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  • dbinkowski 2:54 am on May 31, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Can the UFL take down the NFL? 

    Short answer: No. End of post. 😉

    See, Mark’s bought in on a rival NFL league called the UFL, and he’s listed several valid reasons why it could work. Specifically, they are:

    1. There is obviously demand for top level professional football. That is exactly what the UFL hopes to be someday, an equal of the NFL, if not more.

    2. The NFL wants and needs competition. They have grown so big and powerful that every move they make is scrutinized by local or federal officials. A competitor allows them to point to us and explain that their moves are for competitive reasons rather than the move of a monopoly.

    3. They just extended their CBA. Their CBA structure is not designed for a competitive environment. Competition for top players, even if the UFL gets just a few, increases prices at the top end for all teams. Every star will get paid more, but still have to fit under the cap. That forces teams to use more low cost players, at the expense of signing the middle of the roster. That gives us access to quite a few very, very good NFL players. The downside is that it will significantly impact small market NFL teams and its unclear how the NFL would respond to that and what the impact would be on the UFL.

    4. There are a lot of markets that are bigger than some current NFL markets that do not have teams that would love to have a pro football team.

    5. There are a lot of smart people involved in the UFL

    6. Its a great TV product.

    Wall Street tycoon Bill Hambrecth (former USFL owner) and Google’s Tim Armstrong have ponied up $2MM each to start the league, which will focus on cities that don’t have NFL teams.

    I haven’t seen any specifics of the league itself, such as the rules, to know if this is a bad copy of the Vince McMahon created XFL that flopped shortly after inception. In case you don’t remember, “He Hate Me” was one of the “stars” of the league. Which is exactly my problem with the UFL.

    Talent doesn’t grow on trees. Most NFL teams barely have a decent starting quarterback, let alone a good backup. If NFL talent is A to B+ level, and the Arena and NFL Europe are C-D, where does that leave the talent, aka potential signees, for the UFL? I’m guessing the jerseys will look a lot like the MLS players (who? Oh, that’s Major League Soccer) – covered in corporate logos.

    So dissecting his points and adding a few thoughts:
    #1 and 6: Low level talent = low TV ratings, low revenues and low turnout at the games.

    #2 Vince McMahon said the same thing.

    #3 The USFL didn’t exactly feed a ton of talent into the NFL, and that was when they were playing during non-competing seasons. I can’t imagine any top level NFL players leaving a major market to play in Topeka, KS. for a few hundred thousand dollars more.

    #4 There’s a reason the NFL hasn’t started teams in certain markets – it’s because the fan base can’t support it. Smaller stadiums, smaller fan bases and smaller revenue means it will be difficult to attract NFL-caliber talent to the league.

    #5 The “we have smart people” argument only holds true if everything else is equal. Smart people can’t overcome tradition. Smart people can’t convince Fortune 500s, with their huge ad budgets, to spend less on the #1 sport in America and experiment in a league in non-top 10 markets. So unless you’re running AdWords on the jerseys dynamically I just don’t see where the revenue is going to come from to sustain it long-term (aside from the owners pockets). “We have rich, smart people” almost works, but at the end of the day it takes a team of committed owners to not pull a Jerry Jones and tell the league to screw off to endorsement deals, etc — because they, quite simply, want their money.

    A few other thoughts:

    Will they get a few cast offs from the NFL and the other leagues? Sure. But if anyone remembers, the XFL, minus the gimmicks (which wore off after 15 minutes), was flat out hard to watch.

    Now, I’ve never run a sports franchise, but as I’ve said before, business and sports are similar — and C-D level talent produces C-D level results, so there goes the lucrative TV deal (anyone else hear VS. calling?).

    I’m not going to poo poo the notion completely, because the NBA has tested the waters with the Hornets in Oklahoma, but a lot of markets that don’t have NFL teams due to the aforementioned lack of support do have vibrant NCAA football teams (see: USC and UCLA in LA, OU football in Oklahoma, etc).

