Competitive Eating, Disappearing Billionaires and more...
CNBC Sports Business Reporter
Changing It Up:
For those of you who know nothing of my past, I was the guy that brought competitive eating to ESPN, as chronicled in the book, "Horsemen of the Esophagus." I was the sideline reporter for two Nathan's hot dog eating contest telecasts and am one of the only reporters who the legendary Kobayashi recognizes by face. I haven't been in touch with the Shea brothers of the International Federation of Competitive Eating in a while, so I gave them a call and I found out about a name change. This week, the IFOCE is changing is name to Major League Eating. "This is another step towards making our sport more mainstream," said Rich Shea, who along with his brother George, popularized the sport of eating contests in this country. MLE is launching a new Web site this Friday and will have its first live event under their new name, this Saturday at 7 p.m. on Spike TV. The eating circuit offered $500,000 in prizes in 2006 and the MLE will continue to offer contests in various new disciplines, including peanut butter and jelly eating this summer.
I'm Such A Billionaire:
This past week, Forbes came out with its billionaire list and BoDog.com founder Calvin Ayre, who was on the cover last year, disappeared from the list. Forbes said that the recent gambling crackdown had resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars -- thus booting Ayre off the list. Some people prefer to keep quiet, but Ayre wasn't too happy with the analysis. He told Gambling911.com that Forbes' report is "hogwash" and that, the joke was, he's richer than they said he was last year. "With Bodog.com being private, it's hard to believe that Forbes can have any real information on our organization other than our own press they read," Ayre told the gambling site. "This year, we've experienced strong growth across all our business channels, including gaming and are, in fact, more profitable than last year. My personal net worth has gone up by about 60 percent. I felt the valuation presented by Forbes last year was too low." Forbes valued Ayre at $1 billion last year.
Odds & Ends:
Dick's Sporting Goods got off to a good start on Tuesday, announcing strong quarterly sales that beat analyst's expectations as sales rose to over $1 billion for the first time in the company's history. That has to bode well for Under Armour , which Dick's has invested heavily in.
As of 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, CBS Sportsline had taken 400,000 registrations to watch March Madness games online for free. The company is expanding registration through tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET. Fans can log on and view live streaming video without registering, but those who don't register will experience longer wait times to get into the video player.
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