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Archive for the ‘College Basketball’ Category

Secretary of Education wants to disrupt March Madness

Posted by ZA on March 17, 2011

United States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, voiced his opinion that teams should be barred from March Madness if they do not have at least half of their basketball players on track to graduate.  While that opinion is certainly a controversial one, since it could dramatically alter the NCAA Tournament that many of us love.  I agree with Mr. Duncan’s opinion, we should put more of an emphasis on academics for these kids who play sports in college.

Now I’m going to contradict my previous opinion, because my heart agrees with Mr. Duncan but my brain doesn’t.  College athletics is big business in which “money talks”; many of these athletes are in school to matriculate to professional sports.  While many won’t make it to the NBA (or NFL), that is still their goal.  They are presented with a good opportunity to get a free education, but they are also asked to maintain rigorous schedules to participate in their college sport.  The schools use these sports to gain more visibility and promote their brands, so their focus is typically on winning championships.  They all place importance on academics, but I feel that sometimes gets pushed aside when the big money and championships are at stake.

I don’t think preventing schools from participating in March Madness, based on academics, is really a genuine action.  I think there is much college athletics can do to put more emphasis on academics, but doing so may greatly change the landscape of college sports.  I think a better start would be to focus more on cleaning up some of the cheating that goes on in college sports.  At same time start to put into place realistic academic entrance requirements, so kids do have a chance to play college sports and get the academic assistance they need from outset.

Here is the USA Today article that expresses Arne Duncan’s opinion.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

Posted in College Basketball, College Sports | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

College athletics bigger than ever

Posted by ZA on September 2, 2010

Good article by the New York Times that talks about the big time money that is now a part of college athletics.  They got it right that there are few programs actually making money, but I thought they might have talked about some of the notable programs that have gone into debt in an effort to compete.  Texas A&M has one of the most successful athletic departments in the country, but that didn’t prevent them from needing to take a $16 million dollar loan from the schools general operating funds.  These days schools are forced to spend to keep pace, even if they are losing money.  Those that don’t will fall further behind and in the long-term they cannot afford to do that.

A common characteristic among the richest programs in college sports is they are all have successful football programs.  Texas, Florida and Ohio State are not just the richest athletic departments, they are 3 of the top schools in college football over the past decade.  Here’s a recent list of the richest athletic departments in college sports.

Posted in College Basketball, College Football, College Sports | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

John Wall signs $25 million deal with Reebok

Posted by ZA on June 10, 2010

John Wall, the University of Kentucky standout, who is likely to be the #1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft has signed an endorsement deal with Reebok.  The endorsement deal is reported to be a 5-year deal worth approximately $25 million dollars ($5 mil per year).  The deal reported includes two signature shoes that will be designed by Reebok for the young basketball star.

This deal by Reebok is a huge step up from what recent draft picks have received from shoe endorsement deals.  It signals that Reebok plans to make John Wall the centerpiece of their basketball marketing efforts.  In 2009, the top NBA Draft pick, Blake Griffin signed a reported $400,000 per year annual deal with Nike.  In 2008, Chicago Bulls top pick Derrick Rose signed with Adidas (who owns Reebok) for an undisclosed sum that was likely in the $1+ million per season range.  Which means the last deal for a top pick that was on par with Wall’s deal was the $8+ million per year deal that 2008 #2 pick Kevin Durant signed with Nike.

The deal that Durant signed with Nike in ’08 was much larger than the deal that #1 pick Greg Oden received from Nike.  Nike has made Durant one of their top endorsement stars over the past few years, which is a pattern that Reebok is sure to repeat with John Wall.  Reebok’s other top NBA endorsement stars include Allen Iverson, Yao Ming & others.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, College Basketball, Endorsement Deals, NBA, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

2011 NCAA Tournament will show all games live

Posted by ZA on April 23, 2010

Every March Madness fan hates when the game they are watching gets switched to some other game that they care nothing about.  It often seems as if the producers at CBS were throwing us around from game to game just to play God with our emotions.  Well no more, because starting in 2011 every college basketball fan will be able to watch all NCAA Tournament games live on basic cable.

