At last, they’ve kicked the L.A. Sports Arena to the curb: Our greatest memories of the place

The L.A. Sports Arena facade as it stands on Monday. Missing "S" and all. (Photo by Tom Hoffarth)

The L.A. Sports Arena facade as it stands Monday. Missing “S” and all. (Photo by Tom Hoffarth)

Over the years, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena has been a pretty good sport about things.

Even now, it doesn’t seem to be complaining too much that the first “S” in its rooftop marquee visible from Figueroa Street has gone missing.

sleeplSizeRenderOr that its surrounding trees barely provides enough shade or its iron-bar perimeter fencing doesn’t keep out the local homeless community  that congregate on the barren grass for a nap near the flag poles.

On an overcast Monday afternoon when the Major Soccer League expansion L.A. Football Club held a grandiose announcement in Exposition Park to reveal its plans to bulldoze the 56-year-old place and create a new outdoor stadium, hardly anyone on the dais bothered to mention that the Sports Arena had been a good and faithful servant to the city, but that its stay of execution is about to end. No more reprieves.

1972ChampsIn its hey-day, the state-of-the-art, 16,000-seat mushroom cloud with the turquoise facade was the first home address for the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, UCLA and USC basketball. A couple of NCAA Final Fours happened there too – 1968 and ’72, both conveniently won by, of course, John Wooden’s Bruins.

In its not-so-hey-day, the retrofitted rustbucket was like the house on the block that kept having garage sales. It welcomed minor-league hockey, indoor soccer, arena football, ABA basketball, lingerie football, Wrestlemania, lucha libre events and the “American Gladiators” TV show.

Lately, it has been available to accommodate events such as evangelical gatherings or beer festivals when other places were booked. It could serve as convenient self-storage unit or accessible party rest room when major events were going on next door at the Coliseum.

Now a soccer team officially kicks it to the curb during what construction people say will be a two-year demo process. Continue reading “At last, they’ve kicked the L.A. Sports Arena to the curb: Our greatest memories of the place” »

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Play It Forward May 18-24: Psssssssssst, Lakers: You can deflate ping-pong balls to your advantage, right?

nba-draft-lottery3THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

Details/TV: Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
Such an event, banking on ping-pong balls to supposedly determine the future of a franchise, rather than a simple coin flip. The lesson here is there really is no winning for losing. The Lakers’ 21-61 record, the most pathetic in franchise existence, only gets them so far in the 2015 NBA Draft. Sorry, but that’s only the fourth worst in the league this past season. Back-to-back lottery appearances doesn’t do much for the ego as well. With a 27-55 record after 2014, the Lakers had the sixth-worst record and a 6.3 percent for the No. 1 overall pick. They ended up with the seventh choice, settled on Kentucky’s Julius Randle and then … 21-61 happened. Even if the Lakers’ odds are a bit better for a No. 1 pick this time – 11.9 percent, weighted behind Minnesota, New York and Philadelphia – this 31st annual exercise to determine the summer draft order (this year it’s on June 25) may try to be transparent in how it operates, but it’s somewhat counter-intuitive when you see how the numbers stack up.
bgesFor all their ineptness, the Lakers seem just as likely to luck into picks No. 2 (12.6 percent) or No. 3 (13.3 percent) as No. 1 – or a 37.8 percent chance of getting a top three choice. Then there’s a dip involved for that No. 4 spot (9.85 percent) which you would think would be a natural higher percentage considering, well, they finished fourth. Actually, the odds favor landing at No. 5 (35 percent). There’s also a 17.3 percent chance they’ll land at either No. 6 or No. 7, which would meant they have to give the pick to the 76ers by virtue of a previous trade agreement.  All current coach Byron Scott can do is show up, represent the team (sorry, no one from the Buss family is this daring) and sit among the other 13 hopefuls trying not to look too desperate.

clarkson3BEST OF THE REST:

The Ducks’ 6-0 record on their home ice during the playoffs should play to their advantage as Game 2 of the NHL’s Western Conference finals take place at Honda Center against Chicago on Tuesday (6 p.m., NBCSN) … The NBA’s Western Conference finals start Tuesday with the Clippers Houston at Golden State (6 p.m., ESPN) and the Eastern finals start Wednesday with Cleveland at Atlanta (5:30 p.m., TNT) … There’s another Clayton Kershaw-vs.-Madison Bumgarner matchup to finish the Dodgers’ latest series in San Francisco on Thursday … Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic go into the French Open with victories in a major clay event (Sunday, ESPN2, Channel 4) … The greatest day in the world for auto racing is Sunday with the Grand Prix of Monaco (4:30 a.m., Channel 4), the Indianapolis 500 (9 a.m., Channel 7) and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 in North Carolina (3 p.m., Channel 11) … More at this post.

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Weekly media notes version 05.15.15 — Five things you’ve been missing while waiting out the Dodgers-TWC-SportsNet LA issue, and only one involves invincible Vin

nmt2r4-vinnyIt’s coming up Sunday:

You’re going to wait it out. Still. Because you have no options.
Some do. Others, we hear your angst.

