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Does Chicago need another concert venue?

June 13, 2013 Comments off

(This is a companion piece to Rumble in the Garden. you can skip to the end if you’d like. There are videos down there.)

And the debate about DePaul and the publicly funded arena they’re associated with continues. If you don’t know, the City of Chicago has a deal with their McPier Authority to issue bonds to fund the building of an Arena on the near South Side – it will house the DePaul Blue Demons as a tenant, and also host some convention center events, concerts and… some other amorphous stuff.

McPier is the quasi-governmental agency that manages McCormick Place, the huge convention center – and also Navy Pier, one of the City’s big attractions. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is big on building a shiny Chicago that attracts business and conventions.

The public finds it tone deaf at a time when he’s also working to close 50 failing schools to save money (in the long term).

College hoops personality Doug Gottlieb (works for CBS), noted instigator but intelligent fellow, thinks that haters of the deal are being short-sighted:

As a Chicago resident who was attracted to the city in part because of the accessibility of the shows here, let me agree with those who have tried to correct Gottlieb a bit (and not just about the fact that the arena won’t be anywhere near Navy Pier).

Chicago is sick with mid-sized venues. House of Blues, Aragon, Riviera, Congress Theater, UIC Pavilion, the Chicago Theater, the Metro are all indoor venues.

Outdoors, the city manages to host Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Pitchfork Fest in Union Park, and – look, I lose track of all the damned outdoor fests. There are many.

AND THEN there are three to four street fairs each summer along the Blue Line (my stomping grounds) that bring in small to mid-sized acts (for a donation fee), plus smaller clubs.

Chicago is in no way hurting for concert/ show space. It is hurting for a convention center connected to downtown, but putting an arena in that dead zone between the South Loop and the Convention Center doesn’t necessarily connect things.

There could be some merit to not having shows go to the Sears Center (farther west) or the AllState Arena (technically not in the city) or to Toyota Park where the Chicago Fire play. However, many of the shows that end up in those venues seem to have more of a… suburban audience.

And you’ll see, there is not much “damn we shoulda gotten that show” spillover for the city of Chicago to worry about.

Toyota Park [Calendar] One big show – the B96 Summer Bash with Avril Lavigne [wait, what?], Ne-Yo, Macklemore, and Demi Lovato. Consider Jackyl. Do you even know who they are? You remember, the band with the singer who plays with a chainaw on stage? They played Full Throttle Fest last year and this year. It takes place in the Toyota Park parking lot. Bob Dylan is also coming with Wilco (who are ALWAYS playing Chicago).

AllState Arena [Calendar] Along with the WNBA games, the Arena has WWE Payback, Fleetwood Mac, and MegaDeth, and American Idol Live. And weeks of open events.

Sears Centre [Calendar] Feeling creepy? These events are for you! High school graduations! The University of Phoenix graduation! Gymnastics!

Best outdoor concert video

Speaking of outdoor concerts, this Gap Band video takes me to the happy place.

Or maybe you prefer St. Vincent going Chloe in the Afternoon (this performance! Not great quality, admittedly.)

DO you have an outdoor video you dig? Share it in the comments.

2010 Coaching Carousel: More teams hand out pinkslips

March 12, 2010 Comments off

An update on the coaches on the hot seat:

Auburn‘s Jeff Lebo, after a 15-17 season, is gone.

Oregon‘s Ernie Kent has told his players that he is not returning.

Iowa‘s Todd Lickliter might “resign.” Under duress.

The hot seat rumors were pretty accurate.  See my earlier post on each coach’s record at their school, in conference, and overall. Also see the post on evaluating up and coming coaches.

Addendum – and one I didn’t hear much buzz about before a week or two ago – Boise State fires coach Greg Graham.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias.

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2010 Coaching Hot Seat: Hawai’i’s Bob Nash fired

March 9, 2010 Comments off

Bob Nash, longtime player and assistant coach for the Rainbows (or Warriors, as they call themselves now), was 34-56 in his 3 seasons as head coach.

