Another not-so-secret benefit of having the MLB Network: Bob Costas’ hour-long interview shows.
Today, it’s Dick Allen , at 5, 8 and 11 p.m.
Or is it Richie Allen.
When he played for the Dodgers that one year — 1971 — it was Richard Anthony Allen known as …
Rich? (That’s how he autographed the team-issued photo)
“All through the ’60′s, we were a pretty radical bunch,” Allen says in the Costas interview. “They were marching everywhere, and the next thing I know, my name is ‘Richie,’ not Dick here. Now it’s Richie, we’re at war at Vietnam, we got the hippies and we got the love people. We were a pretty radical bunch.
“The point of it is here, unless some of those rules change and we’re wearing the same uniform, that’s a team, hey, we’re going to act like a team, let the rules be the same of all of them. So, in defiance, I’m trying to get out of there and maybe people just look at here, he’s a troublemaker, I’m looking out for my own benefit.”
He was a three-time NL All Star for the Phillies between ’63 and ’69. He had another All Star year with St. Louis in ’70, but was traded to the Dodgers in ’71. That season, he hit 23 homers, drove in 90 runs and hit .295 in 155 games, playing third base, first base, left field and right field.
Which made his trade to the Chicago White Sox the next season (for Tommy John) seem all that more strange. Especially when he was named AL MVP in ’72.
Ask the late Walter Alston about that one — wanting someone who probably easier to manage, like Frank Robinson, whom the Dodgers picked up the next year.
“I think the good thing was my mind was always in the ballgame,” Allen says. “Win or lose, the happiest time for me was between the lines. Outside the lines were tough.”
The MLB Network recently did a “Prime Nine” show on the nine players who should be in the Hall of Fame. Allen was No. 4 on the list:
This ad for the Accenture company was spotted by one reader at New York’s LaGuardia Airport the other day.
“How fitting,” he said.
Another reader said he saw it at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
Talking about getting a lot of buzz for your buck.
Not any more.
Accenture was the first company to cut ties with Tiger Woods on Sunday. The global consulting firm consulted with itself and said that “after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising.”
An interesting thing about golf is that no matter how badly you play, it is always possible to get worse. But you keep going back.
Golfers know about forgiveness. Ad men apparently don’t.
Since Everything Tiger seems to be Everyone’s Business, the business world’s reaction is the next step in the step-by-step story about the Downfall of Tiger Woods. Corporate America is backing away from the putt. For now.
You’re surprised? See Phelps, Michael, i.e. bong.
It seems kind of premature, actually. And hypocritical. But that’s America for you. The panicked, image-conscious business world only reflects the knee-jerk reaction of the prickly, ADD consumers.
If you want to know the truth in advertising, all this only gives Tiger more street cred. If I’m a sponsor, I’m looking for a way to slip into this now at a reduced price. Travelocity, don’t you see the potential? Victoria’s Secret line of “Tiger’s Secret” lingerie?
Just sayin’ …
The reason Tiger is able to step away and take an “indefinite break” from golf is because he’s been raking in more than $100 million a year from sponsorship deals. Gillette and Gatorade have already said they’re cutting back. AT&T isn’t sure yet. That’s their business.
Nike, meanwhile, says it’s not going anywhere. Phil Knight told the Sports Business Daily that Tiger’s “infidelity” is “part of the game” in signing endorsement deals with athletes.
It was just a blip, he said. And a minor one at that.
“I think he’s been really great,” Knight said in the interview published Monday. “When his career is over, you’ll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now.”
Good Knight now. Nike is the one making the most sense. Or, the most sense from a man’s perspective. And when a man spends his dollars, he’s more apt to put them with another man who’s had the same sort of life issues as he has.
He who casts the first stone kinda stuff. Like the heads of Gatorade, Gillette or AT&T have never been in such a personal situation based on the inability to handle money, power and fame.
Tag Heuer, the watchmaker that has been with Woods since 2002, will bide its time as well with Woods. A company spokeswoman said the sponsorship is unchanged because Woods remains the world’s best golfer and Tag Heuer does not care about his private life.
