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The Business of Sports Awards

April 20, 2010 1 comment

Every spring, “The Business of Sports” gives awards to the most prominent personnel in the sport business industry. These awards are given to people who have the best content, those who have made an impact on the industry, and those who have just entered. Here is the link for the nominees:

The Business of Sports Awards

I personally have looked into many of the nominees listed and my personal favorite is Lewis Howes. He runs a website called the Sports Networker, which is a very interesting site regarding sport, media and networking. It was nominated as one the “Best Sport Business Blogs.” They list several other blogs, which I would definitely suggest looking into. They are all informative sites that can help further your professional career if you have the ability to utilize the information.

They have awards for the Best Sports Business Blog, Best Sports Business Twitter Account, Best Sports Business Content (Company), Best Sports Business up and Comer, Best Alternative Sports Business Content and People’s Choice (Sports Business Social Media Contributor of the Year).

For those of you with Twitter accounts, I would definitely suggest following these people who have been nominated. Twitter is a great way to get information in an easy manner, along with share your own opinions. I personally follow most of them and find they provide great articles and information, which I find useful in my daily life and in my drive to further myself in the sport business field.

Visit the website and check out the nominees. I would definitely suggest looking into the different people and sites, and see what help they can be for you in your own professional career.

Just how popular is NASCAR?

April 20, 2010 1 comment

NASCAR

It may surprise some to hear that NASCAR racing is the highest attended sport in the United States. I didn’t believe it when I first heard it, but it is true. People who do not watch NASCAR find it to be one of the most boring sports in the world, providing a close race  with Curling for the single most boring. I have never watched NASCAR racing but I switched it on today to catch the end of the Spring race in Texas. I saw the last 13 laps and it was actually more interesting than I had anticipated. Getting close to the end of the race provides for strategic moves with regards to deciding when to pit, drafting behind other racers, and making moves to pass. The end is exciting and Denny Hamlin took the race in Texas today (just a week and a half after having knee surgery).

"Boring"

What is it that draws people to automobile racing? Some would initially suggest that the crashes are the most attractive aspect. This can’t be the case because spectacular crashes don’t happen all that often. In my opinion, it is the competition and ability to relate to the sport that attracts people. People feel that auto racing is a sport they can personally do, since all you do is drive a car. There is much more that goes into auto racing than just this, such as knowing the car, understanding when to pit and deciding when to make passes (to name a few).

According to an article in USA today, written by Christine Brennan called “Forward-thinking NASCAR continues to surprise outsiders to the sport” (2007), in 2006, “seventeen of the 20 highest attended sporting events in the nation were NASCAR events.” ChaCha answers, as of 2009, says that NASCAR racing is the fourth most popular sport. The reasoning for this could be that less people watch it on television than watch other sports. People are constantly watching other sports on television, yet the rarity of NASCAR events could be a reason why they are so highly attended. Look at professional football games. Teams like the New England Patriots sell out most home games, yet teams like the Celtics, despite being equally competitive in their respective league, do not. The reason could be that less events mean more interest in attending one. It makes each game or event that much more special to attend. The Super Bowl only happens once a year and is very highly attended and watched. Each NASCAR race is almost like a championship game for another league, as they happen so rarely.

Lets take a look at something incredible. The Indianapolis 500 is the largest event in the world that takes place in a single day. The stadium capacity for seating is 257,000 people. There is additional infield seating which can bring the total capacity to around 400,000 people. That is unbelievable. The large sizes of the tracks is what leads to the spikes in attendance. For an organization with an arena that fits 40,000 people, it will take ten events to meet the attendance of a single Indianapolis 500. They sell out every race as well, for the most part, which is what drives up the attendance rates.

Another attractive factor of NASCAR racing is the idea of the pure competition. The ends of races are very cut and dry. Either you won, you placed, or you lost. Granted, the standings and finishing position do take a part in the rankings of drivers (with regards to points standings), yet the majority of points are taken from the top three finishers. In a basketball or a football game, either you win or you lose, but there are many games to choose from. With racing, every race is treated like a championship, which is what makes the competition that much more exciting.

No matter what the reason for popularity, NASCAR is one of the most popular sports in the United States and the single highest attended. It’s popularity greatly varies depending on region, as there is not much of a following in the NorthEast (only one track is present in New England- New Hampshire Motor Speedway). Out west and in the south, NASCAR has huge fan bases, yet its popularity is directly correlated to region. What are you feelings on why NASCAR is so popular?

