Why I Don't Gamble, the Odd Coupling of Warren Buffett and LeBron James and more...
Why I Don’t Gamble:
At this time of year, I will fill out a bracket sheet, but I have never put any money on a single game. Why? Because it doesn’t allow you to really enjoy the game. (I know some will argue it adds more excitement). We’re coming up on the three-year anniversary of Chris Duhon’s “meaningless” shot. A last-second buzzer-beater that didn’t change the outcome for his Duke Blue Devils, and could have swung $100 million in bets.
According to the “Just Call Me Juice Sports Blog,” USC head coach Tim Floyd’s technical foul in the waning moments of the USC-North Carolina game might not have affected the outcome, but it could have lost gamblers millions. At the time the Trojans were behind by six points. UNC hit both free throws, got fouled again and hit another two free throws. UNC won by 10, but the spread was 8.5.
The Business of LeBron:
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James announced on Monday that he bought a stake in Cannondale, a privately held bicycle company. “Cannondale is one of the premiere cycling companies in the industry,” James said, in a statement. “Biking is an extremely important part of my training routine and I like to invest in what I know.” We wonder what Warren Buffet would think of this. Buffett, who is a friend of James, came to see James play in Cleveland on Sunday. Buffett said it was his first basketball game in 60 years. (By the way, that would mean that he last saw a game the year after the NBA was founded). “He tells me what socks to buy, I tell him what stocks to buy,” Buffett told reporters at the game. The best nugget comes from the Akron Beacon Journal’s Brian Windhorst, who wrote in his blog: “During the game, Mr. Buffett wanted a Diet Pepsi and ordered one from a vendor. But guess what, no cash. (Nike sports marketer Lynn) Merritt had to fork over the $3.” That’s funny, considering how much money Buffett is worth. What’s even funnier? Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway owns hundreds of millions of shares of Coke stock and Buffett sat on Coca-Cola’s board for 17 years. Of course, the Quicken Loans Arena is a Pepsi facility, so he didn’t really have a choice.
On The Starburys:
George Foreman might have got Salton's electric grills on the map, but after a while it wasn't about Foreman anymore. It was about the fact that people just liked that they could have a good electric grill in their house. That's where Steve & Barry's Starbury's will be when the second generation of the signature shoe of New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury comes out. "It's not something he will be upset about," said Jordan Bazant of The Agency, the company that structured the partnership between Marbury and the sports apparel retailer. "Stephon had the vision to understand that is simply the evolution of a great brand." At $14.98, I was really impressed by the quality and the amount of buzz the company got from these shoes. Well, I just saw the shoes that are coming out April 1. They are unbelievable. There are shoes that have suede, faux patent leather and mesh. Since I do believe it's beyond Marbury now, it's interesting that the Steve & Barry's people have decided to continue using the Starbury name. It says to me that they think that name - at least for shoes - is now a stronger brand. Later today, Steve & Barry’s will announce that Chicago Bulls forward Ben Wallace will be endorsing and wearing the Starbury shoes. Both Marbury and Wallace formerly endorsed And1.
Why League Sponsorship Deals Don’t Work:
So yesterday I get a note in my e-mail box that Major League Baseball announced it was
extending its partnership with shipper DHL through the 2010 season. “Major League Baseball is proud of our growing relationship with DHL, who in just two years time has demonstrated itself to be a creative and valuable business partner,” said Tim Brosnan, the league’s executive vice president of business, in a statement.
Well, I’m not sure how valuable DHL exactly was. Today’s Washington Post reveals that the Nationals - presumably for better rates or service -- actually switched from using DHL to FedEx this year. I guess it worked out for the best from an MLB sponsor perspective. The story is about how there’s been some snafu with season ticket holders getting their season tickets on time. The problem this brings up is that when leagues cut deals with sponsors, they can’t force individual teams to use that sponsor. But when they don’t and it becomes public like this -- with this type of timing -- league sponsorship deals come off as totally phony. Sponsoring the league implies the team use your service, not just the Major League Baseball offices. If I were DHL and I had just paid to become the "Official Express Delivery and Logistics Provider of Major League Baseball," I'd ask for my money back.
Hole In Many:
I always wonder how there are so many hole-in-one/field goal kicking/half court shooting contests out there. Since so many of the winners get publicized, I guess it makes it seem like more people win than the low percentage that really cash in. That’s why prize indemnity insurance, as they call it, is probably a good business to be in. I got a release from a company called the National Hole-In-One Association, a company that insures these kinds of things, that told me that since 1981, they’ve paid out more than $50 million in cash and prizes. That looks like a huge number, but consider that they say they’ve covered more than 300,000 events. Just for fun, let’s assume the average prize is $50,000. If they covered exactly 300,000 contests, and they paid out that average prize, that means there were only 1,000 winners. That breaks down to a .33 percent chance of winning.
Speaking of the hole-in-one -- last week, an NCAA official told me that former Iowa quarterback Drew Tate didn’t have to give back the $25,000 he won when he hit a hole-in-one in a charity event. Apparently it was the school’s interpretation that it would have violated his eligibility even though only now it has come out that it probably wouldn’t have.
After profiling the new deep-fried White Castle cheeseburgers that the Gateway Grizzlies will feature this season, I’ve received information on a bevy of new food items. The latest? The “HOMEWRECKER,” a, foot-long, half-pound hot dog with chili, nacho cheese and jalapenos on it. It’s being sold by the Charleston Riverdogs, one of many teams owned by Mike Veeck, Bill Murray and Marv Goldklang. The “HOMEWRECKER” costs $4 and for an additional $4 fans can get a trucker hat that has “HOMEWRECKER” written on it.
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