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Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

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  Wednesday, 30 May 2012 | 5:41 PM ET

Handicapping the Spelling Bee

Posted By: Darren Rovell
Tooga | Getty Images

Since 2006, I have been telling you who is going to win the National Spelling Bee. Since that time, I have had the champion in my list all six times.

So who will I pick this year? To the disappointment of some, it won’t be Lori Anne Madison, the youngest competitor ever at six years old. First-time competitors can’t win this, and I just can’t see this fairytale being written. With that said, if you’re in a Spelling Bee pool, you can bank on it that the winner will be among these five.

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  Wednesday, 30 May 2012 | 9:43 AM ET

Concussion Talk Could Affect Football Participation

Posted By: Darren Rovell
Erik Isakson | Blend Images | Getty Images

For 12 straight years, football in high schools in America has been so popular that the number of boys playing the sport has been greater than the second and third most played sports, track and field and basketball.

But with the dangers of concussions being thrust out into the open is a participation decline around the corner?

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  Thursday, 24 May 2012 | 7:31 PM ET

Curt Schilling’s Videogame Company Goes Bust

Posted By: Darren Rovell
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 10: Curt Schilling, former member of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks World Series team walks in the dugout before the Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on September 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their World Series title.
Getty Images
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 10: Curt Schilling, former member of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks World Series team walks in the dugout before the Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on September 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their World Series title.

In a remarkable reversal of fortune, former major league pitcher Curt Schilling has laid off the entire staff that formed his videogame company, 38 Studios, just months after the company designed its first game.

While Schilling had said he was pleased with the success of the game, "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning," the company was late on a payment to the state of Rhode Island, which had loaned 38 Studios $75 million in exchange for moving its headquarters to the state.

The Boston Globe has reported the company didn't have enough money to make its May 15th payroll.

Schilling has been quiet amidst the criticism that he failed to live up to his end of the bargain, but was open about his predicament when he appeared on "CNBC SportsBiz" two months ago, though he didn't say at the time his company was in trouble.

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  Tuesday, 22 May 2012 | 12:20 PM ET

Collectors Wary Of Investing In Josh Hamilton

Posted By: Darren Rovell

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is having an incredible season, leading the American League in average, home runs and RBI.

Josh Hamilton
Getty Images
Josh Hamilton

Despite Hamilton’s tear, which included a four home run game on May 8, collectors aren’t exactly fighting for the centerfielder’s memorabilia.

Much of the hesitancy to invest in Hamilton has to do with his past, including drug and alcohol addictions that took him out of baseball for years after he was picked No. 1 overall in the 1999 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays.

“Collectors are scared,” said Matt Powers (@powersco), owner of online sports and memorabilia company, PowersCollectibles.com. “They’re not confident that his story has a great ending because he’s still very active in dealing with his disease.”

Powers says he is one of the largest purchasers of autographed items of Hamilton, who has an exclusive deal with the Major League Baseball Alumni Association. He is pre-selling a ball that Hamilton will sign that includes his four home run inscription with the date.

While it retails for $449, Powers tested the marketplace over the weekend by putting the balls on Groupon for $149. Even at that discount, he didn’t move much.

“I sold maybe 50 balls,” Powers said. “When I did a similar deal with Brian Wilson, who signed ‘Fear The Beard’ on 2010 World Series baseballs, I sold 700 really quickly.”

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  Tuesday, 22 May 2012 | 10:40 AM ET

Sergio Tacchini, Djokovic Shockingly Part Ways

Posted By: Darren Rovell

In November of 2009, Novak Djokovic signed a 10-year apparel deal with Sergio Tacchini, as his former sponsor adidas put its money in Andy Murray. It was a huge coup for the brand, who once had Pete Sampras and John McEnroe, but hadn’t been able to find relevance.

2011 US Open Singles Men's Champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with his trophy atop the Empire State Building on September 13, 2011 in New York City, New York.
Getty Images
2011 US Open Singles Men's Champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with his trophy atop the Empire State Building on September 13, 2011 in New York City, New York.

But on Tuesday, Tacchini announced in a statement that the two had mutually decided to part ways. The reasoning? The small brand couldn’t handle the success that the Serbian player had with them.

In their clothes, Djokovic has won four majors, including the Australian Open twice. He has also won 84.7 percent of his matches (161 out of 190) and has been No. 1 in the world for nearly 11 consecutive months.