Alanna Rizzo, right, with Adrian Gonzalez. (USA Today/Kirby Lee)

Alanna Rizzo, right, with Adrian Gonzalez. (USA Today/Kirby Lee)

So what are you missing by not having SportsNet L.A.?

Three weeks into switching over from DirecTV to get the TWC service, we’ve got a secret: Whatever we’re paying as part of our new monthly bill – 5 cents or $5, plus surcharges – we are overwhelmingly impressed and feel the value exceeds the cost. Whatever Prime Ticket did with the Dodgers over the years before this change in rights fees, TWC’s production has dialed it up far more than anticipated.

Many involved might feel they’re working in a vacuum, even after that free week we all got last year at the end of the 2014 season when SportsNet L.A. found its way to KDOC-Channel 56. It should have more than whet the appetite.

If the incentive to switch was originally based on not missing another game with a Vin Scully call, then there are far more not-so-hidden bonuses to savor — the camerawork, Orel Hershiser’s analysis, Alanna Rizzo’s tenacity, the post-game reports and … oh, right, that 86-year-old guy in the booth who’s not living off his resume.

Read it and then you decide how much longer you’re going to weather this storm before finding the only real platform that has the Dodgers on a regular basis, and may stay that way the rest of this summer.

It’s worth noting now:

(Photo by: Charles Sykes/NBC)

(Photo by: Charles Sykes/NBC)

== For NBC’s coverage of the Saturday’s 140th Preakness, bet on Eddie Olyczyk.
No real surprise here that the one-time Kings player who has been anchored to the network’s Stanley Cup playoff coverage has already turned some heads as the “horse race handicapper” added to NBC’s Triple Crown racing events for the first time back at the Kentucky Derby.
Olyczyk had a trifecta box of American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund in the recent Kentucky Derby. NBC’s press people point out that during the weekend in Louisville, Ky., Olczyk started with a $100 and generated $740.50 in earnings and net $447.50 when it was over. Two other winning bets included two exacts boxes on Friday and Saturday.
Olyczyk will be in Baltimore with Bob Costas, Tom Hammond, Randy Moss, Jerry Bailey, Bob Neumeier, Laffit Pincay, III, Kenny RiceDonna Brothers, Jay Privman, Larry Collmus, Josh Elliott and Carolyn Manno. And no Tara Lipinski.

== The Ducks’ Western Conference finals series against Chicago takes Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Joe Micheletti (analyst) and Brian Engblom (Inside-the-Glass analyst) starting with Sunday’s Game 1 at the Honda Center (Channel 4, noon) and continuing to Game 2 on Tuesday. That leaves Doc Emrick and Pierre McGuire on the Eastern Conference final between the N.Y. Rangers and Tampa Bay with Game 1 on Saturday (10 a.m., prior to the Preakness).
However, with the Ducks-Blackhawks moves to Chicago for Games 3 and 4 on Thursday (NBCSN) and Saturday (NBC), Chicago native Olyczyk joins Emrick and McGuire for that series. Sunday, the three then go to New York for Game 5 of the Rangers-Lightning series.

Continue reading “Weekly media notes version 05.15.15 — Five things you’ve been missing while waiting out the Dodgers-TWC-SportsNet LA issue, and only one involves invincible Vin” »

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When “Shark Tank” meets Shark Wheel, which ends up with more teeth? Go with the guys who are on a roll

David Patrick, left, and Zack Fleishman make their pitch to the ABC "Shark Tank" investors in an episode scheduled to air Friday night (Channel 7, 8 p.m.). (Photo by ABC/Michael Desmond)

David Patrick, left, and Zack Fleishman make their pitch to the ABC “Shark Tank” investors in an episode scheduled to air Friday night (Channel 7, 8 p.m.).
(Photo by ABC/Michael Desmond)

Patrick and Fleishman went on Shark Tank seeking $100,000 for 5 percent ownership. They ended up with a three-person deal involving Mark Cuban for $225,000 for a 7.5 percent ownership.

The future of the skateboarding industry will hardly live or die with any decisions that the celeb investors of the ABC reality show “Shark Tank” make when their season six finale airs Friday night.
Even as a clip of the show that was released late this week circulates, it may not appear to be all that fruitful for David Patrick, who invented and patented this cube-shaped Shark Wheel that has been out in production for the last year, and for business partner Zack Fleishman, his chief operations officer.
But Patrick and Fleishman already feel as if they’re on a pretty good roll here.
In their Lake Forest production facilities just outside of Irvine, the two have been transfixed on all kinds of possibilities — sports and otherwise — for this “square wheel,” which is actually a geometric pattern that morphs as a cube, a sphere and a sine wave slithering across the pavement.

