Nov 18, 2004

Composer of 'Hockey Night in Canada' theme sues CBC


Dolores Claman, the composer behind the distinctive Hockey Night in Canada theme song, has filed a lawsuit against the CBC, alleging that the broadcaster uses the tune too often.
The plaintiffs' claim alleges that CBC's contract stipulates the song can only be used for Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts within Canada, but that the CBC has used the music on games shown in other countries and for other programming.

Read the story...

Nov 11, 2004

Jumbotron for sale on eBay

Up for auction on eBay: Iowa/Hawkeye football scoreboard with jumbotron:

"This large scoreboard is available on 22 Nov 2004. It has recorded some of the most memorable victories in Hawkeye football history. Purchaser is to dismantle and remove from site. Includes controls and Jumbotron. Contact seller for information."

Opening bid is $10,000 USD - but no bids yet.

Go to the auction...

Updated: Land Developers Inc., the owners of Nebraska Raceway Park, have purchased the scoreboard and JumboTron that captured some of the greatest moments in Iowa Hawkeye football... The University of Iowa is in the process of renovating the legendary stadium and the scoreboard and JumboTron will be removed to make way for new suites and seating. More from
(Land Developers Inc. made the first and only bid, at US $10,000.)

Nov 5, 2004

I Don't Like The Person You Become When You're On The Jumbotron

From The Onion:

"Okay, Dave, we need to talk. I didn't say anything on the way back from the stadium, because I was collecting my thoughts. But now, I think it's time we clear the air. Look, you know I've always loved and supported you. I believe you are, at heart, sweet, romantic, intelligent, capable, and wise. But something happens when the eyes of an entire stadium are on you, and it makes me wonder whether I even know you. Dave, I don't like the person you become when you're on the Jumbotron.

The Dave I know is polite, modest, and content. Jumbotron Dave is crass and loud. The Dave I know has a sweet, gentle smile. Jumbotron Dave has a tongue that waggles and undulates lasciviously. Accompanied by your red cheeks, your bulging eyes, and that "metal" gesture you do with your hands—it's horrifying. What comes over you, Dave?"


Nov 1, 2004

"Let's Get Ready to Rumble" snitch line

Michael Buffer, the announcer behind the "Let's Get Ready to Rumble" catchphrase, wants his fans to tattle on companies who are using the phrase without permission:

"Buffer Enterprises, Inc. now offers a cash bonus to those who report a corroborated unauthorized use [resulting in an actual recovery] of the "Let's Get Ready to Rumble,"® “Get Ready To Rumble”® or "Ready to Rumble"® servicemarked phrases ,any paraphrasing of these marks (including “Get Ready To Crumble,”® “Are Your Ready To Rumble?”™ “Let’s Get Ready To Gamble”™), or use of Michael Buffer’s famous rendition of his copyrighted “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” recording. This bonus system applies to viable reports [resulting in an actual recovery] of unauthorized use of our servicemarks, copyrights or related rights in or upon TV, radio, the internet, print or in connection with unlicensed products or services such as T-shirts, toys, posters, or other merchandise."


"We constantly deal with violations reported to us by fans around the world or which we witness directly,” states Bruce Buffer. “Our servicemarks and copyrights are invaluable. Just like for a movie studio, these intangible rights comprise the very heart of our business.”


(I am surprised to read that a) Buffer has fans, and b) Buffer has fans that take the time to report these 'violations'.)


Oct 11, 2004

Bluebombers penalized for videoscoreboard "noise"

From (all the way at the bottom of the article):

"One of the penalties Winnipeg was nailed for was a 10-yarder for illegal use of electronic equipment after the Jumbotron was used to start crowd noise while Hamilton had the ball."

Read the article...

Oct 8, 2004

Sharks mascot continues work non-stop

From the San Jose Sharks web site:

"S.J. Sharkie may not be rappelling down the rafters, riding his four-wheeler or throwing tee-shirts to rabid fans at HP Pavilion, but he's still doing what he loves most.

Nothing can stop the San Jose Sharks beloved mascot from entertaining fans.

While the NHL season is currently on ice, Sharkie continues to make his dynamic presence felt at a plethora of community events and private gatherings."


NFL in-house video replay strategy

From the Dallas Star-Telegram:

"The next time officials blow a call at Texas Stadium that benefits the Cowboys, fans at the game might never see a replay of it. During the Cowboys' road victory against Washington on Sept. 27, the JumboTron at FedEx Field never replayed a close play that benefited the Redskins.

The NFL says that is the home team's prerogative, and the Cowboys plan to use it to their advantage at Texas Stadium."


Oct 6, 2004

The life of the Jumbotron cameraman

Long time, no post ... but here's a good one from the Miami Herald:

"It's game day at Pro Player Stadium. You're focused on bases and yardage, pitches and punts. Then he shows up: the man with the camera.

He wants you to get crazy, to scream and wave. You're like most people, and so you do, dancing and clapping like a camera-crazed fool.

If you're lucky, your image will be beamed to the stadium's two Jumbotron screens. And for a moment, 20 seconds at the most, you are larger than life."


Sep 13, 2004

James Phillips on "Behind the Mascot"


"A new documentary will be hitting the big screen this month covering the world of the professional mascot. Film producer James Phillips has spent nearly 2 years researching, filming, and editing together an amazing collection of stories and personalities. The movie debuts at this month's Atlantic Film Festival. James Phillips joins us for the September 2004 Interview on"

Read the interview...

