Behind the Mic: Free Admittance is so Much Cheaper

 

One of the really nice perks about my job is the free admittance to sporting events. Granted, I have to “work” once I get there, but purchasing a ticket to an event is pretty foreign to me. Add to that the fact that I have a good seat; I get to talk to the players and the coaches; I can converse with the fans; and, sometimes, I even get free food. It’s all good.

There are some sporting events, however, I would like to attend ONCE in my life and to do that, I would probably have to buy a ticket like any other fan. So I investigated the price (in 2013) to attend some of the events on my list (obviously, in the manner I am accustomed to):

1. The Masters golf tournament – a four-day pass would cost me $4,486. I would need to travel to Augusta, Georgia, find lodging, eat for four days, and pay exorbitant prices on the grounds. I am guessing a total price around $6,000.

2. The Super Bowl – the average face-value price for a ticket for the Ravens vs the 49ers in 2013 was $1,210. Tickets were sold, it was reported, for as much as $316,000.

3. The BCS College football championship – For this one, I think I would like to sit in a luxury box suite. After all, I am used to broadcasting college football from a nice suite with free food and drink available. The best price I could find was $250,000 for the accommodations. I would be able to invite some friends – maybe I could get a half dozen to kick in $50,000 each. I am not against making a profit here.

4. Game 7 of the NBA Championship – that happened in 2010 when the Lakers met the Celtics. To sit at courtside (why would I want to sit anywhere else?) required that I purchase two tickets minimum for a cost of $115,000.

5. Major League Baseball’s All-Star game – Another event where if you wanted to sit behind home plate, you needed to purchase two tickets. That would set you back $7,200. I wonder what a hot dog and soda would cost me. Maybe I could sneak in my own peanuts.

My list may differ greatly from yours. So allow me to quickly give you some “ballpark” figures for some other major events:

Championship boxing – ringside – $30,940.
Stanley Cup Final – average price in 2013 – $1,380.
Wimbledon Championship Finals – If you are “unfortunate” to have a British finalist
(Andy Murray in 2013), and decided to buy a ticket the day of the final, it would set you back $65,000.
Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics – only $4,000.

AND, if you got caught up in the World Cup this year and were wondering what it cost to attend the championship final – a mere $990. The problem here is you have to get to Brazil – from my house, it was @$3,000 for flight and hotel!

My top five would cost me around $375,000 or so just for the tickets. My air-conditioned house, comfortable recliner, hi-def TV, and easy access to snacks and drinks have me reconsidering attendance. With the money I’ll save, I think I’ll Google the nearest Porsche dealership.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
1. The Derek Jeter All-Star salute last Tuesday night was very special. I particularly loved the late Yankee PA announcer Bob Sheppard’s introduction of Jeter. It was the perfect touch, along with allowing Jeter to run off the field in the fourth inning.

2. An interesting side note on Jeter’s career. Dan Szymborski of ESPN has created a formula called ZiPS (sZymborski Projection System) which takes the first three years of a player’s career and projects his career numbers (here are Jeter’s projection numbers followed by his actual numbers as of July 19 in parentheses). For Jeter, he would have projected a .289 batting average (.311); 2,947 hits (3,411); 418 doubles (534); 114 triples (66); 263 HR (258); 1,287 RBIs (1,287); 336 SB (355). Very impressive projection system if you ask me.

3. I love the British Open. Links golf is just different; the TV time is done to allow you to do other things on the weekend; and it is a Major. It was great to see Rory McIlroy play so well again and even his fellow players were happy for him. Sergio Garcia finished second, but now has played in 64 majors without a win. He and Lee Westwood (66 majors) endure the title of “best players to never win a Major”.

4. It was a sponsor’s dream on Sunday at the British Open when the top three golf corporations were so visibly represented – Rory McIlroy represents NIKE; Sergio Garcia represents Adidas; and Ricky Fowler represents Puma. Pretty much equal time for all.

5. Two more interesting British Open tidbits – 1) McIlroy’s former fiancée, Caroline Wozniacki, also won her WTA tennis championship in Istanbul on Saturday. They were to be married in November. Rory broke off the engagement with a three-minute phone call. 2) A fan kept yelling “Sergio is going to catch you” at McIlroy after every shot. McIlroy had a fan removed by security at the 15th hole. No one was sure if it was the same fan.

 

Behind the Mic: No More BCS

 

Behind the Mic:  No More BCS

Well, hopefully, we have seen the last of the BCS College Football Championship. It will be replaced with the CFP (College Football Playoff) in order to determine a national champion for the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (why does it have to sound so complex?).

Under the new system, four teams will play in two semifinal games (#1 vs. #4, #2 vs. #3), with the winners advancing to the championship. There is a rotation system in place to keep the major bowls viable. On consecutive days around New Year’s Day, the Rose and Sugar Bowls will host the semifinals; in 2015, the Orange and Cotton, and in 2016, the Fiesta and Chick-Fil-A. During the off-years, these bowls will have the remainder of the games featuring the other top eight teams not in the top four. Computers will not be used to select the teams, as they are now. Instead, a committee of 13 people, made up of ADs, former ADs, coaches, media members, etc. will select and seed the teams. Throughout the season, this committee will meet and release rankings. They will weigh strength of schedule, records, conference champions and head-to-head results.

Next year’s championship will be played on January 12, 2015 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. ESPN has the rights to the playoff games through 2025 at a cost estimated to be $7.3 billion ($608 million per year for the seven games). If you do not want to do the math, that’s $86 million a game!