The Decline of Boxing

April 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Where has boxing gone? Boxing has slowly been declining in popularity over recent years and it is constantly slipping under the radar. Even when there are huge fights at hand, such as Floyd “Money” Mayweather fighting against “Sugar” Shane Mosely, we rarely hear much about them. Floyd Mayweather is a very popular fighter, and it seemed initially he would be able to revive the sport. Manny Pacquiao is another popular fighter. The Filipino born fighter sports a record of 53 wins (38 knockouts), 3 losses and 3 draws. Roy Jones Jr (last held a belt in 2004) fought Bernard Hopkins in the battle of the grandfathers (Jones Jr. is 41 and Hopkins is 45) and there wasn’t much pre-fight hype. These two fighters had very exciting boxing careers but have since declined with their old age. In a fight in which two legends are battling it out would usually be exciting, but compared to previous years the fight didn’t receive much attention from the media. The problem is the combined age of the two fighters is 86, which led to a boring fight, ending in a decision in favor of Hopkins.

We look at these seemingly interesting fights, yet many people never even heard of them, were interested in seeing them, or were able to watch. This begs the question of what has happened to boxing and why?

Boxing has clearly declined in popularity in the United States. One reason for the lack of popularity could be the absence of an American born heavyweight champion for some time. The last heavyweight champion from the United States was Shannon Briggs (won a WBO belt in 2007). I won’t lie, I am a huge sports fan, and I have never heard that name in my life. Other recent heavyweight champions have been Hasim Rahman (WBC belt in 2006), Lamon Brewster (WBO belt in 2006), Roy Jones Jr. (WBA belt in 2004) and Chris Byrd (IBF belt in 2006). Going through this list, I can only recognize the names of Rahman, Byrd and Jones Jr. The others are names I have never heard. This just shows how boxing has really dropped off the map. Current belt holders are Vitali Klitschko (WBC belt [Ukrainian born]), David Haye (WBA belt [British born]), and Wladimir Klitschko (IBF and WBO belts [Ukrainian born]). Yes, the Klitschko’s are brothers.

People from the United States tend to support their fellow countrymen more so than those of other places. This could be one explanation for the lack of attention boxing has been getting recently. Despite attempts at getting publicity, such as having Floyd Mayweather fight in the WWE against “The Big Show.” Fighters like Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield in the late 90’s gained great attention, but their departure from the sport has marked the decline. Tyson has moved on to bigger and better things, like tattoo’s on his face and cameo appearances in movies like “The Hangover.”

Tyson v. Holyfield

The emergence of the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) has been another reason for the loss of publicity for boxing. The UFC is a growing organization in which fighting rules are more broad than just boxing and kickboxing. Athletes incorporate fighting techniques from a broad range of cultures, such as Muay Thai, kickboxing, wrestling, Jui-Jitsu, Hapkido, Karate, and Taekwondo (to name a few). These different mixed martial arts methods are all unified to form a more complete fighter, with a more extensive set of skills. Boxing limits the fighters to standing up and throwing simply punches, while the UFC and mixed martial arts techniques incorporate kicks, elbows and submissions additionally. As the fighters are more highly trained, possessing a broader skill set, the fights become more exciting. Higher skilled fighters have the ability to manipulate other fighters and apply their skills to create exciting ends to fights.

I have previously addressed this idea of people enjoying violence in sports, which is another reason for the increase in popularity. The violent knockouts and submissions lead to UFC fights being very unpredictable. Any fighter, regardless of skill level, has the ability to end a fight against any other fighter (regardless of their skill level), by taking advantage of an opportunity that presents itself. One wrong move by a fighter, if recognized by the opponent, can be the end of a fight. A quick submission or a well placed punch can mean the demise of the opponent, no matter who was winning at the time. The unpredictability of the fights make the UFC very exciting, a potential reason for its spike in popularity over recent years.

UFC submission

As is clearly visible, the UFC is taking the place of Boxing as the most violent sport in the United States. The absence of an American born heavyweight champion can be another reason for the decline of the sport of Boxing. Regardless of the reason, it is gaining less attention from the media, and the UFC is slowly taking its place. Other organizations, focusing on mixed martial arts are also emerging, slowly overtaking the place of boxing. Some of these are Strikeforce, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), and Dream (Japan). It will be interesting to see in a few years how popular mixed martial arts have become, and where boxing will be. Boxing will continue to decline unless the owners of the sport can find a way to draw attention to it with new marketing techniques. They have a new rival on the block (the UFC) who is stealing all their thunder. Expect the UFC to explode in popularity and boxing to become obsolete in the coming years.

Categories: Analysis, Boxing, UFC Tags: , , , ,

Debate: Big schools vs. small schools

April 18, 2010 2 comments

As a college student, I am all wrapped up in the experience I am having. As I speak to other college students, I am coming to the conclusion that everyone is getting a different experience. I personally, go to Endicott College, a school with about 2,000 undergrads, while some of my good friends attend the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). The number of undergrads at UMass Amherst is about 25,000. Students enrolled there take classes with more than 500 students, which is the total number of students in my graduating class. Pretty crazy to think about.

