The Word On...

The Word On...

June 10, 2015 5:45pm

Military Shopping for Bikes

The U.S. Air Force is shopping for dirt bikes, specifically fifty-four (exact number) Kawasaki KLX110Ls. Why? “Hulburt Field, Florida, is conducting market research to determine the existence of potential sources to provide Kawasaki KLX110L Motorcycles,” says Jalopnik. Fifty-four seems like a strange number. Why not fifty-five? Or fifty? Who knows. Either way, it’s nice to see people, especially our armed forces, getting their ride on. (Long live Bret Michaels.)

Some specifics on how the USAF wants their dirt dogs:

  • Prewired infared lights and switches made by Maglight
  • Electric and kick starters (always good to have some mechanical redundancy)
  • Plastic fork boots covering existing chrome forks
  • Steel skid plates “to enhance motorcycle survivability during training and contingency operations.”
  • Half painted milspec desert ran (color 686A), half milspec black (color 37030)

Check out more here.

 

SI Cover Is AMAZING

Last weekend, in front of ninety thousand fans, American Pharoah won the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown. Sports Illustrated’s deputy picture editor, Erick Rasco, grabbed a magnificent shot of the win for this week’s SI cover. He explained to SI how he got the shot.

“During the race I had no view of the track. The crowd had begun to stand on chairs and benches,” Rasco said. “The only way I knew to fire the camera as American Pharoah approached the finish was from the intensity of the crowd around me yelling and cheering. Based on that, I fired a burst of frames from my camera. I didn’t see any of the horses at the finish. I hoped I timed it right with the crowd guiding me.”

“When I finally got to review the images in the workroom I was both relieved and thrilled. The right horse at the right time,” Rasco added.

Read more about the story here.

 

SI Reporter Tells His Story

Tim Layden, who wrote the lead story for SI on American Pharoah, wrote a brilliant story on what it’s like to cover a historical event while on deadline. While I’ve never covered an event as big as say the Super Bowl or the Triple Crown, I’ve written on deadline for a number of years and it’s truly agonizing. Layden lays it out brilliantly.

People ask about writing on deadline. Students. Civilians. It’s nerve-racking, but there’s nothing to me that matches the propulsive energy of a press box, or a press room, in the minutes and hours after a significant event. The emotion carries you. 

Read about his entire day on SI.com.

 

MONSTER SPONSORS HORSE

If you were one of the millions of people that watched the Belmont Stakes on Saturday you may have noticed a few Monster logos. There were logos on the horse's cooling blanket and Monster girls surrounding the horse, among other things. All that was missing was American Pharoah holding the can and taking a sip after the race. That’s because Monster shelled out a lot of cash to sponsor American Pharoah. According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, the sponsorship was believed to be “one of the largest single-horse sponsorship deals in history.” Monster wasn’t the only brand to jump onboard. Wheels Up, a private aviation company, also struck a deal to sponsor the horse. Burger King also jumped in, with Sports Illustrated reporting that owner Bob Baffert “made a deal to allow a man in a Burger King costume to stand in his box during the race.” From ESPN: 

Mitch Covington, vice president of sports marketing for Monster, said he couldn't pass up the opportunity to attach his brand to a great athlete.

"We can't wait to be a part of possibly going down in history with our name attached to a fine American icon," Covington said.

The deal fits the sponsorship profile of the brand, which Covington says is based on spur-of-the-moment spontaneity.

"We don't do a lot of television ads and we take a very nontraditional approach—we put our logo on good-looking girls, music events and parties," he said.

 

UFC vs. Reporter

Hey, you know what would make for good TV? Letting a UFC fighter kick me in the leg. Yeah, that will work. Or, you just get kicked in the leg by a UFC fighter—it hurts really bad and no one bats an eye.

[h/t: For the Win]

 

8th Grader Dwarfs Everyone

This just doesn’t look right. Yes, there is always that one kid that hits his growth spurt super early and manages to have a full beard and back hair in the eighth grade. It happens. But being 7’3”…. In the EIGTH GRADE (!!!) sparks skepticism. According to Mashable, the young teen is Chol Marial. He currently lives in Florida but hails from Sudan. He also dunks on every kid in sight. Real or not, this is a sight to behold.  

