Posts Tagged ‘Tom Brady’

Lin a New York Minute: Jeremy Lin’s Impact on the Knicks, NBA and the World

The incredible rise of Jeremy Lin, the Asian-American NBA player for the Knicks who has caught the NBA by storm, is one of the more remarkable sports stories of the last 10 years. A Harvard graduate who went undrafted and largely unnoticed in his first year has suddenly been unstoppable, scoring 20 points or more in his last six games. People are already comparing Lin to Tim Tebow, another athlete with an unorthodox story who rose to instant fame and success.

A rare moment in which the camera isn't on Jeremy Lin.

The undeniable truth regarding Lin’s popularity is his race. Perceptions and stereotypes indicate Asian-Americans do not typically play basketball. Yet much of the world’s population is made up of people with Asian descendants or who would identify themselves as having Asian origins. For these people, seeing someone they can identify with have success is exciting and captivates their attention.

In the business world attention inevitably leads to money, and the Knicks and the NBA have certainly cashed in recently. Sports Biz reporter Darren Rovell has followed this story for the past two weeks and tweeted some interesting facts. Web traffic to the Knicks’ website has gone up 550 percent in the past week, while video highlight views are up 1,205 percent. Lin Fathead posters are now selling more than those of NFL stars Tom Brady, Peyton and Eli Manning and Tebow. After Lin hit the game-winning shot against the Raptors on Tuesday, merchandise sales skyrocketed overnight by as much as 500 percent. Unsurprisingly, much of the demand for Lin has come overseas.

For a league that is still overcoming the negative effects of a lockout, the emergence of Lin has been a blessing. Where the league goes from here is significant. The NBA has an opportunity to cash in a big way with Lin fans, but as the Washington Post points out, the league has to walk a thin line. The NBA has been notorious for battling with racial stereotypes throughout its history. With Lin, the league has to market the player without relying solely on his race as a point of interest. It’s the modern version of “Fernandomania.”

What happens from here will be the most intriguing. How does the NBA quell the elephant in the room with the race issue? What happens to the international growth of the sport? And how long will Lin remain popular if his play begins to diminish?

Photo (cc) by nikk_la and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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All Eyes Watching: Why Super Bowl XLVI Will Set Viewership Records

The NFL hit it big this weekend with the Patriots and Giants winning their respective conference championship games to reach Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. League officials would never admit it but this was the match-up they were salivating over.

Why? Well consider the storylines. The Giants seem to have channeled their 2007-08 predecessors, turning what was a mediocre regular season into a late season stampede through the NFC playoffs as an underdog. In that season Big Blue shocked the football world by defeating the league’s only unbeaten team — you guessed it — the New England Patriots, in an unbelievable finish. (Disclaimer: If you’re a Giants fan, proceed to click the link. If you’re a Patriots fan just keep reading, unless you enjoy torture).

Now the Patriots have a shot at redemption (sort of) against the same foe that stripped immortality from them in Super Bowl XLII. Even those who know little about football know of the upset four years ago, and that alone should compel casual fans to watch.

Next, think of the big name players who headline the game, Brady and Manning (no, not that Manning). Tom Brady has long been a superstar of the sport, and Peyton’s little brother has elevated his game to an “ELIte” level. These established names, as well as new ones such as Cruz, Nicks, Gronkowski and Hernandez give the game some sex appeal.

Now throw in the fan bases and markets. The Giants and their mostly New York audience helped set TV ratings for the NFC Championship Game as high as they’d been in 17 years. The Patriots meanwhile have the benefit of the entire New England region to back them, and their run of success in the last decade has kept fans interested.

Of course the Super Bowl would draw big numbers regardless of who was playing in it. In fact last year’s Packers-Steelers Super Bowl was the most-watched television broadcast in U.S. history. A grand total of 111 million people saw Green Bay win its fourth Lombardi Trophy, up from the 106.5 million who saw the Saints derail the Colts the year prior. The trend is all part of football’s dominance of American culture.

All of this will make for a wildly popular Super Sunday, but there’s one final puzzle piece which well put viewership over the top: online streaming. For the first time in Super Bowl history, the NFL and NBC Sports will allow the game to be streamed live on laptops, smart phones and tablets. This will undoubtedly expand viewership totals to new levels, and is why many predict this will be the most-watched Super Bowl ever.

God Save the Rams: NFL Franchise to Play a Game in London For Next Three Years

Could the NFL’s St. Louis Rams soon become the London Rams? The London Lambs perhaps?

Sam Bradford may want to familiarize himself with Wembley Stadium.

Big news dropped today from the league that the Rams will move one home game for the next three years to Wembley Stadium in London.   Next season’s game will be played Oct. 28 between the Rams and the New England Patriots.