    Here’s a thought of where it could lead — the UFL could become the minor league in the US for players who want to leave college early but can’t enter the NFL, or players like Ricky Williams who can’t lay off the pipe et al. And if that’s the case then don’t be surprised if the NCAA and/or NFL don’t try to put that stake in the ground first. Remember the CBA? Isaiah Thomas purchased the league, then refused to sell it to the NBA (The CBA deal would have earned Isaiah $1MM in profits from the NBA), so the NBA’s answer was the NBDL. Buh-bye CBA.

    The NFL is king for a reason, and it starts with talent. Could the UFL end up being sold to the NFL for a profit? Sure. Is there potential for it overtake the NFL? No way.

     
  • dbinkowski 2:20 am on May 5, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Leadership means a first round exit 

    Well, after arguing some months ago, both Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki (and Mark Cuban) are watching the second round of the NBA Playoffs from home. Or at least not participating in them.

    I remember someone comparing blogging to Dirk’s work ethic and effort to step up his game, a move that undoubtedly will lead him to his first NBA regular season MVP trophy, most likely edging out Phoenix Sun Steve Nash. I commented in the aforementioned post that it wasn’t Dirk’s D that stepped up but really his teammates who’d stepped up to help him on defense. And anyone that knows anything about sports knows that while regular season accolades are nice, it’s post season performance that defines champions. So Dirk, you’re right back where you started if not farther behind, being the first team with over 65 wins to lose to an 8 seed — the biggest upset in NBA Playoff history. Well, there’s always blogging.

     
  • dbinkowski 4:01 am on April 28, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Reggie Bush, you’re next 

    If you’re anything like me, you probably try to get in a few hours of gaming per week in between the billion and a half other responsibilities you have. I was just watching NBA Playoffs between the Cube’s Mavs and the Warriors and an ad for the new Madden came out. Madden 08 with Reggie Bush on the cover. Naturally I Googled the Madden Curse to see other players who’d been bitten by the curse.

    For the n00bs out there, the curse is, plainly stated, that those who’ve appeared on the cover of John Madden’s football video game have either had season-ending injuries or had bad seasons. Wikipedia says it’s a myth, but…

    At any rate, after being in New Orleans last week and seeing the rebuilding downtown it’d be a shame to see someone who’s given so much back to the city go down. Plus there was that U2/Green Day song. It has no relevance to this post, but it was an uplifting experience, sitting in a DC sports bar on a Monday night watching that performance while the entire bar went silent. Literally, from the bartender who’s a ‘Skins fan to the ex-Lions fan (me), we were all glued to the screen watching the mashup band perform for the sold out arena. Yes, the lower 9th Ward is still trashed, but for a second we all felt like the city was revitalized and that there was hope – even being hundred of miles away.

    While I’m blogging off-topic: Here’s how I know most PR bloggers that say they “get it” are phony and doing this for business vs. personal reasons — they follow the traditional media cycle. Seriously, how many other bloggers post at midnight on Friday night? Yeah, because people only read blogs between Monday and Thursday. Slackers.

     
  • dbinkowski 1:14 am on March 23, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Why NBC/NewsCorp partnership will fail 

    Mark’s excited about the NBC/NewsCorp partnership. I’m not.

    As we know, it’s not just delivery of the content that counts. Google gives away server space so the argument that they’ll lose audience because their clips are 10 minutes or less is bunk. Don’t be shocked to see Google throw a few million at new servers to counter this effort. Unlike its competitors, Google has a boatload of revenue from AdWords that it will use to bury competitors, not just make their numbers this quarter. As AdWords goes so does Google and its investments. Fox and NBC will pull the plug once their site can’t turn a profit. Bet on it.

    Since I mentioned content earlier I’ll go there (oh no you dihn’t!) – most of the programming on those stations sucks. YouTube gets content for free. In fact, the most popular videos on YouTube weren’t produced by TV stations or professionals.

    If they do put all of their TV shows online they’re going to kill their network advertising as ratings drop. Networks have made a killing on not providing real viewership numbers, but online it’s all traceable and trackable. Say, to quote the David Spade SNL flight attendant sketch, “Buh bye” TV revenue. Hello smaller online ad buys and budgets. And that, my friends, means “Buh bye” to online video for the major networks.

