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Volume 24 No. 112
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Morning Buzz

Finances At Top Of Agenda For USOC BOD Meeting In Calif.
Metrodome Roof Suffers More Damage From Heavy Ice, Snow
Chip Ganassi To Announce Two More Rides For IndyCar Team
Startup ScoreBig Inc. Wants To Find Buyers For Unsold Tickets



The USOC BOD will meet today in Redwood City, Calif., where finances "should be a hot topic." The board will discuss its "strategic plan, budget and list of grants for next year, as well as Olympic Training Center capital projects" and a revenue plan for '13-16.

The BOD also will confirm five new board members; get briefed on IOC relations; hear from task forces on NGB marketing and sex-abuse prevention; hear a study on the impact of OTC expenditures; get updated on NGB organizational development and an NGB diversity initiative; review a USADA agreement; and discuss the format of the Olympic Assembly (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 12/16).


The Metrodome “suffered another blow” last night when a fourth roof panel ripped, “likely due to the heavy ice and snow that still blankets much of the deflated dome.” All repair work was “suspended until officials could evaluate the new damage” this morning (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/16).

The Vikings are looking to play Monday’s home finale against the Bears at the Univ. of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, but the NFL “has yet to sign off on the venture.” NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said the “plan is to play the game at TCF Bank Stadium.” However, Aiello did not respond to “direct questions about how and when the NFL would determine whether the stadium is a practical alternative to the Metrodome” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/16).

Meanwhile, the Univ. of Minnesota today began accepting volunteers, starting at 8:00am CT, to help in “clearing the many tons of snow from the field and in the stands in time” for Monday’s game (, 12/15).


Izod IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi today will announce that he is "doubling his efforts in the series in 2011, adding two additional cars to his trophy stable." Drivers Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball will work out of a "satellite" team shop "rented from drag racing legend Don Prudhomme." Today's announcement at Indianapolis Motor Speedway also will "confirm full-time sponsorship for both Rahal and Kimball" (, 12/15).


Ticket sales startup ScoreBig Inc. today plans to unveil a system designed to "help find buyers for some of the millions of concert and sports tickets that go unsold every year." ScoreBig has raised $8.5M from investors such as Bain Capital and media exec Shari Redstone, and it has been "quietly testing a system that aspires to do for concert and sports tickets what does for airline seats and hotel rooms." Some ticket brokers have signed on with the startup


Qatar will stage the '22 FIFA World Cup "alone without seeking help from neighbouring countries," according to United Arab Emirates Football Association President Mohamed Khalfan al-Rumaithi. Al-Rumaithi said, "We have not been approached." Meanwhile, FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said that Franz Beckenbauer's idea of a winter World Cup in Qatar "would have to be raised to executive committee level." Valcke: "For now that's not the case" (REUTERS, 12/16).


Cox Sports And Charter Reach
Carriage Deal For Hornets Telecasts

Cox Sports Television and Charter Communications this week are expected to announce a deal has been reached to provide CST's Hornets telecasts on north shore cable systems. The deal "opens up one of the largest population areas to receive Hornets' telecasts at a time when the team is seeking to boost attendance" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 12/15).

A crowd of 13,325 attended last night's Kings-Hornets game at New Orleans Arena. The Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region spent $30,000 of their $50,000 pledge to buy tickets. The team needs to average 14,970 fans over the next 11 home games to hit their attendance benchmark (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 12/15).  


The Dolphins have tickets remaining for Sunday's game against the Bills, but the team thinks that the game "will be sold out in time to lift the local TV blackout," stretching team's home sellout streak to 100 regular-season games. The Dolphins "will almost certainly get a guarantee" from WFOR-CBS to buy "whatever number of unsold seats remain so that the game can be shown locally"
(, 12/16).

Meanwhile, the Bengals today are expected to announce that Sunday's home game against the Browns will be blacked out, "marking the third straight after the team had a record 57-game sellout streak" (, 12/15).



The Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District has approved a plan to give the Packers $11M toward "installation of new video screens and a new sound system at Lambeau Field." The team estimates the project will cost $13-14M (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 12/16).

