Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Cars Beat Beer, Little "E," Playboy Athletes, Mayweather-De La Hoya II & Patent of the Week


Cars Beat Beer


Many reporters and columnists over the last couple of days have opined that baseball teams will not hesitate to do anything in their clubhouses about beer and we've seen that as more teams over the past couple days have decided to rid free beer from the locker rooms.

Then they tell you that nothing will likely happen in the stands because beer is a huge profit maker for the teams and beer companies spend so much money on baseball that there's a lot of politics behind doing anything more than the symbolic gesture of keeping alcohol out of the locker rooms.

But, let's remember, we're in this predicament not because Josh Hancock drank or because Tony LaRussa drank. We're here because they were drinking and driving. And while teams don't sell cars like they sell beer in the stands, realize that it's the drinking and driving enterprise that funds baseball. I usually like to bring some data along with me to prove my points, so I called the people at Nielsen Monitor-Plus, who do a remarkable job of monitoring television advertising. This is the first time that this data is being released.

Sure enough, out of all the companies that spend money advertising on baseball broadcasts, the top seven have to do with either drinking or driving. And, at least based on this list, if baseball cared about the dollars that were being pumped into their sport, they'd be more prudent to do something about the beer than the car.

That's reflective of the entire sports landscape as well. Here's the list from Nielsen Monitor-Plus of total sports television spending in 2006.

"Little E" and the Number 3

After announcing that he'd split from Dale Earnhardt Inc. today, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if Dale Earnhardt Jr. hooked up with Richard Childress and drove his father's No. 3. That would be unbelievable, but I doubt it will ever happen.

Earnhardt Jr. said he wanted to do a deal with his stepmother Theresa and DEI. I never really believed that. When you talk about family tension, these guys are right at the top of the list. I mean, his stepmother owned the poor kid's name until it became public when I wrote about it and they strangely settled days later. What's funny about that was that came the weekend of Father's Day last year. This weekend is of course Mother's Day.

In defense of Theresa, Earnhardt Jr. might have thought he was worth more than he really was. He has only one twice in the last 82 races (over three seasons) after winning six races in 2004 alone. Then again, I'm not sure how DEI is going to exist without the namesake's son. The best quote of the day on all of this is Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, who predicted that the free agent move would allow Junior to realize his true value:

"Dale Jr.'s announcement is every bit as significant as A-Rod's huge contract a few years back or Roger Clemens' extraordinary contract signing last week with the New York Yankees," Gossage said in a statement. "You can expect him to make as much - if not more - than Clemens' $28 million contract with the Yankees when you factor in his salary, sponsorships, personal services agreements and merchandising."

Amanda Beard & Playboy

To the delight of many, gorgeous Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard will appear in the July issue of Playboy magazine. Here's a close to complete list of athletes that have appeared in the magazine:

  • Katarina Witt, figure skater, 1998
  • Maria Butyrskaya, figure skater, 1998
  • Gabriella Reese, volleyball player, 2001
  • Amy Acuff, pole vaulter, 2004
  • Haley Clark, swimmer, Sept. 2004
  • Mary Sauer, pole vaulter, Sept. 2004
  • Zhanna Block, sprinter, Sept. 2004
  • Ineta Radevica, long jumper, Sept. 2004
  • Katie Vermeulen, sprinter, Sept. 2004
  • Fanni Juhasz, pole vault, Sept. 2004
  • Susan Tiedtke-Green, long jumper, Sept. 2004

Here are the athletes/personalities that turned down offers to appear in Playboy:

  • Lisa Harrison, WNBA player, 2001
  • Jill Arrington, Sideline Reporter, 2001
  • Carin Koch, LPGA golfer, 2002
  • Jennie Finch, softball player, 2004
  • Danica Patrick, IRL driver, 2006

Mayweather-De La Hoya II

Given that the first fight broke all the Pay-Per-View boxing records, there's going to have to be a second version of the Floyd-Oscar matchup. With the Pay-Per-View bonuses, De La Hoya is going to make about $45 million, while Mayweather will wind up with about $20 million. To put this in perspective (remember, the actual fight was 36 minutes), De La Hoya pulled in $1.25 million a minute, while Mayweather made $555,555 for each minute. And people were amazed that Roger Clemens will earn more than $800,000 per game.

Sports Patent of the Week: A Beer Cup with Free Binoculars?

Don't know if James S. Jacques' dream ever came to fruition, but we assume it didn't because we've never seen it. On Nov. 16, 1987, Jacques filed for a patent for "a novel drinking cup adaptable into binoculars." There is great value for this as a promotional or sellable item at a sports event.

Questions?  Comments?