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St. Paddy's Day Sports: NBA, Tiger, NCAA

CNBC.com

St. Patrick's Day retail spending is supposed to be down this year, according to the National Retail Federation, but I'm not sure that's going to be the case in the sports world, which has experienced a major bump in recent years.

The NBA saw a 28 percent increase from '06 to '07 at the NBA Store in Manhattan and at NBA.com in everything green (this year four teams will wear green -- Raptors, Bulls, Celtics and Knicks). Major League Baseball's licensed sales increased about 35 percent from '06 to '07, with the Red Sox and Yankees carrying most of those sales.

Speaking of Red Sox and Yankees, the two play today in a Spring Training game in Tampa. StubHub.com is calling it its best selling spring training game in company history, based on both dollar volume and actual tickets sold. The average price for a ticket to the exhibition game is an amazing $134, with $470 being the most paid for a ticket. The demand is so high that it is outsold 24 of last year's regular season games on the site.

So Tiger Wins Again
This time he sinks a 25-foot birdie putt to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. I have to give it to my colleagues at NBC Sports who had the gall to run commercials towards the end of the week that mentioned the fact that Woods was undefeated on the year. Amazing that can be a selling point--a pro golfer being undefeated. But as long as it's in the back of viewers minds, the network might as well advertise it.

The fact that Tiger, after winning a non-major, was on the cover of both the New York Post and the New York Daily News on the day after NCAA tournament brackets were released either speaks to how big Tiger is or how insignificant college basketball is in New York.

Promoting March Madness
I've seen pretty horrible NCAA March Madness promotions, but I'm going to give the early creativity award to the guys at Coca-Cola . I really enjoyed the work they did on their Bracketomaticwhere you get to choose a variety of factors and it will fill out the bracket for you. But what I like even more is their awesome multi-level T-shirt gun game that I found on CBS Sportsline at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. To play, click here.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com