“We respect his performance in the sport,” she said, adding that Woods’ personal life is “not our business.”
Wow. How much are those watches again? I may just buy one now because of that statement. And I’ll put it on my Am Ex card.
What those who are dropping him now fail to see is that, when Tiger does come back, those deserting companies will only inspire him to be better, to prove people wrong. You gotta know Tiger is making a list right now of who’ll be pushed aside when it comes time in 2014 for him to host “Saturday Night Live” — the same show that spoofed PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in a three-episode commercial spoof, showing him drinking out of a flask and justifying how the game will be OK even as sponsors keep dropping out.
“No Tiger? No problem,” says Jason Sudeikis as Finchem in the first spot (linked here).
“I really want to thank our new sponsors: The Madoff Investment Group, Major League Soccer, and the movie, ‘Old Dogs,’” says “Finchem” in the second spot. “The PGA Tour — what else are you gonna do, talk to your wife?”
“The PGA Tour’s back — did I mention the golf cart races,” says “Finchem” in the third spot, where he says he’s on “suicide watch.” “I want to thank our newest sponsors — the Erie, Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, the letter ‘Q,’ and seltzer.”
If the PGA Tour needs an exit strategy, it’ll have to pretend that it’s 1994 again. Pre Tiger.
If Tiger needs an exit strategy, he should be examining Kobe Bryant, circa 2004.
When Bryant’s rape allegations came out, most of this biggest sponsors — McDonald’s, Upper Deck, Coke, Spaulding, Nutella — ran scared. Nike, who’d just signed him to a five-year, $40 million deal, didn’t use his likeness in its ads or his face on TV, but it stuck by him.
Has it paid off? You can ask the Kobe and LeBron puppets you see on TV today.
What if these corporate decisions are made in part because spending ad dollars these days are a crazy proposition, no matter who endorses the product?
A year ago, in fact, Buick dropped Tiger from its campaign, a year early from his contract. General Motors had been giving him about $8 million a year since taking him on with a five-year deal back in early 2004. On the last day of ’08, they cut the deal off.
Because they could see this coming? Now you gotta wonder. But you also gotta wonder about how much GM could afford to spend on its ads when it was applying for federal bailout.
Bailing out on Tiger just came a year early for ‘em. But again, it didn’t hurt that Tiger was driving another GM car — the Cadillac Escallade — when he crashed into the neighbor’s tree trying to avoid the 3-iron on Thankgiving night.
Accenture has had other ads aside from the one above that it put Tiger in. One of them said: “Go on, be a Tiger.”
The one they have going above seems perfect to continue. Why waste a great opportunity with all the exposure you’ve already received for that ad above? Seems like you’re just giving up on one of the best name-recognition campaigns ever conceived for a major athlete.
Maybe you should consult with your ad men again before you accentuate your own problems.
Or then, maybe we shouldn’t pass judgment on someone if we haven’t walked in their Nikes.
Gilbert Arenas … he seems healthier, wealthier and wiser. As for his feelings toward Shaq … let’s assume there’s a 0 tolerance policy in effect. Rumors continue to swirl that Laura Govan, aka Gilbert’s fiance, is entangled with Shaq in some kind of … a … smoochfest. We don’t know to believe, or care. Except others do. Like Shaq’s wife, Shaunie, who supposedly went to L.A. recently and the next day filed for legal separation from the former Lakers center. Maybe she’ll be present tonight to see what’s going on from the wounded people’s side. NBA: Clippers vs. Washington, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, 980-AM.
Quick, check out the Winter Olympic hockey facilities while you’re there. NHL: Kings at Vancouver, 7 p.m., 1150-AM.
Good to see they still use Candlestick Park for community events. NFL: Arizona at San Francisco, 5:30 p.m., ESPN.
Kobe’s avulsion fracture will warm the cockles of the Chicago Bulls’ hearts. And just what is a cockle? A sand-burrowing mollusc. Sure. A wrinkle or puckering in cloth or paper. OK, fine. A weedy plant. Guess so. Actually, in this case it’s an engineering term that means a small furnace or stove. So when you say …. hey wait, is that Ron Artest cracking open some Hennessey he scored from around the corner from Chicago Stadium? NBA: Lakers at Chicago, 5 p.m., KCAL-Channel 9, 710-AM.
