Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dollars & Sense - Super Bowl 2013 Primer

There has been a petition going around.  This petition is a sports fan's dream... to make the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday. (You can find the petition here).  It really is an interesting proposal which got me thinking, what if?


Everybody has their Super Sunday staples. Wings, pizza, beer, what have you. Would making the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday cause an uptick in spending on these foods?  As I add in my two cents, I want you to share yours in the comments section.  What is your favorite Super Bowl foods and drinks?  Do you think that having the Monday after the Super Bowl off would increase beer sales?


We all know that Americans love to eat, and what a better time to chow down than on the extra special occasion of Super Bowl Sunday.  It's the perfect excuse to bring together friends and family.  Whether people eat at large parties, in small groups, or on their own does not matter.  What matters is that the food will be free flowing and in huge demand.

This is exactly why 1.23 billion wings will be sold and eaten on Super Sunday.  Really, it is simple math.  Wings and sports just harmonize together (just as wings and beer, just as beer and sports, and just as wings and beer and sports).  Assuming that the reported wing shortage can be overcome, we know that the chicken wings will be plentiful.

In a surprising turn, 57% of Americans prefer to eat their wings with ranch dressing and only 35% prefer bleu cheese dressing (I would assume the remaining 8% prefers naked).  I thought this was surprising considering my personal bias leans 100% bleu cheese.  Honestly, if there was only ranch dressing, then I would probably prefer to eat wings naked.  


Last year the chains of Dominoes, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's reported that they delivered a total of 44 million pizzas on the Sunday of the big game.  This year will likely see around the same numbers in pizza delivery.  (I will say that I'm disappointed that people went for the chains that provide "pizza" and not a local pizza shop, but who am I anyway).

Pizza is the logical choice when have a group of people together.  Easy to switch up.  Everybody likes some sort of pizza.  But beware of the pizza chain pizza.  Check out this horrifying tweet from @EatThisNotThat:


Beer and other forms of alcohol (no not butt-chugging) was what really came to mind when I heard about the petition for making the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday.  The Super Bowl is reportedly the seventh highest beer sales occasion of the year (the number of cases of beer sold in the two weeks before the event).  Before the big game, a reported 49.2 million cases were sold last year. 

If you were wondering, the Fourth of July ranks numero uno in that category with a whopping 62.5 million cases of beer sold in the two weeks leading up to the date.  That number may be aided by the fact that it is the summer, and summer is naturally more of a beer drinking season than the winder.  You get the point, though.

I was thinking, though, would having the next day off increase the number of cases of beer sold?    Think about it... How many people out there set a drink limit for themselves because of an 8 hour day looming on Monday?  How many people are going to listen to the San Francisco mayor's suggestion for bars to go liquor free during the Super Bowl?

Instinctively, I would think that having the day after the Super Bowl would help beer/liquor sales.  There is less to worry about and less consequence.  Even if one out of every five or six or even 10 beer drinkers drinks one more beer, that is still a lot of beer. 

The thing that makes me really think about it is wondering how many people would actually have off.  Just because it is a national holiday does not mean that everyone's business is closed.  It would all depend and, given my background, impossible to truly forecast.  

It is, however, something to think about.  This petition is truly unique to football.  It could never happen in Major League Baseball or the National Basketball Association or the National Hockey League.  Their highest honor is determined by a series of games.  The position shows the NFL's dominance in the landscape of not just sports but the entire culture.  It really makes you think, what if?


Super Bowl Commercials Pre-Released

Every year, millions and millions of people tune into the Super Bowl... for the commercials.  Companies have caught on to this trend and have begun digital media campaigns prior to the big game to begin capitalizing on the game's momentum before super Sunday.  

Youtube has launched a page called Adblitz which features a funny, parody infomercial from Tide advertising their new Stain Savers (see below).  Tide is also pushing the use of the hashtag #miraclestain to further consumer engagement with the brand leading up to Sunday.  The channel also features other Super Bowl content including NFL videos, player interviews, and tailgating recipes.

Volkswagen also released their commercial for this year's game here.

And Century 21 here

Axe too here

This year, a 30 second ad spot during CBS's broadcast of the game cost a reported $3.8 million.  For those counting that's about $126,666.67 PER SECOND. That is a Super Bowl record.  

Is the idea of companies releasing their Super Bowl ads beforehand a good idea?


