Front Office Fan

A Take on the Games We Watch and the Industry Behind Them

Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Off the DL

Posted by GM/VP of Fan Operations on Monday, August 31, 2009

Let’s save each other a lot of time and skip my apologizing for not blogging in a month.

In fact, if you’re a fan of all my work then you should know that I have been blogging, and running the show in fantasy baseball.

In personal news I started an internship two weeks ago and have been very happy with it. Earlier this summer I was concerned with getting an internship and what type of role I would be filling. To be where I am now is nothing short of the best possible outcome.

Regarding the Front Office Fan, I have seriously let the site down in taking a month off. Since starting the site I worried I would take extended hiatuses once classes resumed in the fall. I can promise you it won’t be anything like August, 2009. Senior year is starting this week, how do you slow down time?

I have a lot of plans regarding new segments. One of my favorite things to do in sports is try to make analogies across sports and when one arises I’ll be sure to try and blog about it. Later this week you’ll see a new tabbed section at the top of the page and on Friday you’ll have a month’s worth of Fan Favorites.

Lastly, as part of my senior year I am working on a thesis assignment. I have more or less finalized on the topic and think it would work best to blog about the subject as I work on it and give you a chance to see something that I think is important in the world of sports.

So expect some of those things later this week and hopefully a blog entry not too far into the future.


Posted in Career/Job/Internship, Thesis, Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Are You There ROI? It’s Me, Pepsi

Posted by GM/VP of Fan Operations on Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Map

The Map

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of the Bullrun. Bueller? Bueller?

Last week some people got into cars and decided… well I don’t feel like explaining it, so here’s the official explanation from Bullrun:

The Bullrun brand originated from the now legendary Bullrun USA car rally. It is the most glamorous and high profile “luxury lifestyle” automotive rally.

Each year up to a 100 cars, driven by celebrities and individuals from around the world, embark on an epic seven-day rolling road-trip, partying in a different city every night.

Bullrun crosses the USA, bringing together a celebrity strewn cast of characters and for an unforgettable adventure, where, the only obligatory goals are to party, drive and enjoy…

Fuelled by an impressive schedule of public and private events at the finest venues and hotels and in the most exciting cities in America, ’Bullrunners’ make their way from one checkpoint to the next, only learning their next destination daily, rocking to a close each night in the party capitals of America.

Entry to this event is $20,000. This covers both drivers for accommodations, rally entry and meals and parties for the week of the rally.

This live rally event is filmed for TV in 96 countries outside the United States (See Bullrun TV). The TV show will be in it\’s 6th season in 2009. The title of this TV series is \’Cops, Cars & Superstars\’.

  • Celebrities are mentioned twice, so we know who this event is catered to…
  • 20 G’s to race in this event. Kind of affirms the clientele.
  • “Only obligatory goals are to party, drive and enjoy…” sounds awesome. Now where’s my tool box?
  • The rally is filmed for 96 countries outside the United States. So the US doesn’t air the event which would make sense seeing as this seems to be illegal and all… Wait. There is a US television show? What’s the Speed Channel? Goldberg, is that you?

This show format is a \’spin off\’ and based on the legendary Bullrun Rally (above). It is a totally separate event as 12 teams with their cars compete for $200,000 over 4,000 miles in a 10 episode reality elimination TV show (See Bullrun Reality TV).

Referred to as ‘Bullrun’, the show aired on MTV Networks / Spike TV in March 2007 with production of Bullrun Season II due to begin in 2008, airing in 2009. This TV series is also shown around the world in 50 countries.

This is show free to applicants if selected for the TV show. Individuals who want to be Contestants or Flag Girls in this show can set up Driver or Flag Girl profiles on this website and will automatically be considered for the show.

You get a more complete picture of Bullrun when you read the quotes the site posts on their home page.

“The most glamorous rally in the world!” – OK magazine – If OK Magazine says something is “glamorous” I think they are contradicting themselves and straying from their mission. Ultimately, they are forgetting their roots and pandering to the popular crowd, people that wouldn’t settle for “OK.” To thine own self be true, OK Magazine.

“It was glorious. And we rode shotgun for all 3000 miles!” – ESPN Magazine – Did you even offer shotty to the guy in the back seat? He needs leg room too! That’s just rude.

“A 3000-mile rolling party that is half Cannonball Run, half Mardi Gras”! – TRADER Magazine – I really don’t know what a half cannonball is, but is half Mardi Gras when the girl flashes only one boob for a half set of beads?

“Its really cool!” – Helena Christensen – Wow!

“Fantastic people!” – Carl Lewis – Yippee!

“Pushes the style pedal right to the floor.” – FORBES Magazine – …except for that one guy that pushed the breaks and was like “Guys I think you’re still drunk from last night. Maybe you should wait a little while before driving.” Loser.

“Seriously, the best week of my life” – Dennis Rodman – Really? You had an affair with Madonna, a honeymoon with Carmen Electra, won 5 NBA Championships, and wrestled alongside Hulk Hogan and the nWo. And this was the best week of your life?

“Bullrun is hot!” – Paris Hilton – Oh, God… Shut up!

“I am more excited to do Bullrun than when I won the Indy 500” – Mario Andretti – What about when you beat Bowser and saved Princess Peach? Sorry, wrong Mario.

“Turbo-charged but highly civilized.” – Sunday Times Style Magazine – I know Sunday with the Style that has good Times inside a Magazine is published in England and all, but what does that review mean?

Oddly enough, I can’t find these quotes anywhere online except on Bullrun’s website. You’d think that at least the quotes from OK, ESPN, TRADER, FORBES, and Sunday Times Style Magazines would have these lines readily available in articles online, but they are not.

I'm all for events that get Kim Kardashian to dress like this.

I'm all for events that get Kim Kardashian to dress like this.

From what I can tell the rally is an illegal/government frowned upon race across these great United States featuring celebrities and their rich brethren with video recorders. Now that’s all fine and good, but how does something that makes so much money (20k per race team x 100 racers = a cool million), have a huge official sponsor (Pepsi Max), get wall-to-wall coverage on its start from various gossip blogs (thanks again for the view Miss Kardashian), and apparently have a spin-off show on a cable channel less known than Versus (again, that’s the SPEED channel) not get more publicity and lack more purpose? From the various articles on Bullrun, the race is allegedly a charity but the only mention I can find on the official website is a place to donate money to GREEN charity to offset the drivers’ carbon footprint. Where is all this money from the entry fees going?

More importantly, is Pepsi Max’s endorsement of this event the worst official sponsorship in the history of sports? Listen, this event is getting very limited exposure in the United States and I know that we’re only a small piece of the pie, but how popular is the Bullrun series in the 96 countries that cover the event? Will the sponsorship actually be effective? What will it take for Pepsi to get their return on investment? It’s interesting to note that Pepsi’s website mentions nothing of the race.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?

Other  Bullrun sponsors with even less exposure are Manhattan Motor Sports, Spyker Cars, West Coast Customs, Bernard Richards Manufacture,, Shelby Performance Sports, Jagermeister, Capture Technologies Inc., Luxury Boy Toys, Duck and Cover, and The Carroll Shelby Children’s Foundation (a charity that Bullrun has advertised for, but it isn’t clear if any proceeds from the race go to the Foundation). At least Pepsi had exposure; these guys just have links at the bottom of Bullrun’s website. Maybe these are the worst sponsorships in the history of sports?

In conclusion, having made fun of Pepsi Max for the worst use of money since some idiot in New York bought a $2,500 seat in the New Yankee Stadium, 81 times, and made allusions to the racers and Home Depot products, I’d like to make a proposition:

Any rich reader of the Front Office Fan that would like to donate a high speed vehicle, the $20,000 entry fee and a credit card with no spending limit so that I can race in, and win, Bullrun 2010 will receive:

  • A blog update of my experience every day.
  • Printed, autographed copies of said blogs.
  • Winnings, if any, will be donated to the charity of your choice and made in your name.
  • My eternal gratitude.

Maybe Pepsi Max could sponsor me? They seem to be good at making frivolous sponsorships and I wouldn’t mind taking the official whip for a spin.

Posted in Marketing, Racing, Sponsorship, Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Where Will In-Market Streaming Take Sports?

Posted by GM/VP of Fan Operations on Thursday, July 2, 2009

This week the SportsBusiness Journal reported that Major League Baseball’s Commissioner, Bud Selig, sent a memo to all 30 teams outlining details for live in-market streaming in response to new deals from the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres. Selig detailed that revenue from such deals would be split between MLB Advanced Media and local interests.

While each streaming deal will be different, in large part because of how the local half of the revenue is divided, Selig noted “the same relative terms” will be used in all future in-market streaming agreements.

MLB’s acceptance of live in-market streaming will revolutionize the way we watch sports the same way Hulu has changed how we watch television.

Thanks to Hulu there is no reason to be a cable/satellite subscriber. South Park is free online, so why should I pay for Comedy Central? Ditto for viewers of FX’s Rescue Me, MTV’s The Real World, USA’s Burn Notice, and hundreds of other shows streaming free online and with limited commercial interruption. The same could hold true for sports.

All mediums are merging with the internet and the expected progress is that televisions will be wired to the internet over traditional cable and satellite hook-ups. Leagues and teams could then bypass network mediators to sell their games directly to consumers the same way Twitter bypasses traditional media to report news.

Wouldn’t some out-of-market subscribers to league packages rather pay for just their team? How many YES Network subscriptions would be cancelled if fans could pay less for just Yankees games? Is it too presumptuous to think that buffet-style subscriptions could be more profitable?

Of course all this is just speculation.

If leagues began to sell directly to individuals over networks they could be taken to court for violating antitrust laws. More importantly, the economics of selling directly to the consumer may not be fiscally sound.

What need not be speculated is how important this is for the future of sports broadcasts.

Posted in Baseball, Media, Thoughts | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Waiting for My Pitch…

Posted by GM/VP of Fan Operations on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Searching for a job or internship is a lot like stepping up to the plate in baseball. Every time you’re in the batter’s box you hope to hit a home run the same way you hope your job search will yield the dream opportunity. Good batters know they can’t knock one out every time, but they know their chances are better if they wait for a pitch they like.

If you swing at a pitch that isn’t yours or take a job you don’t want you are limiting your opportunities. You’ll likely perform poorly and any success you have comes with a low ceiling.

Sometimes, of course, you have to swing at pitches you’d otherwise pass on. If you are down two strikes and he throws another your only option is to swing. Taking a job for the sake of having one isn’t ideal but it’s better than unemployment.

This fall I will be interning in the sports industry and to this point I have stayed patient and sought only positions that are right for me. Two companies have told me they are not yet hiring for the fall, others I still haven’t heard back from, and one site has told me that I will not be interning with them.

I know which pitches I need to lay off and which I can take deep, then there are others, still, that can be hits or outs. I want a home run but I need to get on base. I want an internship that fits my strengths but I need to get experience in sports.

As the fall semester approaches my focus is shifting from want to need, but I remain hopeful that I’ll get my pitch.

Here’s the 2-1 offering. I’m sitting curve ball, low and inside…

Posted in Career/Job/Internship, Thoughts | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Do the NBA and NHL Hate their Fans?

Posted by GM/VP of Fan Operations on Thursday, May 21, 2009

If their cheerleaders can get along can't the NBA & NHL too?

If their cheerleaders can get along can't the NBA & NHL too?

Ok so I thought about going into some in-depth coverage for this one, but a nice rant works a lot better for me. Being your own editor is so much better….

As of Sunday night, both the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs in the same building in a Game 7. To most Boston fans this means the Red Sox are all that’s left to root for, lucky for me I’m also a Boston Cannons fan. Sorry Boston Breakers and Boston Lobsters; you’re the ugly girls of the class. I know you’re there but you have such an annoying laugh and you won’t stop asking for attention with those stupid questions. That hooded sweatshirt isn’t hiding anything either. The worst part is you think you’re actually attractive. New England Revolution, it’s nothing personal you’re just not my type. Anyway…

This blog is neither about the two summer hotties in the bikinis or their three designated ugly fat friends that make them look even better by comparison. This blog is about the dilemma all Boston fans had to suffer. There were five playoff games for each team played simultaneously.

Here’s how I understand it. First, the commercial rights to the games were sold months in advance so you aren’t losing any money because of losing viewers. Second, you need to maintain some sort of consistency with your games to get the most of your viewers so they don’t have to choose between two games (like a fan with no interest in any remaining team choosing between Penguins blowing out the Capitals, or an overtime game whose score was a lot closer than the game was). And third, you don’t care about your fans or your sports.

These two sports are the only two of the four majors that need to worry about these problems. They already make concessions to one another by working regular season schedules so that teams can share facilities. Why can’t they make concessions about the teams playing at the same time in the playoffs? I don’t know how many cities could potentially be in this situation or with the success of the Red Wings and Pistons this decade how many times the leagues screwed that fan base, but I do know it is in the best interest of the sports to immediately work out some sort of contingency plan.

What do the NBA and NHL have to gain by insuring this doesn’t happen again? I don’t know to what extent this can help the leagues/networks negotiate television advertising revenue but it surely can’t hurt. What it can do, though, is grow the respective sports.

I’m more a hockey fan than a basketball fan which puts me in the minority amongst my friends. However, all of us wanted to watch both games. It sucked that we had to choose between the two, but if we don’t? Maybe next season I’ll watch more basketball and they’ll watch more hockey.

I think David Stern and Gary Bettman contrived this plot in cahoots with all the bartenders across the US. The only possible way to try watching both games is attending a bar with multiple televisions. And doesn’t that suggest that the NBA and NHL both advocate drunk driving? After the Bruins blew it last Thursday I heard this exchange at the table next to me:

Okay, who’s drunk but that special kind of drunk where you’re a better driver because you know you’re drunk? You know, the kind of drink where you probably shouldn’t drive, but you do anyway because, I mean, come on, you gotta get your car home, right? I mean, what do they expect me to do, take a bus? Is that what they want, for me to take a bus? Well, screw that. You take a bus!

Actually, that was Peter Griffin in an episode of Family Guy. But you get the idea. If a cartoon character talks about driving drunk a real person thinking isn’t too far behind.

Oh… and the NBA also hates its fans because it schedules playoff games and wrestling matches at the same time.

Posted in Basketball, Hockey, Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »