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Volume 25 No. 48
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Lincoln Financial Selling Media Properties For Total Of $683M
Baby Ruth Backing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” Promo
Gary Bettman, Other NHL Execs To Host Radio Show On XM
Columnist Takes Issue With Decision Not To Air Hockey HOF Induction

LINCOLN FINANCIAL SELLING MEDIA PROPERTIES FOR $683M

Lincoln Financial Group (LFG) has reached deals to sell its TV stations in Charlotte, Richmond and Charleston (SC), as well as its sports syndication business, to Raycom Media for $583M in cash.  It will also sell its Charlotte radio stations to Greater Media for another $100M in cash.  The sports syndication deal is expected to close by early next month (LFG).


BABY RUTH TO BACK PROMO FOR “TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME” ANNIVERSARY

By Terry Lefton, Editor-at-Large

 
Nestle's Baby Ruth brand, an MLB sponsor since '06, is backing a promo next season that will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the song, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."  From mid-March through mid-April, there will be an online and in-park search for the best renditions of the baseball anthem.  The winner of the search gets to lead the crowd in singing the tune during the 7th inning stretch of the '08 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium.  Fans may enter online or during live auditions in MLB parks during the opening week of the '08 season.  Retail activation is TBD.

During this past season, Baby Ruth ran a spot from Dailey & Associates, L.A., filmed at Dodger Stadium, in which spectators hummed the song; ostensibly their mouths were so filled by the candy bar that they couldn't sing.

Long before signing an official MLB sponsorship, the Baby Ruth bar was associated with the national pastime, given the brand name's similarity to one of the most famous baseball players of all time.  Officially, Curtiss Candy, the original manufacturer, clamed it was named after the daughter of former president Grover Cleveland, who died some 16 years before the candy came on the market in 1920.  However, because it was an established brand, Curtiss was later able to successfully shut down a bar officially licensed by Babe Ruth by proving marketplace confusion. 


GARY BETTMAN, OTHER NHL EXECS TO HOST RADIO SHOW ON XM

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and other league execs, including Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and Exec VP & Dir of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell, will host a weekly live show called “NHL Hour” on XM Satellite Radio beginning Tuesday, November 27.  The show, to be co-hosted by Versus’ Bill Clement, will air from 4:00-5:00pm ET on NHL Home Ice (XM Channel 204) and NHL.com.  Beginning December 6, it will move to Thursdays in the same time slot (NHL).

Meanwhile, D’Backs OF Eric Byrnes will host a weekly national show this offseason on XM beginning Saturday at noon ET. The three-hour “Eric Byrnes Show” will air on MLB Home Plate (XM Channel 175) until Spring Training (XM Satellite Radio).


COLUMNIST TAKES ISSUE WITH DECISION NOT TO AIR HOCKEY HOF INDUCTION

Versus tonight will air the Hurricanes-Panthers game instead of televising the Hockey HOF induction of Ron Francis, Jim Gregory, Al MacInnis, Mark Messier and Scott Stevens.  N.Y. POST columnist Larry Brooks writes the NHL scheduled five games “on a night that should remain dark,” which “essentially guaranteed that the mundane playing of early-season matches” would overshadow the inductions (N.Y. POST, 11/12).


COALITION SEEKS LEGAL BROTHEL IN TIME FOR 2010 VANCOUVER OLYMPICS

A front-page story in the VANCOUVER SUN reports that a group of prostitutes in the city “wants to open a ‘co-op’ brothel in time” for the 2010 Olympics there, claiming it “would help sex-trade workers by providing a safer work environment” during the Games.  Supporters of the plan include Libby Davies, a member of Parliament, and Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan.  Opponents say that the brothel “would only perpetuate the idea that prostitution is acceptable” (VANCOUVER SUN, 11/12).


DIAMOND PARKING RELENTS ON TAILGATING BAN FOR SEAHAWKS FANS

With the Seahawks set to host the 49ers tonight on ESPN’s “MNF,” Diamond Parking has “relented on its earlier threat to end tailgating” at its “Hawk Heaven” lot and is warning fans to “drink responsibly” or be asked to leave.  The company, which received complaints from angry fans over the ban, said that “drunken fans were vandalizing property” and causing other problems.  Diamond has hired off-duty police officers for tonight’s game (SEATTLE TIMES, 11/12).


MNF GUEST MONITOR….

