• TV Timeout: Should I Pay Or Should I Go?

    Yesterday's episode of ESPN's "Sports Reporters" featured heavy debate on the Northwestern Univ. football team's efforts to unionize. John Saunders said, "This is coming from both ends, a train from both ends is going to meet somewhere in the middle with them being paid. ... The athletes are going to be paid. It is coming, and before either of these cases end up at the Supreme Court because there are already conferences that are starting to set up right now just so they can do just this." Israel Gutierrez added, "Eventually we are going to find a way to pay these student-athletes without having to go through this union." The N.Y. Daily News' Mike Lupica: "I don't think there is a more complicated subject in our business than this" (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 3/30).

    SHOE SHOPPING: CNBC's Jim Cramer said of Finish Line's financials, "Despite all the worries about hideous cold weather and people no longer going to the shopping mall, Finish Line delivered some strong numbers" and the company's management "gave solid guidance." Cramer: "Now Finish Line isn’t just a shoe store chain with a healthy growth story, it's also a terrific way to get a read on the much larger footwear and athletic apparel markets. The stock is up about 40% over the last 12 months, but if the consumer is really feeling better, than I could see this going higher." Finish Line Chair & CEO Glenn Lyon said, "The big issue in our company is to be omni-channel, to be wherever, whenever, however the customer wants us, whether it's digitally or through the brick and mortar stores. I think we've hit a good stride here" ("Mad Money," CNBC, 3/28).

    DOWN ON THE FARM: Author John Feinstein appeared on PBS' "Charlie Rose" Friday evening to promote his latest book, "Where Nobody Knows Your Name." Charlie Rose said the book "takes us behind-the-scenes of life in the minor leagues of baseball." Feinstein said these players, despite being in the minor leagues, have "beaten the odds" to get there. Feinstein said the "way I got the title for this book" was because former Cubs P Mark Prior was attempting a comeback playing for the Triple-A Int'l League Pawtucket Red Sox and as he was coming into the game to pitch as a reliever, "nobody in the ballpark notices" because fans are engrossed over a promotion called "Whack An Intern." Feinstein: "That's where I got the name. I said, 'Nobody knows your name here no matter who you once were'" ("Charlie Rose," PBS, 3/28).

  • Podcast: Dan Rooney named Lifetime winner

    Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and senior writer Bill King discuss the selection of Dan Rooney as our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, as well as what Rooney has meant to the Steelers, the NFL and the city of Pittsburgh.

    Tags: NFL, SBJSBD Podcast
  • The NHL Shift: Numbers and notes, 3/28/2014

    A look at the past week in the NHL:

    $300 million: That’s Charles Wang’s asking price, according to NHL Shift sources, for the New York Islanders. TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted late last night that Wang has begun negotiations for a sale of the team to an unknown buyer. An NHL source confirms to Shift that there have been talks but noted that a deal is far from complete.

    $27 million: The average annual payment the New York Islanders receive for local broadcast rights from MSG Network, a deal that runs until 2031.
    30 cookies: That’s how many will be inside a box of limited-edition Stanley Cup Oreos that will be available for purchase in Canada beginning next week. The arrangement was made as part of the sponsorship deal between the NHL and Mondelez, which owns the Oreo brand. The league’s playoff tagline, “Because It’s the Cup,” will be used on all promotional materials for the campaign, which includes 15- and 30-second commercials, digital ads, social media support, and in-store points-of-sale.

    7 sellouts: By the Phoenix Coyotes this season, up from four last season. According to the team, the Coyotes set a new franchise high for single-game ticket revenue when they sold out against Boston last Saturday, March 22, and sold standing-room-only tickets. This is the team’s first season under new ownership after four years of league ownership, and contributing to revenue increases for the club are higher ticket prices. Additionally, parking is being sold at the arena for the first time this year. Averaging 13,500 fans per game though, the Coyotes do still hover near the bottom of the league in attendance.

    The uniform number of Dominik Hasek, who will be inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in a ceremony before the club’s sold-out game on Saturday against Tampa Bay. Hasek, who is the only goaltender to win the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP twice, is eligible for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame this year for the first time. The Sabres plan to retire his number next season.

