CHICAGO, Oct 19- Media mogul Oprah Winfrey will buy a 10 percent stake in Weight Watchers International Inc, adding her celebrity and consumer appeal to a diet brand that has been shedding subscribers. Shares of Weight Watchers soared on the news of Winfrey's $43.2 million investment, closing up 105 percent at $13.92 on Monday. Consumers' embrace of...» Read More
Yesterday, Tiger Woods announced that he will develop his first U.S. golf course -- he's currently building one in Dubai -- at the Cliffs at High Carolina. It's in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, N.C., and I'm sure it's going to be beautiful.
Memorabilia producer and trading card maker Upper Deck has signed Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to an exclusive memorabilia and autograph deal. Sources tell CNBC it's a one-year deal.
Believe me, I think by suspending Michael Vick and suspending the release of his shoe, Nike has done enough to disassociate itself with Michael Vick. But if they wanted to terminate him, they can do so without any financial penalty. That's right, sources are telling me now that Nike has a clause in the contract that says that if Vick is indicted, Nike can terminate him unilaterally.
As many of you know Electronic Arts' "Madden 08" came out last night. You can find the reviews everywhere else. But I'm here to review only one thing: The rings you can get in the game. They are unbelievable. These things are going to be the most surprising success of this franchise.
I must say that when I write about soccer, my e-mail box always fills up. There might not be a ton of soccer fans in the U.S., but after WWE fans, they're the most vocal, passionate fans I've ever seen. So yesterday, I did my part to bash Beckham, saying that he could leave the MLS worse off than before he arrived. I put up a poll and expected maybe 10 percent of readers to agree with me. After all, it's a bit early. Well, with at least 140 votes in, an amazing 27 percent of people said that they thought that the MLS is worse off because of Beckham. Here's a mixed mailbag on Beckham.
When I first heard that David Beckham was coming to play in Major League Soccer, I knew the truth. Beckham would be great for the financial success of the league for at least one year, but that soccer wouldn't be any better off. But with Beckham constantly sidelined, I actually think that MLS might actually come out in worse shape than when before Beckham started.
Imagine there is a sports star and he's absolutely obsessed with your product. Sure he has some major issues here and there, but he's a fan favorite. And he can't live a day without your product. Would you take a chance on him? How could you not? In an era where it's sometimes hard to believe that athletes really use the products they pitch, John Daly is what they call a breath of fresh air. He loves Diet Coke.
If you're watching CNBC today, you'll see my piece on the battle of shoe brands in China as the Olympics approaches. (You can also see it on CNBC.com right now or in clip below). Anyway, unfortunately there's only so much to fit in in "television time" and I had three great interviews with top executives from Nike, adidas and Li-Ning. So I thought it would only be fair if I could run the best parts of the three interviews in the blog.
Many of you are aware that Boston Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon won the worst athlete ad contest here on this blog for his work in spots for 125 Auto. In the advertisement, Papelbon is seen ordering his 2004 Hummer. Well, Papelbon must not have his deal with 125 Auto anymore. Alert reader Chris caught what looks to be Papelbon driving out of the player parking lot at Fenway Park last month in what Chris suggests is a yellow 2006 or 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo.
Matt Murphy, who caught home run ball No. 756, wasn’t the only winner on Tuesday night, so too was Kragen Auto Parts, whose rotating sign was behind home plate when Barry Bonds hit the record-breaking shot. Eric Wright of the sponsorship evaluation firm Joyce Julius & Associates told me this morning that he believes Kragen will receive in between $5 million and $6 million in equivalent advertising time for being associated with the moment...
Tiger Woods is the only athlete who will come close to earning $100 million in endorsements this year. But the actions of two of the companies he had deals with questions whether Woods is worth the price companies pay. Last week, American Express signed a deal to become the official card of the PGA of America and the USGA and in the process decided to end its deal with Woods after a 10-year relationship with the brand.
Yesterday, I wrote about how a company called Plan B. found out that 71 percent fewer fans showed up on discounted beer night. This surprised me a little bit, but not some readers. From Larry Rascak:Personally I would avoid discount beer night like the plague, simply because I would not want to be at a ballgame (or in the parking lot, or driving home) with the sort of people who would go to a game just to drink a lot of cheap beer. Is this really that big a surprise?
If you're a big fan of Tom Glavine and you are happy he won his 300th game last night, you might as well get his 300th win tie. Oh yeah, it costs $1,000. Tie company Vineyard Vines is making 300 of the ties, which will be sold exclusively at www.rallyfoundation.com. The entire cost of the tie will be donated to the Rally Foundation, which raises awareness and funds for childhood cancer research.
When Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault, we saw a few nifty entrepreneurs come up with T-shirts to try to cash in on the news. There were the Kobe Bryant T-shirts were made to look like a jersey, with Kobe's number on it and "Colorado Prison League" on the front. One supporter made a "Free Kobe" shirt. But never in the history of sports have we seen the cottage industry that has become Michael Vick dogfighting T-shirts.
One of the most surprising things about being here in Beijing is the absence of Yao Ming. I thought he'd be everywhere. Sure, he made his name in Shanghai, but I thought he was the pride of China. Well, apparently not. Aside from a Coca Cola ad on an occasional billboard and a wildlife poster, Yao isn't a force here.
I'm here thanks to a long plane ride, during which I watched "Blades of Glory" twice and read two books on the history of China. You thought the Boston Celtics were a dynasty? Imagine being dominant for 300 years! Anyway, I've come all this way so that I can bring you all the important business stories of the '08 games on the year-out anniversary on Wednesday, August 8 and actually throughout next week on CNBC.
As many of you know, yesterday I called for Nike to dump Michael Vick. They sort of did that minutes ago, when they suspended his contract. My prediction? They'll never reactivate it. It's a really good move. They were never going to use Vick again, so there was no reason to stand by him. I'm not ignorant enough to think that they my writing did anything.
I wandered on to NFLShop.com to do my daily check on everything Michael Vick and I noticed something strange. I couldn't find Michael Vick No. 7 jerseys anywhere. So I called the NFL and asked them why they had made this decision. "We have suspended sales of Vick-related merchandise on our official league e-commerce site, NFLShop.com," said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. "This includes Vick jerseys and collectible items such as autographed balls and other memorabilia."
At the end of June, I announced my worst athlete ad contest. I received many entries of athletes in all sorts of ads from my readers, but I really didn't have any trouble picking a winner. Congratulations to reader Joe Gudema who sent me Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon doing ads for 125 Auto. Thankfully, it's on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.
When activist organizations ask for a shoe and apparel company to drop athletes before the legal process has seen them through, I usually don't agree. The main reason I stand up for these companies is that it's good for business to ride it out. People forget and if you have an athlete who is acquitted of charges who is a big star, they will prove they can sell again.