The $10.8 billion extension that the NCAA and CBS just reached for broadcast & internet rights also included Turner Broadcasting System.  CBS and Turner’s joint bid will let them air games from all four regions of the tournament on four separate channels.  Starting with the 2011 NCAA Tournament you can tune into CBS, TBS, TNT or TruTV to watch games.  Which means that every game will be shown live and available to all college hoops fans with basic cable.  This was a great move by the NCAA and television execs, one that makes me very happy as a fan.

Posted in CBS, College Basketball, College Sports, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BrandDunk in Final Four sponsorship article

Posted by ZA on February 21, 2010

Media Life Magazine ran an interesting article, by Diego Vasquez, on the cost and value of sponsorships at the NCAA Final Four.  The article focuses on the value that can be derived by “out of home” sponsorships at events like the Final Four.  And if you read down to the bottom, you’ll see a quote I contributed to the article.

“Certainly you’re getting your brand in front of a strong target market. In addition to the fans, there are also a lot of corporate types — a lot of influential people will be there. So if you’re setting up something like a fan experience outside of the arena, you’ll get great traction locally and get exposure among corporations entertaining clients, as well as the fans.” Zach Anderson, a marketer who runs the blog BrandDunk

Posted in College Basketball, College Sports, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SEC media policy & leadership needs to evolve

Posted by ZA on August 17, 2009

The Southeastern Conference (aka: the SEC) has the best collection of college football teams in America.  They have some talented football players who are big, fast and mean.  The SEC can boast some of the best football coaches in college.  And SEC fans are some of the best and most passionate in sports.  They also recently signed the richest television contract in college sports.  So the SEC is definitely doing something right.

But one thing the SEC isn’t doing right is adapting themselves to the fast paced internet world of today.  The SEC conference administrators are clearly behind the times as evidenced by their recent decision to ban all forms of social media from their stadiums.  That means that the million SEC fans who will take in a football game this fall cannot post photos of their experience, tweet about it or post their video of it on Facebook.  Fans are banned from those activities while inside the stadium on gameday.

Will the SEC and local stadium security be able to enforce this ban? No.
Will SEC fans continue to take photos & videos of their experience to share via social media? Yes.

So why did the conference leadership decide to put this type of ban in-place?  Two reasons: first, they don’t understand social media.  The old guys running the conference probably don’t have a twitter account amongst the group of them.  It’s easier for them to ban it, than to learn it.  But if they did bother to educate themselves on it, they would learn that the power of social media could be a very positive force for their conference.  Embracing it could bring them legions of new fans and a variety of new opportunities to enhance their fans experience.

The other reason they decided to ban social media is money.  The SEC is getting a lot of money from CBS on their new deal, so the conference wants to make sure that CBS and CBS alone is allowed to share their events.  This decision is perplexing because surely CBS understands that trying to suppress social media in this way is impossible.  It’s like trying to hold water in your hands, you just can’t do it.  CBS cannot prevent it, stadium security won’t be able to stop and the SEC conference is dumb to try to restrict it.

Posted in College Basketball, College Football, College Sports, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Great quote on the rumored cheating in college hoops

Posted by ZA on April 9, 2009

For years I’ve heard people say that cheating is widespread in the college basketball recruiting scene.  The innuendo seems to always be directed at basketball’s Summer leagues.  That AAU circuit is supposedly rife with “street agents” and corrupt coaches who offer to funnel their star players to the school with the best offer.  I don’t have first-hand knowledge of any improprieties, but you’ll find plenty of articles/info/comments/thoughts  if you search the web (try googling “Worldwide Wes“).

So I feel pretty certain that a good amount of cheating does exist in college basketball recruiting.  I also think there are certain schools and coaches that are very likely to be involved.  One big-time college coaches that has long had the cheating rumors follow him is new Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari.  Which brings me to my story…

I was having lunch with a friend who works closely with an NBA team.  When the subject of the new Kentucky hire (Calipari) came up, my friend told me a funny quote that he heard from a current NBA coach.  The NBA coach supposedly asked John Calipari one time how he felt about all of the rumors that he cheats. Calipari supposedly responded, “They may fire me for cheating, but they’ll never fire me for losing“.

I’m sure that quote could be attributed to a few colorful coaches.  And I don’t know if Calipari really said it, but it is still damn funny.  Plus (sadly) it is true.  Many college fans would be more tolerant of their program breaking a few rules, than they would be of having a perennial loser.

