Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Plan B., Yao And T-Shirts: Readers Respond

Yesterday, I wrote about how a company called Plan B. found out that 71 percent fewer fans showed up on discounted beer night. This surprised me a little bit, but not some readers.

From Larry Rascak:
Personally I would avoid discount beer night like the plague, simply because I would not want to be at a ballgame (or in the parking lot, or driving home) with the sort of people who would go to a game just to drink a lot of cheap beer. Is this really that big a surprise? I don't want myself, much less my wife and kids, sitting in front of the sort of loud, crude, rowdy, drunk losers that get excited over the fact that flavorless domestic beer is now only 1/2 as overpriced as it regularly is.

Talking about how Yao Ming wasn’t as much of a force in Beijing as I thought he would be also elicited plenty of reader e-mail.

From Howard Chou:
I do agree with you that China is trying to mimic the US styles, but not seeing Yao all over the place does not mean that they look to Western stars first. Do not make the assumption that Yao is not regarded because you don't see his advertisements or basketball jerseys or on Gatorade bottles. We are taught to be humble for the most part and we don't need to see him on a Billboard or wear number 11 to have pride in him.

John Kim writes:
Since Yao has come over to the US, what things has he won? He has never won a gold medal, never won the NBA championship, he hasn't even won a playoff series. One thing I did notice was the constant deluge that I saw with (2004 Olympic gold medalist hurdler) Liu Xiang over Beijing--I mean everywhere. Liu Xiang remember is someone from Shanghai as well instead of Beijing. The Chinese people, I believe love Liu Xiang more over there because of the fact that he wins almost everything he enters into. Barring any significant injury this next year, Liu pretty much can almost be guaranteed either a gold or silver in next year games. I don't even think they think Yao will win anything in the Olympics.

And from Anonymous:
The Yao Ming jersey stat--whenever quoted--is always misleading for several reasons. First, being the land of intellectual property theft, I suspect (but obviously have no sales numbers to back it up) that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of fake Yao jerseys out there (along with everyone else). Second, the official NBA jerseys which have been sold in China (both under Reebok and adidas) have been Swingman line--which, like in the US, are priced at 70USD or a little over 500 RMB--which isn't really affordable to a large portion of the Chinese population. Thirdly, Yao is far and away the most popular NBA player amongst the general Chinese population. But among basketball fans and players (who are more likely to buy jerseys) kids--and they're mostly kids--want players they can imitate on the court. McGrady, Kobe, Iverson top the list--like they do globally. Those millions of Yao fans? They're Yao fans, and not basketball fans nor NBA fans. If Yao isn't playing--they're not watching. Sure, the league is trying to convert those fans, but I suspect a lot of them are like my uncle or the guy who sells me watermelons everyday--they really couldn't care less about KG signing in Boston or Rashard Lewis taking $135 million to move to Orlando. Their only concern is Yao.

Others wanted to help me out with my clothing after I fitted for a XXL at the Nike store on Friday.

Robert Kneip wrote:
I spent nine months in Beijing last year and I am always fascinated with what other people think of being over there. Similar to you, I also sometimes experienced some trouble with finding clothing that would fit me. I am 6' 2" and about 190 and I came up with a very simple solution while I was over there: Custom made clothing. You should really check it out, its worth every penny when you get clothing tailored to your liking.

Robert Kneip Questions?  Comments?

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