Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Michael Vick: Rating Those Dogfighting T-Shirts

When Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault, we saw a few nifty entrepreneurs come up with T-shirts to try to cash in on the news. There were the Kobe Bryant T-shirts were made to look like a jersey, with Kobe's number on it and "Colorado Prison League" on the front. One supporter made a "Free Kobe" shirt. But never in the history of sports have we seen the cottage industry that has become Michael Vick dogfighting T-shirts.

Do a search on noted homemade T-shirt site Cafepressand you'll find an amazing 224 designs on 6,460 different products-–almost every design having a version that a dog could wear, of course. Today, I'm rating what I think are the best four in ascending order:

4. "Even Hannibal Lecter Is Against Dogfighting."   Pretty simple, but a great one to wear up close the next time Vick appears at the courthouse.


3. "Vick Should Be Put Down." This shirt is definitely for someone who is quite angry with the allegations against Vick. If you wear it, be prepared to potentially get in conversations about the topic on the street.


2. "Neuter Vick and Hold The Anesthesia" This shirt wins my vote for the best use of a nutcracker in a t-shirt. This quality of this T-shirt in terms of the clarity seems to be the best of the bunch.



1. "Smells Like Mike: Tastes Like Chicken"   Very clever shirt that appears to be for dogs only. It's the best of the "Vick: It's What's For Dinner" merchandise.


More Vick Notes
As expected, there are at least 12 auctions on eBay from people that are selling cards that are apparently the cards that Upper Deck and Donruss are pulling from the 2007 sets. I'm not sure if they are legitimate or not,but this guy claims to be selling a lot of seven Upper Deck cards that you won't be able to find.

As many of you know, last week I was in Beijing, so I didn't have much time to comment on all things Vick. But I was shocked that Rawlings announced that they were severing their contract with the Atlanta Falcons quarterback. Why? Because the company did such a hideous job of promoting their relationship with him in the first place, this was actually the first time I had ever heard that Rawlings even had a relationship with Michael Vick.

Effectiveness of Minor League Promotions
One of my favorite books is Bill Veeck's "Veeck As In Wreck."The best part of the book is when he talks about why fireworks pay as a promotion, whichI recapped in my book "On The Ball."

If Veeck's team lost and there were no fireworks, he'd pull in X dollars in concessions. But if the team had fireworks that night, he'd make at least 1.4 times that number. Well, the good folks at Plan B. Branding have done some excellent work to quantify what minor league promotions worked last season and which ones didn't. According to Plan B, Minor League team promotions accounted for more than 63 percent of game days and the promotion days saw 17 percent more fans in the ballpark.

Years later, fireworks were still the most popular promotion (707 times) and also increased attendance by the largest average--29 percent. Surprisingly, 33 years after the mascot started, the Famous Chicken is still very popular. Appearances by the Chicken increased minor league attendance by 19 percent, making it the third most popular promotion in minor league baseball and the most effective performance act in 2006, according to the study.

Plan B. also detailed the worst promotions, which actually had a negative effect on attendance. One dollar hot dog days were offered 56 times, but 54 percent fewer fans showed up. Discounted beer night also didn't do it. It was offered 17 times at minor league parks across the country, but somehow 71 percent fewer fans showed up than on an average night. Twelve Jimmy Buffett tributes also didn't do the trick. Attendance was down 30 percent as compared to the average on those nights.

Questions?  Comments?