Kentucky-Arkansas Hoops Set For CBS MLS Set For Three Days Of CBA Talks NFL Hires Chief Republican Lobbyist Hisense To Invest More In NASCAR Earthquakes To Debut New Stadium MLBAM Launches MLB At Bat Update Classified Advertisements Ovechkin Signs With Fanatics Authentic Weekend Plans With NBC's Jim Bell Fresno State Gets Fresh Start With Bartko
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TRYING TO GET BACK TO LEVEL PAR: HBO's Bryant Gumbel examined the state of golf and reported the sport's leaders are "trying desperate measures to cope with golf's surprising desperate times." An average of 130 golf courses in the U.S. "have closed every year for the last eight years." adidas Group North America President Mark King said, "Every macro indicator that we've been looking at for the past 20 years ... says that there are less people playing, and the ones who are playing are playing less frequently." He added, "I just don't like where the game looks like it’s going, and it's not in the right direction. ... It's shrinking to the point where you're only going to have traditional people play and it's going to become an elite game again." Gumbel noted just about "every sector of the business is in trouble." Gumbel: "Retail is off by double-digits for each of the last three years and TV ratings for some of the game's biggest tournaments have been in steady decline since 2012" ("Real Sports," HBO, 7/22).
One day after the NFL announced Browns QB Johnny Manziel has the league's top-selling jersey on NFLShop.com, NFL Players Inc. has Manziel atop its player sales list for Q1. The list is based on total sales of all officially licensed products from March 1 through May 31. The achievement is noteworthy since Manziel was not drafted until May 8, meaning his sales all came during a three-week period (NFLPA). In Akron, Nate Ulrich noted the sales list "includes Nike T-shirts and Fathead wall decals sold online and by traditional retail outlets." Also included are "jerseys, player murals, figurines, matted and framed photos, bobbleheads, drinkware, jewelry and electronic device accessories" (OHIO.com, 7/22). USA TODAY's Lindsay Jones noted the list "further shows just how ... strong Manziel's brand already is." There are "five Manziel-specific T-shirt designs available through Nike ... and a variety [of] others through licensed dealers that show Manziel making his signature money hand gesture while wearing his Browns uniform" (USATODAY.com, 7/22).
NFL PLAYERS INC.: TOP PLAYERS FOR SALES OF LICENSED PRODUCTS, MARCH 1-MAY 31RANK
PLAYERRANK PLAYER1 Browns QB Johnny Manziel11 Packers LB Clay Matthews2 Seahawks QB Russell Wilson12 Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney3 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick13 Cowboys TE Jason Witten4 Seahawks CB Richard Sherman14 Saints QB Drew Brees5 Broncos QB Peyton Manning15 49ers LB Patrick Willis6 Texans DE J.J. Watt16 Buccaneers RB Doug Martin7 Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch17 Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill8 Cowboys WR Dez Bryant18 Eagles RB LeSean McCoy9 Patriots QB Tom Brady19 49ers S Eric Reid10 Packers QB Aaron Rodgers20 Cowboys QB Tony Romo
YEARLY TREND: NFL Network's Dan Hellie noted Manziel having the league's top-selling jersey is a continuation of a theme that has developed the last couple of years -- the "most popular rookie quarterback from draft time to when training camp starts has the No. 1 selling jersey." NFL Network's Warren Sapp said, "It gets everybody excited, you go buy the jersey" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 7/22). ESPN's Max Kellerman said Manziel having the No. 1-selling jersey will pressure the Browns to start him this season because "money matters." Kellerman: "Jersey sales puts pressure on the owner of the team, who obviously is in the business of making a profit, to start Johnny Manziel. Even if the GM, even if the coach say it's all about football, that pressure from on high will start to roll downhill and effect decisions." ESPN's Michelle Beadle said, "I don’t know if I believe that ... because at the end of the day, they've already bought the jerseys. What are they going to do, return them? You're making the money regardless." Kellerman: "They can stop buying them" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 7/22).
The Browns are partnering with Columbus-based Value City Furniture for a "pass that will give fans first dibs on spots to watch training camp and faster entry to FirstEnergy Stadium on game day," according to Kevin Kleps of CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. The Browns "are asking fans who plan to attend any of the 13 training camp practices in Berea to register on the team’s website," and those who do "will get a chance to enter the Browns’ training facility 30 minutes early, via the Value City Furniture Easy Pass." With training camp space "at a premium (the Browns’ facility can only hold about 5,000 fans), the team believes the easy pass is another way to offer fans free perks." Browns VP/Fan Experience & Marketing Kevin Griffin said that the number of passes given "will depend on the size of the crowd, but he estimates that '250 to 300' fans will have the chance to enter each of the 13 practices a half-hour ahead of their peers" (CRAINSCLEVELAND.com, 7/22).
AT&T is debuting a new Yankees campaign this week from BBDO, N.Y., that "takes the team's 'Let's Go Yankees' rhythmic chant to new levels," according to Aaron Baar of MARKETING DAILY. In one spot, two men "have an entire conversation, using only the four-beat chant." One chants, “What’s up, Brian,” from his office cubicle, while the other replies, “Not much, Tony,” from his "kitchen table while feeding young children." A second commercial "follows a similar pattern, with a dentist -- in mid-procedure -- taking a video call from a friend who’s in the stands at a game." Meanwhile, the company is "giving fans their own chance to add to the cheers, encouraging them to add their own chants online ... on Twitter using the hashtag #MyYankeesChant." AT&T also has erected a booth at Yankee Stadium where fans can "create a chant." Fans who "upload their chants will be automatically entered into a sweepstakes for Yankees gear and tickets" (MEDIAPOST.com, 7/21).
Kimberly-Clark's Cottonelle toilet paper brand "recently posted on YouTube a commercial" focusing on how NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson "takes care of his 'bum,'" according to Bob Pockrass of SPORTING NEWS. A woman in the commercial says to Larson, "I’m hearing from you that you kind of neglect your bum." He responds, "I wouldn’t say I neglect it," and later adds, "I’m a dry wiper right now." IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan, Larson's teammates at Chip Ganassi Racing, "also are featured in similar Cottonelle commercials" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/22). NBCSPORTS.com's Tony DiZinno wrote Larson "may not be able to live this one down for a while." Dixon and Kanaan "aren’t quite as much of a kick in the bum, per se," but they are "still littered with bathroom puns" (NBCSPORTS.com, 7/22). YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee writes under the header, "Here It Is, The Worst NASCAR Sponsorship Ad Campaign Ever." We now "know more about Kyle Larson's bathroom habits than we ever needed to know about anyone's, including our own." Busbee: "Only way this can be redeemed? If a subsequent ad reveals that there's an actual bum sleeping out back of Kyle's house that he's been neglecting" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/23).