Cabrera "Pays Off" Big With U.S. Open Win

El Pato Pays Out

Angel Cabrera
Angel Cabrera

The man they call "The Duck," (El Pato in Spanish) Angel Cabrera, was one of two players who finished under par after the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday. But oddsmakers didn't respect the 37-year-old, who had a previous U.S. Open high of a seventh place finish in 2001 and missed three of seven cuts in PGA Tour events this year. That's why on Friday morning, if you had a hunch for Cabrera, you could have dropped $100 to won north of $2,500 on Sunday. Wanted to wait until Sunday morning? You could have made more than $3,000 with you 100 bucks. Did anyone bet on him? Still not sure.

Cabrera's Sponsors
There was plenty of marketing exposure for Ping, which was on Cabrera's hat, shirt collar, back of neck and golf bag. Cabrera's left chest was sponsored by South African Airways, while his right sleeve was sponsored by Argentina Capital Markets. What's strange about the South African Airways deal is that the airline doesn't go to Argentina. The airline has had that placement on his shirt for the last year and half. Cabrera's caddie, Eddie Gardino, wore and adidas shirt and a hat that had a host of logos on it, including UBS.

Other U.S. Open Business Notes
After we reported on Thursday that there were rumors that Bubba Watson could soon be fronting a golf line called "Bubba Golf" at retailer Steve & Barry's, we watched close enough on Friday to see that Watson's shirt sleeve did say "Bubba Golf" with "Steve & Barry's" underneath. We also spotted Watson's towel that said, "Bubba Golf: Exclusively at Steve & Barry's." Have to say that this thing is strange since nothing is available yet and nothing has been announced. Watson, who hasn't won a professional tournament, finished in a tie for fifth.

Yesterday, Tiger was wearing Nike Golf’s suspension short sleeve mock in “color razzle with an ironstone jacquard.” Anyway you look at it, the guy looked ridiculous ripped.

I'm a big fan of Shingo Katayama's Nike cowboy hat. Katayama has always worn cowboy hats on the course, but Nike first started putting a swoosh on the hat in the summer of 2004. We've seen him wear white, black, tan and blue hats before, but Saturday and Sunday, Nike made new colors for Katayama - pink and neon green.

Transamerica spent a ton of money to pump up Zach Johnson, the Masters champion who they sponsor. Johnson finished in a tie for 45th at 20 over par.

My award for the coolest looking sponsorship goes to Camilio Villegas. Gotta love Juan Valdez (Café De Columbia) on the chest.

Hamilton Predators?
My prediction: RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie will back down on his agreement to own the Nashville Predators, just like his bid to own the Pittsburgh Penguins fell apart last year. Why? Because ultimately the league doesn’t him want him to move the team out of Nashville. Balsillie’s gone nuts since we first heard he had forged an agreement to buy the team. He’s taken 7,000 season ticket deposits in Hamilton, Ontario. What should the league do? They should let him move. The town has a half a million people, about 100,000 less than Nashville, but probably has well over 100,000 more hockey fans than Nashville does.

Freddy Adu Is Right On
Many of you know that I'm not a big fan of Freddy Adu since I believe he was a total hype machine. I still enjoy people who e-mail me saying that I don't know what I'm talking about. This despite the fact that, with Adu scoring only one goal in 10 games this season, he has only scored 12 goals in 6,317 minutes on the field - averaging one goal every six games. And while Adu hasn't really impressed me, I was psyched to see that he had enough guts to call off the league's next hype machine - David Beckham. "Just watch," Adu told the Los Angeles Daily News. "Beckham isn't the player who is going to score three goals a game, but everyone is going to expect him to score three goals a game." Adu is right. That's what I've said all along.

Look at Beckham's stats with Manchester United and Real Madrid. If you look at Beckham's stats, he scores a goal about once every five games. It's actually pretty simple math. Glad Adu was willing to do it for the public since people in this highlight-centric America still think Beckham is going to rip it up here. While we're on Beckham, the news out of Europe is that he might have re-aggrevated an ankle injury when his team won the Spanish League on Sunday with a win over Mallorca.

NASCAR Business
NASCAR is now suing AT&T for $100 million after the company - which bought Cingular - rebranded Jeff Burton’s car with AT&T logos. Cingular was grandfathered in when Nextel (now owned by Sprint ) agreed to a 10-year, $700 million deal for the exclusive title rights to NASCAR’s top level. Cingular was grandfathered into the deal, but you can bet Sprint Nextel isn’t pleased that AT&T by virtue of a merger now has its branding on a car. I’ve been told that there was language in the Nextel deal that would have prevented this situation. Obviously it wasn’t too clear. As for AT&T’s future, I haven’t heard anything yet about the brand coming back for the 2008 season, so it might not be a problem for next year. But if AT&T continues to race a car this year, you can bet Sprint Nextel is asking for a discount.

Dale Jr. seems to want his No. 8 and DEI actually might be willing to sell it to Hendrick. My advice. Take a new number. Get a new start. Prove how big you are. That’s exactly what Kobe Bryant did and it has served him well. Until Kobe finally gets traded and all the people who bought his No. 24 jersey this year get angry.

News, Notes & Links
When a friend told me about it, it sounded a little sketchy. It’s Burnloungeand it’s pitched as making money off your own iTunes store. But the FTC is now alleging that it’s basically a pyramid scheme in which early investors make money off the people that come in later. If this site goes down, it will bring some big athlete names with it, including Shaquille O’Neal, who signed to represent the Web site in September. Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and John Salley have been listed on the company’s materials. According to an article in “The State,”other investors include University of Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and ex-Clemson football coach Danny Ford. For its part the company says, “We believe that we are operating an innovative business that is legal and compliant with all of the applicable laws and regulations.”

Keep an eye on the name Blue Equity--a private equity firm that first acquired SFX Sports and has since purchased NFL agent Joel Segal's practice (Reggie Bush, Michael Vick) and Humarks, a sports management and events company in Argentina. The company announced this morning that they bought Team Championship International (TCI), owners of "Hoop It Up," "Let It Fly," and Kick It." While every firm that delves into the sports business loves to ink clients, the true money in the future is going to be in grassroots events like this with little startup cost, big sponsorship potential (Dick's Sporting Goods is the title sponsor of "Kick It") and no chance of defection (the biggest risk in the athlete business). Blue Equity is representing Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer in the upcoming NBA Draft.

Sorry to the folks at The Athlete’s Foot who worked hard a rebranding campaign that includes a new logo. Readers of this blog unanimously proclaimed that they liked the old one.

Interesting story from Richard Sandomir of the New York Times about the Big Ten Network.Oh joy, another great cable network battle to follow.

Questions? Comments?