Links

Pomeroy Page

Honolulu Advertiser: Nash fired as UH basketball coach

Aloha UpdateUH Coach Nash Fired After Disappointing Results

KHON: Offsetting the Cost of Coach Nash’s Contract Buyout

Hoop Dirt: Candidates at Hawai’i

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle , doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias.

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Binghamton staying home from America East conference tournament

March 2, 2010 Comments off

Binghamton University has decided not to continue playing the season after all the well-documented turmoil:

“With the controversy currently surrounding the program it is not appropriate we play in this year’s post-season,” Binghamton president Lois DeFleur said in a news release Monday night.

“This action is being done voluntarily as part of our commitment to move forward as we develop a comprehensive plan to address the recommendations of the recent review,” DeFleur added.

The New York Times indicates that the move was not voluntary on Binghamton’s part.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle , doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias.

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Watching the NCAAs at NCAA Vault + Other Links

February 24, 2010 Comments off

Watching NCAA Sweet 16 games and up from 2000, online? What a way to not get work done. This NCAA Vault full video page with game highlights, cuts by “great plays” and “great finishes” and more…. Even though my team (St. John’s) isn’t in it, this is going to be the hottest thing this month. I can’t wait to watch the Seton Hall team from 2000. Even if that game is after the moment (near halftime, I think?) where Ty Shine said “f**k it” and played like a shooting combo guard against Temple, jacking shots like it was his backyard and ditching the idea of playing point like the hard-to-match Shaheen Holloway.

Also hot this month:

- the (loose, and without games) CBS Basketball schedule, including the air times for the March Tournament games. I expect it will be updated as they know more;

- and March Madness on Demand, which is incredibly good, and a reason I hope CBS doesn’t lose the NCAA Tournament with possible March Madness expansion.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias. Add the East Coast Bias to your rss link.rss feeds; or follow by email linkemail.

Bye bye, Lawrence

November 30, 2009 Comments off

I suppose after a coach goes 0-17 in the NBA, a firing is in order. But New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank got screwed, and screwed hard, by a team and an ownership more concerned with clearing money for this supposed move to the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn than with putting a competitive team on the floor.

There is a little talent on the Nets. A little. There are a lot of injuries as well. And a lot of backups. Josh Boone and Rafer Alston – as much as I love the guy from my neck of Queens – shouldn’t be logging major minutes. Every trade shouldn’t be to cut space. Courtney Lee is not a starting 2-guard without some high-volume shooters around him.

And while Lawrence Frank may not have been a miracle worker, he was a good soldier, and a decent coach. A man with a lot of energy. He’ll land on his feet – take some time off, stop losing hair, sleep 8 hours in one night. Maybe he will coach college… that Rutgers job could use a tactician…

Big East Roundtable: Are your bloggers on Twitter?

September 23, 2009 2 comments

Now that we’ve discussed the serious questions of collage basketball, I asked my fellow Big East bloggers about communication – do they use Twitter? Twitter has become the way that athletes get in trouble for being prima donnas and jerks, where they make the off-color jokes no one ever told them were not funny, and where reporters break news or add pithy commentary. 140 words is a tiny limit, but as a device to let readers know when something hot is going on… maybe it has some merit.

Orange 44 (Syracuse) – O44
Hoya Prospectus (Georgetown) – HP
I Bleed Blue and White (Villanova) – IBBW
Villanova by the Numbers – VBTN
Eye of a Panther (Pittsburgh) – EoP
Black and Green Irish Blog (Notre Dame) – B&G
Chicago College Basketball (DePaul) – CCB
The East Coast Bias (St. John’s) – TECB

There are 7 questions in total in the roundtable, and they will be up in the next day. It’s a big league, after all, and large group of participants. Enjoy, spread on the message boards and forums, and comment freely (but with civility). Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 were published earlier, go take a look!


Q. Twitter has become influential in broadcasting basketball/ sports information. What’s your opinion of the service? Have you adopted Twitter for your blog? What have been the plusses and minuses?

