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Archive for October, 2012

 

Oct 26 2012

“I Totally Agree” – College Football and NBA/NHL Franchise Relocation

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Click Here to listen to Episode 17 of “I Totally Agree”

In this episode, Chris and Gene talk about season-swinging games on this weekend’s college football slate as well as impending franchise relocation in the NHL and NBA. Thanks for listening and we hope you enjoy!

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Oct 25 2012

Geno Rims Out

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It’s kind of hard to argue with Geno Auriemma. For those who live in the NFL, NBA, and MLB bubble, he’s the women’s basketball coach at the University of Connecticut and he happens to have coached UConn to seven national titles.

In a recent article in the Hartford Current, Auriemma believes that the women’s game isn’t growing because some players can’t shoot and miss lay-ups. To fix this, he suggests lowering the rim to improve players’ offensive efficiency. He reasons that lowering the rim would allow the average female player, who is shorter than the average male player, to be at the height of the rim when she shoots.

So what do the folks on Around the Horn think?

According to Bob Ryan, nothing the sport does will make some men watch this game . . . The game will never be played in the air like the men’s game.

Kevin Blackistone worries that female coaches, administrators, and players will be offended because here is a man telling women how to play their game. While a reference was made to softball fields being shorter than baseball fields, Blackistone rightly points out that softball is a different game from baseball.

Israel Gutierrez thinks that current players wouldn’t take Auriemma’s suggestion very well – it’s a shot to the ego.

The fact that some college players consistently miss layups and lack shooting fundamentals is ridiculous, but I’m not sure I buy that lowering the rim will help. If a player refuses to learn the correct form for shooting a left-handed lay-up (or if coaches at the high school and AAU levels don’t demand that they do so), what good is lowering the rim?

In the same article, Auriemma makes the suggestion of selecting cities to annually host the Final Four, as well as changing the dates to Friday and Sunday (rather than Sunday and Tuesday). It makes a lot of sense to bring the game back to where the real women’s basketball fans are and to make it easier for them to watch the games.

 

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Oct 18 2012

The fastest growing sport ON THE PLANET

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If you’re a sports and exercise fanatic, chances are you’ve already heard about Crossfit, and have known about the unique fitness program since it was founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman as Crossfit, Inc.

Since then, Crossfit has grown enormously and is practiced by members of approximately 4,400 gyms worldwide as well as fire departments, law enforcement agencies, military organizations, and high school, collegiate, and professional sports teams, such as the Miami Marlins. In addition, the ‘Crossfit Games’, which have been ongoing since 2007, has also grown tremendously in size and in sponsorship-first prize for the winner in the men’s and women’s competition at the inaugrual games was $500-in 2012 it was $250,000. The Games have also become a televised event, covered by ESPN and sponsored by Reebok.

There is no doubt that Crossfit is rapidly growing in name and stature-but what exactly is the appeal behind it? How has a relatively simple idea grown so quickly, and where will it be 10 years from now? Of course, the best way to answer those questions was to actually jump into the “Crossfit Cult”-and this is precisely what I’ve done.

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Oct 12 2012

What exactly is moneyball?

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Now since the novel by Michael Lewis has been published and the movie starring A-list actors was a hit, this word “moneyball” has become prevalent in mainstream society but the question is, do most people know what this really is? Of course, avid baseball fans are well aware of this phenomenon innovated by Billy Beane, who was the general manager of the Oakland Athletics in 1997. In my Sports Leadership & Management curriculum, I recently was reading about how the concept of moneyball was born due to MLB franchise values and the disparity between large market and small market teams. Due to the fact that the MLB doesn’t share local TV revenue (meaning that they don’t make money off of how many viewers tune into ballgames), it causes large “media market teams” such as the New York Yankees to earn more revenue compared to the Colorado Rockies. This causes a disadvantage and a potential monopoly among major league teams and the possibility of losing top notch players because salary requirements can’t be met. During the 1990’s when Billy Beane was a professional scout, he realized this discrepancy and developed a concept of building a team on a low budget while using sabermetrics, a concept of analyzing baseball through objective evidence and then it evolved into the word “moneyball”.  The whole idea of moneyball is to have a winning team without having to recruit high profile players with high salary demands. This idea that Beane invented and enacted as a GM after the 1997 season with the A’s was to focus primarily on the statistics of players and to use quantitative analysis of baseball, rather than just recruiting talented baseball players who had a high batting average or a low ERA. Beane wanted to draft intelligently and hired statistician Bill James to analyze mathematical theories to put together a team that would consistently win. Now, teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox have utilized “moneyball”. To sum it up, a professional baseball franchise doesn’t need to have a large amount of revenue to recruit skilled baseball players but rather have the capability to analyze statistics, probability, and to draft players who are worth it.

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Oct 10 2012

Escape From Reality

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I think that it is safe to say that everyone in this program loves sports, but have we really thought of why? Most of us have probably played many years of sports, and our professional dreams of playing are most likely over. Since that is the case why do we still want to be around the industry? One of the biggest reasons I think people do this, and the main reason I know I do, is because sports provide us with an escape from reality.

