Nov 28, 2010

Leslie Nielson sings the Star Spangled Banner

Leslie Nielson, playing Lt. Frank Drebin, pretending to be opera singer Enrico Pallazzo. (Thanks Kmac for the link.)

Nov 27, 2010

A half-hockey, half-basketball beast called Ice Jam

Saw this recently on Partnership Activation:
The Boston College Athletic Department recently teamed up with the Undergraduate Student Government of Boston College (UGBC) to create an unforgettable Ice Jam Event designed to drive interest in the University's basketball and hockey programs.

Boston College students, alumni, and fans were treated to a free unique sports experience that featured the Conte Forum arena transformed into a half sheet of ice and a half parquet. The BC-style Midnight Madness event allowed fans to enjoy a plethora of entertainment provided by the men's and women's basketball teams and the men's and women's hockey teams.

Nov 24, 2010

Kid rockers The Dube Brothers play for the Ottawa Senators

Meant to post this a while back. At a couple of games earlier this season, we invited Ottawa The Dube Brothers to play pre-game and during the intermission at a Sens game. The band is made up of three kids -- Liam, Jan and Quinn -- are not even teenagers yet. They rocked out & our fans loved them. Oh yeah, and they've raised about $100,000 for Haiti earthquake victims.

Here's a clip from their live pre-game set on opening night:

And here they are playing post-game in the Scotiabank Place foyer:

Nov 21, 2010

As usual, the Miami Heat come up with a great opening video

Once again this year the Miami Heat have come up with a very well-produced opening video.

Nov 18, 2010

Link round-up #3992

Nov 12, 2010

A hockey fan's tribute to "Eye of the Tiger" and a dynamite video

I don't often post about stuff we do at the Sens -- the stuff on this blog is usually generated from my "research" into what other teams are doing. I'll make an exception today to show you two great pieces from last night's game.

First, Brad, Dan and Al from Ottawa's Crush Improv put this great live skit together -- kind of a tribute to "Eye of the Tiger":

Second, a great highlight vid from our editor Pete Torresan. I love the energy and all of the great fan shots he used:

Oct 18, 2010

The new video scoreboard at Staples Center

Meant to post this last month but forgot. Better late then never, here's some info about the new video scoreboard at Staples Center, home of the Kings, Lakers and Clippers. Here's the press release:

STAPLES Center's LIVE 4HD, set to debut on Thursday night, September 23rd, when the Los Angeles Kings take to the ice to play against their NHL rivals, the Phoenix Coyotes, will be just the latest in a series of STAPLES Center additions to enhance fans' enjoyment. The brand new, state-of-the-art, eight-sided, center-hung Panasonic scoreboard and video system will be able to display all the panoramic action taking place on the ice in pristine 720p High Definition.

Designed exclusively for STAPLES Center by Panasonic, one of the arena's Founding Partners and an acknowledged worldwide leader in digital video systems, the one-of-a-kind comprehensive arena scoreboard and broadcast control room will include what is believed to be the largest indoor center-hung High Definition scoreboard video screen installation in the world. The scoreboard system is expected to serve as a prototype for future venue displays now being developed by Panasonic.

Showing crisp High Definition Video in 16:9 letterbox format on the four Panasonic 22' x 14'-3" LED displays, which are composed of fine pitch 6 mm video elements using black SMD 3 in 1 package for additional contrast, the scoreboard and display system will display live HD video action, features and special production pieces in HD quality that will rival home theater screens. With horizontal and vertical viewing angles of 140 degrees/140 degrees, a contrast ratio of 8000:1, and a brightness level for all boards reaching 2000 nits, STAPLES Center's video screens truly set the new industry standard.

The unique element for this display is the 4 additional 6 mm LED Displays on the underside of the LED Board to allow special viewing for fans with courtside seats who have previously been unable to view replays on the center hung LED. The sideline displays are nearly 8' x 14' and are capable of displaying both in-game, promotional and special content and features during the game.

Four other Panasonic LED video boards composed of 10mm pitch video elements and measuring 13'-9" x 14'-3" will keep fans up-to-date with the latest information on team stats, scores, game clock status and more. The boards are also video-capable, allowing them to be integrated so that programming can appear seamlessly across all eight screens.

The final two elements of the center-hung display are two 16mm LED "Halos," encircling both the top and bottom of the scoreboard with the ability to display graphics and integrate the effects being shown on the other screens. STAPLES Center's existing two fascia boards, encircling the entire arena between Suite Levels A & B and B & C, each measure 475' wide and 3' tall, will continue to display a full series of graphic and video messages, promotions, game information, fan entertainment and interactive elements.

The completely redesigned HD control room, located above the Upper Concourse within the Bob Miller Press Box on the West side of the arena, includes a vast array of best-of-breed technologies. At the core of the control room are Panasonic's professional broadcast products combined with a combination of best-of-breed third party products from Ross and other premier partners.

Together, all of the video components and hardware weigh a combined total of 47,000 lbs and require 5.2 million LED lights to create the incredible High Definition video displays.

Oct 15, 2010

Oct 12, 2010

VIDEO: The new video scoreboard in Orlando

Here's some cool video of the new video scoreboard at Amway Center in Orlando. It's a Daktronics board, and they've split one video image onto all of the LED surfaces.

Oct 9, 2010

VIDEO: Pittsburgh Penguins open Consol Energy Center

You can use all the pyro / giant scoreboards / ice projectors / lasers / cyberlights you want, but often it's the small, simple things that have the biggest impact. Case in point: Mario Lemieux pours Mellon Arena water onto the ice at the new Consol Energy Center arena.

Oct 4, 2010

Sometimes jumbotron references pop up in the stranges places

Case in point: Here's the Detroit Tigers video scoreboard mentioned on a blog called "Papyrus Watch", that tracks spottings of the Papyrus font.

And apparantly the St. Louis Cardinals use it too.

Sep 25, 2010

Video: The original Chicago Bears mascot

Here's a great mini-doc from 1970 about George Motica, the guy who dressed up as the original Chicago Bears mascot. After you watch this video, you'll see why most sports mascots aren't allowed to talk.

(via Your Mascot Sucks)

Sep 21, 2010

World's largest HD videoboard is coming to Charlotte Motor Speedway

Here's a computer rendering of the board:

It will measure 200 feet wide by 80 feet high. Think about how big that is -- the size of an NHL skating rink. It's also bigger than the Dallas Cowboys screen, which is a miniscule 159 x 71 feet in comparison.

Here's a press release about the new scoreboard:

CONCORD, N.C., Sep 21, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Continuing a tradition of innovation and fabulous firsts, Speedway Motorsports Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!trk (TRK 16.27, -0.21, -1.27%) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer O. Bruton Smith and Charlotte Motor Speedway officials announced a partnership with Panasonic to revolutionize the fan experience at motorsports events with the creation of the world's largest high-definition video board.

Panasonic will also become the founding sponsor of the video board and a Speedway Motorsports Inc. alliance partner around its broad portfolio of advanced technologies.

At an incredible length of 200 feet wide, standing 80 feet tall and weighing 165,000 pounds, the video board will cover an expansive 16,000 square feet and be located between Turns 2 and 3 along the backstretch of the legendary superspeedway. Fans seated throughout the frontstretch from Turn 4 to Turn 1 will have clear viewing angles of the gigantic board that will feature 720P high-definition visuals illuminated by more than nine million light emitting diode, or LED, lamps.

