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NFL teams to offer service where fans can order cheerleader to their seat

Hunter-Mahan-Engaged-to-Dallas-Cowboys-Cheerleader-Kandi-Harris-4

Ever been to an NFL game and felt that the gorgeous cheerleaders patrolling the sidelines were so close yet so far away? You almost feel like you could reach out and touch them, but they’re just a little too far and, most importantly, following through on that desire might constitute a crime.

Thanks to the latest in technology, fans will soon be closer than ever to cheerleaders.

Sports Business Journal revealed on Monday that a few teams have partnered with app developer Experience to develop technology that will allow fans to order upgrades when they get to the stadium for a game. The perks will include stuff like getting on the field before a game or having a cheerleader come to your seat.

According to Darren Rovell, the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are three teams that have already agreed to offer the premium experiences. League officials were expected to encourage other owners to adopt the technology at the NFL meetings this week.

The Falcons actually began offering some of the services to 3,000 of their season ticket holders last season.

“Anything from pregame on-field, to a birthday message, to cheerleader visits, to mascot visits, to the fly-by pass, which is a dedicated lane where you don’t wait to get into the stadium,” Falcons CEO Jim Smith explained. “All the experiential things sold out within the first four hours they were made available.”

[Related: Bengals cheerleaders divided by real vs. fake boobs]

Teams have spent significant time and resources over the past few years coming up with ways to improve the in-stadium experience. Stuff like offering wireless internet at games and showing fantasy stats on stadium scoreboards has done that, but plenty of people are perfectly content watching games on their 60-inch high definition TVs. But can they order a cheerleader to come visit them in their seat? Well, they could probably order someone in a cheerleader outfit … let’s not get into that.

FAMOUS CHEERLEADER DAUGHTERS
Tony LaRussa’s daughter is an Oakland Raiders cheerleader
Doug Flutie’s daughter is a New England Patriots cheerleader

Mark Cuban: NFL is 10 years from imploding

mark-cubanDallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is one of the most intelligent businessmen in the world. He made his own fortune — which is rumored to be well over $2 billion — with a series of successful investments and business decisions. So when Cuban says the NFL is 10 years from “imploding,” there’s reason to believe he may be onto something.

On Sunday, Cuban spoke about how the NFL is at risk of overexposure. The NFL has already announced that CBS will feature Thursday night games next season. There will also be two Saturday games on CBS later in the year and has been speculation that Wednesday night football could be a possibility in the future.

“When pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,” Cuban said, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. “And they’re getting hoggy. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns against you.”

The NFL is currently putting out its strongest product ever, with fantasy football at the peak of its popularity. As a result, ratings remain fairly high even when teams like the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns meet in a meaningless matchup. Cuban cautioned that it won’t always be that way.

“They’re trying to take over every night of TV,” he said. “And initially, it’ll be the biggest rating thing there is. Then, if they get Saturday, now they’re impacting college. And then if they go to Wednesday, at some point, people get sick of it.

“It drives you in a different direction. Now, it’s ‘my team’s game is on Wednesday.’ Or, ‘now my team’s on Thursday.’ It was just so easy when I could plan on Sunday or maybe Monday. And if you get no days off in football and your team is playing one of those days, it’s just one of the rules I use: when pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Fantasy football, people pay attention to it. But we’ll see.”

While it’s hard to imagine people getting sick of NFL football, Cuban’s theory makes sense. Tracking fantasy plays on weeknights or Saturdays (when there could be a game like Auburn-Alabama being played) is one thing. But people could eventually get annoyed if their team plays on five different nights throughout the course of a season. Will it result in an “implosion” for the NFL? That seems like a stretch, but perhaps Thursday, Saturday and even Wednesday football simply won’t last.

Report: Michael Vick would make fuss about No. 7 jersey in contract negotiations with Jets

michael-vickMichael Vick has worn No. 7 throughout his entire career. He wore the jersey number at Virginia Tech and has worn it during all 11 of his NFL seasons. Vick is currently a free agent, and one of the teams said to be interested in signing him is the New York Jets. He’ll reportedly get a chance to compete with Geno Smith for the starting job if New York signs him, but that’s not all Vick would be competing for.

Smith, who the Jets drafted to be their quarterback of the future, currently wears No. 7. According to TMZ, that could be a “big issue” for Vick if he negotiates a contract with the Jets. Vick has a clothing line called V7, and the brand name would make little sense if he stopped wearing the number.

While noting that the jersey situation wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for Vick, TMZ speculated that the 33-year-old could want more money if he can’t have No. 7. That seems pretty insane to me.

I get that Vick has a brand associated with the No. 7. I also get that a starting quarterback might be less likely to give up his number than a reserve player who is allowing a veteran to wear it. That said, teams aren’t exactly banging down the doors to sign Vick. If he gets an opportunity to compete for a starting job, he’d be wise to take it even if he has to wear No. 56.

