Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why the UFL has a better shot at success then prior attempts at Professional Football Leagues.

Welcome to another session of Dr. Football's class called "Viewing Pro Football 421", a 4th year undergraduate class. Today's topic: Will the UFL be successful in todays market?

Sure it's been done before. Another Pro Football League, you laugh. No one can touch the NFL, you say. But what if The UFL isn't trying to "compete" with the NFL, but rather enhance the ability of people to watch live the greatest game ever played?
So you think I'm nuts too don't you?You must think I'm inhaling too much field chalk. But look at it this way: when was the last time you went to an NFL game? Do you remember how much you paid to get in? To buy your kid a pennant (or if you were lucky, a game program!) or a T-shirt? Don't even think about a jersey! Or NFL licensed Baby Booties! Forget it!! (before i obtained a press credential i was paying $70 per ticket, 5 dollars for a game program and 5 dollars for a 32oz. bottle of water. I hear it's $80-$85 now for the cheapest seat in the Meadowlands).

The UFL changes all of that. Tickets for 20 Bucks a game, in quality venues! Affordable prices(for today at least) at the concessions. No Kid, you're not dreaming, this is the real UFL and if you Live in NY it's coming to your house soon.

Ok so it's in the middle of the week, but didn't you say you were football starved? You just can't watch another season of the local college teams. You don't think you can put up with the team in Green and White that can't seam to make up their minds about who the QB is. The team in Blue with the shortage of starters even though they had a great draft and did well in free agency already missing too many players in training camp. Not that I'm saying "don't follow your favorite team anymore," hardly that. I'm just saying open yourself up to the possibility of another pro football league being able to entertain you this fall.

Let's step away from NY for a moment. Did you ever think Las Vegas would get an NFL franchise? For years the NFL wanted no part of the Sodom and Gomorrah that is the gambling culture of Vegas, yet now they allow teams to back state run sports themed lottery tickets(that is for discussion in another article). Give the UFL head honchos credit for jumping all over the Vegas market, as well as Orlando. The Vegas team will attract fans from parts of California, Arizona, and Utah as well. As for Florida, a former co-blogging partner of mine who spent a good deal of time growing up there once told me "you can never have too much football in Florida."
Although Orlando is only 105 minutes from the greater Tampa area, there is a huge void to be filled there and in other parts of the country with the loss of the Arena Football League as we knew it.

Let's sum it up for today shall we: More pro football is good, not bad, as some would suggest. It doesn't "water down" or "short change" the great game, as a few suggest. It gives the fan(and Player and Coach!) more options on more days of the week to watch the game, as well as for you young folks to learn about the game. Why would anyone argue with me about that? Class dismissed, now go watch some football!

Vlogger Saran Austin's back in SF Poken party

Vlogger Sarah Austin - who looks like a (she's gonna kill me for this) kind of cross between Britney Spears, Chelsea Clinton, and Heidi Montag - invited me to her coming back to San Francisco party Monday evening. (Yes, yesterday!)

Now, you may be saying "Who's Sarah Austin" - good question. She's a micro-celebrity tech vlogger who gained her fame from appearing first on Justin.tv and now has a livecasting show on Mogulus. The difference between what I do and what she does is she's not a political commentator and focuses more on tech. To that end, she started her own site Pop17.com and has drawn a range of guests from the tech industry and has Ford Motor Company (she's an "agent" of The Ford Fiesta Movement), Virgin America, Perkett PR and TechCrunch news blog as sponsors.

Sarah is a study in how to make vlogging a business and her party was no exception to her example. Held at the office of ZaudHouse Design Group in Portrero Hill, it attracted a group of about 50 friends and family members, and almost all of the friends were in tech. There were the usual suspects like my friend Cathy Brooks, who manages to turn up at every single tech event in the Bay Area. And there were folks I didn't expect to see like my friend digital video producer "Turbo Ted" - Theodore Terbolizard - who must be Oakland's only Republican!

But what was fun for me was to see this new product called Poken. I'm going to feature it in another blog post, but the idea is to exchange information with someone else as you would switch business cards. In this case, let's say you and someone has this small device called Poken. It's designed like a tiny plastic four-finger hand. When you and the other person touch the hands - "Hi Four!" - green LEDs in both light up, meaning you've exchanged information. When you go back to your home or office and plug into the USB port of your computer, the site is called up where you can sign up and if the other person signs up or is already there, you have their business contact information.


The party became a kind of "Hi Four" fest for a time, until we got to the part where the raffle was held (I won another Poken), and then we had an auction to take Sarah out on a date. The winning bid of $375 was made by a man, but he was almost beaten by a dog named Truman, who barked his bid during the proceedings. (Ok, he was coaxed by Cathy Brooks, but Ted counted it anyway!)

The party was also to benefit Summer Search, a national leadership development program. They gained $500 from the event.

In all, a fun time, and a learning experience too. The party was the perfect mix of business and fun. Here's an example: most parties have a host or no host bar - this one had a wine sponsor Gary Vaynerchuk, who's doing his live USTREAM.tv show as I type this, and the winery was Titus Vineyards near St. Helena. So, the wine gains not just the exposure from the party, but from this video-blog too. And that's true for Poken as well. What we have is the first stage of a kind of marketing model that should cause more to discover vlogging.

I hope.

Michael Jackson was killed

Sadly, and it's hard to escape what happened to Michael Jackson as even today I was listening to "Thriller" with a friend while working out at the gym, it's reported that Michael Jackson death was a homicide. The L.A. County Coroner reports that Jackson was given a lethal combination of drugs by his doctor Conrad Murray, but also that another doctor Arnie Klein may be involved, too.