Thursday, July 31, 2008

IMG-CCTV Ink 20-Year Deal

Global sports entertainment giant IMG and state-controlled China Central Television (CCTV) today announced a 20-year partnership that will feed off China's growing appetite for sports and deliver sport programming to the largest single television market in the world, with an estimated reach of 370 million households. IMG's involvement will fast track the commercialization of sport in China, first by cultivating marketable athletes and creating new sport properties, and then by selling advertising and sponsorships that leverage CCTV's colossal market share. The timing of this deal could not have been more propitious, with nearly universal optimism among Chinese people -- 96%, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project -- about the upcoming Olympic Games.

Article-->
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121747364814599837.html?mod=sports

http://pewglobal.org/reports/pdf/261.pdf

Team Effort

On the eve of our departure, the 13 Western New England College students who comprise "Seminar Abroad '08: Beijing Olympics," the first summer sport-travel course of the Center for International Sport Business, have developed a true esprit de corps, and have come together well as a team. From the beginning, going back to our half dozen or so meetings this past spring, students have volunteered to take the lead in various projects. Whitney coordinated the on-campus raffle of Red Sox tickets, while Jess and Jake provided ideas and designs for our t-shirts. Meanwhile, Jake, Bre, and AJ sourced vendors to screen the t-shirts, and AJ located a company in China to produce our very own lapel pins for trading at the Olympics. AJ also designed the graphics for our good-looking identity cards, and Jake researched teddy bear vendors to find the perfect "Golden Bear" mascot for our trip. To help with fundraising, Marti organized a sale of items on eBay, and she also volunteered to coordinate the BOG (Beijing Olympic Games) Blog. Over spring break, Mike went up to Chicago and brought back "Chicago 2016" Olympic pins for everyone, to use as possible trading fodder in Beijing. Lauren and Marti sought donations of sporting goods to auction, and Jess solicited local restaurants about doing a cause-related donation program. AJ spearheaded the letter-solicitation drive directed at business establishments in students' home towns, as well as to friends and family members. Mike wrote and submitted a grant application to the Alumni Association, and Mike and Marti worked on a brochure to market this trip to potential donors. While I am certain that I have overlooked other examples, every student has demonstrated enthusiasm and initiative in contributing to the planning and organization effort, and I am confident that this kind of team spirit will ensure that our trip is an unmitigated success.

July 2008 has been a very bad month for the C-blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fantasy Leagues Now Profiting from the Likenesses of College Athletes

Of course, I couldn't withhold my thoughts on today's press release that CBSSports.com has decided to make millions using the names and performance statistics of college football and basketball players in a fantasy league game without paying for it. There are a couple of points in the press release that I need to address:

1. A fantasy college game has never been widely accepted or attempted before because of a reluctance to utilize anything but broad signifiers in identifying college athletes. CBSSports.com had previously developed a game using generic terms including only a team and a position, like "SYRACUSE RB" and "MICHIGAN WR," instead of players' names. But it never caught on with users, due mainly to the disconnect between the robotic names and the fantasy audience, according to senior vice president and general manager Jason Kint.

Yeah. No kidding! You know why it never caught on with users? Because the game only has value if you use their names!!! But I suppose we can keep pretending that players don't have a right of publicity because "fantasy leagues only use their stats which are in the public domain." What a joke.

2. National Collegiate Athletic Association spokesman Bob Williams says that the NCAA did send a letter to CBS informing them that their bylaws were being violated by using player likenesses in the game. But he adds that because of the added exposure fantasy sports can bring the student-athlete, the NCAA does not intend to stand in the way of the fantasy game for now. "We are concerned with protecting the amateur status of the student athlete," Mr. Williams says, but he also believes that the bylaws, which were enacted "before new media," do not properly address a situation like this. Still, he warns that NCAA lawyers will be watching closely.

Umm,....o.k.,....yeah. Let me try to break this down:

a. The NCAA says its bylaws are being violated because player likenesses are in fact being used.

b. But, the NCAA says it is going to allow the violation to occur, for now, because of the added exposure fantasy leagues bring the student-athlete [which is apparently a good thing].

c. But wait a minute, the NCAA says it is concerned about "protecting" the student-athlete from this added exposure. [If you're totally confused at this point, wait, it gets better.]

d. The NCAA says it can't do anything about fantasy leagues because the bylaws don't address this situation. [Go back and read a. and b. again.]

e. The NCAA says its lawyers will be watching closely. I'm not quite sure what the lawyers will be watching, except maybe the continued exploitation of college athletes.

Tim Donaghy Sentencing

Much has been written about yesterday's sentencing of disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy to 15 months in prison. Here are some stories that may be of interest:

* I wrote a piece on SI.com on the sentencing. My thanks to the folks on Celtics Blog for their nice words about it.

* Jeffrey Standen of The Sports Law Professor weighs in as well.

* And so does Lester Munson of ESPN.com.

* Mark Fass of the New York Law Journal (by way of Law.com) has an intriguing take on the surprising background of the federal charges that were used to prosecute Donaghy.

* An unrelated but really interesting piece by Darren Heitner of Sports Agent Blog on basketball agents using overseas employment opportunities as leverage in negotiations with NBA teams.

* Another unrelated but really interesting piece by Marc Isenberg of Money Players that seeks to debunk educational arguments in favor star basketball players attending college and then going pro. He notes that Latrell Sprewell and Jason Caffey each spent four years in college only to make some bad life decisions.

Euro 2008 Record Profit

The 2008 European Football Championship -- the quadrennial soccer tournament for European countries -- netted a record $394 million despite poor weather at the start of the three-week tournament, and the cancellation of over 1.7 million ticket applications due to a huge problem over ticket re-selling on the black market. Spain emerged as the Euro 2008 champion on June 29, beating Germany 1-0 in the final of the 16-team competition. Meanwhile, the 14-club, North American MLS, founded in 1993, is still hoping to turn its first net profit . . . by 2010. What is it about stateside sports fans when it comes to soccer, anyway?

Article-->
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/feedarticle/7685768

http://www.nypost.com/seven/07182008/sports/soccer/a_new_galaxy_120406.htm

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

IOC lifts Iraq's Olympic Suspension

Last week, Aaron Zelinsky argued that the IOC should reverse its ban on Iraqi players from the Olympics. Today, the IOC did just that (though only two of the seven banned athletes remain eligible to participate in the Olympics, meaning the other five won't benefit from the IOC's reversal).