(The movie premieres this week in Toronto, with showings later this month in Halifax and Sudbury. More info on the movie website.)

Aug 16, 2004

Turn up the base: Name that tune in MLB

From EPSN's Page 3:
"We've talked to the music folks for all 30 major-league teams, and we've got a list of the at-bat music for every team in the big leagues. For some players, we've even got the "story behind the story" about how the song was chosen. We even got some pitchers to tell use what their entrance tune is when they come in from the 'pen."

It's part of a summer-long series on sports and music.


Jul 19, 2004

Second Annual March for Mascot Rights

Reggy and the Raymond Entertainment Group are hosting their second March for Mascot Rights. This year's event features a lifetime achievement award for the Phillie Phanatic and the signing of the Mascot Bill of Rights. Dave Raymond was the original Phillie Phanatic performer.


Click Effects to be used at Olympic venues

"Sound & Video Creations is going to be lord of the rings - Olympic rings, that is. The Nashville-based company has signed a contract with California-based Big Screen Network Productions and will provide Click Effects Pro A/V software to 13 Olympic Games sites."


Jul 8, 2004

The Zambonis interview NYI's Sparky the Dragon

Dave from the Zambonis band sends this along:

"Check out a brand spankin' new piece'o'prose as Dave from The Zambonis interviews the New York Islanders Mascot Sparky The Dragon Not only has InsideHockey's "captain" Kevin given us the awesome opportunity to write some cool articles for his fabulous website, he's also playing keyboards with the band at Freddys. A tip to all of you writers and musicians: if a guy can help your band in any way, let him join your band."

Read the article...

Buy Zambonis CDs via Hockey Music...

Jul 6, 2004

Update: Bike path detour signage behind Parliament Hill

This post has moved:

Passing the buck on video scoreboard clip

From the East Valley Tribune, an article about the rivalry between Arizona and San Jose of the Arena Football League:

"During the 2002 ArenaBowl in San Jose, the Saber-Cats showed on the JumboTron a play from the regular season finale between the teams. Rattlers lineman Stacy Evans got a quick jump off the line of scrimmage and, not hearing a whistle, sacked San Jose quarterback Mark Grieb and broke his collarbone. When the sack was replayed on the JumboTron, the sound of a referee’s whistle was heard well before Evans got to Grieb. The inference: Evans" cheap-shotted Grieb.

"It wasn’t a cheap shot," Nudo said. "That (the video replay) was a cheap shot. We asked the stadium operations guy about it, and he blamed the owner. We asked the owner, and he blamed the stadium operations guy. Nobody wanted to own up to it."

Read the article...
From the Dayton Daily News, an article about the dangers of foul balls at ballparks.

"People are caught up in the magical spell of family fun — the mascots, the music, the on-field contests, the large video scoreboard — and along with watching the game, there's that chance for the ultimate souvenir — the foul ball. What people aren't expecting is a 100-mph missile."

"According to Elliott's studies — published recently in the Philadelphia Inquirer — an average of 35 to 40 balls reach the stands during a game. The most dangerous areas, he said, are between home plate and first and third base. He called those areas: "war zones."

Read the article... (login required)

Take me "out" to the ball game

The Toronto Blue Jays hosted a "Jays Pride Community Game", offering ticket discounts and other specials in conjunction with Pride Week in Toronto. It's the first ever major North American sports promotion in conjunction with the gay and lesbian community.

More from the Toronto Star.

More from the Toronto Blue Jays web site

Jun 25, 2004

Extrasensory sports: Stadium Click Effects

From, an article about Stadium Click Effects. It's a piece of software for speeding up audio & video playback.

"The software has helped Sound & Video Creations generate annual revenues of $1.5 million, up 50% from four years ago. More importantly for sports teams, it has helped them dramatically enhance their game day presentations compared with just 10 years ago, when a minor-league baseball team's collection of audio clips often consisted of little more than a pile of cassette tapes strewn across a table. Video scoreboard clips were found on VCR tapes, a fact that made last-minute lineup changes a nightmare for pre-game video segments."

Read the article...

Jun 24, 2004

Praise for the (former) Arkansas Travellers Organist

From the Arkansas Times:

"I wanted to tell you about Rich Pharris, the stadium organist, who pounds out tunes on the ballpark Hammond that you or your grandparents haven't heard since grade school, such as "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain," "You Are My Sunshine," and "I've Been Working on the Railroad." (The most modern song in his repertoire appears to be "The Mickey Mouse Club Theme.")"

... but apparantly, Pharris quit.


Jun 15, 2004

Celebrities soak up scoreboard screen time


"Shortly before the start of Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, the giant arena scoreboard began showing the faces of prominent personalities seated among the more than 20,000 fans packed into the Palace of Auburn Hills ... But not all the celebrity faces that fans see at courtside are there to root for the home team. Many are on business, especially when the games are in Los Angeles, where Hollywood and network television stars -- and the people whose job it is to promote them -- find the NBA Finals stage irresistible."

Read the article...

