Branding the World of Sports

Archive for March, 2008

Will Hank Steinbrenner become the most hated man in baseball?

Posted by ZA on March 31, 2008

Move over Barry Bonds…you’ve got company.

The 2008 MLB season started on Sunday.  And the NY Post had a column with a couple of great quotes from new Yankees frontman, Hank Steinbrenner.  The quotes are typical of what Steinbrenner has been throwing out there since he took control of the day-to-day operations from his father, George Steinbrenner.

First Hank fired a shot across the bow of the other MLB owners, teams and their fans, “Without the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets, I don’t know where baseball would be.”  He also recently said that teams should “start giving back some of that revenue sharing” if they are going to target the Yankees, to try to beat them.  I’m not going to argue the validity of the statement, because clearly the small market teams do benefit from profit sharing.  My point would be this isn’t the way to ‘win friends and influence people’ within the league you play in. 

He followed that up with this gem about his own manager, “(Girardi is) Billy Martin without baggage.”  Taking a shot at the legendary Yankees manager (Martin) who had feuded with his father.  Again I’m sure there is still a lot of hard feelings between the Steinbrenners and Billy Martin, but why throw the man under the bus yet again?  I guess that’s just Hank’s style.

And it got a lot of attention a short time ago when Hank had this to say about the steriods issue in baseball, “I don’t like baseball being singled out.  Everybody that knows sports knows football is tailor-made for performance-enhancing drugs.  I don’t know how they managed to skate by.  It irritates me.  Don’t tell me it’s not more prevalent.  The number in football is at least twice as many (as MLB).”  The NFL quickly responding by stating they’ve been testing for steriods since 1990, and have year-round random testing.

It will be interesting to see if Hank continues to run his mouth on all subjects, or if he does eventually try to exhibit some tact.  I think certain things are better left unsaid…although it appears Hank doesn’t share my view.  So I think it’s only a matter of time until Hank Steinbrenner is the most hated man in baseball.  And this is coming from someone (me) who is a quasi-fan of the New York Yankees.

Posted in MLB | 1 Comment »

2006-2007 Men’s College Basketball Top 25 Attendance

Posted by ZA on March 28, 2008

Figures on attendance for the 2007-2008 season should be released soon.  But until then, a look back at recent history…
So what college basketball teams drew the largest home crowds?  The 25 top attendance for 2006-2007 season are on the list below.  Stats are courtesy of Prep Ticket.  So what items from the list stood out the most?

* Kentucky, Louisville, Illinois, Wisconsin & Kansas averaging a capacity crowd for the season. 
* But Kentucky being #1 was not a suprise.  They are always at the top.
* Thinking how loud a sold out game in the Carrier Dome (33K) must sound.
* How Duke, Georgetown, Florida and UCLA missed the list.
* How impressive the Big 10 is in supporting  their programs.  I expected the ACC to be great. 
* They love their basketball in middle America.  Not much love out West.

Top 25 Attendance for NCAA Basketball (2006-2007)
1. Kentucky Wildcats – Averaged 23,421 at Rupp Arena (Capacity: 23,500)
2. Syracuse Orange – Averaged 21,516 at Carrier Dome (Capacity: 33,000)
3. North Carolina Tarheels – Averaged 20,693 at Dean Dome (Capacity: 21,750)
4. Tennessee Volunteers – Averaged 19,661 at Thompson-Boling (Capacity: 24,535)
5. Louisville Cardinals – Averaged 18,488 at Freedom Hall (Capacity: 18,865)
6. Ohio State Buckeyes – Averaged 17,530 at Schottenstein (Capacity: 19,200)
7. Wisconsin Badgers – Averaged 17,190 at Kohl Center (Capacity: 17,190)
8. Maryland Terrapins – Averaged 16,822 at Comcast Center (Capacity: 17,950)
9. Arkansas Razorbacks – Averaged 16,720 at Bud Walton Arena (Capacity: 19,200)
10. Illinois Fighting Illini – Averaged 16,618 at Assembly Hall-IL (Capacity: 16,168)
11. Indiana Hoosiers – Averaged 16,474 at Assembly Hall (Capacity: 17,456)
12. Kansas Jayhawks – Averaged 16,300 at Allen Fieldhouse (Capacity: 16,300)
13. Creighton Blue Jays – Averaged 15,909 at Qwest Center (Capacity: 17,560)
14. Marquette Golden Eagles – Averaged 15,345 at Bradley Center (Capacity: 19,000)
15. Michigan State Spartans – Averaged 14,759 at Breslin Center (Capacity: 16,280)
16. Memphis Tigers – Averaged 14,527 at Fedex Forum (Capacity: 18,119)
17. Arizona Wildcats – Averaged 14,202 at McKale Center (Capacity: 14,545)
18. NC State Wolfpack – Averaged 13,952 at RBC Center (Capacity: 19,722)
19. Virginia Cavaliers – Averaged 13,521 at John Paul Jones Arena (Capacity: 15,219)
20. UConn Huskies – Averaged 13,012 at XL Center (Capacity: 16,294)
21. Oklahoma State Cowboys – Averaged 13,008 at Gallagher-Iba (Capacity: 13,611)
22. Texas Longhorns – Averaged 12,696 at Frank Erwin Center (Capacity: 16,755)
23. New Mexico Lobos – Averaged 12,853 at University Arena (Capacity: 18,018)
24. South Carolina Gamecocks – Averaged 12,838 at Colonial Center (Capacity: 18,000)
25. Iowa State Cyclones – Averaged 12,489 at Hilton Coliseum (Capacity: 14,092)

