NBA General

NBA is looking for more dorks

so.. uh.. now what?

David Stern and Company doesn’t just want the NBA in all four corners of the world, they are also unleashing it into the virtual world of Second Life. Second Life is a online world where you can be just as bored as you are in real life, except maybe you get to have sex with a 300 lb man posing as a woman. The NBA thinks this is a excellent location to promote their product.

Bringing the NBA to the virtual world provides us with a new and innovative platform to reach our fans and the millions of residents in Second Life,” said Stern. “The NBA Headquarters creates an interactive worldwide community where fans can come together, engage with our game, and most importantly, share in their passion for the NBA.”

“The NBA is a sports innovator, being the first professional sports league to unveil a comprehensive headquarters in a virtual world,” said Sibley Verbeck, CEO, The Electric Sheep Company. “The NBA is engaging its fan community at a whole new level, and bringing fans together from around the world.

In the NBA Second Life headquarters, you can get access to video highlights, have you picture taken with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and walk along a special path highlighting the 50 Greatest NBA Players of all time. But that’s not all folks, you can also buy team jerseys that you can put on your character in the game. Wow. How awesome. Where do we sign up?

We don’t really get virtual worlds. Basically you sit in your mom’s basement all day and night interacting with other losers doing the same thing. Hmmm… actually that sounds exactly like sports blogging.

[]: NBA Headquarters Unveiled in Second Life

NFL General

17 regular season NFL games?

Roger Goodell is wearing bad idea blue jeans again. The NFL is making a major push towards expanding to Europe and beyond (the first regular season game played in Europe will take place in London this year between the Dolphins and the Giants) and the in order to “create more inventory,” the NFL is considering expanding the regular season to 17 games by shortening the preseason.

One negative [to playing overseas games] is you’re taking a game away from fans here,” Goodell said before an annual meeting of sports editors at league headquarters in New York. “We’ve discussed whether to cut one preseason game and add a 17th week. It would create more inventory, and that has some appeal. We’re chewing on that. The issue is: How do you create more inventory?

Translation: how can we line our pockets with more dough? The NFL sees the international appeal of basketball and baseball and wants a piece. But the problem here is that you can’t add European or Asian games without putting a huge burden on the teams that have to travel. Unlike baseball and basketball where you can have a terrible road trip and just shake it off with a nice homestand, the short NFL season and grueling games make it so much harder for teams to rebound.

Some might argue that a trip to Europe would be like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveling to Seattle for a game. Yes, it’s about the same distance, but how many times have you picked against a team in your office pool (and we know you have an office pool) because they had to travel all the way across the country in the previous week or had to travel for a Monday Night game? Plus, if you had a team other than an east coast team flying to Europe, it’d be an even longer distance to traverse.

The NFL desire to expand to Europe is a great idea… for the owners. Sure, we’ve been clamoring for one less preseason game, but that was to minimize injury risk in meaningless games, not to create an extra game we can’t even attend. This cash grab is not in the best interest of the game.

And finally, what would 17 games do to all our records? We’d have more asterisks than a Barry Bonds wikipedia entry.

[Washington Post]: NFL Considers 17th Regular Season Game


Want to buy a piece of an English soccer team?

The Target

Here’s the basic idea: 50,000 members each pony up $70 to buy a share of a “purchase fund”. The resulting $2.7M fund will be used to buy a football club. (In case you’re doing the math and it doesn’t add up — part of the membership fee goes to administrative fees, of course.) Then each member has an equal vote in determining which club to purchase, player acquisitions, starting lineups, etc.

Having fans decide on starting lineups isn’t a completely novel idea. Last summer, the Schaumburg Flyers, a minor league baseball team in Illinois, teamed up with MSN for something called Fan Club: Reality Baseball that put the daily managerial decisions in the hands of the fans. Unsurprisingly, the decisions were less than stellar.

However, Myfootballclub is novel in that it lets the fans actually have an ownership interest. Well, sort of. You can never sell your share and you have to pony up a yearly membership fee. We wonder what happens if the club gets sold for a substantial profit. Shouldn’t the shares be distributed to the ownership trust? We doubt it — but we’ll keep an eye on this site.

It’s unfortunate that a million Cubs fans couldn’t pony up $800 each to buy the Cubs this year. The bitching and moaning of Cubs fans as they argued over players, trades and lineups would have been priceless. The Cubs would be a last place team with a bloated payroll… oh wait, they already are.

[My Football Club]: How it works
[Wikipedia]: Schaumburg Flyers


CBS says new John Daly spot is long and wrong

John Daly is known for three things: long drives, an alcohol problem, and a slot machine problem to fix his alcohol problem. Giving John Daly a beer is like sending Paul Lo Duca to a sorority house. So what does Maxfli do? They create an ad with John singing in a honkytonk bar, grabbing a beer and driving off in a golf cart. Understandably, CBS didn’t like it.

It did not meet the standards of the CBS network,” spokeswoman LeslieAnn Wade said Tuesday. “Any implied or direct reference to excessive consumption of alcohol would not meet network guidelines.

The Golf Channel, which apparently has no standards, said that the ad passed their test but are looking into possible options like an alternate cut. Meanwhile, the 90 second uncut version of the commercial, which has John saying “I’ll just drink the pitcher, thanks,” teeing off with a beer can, and throwing a beer bottle at a dart board (wha?) was available on the maxfli site. You can check it out below.

John Daly’s Go Long Or Go Home CommercialWatch the top videos of the week here

[LA Times]: CBS rejects ad showing Daly and beer

NHL General

The NHL and Amazon Unbox get it

It’s not often that we give the NHL’s promotion and marketing department props around here. After all, they are a league stuck on a network we can’t seem to find. But Eric over at Offwingopinion mentioned he downloaded four classic NHL games via Amazon Unbox today. Brilliantly, you can download it directly to your tivo.

