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Closing Bell

Fourth Iteration Of CBS Sports' MMOD Player Performs Well
Miami City Commission Approves Marlins Ballpark Financing
GoDaddy To Introduce Anna Rawson As Latest Spokesperson
T-Mobile Partners With CONCACAF For National Promotion

CBS SPORTS’ MMOD PROVIDES CLEAR PICTURE, USER-FRIENDLY EXPERIENCE

By Brian Helfrich, Assistant Managing Editor, & Jim Bentubo, Associate Editor

CBS Sports' MMOD HQ
Offering Comparable To HDTV
With CBS Sports today offering the fourth iteration of its March Madness On Demand, two SBD staffers spent the afternoon using the product. The quality of the MMOD standard-definition and High Quality (HQ) offerings this afternoon varied greatly, with the latter comparable to the net’s TV feed. The standard broadcast, the default setting, offers a slightly blurry picture, yet flows smoothly and never pauses to buffer. The upgrade to HQ is relatively seamless and includes just a brief ad. The HQ setting is comparable to HD for TV, offering remarkably clear picture alongside a smooth-flowing video feed.

Besides the picture quality, there are several other noticeable differences between the two feeds. The standard player allows users to switch to a different game at any point, while HQ viewers cannot switch to other live action during a commercial stoppage. The screen while in standard feed offers several applications, most notably links to press conferences, game previews and a scoreboard, as well as an option that allows users to update his or her Facebook status. This afternoon, the standard screen also included a breaking news alert sponsored by ExxonMobil telling users that Univ. of Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun may miss this weekend’s games due to health concerns.

Read the full story.


MIAMI CITY COMMISSION APPROVES MARLINS BALLPARK FUNDING PROPOSAL

Miami City Commissioners today voted 3-2 in favor of a plan to finance a new Marlins ballpark. The vote came in a "packed commission chambers," where more than 70 supporters and opponents of the project "kept lining up to be heard." The vote had stalled 2-2 last month, and commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones proved to be the deciding vote after returning from maternity leave. The issue now moves to the Miami-Dade County Commission, which will meet Monday (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 3/19).


GODADDY SIGNS UP LPGA GOLFER ANNA RAWSON AS NEWEST SPOKESPERSON

By Jon Show, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

GoDaddy will introduce Australian LPGAer Anna Rawson as its newest spokesperson during a press conference next week at the LPGA event in Phoenix. Terms of the deal could not be determined. GoDaddy’s use of Rawson is expected to mirror that of IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, who has been a staple of the company’s Super Bowl ads and is featured prominently on its Web site. Rawson is represented by L.A.-based talent and action sports agent Anthony Rodriguez.

This is Phoenix-based GoDaddy’s first foray into professional golf. It also sponsors poker player Vanessa Rousso and JR Motorsports, the NASCAR team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.


T-MOBILE COLLABORATING WITH CONCACAF FOR NATIONAL SOCCER PROMOTION

T-Mobile today announced a partnership with the CONCACAF Champions League to create a multifaceted national campaign titled "Pasaporte a los Partidos" ("Passport to the Games"). The promotion will include TV spots on Spanish-language soccer broadcasts, radio spots, banner ads on Hispanic Web sites, and a dedicated Web site. T-Mobile will hold an ongoing series of weekly prize giveaways and will line up public appearances by soccer celebrities (T-Mobile).


TRANSITIONS TO ROLL OUT FOUR NEW TV ADS DURING PGA TOUR EVENT COVERAGE

By Jon Show, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

Watch This Clip

Transitions Optical, title sponsor of this week’s PGA Tour stop, filmed four ads yesterday during a practice round at Innisbrook Resort in Tampa that will air on Golf Channel and NBC today through Sunday. CBS’ Lesley Visser interviews a different person in each of the 30-second spots, tagged “Transitions at the Turn.” Golfers Trevor Immelman and Kenny Perry, swing coach Matt Killen, and sports vision expert Dr. Larry Lampart each discuss the importance of maintaining healthy eyes in golf. The ads were created by Burson-Marsteller and PGA Tour Productions. IMG consults Transitions on its golf marketing.


DELAWARE GOVERNOR RECOMMENDS INSTITUTING SPORTS BETTING

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell today proposed instituting sports betting as part of his plan to cover the state's estimated $751M budget deficit. Under the plan, the state would "allow sports betting [in] all three existing casinos and 10 additional locations" to be determined. Markell also recommended that the state permit construction of three new casinos that "later would be allowed to have sports betting." The total expected gain from the program would be $55M (DELAWAREONLINE.com, 3/19).

Delaware is one of four states – along with Nevada, Montana and Oregon – exempt from the federal sports-betting ban "because they had some form of sports betting when the prohibition was put in place" in '91. Delaware and Oregon have since ended their sports lotteries (USATODAY.com, 3/19).


BUZZER BEATERS….

Saturday’s Vitali Klitschko-Juan Carlos Gomez bout will air live on ESPN Classic at 6:00pm ET. The bout will also be presented live on ESPN360.com. A tape-delayed broadcast of the fight will air on ESPN2 at 7:00pm ET (ESPN).

