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Volume 25 No. 49
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Closing Bell, February 2, 2007

Roger Goodell Delivers His First State Of The League Address
Toronto FC Signs Four-Year Sponsorship Deal With Carlsberg Beer
Nike Adds Tribute To Serena Williams On Two Web Sites
Clergyman To Protest Nets' Arena Naming-Rights Deal With Barclays

ROGER GOODELL DELIVERS HIS FIRST STATE OF THE LEAGUE ADDRESS

Goodell Discusses Issues Facing NFL
In First State Of The League Address

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today delivered his first state of the league address in Miami, touching on overseas games, drug testing, minority hiring and today’s news that Packers QB Brett Favre has decided to return next season, among other topics. Closing Bell offers a selection of Goodell’s comments:

On the CBA: “It has new aspects to the deal that we’re going to have to evaluate to make sure whether they’re working. … We are assured at least that we will have labor peace through 2010.”

On minority hiring: “The great thing about the Rooney Rule is that it has worked.  People are seeing the value of going into a much more sophisticated and diverse process.  I hope it’s not going to be necessary someday.”

On playing games outside of the U.S.: “We think this has to be done on a limited basis. … It’s difficult to take games away from a home team.”

On retired players’ medical issues and costs: “It’s not good for the NFL to see that kind of an image with our players having the kind of medical problems that they have.”

On when a Super Bowl could return to New Orleans: “It’s a question of priorities [for the city] and where the Super Bowl fits in.”

On HGH testing: “There is no reliable test for HGH right now. ... We think we have the best drug program.”

On players’ off-field behavior problems: “One incident is too many in my book.  We’ve got to do more. … Our clubs have to be more accountable.” 

On whether coaches and trainers are putting players with concussions at risk: “I don’t think competitive issues should ever override a medical issue. … I don’t see a conflict of interest with trainers.” 


BEARS AND COLTS TO SQUARE OFF IN SUPER BOWL XLI

The Bears and Colts willl meet in Super Bowl XLI at Miami’s Dolphin Stadium on Sunday on CBS at around 6:25pm ET.

As of yesterday, the average resale price for tickets with a face value of $600-700 fell slightly to $4,323 on StubHub.com.  The site had about 100 tickets still available for under $3,000.  RazorGator.com’s lowest-priced ticket was $2,091 (L.A. TIMES, 2/2).

Grossman Has $500,000 Super
Bowl Bonus Riding On Line

Bears QB Rex Grossman, who earned a $500,000 bonus for playing 70% of the team’s offensive plays in the NFC Championship game, can earn the same amount again if he does the same thing on Sunday.  Grossman is currently making $625,000 in the fourth year of a five-year, $7.6M deal that included a $5M signing bonus (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 2/1).

The first winning user-generated video in CBS Interactive’s “15 Second” campaign will air Sunday at approximately 2:43pm ET during a commercial break in the net’s pregame coverage.  Six finalists were chosen from videos submitted on YouTube.com (CBS).

Singer Gloria Estefan, a Miami native who performed at the Super Bowl XXVI and XXXIII halftime shows, will introduce Cirque du Soleil’s Super Bowl XLI pregame show (THE DAILY).


WHAT DID THE EXPERTS SAY? A LOOK AT PRESEASON SUPER BOWL PICKS

While our readers duke it out in our annual Super Bowl Pick ‘Em contest, THE DAILY offers a look at preseason Super Bowl predictions from seven publications. None of the publications predicted a Bears-Colts Super Bowl, and Athlon (Colts), ESPN The Magazine (Bears) and Pro Football Weekly (Colts) were the only magazines to predict one of the participating teams. The following is a list of the magazines’ preseason picks.  THE DAILY is a Street & Smith’s publication.

PUBLICATION
WINNER
LOSER
Athlon Colts Panthers
ESPN The Magazine Dolphins Bears
Lindy's Panthers Broncos
Pro Football Weekly Panthers Colts
Sporting News Steelers Panthers
Sports Illustrated Panthers Dolphins
Street & Smith's Panthers Broncos

RESULTS OF SBD, SBJ ANNUAL SUPER BOWL PICK ‘EM CONTEST

Based on the results of SBD/SBJ's annual Super Bowl Pick 'Em, it's fair to say the majority of our readers like to play the chalk.  Of over 300 responses, about 75% pick the Colts to beat the Bears on Sunday, 54% predict Colts QB Peyton Manning to win the MVP award, and 42% believe one of Anheuser-Busch's nine spots will win USA Today's Ad Meter on Monday.