Olympic Pin Trading

One of the longest-standing traditions at the Olympic Games -- for athletes and nonathletes alike -- is pin trading, whereby people swap their lapel pins (also called badges) with other like-minded attendees, and in the process acquire an interesting collection of pins from around the world. I provided an assortment of pins to each of the 13 Western New England College students who are traveling to the Beijing Olympics through the College's Center for International Sport Business Seminar Abroad program. In addition, in order that each of the students would have a starter set of at least a couple dozen pins as trade fodder to approach and engage other pin-trading citizens of the world, one of my students who has been in Beijing since early June -- AJ Pappas -- was commissioned to source a pin factory there to create our very own Western New England College pin collection. As expected, AJ came through and the students now have these handsome and highly coveted dime-sized WNEC pins to trade . . . perhaps for other, equally coveted, pins!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Duke Lacrosse at SEALS

Tomorrow I will be at SEALS, hosting and moderating a panel titled The Phases and Faces of the Duke Lacrosse Controversy. This will be a moderated conversation about the multiple facets, details, and issues of this still-ongoing legal controversy. Panelists include KC Johnson of Brooklyn College (author of a bestselling book on the case), James Coleman of Duke Law (who chaired a University committee that investigated the case), Michael Gerhardt of UNC Law, Lyrissa Lidsky of Florida Law, and Angela Davis of American/Washington College.

I hope to have an audio file to post here later in the week and the proceedings will be published in the Seton Hall Journal of Sports and Entertainment. I hope to write more about the many and varied issues implicated in this case. And I think it would make an interesting single-topic seminar to explore the multiple angles raised by one controversy, akin to the class on Wal-Mart.

If you are at SEALS, I hope you can check the panel out.

Trailer Loading Part II and Expectant Ladies

Today's blog has a video of Kenzie's second trailer loading lesson and a couple of quick photos of two of our expectant mums, Maude and Sabrina. We only needed to spend 5 minutes with Kenzie again today. She will do absolutely anything for a bit of a scratch and a cuddle and you just have to love working with an attitude like that!

Bree - Baby expected around November 18th

Bree

Maude - Baby expected around September 3rd

Maude

Kenzie - Trailer Loading Pt II


Identity Card

Someone asked about the identity card seen on the photo of Golden Bear in an earlier post, and what that was all about. You see, these identity cards have been in vogue for many years now at the Olympics (as well as at many other large-scale international gatherings) and serve as an accreditation badge for official delegates to the event. Typically, the cards are embedded with a silicon chip or scannable bar code to permit the bearer entry to certain restricted-access venues. Of course, our Seminar Abroad '08 delegation's identity cards are not for any purpose other than to give our students a place to keep their trading pins (although these official-looking cards have been known to unexpectedly open doors from time to time), and to serve as a nice souvenir of their attendance at the Beijing Olympics.

A message to Obama knockers



Age doesn't matter, race doesn't matter, religion doesn't matter, cultural background doesn't matter, gender doesn't matter, sexual preference doesn't matter, your middle name doesn't matter, what your pastor doesn't says doesn't matter, what your former high school teacher says doesn't matter, what fox news says doesn't matter, what your wife/husband doesn't matter, your height doesn't matter, a drink driving conviction from 30 years doesn't matter, taking drugs in the 60's doesn't matter.

IT'S YOUR POLICIES THAT MATTER!!!!!!!!




Sunday, July 27, 2008

MacKenzie and the big blue box

So today Miss MacKenzie was introduced to Mr Reid (the horse trailer). It took about 2 minutes for her to decide that it looked like an interesting place to visit, lol! Tomorrow (weather willing) we will continue her lesson by repeating today's lesson and then closing the centre partition to make a single bay. If that all goes well, we will also shut the back bar but we may just focus on getting her to load and unload quietly with a few pats and rubs on her bottom to get her used to having something behind her. It sounds like her new mum will be collecting her this coming weekend, so we want her as prepared as she can be! Very proud of my baby - Temperament really is everything!

Wow - Photoshop!

I have discovered the amazing photoshop and had a play - results below. I need a lot more practice but really stoked with what I can now do!







DVD-American Psycho



I debated putting up a movie review or a book review. Either way, American Psycho sucks.

I remember reading this book back when it first came out in 1991. It was then I realized that Bret Easton Ellis was an overrated hack. The book sucked fiercely with its graphic senseless violence and endless reviews of toiletry products and pop music. Every bit of the book was senseless. The movie is no different.

Christian Bale is a fine actor, but this is not his finest work. Patrick Bateman is not a great character. Bateman is a yuppie snob from the 1980's who is narcissistic and homicidal. Or, it appears that way. I won't give away the ending, but it is weak as fuck. It is like a porno without the money shot.

This movie is all surface and no depth. It is a waste of time to watch. Your life will not be better at the end. You will wish you could have those moments back.

Russian Sport on the Rise

Not since the glory days of the old Soviet Union have sport fans in the Russian Federation had much to celebrate. But now, thanks to economic reforms and significant investment by both the government and private sector, Russian athletes and teams are regaining some of the luster that they enjoyed during the period of the Cold War. Perhaps irrationally optimistic, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee yesterday predicted that Russia would finish atop the medal board . . . and one gold medal ahead of China. Top Russian soccer clubs' budgets now top $100 million, and while still anemic by Western European standards, continued success will fuel even more aggressive spending on sporting talent and infrastructure. What do you think of Russia's medal chances at the Beijing Olympics (you can vote in the column at left).

Articles-->
http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/jun2008/gb20080620_384956.htm?chan=search

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-07/26/content_8773136.htm

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/15/europe/EU-Russia-Olympic-Bonuses.php

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/sports/olympics/29russia.html?hp

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Last Call on Olympic Tix

Yesterday's chaotic sell off in Beijing of the remaining 820,000 tickets to events at next month's Olympic Games demonstrated the frenzied interest of Chinese people to witness history-in-the-making over China's first hosting of this international multi-sport extravaganza. An estimated 500,000 Chinese, joined by another half million foreigners, are expected to fill the Olympic competition venues like never before. This, in contrast to the early years of the Olympics, which were not a major attraction and hence, were only sparsely attended. For the Beijing Olympics, some 7 million tickets have now been sold, with approximately 70% going to the domestic public, and generating $140 million in revenue. Olympic ticket demand and sales have never been so high, and might not attain this level again for some time to come (thankfully, the Western New England College delegation has secured its ticket allotment in advance of departure!).