Everlast Worldwide today announced a multiyear, direct-to-retail licensing deal with Sears Holdings. The deal gives Sears and Kmart the rights to the Everlast brand for apparel, footwear and accessories. The retailers plan to launch the brand in ’11 (Everlast Worldwide).

Holiday Inn is launching a "special price promotion" tied to the '12 London Games. The chain on Monday, Dec. 20, will offer rooms at Holiday Inn locations in the U.K. for US$31.40 – equivalent to £20.12 (, 12/15).


“I did pretty good. That’s not my MO, that’s not what I do, but I can do it if I want to” – Eagles QB Michael Vick, on appearing in a commercial for a Philadelphia-area Nissan dealership (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 12/16).

“We're not holding our breath for the next interview with Jimmy” – ESPN’s Chris Sheridan, noting Knicks James Dolan has not given an interview in more than three years (“Outside The Lines,” ESPN, 12/15).

“They chose me so that means I have a really good face” – Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin, on his new sponsorship with Gillette (“24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic,” HBO, 12/15).

“I’m just watching as many teams as I can play” – TNT’s Charles Barkley, on watching NBA and college basketball games to study up for his network gig (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 12/16).

“I will have to talk to the Secret Service beforehand so they know that it’s simply a tradition, but that’s not a bad idea” – White House Press Secretary and Auburn fan Robert Gibbs, on whether he would TP the White House if Auburn wins the BCS Championship game. Auburn fans drape toilet paper over trees at Toomer’s Corner after big wins (USA TODAY, 12/16).



Actor Colin Hanks: “This 24/7 Pens/Caps show is insane! its what i love about hockey. been wanting an inside look at the game like this for years. Amazing.”

Vikings WR Greg Lewis: “Who wants to head over to the stadium and help me shovel?? Whatever it takes to get this game played here in Minnesota I'm all for it.”

Bears S Chris Harris: “I'm curious as to how Lester Bagley (Vikings VP of public affairs) can guarantee a win n you're not stepping a foot on the field. Not smart.”

ESPN’s Jason Sobel: “In first-ever tweet, 15-year-old pro Alexis Thompson quoted slogan of main sponsor. Very mature. Already endorsing on a 12th-grade level.”

Daily Variety’s Jon Weisman: “Mazeroski homers! Pirates win, 10-9! In a rebroadcast that was so improbable, the inevitable has happened!”

If you see a tweet we won’t want to miss, send it to us at


Twitter last night “completed its latest round of funding,” $200M at a $3.7B valuation, with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as the lead investor (, 12/15).


The Morning Buzz offers today’s back page sports covers from some of the nation’s major metropolitan tabloids:

N.Y. Post
N.Y. Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News
Boston Herald


Last night's "Final Jeopardy!" category was "British Royalty."

"From the Latin for 'greatest,' this form of address was introduced by the narcissistic King Richard II."


Surfer Laird Hamilton appeared on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" last night, with host Stephen Colbert introducing him by saying, "My guest tonight is a surfing legend who has ridden waves over 100 feet tall. To put that in perspective, that's high enough for this guy to be insane." Colbert told Hamilton, "I am an admirer of what you do physically. I think it's beautiful. But I got to hammer you here for a second. You ready for this? You ready to ride this wave?" Hamilton: "Best I can." Colbert then said, "Get a job, okay. Time to grow up, alright. You're man now, okay. Stop playing around in there. Why don't you just play volleyball for a living?" Hamilton: "I know people that do that." Colbert: "I know you do. Your wife, Gabrielle Reece, she's also an unbelievably beautiful, healthy, outdoorsy kind of athletic person. Here's my fist question: Which of you lets it go and gets fat first?" Hamilton: "Doesn't happen" ("The Colbert Report," Comedy Central, 12/15).

