That Didn’t Work

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


In case you weren’t watching (thank God I wasn’t) the NCAA Selection Show on CBS was successful in pissing off about every college basketball fan in the country.

Barkley with EJAwful Announcing did a great recap of why it was so horrible. In short, Charles Barkley can’t work a touch screen and the bracket was leaked on twitter before CBS could reveal it all. This lead to the lowest ratings in 20 years for the selection show.

SI’s Richard Dietsch tweeted,

We can only hope that’s true because social media was the equivalent of a forrest fire during the show. Probably a good idea to cut it back to an hour and never again let Charles Barkley near technology.

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Brand In Trouble

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Adidas is in trouble. No really. They are getting their ass kicked in just about every way by Nike and Under Armour. While one of their brands, Reebok, is doing the best they can at staving off elimination, it may not be enough for the iconic German brand to survive.

Nike is the best of breed and that’s a fact. From the Jumpman brand to a logo that doesn’t even need a word for you to know who it represents.

nike-swoosh

Under Armour is coming on strong. It signed a massive deal to be the brand for Notre Dame (some deal worth around $90 million) and have under contract the hottest player in the NBA (Stephen Curry), a future Hall of Fame quarterback as a partial owner (Tom Brady) and the best American golfer since Tiger Woods in Jordan Spieth.

Adidas meanwhile is losing market valuation. They are around $15 billion while Under Armour is around $20 billion and Nike is around $100 billion. The German company has pinned it’s hopes on the beautiful game. While that is noble, it is also falling behind in other sports and it recently lost an SEC school (Tennessee) to Nike which is never a good sign.

Like we mentioned earlier, the Reebok brand is making a noble effort. Reebok has become a title apparel sponsor for the UFC and CrossFit. While all that is well and good, it doesn’t distract from the fact that they are coming in a distance third in the originality department.

ReeboxTheir logo looks like the laser site from Predator and their image campaign uses the same song from the GoPro Hero 4 image campaign that came out last fall (‘Run Boy Run’ by Woodkid).

predator-laser-sightPredator_39Originality is key in this business. Nike and Under Armour have it and Adidas doesn’t. The cool factor plays in too which Nike and Under Armour have and Adidas doesn’t. Heck, part of the reason Tom Brady signed with Under Armour was the fact that that was the brand he was seeing in the locker room and on younger players.

Adidas needs a bad ass at the top to stop the bleeding. Nike has Mark Parker and Under Armour has Kevin Plank, two of the more respected CEO’s in America. Adidas has Herbert Hainer in Germany……..exactly.

Adidas is a solid brand. It can make good products but this business isn’t all about who makes the best product. It’s a coolness factor, the latest trend combined with innovation. Adidas better get it together because right now, they are an Under Armour purchase of Lululemon away from being completely irrelevant.

 

 

 

 

What To Watch Fri. 5/22 – Mon. 5/25

All times are Pacific.

Friday May 22nd

NY Rangers at Tampa Bay Lighting – 5pm NBCSN: If game four is anything like game three then we are in for a treat. Cue the dancing astronaut!

Bolts Astronaut Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks – 5:30pm TNT: Game two of the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

Saturday May 23rd

New England Revolution vs DC United – 4:30pm MLS LIVE: The top two teams in the Eastern Conference (points wise) square off in Foxboro.

Seattle Sounders vs Sporting KC – 7pm MLS LIVE: Clint Dempsey looks to get into the record books and SKC is coming off an impressive mid-week win over the Revs. Century Link Field should be in full voice.

St Louis Cardinals at KC Royals – 5pm MLB.TV: They are  in-state rivals and both are leading their respective divisions.

Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks – 5pm NBC: Game four of the Western Conference Finals in Chicago on a Saturday night…yes please!

Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets – 6pm ESPN: Pivotal game three in Houston.

 

Sunday May 24th

F1 Grand Prix Monaco – 4:30am NBCSN: It’s the start to the greatest day in racing.

Indianapolis 500 – 9am ABC: It’s the one time of year that you care about Indy Car. Still one of the great American Sports Spectacles.

Nascar Coca-Cola 600 – 3pm FOX: The finally to the greatest day in racing live from Charlotte.

Tampa Bay Lightning at NY Rangers – 5pm NBCSN: Game five in Madison Square Garden.

Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers – 5:30pm TNT: How rocking in Cleveland going to be for game three?