Villanova Wildcats logoIBBW: I was the most anti-Twitter blogger you could find at it’s outset. But then after watching it on SportsCenter every morning, I realized it was here to stay. It’s a great way to get updates from people and news outlets you are interested in without having to click refresh every 10 minutes. I’m welcomed Twitter on IBBW and I’ve found that I’ve been able to reach a bigger group of people.

Syracuse Orange logoO44: I had been really down on twitter until around last May, when every blogger friend of mine basically demanded I jump on Twitter.  I took the New York Bar Exam this summer, so once that was concluded I joined Twitter (@BH_Orange44). So far it has been great, especially during the Orange football debut this past weekend.  I was tweeting from the Carrier Dome, and following several friends as we all shared in the collective experience of watching the game.  A lot of fun. The plusses are that you have instant interaction and can pass along comments and news instantly.  Even faster than a live blog.  It is boiled down to good, simple information due to the character limit.  The minuses are that it can limit you if you have something long and relatively important to say.  Also, while trying to keep up with tweets you are not really paying close attention to the game, which can defeat the whole purpose of your afternoon.

Georgetown logoHP: Twitter serves a purpose – spontaneous thoughts, breaking news, etc., but the wheat/chaff ratio can be frustrating. We haven’t adopted Twitter for our blog as we normally don’t break news and aren’t very spontaneous. Other Hoya blogs with boots on the ground use it, to better purpose than we ever could.

Villanova Wildcats logoVBTN: I like it, though I use it only “situationally”. I followed the World University Games via twitter, having the final scores hours before they were published by the news services. I have not adopted it for Villanova by the Numbers. In the days before I actually began the blog I spent time considering what I wanted to accomplish with VBTN. I decided to focus on the numbers, the state of the team (and program…and the game), more on the “play” rather than the “players”. Twitter is more valuable to me as a “news source/news alert” for events that I know will not get a lot of media attention initially.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish logoB&G: Twitter is decent for sports reporting, but I’ve had such an aversion to it due to its usage as a tool for reporting every aspect of one’s rather uninteresting life.  I don’t have an account and likely never will.

DePaul Blue Demons logoCCB: I really like Twitter (@Chicolball). I think that it allows you to share short opinions and links that you would normally write about. While most college basketball coaches use it as a way to broadcast boring messages, some of the good coaching Tweeters actually give relevant information.

Pittsburgh Panther logoEoP: I’m not personally a Twitter fan, but I’m surprised at how much actual news is broken there.  It makes sense for athletes and celebrities because they can spread news without having to run a website or go through the media.  Other than that, I’m not sure I ‘get it.’  I don’t use Twitter – I’m not sure I’m important enough to have people ‘follow me.’  And while I like the idea of athletes telling me what’s going on during a game, not sure why their coaches would allow it.  I’m also amazed that athletes will ‘spill the beans’ on Twitter while giving nondescript answers during interviews.

St. John's logoTECB: I am on Twitter and have found it very useful; it brings eyes from the East Coast Bias twitter page to the blog and allows me to write “micro” posts when a full blog posts seems indulgent and unseemly. The minus is that Twitter becomes another online location to check, and in truth, I still think it’s kind of silly.  It really tends towards some of the dumber aspects of people’s communication, trolls, nasty one-sided invective… it ain’t deep. But then, some things are best when succinct.

Links: College Football’s Opening Day

September 3, 2009 Comments off

Levi Johnston dishes on life with Sarah Palin and speaks ill of her marriage to Todd in a Vanity fair article – wow, kid, milk that gossip… The US Senate, with less nepotism… Brazil’s racial problems are deep… will the lobbyists for the health care status quo – like the “Million Med March” (aka “protect the doctors’ salaries above all else”) – even listen to a possible bipartisan health care plan that triggers a public option if the insurance companies can’t meet quality/ cost benchmarks? And why is that called a “compromise” as opposed to “bipartisan” in the article? Should tort reform be in the health care bill?… On lighter notes: The end of “Reading Rainbow“… the Fast Food as the Mafia (graphic, funny, non-political)… and 12 most annoying types of Facebookers.

diamond iconIn honor of the beginning of college football, two fun images. First, a billboard bought by former Notre Dame player Tom Reynolds:

