Branding the World of Sports

Archive for September, 2008

Wrigleyville bars to suspend alcohol sales during Cubs games

Posted by ZA on September 30, 2008

Bar owners in Wrigleyville (the neighborhood surrounding the Chicago Cubs stadium) say they are going to temporarily suspend alcohol sales during the late innings of Cubs playoffs games.  Although it sounds like the city strong armed the bars into the deal.

Billy Lawless, owner of the Irish Oak bar, said “I’m not happy with it.  You say it’s voluntarily, but c’mon it’s a directive from the city.”

The city has the right idea, to try to lessen the drunken unruly behavior that often occurs around sporting events.  But the reality is that if people want to get drunk for a game, they are going to find a way.  Asking the bars not to serve them might help curb some of the drunkiness, but it’s more likely to make people find alternative ways to get their booze.

Posted in MLB | Leave a Comment »

Who wins in this global financial crisis?

Posted by ZA on September 30, 2008

Financial markets in the United States, and in certain othter markets around the Globe are in crisis mode.  So sometimes you’ve got to take a humorous look at the situation.  A partner at Sansome Partners made a graph to “handicap” the current financial situation, one that equates this current situation to the NCAA Tournament – a single elimination knockout tournament.

I added my picks for who is going to win the Global Financial 4.  I’ve got Warren Buffett leading his Berkshire Hathaway team to a resounding victory over JP Morgan in the Financial 4.

Who wins the Financial 4?

Who wins the Financial 4?

Credit for the graphic: Mark Slavonia at Sansome Partners & Techcrunch.

Posted in Money, Random Stuff | Leave a Comment »

$700 Billion Bailout for Dummies

Posted by ZA on September 29, 2008

If like me, you are not interested in reading the 100+ pages that detail what is part of the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street.  Then might I suggest the write up by Silicon Alley Insider which highlights the key details of the bailout package Congress passed.

If you could “play God” for a day, how would you handle the bailout?

Posted in Money, Random Stuff | Leave a Comment »

5 reasons Lance shouldn’t ride in the 2009 Tour

Posted by ZA on September 28, 2008

So it ain’t so, Lance.  Tell me that you are only kidding, and not planning planning to comeback and ride the Tour de France again.  Say that you’ve reconsidered and are going to stay retired.  That you are going to be the anti-Favre and continue to enjoy life as a retiree from professional cycling.

I want to start by saying that I’m a huge Lance Armstrong fan.  I great admire the man; his character, drive and athletic ability.  I cheered for him during all of his Tour wins, and even volunteered for a time at his Lance Armstong Foundation.  That being said, I do not want Lance to return and ride again.  I think Lance should stay retired.  Before we examine the reasons I think Lance shouldn’t ride again, let’s consider a few reasons that Lance is making this comeback to competitive cycling.

Below a few reasons why Lance might be coming back to ride again.  Lance has said publicly it is to raise awareness on a global level for cancer prevention.  Certainly a worthy reason, but is that really why he is coming back now.  Let’s look at a few reasons why Lance is riding again in 2009.

Why is Lance Armstrong returning to cycling?
* Ego.
* Competitive spirit.
* To raise awareness for cancer.
* Boredom.
* To prove those who claim he doped wrong.
* Love of the sport.
* Money.
* To sell more Nikes.
* He wants to kick the French’s ass again.

Hard to tell what the single motivating factor is behind this un-retirement, although it’s most likely a combination of some of those reasons above.  The bigger question now is why shouldn’t Lance ride again?  Why am I opposed to him trying to capture an 8th Tour de France trophy?  Remember, I like the guy – but still think he shouldn’t be riding professionally again.

Five reasons that Lance Armstrong should not return to competitive cycling.

1. Lance has nothing to prove.  He won seven consecutive Tour de France races, one of the most grueling sporting events in the World.  Lance’s seven Tour victories surpasses the previous record, and is a mark that is unlikely to be broken anytime soon.  Lance is already in mentioned in the same conversations with other cycling legends like Eddy Merckx.  Sure there are some people (many of them French) who are still trying to claim Lance’s winning was fueled by drug use, but none of them have proved sh#t yet.  Accusations that they make have continued to be struck down, so Lance shouldn’t feel the need to prove himself to those people flinging accusations.