Minor League Pitcher Charged With Felonious Assault in Brawl


The AP reports that Peoria Chiefs pitcher Julio Castillo will be charged with felonious assault in the aftermath of a brawl between the Chiefs and the Dayton Dragons. Castillo has been arraigned and ordered to give up his passport.

During a bench-clearing brawl (which you can view in its lengthy entirety here or here, Castillo seems to have thrown a baseball towards a member of the opposing team, or perhaps (as some reports suggested, but as the video seems to contradict) towards the opposing team's dugout. The baseball went into the stands, however, and struck 44-year-old fan Chris McCarthy.

In Ohio, the crime of "felonious assault" requires that a person knowingly cause "serious physical harm to another" or knowingly "cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another . . . by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance." The fan here was released from the hospital that night, so it would not seem that we have a case of "serious" physical harm. Instead, what the prosecutor must be thinking is that a baseball, at least in the hands of a single-A pitcher, constitutes a deadly weapon.

"This charge is a result of outlandish and inexcusable conduct by a professional baseball player," Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck Jr. said in a statement.
Perhaps true. But there are numerous examples of inexcusable conduct during bench-clearing brawls that don't lead to criminal charges. What is obviously different here is that a fan got bloodied.

For a discussion of criminal liability for on-field behavior, see Greg's posts here and here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Strawberry comes to stay

Our latest guest pony is Strawberry. A very cute little Section B Welsh mare from the Llandovery line. Her owner is currently living in the UK and we are caring for two of her big horses and now a little one too. She's pretty darned cute! Spent the first 5 minutes running around chasing Portia (what IS that?!) the donkey with Maxi in hot pursuit but soon the attraction of the grass we have got the better of her and it was head down bum up and grazing. Snapped some pix, so, here they are!

Strawberry says 'Hi!'
Strawberry & friends
Portia the wicked chocolate donkey
Portia makes a new friend
Maxi coming over for a cuddle (what a teddy bear!)

Pre-Departure Recap

In two weeks, 13 Western New England College students, fellow sport management professor Dan Covell, and I will depart for Beijing and the Olympic Games, which will mark the inaugural program of the "Seminar Abroad" series of the Center for International Sport Business (next up: World Cup 2010).

Since we will be traveling on August 8, we will miss the Opening Ceremonies (spectacular as it promises to be, the high-priced tickets to attend in person would have been a budget buster!). We will, however, see and experience two or three weeks' worth of exciting events jam packed into just eight days! But I'm getting ahead of myself . . . .

This whole adventure came about as an idea to introduce students to the Olympic Games, which made all the more sense since I spent 16 years with the US Olympic Committee, the last six as its director of international relations. Still, not knowing what level of interest there might be, I emailed a flyer in late fall 2007 to all students on campus, informing them of this "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity . . . and to my delight the response was swift and overwhelming!

While this trip would not have been possible without the help of so many people, I am especially grateful to my colleague and Management Department chair, Dr. Jeanie Forray -- who is a staunch proponent and veteran of many foreign-travel study courses -- for her insight and guidance from the conceptual beginning through the planning stages and beyond. I thank my friend and colleague, Dr. Bruce Clemens -- who has taken scores of students to Guatemala over many summers -- for his inspiration through his can-do attitude and infectious enthusiasm, and also Sport Management Department chair, Dr. Sharianne Walker, for her tireless devotion to our students, her unwavering personal support, and for always reminding me of the importance of having fun along the way!

Originally, I had intended to take a small group of only eight students, which subsequently grew to ten, then 12, before I finally settled on a baker's dozen . . . all of whom are visa-approved and passport ready! This past spring, we met about a half dozen times for students to get acquainted with one another, to meet the representatives from International Study Programs (the outfit that set up the cultural aspects of our trip), to discuss fund-raising ideas, and generally to get hyped up about going to the Olympics . . . in China!

Among the reasons cited by students for wanting to go on this trip were:

“Being exposed to one of the greatest events in history”
“Experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”
“Gaining a knowledge of different cultures”
“Building my resume while growing as a person"
“Learning about the Chinese culture and seeing the Olympics live”
“To learn, meet new people, and have fun”

Speaking of seeing the Olympics live, one early challenge was getting tickets to events, since the entire inventory available for the US market was sold out more than a year in advance of the games. Not to be deterred, however (and resorting to methods that shall not be disclosed), we managed to obtain tickets to basketball, track & field, soccer, boxing, beach volleyball, tennis, softball, baseball, badminton, and water polo.

Of course, we will take in the must-see cultural icons of the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, and Summer Palace. Students also will have time to shop, walk through some of the city's fast-disappearing hutongs, pay a visit to the US Embassy, sample exotic delicacies rarely found in the West, and meet with fellow college students at Beijing Sports University. The real value-added proposition of this program, however, is that the students will have the opportunity to experience several out-of-the-ordinary events; for example, having a private audience with the presidents of the international sport federations for baseball and softball, being co-opted to "work" a private reception and awards presentation ceremony of the Truce Foundation at USA House, visiting the US Olympic Committee's high-performance training facility at Beijing Normal University, attending an invitation-only function at Japan House, visiting the by-invitation-only Visa Olympic Reunion Center, getting a cook's tour of the Olympics' Main Press Center, meeting the head of the sports department of the Xinhua News Agency, and being briefed by officials of Olympic sponsors Samsung and Adidas, among other possibilities.

Probably most fascinating for the students will be the chance to spend eight days in this most ancient of Asian countries, with a very different political -- yet quite familiar capitalist -- system, in a city of some 16 million people being descended upon by hundreds of thousands of visitors from every nation on the planet. It also will be interesting to see how successful the organizers' best-laid plans are in terms of games management, operations, and logistics, dealing with protest demonstrations, and the impact of the air quality on athletes' performance. No doubt, social commentators and historians will let us know whether -- and if so to what extent -- the Olympics changed China.

Speaking for myself, it will be an extraordinary treat to witness what certainly will be a watershed moment in China's history. Stay tuned . . . .

Testimony of Expert Witness for Hamburg Almost Leads to a Mistrial

SportsBusiness Journal's Daniel Kaplan reports that during the ATP-Hamburg trial yesterday, one of Hamburg's expert witnesses, sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, took with him to the witness stand a 17-page document on which he apparently based his testimony, even though witnesses are not allowed to bring notes up to the stand (Zimbalist Testimony Almost Results in Mistrial in ATP-Hamburg Trial, 7/24/08, subscription only). His appearance was halted once it was noticed, after 90 minutes of testimony. According to Kaplan, a transcript indicates that Hamburg lawyer Rob MacGill informed the judge that he had told Zimbalist yesterday morning not to bring the outline and that the outline was prepared in conjunction with MacGill.

