Branding the World of Sports

Archive for April, 2008

Adidas renews deal with Indiana Hoosiers

Posted by ZA on April 30, 2008

The Indiana University Hoosiers men’s basketball team will continue to wear the red striped pants and distinctive shoes they are known for.  IU announced they agreed to extend their endorsement contract with Adidas through the 2015-2016 scholastic year.  The deal means that all Hoosiers athletes will be outfitted by Adidas. reports the 8-year deal is worth $21 million, which is a $500K per year bump from the original deal signed in 2004.

Adidas Hoosiers shorts

Adidas also recently signed a deal with the University of Kansas Jayhawks (8 years – $26.6 million) and University of Nebraska Cornhuskers (8 years – $22.7 million) to outfit their athletic programs.  The deal Indiana inked was in-line with the deals of their two Midwestern neighbors.

Image courtesy of Campus Colors, where you can buy IU merchandise.


Posted in College Basketball, Endorsement Deals, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Marketing | 1 Comment »

2008 US Open golf airing on NBC primetime

Posted by ZA on April 30, 2008

The US Open golf tournament is the second leg of 2008’s Major golf tournaments.  The US Open is being played at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California.  La Jolla is beautiful beach community 20 minutes north of San Diego.  Because the tournament is on Pacific Time, NBC is going to air the tournamentso that it finishes during prime time on the East Coast.

NBC’s US Open broadcast on Sunday will run from 4PM to 10PM EST, and will eclipse the NBC Sunday night prime time lineup.  NBC said they decided to complete the tournament during prime time because previous tournaments that finished during prime time (due to delays) rated strongly.  So golf fans will be able to watch their favorite golfers compete as they get ready for bed. 

NBC golf

No word yet on whether NBC made a deal with the devil to insure that Tiger Woods would be in contention to win on Sunday.  Tiger’s presence at the top of the leaderboard is worth a few rating points.

Posted in Golf, Sports Television | 2 Comments »

New Twins ballpark will be cash cow for team

Posted by ZA on April 29, 2008

The Minnesota Twins are about to get a lot richer.  That’s because it is estimated that the Twins new ballpark will help the club generate more than $1 billion dollars in additional revenue.  The yet to be named new ballpark being built in Minneapolis, Minnesota is expected to be completed for the 2010 baseball season.

The reason for the cash windfall is the Twins will own all of the revenue from the new park, while they currently get very little from their lease at the HHH Metrodome.  At the new park the Twins will have revenue from naming rights, concessions, in-stadium signage, suites and the 40K seats in the ballpark.  The suites alone are estimated to generate $8 million per year.

The new Twins ballparkis being built by HOK Sport.  The capacity is expected to be around 42,000.  The new ballpark will be 4000 seats smaller than their current home in the Metrodome.  It will also be a natural grass surface, the Metrodome has an artificial playing surface.  And the new Twins home will not have a roof like the Metrodome, so the Twins will have to get used to playing outside in the elements.  Brrr…I don’t want to be a fan a Twins fan sitting in the stands the next time they play a November World Series game.

The average ticket price in the new stadium is expected to be around $17.00, which is the most affordable average ticket price among recently built stadiums in the 4 major U.S. sports leagues.  Now that’s a great way to make sure you keep fans filling up the stands…give them prices they can afford.

New Minnesota Twins ballpark
Drawing of new Twins ballpark (image courtesy of

Posted in Improve Attendance, MLB, New Venues, Stadium Construction, Tickets, Venue Information, Venue Naming Rights | 2 Comments »

Loyalty rare within professional sports

Posted by ZA on April 28, 2008

I was browsing through some NBA rosters today and was astonished by what I discovered. There were numerous players who had changed teams, and I had no clue they had moved. If I asked you about the players listed below, can you tell me what team they play for right now? I bet no one, this side of Marv Albert, can get the exact whereabouts correct for all of these players.

