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Broncos-Niners Game in London Expected to Sell Out

It’s a good thing football is a little-known sport in Europe.  Otherwise, this year’s chapter in the NFL London series would probably draw the attendance of a Division 3 high school football season opener.

Generally speaking, fans in England make their way out to Wembley Stadium when the NFL comes to town because it’s a new phenomenon.  Europeans are passionate and informed about soccer but still learning about American football.  That’s probably why this weekend’s contest in Great Britain is expected to sell out, despite the fact that it’s a match-up between the San Francisco 49ers (1-6) and the Denver Broncos (2-5).  If you’d like to know more about either team, they’re both conveniently located in the bottom five of our Week 8 NFL power rankings.

It can’t get much worse than that.  In fact — given the way both teams have played lately — this game could be the worst of the weekend.  When the NFL first scheduled this game to be played in London, there’s no way they could have known the two would start out so poorly.  However, if they eventually achieve their goal of globalizing American football and expanding their fan base, they’ll need to send over a better product.

For now, just having a football game in London creates enough buzz.  Last year, 84,254 fans visited Wembley Stadium to watch the Patriots dominate the Bucs.  This year, another 80,000 are expected in attendance to watch the bottom of the barrel in the NFL.  With an increased knowledge of the NFL and the game of football, European fans will eventually figure out that the product their being sent is garbage.  That will either mark the end of this experiment, or force the NFL to put more effort into scheduling the right game for this annual event.

UFC Going to Network TV in 2011, Potential MMA Channel in Future

Though the popularity of MMA is growing immensely, there aren’t too many places to find coverage of the UFC on TV. There’s Spike, Versus, and of course pay-per-view for most of the big cards. Strikeforce has been on CBS and their cards are found on Showtime, HDNet airs Dream fights, and Bellator cards are seen on Fox Sports channels. But good news for the growth of the UFC in particular, Dana White says the organization is looking into network TV deals for 2011 with a UFC or MMA channel a possibility for the future.

He wasn’t able to get into many specifics during an interview with Broadcasting & Cable, but he said they’re in the process of working on several deals. FOX and NBC were mentioned as possibilities. As for a potential MMA or UFC channel? It appears as if one is forthcoming according to White, who said “Sports Business Journal just came out with a survey asking big names in the industry which sport could start its own network and 4 out of 5 said us. They are right. I agree. That will happen within the next couple years.”

There have been talks of the UFC going to network TV for the past few years and nothing has emerged, but Strikeforce did break that barrier debuting on CBS. The notable information here is the possibility that they start their own network, like MLB Network, NFL Network, The Golf Channel, The Tennis Channel, and all the other sports with their own channels. It’s probably just a matter of time before we see both items happen.

NFL Selling Photos of James Harrison’s Illegal Hit on Mohamed Massaquoi

We told you earlier about how the NFL has begun taking the right steps to minimize head shots by handing out hefty fines for brutal hits that occurred over the weekend.  We might be taking that back.  The fines are still a good idea, but is it morally correct for the NFL to be profiting from memorabilia that has to do with those same illegal hits?

Pro Football Talk has brought to our attention that the photo above is available in the NFL.com photo store for a price of anywhere from $15.95 to $249.95, depending on the size you’d like to purchase.  Huh?  So the hits are dangerous, illegal, and unacceptable, but it’s okay to sell them as wall ornaments?  Something’s not right here.

If the NFL is trying to send a message, they need to send it through all mediums.  Selling a photo of the an illegal hit is simply glorifying the play and implying that it’s an exciting part of the game.  If that’s the way the league’s going to treat the situation, they shouldn’t expect anyone to take them seriously.

Brookline Considering Hiking Meter Prices to $20 for Red Sox Game Nights

Everything about going to a ballgame has become expensive.  Everything about going to a Boston Red Sox game has become even more expensive.  Want to park close to the ballpark?  That’ll be $40.  Want a beer?  $8 please.  A bottle of water?  For you, $4.50.  However, if you’re somehow lucky enough to find one of those few and far metered parking spaces in the heart of Boston, you could just save yourself a solid chunk of change.

Not anymore.  One of the sub-cities of Boston, Brookline, is considering hiking meter prices from 75 cents to $22 on Red Sox game nights.  Keep in mind the people who park in these spaces usually have quite the walk ahead of them, but they accept a mile hike for a chance to save up to $40.  This would be highway robbery at its finest.

Imagine inserting a twenty or swiping your credit card at a parking meter?  The thought is almost about as frightening as that of having to pay $5 just to be a pedestrian in a Cleveland Browns tailgate parking lot.  What will they think of next?  By the time 2050 rolls around, going to a game will probably run you anywhere from $1000 to $5,000/person.

Former Agent Josh Luchs Reveals Ugly Side of Paying College Football Players

SI has a wonderful story front page on their Web site entitled “Confessions of an agent.” The investigative piece, which is definitely worth your time, will also be featured in the October 18th issue of the magazine. In the article, Josh Luchs talks about how he got into the business of being a sports agent, which college football players he recruited, how he did it, and what made him get out of the business.

If you want to do the hit list of players, it’s quite extensive. Being based on the West Coast and from LA, UCLA players were one of Luchs’ biggest targets to recruit and some of the players he confirmed paying.

One of Luchs’ biggest points goes against Nick Saban’s “pimp” comment, as he contends many players have their hands out asking for money. Luchs justified paying players when he was younger because he was trying to get clients and felt he was helping out the players and/or their families. As he got older, he got tired of trying to be close with college kids and partying with athletes, and decided he wanted to do things without paying players.

Luchs began working for agent Gary Wichard, who has been targeted in the North Carolina investigation, but the two had a falling out and Luchs lost a lawsuit against Wichard. After being suspended by the NFLPA for a year because he withheld a player agent check from Wichard to use in the court case, he decided to get out of the business.

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People Already Hate the Miami Heat

In the wake of his decision to leave Cleveland and join the Miami Heat Super Team, it’s no surprise that LeBron James has become a villian.  We already knew Clevelanders hated him, but the latest Q Scores that were released Tuesday morning reveal that most people dislike King James.  According to The Q Score Company, LeBron is now the sixth most disliked personality in the sports world, ranking behind Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Batman and Robin, and Kobe Bryant.

Henry Schafer, the executive vice president of The Q Scores Company, said LeBron had been viewed favorably before his decision to join the Heat.  In January, the same poll found that 24 percent of people thought of James in a positive light while 22 percent had a negative opinion of him.  Now, only 14 percent view him in a positive manner compared to 39 percent who dislike him.  That’s a 77 percent decline in his popularity.

Schafer said that the ESPN special “The Decision” was “one of the most detrimental acts – not related to any anti-social behavior —  by a sports personality since the Q Scores were first developed.”

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Players Are Uniting, Have Weapons to Fight Owners

Prior to the Saints/Vikings season opener on Thursday night, the players gathered on their respective sidelines and held a finger in the air to show a sign of solidarity in the face of a labor dispute. The goal was for the players to get the fans on their side as they prepare for a fight with the owners regarding a new CBA.

While most people feel like the owners have the upper hand in the situation, the players’ union has some weapons in mind to fight back. Mike Silver wrote up a tome about the situation for Yahoo! Sports if you’re so inclined. In his lengthy column, Silv mentioned a few tricks the players may have up their sleeves:

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