2. Lance already went out on top.  Too many athletes stick around after their prime and lessen or even taint their legacy.  Think Michael Jordan wearing a Washington Wizards uniform or Emmit Smith running the football for the Arizona Cardinals.  Muhammad Ali is a legend that still transcends sports, but many think he did himself physical damage by not retiring sooner.  I prefer the image of Lance riding down the Champs Elysees sipping champaign with the American flag draped around him, to one of Lance finishing in the middle of the pack at the 2009 Tour.  There’s even a chance that Lance could embarrass himself by coming back.

3. Cycling has already moved on without Lance.  Yes, the last decade has been a harsh one to the sport of competitive bicycle racing, (with the exception of Lance Armstrong).  The sport has been plagued by doping scandals that have tainted the sport.  Lance’s miraculous comeback from cancer to win the Tour de France seven times was the gigantic exception to those issues the sport faced, he kept the World interested in cycling during one of it’s darkest times.  Then Lance retired.  The sport has continued to take some black eyes, but it has also had plenty of positive moments since Lances hung up his pedals.  The sport has moved on without him.  Carlos Sastre is the new champion, as the winner of the 2008 Tour de France.  There are new young stars like Taylor Phinney ready to carry the mantle for cycling.  Then the greatest rider in history steps back in and suddenly all of those story lines, and new stars, get buried under the weight of Lance.  If Lance truly loves the sport, he could support it as a coach, team owner, or fan.  But by riding in another Tour he is going to steal the spotlight from the sports next generation of stars.

4. Lance should be riding for an American cycling team.  Lance is United States Postal Service, even if the Discovery Channel did rent him for a year.  So it just doesn’t seem right now that Lance is going to ride for a Spanish racing team, Astana.  It’s like American apple pie and curry chicken, they just don’t go together.  I understand why Lance picked that team, to be reunited with his old coach.  It’s just not going to feel right watching Lance ride under the “colors” of a foreign corporation.

5. Lance could get caught cheating.  There…I said it.  I didn’t want to because my admiration for Lance makes it nearly impossible for me to fathom that he might have bent a rule during his career.  But the elephant in the room that many people don’t want to talk about is if Lance did cheat to win, won’t he have to do the same now to compete?  The odds of this are pretty slim, first because there is no hard evidence to prove that Lance has ever cheated.  Plus, Lance has taken the unprecedented step to hire his own antidoping scientist, Don Catlin, to oversee his comeback.  You’d have to be pretty dumb to cheat with the scrutiny Lance will face, and with his own private antidoping agent watching his every move…but the fact remains there is he might cheat and get caught.  If that happened, it would forever change his legacy. 

Tell me what you think – should Lance Armstrong ride in the tour again?

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, Athletes, Endorsement Deals, Sports Brands | 9 Comments »

Sony agrees to sponsorship for 2010 World Cup

Posted by ZA on September 25, 2008

Sony Ericsson agreed to a two year deal to become the “Official Mobile Phone” of the FIFA World Cup.  The two year deal covers Sony through the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sony Ericsson

Sony Ericsson to sponsor 2010 Cup

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

If the whole World voted, then Obama would win

Posted by ZA on September 24, 2008

The Economist has a pretty cool promotion on their website that allows the entire World to vote in the United States Presidential election.  They created an electoral college for each region of the globe.

Go vote by visiting The Economist online.

Not surprisingly Barack Obama & Joe Biden have a huge advantage over John McCain & Sarah Palin.  In fact it looks like Obama might sweep the World, besides maybe Colombia.

No word yet on whether The Economist will do this same promotion again, allowing us Americans to vote in elections around the World.

The Economist

The Economist is worth subscribing to.

Posted in Random Stuff | Leave a Comment »

The Dirty Years behind the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty

Posted by ZA on September 22, 2008

I’m not naive enough to think there isn’t widespread bad behavior in NFL locker rooms, but it is always fascinating to learn the extent of what is really going on.  Peter King includes some juicy excerpts from Jeff Pearlman’s new book, Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty, in his Monday Morning Quarterback column.  All I can say is wow, the Dallas Cowboys were running their team just like Barry Switzer ran his teams at OU.  A win at all costs attitude and no rules to keep players in-line.

