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Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

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  Wednesday, 13 Jun 2012 | 10:54 AM ET

Mickelson's Father Could Capitalize On Monster Pairing

Posted By: Darren Rovell
PGA Golfer Phil Mickelson attends a press conference at the World Golf Hall of Fame Inuction Ceremony on May 7, 2012 in St. Augustine, Florida.
Getty Images
PGA Golfer Phil Mickelson attends a press conference at the World Golf Hall of Fame Inuction Ceremony on May 7, 2012 in St. Augustine, Florida.

When news broke that Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson would be paired together on the first day of the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California, Phil Mickelson Sr. knew he needed to increase his on-site inventory.

"I made three phone calls so that we can get more product from San Diego to San Francisco," said Mickelson's dad, a former Navy and commercial pilot who owns a niche product called the Sportscope.

By holding the periscope and looking through the view finder, golf fans can see the stars taking their shots no matter how far back in the scrum they are.

Since buying the patent and trademark to the Sportscope in 1997, business has been pretty steady for Mickelson Sr., even though he admittedly doesn't spend much time dreaming how to grow revenues. His two models, standard and zoom lens, have been the same price ($54.50 and $79.50 for years).

While the scope is made for the fan looking to get a glimpse of a Tiger shot amidst the crowds, Mickelson has regular customers that come outside of the sports world.

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  Tuesday, 12 Jun 2012 | 6:39 PM ET

Legally Blind Champion Triathlete Sues Over Rules That Would Blind Him Further

Posted By: Darren Rovell

Aaron Scheidies started losing his vision as a child. As his vision worsened from his juvenile macular degeneration, to the point of legal blindness, he said he spun into a deep depression that included contemplating suicide.

One of the reason Scheidies says he’s alive today is because of his love for triathlons.

“Triathlons took away my disability,” said Scheidies, who became a seven-time world-champion triathlete.

This Sunday, Scheidies will be competing goggle-free in the Motor City Triathlon in Detroit. If it were a championship competition, he would be disqualified, since he refuses to wear “Blackout Goggles,” a stipulation made by The International Triathlon Union and followed by USA Triathlon, presumably to even out the playing field among blind competitors.

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  Monday, 11 Jun 2012 | 3:45 PM ET

The Stony Brook College Baseball Mystery

Posted By: Darren Rovell
Stony Brook University
Source: Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University

Sure, George Mason has made it to the Final Four and Butler has played in the men’s college basketball championship game, but none of those achievements quite match the Cinderella story that the Stony Brook baseball team has become.

After all, the Patriots and the Bulldogs didn’t have to beat one of the sport’s best in a two out of three series in its home ballpark, as the Seawolves did to make it to the College World Series.

What makes the Stony Brook story so remarkable is how good so many of its players are and how all the big programs and the scouts missed them.

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  Monday, 11 Jun 2012 | 10:31 AM ET

How Thunder Became Hottest Ticket in NBA

Posted By: Darren Rovell
Forward Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Getty Images
Forward Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

When the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder, there likely wasn’t a single person who would have predicted that the team would become the hottest ticket in the NBA.

But that’s exactly what has happened.

Tickets on the secondary market have soared for the Thunder all season and the NBA Finals is no exception.

StubHub reports that tickets to Game 1 and Game 2 on Tuesday and Thursday in Oklahoma City are selling for an average of $708 and $827 a ticket, respectively. Compare that to Miami, whose Game 3 and 4 on Saturday and Tuesday are selling for an average of $617 and $472 a ticket.

Sure, Miami’s American Airlines Arena has about 1,400 more seats in its arena compared to Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena, but the price differential has to do with much more than that.

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  Monday, 11 Jun 2012 | 9:18 AM ET

Lack of American Champ Still Compromising Tennis Audience

Posted By: Darren Rovell
Rafael Nadal celebrates with his trophy after winning the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, on June 11, 2012 in Paris.
Patrick Kovarik | AFP | Getty Images
Rafael Nadal celebrates with his trophy after winning the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, on June 11, 2012 in Paris.

If Rafael Nadal wasn’t from Spain and he was instead Rafael Smith from Georgia, tennis would take over the sports world this morning, even coming off one of the best sports weekends of the year.