There are two problems here. First, apparently the outline was not disclosed to ATP's counsel. Second, an expert witness' opinion must be his own opinion -- if he is testifying on the stand from the lawyer's outline, then he is merely parroting the lawyer's opinion. Kaplan notes that at one point during his testimony, Zimbalist corrected MacGill and asked him if he asked the right question. The ATP called for a mistrial and the judge dismissed the jury at noon, at least five hours early. The judge said he would consider striking the testimony from the record and told the lawyers after discussing the issue, “Well, I have seen it all.”

Who would have thought that an antitrust case could bring such Matlock-type excitement....

YES!!!!! I Got Billy Joel Tickets!!!!!



YES, I Got Billy Joel Tickets!!!!!!!!! December 14th, here in New Zealand!!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Aaron Zelinsky's "Let Iraq Play"

We received an excellent submission from Aaron Zelinsky, a rising 2L at Yale Law School, concerning today's IOC decision to ban Iraq from Olympic participation.

* * *

Let Iraq Play

After months of public outcry, with the Olympics mere weeks away, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took dramatic action. Its principled stand: banning seven Iraqi athletes from the 2008 Summer Games.

The IOC ban was unnecessary, counterproductive, and hypocritical. The IOC should reverse its decision and allow Iraq's seven Olympic athletes to compete.

The IOC banned the Iraqi delegation under section 28(9) of the Olympic Charter, which authorizes sanction when “any governmental or other body causes the activity of the [National Olympic Committee] or the making or expression of its will to be hampered.” Iraq's Olympic Crime: Prime Minister Maliki disbanded the Iraq National Olympic Committee in May and appointed an interim committee, alleging corruption and vote stealing.

The IOC ban is unnecessary. The Olympic Charter does not proscribe automatic suspension for governmental interference with a National Olympic Committee (NOC). Rather, section 28(9) declares that the IOC executive board “may take any appropriate decisions for the protection of the Olympic Movement in the country of an NOC.” The draconian club of disqualification is one the IOC wields voluntarily.

The IOC ban is counterproductive. Banning Iraq will hardly lead to the “protection of the Olympic Movement” in Iraq, as called for by the Olympic Charter. Rather, it will likely further discourage athletes and fans. The ban is particularly sad in light of the Cinderella-story of the 2004 Iraqi Olympic Soccer Team, which provided one of the few moments of national unity and hope during troubled times.

The IOC ban is hypocritical. The same body that proclaims the need to uphold the “principle of not wanting sports and politics to mix” allowed Uday Hussein to serve as the head of the Iraq National Olympic Committee during his father's dictatorial reign. On Uday's teams, athletic failure -- or early retirement -- was punished with whippings and torture, despite the IOC's commitment to “safeguarding the dignity of the individual.”

If the IOC were truly committed to individual dignity, it would allow the Iraqi athletes to compete, regardless of national bureaucratic squabbling. The IOC should reverse its unnecessary ban and let Iraq play.

Aaron Zelinsky is a member of the Yale Law School Class of 2010

IASL Congress on Sports Law

On November 28th and 29th, the International Association of Sports Law (IASL) will be hosting its 14th International Congress on Sports Law in Athens, Greece. Papers on various international sports law topics may be submitted, and selected papers will be announced at the Congress. Some selected papers will be published in the International Sports Law Review. The main theme of this year's Congress is "Sports Law: An Emerging Legal Order; Human Rights of Athletes".

Olympic Mascots' Fate

It is an interesting phenomenon, but Olympic mascots rarely, if ever, receive the popular embrace that their sports-team cousins seem to enjoy. More often, Olympic mascots are forgotten and nevermore invoked once the flame of an Olympic Games is extinguished. So here's the question: Does it have more to do with the power of institutional affinity, where mascots have come to symbolize a team or school (versus an event, such as the Olympics), or is it simply a case of marketing, and the lack of mascot designs that resonate with consumers?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Two Good Links

Eric McErlain of The Sporting News has an extensive article on Russia's nascent Kontinental Hockey League, which may soon rival the NHL in attracting top players, including those from Canada and the United States. Eric considers, among other points, the legal and economic significance of the lack of player transfer agreement between the NHL and the KHL.

JB of Celtics Blog and Celtics Stuff Live has a thoughtful article entitled "Zebraphobia Pt. II" on the NBA referee scandal. JB includes new empirical research on Scott Foster, the NBA referee who spoke often with Tim Donaghy, which suggests that Foster's officiated games had unusual scoring patterns.

Athletes as Citizen Free Agents

While an athlete's change in nationality has long permitted a citizen of one country to subsequently represent another in international competition, two recent cases have heightened the dialogue about citizen-based eligibility. Earlier this year, American-born soccer player Edgar Castillo decided to play for the Mexican national team, and this past spring San Antonio Silver Stars standout and WNBA most-valuable player runner up, Becky Hammon -- who holds a Russian passport and plays for CSKA Moscow in the off season -- announced that she will play for Russia at the Beijing Olympics. Apparently, neither athlete drew much interest or attention from the US teams, and thus -- as dual citizens -- opted to play for their adoptive countries. Taken to its extreme, countries bent on a poaching strategy to build formidible sport teams can offer susceptible athletes all manner of inducements, coupled with instant citizenship, and voilà . . . a contender is born!

Articles-->
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/23/sports/soccer/23soccer.html?ref=sports

http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/olybb/news/story?id=3336490

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/sports/soccer/27soccer.html?_r=1&ref=sports&oref=slogin

http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/news?slug=ap-whereareyoufrom&prov=ap&type=lgns

Where's the Harm to the Consumer?

This week the ATP Tour is in court defending its recently-adopted scheduling format against Hamburg. A jury, who reportedly appears to possess very little knowledge of professional tennis, will soon determine whether the anticompetitive effects of the ATP's scheduling changes for 2009 outweigh its procompetitive effects. I have maintained the position that it is pretty much a given that the decisions of sport governing bodies, such as the ATP, PGA and LPGA, regarding scheduling of events, format of play and player ranking systems are necessarily going to impact third parties (e.g. tournaments like Hamburg that are not selected as one of the "elite tournaments"). Should these governing bodies be required to defend the reasonableness of their decisions in court each time some third party claims to be disadvantaged by one of their decisions? Even if the ATP wins this case, they had to spend gobs of time and resources proving that the scheduling change was reasonable and they will be subject to suit by the next disgruntled third party challenging a different rule or decision.

