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It is time to make your opinion known as the 7th annual SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily Reader Survey is underway. The survey features more than 100 questions across leagues, teams, facilities, sponsorship, media, labor and more.
■ Which company does the best job aligning with college sports?
■ Which naming-rights deal will be the most effective?
■ Which facility is in the greatest need of renovation or replacement?
■ What is the biggest threat to sports?
■ What's the best sports event to attend?
■ Which agent would you want to negotiate your next contract?
■ Which event is produced the best on television?
■ Who is your favorite TV game broadcast analyst?
Those are some of the questions you'll find in this year's survey. Cast your votes and then see highlights of the results the week of Nov. 28. We want to hear from you. Vote now!
Loudmouth Golf CEO LARRY JACKSON is making moves that are just as bold as his product offerings. Jackson went from consumer to CEO in ’07, when he joined the company known for its loud designs. He has since watched the company’s profits reach $1M in '08 and double since that time. Jackson estimates Loudmouth will reach $10M in gross revenue by the end of this year. With testing for a new kids line in the final stages and samples and designs for a new swimwear and resort line in the queue, Jackson said the company will be making a strong push into licensing to expand its product line. The brand made famous by golfer JOHN DALY and the Norwegian curling team is hoping to make its name in sports and entertainment, and Jackson is at the helm of that effort.
Describe Loudmouth in one word: Fabulous.
Number of days a week you wear Loudmouth apparel? I don’t remember the last time I walked out of my door without some Loudmouth on me. I am 24/7 unless I’m going to some event that it might be construed as rude to upstage someone. Like a wedding I might just wear a Loudmouth and then put a sports coat on for the reception. … The last funeral I was at I was even in Loudmouth at the behest of the bereaved wife.
Q: What is the best (or most memorable or unique) reaction to wearing Loudmouth clothing in a business setting?
Jackson: I came from the high-tech world and I lived in Japan for a long time, so every business meeting was so prim and proper and organized, and they had agendas. And before you walked into a meeting, you all sat in the correct seats in the room based on your position within your company. It was neat to learn that whole extremely tricky and intricate business etiquette in Japan. But Loudmouth is just the diametrically opposed opposite because every business meeting some crazy thing happens or some weird story pops out. We never walk into a meeting where we’re not appalling someone in some way.
Q: Can you articulate what your brand is, what it stands for and who you are targeting?
Jackson: The original thought behind the products was the great golf pants of the '70s, bring them back into fashion because they were fun and when you wear pants like these you have more fun. … Our target market is people who like to have fun, who want to increase their chances of having a better and more exciting day than they would otherwise.
Q: So your target market isn’t specifically golfers?
Jackson: I've got to say it is for golfers right now and that’s probably 90% of what our sales go to is golfers, but a huge chunk of these golfers who are buying Loudmouth products right now are wearing them to everything -- parties, concerts, sporting events. … You get hooked on just the fun and attention factor of Loudmouth. Those customers that have been wearing the golf clothing outside the golf course are clamoring for us to put Loudmouth patterns on more and different products, both apparel and other categories of items. That’s why we have done ski pants now, we’re working on kids clothes, we’ve got a resort line with board shorts, hoodies and things like that, swimwear, coming out in the next few months. It’s aimed at golfers now, but we are on the verge of rapidly expanding into other arenas.
Q: What other categories are you looking to expand into?
Jackson: We’re going to top manufacturers and working on licensing deals where they put Loudmouth patterns on other types of products, and over the next year or so, we’re going to produce the apparel lines ourselves, like the resortwear, the kids and so forth. We’re talking to lots of different types of companies right now to put Loudmouth patterns on soup to nuts at least in regard to products that we, inside Loudmouth, like, would use ourselves and would consider a quality product and that we will use in our daily lives.
Q: What’s the number one request from consumers on a category they would like the company to expand into?
Jackson: The ski pants we heard a lot. … Snowboard, kids, board shorts and boxer shorts we hear all the time.
Q: How did the association with the Norwegian curling team come about?
Jackson: In the summer curling championships in 2009 the Norwegian curling team, in every international competition as long as anyone can remember, everyone has only worn black pants. So the curling team wore black pants in 2009, but they put on pink belts. And the pink belts themselves got enough airplay and mentions in various publications, and they only won third place in that particular tournament. But they got so many mentions that they said why don’t we step it up a notch and do something more interesting? In the process of researching the Olympic uniform that you can and can’t use, they decided interesting pants would be the way to go and they basically Googled "wild pants" or "crazy pants" or something like that and we popped up number one. They just ordered them online with a credit card and didn’t even tell us!" (Editor's note: Loudmouth signed the Norwegian curling team to a five-year sponsorship deal through the next '14 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The team wears Loudmouth pants in every competition.)