Another game on the road — not on TV. NHL: Kings at Edmonton, 6:30 p.m., 1150-AM.
The latest Jeff Sagarin ratings for USA Today, because we know you need to know: Syracuse (9-0) is No. 1 based on the fact it has beaten three Top 25 teams already; Kansas (9-0), No. 1 on most people polls, is at No. 7 because it is 0-0 against Top 25 teams so far; Mississippi State (7-2), which crushed UCLA on Saturday in Anaheim, is No. 56; Long Beach State (3-4), which crushed UCLA a couple of weeks ago, also in Anaheim and is 0-3 against Top 25 teams, is No. 95; Cal State Northridge (4-5) is No. 142; USC (4-4) is No. 170: Loyola Marymount (3-7) is No. 197; and … UCLA, there it is, 2-6, sitting at No. 241. Out of 347. At least they’re not Alcorn State (0-10). But they only have one more victory than the New Jersey Institute of Techology (1-6). Today’s Bruin opponent, New Mexico State (1-5) is at No. 216. But when these two teams meet, you throw out the TV Guide … College basketball: UCLA vs. New Mexico State, Pauley Pavilion, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, 570-AM.
Let’s see what all the fuss about Brandon Jennings is all about, and whether Hot Rod Hundley can keep up with him. NBA: Lakers at Milwaukee, 5 p.m., KCAL-Channel 9, 710-AM.
Because we haven’t seen enough of Kurt Rambis. NBA: Clippers at Minnesota, 5 p.m., FSN West, 980-AM.
If it gets to be too much of a rout, the NFL Network could re-run yesterday’s episode of “The Simpsons” with Peyton Manning (and Eli) cameos. At least they got a better script than Ryan Leaf (above). NFL: Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 5:30 p.m., NFL Network.
Another game on the road — again, not on TV. NHL: Kings at Calgary, 6:30 p.m., 1150-AM.
The state of California welcomes some good high school football teams to Southern California in an attempt to determine a state champion. None, however, are names you’d recognize. High school football: CIF state championship, Division I: Oceanside of San Diego vs. Bellarmine Prep of San Jose, Home Depot Center, 8 p.m., Prime Ticket. (Also: Small School Championship: Parker of San Diego vs. Modesto Christian of Sacramento, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket)
The Knicks are still paying association dues. And waiting to see if LeBron has any strong feeling about big apples. NBA: Clippers at New York, 5 p.m., FSN West, 980-AM.
Former Dallas coach and current NFL on Fox studio analyst Jimmy Johnson said it about them Cowboys on last Sunday morning’s show: “There is no need for the media to beat up on Wade Phillips like that, but he’s always on the defensive. He’s got to look at the media and point and say, ‘You listen! We’re 8-4. We have a chance to win 12 games. You don’t believe we’re winners? I’m a winner and we’ve got winning football players. If you don’t believe that we’re a winner come on outside and I’ll show you we’re a winner!” Now, they have a chance to lose eight games, after Sunday’s slipup against San Diego and this one against the 13-0 Saints. NFL: Dallas at New Orleans, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network.
The state of California again welcomes some good high school football teams to Southern California in an attempt to determine a state champion. Again, we’re not sure from where they come but it should be good. High school football: CIF state championships, Open Division championship: Crewnshaw of L.A. vs. Concord De La Salle, Home Depot Center, 8 p.m., Prime Ticket. (Also: Division II Championship: Servite vs. Rocklin of Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket; Division III Championship: Serra of Gardena vs. Kentfield Marin Catholic, noon, Prime Ticket)
As long as Vols basketball coach Bruce Pearl keeps his hands to himself, and doesn’t take off his shirt, we’ll be fine. The ninth-ranked Vols (6-1) lead the Southeastern Conference in scoring (at 86.4 a game), led by soph guard Scotty Hopson, who averages as many points a game (15.7) as the Trojans seem to average in team turnovers. College basketball: USC vs. Tennessee, Galen Center, 1:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, 710-AM.