NCAA Wrestling Championships
Ticket Sales Surpass 95,000
Ticket sales for the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which begin today at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, have surpassed 95,000. Last year's event at the same venue drew 94,324 fans over six sessions (St. Louis Sports Commission).

The Dodgers today announced that they have inked a sponsorship deal with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, making Kaiser Permanente the team's official health insurance partner (Dodgers).

K-Swiss has inked a long-term partnership with the World Triathlon Corp., which owns the Ironman brand of endurance sports events, to be the Ironman's exclusive footwear and apparel provider (K-Swiss).

Green Earth Technologies (GET) today announced that it has signed a two-year deal to make G-Oil, the company's biodegradable "green" motor oil, the official motor oil of The American Le Mans Series and the Int'l Motor Sports Association (GET).

Glenn Marlin Sundby, who co-founded USA Gymnastics and the Int’l Gymnastics HOF, died Wednesday at the age of 87 (AP, 3/19).


SHOTS FROM THE FAIRWAY….

Victoria Premier John Brumby today confirmed that Tiger Woods will play in the November 12-15 Australian Masters, his first tournament in the country since ’98. Brumby predicted that Woods’ US$3M appearance fee would “be easily covered by the economic benefits he’ll attract” (THEAGE.COM.AU, 3/19).

Callaway Golf has reached an agreement with Perry Ellis Int'l to design, manufacture and distribute Callaway apparel in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Terms of the deal were not disclosed (Callaway).  

Retired LPGAer Annika Sorenstam announced on her blog today that she and her new husband, Mike McGee, are expecting their first child (ANNIKABLOG.com, 3/19).


QUICK HITS….

“Legal action is our absolutely last resort, but we want to cut this off now. We don’t want ticket brokers reselling our tickets” – VANOC Exec VP/Revenue, Marketing & Communications Dave Cobb, on trying to stop tickets to ’10 Vancouver Games events from being funneled to ticket brokers (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/19).

“Within 20 years, Asia is going to lead world football. We have 3.7 [billion] people – even if you only attract the interest of the Asians, you’ll have two thirds of the world’s population” – Asian Football Confederation President Mohamed Bin Hammam, on the prospects for the sport’s growth in the region (Manchester GUARDIAN, 3/19).

“Vegas doesn’t want a scandal to occur any more than we do. We may not agree on everything, but when it comes to the integrity of the game, that’s something we both care about” – NCAA Dir of Agents, Gambling & Amateurism Activities Rachel Newman Baker, on the NCAA officials looking for suspicious betting patterns on basketball games (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/19).


A LIGHTER BUZZ….

PGA Tour golfer Fred Funk, who is playing in this week’s Transitions Championship, discussed his battle with a staph infection in his knee, which earlier this year required “three surgical procedures and being on an antibiotic drip” for six weeks. There was speculation among fellow golfers that his leg had been amputated, “which prompted Tim Petrovic to send flowers from the Sony Open in Hawaii” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 3/19).

Churchill Downs today announced that Nick Ferrara has been named the new Chief Party Officer of the ’09 Kentucky Derby infield. Tim Snyder, the reigning CPO, today formally relinquished his duties to Ferrara (Churchill Downs).


THE DAILY'S HOT READS….

The WASHINGTON POST's Michael Wilbon writes the NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee "seemed to take their cue from college football's [BCS], whose philosophy is that anybody not in one of the huge conferences should get lost" (WASHINGTON POST).

The CHICAGO TRIBUNE's Rick Morrissey writes, "My friends who are NBA fans continue to ask me how I possibly could like college basketball better than the pro game. … The answer is upon us, my friends. It's the national chemical imbalance we call March Madness" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE).

Also:

See the Hot Reads section for more sports business-related links.


TONIGHT'S EVENTS….

The Astros will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception at the renovated Executive Suites at Minute Maid Park at 4:00pm CT.

Nuggets coach George Karl will speak at the Sustainable Opportunity Summit at 5:00pm MT at the Colorado Convention Center. Karl, who will discuss the Pepsi Center’s “Play Clean: Eco Friendly Entertainment” campaign, will also unveil a green Nuggets jersey the team will wear during games on April 2 and 4.


DAILY DOWNLOAD….

NHL is running a tribute on the Reuters videoboard in Times Square honoring Devils G Martin Brodeur for setting the league’s all-time wins record earlier this week.

Watch The Clip

HEADLINERS….

Here are tonight’s headline guests on the following talk shows:

“Late Show” Billy Crystal (r)
“Tonight Show” Teri Hatcher
“Late Late Show” Will Ferrell (r)
“Late Night” Jaime Pressly
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” Megan Mullally

DAILY DIGIT….

$17.42M – Amount netted from an auction of 1,500 drums and 978 bamboo scrolls used during the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony. The auctioneers will take a 12% commission, with the remaining cash going to BOCOG, “which said earlier this month it had made a profit of some $16[M] from the Games” (REUTERS, 3/19).


NOTES & QUOTES FROM THIS DAY IN SBD HISTORY….

2002
“People are going to make fun of it no matter what name it is. I kind of like Pro Player. There are pros playing there” – Dolphins Owner Wayne Huizenga, on keeping the name Pro Player on the team's stadium, despite the company having gone bankrupt, until a new naming rights sponsor could be found.


If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know at:
pbounds@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

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