Antoine Walker
Darrell Armstrong
Juan Dixon
Tony Battie
Jake Voskuhl
Tyronn Lue
Loren Woods
Bobby Jackson
Bassy Telfair
Dan Dickau
Morris Peterson
Brian Skinner
Gordan Giricek
Eric Piatkowski
Lorenzen Wright
Shelden Williams

Before you say that it is natural for lesser players, or past their prime players, to move from team-to-team, consider these megastars in the NBA have also changed squads recently. And that is after some of these superstars have already changed uniforms numerous times before.

Shaquille O’Neal (Magic, Lakers, Heat & Suns)
Jason Kidd (Mavs, Nets & Mavs)
Paul Gasol (Grizzlies & Lakers)
Kevin Garnett (Twolves & Celtics)
Ray Allen (Supersonics & Celtics)

So how does a sports fan keep up with all of the changes going on? I consider myself a knowledgeable basketball fan, both college & NBA, and I still can’t keep up with the moves. Sure, everyone hears about the big personnel moves. But there are dozens of little moves being made every week that fly under the radar. And the rosters of teams in all professional sports leagues turnover many times throughout the year.

So is it a good thing that sports team rosters turnover so quickly? While I think it does help to experiment with the chemistry and try to find effective combinations. I feel alienated by a sport where the players are “here today and gone tomorrow”. It is easier to form an emotional attachment to college athletes, even knowing they are going to graduate (or leave) within a few years, than to try to embrace professional athletes as “yours”. Because in professional sports there is little loyalty to the team OR to the players. As a consequence, sports rosters shift faster than the sand in the desert. And we, as fans, just have to keep up.

So what causes the lack of loyalty in professional sports?  Professional sports are big money.  And as the saying goes “money is the root of all evil”.  Well maybe it’s not quite “evil” in professional sports (unless you’re talking about new Sonics owner Clay Bennett), but it does dictate the behavior.  Owners want to field winning teams and make money. General Managers and Coaches jobs depend on them winning.  And players entire livelihoods are decided by how they perform on the field.  So teams are going to show loyalty to players who help them win and players are going to play for teams that show them the money.  Money is often a bigger influence than winning…and the reason that loyalty goes out the window in professional sports.

Answers for the top section. These are the teams for each of those players listed.

Antoine Walker (Twolves)
Darrell Armstrong (Nets)
Juan Dixon (Pistons)
Tony Battie (Magic)
Jake Voskuhl (Bucks)
Tyronn Lue (Mavs)
Loren Woods (Rockets)
Bobby Jackson (Rockets)
Bassy Telfair (Twolves)
Dan Dickau (Clippers)
Morris Peterson (Hornets)
Brian Skinner (Suns)
Gordan Giricek (Suns)
Eric Piatkowski (Suns)
Lorenzen Wright (Kings)
Shelden Williams (Kings)

Posted in NBA, Sports Marketing, Team Transactions | 2 Comments »

Josh Howard loses Disney & Wal Mart endorsements

Posted by ZA on April 28, 2008

I’m kidding…I made up the headline.  But Josh Howard did greatly damage his potential for endorsement deals with some recent comments he made on drug usage.  And I’m sure he also sent the NBA league offices into full damage control with the comments he made on a radio interview with “The Michael Irvin Show” on KESN in Dallas.

“Most of the players in the league use marijuana, and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the off season sometimes” Said Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard.

Josh Howard forward for Dallas Mavericks
Josh Howard put foot in mouth (image courtesy

Howard gets points for being honest, because for many folks who follow the NBA it’s not a big secret that a lot of players smoke weed.  But unless your name is Willie Nelson or Snoop Dogg it is pretty dumb to admit to drug use during a radio interview.  I’m sure Howard’s agent, his PR rep, his coach, the Mavs PR reps, the Mavs front office and (hopefully) his mother all gave him an earful for being so stupid.  In-fact Mavs team officials were reportedly motioning to Howard to cut off further questions when he apologized for the quote in the locker room after Game 3 of the Mavs playoff series against the New Orleans Hornets.