When this game used to matter, Walton and Digger were still around. College basketball: UCLA at Notre Dame, 2 p.m., Channel 2, 570-AM.
The Lakers discover the real “Jersey Shore.” At least they’ll have two things to laugh at after tonight. NBA: Lakers at New Jersey, 5 p.m., KCAL-Channel 9, 710-AM.
Last Friday, the 76ers fell to the Houston Rockets, 96-91, at the Wachovia Center. That was their 12th loss in a row, their longest losing streak since Nov. 25 to Dec. 20, 2006. At the end of that streak, the Sixers traded Allen Iverson. During this one, they re-signed him. The Sixers play a game Monday leading into this mess, so maybe their streak will be done with. NBA: Clippers at Philadelphia, 5 p.m., FSN West, 980-AM.
Proof again that bowling has been watered down this year, the first college football post-season festivals are brought to you courtesy of New Mexico and St. Petersburg. Oh, pinch me. No really, pinch me hard. To keep me from watching. And how cool is it that UCLA waited out a loss by one of our strongest military operations just to guarantee itself a trip to Washington DC after Christmas. Way to go Army. You’ve let us down again. College football: New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State vs. New Mexico, 1:30 p.m., ESPN; St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida vs. Rutgers, 5 p.m., ESPN.
No network wanted to take this game away? Instead, it’s planted right in the midst of NFL Week 14. Maybe to take Detroit fans’ minds off the Lions. NBA: Lakers at Detroit, 3 p.m., KCAL-Channel 9, 710-AM.
A Chargers’ sellout? You’d think so. NFL: Cincinnati at San Diego, 1 p.m., Channel 2.
A Panthers’ sellout? You’d be dreaming. Even with Favre. NFL: Minnesota at Carolina, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4.
From today’s column on the skateboard art and evolution exhibit in Santa Monica (linked here):
Say hey, is that a skateboard with Willie Mays on it? Can you even imagine the San Francisco Giants star of the 1960s up on one of these things, racing a cable car up and down the hills and pulling up to a stop at Candlestick Park for a game?
That’s part of the marketing culture that skateboarding companies, like Union Skate Shop in Texas, tried to use to connect with kids who were interested in sports.
Such as the wall of boards that reflected the 1960s space race, where President John Kennedy vowed to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. As a result, skateboard companies had rocket-ship themed boards.
“It’s whatever kids were into,” said Mike Trotter, the museum staff curator and exhibition designer. “Kids were jazzed about rockets and race cars, speed and surfing. Even Frankenstein.
“With this exhibit, I really want to show the big contrast and how not just the whole skate world but how the whole world changed. Skaters are very individualistic, they do their own thinking. They’re an interesting group.”
You see kids from all eras coming in. You see families with grandfathers, fathers and sons talking about skateboards together here. They can share in something like this.”
Trotter says the idea for the skateboard exhibit game from doing a history of surf exhibit at the museum back in 1993. He credits Skip Enblom (Wikipedia bio here), was one of the co-founders of the Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions Surf Shop in Santa Monica and owner of the Zephyr skate team, with pushing to get the skateboard display started.
As a result, you’ll see how many of first skateboards were simply box-crate scooters taken apart, then refined. A Flexing Racer model looks like what Charles Foster Kane would have been dreaming about on his deathbed if Rosebud hadn’t already been in his consciousness.
There’s a Zipee sidewalk surfer all pro M373 model. A Big Wheeler by the Adolph Keifer company of Northfield, Ill. A three-yellow diamond Expert X800 model by Playcraft Inc., of Portland, Ore.
The forest green “Flying Ace Road Surfer” by Moen-Patton, Inc., of Lancaster, Pan.
The ValSurf model notes its North Hollywood and Woodland Hills roots, and also has a handwritten sign attached: “Mahogany, 24″, 27″ — $9.95; 30″, 32″, 36″ — $11.95; 40″ — $12.95)
More to find on skateboarding culture in Southern California:
== The California Heritage Museum website (linked here), across the street from a Hurley, Billabong and ZJ Boarding Store, and near the Surf Liquor store and its “world famous” surf dogs.
