View From the Seats: Brock Lesnar def. Randy Couture at UFC 91 (MMA)

Below is a picture sent to us by a client who attended the MMA UFC 91 event this weekend.  Brock Lesnar defeated Randy Couture with a 2nd-round TKO.

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Top Overall Ticket Events for November

Looks like Radio City Christmas Spectacular tickets are on the rise this month, as holiday ticket demand ensues.  The trend follows the results for tickets purchased in the week ending November 9.  Only the musical Wicked is in higher demand than the popular Christmas extravaganza, according to last week’s numbers.  Here is the list of top overall events for the week ending November 9.

1. Wicked Tickets
2. Radio City Christmas Spectacular Tickets
3. AC/DC Tickets
4. Jersey Boys Tickets
5. The Eagles Tickets
6. Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tickets
7. Madonna Tickets
8. New England Patriots Tickets
9. Coldplay Tickets
10. Lion King Tickets

Deciding a Champion: BCS vs. Playoff Formats

I was not always a college football fan.  The NFL pretty much capped my experience until I enrolled as a student at the University of Texas in 2003.  It was then that the college football subculture engulfed my life.  From the outset, I was surrounded by burnt orange t-shirts, cowboy boots, beer and chants of “Hook ‘em Horns.”  It didn’t take me long to realize that Texas football was the biggest Texas pastime beside the fraternity and sorority initiations happening down my street en masse.

College football, to the avid beer-drinkin’ fan, is a quest for #1.  So imagine my surprise when I asked (in such a freshman moment) the oldest kid I could find, “How exactly is a national (college football) champion chosen?”  He told me about how teams are ranked according to their conference, games won, toughness of schedule and human opinion polls.  I was even more confused after he imparted the answer than before I requested it.

“You mean, there’s no playoff?”, I replied.  “No,” he said, “but there are bowl games.”

Bowl games are not playoff games.  They are traditional publicity games.

Under the current BCS system, only the top 2 ranked BCS teams will ever have chance of being crowned national champions.  On top of that, teams that remain undefeated during the regular season from a “lesser” conference could be struck from the top 2 for failing to have “a tougher schedule” or because were underestimated in the human opinion polls.  But hey, if you aren’t ranked in the top 2 and remain undefeated, you can go to one of the millions of bowl games, right?  I mean, what’s better than passing up an opportunity to be #1 than accept a measly payout from the Papajohns.com Bowl?  Sounds kinda ridiculous.

Here are the arguments for and against the BCS system:

For:
-Creates playoff atmosphere for the entire season
-Traditional bowl games

Against:
-
Decides a team based on computer rankings and polls, not head-to-head competition
-
Often produces controversial champion
-
smaller, non-BCS conferences disenfranchised

My question is: “why not merge the BCS into a playoff format that still uses traditional bowl games?”  Some will call this heresy.  Most will pay attention.

The proposed “Marriage” of the BCS/Playoff formats can be found here.  The proposal is a little dated, since the BCS has added an additional BCS National Championship bowl game.  The gist of the proposal is still on point.

To summarize, the BCS should still rank teams using the same format.  This handles ranking 80+ Division I teams from 11 conferences.  The top 8 teams at the end of the season, regardless of conference, should enter a playoff format, using the current BCS bowl games as the venue.  All BCS/Playoff bowl games would be played at the beginning of January, much like what happens now.

This proposal does many things:  it keeps the tradition of the bowl games, it eliminates conference discrimination, it enfranchises every team, it produces an undisputed national champion.

In conclusion, the dismantling of the BCS is not the solution – there’s too much money and fan base clinging to the tradition.  The solution is the marriage of equity and tradition using playoff bowl games.

How Obama Could Upset Tokyo’s Olympic Bid

There is already talk that our 44th President of the United States could swing IOC votes in favor of a Chicago Olympic games in 2016.

After enjoying a landslide victory in yesterday’s U.S. elections, the eyes of the world are focused on Obama – and consequently – on Chicago.  The nation and the world got its glimpse at the beauty of Chicago’s Grant Park on Tuesday night during the election rally, and the city is hoping to capitalize on the publicity to swing international attention their way.

Currently, there are four cities that are bidding to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.  Tokyo, Japan is one of the most prominent bidders, and Olympic Committee board members have already voiced concern over their chances to take the Olympic vote.

