Empty Seats And Empty Pockets

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


It’s been pretty obvious if you have been paying attention, empty seats at the Olympics. The Wall Street Journal ran a piece on it and from most accounts, it’s pretty bad. While people can point to various reasons why, it seems pretty obvious, cost.

According to the Journal’s article, ticket prices range from $88 a piece for the taekwondo to $434 for the women’s basketball gold medal game. Apparently 70% of the tickets went to Brazil for the games. A country with an impeached president, an economy that contracted 3.8% last year and where the average monthly income is $678. When you look at it that way, of course there are empty seats.

TICKETS

This is no knock on Brazil. They are only guilty of buying into the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hype. ‘Bring the Olympics and look at all the money you’ll make!’ ‘Showcase your city to the world!’

Big lies.

If you haven’t read Andrew Zimbalist’s ‘Circus Maximus’ then go read it now. The Olympics folks is not about the athletes and it’s not even about the economic benefits to the city. It’s about a couple of people making money. The really sad part is that the residents of the city that’s hosts the games are the ones picking up the bill for the cost overruns.

ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight posted an article called ‘Hosting The Olympics Is A Terrible Investment.’ They point out that the Rio games are only 50% over budget. 50%! They say only 50% because that is on the low end. Brazil has been hit hard economically and there is no disposable income to spend on rhythmic gymnastics.

Just to pour a little more gasoline on the fire, today an IOC executive was taken to the hospital after police carried out a raid at his beachfront house as part of an investigation into, essentially, ticket scalping.

Ticket prices are high to see Usain Bolt or Katie Ledecky fade their competition because the IOC needs to make the money. If the average person can’t afford it than the IOC will shrug it’s shoulders and say ‘oh well’. It’s not fair to the athletes to compete in half empty venues and it’s not fair to some of the fans who want to go but can’t afford it. But in reality, what does the IOC care when they have executives accused of selling tickets above face value and collecting 70% of the revenue from TV deals anyway?

And people wonder why there are empty seats.

At Least Keep Your Dignity

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

With the 2014 World Cup wrapping up a lot of people will look back and remember different things. Whether the goals by Robin Van Persie and Tim Cahill or the run by Costa Rica or the biting incident. Everyone will remember something. Most people though may just remember how Brazil and their fans couldn’t lose with dignity.

There apparently is crying in soccer, at least for the fans of Brazil’s national team. Images were plastered around the globe as Brazil gave up five goals in under twenty minutes to the German national team in the World Cup semifinals. People young and old were shown as if a member of their family died when in reality their team just gave up.

The kicker to this is the players afterwards crying. David Luiz gave a tearful interview apologizing to the fans. Apologies are one thing, not stepping up and going down swinging is another.

The fact is Brazil was beatable and was living on borrowed time. Germany exposed that fact. Yes Brazil was without their captain and best defender Thiago Silva and their superstar Neymar but that still doesn’t excuse the fact that no one from the team stepped up when they went down. No one fought back. No one challenged the Germans. Either they were in shock at what was happening or no one had the gaul to step up and be a leader. It was, in a word, shameful.

Teams get behind early all the time in all sports but all is not lost. Take Liverpool’s comeback in the Champions League final in 2005. Down 3-0 at halftime Steven Gerrard put the team on his back and helped lead them to a win via a shootout.

Another example is the 2006 AFC Championship game where the Indianapolis Colts were down 21-6 at the half to their kryptonite, the New England Patriots. Peyton Manning refuses to lose and leads the Colts to not only a 38-34 win but also a Super Bowl victory two weeks later.

The point is that big players step up in big games, even when they’re down. No one from Brazil did that and most of these players play for big clubs around the world. In the end it may not of mattered as Germany poured on two more goals but at least those players could have walked off the pitch with their head held high knowing that they battled to the end. Brazil’s players can take no such solace.

On another note, if you’re a fan of Brazil, don’t cry be upset! Be upset at the eleven players on the pitch who gave up. And for the adults who were shown on TV crying with over an hour left to play, cowboy up. It’s one thing of a child to be crying but you adults no better. Have some dignity.

Advice on how you should be after a huge loss:

Andy Roddick after losing in the 2007 Australian Open

Jim Mora Press Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Watch Sports

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

The past week has been filled with everything but actual sports. From Lance Armstrong’s doping admission to Oprah, the MLS SuperDraft, NFL Coaching hires, and the Manti Te’o ‘catfishing’ story, all of the sports news has been about everything outside the field of play.

Maybe that’s what makes Saturday and Sunday so great.

Saturday was one of the best days of regular season college basketball match ups in recent memory. #1 vs #6, #10 vs #17, and it was to be topped off with #8 Gonzaga at #13 Butler. You know it’s a going to be a good day when ESPN College Gameday is at Butler and someone makes the half court shot for $18k…on the first attempt.

BUTLER GAME WINNING SHOT

The end of the day was even better. 10 plus hours later Roosevelt Jones makes a runner as time expires to win the game for Butler in an ending you have to see to believe. 

About 30 minutes before Jones’ game winner, Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort TKO’d Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7 in Sao Paulo, Brazil with a head kick. It’s a close call as to which crowd reaction was better. The one in Brazil or the one in Indianapolis.

Then Sunday morning saw American Clint Dempsey get the tying goal for Tottenham in stoppage time against Manchester United in a snow storm. Dempsey was yellow carded for celebrating with supporters after the goal but he’ll take it and the point for Spurs.

This is why we watch sports. For the unbelievable moments that can occur. The comebacks when all hope was lost. That rush of adrenaline into your system as you scream and jump up out of the chair. The rest, is to fill air time. Armstrong’s admission doesn’t make you forget the moments you watched over the years. The fake girlfriend of Te’o doesn’t make you forget the big plays he made during the year (or the tackels he didn’t make against Alabama).

This is why we watch sports and why we will continue to watch regardless of the flaws these athletes have.

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