No More Texting; NASCAR Ratings; "Money" Carlo & More

Read My Phone, No More Texting:

For the past couple years, college football and basketball coaches have gone nuts text messaging recruits. The reason is pretty simple -- coaches are limited in the number of phone calls they can make, but there are no restrictions on text messaging. That might all come to an end August 1. The process will start today as the NCAA's management council considers a proposal to prohibit the practice, limiting non-voice communication to email and fax. If the management council recommends the ban, it will go on to the NCAA board of directors for final approval. When new University of Kentucky head basketball coach Billy Gillespie was hired, Kentucky's athletics director Mitch Barnhart said Gillespie's "got the fastest thumbs in America," referencing the fact that Gillespie reportedly averages 8,000 text messages a month.

Why NASCAR Ratings Might Be Down:

So NASCAR television ratings are down 14 percent from where they were last season and first quarter trackside revenue from the International Speedway Corporation, which owns 12 NASCAR tracks, shows that attendance and concession sales are down. A New York Times article yesterday speculated that NASCAR might have peaked. What's interesting is that the long article somehow doesn't talk about the fact that the decline in ratings might have something to do with the rather obvious fact that the sport's two biggest stars have fallen. How about using this stat in the story? In the last 50 races, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have combined to win four of them. In fact, Earnhardt Jr. is two for his last 80 races. In 2004 – the year that NASCAR's television ratings in New York peaked -- Earnhardt Jr. won six races and Gordon won five times.

"Money" Carlo:

It's appropriate that many of the world's top tennis players were playing in Monte Carlo this weekend at the Monte Carlo Masters Series. That's because as we all thought about our taxes, residents of Monaco didn't have any income taxes to worry about. I couldn't go through the bio of every player on the ATP, but – just from eyeballing it – it doesn't look like the numbers of players flocking to Monaco are increasing. There are many things appealing about the country besides the no taxes – 300 days of sun and pro tennis players are given free membership to the Monte Carlo Country Club – but the problem is that things are negated when considering the fact that Monaco is extremely expensive and -- the bigger factor -- taxes are being taken from the country that they play in. Pro tennis players who live in Monaco include: Novak Djokovic, Ivan Lubjcic, Mario Ancic, Tomas Berdych, Dominik Hrbaty, Radek Stepanek, Marat Safin, Robin Soderling, Jonas Bjorkman, Thomas Johansson, Davide Sanguinetti, Lukas Dlouhy, and Joachim Johansson.

The Story Behind "West Virgina":

You might have heard the story. A couple weeks ago, when the West Virginia Mountaineers won the NIT title, the players took to the court in championship 'West Virgina' shirts. I've been efforting to get the story behind the story for a couple weeks now and I finally found it on the Web site of 6th Man Sportswear, the company that made the shirts. Said the company's webmaster Richard Kennedy: "In the case of the 'West Virgina' design, the graphic design people didn't notice the missing 'I'. Neither did anyone at 6th Man Sportswear. The Web guy (me) didn't notice either, nor did any folks at the Garden. The final game ends, West Virginia triumphs, the shirts go on, and the rest is history." By the way, since the company only made 25 of the misspelled shirts, a couple entrepreneurs have seen this as an opportunity as some shirts like this one have found their way to eBay.

The Shoe Report:

When market retail tracking firm SportsOneSource reported its March numbers this week, it attributed Nike's low single-digit sales increase in part due to Jordan XX2 and strong retro Air Jordan III sales. It's amazing that Jordan is Nike's most relevant endorser so many years after he stepped off the court…. Reebok recently launched a global campaign to promote running as a non-competitive sport. Reebok's "Run Easy" campaign had better work as the brand is in a death spiral right now. SportsOneSource reports that Reebok's share of the running shoe market is -- get this -- less than 1 percent (.9 percent).

Marketing Aaron:

This Tuesday, the Milwaukee Brewers are scheduled to announce the spot that will symbolize the landing location of Hank Aaron's record 755th home run, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Don Walker. The Brewers are employing Alan J. Horowitz, associate academic program director of civil engineering and mechanics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, to help them. Walker notes that an actual plaque is scheduled to be unveiled in June. Barry Bonds is currently 18 home runs away from Aaron's record.

Cold Promotion:

After playing two games in freezing temperatures and suffering another "freeze out," the marketing staff of the Salem Avalanche, the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros, will get creative today with Anti-Freeze Monday. Whatever the temperature is as of 5:30 p.m. local time, that's what fans will pay -- rounded to the nearest nickel. Right now forecasts call for the weather to be around 49 degrees at that time, meaning fans will be paying 50 cents a ticket. The Avalanche will also give away ice cube trays to the first 250 fans, have a frozen t-shirt contest and play cold weather and holiday music, including "Ice Ice Baby."

Questions? Comments?