Jun 10, 2004

Vital Organ: Kansas City Royals organist Sam Beckett

From The Pitch:

"Sam Beckett plays the organ at Kauffman Stadium. Nine innings a game. Eighty (or so) games a year. "Charge" and the Mexican hat dance and a little bit of Usher. When pitching coach John Cumberland is talking Brian Anderson down, maybe Beckett will play "With a Little Help From My Friends" with two-handed jazz chords. When first baseman Mike Sweeney hulks into the box, maybe a crazy nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-Batman! ... the nuh-nuh-nuh-nuhs are played live, as are those grace notes after a crisp double play and the percussive tap-tap-taptaptaps that make you clap without thinking, along with the thousands of people around you. Fact is, everything organ at the K is live, uncanned, improvised, not beamed in from some Clear Channel satellite."

Read the article...

Jun 8, 2004

Tampa Bay Tribune prints the wrong editorial

From the Tampa Bay Tribune:
"We took a puck in the gut this morning when we published the wrong editorial about the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the Stanley Cup final on Monday night... In advance of the final, we had prepared two editorials, one for either outcome..."


Jun 7, 2004

Sleepy fan gets caught on video scoreboard

From the East Valley Tribune, a quick note about a fan caught sleeping at an Arizona Diamondbacks game:

"After six innings .... [the]cameras focused on a man in the stands — fast asleep on his wife’s shoulder. The sound of a rooster crowing played over the stadium’s public-address system, then a buzzing noise. However, that nor the cheering crowd could rouse the man from his slumber."

Read the rest of the article...

Dodgers & Cubs the last MLB teams without a mascot

Gary Miller on

"Both the Dodgers and Cubs remain nearly unique in not employing team mascots to "enliven" things at the park ... L.A. admitted it considered adding a mascot recently, but while they chose wisely not to, many traditionalists, including myself, are chagrined that they've eliminated the charming, unobtrusive organ music which used to characterize the Dodger Stadium experience -- from everything but the pre-game. The Dodgers now have the same ear-pounding, heavy-metal chorus punctuating every at-bat and potential rallying moment."

Read the full article...

May 31, 2004

"In The Dome" - Calgary Flames Playoff Song

It's a tradition for local radio stations to make a tribute parody of a pop song to support their teams. Here in Ottawa, the most famous one was probably "All The Leafs Stink", to the tune of Blink 182's "All The Small Things". (A couple of years ago, there was a really good one out of Montreal, to the tune of Smashmouth's/The Monkees' "I'm A Believer". A cool English-French lyrical mixture that really captured the spirit of the Canadiens in a breakout playoff year.)

Anyhow, the best playoff song around this year is out of Calgary: "In The Dome", a take-off on 50 Cent's hit. Created for/by Vibe 98.5. Very well done. Listen here...

Hung sings at Blue Jays game

From "William Hung butchered Take Me Out To The Ball Game during the seventh-inning stretch of Sunday's matchup between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, much to the delight of 22,225 at SkyDome." Read more...

From "Hung's presence drew media usually indifferent to baseball, including Rolling Stone magazine. The team said more media credentials were issued Sunday than on Opening Day. The Blue Jays initially tried to get Hung for Opening Day, but that conflicted with the release of his debut album." Read more...

More: Hungmania Hits Toronto (via andPOP)

Update: .wmv audio file (right-click and "save as")

May 28, 2004

Pittsburgh Pirates return to traditional baseball with "Classic Night"

"Turn Back The Clock" promotions are nothing new in sports, but it sounds like the Pirates are doing it with a bit more authenticity than usual, on June 3:

"Instead of live and animated video, the Jumbotron scoreboard will remain static with an image resembling the scoreboard at Forbes Field. Rather than listening to recorded music of the modern day, fans will be entertained solely with music performed by Pirates organist, Vince Lascheid."


May 20, 2004

Flames celebrate win with Johnny Cash

I didn't catch all of the songs the Calgary Flames used after eliminating the Sharks last night -- it was loud in the Saddledome -- but one of the dj's picks stood out.

While the two teams shook hands, Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash played over the arena loudspeakers. Very appropriate lyrics: "I fell in to a burning ring of fire / I went down,down,down / and the flames went higher."

While a bit low-key, it was a nice break from the usual high-tempo dance stuff you usually hear during win celebrations.

Related: Don't Mess With My Too Too

May 19, 2004

Miami Heat take more shots at Indiana in their videos


"During a timeout at AmericanAirlines Arena, the Heat showed a clip from the movie "Hoosiers," with Gene Hackman's character giving a speech inside the locker room. But instead of showing the players actually in the locker room in the scene, the Heat marketing department replaced them with the Heat mascot, an old guy and other unathletic-like middle-aged men, including one with a mask on his face."


"The Heat pregame introductions resembled something borrowed from the video game-inspired world of the Arena Football League. While Eminem's "Lose Yourself" thumped through the arena, the taped video shown on the Jumbotron had the Heat players in worn hooded sweatshirts like Eminem wore in the music video and the movie "8 Mile."


May 18, 2004

Music played at Calgary Flames games

The Flames have posted a great article on their site about gameday music:

"Many people wonder about the songs played during the warm-up, opening sequence and more. The hardworking staff in the Entertainment department have plans for good saves, goals and fights. And then Calgary Flames favourite songs are played during breaks. Oh, that explains all the AC/DC and Metallica."


(It's a very agressive, heavy playlist.)

Also on the Calgary Flames site: Various clips from the Jumbotron on "Flames TV". (Choose "Jumbotron Clips".)