    8.20 rating: The number posted in Boston for the Bruins-Canadiens game at TD Garden on Monday on NBCSN — up 89 percent vs. the Bruins’ average audience in Boston for games on NBCSN this season. NBCSN was the No. 1 cable network and No. 2 network overall in Boston during the game. The game nationally averaged 662,000 viewers, making it the most-watched Monday night regular season game on NBCSN in three years, since a March 28, 2011, game between Chicago and Detroit (716,000 viewers).

    547,000 viewers: The average audience during NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Rivalry” matchup between the Rangers and Flyers at Madison Square Garden this week. That’s a slight increase from the Wednesday telecasts on average this season.

    To the Los Angeles Kings — who are dedicating some of their time this week to promote the adoption of shelter pets in the Los Angeles area. This afternoon, Kings players are posing for photos with adoptable dogs at the NKLA Pet Adoption Center in West Los Angeles. The team is hosting members of the Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization, at its home game against Winnipeg on Saturday. On Sunday, at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo, the Kings will provide a mobile adoption venue, and anyone who adopts a dog at the event will receive complimentary tickets to the Kings-Wild game on Monday.

    THE PLAYLIST: A look at some of the songs played in-arena during an NHL game
    Game: Dallas at Chicago: Tuesday, March 25
    Location: United Center
    In-charge: The Blackhawks’ entire game presentation is created by the team’s marketing department.

    “American Boy” — Kanye West
    “Banquet” — Bloc Party
    “Daughter” — Pearl Jam
    “Creepin’” — Eric Church
    “Bust A Move” — Young MC
    “Proud Mary — Creedence Clearwater Revival
    “Blessed” — Avicci
    “Pretty Green” — White Denim
    “Burden in My Hand” — Soundgarden
    “Long Train Runnin’” — Doobie Brothers
    “She Sells Sanctuary” — The Cult
    “Electric Feel” — MGMT (Justice Remix)
    “Shake” — Hey Champ
    “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” — The Beatles
    “Anna Sun” — Walk the Moon
    “I Want A New Drug” — Huey Lewis and The News
    “Lessons In Love” — Kaskade
    “Possum Kingdom” — The Toadies
    “Can’t Hold Us” — Macklemore
    Note: There were, in fact, many Pearl Jam songs played (lead singer Eddie Vedder is a big Blackhawks and Cubs fan) and the team’s goal song, “Chelsea Dagger” by The Fratellis, was played five times (once for each home team goal and once at the end of the game to signal the Blackhawks’ victory).

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: A Perfect Union?

    The NLRB’s ruling in favor of Northwestern Univ. football players forming a union sent ripples through media with debate on the short- and long-term impact of the decision. National College Players Association President Ramogi Huma said, “I think it would help create an environment if players at various schools have collective bargaining agreements, that give them better protections (and) that’s going to be a new standard. That is what recruits and their families are going to be looking at, whether or not they are going to be stuck with medical bills down the line” (“Sportscenter,” ESPN, 3/27). FS1’s Brendon Ayanbadejo said, “All of these embarrassing moments that schools have, it lets you know that there is a broken system and it needs to be fixed and this is the time. This is the moment we are going to look back on we are going to look back on that potentially changes everything for the future” (“Fox Football Daily,” FS1, 3/26). SI legal analyst Michael McCann said, “If only male athletes are paid, I'm sure that there will be female athletes who bring a separate lawsuit under Title IX" ("NewsHour," PBS, 3/26). ESPN's Jay Bilas said, "I think there are a lot of great things that come out of college sports. But the idea that I was a better player or person teammate or student by virtue of my amateurism is not true now and never has been true. That's sort of the great lie about this whole thing, that education and money are somehow mutually exclusive" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 3/26). Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay, on Ohio St. AD Gene Smith receiving a bonus for a wrestler winning a title: “This person is not compensated and not treated as an employee, but the employee is given a bonus for somebody else. That’s the hypocrisy and college fans are getting sick of it” (“Crowd Goes Wild,” FS1, 3/26).

    WALL-TO-WALL COVERAGE: ESPN's Kenny Mayne, on the media coverage of Heat-Pacers: "It's all we were talking about. The ESPN hype machine was in full throttle for a Wednesday game and this thing really was kind of a big deal" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/27).