H/T SI Hot Clicks

Roger Staubach is the highest paid retired NFL player

Roger-StaubachOf all the legendary players who have come and gone in the NFL and are still living, you might be surprised to hear who the highest paid retired NFL player currently is. The man who makes the most coin in retirement, at least according to Forbes’ list of highest paid retired athletes, is former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach.

Staubach, who retired in 1979, reportedly earns $13 million a year. Most people would be inclined to think that the faces we see most often — like that of Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Michael Strahan — are the top earners, but Staubach is apparently a savvy businessman.

The two-time Super Bowl champion started a real estate company in 1977 while he was nearing the end of his career with the Cowboys. He sold the business to Jones Lang Lasalle in 2008 for $648 million. He owned 12% of the company at the time and put half of his share in a trust for his children. The last payout from the sale of the company was last year. The figure includes the $4 million annually that is directed toward Staubach’s kids.

The rest of the list is hardly as surprising, with Michael Jordan on top and still earning around $90 million a year. The majority of the list is made up of retired golfers (Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Gary Player). David Beckham and Shaquille O’Neal also made the cut, as they earn $37 million and $20 million per year respectively.

Moral of the story? Remaining successful in retirement after a pro sports career is not always about plastering your pretty face on major TV networks and billboards. A smart business venture can go a long way.

H/T Shutdown Corner

Rory McIlroy involved in legal battle with former management company

Rory-McIlroyRory McIlroy is looking to bounce back this year after a disappointing golf season in 2013. The former world No. 1 signed with Nike and became one of the wealthiest 24-year-old’s in the world last year, but his game faltered. Back in November, McIlroy hinted that legal troubles with sponsors contributed to his poor play in 2013. He may still be having them.

According to the Irish Independent, McIlroy attended a hearing earlier this week that dealt with a lawsuit he has filed against his former management company. McIlroy reportedly claims he signed an agreement with the company under “undue influence” when he was 22 years old.

McIlroy claims he has paid “unreasonable” fee rates to the company that are far greater than an athlete would pay a standard sports agency. He also does not believe he has to pay the company, Horizon Sports Management in Dublin, fees related to his $20 million per year endorsement deal with Nike.

The agency denies the claim and insists McIlroy freely entered into an agreement in 2011. They say he agreed to pay them certain fees and are seeking roughly $3 million in fees for of-course revenues earned by McIlroy. They are also seeking damages, claiming McIlroy continues to breach their contract.

All legal jargon aside, McIlroy fans should be hoping the youngster is able to is able to focus on his golf game this year. He and Caroline Wozniacki are engaged to be married, so one would think analysts would get off his case about Woz being a distraction. Hopefully the legal troubles are sorted out sooner rather than later.

Hakeem Nicks signs with Roc Nation Sports

Hakeem-Nicks-GiantsRoc Nation Sports added another talented athlete to its growing list on Thursday, as the agency announced that it has signed New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Victor Cruz, Nicks’ teammate, was one of the first big names to sign with Jay-Z’s agency last year. Like Cruz, Nicks will be represented by both Roc Nation and CAA.

Not long after signing with Roc Nation, Cruz was able to land a five-year, $43 million contract extension with the Giants. That type of money would be a stretch for Nicks, who did not catch a touchdown during the 2013 season. He has only missed a handful of games in the past three years, but Nicks always seems to be battling some sort of nagging injury.

At age 26, Nicks will certainly be able to find a few teams who are willing to take a chance on his less-than-stellar resume. He hauled in 155 passes for more than 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns between the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and there is no denying that the former North Carolina star has as much raw talent as any receiver in the league.

In all likelihood, Nicks won’t be returning to the Giants. They already have a lot of money invested at the wide receiver position and reportedly had to fine him multiple times last season. A divorce seems inevitable, but Nicks should be well represented when he hits the open market.

H/T Darren Rovell

Marshawn Lynch signs endorsement deal with Skittles

Marshawn-Lynch-SkittlesSeattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been providing Skittles with millions of dollars in free publicity for years. In 2011, cameras captured Lynch eating Skittles on the sideline after he scored a touchdown. The tradition apparently started when his mother would give him Skittles after he scored touchdowns when he was younger.

Since Lynch was first seen eating Skittles, the chewy little candies have become a symbol of success for the Seahawks. The team serves them along with its “Beast Mode” burger and fans have been showering players in Skittles after touchdowns. On Tuesday, Lynch finally signed an endorsement deal with Skittles.

According to ESPN, Lynch will receive financial compensation and the company will donate $10,000 to his charity for every touchdown he scores in the Super Bowl. Skittles has also created a limited edition package called “Seattle Mix,” which includes only blue and green candies.

As Darren Rovell pointed out, Skittles could still be getting a bargain by signing Lynch to a deal. Media monitoring company Kantar Media told Ad Age last week that Lynch’s presence in the Super Bowl could be worth as much as $5 million for the company. Supermarkets in the Seattle area have also reported that they run short on Skittles on home game weekends.

If Lynch’s love for Skittles has inspired insane creations like the “Beast Mode” sausage, the power back should be receiving at least some financial compensation.