"Charlotte Motor Speedway continually establishes itself as a pioneer when it comes to one-of-a-kind, over-the-top facility enhancements that change the game for motorsports fans," said Smith. "Fans will see this like a gigantic television that will elevate the NASCAR experience in ways they have never dreamed. It will give them a view of the on-track action on the world's largest high-definition screen. The fans will feel closer than ever before to the cars and stars of NASCAR at each event."

In addition to the live race coverage, the video board will provide fans with interactive entertainment, continuous leaderboard updates, sponsor information and instant replays.

"Panasonic is proud of our efforts to bring this spectacular new high-definition scoreboard to Charlotte Motor Speedway," said James Doyle, president, Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company. "This amazing example of industry-leading technology and engineering speaks volumes about our strong relationship with Charlotte Motor Speedway as we work together to bring innovative concepts to life and enhance the fan experience.

"Panasonic worked closely with Charlotte Motor Speedway to design the end-to-end system from the control room to this massive HD video board," Doyle added. "We are confident that the new Panasonic HD video board system will leave fans awestruck and make their entire Charlotte Motor Speedway experience that much more enjoyable and memorable."

Construction will begin on the video board following the Oct. 13-16 Bank of America 500 Week at Charlotte Motor Speedway and is scheduled to be complete by April, 2011.

Panasonic is now the exclusive audio/video provider of Charlotte Motor Speedway with category exclusivity inclusive of camera, camcorder, television, display, and Blu-ray.

The creation of the video board is the latest in a tradition of trend-setting innovations and fabulous firsts at Charlotte Motor Speedway during its 51-year history. Other notable firsts include:

-- 600-Mile Race. In 1960, Charlotte Motor Speedway became the first and only track to host a 600-mile NASCAR-sanctioned event. Now known as the Coca-Cola 600, the race is still the longest and one of the most prestigious on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule.

-- Luxury Condominiums. Charlotte Motor Speedway became the first sports facility in America to offer year-round living accommodations in 1984 when it released 40 condominiums for sale high above Turn 1. Twelve additional condominiums were added in 1990.

-- The Speedway Club. Opened in 1988, The Speedway Club was the first exclusive members-only private club to be constructed at a motorsports facility. The club features restaurant seating for 240 people overlooking the frontstretch and expansive ballroom and boardroom banquet facilities. Members enjoy a champagne toast with the race winner after each Coca-Cola 600 and Bank of America 500.

-- Night Racing. Charlotte Motor Speedway became the first modern speedway to offer night racing in 1992 after installing a $1.7-million, 1,200-fixture permanent lighting system. The system was different from any installed at other tracks in that it used a system of adjustable mirrors surrounding the inside of the track to moderate the light aimed at the drivers.

Sep 19, 2010

Houston Astros try to set a harmonica record

I thought this was another Onion joke at first, but it's true. Last week, the Houston Astros tried to set a world harmonica record. Here's info from their web site.
"On Friday, September 10th the Houston Astros and their fans will attempt to set a new world record for most people playing a song on the harmonica.

The world record event will take place immediately following the 7:05pm game against the Dodgers. 10,000 harmonicas will be handed out prior to the game and fans who stay after the game will be taught how to play a song and a new world record will be set!

A Guinness Book of World Records representative will be present to verify the record and the number of people playing. Be a part of history!"

(via The Biz of Baseball)

Sep 16, 2010

NFL (finally) allows teams to encourage fan noise at stadiums

I know this is old news but I thought it should be documented here. The NFL has finally rescinded a rule that prevented teams from using noise prompts on video scoreboards and electronic signage.

Here's an article from that sums up the situation:

...this season at the Superdome, thanks to a rule change approved in March by the NFL competition committee, the Saints will have more leeway to encourage fans to let loose with as much noise as they can produce.

Under a rule that took effect in 1989, a team was not allowed to use video boards to show anything that would promote more crowd noise. Under the previous rule on club-controlled sound, "The use of noise meters or such messages as 'Noise!, ' 'Let's hear it!, ' 'Raise the Roof, ' 'Let's go Crazy, ' 'Pump it up, ' '12th Man' are prohibited at any time during the game. These examples are not limited to the foregoing, but also would include similar messages that encourage crowds to make random noise in order to disrupt the opposition."

...those restrictions no longer will apply until the play clock reaches 15 seconds.

Under the new rules, until the play clock hits that point, the Saints will be allowed to show any messages that aren't vulgar or derogatory on the video boards to encourage noise from the fans.

The Saints haven't offered specifics about what the team might do to get the fans' cheers in the Vikings' ears.

"We will certainly do everything within the rules to encourage fan participation and enjoyment of the game, " Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel said in an e-mail.

The Atlanta Falcons have revealed a few of their ideas on how to promote fan noise.

Before key plays, the Falcons plan to show a decibel meter to encourage fans to push the indicator as high as possible.

There are restrictions under the new rules. For example, a team can't pump in noise to disrupt the visitors.

Under the new rules, "Any noise that is under club control must cease when the play clock is running, and the visiting team is in possession of the ball, or after the ball is kicked by either team on a kickoff. As an example, if the play clock is not running, a drumbeat, accompanied by "Defense" or some other message on the video board, may be played, but the drumbeat and any other audio must stop when the play clock starts while the visiting team is on offense."

Also under the new rules, videos of fans, cheerleaders and home-team players must stop when the play clock hits 15 seconds. Public-address announcements must stop when the huddle breaks or when the visiting team is ready to snap the ball in a no-huddle offense.

Also prohibited are videos of the visiting team's huddle, conferences in the visitors' bench area and the quarterback at the line of scrimmage.

The new noise policy stems from the NFL's effort to make the game more exciting for fans at the stadiums.

Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke at the league's annual meeting in March about how some fans might find it more comfortable to stay home and watch a game on television.

And here are the old rules, which I found on the Seattle Times web site from 2006. Even the wave was prohibited! (I blogged about the issue back about this time in 2006 as well.)

Sep 10, 2010

Recommended reading: Mark Cuban on fan experience

An absolutely brilliant post from Mark Cuban about what he's trying to achieve with the gameday experience at Mavericks games. Required reading for my students this year, recommended reading for everybody else. A sample:
We in the sports business don’t sell the game, we sell unique, emotional experiences.We are not in the business of selling basketball. We are in the business of selling fun and unique experiences. I say it to our people at the Mavs at all time, I want a Mavs game to be more like a great wedding than anything else.

You know the wedding I’m talking about. The one where everyone is up dancing, smiling , cheering, laughing. The one where Grandma Ethel has her annual vodka gimlet and is trying to do the Dougie. The one where although you have no earthly idea what the Dougie is, you can’t say no to your 12 year old niece. The one where the whole place does the Macarena while laughing so hard they are crying. The one where everyone sings out loud to every song and you hug the cousin you haven’t seen in 10 years and hope you don’t see for another 10. It doesn’t matter if half the room doesn’t believe the couple will still be married at the end of the year. It matters if everyone in the place is having a great time. It matters if its the type of wedding that everyone in the room wished or wishes their wedding was or will be like this one. It matters that you leave the reception and your hands hurt from clapping , your mouth hurts from smiling so much and your throat is sore because you were laughing , singing and hollering so much. That’s a great wedding.