Super Bowl Must Reads

Here are a few must reads before the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers square off in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday night on CBS.  

Kevin Van Valkenburg (ESPN) writes about the man that may be a bigger leader for the Ravens than Ray Lewis: Ed Reed.

Dan Wetzel (Yahoo Sports) writes about Colin Kaepernick, the controversy surrounding him, and the man that put it on him.

Tommy Tomlinson (Sports on Earth) writes about Barack Obama, Bernard Pollard, and their feelings on the game of football as we know it. 

Frank Bruni (NY Times) writes about Brandon Ayanbadejo's fight for the LGBT community during Super Bowl week. 

Dave Zirin (The Nation) weighs in on Brandon Ayanbadejo's cause as well. 

Bruce Arthur (National Post) wrights that you should not ask Ray Lewis about the two dead men because he is not talking about the past.

Darren Rovell (ESPN) explains why Super Bowl ticket prices are plummeting in the week of the anticipated HarBowl. 


Degenerate Gambler Top Prop Bets

Distance of the shortest punt of the game - over/under 35.5 yards.

What will the coin toss be - heads (-105) or tails (-105)

Who will win the coin toss - Ravens (-105) or 49ers (-105)

Full list of team prop bets from Bovada here.


Awesome Non-NFL-Affiliated Promotions


Here is your Pep Talk for the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2014 Dodgers TV Deal

About two months ago, it looked like the Dodgers were about to sign a long term deal with Fox Sports for TV rights. I was certainly convinced. I wrote about the deal that was expected to be valued at $6 billion over 25 years. Recent news has shown that Time Warner Cable will have the TV rights to the Dodgers starting in 2014.

The Dodgers have decided to start SportsNet LA, a regional sports network, that will carry the Dodger games starting in 2014. Time Warner Cable will carry the network. The deal is reportedly worth $7 billion over a 25 year period starting in 2014. Dodgers owner Mark Walter spoke on the creation of SportsNet LA saying, "we concluded last year that the best way to give our fans what they want, more content and more Dodger baseball, was to launch our own network."

Dodgers president, Stan Kasten, commented in a statement from the Dodgers saying, "The launch of the new regional sports network is a historic development for the Dodgers and our passionate fans. Our commitment from day one has been to build the Dodgers into the best team possible, both on and off the field. Our fans deserve the best, the best players, the best baseball, and the best experience, whether that's at the newly renovated Dodger Stadium or on television."

The deal is not finalized yet. It is unlikely the deal will go through without some issue from Major League Baseball. It is likely the MLB will have an issue regarding revenue sharing in the deal. According the MLB rules, a team that has their own TV network can keep the revenue because they are assuming risk. Even with this rule, MLB has the right to establish a broadcasting rights fee based on fair-market value. This can require teams to pay up to 34% of revenue to the revenue sharing plan. The Yankees and the Red Sox are examples of this with their YES Network and NESN.

Final Thought
This deal would be historic in value if it gets done. Most likely Major League Baseball will take the Dodgers to court if they can't work out a deal. Whatever the result of the deal is, the Dodgers have proven they are willing to spend some money to make the team a premier franchise. On the field upgrades and off the field deals should make Dodger fans excited for baseball.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dollars & Sense: Recent Stories Teach Big Lessons

Great sports writers are able to make an athlete, a team, a situation become larger than life.  Fortunately for literate world, there are a lot of great sports writers.  Unfortunately, athletes can sometimes use their larger than life persona in spite of everyone else.

This is what we have seen with the recent and ongoing stories of Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o, and Ray Lewis.  These athletes offer an interesting case study on sports media coverage.


Lance Armstrong

Armstrong’s fall is one of the biggest falls from grace that we have ever seen in American sports possibly even the biggest.  He was on top of the world and could seemingly do no wrong.  Going out on top of his cycling career and starting one of the most successful cancer research foundations may not even overtake the accomplishment of inspiring so many to continue on through the battle of their lives. 

His story was one that nobody could ever pass up.  Cancer survivor.  Best cyclist on the planet for a sustained period of time.  A clean cyclist in a dirty sport.  Inspiration to many.  Raising money to help those he has inspired.  Basically, if you could make up one of the best sporting stories ever, you may not be able to top what Armstrong did.