 

Monday May 25th

Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets – 6pm ESPN: Should be beyond loud in Houston for game four.

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – 6pm NBCSN: Game five at the Pond. Last game here went into three OT’s.

The End Of The Argument

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

In baseball there are big market teams and there are small market teams. What makes a team fall into one or the other? In a word, attendance.  You can make an argument that it’s the owners willingness to spend money to win but in the end it comes down to how many people pay to see the team play. However this is not the deciding factor on if a team can win or not as we have seen over the last 10-15 years which makes Tampa’s trade of staff ace David Price all the more baffling.

This years MLB trade deadline was one of the most interesting in years. Not only were multiple big name players dealt but they were dealt for other major league players which never seems to happen in this day and age. Tampa’s David Price went to Detroit in a three team trade while Boston’s Jon Lester went to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes and Boston’s John Lackey went to St. Louis. The biggest head scratcher of all was Price going to Detroit especially since Tampa has been one of the hottest teams in baseball since the All-Star break and fought their way back into playoff contention.

Tampa is the smallest of the small market teams. Through 57 home games in 2014 they had yet to hit the seven figure mark in attendance while averaging 17,450 people per game. The lowest average attendance in baseball. Yet between 2008 and 2013 (and since they changed their name from Devil Rays to Rays) their lowest win total has been 86. They have made the playoffs four times and appeared in one World Series during that span.

So why trade the ace of the staff?

The argument that it’s a question of economics doesn’t fly here. Price is eligible for arbitration next year but he is not an outright free agent which means that Detroit will probably be able to lock him up to a long term deal if they play their cards right. It also means that Tampa could have traded him in the winter and work out, possibly, a better deal without sacrificing the season.

Contrast what Tampa did to Oakland. Oakland is the epitome of a small market team as so well documented in Michael Lewis’ book ‘Moneyball’. Yet Oakland went off and traded for big name, big contract pitcher who will be a free agent next year in Lester. Yes it took one of their power hitters (Cespedes) to get Lester but Oakland is just as small of a market as Tampa. While Oakland has 24,000 plus people per game, Tampa actually had a more expensive payroll at the time of the trade deadline.

How can Oakland justify making deals that take on more salary while Tampa can’t? It appears to come down to just the perspective of the front office. One is making a commitment to doing everything it can to win the World Series this year vs just being happy to maybe make the playoffs. One team clearly realizes that they have a better than average chance to win it all while the other believes that there are too many variables against them.

It’s a classic class of the glass half empty or half empty scenarios playing out in real time over the course of a major league baseball season.

The other big question is how does one of baseball’s best managers in Tampa’s Joe Maddon keep his team from tanking the rest of the season? Here you are one of the hottest teams in baseball since the All-Star break and the front office trades the biggest bullet in your gun. If he is somehow able to keep Tampa in the hunt, much less making the playoffs, he should have no problem winning yet another AL Manager of the year award.

The trades made before the deadline were more interesting then they have been in the past few years. Time will tell who got the better end of them. Common wisdom would lead us to believe that Detroit and Oakland did. But as Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher once said, ‘if it’s common it’s not wisdom and if it’s wisdom it certainly is’t common.’

What to Watch Fri. 8/1 – Sun. 8/3

All times are PST.

Friday August 1st

Philadelphia Union at Sporting KC – 5:25pm (ish) NBCSN: SKC is just fun to watch and Philly is fighting for a playoff spot.

BC Lions at Calgary Stampeders – 7pm ESPNNEWS: Calgary is the best team in the CFL but their old QB Kevin Glenn leads a solid BC team into Alberta.

Saturday August 2nd

Portland Timbers at LA Galaxy – Noon NBC: Timbers are looking better but LA is coming off of a thrashing of Seattle in Seattle this past Monday.

KC Royals at Oakland A’s – 1pm MLB.TV: Jon Lester’s first start for the A’s. We think.

Manchester United vs Real Madrid – 1pm FOX: Hopefully we’ll have the ‘Gus Effect’.

Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids – 6pm MLS LIVE: Rocky Mountain Cup is on the line in Denver.

Sunday August 3rd

KC Royals at Oakland A’s – 1pm MLB.TV: Another good pitching matchup with Shields v Kazmir.

NY Giants vs Buffalo Bills – 5pm NBC: The NFL is back….for preseason at least. The Hall of Fame game sees two teams that need to answer a lot of questions this preseason. It also brings back Cris Collinsworth. Ugh.