That’s how I want a Mavs game to be.

I want it to be very participatory. I want it to be very social. I want it to be very inclusive. I want it to be memorable. I want it to be so much fun people talk about it to their friends and can’t wait to go back. I want every parent to get tears in their eyes when they see their kids jumping up and down when the score is 2 to 0. When they are chanting Lets Go Mavs . When they are dancing and trying to get on the big screen. I want the guy on the date knowing that the longest he will have to talk is during halftime and that after the game, and until the next one, he can talk about the game itself and not have all the pressure of trying to think of something to say while his date can be relieved that she can enjoy the game without him talking. Or vice versa of course. I want everyone coming to a Mavs game to be able to find their own personal attachment to that night. I know I can’t control what happens on the court every game, but I can do my very best to make sure that no matter what the score, we have done all we can to make the fan experience like a great wedding.
Read the entire post...

Sep 2, 2010

Video: Astrodome Scoreboard Memories

Not sure exactly what this is or where it came from. The person who posted it to YouTube writes: "this was @ the Astrodome In Houston Texas this was from the Scoreboard... Lots of Memories. I hope you enjoy.... from 1965 to 1988. I hope you will Enjoy the Video."

Can anyone give any more info?

See also: Astros Home Run Sequence

Aug 30, 2010

Dandy, the long-lost mascot of the New York Yankees

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Dandy, the one-time mascot of the New York Yankees:
From 1979 to 1981, the Yankees employed a mascot named Dandy. He was big and blue and a spectacular failure—a historical oddity for a proud franchise that has collected 27 world championships but would just as soon forget he even existed.

"It's one of the sadder stories," said Wayde Harrison, who created Dandy with his wife, Bonnie Erickson.

In 1979, the Yankees appeared eager to replicate the success of the Phillie Phanatic, the green, pot-bellied mascot that Mr. Harrison and Ms. Erickson created in 1978. In his first two years of existence, according to Mr. Harrison, Phanatic-related products generated $2 million in revenue—and his popularity has not waned.


Want to know whom to blame for Dandy's premature demise? Look no further than the San Diego Chicken and Lou Piniella.

On July 10, 1979, the Chicken—on sabbatical from the Padres, his regular employer—was working for the Seattle Mariners at the Kingdome, where he threw a hex on Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry as he warmed up. Mr. Piniella, the Yankees' left fielder at the time, considered this to be in poor taste, so he chased the Chicken and, lacking apparent success, fired his glove at him in a fit of rage.

In the wake of that fiasco, Mr. Steinbrenner supported Mr. Piniella by telling reporters that mascots had no place in baseball—this, just two weeks before the Yankees were to introduce their own.

Read the entire article...
Dandy looks like a long-lost cousin of Youppi!, and not coincidentally they were both created by Acme Mascots.

Aug 27, 2010

Guyism: The 7 types of people you'll see on the jumbotron

I would add an 8th: "Oblivious Guy"

Original published on Guyism:

7 The Attention Whore
This person will begin flailing their arms to get the attention of the camera, and then continue making a fool of his or her self once on screen. When they see someone near them on the JumboTron they make a convincing effort to steal the focus of the camera. If they know the person near them, they’ll do the “bunny ears” technique, which somehow has not died off, nor has escaped this person’s imagination despite probably being thirty.

6 The Dancer
Have you ever been to a sporting event and, during a timeout, witnessed an event commonly known as “Dance Cam?” You know, where the people make fools out of themselves by shaking whatever it may be that their respective mothers gave them. Generally this is not a pretty sight, but it can really go either way when the camera captures a member of this group. Regardless if it is time for some dance related event, this type of person is constantly strutting, shimmying, twisting, bopping, or in some cases even boogying down.

5 The Sideline Celebrity
Having a big name in the building at a major sporting event is bound to garner attention. One should expect to see the celebrity on the big screen at least once during the course of the game. But this can become a little tricky. For instance, what do you do when the biggest “celebrity” at the game is some local politician? Sure, he proposed Ordinance 943.2 to eliminate unfair taxes on imported strawberries from a bordering county, but that’s the short term. With celebrities you need to think staying power.

4 The Awkward Waver
This person didn’t want to be on the JumboTron, but now they are and they’re just going to wave until they aren’t any longer. This is also the person that if they are in the shot of the JumboTron when it is focused on someone else, they act as if they are having a conversation or doing something on their phone even if they know they’re on camera.

3 The Duck-and-Hider
A shyer version of the “Awkward Waver.” The duck-and-hider will do anything to avoid being on the JumboTron. As it turns out, this is usually a great way to draw more attention to you. If the cameraman has a sense of humor they follow this person and show them multiple times over the course of the game.

2 The Proposal Maker
There is a lot of fun to be had with this guy (or very, very brave girl. You’ve got to have confidence to be in this category. Not only do you need the balls to speak in front of a huge audience, you better be confident you’re going to get the answer you want. There are few things worse than the image of you failing at one of the most important moments of your life on a fifty-foot screen built specifically to replay memorable events over and over.

1 The Couple
Are couples at games ever not awkward? Especially with Kiss Cam. When it comes on here’s a breakdown of what happens: the guy draws attention to the two of them so he can slip her the tongue on the JumboTron. She hides her face in her hands as if it was some sort of mask that made her boyfriend not act like a tool (Side note: Kiss Cam is the reason you should not go to a game of any sort with a relative of the opposite gender. Prepare for awkwardness). There’s nothing is better than a guy going in for a kiss on the JumboTron and his partner denying him completely. You know they fight about it the rest of the night too. You may say that I’m just bitter and to that I say, “You’re right.”

Aug 24, 2010

Quick round up of new video scoreboards

  • Brewers Going With Massive Hi-Def Display for Miller Park Next Season
    "The new video board features a single screen, pure high definition display, and will be the third-largest scoreboard in Major League Baseball at 5,940 square feet. The only larger boards in Major League Baseball are Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium (8,900 square feet) and Phoenix’s Chase Field (6,200 square feet).
    In addition, the new video board will be just the third true 1080 display in baseball, and the fifth in existence in all major US sports venues. Other facilities featuring 1080 displays include Yankee Stadium (Yankees), Target Field (Twins), Cowboys Stadium (NFL Dallas Cowboys) and American Airlines Center (NBA Dallas Mavericks).
    The video display system will utilize Daktronics newest 15 millimeter LED technology, featuring a tighter resolution and improved image quality, and will measure approximately 54 feet high by 110 feet wide. This technology and its control system allow for complete flexibility in programming. The video board can operate as a single giant display, or be divided into multiple zones (windows) to show a wide variety of statistics, information, graphics, animation and live and recorded video."
  • Photos of the new FedEx Fields Scoreboards
  • Baltimore Ravens get new HD Scoreboard (video)
  • Red Sox eye $10M upgrade to Fenway scoreboards
    Team officials are seeking approval from the Boston Landmarks Commission to replace Fenway’s main video board above the bleachers with a 38-by-100-foot flat screen

Aug 21, 2010

Guy plays national anthem on an electric baseball bat fiddle


"Glenn Donnellan, who plays for the National Symphony Orchestra, created an electric violin from a Louisville Slugger bat. He played the National Anthem Aug. 8 (2009) at the game between the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks."