The shift across the pond is nothing new. The league’s first regular season game outside the U.S. came in 2005 when the Cardinals and 49ers met in Mexico City, and every year since 2007 two teams have played a game in Wembley.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been keen on expanding the sport internationally, and once even hinted a Super Bowl could be played in London.

What makes this move interesting is that rather than having two teams randomly selected to play overseas, the Rams chose to move games to London with approval from Goodell. Unlike sports like baseball, basketball and hockey, football has a schedule of only 16 games per season, which means each team hosts eight home games. That allows teams only eight games to earn revenue through ticket sales, concession sales, game-day merchandise, parking, etc. Now the Rams, and more specifically the city of St. Louis, only has seven true home games through 2014.

Though the NFL is hugely popular, believe it or not there are some squads struggling through rough financial times, and the Rams are one of those teams. This past season the Rams finished 27th out of 32 teams in attendance, selling out only 86.3 percent of tickets in the Edward Jones Dome. Conversely, nine teams were at or above the 100 percent threshold of stadium capacity this season. The Rams finished 2-14 this season, tied for the worst record in the league with the Colts.

As Mike Sando of ESPN astutely points out, the fact that next season’s London game will feature the Patriots is a major blow to St. Louis. Though the Rams are struggling in attendance, the attraction of having Tom Brady and one of the league’s most exciting and successful teams would likely help boost ticket sales for the game. Now that the game is in London, however, St. Louis loses out on this possible revenue.

The news just dropped this morning so there will likely be reaction from across the league, but there are lots of things to consider: Could the Rams be relocating to London? I say probably not, but if the games draw huge fans like they have in the past then it would only add fuel to the fire. Could the Rams be relocating elsewhere (read: Los Angeles)? Very good chance of this I believe. It’s no secret the NFL would like to re-establish itself in L.A. Ironically, the last team in Tinseltown was the Rams, who moved out in 1995 at the same time the Raiders moved from L.A. to Oakland. In August, the city of Los Angeles unanimously approved a plan to build a $1.2-billion stadium.

The Rams will have a chance to leave St. Louis after their current lease with the Edward Jones Dome runs out in 2014. Don’t be shocked if the Rams, like Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis,” set off on a journey toward a new destination.

Photo (cc) by Dave Herholz and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

The Payroll: Good Sources of Information on Money and Sports

As every good journalist knows you can’t make it in the business without good sources. To help me in my quest for anything and everything related to the business of sports, here are some websites I will be following, and you should too:

Darren Rovell speaking to some Rays fans. Safe to say Darren has a larger audience on his blog.

The gold standard is Darren Rovell’s Sports Biz blog on CNBC. What makes Sports Biz the best is that it’s the perfect blend of sports and money. Rovell is a sports enthusiast at his core and does a lot of cool field work, including running the NYC Marathon, challenging Dwyane Wade to some hoops, and co-piloting with NASCAR racers among other adventures. Match that with CNBC’s financial acumen and Rovell becomes the go-to person in terms of trends, endorsement deals, contract signings and a host of other topics. For those of you who love the Twitter machine, you can follow him here.

Advertisers always want to know who is watching what, and Sports Media Watch does a great job breaking this down. SMW studies which games or shows received the highest TV ratings and gives its take on these trends. For instance, the watchmen found the Patriots-Broncos playoff game scored surprisingly lower than CBS execs predicted. How could Tom Brady and Tim Tebow not equal ratings galore? SMW points out that Saturday night is when people like to go out, so putting the game on Sunday likely would have drawn more viewers. Check out the Twitter page for more goodies as well.

Sports by Brooks gives some interesting insight into sports business, focusing mostly on scandals in the games we love. Not surprisingly, the Penn State fiasco has taken over the site in the last month. Follow the Twitter birdie here.

Since the advent of ESPN (I’ll get to them in a bit) the personalities who cover sports have become nearly as famous as the athletes themselves. Awful Announcing is a site that puts these personalities under the microscope and looks at the good, the bad and the ugly of the industry. Twitter handle here.

Similar to Awful Announcing, Boston Sports Media Watch is one of my favorites on a local level. The site looks at how the local teams (Pats, B’s, C’s, Sox) are covered, who is covering them, and includes links to local newspaper, radio and TV websites. Consider it sports business on a micro level. Author Bruce Allen is on Twitter here.

One blog I find strikingly similar to what I plan to look at is the blog Money Players by Marc Isenberg. The blog’s tagline: “The Money. The Players. The business of professional sports, from high school to college to the pros.” I stumbled upon this site only recently, but it looks like it should provide some topics to brainstorm on.

Finally in terms of straight sports coverage I’ll check out ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS Sports, and NBC Sports among others. The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network has taken some flak recently for going too heavy on the entertainment on going too lightly on the sports. This is certainly true, but it still remains the “Worldwide Leader” for a reason.

Photo (cc) by Fifth World Art and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.