On the surface, the ATP-Hamburg case looks like a classic antitrust problem breaking every rule in the antitrust book -- Simply stated, you have producers of a product (tennis players) agreeing with certain distributors of the product (the tournament organizers) to place various geographic and supply restrictions on the production and distribution of that product. But when you go beyond the surface, the pertinent question for the jury in this case, as in any antitrust lawsuit, is not whether Hamburg has been harmed but whether the consumer has been harmed. Typically in other industries, these types of arrangements drive the price up and the quality down resulting in obvious harm to the consumer. But the ATP is not selling widgets. While I have no idea how the ATP's scheduling changes affect the price of tennis for the consumer, I can say fairly confidently that the quality of the tennis product is much better if the top players are playing against each other in a consolidated number of tournaments each year.

Bloomberg News editor John Helyar, the renowned author of The Lords of the Realm: The Real History of Baseball and co-author of Barbarians at the Gate, wrote an excellent column today discussing many of the problems currently confronting the sport of tennis (Tiger Woods's Knee Ends ATP's Federer-Nadal Dream). Helyar mentions the Hamburg suit and pinpoints what I believe to be a major hurdle for Hamburg, and that is demonstrating how the ATP's scheduling changes actually harm the consumer. Indeed, if anything they benefit the consumer:
The past two weeks make a good case study in the ATP's chronic problem: too many tournaments -- eight of them in seven countries in two weeks -- with too few stars. Casual fans can't make sense of it and can't sustain interest in it. Too much of a geographical challenge; too much of a "Where's Waldo'' aspect to it.
....
Moreover, all these scattered, simultaneous tournaments dilute the game's thin supply of stars and diffuse the sport's focus. Tennis needs more of its stars in the same tournaments -- hell, on the same continent would help.
....
The Rogers Cup gets the top players because it's one of nine ATP "Masters Series'' tournaments. These carry added weight in the ATP points system, which is used to determine which eight players make the rich ($4.45 million) season-ending Tennis Masters Cup. The ATP changes would build on that concept. The tour would mandate that top players compete in all the top-tier events, to be called the Masters 1000s. It would also create a more compelling second tier of tournaments, called Masters 500s and require that players compete in four of the 11 of them. So instead of players scattering to tournaments all over Europe following Wimbledon, more of them would be aggregated in one Masters 500 tournament in Hamburg. Suffice it to say, however, Hamburg is not honored.
If Hamburg is right in this case, it threatens the ATP's existence and could in fact ultimately destroy it. Is that good for tennis? And is that good for the consumer?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top Twenty

Paul Caron of TaxProf released his ranking of the Top 35 law-prof-edited blogs, by visitors and page views. Sports Law Blog was number 20, with more than 304,000 visitors and more than 512,000 page views from June 2007 until June 2008.

Thanks to all of you for helping to make this site successful and fun.

NY Times Story on ATP Antitrust Lawsuit

Michael Brick of the New York Times interviews Geoff for a story today on the ATP lawsuit. The story is excerpted below.

* * *

The antitrust lawsuit in United States District Court promises to reveal financial arrangements of a plan known as Brave New World, an effort by the ATP Tour to reinvigorate the sport.

The jurors, selected from a group of three dozen candidates who displayed little awareness of professional tennis, listened attentively as lawyers for a German tournament promoter argued the legal backwaters of civil antitrust law.

“The ATP knew that if it controlled the player-services market, it controlled everything in tennis,” Robert D. MacGill [of Barnes & Thornburg], a lawyer for the Germans, said in his opening statement. “It’s as simple as if you don’t have players, you don’t have a tournament.”

A lawyer for the ATP Tour, Brad Ruskin [of Proskauer Rose], disputed those accusations. “What they’re asking for is special protections, and what they’re hypocritically complaining about in this case is the very types of rules, the very types of structures they have advocated,” he said.

In court documents, the German Tennis Federation has accused the ATP Tour of unfairly manipulating the control of star players to steer money to favored tournaments at the expense of promoters in Hamburg.

The Germans are seeking $77 million in damages. Financial damages in antitrust cases are often tripled.

The outcome of the trial, expected to last two weeks, will probably affect individual sports like golf and skiing that do not feature organized teams and collective bargaining agreements, experts said. The ATP comprises tournament promoters and players.

“This case is going to tell us a lot about how powerful these individual tour sponsors are going to be in the future,” Geoffrey Rapp, an associate professor of sports law and antitrust at the University of Toledo, said in a telephone interview.

* * *
For the rest of the story, click here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Catching Up with Some Links

I've been meaning to post on these stories, hope you have a chance to check them out:

~ USA Today's Douglas Robson interviews Rick and me for his story on the ATP antitrust lawsuit, the trial for which began today in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

~ The Tennessean's John Glennon examines the legal issues surrounding Nashville Predators' forward Alexander Radulov, who is signed to play for the Predators next season, but recently signed a three-year deal with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of Russia’s Continental Hockey League. The Predators' are weighing their legal options.

~ Jason Chung has a thought-provoking post on The Situationist on whether the Beijing Summer Olympics will bridge political differences between countries in conflict with one another.

~ I have a new SI.com column on Congress becoming more interested in the Tim Donaghy/NBA referee betting scandal in the wake of learning that Donaghy repeatedly called another referee, Scott Foster, before and after games which Donaghy bet on.

~ Darren Heitner of Sports Agent Blog has a really good piece on Brandon Jennings (photo above), the high school senior who's decided to skip college and go play in Italy, signing a multi-million, multi-year deal to play for Pallacanestro Virtus Roma. Marc Isenberg of Money Players also has a thoughtful piece on Jennings deciding to earn income for the required one-year following high school in order to be eligible for the NBA draft (Jennings will apparently stay in Italy for more than one year, which may in part explain why the Italian team was willing to pay him so much).

I've argued against the NBA's age limit many times--since 2005, eligibility for the NBA draft requires that an amateur player of American origin be at least 19 years old on December 31 of the year of the NBA draft and that at least one NBA season must have passed from when he graduated from high school, or when he would have graduated from high school, and the NBA draft. Jennings, however, could be the start of a new trend where star players right out of high school go to Europe and make a lot of money and then later come back to the U.S. and be eligible for the NBA draft -- presumably with a lot of money already in the bank, much like many of the international players who now join the NBA (to illustrate: Knicks' 2008 first round pick Danilo Gallinari, who is 19-years old and has played pro basketball in Italy since he was 15, has already earned millions in both basketball income and endorsement income).