     
  • dbinkowski 2:10 am on February 25, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Blogmaverick.com censoring comments 

    The other day I posted here and cross-commented on Mark Cuban’s blog, essentially disagreeing with his take on media consumption (snacks vs. meals). I checked back today to see if a response was necessary, and after being public for several days, my comments has now been removed. The comment was number 18 on the list, 100% on-topic and in no way spam — so apparently you’re welcome to post your comments as long as you agree with Mark.

     
  • dbinkowski 4:35 pm on February 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Snacking is the new meal 

    Today Mark has a blog post about online video verses TV, comparing the two as “snack and meals”, where online video = snacks and TV = meals. On the surface this appears to be accurate, but Gen Y’s media consumption tells me otherwise. I’ll explain relative to food.

    Eating healthy requires several small meals per day, some might call snacks, versus, say, 3 large meals. In fact, one might argue that provided the small meals are of nutritional value that they could replace the concept of the sit down meal all together. Gen Y is consuming snacks, not meals. Given that, including declining ratings and newspaper circulation, this tells me that snacking is the new meal.

     
  • dbinkowski 2:25 pm on February 13, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    A question of leadership 

    I’ve noticed a lot of criticism lately centered around the concept of leadership. Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade questioned Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki’s leadership after Dirk said that Miami didn’t win the NBA title last year, rather the Mavs lost it.

    Mark Cuban blasted D. Wade, questioning his leadership, even going as far as to rip Wade’s commercials. I’m not sure how that’s relevant, but I digress.

    The topic of leadership is something I studied for a semester while in college, in fact it was the capstone course of my management degree. My Leadership professor also taught a class in critical thinking, so any comment that was made had to be defended and was picked apart, word by word. To be honest, I found the class to be quite exhilarating and entertaining. I’m sure some of the poor saps in class hated the prof, but I found the challenge to be very rewarding and a great learning experience.

    Back to the class. The assignment for the entire semester was to define “leadership”. That’s right — a single definition was the focus of the entire semester. We looked at case studies, articles, history and did in-class exercises to determine what leadership really is — and if people can learn it or if it’s innate. I argued the latter.

    Now I’m not saying people can’t learn how to be leaders. It’s all relative. Can a kid lead his Cub Scout pack to achieve the task of putting up a tent? Sure. Does that mean he’s a great leader? Maybe. Many peers in the class said their proof came from early development studies (and hands-on experience) showing there are kids who are more assertive than others and naturally respond to a “leadership challenge”, if you will. Other argued that you can read books and take leadership courses and that would arm a person with the knowledge they would need to be a great leader.

    I agree with both points, however let’s take a look at what makes leaders successful: it’s more than just reading a book. The Atlanta Hawks, for example, aren’t sending any players to the NBA All Star game in Las Vegas. Why is that? Because being the best player on one of the worst teams is, as Dennis Miller once said, “like being valedictorian at Summer school”. Sure, it’s leading, but to what? A loss? Last place?

    Granted, you have to be in the right situation to be able to lead. For instance, the fry cook can’t lead McDonald’s to a better 1st quarter. And we’ve seen what happens when great coaches land in bad situations. It never ends pretty.

    I argue that sports, much like business, are a great test of leadership – will you take the team on your back when needed, distribute the ball at the right time, not make turnovers, get a steal, grab a rebound… basically will you step up and do what it takes to lead your team to victory? I don’t think that leadership is something, in the heat of the battle, can be taught. Either you have it in your gut or you don’t.

    That being said, how can you argue with Dwyane Wade’s comments? I understand Mark is protecting his investment’s ego, but in the end Dirk didn’t step up to lead his team.

     
    • Anonymous 7:08 pm on February 14, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Vow.. ! Nicely put. I totally agree with your concept of leadership. DWADE stepped up his game to capture the finals when DIRK was still figuring out how to. CUBAN..you need to read this article before you become too personal on your ego. FYI – DO NOT forget how you won against spurs before you even came into finals.

      Peace
      Kiran

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