Friday Sports Biz Round-up

Bonds Endorsing Conte?


So yesterday, I read that Victor Conte, the mastermind of BALCO, is back with a new company -- this time selling legal supplements. Conte, of course, went to jail for four months for his part in BALCO, but many of his customers, including the future home run champ Barry Bonds, are still being eyed by the Feds.

So you can imagine my shock when I go to Conte's new Web site and see Bonds and his trainer Greg Anderson on the front page as if they are endorsing his new company. Both are wearing ZMA hats, which stand for Conte's popular zinc magnesium supplement.

I spoke with Bonds' marketing agent Jeff Bernstein, who told me that Bonds could soon be pulled off the front of the site. "Victor Conte is not a party to any active deals that Barry currently has," Bernstein said. "We just found out about this. I'll be talking with his enforcement people to see what the next steps will be."

Even if it was for legit supplements, I don't think the athletes listed in the "athletes" section on Conte's new Web site are too pleased that they are being associated as customers: Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Ivan Lendl, Dan Marino and Terrell Davis, among others.

Just Quinn, Baby!

Brady Quinn is hands down the most marketable guy in this weekend's NFL Draft. He passes

Brady Quinn
Brady Quinn

almost all tests. People already know him from his college career. He has a huge built in fan base with Notre Dame backers. He's a great talker and he's got those All-American model looks. He already has deals with Nike, EAS, Subway, Hummer, Sprint and Xbox.

Almost everyone has him going No. 3 to Cleveland, which his marketer Howard Skull told me would be ideal because he grew up in Ohio. There's one major issue with the Browns, however. One insider told me that Romeo Crennel is very much a team guy and comes close to discouraging guys to do too much off-the-field activity. Nonetheless, Braylon Edwards was featured on Pepsi cans and on Nike billboards around town.

I'm not really sold on anyone else really. They all have to prove themselves in their own markets. No one has really stood out from a personality standpoint -- other than maybe Gaines Adams, who I can tell is really a guy who loves to laugh. Whoever goes to the Raiders -- let's say it's Jamarcus Russell -- will get a nice jump on jersey sales, as the Raiders fans really need someone to buy.

Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas, who is expected to go in the top five tomorrow, turned down the NFL's invitation to be live at the draft. Instead, he has chosen to go fishing with his father and football coach. But have no fear; Corporate America will have a part in the festivities. When the NFL Network cuts to Thomas, he'll be wearing hunting and fishing gear provided to him by Under Armour, who has signed him to an endorsement deal.

NFL Network Needs Draft Exclusively

Let's go through everything the NFL Network has done to try to get some cable carriers to take them on. They've hired big talent in Rich Eisen. They let about $400 million on the table to broadcast six regular season football games a year and they've made the combine a television event. The problem is that it's still not enough to convince the cable carriers that this needs to be carried on their regular packages.

The draft, on an exclusive basis, would be a nice get for the NFL Network, but that's not even on the radar. While they currently broadcast alongside ESPN for the draft -- trust me, most of you are watching the latter -- the way I understand it is ESPN has the rights to the NFL Draft through 2013 as part of the Monday Night Football package for which the network agreed to pay the league $1.1 billion a year.

Where Did Those Chicago Bears Super Bowl Champion T-Shirts Go?

I always wanted to follow the losing Super Bowl t-shirts to Africa. The NFL doesn't want the shirts destroyed, but they obviously can't be sold in this country. This year, thousands of Chicago Bears Super Bowl XLI champs shirts and hats went to Zambia. A total of $2 million worth of goods was donated by Dick's Sporting Goods, Reebok and The Sports Authority. Click below to watch the story.

Schilling Responds

We expected Baltimore Orioles announcer Gary Thorne to back off his comment that Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling painted his sock during the 2004 World Series.

And we also expected Curt Schilling to rip people to shreds on his blog. Here's the highlight: "Someone gave me a great idea to end this once and for all. No one will ever need to bring it up again. I'll wager one million dollars to the charity of anyone's choice, versus the same amount to ALS. If the blood on the sock is fake, I'll donate a million dollars to that persons charity; if not, they donate that amount to ALS. Any takers?"

Taco Bell - At It Again

7-Layer Crunchwrap
7-Layer Crunchwrap

The folks at Taco Bell have come up with some pretty cool marketing ideas and this next one isn't bad. In order to promote its new 7-Layer Crunchwrap, the fast food brand is encouraging fans to log on to the Web site for the "7 Layers of Love" contest.

You have to submit the seven reasons why your special person would be lucky to marry you. If you win, your "Will You Marry Me?" proposal will be featured on the virtual signage behind home plate during a national television baseball game on FOX on 7/7/07.

I'm sure the Crunchwrap is good, but it can't be as good as Taco Town.

News & Notes

Jeff Jordan has announced that he is off to Illinois. Jordan's son will probably do more benchriding than playing, but it should be interesting to see if pops, Michael Jordan, pumps in any money to the program…
Brian Urlacher's famous Vitaminwater has arrived on eBay, thanks to a woman who wore it in a radio auction. The current bid on the offending hat has topped $14,000 in bids…
It's Barbaro's fourth birthday on Sunday, but more importantly, it's also the three month anniversary of the horse's death. How do we not know where this horse is going to be buried yet?…
Upper Deck is close to selling out its UD Premier Baseball packs at $300 apiece. Each pack includes an autographed card and two memorabilia cards. Collectors can pull Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson signatures, among others.Questions? Comments?