Then it all came crashing down, as we know.  The lying.  The doping.  The intimidation.  The Oprah interview.  Amazingly enough, this may not even rock bottom.  There could be lawsuits and lots of money to be paid. 

Armstrong’s fall from grace is so interesting (to me personally at least) because even with all of the lies and cheating that are now known to be true, some people do not care.  Patients that were battling cancer during Armstrong’s inspiring run do not care.  They know him for what he was to them at the time of the battle.  He helped them and there is no taking it back. 

What could have changed this situation?  Hindsight is 20/20, but if you take the halo off of Armstrong during these times, then things begin to look a little different.  Writers and reporters have been writing stories based on this since October when he gave up his fight with the investigation.  Things seemed so perfect at the time because so much was ignored.  Even though we cannot turn back time, we can do something to change the future.  If something does not seem right, then maybe it is not. 

Manti Te’o

As details about this incident continue to come out and even the details that are out are a bit fuzzy, I am baffled.  I am baffled at the incident.  Sure everybody was caught off-guard with the findings that Te’o’s “girlfriend” was never real.  But was the media coverage of it not a bit excessive?

Opinion: I thought that the media coverage was excessive though you can argue either way.  There was something so wrong about the message on 6pm Sportscenter reading “BREAKING: Manti Te’o’s girlfriend did not exist.”  I don’t think it needed to be as big of a deal that it was.  Honestly, I feel like it was more the media outlets feeling sorry for themselves for publishing so many pro-Te’o is a god among mere mortals stories.

Of course writers like SportsIllustrated’s Pete Thamel did not have the thought to check on this and rightfully so.  Who would?  There has to be some sort of trust between athletes, the media, and the public.  If writers had to sit around and fact check whether or not girlfriends actually exist, then writers would be coming out with maybe two stories per year. 

The Te’o story should not discourage writers from writing about human-interest, off-field stories.  As dangerous as it may be, the public wants their athletes to be placed on the pedestal.  They want to worship these guys.  However, now we know what we get when we worship 21 year old athletes… Fake girlfriends and a good lesson on how to use apostrophes.

Ray Lewis

Lewis’s story is an interesting one because his falling out happened before his rise to greatness.  This gives Lewis’s media praise a unique spin: do I feel right openly rooting for a man that may be connected to a murder?

I understand that some of the public disdain for Lewis and his antics may be racially charged.  Regardless of race, I find it tough to read about the new and improved Ray Lewis now about a dozen years after the incident. 

This whole deal makes me think of the issue with steroids in baseball.  A guy like Alex Rodriguez cannot much without his past steroid use coming back to haunt him.  Oh, A-Rod is having a great season, so he must be back on the juice.  Oh, A-Rod is hurt again, so it must be those steroids finally catching up to him. 

But do something outside of the sport like Lewis and his alleged involvement in a murder, and see how quickly many people forget.  (I am generalizing here.  I was about 10 years old when Ray Lewis had his incident and I still remember it, so I’m sure many others do as well.).


I liken it all to a relationship if the person you are/were with cheated on you.  You trusted them throughout the relationship (in theory at least), then without your knowledge they did something to hurt you.  Maybe they start to act differently, maybe the people around them start to act differently, but you don't notice because you blindly trust them.  Then it all either hits you one day or they confess.  You start to look back at it all and then in hindsight you realize all of the signs.  That is what we are all doing now on these three stories.  

These stories are stories that require a high duty of care and attention to detail.  They are not easy stories to cover and report on.  The best thing to do is to take the lessons learned from these stories and use them to make the future better.  Just because a writer was lied to (read: cheated on), does not mean that the writer should never write highly about an athlete again (read: fall in love).  But you can be damn sure that that writer will be extra cautious the next time.  Great sports writing makes athletes seem like more than humans, but it is important to always remember that athletes are in fact humans. 

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Kings Sold!

Kevin reported a couple weeks ago of the breaking story that the Sacramento Kings were being sold. It has now become official. The current owners of the Sacramento Kings, the Maloof family, will sell the 53 percent ownership of the team. Minority owner, Bob Hernreich, will also be selling his 12 percent stake in the team. Hedge fund manager, Chris Hansen, and Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, will be heading the Seattle based group in the purchase of the team.

