Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Worst Ad, Kragen & Bonds, Quinn: Readers Respond

Papelbon driving a yellow Lamborghini

Many of you are aware that Boston Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon won the worst athlete ad contest here on this blog for his work in spots for 125 Auto. In the advertisement, Papelbon is seen ordering his 2004 Hummer. Well, Papelbon must not have his deal with 125 Auto anymore. Alert reader Chris caught what looks to be Papelbon driving out of the player parking lot at Fenway Park last month in what Chris suggests is a yellow 2006 or 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo. 125 Auto doesn’t carry that type of vehicle.

Yesterday,I blogged about how I was told that Kragen Auto Parts received $5 million to $6 million in equivalent advertising from being the sign behind Barry Bonds when he hit his record-breaking blast. Several readers objected to that evaluation.

After reading your blog entry with a source that was quoted as saying Kragen received probably $5-6 million of equivalent advertising just because their sign was behind home plate at the time of Bonds HR 756, I have an idea for you. Poll a few people on the street or some of your co-workers if they haven't read your blog. Ask them if they have seen footage of the blast, and if so, ask them if they remember what company was on the backstop advertisement at the time of the shot.

I have seen the footage 6-10 times and I could never tell you it was Kragen. I've been more focused on the pitcher or Bonds hitting the ball to pay attention to the backstop sign.

I feel if you conducted a quick man-on-the-street poll, you would probably find out not many could recall it was Kragen and you could probably compute that your source in the blog entry was probably way over in how much Kragen got in equivalent advertising.

Robert Smathers, Albuquerque, NM

A couple others had a problem with the way I calculated how much money Brady Quinn had lost. This specific reader had a problem with the fact that I came up with the loss for Matt Leinart by comparing him to what Alex Smith got at the No. 1 position the year before. Then, the way I figured out Quinn was I compared how much he would get at No. 3 vs. No. 22 in the same year’s draft.

Come on Darren, that is a cop out on Brady's number. To do the real work you have to go back and look at Vince Young's number from the year before and then figure out the inflation on the bonuses. To toot your own horn was weak. You used two different formulas to come up with your money lost equation. Leinart to previous number one, Quinn to what he projected to be. I know the situation was a little bit different, but you could just as easily have said that Leinart was going to be the number one pick the year he did come out and compare his actual money to that of Mario Williams (No. 1 in Leinart’s draft). I was just a little disappointed in your oversimplification of this issue.

Brendan Glackin, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School '10

Here’s my defense, Brendan. Leinart was going to come out. I don’t think Brady ever really was. So that’s why I compared Leinart to the year before and Quinn to this year. For argument’s sake, let’s do your math. Vince Young at No. 3 got $25.7 million in guaranteed bonuses. That’s $26.5 million in today’s money. Quinn picked up $7.75 million in guarantees. So that’s $18.75 million. My call of $17 million the day after Quinn was drafted is still the closest prediction in the industry to that number.

I also received a lot of response from my running of the numbers for the minor league promotions, a study given to me by a company called Plan B. There was one reader who questioned the validity of the data.

One more thing to look at with Plan B.’s research regarding the effectiveness of promotions. First off, I can only speak of experience with my major league hometown club, the Cleveland Indians. Every Friday night home game has fireworks. Let’s face it -- kids love fireworks, and it’s easier for a family to make it out on the weekend than, say, a Tuesday night. Conversely, for the dollar hot dog promotions, these typically fall on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. I don’t think it’s a fair comparison to say the promotion had a negative effect in regards to “average” attendance, when “average attendance” includes weekend games with popular promotions such as fireworks and bobbleheads.

Rob Holub

Questions?  Comments?