Aug 18, 2010

LA Dodgers 8th inning tradition: crazy guy dancing and lyp-sincing to Journey

Credit to Brian Gainor for finding these videos:
"During the 8th inning of Los Angeles Dodgers games, the team calls on Jameson Moss, a talented season ticket holder to perform a unique dance rendition of the famous Journey song title, "Don't Stop Believing" on the scoreboard at Dodger Stadium."

Aug 15, 2010

More from from the Onion: Cubs Organ Player Getting Into Heavier, Darker Stuff

From The Onion:
Over the past several weeks, longtime Cubs organist Gary Pressy has gradually stopped playing the light ballpark-organ riffs that typically fill Wrigley Field's stands in favor of more broody, chilling songs. "I have to say that lately the sounds coming out of that organ have made me anxious and sad and in no mood to clap along," said season-ticket holder Mike Preston, adding that instead of playing "Hava Nagila" or using his organ to start a "Let's Go Cubs" chant, Pressy will strike an oppressive minor chord and sustain the unsettling tone for up to an entire minute. "Yesterday he played a really slow fugue on 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' in this dark, funereal key. It was haunting." When asked for comment, Pressy drove reporters away by playing a demented arrangement of "Happy Birthday" on his newly installed 20,000-pipe, seven-story-tall organ.

Aug 14, 2010

The Onion: Padres Grounds Crew Dims Stadium's Lights For Romantic Night Game

This would be a great idea for the next Valentine's Day game ... from The Onion.
SAN DIEGO—In an effort to reignite the fading passion between the Padres and Dodgers, the Petco Park grounds crew set the mood for a romantic night game Tuesday by dimming the stadium's lights, arranging rose petals along the baselines, and softly playing Al Green's I'm Still In Love With You over the speakers. "Everything is just so lovely," said Padres center fielder Tony Gwynn, Jr., admiring the glow of 4,000 slow-burning candles atop the outfield wall as he sipped from a champagne flute and took practice swings in the on-deck circle. "It's nice to turn off the JumboTron for once and spend some quality time together. The red silk draped over the dugout really adds to the ambience and the bowl of potpourri totally eliminates the stale crotch smell in there." Umpires later ejected Casey Blake when the Dodgers third baseman charged the mound and attempted to stuff a chocolate-dipped strawberry into pitcher Jon Garland's mouth.

Aug 12, 2010

Aug 11, 2010

All about Beer Cup Snakes (aka Cup Stacking), the lastest craze

I know I am late on this but it has to be documented:

Like The Wave and "Potvin Sucks!", in latest in the great tradition of fan-created stadium fun comes Beer Cup Snakes, also known as Cup Stacking.

That's where fans, usually at outdoor stadiums, collect empty plastic beer cups, and stack them together into huge "snakes" that span dozens of rows of seating.

The activity came to prominence earlier this summer when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers banned the practice from their stadium:

The beer snake slithered into existence at the Bombers’ first home game of the season and is the pride and joy of the notoriously rowdy Section S at Canad Inns Stadium, but the team worries it poses a threat to fan safety.

"Regretfully, we witnessed the beer cups being thrown at the conclusion of our home game of July 9, which resulted in several minor injuries to our fans as well as many emails and communications to our office voicing concern and displeasure from our fans," the team said in a news release today.

On Monday, Bomber spokesman Darren Cameron said some fans had been cut by plastic beer cups that frequently rain down from the upper decks of the stadium as jubilant fans pitch in to assemble the beery behemoth, flinging cups from above and below the faux-serpent.

And of course, Beer Snake now has its own entry in Wikipedia.

Aug 9, 2010

NYT: "To Pack a Stadium, Provide Video Better Than TV"

Derek Dawley tweeted about this article in the New York Times about video strategies at the new Meadowlands Stadium. Some highlights:
How do you keep football fans as regular visitors to stadiums when the television coverage of every play is so good?

For the Giants and the Jets, the answer, perhaps surprisingly, is more and better video than people can get at home. This season, the New Meadowlands Stadium will offer fans free smart-phone applications that they can glance at to see video replays, updated statistics and live video from other games — and that will work only inside a stadium.

Over the next few years, stadium officials say, the applications will provide fans with statistics on the speed of players and the ball, and fantasy games that will allow them to pick players and compete against other fans.

A real-life game no longer seems to be enough.

In recent years, television coverage of the National Football League has become so rich and detailed that teams and stadiums have no choice but to respond with their own technology plays. Last spring the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, said the experience for fans in stadiums needed to be elevated to compete with television broadcasts, to keep fans engaged — and to keep them buying tickets — in a challenging economic climate.

To do that, stadium officials here have taken steps few other N.F.L. stadiums have. About $100 million has been spent on the stadium’s technology, and a former television production executive was hired to oversee the fan experience to offer more than fans can get sitting at home on their couches in front of their high-definition television sets.

...It is unclear how the smart-phone applications will change the atmosphere of games. Fans praised Cowboys Stadium, which opened in Arlington, Tex., last year, for its twin video boards that are suspended over the field and stretch nearly from one 20-yard line to the other so that fans can watch the action live both on the field and on a big screen.

The four video screens at the New Meadowlands Stadium are smaller, but officials say the stadium’s innovations go further than at Cowboys Stadium or any other in the country.

...Security officials will have special bracelets that parents can have placed on their children. In the event that a child is lost, the stadium’s video security system can immediately locate the child on a television screen.

“Teams shouldn’t have an imbalance in the television experience and the stadium experience,” said Vince Gennaro, who is a marketing consultant to several sports teams and teaches sports management at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education. “Once you raise the bar on one, you have to raise the bar on the other. I think it’s really important now that high definition and DirecTV have innovated, that teams compete essentially with themselves and bring that experience to the seat.”

Read the entire article...

Aug 6, 2010

All about the Twittering organ player from the Atlanta Braves

Public Broadcasting Atlanta recently had a good piece about Matthew Kaminski, the stadium organist for the Atlanta Braves. He's using Twitter to share his music selections, and to solicit suggestions from fans. A preview:
"Baseball is a game filled with tradition--like singing along when the organ plays "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." But in many major league ballparks, technology has replaced that tradition. The organist is gone, and fans sing to a recording. At Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, live organ music is making a comeback--with a 21st century twist. Philip Graitcer has the story..." Listen here.
Check out the most recent posts from Matthew on his Twitter feed, @bravesorganist

Minor league baseball team to recreate Eddie Gaedel at-bat

Darren Rovell reports:
One minor league team is intent on re-living Eddie Gaedel’s moment.

On Aug. 19, the independent River City Rascals will recreate the famous moment as part of its “Salute to Bill Veeck and St. Louis Baseball History Night.”

In honor of the 59th anniversary of the famous stunt where the St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck sent the 3-foot-7 little person to bat against the Detroit Tigers, the team says it has signed a person who is “barely over four feet” to re-enact the moment in the bottom of the first inning.

As an added touch, the small person the Rascals hired will wear a 1/8th jersey, just like Gaedel had worn that night.