Everybody has struggles in their lives, whether that is at work, with their family, or in a relationship. At different points in our lives things are difficult, and we feel that life is not going exactly the way we would like it. Sports give us something to fall back on. Maybe your week isn’t going well at all, but when your football team wins on Sunday it gives you a spark that maybe things are going to turn around. That is what sports do for us. It gives us reason to believe that there is something out there for us to feel a real connection to, and gives us hope that there are things out there worth holding on to.

I also believe that it is human nature to want to be a part of something bigger than just an individual, and that is something that sports supply us with. When our team, in any sport, is winning, somehow it makes us feel like we are winning as well. When we forge relationships with a specific team or university it is the same exact way we forge relationships with other people. We feel loyal towards them, and invest a lot of time to follow them through the ups and downs of their existence.

At the end of the day, our lives do not hinder on whether our favorite teams win, but for some reason it feels like that. Personally, I know that whenever my team is in a close battle with another, especially in a big game, I feel nervous and anxious the same way that I do in normal every day life. Deep down, I know that the next day I’ll wake up, and I’ll go about my day no matter if my team wins or loses, but it still feels like when my team is playing so I am.

That is what is so special about sports, and why I believe the sport’s business industry is so special. As sport’s business professionals we get the chance to make a real difference in people’s lives. Not only do we get the opportunity to make the obvious difference by providing chances for underprivileged individuals to a better life, but also we get to give everyone an escape from reality. We get to give everyone who loves sports the chance to say, “Man, my week hasn’t been great, but my team is playing tonight, so at least I have that going for me!” That may not seem like a lot to some people, but to me that is the reason I want to work in the field.

Sports give individuals an outlet, maybe for only one night a week, but that is why it is so special. Because in a world where everyone is searching for something to call their own, and struggling to really figure out who they are, sports provide us with the opportunity to escape.

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Oct 02 2012

SIM Speaker Series: Deb Fiddelke

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Starting in 2008, the city of Chicago began its bid for the 2016 summer Olympics.  That same year Deb Fiddelke, a former member of the Bush White House staff, decided to change her career from politics the field of sports when she was hired for the International and Government Relations efforts for Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.  Since the inception of the modern Olympics, only three U.S. cities have hosted the summer games and Chicago was the most obvious choice for a return to the United States.  Deb Fiddelke spoke to the SIM class last Thursday about the many factors that contribute to a successful bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the preparation required to create a strong technical and thematic presentation to the committee.

According to Deb, in order to create a successful bid first you need to have the right city to handle the massive amount of construction, infrastructure, and space needed to host the games.  She stated the team was prepared to build 90% of the venues within 15 minutes of each other and utilize the spectacular Lake Michigan as a backdrop.  The sheer size of the city of Chicago would also be able to handle the amount of infrastructure and space needed.  They even planned to convert an abandoned hospital into space to house the athletes.   Secondly she said you need the commitment of city leaders, the public and federal leaders.  The Mayor of Chicago at the time, Richard M. Daley, was fully integrated in the bidding process and was committed to the efforts from the beginning.  Deb stated that the Olympics were Mayor Daley’s “baby” and that he wanted this to be his legacy.  The public of Chicago was much harder to convince though.  Much of the public feared the use of public funds but the bid team assured that no tax payer money would be used and that the bidding process would be fully funded by private entities.  Many of the citizens of Chicago were also assured that the city would see an increase of jobs and an economic boost from the games.  As far as the support of federal leaders is concerned, in 2008 Barack Obama was elected president and as a Chicago native, President Obama and the first lady were involved in the bid process until the very end.  The bid committee also received letters of support from 5 federal cabinet secretaries twice, once when the process started under Bush and again after Obama was elected.

According to Deb, $50 million dollars was privately funded just to complete the bid process.  The team had the support from the city of Chicago, backing from the Federal government, and a plan to build temporary and reusable venues, so why was Chicago the first city eliminated from the Olympic vote?  Well according to Deb, the city of Chicago had no chance from the beginning.  “We thought it was Rio vs. Chicago in the finals, but in hindsight, Chicago was never going to get the Olympics”.  It was clear that the IOC wanted to give the Olympics to a continent that had never hosted the games before.  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was the most likely choice, and it allowed the IOC to scratch South America off its list.  The 2016 Olympic bid was not unlike a political campaign with strong undertones of corruption, lobbying, and handshake deals.  An unresolved TV rights deal and disputes over revenue sharing between the IOC and the USOC were also negative factors for Chicago.

In the end, the entire process was daunting and exhausting according to Deb, but she would drop everything and join another Olympic bid team in a heartbeat.  It is clear that the Chicago 2016 team was fully prepared for another successful Olympic games in America, but what the team was not prepared for was the politics of the IOC, the predetermined minds of IOC members and the necessary lobbying of leaders of the International Sports Federations.  Deb Fiddelke believes that the U.S. could be in contention for the 2028 or 2032 summer games but it is hard to determine when the IOC seems to dismiss the merits of the bidding process. Besides, the IOC stated to the Chicago 2016 team after they were eliminated, “You had the best plan, it just wasn’t your turn”.

 

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