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Dodgers Getting Desperate to Sell Tickets

It wasn’t long ago that the Dodgers were one of the hottest tickets in LA and one of the top drawing teams in baseball. This year, the Dodgers are eighth in MLB in home attendance (according to ESPN’s figures), trailing their neighbors to the south, the Angels by nearly 2,000 fans per game. The drop in attendance is due to several factors.

The top reason most fans with whom I associate aren’t attending games is because they’re too expensive. Ticket prices have doubled under the McCourt regime, and keep in mind this is only their seventh year as owners. The next reason far fewer fans are attending games is because they don’t want to support the McCourts. This has to do with the revelations about their embarrassing and offensive spending habits that emerged during their hideous divorce trial. Third, the Bryan Stow beating on Opening Day created such negative publicity it turned many fans off from wanting to attend games.

Now that the team is being overseen by MLB and in danger of not being able to meet May’s payroll obligations, they’re getting extremely desperate to sell tickets.

LBS contributor Sam Ahn pointed out to us that the Dodgers are offering a special on Yelp for next week’s Dodgers-Giants series:

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Rashard Mendenhall Dropped by Champion for Osama bin Laden Tweets

For those of you wondering how long it would be before Rashard Mendenhall started suffering monetary consequences for his Osama bin Laden tweets, we have your answer. It only took three days for sports apparel company Champion to drop Mendenhall.

Champion announced the news in a statement that was posted by Game On! The text of their full statement:

Champion is a strong supporter of the government’s efforts to fight terrorism and is very appreciative of the dedication and commitment of the U.S. Armed Forces. Earlier this week, Rashard Mendenhall, who endorses Champion products, expressed personal comments and opinions regarding Osama bin Laden and the September 11 terrorist attacks that were inconsistent with the values of the Champion brand and with which we strongly disagreed. In light of these comments, Champion was obliged to conduct a business assessment to determine whether Mr. Mendenhall could continue to effectively communicate on behalf of and represent Champion with consumers. While we respect Mr. Mendenhall’s right to express sincere thoughts regarding potentially controversial topics, we no longer believe that Mr. Mendenhall can appropriately represent Champion and we have notified Mr. Mendenhall that we are ending our business relationship. Champion has appreciated its association with Mr. Mendenhall during his early professional football career and found him to be a dedicated and conscientious young athlete. We sincerely wish him all the best.

Couldn’t have put that better myself. Mendenhall tried to cover his butt with a “clarification” he wrote on his blog Wednesday, but he didn’t address his comment that he couldn’t believe an airplane took down the World Trade Centers. It’s that comment that loses me and most people. If I were in Champion’s position, I would have distanced myself with Mendenhall as well.

The good news is people have freedom of speech in this country. Unfortunately, you don’t have the freedom of consequence as Champion’s actions have shown us.

Golf Club Put up as Foul Pole in Petco Park

Sponsoring your foul pole with a golf club? That my friends is called genius marketing. The San Diego Padres are breaking some ground at Petco Park by attaching a replica 88-foot TaylorMade driver to their foul pole in right field. The club is a replica of TaylorMade’s R11 driver that debuted in January and it features a white club face as you can see in the picture courtesy of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

As part of the cross-promotional efforts between the two organizations, Natalie Gulbis will throw out the first pitch at Thursday’s Padres game and manager Bud Black will take a trip to TaylorMade headquarters.

My only question is if they can erect an 88-foot club on the poll, why can’t they re-name it and make it the “fair pole” since any ball that hits it is actually fair? Just a question between friends. Hey, I have another suggestion for TaylorMade. While they’re at it, can they fix this problem in Fenway Park?

Here’s a video of the pole being made:

Is Alex Rodriguez Really the Face of Baseball? DirecTV Ad Says so

If you’re a baseball fan or DirecTV subscriber, chances are you’ve probably seen the Extra Innings advertisement featuring Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. In the commercial, A-Rod clubs a home run to deep left center at Yankee Stadium and begins his trot around the bases. His stroll begins on the streets of New York City, makes its way through the heartlands of America, and ends in your living room where you’re supposed to be magically moved to purchase the Extra Innings subscription. Here’s the commercial in case you haven’t seen it:

Maybe because I’m both a DirecTV subscriber and usually watching sports channels I’ve seen this commercial far too many times. Every time I see the ad, it makes me wonder what MLB/Extra Innings/DirecTV was thinking when they made it.

Whoever is behind the commercial decided that the player they wanted to use to convince baseball fans to drop nearly $200 to have all games available to them on TV was Alex Rodriguez. Of all players around, we’re talking Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum, you name it — they chose A-Rod. I don’t understand it for several reasons.

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Michael Vick Remains an Excellent Pitchman for Sports Companies

Michael Vick may still be a hated man by many people in the country, but his popularity is undeniable. Students at his high school were leading a movement to have his jersey put back up on display, and Vick was named the Comeback Player of the Year in the NFL. He became an MVP candidate with his stellar play last year and even earned an endorsement deal with apparel company Unequal Technologies, angering one of our writers. Even if you disagree with Vick being a company’s spokesman based on moral grounds, you cannot argue that the man can’t sell.

The Wall Street Journal had a story recently about Unequal’s decision to take a gamble on Vick by making him their spokesman. Vick apparently wanted stock in the company rather than money, making the decision to hire him even more difficult. The bold choice by Unequal paid off in a 1,000% increase in sales, and the announcement of the partnership led to 10 million hits on their website.

The whole article is worth a read, and it shows that at least one company was rewarded for believing in Vick and making the right call. I’m just disappointed we didn’t tab him to help pimp LBS. 10 million hits? Yeah, we could have lived with that.

Red Sox Want to Sell Mixed Drinks All Over Fenway Park

Things could be getting a lot rowdier at Fenway Park in the Summer of 2011. Baseball fans all around the country love to complain about having to buy $9 beers at the ballpark, but that doesn’t stop them from pounding a dozen of them on a warm summer evening. Sometimes there’s nothing more refreshing than an ice cold beer on a 90-degree night — except maybe an ice cold Jack and Coke.

According to the Boston Globe, the Red Sox have moved to expand the sale of mixed alcoholic beverages throughout the ballpark by their home opener on April 8. Currently, hard liquor is only served to fans with upper-level premium seats.  Naturally, the mayor of Boston, Thomas M. Menino, is not enthused.

What do you think?  Is this a good idea or what?  On the one hand, these drinks will probably go for upwards of $10 a piece.  From a business standpoint it’s genius, but would it turn the ballpark into a 21-plus environment?  I can’t tell you how many news specials I’ve seen about Fenway Park and how the behavior of fans is getting out of hand.  One would have to assume this would make things worse.

That being said, I’m all for it.

Ralph Nader Wants to Do Away with College Scholarships

Ralph Nader is one of those politicians who has never been shy about voicing his opinions when it comes to sports.  A few years back, he was candid about changes he believed needed to be made in order to fix the problem the NBA has with corrupt officials.  Now, Nader has taken issue with the concept of NCAA athletic scholarships.

“As we near the exciting conclusion of ‘March Madness’ — which would more accurately be described as the 2011 NCAA Professional Basketball Championships — it’s time we step back and finally address the myth of amateurism surrounding big-time college football and basketball in this country,” Nader said in a proposal that the Associated Press obtained, via NESN.

“An entire industry has developed in the youth sports arena — club teams, personal trainers, etc. — to prey on families’ dreams of an athletic scholarship,” he continued. “The lure of the elusive athletic scholarship is the primary — sometimes the only — marketing tool these youth sports entrepreneurs use.”

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