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Volume 24 No. 156
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Morning Buzz

Nike's Share Price Rises Ahead Of Quarterly Earnings Report
Minn. Gov.-Elect Willing To Support Publicly Funded Stadium
Usmanov Looks To Up Arsenal Stake, Blocking Any Takeover
ESPN Lines Up Special Broadcast Features For UConn Game


Nike shares yesterday “hit a split-adjusted all-time high” of $90.87 ahead of today’s Q2 earnings report. The shares, which closed at $90.27, had set the previous high of $90.52 last week. Analysts expect Nike to report earnings of $0.88 per share on $4.81B in revenue. Both would be “sizable improvements” from Q2 '09, when the company earned $0.76 per share on $4.4B in sales. It is a “safe bet” that Nike will “match those projections, at least on earnings” (, 12/20).


Minnesota Gov.-Elect Says He Will Support New
Vikings Stadium As Long As General Fund Not Used

Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton said that he "will support a publicly financed stadium" for the Vikings "as long as the benefits outweigh the public costs and the state's general fund dollars aren't used to build it." Dayton met yesterday with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf and team President Mark Wilf, and he will meet today with state House Speaker-elect Kurt Zellers to "seek his views on the stadium issue." With the Metrodome lease expiring after the '11 season, Dayton said that this is the "last chance for the state to act" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/21).

Last night's Bears-Vikings game at TCF Bank Stadium drew a crowd of 40,504, "leaving about 10,000 seats empty." There were "reports of a fight and some fans slipping and falling when the gates opened," but "most people said the return to outdoor football went smoothly" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/21).


Alisher Usmanov "wants to raise his stake in Arsenal Holdings Plc" to 29.9%, which would "help him to block any takeover attempts" of the EPL club. Usmanov, who now owns 27% of the team, "made the pledge today on state television" in Russia. He and Stan Kroenke have built up their holdings in the club in recent years, "prompting takeover speculation." Usmanov: "The goal is to increase the holding up to a blocking stake. … Afterwards, we'll see what to do further"


ESPN is lining up several special broadcast features for tonight's Florida State-UConn women's basketball game on ESPN2. UConn has the chance to set a new Division I record with 89 consecutive wins. Dave O'Brien and Doris Burke will call the game, with reports from Rebecca Lobo. Trey Wingo, Kara Lawson and Carolyn Peck will host an hour-long pregame show at 6:00pm ET, plus postgame segments.

ESPNU will air five consecutive hours of UConn programming leading up to the ESPN2 pregame show. will feature in-game blogging, chats and tweeting. will have special streak-related content. ESPN Classic will feature rebroadcasts around UConn's record run (ESPN).


The NBA BOG has approved the league's purchase of the Hornets, as expected. The league "will be announcing the completion of the sale shortly." Attorney and Wild Vice Chair Jac Sperling will serve as Hornets Chair and BOG representative, while team President Hugh Weber "continues to be in control of the franchise's day-to-day operations" (, 12/20).


Bleacher Report announced that it has completed a $10.5M Series C round of capital investment led by Crosslink Capital. Crosslink Partner Eric Chin led his firm's involvement and will join the Bleacher Report BOD (Bleacher Report).

Pat Hughes Signs Five-Year
Extension With WGN Radio

WGN Radio has signed Cubs announcer Pat Hughes to a "five-year extension through the 2015 season." The '11 season "will be Hughes' 16th with WGN Radio" (, 12/20).

Talladega Superspeedway has named 30 fans from across the U.S. to "serve as its first Fan Advisory Network." The members will serve one-year terms, meeting "each race weekend and by teleconference" (, 12/20).

The Triple-A PCL Tucson Padres have finalized a lease to play the '11 season at Kino Stadium, formerly known as Tucson Electric Park. The deal is for one year "with an option for an additional year" (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 12/21).

Former CFL Commissioner and outgoing Montreal Alouettes President Larry Smith is expected to announce as early as today that he will enter the Canadian House of Commons race for the Lac-Saint-Louis district in Montreal (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/21).


“When everybody says, hey, it’s just a game. I think we all know that it’s more than a game. Eight million dollars would have come to the WAC if he makes the kick” – WAC Commissioner Karl Benson, on Boise State losing millions of dollars from its lone loss at the end of the season on a missed field goal, which knocked the team from the Rose Bowl to the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas
(N.Y. TIMES, 12/21).

“It’s really quite startling to see. Thank goodness it didn’t happen when an event was going on and no one was injured” – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, on the Metrodome roof collapsing under the weight of snow and ice (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/21).

"I think he was still out of it a little bit. I think he had a concussion" – Bears QB Jay Cutler, when asked about meeting Vikings QB Brett Favre on the field after the game (, 12/20).

“Given the situation with the NFL at this time, we think this could provide a lot of marketing opportunities for the region” – UFL Virginia Destroyers GM Doug Williams, on the team playing its inaugural season next year amid a possible player lockout in the NFL (NEWPORT NEWS DAILY PRESS, 12/21).

“Knicks are doing well, which means somebody has to suck while the Mets are off” – CBS’ David Letterman, reading last night’s Top Ten list, which was the “Top Ten New York Giants Excuses” (“Late Show,” CBS, 12/20).