The Seattle based group plans to move the franchise to Seattle. In order to do so for the 2013-2014 NBA season, the new ownership must apply for relocation by the March 1st deadline set by the NBA. If this timeline is followed, the board of govenors for the NBA will be able to vote on the relocation at the annual April meetings. Seattle is not new to relocation in the NBA. The city of Seattle had an NBA franchise taken away from them when the Clay Bennett moved the Sonics to Oklahoma City. In this move Bennett left the logo and name of the team in Seattle. Many loyal Seattle basketball fans were devastated to lose the team they grew to love.

Unfortunately that devastation is about to hit Sacramento. Former NBA point guard and mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, is not going to let the team go without a fight. Johnson got permission from NBA commissioner, David Stern, to purpose a counteroffer to the league owners. This counteroffer would allow the Kings to be bought by a group that would keep the team in Sacramento. Johnson gives legitimate reasons to why the franchise should stay in Seattle. He said, "Sacramento has proven that it is a strong NBA market with a fan base that year in and year out has demonstrated a commitment to the Kings by selling out 19 of 27 seasons in a top-20 market and owning two of the longest sellout streaks in NBA history."

The valuation of the team is more than some may have expected at $525 million dollars. This figure does include relocation fees. As many know, stadiums are a large part of NBA deals. Seattle approved in October plans to build a $500 million stadium. NBA superstar, Lebron James, had plenty to say on twitter regarding the valuation of the Kings. He first commented on the valuation saying, "So the Kings getting sold for 525M!! And the owners ain't making no money huh? What the hell we have a (lockout) for. Get the hell out of here." Later he tweeted about Mayor Kevin Johnson's effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento by saying, "I do know Mayor Johnson and the city/fans of Sacramento will do whatever it takes to keep the team put. We'll see what happens #NBAfiles."

Final Thought
This move is good news for the NBA. This move is terrible news for Sacramento. This move is conflicting for Seattle. The NBA is pleased to hear that a franchise like Sacramento is worth a great amount of money. It goes to show how strong the league is. The city of Sacramento will obviously be devastated. Losing a team that you have rooted for must be extremely difficult for the fans of the city. Seattle is finally getting a team back, and they deserve it. They do understand the feeling of losing a team and must feel some sympathy for the city of Sacramento.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dollars & Sense: ESPN Serves Up 2013 Australian Open

If you did not know, the 2013 Australian Open began this past Monday.  I’m not sure how many of you I-95ers are tennis fans, but it is a big deal in the sport.  The first of the ATP’s four majors, the Australian Open takes to the warmer climate of the Land Down Under while North America is left to defrost as quickly as possible. 

ESPN is carrying the Australian Open for the 29th straight year, its longest running annual broadcast.  The World Wide Leader will be broadcasting 600-plus hours of coverage on ESPN3 and over 100 hours of coverage on ESPN2.  The women’s finals will be on Saturday January 26th, while the men’s final will be on Sunday January 27th.  Both the women’s and men’s final will air live at 3am and re-air at 9am. 

Television ratings are typically thrown around when talking about a sport’s popularity, and unfortunately for tennis and the Australian Open, the television ratings have been less than ideal.  The men’s final that featured Novak Djokovic versus Rafael Nadal earned only a 0.6 overnight, while the women’s final of Maria Sharapova versus Victoria Azarenka earned a mere 0.4 overnight.  Ratings in Australia were extremely good: “When the presentation of the trophy was aired at 1.45am a staggering 1.67m viewers were still glued to the telly.

Of course there is a major time difference between the United State and Australia making it tough to broadcast (ask NBC about their handling of the Olympics). 

Also not helping the Australian Open’s case this year is the omission of Nadal’s name from the tournament bracket.  Nadal has been battling multiple lingering injuries over the past few years, this one bad enough to keep him out of the major.  Nadal’s absence clears an easier path for Djokovic to win his third straight Aussie Open title.

Even without Nadal, the Aussie Open is poised to give away the most prize money that they have ever given away.  Coco Vandeweghe made $29,100 for losing in the first round!  And no, she did not make that much because she is former NBA player, coach, and GM Kiki Vandeweghe's daughter.  The winner on both the women's and the men's side will receive a whopping $2.56 million for their victory!  Yes, tennis majors have equal prize money on both the women's and men's sides.