May 12, 2004

Ken Hitchock on controversial replays on the video scoreboard

From the Philadelphia Daily News:
"...the video scoreboard operator at the St. Pete Times Forum showed a replay of Brashear's hit on Taylor at least three different times, the crowd growing louder and angrier with each replay.

"I don't want to downcast anything here but something happened on the video screen today that's very upsetting," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I think that's unfair, unfair for the National Hockey League. I don't care if it's in Tampa Bay or Philadelphia - you can't incite the fans like that. That's unfair.

"It's unfair to the players. It's a very dangerous situation. It should not happen. The replays are there to replay, not to question referees' calls or incite people. It's ridiculous. It should not happen..."
Also in the Tampa Tribune...

May 7, 2004

Major leagues, major schtick

As part of its coverage of the Spiderman ads on MLB bases, the National Post included a list of 'some of the zaniest promotional ideas emplyoed at Minor League Baseball games':

- Silent Night, Charleston Riverdogs: Fans encouraged to wear duct tape over their mouths, and to express themselves by holding up sings. Ushers replaced by librarians and golf marshals.

- Nobody Night, Charleston Riverdogs: Attempt to set the record for lowest attendance at a baseball game.

- Beer Batter, San Jose Giants: A visiting player is designated as the "beer batter". If he strikes out, beer is half-price for the next 15 minutes.

- Ted Williams Night, Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings: Popsicles handed out to first 500 fans to honour the cryogenically-preserved Williams.

- Steroid Night, Clinton Iowa: The team handed out 1,500 urine sample cups.

May 6, 2004

Must live sports games be noisy?

From the Indiana Gazette, columnist writes Rick Weaver writes about his affection for :"Turn Back The Clock Nights", with "no loudspeakers, no JumboTron animations, no organ music, no music, period."
The reason many teams offer for having some form of entertainment during stoppages in play - be it between-innings contests, rock music, organ cheers, whatever - is that if there is nothing of that sort, fans might become bored and start amusing themselves with tasteless chants, rude remarks and all kinds of other garbage.


Perhaps we as a society need to challenge ourselves to slow down and use the time we spend at the ballpark to relax, enjoy and let the nuances of the game come to us so we can embrace it. A "quiet" game at PNC Park wouldn't hurt. Judging from the crowds the Pirates are drawing, they already have the quiet part down without even trying.


May 5, 2004

George & Barbara Bush on Kiss Cam

The American Press reported that former U.S. President George Bush and wife Barbara were shown on the video scoreboard kiss cam segment during a recent Houston Astros game. "They obliged, drawing wild applause."

Daktronics scoring big with monster stadium screens

From the Detroit News, a great article about Daktronics, a company that supplies video scoreboards. Some highlights:
Daktronics began in 1968 when Aelred Kurtenbach and Duane Sanders, electrical engineering professors from South Dakota State University, wanted to create jobs so their best students wouldn’t have to go out of state to find work. They peddled $5 stock to anybody interested -- shares now worth, after splits, about $2,700 -- and took years before finding their calling: scoreboards and video screens.

Now those 65,000 boards and screens across America turn sports into sound and light shows. The screens or scoreboards are in stadiums or arenas used by at least 85 pro teams and will be making an eighth appearance in the Olympics this summer in Athens. Sales are expected to reach $200 million this year, having more than tripled in seven years.


Daktronics screens are also getting bigger. Jacobs Field has America’s biggest video screen for sports: 36 feet by 149 feet. Only the Nasdaq stock exchange video screen in New York’s Time Square is bigger. Such high-visibility projects, suggests Simet, will create a trickle-down demand throughout the sports world. “I really feel that within 10 years almost all high schools will have video replay screens in gyms and at least big high schools will have them for football.”


And LEDs created sharper images than the TV-like technology that had powered stadium video screens. Sony, whose famous Jumbotrons were meant to help promote the company’s TV sets, installed its last giant video screen three years ago -- and is no longer in the business in the United States. Frank Kurtenbach, a Daktronics vice president as well as co-founder Aelred’s brother, understands that many people don’t know the Jumbotron will be extinct when remaining models wear out. But, he says, it can be annoying: “Frankly, John Madden says ’Jumbotron’ a bit too often.”


May 4, 2004

NBA fines Dallas Mavericks for showing video that ridiculed Kings

From Fox News: "A Dallas Mavericks video display on an arena scoreboard that poked fun at the visiting Sacramento Kings resulted in a $25,000 NBA. Stu Jackson, the NBA Senior Vice-President of Basketball Operations, announced the fine for a video that ridiculed opposing players before Dallas' 104-79 win over the Kings on April 24. But the Kings had the last laugh, winning the next game 94-92 at Dallas and capturing their first-round NBA playoff series."

Earlier, from the Sacramento Bee: "Kings players had mixed reactions to a video shown at American Airlines Center before Game 3 on Saturday. The cartoon skit had a Shaquille O'Neal-like image calling the Kings the "Queens." There was an image of Christie on all fours on a short leash held by his wife Jackie, and there was a cartoon image of Chris Webber answering why he attended the University of Michigan, blurting, "Money, money, money!" Read more...