Actor Drew Carey, who is reportedly part of the new ownership group bringing an MLS franchise to Seattle, is expected to appear in ESPN’s “MNF” broadcast booth during tonight’s 49ers-Seahawks game.  Also, NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon will be interviewed by Stuart Scott during halftime to preview this weekend's Ford 400, the final race in the Chase for the Nextel Cup.  ESPN’s opening tease will feature Seattle native Rainn Wilson of NBC’s “The Office,” who will offer a unique tour of the city (THE DAILY).


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

IN or OUT?Rich Eisen (NFL Network) … 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. View the results from the SBD/SBJ sports and pop culture polling effort from October 29-November 4.


BUZZER BEATERS….

China today “launched its first anti-doping agency and a state-of-the-art laboratory” ahead of the ’08 Beijing Olympics.  The agency will have a staff of 60, “with more experts coming from abroad next year to take the number to more than 100” (AP, 11/12).

Pope Benedict XVI will hold Mass at the new Nationals ballpark on April 17, followed by Mass at Yankee Stadium on April 20 as part of a six-day trip to the U.S., the first papal visit since ’99.  These will be the only two public Masses during the trip (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 11/12).

N.Y.-based WWOR-MYT and YES Network have inked a one-year extension keeping WWOR as the exclusive over-the-air TV home for Yankees games.  The net will air a total of 21 games in HD (YES Network).

The NHL today announced a partnership with Gydget to provide widgets, programs that provide team specific news, schedule information and ticket links that can be embedded onto NHL fans’ blog and social networking Web sites. Widgets for all 30 NHL teams are available on NHL.com for free (NHL).


QUICK HITS….

“How did ESPN accept a contract that forces them to give air [to] this turkey” – The ORLANDO SENTINEL’s Jerry Greene, on the net lacking a flex component in its TV deal that would have allowed it to switch out of tonight’s 49ers-Seahawks “MNF” game (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/12).

"Very, very tight" - Tim Modise, Communications Dir for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, on the deadline for completing two of the five stadiums being built for the event (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 11/12). 


A LIGHTER BUZZ….

A new book called “Slap Shots and Snapshots: 50 Seasons of Pro Hockey in Johnstown,” chronicles the history of pro hockey in the Pennsylvania city and includes “a complete rundown of one season for the Charlestown Chiefs” team from the film “Slap Shot.”  The Johnstown Jets were the inspiration for the film, which was also shot in the city (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 11/11).


ARTICLES OF INTEREST….

The N.Y. DAILY NEWS’ Bob Raissman writes of agent Scott Boras, who reps 3B Alex Rodriguez, “As Boras continues searching for Rodriguez’ next address, he has again proven to be a champion when it comes to manipulating the media” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS).

Also:

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


TONIGHT’S EVENTS….

USGA Exec Dir David Fay will present late USGA founding member Charles Blair Macdonald for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame at 6:00pm ET.  Other inductees include course architect Joe Carr and golfers Hubert Green, Kel Nagle, Curtis Strange and Se Ri Pak, the HOF’s first member from South Korea.

The United Way will present the Saints with the Alexis de Tocqueville Award at the Tocqueville Society’s “Spirit of a Champion, Heart of a Saints” gala at the Sugar Mill in New Orleans.


IN OTHER NEWS….

Disney plans to increase spending on videogame development from about $100M in ’06 to a projected $175M in ’08, and could spend as much as $350M in five years.  Disney CEO Bob Iger: “We intend to use [a multi-platform approach] to do exactly what we did in the music business to our video game business, but on a much larger scale” (N.Y. POST, 11/12).


DAILY DOWNLOAD….

CBS’ Gary Danielson and Verne Lundquist break out some moves to “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” in the booth during the net’s Saturday telecast of the Auburn-Georgia football game.


$TREET WATCH….

The following companies are scheduled to report earnings this week:

COMPANY DAY
Daktronics Wednesday

See $treet Wrap in Friday’s Closing Bell for highlights of the earnings reports.


DAILY DIGIT….

11/8 – Height in inches of the Kentucky bluegrass that will be used for the field at the Nationals’ new ballpark, after using Bermuda grass cut at 5/8-inch at RFK Stadium (WASHINGTON POST, 11/10).


NOTES & QUOTES FROM THIS DAY IN SBD HISTORY….

2004
“This was a deal made in good faith over a decade ago.  It made sense at the time, and now it doesn’t” - Sonics President & CEO Wally Walker, on the KeyArena lease agreement between the team and the city of Seattle.


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

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