My Adidas stimulus spending plan is not working

How can this be? My own adidas related spending is up 350% since Dec 12th of 2008.  Clearly its not enough.  Also, it really annoys me when companies complain that profits are down.  Maybe Adidas should take a page out of Valve’s pricing playbook.

BBC NEWS | Business | Adidas sees profits plunge by 95%

Sportswear giant Adidas has reported a fall in profits for the April to June period of 93% as consumer spending fell during the economic downturn


Sports leagues and Internet video

Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball are not just at the opposite ends of the alphabet, but also in embracing digital media.  In this day and age, fans don’t want to be tied to watching anything, even a soccer match or baseball game, by place or time.  Baseball is one of the big three sports in the States, much like horse racing and boxing were last century, and they’re vested in the old model of viewing a game at a certain place and time, and in blacking out games outside of different regions.  Is it any wonder then that MLB considers baseball fans criminals if they use a slingbox to watch games?  Can I emphasize anymore that these are fans of the sport?

MLB’s recent comments that Slingbox owners streaming home games when traveling is illegal has raised quite a stir over the last few days. MLB’s argument is that Slingbox allows consumers to circumvent geographical boundaries written in to broadcast deals.

MLB’s slingbox rant is due to fears that slingbox will cannibalize demand for they’re channel on youtube.  Major League Soccer wants to expose the league and sport to a wider audience, and understands that new models for reaching people are available on the Internet.  It’s become the third sports league to partner with Youtube.

MLS is hoping to garner as much support for its new channel. MLS will have a sponsored channel on YouTube, where updated clips will be played, with alerts sent out to subscribers.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the English Premier League has decided to sue Youtube for hosting user-posted videos and clips form EPL matches.  You have to wonder how much damage could be done to a league who’s next television deal is worth reportedly 513 million dollars.

The lawsuit charges that YouTube deliberately encourages massive copyright infringement on its Web site to generate public attention and boost traffic. This has resulted in the loss of valuable content, the complaint said.

Sports eagues would do well to learn from the clumsy attempts by the music industry’s goons at the RIAA to use legal threats against their own customers.  Especially now that major music publishers might be embracing DRM-free (that’s not crippled files in layman’s terms) music distribution.  I think the leagues that learn to adapt to new distribution models, and not rely primarily on massive television rights deals, can really thrive online.


The impact of SUM on MLS

Soccer America looks at what impact, if any, Soccer United Marketing (S.U.M) has had on our domestic league.  They’re very shrewd promoters, including clauses in contracts that teams coming over to play in friendlies, like Mexico or Manchester United, have to bring their first team regulars.  It sounds like the impact on MSL is fairly mixed so far, but the SuperLiga later this year will be huge.  Beyond the $1M prize for the winning team, the games will be broadcasted on Univision and Telefutura.  At least, S.U.M. has managed to bring the attention of Hispanic broadcast media back to MLS, and that will help the league tap into that audience in the long run.

The combination of coverage on Fox Sports en Espanol (approximately 10 million viewers and TeleFutura (46 million) gives MLS a much greater reach into the Hispanic market through television. Cross-promotion between the Latino and Anglo soccer communities may boost Mexican-American attendance at MLS games.

HT: Dunord


High Demand for US World Cup Soccer

Via the Sports Economist, found a link to this article in the Wall Street Journal about the high demand for World Cup tickets for the USA [subscribers only].  I can’t read the article, but its safe to assume its a mainstream journalist just catching wind of the difficulties those of us who want to follow our team to Germany encountered, what, 2 months ago?  I’m not sure why he ends his post with a dig at MLS.

Now, if MLS could find a way to bring a credible product to club soccer, we might really have something to cheer about.

What is a “credible product” to club soccer?

In my opinion, MLS has made great strides in the quality of the clubs they have.  The number of owners is going up, it’s been a good proving ground for your talen (Bobby Convey, Demarcus Beasley, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan), and its getting stadiums built for its clubs.

You could argue that single-entity (the format used by practically every new sports league recently), multiple team ownership (AEG is divesting itself of teams), and the lack of a single table (umm, yeah our country spans a whole continent…) as somehow degrading the quality of the clubs but I think these arguments are specious. 

The low salary cap and the small rosters, which limit a teams effectiveness in international competion and ability to deal with injuries, do more to hurt a club. I think MLS realizes this and are eager to fix them while staying viable and aiming for profitability.


A primer on Major League Soccer.

At the annual retreat for work, one of the sessions involved presenting about organizations we found interesting or good models. Finally, all my knowledge and time spent on BigSoccer and MLSNet paid off. Not all of us were tagged to present, and I felt really bad for eveyone else who actually spent some time researching and preparing for their presentations. I just came in ready to wing it, with some main points I’d thought of on the drive in, and somehow managed to impress the judges enoough to come in first. Here are some of the points I made, as best as I can remember.

I chose Major League Soccer (MLS) as the organization I presented on, not because they are doing very important work or working on some great cause. But they are trying to succeed at something – selling soccer to Americans – in the face of many challenges. First off, the team sports marketplace in the US is crowded with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and – until the lockout – the NHL commanding most sport’s fans attention. Second, they are trying to sell a sport which is seen as foreign, unexciting, unmanly by many sports fans and sports reporters. And finally, a number of sports leagues, some better backed and marketed have failed recently. The XFL, backed by Vince McMahon, failed after only one season. Even the WUSA, founded on the heels and hubris of the USA Women’s World Cup soccer team, was forced to fold after 3 seasons.



Viacom channels back on Dish Network

Doc Searls has a good summary about Viacomm and Dish Network settling their recent spat over carrying Viacomm’s bundle of channels. Unfortunately, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Why not? I think it’s because nobody who makes most of their money on advertising wants to see consumers become customers. Viacom, for example, is primarily in the advertising business. The programming they sluice down channels to consumers is just bait. Most of what they sell is best-guess numbers. They can’t begin to think about selling programming directly to viewers or listeners, partly because that’s not their business, but mostly because they don’t want advertisers to know specifics about actual viewing and listening – such as how often people tune away from advertising, or skip over it with their TiVos. Meanwhile the cable and satellite services are mostly in the business of satisfying habits.

But speaking as a consumer who would rather be a customer, a la carte is what I’d like. I think that’s exactly where we’re headed in the long run. And that the inevitability of advertising loss is the deeper issue behind the dispute between EchoStar and Viacom. That loss is will be felt on the supply side, by Viacom.

I think 95% of viewers would welcome being able to choose what channels they get and paying only for them. But the Viacom’s of the World don’t have any incentive to give it to them. Here’s a list of the channels I watch or want:

  1. Local over the air channels (get it via antenna now anyway)
  2. ESPN/ESPN2 (for MLS games although I might get the MLS DirectKick package this season.)
  3. Comedy Central – for the Daily Show.
  4. Fox Sports World, Fox Sports World Espanol
  5. ESPN Deportes
  6. TechTv
  7. And that’s pretty much it…


Hilarious: How to Save the NHL

Ask The Slouch Surefire 10-step plan to resuscitate NHL

Use a soccer ball instead of a hockey puck. We’d finally be able to see what they’re all slapping their sticks at, and, somewhat ironically, the soccer ball would increase scoring.