Every student takes something different out of their college experience. Some can’t remember their four years, others can’t forget them. The main point is that the everyone decides what to take out of it through their own actions.The purpose of this post is to look at the advantages and disadvantages of attending a large versus a small school.

I have countless advantages of attending a small school. First off, on a social note, everyone is familiar with one another for the most part. The majority of kids in the grade know one another and there are large groups of friends. Attending parties means seeing a lot of your friends (depending on where the parties are) at a small school. A large school on the other hand is the opposite. It is difficult to go to parties without planning with your friends, and still see people you know. It is possible to meet a person on the first day of school and never see them again until graduation. The majority of people I have spoken to have found it more difficult to make close, tight knit groups of friends at big schools. Small schools force students to become friends because you see everyone everywhere. At the same time, larger schools have larger pools of students, which means that if you can meet enough of them you are bound to make some good friends.

Another benefit of such a large school is that there is always something to do. For people who are into partying, there is always a party to go to. College students are all wrapped up in the whole drinking and escaping from the real world concept. The result of this is that there is always a party happening somewhere, it just needs to be found. These parties, however, are often not very intimate, where people are constantly meeting simple acquaintances, rather than making good friends. Larger schools socially tend to lend themselves to lots of acquaintances, rather than the many friendships that are made at a small school, which has a tighter knit community.

With regards to classes, both choices and sizes, the opinions are differing. At a small school such as mine, classes range from having four students to having 30. Conversely, schools like UMass have classes with 500 kids or more. The benefit of attending a small school in this respect is the special attention with teachers. The majority of students are on a first name basis with the teachers. Since the teachers know the students in their classes, kids are more likely to attend. This can lead to a higher GPA and better attendance rates. Classes with 500 kids make it difficult for any student to build a rapport with a teacher, never mind try to get extra help. The extra help aspect is a great benefit of attending a small school. Teachers have office hours where students can attend and ask questions, however, at a large school there can often be problems in scheduling. With a small school there are fewer students, which lends itself to more one on one time with the teacher.

Sports are another huge pull for big name schools. There is a concept termed the “Flutie effect” in which excellence on the athletic field can actually lead to an increase in student applications. Although this is not necessarily completely true in all circumstances, some would argue that big sports programs are a very attractive factor which draws students to a particular school. Games are exciting at big schools, drawing huge crowds and lots of excitement. People who don’t even have affiliations with the schools often will attend. A small school, such as a Division II or Division III school doesn’t attract many people towards their athletic programs. A school such as the one I attend has facilities similar in size to those of many high schools I am familiar with. The games do not draw much attention, unless they have some importance to the school, such as a playoff game. Big schools have the ability to generate huge amounts of revenue from their sports programs, yet smaller schools do not have this luxury as the majority of attendees are parents of players or students.

Recognizability of big name schools is another huge benefit. It is not necessarily of utmost importance where an applicant goes to school, but at a job interview it is helpful to attend a school which is nationally recognizable. It can promote conversation and higher student rankings (with regards to GPA) is more meaningful at a school where the student body is so much bigger. At a big school, a person who is top of their class may be competing against around 10,000 other students, while at a smaller school they may only be competing against 500. Class rank would be more meaningful at a bigger school in that respect.

Larger schools generally provide more opportunities to students. This can be taken in several ways, such as with regards to extracurricular activities. At a school like UMass there are countless activities that students can participate in, such as hundreds of clubs and organizations. At schools with smaller student bodies, there are fewer organizations and less clubs to participate in. Career services are a great tool at both schools, however, larger professional organizations seem to be more inclined to give their services towards bigger schools. The reasoning for this could be that there is a larger student body to choose from. Smaller schools seem to get offers from less prominent organizations. I take this from my own experience, where I notice that the majority of jobs and internships present are from small, local organizations. Conversely, friends at big name schools say that the career services provide opportunities from huge organizations which are well known throughout the country.

I would be interested in hearing about the experiences that people are having (or had) at their own school, regardless of how big or small it is. Are there any after effects of the school you attended have had on your professional career (such as ability or inability to acquire a particular position you were going for)? I look forward to hearing your sides of the story.

Why Americans dislike soccer

April 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Soccer (football) is the single most popular sport in the world. In the United States, however, soccer has failed to become very popular. I have my own ideas of the reasoning for this. It does not come down to publicity, but rather the nature of the sport.

People in the United States love exciting, violent sports. Some of the most popular sports in the US are american football, hockey, basketball and baseball. Baseball is one exception, but basketball, hockey and football are extremely physical sports. Lacrosse and the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) are two other up and coming sports, constantly growing in popularity, which are also very physical.