 

Video OnDemand in Motocross

The landscape of the motocross film industry is changing. Short, 5–10-second Instagram clips have made an impact—a negative one, in my opinion. Videos are expensive, not only for the filmmakers, but the people paying them to film. It’s supply and demand. If people are turning away from full-length films to shitty Instagram clips, it makes it hard to justify paying thousands of dollars on your video department. Full-length films (and longer web videos) certainly still have their place, but the younger generation is tuned to Instagram or SnapChat or whatever. It truly sucks, because great filmmakers are struggling to get funding for bigger projects. Some, including Wes Williams of Vurb Moto and Kyle Cowling, who has contributed to Racer X, Vital MX, Transworld and Vurb over the years, have turned to a video ondemand pay system. Cowling launched Spectrum this year, an eight-episode documentary web series on Vimeo OnDemand. Each episode costs just $2.50, or you can buy the entire season for $14.99. A good deal if you ask me. Of course, considering today's entitled generation that expects everything for free, Cowling has obviously gotten some push back from fans. He explained his side in a blog post for Vurb. Below is a brief excerpt. You can read the entire thing here.

From shooting to post-production, we have to have over a 1,000 hours into it, and that is still probably a very, very low estimated number. Seriously. Myself and my small team (Nick, Oliver, Dylan, and Gabe) are investing everything and then some into this series because we strongly believe in this concept… This idea. We believe this is something the dirt bike industry needs, to bring unique, high quality content into a VOD platform. 

 Check out Spectrum here.

 

In Deep.....Water

Umm, yeah, about that… This is completely, oh, man, I would not want to be in this newsroom the next day.

[h/t: SB Nation]

 

Driving a Hummer on a RaceTrack

Driving a Hummer around a world-class racetrack is probably how you imagined it—slow. Now, thanks to Doug DeMuro at Jalopnik, we have conformation. DeMuro recently documented his experience at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. Check out an excerpt below, or you can watch the video.

So how was the Hummer on the track? I think I can sum it up for you in one word: Slow. Actually, just “slow” doesn’t quite do it. Glacially slow. Pathetically slow. Insanely slow. So slow that I think we could’ve easily been passed by a 9-year-old boy with a Razor scooter and a racing helmet.

 

FIFA MOVIE BOMBS

FIFA is having a couple of really bad weeks. First, leaders of the soccer governing body were arrested in Switzerland and extradited to the United States to face alleged widespread corruption charges. Then, a few days later, their fearless leader Sepp Blatter was re-elected by a 133-73 vote. Then, a few days after that, Blatter resigned from his post. Now, the kicker. FIFA’s United Passions movie—basically a giant FIFA PR—opened in ten theaters nationwide last weekend. It opened to a $607 box office. Not 607 million. $607!!!! WOW!!! From The Hollywood Reporter:

Writer-director Frederic Auburtin's film beyond bombed in its limited debut in 10 theaters, earning a measly $607 on Friday and Saturday, according to those with access to Rentrak figures. The FilmBar theater in downtown Phoenix reported a gross of just $9, meaning only one person bought a ticket to see United Passions, which details the history of the now-embattled FIFA.

Read more about it here.

 

Women’s World Cup Starts on Shaky Turf

In more FIFA sucks news, the Women’s World Cup got underway last weekend, and it’s already off to a rocky start. Before the World Cup, players filed a lawsuit against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association (the host country) to replace the artificial turf at the six venues. According to Sports Illustrated, “The Scotts Company offered to provide free grass fields so that games would not have to be played on turf, but FIFA declined.” Now, The Washington Post is reporting the field is reaching temperatures of 120 degrees.