Apr 29, 2004

Home run damages video scoreboard ... and creates marketing opportunity

The Arizona Diamondback's Richie Sexson hit the video scoreboard with a home run on Monday night. From the Arizona Republic:

"Damage to a $360 chip in the JumboTron screen presented a marketing opportunity the Diamondbacks could not resist. Sexson's rocket left a dark spot near the center of the screen. It was highlighted Tuesday and will continue to be through at least today. When Sexson's name was announced before Tuesday night's opening pitch, an arrow pointed to the spot and a message flashed onto the screen. "Hit me again," it said."


Apr 28, 2004

Jann Arden apologizes for off-key anthem

From The Ottawa Sun this morning:

Alberta pop singer Jann Arden has apologized for her rocky rendition of O Canada at a playoff hockey game earlier this month. Arden's off-key anthem also prompted several complaints from CBC viewers tuned in to Game 6 of the Calgary-Vancouver NHL Stanley Cup playoff series.

Her justification was that she couldn't hear herself. She couldn't even tell if the mic was on... The Flames say that they'll issue an ear monitor to future anthem singers at their games. "Poor Jann got hung out to dry," said Dave Imbach, director of entertainment for the Flames, who said he received "lots of complaints" about Arden's performance.


Apr 26, 2004

Video scoreboards the latest weapon in the war against terrorism

From WOKR 13 in Rochester:

"The next time you head to a [Rochester] Red Wings [baseball] game you'll get more than peanuts and popcorn. You'll get a lesson on terrorism. It's part of a homeland security initiative across the country, aimed at help millions of Americans prepare for a potential attack."

"When fans look up at the jumbotron on the Red Wings' scoreboard, they usually see pictures of the players. However, for 30 seconds before the game they are now looking at Tom Ridge, Director of Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security asked a number of minor league ballparks to broadcast a public service message before every game."

Read more

(Nothing pumps up a crowd like a security warning from Tom Ridge!)

Apr 25, 2004

Hockey music: Punk Rock, Guy Lafleur Disco, the organ, and more

From Gary Genosko:

"Puck rockers would like us to think they have principles, and they like to wax nostalgic about the organs and organ players of yesteryear. The sports world's organ music, it seems, is the proto-punk aesthetic. Organ music was used in hockey arenas to whip up the emotions of hometown fans (albeit with considerable cheese and fluff). There were telling moments of rebellion. For example, the league (the establishment) intervened, as they once did in Major League Baseball, when organists (the rebels) began to play "Three Blind Mice" whenever the referee or one of his two linesmen was thought to have made a bad call against the home team. There is a certain defiance attached to the organ, and it is said to have had its purest punk expression in the early music of Elvis Costello and the Attractions, with their aggressive, punchy organ work.

Unfortunately, puck rockers have it all wrong. The real music of hockey is disco - and I have incontrovertible evidence to support my claim, even if I feel a bit disheartened in staking it. For once upon a time I felt for disco the same contempt puck rockers now feel for cold and remote Euro-synth-pop. When I was a teenager, my neighborhood road hockey team had a bitter rivalry with a team we contemptuously called "the discos." They were the hair team, and we were greasy and shaggy; they wielded blowdriers, and we looked like we just rolled out of bed: Stayin’ Alive meets Dazed and Confused in a struggle over hockey style."

Read more

Meet the organist: Phoenix Coyotes

From the Phoenix Coyotes web site, a bio on organist David "Uncle Dave' Lindsay:

"The organ is a symbol of history in the NHL and has been around for as long as rinks have been skated on. When the Phoenix Coyotes make their move to Glendale on December 27th they’ll look to restore some tradition to the hockey experience by introducing organist David Lindsay better known as “Uncle Dave” to the game night experience. The sound, feel and nostalgia of an organ will bring an authentic feel to Coyotes hockey in the Valley."

Read more

Apr 20, 2004

Vancouver Canucks pre-game music

I caught the Vancouver Canucks / Calgary Flames game 7 on tv last night. Kudos to the game entertainment staff for their creative work in the pre-game show. They used a three-song sequence to kick off the night:
1. House lights go to black. Not sure what the music they used was, but it sounded like native music. A haunting pan flute, accompanied by slo-mo highlights on the videoboard. A nice tie-in with the aboriginal heritage in B.C., and the native theme the Canucks use on their jerseys.

2. Mascot Fin makes his entrance, to the Who's Won't Be Fooled Again. (Which Philadelphia used in the pre-game of their series-clincher against New Jersey.)

3. Player entrance, to U2's Where The Streets Have No Name. This is a tradition in Vancouver, and the atmosphere when they play this song is electric. They also mixed quotes from Winston Churchill.

The Canucks have a really good "Game Presentation" section on the Web site. Lots of info on their performers and other fun stuff.

But the best is the Canucks Message board, which features the "D.J. Dave Forum", where fans can discuss the arena music with Vancouver's music man. Cool.

Apr 16, 2004

Anthem singer's blues

Chris Zelkovich in the Toronto Star:

Where have you gone, Kate Smith? A hockey nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Smith passed away in 1986 and it appears her legacy — the anthem singer who can lead an NHL team to victory — went with her...

Smith ran up an incredible 58-9-2 record during the `70s. That meant whenever she belted out ``God Bless America" as a prelude to the Broad Street Bullies' act, the team had almost a 90 per cent chance of winning.

That kind of thing just doesn't happen any more.

Read the full article...