But the best reaction to this situation had to be Dallas Mavericks zany owner Mark Cuban.  He was quoted in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as saying, “We had him all setup to do a promo for Harold and Kumar’s new movie, and he just got it wrong.”  I’m not condoning marijuana use, and I don’t think Cuban was either, I think it was just injecting some levity into the situation.

Posted in Endorsement Deals, NBA | 3 Comments »

Austin losing it’s live music venues

Posted by ZA on April 28, 2008

The times, they are a-changin…

My hometown of Austin, Texas has long been known as the “Live Music Capitol of the World”.  The live music scene downtown is a big part of the city’s culture.  And major music events like South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival have taken the reputation to another level.

But now Austin could be in danger of losing some of the reputation by killing too many of the legendary music venues.  Over the past decade all of these venues have either shut down or changed dramatically:

Black Cat = RIP (closed)
Southpark Meadows = RIP (converted to a shopping mall)
Liberty Lunch = RIP (closed for downtown development)
Stubb’s BBQ = still kicking, but ordered to turn down the noise
The Backyard = being forced to find a new home

To anyone who has never attended a show at The Backyard, it might not sound like a big deal to relocate.  But the atmosphere at The Backyard in the Texas hill country is unique among music venues.  The natural setting, nestled in the trees, and under the beautiful Bee Caves sky is something that cannot be replicated.  If they are even able to find a new location, The Backyard will never be the same.

Sad day when they play the last show at The Backyard. 

Posted in Venue Information | 6 Comments »

Storage room sells for $800K in NYC

Posted by ZA on April 25, 2008

I thought we were supposed to be in a real estate downturn?  I guess there are still a few places in the United States that are recession proof when it comes to real estate.  I heard on NPR this morning about a basement storage room in Manhattan that sold for $801,000.  A room had previously been used as storage for tenants in the building.

Of course the storage room is 800 square feet, which is larger than many of the apartments in Manhattan.  And the storage room is located in the tony Dakota building, which is located directly across from Central Park.  A building that has been home to many famous residents; John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Connie Chung, John Madden and Lauren Bacall.

But the real kicker in this story is the hedge fund manager, who lives in the building, that bought the storage room plans to convert it into a workout room.  That is one expensive gym membership.  Only in America!

Read more on the story here.

Posted in Money | Leave a Comment »

Plan for upgrade to Dodger Stadium

Posted by ZA on April 24, 2008

Next season Dodger Stadium will be the 3rd oldest stadium in Major League Baseball.  The only older stadiums are legendary venues: Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.  So to breathe some new life into the the almost 50 year old stadium, there is a plan to spend $500 million renovating the stadium.

The renovation project would call for a multi-use facility to be built in the parking lot outside the stadium.  It would include a large park lined with trees, restaurants, retail shops and a Los Angeles Dodgers museum.  Plus, there would be two parking garages built to support the lose of surface parking spots.  The proposed plan from the Dodgers ownership group has the support of the Mayor and City Council.  So it expected that approval of this renovation plan is merely a formality.  The City of Los Angeles supports the project because the additions will bring revenue to the Dodger Stadium area on a year-round basis.  Also, the additional of the park plaza with trees should help the ecological balance with the surrounding neighborhoods.

The news of improvements to Dodger Stadium comes on the heels of a plan that was recently proposed to renovate the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the USC Trojans play their home games.  It’s nice to see the City of Los Angeles find unique ways to upgrade existing venues, rather than just demand that new venues be built to replace older one’s.  Because it is these ‘old venues’ that bring character to sporting events.

Places like Yankee Stadium (the old one), the Cotton Bowl and Lambeau Field might not have all of the amentities of modern stadiums.  But those places have one thing the new stadiums may never obtain, a rich history from generations of fans attending games there.  That’s something that can never be replaced in sports.  I’ll never forget my first trip to Wrigley, Soldier Field or Fenway.  The mystique in those venues is what makes them special.

