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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ramble On ... this deep, dark December Sunday morning

I enjoy the process of finding interesting articles, topics and sub-topics in the entertainment, sports and communications world. Equally so, I enjoy the process of the Blog with the purpose of passing interesting items along, calling attention to certain aspects of current events and entertaining all of my loyal readers from Augusta to Geelong. The Blog @ is approaching 1,000 posts and one the most popular features has become "Ramble On." Each week, I save a few items which strike me as interesting but not necessarily timely and I compile those odds and ends for use in a column I post on Sunday morning. This week, with a trip to NYC and Long Island taking up a considerable amount of time, I did not get much screen time and will be starting from scratch this morning.


First up? My Sunday Boston Globe had a whopping 25 free standing inserts when I picked up the plastic-wrapped paper from my frost covered walkway this morning. The weight alone could've prompted me to use a construction crane to lift and tuck the paper from front yard to kitchen table. What a colossal waste of advertising dollars, time, energy and paper. The whole batch are already sitting in the recycle bin.

When are retail stores and their marketing wings going to wake-up and smell the coffee? It's a digital age and they need to change the strategies to reach consumers in a more effective manner than dropping their FSI, literally wrapped in the comic strip, and praying that one of the 25-strong falls out onto my lap so I have to touch it, maybe read it. What a waste.

To any marketing exec reading this... see lessons in mobile marketing 101.

Jim Williams, a top exec that advises General Motors on its ad buys, sports marketing and strategy, was asked this past Tuesday night what was the most important aspect of marketing that he will address in 2010. His answer to the assembled group of sports marketers at the Boston chapter of the National Sports Marketing Network (NSMN) was: "Mobile."


When in discussion with sports types in the Boston area, I frequently hear that Boston is very much a "pro sports town." I agree.

Compared to Austin, Texas, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Lansing, Michigan or Tallahassee, Florida - where college football is king, the athletic department staffs at Boston College, Northeastern University, Boston University (BU), Harvard and many other great institutions of higher learning really have their work cut out to gain attention and awareness outside of their campus gates.

The Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins monopolize the nightly sportscasts, sports-talk radio, and the column inches of the Globe and Boston Herald.

College Hockey took a step in late November and named Paul Kelly to head-up the newly created
"College Hockey Inc." which will certainly have a positive impact on increased marketing efforts for Hockey East, the ECAC, New England and national college ice hockey. The Boston-area schools should benefit as College Hockey, Inc will be based in beautiful Newton, Massachusetts.

See this from The Sports Business Journal:

Paul Kelly, who was fired as the NHLPA executive director in late August, has taken a new position, executive director of College Hockey Inc., but he would not rule out coming back as the hockey players’ union chief in the future.

Kelly, it was announced last week, has been named head of the new organization, charged with recruiting the best talent in North America to play hockey at U.S. universities. Fifty-eight U.S. colleges and universities have Division I hockey programs, and those schools have been losing a battle to the Canadian Hockey League for the best amateur North American hockey players, according to hockey sources.

Kelly was fired as NHLPA executive director by a 22-5 vote of player reps Aug. 31. Since then, there has been an uproar over his firing and the NHLPA voted to appoint a four-player committee to review his dismissal.

Asked whether there was any possibility he might go back to run the NHLPA, Kelly said: “I can’t answer that question. One, that is not an issue in my control. At this moment I am fully committed to this role on behalf of college hockey.” Kelly said he had a contract with College Hockey Inc. but would not give the terms.

College Ice Hockey took a great step and the results should be evident soon. So now, the question remains, what can college basketball, baseball, football, baseball and soccer do to gain some market share and increase awareness, attendance and revenue in the competitive "pro sports town" of Boston?


One basic point, clear and simple, is to do a better job of telling the many interesting stories that are omnipresent at all of the major universities. That being the unique and interesting stories of the athletes who compete. With a slow schedule of games, due to the end of the college football regular season and exams taking their toll on college basketball match-ups, today's Boston Globe printed a full page (sports) front page story on Northeastern Basketball and their (very) interesting 5-10, French-born guard Baptiste Bataille.


There's plenty more great, human-interest stories to go around, but it is challenging to get around the the fact that the editors continue to print inches and inches of game stories, boxscores and old results that are a full 12+ hours old, and they are a waste of time, space and energy because anyone who cares, read them online last night or first thing this morning.


NY Post sniper Peter Vecsey is right on the money with his column on a convicted felon, former referee who walks around with his pants on fire.

See: NY Post Blows Whistle

I have a question and will try to get it answered in the week to come.  Why - on earth - would former FBI agent Phil Scala have anything to do with Donaghy's life, never mind writing the forward to his book?


The Tiger Woods story continues on like a freight train out of control. Sports Marketing gurus and PR Crisis management execs continue to fill the airwaves, spilling and spitting out their opinions on how to control the wreck that has become the "off the golf course" hell for Tiger Woods.

On Friday, with Tiger's announcement that he will step away from golf for an indefinite period of time, the story gained serious momentum as it became legitimate general and sports news. Before the announcement on Friday, one could easily state, "It's Tiger's personal life and is an issue for his family. It has no bearing on his professional golfing career except for the fact he pulled out of the Chevron World Golf classic tournament."

Now, the incident on Deacon Circle is the cause of the greatest golfer on the PGA Tour to step away from the game he has dominated for more than a decade. That is legitimate news and is no longer material for the National Enquirer, TMZ and the like.

I ask? "Why?"

Why make the announcement now? Tiger was not expected to play golf until late January, or early February.

The answer is a giant question mark because we do not know the facts. Everyone continues to speculate and conjure up their own solutions without knowing any of the real dynamics. The news continues to leak out, mostly from secondary sources. It's all hear-say and the media continue to report it as though it is truth.

The storm will continue as there is no end in sight. We have no idea what happened, what was said, and what steps are being taken by Tiger Woods, his wife, Elin, or any of Tiger's inner circle of friends, family, relatives, sponsors, neighbors, or so-called advisors. It is a media feeding frenzy that will last for years and years.

And, I am sure Tiger Woods believes in the old adage, "Being rich is great, but being famous sucks."


New England-made Colombo yogurt is the best.


Joe Favorito does a great job with his daily blog but he always knocks it out of the park with his weekly email blast to some 20,000+ sports executives.

Joe is also writing a sports marketing blog for The Huffington Post. Click HERE for his latest entry.


Does anyone have a recommendation on a GPS? I have been looking at the TomTom 140S and plan to plunk down a few bucks after Christmas.


Steve Weinman's D-League Digest is worth a read.


Germany, Lebanon, Lithuania and Russia were all awarded the wild-card spots for the 2010 World Championship of Basketball to be played this summer in Istanbul, Turkey.  The USA and reigning champion Spain are the odds-on favorites to win the title and its automatic entry to the 2012 men's Olympic basketball tournament.

In the 2006 Worlds, the USA lost to Greece in Saitama, Japan.  Spain went on to defeat Greece in the finals while the USA bested Argentina to take the bronze.

Russia finished 7th in the 2009 Euro championship this past summer while Germany and Lithuania tied for 11th.  The wild-card bids reward the longtime strength and viability of a national team's efforts and the berths are largely based on world rankings.

Britain was left on the outside looking in, as expected.  Some in the UK had hoped FIBA would toss the Brits a bone and help fuel interest in the sport leading up to the 2012 Olympics in London.


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