Apr 15, 2004

Don't Mess With My Too Too

Nashville Predators @ Detroit Red Wings tonight .... Nashville's Jordan Too Too gets a penalty ... the dj plays Denise Lasalle's 1980's hit "Don't Mess With My Tutu".

Detroit always comes up with great situational tunes. Another example was back in 2002. When they won their Western Conference final, the dj chose "Sweet Caroline" for the end of the game, in preparation for the final against the Hurricanes.

The guy behind Detriot's music was (and may be still -- I'll have to check) Tim Campbell.

Habs use videoboard to hex Bruins

"Maybe ghosts don't live in the Bell Centre, after all. Surely, the ghosts that took up residence in the Montreal Forum for years would have taken care of the Bruins last night. They would have made sure a penalty was called on Travis Green for slashing Alexei Kovalev right before Glen Murray scored the game-winner at 9:27 of the second overtime on a breakaway.
Typically, something wacky happens here to thwart the Black 'n' Gold, like the infamous ``too many men on the ice'' penalty during the 1979 playoffs, which the Habs kept showing on the Jumbotron before each overtime. "

From the Boston Herald

Apr 14, 2004

Montreal Canadiens music: Repetition is a good thing

A great game last night between Montreal and Boston at the Bell Centre. Montreal usually has one of the more interesting game day productions in the NHL. There's the french folk music, lots of Beatles tunes and other old pop music. During last night's game, I noticed a high repetition of three sound clips:

  • "Day-O" (Banana Boat Song - Harry Belafonte)
  • "Make It Clap" (Sean Paul)
  • "Put Your Hands Up In The Air" (DJ Tonka)

These songs were eached used at least 2 or 3 times per period. Normally, the general rule in sports is "don't repeat songs", but the Montreal approach seemed to work in 'training' fans to respond. The repetition got to be a bit too much by the second overtime period, these songs were getting stale.

So when the Habs (hopefully) return home for Game 6, I hope the dj plays each of the songs once per period. Repetition is good, but too much of it becomes ... repetitious.

Apr 2, 2004

Blazers Pledge to Fans

Just came across this while visiting the Portland Trailblazers web site:

We are rededicating ourselves to connecting with you, our fans and our community. It is our vow to restore this franchise to the level of respectability that you deserve. We are committed to providing you with enhanced programs, service and a special inclusion in the franchise that conveys how greatly we value your support. We have a vision for the future of this franchise and you are a vital piece of that future.

- To evaluate character along with basketball talent when selecting players.

- To establish a player code of conduct and to hold our players accountable for their actions both on and off the court.

- To have our organization, its staff and team members be active in the community.

- To enable fans to easily follow the team by broadcasting all 82 regular-season games on the radio and a minimum of 25 games over-the air and 25 non pay-per-view cable games.

- To make live home games available to all fans by starting ticket prices as low as $10.

- To be accessible to fans at all times through feedback.

- To create a fan advisory board to meet with front-office staff.

- To provide affordable in-arena food options for special game nights.

Read the full pledge

Mar 31, 2004

Preparing for the big game: Notes on Game 7

Last night was Game 7 for the Ottawa 67's and Brampton Battalion. The 67's played hard, but ended up losing 3-1. Preparation was key to pull off a successful audio/visual presentation for the biggest game of the season:

  • Pre-game: We dropped our usual pre-game playoff video, and prepared a special video, using Aerosmith's "Amazing", along with some great highlights for the series so far. The lyrics to the song were perfect for telling the story:

    • I kept the right ones out / And let the wrong ones in was perfect for some highlights of big saves from Lukas Mensator.

    • There were times in my life / When I was goin' insane was matched with some nice close-ups of coach Brian Kilrea giving instructions on the bench.

    • And when I lost my grip / And I hit the floor was paired with some great footage of our defenceman Pierre Mitsou getting upset, and then being knocked down onto the ice.

  • The game was close throughout: We had a small but vocal crowd, which we played to with lots of crowd prompts and call-response. There were a few times were we just stayed silent, and let the crowd chant, cheer, and make their own entertainment.

  • Post-game: We prepared two scenarios, with different music, scripts (always script everything!), and video elements for each.

    • For a win: We'd play an up-beat celebration song, then segue to "Amazing" by Aerosmith again for the hand shakes. Once the energy level dropped a bit, we had scripts to plug our next game, and congratulate our opponents.

    • For a loss: We'd play "Next Year" by the Foo Fighters (from their "There Is Nothing Left To Lose" cd). Then we segue to "Amazing" again by Aerosmith -- it was a very emotional moment, and this song seemed to work despite the loss. We then had scripts to congratulate the Battalion and wish them good luck. We also had a video still and script to say thanks to the fans for all of their support.

  • Money shots: I instructed my fan cam operator to "roll tape" on all of the post-game proceedings. He got some great shots, which will be great for future highlight clips, vids, etc.

  • Walk-out: Finally, with the loss, our walk-out music was suitably low-key. Melancholy, but not depressing. My audio guy chose "Thanks That Was Fun" by the Barenaked Ladies as our first walk-out tune. (I was proud that we found some alternatives to Green Day's "Good Riddance", which has become a cliche "end-of-season" tune.)

Unfortunately, the 67's didn't win. For me, the new season starts today. I'll spend the next week or two on "post-mortem" feedback sessions with my crew. Then I'll be spending the rest of the summer making sure our production is even better for the new season.