Posted in Improve Attendance, MLB, Stadium Construction, Venue Information | 2 Comments »

2008 Olympics, like ancient Rome, going up in flames?

Posted by ZA on April 24, 2008

What if Nero didn’t let Rome burn, as he played the violin?

A modern day chapter was written in the famous story about Nero playing the violin (actually it was a lyre) while Rome burned around him.  Only in this version, Nero is played by Jacques Rogge and Rome is instead the 2008 Olympic Games.

Jacques Rogge is the embattled President of the International Olympic Committee.  The man who is responsible for making sure China pulls off the 2008 Beijing Games.  And for months as various controversies raged around the Chinese Government handling of human rights issues, Rogge continued to say little and do nothing.  Rogge avoided the issues because he was reluctant to criticize the Chinese Government, saying he thought that would “backfire”.

But as the World watched the fierce protests of the Olympic flame in Paris, London and San Francisco; Rogge finally broke his silence.  He called on the Chinese government to make good on the commitments they made to improve their human rights, which originally landed them 2008 Olympics.  He also promised that athletes would be allowed to speak their minds on all subjects during the Summer Games, and the media would have full access.

Rogge was prompted to prod the Chinese government by the “crisis” the IOC faced during the Olympic torch relay.  The “chaos” that followed the torch through those three cities showed the IOC just how upset much of the World was at China’s government.  And their horrific track record on human rights.

Predictably the Chinese government were quick to slough off the comments from Rogge as meddlesome.  Which should come as a surprise to no one because the government of China has never owned up to the abuses they committed.  In fact I expect their “who us” (imagine a little kid trying to look innocent with his hands behind his back, shrugging his shoulders, and rolling his eyes) defense to continue through the completion of the games.  This is the same government who has frequently stared down the other nations of the World without blinking an eye.  So standing up to some suits from the International Olympic Committee should be a walk in the park by comparison.

My feelings on the 2008 Games being awarded to China are mixed.  I am happy that the people of China will get to experience the magic of hosting the Olympic Games.  The pride it instills in a country is something that China’s people definitely could use.  But unfortunately the Chinese government will control much of that great experience for their people, and instead try to steal credit for themselves.  And although I think all of the World’s largest governments have major flaws, those of China are especially galling.  Human rights abuses, censorship, Darfur, Tibet…

I love the Olympic games, and I’ll be rooting for the people of China to put on a great show.  But I will have no cheers for the Chinese government, who should be ashamed of their abuses.


Posted in Olympics | 1 Comment »

Rosenblatt Stadium being replaced for CWS?

Posted by ZA on April 22, 2008

If the College World Series (CWS) of Omaha organizing committee and the NCAA can come to an agreement to extend the contract for the College World Series, then that will pave the way for construction of a new baseball stadium to hold the annual event.  The Omaha World-Herald reports that they expect a verbal confirmation of the deal before this year’s CWS begins in June. 

The expected long-term agreement between the NCAA and Omaha committee would allow the City of Omaha to begin construction on a new, downtown baseball stadium.  That stadium will eventually replace Rosenblatt Stadium as the home of the College World Series.  The new stadium is estimated to cost approximately $140 million to build.  And as part of the deal the NCAA and Omaha organizing committee will find a partner to sell the venue naming rights.  So there is no chance the new venue will be named Rosenblatt Stadium.

Although it is obvious this potential change is not popular with all Omaha residents, some who are fighting to save Rosenblatt Stadium.

While I’m happy to see the City of Omaha keep this fantastic event, it will be sad when it is no longer played in Rosenblatt Stadium.  Rosenblatt has been the home for the CWS for decades.  And I have fond memories of watching CMS games there since I was a little kid.  The stadium is one of the most historic venues in the country and was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the top 10 college sports venues in 2007.

The times they are a-changing…cue the Counting Crowes song “Omaha”.

Posted in Venue Information | Leave a Comment »