Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

More Fame For LeBron's Hummer; Odds Against The Triple Crown

Working Out With Steve Nash
Phoenix Suns guard and two-time MVP Steve Nash has signed a partnership with Leonard Schlemm, co-founder of 24 Hour Fitness, to open a $5 million, 38,000-square foot fitness facility in downtown Vancouver called -- The Steve Nash Sports Club. The interior will be Nash-inspired, with specialized lighting, large graphic panels at the top of the steel and glass staircase, and a backdrop accent wall of bamboo designed to look like a basketball court. Nash, who is Canadian, has several other endorsement deals including the beverage Clearly Canadian.

Will There Ever Be Another Triple Crown Winner?
I was on the radio with one of my favorite voices the other day, Jim Kozimor from KHTK in Sacramento, and we were talking about Barbaro. And I told Jim that I thought -- given the state of the horse-racing business -- that it’s possible that we may never have another Triple Crown winner again. Here’s my rationale: Once your horse wins the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness -- especially if it’s by wide margins -- the horse is worth some $25 million at stud alone. So, unless you are some sheik from Dubai, it’s possible that there’s no sound business reason in going on to the Belmont, when the insurance costs will be more that the prize alone. Now glory does mean something -- it’s why team owners spend ridiculous amounts of money to win -- but it’s pretty scary that this is even close to possible. Can you imagine how ESPN execs would feel if an owner had pulled a horse that had won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness (on NBC Sports) out of the Belmont, for fear it would get hurt?

LeBron And His Hummer
I always maintained that LeBron James will have a hard time maximizing a car endorsement deal. He’s so connected with the Hummer H2 that he got for his 18th birthday, that no company with a brand other than Hummer would pay big bucks to sign him. Remember the toy Hummer he rolled out? That was classic. Anyway, despite the fact that he hasn’t signed a formal car deal, James isn’t shying away from the Hummer connection. His birthday gift will be featured on Speed TV’s season opening episode of a show called “Unique Whips,” which debuts on Feb. 21.

Stay Tuned:
I'm heading down to the Super Bowl. I'll be in Miami tonight, so check back for reports throughout the week from Super Bowl XLI (Zilly).

Questions?  Comments?