Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekend Quick Hits: Around the Web in 80 Seconds

As the Barry Bonds trial continues this week, the prosecution has had some issues with witnesses, and may only be able to make out Count 2 (that Bonds knowingly lied he was injected). No one knows what the jury is thinking though. One thing is for sure: if I'm Bonds I'm a lot more optimistic this week than last week.

Bonds had his best season at the age of 40. He hit .362 en route to his second National League batting title, and broke his own record of 232 walks. He slugged .812 (4th highest ever) and had a best .609 on base percentage. Bonds also hit 45 home runs in 373 at-bats, while only striking out 41 times. Bonds would win his fourth consecutive MVP award and his seventh overall.

Bonds, formerly a 5 tool player, built himself into a hulking, record-setting home run hitter at an advanced baseball age. Up until 1998,  when he turned 34, Bonds averaged one home run every 16.1 at bats. Between 1999 and 2007 (ages 34 to 43), which is alleged to be the start of his doping regimen, Bonds hit home runs at nearly twice that clip - one every 8.5 at bats.

MLB is projecting it will end its 3-year attendance slide based on preliminary ticket sales data for the 2011 season. After drawing 73.06 million fans in 2010, down 0.4% from 2009, this year’s total is projected to fall somewhere between 75 million and 78 million, an increase of 3 to 7%.

According to the Sports Business Journal, AEG is nearing a deal to develop a new $1.5 billion sports and entertainment complex in Moscow. Slated to open in 2016, it will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The NBA is also in talks with the developers regarding an NBA themed destination that could be part of the complex.

While the NBA is far behind the NFL in popularity in North America, is still has tremendous appeal abroad. One indicator: Of the top 10 Facebook and Twitter accounts worldwide in sports, the NBA and Lakers are 4 and 5. All others except for WWE are European clubs. The NBA does seem to have tremendous international appeal.

Speaking of the NBA, it's about to unveil a talking basketball to promote the playoffs. “Our strategy this year is to tell our playoff story in a different way,” said Danny Meiseles, executive vice president and executive producer of NBA Entertainment. “One of the constants is our game is the ball. We tell the story in a documentary style with the talking basketball going back and forth with actual highlight footage.”

No word if Wilson from Cast Away will make a cameo.

MLB comes into the season with a new sponsor head in Lou Koskovolis. Topping his to do list: renewing MasterCard, Bank of America and Chevrolet as sponsors.

Other MLB sponsors includes Procter & Gamble and Firestone, the latter which will sponsor balloting for the MLB All-Star Game.

As we approach the April 6 hearing, NFL players are reportedly feeling relatively comfortable that the Court will lift the lockout. That's a big reason they won't negotiate until after that date. If they win, momentum will swing to the players.

On replacing longtime Sunday Night Baseball broadcasters Jon Miller and Joe Morgan with Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine: “If you believe in reinventing organization and oversight, it’s incumbent upon you to reinvent the faces that are delivering it,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vice president of production.

The San Francisco Giants have made several upgrades at AT&T Park to improve coverage for mobile devices and boost revenue at Centerplate’s concession stands. Its expanded the stadium’s distributed antenna system, and on the side of concessions, it will test 51 digital menu boards at 13 food and retail stands.

Why are sponsors threatening to walk out on major sports leagues as they wrestle with issues of violence and labor strife? Bottom line is, and always has been, that sponsors are risk adverse.

The highly visible rooftop sign across the street from Wrigley Field will have a new advertiser this season: United Airlines. This is part of a 3 year deal, which includes naming rights to Wrigley Field's Stadium Club along the first-base line.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is still looking at buying the Dallas Stars...The Los Angeles Dodgers are partnering with El Zarco Tequila for the 2011 season. El Zarco will be the Dodgers’ official tequila partner...The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission said it will receive $22.7 million from its insurer to replace the roof at the Metrodome...The New York Giants are the only team in the NFL not requiring season-ticket holders to buy tickets during the lockout...The Miami Heat have sold out season tickets for next season...Michael Vick is one of 32 NFL players participating in an online vote to determine who will be on the cover of Madden NFL 12.

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