Chat with Darren Rovell
Rovell appears on numerous ESPN radio affiliate shows, analyzes the sports business world for ESPNEWS, and contributes to ESPN's flagship "SportsCenter" and investigative shows "Outside the Lines" and "Outside the Lines Nightly."
Send in your questions now and join Darren for the answers on Monday at noon ET!
Buzzmaster (12:01 PM)
Darren will be here soon. Please keep the questions coming!
Darren Rovell (12:02 PM)
And I'm here.
Darren Rovell (12:02 PM)
Let's get this started. Questions are open to all sports biz topics. Fire away.
Stan (Glen Burnie, MD)
So the Under Armor Football cleats were released this week, how do the big shoe companies feel about UA?
Darren Rovell (12:03 PM)
Stan, Really like what Under Armour is doing as a company and from what I hear these shoes seem to be unique. I do think they have a lot of guts by going into a marketplace where the big guys are champs. Under Armour's success has pretty much be predicated on exploiting what the big guys weren't good at doing. Now cleats? It should be an interesting test.
What is the best the NHL can hope for with game 3 through 7 on NBC?
Darren Rovell (12:05 PM)
Brian, This is really bad from a team matchup. Might be great hockey, but the Oilers and Hurricanes really won't get any non-hockey fans to give the broadcast a chance. I think the best the league can hope for is a split of the first two games. If any team is up 2-0 heading into NBC's broadcast that's even worse.
Why are college athletes not paid at least similarly to the way that other students work on campus... and how close are we to seeing a modle like this be proposed?
Darren Rovell (12:08 PM)
Glen, We are not too close. It's hard because you can't just pay some athletes and not others. And by that I don't necessarily means football starters vs. those on the bench. I mean revenue and non-revenue sports. Paying men and not paying the women athletes would likely be a violation of title IX. The NCAA is a bit closer to paying athletes some sort of cost of living stipend that will allow them to buy a cheeseburger. I think the next step should be elite athlete stipends. What I mean by this is that when schools are clearly marketing athletes (i.e. their jersey numbers), the athletes should get a gross cut of sales.
Dave (New yorK)
How will the World Cup go over here in the US? Soccer isn't the biggest interest, plus the time difference should make this about as appealing as the Torino olympics were
Darren Rovell (12:08 PM)
Dave, Totally dependent on how they do. In 2002, there were a lot of people watching early in the morning because there were plenty of people buzzing about the team.
Kobe's Mr. Rogers sweater vest was clearly an attempt to change his image. Do you think he has recovered at all with his marketability?
Darren Rovell (12:10 PM)
Tom, This is a great call by you. I definitely noticed that when he was on TNT. I think Kobe is pretty much back as it relates to on the field products. He can sell jerseys and shoes and maybe basketballs again. But as far as a blue chip brand attaching their name to his, I don't see it yet.
Will Nike ever get another chance at outfitting either the NFL or NBA?
Darren Rovell (12:11 PM)
Although the Reebok-adidas merger opened up the possibility of Nike getting in on both leagues. Adidas signed an 11-year deal and the Reebok prez told me that the NFL will stay Reebok, so the answer seems to be no.
Matt (Boston, MA)
Do you see Reggie Bush becoming the biggest endorser in the NFL in terms of off-the-field endorsements
Darren Rovell (12:12 PM)
Reggie is going to get a couple more deals that might allow him to earn about $2 million this year or more off the field. But he's got to be the real deal. All the guys at the top Brady, Manning, Vick -- they're not marketable because they were good in college.
Scott (Chicago, IL)
Has the Bonds 715 ball been auctioned yet?
Darren Rovell (12:13 PM)
No, the guy hasn't decided if he wants to sell it yet.
Is the sports business industry - A)As hard as any other industry to get your foot in the door B) As exciting as it seems to be? I bet 90% of males would take a job in the sports industry, as it seems so glamorous and fun from the outside.
Darren Rovell (12:16 PM)
Great question. Yes, it's hard to get your foot in the door. So many people are willing to work for free. You just have to work harder for it. Is it as glamorous? I think it depends on what you do. But often people are working harder than you think. There are tens of thousands of kids who want to be sports agents. Yet, I'd be that only 5 percent of sports agents make a decent living. Less than 1 percent make a great living.
Ji (Charlotte, NC)
what needs to happen with football(i'm talking about soccer) in order for this sport to get big in U.S.? Bring Ronadinho to LA, for example?
Darren Rovell (12:18 PM)
I'm not sure anything can make it big. The Freddy Adu experiment was embarassing. They paid him among the most in the league and the team didn't even start him in many games. Tt's hard to be a savior if you don't play.
Dave (New yorK)
Pujols's early success has taken media focus off Bonds as of late, which has seemed to benefit the league by emphasizing accomplishments and giving a new role model. How will his injury affect MLB?
Darren Rovell (12:19 PM)
From a financial standpoint, MLB has -- believe it or not -- not been hurting from all the steroids talk. Pujols, from an image standpoint, was good news for the league and it would have been tremendous if he could break Bonds' 73.
Can you see the rationale in paying Clemens $22M for half a season? I don't understand the financial justification. They won't sell more seats, their advertising revenue can't jump that high. Why did they do it?
Darren Rovell (12:22 PM)
As I wrote last week Andy, it doesn't really make much financial sense if you look at it from a straight up balance sheet standpoint. They are actually paying him about $12.6 million, but it still doesn't do that much, even if 3,000 more fans come to see his games than when the other four pitchers pitch.
if we are crucifying bonds so much for doing what he thought was necessary to do to get and stay on top, then shouldn't we also crucify every big business such as nike and wal mart for their tactics for staying on top of their field of business
Darren Rovell (12:24 PM)
Quintyn, I love that point. And we've seen the destruction of many companies that were caught trying to stay on top. I think Nike more than Wal-mart with the workplace conditions in southeast asia. You might have noticed that you haven't heard as much about Nike in that space in a while and that's because they have made it a priority to clean it up. I don't want to call Bonds guilty for sure, but the implication has helped clean things up so it's all good in the end.
Jarron (Cleveland, OH)
ESPN showed ALOT of softball this weekend. Do the ratings for softball justify this, playoffs or not?
Darren Rovell (12:25 PM)
Ratings for the Northwestern-Arizona game on ESPN2 tonight might outrate Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on OLN.
Kyle (Sioux City, IA)
I've heard from several retailers that Iowa State is tough to work with from a licencing standpoint. What makes one university tougher to work with than others?
Darren Rovell (12:26 PM)
Good question. There are some schools that restrict the way you use their marks and their mascots and others will do anything for the almighty dollar.
Darren, Can you talk about the business losses suffered this weekend from Jose Louis Castillo not making 135lbs
Darren Rovell (12:27 PM)
Amazing story and from what I gather, I'm sure Castillo wasn't counting on Corrales pulling out. There's a lot that has happened in the business of boxing, but this is a pretty remarkable story. Whether he should be fighting at that weight or not, it cost him millions.
Why, oh why do they have the Triple Crown races on two different networks? Shouldn't they all be united under one, whether it be NBC or ABC? Doesn't it hurt marketability?
Darren Rovell (12:30 PM)
Yes Rob, it's very confusing. But the Triple Crown unfortunately isn't marketed and sold together. It definitely hurts the sport. This is the first year that the Belmont is on ABC, while the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness are on NBC. And frankly I think, despite the ABC and ESPN marketing machine, people might not realize what channel to watch. That's all horse racing needs given the state of the sport and the lack of appeal of the horses in the Belmont this year.
Softball ratings vs. NHL ratings, that's decieving, it they were put up against each other on ESPN and ESPN2 no way would Softball score higher, being on OLN kills hockey's ratings.
Darren Rovell (12:30 PM)
Apples and oranges, yes. But the NHL did that to themselves.
jp ( san jose,ca)
For all of the Hockey bashing on TV ratings, while true, the league did BETTER than expected revenue wise, the sport is better to watch and the TV Network it is on is changing to "versus" to attract mainstream sports. There must be some upside that the media could comment on can't they?
Darren Rovell (12:31 PM)
Yes, JP. I did a story on this. Focusing on both sides. The attendance was up and they have a network that has dedicated itself to hockey -- it's essentially the hockey channel. But it's easy to question whether it was the right move.
Jake, Athens, OH (from Cincy)
I'm wrapping up my freshmen year at college. Any advice you can give me about getting into the sports world? I'm going to be getting a dual degree in finance and marketing and really want to get into sports, especially baseball. What steps should I take to make this happen? Hopefully in 20-30 years I can become GM of the Reds. Thanks a lot!
Darren Rovell (12:33 PM)
Do something different. Don't put your resume on a 31 cent piece of paper. Make it interactive. Make teams hire you. But you have to earn it. It's not an entitlement.
Wasn't it the ONLY move, since the other networks didn't want to invest in the NHL? Canada is a much smaller market, but the finals in prime-time up here on CBC will draw massive audiences
Darren Rovell (12:34 PM)
Well Andrew, ESPN declined the option of $60 million, but it wasn't like the network didn't want the league, it was just a question of price.
Sean (Boulder, CO)
Darren, how well do you think the new look Colorado football image will help the athletic department of CU?
Darren Rovell (12:37 PM)
Nothing against Gary Barnett, but I think hiring a new coach and it being Dan Hawkins was the first step. The funny thing about Barnett being let go is that they still didn't have anything that concrete on him in the end, otherwise he could have likely just been terminated and that didn't happen. So I think some of the image issues were self inflicted by the Boulder community. I'm not saying all the issues weren't serious issues, but it seemed like the reason for firing Barnett in the end seemed more to be about the way the team played their final games under his rule.
Do you think part of soccer's problem in the US is the mainstream media's relunctance to understand and accept soccer? Would it help if soccer got as much time on sportscenter as say hockey?
Darren Rovell (12:38 PM)
No. I think it's a matter of there being a difference between grassroots soccer and professional soccer. Playing soccer as a kid and being a soccer fan are two, totally different things.
John (Providence, RI)
Regarding the Triple Crown races, does the Belmont lose money if there is no possible triple crown winner involved? Why don't they rotate the races from year to year?
Darren Rovell (12:41 PM)
Well, the Belmont has a had a great run John clearly benefitting off the fact that there has been a tremendous run of years where horses have won the first two legs. That has in turn made the Belmont as exciting, if not more exciting, than the hyped up Kentucky Derby. So you can't have it both ways. And over the course of the seven years or so, I bet the people there wouldn't switch for anything in the world. As for switching, it's not going to happen. It's pretty much bound by tradition.
Mike (Houston, TX)
How do you think the Saturday night college football game will do on ABC? Saturday night is typically a low night for tv ratings
Darren Rovell (12:43 PM)
I think the folks at ABC thought it was obviously worth a shot. It's certainly a natural given that there are a lot of people (including me) who own the Saturdays in the fall to our remote control and a chair in front of our televisions.
Is Michelle Wie tapped out in terms of her short term marketing potential? Would making the US Open give her a big marketing boost? I assume it would send the tv viewership of the first two rounds through the roof.
Darren Rovell (12:45 PM)
Michelle has a lot of pressure on her to win. People already consider it forever and she only turned pro seven months ago.
Are you amazed at the fact that 14 million people watched the Spelling Bee on ABC Thurs. night?
Darren Rovell (12:47 PM)
As a point of clarification, that was the height in the final 11 minutes, but for the most part 8 million viewers is impressive. I'm not surprised at all. That's why I thought it was worth it to spend so much time on it.
Al (Bradenton, FL)
From a business standpoint, what will boost Michelle's marketability in the long run - a cut made in a major or semi-major mens tournament or a win in a woman's major?
Darren Rovell (12:48 PM)
Al, it's gotta be a win, not just making a cut.
Kobayashi might have some US competition this year at Nathan's. Does a US win boost the sport or at least the ratings?
Darren Rovell (12:49 PM)
I always thought that the hot dog eating competition would die if Kobayashi won it every year. Joey Chestnut gives the sport a chance for it to have some legs in the future if he can pull off the upset in Coney Island on July 4.
Darren, was the high volume of viewers for the Bee more of a novelty thing? For example, if they decided to air qualifying rounds, etc, I can't imagine those would come anywhere NEAR the numbers of the finals, or like your pointed out, the final 11 minutes.
Darren Rovell (12:50 PM)
They wouldn't air the whole thing in primetime, but i think the 8 million number is pretty impressive for a spelling bee. Don't hurt on the bee.
Jay (Sayreville, NJ)
JEFF SMARDZJDA: BASEBALL OR FOOTBALL? FROM MARKETING, FINANCIAL, AND POTENTIAL FUTURE POINT OF VIEW'S.
Darren Rovell (12:51 PM)
Whichever sport he'll be better at.
As another point of clarification, was Kerry Close in your top 10 to win the Bee?
Darren Rovell (12:51 PM)
Yes, she was my No. 3 pick.
Will international viewership of the NBA finals be hurt by the World Cup? Specifically in Germany where, normally I would assume a huge number would follow Nowitzki?
Darren Rovell (12:53 PM)
Yes. A German newspaper reporter wrote that the country wasn't that interested in Dirk being in the Finals. He'd have to have his Mavericks win in order for them to pay attention.
Hate to say it, but didn't Barbaro's injury draw in the casual observer and do you think that will translate to better Belmont numbers?
Darren Rovell (12:53 PM)
No. They'd rather see him and the Preakness winner in the race. And both won't happen.
Darren Rovell (12:54 PM)
I have to run. Thanks for your questions. Andy Katz is next.