Archive for August, 2008

29
Aug
08

Blog In-Depth: LPGA implements rule on English proficiency

Buzz Manager ™ analyzed online discussion surrounding the LPGA implementing a rule requiring players to be proficient in English. Bloggers praising the new rule were tallied as positive, while bloggers who were critical of the new rule were counted as negative.

The Buzz ranked 10 out of 10, a topic of a high level of interest among sports bloggers.

– Bloggers in the Positive category thought the rule was a good ideaThey denounced assertions that the rule is discriminatory. They did not think wanting the players to be able to conduct interviews easily and interact with sponsors was an unreasonable request from the LPGA.

– Bloggers in the Negative category were much more vocal. Some individuals thought it was a bad move for the LPGA and that they could have found ways to enhance marketability and player development besides a language requirement. Along the same lines, some thought that if speaking English was truly in the best interests of the golfer career-wise, she would choose to learn some English on her own and the rule is unnecessary. Several people felt the rule was discriminatory and would be quickly challenged in the legal system. Some thought the use of translators should be allowed and accepted. Others questioned the manner in which the LPGA announced the rule, believing that by holding a meeting with just the South Korean players it appeared those specific players were being targeted. One blogger felt that this rule hurts the sport’s efforts to combat its elitist image and that the rule is anti-globalization and anti-inclusion.

– Bloggers in the Neutral category pointed out that although some people are up in arms over the new rule, some of the actual players on the LPGA Tour do not appear to have a problem with the rule. Another blog examined some of the legal challenges the new rule could face, concluding that by the law it is not an open and shut case of discrimination as some may believe.

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28
Aug
08

Bloggers still dislike Jay Mariotti, question Shawne Merriman, but can’t wait for college football

Over the past 24 hours, Jay Mariotti’s resignation from the Chicago Sun-Times remained the most popular topic among bloggers, the majority of whom are happy to see him go. San Diego Chargers LB Shawne Merriman deciding to forego surgery on his injured knee and play this season was a popular topic, drawing questions from bloggers as to whether this was the best decision. Tonight’s start of best sport ever college football season brought excitement among bloggers. Rounding out the Top 5 were Jacksonville Jaguars WR Dennis Northcutt being accused of having his cousin assault a woman allegedly pregnant by Northcutt and Yankee Stadium security enforcing its no moving during ‘God Bless America’ policy by removing a fan from the stadium when he attempted to go to the restroom during the song.

27
Aug
08

Bloggers rejoice in Mariotti’s resignation, dawn of MLB instant replay

Over the last 24 hours, sports journalist Jay Mariotti’s resignation from the Chicago Sun-Times sparked the interest of bloggers, especially because Mariotti said he resigned because he feels the newspaper business is on the decline and writing for web sites is the future of his career. Never a blogger favorite, most were pleased with Mariotti’s resignation. Tomorrow’s start of the use of instant replay in Major League Baseball was also a popular topic among bloggers, who are excited to see it finally in use. Michael Strahan choosing to stay retired and work for FOX rather than return to the NY Giants was received well. Bloggers liked that Strahan made a decision quickly. Rounding out the Top 5 were the LPGA now requiring its players to speak English or face possible suspension and the announcement that Kimbo Slice will face Ken Shamrock in the main event of Oct. 4th’s EliteXC event on CBS.

26
Aug
08

9-year-old pitcher banned for being too good draws ire of bloggers

Over the past 24 hours, the most popular blog topic was the story of Jericho Scott, a 9-year-old pitcher in New Haven, CT, that was banned from pitching in the area’s Youth Baseball League met with displeasure from sports bloggers. The Youth Baseball League felt that Scott throws so hard and so well that it posed a physical threat to the other players, though according to his coach, Scott has not hit a single batter this year. ESPN’s Stuart Scott’s basketball game and interview with presidential candidate Barack Obama was the second-most popular topic. Bloggers got a laugh out of an ad taken out by British tabloid newspaper The Sun comparing Great Britain’s gold medal count of 19 to Australia’s 14,  poking fun at the Aussies’ performance. The start of the U.S. Open, including famed boxing promoter Don King hosting a Nike promotional pseudo-weigh in of players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, was also a popular topic of discussion. Rounding out the Top 5 was continued negative discussion of Cuban taekwondo athlete Angel Matos kicking a referee after a match and Cuban president Fidel Castro coming to Matos’ defense.

25
Aug
08

‘Redeem Team’ silences critics, critics of gymnastic age controversy getting louder

Over the weekend the most popular Olympic topic was the U.S. men’s basketball team’s Gold Medal win over Spain. Commentary on the gymnastics age controversy also increased with many wondering why the IOC waited so long to investigate. Michael Phelps continued to be a popular topic, especially with news of a rumored romance with Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice. News that Cuban taekwondo athlete Angel Valodia Matos may be banned for life from the sport was also a popular topic. Matos kicked a referee in the face following a match in which he was disqualified for exceeding the allowed injury time. MSNBC commentator Tiki Barber sparked discussion several days after accidentally saying an expletive when attempting to say “medal count” during in Olympics broadcast.