Former Mississippi State S Keith Fitzhugh appeared on NBC's "The Tonight Show" last night to discuss turning down the Jets' offer to join the team in order to remain a conductor with Norfolk Southern Railroad. NBC's Jay Leno said, "My next guest received a call that millions of guys dream about. The New York Jets called him, offered him a job in the NFL. For reasons he'll explain to us, he turned them down to keep his job as a train conductor." Fitzhugh was released by the Jets in training camp and took the railroad job, which he said was a "childhood dream." Fitzhugh said of rejecting the Jets’ offer, "I had to make a decision in my life and I've been released three times in the NFL. It's a tough business to be in, but I told the Jets staff … I was very thankful that they even wanted me to be part of their team again, but right now I had to make a decision for me and my family and I just told them I couldn't make it and I stayed working for Norfolk Southern." Leno: "I think it's really great because you're one of the great sports stories we don't hear" ("The Tonight Show," NBC, 12/15).


CBS' David Letterman: "I love the holidays. … You know the Jets coach that tripped the player? I saw him trip a sidewalk Santa. … The United States government has launched a secret investigation of WikiLeaks. Unfortunately, WikiLeaks leaked it. Julian Assange was arrested and now he's out on bail, and today – this guy is unstoppable – he leaked the colonel's secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices. … In Wisconsin, there's a mailman delivering his mail going door to door. It's wintertime, the mailman, United States mailman, door to door, delivering mail, he's naked. He's naked! I mean, we've all heard of junk mail, but this is stupid. The guy, especially this time of year when everybody is doing their Christmas mailing, the guy is loaded down. He comes up to your house, he's standing on your porch, his hands, his arms are full of mail and packages, and yet somehow he still manages to ring the bell. Baseball news: Cliff Lee – tremendous pitcher Cliff Lee – going to the Philadelphia Phillies. Cliff Lee turned down a $200 million offer from the Yankees to play with the Phillies. The day money can't buy a player for the Yankees is a sad day for America. So there's no $200 million deal for Cliff Lee, and I'm still now the most overpaid disappointment in New York. What a juggernaut the Phillies could be. The Philadelphia Phillies will have the best rotation in baseball. Best rotation in all of baseball, next to Madonna's bedroom" ("Late Show," CBS, 12/15).

NBC's Jay Leno: "It is freezing across most of the United States. Two feet of snow in the Midwest. But the good news, these are the first shovel-ready jobs Obama has come up with since he was president. I tell you it is so cold in Minneapolis, Brett Favre was texting pictures of his chestnuts roasting over an open fire. … Esquire magazine's 'Sexiest Woman Alive' of 2006, Scarlett Johansson, and Ryan Reynolds, People magazine's 'Sexiest Man Alive' of 2010, getting divorced. They are citing irreconcilable sexiness. … Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg has been named Time magazine's 'Person of the Year.' They said he single-handedly changed the way we waste time at work. You realize, without Mark Zuckerberg, 50-year-old guys would never be able to hold affairs with their old high school girlfriends. You know who came in second in 'Person of the Year?' WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange, and you know what he said when they told him that: 'I knew that.' … 7-Eleven has announced they are going to start selling their own brand of wine. 7-Eleven wine. This is for those people that find the idea of buying wine at Wal-Mart too pretentious. I understand the wine is aged almost as long as the hot dogs. … Lindsay Lohan has turned down 'Dancing With The Stars.' Apparently, she had enough dancing in front of judges to last a lifetime" ("The Tonight Show," NBC, 12/15).


Last night's Top Ten List was "Top Ten Questions Time Magazine Asks Before Selecting Someone As 'Person Of The Year'" ("Late Show," CBS, 12/15).

10) "How's it hangin'?"
9) "Do you currently subscribe to Time magazine?"
8) "Your name isn't Gosselin or Hasselhoff or Palin, is it?"
7) "Ever run to the restroom in the middle of a talk show taping?"
6) "Have you sent someone a photo of your deal?"
5) "Will this choice resonate with our 12 readers?"
4) "At any point during the past year, did you ever wear a meat dress?"
3) "Are you that annoying person who instead of laughing says, 'L-O-L!?'"
2) "Have you ever tripped a football player running down the sideline?"
1) "Should we just give it to Letterman and piss everybody off?"


"What is 'majesty?'"

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