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The Orlando Magic Refund, Kobe's Jersey And More

Monday, 11 Jun 2007 | 10:55 AM ET
Billy Donovan
AP
Billy Donovan

Kudos to the Orlando Magic who told me today that they are willing to refund the money paid by any of the 200 season ticket holders, who bought seats after Billy Donovan was hired as head coach. Orlando Magic spokesman Joel Glass said that the team was in the process of contacting each of the new season ticket holders one by one. "So far we've had some people who said they are going to stick with us and others have said they will wait until free agency," said Glass, who noted that he didn't know of anyone who elected to cancel.

While it's a good PR move, the Magic likely didn't have to have legally do this. There's two good

cases on this. One that I've referenced before, in which Ottawa Senators season ticket holders got their lawsuit thrown out after they alleged they were owed when Alexei Yashin went through his holdout in the 1999-00 season.

The second one is Strauss v. Long Island Sports, in which Nets season ticket holders sued when they traded their star Julius Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers in 1977. Although the Nets season ticket holders claimed the Nets specifically advertised Dr. J, it was deemed that it was hard to prove that fans bought their tickets just because of Erving and that the trade was within the normal risk of buying season tickets. Not sure if the Stan's The Man call to action ad is going to do the same thing as Donovan's did.

Kobe Bryant "24" Jersey
Kobe Bryant "24" Jersey

Kobe Tops Jersey Sales List
For all those who said that Kobe Bryant was unmarketable after his sexual assault charge, read this sentence: Kobe Bryant is the NBA’s best selling jersey again. Bryant beat out the likes of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Allen Iverson, according to sales at the NBA Store in New York City and from NBAStore.com.

Since Bryant was the best selling jersey for the 2002-03 season, four different players have won the best selling jersey title. The following year, LeBron James was No. 1, then Shaquille O’Neal’s move to the Miami Heat gave "the Big Aristole" the title and O’Neal’s teammate Dwyane Wade was the No. 1 jersey last year.

Although sources have always told me that Bryant changed his jersey number from No. 8 to No. 24 because he didn’t want adidas to make retro shoes without him getting a piece, it’s hard to argue that the change wasn’t an absolutely brilliant marketing move.

Since Bryant has been No. 8 for his entire NBA career and he has been with the L.A. Lakers for the duration, it might have been hard for him to achieve the number one spot without changing it up. The fact that he could get to No. 1 proves that he is marketable again.

Now it’s time to see if any blue chip companies, aside from Nike -- who he recently signed an extension with -- come after him. All we’ve seen so far is a Carl’s Jr. bobblehead and Bryant gracing the cover of Sony’s “NBA ‘07” video game.

Check out the list below. I’m honestly really surprised by the move of Steve Nash. Since the list has come out, I never remember Nash ever being in the top 10. Love Gilbert Arenas at No. 9. The man has made No. 0 the second coolest number after No. 23.

Here’s a list of the top 15 players:
1. Kobe Bryant
2. Dwyane Wade
3. LeBron James
4. Allen Iverson
5. Steve Nash
6. Carmelo Anthony
7. Stephon Marbury
8. Dirk Nowitzki
9. Gilbert Arenas
10. Vince Carter
11. Tracy McGrady
12. Shaquille O’Neal
13. Paul Pierce
14. Ben Wallace
15. Tim Duncan

LeBron & Car Deal
USA Today mentioned that LeBron James is expected to sign with a carmaker and a cell phone company. If the car brand is not Hummer, it should come at a massive discount. All that free exposure that LeBron gave the brand when he was a senior in high school -- remember when he brought the mini remote controlled Hummer out on the basketball court -- might actually come back to hurt him. Why? Because he’s so associated with Hummer that it’s hard to believe that he can convince the public that he really drives anything else. Why then would a sports marketer at another car brand pay big bucks to ink LeBron?

French Open Brought To You By Nike
Both men finalists Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer endorse Nike , so I thought I'd have some fun on Sunday counting up the swooshes on their outfits (Only a sports business reporter would do this for entertainment by the way). The total count I got on Federer on the average outfit was six (two on shoes, two on socks, one on shorts and one on headband), while Nadal averaged nine (two on shoes, two on socks, one on shorts, two on wristbands, one on headband and one on shirt). We were kind of wondering why Federer had a logoless Nike top. What were they thinking?!

Time To Count Out Wie?
Write up another horrendous chapter who shot an 85 and a 79 in her final two rounds this weekend to finish 21 over par in the LPGA Championship. For those counting, Wie is now 0-for-33 in LGPA events and 0-for-10 in men's events. We're not calling her totally unmarketable yet, but we're revising out call the dogs off number to 0-for-65 given the meltdown factor.In March, I said that it would be over for Wie at 0-for-75.

Under Armour Sightings
Under Armour got a nice plug in the final episode of the "Sopranos," the brand’s fourth placement in the series. When A.J. went for a run, he was wearing a UA Coldgear mock. Under Armour also had a sighting at the Tony Awards in the introduction -- one of the actors was wearing UA. That’s the good news. Now for the bad news.

Here’s the latest report from Margaret Mager and Brad Cragin of Goldman Sachs, who are reducing their target price for UA from $50 to $45: “The expectations, as reflected in the lofty evaluation, surrounding how quickly Under Armour can grow appear unrealistic. Investors seem focused solely on sales, overlooking two recent expense related downward estimate revisions. We see growth strains manifesting in management depth (women’s, international); need to redefine the women’s product, target customer, and marketing message; footwear fit issues in cleated, timing of next category launch; awakened competition overseas where UA brand awareness is low; gross margin management; and replenishment inventory management.”

Penn State Goes Nuts For Tickets
The Penn State student section (21,000 seats) sold out in 59 minutes. The school claims that is the second largest allotment in all of college sports. The sale was held by Ticketmaster for the first time ever. The local paper, the Centre Daily,said that within hours the $190 student season ticket package was being scalped for $1,000.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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