    SEWN TOGETHER: NASCAR President Mike Helton said the racing circuit "wants to have that fabric of America and I think if the characters and the personalities and the faces and the genders that participate in the sport are all part of that, then the grandstands will be too" ("CBS This Morning," CBS, 3/26).
    GAME OF GROWTH: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira said, "The revenue in our sport is just exploding so everybody has money to spend, even the small market teams have money to spend and the Yankees have to keep up with everybody when it comes to winning games and keeping our fans happy" ("Fast Money Halftime Report," CNBC, 3/26).

    LETTING OFF THE PEDAL: MLB Network’s Kevin Millar, on potential drug policy changes: “I thought they would be harder. You heard some players voice their opinion. Maybe a one time, full on year and then the next time a ban from baseball. Period” (“Intentional Talk,” MLB Network, 3/26). 

    DRESSED FOR SUCCESS:  CSN Bay Area's Jim Kozimor said of the MLS Earthquakes’ new red uniforms, "I like the history angle of it, I like the look of it. Now if you can get yourself a 'W' in those things" ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," CSN Bay Area, 3/26).

  • Weeden to lead effort on Florida Citrus Bowl naming rights

    Veteran sports marketing executive Cathy Weeden will lead the effort to find a naming-rights partner for the Florida Citrus Bowl stadium in Orlando.

    The venue is currently undergoing a $207 million renovation and Florida Citrus Sports is expected to contribute $6 million toward the costs. A naming-rights deal would help fund that contribution, said Steve Hogan, the CEO of Florida Citrus Sports.

    The organization decided to sell the rights in-house and Hogan put Weeden in charge of the sales effort. Weeden joined the Citrus staff in 2013 in the position of chief sales and marketing officer after several years with IMG College and Fox RSNs (Sun Sports, Fox Sports Florida). At IMG College, she helped oversee IMG College properties at Florida, Florida State, UCF, USF and others during her five years there.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: Just Wanna Have Fun

    ESPN's Tony Reali asked whether the NFL's new rule penalizing players for dunking the ball with the goalpost was just another example of the "No Fun League" reputation. But Bomani Jones replied, "This continues the NFL's long-standing tradition of brilliance of somehow getting us to talk about them all throughout the year even when they just put through this itty-bitty rule." ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/25). Donovan McNabb called it "garbage, because now you're taking the fun out of the game." McNabb: "To me it seems like Roger Goodell is trying to make this game into something where we're all becoming robots" ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 3/25).

    QUALITY CONTROL: NFL VP/Officiating Dean Blandino said of the league's new instant replay process, “Nothing will change in terms of the stadium operation. You still have your replay official initiating the reviews, and we will still provide that under the hood feed to the in-house stadium, that video board, so that they can see what is going on” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Network, 3/25).

    MARK MY WORDS: NCAA President Mark Emmert appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" this morning, with co-host Joe Kernen saying, "Three years ago the NCAA cut a 14-year deal with TV rights with Turner and CBS for nearly $11 billion. NCAA total revenues for the 2012-2013 fiscal year were more than $900 million." Emmert: “That $900 million you mentioned in the intro is in fact the revenue that flows into the NCAA national office and then flows immediately back out to the schools and universities and pays for all the other sports that are participating in NCAA sports" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 3/26).

    COLLEGE FUNDS: IMG College President Ben Sutton said, "College sports, interestingly, is the biggest provider of college scholarship funding in the country, other than the federal government. We're a big part of that" (“North Carolina Now," UNC-TV, 3/25).

  • TV Timeout: Attention Grab?

    Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban’s comments about the NFL generated plenty of buzz, as commentators have chimed in with their take. FS1’s Trevor Pryce said, “Goodell’s whole thing is international and year-round. He wants games on Wednesdays, Thursdays. If you think we aren’t going towards a point where the NFL is like an NBA schedule, it is coming. Mark my words” (“Crowd Goes Wild,” FS1, 3/24). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "If Mark Cuban owned an NFL franchise, he never would have said this and if an NFL franchise came up for bid on 'Shark Tank' Mark Cuban would bankrupt himself in order to get one. They're not 10 years from an implosion" ("PTI," ESPN, 3/24). ESPN’s Mike Golic said, “I think he is caught up in the sky is falling mentality which I think is out there. … Football is taking the brunt of everything in this, and I think that is a little misguided” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 3/25).