But it tennis won’t get the same buzz as the Pacquiao fight or LeBron and the Heat getting past the Celtics.

You see, fans who watch individual sports crave dynasties. They want the same guys to win over and over again.

But in tennis, no matter how exciting Nadal is, how effortless Federer looks or how amazing Djokovic’s rise to the top has been, the popularity of the sport in the US has been undeniably compromised by the lack of the American game.

Nadal’s win over Djokovic in the French Open this morning is Nadal’s seventh French Open title. It’s also the 31st time out of the last 34 grand slam titles that have been won by Nadal, Djokovic or Federer.

Those in the tennis business would rather have the dominance that exists now over complete parity. After all, there’s great popularity in the game worldwide. But one has to wonder what the sport would be if either Nadal, Djokovic or Federer were American, where the sport would be right now.

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  Friday, 8 Jun 2012 | 9:31 AM ET

I'll Have Another: Perfect Horse to Win Triple Crown

Posted By: Darren Rovell
Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another is ridden by exercise rider Jonny Garcia during a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 1, 2012 in Elmont, New York.
Getty Images
Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another is ridden by exercise rider Jonny Garcia during a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 1, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

I'll Have Another comes into the Belmont with as little fanfare as we've seen in recent horses that have won both the Derby and the Preakness. But this is a horse that the horse racing industry has to get behind.

Horse racing's troubles are well documented, from performance-enhancing drugs to focus on deaths and attendance woes on the track.

And while most aren't convinced that seeing the first Triple Crown in 34 years will boost the troubled sport, I'll Have Another winning it all in 2012 could be the perfect storm.

Why?

Because in order for horse racing to feel the bump, I believe the Triple Crown winner has to continue to race. in any other recent run for the trifecta, there would be no way that this would happen.

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  Wednesday, 6 Jun 2012 | 2:52 PM ET

An Apology to My Readers

Posted By: Darren Rovell
In a story I wrote here on CNBC.com on November 21, 2011 about the NBA Lockout called, "Small Business Owners Getting Squeezed by NBA Lockout" I was duped by a "source" and I'd like to explain to you my readers what happened. » Read More
  Wednesday, 6 Jun 2012 | 9:57 AM ET

Sports Retailer Fanatics Growth Game Plan

Posted By: Darren Rovell

Fanatics, the private spin-off that GSI Commerce founder Michael Rubin took back from his sale of the company to eBay, is quickly emerging as one of the biggest brands in sports.

On Wednesday, the company's $183 million acquisition of Dreams Inc., which has a big sports autograph business, is expected to close.

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  Tuesday, 5 Jun 2012 | 2:10 PM ET

New App May Revolutionize Corporate Charitable Giving

Posted By: Darren Rovell

For the past decade, Gene Gurkoff has been running marathons while raising money for Parkinson’s Disease. Gurkoff never had a problem raising money from friends and family but found that corporate America was a much harder get.

Over time, Gurkoff, who helped build and grow the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s tie with athletic events and in the process raised $16 million, discovered that a complex web of issues were keeping the big company money on the sidelines.

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  Friday, 1 Jun 2012 | 2:50 PM ET

Chevy Sponsors Great Charitable Sports Initiative

Posted By: Darren Rovell

I'll be honest. I don’t do much about charities in this space. Not because they are not worthy, but because they’re harder to discuss from a business perspective.

One World Futbol
Source: Chevrolet
One World Futbol

But there’s a new initiative that I think is groundbreaking.

As you know, soccer is the world’s most popular sport. But when kids in third world countries are given soccer balls, they hardly last. They don’t have pumps to blow the ball up again and they’re often playing on rough dirt, instead of the well-manicured fields we have here.

The solution is a ball called the One World Futbol , which was developed by a man named Tim Jahnigen after he watched footage of children playing soccer with a ball of trash in Darfur. The ball is made out of a special material that allows it to last for years. It never needs a pump and never goes flat because it doesn’t have air in it.

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About Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

  • Darren Rovell brings you his unique take on the business of sports: a multi-billion dollar global industry and obsession full of personalities and products. On Sports Biz, Darren will give you his up-to-date take on everything from salaries to endorsement deals to marketing and promotions, trades and tirades — in short, everything that makes sports so exciting.

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