A New Cubbies Name; A Zach Win; Random thoughts...

A New Cubbies Name:

Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai
Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai

We've heard them all as prospective Cubs owners when the team is sold at the end of the season, including Mark Cuban and Bill Murray. I'm going to a throw a name in the hat that I think is worth considering: Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. While the ruler of Dubai hasn't shown much previous interest in baseball, he has shown plenty of interest in sports. He is the leading partner in Godolphin Stables, which features $1 billion in horses, and was in the running to buy Liverpool before it was purchased by George Gillett. Buying the Cubs would be about the vehicle - not necessarily about the Cubs themselves. Ultimately, he wants to promote Dubai and - more importantly to this story -- his family's airline, Emirates Air. The Sheikh already partnered with a company called the Human Interest Group out of Colorado who have helped them sign triathletes to promote the city of Dubai. So here's where things get interesting and why I think this royal family is interested. I went on Emirates.com and I couldn't get a direct flight from Chicago to Dubai. I'm assuming that Chicago O'Hare would be a big piece of their puzzle, considering that they're building the world's largest airport. Spending $700 million for the Cubs would be a drop in the bucket for those guys and it would be the most public way to get their name out there. Now obviously, there will be major obstacles to this. People go nuts when an owner isn't local. How will they think when an owner is what, 7,500 miles away?

The Yankees Dominate:
The New York Yankees might be 2-3 after a loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday afternoon, but they are clearly the most dominate team in 2007. What am I talking about? Merchandise, of course. I just got last week's numbers from SportScanINFO, the market tracking research firm, and I'm astounded by the percentage of the market the Yankees are pulling. Since January 1, 20.4 percent of every MLB item sold has been Yankees and 25 percent of the money spent on MLB items have been Yankees items. Here's the rundown in unit sales, which I think is the more relevant number, according to SportScanINFO. Now remember, all revenues are split equally.

1. New York Yankees - 20.4 percent
2. St. Louis Cardinals - 8.6 percent
3. Detroit Tigers - 7.8 percent
4. Boston Red Sox - 7.5 percent
5. Chicago Cubs - 6.9 percent
6. Chicago White Sox - 5.4 percent
7. Los Angeles Dodgers - 4.1 percent
8. New York Mets - 4.0 percent

Winning From Zach:
Zach Johnson's big Masters win was a huge win for Aegon, one of the world's largest life insurance and pension companies. Aegon received the best exposure from being on Johnson's hat. It wasn't like it was a last second deal to get a bang for the buck. The company has been on Johnson's dome since at least 2004. It wasn't my favorite sponsorship. I just love that Grey Goose sponsors Retief Goosen.

"Blades of Glory":
Not surprisingly, Will Ferrell's film topped the box office for the second straight week. "Blades of

Blades of Glory
Blades of Glory

Glory" has earned an amazing $68.4 million in just 10 days in the theatres. Orbitz, which sponsors the film's World Wintersport Games, had its logo on the screen for 1 minute and 45 seconds and, thanks to the amount of people that have seen the film, that's been worth more than $1 million to the brand, according to sponsorship evaluation firm Joyce Julius & Associates. Puma's presence in the film has been worth more than $800,000 and adidas' place in the film has been worth more than $700,000. According to BrandCameo, it's the most branded film of 2007, with 57 brands in it. Here's the list, for your entertainment: 7-Eleven, adidas, Airwalk, Arthur Murray Dance Studios, Aveeno, Budweiser, Capri-Sun, Captain Morgan, CBS, Chevrolet, Cigar Aficionado, Cool Whip, Crest, Cup Noodles, DC Shoes, Dunkin' Donuts, ESPN, Fiji, Foot Locker, Forbes, Google, Honda, Honeycomb, Johnson & Johnson, Lincoln, Mane 'n Tail, Maxim, Men's Health, Milk Duds, Money, Nationwide, Nintendo Game Boy, Orbitz, Original Penguin, Pepsi, Philips, Pioneer, Pop-Tarts, PUMA, Robeks, Salomon, Sealy Posturepedic, Sennheiser, Skittles, Slim Jim, SoBe, Sports Illustrated, Subway, The North Face, Time, TrimSpa, Trojan, Verizon, Volvo, VTech, Xbox and Zamboni.

Spira Sues USATF And IAAF:
I'm not sure if you've ever heard of Spira footwear. They're basically these shoes that have this WaveSpring technology. From what I've experience -- and yes, I've worn them -- it helps absorb the impact every time you step. And no, it's not exactly like Nike Shox. Well, anyway, the governing bodies of running have banned spring technology, which in turn means that most competitive runners are scared to wear the brand for fear that their time will be disqualified. So what did these guys do? First, they launched an incredible "Banned in Boston" campaign last year, offering $1 million to any person that won the Boston Marathon in their shoes. The race organizer gave $100,000 to the winner. It didn't happen, but it certainly garnered a lot of attention. But now it has come to the next step. On Monday, the company announced they filed a lawsuit against the International Amateur Athletic Federation and the United States Association of Track and Field, alleging that their Rule 143 -- which bans shoes with springs -- constitutes a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and a restraint of trade.

Win, Or It's Free:
We've seen the teams that have offered a season ticket rebate if the team didn't make the playoffs, but we've never seen a "If we don't win the game, the game is on us" deal. Well, Russ Cline - the owner of the National Lacrosse League team the Philadelphia Wings - is guaranteeing that his team will win its final home game this Friday against the Minnesota Swarm. If they lose, each fan will receive a free ticket to any Wings home game of their choice next season.

Visa Launches Friendship Lanes Tour:

2008 Olympics Beijing
2008 Olympics Beijing

Visa announced on Monday that its top sponsored Olympic swimmers -- Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff -- will take part in a tour of goodwill this week to support the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Phelps, an eight-time Olympic medalist and now a 17-time World Champion, began his relationship with Visa right before the 2000 Games. Hoff, the world record holder in the 400m individual medley, started her sponsorship of Visa after the 2004 Games.

Random Thoughts:
I love the fact that DirecTV made a commercial with Rick Vaughn, I'm just waiting for American Express to bring back Willie Mays Hays so he can tell me not to steal home without it … I'm so glad James Dolan gave Isiah Thomas a contract extension for "evident progress." Since the day of that announcement, the Knicks have gone 3-10 and it looks like they will miss the playoffs for the third straight year … How horrendous is the Charlotte Bobcats attendance? We thought the disaster that was the Hornets was all about George Shinn, but in a new arena, the Bobcats are at 15,466 fans per game - down 5 percent from last year. They've already announced that they're going to cut season tickets for the second time in four years … Seems like the folks at Iowa State are really excited for their new head football coach Gene Chizik. Reports out of Cycloneland indicate that they've already sold 31,450 season tickets, an all-time record. The school's Jack Trice Stadium only holds 50,000 … Who cares about Carl Edwards' Busch wins? The guy who had a chance to be the most marketable guy in NASCAR hasn't won a Nextel race since November 2005.

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