Denver Lacrosse Team Bigger Draw than Nuggets, Avalanche

I bet most of you probably didn’t even know Denver had a lacrosse team. I bet many of you have a professional lacrosse team in your town and don’t even know it. I didn’t. But apparently the people of Denver happen to be quite interested in theirs. Matter of fact, the Colorado Mammoth draw more fans per game at 17,400 than the Nuggets and Avalanche. The Mammoth only play eight home games a year and have cheap ticket prices, but still, packing the house to watch professional lacrosse is impressive; I figure even lingerie lacrosse would have a tough time selling out.

So is there a future in this country for professional lacrosse? I doubt it. Even the team second in attendance — the Buffalo Bandits — attract just around 14,000 fans a game. Most others have a tougher time. I think one of the big factors hindering the popularity of lacrosse is its regional appeal. Growing up on the West Coast, there was no exposure to the sport. It looks like fun, but nobody plays it. Still, to outdraw a potential playoff team with superstar power like the Nuggets as well as the hometown favorite Avalanche, is equally impressive as it is shocking.

(via Fark)

Euros Love Them Some D-Wade

If you thought that the likes of Dirk, Pau, Mehmet Okur, or say, Zaza Pachulia, would have the top selling jerseys in Europe because you know, they actually played in that continent, then you would be wrong. Much to my surprise, I have come to discover that Dwyane Wade’s No. 3 is the most popular selling jersey in Europe.

The list of most popular jerseys is based on sales from European retail locations last season. The NBA said sales of league merchandise in Europe increased 40% from the 2005-06 season, with international sales accounting for 25% of the league’s overall global merchandise business.

Wade is followed by Allen Iverson of the Denver Nuggets, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

So how about that? How exactly does this work? I could understand when T-Mac had the most popular jersey in China since he played on the same team as Yao But Dwyane? How did he get so popular over there? OK fine, we all know the underlying truth, it’s all because of the Big Aristotle. Isn’t he responsible for everyone’s success?

Kevin Durant Wants to go Cheap with His Shoes Like Starbury

Thanks to Ballhype for putting me onto Nate Jones’ story at FanHouse about Texas star Kevin Durant wanting a shoe deal that will market his sneakers for cheap. The news is truly pleasing. Taking it from Jones:

Today on his Oregon Live blog, John Canzano reported that one of the sticking points for Durant in his negotiations with Nike and Adidas is a commitment to make a shoe that is at a price point that most individuals could afford. That price point is rumored to be between $39 and $69.

Whether or not big companies like Nike or Adidas would actually go for something like this is debatable — it would go against most of their business policies. Just perusing the Adidas website for instance, shows that high top basketball shoes range from $80-$200, with most pairs in the hundred dollar range. Going through Nike’s shop online, it was a stretch to find a basketball sneaker in the double-digits price range. The other element at play is whether or not Kevin Durant will remain steadfast in his desire to have a company sell his shoe for cheap. Would his desire to sign with a big company override his wish of selling an affordable shoe? I think it’s possible.

We’ll wait to see what happens with Durant, but I’m happy to hear he’s even considering the idea. The reasonably-priced sneaker is an excellent concept by Marbury, and I’ll always applaud this off-court effort regardless of what his on-court reputation may be.

(image courtesy You Been Blinded)

Who Cares About the Low NBA Finals TV Ratings

They don’t bother me one bit. Of course I’m not the one selling advertising on my multi-million dollar finals TV deal, but still. I’m really just sick and tired of hearing about how the NBA finals ratings are down. That doesn’t seem to be news to me. It’s seems so commonplace. Not just for the NBA, but for MLB, the NHL, and most televised sports except the NFL. Heck, even TV show ratings are down. So why do people constantly bring up the dropping ratings as if it’s a big deal?

This is just the increasing trend in television these days. There are so many options out there for people to watch on the tube (and internet), that shrinking ratings don’t make me bat an eyelash. And I don’t think David Stern is blowing smoke when he says he’s not concerned about the low ratings. He shouldn’t be. Compared to the competition, they’re doing fine. What do people expect, 15 shares for the NBA finals? That’s just not in the cards these days.

Just because the NBA finals have low ratings does that mean basketball isn’t popular? Does that mean people aren’t watching? Does that mean nobody likes the NBA? No, no, and no. The ratings are bullcrap. Good fodder for us to poke fun. But I won’t fall for that trap.

