College Football Playoff COO Michael Kelly yesterday said that EA Sports "had not yet inquired about licensing rights for the College Football Playoff to use in its video game," according to Dan Wolken of USA TODAY. Kelly said, "We haven't talked about what we'd license and what we wouldn't. Of course we'll license more typical merchandise, but we haven't gotten into (the video game issue). We haven't discussed if we'd even want to. On one hand it would be great, but with the issues at hand you just don't know." Wolken noted EA Sports' college football game will "pretty much continue just as before -- just without the NCAA name and logo." For EA Sports to "use the CFP name or logo, it would need to negotiate a licensing fee." But Kelly said that the new organization "isn't far enough along to make that decision yet." Collegiate Licensing Co. has been the licensing agent for the BCS, but Kelly said that a new bidding process "will begin this fall for those rights." Until the CFP chooses a licensing company, Kelly said that it "wouldn't engage EA Sports on any of those discussions" (USATODAY.com, 7/21).
FINANCIAL AID: Wolken cited several players at ACC media days in Greensboro as saying that they were "generally supportive of the idea that college athletes should receive some financial benefit beyond their scholarship." Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas said, "I think we could definitely use it. The way the NCAA is now, we're kind of in the limelight a lot and they can use whatever (images) they want of us. Obviously it would help us out." Meanwhile, ACC Commissioner John Swofford said that it was "'impossible' to project what kind of ramifications losing the O'Bannon case might have on the ACC and its member schools" (USATODAY.com, 7/21). Swofford: "I don’t think anybody really knows where that will ultimately end up. That’s more for the NCAA to speak to. Obviously it could have significant implications but who knows where it ends up. That’s something we’re going to have to keep our eye on and watch" (ESPN.com, 7/21).
JOINING THE LAWSUIT: Univ. of Arizona LB Jake Fischer said he decided to jointheclass-actionlawsuitagainst the NCAA for the "future well-being, safety (and) health of student-athletes." Fischer: "Obviously, we won't be in college when the case is done, but we're just looking out for our teammates right now and for future athletes all over the country."UA K Jake Smith said he joined the lawsuit because of the "money and the fact that the revenue that's generated is so vast." Smith: "The players and the people that basically drive the engine that is the NCAA and drives such large revenues don't really see a dime of it. It's not the fact that I think players should necessarily be paid, but I think we have a value and we're the only class of citizens in the country that can't capitalize on your value when it's at your highest. Where do we get our value, where do we get compensated for our fair value when we drive such a large engine?" ("Outside The Lines," ESPN2, 7/19).
Target's "ubiquitous bull’s-eye logo" is now featured on Wrigley Field's outfield wall, a marketing move that "represents a whole new ballgame," according to Thomas Lee of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The Target logo is on "maintenance doors located amid the ivy that clings to the famed outfield brick wall, a key part of Target’s multiyear marketing deal" with the Cubs to promote its new CityTarget store. Target's relationship with the Cubs "goes back to 2011, when the team hired the retailer’s commercial interiors arm to design and furnish office space a few blocks from Wrigley Field." Target officials "wanted to position the CityTargets as neighborhood stores that could convey a sense of community and urban identity." Chicago-based retail consultant Brian Kelly said, "Wrigley Field is an icon in the community. Target is trying to establish a hometown relationship by using a hometown icon." Target in addition to the logo "gives away prizes at each home game, and also hosts a Back-to-School Day where fans under 12 receive a free Cubs/Target branded back-to-school gift" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/20).
ENOUGH WRANGLING OVER WRIGLEY: A CHICAGO TRIBUNE editorial states the Cubs "got pretty much everything they wanted" at a "crucial Plan Commission meeting Thursday, making it a lock that the City Council will approve a Wrigley Field renovation plan soon." Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney's "last-minute appeal for a 10-year moratorium on inside-the-park billboards got no traction, and it's easy to see why." The business of the Cubs "should not be hamstrung for a decade." Tunney has a "stronger argument against the pedestrian bridge" the Cubs plan to build from Wrigley to a nearby hotel as part of their $500M renovation plan. The city "shouldn't sign over public air rights for an advertising vehicle connecting two private buildings." There is "nothing left in discussion that's a deal-breaker," and it is "in Chicago's interest to break ground on this project now" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/22).
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick's No. 7 jersey has been "the NFL's best seller over the last three months," according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Quarterbacks finished in "four of the top five slots based on sales" from April 1-June 30 on NFLShop.com. Among "just drafted rookies," Chargers LB Manti Te'o's No. 50 jersey "was the most popular" (ESPN.com, 7/20). In S.F., Ann Killion wrote Kaepernick's jersey reaching No. 1 is "a somewhat predictable result of ... spending his offseason being the most high-profile quarterback in the most high-profile sports league in the world." The "proliferation of No. 7 jerseys is just more evidence of Kaepernick's meteoric rise." However, that has some "worried about a correspondingly swift crash" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/21).
TOP-SELLING JERSEYS APRIL 1-JUNE 30 ON NFLSHOP.COM
The Univ. of North Carolina has "sent a cease-and-desist letter to Iceberg Guards" regarding G Leslie McDonald, who "until recently had been listed on the company's website as a user of its products," according to Beard & Biesecker of the AP. NCAA rules "generally prohibit athletes from endorsing or promoting a company or product." UNC Senior Associate AD/Communications Steve Kirschner said Iceberg took McDonald's name "off their site as a customer last week." Kirschner said that UNC has "no official relationship with Iceberg to provide mouth guards or services to UNC athletes, nor with the two men -- Spencer Howard of Durham and Lee Gause of New York -- who formed Iceberg Holdings LLC and are listed on incorporation documents filed with the North Carolina secretary of state's office." The school has "declined to say how McDonald acquired the mouth guard." Iceberg's website shows "customized mouth guards, including one endorsed by former Tar Heel" and current Spurs G Danny Green, "ranging from $150 to as much as $1,500" (AP, 7/19).
Roger Federer is "experimenting with a new tennis racket in the middle of the season," according to Tom Perrotta of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The "once invincible" Federer "needs a little help, and there's nothing wrong with asking for it." Federer "hasn't divulged many details about the racket, other than that it is made by Wilson, his longtime racket sponsor, and has a 98-square-inch head, 8 inches larger than the Wilson Pro Staff he has played with" since '02. Federer still is "testing the frame and hasn't committed to playing with it full-time, and it might be modified further." Federer said last week, "It's a prototype." Wilson Racquet Sports GM Jon Muir said that the new racket is "based on Federer's requests and feedback from previous tests, and stressed that the process is far from over." Muir added that the racket is "not a Wilson Blade 98, as some online gear gurus have guessed," but was "made in Wilson's Chicago lab." Muir: "It's not something we are currently producing and selling to customers." Perrotta noted if Federer "eventually commits to a new racket, Wilson's sales would likely get a boost." Sources said that Federer's current racket sales are "around No. 20 in the industry, down from previous years." Rafael Nadal's Babolat AeroPro Drive is "the top-selling racket in the world" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/19).