Entries Tagged as 'business'

is “free” access to stats a new trend?

I went to the Arvada Colts team page today to check on the progress of Illini pitcher Drasen Johnson.  The Colts are in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Baseball League.  As I clicked on the “Stats” link, I was presented with only three categories of stats (Games pitched, innings pitched and wins) plus this disclaimer:

“FREE Access to the Arvada Colts for all Fans

To view expanded season statistics you must be a Fan of the Arvada Colts”

Boo.

I have a hard time digesting this.  To put a price on baseball statistics, even when it is “free”, sets a really bad precedent. 

The Arvada Colts subscribe to the GameChanger service which displays their stats for them. 

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Cubs outsourcing their publications and graphics dept

After taking care of their publishing needs in-house for over 100 years, the Cubs will now be outsourcing these needs to a Cincinnati firm, EMI Network.

So says Bleed Cubbie Blue:

Now, the Cubs are outsourcing their publications to EMI Network, a Cincinnati-based company that does publications for a number of other pro sports teams and various clients including Elmhurst College, Eastern Illinois University, PNC Bank, various large law firms and US News & World Report.

Under this new arrangement, EMI Network will operate and manage all aspects of the Cubs’ Publications & Creative Services Department, including publication of Vine Line magazine as well as photography, video and graphic services.

For a cynical guy, I can be pretty idealistic too.  So for some reason this really bothers.  I guess I need to let it roll over me.  But maybe I can’t let go of the fact that the Cubs Vineline or the programs that us Cubs fans will buy at the Wrigley Field will be designed and published in the same city whose team has a former Cub manager. 

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MLB is taking attendance

Seventy-five years to one billion.

Twenty-one years to two billion.

Thirteen years to three billion.

What am I talking about? The amount of years it took MLB to reach these attendance milestones beginning in 1901. 

The milestone was the result of the 10,843rd person who passed through the Coors Field gates on Tuesday afternoon for the Dodgers-Rockies game.

Give or take a gate crasher or two.

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Cubs’ owner interviewed

Chicago Breaking Sports (an oddly chosen, yet perhaps appropriate name for WGN/Chicago Tribune’s Sports site) has posted an interview of Cubs owner Tom Ricketts where he “discusses life as Cubs’ owner”. 

On Lou Piniella’s future

Ricketts said general manager Jim Hendry ultimately will make that decision. "If you insert yourself into that discussion, you’re not adding value, for one thing, and you want accountability," he said. "It’s Jim’s responsibility, and he knows it."

Passing the buck..

Seriously, good to hear that one fat cat owner isn’t going to micromanage his team. 

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Times getting all Sox-less

The New York Times just sold some of its stake of the Boston Red Sox. 

The deal with Henry McCance for 50 of the media company’s 750 units in New England Sports Ventures (NESV), which owns the Major League Baseball team, reduces the Times’s stake to 16.6 percent from 17.75 percent.

Before we get all sentimental thinking it was a move to be more loyal to the Yankees, my bet is that it was a purely economic move based on the Times financial situation.

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The effect of International MLB players

There’s a new study out confirming that Major League Baseball teams increase their fan base and their ticket revenue by having international players on their rosters.

Perhaps it’s a no-brainer but this study from the University of Michigan spells it out and does the math for us.  The research was done over the years 1985-2005.  While there was initial prejudice at first, fans warmed up to international players and by end, there was shift to the polar opposite, that is, a slight prejudice towards teams without international players. 

To put numbers on it, each international player added to an MLB team could mean over a half million in ticket sales based on 2000 data. 

The preference peaked in 2000 when each international player added approximately $595,632 to ticket sales, the study showed. The average MLB team that season showed 10.8 foreign-born players on its roster and garnered an average of $6 million in additional revenue, the paper said.

 

Of course, if these numbers just reflect ticket sales, I can only imagine what kind of effect they may have on media such as television, cable, and online advertising. 

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Another chapter in the Upper Deck story

Last August, I wrote about the deal between MLB and Topps and how it was arranged that Topps would have exclusive rights to MLB logos and graphics. 

Now there seems to be another chapter to the story. 

MLB is now suing Upper Deck for trademark infringement for using its logos on its cards without permission. 

It said Upper Deck’s cards improperly feature various sport and team logos, and that some 2010 packaging featuring New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter may confuse consumers because of its similarity to authorized packaging used in 2009.

