A Huge Win: New York Red Bulls defeat Real Salt Lake

The New York Red Bulls earned a huge victory on Saturday night over Real Salt Lake in front of a spirited home crowd at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. The final score was 4-3 with the game winning goal coming from Dax McCarty in “stoppage time” in the 94th minute.


It was the third goal of the season for McCarty, and it could not have come at a better time for the Red Bulls, who with this victory drew to within one point of first place Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer.


A Wild Start


The match got off to a wild start with the Red Bulls striking first on a beautiful goal by star midfielder Tim Cahill. That put the home team up 1-0 and got the crowd energized early.


Then, a controversial call gave New York a penalty shot just minutes later on a play where the two players got tangled up in the penalty area. The Red Bulls converted the penalty shot and held a 2-0 lead.


However, just before halftime, the referee made another controversial decision inside the penalty area. This time, the foul was called on the Red Bulls, which resulted in a penalty shot for Real Salt Lake (R.S.L.).


On the replays, I thought the call could have easily gone the other way, because the R.S.L. player was trying to impede progress to the ball as well. In any event, Alvaro Saborio buried the penalty shot passed the Red Bulls goalie, Robles, and now it was a 2-1 score line at the half.


A Second Half of Wild Momentum Swings


The early minutes of the second half featured renewed vigor by the short-handed R.S.L. side, who were missing key players due to injuries, suspension, and U.S. National team commitments for the Gold Cup.


R.S.L. played like the best team in the league by stringing together precision passing with brilliant runs by their deftly skilled offensive players. They caught the Red Bulls off guard up the side touch line, and New York made a series of successive defensive mistakes which allowed R.S.L. to get the ball to Saborio.


Saborio drilled a shot past a diving Robles, who was playing out of position when the pass entered the penalty area, and now we had a “level” match at 2-2.


The Red Bulls fought back and battled the skilled R.S.L. side but had another series of lapses defensively and Alvaro Saborio netted his third goal of the match on a shot that no goalie in the world could have saved. The team from Utah had scored two goals in a 10 minute span to take the lead 3-2.


The collective energy was drained out of Red Bull Arena, I sat at home watching on MSG Network in complete shock. I could not believe that the Red Bulls had a two goal lead at home, and now trailed R.S.L. in this match.




The Comeback and the clincher


The Red Bulls again battled back in this match. A critical moment came in the 89th minute when the referee called yet another foul in the penalty area, this time on Real Salt Lake, which resulted in another penalty kick for New York.


Fabian Espindola, who in my preview on Friday I wrote was a key player for New York, drilled the penalty shot past Jeff Attinella, the R.S.L. goalkeeper, and the match was tied again 3-3. It was, in my opinion and that of other reporters, Espindola’s best game in a Red Bulls uniform.


Due to the high volume of fouls called in this game, the referee signaled for five minutes of stoppage time to be added on. The two sides exchanged more aggressive back and forth battles for possession of the ball, in what was a fast paced match from the opening kick until the final whistle.


It was a chess match between the two coaching contemporaries: Mike Petke for New York and Jason Kreis for Real Salt Lake. Both teams came well prepared and seemed able to counter the moves of the other side.


In the 94th minute, time running out, in what I thought was going to end as a tie, thus giving New York only one point in the standings, the Red Bulls broke through. A beautiful pass into the penalty area was driven home on a diving header by Dax McCarty into the back of the net past Attinella.


McCarty ran and pulled off his jersey and tossed it into the stands in elation. The home crowd was going wild, the Red Bulls won the match 4-3 in stunning fashion against the best team in MLS.


Looking Ahead


The MLS All Star Game will be held this Wednesday night (9 PM EST, ESPN2) in Kansas City. The Red Bulls will be represented by Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill.


Then the Red Bulls will play in Kansas City against first place S.K.C. on August 3rd in a huge game for both teams. The Red Bulls continue their road swing playing at Columbus on August 10th and then returning home to face the Philadelphia Union on August 17th. The road ahead is difficult but this win should provide a great deal of confidence as the Red Bulls begin the second half push to the playoffs.



New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake : A Huge Match for Both Teams

The stakes could not get much higher for a regular season game in Major League Soccer (MLS) than Saturday night, when the New York Red Bulls host Real Salt Lake at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ at 7 PM.


MSG Network will have the TV coverage in the New York / NJ metro market, and believe it or not, the local ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City will be airing this match live for that market and their loyal fans.




The Red Bulls enter the match in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference tied with the Montreal Impact with 32 points (www.mlssoccer.com). The last game played by New York was on July 20th which ended as a 0-0 tie in Toronto.