“The action wasn’t the only thing sizzling during the opening match of the Women’s World Cup on Saturday between Canada and China. So was thecontroversial artificial turf that composed the pitch in Edmonton, Canada. An hour before kickoff at 6 p.m. EDT, the fake grass measured 120 degrees, or 49 degrees Celsius, according to a Fox Sports sideline reporter.”

Read more about this giant mess here. On the brighter side of things, the US beat Australia 3-1 in it’s opening match Monday. USA! USA! USA!

 

Hockey vs. Soccer

You may have read the last entry and scoffed, “But no one cares about women’s soccer.” And you would be wrong. The USA's first match against Australia drew 3.311 million viewers on Fox Sports 1, according to SportsTVRatings.com. For comparison, game three of the Stanley Cup Final, airing on NBC Sports Network the same night, drew 3.896 million viewers.

 The USA women’s first group stage match versus Australia in the 2015 Women’s World Cup averaged 3.311 million viewers and a 1.3 adults 18-49 rating. That’s up a massive 208% versus the first women’s group stage match in 2011 vs North Korea on ESPN that averaged 1.074M. Due to the Women’s World Cup being in Germany in 2011, that game started at 11:45a ET on a Tuesday (so obviously no NHL or NBA competition).

The 3.311 million viewers was just shy of being in Fox Sports’ top 10 most-watched telecasts (and Sunday’s NASCAR Pocono coverage which aired after that list was compiled averaged 3.614 million).

Read more here.

 

TIME INC. BUYS FANSIDED

Remember when we told you about Jim Weber, of The Cauldron, suggesting Time Inc. should sell SI to NBC due to the hard times the company had fallen on? Well, about that. Apparently the forecast at Time isn’t all that bleak. Time Inc. recently purchased FanSided, a media company that owns three hundred websites. According to Awful Announcing, FanSided draws 15 million unique visitors and 50 million pages views a month. This may not be the only thing Time Inc. is buying, either. From WWD.com:

Time Inc. chairman and ceo Joe Ripp told WWD during an interview last week that his company is looking to make investments in live entertainment businesses. “We are looking at experiential companies right now — live media,” Ripp said. ‘We will be closing on some of those deals very shortly. We are looking at other acquisitions of other publishing-like companies.”

Ripp referenced Time Inc.’s 2013 acquisition of American Express Publishing as an example.

When asked if he would consider traditional publishers, he said, “There are the large publishers out there that I’d certainly be interested in. Normally when a business area is in a downturn, you see consolidation.”

Check out more here.

 

Yahoo and NFL

Although Netflix announced they were not interested in live-streaming sports at this time, Yahoo is apparently ready. The company and the NFL struck a deal for Yahoo to stream the October 25 game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars to be played in London free of charge. Details of the deal were not announced, but you can imagine how much they paid. If you don't have an imagination, here’s a hint: A LOT! From The New York Times:

For the N.F.L., the streamed game is an experiment to understand the complex economics of digital streaming and gauge the audience for watching American football in the rest of the world.

For Yahoo, winning the digital rights to the popular game is a rare victory against more successful rivals like Google and Facebook, who compete with it for attention and ad dollars.

Read more here.

 

DraftKings Is Making Dough

DraftKings, the daily fantasy site, is making a boat load of money. A recent partnership deal with ESPN worth a cool $250 million is expected to drop soon, valuing the company at $1 billion dollars, reports The Boston Globe.  From the Globe:

In terms of timing, DraftKings may have hit the equivalent of a three-pointer at the buzzer. Players were gravitating toward the adrenaline rush of daily fantasy games — and daily cash prizes. Peter Blacklow of Boston Seed Capital says that he initially thought daily games might appeal to some fraction of fantasy sports enthusiasts, but the “market size is much bigger than anyone ever could have imagined.”

Two main factors explain the booming market. First, the sites are attracting not just fantasy sports fans, but also gamblers — former online poker players and sports bettors, says Adam Krejcik, managing director at Eilers Research, a California research firm that follows the gambling industry. Second, the big leagues have indicated they’re ready to help promote fantasy sports sites, in exchange for cash and equity in the companies.

Check out the entire piece here.