MLB wants to halt sales of the cards and seeks “triple and punitive damages”.

I’m all in Upper Deck’s corner for the non-competitive deal that MLB made with Topps last year but surely Upper Deck didn’t think they could get away with this.  MLB (and Topps for that matter) would be keeping their eyes on them for any trademark infringement.  And sure enough, they caught them with their hand in the figurative cookie jar. 

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2K Sports offers $1 mil for First Perfect Game

mlb2k10cover1 It’s a rather unique and impressive advertising trick.  They don’t pay these guys from Marketing lotsa of dough for nothing.

It comes down to this.  Video game maker 2K Sports will pay $1 million to the first person who can “throw” a perfect game in their upcoming release of their baseball simulation game, MLB 2K10. 

The promise of a million buckaroos would probably boost 2K10’s sales significantly alone.  Not to mention all the press and PR that the upcoming game will get from such an outlandish offer. 

If you go to 2K Sports Perfect Game landing page, you won’t get many details.  Only a brief one-sentence description of the contest and to “Come back soon for more details”.  But the hook has been baited and the fish are already jumping. 

According to Kotaku,com, this prize is most likely the largest ever for its kind.  Not only that, 2K Sports probably expects someone to cash in.

The million-dollar prize is believed to be the largest ever offered for this type of contest – a skill-based challenge, rather than a random drawing. 2K Sports isn’t putting up the money believing its game is so tough that no one can meet the challenge. It fully expects someone to pitch a perfect game – retiring all 27 batters without a single one reaching base by any means – and cash in during the contest period from March 2 (the game’s date of release) and May 2.

If past versions of 2K Sports’ baseball games are any indication, then it certainly IS possible.  Pitching a perfect game in 2K9 seemed to be entirely possible as evidenced by countless You Tube videos documenting them.  The trick is, I assume, doing it under the rules and guidelines set out by the company.  The biggest, I suppose, is that the whole thing has to be recorded.  One other, as specified in the small type, the game must be played on the Xbox or PS3 (not the Wii). 

Rules and guidelines aside, I think this is a marketing coup for 2K Sports.  Call it thinking outside the (batter’s) box. 

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Topps, Minor Leagues reach exclusive deal

Three months ago, MLB signed Topps Company to a major contract to produce and market baseball cards with the MLB teams’ logo.  This was an exclusive contract to the detriment to other card making companies such as Upper Deck. 

Now, Topps has scored another coup.  They have reached agreement with Major League Baseball Properties in a multi-year licensing deal to produce certain nationally distributed Minor League cards

The agreement makes Topps the only trading card manufacturer licensed by MLBP to produce nationally-distributed trading cards of top draft picks and prospects within Minor League Baseball, and will give Topps the rights to names and logos of the 160 affiliated Minor League clubs and current Minor League players in uniform on baseball cards and stickers beginning on January 1, 2010. In addition, Topps will now have the exclusive use of the Pro Debut logo. Its first product will be its 2010 Topps Pro Debut Series 1 to be unveiled in early March 2010.

As it was three months ago, this deal is exclusive. 

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MLB testing DNA of Latin American prospects

Bill Clark of the Columbia Daily Tribune writes about how Major League Baseball is entering the realm of DNA testing especially in Latin America.

In an attempt to eliminate cheating on age and identities in Latin America, particularly in the Dominican Republic, MLB has admitted to genetic testing to determine the true identity of players being signed, particularly those receiving big bonuses.

In addition to establishing the identity of players, it is possible to also provide clues to their age.

Federal legislation that was passed last year, will prohibit companies from testing employees (or a family member) on the basis of their DNA.  This law will take effect on November 21 of this year.  It is unclear how this U.S. law will affect American companies implementing these procedures in other countries.

Here is the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 in its entirety.

According to the New York Times, MLB has declined how many players have been tested and whether or not the test results were kept or destroyed.  Given the situation with the recent controversy with the 2003 steroid list that was under law supposed to be kept under wraps, you can see where that can lead us.

The whole thing stinks to me.  Major League Baseball has no business doing this.  If they can find out what they need to know the old fashioned way by forging relationships and establishing communications, then they need to do their homework.  DNA testing and the like is one more thing that will set their work down there backwards.

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