22
Aug
08

Blog In-Depth: Staying power and sponsorships for Olympic athletes

Buzz Manager ™ analyzed blog discussion of the potential for sponsorships and “staying power” for Olympic athletes. Bloggers believing that certain Olympians could translate their success into long-term visibility were counted as positive. Bloggers believing that no matter how successful they are, athletes whose sports are featured only once every four years will quickly fade from the public eye after the Games are over were counted as negative.

The Buzz ranked 3 out of 10, a topic of a low level of interest among sports bloggers:

Bloggers in the Positive category felt that perhaps if anyone could do it Michael Phelps could emerge from the Olympics as a star and remain in the public eye for an extended period of time. There was a definite sentiment that the strategy taken by Phelps and his agent would be critical. Many felt Phelps needs to “strike while it’s hot” to maximize his marketability. There was little positive blog discussion about the staying power potential of other U.S. stars such as gymnasts Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin. The potential for stardom for Dara Torres was mentioned, with the thought being she could do well in the “mom” demographic.

– Bloggers in the Negative category were few. They felt that even with Phelps’ enormous success at these games, consumers will quickly shift their attention to more popular, seasonal sports once swimming is no longer being featured. The missed opportunity of Tyson Gay to capitalize on an Olympic performance was also mentioned. The sentiment was Gay not qualifying for the final in the 100m and being part of the 4 x 100m relay team that dropped the baton likely cost him a great deal of sponsorship income and exposure that could have boosted his staying power.

Bloggers in the Neutral category were unsure of the staying power of many Olympic athletes. Some bloggers were speculating about which companies would be lining up to make deals with Phelps.  There was more discussion of Liukin in this category, many thinking the VISA commercial featuring her may help boost her brand, but that the successes of both Liukin and Johnson were overshadowed by Phelps, hampering their chances of remaining in the public eye.

Among the Beijing Games’ other disappointments: American sprinter Tyson Gay. Following an injury-plagued summer, the widely hyped track-and-field star not only botched the baton exchange during the men’s 4×100 relay semifinal, but he failed to qualify for the 100-meter final, much less medal, throwing his marketability into question. … In addition to hurting his ability to score new endorsement deals, Gay’s falter will likely impact those he already has. By not providing a gold-medal performance to tout in future advertisements, the significant upside that might have been from sponsors like McDonald’s, Omega and Adidas will most likely disappear.”  – Beijing Olympic Games Blog

There is a lot of buzz this week about which American Olympic athletes have the strongest endorsement potential. … If done correctly, Olympic athlete licensing, for the most part, is a great example of a smart strategy for short-term awareness building for a brand. Why? The reality is few Olympic athletes have long branding life spans. … The Olympics is only held once every four years. After a year or so, Americans forget about the Olympics and move to stars they see more. Kids want someone else on their Wheaties box.” – License to Brand

Can Michael Phelps turn swimming into a bigger sport with more traction than just the past week at the Olympics? Here are five tactics he and his team might consider, not to impact the number of people joining swim clubs, but to impact the number of casual fans consuming: … For better or worse, Phelps is his own best marketing tool. TV networks can’t get enough. Marketers can’t get enough. Fans, apparently, can’t get enough. He will have to boost interest by keeping himself at the center of the swimming universe – that means racing. Or, at the very least, sitting in the announcing booth next to Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines.” – Dan Shanoff

21
Aug
08

Usain Bolt amazes crowd… too bad you didn’t get to see it until 12 hours later.

Over the past 24 hours, Usain Bolt’s World Record setting win in the men’s 200m final was the most popular Olympic topic. Bloggers were in awe of the apparent ease with which Bolt beat the rest of the field with some saying that Bolt’s feat of winning both the 100m and 200m sprints should be considered on par with that of Michael Phelps in swimming.

Speaking of the 8 Gold Medal winner, Phelps remained a popular topic with conversation about his endorsements and income potential and fellow swimmer Amanda Beard’s somewhat negative reaction to rumors that she and Phelps were involved.

NBC’s coverage also remained a popular topic, but the network is not receiving many compliments. Bloggers are frustrated with the time-delayed coverage of certain events. Specific complaints were about the men’s 200m final featuring Bolt that occurred yesterday at 10:20am ET, the results of which were much publicized on the internet long before NBC actually aired the race in its evening coverage.

Rounding out the Top 5 were men’s basketball, with results of both the U.S. vs Australia and Argentina vs Greece, and the extreme conditions performers in the Opening Ceremonies endured. Bloggers responded to reports of long rehearsals and some performers wearing adult diapers to negate a need for bathroom breaks during the hours-long show and ensuing comments by Zhang Yimou, the ceremony’s director, that such suffering and sacrifice were necessary to pull off the show. Following previous reports of “fake” elements in the show, bloggers raised questions about the lengths to which Beijing officials went trying to create the perfect show.




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