Some of the best business stories are behind the emerging Cinderella. I covered Gonzaga's merchandising boom from their NCAA Tournament runs and Boise State's merchandising royalty run as they became the most prominent non-BCS football program in the land.
There is no team in professional sports that works harder to get season ticket holders than the New Jersey Nets. I’ve been to homes where they’ve catered a party for a high net worth season ticket holder to try to convince his friends to buy seats. And I’ve been to a playoff game where Nets general manager Ed Stefanski gave a speech to wavering season ticket holders at halftime to convince them to commit to another season.
For those of you who are living under a rock, the Nintendo Wii is pretty much taking over the world. And frankly, I'm not sure I'm going to be writing this blog after Oct. 22, because the next night "Wii Playground" comes out. Yes, folks it's dodgeball and tetherball on the Wii.
Congratulations to ESPN The Magazine and BusinessWeek for putting together an awesome sports business issue. It's a must-read if you like the business of sports. Their Power 100 is of course meant to be debated, so I'm going to make a couple comments here.
Just when you thought that all the advertising space was occupied on the field, here comes the folks from EyeBlack.com. The company will sell millions of pairs of EyeBlack--yes, the stuff that's supposedly used to cut down on glare--with college and high school logos on it this year.
I'm really loving the fact that Dale Jr. will be driving the No. 88 car next year with Amp on his hood instead of Mountain Dew. When it was first rumored that "Little E" would shed Budweiser for Mountain Dew, I wasn't that excited. Why? Because Mountain Dew is already the fourth largest soda brand in the US, behind Coke, Pepsi and Diet Coke. If Earnhardt had Mountain Dew on his hood, we'd never know if he did anything for them. Like Budweiser, the brand was just too big before he arrived.
At the end of every golf and tennis tournament, the champion gets a trophy. Unless it's the grand slams, these trophies don't have any tradition. So it's a clean slate: Do anything you want, but make sure it's something that gets attention for the big sponsor.
So I have some correcting to do. In my commenting on the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup payout plan, I said it was an annuity. Why wouldn't I? Everyone, including the players have been calling it that. But I spoke with Ron Price, the Tour's CFO, who clarified that it's actually a deferred compensation.
So I'm here in Indianapolis for tonight's NFL Kickoff. But with hours to go until the game, besides my segments I'm doing for CNBC, I have to find something to do with myself. Having done my tours of stadiums and arenas, I'm always up for a game of bean bag toss.
On the day the NFL season kicks off, we're running two stories on marketing of Reggie Bush & Peyton Manning. The New Orleans Saints running back will appear in 12 national spots (including promotional, non-paid commercials) this year, while the Colts' Manning will be doing his thing again--you'll see a series of fun spots coming out from the likes of Sprint and MasterCard today.
FedEx. We have a problem? Tiger Woods, who led the field heading into the Barclay's, the first FedEx Cup tournament, didn't play in it. Now, Phil Mickelson, who just won the second FedEx Cup tournament (the Deutsche Bank Championship) and is now in first place, isn't playing the BMW, the third tournament on the list.
The latest greatest hope for American tennis, six-foot-nine John Isner was officially welcomed in as a Prince endorser this morning. Isner, who recently graduated from the University of Georgia, has been playing with Prince's 03 racket technology that has been the buzz of the tennis industry.
The University of Michigan's loss to Appalachian State on Saturday was such an upset partly because of the financial differences between the two schools. If Appalachian State sells out every home game this year, they will make roughly $2.1 million (charging a little more than $20 a head with 16,650 seats per game. Michigan has sold out all eight home games already...
I love the rivalries and I love to cover the business of rivalries. Because it’s amazing what people will pay for a ticket and how many people feel they have to be in the stadium. Just got a great number from the folks at eBay’s StubHub. For last night’s Red Sox-Yankees game, there were 9,216 tickets sold on StubHub. Just to give you an idea, that’s about 16 percent of the crowd.
I know. There's still 17 days left for someone to bid on Barry Bonds' home run balls No. 755 and No. 756. But I think it's a big deal--though not surprising--that 25 hours after the auction was put online there's not a single bid registered. The minimum bid for No. 755 is $60,000. The minimum bid for No. 756 is $100,000.
To the dismay of many of you, I have to get on to covering something other than Ana Ivanovic, so today will be the last day (at least until next week, if she makes a run at the U.S. Open) I'm going to focus on her story. First, to the business. If you haven't already, or would like to look again, check out the beautiful slide show we made.
With the start of the U.S. Open today, I am hereby declaring it National Ana Ivanovic day. I'm sure the government won't sanction it because she's not an American citizen, but so what? The fifth-ranked tennis beauty is playing Aiko Nakamura today in Louis Armstrong Stadium. All day on CNBC, you'll see the awesome story of Ivanovic, who could be the next force in the sports marketing world if she wins the final grand slam of the year.
On the day that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pled guilty to charges related to dogfighting, Nike announced on Friday night that it has ended its relationship with its former endorser.
I'm going to be very professional here. I promise. Ana Ivanovic, the 19-year-old from Serbia, is the most beautiful athlete in the world. I know it's all subjective. It's just my opinion. But I have a feeling others, when they have a chance to see her--either in photos or in person will agree.
It doesn’t take much skill to discover who’s now. It’s a little bit better to call who’s next. So I’m doing it right now. Ana Ivanovic is the next Maria Sharapova. And the only thing Maria can do about it is make sure that she has a better record on the court than Ivanovic. Because the marketing momentum of this 19-year-old Serbian seems to be unstoppable.