Funderburg said that the team will give away 27 items, one for each out the opposing team makes, from 1951. The biggest prize is an authentic autograph of Frank Saucier, the man who Gaedel replaced that day.

The team says it has extended an invitation to St. Louis Cardinals president Bill DeWitt, who happened to be the bat boy for the game where Gaedel came to the plate.

Funderburg hopes the re-creation goes off without a hitch, but admits that he has no control over what the pitcher for the Oakland County Cruisers, the opposing team that night, does. Gaedel famously walked on four pitches that flew over his head.

Said Funderburg: “They agreed that they would work with us. But I’m still afraid they are going throw at him.”

Read the entire article...

Jul 8, 2010

Mental Floss: 100 Years of Scoreboard Watching

Here's a great post from the mental_floss Blog, chronicling the technical evolution of video scoreboards over the past century or so. The article is full of great photos, and here are some highlights:
In 1908, Chicago inventor George A. Baird developed an electric baseball scoreboard that recorded balls, strikes, and outs. While Baird’s invention was tested by Boston’s two major league clubs, it didn’t immediately catch on across the league. Team owners were hesitant to provide information to fans for fear that it would cut into the sale of scorecards, but the electric scoreboard signaled an eventual shift in the in-game experience at stadiums and arenas. Over the next two decades, manually operated scoreboards evolved to feature more information than the score. Lineups with player names and numbers were displayed, along with scores and pitchers’ numbers from games around the league...

When Yankee Stadium opened in 1923, it featured a large manually operated scoreboard in right field that was visible to every spectator in the park. In 1950, the Yankees unveiled an electric scoreboard that the team called “the most efficient scoreboard ever built and, in general, a big stride forward.” The Yankees’ new scoreboard was operated by two men as opposed to five and featured a non-glare enamel covering...

Before the 1959 season, the Yankees made another upgrade, installing the first scoreboard to feature a changeable message display. The New York Times, which dubbed the new scoreboard “the electronic miracle,” provided the specifics: “The board will contain 11,210 lamps with a wattage of 115,000, 619,000 feet of electric cable, will weigh 25 tons (not including the steel supporting structure), will have more than 4,860 push buttons on the master control console and will have a total face area of 4,782 square feet.”

Wrigley Field’s iconic 89-foot scoreboard was built in 1937 under the direction of flamboyant club treasurer and future White Sox owner Bill Veeck, whose father was team president until he died in 1933. Most of the original Wrigley Field scoreboard, which still stands today, is manually operated, but the batter’s number, balls, strikes, and outs are displayed electronically in the center portion of the board. The original control panel is still in use.

“What’s baseball coming to?”
That’s what former White Sox manager Jimmy Dykes asked after Comiskey Park’s exploding scoreboard, which featured multi-colored pinwheels and shot off fireworks after every home run by a Chicago player, was unveiled in 1960. “All I know is that if I was a pitcher whose home run ball had started that Fourth of July celebration, I’d fire my next pitch at the head of the next hitter,” Dykes told a reporter. While some opponents resented the extravagant display, which was another one of Veeck’s ideas, the unique scoreboard design was retained when Chicago’s current stadium opened in 1991.

Bigger and Better
When the Houston Astrodome opened in 1965, its 474-foot wide scoreboard was the largest in all of sports. The scoreboard featured 50,000 lights that erupted in a 45-second animated display of cowboys, ricocheting bullets, flags, steers, and fireworks after every Astros home run or victory. The display was set to a soundtrack that included “The Eyes of Texas.”

Diamond Vision
The Los Angeles Dodgers unveiled a $3 million, 875-square foot video board at the 1980 All-Star Game. Mitsubishi’s Diamond Vision, which enabled operators to show replays using a VCR, was the first video board of its kind and a sign of things to come. Similar video boards soon became standard in stadiums and arenas, as the resolution and functionality of the screens improved and Sony entered the market with its popular JumboTron. In 2009, the Dallas Cowboys unveiled the world’s largest high-definition video display, an LED scoreboard developed by Mitsubishi.
Other Iconic Baseball Scoreboards
Read the entire article...

Jul 2, 2010

LA Dodgers try to set a record for loudest scream

Last month, the LA Dodgers enlisted the help of Ozzy Osborne in an attempt to set a Guiness record for the world's loudest scream. Here's a video. From
Ozzy to lead Dodger Stadium crowd in Guinness World Records® Attempt for Loudest Scream

OZZY OSBOURNE will lead Dodgers fans in what will potentially be the Guinness World Record-holding longest and loudest scream this Friday, June 11 during the 5th inning break when the Dodgers play against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. As part of the third annual ThinkCure! Weekend at Dodger Stadium this Friday, June 11 and Saturday, June 12, Ozzy and his wife Sharon Osbourne, a cancer survivor, will lend their support to ThinkCure! This stadium-wide scream is also in celebration of Osbourne’s upcoming Epic Records album SCREAM, due out June 22.

During Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at 7:10 p.m. fans will be prompted to save their loudest scream for the middle of the 5th inning when Ozzy Osbourne and Stuart Claxton of Guinness World Records will take the field and lead the crowd in a “Scream for a Cure.” The stadium’s scream will be measured in length and audio level in hopes of breaking the world record. Additionally, Sharon Osbourne lent her support to ThinkCure! by recording a promotional message that will air in-game and during the telethon and online.

Fans can also donate to the ThinkCure! Weekend online at and by calling (866) 554-CURE or by texting CURE to 50555 to make a $10 donation through their mobile phone bill.

ThinkCure! is an innovative, community-based non-profit that accelerates collaborative research to cure cancers. It was launched in July 2007 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the McCourt family, City of Hope and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Jun 28, 2010

On music, baseball, and branding

Here's a really interesting blog post about music and branding in baseball: "What My First Kiss Taught Me About Branding". Some highlights:
During my time in baseball, I was responsible for the audio in the park. I was the guy who played all the music before and during the game, all the sound effects and cheers in between. A common practice was labeling certain events with audio. While with the Padres, the at-bat song for a player was all the rage; it was a brand builder for a player. In 1998 we introduced “Hells Bells” as the music when closer Trevor Hoffman entered the game. Within a matter of months, it became one of the most recognizable sports/audio branding moments. It led to a slew of other closers utilizing a song to come into a game, including Joe Nathan, closer for the Minnesota Twins, using “Stand Up and Shout” from the film Rock Star.

I made sure that every single time the Padres (and in later years the River Cats) hit a home run, the exact same song was played as the batter rounded the bases: Land Of 1,000 Dances by Wilson Pickett.

...There are certain moments in our lives that have a very specific soundtrack. Like a visual brand, the audio identifies the event. Every time you hear that song, or that sound effect, nostalgia hits you like a kick in the shin, reminding you of everything about that event.

...There are several parts of a game that have a soundtrack: foul balls, cheers, player intros. . .and home runs. The reason a home run has a single audio identifier is to associate the audio with something great. This has two benefits to it. First, the crowd associates the song with the event. So whether you’re in the stands, at the concession, or in the restroom, when you hear the song, you know exactly what has happened. Second, the song becomes nostalgic outside the sporting event. To this day, I cannot hear Land of 1,000 Dances or Hell’s Bells without mentally drifting back to warm summer nights at the ballpark. I make sure I have something cold on those warm summer nights. Then I drift. . . To this day, eight years since I have worked a Padres baseball game, I can still recount the events of a game based on audio alone...

