I am sure you have read and heard about DeAngelo Russell’s blockheaded behavior within the Lakers’ team. Yes, I know that Russell is only 20 years old; I do not accept for even a moment that indisputable fact as mitigating for what he did. His latest statement – one that reeks of “prepared by someone else and rehearsed by Russell prior to its release – says that he will work to regain the trust of his teammates and not let it ruin his NBA career.
The crux of his explanation is that this was nothing but a “prank” and such “pranks” were commonplace on the team. He had no intention of letting the recorded video become public – except that it did.
Memo to DeAngelo Russell: Those are the sorts of “pranks” that might be commonplace in a middle-school setting. You are 20 years old; you have nominally spent a year in college; you are a professional basketball player. Act as if you have two functional synapses.
Earlier this season, there were “rumors” and “inside stories” with no names attached to them about Russell being an entitled prima donna and that coach Byron Scott had to shake him up with things like no playing time in the 4th quarter of games to get his attention. As far as I am concerned, those “rumors” remain in that status – but Russell’s recent behavior surely did not enhance whatever stature he may have held within the team hierarchy.
Another Memo to DeAngelo Russell: So far this year you are averaging 13 points per game and 3 assists per game while playing 28 minutes per game. Just in case none of your teammates will speak to you on this topic, let me tell you something you need to know:
It will take a lot better stat line than the one you have generated before any teammates will think of putting up with your “pranks”. Think in terms of 20 points per game and 9 assists per game…
Enough about a man-child who has yet to show that he has sufficient talent to be worthy of this much attention. Let me move to a subject far more important in the world of sports.
The NCAA Tournament is raking in the dollars this year. For the first two weeks of last year’s tournament leading up to the Final Four, the advertising revenue that rolled into the 4 networks televising the Tournament totaled $551.4M. That is a lot of money to be sure but it pales in comparison to this year’s revenue tsunami which sits at $775.8M so far. In case you do not have a calculator app on your computer, that is a 40% increase year-over-year.
If you have watched many of the games, I need not tell you that there have been loads of commercials during the games. So far this year, there have been 709 ads run by 347 sponsors. In terms of spending, here are the Top 5 sponsors:
AT&T – $43.5M
The NCAA – $31.1M
Buick – $27.8M
Southwest Airlines – $22.4M
Capital One – $22.4M
Capital One always ends by asking, “What’s in your wallet?” Well, I can safely say that the four networks televising the Tournament games have plenty of cash stuffing their wallets…
Now, before you get too bedazzled by the NCAA Tournament’s revenue tsunami, let me channel my inner Emeril Lagasse here and “kick it up a notch!” We are still a bit over 4 months away from the start of the 2016 Olympics in Rio and NBC announced that it has already sold more than $1B in advertising for those events. That total includes over-the-air telecasts, cable networks and “digital platforms”.
As you would expect, passing such a milestone was an opportunity for NBC to toot its horn a bit. Consider this statement from the Executive VP for Advertising Sales/NBC Sports Group:
“The value of live, big-event programming is more important than ever to advertisers because of its ability to reach large audiences. The Olympics’ ability to dominate primetime for 17 consecutive nights is unmatched. If brands want to reach viewers and their customers in the third quarter, they have to be in the Olympics.”
OK, perhaps a tad hyperbolic but indeed advertisers will reach a large and diverse audience when they pay to put their ads in front of the folks who watch the myriad Olympic events.
“Advertisers know that integrating their brands in front of Olympic viewers is good for their businesses.”
Uhh … what is the difference between “integrating their brands in front of Olympic viewers” and “running ads during the Olympics telecasts”? Can we have that in English, please?
“Digital sales, which are reserved for our largest linear customers, are healthy as well. Our premium advertisers recognize that they receive more value by extending their messaging across multiple platforms.”
Now we are really down in the weeds. What is a “linear customer” as opposed to a “parabolic customer” as opposed to an “hexagonal customer”? What is the difference between “extending their messaging across multiple platforms” and “buying ads in a variety of places”?
With 4 months to go, you need not worry that NBC is out of advertising slots because the horn-tooting announcements ended with a sales pitch:
“Some of the most valuable inventory is gone; but, there is still some primetime availability on the network as well as cable-channel inventory.”
Translation: The phone lines are still open…
Finally, here is Scott Ostler in the SF Chronicle explaining why it will be a while until he reads Steve Williams’ “tell all” book about Tiger Woods:
“No. 1 on my list of books to skip is Stevie Williams’ whineography, tales of working for Tiger Woods. After raking in an estimated $8 million for bagging Woods, Williams moans that Tiger would flip clubs on the ground, treating Williams “like a slave.” Aside from the money and the freedom to walk away at any time, I guess there are a lot of parallels.
“Tiger must miss Williams, who was such a jerk and bully to galleries that he made his boss look like a sweetheart.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………