It’s one thing for Deion Sanders to blow off learning his defensive assignments, but it’s a whole other spectrum for Michael Irvin to stab a guy and get away with it.  Something that Pearlman details in his book.  I think this is going to be a must read for Dallas Cowboys fans, and something I’d like to get my hands on a copy of this Christmas.  I’m guessing Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue will not be asking for this book as stocking stuffers. Buy a copy of the book at Amazon.

Poor Troy Aikman, I bet some of his fellow Cowboys put that guy through hell.  I gotta imagine he was disgusted by a lot of the behavior he saw from his fellow teammates.  He transfers away from the Oklahoma Sooners to get away from Switzer, only to wind up with the same guy coaching him in Dallas.

Excerpt from Peter King’s MMQB below:
“2. I think Boys Will Be Boys, Jeff Pearlman‘s new book about the Dallas Cowboys in their glory days, and their decline from them, should not be dismissed as the rantings of a jaded sportswriter. Pearlman, obviously, has hit several nerves, and I applaud him for it.

Pearlman writes that Michael Irvin, incensed that tackle Everett McIver, in mid-haircut, would not leave a barber chair at training camp in 1998 so Irvin could get his haircut first, stabbed McIver in the neck. McIver was rushed to the hospital and survived, but not without losing a lot of blood. Irvin’s silence on the charge has been deafening. I asked a Cowboy who played on that team if the story was true. “Absolutely,” the Cowboy said. “I’m surprised it was kept quiet over the years.”

Pearlman writes in great detail about the White House, the house of ill repute Dallas players owned and managed near Valley Ranch, and he lampoons Deion Sanders, quoting Dallas corner Kevin Smiththusly: “When Deion came in, something changed for the worse. Guys who should have been studying football on a Wednesday at 12 o’clock were focused on other things. Deion was such a freaky athlete that he could shake one leg and be ready to cover anyone. But the guys following his lead weren’t nearly as talented.’

In the first defensive team meeting Sanders attended, Pearlman writes, Sanders put his feet up on a table, and when defensive coordinator Dave Campo asked him to break down a play, Sanders said, “Hey, coach. I got that dude right there. Wherever he goes, I go. All that Cover Two stuff you’re talking about — y’all work that out.”

Pearlman writes that Troy Aikman was disgusted by Sanders. And Barry Switzer, too. He also notes that Switzer’s liquor tab during the week of the Pittsburgh-Dallas Super Bowl in Arizona was $100,000. That’s a heck of an example to set, Barry. What a great hire.”

I sure hope that Irvin and Prime Time do a good job counseling Adam “Pac Man” Jones on how to stay out of trouble in the NFL, it sounds like they’ve got a lot of first-hand experience to offer him.  What makes this even more crazy, is that if this is the stuff that we know about now, from the book, then imagine all of the wild stuff that happened and will never be reported.  Boggles the mind.

Do hearing these types of stories affect your opinion of opinion of those Super Bowl winning Dallas Cowboys teams?

Posted in NFL, Sports Brands | 1 Comment »

Which golfers raised their stock at the 2008 Ryder Cup?

Posted by ZA on September 21, 2008

The United States finally reclaimed the trophy they used to regularly own.  The US team won 16.5 to 11.5 to win the Ryder Cup for the first time since 1999.  The big story leading up to the 2008 Ryder Cup was the absence of Tiger Woods.  The story coming out of the Ryder Cup is the US young guns who lead the team to victory.  The six rookies on the US team played a major role in their team’s victory, they all are on their way to becoming household names.  But who raised their stock the most at the 2008 Ryder Cup?  Which golfer did the most to improve their personal brand?

1. Anthony Kim – The next Sergio Garcia?  More likely the first Anthony Kim, because I believe Kim has a major victory or two in his future.  Something that Sergio has not made happen.  Kim’s thrashing of Euro Ryder Cup vet Sergio Garcia will be a match that is talked about for years to come.

2. Paul Azinger– He didn’t stroke one putt this week, but yet was the man most responsible for this US Ryder Cup victory.  Azinger lived and breathed this Ryder Cup for the past two years, and made the changes necessary for the US team to win.  Changing the selection process so he would have two more Captain’s Picks paid off.  Changing the format to start with fourball got the US team out to an early lead.  Encouraging the players and crowd to show their emotion provided the home field advantage the US team needed.  Expect Azinger to be back as Captain or at least Head Cheerleader at the 2010 Ryder Cup.