Charlie Weis billboard 5th Year of Coaching Internship

diamond iconAnd if you haven’t seen this year’s Oregon Ducks uniforms, check them out when they play Boise State tonight… or look at the winged shoulders here:

Oregon Ducks uniforms

diamond iconIn what will be a hotly-followed story, Rich Rodriguez is named in a lawsuit about a Virginia condo development… he’s been connected to a banned booster… he’s accused of violating NCAA rules on how much time coaches required players to spend working out… so of course there’s a Fire Rich Rodriguez site.

diamond iconThe Quad blog from the New York Times has Florida as… #2!  So Texas is their #1…


diamond iconNebraska gets an extra basketball scholarship (14 total), based on an NCAA mix-up on eligibility standards.

diamond iconJim Larranaga’s leaving Twitter after poking fun at a silly NCAA rule about being able to give student-athletes bagels but no condiments/ spreads.

diamond iconMets third base coach Razor Shines, perhaps, doesn’t scout the throwing arms of the opposing outfielders.

diamond iconScout.com has their Top 75 basketball players in the nation (and Canada) for 2011.

diamond iconSupposedly Nets’ owner Bruce Ratner is looking to make bank by selling the Nets at a premium price and THEN wants to get the new owners to pay him a hefty fee for the right to play in the Brooklyn Barclay’s Arena… whenever it happens. He’d then get the profits of the stadium without the financial drain of owning the team.

diamond iconAnd now, the first of many St. John’s coach Norm Roberts job “may be” on the line if he doesn’t win this year. Of course, someone has to speak to why this year is so different than any other year, and what “get it done” actually means. NCAAs? NIT?

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Finding the Price Point for Televised Sporting Events

July 4, 2009 2 comments

Growing up, it was hard to see teams other than the “big boys” in college football; especially in the New York City area, before Connecticut went to the D-I aka FBS level, and while Rutgers was just poor.  I didn’t know anyone who stopped everything for Saturday football; the teams that came on – even close ones like Penn State – had no relation to my life. I never knew of the need to see one’s football team, the wearing of college football colors, the sense of regional pride that the southern and plains and midwestern teams engendered.

One of those teams – specifically, Nebraska football – is the reason I got in to college football. In college, I lived in a 6 person suite, with a room right next to the common area, where we had a small TV.  My suitemate from Omaha was a huge Huskers fan.  Huge.  I would be working (or drinking) late into the night on Fridays. He used to wake me up on Saturday, about 11.20 AM yelling about some Nebraska foible… while they were up 14 on, say, Troy State. That made me cranky as hell, so I brushed up on my football so I could insult the Cornhuskers, especially when they played Mizzou… or some team that might actually beat them in the 90′s.

The fervor was not restricted to Nebraska, of course. And the proliferation of cable/ satellite options, channels, and regional programming means that more people can feed their need for information. There is obviously a demand to not only see one’s teams, but the get the “inside scoop,” the “candid” and “unfiltered” information – to get close to one’s team.  The best way of doing this is either to find a news outlet with a huge budget to cover the team, or to localize the news.

Those Nebraska fans, would travel from far and wide to see their team live – putting money into ticket sales, gasoline, tailgating food; there is a cost that they are willing to pay to experience Nebraska football. Now, the school will test the price tag of that dedication by showing their first three non-conference games in pay-per-view format. The linked article touches on the revenue concept for many bigger-time teams, schools, and conferences looking for ways to control their revenue streams and differentiate viewers, separating the casuals from the die-hards, who will pay much more per view than you and I might through our cable or satellite package.  And that money goes to the school and their content distributor.

I suppose that this is problematic, as we expect to get our sports television for a small fee; but there are fans who pay good money to get the aforementioned “insider” information on recruiting sites; conference specific television; and team-specific networks in major markets that might, like the Yankees will, expand into in-market online deals at an advanced price.

These moves, if profitable, start to inform both sports broadcasters, cable/ satellite tv companies (dealing with competition from online sites like Hulu), and sports fans about what the model will be going forward for sports. Segmenting fans helps bring the right money to the producers and determines the actual value of the product, on the business side.