The Australian Open, though it may not be a huge ratings earner, still has appeal for sponsors.  Kia Motors is the tournament’s sole major sponsor.  ANZ, Rolex, and Jacob’s Creek are the Australian Open’s associate sponsors.  IBM rounds out the highest spending sponsors as the tournament’s official IT partner.

Tennis typically gets a bad reputation for being boring while also being a bit demographically skewed towards higher earners.  The people that do not watch tennis because they think that it’s boring (and probably have not watched in years because of their thoughts) are missing out on quite an era in tennis.  Men’s tennis is as strong as ever with Djokovic, Nadal (though injured), Roger Federer, and Andy Murray.  Also, Serena Williams is worth the price of admission all on her own. 

Even though the Australian Open is off to a relatively quiet start, flip to ESPN2 or click to ESPN3 and check out what you’re missing.  You may just enjoy what you see.

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Monday, January 14, 2013

NFL's Exciting Weekend

For NFL fans around the country this weekend was filled with extremely exciting playoff football. Anyone who is not a fan of the Broncos, Texans, Seahawks or Packers probably enjoyed watching the exciting games. Did the excitement lead to high TV ratings? Lets take a look.

Denver vs. Baltimore
This may have been the most exciting of the four games (it's difficult to decide). John Fox will be criticized for taking a knee with 30 seconds still left in the game, Manning will be criticized for throwing an ill-advisied pass that was picked off, Holliday will be remembered for memorable kick returns. To some the most memorable storyline of the double overtime game will be the continuance of Ray Lewis' career. Although Baltimore and Denver aren't known as monster TV markets, this great game sure got the viewers tuned in. The games TV rating was 20.1% of US households. This is up 9% from last year's Saturday AFC divisional game and is the highest rating for the Saturday AFC divisional game in 19 years. The game averaged 35.3 million viewers.

Green Bay vs. San Francisco
This game was not nearly as dramatic as the earlier Saturday game. A lot of scoring was featured and the country got to witness 49er's quarterback Colin Kaepernick play a truly unbelievable game. The TV ratings were mixed for this game. Fox's overnight rating was 18.7% of US households, which was the highest Fox rating for a Saturday prime time game since 1994, but the ratings were down 9% from last years comparable coverage of New England vs. Denver.

Atlanta vs. Seattle
This was my personal favorite game of the weekend. The Sunday earlier game provided the viewer with a true range of emotions. We watched Atlanta blow a 20 point lead with 30 seconds to go. Atlanta then marched down the field to hit a game winning 49 yard field goal. It was the first playoff victory for Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez. Seattle's Russell Wilson put on a great performance that nearly lead the Seahawks to a remarkable comeback win. The TV ratings for this game were very good. The 21.3% of US households rating was up 3% from the comparable coverage of Baltimore vs. Houston last year.

New England vs. Houston
Although Houston tried to make a comeback late, New England looked really good in this game. The Patriots offense looked great as usual even after losing 'Gronk' early on. This game did produce a solid TV rating of 23.8% of US households, but this rating was down considerably from last year. The Giants vs. Packers played in the Sunday primetime slot last year and that game had a 13% higher rating.

Final Thought
When looking at the TV ratings, it is important to remember that the US population is growing every year so it is natural for more viewers to be tuning in. I personally watched all of the games and enjoyed them greatly. I think it is important to remember that as great as the NFL is, it is far from flawless. It is the sport that ends athletes career's too soon, it destroys players lives post-football, and often takes the lives of people earlier than expected. It is a vicious sport that will never truly change unless the viewers stop tuning in (not going to happen) or a player actually dies while playing (probably still wouldn't change the sport). I am the first to admit that I am part of the problem, I watch the games knowing how much harm it is going to cause players. How many lives it will destroy. How many families will be devastated. I don't know if I will ever be able to stop watching the NFL even though I know the harm it causes. I certainly do not expect the American public to stop watching the NFL anytime soon.


Statistics via

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dollars & Sense - PGA Tour is Thriving

Tiger Woods has not won a major since 2008, but the PGA Tour is thriving financially and in the area of sponsorship stability.  The transition from the years of Woods’ dominance to an era of much more competitive balance was an intriguing one for the Tour with fluctuating television ratings and an overall confusion on how to continue reaching the younger demographics.  Rory McIlroy is a great player and one worthy of grabbing the proverbial torch, but he certainly has a long way to go to reach the golden-Woods standard.