TORONTO FC INKS FOUR-YEAR SPONSORSHIP DEAL WITH CARLSBERG BEER

By Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

Toronto FC has finalized a four-year deal that sources put in the low seven-figures with Carlsberg Beer, the Danish lager that sponsors Liverpool FC's jersey. As part of the deal, Carlsberg will get pouring rights and significant signage at the MLS team's new stadium. The company will also feature Toronto FC's logo on packages at retail throughout Ontario, and has expressed interest in promoting the relationship through signage in local sports bars, said Toronto FC Dir of Business Development Paul Beirne.  Carlsberg will not be featured on the front of Toronto FC's uniform, as has been rumored.

"Dollars aside, they are promotionally attuned to soccer and the soccer family," said Tom Pistori, Dir of Corporate Sales for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the team's owner.  "That sounds hokey to say, but they know soccer and showed a willingness to focus on the property and activate on the property."


NIKE ADDS TRIBUTE TO SERENA WILLIAMS ON TWO WEB SITES

Nike Adds Video Tribute To
Serena Williams On Web Sites

Nike today added a video tribute to Serena Williams on Nike.com and Nikewomen.com for her win in the Australian Open.  The piece, which will stay on the sites for two weeks, notes Williams’ dedication to success the rest of the season.  After listing some of the criticisms Williams received prior to the Australian Open, such as “Uncommitted,” “Disinterested” and “Out of Shape,” the final part of the video’s text reads, “I don’t need sympathy to get back to No. 1.  I need opponents” (THE DAILY).



CLERGYMAN TO PROTEST NETS' ARENA NAMING-RIGHTS DEAL WITH BARCLAYS

Rev. Clinton Miller of Brooklyn-based Brown Baptist Memorial Church will hold a news conference on Sunday to protest the Nets’ $400M naming-rights deal with Barclays, “the British bank that activists have claimed profited from apartheid and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.”  Miller, who is opposed Nets Owner Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project, said that he asked Ratner “to terminate the agreement with Barclays or negotiate a better deal for the community”(N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/31).


X GAMES TO LAUNCH TOUR FEATURING MOTO X BIKE STUNT SHOW

By Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

X Games Consumer Products will launch a year-long tour that features a Moto X bike stunt show during ESPN The Magazine's "Next" party in Miami today. "The Super Freestyle Tour," as it is being called, will feature live exhibitions and stunts by athletes, as well as athlete meet-and-greets and autograph sessions.  X Games BMX Gold Medalist Scotty Cranmer will appear at today's kickoff party.


SBD, SBJ OFFER SPORTS AND POP CULTURE READER SURVEY....

IN or OUT? … Dale Earnhardt Jr.? .... SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily want you to weigh in on current SPORTS and POP CULTURE issues.

Please take a minute and GIVE US YOUR SPIN! To access the quick, four-question survey, please click HERE. Then, look for the results in coming issues of THE DAILY and SBJ.


SPEED READS….

Casino developer Richard Fields, who is a business partner with Yankees General Partner Steve Swindal, is expected to announce a “deal within a matter of days to become the lead investor” in the Suffolk Downs racetrack (BOSTON HERALD, 2/2).

SI’s Rick Reilly has been named National Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association for the 11th time (SI).

WaterBank of America (WBA) has signed a multi-year deal with Jets LB Jonathan Vilma to be a spokesperson for the company’s hygienic, secured ice cubes branded as Icerocks (WBA).

NFL prospect Brady Quinn and Xbox have signed a deal under which Xbox will chronicle his weekly routine for fans leading up to the NFL Draft on April 28.  Quinn will provide a blog every Friday, beginning February 9, at Xbox.com (Xbox).


QUICK HITS….

"I get some censorship rights on that show too, you know?" - NFL VP/Officiating Mike Pereira, when WFAN's Mike Francesa mentioned that Pereira was not asked on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" about the questionable roughing the passer penalty against Peyton Manning called late in the fourth quarter of the Patriots-Colts AFC Championship game (YES Network, 2/2).

“You don’t go against the biggest sporting event in the [U.S.] and think that you’re going to do well. … [A] final round on Saturday’s not going to hurt anybody” -- Golf Channel’s Alex Miceli, on moving the FBR Open so that it does not compete with the Super Bowl (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 1/31).


A LIGHTER BUZZ….

Heather Rothstein, the Saints fan who was shown on Fox wearing the “F--- Da Eagles” T-shirt during the Eagles-Saints NFC Divisional Playoff game, has conducted a Q&A and posed for a photo shoot with maximonline.com (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/2).


ARTICLES OF INTEREST….

The N.Y. TIMES’ Selena Roberts writes Super Bowl XLI in Miami “only illuminates the close proximity between rich and poor and the amazing class gap in between” (N.Y. TIMES).

NEWSDAY’s Johnette Howard writes, “As hard as some of [NHL Commissioner Gary] Bettman’s moves are to defend, you have to wonder if the real problem with hockey isn’t his lack of personal charisma or sway over hockey’s Canadian old guard. … What if the real problem with hockey is there’s just no ‘there’ there?” (NEWSDAY).