Read the entire post...

Jun 25, 2010

All about the L.A. Lakers Kiss Cam

Here's an article from the L.A. Times about one of the most celebrity-filled Kiss Cams in North American sports: The L.A. Lakers at the Staples Centre. Highlights:
Midway through nearly every Lakers game at Staples Center, in a manner so pure and unscripted we sometimes cry out in wonder, it happens.

It's about twisting, spinning, lunging, stretching, feinting, grabbing, clutching and, ultimately, scoring.

It's about kissing.

...Nobody does Kiss Cam like a Lakers crowd.

Nowhere, it seems, are the couples as animated, or the crowd as involved, or the message about the heart of Los Angeles any more clear. In a night filled with supermen, it is a brief, heartwarming reminder that the Lakers have been built upon the hopes and ideals of those who are real.

In a town where everything is supposedly disposable, no Kiss Cam moment is cheered louder than a smooch between an elderly couple. In a town that supposedly doesn't trumpet family values, the second-loudest cheers occur for the forehead pecks of a parent on a child.

The third-most popular Kiss Cam moment? Hugh Hefner sitting in a luxury suite kissing three or four bunnies. C'mon, this is still Hollywood.

...In the end there is usually wild cheering, because there is usually Dustin Hoffman. Sitting several rows behind the scorer's table, Hoffman has inexplicably become the star of this show, giving the old-fashioned segment a vaudeville ending.

He will kiss wife Lisa passionately, or with popcorn coming out of his mouth, or mysteriously behind a program. Recently he topped himself by kissing her before the cameras found him, as if he's always making out in the middle of the game.

The cool thing about Hoffman is the cool thing about Kiss Cam. Not once have the Lakers talked with him about his participation. Not once have they warned him that he was going to be shown. Like everything else on the Kiss Cam, it just happens.
Read the entire article...

Jun 22, 2010

Article: Finding a mascot a key to pro sports organizations

Here's an article from about mascots in professional sports. Some highlights:

"You have to miss family birthday parties and weddings to go to other people's birthday parties and weddings," said Carrie Norwood, mascot coordinator with the White Sox. "You have to have a bigger than life personality, and know when not to have a bigger than life personality."


Professional sports teams see the importance of a mascot equal to who is on the field. The mascot is the friendly member of the team that fans can touch and interact with, while athletes aren't always as available.

"When kids think of the RailCats, they do think of Rusty as being No. 1," said Laura Blakeley, Manager of Merchandise and Community Relations for the RailCats. "For a lot of people, when they hear 'RailCats', they think of Rusty."

Rusty the RailCat, mascot for Gary's Northern League baseball team, makes between $50 to $70 per appearance. Southpaw is a full-time front office staff member in the franchise with a full slate of regular-season home games plus an additional 250 outside appearances.

"A fair range is between $30,000 to $200,000 per year, but it just depends on who the character is," Norwood said. "It's about how much experience you have, because someone like the Philly Phanatic is going to get paid more because he's flying all over the country."


The secrecy of keeping a mascot's identity varies from team to team. While Famous Chicken Ted Giannoulas isn't shy about giving interviews, talking to a crowd or revealing who he is, Norwood said that there are members of Southpaw's family who don't know about the day job.

Blackhawks media representative Adam Rogowin said the team has a policy of not allowing Tommy Hawk to speak with the media or public. When Rusty practiced routines with the RailCats' dance team last season, media and cameras were limited so as not to reveal the identity of the man behind the suit.

"It's kind of like being Superman," Norwood said. "Once people realize there's someone inside, then the fantasy is ruined. That's one reason our performer doesn't go around telling people what he does. The way adults react toward Southpaw, they totally forget there's someone inside. We want to keep it that way."

Unlike most colleges, which rotate mascots as performers graduate, most professional teams hope to keep performers on the staff as long as possible. The directors say that fans notice anomalies in behavior of mascots, which is why a major league mascot like Southpaw has maintained continuity.

"People notice if Jammer goes from right-handed to left-handed when signing an autograph," Keegan said. "They note the small changes. ... Last year, our Jammer could ride a skateboard. If we have to find someone new, we have to find certain traits.

Read the entire article...

Jun 19, 2010

Behind the scenes: The technology behind the Olympic opening ceremonies

Here's a really interesting article from Production, Lights and Staging News about the technology that powered the opening ceremonies at Vancouver's Winter Oympics. The article details some of the challenges in rigging and programing the massive show. To give you an idea, here's a partial list of the lighting and video gear used for the event:

Projection: (Solotech)
  • 30 Christie 20K Roadster projector
  • 24 Christie 18K Roadster projector
  • 2 Christie 30K Roadster projector
  • 4 Christie 10K Roadster projector
  • 36 PIGI DDRA 7K Xenon projector
  • 6 Only View Master unit
  • 118 Only View Display unit
  • 2 Only Cue Master
  • 6km fiber optic cable
  • Sony broadcast switcher and monitoring for all the creative staff

Lighting: (PRG)
  • Fixtures:
  • 192 Martin MAC 2000 Wash
  • 64 Martin MAC 2000 Performance
  • 19 PRG Bad Boy
  • 70 PRG VL6C+ Spot
  • 242 Vari*Lite VL3500 Spot
  • 165 Vari*Lite VL3500 Wash
  • 173 Vari*Lite VL3000 Spot
  • 112 Vari*Lite VL2416 Wash
  • 74 Vari*Lite VL1000 A/S
  • 104 Vari*Lite VL5Arc Wash
  • 50 Vari*Lite VL5 Wash
  • 44 A&O Technology Falcon 6kW CMY
  • 4 A&O Technology Falcon Flower 7kW
  • 326 Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlast 12 TR
  • 44 Philips Color Kinetics iW Blast TR
  • 33 Philips Color Kinetics iColor Cove MX Powercore 12"
  • 30 Philips Color Kinetics iW Profile
  • 22 Coemar ParLite
  • 386 Element Labs HD Versa TUBE 1 Meter
  • 24 Element Labs HD Versa TUBE .5 Meter
  • 5 Strong 3kW Xenon Gladiator III followspots
  • 11 Strong 4kW Xenon Gladiator III followspots
  • 2 Strong 2.5kW Xenon Gladiator II followspots
  • 16 Lycian 2.5kW HMI M2 followspots
  • 300 ETC Source Four Ellipsoidal and Source Four PAR

  • 6 PRG V676 consoles
  • 1 PRG Virtuoso DX2 consoles
  • 2 MA Lighting grandMA consoles
  • 2 PRG Mbox Extreme v3 media servers
  • 27 PRG Series 400 racks
  • 162 S400 208V breaker modules
  • 336 S400 208V break out boxes
  • 4 S400 FOH modules
  • 52 S400 Node Plus
  • 45 S400 10 port switches
  • 17,500 feet (3.3 miles) optical cable
  • 77,745 feet (14.65 miles) S400 trunk cable
  • 37,135 feet (7.03 miles) L6-20 cable
  • 47,710 feet (9.04 miles) 5-Pin XLR DMX cable
  • 21,925 feet (4.15 miles) 4/0 feeder cable

Jun 16, 2010

Behind the scenes: Fan experience in Boston has a great look behind the curtain at TD Banknorth Garden. Some highlights:

Before the final buzzer, 300 crowd shots will be broadcast, along with 45 game-action replays on the high-definition Jumbotron. The Garden DJ will play 125 songs at rock concert volume. The Celtics cheerleaders will fire 40 T-shirts into the stands by air gun. On the court, four promotions will fill timeouts, along with three dance routines by a squad of young women wearing considerably less clothing than normal for a cold winter night. Halftime will feature a similarly-clad female unicyclist tossing bowls from the tip of her bright red shoe onto her head.