What to Watch Fri. 3/14 – Sun. 3/15

It’s a busy, busy weekend for the sports world so let’s light this candle.

Thursday March 13th – Sunday 3/15

PAC -12 Tournament – PAC 12 Network

ACC Tournament – ESPN

Big East Tournament – FS1

Big 12 Tournament – ESPN

Big Ten Tournament – BIG TEN Network

Friday March 14th

Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche – 6:00pm NHL GameCenter: First in the Pacific (Anaheim) vs second in the Central (Colorado). The Avs are one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now and the Ducks have been wavering a bit.

Saturday March 15th

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers – 10am NHL Network: This is the first of back to back games between these two. There is no love loss either.

Toronto FC at Seattle Sounders – 1:45pm -ish on NBCSN: TFC takes the 2014 version out for a spin which includes US Men’s National Team captain Michael Bradley and England National Team striker Jermaine Dafoe. Counter that with a loud and proud crowd in Seattle along with US Men’s National Team stars Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans.

UFC 171 – 7pm PPV: It’s a shakedown of the welterweight division now that Georges St-Pierre is out of the picture. Johny Hendricks takes on Robbie Lawler for the title and former interim champ Carlos Condit takes on Tyron Woodley in a number one contender bout.

Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings – 7:30pm NHL GameCenter: A backyard fight is always a nice option on a Saturday night.

Sunday March 16th

Manchester United vs Liverpool – 5:30am NBCSN: One of the best rivalries in the Premier League. It goes way back and some of the best names in soccer will be on display. Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, and Robin van Persie just to name a few.

Tottenham vs Arsenal – 8:30am NBCSN: A great north London derby. Spurs are sitting in fifth place in the table while the Gunners look to rebound from a disappointing run in the Champions League.

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins – 9:30am NBC: The second leg of this series. If they didn’t hate each other after Saturday, they will after this one.

NCAA Tournament Selection Show – 3pm CBS: The brackets come out, ’nuff said.

What To Watch Fri. 2/7- Sun. 2/9

Please note, if you want to watch the Olympics….that’s on you.

FRIDAY FEB. 2/7

New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh Penguins – 4pm NHLN: Good ole fashion hard hitting hockey game. It’s also the last time you’ll see Sidney Crosby on the ice before the Olympic break.

Portland TrailsBlazers @ Indiana Pacers – 4pm ESPN: Battle of #2 in the Pacific and #1 in the Central.

SATURDAY FEB. 2/8

Liverpool v Arsenal – 5am USA: This is a battle for a Champions League spot. Big, big game for Liverpool. They want in the Champions League, they need three points.

Michigan @ Iowa – 11am ESPN: Another Saturday and another top 10 match up in the Big Ten.

Vancouver Canucks @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 4pm NHLN: John Tortorella is back behind the bench for the Canucks. Who knows what will happen.

Gonzaga @ Memphis – 6pm ESPN: Games like this always seem to come down to the last shot.

SUNDAY FEB. 2/9

Tottenham v Everton – 5:30am USA: Another battle for a European spot next season.

Michigan State @ Wisconsin – 10am  CBS: Wisco may have fallen from the top 25 but they can beat anyone in the country on a good day. They’ll need a good day on Sunday.

Why Roger Craig Should Be In The Hall Of Fame

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Roger Craig may not be a household name outside of the Bay Area. Even then, non football fans may not know that he played running back for the San Francisco 49ers from 1983-1990. He should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame though. Why? He redefined the position of running back.

Roger Craig

Roger Craig played came into the NFL in 1983. He immediately redefined what it meant to be a running back in the league. He did the three things that every organization looks for nowadays in the league, a back that can run, catch and block.

It sounds elementary but before Craig the running back position traditionally just ran and blocked when needed. It wasn’t a threat in the passing game. Craig was. In fact Roger Craig was the first running back in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a single season (Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk has since duplicated the effort). He is also the only running back in NFL history to have over 100 yards receiving in a Super Bowl.

His other stats we’re impressive as well:

-3 time Super Bowl Champion

-4 time Pro Bowler (at two positions mind you)

-1988 Offensive Player of the Year

Yes he did play on some of the best teams in NFL history in San Francisco. He had a tremendous line blocking for him and Joe Montana as a quarterback. He was however a major reason why the West Coast Offense and the 49ers were so successful. They needed him to be as versatile as he was to be as successful as they were.

