Gary Bettman, NHL
He earned a dubious distinction in 2004 as the first commissioner to cancel a season, but he got the hard salary cap and economic reforms owners demanded. He backed fan-friendly rules that improved play and benefited when the Canadian dollar grew stronger.
But teams learned to exploit loopholes in the labor deal by giving out long-term contracts with low cap hits, and some teams will lose money by staying at or near this season's $48.3 million salary floor. Several teams are for sale, and the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg. The league had to rescue the Phoenix Coyotes from bankruptcy and has operated the franchise for nearly two years.
Don Garber, MLS
He smartly steered his teams toward playing in soccer-specific stadiums and managed expansion to 20 teams next season. The TV package will principally move to NBC's networks next season, available to twice the number of homes as on the Fox Soccer Channel.
But the quality of play and TV ratings must improve, and Garber must find someone other than David Beckham to turn soccer into America's favorite spectator sport.
Tim Finchem, PGA
The PGA Tour is a different animal with Tiger Woods than without. Lately it has suffered from his absence, though Finchem recently announced lucrative new TV deals with NBC and CBS that will run through 2021. Finchem has lost and replaced sponsors and is looking toward greater globalization.
— Helene Elliott,