...And they do all this knowing that the latest in game presentation can be hard to take for fans whose loyalties are passed generation to generation, and who may be nostalgic for the days when Garden entertainment meant John Kiley at the organ and fans cheering without Jumbotron prompts.

...Kelly Higgins of North Attleborough doesn't understand the debate over fired-up game presentation. When the 20-year-old won tickets to a Celtics game last season, she tried to give them away. She found no takers and went to her first NBA contest.

"When I got back I couldn't tell you who played, but I could remember everything they did on the Jumbotron," said Higgins, who is now eager to use her boyfriend's season-ticket package. "The atmosphere was so much fun. Everyone was so excited. If it wasn't that way, it would be boring. It's not just about basketball. It's everything."

Even in Boston, where many fans place special value on history and tradition, stage-managing game presentation is a priority for all pro teams. From the Red Sox with their carefully choreographed pregame rituals to the Patriots with their booming music and musket blasts, teams increasingly view the orchestrated spectacle as very good -indeed, essential - for business.

"We're quite confident that if we did not make an effort to entertain fans, the building would not be full and we would not have won Banner 17," said Wyc Grousbeck, the Celtics principal owner. "We're about entertainment and winning banners. We think they go together and last year was the proof.

"If we dialed down the game entertainment, we wouldn't have the third-highest gate in the league. The fans kept coming even in years when we weren't particularly good. Game entertainment was part of that."

...While NBA guidelines keep all forms of entertainment from exceeding 95 decibels - about as loud as standing next to a jack hammer - the "noise meter" appears at crucial junctures and provokes high-pitched, lung-straining, ear-splitting screams. Some wonder if the tipping point between show and game has been reached, when young children appear on Jumbotrons looking delighted to be televised, but wearing earplugs to block out noise?

..."You're dealing with a different type of consumer today," said NHL director of events and entertainment Martin McCreary, who has presented everything from the Super Bowl to beach volleyball to the Bassmaster Classic. "People expect an entertainment experience. We're in the entertainment business. Whatever we can do to make contact with fans and give them more than they expected, that's our job. And what people expect from you, ramps up every year."

..."In terms of cost-benefit analysis, game presentation is a slam dunk," said Smith College sports economist Andrew Zimbalist. Noting the average NBA player makes $5 million per season, he called pay for dancers and programmers a "trivial expense." But it is those dancers, who make on average $100 per game, and programmers who help game presentation express team personality.

..."We've revived first pitch ceremonies with gusto," said Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino of productions that honor veterans, cancer survivors, and Olympic athletes. "They enable us to market the brand and celebrate certain values, reinforce messages we'd like to communicate to our fans.

"The Red Sox didn't always sell out and they may not always sell out in the future. We've got to stay vigilant, make sure we provide fans with a team worthy of their support and the experience they want. We think there is a key brand loyalty that exists right now and we want to perpetuate it for a long time to come."

The history-filled countdown videos played immediately before Celtics and Bruins games capture each team's essence. The Celtics' video clocks in at 15 minutes, nearly twice as long as any other in the NBA because there are 50-plus years of history, and 17 championships, to cover. The Bruins' video starts with a movie theater-style opening and runs five minutes.

...The real juggling acts take place behind the closed doors of conference rooms and control rooms. The day before a Celtics game, marketing executives and game presentation directors finalize a 75-page script. They plot out promotions. They review music selections for timeouts. They want well-organized chaos.

...NBA games typically last 2 1/2 hours, leaving 102 minutes of downtime to fill. Game presentation directors take each sport's natural rhythm and drama into consideration when making decisions about what music to play and what video to show.

Read the entire article...

Jun 13, 2010

Jumbotron Wars, Episode XXVII: Florida Marlins

The Florida Marlins will be the latest MLB team to install a massive new video scoreboard. This one will be a Daktronics product, almost as big (but not quite) as the scoreboard at the new Yankee Stadium. Here's an article from Forbes. Highlights:
Whether it has been new Yankee Stadium’s 16 MM True HD LED display that measures 59 feet high by 101 feet wide, or the current granddaddy at the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium that measures a whopping 105 feet high by 84 feet wide, each year it seems MLB clubs have come up with a new case of “video display” envy.

The latest to jump into the fray is the Florida (soon to be Miami) Marlins.
To add to the mix, Daktronics Inc. , has reached a multi-million dollar contract with Hunt/Moss, A Joint Venture to provide a unique, asymmetrical high definition video display along with multiple digital ribbon boards, pitchers display, out-of-town game display, ticket window displays, digital clocks and control system ready for when the ballpark opens in 2012.

The high definition video display will measure approximately 101 feet wide (top of display) and 51 feet tall, but is wider at the top than it is at the bottom, adding one more architectural nod to the flavor of Miami.

In addition to the main display, two displays will be positioned within the left field wall, the largest of which will measure nearly 100 feet wide and will be used primarily to display stats and scores from out-of-town games in real time. The ballpark will also have two pitcher boards that will track home and away pitcher performance. Other full-color displays will be positioned behind left and right field, and another near the main ramp. Additional video related components will include numerous ticket window displays, backlit signage, and scrolling signage.

Read the entire article...

Jun 10, 2010

We win, or your money back

Here's an interesting article from Darren Rovell about "win insurance" a bit of a trend in sports to refund/credit fans if their team plays poorly. I've heard of "guaranteed win" nights in the minor leagues but this is a bit different. Some highlights:
Tough times have forced even the most creative to be even more creative. For the River City Rascals, an independent Frontier League team based in O’Fallon, Mo., that means selling win insurance for the upcoming season.

When sponsorship talks heated up with the Midwest Agency, a locally based insurance company, the talk focused on bringing more customers into the agency. So the team came up with the idea of selling win insurance.

The team will sell “Midwest Agency Winning Insurance” for $2 if purchased before the start of the eighth inning. The team will sell $5 win insurance in the middle of the eighth, even if the team is losing 10-0.

Ticket prices start at $6, but fans who buy the insurance will collect on the $11 box seats if the team loses. General manager Chris Franklin told CNBC said he can’t imagine the team losing much money, especially considering the fact that it brings repeat customers back to the 2,406-seat ballpark. More than 50 percent of fans last year only attended one of the team’s games and more bottoms in the seats also means being able to make more money at its concession stands.


No team has offered by the game insurance like this, but a few teams have made win guarantees to their season ticket holders. The most risky was the Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers, who said for the 2007-08 season they’d refund the entire season to season ticket holders if they didn’t make the playoffs. The Rattlers barely made the playoffs, saving roughly $2.2 million.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were likely the first team to offer a guarantee of sorts in 1987. They didn’t make the playoffs that year, resulting in a reported $500,000 in rebates to fans.

