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)

UPDATED: FRIDAY MAY 15:
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.

ORIGINAL COLUMN:
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

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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 TWCableUntangled.com, 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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Play It Forward May 11-17: When Rockets’ Twitter account gets back up to speed, let us know … or not

Texas_Bottle_Rocket_img_largeTHIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
NBA PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
CLIPPERS vs. HOUSTON
Details/TV: Game 5 at Houston: Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., TNT:
Nothing_to_see_here
At this point in the proceedings, the inclination might be to tell Houston Rockets’ fans to just be quiet, close their eyes and this series against the Clippers may all be over soon. Why does that ring a bell? Because that same sort of message, along with some emoticons showing a gun pointed at a horse’s head, is what got the team’s last social media master put out to pasture. In fact, all through this series, we are underwhelmed by the tameness of the @HoustonRockets Twitter account in the wake of Rockets Digital Communications Manager Chad Shanks losing his job over that so-called inflammatory tweet he sent out at the end of the team’s first-round NBA playoff series against Dallas. Just look at what the team account posed prior to Sunday’s Game 4: “Enjoy your day Moms! On Mother’s Day 6 years ago we beat another L.A. team to tie up a series,” with a link to a story about how Houston, without injured star center Yao Ming, evened up their Western Conference semifinal series against the Lakers despite 30 points from Pau Gasol and “a quiet 15” from Kobe Bryant. A response from Johnny Navarrette (@jnavsports), former LakerNation.com senior editor: “you lost that series @HoustonRockets. Bring back the other social media guy.” We should note: The Houston Rockets’ account retweeted Navarrette’s tweet. As for Shanks, who has a masters in journalism and theology from Baylor, he still got his own @chadjshanks personal account. He writes in that bio: “Will probably be tweeting less about basketball now.” We are all the worst for that. Meanwhile, keep an eye on that Memphis-Golden State series. You think the Clippers’ psyche is ready for some sort of playoff rematch against the Grizzles next week? Game 4 of that series, with Memphis up 2-1, is Monday at 6:30 p.m. on TNT.
If needed, this series could go to a Game 6 at Staples Center (Thursday, TBA, ESPN) or a Game 7 at Houston (Sunday, TBA).

ALSO THIS WEEK:

The Ducks await a time for the NHL to schedule their Stanley Cup Playoff Western Conference final against Chicago, so stay tuned … American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund — the top three finishers in the Kentucky Derby — are expected to reappear at the Preakness Stakes on Saturday in Baltimore … The Dodgers have a meet-and-greet with Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Dan Haren in a three-game series at Dodger Stadium starting Monday …The 10th annual Amgen Tour of California ends on Sunday with the final stage going from L.A. Live to the Rose Bowl … Gennady Golovkin (32-0, 29 KOs) makes his 14th middleweight title defense in a bout at the Forum in Inglewood on Saturday against Willie Monroe, Jr. … More information at this link.

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Charming Billy Simmons, and the next step toward national park status

Rolling Stone magazine

Rolling Stone magazine

Not to pretend that we can climb inside the swelling head of Bill Simmons here, but …

For all reasons that would seem logical to him, the creator and editor-in-chief of Grantland.com who also happens to be a cutting-edge documentary exec, a huge podcast master and all-around “voice of the fan” should have reason to believe he’s worth in excess of $6 million a year (for the sake of argument, a salary figure reported by TheBigLead.com) just to continue his “B.S.” reign at ESPN in today’s media world.

Or, as an unnamed agent tells SportsIllustrated.com, why should he settle for anything less in the $7 million-to-$10 million range?

Clippers guard J.J. Redick pulled in about $6 mil this season, and backup Jamal Crawford made even less. Clippers season-ticket holder Simmons has to be a bigger hot-shot in L.A. than both of them. Even at age 45.

Bill-Simmons-1__1257175248_9080A really good NBA general manager may be in that ballpark, too. For years, Simmons has conveyed to his boy-band audience that he’s more than GM-qualified. His wispy-voiced observations on pre- and post-game studio appearances comes also with the appearance that he’s sitting on top the 752-page “The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy,” which allows him to look down, right and left with ease when seeking fellow-host affirmation.

186du3c2gaffrjpgAnd don’t overlook the minor mention that Simmons just had in the Los Angeles News Group list of the 50 most powerful sports people in the city. The Boston transplant was slotted rather marginally at No. 36, but in due time, after planting firmer L.A. roots, he’s a sure bet to blossom into a drought-resistant Sequoia with his own national park status.

Yet, when ESPN president John Skipper got ahead of the story on Friday and announced that Simmons’ contract would not be renewed after a 15-year-run with the company, and indicated that he was more than just money, that sent up the flag: It was about the money.

“We have been in negotiations and it was clear it was time to move on,” Skipper said in a statement. Meanwhile, James Andrew Miller, the author of the book, “Those Guys Have all the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN,” reported there was no salary request from either Simmons or ESPN during the recent negotiations.

There didn’t need to be. A dealbreaker, no matter what controversy that’s involved in any disciplinary action that landed on Simmons over the years, good or bad publicity for ESPN, it has to generate some particular residual effect, measured in cash flow.

No matter how creative a media genius he thought he had become, Simmons apparently wasn’t printing enough Disney Dollars to offset whatever internal corporate grief he had created. You can only replay the Grantland Basketball Show in the 2 a.m. slot on any one of the ESPN channels and net the same result.

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Cal State Northridge’s plan more than a mid-major undertaking with CSUN Sports Network

Cal State Northridge students work on coverage of live sports events through MatatorTV, which will expand to the CSUN Sports Network this fall (Photo: CSUN Athletics)

Cal State Northridge students work on coverage of live sports events through MatatorTV, which will expand to the CSUN Sports Network this fall (Photo: CSUN Athletics)

Channeling the resources at Cal State Northridge to produce more student-generated media for the expanding athletic department was one of the prime initiatives that Dr. Brandon Martin had his eye on when he was hired as athletic director in February, 2013.

This fall, those lenses will be refocused on a much wider scale as plans were announced this week to expand the current MatadorTV program into creation of the bilingual CSUN Sports Network.

Martin, the former USC basketball point guard out of Cleveland High and most recently the University of Oklahoma assistant AD, has seen what university-driven media initiatives can do to not just build a brand but also become a live learning laboratory for students. Despite the realities of a smaller operating budget, but able to activate many CSUN alums in the media business willing to lend a hand, Martin envisions this fast-tracked project to have a wide-ranging impact.

Print“One of the first things I discovered when I came here was we were the leader in the Big West in terms of video production, and this CSUN Sports Network is really just an extension of that and our comprehensive excellence agenda to get better at everything we do,” said Martin, who recently attended NCAA meetings in Indianapolis and Big West meetings in Palm Desert.

“We are maximizing our efforts. We knew this would take some time and we set the priority for this two years ago, but right now is the right time. It’s more realistic from a budgetary standpoint.”

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