So imagine you are 18-years old and are an NBA prospect. What would sound better for one year (after which you would be eligible for the NBA draft):

1) earning a ton of money to play basketball in Rome or another European city; or

2) earning no money, but getting to live in the U.S. and enjoy the college experience while playing for Georgetown or Duke or the like?

I could see why some players would elect to stay in the U.S. Being the "big man on campus" plus being closer to home and closer to the U.S. media would have their advantages. But it must be tough to pass up all that money in Europe, especially given the ever-present risk of getting injured and no longer attracting the notice of NBA scouts. Plus living in Rome (or Barcelona or Athens etc.) would probably be a lot of fun and a good cultural experience.

Megan and MacKenzie - Branding Day

Today was branding day in preparation for finally getting around to registering our two Clydesdale fillies with the Clydesdale Society. Nick had very cleverly made the brand some time ago but this is the first time we have actually got around to using it. Very pleased with the results but especially pleased with how well the two girls stood for the whole procedure. No harm done and they still love us, even after we had them scarred for life! Most impressed with freeze branding and definitely think it is the way to go!

Good girl Kenzie, standing quietly

TF

# 7

The finished brand


Our Stud Brand

It is very hard to blog daily when you are tired as teetotal fuck.

Third Circuit Vacates 'Wardrobe Malfunction' Fine

In a long-awaited and hardly surprising ruling, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit threw out the Federal Communication Commission's $550,000 fine against CBS for the now-infamous Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake breast-bearing (all 9/16 of a second) 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. In language echoing a Second Circuit ruling in FCC v. Fox over one year ago, this panel, concluded that the FCC's actions in imposing a fine for a fleeting incident was arbitrary and capricious. For the text of the ruling click here. [Before I go on, I want to give full disclosure: my wife works in the legal department of CBS, but was not involved in this litigation.]

It never ceases to amaze me how the Commission could make the arguments it made with a straight face. After 30 years of interpreting "indecency" as encompassing consistent patterns of conduct or language, the FCC argued that by February 1, 2004 (the date of the Halftime Show), a broadcaster in CBS’s position should have known that even isolated or fleeting indecent material in programming could be actionable." How could it? The official change in FCC's policy came a few weeks later on March 3rd.


Chief Judge Scirica, writing for the panel, slapped the FCC down for relying on a single sentence in a 2001 policy statement to justify the single, isolated event as indecent "standard", which noted that "[E]ven relatively fleeting references may be found indecent where other factors contribute to a finding of patent offensiveness.” Noting that it took the sentence out of context, Judge Scirica found that the term "relatively fleeting" is not the same as one isolated incident to trigger indecency fines. Then, as if the court was lecturing a wayward student, it stated: "While an agency’s interpretation of its own precedent is entitled to deference,” . . . deference is inappropriate where the agency’s proffered interpretation is capricious. Until its Golden Globes decision in March of 2004, the FCC’s policy was to exempt fleeting or isolated material from the scope of actionable indecency. Because CBS broadcasted the Halftime Show prior to [the introduction of the fleeting expletive standard] this was the policy in effect when the incident with Jackson and Timberlake occurred."

The court also addressed a secondary argument, that the indecency policies may differ between words and actions -- something never claimed by the commission. "In the nearly three decades between the Supreme Court’s ruling in [FCC v] Pacifica and CBS’s broadcast of the Halftime Show the FCC had never varied its approach to indecency regulation based on the format of broadcasted content. Instead, the FCC consistently applied identical standards and engaged in
identical analyses when reviewing complaints of potential indecency whether the complaints were based on words or images," Judge Scirica stated. The court also pointed out to the enabling statute, 18 U.S.C. 1464, does not make any differentiation between words and actions.

To add more to the mix, the court stated that the arbitrariness of the standard were not enough to reject the fine, it noted that CBS should not be responsible for performers operating at a live event beyond its control. The FCC claimed vicarious liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior, but the court, properly questioned how could an employment law concept be applied to independent contractors under no control or supervision of CBS. After an exhaustive review of the question of whether federal law applies to this question, the court concluded that "CBS’s actual control over the Halftime Show performances did not extend to all aspects of the performers’ work. The performers, not CBS, provided their own choreography and retained substantial latitude to develop the visual performances that would accompany their songs. . . . [and] but the performers retained discretion to make those choices in the first instance. . . " Therefore, the performers were considered independent contractors.

With the FCC v. Fox case scheduled for argument in the Supreme Court, I wonder if the FCC will seek a petition for certiorari in this case. If its does, there is a possibility for the court may consolidate both this case and the Fox case for determination next year.

One hopes that this indecency crusade may be rendered moot either by a Supreme Court ruling or a new FCC in the next administration.

Jail Time for Scalpers?

While ticket scalping -- the practice of re-selling tickets to in-demand events at a premium -- is not uncommon, laws regulating this practice seldom amount to much beyond a cease-and-desist order, seizure, and perhaps a fine. Today, Chinese authorities have issued a warning that scalpers who re-sell tickets to the Beijing Olympics for profit would be subject to jail terms of 10-15 days. Not to be deterred, however, online re-sellers apparently are hawking hard-to-get tickets to the Opening Ceremonies for as much as $30,000!

Article-->
http://www.politicalgateway.com/news/read/160624

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Debi and Robbie - Midwinter pork chops!

I went over the road with my grooming gear and camera thinking I would give the two heffalumps a good groom and take some pix but when I got there the task was too daunting so, I just took the photos! Deb is due to foal in early/mid October. Not sure when Robbie's foal is due, haha! What a tum he has! Still, he will need the extra kgs once breeding season starts so, I will forgive him his belly, for now.

'Helping' dad shift the tape
Trot across the paddock

Posing

Dusty Deb


Love my boy

Debi pose


Me and my boy



Saturday, July 19, 2008

Garth and Billy at Shea

Surly this would of had to be the concert of the year, Not only did Billy Joel do his farewell concert at Shea (Billy is due to play NZ in December) but Billy was also joined by Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, Roger Daltrey, Steven Tyler and the great Garth Brooks!!!

I wish I was there!!!




Trading in Brazilian Soccer

A Brazilian investment company that trades in that country's soccer-rich talent -- appropriately called Traffic -- signs players to its stable and then loans them out to Brazilian clubs that pay their salaries and exhibit their skills. The payoff comes when the players are recruited by European clubs, which could pay millions -- and even tens of millions -- of dollars in transfer fees. The problem with this model is roster instability because the Brazilian clubs cannot control the players' longevity with their teams, and also creates the potential for collusion, because the investment firm could strengthen or weaken clubs simply by reassigning players. Still unanswered is whether these investment firms run afoul of soccer rules prohibiting third-party ownership. But for the moment, this model is working for Brazilian soccer, because most clubs cannot afford to carry the full burden of acquisition costs, salaries, and bonuses that they would otherwise incur.