Read the entire article...

And here's another article from The Seattle Times about the MLS Seattle Sounders FC. They'll be giving season ticket holders a one-game credit next season, as a make-good for a poor on-field performance this year.

Jun 7, 2010

You can learn a lot from Wikipedia's NHL mascot page

Clearly, the decline of Encyclopedia Britannica is due to the fact that they didn't have comprehensive entries on topics such as this one: List of NHL mascots.

I thought I knew a lot about NHL mascots, but after reading this page I also learned that:

  • Dallas, Edmonton, New York and Philadelphia* have never had mascots.
  • The giant purple octopus the Red Wings use in the playoffs is called Al.
  • Bailey, from the L.A. Kings, wears number 72 -- as in 72 degrees F, a nice sunny day in L.A.
  • The Colorado Avalanche have had two mascots in their relatively short history. A St. Bernard and a Yeti.
  • Harvey the Hound (Calgary) was the NHL's first mascot*, introduced in 1983.
  • In Phoenix, Howler wears #96 on his jersey, they year the Jets moved to Phoenix. (Take that, Winnipeg.)
  • The Ducks mascot, Wildwing, has a last name: Flashblade.
  • The former Quebec Nordiques mascot was Badaboum, who looks a bit like a walrus.
  • The former Winnipeg Jets mascot was Bennie, who looks like what happens when the Philly Phanatic mates with Grimace.
"The Flyers debuted a short-lived skating mascot named Slapshot in 1976. It remains the only mascot in Flyers' team history."

Jun 4, 2010

VIDEO: Rocky's Fantasy Factory "Nuggest Feet"

Guess we have a bit of a NBA mascot theme going on this week. I don't know why but I really like this dance video from the Denver Nuggets featuring their mascot, Rocky.

Jun 1, 2010

Promotions gone wrong: "A TV for Everyone"

From the Utah Jazz: "A TV For Everyone", starring The Bear.

May 29, 2010

Law & Order: Mascots

Here's a recent article from the Sports & Entertainment Law Report: "Kansas City Royals Mascot Faces Lawsuit":
According to court papers filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, during a Royals game last September Sluggerrr, the mascot, hopped upon the Royals dugout, stuffed one or more hot dogs or sausages into an air canon, and blasted the crowd. Then, not happy with his feat of daring do, Sluggerrr allegedly dropped the booming bazooka and began throwing the meats into the crowds by hand — and threw a sausage directly into the waiting face of Royals fan John Coomer, who was sitting only a few feet away, about six rows from the dugout. Although at first it sounds like an amusing mishap, according to Coomer the misaimed dog struck him in the eye, detached his retina caused cataracts and has lead to at least two surgeries and permanent vision loss. More importantly, if the case is not settled its result could impact professional sports venues’ and teams liability in a variety of ways.
Read the entire article...

May 26, 2010

Baseball's Hall of Fame honours "Centerfield" song

Here's a report from the Rolling Stone about the upcoming induction of John Fogerty's "Centerfield" into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It's the first song to be inducted. (I'm surprised "Take Me Out To the Ball Game" hasn't been honoured.)
For over a decade, "Centerfield" has been a staple anthem at baseball games and every Hall of Fame induction... Fogerty is set to perform the song at the induction ceremony, held in Cooperstown, New York on July 25th. To celebrate the event, Fogerty is also releasing a remastered version of the album Centerfield, featuring a pair of rare B-sides from the era ("My Toot Toot," "I Confess"), on June 29th.

...When Fogerty wrote "Centerfield" in the ‘80s, he says he was inspired by the self-created lore of the position. "When I was eight or nine, I decided that it was the most hallowed turf in the universe was centerfield in Yankee Stadium," he says. "Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle — I mean, those two had such remarkable careers. It seemed like only the greatest had to be in centerfield." When he finally released the song in '85, he was nervous that he'd be criticized for attempting to combine his two passions (baseball and rock & roll) into one track. "I really kind of braced myself for flack as it was getting ready to be released," he recalls. "I thought, 'Wow. It has never worked out in history.' But I thought to myself that I really liked this song!"
Read the entire article...

May 23, 2010

Crazy crowd chant in Poland

I came across this while searching for Joe Satriani's Crowd Chant. Definitely not what I was looking for but a great crowd chant nonetheless:

May 20, 2010

Get Your Preak On: All-you-can-drink beer promo

Cleveland tried something like this at a baseball game back in 1974 with legendary results. Now a jockey club is trying a similar promo. From
Having unlimited beer for a day for only $20 sounds like a good deal to a lot of people, but for some, the deal that the Maryland Jockey Club is offering at Saturday's Preakness Stakes is not a good idea.

For $20 dollars, patrons to the Pimlico Race Course will receive a 16-ounce beer mug that entitles them to unlimited free refills for the entire course of the Preakness Stakes, The Washington Post reports. The promotion is part of a new advertisement campaign for the event headlined by the catchphrase "Get Your Preak On."

Some people feel the catchphrase bemoans the storied event and the free-flowing booze is asking for trouble.

"[It is] reducing a great, historic thoroughbred horse race to an event with sleazy overtones," New York Post racing columnist Ray Kerrison told the Washington Post.

The promotion campaign follows a stark drop in attendance to the Preakness Stakes -- from 112,222 in 2008 to 77,850 last year, according to The Washington Post. It was the biggest single-year drop in the event's history.


May 17, 2010

Basketball organ - one fan wants to bring it to Toronto

More on the organ theme. I saw this the other night on Twitter: A Toronto Raptors fan wants the team to add more organ to their game day experience:
The Knicks, either when they suck now or were great before, always had the organ at their disposal and it brought a sense of tradition.

We are a hockey town, we need more ORGAN, like Walken needs cowbell.

Use the ACC organ for the DEFENSE chant, small game delays, music before an in bounds play, the Organ only plays on something that only needs 1 minute to 2 minutes of break time. To use it for every free throw made.....eeeerr probably not that would be over kill.

Don't worry, it won't make the Dance Pack obsolete, they will dance when the breaks or intermissions are definitely going to be over 3 minutes. It depends on the ACC/Raptors entertainment coordinator. If we get a kickass organist, he/she will make the Dance Pack shake 'dem bootays anyways.

If they can bring in Devlin as a fan PR gamble, why don't we gamble on an organ anyways?

Should the ACC organ be used in Raptor games? I say YES!

You can add your two cents here.

May 15, 2010

A bunch of baseball organ videos and links

Cleaning up the bookmark file, thought I would share some of these vids and articles for posterity.

May 13, 2010

VIDEO: Cleveland Cavaliers retro 80's intro

Really liked this retro / 80's intro video from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Great player participation.

May 12, 2010

A bunch of hockey organ videos

1: Calgary Flames organist Rickrolls at the 'Dome.

2: Real Men of Genius - Mr. Professional Hockey Organ Player

3: James Michael Day - San Jose Sharks organist

4: Jack Moelmann - Chicago Stadium Barton Organ - 1994 (just before they tore the old Chicago Stadium down)

5: Chicago Stadium Barton Organ Removal - Part 1 of 3