The Red Bulls have allowed 0 goals in their last two games and they trail Sporting Kansas City for first place in the East by 4 points (www.mlssoccer.com).


Real Salt Lake (RSL) enters this match as the top team, not only in the Western Conference, but the top team in the league with 37 points. They hold the lead in what is known as the Supporters Shield which is the name of the honor given by MLS to the team with the best overall regular season record (www.mlssoccer.com).


The team from Utah is a powerhouse team with a record of 11 wins 6 losses and 4 ties. The match on Saturday night will be the only regular season meeting between the two teams this season.


The two teams met last season in Utah in the second game of the season in March 2012, and RSL defeated the Red Bulls by a score of 2-0 (www.nbcsports.com). The all time head-to-head record for the meetings of these two teams has New York with a record of 3 wins, 5 losses, and 7 ties. The Red Bulls have won all three of those games in the series at home against RSL, the information on the records was provided by MLS archives on their website.


A Fan’s Perspective


My perspective as a fan that watches the Red Bulls frequently is one of excitement and cautious optimism for this big match. New York plays really well at home in front of their dedicated fans at the Red Bull Arena.


The Red Bulls are coming off a disappointing result to Toronto FC where they could not score a goal against a team which is one of the worst defensive teams in the MLS. So they need this game as a “bounce back game” or as former NFL legend and soon to be Hall of Famer, Warren Sapp, would call it a “get right game”.


Red Bulls head coach, Mike Petke, will have his team prepared well for this match. He knows RSL coach Jason Kreis very well as they are contemporaries having played in MLS during the same period of time, and then moved into coaching immediately after their playing days ended.


I have seen Real Salt Lake play a few times here and there this season, and have read the news coverage around them throughout the season. The team was my preseason pick to win the MLS Cup championship this year. My prediction looks pretty solid right now.


RSL is a very talented team with incredible depth. They will need it on Saturday night because, in another key reason why I like New York to win this game, RSL will be travelling east very short handed.

Beckerman, Beltran, and Rimando (their starting goalkeeper) will all miss this game because they will be playing for Team USA in the international tournament called the Gold Cup (www.nbcsports.com).


Then, Saunders (their backup goalie), Salcedo, Schuler, and three other role players are out for this game due to injury. Finally, Chris Wingert, who is a key player for their side, is suspended due to his total of yellow cards for rough play (www.mlssoccer.com).




In watching Real Salt Lake play, and having played soccer myself and with my tactical knowledge of the sport; I have observed some things about their approach and strategy. They are very well organized, they play excellent defense, and can be very well disciplined.


They tend to stay pretty narrow through the midfield, using shorter, more precise passes to transition into the attacking third of the field. They have very talented forwards, notably Robbie Findley, Olmes Garcia, and Joao Plata. That trio is very dangerous and the Red Bulls need to be prepared defensively to combat their attack.

In the midfield, they have in my opinion, their most talented player in Javier Morales. Morales is a dynamic playmaker and passer, who can also put shots on goal with great accuracy. He is a very difficult player to defend, and the Red Bulls are going to have to determine their best man to defend him pretty early on in this game.


Their fullbacks also have a tendency to slide up into attack position, particularly their outside fullbacks, which can create problems for their opponents. However, I think New York has the personnel to counter this element of their attack.


The big wild card in this game is Jeff Attinella, he is their number 3 goalie, but because of the injuries and the players missing from the Gold Cup, he will start in goal for RSL on Saturday night. He has very limited experience, and I think the Red Bulls can capitalize on that inexperience to win this match.


The Red Bulls looked very tight when I saw them play against Montreal on July 13. The offense looked incredibly crisp, and defensively they played very well and had excellent structure in that game against an outstanding offensive opponent.


The key players for the Red Bulls are: Fabian Espindola, Tim Cahill, Thierry Henry, Dax McCarty, Jamison Olave, and their goalie Luis Robles.


McCarty makes that list because he may have to mark up and defend Morales. Espindola is playing against his former team, having spent many years with RSL, it will be his first game as well as Olave’s first game against their former teammates since the offseason trade which landed them both in New York.


Olave looked solid to me in the Montreal game, he was all over the defensive third of the field making plays on the ball. The play of Robles too was very impressive, he was very good at protecting the goal, particularly on corner kicks. He will be tested early and often by RSL in this game.