David Patrick swaps out his Shark Wheels for standard poly urethane wheels from his Lake Forest shop (Photo by Tom Hoffarth)

David Patrick swaps out his Shark Wheels for standard poly urethane wheels from his Lake Forest shop (Photo by Tom Hoffarth)

It’s something you almost have to see, feel and try in person to understand. Or just take the word of the skateboarders who already have.
Patrick was in the “real world” of mortgage banking and software industry when he admittedly stumbled upon this scientific application for reinventing the wheel as he could envision to be used on, for starters, a skateboard.
Fleishman, a former UCLA tennis player out of Santa Monica who went on the ATP circuit and won more than a half-dozen tournaments, had always been interested in science and was introduced to Patrick by his workout coach and trainer. The two have been scratching their heads, making and breaking molds with their 3D printer, and trying to find new ways to capitalize on this shape ever since they went through some crowd-funding websites to raise money that could be used for research and development.
A third key person to the company is Pedro Valdez, a famous Hollywood mold maker who has won Emmy and Oscars for his work on movies such as “Pirates of the Carribean,” “Spiderman” and “Batman.” His ability to create a mold that works to produce this skateboard wheel was critical in the process.
There are many applications rolling around in all their heads, from shopping carts, strollers and luggage, as well as more sports-related adventures. Think of Popular Science meeting the X Games on some level.
Their “Shark Tank” exposure could push them to another level.
We caught up with Patrick and Fleishman at their facility to talk about where this wheel has come from and where it could be rolling:

A view of what the Shark Wheel 70mm wheel looks like on a board (photo by Tom Hoffarth)

A view of what the Shark Wheel 70mm wheel looks like on a board (photo by Tom Hoffarth)

Q: We have seen the skateboard wheel change over time using different materials and shapes and widths over the years. Is this really the next big step in skateboard innovation or do too many consider it a gimmick?

Patrick: So if we have gone from steel to clay and poly urethane, the number one reason this latest material has become a good thing is because of how it reacts when you hit rocks and cracks. But outside of that, the only thing really changing was color and graphics. We got to a point to where it was so good and everyone was kind of the same. The only choice was having a softer urethane with more grip, which is slower, or a harder urethane, which has no grip but is nice and fast. We came up with a wheel that was both – you didn’t sacrifice one or the other. Our wheels has a very little footprint.
The reason is we went after it with geometry rather than materials. I think this is the most radical change for the industry that I’ve seen in the last 30 years. I go way back and I have been a super passionate skater my whole life — I started on a Black Knight skateboard with clay wheels. I had a Logan Earth Ski. I had a Hobie Parkrider with OJ wheels, Bones, Sims, Bennett pros as my trucks. I wanted Strokers so bad because they had shock absorbers on them. The first time I rode a Sector 9 long board I was blown away. I couldn’t believe how Cadillac-amazing it was. That was what we set as our bench mark. I said if I can’t at least be that good, I don’t have any reason being in the market place. We ended up being better. I can always say I’m better and stand tall because I go over the rocks and nobody else can. They’re a steamroller, and I’m constantly snaking.
That in and of itself is an advantage and a reason to be alive in the world. We end up with a goose that lays the golden eggs, I think, for the skate industry. Continue reading “When “Shark Tank” meets Shark Wheel, which ends up with more teeth? Go with the guys who are on a roll” »

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As for that “70 percent” who supposedly can’t get SportsNet L.A. … they’ve done some refiguring and it turns out …

LADodgersInfographic_UT_revtoAs often as we scan the layout maps that show cable and satellite dish coverage of the Los Angeles/Orange County designated market area, it was becoming more difficult to decipher what this “70 percent” number that continues to be reported in an attempt to capture the population that doesn’t get the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. channel since its launch in spring 2014.
In essence, we didn’t get it. Literally and figuratively.
Time Warner Cable was also quiet as well about disputing that number. Until now.
On a post at its corporate blog, the company is trying to address the “speculation that almost 70 percent of the Los Angeles television market cannot watch the Dodgers” and point out that 80 percent of the LA DMA as defined by Nielsen actually can get Time Warner Cable if it wanted to.
Those last four words are important because it seems to sort of flip the equation, doesn’t it?
Basically, there is overlap between TWC’s coverage in the Dodgers’ rights area of Southern California. A lot of TWC territory also has a DirecTV option. Or a Dish option. Or a AT&T Uverse and Verizon FIOS option.
We could muck the numbers up more and confuse you with “experts” who try to explain how this works, but your head doesn’t deserve to explode any more than it already has.
We have been told that when data was sought in 2014 to figure out how many people in Southern California had TWC — which did then and continues to be the main carrier of SportsNet L.A. since others have balked at the monthly subscriber fees — the numbers obtained by those who subscribe to SNL Kagan Media & Communications were generally used as a ballpark figure.
TWC was not ready to release its number of customers.
What TWC points out in this latest pie chart is that L.A. County, as well as the counties of Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, Inyo and Kern, constitute the Dodgers’ rights area. Charter and Cox cable companies, for example, do not overlap in those gray areas.
There are a lot of semantics in play here. And companies that interpret numbers in different ways.
Is that “70 percent” don’t get SportsNet L.A. accurate? It is if only because those who live in those areas perceive it as the reality when, in fact, they could switch and get TWC and SportsNetLA if they picked up the phone, made the change, learned a new remote control and perhaps saved a few dollars on their monthly bill during a promotional period, they would be getting Dodgers games within days.
But so far, only a few thousand have done so. It’s a lifestyle decision, waiting for the dominoes to tumble.
Until then, we get these kind of situations.

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