The End

10 05 2010
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(Image via ballyhooligan)

My writing class is over, and therefore so is my blog.  Thanks to everyone who read gold and the game — hope you enjoyed it!





Watching Sports: Live Or On TV?

29 04 2010
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Who'd want to miss Lebron getting dunked on live? Only 49% of avid NBA fans, according to a recent poll. (Image via cdnpicapp.com)

If offered free tickets, 44% of NFL fans and 38% of NBA fans would prefer to watch a game on TV than attend the game in person, according to a study conducted by Turnkey Intelligence.

The study, which was published by the Sports Business Journal, highlights fans’ preferences for watching games in the stadium as opposed to on TV.

Here are the results:

Q: Assume a game is taking place in the upcoming days.  Generally speaking, if tickets were available for purchase, would you … ?

NFL Overall Casual Avid NBA Overall Casual Avid
Attend in person 36% 11% 45% 34% 24% 51%
Watch on TV 64% 89% 55% 66% 76% 49%

Q: Assume a game is taking place in the upcoming days.  Generally speaking, if tickets were free, would you … ?

NFL Overall Casual Avid NBA Overall Casual Avid
Attend in person 56% 40% 65% 62% 56% 78%
Watch on TV 44% 60% 35% 38% 44% 22%

Cost and convenience were cited as the top reasons why fans would choose to stay home, but there are other factors at play, as well.

For instance, the continuous improvements in TVs and home entertainment systems allow fans to switch between multiple high-quality games.   Close access to computers also provides the opportunity to follow fantasy games and track what friends are saying on Facebook or Twitter.

While fans are increasingly choosing to stay home, stadiums are investing more and more in high-tech stadiums.  Cowboys stadium, for example, built a 160 foot long, 72 foot high $40 million high-definition video screen.  Yankee stadium has plans to become even more digitized; the home of the 2010 World Series champs is set to include 1,100 flat-panel, high-definition TVs that will feature live game coverage, highlight videos, and player stats.

Atlantic Yards, the future Brooklyn-based home of the New Jersey Nets, will likely include many of these features.  But is that really the best investment?  Instead of trying to compete with the digital technologies found in the home, professional stadiums and arenas should instead work to cut costs and provide a true game day experience.





ESPN Misses Out On March Madness Rights As Tourney Expands To 68 Teams

22 04 2010
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NCAA March Madness sticks with CBS (Image via gambling911)

The NCAA just announced a $10.8 billion, 14-year agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

The deal, which includes TV, Internet, and wireless rights, stipulates that every single game of the tournament will appear live on either CBS, TBS, TNT, or truTV.

Because of this, the NCAA was able to expand the number of teams included in the tournament to 68.

ESPN was heavily-favored to win the rights, but apparently passed on the opportunity to meet CBS/Turner’s aggressive bid.  The network released the following statement:

We made an aggressive bid and believe our combination of TV distribution, digital capabilities, season-long coverage and year-round marketing would have served the interests of the NCAA and college fans very well.  We remain committed to our unparalleled coverage of more than 1,200 men’s and women’s college basketball games each season.

Read the entire NCAA press release on the new agreement here.





The $60 Million High School Football Stadium

20 04 2010

New stadiums are often seen as a way for a city to generate money.  Tourism and surrounding businesses surge with the construction and opening of a new sports arena.

These stadiums are typically built for professional teams, like the Dallas Cowboys new arena.  But now, high school teams are getting in on the action.

That’s right.  High school teams are getting their own  half-billion dollar stadiums.

Allen, Texas is currently building a $59.6 million football stadium for its high school, which serves 3900 students.

According to Business Insider, the arena will feature a video scoreboard, four concession stands, and 18,000 seats.

It’s slated to open in late 2012, but first the city needs to come up with its $60 million.

Check out the details of Eagle Stadium in the city’s bond proposal here.





Michael Jordan’s New Game

19 04 2010

Michael Jordan is back to dominate the game of basketball — but from his seat, not the court.

Jordan is walking in with a few bouts of practice that have done more than add to his experience as team owner — they also racked up a record less than worthy of the Jordan brand.

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In February 2010, Jordan became the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats (Image via ObsessedWithSports.com)

But it looks like things could be turning around.  With his side-line experiences and an unparalleled drive to succeed, Michael Jordan may be able to take his newly acquired Bobcats and transform them into a championship team.

With a $275 million check, Jordan proved his commitment to do just that.  But he has yet to prove his success.