    SAFE AND SOUND: ESPN's Karl Ravech, on safety measures for pitchers: "It feels like you can't teach old dogs new tricks. You're going to have to get the younger generation to buy into that. Maybe it starts at the Little League level" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN2, 3/25).

    MORE BANG FOR THE BUCK: Falcons Owner Arthur Blank said, “Today’s fans are expecting even more for less, and it is up to us to give them more for less, and to be responsive, and to make sure the in-stadium experience is great” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 3/24).

    PATRIOT GAMES: Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said of a team in London, “I would like to think that before the decade is out, we position a team there and have a team there full-time. I think it would be a great place to expand to. I know in the two games we played in, there were over 85,000 fans. It was like playoff weekends when we went there, the excitement that went on. So I think it is a very exciting place for our future” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 3/24).

    THE BLACK HOLE: FS1’s Mike Pereira, on the Raiders: “They’re a horrible team, they’ve been a horrible team, and guess what? They are playing in a horrible facility, an absolute horrible facility. The whole team needs a makeover” (“Fox Football Daily,” FS1, 3/24).

  • SBJ Podcast: MLB commissioner candidates

    Baseball writer Eric Fisher and senior writer Bill King break down the most likely candidates to succeed Bud Selig as commissioner of Major League Baseball, and what Rob Manfred's role is in the process. The discussion coincides with Fisher's profile of Manfred, MLB's new chief operating officer, on the front page of this week's SportsBusiness Journal.

    Tags: MLB, Baseball, SBJSBD Podcast
  • TV Timeout: Warren Peace

    Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett appeared on Dan Patrick's radio show today, saying he and Quicken Loans "had a few expenses" from their billion dollar bracket challenge, "but we came out okay." Buffett: "I would have preferred to see it go quite a bit longer, but not all the way." He added, "I'd love to do it again. It's up to Quicken whether they decide to do it next year and if they do it again, I'd like to be their insurer. I would hope we could get an arrangement that made it somewhat easier to enter and somewhat easier to win. I'd like to modify it a little bit so people had an even better shot than they had this year." Patrick noted, "I look at how much attention you got with this, I thought it was amazing." Buffet said, "Wait till next year. We're going to come up with something better next year even. We'll make it a lot easier to enter ... and we'll make it easier to win." He added, "We put this together sort of in a hurry this year and we'll have a little more time for next year" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 3/24).

    I'LL FLY AWAY: ESPN's Jemele Hill said of San Diego St. men's basketball coach Steve Fisher expressing his displeasure with the NCAA over the losing team in the Tournament flying home immediately, "Here's a number that everybody should keep in mind: The NCAA recorded a $61 million surplus in 2013 and yet we have that (rule). Their year-end assets were $627 million. That's all I've got to say." ESPN's Michael Smith said Fisher "spoke for a lot of people who are sick and tired of the NCAA eating while these kids are being exploited" ("Numbers Never Lie," ESPN2, 3/21).

    NEBRASKA BOUND: Broncos QB Peyton Manning sat down with Golf Channel’s Charlie Rymer on Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Rymer asked, “Have you actually been to Omaha?” Manning: “I’m going to Omaha, believe it or not, this spring. Omaha has taken on a whole new life. ... They actually challenged their Chamber of Commerce to make a donation to my charity foundation every time I said ‘Omaha’ in a game. I’m going to Omaha in May and their presenting a check for $75,000 to my charity foundation” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 3/22).

    READING ROLE MODELS: U.S. women's national soccer team F Alex Morgan appeared on ABC's "GMA" this morning to promote her third book in a three-book series aimed at middle-school girls, "Win or Lose." Morgan said the book revolves a "middle-school girls soccer team and how they juggle" with school, sports and life. Morgan: "There's so many books out there garnered towards boys and towards male sports, but nothing really just for female sports" ("GMA," ABC, 3/24).

  • SBJ Podcast: Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary

    Baseball writer Eric Fisher and facilities reporter Don Muret, a Cubs fan and former resident of Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood, discuss Wrigley Field's first 100 years, what the park means to Chicago and to Cubs fans, as well as what its future holds. Fisher and Muret combined on an in-depth package celebrating Wrigley Field's anniversary in this week's SportsBusiness Journal.

    Tags: Baseball, Facilities, In-Depth, SBJSBD Podcast
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