There are plenty of other names deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame (Will Shields anyone?). Roger Craig should be at the top of that list. For someone who helped change the game to what we know it today, he should get the credit he deserves.

What to Watch For This Weekend

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Thursday Sept. 26

5:30pm-NFL Network: Rams @ 49ers (Both teams really need a win and there is a lot of adversity for the 49ers right now not to mention an offense that has only scored 10 points in the last 2 games.)

Friday Sept. 27

5:25pm-NBCSN: Philadelphia @ Sporting KC (Sporting is in the Playoffs and Philly is on the outside looking in. Philly needs this bad.)

Saturday Sept. 28

4:45am-NBCSN: Chelsea @ Tottenham (It’s a good early season matchup. Chelsea is not looking all that great and Spurs look to stay unbeaten.)

9:00am-ABC: South Carolina @ UCF (A surprisingly tough out of conference road game for the Gamecocks. UCF is no joke. Most of the experts are pointing to this as a possible upset.)

9:00am-ESPN2: Northern Illinois @ Purdue (Could Purdue be NIU’s second Big Ten victim this year?)

12:30pm-CBS: LSU @ Georgia (Watch this game. It will not suck.)

5:00pm-ESPN3: Calgary @ Hamilton (Calgary had Hamilton’s number two weeks ago but now have to travel east and rebound from a heartbreaking loss last week to Toronto.)

3:30pm-ESPN: Ole Miss @ Alabama (Another upset alert game. Bama is not the same team they were a year ago and Ole Miss is much improved.)

4:00pm- FOX: Arizona @ Washington (There could be a 100 points total in this game.)

5:00pm-ABC: Wisconsin @ Ohio St (An actual game for Ohio St.)

5:30pm- Regional: Montreal @ Chicago (Chicago can make a run at the playoffs again but they have to get past Montreal who sits 6 points ahead of them.)

7:30pm-ESPN2: USC @ Arizona St (Lane Kiffin takes the underperforming Trojans into the desert to face a pretty solid Sun Devil team that is coming off a loss.)

Sunday Sept. 29

10:00am-FOX: Seahawks @ Texans: Probably the best team in the league goes on the road to face a possible Super Bowl contender.)

12:50pm-NBC: LA Galaxy @ Portland: Big NBC heads to the Rose City and future playoff teams square off in front of the Timbers Army. If you want to know what a soccer crowd looks and sounds like, watch this match.

5:20pm-NBC Patriots @ Falcons: Can Tom Brady take this young group of receivers and get past the Falcons in the dome? Only one way to find out.

Not Mastering their Domain

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

The Masters is arguably the biggest golfing event of the year. Like March Madness, it is one of the sporting events that crosses over with sports fans and bleeds into the business day during it’s first 2 rounds. The Masters, like March Madness, makes everything available online but The Masters waits to air content on TV.

The Masters

When The Masters started it was immediately available to watch at masters.com. The same content was not available on TV even though DirecTV had been advertising 8 channels of coverage. DirecTV did not begin broadcasting golf until 3pm Eastern when ESPN began their coverage. Golf’s biggest star, Tiger Woods, had already teed off and was several holes into his round by the time The Masters was available on TV. Doesn’t really make a lot of sense especially when you consider that The Masters is not an official PGA event. It is by invitation only. The Masters sells it’s own advertising and makes it’s own TV deals. In other words, they can almost do as they please.

The Masters has limited commercial time. They do have some massive sponsors though in AT&T, ExxonMobile and IBM. One would think that showing more golf would drive up the viewership and the price for ads. The have very subtle and elegant ads online so you know they have thought about this. The revenue on TV vs online is substantial so why not start the broadcast on TV at the same time as online?

Part of the reason maybe the broadcasters themselves. When they have pre and post shows they can sell ad time during this and they get to keep it all. As mush as we hate to hear the so called ‘experts’ yap and over analyze we’re probably stuck with it for now.

The Masters does make the entire event available on virtually every device you can think of so the fans can watch when they want and where they want. Yet The Masters doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t push the envelope. It is in a position where it has enough credibility to be truly innovative and dictate to the TV folks that every second of every round has live coverage. This is truly a unique position. Time will tell if they ever take advantage of it. Considering that only last August did they finally extend memberships to women I wouldn’t hold my breath.