The Jonathan Abrams at the New York Times recently examined Jordan’s business history leading up to his new role as lead Bobcat.  Here are the points you need to know:

  • Jordan was a minority owner of the Washington Wizards until he decided to come out of retirement in 2001 and play for the team.
  • After two losing seasons marred by the drafting of Kwame Brown with the number one overall pick, Jordan was dismissed from his position as the head of the Wizards’ basketball operations by owner Abe Pollin.
  • Jordan then made a play to acquire the Milwaukee Bucks, but owner and U.S. Senator Herb Kohl decided not to sell.
  • In 2006, Jordan officially joined the Bobcats franchise.  Owner Robert L. Johnson brought him in as a minority owner and managing member of basketball operations.  “You can only play so much golf,” Johnson explained.
  • Jordan’s first move in this role was drafting Adam Morrison with the third pick.  Morrison proved to be another bad selection by Jordan, and was quickly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Prior to the 2008-2009 season, Jordan did make one good pick, hiring Hall of Famer Larry Brown as head coach.
  • In March Michael Jordan purchased the Charlotte Bobcats for $275 million, becoming the first former NBA player to become a majority owner of an NBA team.

Though far from perfect, the Bobcats seem to be headed toward success.  The team is in its first playoff series ever, and attendance is up more than 10% from last season — the largest attendance jump in NBA history.  And 30 sponsors have jumped on board with the Bobcats in the past eight months.

Jordan is the ultimate basketball legend and the king of branding. If he can successfully merge the two, he will not only have a successful business on his hands, but a few more rings, too.

**Michael Jordan has his own NBA challenges, so here’s one for you.  Head over to Mental Floss, and see if you can name all 30 NBA teams in 5 minutes. It’s a little tougher than you may think.





NCAA’s Tourney Expansion Could Force CBS Out Of The Picture

14 04 2010

After months of speculation, the NCAA is set to reveal its future.  On April 29, NCAA President Jim Isch will announce the organization’s decisions on expanding the tournament and opting out of its current media partnership with CBS.

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The NCAA is looking for a victory like Davidson's Stephen Curry (Image via meetnowlive.com)

It is likely the NCAA will ditch CBS for Turner Sports or ESPN.  As  Sports Business Journal points out, CBS is no longer the attractive media partnership it once was.

The NCAA has only three years left in its original 11-year, $6 billion contract with CBS.

But because of heavy escalators included in the agreement, the remaining years will cost the NCAA $2.13 billion, which is more than one-third of the contract’s total value.

Right now that price doesn’t seem worth it.  Despite the highest tournament ratings in years, CBS was unable to make a profit.

But the network could remain in the picture.  If the NCAA turns to Turner Sports, CBS will serve as a partner to the cable channel.   Under this scenario, the tournament will air on CBS and Turner on alternating years.

Though CBS’ experience makes the Turner option extremely attractive, ESPN’s unparalleled expansive digital and cable networks makes it a top contender.

This type of access will be necessary if the NCAA chooses to expand the tournament to 96 teams, which is likely to happen.  The organization derives nearly 100% of its income from the March Madness tournament each year, and expanding the number of participating teams from 65 to 96 is expected to boost this number.





Newspapers Relying On Sports Betting To Stay Afloat

13 04 2010
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At least that's what news site Philly.com is banking on (Image via Taylormadetirade.com)

Philly.com, the online home of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, is turning to sports betting for an extra source of income.

The Philly-focused news site just teamed up with FanDuel.com to create an online betting service called Instant Fantasy Game.

The service (which is legal) allows readers to put up wagers on fantasy games.   According to paidContent, in Instant Fantasy Game, readers pick an opponent, set a wager, and then draft their fantasy team.  Games only last one day and whoever wins gets a cash prize of up to $90.

Yoni Greenbaum, the VP of product development at Philly.com, told CNET that Philly.com partnered with FanDuel.com to satisfy two major goals: “content differentiation and revenue.”

Though a bit outside the box, Instant Fantasy Game could be the type of money-maker Philly.com desperately needs.

More than 30 million fans a year play fantasy sports on sites like ESPN, and if Philly.com is able to attract these users to its site, it could translate to huge dollar signs for parent company, Philadelphia Newspapers.

The media company was forced to file for bankruptcy last year, as readership and ad revenue continued to decline industry-wide.

Philly.com is banking on services such as legal sports betting to attract readers, but will it work?