SBD/Issue 122/Sports Industrialists

This Week's Newsmakers: College Basketball Takes Center Stage

THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week’s newsmakers.

WIN: COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- Like a rite of passage, when the calendar flips to the middle of March, America’s attention turns to college hoops. CBS is less than a week from its annual coverage of the men’s NCAA tournament, but ad sales already are projected to hit a record $545M. Also, in its third year, the Eye’s March Madness On Demand online component is sold out of inventory. As an appetizer to the main course, last weekend’s regular-season finale in which North Carolina defeats arch rival Duke sees ESPN draw its largest viewer audience ever for a men’s basketball game.

LOSS: GOODYEAR -- Where there’s Smoke … TONY STEWART’s comments about how the tire company should be “really embarrassed about this weekend and what they brought” to the Sprint Cup race in Atlanta is a huge setback to the company and NASCAR itself. Having marquee drivers like Stewart and DALE EARNHARDT JR. publicly complain about the circuit’s exclusive tire provider can do nothing but hurt Goodyear’s reputation.

DRAW: MARK CUBAN -- Never one to shy away from controversy, Cuban again faces a media storm, this time stemming from his decision to close the Mavs’ locker room to full-time bloggers. While the Dallas Morning News claims the move is in direct response to a recent post from their dedicated team blogger, Cuban cites his belief that all bloggers should have the same access to news regardless of outlet. One thing to note -- Cuban defends his decision on his own blog. Is he in essence banning himself from the locker room?

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