Mar 27, 2004

Busy times at had its highest single day of unique visitors on Tuesday. It's partly due to an article in the Citizen that mentioned our site, and partly due to the big swings in prices we're seeing in Ottawa. We're also on pace to beat the highest week ever. And March is already the busiest month ever on the site, with nearly 90,000 unique visitors.

Mar 20, 2004

Hot 89.9 Hacked

The web site for Ottawa radio station Hot 89.9 was hacked on Thursday, and remains hacked as of Saturday morning. There are rumours that the year-old station will undergo a format change soon. (Source: Milkman Unlimited.)

Whoever did the hack appears to have been working in FrontPage. That's a piece of software that's hardly the "first choice of hackers". Sounds like a publicity stunt to me.

Followup: It was a publicity stunt. The station re-launched their site on Monday.

Mar 18, 2004

Raptors cheerleader fired for nude photos

From Yahoo! news (and many other sources): "Nineteen-year-old Canadian dancer Lucie Marshal has been fired for appearing in website photos deemed inappropriate by her employer, NBA basketball team the Toronto Raptors." Read more...

Mar 15, 2004

NHL Mascot Madness

Another old-but-good link, this time from From the first NHL mascot, Harvey the Hound in Calgary, to mascots who's starred in movies (Iceburgh in Pittsburgh), this site is "recommended reading" for mascot fans. Read more....

Mar 13, 2004

More than a game: How the Bulls keep their fans entertained all night

A fascinating look from SportsBusiness Journal, behind the scenes with the Chicago Bulls entertainment staff. Interesting facts include:
"Each team is closely evaluated according to its game presentation in a comprehensive program the NBA calls the Holistic Customer Experience. The NBA also has a pages-long list of fines for not adhering to league standards. Playing music too loud can cost a club $2,500. Having an act get onto the court during play costs a club $7,500."
"Time of the game: 2 hours and 23 minutes. Total on-court action: 48 minutes. Total minutes of music and prompts during the game action: 23 minutes, 9 seconds." Read the full article...

"Bulls director of game operations Jeff Wohlschlaeger says he aims to have music, sound effects, and other bells and whistles playing for the crowd during about 60 percent of a game’s 48 minutes of action. That’s more than 28 minutes. For the game against Memphis, the mix was less than 50 percent." Sound Chart


Mar 3, 2004

Mascot battle royal

An old gem from Jon Cudo at the Mascot Battle Royal Halftime Show. A dozen mascots take part in a hilarious wrestling-style battle royal. Watch the video.

Feb 22, 2004

Man charged in attack on Orlando Magic Mascot

A man who attacked the Orlando Magic mascot "Stuff the Magic Dragon", was charged Saturday with battery, disorderly intoxication and resisting an officer without violence.

"Stuff was nearly snuffed," Orlando police Lt. John O'Grady said.

Feb 20, 2004

Buffalo Sabres to honour Tim Horton night

The Buffalo Sabres will honour Tim Horton at their tonight vs. Tampa Bay. Horton died on February 21, 1974. Horton spent his last two seasons with the Sabres.
His retired No. 2 has been painted into the ice behind each net. Two dasherboards will display his name. A photo from his final game will be unveiled on the 100 level concourse. Video presentations will be shown on the JumboTron.

Free timbits for all the fans, perhaps?
Source: Buffalo News

Feb 18, 2004

Phanatic's head recovered

The Phillie Phanatic's head was turned in yesterday to a Philadelphia radio station.

An Allentown-area man, inspired by radio personality Howard Stern's offer of a $5,000 reward, yesterday called WYSP-FM (94.1) midday DJ Tommy Conwell and said he had found the head. The man promised to bring it to WYSP studios on Independence Mall.
"The Phanatic is very relieved," said his best friend, Tom Burgoyne, in a statement released by the Phillies. "He's been overwhelmed by the support of the fans. He would like me to thank all the Phillies fans, WYSP and the Philadelphia Police Department."

The head was stolen earlier this month when the Phanatic was attending a charity event.

Feb 14, 2004

The Grey Album

Producer/DJ Danger Mouse recently released a remix project called "The Grey Album". He takes the vocals from Jay-Z's (or Jay-Zed's, as we say in Canada) Black Album, dropping it over samples from the Beatles The White Album.

Jay-Z is apparantly okay with it -- he released a vocal-only version of his album, specifically so that dj's could remix and create. But EMI, who controls the Beatles sound recordings, issued a cease-and-desist order. (via BoingBoing)

Stupid move by EMI. Danger Mouse only pressed 3,000 copies -- so this wasn't so much commercial as it is artistic. And now the album is more coveted than ever. You can't find the album for sale any more, but it lives on online. Two sites for downloading this gem: on Illegal Art and here.

(I'm trying to confirm this irony -- I'm sure I saw the Grey Album advertised in a recent product catalogue from EMI Music Canada...)

Feb 12, 2004

Reward offered for Philly Phanatic's head

The head of the Philly Phanatic costume was stolen last Friday.
The Phanatic's dome vanished during the team's "Final Pieces" charity sale and auction of mementos from Veterans Stadium. Tom Burgoyne, the man in the fur, placed the head in a dressing room during a break, then realized it was gone when returning 45 minutes later. Security videotape reportedly offered no clues for police.

A Philadelphia newspaper is offering a reward for its safe return.

