ESPN.com's Darren Rovell noted the LSU football team's dismissal of CB Tyrann Mathieu last Friday will affect "shops in Louisiana that have made some nice money off the man they call the Honey Badger." Many stores that sell LSU gear "haven't received their Nike shipment yet," but Mathieu's No. 7 "was one of three numbers the company is producing on the advice of the school's athletic department." Nike "does not reveal how many jerseys it makes of each number and often doesn't even tell retailers how many they will be getting of each." LSU Associate AD & SID Michael Bonnette said that Friday was the "highest traffic day in more than four years on the school's official athletic website." Rovell noted it was higher "than the day of the national title game in January" (ESPN.com, 8/11).
SPIKE IN INTEREST: The MILWAUKEE BUSINESS JOURNAL's Rich Kirchen notes as GMR Marketing was retained by Northwestern Mutual to handle the company’s NCAA sponsorship, the first “non-March Madness event Northwestern Mutual and GMR are targeting is the Division I women’s volleyball championship in December in Louisville, Ky.” GMR Senior VP/Client Management Steve Dupee said that beyond the top 10 non-March Madness championships, the marketing firm will “create ‘activation kits’ for local financial representatives to set up hospitality sites at less high-profile sports and Division II and Division III championships” (MILWAUKEE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/10 issue).
RUMOR HAS IT: BOXINGSCENE.com's Rick Reeno noted Manny Pacquiao's publicist Fred Sternburg "has denied the information contained in a recently published report on MMA Weekly, where UFC President Dana White stated that sportswear giant Nike had dropped Pacquiao in favor of starting a multi-year relationship with UFC champion Jon Jones." Sternburg said, "It's 100% false. The relationship between Manny and Nike has never been better" (BOXINGSCENE.com, 8/13).
CONFLICT OF INTEREST? In N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote ESPN's new "Monday Night Football" campaign starring Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones will "further compromise what little journalistic credibility it chooses to maintain." Jones is "certainly the kind of person who a sports network should assiduously, honestly cover -- as opposed to joining in bed" (N.Y. POST, 8/13).