3. Boo Weekley– A great week for Booooooooooooo.  Everywhere he went the crowd serenaded him with “Booooooooooo” cheers, and Boo returned the favor entertaining them in his own unique way.  But Boo was more than just a character, his play was superb and a big part of the US victory.

4. Ian Poulter– The lone bright spot for the European squad.  Poulter was the best player on either team this week and truly looked like one of the top players in the World.  This event could be a springboard for Ian’s career.

5. Kenny Perry & JB Holmes – Two of Kentucky’s favorite (golf) sons had great weeks at Valhalla.  They were a huge part of this US victory.

Honorable mention: Hunter Mahan – 2 wins, 3 halves and zero losses deserves a mention.

Who did not help their brand at the 2008 Ryder Cup:
* Sergio Garcia– Tough week for El Nino.  His game was off and his beard/hair was awful.

* Phil Mickelson
 – Phil was 1-2-2 and once again lost his singles match for the 4th Ryder Cup in a row.  America’s top ranked player wasn’t one of the top players at the Ryder Cup.

* Lee Westwood
– A classy guy, but there was no reason to whine about the crowd or Boo.

* Tiger Woods
– Is the US Ryder Cup team better without him?  Probably not, but there will be plenty of people whispering that for the next two years.  Would it have killed Tiger to show up and support his US teammates?

Which Ryder Cup golfer was the big story in your opinion?

Posted in Golf, Sports Brands | 2 Comments »

We need a leader not afraid to deliver bad news

Posted by ZA on September 21, 2008

They say the true mark of a leader is how they handle a crisis.  The theory goes that anyone will look good when thing are smooth and easy, but a true leaders are the one’s that you turn to in a crisis.  As the 2008 election approaches this is a principle that people need to keep in-mind.  We need leadership that isn’t afraid to lead, which means someone who can make a tough decision and delivery unpopular news.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman nails this concept in his Sunday column.  Friedman offers some really good advice to both candidates, becausely saying they need to do what is right instead of what they think will be popular.  To help the economy, to resolve the situation in Iraq, to regain people’s confidence in our government.  I only hope that someone is listening, that his words won’t fall on deaf ears.

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Why don’t the Chicago Cubs like Wrigley?

Posted by ZA on September 17, 2008

Twice in the last week pitchers for the Chicago Cubs have been quoted in the media bashing venerable Wrigley Field.  The most recent was pitcher Jason Marquis who was quoted in the Chicago Tribune on his desire for Wrigley to have some modern upgrades.

Marquis said, “If I had a personal choice, I think they should knock down Wrigley and build a replica in the exact same spot to give it that same feel.”

That followed a quote made by pitcher Carlos Zambrano earlier in the week who said “Gosh, I wish we could have a new ballpark.”

I don’t fault the Cubs players for wanting more luxurious digs, but what they need to understand is you cannot replace history.  Wrigley Field is one of the two legendary ballparks for baseball, along with Fenway in Boston.  Tearing down Wrigley is akin to tearing down a national monument.  You wouldn’t tear down the Washington Monument, would you?  Which is why the people of Chicago, baseball purists, and Cubs fans across the country do not want to tear down Wrigley Field.  Folks in Chicago are so loyal to their historic sports venues that they choose to land a spaceship on top of Soldier Field, rather than tear it down and remodel it from scratch.

Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois

Does it look like a spaceship landed on Soldier Field?

It is obviously a difficult situation to decide how to treat Wrigley Field.  Cubs outfielder Jim Edmonds said it best, “Everyone is going to have a different opinion.”  Edmonds went on to say the Cubs players, “…enjoy it, and enjoy the history…of course it’s always nice to have a new place.”

My take is that certain things shouldn’t be upgraded, they are a part of fabric and too important to people.  Wrigley Field is that for baseball and the people of Chicago.  I absolutely think they should find creative ways to upgrade the facility so the team has the amenities that they need, but they should never follow the advice of Marquis to tear it down and rebuild it new.  That may seem like the same place, but it wouldn’t have the soul of Wrigley that carries all of the great history with it. 

It doesn’t matter that the St. Louis Cardinals tore down Busch Stadium or that the New York Yankees are building a new Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field must stay.  Those new stadiums will be incredible, but every fan who enters them will tell you that you cannot replace the history of the former ballparks.

Winston Churchill said it best, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”  The Cubs should learn from those other teams, and keep Wrigley Field the way it is.

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