Soccer can be looked at as one of the least physical sports, when compared to these others. Most people assume it is not physical, however, a soccer fan can see that it actually is. Slide tackles can be extremely violent, sometimes resulting in graphic injuries. In any sport in the United States, injuries are taken very seriously. People do not act injured or pretend to become injured throughout the course of play. Soccer, on the other hand, is very different.

People, in my opinion, don’t like soccer because there are constantly stoppages in play for injury. Watching a game can be extremely frustrating when players embellish injuries in an attempt to get a call from the referee. Faking injuries is not part of the game in the United States, and seeing people fake injuries in soccer leads to stereotyping soccer players are babies or wimps.

I personally am a huge soccer fan and find the games to be very exciting. I also find it very frustrating to watch games in which players ‘flop’ to try to get calls. This usually doesn’t accomplish anything but slowing the game down. I feel like pulling my hair out seeing a player fake an injury and rolling around on the ground, as if they will lose their leg in the near future. Once they realize they aren’t getting the call, they get back into the game as if nothing happened.

They are taking away from the excitement and fast paced aspects of the game of soccer, which gives the game a bad reputation. Soccer will not gain popularity unless there are less players faking injuries. A rule change where players are penalized for faking injuries could be one solution to the problem, however, it seems to be very ingrained in the game. Here is a video of soccer players faking some injuries. Come to your own conclusion.

Mansfield High students will lose more than just sports

April 15, 2010 3 comments

Yesterday, the Mansfield School Committee voted to eliminate all high school sports in an attempt to lower their budget. Mansfield high school has a history of excellence in sports, which will come to an end if this vote is upheld. According to the Boston Herald, “Cutting sports is expected to save the district $643,471. The elimination of other extra-curricular activities will save $20,000. Town Meeting has the final say on the school budget when it meets May 4” (Ventura, Crimaldi and Mason. “Mansfield votes to dropkick sports programs” April 15th, 2010).

In making these cuts, the students of Mansfield high school will lose more than just their athletics program. The benefits of sports are endless. Obesity rates in this country are out of control, with one in three adults being obese. Sports are important in keeping kids active along with teaching them life lessons. By cutting sports, the message sent is that they are low priority, along with the health of the students. High school athletics only require physical education for the first two years of attendance. By eliminating sports, along with the lack of physical education kids are receiving, these kids will have few ways to get their necessary exercise.

There are countless social benefits of playing team sports as well.

“Youth sport programs can be used to foster positive youth development and build character…youth sport also has the potential to provide several of the internal assets, such as achievement, motivation, integrity, honesty, responsibility and restraint (Wells & Banning, 2008, p.192).” There is more to this than just an activity for fun.

Furthermore, sports can be used for “…providing opportunities for enhancing self-concept and developing social skills, such as working with others; leadership; and interaction between peers. In addition to social skills, youth sports can offer educational merit because they are capable of proving the moral, physical, mental and cognitive development opportunities that can lead to a successful adulthood” (Wells & Banning, 2008, p.192)).

At a time when sports are starting to use captains and leadership is developed, it is important for kids to experience this. Working together, as a team is a concept that people learn at a young age and use for their entire lives. Teamwork is used in any business setting. The lessons they have learned from playing sports are directly related to their applications into their future lives in different settings. Taking responsibility, sportsmanship, and teamwork are just a few of the benefits that come from team sports participation.

The final thing that these kids are going to be losing is a time killer. It sounds silly but when given free time, kids are often going to do what they want. This can be bad news, as bored kids tend to get into trouble.

“Mahoney found that participation in extracurricular activities was related to lower levels of offending. (talking about criminal offenses) Furthermore, in a study investigating teenagers physical activity, Pate found that cigarette smoking, marijuana use and perception of low academic performance were associated with those who engaged in little to no physical activity. Pate noted that providing structures and supervised after-school activities may reduce adolescents’ exposure to potential risk behaviors” (Burton & Marshall, 2005, p.51).

These are all negative results that can come from lack of physical activity, which is something that is important to these youth. There is another vote on May 4th to see if the school district can find alternative ways of finding the money. Clearly there is more to high school sports than just having fun. The results of cutting all high school sports will have huge effects on the kids, which is why kids will be losing more than just sports.

Wells, M., & Arthur-Banning, S. (2008). The Logic of Youth Development: Constructing a Logic Model of Youth Development through Sport. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 26(2), 189-202. Retrieved from Hospitality & Tourism Complete database.

Burton, J., & Marshall, L. (2005). Protective factors for youth considered at risk of criminal behaviour: does participation in extracurricular activities help?. Criminal Behaviour And Mental Health: CBMH, 15(1), 46-64. Retrieved from MEDLINE database.


Categories: Sports Tags: , , , ,

Video update

April 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Thanks for all the support and keep reading! In the meantime, leave some suggestions of things you want to read about and for me to blog about.

Categories: Video Tags: ,