If the NBA were struggling for viewers, then why did they set their all-time record for highest regular season and post-season attendance with 23.4 million fans? Why is the game broadcast to 205 countries in 46 different languages? If the NBA is doing so poorly, and can’t draw, then how do you explain that type of proliferation? You can’t. And that’s my point exactly. If it ain’t the Yankees, or the Knicks, or the Celtics, or the Red Sox, the ratings are going to be low. Get used to it. Just don’t let it fool you into thinking that the sports aren’t thriving, because they are.

(both statistical notes in above paragraph via The Sports Professor, Rick Horrow)

NHL to Las Vegas or Kansas City, Yay

Here’s something I just can’t get down with — the NHL expanding. Is it really a flourishing sport? Is it a booming and lucrative business? How can they justify throwing two more teams out there, which would bring the total to 32? Have Columbus, Atlanta, and Nashville not been enough of a sign? Apparently not. The NHL might be taking a team to Vegas, going with the Hollywood angle:

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed that the league has been in discussions with powerful film and TV producer Jerry Bruckheimer about owning a franchise in Las Vegas, Sports Business Daily reported yesterday.

Bruckheimer, an avid hockey fan and producer of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, has put together an investment group to locate a team in Las Vegas, meaning the NHL would be the first pro league to settle in the gambling centre.

Yes, we all know they’re craving attention, and Hollywood and hockey go hand-in-hand. Let me just say this: the fact that we’re considering hockey in the middle of the Las Vegas desert shows how far society has come. Maybe almost too far. And as someone who lives pretty close to Vegas and used to make regular trips out there, I couldn’t think of something I’d less rather do on a gambling vacation — aside from applying Siegfried’s makeup.

Gene Upshaw Makes Joe DeLamielleure Fear for His Life

Hall of Fame lineman Joe DeLamielleure is on a campaign against NFL union head Gene Upshaw. DeLamielleure is voicing what he feels is the opinion of many retired NFL players — that the NFL pension plan sucks. DeLamielleure says his daily goal is to get Upshaw fired (sounds quite fulfilling). Anywhoo, check out what Upshaw told the Philadelphia Daily News in response:

“A guy like DeLamielleure says the things he said about me; you think I’m going to invite him to dinner? No. I’m going to break his . . . damn neck.”

DeLamielleure certainly isn’t the first player to complain about the crappy NFL pension plan, but he’s definitely one of the loudest. And after reading the aforementioned comments made by Upshaw, DeLamielleure says he fears for his life:

“My wife was petrified. We grew up in Detroit. You know what unions are. You hear about it. She goes, ‘Hey, this guy is a head of a union, a powerful union, and [when] he makes a threat like that, you’d better take it serious.’

“I’m not afraid of Upshaw, but he has the means to do what he said.”

DeLamielleure certainly is taking this seriously, and it’s probably for his benefit. He should be able to ride this publicity and bring even more attention to the issue. But I’ll just come out and say what I feel, and what I presume many of you feel. These guys are football players — star professional athletes. Do we view them in the same light that we do a coal miners union? Are you really concerned about the pension plans for people privileged enough to have played in the NFL? I don’t think so.

And if you think DeLamielleure is faking it when he says he fears for his life, listen to this interview he gave on WGR in Buffalo, and you’ll find out he’s dead serious.

David Wright’s Going to Make Millions off of Vita Water

With a nod to the real Mr. Brown for tipping me off to this story, considering he has taken up an equal enjoyment of the elixir as me, David Wright will be making millions off of Vita Water.

Mets superstar slugger David Wright cracked a financial grand slam that could be worth as much as $20 million when Glaceau – the Queens company whose VitaminWater drinks he endorses – was acquired yesterday by Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion.

Wright obtained a small slice of the popular beverage company last year.

But instead of taking cash to endorse the company’s flavored water brands, the third baseman, who says he started drinking Glaceau’s juiced-up beverages in the minors, took a 0.5 percent ownership stake in the company.

From the sounds of this story, either David Wright’s a genius, or the person managing his finances is. Almost $20 million extra? That’s like a whole new contract for Wright. It more than takes care of his inability to file for free agency while the Mets hold his rights. At times like, all you can say is get that sheep outta here! And it makes you wonder if David Ortiz and Brian Urlacher made the same genius decision.