== The Mahaka website (with vintage T-shirts for sale) (linked here)
== Provo-Utah based Epic Longboards (where I got my latest board) (linked here)
== The Rift Longboards website (linked here): In the current issue of Los Angeles Magazine, focused on where to buy L.A.-based things, Rift Longboards has a mention. Using leftover lumber from local businesses, the owners of the Real Door woodshop teammed up with CAA agent Seamus Blackley to create what they say is “jewelry for men.” Said Blackley: “There are a lot of guys out there who are lapsed skateers and we want to build something really beautiful that can take people back to that.”
The pictures of the skateboards on the wall at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica speak for themselves.
“Skateboard: Evolution & Art in California,” a collection of boards brought together by staff curator Michael Trotter with the help of former Z-town skater Nathan Pruitt, is on display Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the converted Victorian home near the corner of Main and Ocean Park. Parking is free. Admission is $8. An 18-minute video called “Skater Dater” is included at the end which really captures the 1960s feel of the sport and culture around Southern California.
Call ahead for more questions: 310.392.8537. It’ll be around until the end of May, 2010.
We’ve got more on everything about it in Sunday’s newspaper edition. It’s bitchin. Swear.
Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times has a premise — the Tiger Woods story is changing the way sports journalism is operating.
A week late and a few bucks short, but, OK. We’re listening. We agree, and we’re looking for another angle to this from a fresh pair of eyes, from someone close to the epicenter of Tiger-Tiger-Land and trying to keep the story fresh for the readers of the newspaper.
Deggans caved in and did an interview with TMZ’s Harvey Levin, based here in L.A., about why the gossip website even pursued the Woods story in the first place before busting a few moves to make it bigger than life.
“What we reported was a car crash, but the facts of the crash weren’t adding up,” Levin said (blog post linked here) “It had to do with the fact that the story didn’t work. It didn’t make sense. Then we started looking at the crash and then it looked like there may have been a domestic fight involved.”
Then they salivated even more.
“In some ways, I think sports journalists on this one were more reticent than general media (to jump on the story),” Levin continued. “If you look at the Today show and Good Morning America, they were all over this story. It may be because this is where their bread is buttered … if you’re really dependent on getting access to the celebrities or athletes, it can really compromise your objectivity.”
Thankfully, Deggans points out — The guy with a photo feature on his Web site called “name that wedgie” is talking about journalistic objectivity?
Levin finished up: “The Associated Press is hiring cub reporters to cover clubs, it’s only a matter of time before sports departments do that, too. There’s a barrier that I think traditional media have … you don’t want to do a story that will upsets someone you need to sit down with some time in the future. You have to free yourself from that.”
The truth will set everyone free, right? Just finding what’s true is the problem.
One more take on Will Tiger Change Sports Journalism, from Will Leitch, the former Deadspin.com editor now at New York Magazine (linked here):
In an industry that has (generally) turned a calculated eye away from the (substantial) personal deficiencies of its superstars, this seems like a sea change … The sports world isn’t used to this, not at this level. That it’s happening to the most private of all superstars — a man who refused to comment past a press release about the death of his own father — makes it that much more astounding, and surreal. … But it is this reporter’s belief that this is an isolated incident, a freak occurrence that won’t lead to constant updates on every player’s personal life. …
A good corollary to this is Kobe Bryant, a man accused of a crime far, far worse than anything Tiger has been accused of. Kobe managed the story (as) a guy trying to help his team win, and his off-court life became a ‘distraction.’ The sporting press loves to consider itself above distractions: Deep down, they just want to write about the games and the sports too. That’s why they got into this in the first place. Writing about extramarital affairs and felony rape charges is outside of their frame of reference and their comfort zone. …
Eventually, they will return to normalcy, and be happy to write about the games again. Tiger Woods will likely never be the same but the sports-journalism game, for better or worse, will float lithely back to hagiography and blind hero worship again. It’s what we do. It’s why we’re here.”