But on the fan side, this kind of segmentation can be parsed too finely. The pay-per-view model loses the fairweather fans and the casual sports fans. And will pay per view remove the socia aspect of watching the game at a dedicated bar over wings and beer?  What value do those fans have to the schools and the media producers? This experiment will start to delve into the question.

Jamaicans, Moneyball, Sosa: Link Dump!

June 25, 2009 Comments off

Cat Deeley SYTYCDWho would believe you can get 56 stars tattooed on your head while you were asleep? No one is that fast, nor that gentle with a needle… In New York, is Bloomberg just delaying the budget deficit hit until after the elections, where he is running for an unprecedented third term… Meanwhile, California’s budget deficit will have them dealing out “IOUs”, because liabilities at interest is just what the Golden State needs… there may be water on the moon (a moon of Saturn).

And for fun, the top 10 recent male politician infidelity confessions to accompany you while you read Gov. Sanford’s emails to his lady friend in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Transformers 2 gets bad reviews, but apparently has a lot of Megan Fox bouncing in slow motion. That, I suppose, will sell, but I can’t stand to listen to her act. So instead of the gratuitous Megan Fox picture I should put up, here’s a gratuitous Cat Deeley photo, just because I can… and instead of arrows or bullets, I’ll use Toni Basil’s crazy eyes.

Too short for a Toni Basil: From a while ago on the NCAA’s blog: Do You Have What It Takes to be an Athletic Director?

toni basil icon Samardo Samuels (Louisville), Weyinmi Efejuku (Providence), and Mike Coburn (Rutgers) out of the Big East will be playing with the Jamaican men’s national team this summer.

Hopefully the squad will do well in the Caribbean Basketball Championship this coming week… and maybe make moves to be included in the 2012 Olympics. And with all the Jamaicans in London, they might find it a little like a homecoming. As long as there are no more Jamaican Me Crazy headlines. Please.

toni basil iconGood to hear about former Marlins, Red Sox and Cubs pitcher Matt Clement. Apparently he’s hung it up in baseball and is coaching his high school’s basketball team in Butler, Pennsylvania; he played baseball and basketball before graduating in 1993.

He was never quite the same after that horrific injury, taking a baseball off his head faster than he could react. Good luck to him, and his future career.

toni basil iconChances of ever seeing that Moneyball movie are pretty much dead now, after Sony stopped production, and no one wants to pick up the Steven Soderbergh/ Brad Pitt version of the Billy Beane-based book. Art Howe would have gotten to be himself! One-liners!

The “high budget and limited commercial appeal” sunk the project; apparently, “adult audiences”have not brought in the desired revenue.  Summer blockbusters for kids all year! And no more baseball movies, unless they are financed by Kevin Costner.

toni basil icon Ryne Sandberg thinks Sammy Sosa doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. Well, does Sandberg belong? Just asking!

For me, I am not very surprised that Sammy was on some steroid junk… the whole throwing his back out sneezing seemed to me like something that happens in conjunction with overworking the body’s muscles. I don’t know, but I would have suspected then. But, so what? Players are always trying to get over. If he is determined to be the best of the players who took steroids, he still has to have been great player to be the superstar that he was.

Another too short for a Toni Basil: Was there match-fixing at Wimbledon? Certainly, anyone looking to throw a game knows to do it in the less-publicized, less watched contests… so that’s not out of the realm of reason.

toni basil icon Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at the All-Star game in St. Louis this year. I hope they don’t boo him… the city, like the Cardinal uniforms, tends towards red. Speaking at Notre Dame and showing up at the midsummer classic? He really is trying to win everybody over with smiles and availability.

And he’ll probably wear a White Sox jersey.

toni basil iconNew York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority is selling the naming rights to my old train station at Atlantic and Flatbush in Brooklyn to Barclay’s Bank, since that is where the new Nets stadium – if it is ever built – will stand.

The new design for the Barclay’s Arena for the Nets (from the New York Press) really does look like an airplane hangar.

Nets Arena Brooklyn Barclay's

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