Football fans have long enjoyed the use of DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package as a means to watch as much pigskin as humanly possible. The satellite company’s exclusive deal with the NFL is especially valued by displaced fans who want to watch their favorite out-of-town professional squad. But this whole dream could be in jeopardy in the not-so-distant future.
DirecTV Chief Financial Officer Pat Doyle told reporters at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Florida on Wednesday that his company may consider pulling the popular package from its program offering.
Asked about the future of DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket amid rising sports costs, he said that if the price tag went too high in the next rights deal negotiations, DirecTV would consider striking a non-exclusive deal with the NFL or possibly even dropping the popular package.
Complicating matters is the fact that the popularity of the RedZone channel, now available via cable, has made the Sunday Ticket package less important to many fans. Also, the availability of every game on NFL Rewind after the fact reduces the attractiveness of features that previously were exclusive to DirecTV.
The company’s current deal with NFL Sunday Ticket isn’t set to expire until 2014.
The Dallas Mavericks have continued their trolling of popular commercials and TV shows with this “Dirk Dynasty” spoof in which their marquee player Dirk Nowitzki stars as a cast member of the popular television series Duck Dynasty.
Fighting Beyond The Octagon
MMA fighter Fallon Fox opens up about being transgender in a new interview with Outsports, but admits she has some long-standing reservations about coming forward.
“For years I’ve known at some point it’s very likely the shoe would drop,” Fox is quoted in the interview as saying. “Maybe someone would guess that I’m trans. Maybe they would know me from my life before I transitioned. I’ve been waiting for that phone call to happen. And Saturday night, it happened.”
Part of her reluctance to come out has had a lot to do with concerns over who she’ll be perceived by her fellow athletes, saying that people have “seen me as a woman.”
“I’m technically, legally, physically and mentally female. Everything about me is female,” she says, before adding, “I happen to fall into the transgender category, but I rather describe myself as a woman first, transsexual woman second.”
She says she underwent gender reassignment surgery along with the supplemental hormonal therapy six years ago, several years after her father, who was convinced she was a confused gay man, put her in conversion therapy where, she notes, she was treated by a reparative therapist who tried to convince her that she was, in fact, gay so that he could turn her into a heterosexual man.
Fox is currently scheduled to fight again for the Championship Fighting Alliance 10 in Coral Gables, Fla. on April 20, but her license approval is now under investigation with Florida’s Dept. of Business and Professional Regulation now that she’s come out as transgender.
Chinese golf course to feature green in giant bowl of noodles
An astonishing fantasy course opening next year in China will bring the whimsy of miniature golf to the real game.
Players on the Mission Hill Fantasy Course will have to hit shots into winds from massive fans, over terra cotta warriors and through a waterfall. There are holes dedicated to pandas, fairways that include Mayan ruins and a green that’s set in a massive bowl of noodles.
It’s all real. Players will use real clubs on real turf with true greens. The course will be part of China’s top golfing resort, which boasts 12 other courses, including the top-rated track in the country.
Hole 4 is suppose to be hit from tee boxes that are designed like Mayan stepped pyramids. The fairway is littered with replicas of Mayan ruins.
Hole 14 has a model of the Great Wall of China runs along the left side and in back of the hole.
The showstopper is Hole 16 though which the green is at the center of an 85-meter wide bowl of noodles, complete with 70-meter long chopstocks dangling on the side. Course architect Brian Curley says the green is the same size as the famous one at Sawgrass.
Adidas unveiled new college basketball uniforms with Zubaz shorts for six Adidas schools: Baylor, Cincinnati, Kansas, Louisville, Notre Dame and UCLA. The six schools will wear these ugly uniforms this March in the tournament.
Houston Texans defensive star J.J. Watt, who is becoming just as well-known for his good deeds off the field than for his dominance on it, had to post a message on Facebook to respond to the hundreds, of personal requests he’s received since marrying a six-year-old fan after the season.
Watt has apparently been flooded with requests from people looking to take advantage of his generous spirit.
“Ok, I feel like I need to address this. I see all of the prom invitations and I am flattered, but unfortunately I cannot take you all. Love you guys and appreciate your unbelievable support. Meet me at Reliant on gamedays this fall and we’ll dance there.”
Washington Wizards play-by-play announcer Steve Buckhantz called what he believed was a game winning buzzer beater from Trevor Ariza. Instead of the ”daaaaaaaaagggggggggggerrrrrr!” Buckhantz yelled it was an air ball.
Cubs to end 7th inning stretch
Maybe it was race driver Jeff Gordon’s shout out to the fans at “Wrigley Stadium.” Or Ozzy Osbourne, who decided the lyrics of “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” were not nearly as interesting as the mostly unintelligible words he’d picked out for himself. Or perhaps it was actress Denise Richards, who brought along a little cheat sheet in case she forgot the words.
Whatever the reason, the Chicago Cubs have decided to make the broadcast booth at Wrigley Field, and more importantly, the microphone, off limits to the likes of Vanna White, Erik Estrada and Mickey Rooney. No more Kid Rock, who, as the story goes, knew it was customary to say something at the end of the song, but went with “Let’s get some lunch!” instead of the more traditional “Let’s get some runs.”
“It was a good idea at first,” Al Yellon, who runs bleedcubbieblue.com, said of the Cubs’ decision to allow celebrities to take over the job the late Harry Caray handled so famously for so many years. “But it turned into a celebrity fest with D-list celebrities.”
The song is played during the stretch around the major leagues, usually the ballpark organist leading the fans in song. Some parks have their own traditions, of course — Fenway Park and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth inning, for example. The Florida Marlins tried to skip “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” to go with dancers leading fans to Gloria Estefan songs, a tradition that lasted all of two games.
For a team that doesn’t exactly have a long history of embracing change, lights didn’t arrive until 1988, messing with a musical tradition tied forever to Caray might seem a dramatic step. But the Cubs have a new regime in place, with Theo Epstein and other front-office personnel trying to turn around baseball’s famous losers and chairman Tom Ricketts pressing for upgrades to Wrigley, the oldest ballpark in the majors behind Fenway.
Caray, then with the White Sox, is credited with singing the song first at a game. He was so bad that team owner Bill Veeck had the idea to secretly put a microphone in the booth so everyone could join in and, well, mask the warbling.
And join in they did, first at White Sox games and then at Wrigley, when Caray started his run with the Cubs in 1982. Fifteen years after his death, Caray is still part of the celebration, both inside the park where some guest singers still mention him, and outside, where fans can see a statute of Caray in his famous singing pose.