The system differs from the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) where Lafayette and Lehigh reside. Their playoff system consists of 24 teams with the top eight getting a bye week. It takes five weekends to name a national FCS champion. That is still the fairest system.

In a year where I felt Auburn should have played Alabama again for the national championship (before I watched the Oklahoma-Alabama game), the new system will certainly be an improvement. I would have liked to have seen an 8-team playoff system, where a champion could be determined in three weeks, but this is certainly a better system. But there will still be plenty to debate between #4 and #5. Who gets the shot and who doesn’t? With that said, I still really look forward to the last two weeks of college football in 2016 for sure.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
1. How about those NFL wild card games this past weekend? Could there have been more exciting and, for some fans, more excruciating games? Three of the four came down to the very end and three of the four played in the worst possible weather. The Indianapolis game in the dome turned out to be a pleasant relief from the “freezer” games.

2. The Eagles game, in particular, had so many “what-ifs”. What if they make an early field goal and put three points on the board (they lost by two)? What if Riley Cooper catches a wide-open pass which most assuredly would have led to a score of some kind? What if the Eagles score the go-ahead touchdown and do not leave so much time on the clock for the Saints and Drew Brees? What if a horse-collar tackle is not made and the runback goes for a touchdown on the kickoff and the Eagles have time to score themselves at the end? What if?

3. Is there a rule in the NFL that offensive and defensive linemen cannot wear long shirts? I know these guys are tough, but in subzero weather!! Is “tough” defined as “stupid”?

4. I still vividly remember the trip to North Dakota State back in 2011 when Lafayette opened their football season. It is a unique place for sure – meat raffles, dogs on bar stools, a town that closes down on football day, etc. Lafayette lost 42-6 that night. Well, that same North Dakota State team just won their third straight FCS national football championship this past weekend by a 35-7 score over Towson. Head coach Craig Bohl is now headed to Wyoming to coach the Cowboys. I would not think Wyoming is a booming metropolis either.

5. I sure hope we get to broadcast some high school sporting events this week. Three high school basketball games are on tap and a huge wrestling match (Nazareth at Bethlehem Catholic). Now we just need some cooperation from the weather.

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week – 2-2) (168-91-1 65%)
SEATTLE
NEW ENGLAND
SAN FRANCISCO
DENVER

Behind the Mic – January 7th

As I offered up my sports highlights for 2012 last week, I decided to venture into the world of New Year’s resolutions this week.  I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile other than “Play more golf”, so I decided to research the most common resolutions and see if  I would be able to fulfill them.  In no particular order, I found these:

1.    Drink less alcohol.  Check!  No problem for me.  I drink some red wine because I heard it is good for my health, but only in moderation and not very often.  Oh – and I also have an occasional mixed drink.  That’s it.

2.   Eat healthy food.  Impossible!  If you travel from gym to gym and stadium to stadium, I defy you to find healthy food.  By my count, I have devoured  approximately 8,000 hot dogs, 4,000 Diet Cokes, and 1,000 candy bars on the job. 

3.   Get a better job.  Unnecessary!  If you exclude the eating problems (see #2), there is no better job.

4.   Get fit.  See #2 (again).

5.    Lose weight.  Ha!  Have you seen #2?

6.   Save money.  I can do that.

7.   Manage debt.  Check!  It’s managed.

8.   Manage stress.  I was fine until I started to think about #2!!  Now I am hoping to live through 2013.

9.   Quit smoking.  Can’t.  Never started.

10.    Take a trip.  If you insist.

 Wow!  My resolutions could all be resolved if I would just eliminate hot dogs!  No hot dog – no need for the Diet Coke and no need to take a trip to the snack bar.  Therefore,  no candy bars.  I have four games this week so I’ll get back to you on that NO hot dog thing!

 


 

 ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

 

1.  If Philadelphia fans need any help in how to wallow in their misery after the 2012 seasons of the 76ers, the Phillies and the Eagles, they need to look no further than the Cleveland fans for help.  The Cavs have been a non-entity since LeBron left.  The Indians finished 20 games out of first place and the Browns were dead last in the AFC North.

2.  Match the bowl game to the sponsor and the winner (I bet you can’t get two  right)

                 1.      Rose                a.  AT&T         A.  Oregon

                 2.      Cotton              b.  Discover      B.  Texas A&M

                 3.      Orange             c.  Allstate        C.  Fla. State

                 4.      Sugar               d.  Tostitos       D.  Stanford

                 5.      Fiesta               e.  Vizio            E.  Louisville

3.  The Kansas City Chiefs can save money on new coaching gear for Andy Reid.  He should be able to wear Romeo Crennell’s stuff.  Just sayin’.

4.  Golfing in Hawaii should be wonderful.  This past weekend, I saw rain and wind like I have never seen in a golf tournament.  On Sunday, it was sunny, but so windy that the balls were blowing off the tees as the players were preparing to drive, and off the greens as the players were getting ready to putt.  It was a strange way to start the season.  So they didn’t.  Postponed everything until Monday.

5.  I saw “Silver Linings Playbook” over the holidays.  Terrific movie, although a few moviegoers laughed at some awkward moments (manic-depression is not funny).  Robert DeNiro is great as an Eagles fan.

 Answers to #2:

                  1 – e – D

                  2 – a – B

                  3 – b – C

                  4 – c – E

                  5 – d – A

 


 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK

(Last week – 2-2)  (85-51 for the season – 63%)

 

  • DENVER
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • ATLANTA
  • NEW ENGLAND