$ off when I worked to have a retirement and what you MBA’s do. Wipe me out and leave me certificates worth 1 red cent. I am to blame as well, never by stock with low volume and on the Vamcouver exchange.(CDNX)


    I am going to Havana to find a Wife they respect their man. I will smoke a Romeo&juliet cigar and wish the world was like it was in the 50’s. Hey at least Havana has all the antique cars. That was when the world was Purer.

    Comment by wildwhitewoody -

  35. Well what do you think of the new “Dispute Finder” tool developed for Firefox?


    Put the power to discredit sensationalist bloggers in the hands of the people.

    Comment by dougburr -

  36. I am a college student at UNC – Chapel Hill and have been looking at different investment options and I don’t believe in individual stock picking nor am I fan of just buying and holding an index fund.
    I am wondering what you would think about MarketRiders.com. They group investment vehicles into different sections (bonds, real estate, small cap, international…) and advise you on how exactly to allocate using ETF’s. They just charge a monthly fee around $10 and you use your own broker like Etrade. I like the idea of consistent returns rather than a long term holding through rampant business cycles.

    Comment by mapjak -

  37. P.S. CDs, and savings accounts are the worst investment of all post-1971. They are locking in a guaranteed loss due to an increasing money supply. The CPI reports aren’t useful for anything other than backup toiletpaper, so that kills TIPS, annuities, and anything else marketed to you.

    Measure your own increase in prices of items that you buy and you will find 6 – 12% inflation. The source is an increasing money supply. The lack of price inflation right now is the eye of the storm in the hurricane known as the Federal Reserve. We should all be terrified of what’s going to happen when we the economy is “fixed.” At that point, the trillions of fresh dollars will actually be moving throughout the economy and we’ll be like Zimbabwe’s little brother (hyperinflation).

    – Jeff

    p.s. Solution: Don’t look for a fast food drive thru solution to wealth management. Learn how to actually find investments yourself instead of buying repackaged and bastardized securities that originated from real assets outside the stock market.

    Comment by Jeff Nabers -

  38. There is a 3rd alternative to buying and holding any form of securities:

    DON’T BUY SECURITIES AT ALL! The brainwashing done over the past 30 – 40 years is one for the record books. We actually think that investing only happens in the stock market. Back in the 60s, less than a quarter of households owned securities because it was understood that the stock market is a glamorous casino. Today, two thirds of American households own securities for two reasons: 1) The ERISA (retirement account) law used tax incentives to suck money into the stock market and 2) Marketing. With an increase in TV watching (and an increase in advertisement watching) we’ve been conditioned to think investing = the stock market.

    Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch themselves report that the leading cause of wealth in America (and the world) is business ownership and real estate.

    The stock market is a great bet… if you’re taking your company public and dumping your securities on all the suckers who are following the commercially advertised version of investing.

    Comment by Jeff Nabers -

  39. Can’t say I understand what you mean by sucker’s bet. For your typical investor, there are two likely alternatives to buy and hold. One, churn your account based on your broker’s recommendations. Two, buy high and sell low. Sure, professional investors can beat a buy and hold strategy, sometimes. But that’s not the relevant alternative for the median investor – it’s probably Jim Cramer or something like that. So in context, buy and hold makes a lot of sense. Or do you have an alternative that you think the average person can actually execute?

    Comment by gentschev -

    • So what are you going to buy and hold ? The S&P, which is where it was in the 1990s ? The QQQs, which is not 30pct of where it was in 2000 ? And dont you think that every year there is something new they want you to buy and hold ?

      PUt your money in TIPS or CDs and get a good nights sleep. Making less is always better than losing anything

      Comment by markcuban -

  40. Hear hear!

    Meb Faber just wrote an excellent book on that exact topic that buy and hold is dead. He has a simple strategy for the lay investor.


    A fantastic read.

    Comment by seadogsf -

  41. If buy and hold is dead, what’s a good replacement for it?

    Comment by knoteye -

  42. While I agree with you that bloggers write a lot of crap when it comes to rumors, I disagree that ESPN should be the ones calling them out. Mainly because ESPN does the same thing. There probably needs to be a 3rd party website that covers this. That way if there is a new rumor out, you know you can go to that site to find out if the blogger is credible or not.

    Comment by sportstechnow -

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