Sports Business with Darren Rovell!
Send in your questions now -- LeBron's new agent, the money behind the Kentucky Derby, stadium deals, endorsements ... cow chip contests -- anything goes!
Just enter your question below, Darren will be here with all the answers at 1 ET.
The ShowGirl (12:48 PM)
Hey, SportsNation. Darren Rovell is up next. He'll give you the business! Send in your questions now -- LeBron's new agent, the money behind the Kentucky Derby, stadium deals, endorsements ... cow chip contests -- anything goes!
Darren Rovell (1:03 PM)
Hey everyone. Thanks for stopping in. I'll be glad to answer all your questions about the $200 billion business of sports. Let's get started.
Bill Steinfield, Detroit, Michigan
What do you think of Golden Palace.com? Have they gone too far?
Darren Rovell (1:05 PM)
Bill, Love the question. They'll probably say that if you know that the bought the virgin mary grilled cheese and the stop on the pregnant lady's stomach that they certainly haven't gone too far. I think the tattoos on the back of the boxers really threw a lot of sports marketing people for a loop. They are paying a lot of money for some things, but in the end it's cheap advertising. If it didn't work, trust me, they'd stop.
Hey Darren, what do you think of the soccer jerseys with the ads all over them. Could we ever seen that in one of the major sports ... or should I say, when will we see that in one of the major sports?
Darren Rovell (1:07 PM)
They'll be coming in the major sports in the next 10 years. I think baseball will do them, but they won't be all over the jerseys, they will put them in one or two places and make a restriction on size, as the ATP and WTA have done in tennis. Why would they do this? Because money can be made. Don't think it will happen in football. It might happen in the NBA, but remember Reebok has a 10-year, $200 million deal with the NBA and they can't even get their vector on the official jerseys!
Mitch Borisdale, Carrboro, North Carolina
Who has the edge in the satellite radio war from a sports marketing perspective Sirius or XM Radio?
Darren Rovell (1:10 PM)
Both of them have some good properties, the strongest obviously being the NFL (Sirius) and MLB (XM). I just think baseball is the ultimate sport for satellite radio. NASCAR is also an interesting listen on radio, so I think Sirius has a good chance to get some subscribers off the switch. I think in the end, 10 years down the road, there will be one survivor though I'm not sure how the government would ever let them merge.
What's your opinion on networks banning poker players from wearing hats or other gear as advertising. One of the top players the other day said here top players are beginning to drop out of these tournaments due to this.
Darren Rovell (1:12 PM)
Tom, It's just the sign of the times. I wasn't shocked when I heard last year that you couldn't wear any logoed shirts at the final table at the WSOP. There's a real opportunity for some of these poker players to earn money, but like the GoldenPalace.com situation, it's clearly an ambush on the TV partners. Poker endorsements will be an interesting area to watch over the next five years. Traditional companies are going to start signing some poker players to deals, the question is, with so many people coming into the game is there too much parity in the game to lead to a dominant marketable superstar?
Who wins in a go cart race between you and Rusty Wallace?
Darren Rovell (1:14 PM)
Don't know. The last time I was on a go-cart was 1987.
What else can we name to make more money? Here in Chicago, they've already taken away Comiskey Park from us, can we say "The players are entering the dugout, brought to you by ESPN?"
Darren Rovell (1:16 PM)
As long as it doesn't work, they won't name anything else. That's the key. Did you go to Bank One because the Bears season was underwritten by Bank One? I'd guess no. So I don't think we'll see companies sponsoring seasons anymore.
So, is there actually any monetary gain for the NFL banning Mike Nolan's suit?
Darren Rovell (1:18 PM)
It's an interesting situation. For those who don't know, Mike Nolan wanted to wear a suit, the NFL didn't allow it. Part of it has to do with the fact that the league sells a coaches shirt made by Reebok. If the coach isn't wearing a shirt, it's hard to sell it.
Speaking of naming rights...is there a point a company gets to where owning the name of an arena is pointless. The example that comes to mind is Pepsi Arena in Denver...With a company that size, does the arena really help?
Darren Rovell (1:21 PM)
Good question. I'm shocked by how many companies are paying for naming rights at the numbers that they are paying. For Pepsi and actually most of the companies it's just a branding opportunity, a chance to do the biggest of sponsorships and get some tickets for their employees. But the problem is that not enough companies do enough in the arena for you to connect your affinity with the team with them. And that means no business is being done despite the fact that you get the impressions on air and in the newspaper.
Is it true that Lebron's endorsement deal only includes an increase if he goes to New York or LA?
Darren Rovell (1:22 PM)
No. That is not true. What people have to realize is that while NY might be a little bit better than Cleveland, we've come a long way in the last 20 years. Why would LeBron be that much more valuable? He's on every sportscenter already.
Darren, Honestly is Lebron insane, giving his high school friend more control over his decisions and hiring Def Jam, please tell me he's not going Shaq's route and releasing a CD as well, at least we know his business saavy isn't on par with Jordan's
Darren Rovell (1:26 PM)
If you check out the sports business page in a few minutes, you will see the story on LeBron and his agent. LeBron just decided to go another direction on this. It's big news in the sports biz industry because LeBron is such an icon. Let's see if this change works out.