Breakdown by conference, of the top 25 teams above:
Big 10 – 5
ACC – 4
Big East – 4
Big 12 – 4
SEC – 4
Pac 10 – 1
CUSA – 1
MVC – 1
MWC – 1

Posted in Attendance Figures, College Basketball | 3 Comments »

Microsoft Office for Rednecks?

Posted by ZA on March 27, 2008

I can only imagine the tech support calls that are going to ensue from this deal.  But Microsoft has agreed to sponsor a car in the 2008 Nascar Sprint Cup season.  Microsoft’s Small Business division logos will be placed on the car of Ken Schrader, a drive on the circuit.

Why Microsoft decided to jump into Nascar now is hard to figure.  Everyone has been talking about Nascar as the fastest growing sport for two years.  It’s also been discussed ad naseum that Nascar fans are very loyal to their sponsor brands.  So the successful track record for sponsorships in Nascar was already there.  I can only assume that Microsoft’s Marketing offices for sponsorships are in the same building as their Search Engine team, because they both work at the same pace. 

Cletus (in Tennessee): How do this dadgum thang here werk?
Microsoft Support Rep (in India): This is Microsoft Support, can you repeat the question?
Cletus: I saw ya at the track.  I bought a window for my computer.  How do it open?
MSFT Support: Sir, can you repeat the question?
Cletus: Is dar any person there that speaks American? My computer window is broke.
MSFT Support: Sir, can you repeat the question?
Cletus: How do this window work on my computer?
MSFT Support: Sir, I’m going to pass your call to a supervisor.  Thank you, please call again.

Posted in Nascar, Sponsorship Deals | Leave a Comment »

Top 10 best-selling NBA jerseys

Posted by ZA on March 27, 2008

The sports apparel business is booming over the last decade.  And one particular segment that has had tremendous growth are sports jerseys.  In particular NBA jerseys, which seem to be the favorite status symbol for many of the youth in America.  So what jerseys are the most popular?  The NBA Store in New York revealed the ten most popular NBA jerseys, as part of their tenth anniversary celebration.   The most popular NBA jerseys are:

1) Michael Jordans (Bulls) – He’s still on top, but for how long?
2) Kobe Bryant (Lakers) – I wonder if he sold more 24 or 8 jerseys?
3) Allen Iverson (Nuggets) – Sold a ton in Philly, then sold a bunch more in Denver.
4) LeBron James (Cavs) – My prediction for the future leader in this category.  He’ll pass Kobe.
5) Shaquille O’Neal (Suns) – Shaq’s superfans must buy a Magic, Lakers, Heat and Suns jersey.
6) Tracy McGrady (Rockets) – Yao replace McGrady on this list in a few years.
7) Dwyane Wade (Heat) – If Dwyane jerseys were a stock, I’d be selling.  Sorry DWade.
8). Jason Kidd (Mavericks) – He can sell two editions of his Mavs jersey, the original & his new one.
9) Vince Carter (Nets) – I bet a lot of Toronto fans threw their Carter jerseys away when he stiffed them.
10) Tim Duncan (Spurs) – What is the big, boring Tim Duncan doing on the list?  I guess there are a lot of Big Fundamental jerseys walking around San Antonio.

What players will be on this list 10 years from now (in no particular order):
* LeBron
* Kobe
* Yao Ming
* Kevin Durant
* OJ Mayo
* Jordan
* Andrea Bargnani
* Dwight Howard
* Greg Oden
* Kevin Garnett (Celtics)

Posted in NBA, Sports Marketing | 9 Comments »

MLS picks up a big airline sponsor

Posted by ZA on March 26, 2008

Ameican Airlines and Major League Soccer (MLS) are going to try out flying those friendly skies together.  MLS signs another smart deal, this time with an airline sponsor.  As American Airlines signs on to be the exclusive airline sponsor for MLS.  The deal will provide American with TV advertising, outdoor signage at the MLS venues, and in-game promotional opportunities.