Article-->

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/19/business/19soccer.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&adxnnl=1&ref=sports&adxnnlx=1216469120-au29S3JWfgvade8RyWftIA

Friday, July 18, 2008

Olympic Baseball

Two quintessential American sports -- baseball and softball -- will be dropped from the Olympic Games after 2008 for different and various reasons, and will not be contested at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It is possible, however, that one or both sports could win reinstatement in a vote of IOC members in 2009, and be played at the 2016 Olympic Games. In the case of baseball, the strikes against continued inclusion were over its chronic doping problem and the lack of participation by the sport's top players, owing to the refusal of MLB to suspend its season and club owners to release its players for the Olympic tournament. This week, a glimmer of hope was raised when MLB vice president and USA Baseball general manager Bob Watson suggested that the league might suspend its season if either Chicago or Tokyo -- two professional baseball cities in baseball-crazed countries -- won the right to host the 2016 Olympic Games. On this basis alone, however, the glimmer might as well be extinguished, because the IOC is unlikely to condition the inclusion of sports on a particular city's hosting of the Olympic Games. Your thoughts?

Articles-->
http://mlb.mlb.com/content/printer_friendly/mlb/y2008/m07/d16/c3142921.jsp

http://www.sportbusiness.com/news/167503/mlb-to-allow-top-players-to-participate-in-olympics

http://www.china.org.cn/sports/news/2008-07/18/content_16030965.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/17/sports/olympics/17baseball.html?ref=sports

New Sports Law Scholarship

Recently published scholarship:
Robert Ambrose, Note, The NFL makes it rain: through strict enforcement of its conduct policy, the NFL protects its integrity, wealth, and popularity, 34 WILLIAM MITCHELL LAW REVIEW 1069 (2008)

Robert M. Bernhard, Comment, MLS’ designated player rule: has David Beckham single-handedly destroyed Major League Soccer’s single-entity antitrust defense?, 18 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 413 (2008)

Michael E. Buchwald, Comment, Sexual harassment in education and student athletics: a case for why Title IX sexual harassment jurisprudence should develop independently of Title VII, 67 MARYLAND LAW REVIEW 672 (2008)

Paul Caprara, Comment, Surf’s up: the implications of tort liability in the unregulated sport of surfing, 44 CALIFORNIA WESTERN LAW REVIEW 557 (2008)

Phyllis Coleman, Scuba diving buddies: rights, obligations, and liabilities, 20 U.S.F. MARITIME LAW JOURNAL 75 (2007-08)

Brian Craddock., Casenote, Signed, your coach: restricting speech in athletic recruiting in TSSAA v. Brentwood Academy, 59 Mercer L. Rev. 1027 (2008)

andré douglas pond cummings, Progress realized?: the continuing American Indian mascot quandary, 18 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 309 (2008)

David J. Espin, Book review of Chris Lincoln, Playing the Game: Inside Athletic Recruiting in the Ivy League, 18 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 445 (2008).

Stacey B. Evans, Note, Whose stats are they anyway? Analyzing the battle between Major League Baseball and fantasy game sites, 9 TEXAS REVIEW OF ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS LAW 335 (2008)

Jeremy J. Geisel, Book review of Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, Game of Shadows, 18 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 437 (2008)

Aaron S. Glass, 2007 Annual Survey: Recent Developments in Sports Law, 18 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 341 (2008)

Jeffrey P. Gleason, Comment, From Russia with love: the legal repercussions of the recruitment and contracting of foreign players in the National Hockey League, 56 BUFFALO LAW REVIEW 599 (2008)

Nathaniel Grow, A proper analysis of the National Football League under section one of the Sherman Act, 9 TEXAS REVIEW OF ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORTS LAW 281 (2008)

Spencer H. Larche, Comment, Pink-shirting: should the NCAA consider a maternity and paternity waiver?, 18 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 393-411 (2008).

Daniel J. Louis, Note, Nationally televised segregation: the NCAA’s inability to desegregate college football’s head coaching position, 9 RUTGERS RACE & THE LAW REVIEW 167 (2007)

Alfred Dennis Mathewson, A sports seminar with a free agent market exercise, 18 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 337 (2008)

Michael J. Mellis, Internet piracy of live sports telecasts, 18 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 259 (2008)

Jack N. E. Pitts, Jr., Comment, Why wait?: an antitrust analysis of the National Football League and National Basketball Association’s draft eligibility rules, 51 HOWARD LAW JOURNAL 433 (2008)

Ryan M. Rodenberg, Book review of Ward Farnsworth, The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking About the Law, 18 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 433 (2008)

C. Paul Rogers, The quest for number one in college football: the revised Bowl Championship Series, antitrust, and the winner take all syndrome, 18 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 285 (2008)

Martin M. Tomlinson, The commissioner’s new clothes: the myth of Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption, 20 ST. THOMAS LAW REVIEW 255 (2008)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Max Mosley's S&M Escape Leads to Privacy Lawsuit


You have to give Max Mosley, the President of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), credit for fighting back. After secretly-recorded videos revealed him in a sado-masochistic role-play with five women (paid about $5,000 in cash for a five-hour session), he has decided to sue and hold on to his position at the helm of the organization.

The tape was given to "News of the World" an English tabloid newspaper which makes its business publishing gossip and celebrity stories. According to the Sydney (Australia) Daily Herald, the week before its Mosley story, the News Of The World published photographs of a Premier League football club manager indulging in consensual sex with an adult woman six years earlier. The Mosley video showed him counting in German — “Eins! Zwei! Drei! Vier! Funf!” — as he used a leather strap to lash one of the women. “She needs more of ze punishment!” he cried in German-accented English. One woman appeared to search his hair for lice while another called off items on an inspection list. Mr. Mosley, naked, was bound face-down and lashed more than 20 times. More background is found in the New York Times article here. One of the women had a hidden camera and did the taping. The News of the World article is found here and is worth a read to put the case into context. The video is found here.

