Matt Leinart, James Blake And Nike's Decision

We begin today by offering you a hodgepodge of sports business commentary. We’ll start with Matt Leinart’s signature.


This is the worst part of the collectibles industry right now. I pulled this out of an Upper Deck pack. I realize that penmanship isn’t everyone’s thing, but I have to think if you’re a Leinart fan, you’re disappointed with the way his John Hancock looks. I'm not sure if this is how Leinart's signature normally looks or, as is the case with many of these things, this happened to be one of the last in a batch of signed stickers. I'd like to think it could be better considering Leinart got about $40 to sign this one card.

James Blake who switched from Dunlop to Prince and back to Dunlop after he couldn’t play with Prince’s new technology has been promoting Dunlop rackets since the summer. For those who haven't seen it, here's his latest ad:


I have to say that I was shocked by Nike’s decision to sell its Starter brand last week, along with abandoning plans for its low-cost Tailwind brand. I know that Nike and Wal-Mart probably don’t work well together, but I thought that Nike should have a low-cost answer to Steve & Barry’s.

In an interview with me yesterday, Nike president Charlie Denson responded: “It’s something right now we felt is a great opportunity for us, we learned a lot with the Starter brand, but it really didn’t represent where we think our biggest opportunities are. We believe that the biggest opportunities for the brand are here in basketball as a premium brand. We believe that, as we continue to look at our portfolio, the idea that we continue to build bigger footprints in each of the major categories is something that we focus on and that’s why you saw what you did with Starter.”

I’ll leave you with this. When we talk about a school seeing a huge application boost, it’s usually from winning a national championship. Well, Appalachian State is projecting a 20-25 percent increase in freshman applications for 2008-09 thanks in large part to its victory over Michigan to open the season.

Questions? Comments?