Feb 9, 2004

Bob Ryan: Entertaiment hijacks sport

Bob Ryan, a columnist in the Boston Globe, recently wrote a column about how entertainment was taking over sport. (Not that this is a new phenom -- sports entertainment has been around for a while.) He received over 300 responses, most of them agreeing with him. Some samples:

"Made me think of Bruins and Celtics breaks in the '40s and '50s when I would read a paper, study a program, or talk about the game during intermission. I won't go with today's flow."

"I was at a Bruins game at the Fleet last year when there was an apparent `Jumbotron malfunction' for a period or so. The crowd came alive with that thing shut down. I'll admit it; it reminded me of days of old in the Garden, and it was great."

"Everything is choreographed, nothing spontaneous. Every time there is a timeout, some fool runs onto the court. It's like a three-ring circus."

"I won't even attend hockey or basketball games anymore . . . They're nothing more than rock concerts with athletic intermissions."

"Can you imagine John Kiley playing any other song than `Hallelujah Chorus' as Carlton Fisk ran those bases in Game 6? I shudder to think what the DJs who seem to select music at today's ventures would have chosen: `Who let the Dogs Out,' or some similar inane offering."

"The Jumbotron is just for exhibitionists. Eventually, women will strip on it and men will reveal themselves."

(Update Feb. 16: Jon Cudo writes a good response defending entertainment in sports on

ESPN: "Our guide to better hockey"

ESPN's Page 2 offers some suggestion to improve the NHL. Among the suggestions:
9. Settle overtime ties with Zamboni races
6. No carpets for award presentations
5. National Anthem medley

Feb 6, 2004

Philadelphia Wings host "Love Stinks" night

The Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League are hosting a "Love Stinks" as a Valentine's Day promotion, focusing on the negative aspect of the occasion.
In addition to the game against the Arizona Sting, the Wings will feature testimonials from jilted lovers and the world's worst sappy movie moments on the jumbotron. There's also a heartbreak pinata "that fans can try and break while venting their romantic frustrations" and a divorce lawyer available for consultations. The team is even distributing black carnations to the first 5,000 women in attendance at the game.

Source: Toronto Star

Feb 5, 2004

Oops: Washington Post forgets to renew their domain

The Washington Post's e-mail system went down today, apparantly because someone forgot to renew the domain name, which is used for staff e-mails. (Update Feb. 16: It wasn't the domain, as was originally reported. Both domains are now paid up until 2009.)
Staffers said the crash–which came as deadline approached–sent the news desks into a tizzy. It was especially hard on Style, Metro, and National desks, which rely on E-mail reporting, and the photo department, which receives digital pictures from photographers via email.

Checking domain expiry dates is item #1 on Pop Interactive's very useful Annual Website Maintenance Checklist:

1. Review Your Domain Name Record
2. Check Website Email Addresses
3. Update Your Confirmation and Automated Messages
4. Test Your Forms
5. Validate Your Links
6. Check Your Site's Search Feature
7. Check Your File Sizes and Download Times
8. Review Your Stylesheets, Standards, Accessibility
and Compatibility
9. Update Your Time References and Copyright
10. Check Your Search Engine Visibility
10.5 Assess Your Site's Content & Features

Feb 3, 2004

The Scoreboard Laws

Eight rules for video scoreboard operators, from scoreboard guru Paul Shubin:

  1. When your team is losing, everything on
    the scoreboard is unacceptable.
  2. A commercial of 15 seconds duration
    takes longer than 15 seconds to produce.
  3. Agencies only deliver their material on
    the day of the game.
  4. The more bulbs there are in a scoreboard,
    the faster you will spot the one that is
    burnt out.
  5. The only time a game goes to triple
    overtime is on the evening you’ve
    scheduled a special outing.
  6. The more outrageous the activity, the
    more cameras there were that failed to
    capture it.
  7. The crazy fan who’s dancing like a fool
    will stop as soon as you put him on camera.
  8. The better the replay, the more likely you
    can’t show it.

Jan 29, 2004

Hey Ya! vs. Peanuts

Outkast's Hey Ya! given a video remix -- featuring Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. Nicely done.
Original links are down; try this: Google search.

Jan 28, 2004

Law & Order: An Adventure to Color

Law & Order's a repeat tonight, but this L&O colouring book is better than the real thing. Also:
"This video uses footage from the "Law & Order" series in order to celebrate the mundane, routine and largely unnoticed actions inherent in the show’s featured occupations. The criminal investigations and court trials in the show are comprised of suspenseful scenarios and swift, satisfying resolutions – the opposite of real police and lawyer’s work, which often moves at near-glacial pace. The boring and repetitive actions, when removed from their context and highlighted, defuse the drama of the show and become devoid of meaning. They also look really funny.

Jan 27, 2004

Big bad Bessie with the M-I-L-K

Saw a very clever commercial on tv tonight for .... Milk. A perfect spoof of a hip hop video, but featuring cattle farmers and cows.

A press release says:
Dairy Farmers of Canada-Ontario today unveiled a
new television ad featuring a posse of hip hop dancers, chillin' cows, rapping
farmers and a classic Massey Ferguson tractor that hops. The 30 and 60-second
ads are a parody of today's slickly produced rap and hip-hop videos designed
to hit teen's funny bones.

Sounds corny, but it actually works.

UPDATE: There's a copy of the video here.