That’s why we care.
And we move onto less mind-stressing things that we learned at the Media Learning Center (not sponsored by Gatorade’s Tiger Brand of Drink Stuff):
== “The View” is apologizing to Tiger’s hooker (linked here)
== CBS’ Bob Scheiffer is telling Tiger how life really works:
== Apparently, that BCS Selection Show (last Sunday, Fox) continues to be less and less effective in getting the message to a captivated audience (linked here).
== NASCAR hooks up with Showtime for an “inside” show (linked here)
== What does NBC have to gain by keeping the Notre Dame football package? (linked here)
== Arnold Palmer has a “This is SportsCenter” ad, but we’re not happy about who else is in it:
== SI.com’s Richard Deitsch names Bob Costas the sports broadcaster of the decade, and for good reason — it’s true (but some of the other choices in other categories will make you think) (linked here).
== AND FINALLY:
Why Tiger Woods won’t be giving his first interview to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, and how the late-night talk show hosts also manages to take down a network program that’s only claim to fame is giving Jesse Palmer a second career as a college football analyst:
All that fits in about 1200 words, you got today’s media column (linked here).
All that didn’t, lands here:
== Before we get going, a letter added to today’s posting from this morning:
Very nice column today, but I would suggest the rampant growth and importance of Fantasy Sports merited its own section. Many would suggest that the fan growth of the NFL during the last decade has been largely catalyzed by Fantasy…and I would suggest that without it Baseball would become even less relevant than it has become as a televised sport. Fantasy Sports is now a multi-million dollar industry which boasts deep engagement with millions of fans. And it is fun too.
Our take: Fantasy sports did drive a lot of the sports media to places it didn’t necessarily want to go. Newspapers ran “fantasy” columns to give suggestions/tips/draft help. Online, it had plenty of its own sites. Even TV put graphics on the screen to give up to the second statistical data on players. Again, without Fantasy Football, DirecTV’s “NFL Sunday Ticket” loses hundreds of subscribers.
== Hot Rod Hundley, the former Lakers guard who retired last spring after 35 seasons as the voice of the New Orleans and Utah Jazz, replaces Stu Lantz on the Lakers’ TV broadcast starting tonight and including the upcoming five-game road trip. Lantz is taking time off to spend with his wife, Linda, as she undergoes surgery in San Diego. The 75-year-old Hundley was the second of Chick Hearn’s colormen – the first was Al Michaels, for 10 games. Hundley lasted four seasons (1965-69) before he left and was replaced by Lynn Shackleford. Also, Lakers radio analyst Mychal Thompson expects to miss the next two broadcasts while attending the funeral of his mother in the Bahamas, leaving injured Lakers forward Luke Walton to sit in for him with Spero Dedes on tonight’s game against Minnesota and Saturday night in Utah.
== Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson call Saturday’s Army-Navy game from Philadelphia (Channel 2, 11:30 a.m.). Last year CBS Sports extended its agreement to do the annual Army-Navy football game through the 2018 season, pushing it back to the second Saturday in December to end college football’s regular-season.
== ESPN will finally include 1991 winner Desmond Howard with “College GameDay” colleagues Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit for the live Heisman Trophy presentation (ESPN, 5 p.m.) in New York. ESPN follows it up with its latest “30 in 30″ presentation called “The U,” a two-hour documentary about the University of Miami football program in the 1980s directed by alum Billy Corben .
== The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame (linked here) will next induct broadcasters Dick Enberg and Keith Jackson, along with network TV execs Barry Frank and Chuck Howard, technical innovators Garrett Brown, Steve Laxton and John Porter, plus former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman.
== A second season of the FX comedy “The League” has been ordered — 13 episodes that will start airing next summer, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The show somehow averages 1 million viewers an episode.
Sports Illustrated Sportsman Of The Year Award Important, Sports Illustrated Reports
NEW YORK–The Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award is a crowning life achievement for the player whom it honors, and the award’s announcement is a landmark event highly anticipated by aficionados across the world of competitive athletics, Sports Illustrated magazine announced Monday.
