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This job really does beat working for a living. I've just had the opportunity to drive a car worth, gulp, $435,000. That's about twice the price of your average home in the U.S. these days. The car is a new Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe (pronounced coup-AY). Drophead is a fancy name for convertible. The car will start selling in September, and the first year is pretty much sold out. Yeah. Sold out.
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.
Microsoft's top brass are hosting the company's Financial Analysts Meeting at company headquarters in Redmond, Washington today. I was going to be there as well, but at the last minute, changed plans for several reasons. And it was probably a good idea, at least for Microsoft.
Most mind-numbing PR stunt of the summer (so far): Here's the headline: "100 cows face-off against world-class surfers during Honda U.S. Open of Surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier." Where's the beef? Against the backdrop of the world's largest professional surfing competition, 100 cows will be herded into the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing by 40 cowboys on Thursday, July 26. The first-ever beach cattle drive at the Huntington Beach Pier takes place at 7:00 a.m., even as professional surfing's "elite athletes take to the waves."
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.
Note to PR people: please actually WATCH our network and understand what CNBC does before sending pitches. Here's a shortened list of press releases sent my way in the last 24 hours: "Draumr Publishing, an independent U.S. press, has finally released 'Moon Child,' the tantalizing new novel by first time Canadian author Simone Maroney, to the North American public. The book is a rollicking good ride, complete with adventure, betrayal and harrowing escapes from dire circumstances." And then there's Lindsay Lohan.
As many of you know, I started boycotting my watching of the Tour de France this year because of all the drug scandals. Of course, the scandals have continued. German cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz tested positive for testosterone and was suspended, Alexandre Vinokourov and his team withdrew after he tested positive for blood doping and we're waiting for the suspension one more rider that tested positive.
With little or no fanfare Pfizer launched a new ad campaign for its erectile dysfunction drug Viagra on NBC Nightly News last night. Pfizer has gotten into a bit of trouble before for its relatively racy Viagra spots like the "Horny Devil" campaign featuring the guy with two horns growing out of his head. This time it's got a bunch of 40-something guys sitting around a dusty barn singing "Viva Viagra" to the tune of Elvis' "Viva Las Vegas".
Avid Retail Detail reader Davis Skinner weighed in on the viability of polo as a mass market sport and the appeal of Nacho Figueras as a model (a title that the athletically accomplished Figueras doesn't like.)
After years of using the polo player as its signature branding logo, Ralph Lauren (RL) is taking on a sponsorship role of an actual polo team. Ralph Lauren is now the official sponsor of the Black Watch polo team and its star player (and longtime Ralph Lauren model) Nacho Figueras. Taking the sponsorship a step further, the company is now selling match shirts for Black Watch fans that are embroidered with Nacho Figueras' number 2 on the shoulder.
NBA commissioner David Stern addressed the media today to discuss what the league knows about former NBA referee Tim Donaghy betting on games. This is my live commentary as it happened.
The minor league baseball independent Long Beach Armada is hosting "Michael Vick Animal Awareness Day" on Sunday. Any fan who trades in his or her Michael Vick T-shirt or jersey will get free admission to the game and a donation will be made in their name to a non-profit that helps "inspire a better understanding of dogs." Those shirts and jerseys will be destroyed in some manner, the team says. Fans can also bring their dogs to the game, will be provided a special entrance to the ballpark and sit in a special section of the ballpark.
After watching much of the media look at the wrong data when considering whether NBA referee Tim Donaghy bet on the games he officiated, I've decided to let the cat out of the bag. Folks, you're not going to get anywhere by looking at the point spreads.
On the heels of fakesteve.blogspot.com (the fake Steve Jobs), and my own fakeJane (the fake me, see below), it turns out everything, EVERYTHING, is fake. Even the story about the Chinese buns made out of cardboard. Or is it? That's the problem with China these days. You believe the bad news, then when they tell you the bad news was a lie, you don't believe that either.
In my earlier post, I told you about the debate taking place on today's "Street Signs" about whether private equity deals in the retail industry are over. Here's the video of the discussion I had with retail analyst Lizz Dunn from Thomas Weisel Partners and Manny Weintraub, Integre Advisors president.
Nike has a new statement out, which I have just received. They are suspending the release of the Vick V shoe, which was scheduled to be in stores on Aug. 23. Here is the text: "Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent. We do believe that Michael Vick should be afforded the same due process as any citizen; therefore, we have not terminated our relationship...."
My nipples are erect right now. They are like this because I'm in the midst of an experiment which I'm calling "Operation Red Sunday." A couple weeks back, just a few days after I saw Tiger Woods in his tight-as-can-be Sunday magenta shirt at the U.S. Open, I called Nike Golf and asked them to send me what Tiger was planning to wear for the British Open on Sunday.