ESPN Chicago’s Michael Wright: “So...two head injuries so far tonight on this turf, that was supposed to be OK.”

Chicago Sun-Times’ Sean Jensen: “Had a chance to visit w/ NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He's bundled up, b/c he'll be watching the game from regular seats, not a suite.”

SI’s Chris Mannix: “When is a team/network going to notice that Brent Barry is a terrific analyst. His NBA TV work is outstanding.”

CSN Bay Area’s Matt Steinmetz: “Familiar face up in GM suite at Oracle ... Don Nelson in house. Sitting next to Larry Riley. Start the rumors.”

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


The NBA tips off the NBA Cares Season of Giving Auction on the league’s website. Limited-edition, holiday-themed autographed basketballs will be auctioned off through Dec. 28, with all proceeds benefitting NBA Cares community partners.

Minnesota Gov.-Elect Mark Dayton and Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will appear together in St. Paul to raise money for food shelves.


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 “20th Century Novelists.”

“A critic said that a character of his, ‘yearning for the moon … never saw the sixpence at his feet’; he made that into a title.”


Last night David Letterman welcomed Marv Albert to the “Late Show.” Albert discussed LeBron James joining the Heat and said he “had every right to move as players do now in all sports. … I did the game where he returned to Cleveland. It was the most unusual game with the circumstances because we didn’t know what to expect. There was a huge amount of security there, some of it behind us. It was almost like a rock concert with the security people looking back into the crowd. Going into a game like that you think, what could possibly happen?” Letterman: “If LeBron James had announced … that I’m staying, would there be a more beloved figure in sports, irrespective of championships?” Albert: “No question, but he still had the right. It’s Cleveland. It’s Miami.” Letterman: “I loved LeBron James – what a guy. From Akron, goes to high school, Cleveland embraces him and there’s not much about that town to embrace these days. … This guy would have been on a career long pedestal” (“Late Show,” CBS, 12/20).


CBS’ David Letterman: “You folks like that football? Oh my God, how about the Giants? Did you see the Giants? Folks from Philadelphia, are you? Good luck getting home. And oh, my God, they came back. The Giants blew a 21-point lead – I mean it was crazy. And they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. Even the dogs were cheering for Michael Vick. By the way, that cold wind you felt all day, that was the breeze from the Giants blowing their 21-point lead. Upsetting day for New York fans. Well, I guess the Jets beat the Steelers, but the good news is Cliff Lee is going to the – no, wait a minute, he's not going either. They offered him $200 million and that's a great endorsement. He said, ‘No thanks. Not for $200 million.’ It makes the city look pretty good. ‘I wouldn't live there for $200 million, are you kidding me? $200 Million? No, not enough.’ $200 million dollars and the deal was loaded with incentives because if you are only going to pay $200 million, you’ve got to include quite a lot of perks. … Congress repealed the ‘don't ask, don't tell.’ How about that? The Pentagon can now start production on ‘Iraq the Musical.’ … John McCain was opposed to the repeal of ‘don't ask, don't tell’ although he admitted that he probably served with gay soldiers in the Civil War” (“Late Show,” CBS, 12/20).

NBC’s Jay Leno: “Boy, it has been raining hard here in Los Angeles. It is unbelievable. We have gotten so much water, illegal immigrants are literally, coming in waves. Five inches of water in Beverly Hills – five inches. But to be fair, two of those inches were imported water from France. Here in the valley, there was a flash flood warning for Miley Cyrus' bong. … Officials in the Ukraine announced they're allowing tourists to visit Chernobyl. As you know, Chernobyl was the site of the second biggest meltdown in the world's history. The first, of course, being yesterday's New York Giants game. What was that? How bad did the Giants blow that game? They gave up 28 points in seven minutes. Even the Clippers don't do that! Minutes after Giants punter Matt Dodge choked on the punt – you know, it cost the Giants the game – another guy named Matt Dodge got hundreds of hate messages on his Twitter page. They thought it was him, so they sent him all these hate messages, all because they had the same name. You know, actually, that's quite common. That happens a lot. In fact, it happens all the time to my dry cleaner, Timmy bin Laden. President Obama signed the $858 billion tax cut package. This benefits millionaires as well as those out of jobs – millionaires and those out of a job. It's like it was tailor made for Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb” (“The Tonight Show,” NBC, 12/20).


Last night’s Top Ten List was “Top Ten New York Giants Excuses” (“Late Show,” CBS, 12/20).

10) “Eagles players were pushing us.”
9) “I left early to beat the traffic … What happened?”
8) “Uh … Losing helps everyone appreciate winning, right?”
7) “Just one more failure of the Obama administration.”
6) “Huddles spent discussing last week’s episode of ‘Glee.’”
5) “Helmets too tight.”
4) “Stressed out after holiday shopping at the mall -- there’s your real scrimmage, people!”
3) “Isn’t this the time of year for giving?”
2) “That WikiLeaks dude leaked our defensive playbook.”
1) “Knicks are doing well, which means somebody has to suck while the Mets are off.”


“Who was Somerset Maugham?”

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