Tim (Rochester, NY)
Actually, Lebron's "High School Friend" is three years older than him, has a business degree, and was already an executive...
Darren Rovell (1:28 PM)
If we're talking about Maverick Carter, you are correct. He has gone to school and he knows LeBron well. There's a difference between being a consultant for Nike and being an "executive," but he will have some time to learn since many of LeBron's endorsement deals are done.
Sean (St. Paul)
Doesn't LeBron remember the terrible contract that No Limit Records negotiated for Ricky Williams? Never have a record label represent you as a sports agent. Is Lebron going to come out with a rap album now too?
Darren Rovell (1:29 PM)
We don't know to what extent Def Jam Records is going to be involved. But I will say this, at least in the music/hip-hop world, they have big-time credentials.
Allison Cohen, Long Island NY
Darren - Have you heard about the female driver in the INDY 500? Do you think she could get good endorsement deals and really break through this gender gap?
Darren Rovell (1:31 PM)
Alison, good question. I do think Danica Patrick has a chance to get some great endorsement deals. She's young and she's obviously not your traditional driver. Bottom line though is she has to win. If she wins races or competes at a very high level, she has a chance. If she's just a woman out there, that's not enough.
d (st. louis)
How much does an athlete make off of a video game cover and do they have any input in the game? Do you believe the Madden curse?
Darren Rovell (1:33 PM)
Not much money, D. The reason for this is that so many athletes covet being on a cover that it's been easy for video game companies to pay almost nothing. It's like the Wheaties box of this generation.
Sweat (San Francisco)
I heard a rumor that you do a wonderful rendition of "Take me out to the ballgame" Is this true?
Darren Rovell (1:35 PM)
Yep. But the Chicago Cubs haven't invited me yet. I could definitely do it better than Ozzy Osbourne.
Darren - Now that hockey is in an incredible struggle, and baseball is battling steroids, does that open any doors for rising sports (lacrosse, soccer, bass fishing, bowling) to possibly hit the fourth or fifth spot as far as the major sports leagues? Who can make it..if any?
Darren Rovell (1:36 PM)
Baseball is not really battling steroids. That's perception. Baseball is going to have it's best year yet. The Yanks could draw 4 million. The Angels and Dodgers could do 3 million each for the second straight year. Up and coming sports though -- Poker (if you want to consider it a sport) Bass Fishing (doing well), and Lacrosse (I can't believe those attendance numbers I'm seeing from the NLL!).
Brian (Fairfax, VA)
Darren, Do you recommend any Sports Business Books? I haven't seen any good ones come out in awhile.
Darren Rovell (1:40 PM)
There haven't been a lot out in recent months. It kind of comes in waves. If you search sports business in amazon, it usually does a pretty good search so that you can see what is out there. I have a book coming out in September on the history of Gatorade. For more you can check out www.firstinthirst.typepad.com.
Is a company like Under Armour a real serious threat to big guns like Nike, Adidas, etc? While UA may have the upper hand in compression apparel, they are a $200M company, whereas Nike is around $13B or so. Can't Nike let UA have its little niche and make billions of dollars elsewhere?
Darren Rovell (1:43 PM)
Under Armour is a very impressive company. They are still beating Nike to the punch in the compression market and some of the new stuff that they have come out with recently is incredible. I thought they would hit a road block because I thought a lot of people were wearing under armour because it wasn't nike. And when everyone at my gym started wearing under armour, I thought it would die -- since it wasn't special to wear it anymore. But those guys have been innovative and they've stayed ahead of the game. They are not a threat to Nike overall, but they are in that category.
Brad (Hammond, IN)
Darren, there is talk of a minor league basketball team coming to Hammond, IN. The team is out of the WBA, which plays its games in the spring. I believe the league started in 2003. Do you know much about the prospects of this league's staying power, and do you think a league such as this can make money without having any direct connections to the NBA?
Darren Rovell (1:45 PM)
No basketball minor league has ever made money and that includes the NBDL, the USBL, the ABA, IBA or any other BA.
R.Keane (Old Southington, CT)
Darren, what do you think of the MLS split screen with the game going on and a Slice commercial on the other side? Fans in Europe would kill seeing that. However, it might be good here in the US to generate coporate sponsorship of the sport. Your thoughts?
Darren Rovell (1:46 PM)
Just another way of doing business. I don't think the static -- these 15 minutes are brought to you by Snickers -- in the corner of the screen is a good advertisement. So in order to make more sense and sell a spot, I guess that's what had to be done.
Tim (Rochester, NY)
Does Steve Nash have any Hair Care product endorsements lined up? Do you see any in his future if the Suns win the Championship?
Darren Rovell (1:48 PM)
The value these days seems to be in taking off hair, see Johnny Damon with his Gillette deal and his spot in the DHL commercial. Maybe Nash can line up something there, but I don't think he'll be a big star.
Tony (Phoenix, AZ)
Do you see money in creating my own sport, Im seeing something crossed between hi platform diving and bunjee jumping???
Darren Rovell (1:49 PM)
It's very hard. But I love slamball: http://slamball.warnerbros.com/
Darren Rovell (1:51 PM)
I have to run. Thanks for all your questions. If you have any others, I'll try to get back to you if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The LeBron James agent story is now up if you guys want to check it out on the front page.