No word yet on whether it will be kosher to kick around a soccer ball at 35,000 feet.

Posted in Soccer, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Marketing | Leave a Comment »

Strike two for BBC on Champions League

Posted by ZA on March 26, 2008

A week ago the BBC lost out on broadcast rights to Champions League football when Sky Sports outbid them.  And now BBC loses out on their bid to win the rights to UEFA Champions League games.  ITV retains the rights to the UEFA Champions League games through through 2012 by paying over $100 Million dollars per year.

Posted in Soccer, Sports Marketing, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Leave a Comment »

King of Beers signs deal with NY Mets

Posted by ZA on March 18, 2008

The New York Mets will debut a brand new stadium, Citi Field, to start the 2009 baseball season.  And if you are a Mets fan you better enjoy Budweiser & Bud Light, because Anheuser-Busch signed a multi-year agreement to become a ‘Partner’ at Citi Field.  The deal means that Budweiser will be the exclusive sponsor for all alcohol signage within Citi Field.

The deal is the first ‘Signature Partner’ the NY Mets have signed for their new stadium.  But Anheuser-Busch has been the Official Beer Sponsor of Major League Baseball for over a dozen years.

Citi Field will replace the Mets current home, Shea Stadium, at the start of the 2009 season.  Citi Field is being built by HOK Sport in Queens, New York.  It is estimated that Citi Field will cost $610 Million dollars to build.  When completed it will have a capacity of approximately 45,000 baseball fans.

Posted in MLB, New Venues, Sponsorship Deals, Stadium Pouring Rights, Venue Information | Leave a Comment »

Are Wrigley Field’s days numbered?

Posted by ZA on March 18, 2008

So just how long will it be until venerable Wrigley Field changes its name forever?  I’d say that at this point it’s only a matter of time.  The matter is no longer if Wrigley Field will change its name, it’s just a matter of when it will no longer be Wrigley Field.  The Tribune Company, who owns both the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, is seriously exploring selling the naming rights to Wrigley.  And when William Wrigley, whose family used to own the Cubs, announced recently that it is unlikely that either his family or company (Wm. Wrigley Jr Company) would pay to keep the Wrigley name on Wrigley.  It essentially sealed the fate that the Wrigley Field name is bound to change soon.  Because the Tribune Company wants to monetize their investment, and there’s no doubt that the Wrigley Field naming rights could bring a record haul.

 The only question now is what company is going to put their name on the Cubs legendary old ballpark?  McDonalds Park?  Bud Field? (Not likely St. Louis fans). Stadium?  Soon we’ll know.  But I’ll always call it Wrigley Field.

Posted in MLB, Venue Information, Venue Naming Rights | Leave a Comment »

2012 Olympic Stadium begins construction

Posted by ZA on March 11, 2008

In May construction will begin on the centerpiece for the 2012 Olympics in London.  The 85,000 seat Olympic Stadium will take approximately three years to build.  So it should be ready one full year prior to the start of the 2012 Summer Games.  The Stadium was designed by HOK Sport, who is based out of Kansas City.  A picture of the stadium, from the HOK site, is below:

2012 Olympic Stadium London

The Olympic Stadium will be located in the middle of the London Olympic Park.

Official site of the 2012 London Olympics.
Official site of the Olympics.

Posted in New Venues, Olympics, Stadium Construction, Venue Information | Leave a Comment »

BBC ready to break the bank for Champions League

Posted by ZA on March 5, 2008

Soccer is the most popular sport in the World.  And the top soccer league, in the top sport in the World, is getting ready to cash in big on their TV rights.  England’s Champions League is currently soliciting bids for the rights to broadcast their games in 2009-2010.  The two most likely candidates are ITV and the BBC, with the latter looking like the favorite.  The BBC has emerged as the favorite, over incumbent ITV, because of their willingness to pay almost $800 Million dollars for the TV rights to Champions League games.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper the top execs at BBC are “desperate to wrest top European football from ITV”.  And BBC’s bid echoes that sentiment as they offered 3.5 times what ITV is currently paying for broadcast rights to the Champions League.

ITV is Independent Television station that was spefically setup by British television broadcasters to rival the BBC.  And it seems as if their ownership of Champions League Soccer has gotten under their skin.  So the best way to strike back at ITV?  Steal back what was once yours.

If the BBC bid for Champions League does go through it will make the English soccer league the second most expensive broadcast rights in television, trailing only the National Football League.  The NFL is paid approximately $3 Billion dollars per year by Fox, CBS, NBC, ESPN & the NFL Network, for the rights to broadcast NFL games.

Posted in NFL, Soccer, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Leave a Comment »