Signs Of the Apocalypse…?

Not too long ago, I mentioned rumors that the NFL was “thinking about” moving Super Bowl Media Day to primetime. Well, that was more than just a rumor; that was inside info. Yesterday, the NFL made this announcement:

“We are excited to enhance an annual event and provide a unique experience for more fans in both the San Francisco Bay Area and nationwide, while continuing to provide access to the Super Bowl teams for media from around the world. By elevating the event to prime time, fans across the country can experience even more of the excitement of Super Bowl leading up to the game.”

I wish to make the following declarative statement in response to this announcement:

    I never watched Media Day when it was on when the sun was in the sky. I shall not watch Media Day with the moon in the sky. Anyone who spends money to sit in the stands and watch that nonsense should be committed.

Executives in companies often make monumental blunders. I would hope this is a blunder for the NFL similar in magnitude to the blunders that produced:

    The Edsel
    New Coke

While those two blunders have to be at or near the top of any such list, I suggest that there is an executive somewhere in the advertising department of Doctor’s Associates Inc. who has seriously blundered or has had a couple of decisions run into a storm of bad luck. Doctor’s Associates Inc. owns and operates Subway restaurants. Consider two of the spokespersons for that chain of restaurants:

    Jared Fogle – now plea bargaining charges of kiddie porn
    RG3 – well, the drama never stops with him

Since the company is “Doctor’s Associates” maybe they can come up with a cutesy ad campaign using a “reincarnated” Doctor Mengele. That would complete the trifecta for them…

Here is a comment from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot. I am in complete accord with his thinking here:

Quick hit: As we get closer to another NFL season, the same rules apply: I’m still not interested in your fantasy football team.

I am interested, however in the results of a study done by the consulting firm of Challenger, Gray and Christmas which estimate that the cost to US employers of Fantasy Football will be $16B this year. That figure comes from estimates of time spent during the work day by employees tending to their teams or communicating with others about their teams in place of doing productive work. While that sounds like a lot of money to me, the conclusion of the study is that employers ought not to “crack down” here because, in reality, this amounts only to the loss of about 1 hour per week per employee. John Challenger, the CEO of the firm doing this study, explained it this way:

“We need distractions during the day, whether it’s checking Facebook, scanning Twitter, buying something at, or managing one’s fantasy football team. It may seem counter-intuitive, but those short periods of being unproductive help workers be more productive in the long run. They also help boost morale, lower turnover and keep our creative juices flowing.”

I think this kind of situation creates a new cottage industry. Since I do not engage in Fantasy Football, that means that I do not devote one hour of my workweek to this sort of on-the-job-downtime. I ought to be able to monetize that by selling my unused “fantasy hour” to someone else who plays Fantasy Football and thinks he/she needs another hour during the week in order to make the playoffs this year. Let the bidding for my “downtime hour” begin…

By the way, if this idea ever catches hold, I might actually become interested in your fantasy football team.

Draft Kings – one of those websites that offers daily/weekly fantasy leagues – has just signed a partnership agreement with the Dallas Cowboys. The agreement will give the company a branded fantasy sports lounge inside AT&T stadium and “access to Cowboys’ fans as part of the team’s digital, TV and radio networks”. In part, that translates into Draft Kings being able to offer its customers things like tickets to Cowboys’ games and VIP events in that fantasy sports lounge.

Forbes estimates that 56 million people play fantasy sports and that the fantasy football portion of the market here was worth about $70B in 2013. I mention those numbers to show that if the revenue stream is big enough the NFL and its teams are willing and eager to wade in that stream – even though the deals they set up are deals with companies that facilitate gambling on the NFL product. Please do not forget this the next time you hear Roger Goodell whine on about the “integrity of the game”.

The Gay Softball World Series will happen for the first time next year in Austin Texas. The organizers expect about 5000 folks to attend the event and Austin is happy to host them. I wonder:

    Must one be gay to participate in the Gay Softball World Series? That would not seem to be very inclusive if it were the case.

    If one has to be gay to participate, what is the test that confers eligibility on a player?

    If one need not be gay to participate, then what makes this the Gay softball World Series?

Finally, Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle had this to say about the break-up between the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals:

“Sad story: The Harlem Globetrotters are disbanding their stooge team, the Washington Generals. Those guys really aren’t qualified for any other occupation, except playing for the Sacramento Kings. With the breakup of the Washington Generals, Colin Powell and David Petraeus are free agents.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

4 thoughts on “Signs Of the Apocalypse…?”

  1. I do not devote one hour of my workweek….

    Please describe your workweek to us. If you are working and simultaneously writing Sports Curmudgeon, I expect you would be a lot madder than you currently are. Therefore, I posit that you are unemployed.

    1. Tenacious P:

      I am most definitely employed PART time.

      Writing these rants does not take anywhere near 40 hours a week – as ought to be evident to all readers as soon as they get through a couple of them. I would have lots of free hours to ponder fantasy sports – and to auction off should that marketplace ever present itself.

  2. When I was a young programmer, I thought time spent in the coffee room on Mondays talking about the weekend games was a really cool idea. As I grew into middle management I saw that time as wasted work hours, but necessary given the cultural history in that business. Later in my career, when those same employees were hedging their personal time off (PTO) hours to more days to party around Christmas and New Years, I saw those hours wasted at the coffee machine as stolen hours. Maybe I am simply a curmudgeon myself, but I worked at Bell Labs and saw coworkers put in 70-80 hour weeks while others tried to fudge on their 35 hour schedule.

    1. Doug:

      There are always going to be people who will try to exploit whatever set of rules applies to them and their peers/colleagues. My view from a manager’s perspective was that I wanted results not effort. If the results that were needed were clear to everyone and then those results were achieved, I was far less concerned with time wasted around the coffee pot or chatting about the game last night.

      Oh, and I usually had not difficulty distinguishing between the folks working 60 hours a week and those who only put in 30-35 hours per week. When it came time for rewards – assuming the necessary results were forthcoming – you can be sure which of the folks got the largest share of the rewards.

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