This has me very excited. Not because I want to download a game where the Red Wings complete a sweep of the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup. (I think that’s the game, Amazon does a poor job of episode descriptions — it just says Air Date: 6/8/1997. I assume that the clincher is the classic game. Or maybe not.) In any case, I am excited because eventually the NFL will get their heads out of their asses and let us download classic NFL games too.

Imagine instead of getting grainy 3rd generation VHS copy of your favorite games, you could actually download a fairly decent version for $3. I’d do it in a heartbeat. I can guarantee that the moment they offer it up, I will buy three Eagles games from the past: 1980 NFC Game vs the Cowboys, the 2004 NFCCG vs the Falcons, and the 1995 Eagles vs Lions playoff game.

The NFL hates the idea that people might figure out a way copy and distribute the videos freely. But if you make it cheap enough, say, $2.99, there’s no need for most fans to spend hours finding the stuff online. I’d rather pay $3 for a game than have to worry about whether I’m going to get a virus from some shady site. Plus, most potential customers of classic games have jobs (except perhaps Raiders fans) and won’t think twice about spending $3. Maybe now that Roger Goodell has everyone scared to death of the new personal conduct policy, he can find some time to assign someone to figure this out.


[Amazon Unbox]: Classic NHL games

Chicago Bears

The hat that launched a $100,000 fine now on ebay

Last week, there was a lot of press about Brian Urlacher getting fined $100,000 by the league for promoting a company at the Super Bowl media day that wasn’t an official sponsor of the NFL. Urlacher was sporting a Vitamin Water hat during his interviews and the NFL honchos (as they should) had to crack down and fine him.

In addition to the NFL’s standard policy of donating fines to the United Way, the disciplinary measure will have another positive effect. Urlacher gave the hat to B96, a radio station in Chicago, and they gave it to a pregnant woman whose husband is currently in Afghanistan. She was originally going to send it to him over there but they decided to put he hat up on ebay to pay off some debts.

The current bid is at $9,500. That’ll pay a few bills.

[AOL Fanhouse]: Brian Urlacher’s Vitamin Water Hat on eBay

[ebay]: Authentic Brian Urlacher Vitaminwater Hat He Wore!

MLB General

2007 MLB franchise valuations

A lot was made recently about about Bud Selig’s $14.5M salary in 2006 but when you look at the financial numbers for baseball as a whole, he deserved every penny. (Holy crap we just defended Bud Selig.)

Forbes published their annual “Business of Baseball” feature and despite everything, MLB is doing pretty damn good for themselves. The total valuation for all baseball teams went up $1.6B to $12.9B, a gain of 15%. Meanwhile, no team lost value last year — even the Nationals went up $7M in value.

Leading the way as usual are the New York Yankees, valued at $1.2B, adding $174M in value. Curiously enough, the Yankees were the only team that posted an operating loss last year (-$25M).

There’s a huge difference between the Yankees and everyone else though. Second on the list are the Mets who leapfrogged the Red Sox and are now valued at $736M. Want to buy the Red Sox but don’t have $724M lying around? Don’t worry, the Florida Marlins can be had for a cheap $244M.

The complete list of MLB franchises and their 2007 valuations after the jump.

San Diego Chargers

LT smart for turning down Madden cover? Nope, just greedy

EA Sports: LT, we want you to have the honor of being on the Madden 08 cover!
LaDanian Tomlinson: Awesome. How much does it pay?
EA: Well, $200,000 and you get to go to a bunch of personal appearances to promote the game!
LT: $200,000? What’s $200,000 to me? Ain’t s%#$. Next time I might shake my… Forget it.
EA: Vince Young was our guy all along!
Vince Young: I heard you guys sell millions of copies. Isn’t that gonna take a long time for me to pose for each cover?

According to CNBC, Tomlinson turned down the cover not because of the curse but because it didn’t pay his market value. Most athletes are willing to go below their market price because of the prestige of the Madden cover but not LT. He wanted his money. Of course LT didn’t turn it down because of the curse. Professional athletes think they’re invinceable so they’ll be the one who avoids the curse. However, when Vince Young goes down this year, Saints fans will pay Reggie Bush so he doesn’t sign when the EA folks approach him for Madden 09.

[CNBC]: Tomlinson Turns Down Madden, Rutgers Coach Cashes In, No Texting & Another MJ

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays poke fun at the Television Bureau of Canada

What do you do when one of your star players has a commercial pulled from the air by the Television Bureau of Canada. A commercial deemed to be too violent for its portrayal of Frank Thomas in a pillow fight with a young boy? Well, you go ahead and have a Frank Thomas pillow giveaway.

The marketing folks with the Blue Jays took advantage of all the random press and made September 2 Frank Thomas Kids Pillow Night. Brilliant. This certainly beats the Cardinals’ Tony LaRussa Bottle of Whiskey night.

We hope that the pillow doesn’t scare small children like the Ben Wallace throw pillow does.

[SC]: Frank Thomas can swing a mean pillow

Boston Red Sox

Matsuzaka marketing mania starts today with new Nike commercial

It’s Dice-K day in Boston as everyone is gearing up to watch Matsuzaka’s first start. Part of us wants to see him do well, but part of us always wants to witness the meltdown on Boston sports radio if he throws a clunker. Pressure? Just a little. And that’s the theme of this Nike commercial that’s only being aired in Japan.

It’s pure genius by the way. Nike and MLB are creating a huge legion of fans in Japan who will love the Sox and, almost as importantly, hate the Yankees. The ad takes a bit of artistic license. The opponent today won’t be the Yankees, but the lowly Royals. You see MLB working?