Breeders' Cup COO & CFO MATTHEW LUTZ is "stepping down at the end of the year and has accepted a position working for Gainesway Farm owner ANTONY BECK" (PAULICKREPORT.com, 10/18)....The Fore!Kids Foundation named AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Tournament Dir STEVE WORTHY CEO and Tournament Dir of the Zurich Classic. He succeeds TOMMY FONSECA, who stepped down in June after running the event for five years (NOLA.com, 10/18)....The Royals named TIM CONROY and JIM FREGOSI JR. as Special Assistants to GM DAYTON MOORE (Royals)....The Univ. of Alabama named ACC Associate Commissioner SHANE LYONS Deputy AD (AL.com, 10/18).
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Four U.S. Senate Democrats and health officials from Dallas and St. Louis are urging the MLBPA to "agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera" ahead of the start of the Rangers-Cardinals World Series tonight. The senators are DICK DURBIN (Ill.), FRANK LAUTENBERG (N.J.), RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (Conn.) and TOM HARKIN (Iowa). With the current CBA expiring in December, politicians and groups like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids "want the players to agree to a tobacco ban in the next contract" (AP, 10/18).
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE: First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA; DR. JILL BIDEN, wife of Vice President JOE BIDEN, and MLB Commissioner BUD SELIG this afternoon will visit a VA Medical Center in St. Louis for a military family appreciation event. The event will also spotlight a new PSA for the Welcome Back Veterans charity debuting today on MLB.com and the MLB Network featuring Yankees 1B MARK TEIXEIRA and Rays DH JOHNNY DAMON. Mets Owner FRED WILPON, a key figure in the creation of the Welcome Back Veterans program that aids returning military personnel, also is slated to attend. Obama and Wilpon are also scheduled to attend Game One of the World Series tonight (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
DREAM ON: In Columbus, Ken Gordon reported PepsiMax Field Of Dreams video contest winner TIM WISECUP will get to "throw out the first pitch at a World Series game and -- in the spring in Columbus -- field a team to play against a 'dream team' of former major-leaguers." The Pepsi contest had entrants "voting for their favorite all-time players on MLB.com," and four finalists "were chosen via a random drawing." An MLB film crew helped each finalist make "a short video -- posted online -- suggesting why he should win the contest." Site visitors from Sept. 14 to Oct. 5 "could vote for the 'best' as often as they wanted." Wisecup's daughter, KATIE, "helped him set up a Facebook account to promote his candidacy, and he and his friends canvassed" Hilliard, Ohio, athletic events seeking support. Pepsi "did not release the final vote tallies" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 10/15).
NATIONAL PRIDE: Heat F MIKE MILLER, Bulls G DERRICK ROSE, Hawks G JOE JOHNSON, Hawks C AL HORFORD, Bobcats G D.J. AUGUSTIN, Kings G TYREKE EVANS, Wizards C JAVALE MCGEE, Nets C BROOK LOPEZ and Suns C ROBIN LOPEZ will appear in the "Hoops For Troops" USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour Oct. 23-28 in Hawaii. The tour is scheduled to include "visits to multiple military bases, two youth clinics and time with military families" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/19)....Former U.S. track athlete MARION JONES will represent the U.S. State Department this week in a "series of diplomatic visits" to Serbia and Croatia (AP, 10/19).
NAMES: MLS DC United F CHARLIE DAVIES filed a lawsuit last week in D.C. Superior Court against Das Enterprises, owner of nightclub Shadow Room, and Red Bull North America, the company that hosted a party on Oct. 12, '09 at which "alcohol was served to the driver responsible for a car accident that severely injured the soccer player and killed another passenger" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/18)….Late Dolphins TE and broadcaster JIM MANDICH will be “inducted into the team’s Honor Roll” on Dec. 4 during a game against the Redskins (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/19)….Martinsville Speedway “has painted its curbs in the inside of its corners pink in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” The track will host the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Tums Fast Pain Relief 500 on Oct. 30 (ROANOKE TIMES, 10/19).