“Mr. Obama is popular and good at speeches, so things could get tough for Japan,” said Tomiaki Fukuda, a senior Japanese Olympic Committee board member.

Obama, an avid sports fan, proud Chicago resident and international global figure, could factor into the IOC vote for the 2016 Summer Olympics bid.  Obama is expected to attend the IOC session in Copenhagen, Germany next year.

Obama drew a crowd of 200,000 in Berlin in July.  This leads some to conclude that the Copenhagen vote could be swayed by his popularity.

“We saw the crowd he drew in Berlin, and he will remain in the glow of an historic election triumph when he asks for IOC votes,” said Allen Sanderson, a professor of sports economics at the University of Chicago.

The Economics of the NBA

In an effort to ease tensions about the recent economic downturn in the United States, including the NBA’s decision to cut 9% of its workforce over the course of the year, the league is shoring up interest by introducing expanded instant replay rules, citing franchise ticket promotions and investing in crucial publicity abroad.  This comes at a time where worries abound as to the strength of professional sports franchises all over the U.S.

On Thursday afternoon, NBA commissioner David Stern fielded questions from reporters at the season tip-off conference call.  Due largely to the ailing economy, many of the questions Stern answered regarded the economic outlook of the league, and if any dire threats to its financial stability were poised to affect the upcoming season.

Stern assuaged any doubts that the league was struggling, citing fan base, television ratings and sponsor renewals as a reason to be optimistic of the NBA’s immediate future.  Stern said that approximately half of the NBA’s 30 teams were turning a profit, and that no teams were in any position to face financial instability.  The commissioner cited the Dallas franchise’s promotion to offer $2 tickets for selected games as a viable way to keep fans and the league enfranchised.

“Our owners seem quite determined to demonstrate they want to be contributing members of the community,” Stern said, “and focus on what 2 1/2 hours of fun can offer to families.”

The Dallas Mavericks are offering $2 tickets to most home games this season.  Special promotion nights will deliver cheaper tickets to fans and families across the board.  Tickets normally priced $9 will be $2, $19 will be $10, $35 will be $20 and $50 will be $32.

Although incentives are in place to keep fans coming back to see their favorite team, there has been some worry as to whether the struggling economy will affect players “jumping ship” to play in European leagues.  After the Atlanta Hawks‘ Josh Childress signed an unprecedented $20 million deal with the Greek squad Olympiacos Piraeus in July, there are concerns around the league about the possibility of other players bolting for Europe and abroad for a better piece of salary pie.

Stern said that Childress’ case is that of an isolated event, and that these decisions typically impact “mid-tier” players or below.  He argues smaller fan bases overseas and worsening economic conditions will not allow European leagues to compete for the elite NBA stars.

“Essentially, the NBA isn’t worried about losing LeBron James to Olympiacos,” Stern said.

Though most top-salaried NBA players will probably stick around to soak in the spotlight, there have been numerous player signings to overseas squads, including Juan Carlos Navarro, Bostjan Nachbar, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Loren Woods and Carlos Delfino to name a few.   Even LeBron James said it was a possibility that he could leave the NBA to play in Europe, given that the offering club was willing to pay him an astounding $50 million a year.

This comes as Stern and the NBA say that efforts to bolster the expansion of the league in Europe is imminent, including new European franchises and more regular season NBA games to be hosted outside the U.S.

“What we’ve always said was that if there were the appropriate arena structure, if there were the appropriate fan affinity, and there was the pricing structure that would be necessary for a team to compete in the NBA, then it would seem to be an opportunity for us to grow,” Stern said.

The NBA also announced the expanded instant replay, which will debut this season.

The new replay rules will allow officials to pore over footage to determine two if a field goal was a 2- or 3-point attempt, or to decide if a shooting foul was committed behind the arc and whether it warrants two or three foul shots.  It will also allow officials to determine whether the game clock malfunctioned during overtime play, and allow them to determine how much time should have come off the clock or if the period should have ended.

The technology will provide more accuracy and oversight during league play, keeping teams competitive while resolving game-changing disputes.  This is just another way the NBA is hoping to innovate the court in an ever-fluctuating economy.

Regardless of what transpires in the NBA this season or the next, one thing is for certain: fans will show up on day one to see their favorite stars play for their favorite teams at their favorite arena, in support of their favorite pastime – basketball.