According Michael Smith’s article “Title sponsors in hand, PGA Tour eyes digital international growth” in this week’s Sports Business Journal, the PGA Tour has sold all but one of its tournament title sponsors.  45 of 46 ain’t too bad.  The lone tournament without a title sponsor is the Tampa Bay Championship held from March 14-17 at Innisbrook Resort.  Transition Optical was the previous title sponsor but was the only company out of 11 not to renew their deal.

The most sought after title sponsor ships are those for tournaments that are televised on either CBS or NBC as opposed to the Golf Channel.  Sponsorship for these types of events runs for $6 million to $8 million per year.  Part of this money goes to the television network and part of this money goes directly to the tournament.  Tournament money could potentially go toward paying the exorbitant purses.  The title sponsor-less Tampa Bay Championship has a total purse of $5.5 million with last year’s winner, Luke Donald, taking home $990,000 of it according to the PGA Tour schedule.

Furthermore on the PGA Tour’s stable sponsorship assets is the fact that only Hyundai’s title sponsorship deal expires after the 2013 season.  With FedEx’s recently extended deal, signing on as the sponsor of the old Nationwide Tour, and broadcast deals with CBS and NBC that run reportedly through 2021, the PGA Tour is able to leverage their current deals further and look for a product more global in nature.

Aided by the established World Golf Championship events including the uniqueness of the Accenture Match Play Championship, the PGA Tour has been looking towards global growth for a while.  Now with PGA Tour Canada under their control and a new tour in Latin America, the PGA Tour continues its expansion
Digital media growth is what ultimately caught eye with the article because typically when you think golf, you think older generations and older generations are not particularly digital media savvy.  Here are a few key digital media points that the PGA Tour is doing in the upcoming season:

-          - Streamlined Apps – Currently apps are on a tournament by tournament basis, but with the PGA Tour undertaking a single aggregated platform, apps will have much greater consistent quality.

-         -  Internet Simulcasts – The PGA Tour plans to simulcast CBS, NBC, and Golf Channel broadcasts on their website as an added viewing platform in hopes to add sellable advertising inventory and drive site traffic.

-          - Digital Division Growth – After taking over control of their digital division from Turner Sports, the PGA Tour looks to grow their digital division and expand on Turner’s successes.

(Quick aside on golf television broadcasts: Golf is often criticized by its haters for being slow and boring, even on television.  Personally, I think that assumption is way off base.  Golf broadcast productions always bring the viewer straight to the action.  How often do you see a guy walking the fairway as opposed to hitting a shot in the middle of a round?  Virtually never.  Golf broadcasts have an element of NFL Red Zone to them that was there before the thought of NFL Red Zone was even conceived.)

The PGA Tour is in an incredible position going forward.  In the United States we have seen unrest and instability in our major sports over the past few years.  Golf and the PGA Tour has remained strong.  Just imagine what a dominant American-born player could do for television ratings!

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

BREAKING: Maloofs Finalizing Deal To Sell Kings

According to Y! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Maloof brothers are close to finalizing a deal that would sell the NBA's Sacramento Kings to the Hansen-Ballmer.  Reports have it that the Hansen-Ballmer group will be moving the Kings to Seattle.  Ballmer is Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO.  Seattle has not had an NBA franchise since Clay Bennett moved the Super Sonics to Oklahoma City prior to the 2008-09 season.

Here is Wojnarowski's progression of tweets:

There had been reports floating around last summer/fall that the Kings were looking to move to the Virginia Beach area, but ultimately plans for an arena and funding fell through.  Stay tuned for details!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Oakley Agrees to Deal With Bubba

Oakley has welcomed Bubba Watson to the family.... in a big way.

The video says it all.

The fit seems natural and almost perfect. Watson is known for his colorful attitude in a sport that can often be... well.... boring. Oakley who specializes in eyewear, apparel, footwear and accessories is known to be a fun company. The match of an outgoing player and a fun company will be a great fit.

Watson isn't exactly a scrub when it comes to golf either. Bubba won the 2012 Masters in remarkable form. Watson hit a huge hook shot in a playoff hole that essentially won him the tournament. Golf fans will not forget that shot anytime soon.

