U.S. stocks closed little changed on Thursday, with the S&P touching highs, as investors weighed mostly upbeat earnings and mixed economic reports.» Read More
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.
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.
Today, tennis star Venus Williams will announce that she is signing an endorsement deal with Steve & Barry's, the retailer that has made plenty of waves with its Starbury shoe, which it sells for $14.98. The deal from the very start is already the most expansive merchandise deal in the history of tennis. I sat down with Howard Schacter, Steve & Barry's chief partnerships officer, to talk about the line that will be called Eleven by Venus Williams and will launch in November.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has just revealed its portfolio holdings for the second quarter. New additions: Bank of America and Dow Jones, plus increased stakes in some healthcare names.
The University of Oregon announced yesterday that Nike founder Phil Knight will pledge to donate $100 million to the Ducks’ athletic department. It ties the second-largest single donation ever made to an athletic department (with University of North Dakota booster Ralph Engelstad), following the $165 million check Boone Pickens wrote to Oklahoma State in Jan. 2006.
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.
One year from Wednesday, Aug. 8, the 2008 Olympic Games will begin in Beijing -- focusing the world's attention on China like never before. As part of our one-year countdown to the games, CNBC sent Darren Rovell and Melissa Lee to China for a series of special reports.
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.
Athletic apparel maker Puma said Thursday second-quarter profit slipped as rising sales in Europe were offset by a 15% sales decline in North and South America.
Adidas, Europe's biggest sports goods maker, said on Wednesday its second-quarter net income rose 27% despite nearly flat revenue because of lower brand Reebok sales and currency effects.
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?
I know. Why am I talking about this? You thought this was a sports business blog. Well, this week I've been trying to give you something a little bit different as I'm filing from Beijing. (Programming reminder: Next week, we're taking you behind the business of the 2008 Olympic games. You can watch my stories on CNBC or see them here on the Web site.) Anyway, back to my thought.
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.
"Nike has suspended Michael Vick’s contract without pay, and will not sell any more Michael Vick product at Nike-owned retail at this time," the athletic apparel giant said in a statement.
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.
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.
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.