“The SI Sportsman of the Year award is a chance for one singular performer to transcend the limitations of his sport, his league, and yes, sports itself, and be placed in the pantheon of cultural luminaries by that finest of institutions: Sports Illustrated magazine,” an editorial in Monday’s Sportsman of the Year issue of Sports Illustrated read in part.
“Simply put, you are not a sports enthusiast if you do not agree.”
Derek Jeter, the 2009 honoree, said he had not yet read the article, although he was looking forward to the annual swimsuit issue.
SAN JOSE — Like any good celebrity scandal, the Tiger Woods drama has triggered a spike in traffic to Web sites offering details of his car crash and his alleged extramarital affairs. The lift will likely be fleeting, though, as the shock of the story wears off.
One of the most heavily trafficked sites has been Woods’ own site, where he has posted his only public comments about his crash and admitted to “transgressions.” The site got 488,000 unique visitors the week of his Nov. 27 crash, up from fewer than 11,000 the week before, according to The Nielsen Co.
The Orlando Sentinel newspaper, which serves the area of Woods’ home, scored about 1.2 million unique visitors the week of the crash, more than 2 times the number of visitors the week before, Nielsen said.
Meanwhile, visits to the entertainment site TMZ.com and sports news site Deadspin.com, which both had scoops on the Woods story, were up more than 50 percent, according to Hitwise, another Web analysis firm.
Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., which process more than 80 percent of all Internet searches in the U.S., said they’ve seen a leap in traffic from people looking for information on the golf superstar. Yahoo says searches for Woods’ name have increased nearly 4,000-fold over the last 30 days. Neither Google nor Yahoo would provide specifics about how many more people were searching.
The traffic bump is not as pronounced as those that surrounded Michael Jackson’s death in June and President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January, both companies said. However, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz told an investor conference in New York this week that the Woods story was “better than Michael Jackson dying” when it came to helping Yahoo make money, because it is easier to sell ads next to salacious content.
“It’s kind of hard to put an ad up next to a funeral,” she said.
Bartz even said Woods will “absolutely” help Yahoo achieve its financial projections this quarter, but the company now says the frequently off-color CEO was joking.
Time Warner Inc. says its Golf.com Web site, which averages 2.4 million unique viewers a month, has seen traffic jump sevenfold since the story about Woods broke. The site typically draws an audience that big only during major golf championships, said Scott Novak, spokesman for Sports Illustrated Group, which publishes Golf.com.
A lesson from earlier major news events is that Internet companies need to capitalize fast on the surge in traffic, because interest fades quickly. Google’s statistics show that searches for Michael Jackson stayed strong in the days after his death but fell off dramatically after a couple of weeks.
The top golf writers from Sports Illustrated, in a recent roundtable discussion, dissed the Tiger Woods news coming from TMZ and other celebrity sites.
Jim Herre, the managing editor of the Sports Illustrated Golf Group: “The real eye-opener for me has been how TMZ.com and Radaronline.com have been cited as credible sources by lots of media outlets, even though the websites’ sourcing is beyond flimsy. The fact is, we really don’t know what’s true and what’s not.”
Farrell Evans, a writer-reporter for Sports Illustrated Golf Plus: “There are no facts, really. All we know is that Tiger isn’t in control of what’s out there. We have some text messages and a voicemail, but we have no bulletproof evidence of Tiger ‘knowing’ any of these women in the Biblical sense. At this point perception is much more powerful than whatever the reality is.”
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Plus: “This is why [Woods] needs to come clean. I don’t know about Barbara Walters or Oprah (too staged), but you have to take control of it. Look at what Letterman did. Everything’s going to come out in the end anyway, and the TMZ crowd won’t stop ’til they pick every last piece of meat off the bone. You can kill all the rumors and speculation by telling the whole truth. Then, everyone can start to ‘heal,’ whatever that means.”
As TVWeek.com notes, both the Sports Illustrated publications and TMZ are owned by Time Warner.
The roundtable is posted at golf.com (linked here; a summary of the roundtable is available at The Improper.com (linked here).