Although signing Watson is a huge move for Oakley, the reason for the signing most likely has a lot to do with who Oakley lost. Rory McIlroy agreed to a deal with Nike, which means that he most likely will be leaving Oakley. McIlroy is a rising star in the game of golf and for companies, he is the ultimate golfer to sponsor. It is no surprise that Nike who also sponsors Tiger Woods made the big move to acquire Rory. I wrote about the Rory move to Nike in an earlier article. Oakley will obviously be taking a big loss with Rory's pending departure, but Bubba is one of the best signings they could have made. Watson's popularity is not on the same level as Rory, but Oakley had no way to replace a golfer as special as Rory McIlroy.

Watson was very excited to be joining Oakley. When asked why he made the decision to join, he said "Simple. Oakley gets it. They love the game and they never stop pushing technology to make the game better. Whatever they can do- whatever can be done- Oakley will do it. I respect that."

Final Thought
This is a great move for Oakley. It is very difficult to bounce back from losing the best golfer in the game today (not officially). Oakley stepped up by signing a player that not only is good at golf but a player that fits the Oakley brand. Bubba Watson is a respected golfer and person and will fit perfectly with Oakley.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dollars & Sense - NFL Black Monday and the Blame Game

This week we saw 2012 to 2013 but not before the dreaded NFL Black Monday.  This season’s Black Monday happened to fall on New Year’s Eve and many coaches saw a dark end to their 2012.  With the dark ending comes the only-way-to-go-is-up mentality and all of these coaches are likely to continue their coaching lives in another city. Some of the firings make you wonder though.  Was it really the coach or was the coach a scapegoat for deeper organizational issues?

The Kansas City Chiefs are a perfect example.  The team fired head coach Romeo Crennel after an NFL worst 2-14 season.  In response to the firing, Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt said that the team is embarrassed with the team’s performance.  Kansas City has gone 29-67 since 2007, and Hunt is just realizing now that he’s embarrassed with the team?  Chan Gailey who was fired from Buffalo was put in a similar scapegoat situation. 

Both the Chiefs and the Bills have been bad in recent memory.  Their draft picks and contract decisions may have been worse than their record.  Look at the Bills’ first round picks going back to 2004:

2004 – Lee Evans
2004 – JP Losman
2005 – none
2006 – Donte Whitner
2006 – John McCargo
2007 – Marshawn Lynch
2008 – Leodis McKelvin
2009 – Aaron Maybin
2009 – Eric Wood
2010 – CJ Spiller
2011 – Marcell Dareus
2012 – Stephen Gilmore

From 2004 to 2009, who made an impact for the Bills?  The best players on the list, Evans and Lynch, didn’t even live up to their first round expectations in Buffalo.  Pair all of the failed draft picks with the ill-advised contract extension for Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the signs start to point to a General Manager and scouting problem.  The Chiefs have had mixed success with their draft picks, but the big contract giving to the mediocre Matt Cassel handcuffed the organization for a few years.

The Eagles fired Andy Reid after 14 years because their seemed to be a lack of response from the players.  It was an understandable move after a 4-12 finish to the season.  If you wanted to make a case for Reid, the Eagles have had their share of pro scouting failures as well.  Look at the signings of Ronnie Brown, Demetress Bell, Stacy Andrews, Vince Young, and Nnamdi Asomugha.  The secondary of Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman was a failure at almost historic proportions this season.  Sure Reid did have a say in personnel decisions, but there are more people in the process as well.  The Bears were in a similar situation with Lovie Smith, and tired of the continued mediocrity, let him go as well.

Surprisingly, I think the Jets actually made the best coaching decisions of all in firing GM Mike Tannenbaum and OC Tony Sparano while retaining coach Rex Ryan (for now).  The Jets were a team full of injuries, bad players, and a unnecessary media circus back-up quarterback.  That falls on the shoulders of Tannenbaum.  Mark Sanchez has regressed greatly over the past two seasons with his biggest step backwards coming this season.  That falls partly on the shoulders of Sparano.  In a season where the Jets have done very little to be commended, I think they got it right.

The coaching carousal is always spinning, especially in the highly competitive NFL.  Sometimes it’s deserved, sometimes it’s not.  That’s just the name of the game.  The owners in charge are let off the hook for their poor management of a perpetually bad team because they have all of the power.  It’s something that will never change.  That’s just the business of coaching in the NFL.

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.