The FIA is the international governing body for international motorsports, including Formula-1 racing. Like many leads of international sports organizations, Mosley wields considerable power. Since there are no team owners or players representatives to create and checks and balances system, Mosley and others in his position often have control over sponsorships, schedules and sanctions (although there is an appeals process in the FIA rules). Also, like many of his brethren in other such organizations, he is not universally loved and lives baronially. Commuting in the FIA's £15million executive jet between his homes in London and Monaco, is not going to make him a man of the common folk.

That could be one reason that the video resonated strong reactions by the larger participants. Shortly after it was broadcast (portions available on the Internet), four of FIA's leading participants --Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Toyota and Honda - demanded his removal. Also F.I.A.-national governing such as the American Automobile Association and its German counterpart, sought his exit. It is natural that German auto makers and organizations would want him out, given their historical issues. However, another reason - family background - looms large over this issue. Mosley is the son of Sir Oswald Mosley and Diana Mitford, two card-carrying fascists (he headed the British Union of Fascists) and Hitler admirers who were marred in the dictator's presence. Although it may be unfair to have to carry this baggage, it is part of his identity. Even though he may not carry the views of his parents, an S&M video of allegedly "Nazi-type" activities casts a wide shadow over him.

Mosley fought back by retaining his position and control (his term ends next year) with the help of smaller national bodies. Then he filed a lawsuit against the newspaper based on violation of his privacy rights. The case is currently being heard in London. An earlier attempt at a prior restraint against the newspaper to prevent distribution of the video was defeated, since it was already widely available. However, things seems to be going Mosley's way during the trial. The woman (identified as "Woman E") failed to testify because of her "emotional and mental state." The other women denied that the ritual was "Nazi" refuting the lurid tabloid headline by the News of the World (and other tabloids, to be sure). I will leave it to readers to decide the level of Nazism found in the activity.

English law is more sympathetic to privacy claims by public figures than in the United States, which gives more protection to the press under the First Amendment. Yet, he could win here as well, although the First Amendment creates a more difficult barrier. In the United States, a case could be brought on one of two privacy claims, intrusion or embarrassing private facts. Intrusion requires that the plaintiff have a reasonable expectation of seclusion and that this seclusion is intentionally invaded in a manner highly offensive to a reasonable person. In the U.S., this is a normally a jury question, but many cases involve non-public figures. Technically, a public figure (such as Mosley) is treated the same as a non-public figure, but given his status and family background, a jury may not be as sympathetic.

Embarrassing private facts concerns the publication of truthful information concerning the private life of a person that would be both highly offensive to a reasonable person and not of legitimate public concern is an invasion of privacy in a number of states. Liability often is determined by how the information was obtained and its newsworthiness. Here, too, a jury would decide whether Mosley's notoriety outweighs the private activity. But the issue of newsworthiness comes to play. Is this so newsworthy as to trump those rights? It would be an crucial question.

The ruling should come down quite soon in the Mosley case and a number of articles I read cite legal experts who think it could set an important precedent. However, in addition to the fascinating law questions (I can't hardly wait to make this a moot court case for my class), there are ethical and business issues as well. Is all this relevant to Mosley's role at FIA? Or, given its high-profile, should Mosley be dismissed for such conduct, if it would hurt the business of auto racing and harm his relationship with sponsors and affiliates? And if so, what damages should News of the World pay?

I hate cheez-its. People should stop offering them to me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MESSAGE OF THE DAY-- Dont lose the clench!

Sporting Davos

Years from now, when the Games of the XXIX Olympiad are long in the books, and whatever may have been written about the watershed moment in China's history, the visitors from every corner of the world and locals alike who attended the Olympic Games in Beijing can say that they were there, alongside the rich, powerful, and famous. Thirteen students from Western New England College can lay claim to the fact that they, too, were at the "Sporting Davos."

Article-->
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121615369621055709.html?mod=sports

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

MacKenzie has a run around for the camera - Now she is sold!

Got Kenzles in for a trim today and popped her in the 'arena' paddock with a couple of 'helpers' for a bit of a run around. She thought it was fun, even if the Wascally Welshie and Dinky Donk insisted on 'assisting'!

The video was made for a long time friend of mine, dressage rider Kim Schwass, who has long harboured a not so secret desire to compete a purebred Clydesdale in registered dressage. With Nick and my current health and financial issues, it has become apparent to me that I really need to de-stock and, with this in mind, I have started to think of potential homes for some of my precious breeding stock. Kim was one of the first people I contacted to ask if she might be interested in Kenzie as I think that she could be the horse to bring that dressage dream to fruition for Kim, and, to see my dear sweet baby in such a good home, would be a dream come true for me and make a very hard decision, a lot easier.

The great news is that Kim agrees and Kenzie will be headed to a brand new home in the 'land of milk and honey' in a few weeks time.

I want to take this moment to wish Kim all the very best of luck with her new charge - I am sure that they will be a force to contend with and I am very excited about what they might achieve together!



Dominican Nectar?

The Domincan Republic is so rich in baseball talent that every MLB club has a presence there to keep lookout for the next young prodigy, such as 16-year-old Michael Inoa, signed last week by the Oakland A's for $4.25 million. Outside the US, no other country has supplied the Major Leagues with as many players over the past half century as has the DR, including tonight's starting NL pitcher in the All-Star Game, Edinson Volquez of the Cincinnati Reds. While historical and sociological factors may explain this phenomenon, has anyone checked the Domincan water lately?

Article-->
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121573942686244721.html?mod=sports

Retarded

Monday, July 14, 2008

Love comes and goes. Lust is forever.

Conflict of Interest or Corporate Screw Up?

Today's Wall Street Journal (see article, below) reported that a global advertising firm's handiwork has been found on both sides of the Olympic fence for the upcoming games in Beijing. TBWA Worldwide's China office produced an ad campaign for Olympic sponsor Adidas, which gloriously portrays Chinese people in support of its athletes in an unambiguous show of national unity. At the same time, its Paris office created an ad for Amnesty International depicting a person in front of an archery target with the caption: "After the Olympic Games, the fight for human rights must go on." Although Amnesty decided weeks ago to pull its ad, it is astounding that a leading multinational ad agency could find itself on both sides of a very public and delicate issue, especially considering the recent -- and white-hot -- attention given to China's ongoing human rights controversies.

Article-->
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121598805607649301.html?mod=hps_us_inside_today

We are talking DOWNTOWN



:-(

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Outside Babies

Got these cute pix of Tee and Storm the other day from their owner/breeder Kay so thought I would share. They're unmistakably Hamish foals - I cannot get over how he stamps them! Storm is out of my old Silent Hunter mare, Ears - the dam of my beautiful 'Hippy', who was laid to rest in April.