Also:

  • Inside the making of GM’s Super Bowl XLI commercial.
  • Checking in on Detroit’s revitalization a year after Super Bowl XL.
  • Brad Daugherty ready to join ESPN2 shows as NASCAR analyst.
  • Profile of Colts President Bill Polian.

See the Articles of Interest section for more sports business-related links.


DAILY DOWNLOAD….

One school of thought says that talking animals is a formula for Super Bowl ad success. Taco Bell is apparently buying it.

Taco Bell Turning To Talking
Animals In Super Bowl Spot

EVENTS IN MIAMI….

FRIDAY

Art students from Design & Architecture Senior High in Miami will unveil vitaminwater labels inspired by vitaminwater endorsers Bears LB Brian Urlacher, Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, 49ers QB Alex Smith and Mets 3B David Wright.

Benihana is sponsoring a cook-off between former NFLer William “The Refrigerator” Perry and Colts S Antoine Bethea.

The Hip-Hop Gaming League will hold the “Battle of the Commissioners,” which will feature Professional Baseball Gaming League Commissioner Johnny Damon and Hip-Hop Gaming League Commissioner Snoop Dogg playing the Bears-Colts Super Bowl XLI match-up using “Madden NFL 07” on Xbox 360, at The Standard in Miami (MLB.com, 2/1).

The NFL Commissioner’s Party will be held at AmericanAirlines Arena.

SATURDAY

Anheuser-Busch will hold the first of two Bud Bowl concerts at Finnegan’s River in Miami.

The Sprint Phone-A-Friend@NFLPLAYERS Live! at the NFL Experience in Miami will give fans the opportunity to have NFL players call a friend or family member directly from Sprint mobile phones.  Four players will deliver messages each hour for six hours, totaling 24 players in all.

The “Super Saturday” card, a three-bout card promoted by Don King, will be held at 9,000-seat Silver Spurs Arena near Orlando.  King wanted to hold the bout in Miami Arena, but an investor’s $500,000 check bounced, “and King had to scramble for a new venue” (USA TODAY, 2/1).


$TREET WRAP….

The following companies reported earnings this week:

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS
Comcast Reports near tripled Q4 profit on Adelphia Communications acquisition “and continued strong demand for advanced services” (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/2).
Electronic Arts Sales fall from a year ago; “FIFA 07” and “Madden NFL 07” among four games selling over 3 million copies in quarter (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/1).
Gannett Co. Q4 earnings rise 3% to $1.51 per share “as record levels of political advertising on its broadcast outlets helped offset higher newspaper costs” (AP, 2/2).
N.Y. Times Posts Q4 net loss of $5.11 per share due to “noncash charge for write-down of intangible assets” at the New England Media Group (WSJ.com, 1/31).
THQ Inc. Beats profit expectations “due to strong sales of titles like ‘WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007,’ ‘Cars,’ and ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’” (REUTERS, 2/2).
Time Warner Profit rises 34%, “boosted by the sale of Internet access businesses in Europe and a deal that added new subscribers to its cable TV unit” (AP, 1/31).
Under Armour Q4 profit just short of analyst expectations; says sales to slow this year, “even as it expands into the footwear market” with Click-Clack cleats campaign (AP, 2/1).

CHANNEL SURF….

FRIDAY

CNN’s “Paula Zahn Now” examines the hiring of minority coaches in the NFL at 8:00pm ET.

CBS will air “Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials” at 9:00pm ET.

SI’s Peter King and WTAer Serena Williams will appear on PBS’ “The Charlie Rose Show.”

SATURDAY

Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight will appear on ESPN2’s “The Fishin’ Hole with Jerry McKinnis” at 7:00am ET.

ABC will air “World’s Greatest Sports Bloopers” at 8:00pm ET.  The show will be co-hosted by NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and FSN’s Summer Sanders.

ESPN2 will air “ESPN After Dark: Miami presented by PlayStation 3,” a behind-the-scenes look at the after-hours social aspect of Super Bowl week, at 10:00pm ET. One of the correspondents for the show is Shaunie O’Neal, wife of Heat C Shaquille O’Neal.

SUNDAY

CBS’ Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will make cameo appearances on CBS’ “Criminal Minds,” which is airing immediately after Super Bowl XLI. The episode centers on a wealthy couple who is murdered in their home following a Super Bowl party.


DAILY DIGIT….

33 – Record rating, held by CBS, for post-Super Bowl programming.  The rating was earned by the net’s “60 Minutes” following Super Bowl XIV (USA TODAY, 2/2).


NOTES & QUOTES FROM THIS DAY IN SBD HISTORY….

2001
"I have no idea what to expect, and I'm not going to commit four months of someone's life when I don't know what it is" - L.A. Times Sports Editor Bill Dwyre, on why the paper is not yet assigning a beat writer to cover the XFL L.A. Xtreme, as the league prepares to open its inaugural season.


If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know at:
editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com

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