Wins Don't Boost Stocks, Bode Miller, Collecting Bonds, Yankees vs. Mets & More
CNBC Sports Business Reporter
Too Bad Wins Don't Boost Stocks
Win on Sunday, buy on Monday. The people at BearingPoint only wish that were the case. Their big endorser Phil Mickelson won the Players on Sunday and gave them plenty of exposure on NBC's coverage of the event thanks to the branding on the visor. But don't expect a stock with a current market cap of $1.43 billion to receive any sort of boost from Mickelson's win alone.
Over the past three months, shares of BearingPoint -- a management and consulting technology company that is the former KPMG Consulting -- have dropped 15.5 percent and the stock is nine cents from hitting its 52-week low. In fact, if it breaks the $7.02 per share mark, it will be the lowest price for the stock since Oct. 28, 2005.
By the way, it's really impossible for me to evaluate BearingPoint as a sponsor because unlike most sponsors in the sports marketing space, which are business to consumer propositions, this is clearly a business-to-business buy. So it's hard to tell if they're really getting their bang for their buck. Bearing Point is one of the names that always come up when I'm talking to golf fans. They always tell me that they still have no clue what they do.
Bode Miller, The End?
This weekend, Bode Miller quit the U.S. Ski Team and, at least as far as sponsors in the U.S.
Too Bad Wins Don't Boost Stocks
are concerned, Miller will go down as one of the greatest marketing disasters of all time. Last year, I named his performance in the Olympics -- in which he disappointed his 10+ sponsors by going 0-for the medal stand -- the second biggest Olympic marketing bust (behind Dan and Dave). The bottom line was that this guy wasn't right for the spotlight. The only guys who could have benefited from Bode Miller were the folks at Bode & Grenier LLP, a law firm that likely got some extra hits from their Web site being www.bode.com.
On a strange note, a couple hours after it was reported that Miller quit the Ski Team, it was reported that his cousin killed a cop.
Collectibles Firm Offers Big Bucks For Bonds
Heritage Auctions is offering $1 million to the fan who catches Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run (No. 756), as long as the ball is verified by Major League Baseball and occurs within 15 days of the blast.
"The baseball that sets the mark could truly be considered 'priceless,' but we expect that that one million dollars will be very tempting to the fan that catches that ball."
Last year, Heritage sold what is believed to be Babe Ruth's 1933 All-Star jersey for $657,520. The most valuable ball is of course not No. 756, but the final ball that Bonds hits. I'd still be surprised if that ball surpasses the Mark McGwire 70 the home run ball price ($3.05 million) paid by Todd McFarlane.
Price Paid for Bonds' Home Run Balls
Not Selling Bonds
It's interesting to look at the attendance of the San Francisco Giants road games. It shows you that people aren't interested even remotely in Bonds' home run chase. The Giants' road attendance is 30,663 is 14th in the league in that category, behind the likes of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Florida Marlins.
Yankees vs. Mets
I've been in journalism long enough to know that anecdotal evidence is nice, but it does not a story make. In the Sunday's New York Times, there's a story about how New York Mets gear seems to be catching up to that of the Yankees. Author Michael Malone talks to bartenders, merchandise dealers and fans to come up with the assessment.
What's interesting is that if you look at the numbers nationally, it makes you realize how the Mets aren't even close to the Yankees in merchandise sales. In terms of total items sold this year, the Yankees made up 18.7 percent of all Major League Baseball team sales and 22.7 percent of the licensing money came from the Yankees, according to market tracking firm SportsOneSource.
Compare that with the Mets, who only made up 4.3 percent of total items sold and 5.3 percent of the dollars grossed from the sale of MLB items this year. The Mets might be creeping up in New York, but they aren't even close in countrywide sales.
Devil Rays Getting it Done!
It's 19 months into the regime of the whiz kids Andrew Friedman and Matthew Silverman. The two were hired as 29-year-olds by new Tampa Bay Devil Rays owner and options trader Stuart Sternberg to be the team's GM and president, respectively.
I must tell you that I'm very impressed with what these guys have done. I know, you must think I'm crazy. They're in last place in the AL East (again!) and they're only drawing 15,725 fans per game -- and just wait until this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, when they take their show to Disney World in Orlando and have trouble selling out the 9,500 seats per game in that stadium.
So why do I think Friedman -- who last worked at Bear Stearns -- and Silverman of Goldman Sachs are doing such a great job? Well, like the managing partner before them, Vince Naimoli, they've figured out that it doesn't pay to field a good team. If they can get 15,000 fans per game off a $24 million salary and get just as much as the Yankees get in merchandise sales and international television rights, they can make an awesome profit.
There aren't many owners willing to do this and that's why players are paid so much, but I've learned to appreciate the owners that are willing to put up a team that has no chance of winning. You know what? With increased revenue sharing and equal splits of a lot of the revenue streams, you get to own a major league team and not lose money.
Regional sports networks have been a good opportunity for high schools to get their sports games on television -- other than local access, that is. The problem, of course, is that, as the broadcasts get more professional, so too does the fine line between sponsorship and endorsement.
Such was the case on Sunday when I was watching a rerun of a high-school lacrosse game between John Jay and Garden City on the MSG Network. At the end of the game, the Garden City player who was named "Warrior of the Game" (Warrior, owned by New Balance, is the premiere name in lacrosse equipment) did a post-game interview wearing a green hat with a Warrior logo on it. There's no way that's permissible for a kid who likely is going to be a Division I-A lacrosse player.
Remember the stink that was created after then-USC-quarterback Matt Leinart was declared ineligible momentarily because he said "SportsCenter is next" after his team's victory over UCLA. Someone should be looking out for these kids before the NCAA catches on. Warrior's sponsorship is fine, but the hat implies an endorsement by the athlete.
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