The story of how the deal unraveled is hard to fathom.

Sources tell CNBC that Tacchini was able to sign Djokovic by offering him a smaller guarantee than the larger companies would pay, but promised bigger should he do well. When Djokovic kept winning, the company fell behind on payments to the tennis star.

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  Friday, 18 May 2012 | 3:41 PM ET

Congress Wants End to Sports Sponsorships by Military

Posted By: Darren Rovell
Nascar
Getty Images
Nascar

A few years ago, I attended a military recruitment session with NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, who is sponsored by the U.S. Army. Many had criticized the sponsorship as a waste of money, but Newman and an Army official told me that day that the numbers actually made sense.

I took their word for it.

Fast forward to this week. On Thursday, an amendment attached to the $608 billion defense bill that prohibits every sports sponsorship from the U.S. military, was passed by the House Appropriations Committee.

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  Thursday, 17 May 2012 | 2:31 PM ET

RGIII Signs Endorsement Deal With Sports Protection Company Evoshield

Posted By: Darren Rovell

The hottest NFL rookie endorser, Robert Griffin III, has scored yet another sponsorship deal.

Source: EvoShield

On Thursday, athletic protective gear company Evoshield told CNBC it had signed the No. 2 overall draft pick, who had carved the niche market out of his adidas deal so that he could sign with the brand.

Justin Niefer, Evoshield’s director of product development, said that RGIII was wearing Evoshield since his freshman at Baylor, thanks to a relationship the company had made with the football team’s equipment managers and trainers.

With more people than ever before paying attention to preventative protection on the field, companies in the sports protective gear space have seen sales skyrocket. Niefer says that Evoshield’s revenues have doubled every nine months for the last couple years.

“In the past, no one wanted to wear protective gear until after they got hurt,” Niefer said. “But that has changed. “Schools, teams and now players themselves are finally realizing that their body is their biggest investment. Guys like RGIII have worn our stuff not after he got hurt, but to protect himself from getting hurt.”

The company liked the speedy RGIII to be its first football endorser to help them shed the stigma that protective gear has to be bulky.

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  Tuesday, 15 May 2012 | 5:43 PM ET

Logic of Realignment Won’t Be Clear For a Decade

Posted By: Darren Rovell
Big XII Conference
AP
Big XII Conference

In October, a week after its chancellor agreed to explore leaving the Big 12, the University of Missouri produced a 45-page document, outlining the pros and cons of going to the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

In the report, which the Associated Press said it had obtained, Missouri said it could earn as much as $12 million more per year from an new TV deal in the SEC compared to the deal it had in the Big 12.

The Big 12 asked to see the report, and asked Missouri to show them who did the study and how they came up with the number. Missouri wouldn’t.

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  Monday, 14 May 2012 | 4:18 PM ET

Has Chesapeake’s Buying Of Thunder Tickets Inflated The Market?

Posted By: Darren Rovell
Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp.
F. Carter Smith | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp.

As the Oklahoma City Thunder gets ready to take on the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals tonight, there’s an off-the-court distraction that could impact the team’s business.

Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, who owns 19.2 percent of the Thunder, has been under fire in recent weeks for admitting to his participation in a program that enabled him to buy a personal stake in every well the company drilled.

This, along with pushing the company’s debt up to a reported $15.6 billion and running a hedge fund on the side, resulted in the company agreeing to terminate the program and forcing McClendon to relinquish his chairman title.

So why does this have any impact on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden?

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  Tuesday, 8 May 2012 | 11:43 AM ET

GNC, Vitamin Shoppe Keep DMAA Products in Stores

Posted By: Darren Rovell
DMAA
Source: 1-3-dimethylamylamine.com
DMAA

Ten days after the FDA sent warning letters to manufacturers of supplements with DMAA in it, the nation’s largest supplement retailers still have the product on the shelves.

Both GNC and Vitamin Shoppe continued to sell the popular pre-workout like OxyElite Pro and Jack3d in its online and physical stores as of Tuesday morning.

Vitamin Shoppe CEO Tony Truesdale told analysts on a conference call that he didn’t see the category as an area that could have a material impact on the company’s business. Truesdale pointed out that the company has 8,000 different product offerings and believes it’s diversified to make it through a possible government shutdown of the ingredient.

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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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