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Red Sox-A's Series Draws Over
Capacity Crowds To Tokyo Dome
MIXED SIGNALS: Some fans were unable to view ESPN2 and NESN’s coverage of yesterday’s game, as the networks’ standard definition feeds on DirecTV experienced technical difficulties. Meanwhile, a Comcast spokesperson said that an accident “caused issues for Comcast customers in southeastern Massachusetts.” In Boston, Eric Wilbur wrote, “Of all the things that could have gone wrong in an oft-criticized opener in Japan, it’s hard to imagine anything worse than TV coverage going kaput.” It was a “monumental nightmare for many stateside” (BOSTON.com, 3/25). The SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS’ John Ryan writes MLB is “lucky its little trip didn’t cause a riot” in Boston (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/26). In DC, Tim Lemke notes there is a “bit of irony here.” For the “longest time, DirecTV has been the favored service for sports fans because it has the widest selection of sports channels and packages.” For “perhaps the first time, DirecTV has drawn the ire of a big -- and influential -- body of sports fans” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/26).
Some Media Members Upset With MLB's
Decision To Open Season Abroad
GLOBALIZATION: In Miami, Greg Cote writes under the header, “Globalization Hurting Sports In America.” Cote: “There used to be a certain sanctity to American professional sports before globalization became the rather noble code word for disrespecting the fans who built the leagues’ popularity in favor of growing the profit potential” (MIAMI HERALD, 3/26). In San Antonio, Gaylon Krizak writes, until recently, int’l games were Spring Training games, but by “taking the next step and importing regular-season games, [MLB], the NBA and the NFL have raised the stakes, and with them the potential for danger.” Is “expanding foreign interest worth the possible alienation of your home base?” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 3/26). In Manchester, David Lengel writes, “I don’t have a problem with leagues trying to increase the global popularity of their sport while selling their product abroad.” However, in MLB’s case, the “continual milking of Japan smacks of baseball imperialism” (BLOGS.MANCHESTER.co.uk, 3/25). Miami Herald columnist Dan LeBatard: “This is where you have to go if you want to get more dollars, and this sport needs more dollars for those contracts it’s giving out. So it makes sense that you would globalize” ("PTI," ESPN, 3/25).
MLB Seeing Continued Growth Of
Licensed Products, Revenues In Japan
Matsuzaka One Reason For
Baseball's Popularity In Japan
UNIFORM LOGOS: Both the Red Sox and A's wore sponsor logos on their helmets and uniform sleeves during the two games played in Tokyo. ESPN’s Gary Thorne: “MLB does not allow this type of advertising but the exception was made for the two game set.” ESPN’s Steve Phillips responded, “They’ve done that for international play with the sponsors and promoters.” Phillips added, "If you’re going to build revenues, if you’re a sponsor out there, and you can get on the sleeve of a major league player, that’s not a bad idea” (ESPN2, 3/26).
De Villiers Says ATP-WTA Merger
Would Be Conceptually Difficult
STATE OF THE GAME: SI's Justin Gimelstob wrote of tennis' health the "most encouraging statistics come directly from the nuts and bolts of the tennis industry." Gimelstob: "Racket and tennis-ball sales have been on a sharp increase in the past few years, as has total play and participation in the game. Tennis is the only traditional sport to grow in participation during the past five years, a 10[%] increase, compared to the decline of other mainstream sports like football, baseball and basketball" (SI.com, 3/21).