Posted in College Basketball | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pretty sweet deal for Calipari at Kentucky

Posted by ZA on April 3, 2009

You surely heard that John Calipari is now the highest paid coach in college basketball.  Calpari’s new deal to coach the University of Kentucky Wildcats is an 8-year deal that will pay him approximately $31.65 million dollars.  It eclipses Billy Donovan’s $2.5 million per year deal at the University of Florida, which was the previous record in men’s college hoops.  Coach Calipari will have a $400k per year base salary and then make his additional millions from the Wildcats broadcasting and endorsement deals.  But Calipari’s deal with Kentucky has some other nice incentives.

John Calipari’s contract incentives & perks:
* $50k bonus – academic achievements by team
* $50k bonus – winning SEC Tournament
* $175k bonus – making the Final Four
* $375k bonus – winning the National Championship
* 2 automobiles
* Paid expense account
* 20 lower-level tickets to all UK home games
* Membership at country club
* $3 million per year buyout if he is fired

The total package from Kentucky is well past the $4 million per year average that he is being paid.  And we have not even yet mentioned the buyout that the Wildcats will be paying on the previous coach’s contract.  So Calipari better win and he better win quick, because the revenue he produces from a successful program will be necessary to pay him.

Did Kentucky get a good deal in hiring Calipari? He has been successful everywhere he has coached, so I cannot argue with his track record on the court.  What does trouble me about Calipari coming to Kentucky is his “shady” past that includes questionable recruiting methods, extremely low graduation rate for his players and a history of off-court problems for Calipari’s athletes.  Will Kentucky Wildcat fans be able to overlook some of these transgressions that seem to follow Calipari from his last two schools?  Probably so, as long as he is winning.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

Posted in College Basketball, Money | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Which 20 college hoops teams make the most money?

Posted by ZA on April 2, 2009

What are the top 20 “richest” teams in NCAA division 1 college basketball? Data below is taken from a December 2007 list by Forbes on the wealthiest programs in college hoops.

Top 20 highest earning teams in college basketball (National Championships won):
1. North Carolina (4- 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005)
2. Kentucky (7- 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998)
3. Louisville (2- 1980, 1986)
4. Arizona (1997)
5. Duke (3- 1991, 1992, 2001)
6. Indiana (5- 1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987)
7. Illinois (None)
8. Kansas (3- 1952, 1988, 2008)
9. Wisconsin (1 – 1941)
10. Ohio State (1- 1960)
11. Texas (None)
12. Missouri (None)
13. North Carolina State (2- 1974, 1983)
14. UCLA (11- most recent in 1995)
15. Oklahoma State (2- 1945, 1946)
16. Michigan State (2- 1979, 2000)
17. Maryland (1- 2002)
18. Syracuse (1- 2003)
19. Arkansas (1994)
20. Xavier (None)

No surprises at the top, those are the “blue bloods” of men’s college basketball.  I was a little surprised to see Wisconsin and Ohio State so high, but those athletic departments are really strong (Texas, as well) and their fan support is strong in all sports.  NC State has struggled for a few years, but seems to be back on-track towards being one of the “name” teams in college basketball.  Some might think of them more as football schools, but Oklahoma State and Arkansas fans are both serious about their hoops teams.  Nice to see Xavier slip onto the list at #20, they’ve had a great run over the past decade.  They play in the Atlantic 10 Conference, so they are the only school on the list that is not from one of the power conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 10).

EveryJoe points out that only 4 of the schools on the list (Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Xavier) have never won a National Title in men’s college basketball.

Which programs did not make the list, but are still the top 10 all-time in wins?
* Temple (#6 all-time in wins)
* St. John’s (#7)
* Penn (#9)
* Notre Dame (#10)

Posted in College Basketball, Money | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Guitar Hero commercial we didn’t need

Posted by ZA on April 1, 2009

As a sports fan, I cannot imagine much worse than seeing Duke’s Coach K in his underwear.  Unless you tell me I’m going to have to see Hall of Fame Coach Bob Knight in his boxers.  Yuck!

Well that visual, that you are now desperately trying to get out of your head, actually exists.  The new Guitar Hero commercial features Coaches Mike Krzyzewski, Knight, Rick Pitino and Roy Williams imitating the famous scene from the movie Risky Business.

Who thought this commercial was a good idea?

Posted in College Basketball, Endorsement Deals, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »