#sports

Ashley Burns:

Hell, the Microsoft Xbox even showed up as the sponsor of last Thursday’s NFL Kickoff Concert in Seattle, as Pharrell and Chris Cornell put on shows for the fans, who were undoubtedly hypnotized by the endless barrage of product placements. So you’d think that with all of that money spent on getting the Surface in front of our faces that the NFL would have sent out at least one memo to the networks to make sure that this specific sponsor was mentioned by name. If anything, someone might have written “Please don’t call it an iPad!” and emailed it to the announce teams.

If that did happen, Fox’s John Lynch didn’t get the memo, because he went ahead and called the Surface tablets “iPad-like tools” during yesterday’s Saints-Falcons game. Whoops.

$400 million well spent by Microsoft. It just goes to show you: you can buy placement, but you can’t buy mindshare.

Meg James:

Overall, CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and DirecTV are paying the NFL more than $5.5 billion for TV rights deals this year. That’s a 22% increase over last year, media analyst Michael Nathanson of the MoffettNathanson research firm wrote in a report Friday.

Still plenty of money (and life) left in television, apparently. I just wonder how long this lasts? I imagine live sports (and the NFL in particular) will end up as the last stronghold for traditional television. This may not happen anytime soon, but nothing lasts forever.

If television advertising ever starts to dwindle, even slightly, how fast does the NFL shift the focus to other means? Fast, I imagine.

And how long until we see one of the online players (Netflix, etc) strike one of these deals as well? I’d bet on sooner rather than later.

 Darren Rovell and Marc Stein:

With Durant on the verge of a move to Under Armour, sources told ESPN on Sunday that Nike exercised its right to match any rival shoe company’s offer to the Oklahoma City Thunder star. A source with knowledge of the deal later told ESPN that Durant has indeed signed with the Oregon-based company.

Nike countered Under Armour’s offer of between $265 million and $285 million and believes it will keep Kevin Durant for the next 10 years, sources told ESPN.

The most interesting aspect of this isn’t that Nike beat out Under Armour, it’s that Durant went with Nike even though Under Armour’s deal was said to include a huge chunk of Under Armour stock. This is the same type of deal Under Armour cut with the NFL owners in 2006 to get their foot in the door — and it’s worked out very well for the NFL ($4.5M turned into well over $100M). 

Hard to see the downside of going with Nike here, but it could end up being shortsighted by Durant.

Reading this, you’d think Cleveland is the luckiest city in the world of sports. Until you realize that they haven’t won a championship in any major sport in 50 years…

Still, pretty insane how lucky they had to be in order to pull off this Love trade. Also, for tennis fans, that fact that Love will be wearing number 0 is perfect.

I said to [reporters] at the Open, I didn’t think we were going to see the new Tiger era, as in someone creating their own kind of Tiger-esque era just yet. I guess you could say — I’m not eating my words, but I’m certainly starting to chew on them right now.
Graeme McDowell, talking about Rory McIlroy’s PGA Championship win yesterday. McIlroy’s second straight major, and fourth overall — by someone just 25 years old.

It sure looks like the Cavs are about to trade for Kevin Love (when they can in a couple weeks). And if they do, Nate Silver is now projecting them to go 65-17 next year.

Silver:

Either way, the trade should make Cleveland a championship contender. Before adding Love, it projected to a win total in the low-to-mid 50s. A team like that will win the NBA title less than 5 percent of the time. By comparison, a team with 60 regular season wins will win the title about 20 percent of the time, and a 65-win team will win the title about 60 percent of the time.

If that happens, LeBron James should win the ‘GM of the Year’ award.

Benny Evangelista:

Each team will have 13 Surfaces on the sidelines and 12 in the coaches box. The league owns and operates the tablets, which run on a secure wireless network. The devices will be locked in a temperature-controlled cart between games to prevent any team from manipulating the information.

I can’t believe Microsoft would let the NFL release the total Surface sales data for the quarter already.

And:

The league’s competition committee placed restrictions on the Surface tablets: They can display only still images, not video, and they won’t have Internet access.

There’s an Internet Explorer joke in here somewhere as well.