Tim Cahill should be able to make some plays through the midfield to transition the Red Bulls in this game, and I think Henry is determined to have a great performance against RSL, who he has always respected. If you remember, it was Henry that really engineered that trade for Espindola and Olave because he liked the RSL style of play and wanted those guys with him in New York.


Henry and Espindola both being “on their game” in this match could be too much for a shorthanded RSL side to handle.




I think the Red Bulls win this match by a score of 3-1. I like that they have the home field advantage, a more talented group of 11, and RSL has an inexperienced goalkeeper. It should be a great match, which could be a championship game preview. I look forward to watching on Saturday night, and reviewing it next week. My favorite team, the Red Bulls against the best team in Real Salt Lake. This is MLS soccer at its best.

The Value Added Sales Process

The sales process has advanced over the years with the advent of certain technological advancements, but at the core of effective selling are certain “tried and true” principles.  One of those principles is known as value added sales. I will draw upon my extensive professional experience in sales and marketing to detail this principle of selling including practical methods to utilize in your business.


Valued added sales is an approach that is very effective, but it is a selling method which can take a long period of time to yield results. However, those results are usually at a very impactful and measurable level, which is why it is still an important approach to selling either a product or a service.


Value Added Sales – My Experience


I have utilized the value added sales approach in my own career across various industry types. I find that this method of selling is very effective, but it is largely pro-active, so it requires a self-starter type of sales person with a great deal of discipline.


Please allow me to qualify that last statement further. The value added sales approach requires the sales person or account manager to introduce a new piece of information on each sales call which is of some value to the customer.


It requires a great deal of discipline for two main reasons:

  1. The sales person must keep organized records of all prior calls (which is a good standard practice) but with a record of what was used on each call to “add value” to make sure this information is not used again at the same customer account. In sales roles where you have high call frequency (pharmaceutical, medical supply, telecom services) this can become an issue if the data entry on customer interaction is not done.


  1. The sales person or account manager must do research and extra “leg work” to find what they are going to use on each respective sales call. If you are going to present an article on an emerging trend, that requires time to research trade magazines and other information sources and then make copies of the article for the customer. When you are in a sales role where you are required to make a certain number of calls per day or per week, then the time to prepare and organize this extra work comes “after hours” in the evening or at night. That requires a good degree of discipline.


In my experience, I have used the value added sales approach to enhance the selling process for both products and services. It can be implemented for either type of sale as well as B2B sales or B2C sales.


The key to the value added sales process is that the sales person must know their audience. If the audience is a physician or surgeon you should prepare a value added piece to your presentation that they would find of interest. If the audience is a group of product developers at an energy company, then you must have a piece of information that they will find important to their needs or business operation.


Tips and Potential Pitfalls


I have found in my past experience that the best way to prepare for the value added sales process is by starting slowly. I would suggest the identification of certain accounts, clients, or customers which can be improved in some way.


Then, I would set up my sales call plan and select six ideas for value added components for each customer or account. I would follow that step by gathering resources to provide that value added piece.


When I was half way through that six call cycle for those identified accounts, then I would identify six more components that would add value to that customer interaction. That brought me to twelve calls.


This approach was systematic, when I was in medical sales, I would see my top accounts once per week. This plan of doing six calls and then another six calls with value added enhancements brought me to twelve weeks, which was the end of the quarter.


The potential pitfalls to this approach are numerous, this approach requires planning. If you have some other issues that present themselves in your personal life, or if you are asked to work on a special project for your job after hours by your boss; then that planning time is going to be out the window.


The value added approach does not work without the planning and organization of finding the right piece of information on a product or industry trend which will make an impact with the respective customer.


The other most common pitfall is the tendency to “roll out” the program too quickly to all of your accounts or customers. That mistake will usually end in disaster for you and the relationship building process at your accounts.






The implementation of a value added sales protocol for your business has two main approaches:

  • Custom approach
  • System approach


The custom approach is the scenario I detailed earlier. It is where the sales person or account manager has the freedom and autonomy to determine the best way to implement the system in a given sales territory.


Furthermore, the custom approach allows for the sales person to select what value added components will be used at each individual account or client. The decisions are solely with the sales person or account manager in how to implement this important selling methodology.


Conversely, the system approach to the implementation of the value added sales process essentially strips the sales person or account manager of any input into the manner of introduction of this concept into a given territory.


The company controls all aspects of the value added process by dictating to the sales person which accounts will be given the value added approach.  In the system approach, the company also decides how the value added component of the call plan will be communicated.


The most common techniques utilized in the systems approach are:

  1. Fax blast
  2. E-mail blast
  3. E-mail newsletter
  4. A promotional item or product sample


These techniques tend to be viewed with mixed results. In my experience, I have worked with companies who had some success with the “fax blast” or “e-mail blast”. The issue with those techniques are, when they fail, it tends to really turn a customer off.


The other issue with those techniques are that they tend to be one message on one product or product line, or one specific service which is sent to all your customer accounts. It is too much of a “cookie cutter” approach to provide true value to a customer.


I worked with a company which had, over the years, compiled a file of accounts that had contacted them saying they no longer wanted to receive the fax blasts every week.  A mistake occurred during a change to new software and the fax blast went to all the accounts including the ones on the “do not fax” list. We had some angry customers, which is never good, and they remained angry for a while.


The e-mail newsletter at least has some variety to the content which makes it applicable to most of your customer base. However, my concern with this technique is that it is impersonal, and selling is a very personal, relationship driven situation when done correctly.


The promotional sample technique has some inherent deficiencies too, particularly when it is the same product sampled across the board. In the event that the customer already has used the product and formed an opinion on it, then it looks bad to send them a sample of that same product.


I have also worked for companies which have a hybrid approach to the implementation of this important sales process. In this approach, the company still exerts some influence over how the sales person will manage the value added sales process.


The company will conduct monthly or quarterly newsletters or fax blasts, but as a support mechanism to the program, not as the primary driver for business development. The sales person will have the independence to have some input as to which accounts should be introduced to the value added program, and also is given the authority to determine what the value added message will be at a respective account.


The hybrid approach can work pretty effectively when done correctly. In the end, in my opinion, I think the most effective implementation of the program is the custom approach. I believe it works the best overall to allow the sales person the full autonomy to make those choices in their respective sales territory.



Path to Success


The value added sales process can be a very successful way to drive sales and develop new business opportunities in a given sales territory. The process is rooted in relationship building, which is one of the key factors in any successful sales program.


When you as a sales person can bring a special piece of information or new trend to a customer account, you are displaying that you understand their business and that you care about their business being successful. That builds relationships quickly.


The process helps to change the customers’ perception of you and your company within your business interactions. In a successful implementation of the value added process, the customer will now view you and the company you represent, as problem solving partners. You will not be viewed as just another supplier that wants to grow their market share or increase their profits.


The time and effort that it takes to successfully install a value added sales protocol is evident to some of your customers. This extra effort and willingness to go that “extra mile” will become a big point of difference between you and the other sales representatives that call on those same customer accounts.


That effort and energy will help you as the sales person, when that customer account is ready to launch the next big product or designate a supplier for a big project, and they choose you to get that business with them.


The value added sales process will then reach the ultimate goal on the path to success: it will grow your sales figures which will allow you to earn more through commission payments and other compensation.


I hope that this article will be of assistance to all the sales personnel and their respective companies which they represent, as the decision is being made on whether to utilize a value added selling process. The process, when implemented correctly, could have a significant impact on the sales growth of your business.




Top U.S. TV Markets: An Analysis of American Lifestyle

The practice of watching television is a major part of the American lifestyle. In recent years, the cost for cable television has increased, and Americans will continue to pay for the privilege of watching the programs that they enjoy.


The landscape has grown through the expansion of cable and internet streaming services which provide the viewer with the capability to customize their television viewing habits. The cable television space has a plethora of extra specific content channels for sports, music, lifestyle, home shopping, and reality television programming.


The demographics of the country have a role in defining the largest TV markets in the US, and those markets drive the ratings to determine the programming options for the smaller markets in other regions of the country.


Some other contributing factors in shaping the size of a TV market are climate and local/regional economic issues. In areas of extreme climates either hot or cold, those factors drive residents to be indoors more than in other regions, which tends to have an effect on the consumption of televised content.


The economic factors which contribute to the size of a given television market are: high or low unemployment levels, and the types of industries or business makeup of a given city or region.


Top U.S. Television Markets

The top TV markets are well known:

  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Dallas – Fort Worth
  6. San Francisco – Oakland- San Jose, CA
  7. Boston
  8. Atlanta
  9. Washington D.C.
  10.  Houston




These cities and media markets drive the advertising and the programming choices to a large degree for the rest of the United States. It is also interesting to note that while the Houston metropolitan area is the 5th largest in population, it is the 10th largest TV market (www.census.gov).


Now, this ranking for Houston could be determined by many different factors. The weather could lend itself to many outdoor activities especially during the peak TV ratings periods, commonly known as “sweeps” periods in September, February, and May.


The prevalence of outdoor activity either for work or recreation is also evidenced in the differential between Houston’s TV ranking (10th) and according to Arbitron, their radio market ranking (6th). Their radio ranking is more in line with their population ranking, and I believe it is a better measurement of the demographic factors involved in that marketplace.


In my background research for this article, I found some news stories centered on Houston remaining in the Top 10 TV markets nationally and how important that is given the reasons I detailed earlier. The city of Detroit is currently ranked 11th, and is on a population decline due to a horribly recessionary economy.


The marketing and advertising industry players located in Houston are concerned about being pushed from the Top 10 TV markets by Phoenix.


Phoenix currently sits at the 12th position in the TV markets rankings, and according to the Office of Management & Budget (O.M.B.) data, that metro area is gaining in population (up 3.26%) from 2010 to 2012, and is on a rapid growth trend.


Philadelphia – A Top 5 market


The current situation in Philadelphia is also interesting because they are currently ranked the 6th largest U.S. metro area according to the O.M.B., yet the city is ranked as the 4th largest TV market.


Furthermore, Philadelphia is the 8th ranked radio market in the U.S. (www.arbitron.com). So, the radio ranking is below their population ranking but their TV ranking is above their population ranking.

Some of this differential can be explained by the demographic areas used by both TV and radio to determine the rankings. The geographic areas are different: the TV market is drawn from a different region of suburbs surrounding the city into southern New Jersey and also includes a large portion of Delaware.


This regional area creates a 20 station TV market for Philadelphia and a large population base (www.stationindex.com). The city is also the headquarters of the cable giant, Comcast, which has recently touted the 2.1 million cable subscribers in the Philadelphia TV market (www.comcast.com).


Comcast has made it no secret that they want to be the number one cable TV provider in their own home market, so they promote their services very heavily there, and are very active in the community sponsoring a variety of charitable activities. This is a contributing factor to the size of the marketplace as well.


Conversely, the radio demographic region is drawn up differently and does not reach the same areas. It has only one station included in the radio market in Delaware, and that is in Dover (www.arbitron.com). So that explains some of the difference in those rankings.


I believe that the draw of TV in the Philadelphia market has more to do with the types of industry and commerce located there and the service industries needed to support that commerce. These jobs are around the clock, so when people get home from a long shift of difficult work, they watch TV.


The final factor in the scale of the TV market in Philadelphia is the huge viewership numbers that marketplace gets from live sports related programming.


San Francisco – The TV mammoth by the Bay

The marketplace in San Francisco is also an interesting case study in that their metro area (which includes Oakland and San Jose) is ranked 11th in population, but they are ranked as the 6th largest TV market.


Now, the factors surrounding the San Francisco market are driven by a huge number of TV station outlets (22 stations) for their population level (4.45 million as of 2012 according to the O.M.B.) and the weather is also a contributing factor to ratings there as well.


Besides the weather, the number of stations in San Francisco is based on the diverse multicultural population of that market. The high number of Hispanic and Asian residents facilitated the creation of several TV stations which have programming specifically for those audiences.


Due to the large sizes of these respective audiences, that programming also draws a very high viewership rating, and provides international companies with direct marketing opportunities via TV advertising.


The weather in San Francisco is also a contributing factor to the TV ratings there, it is famous for cool, foggy weather. It is the coolest of all major U.S. cities during the summer months of June (average temp: 68), July (average temp: 69) and August (average temp: 70).

In January, February, and March the average temperature ranges from 57 to 63. Then, the period from November to April is known as “the rainy period”, this information was all gathered courtesy of The National Weather Service and The Weather Channel (www.weather.com).


It is pretty clear, that with temperatures and conditions like that, you have many nights in that market that lend themselves to staying indoors and watching television.


Boston – A Northeast top tier market


Boston is similar to San Francisco in that it is the 10th largest metro area by population in the U.S. according to the O.M.B., but it has the 7th largest TV market. Boston is also very similar to San Francisco in total metro area population with 4.64 million based on 2012 statistics given to the O.M.B., and it also has very similar contributing factors for the size of its TV market.


Boston has 17 TV outlet stations in their respective marketplace territory, which stretches into Western Massachusetts and parts of New Hampshire. The highly diverse population also contributes to specific TV stations with multicultural programming.


The weather in Boston is also a factor in the TV viewership levels overachieving the metro areas’ respective population level. The temperatures in January (average: 35 degrees), February (38 degrees), and March (45 degrees) according to the National Weather Service, coupled with the precipitation provide ideal conditions for a market to consume broadcast television programming.


In Boston, July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 73 degrees (www.weather.com). The months of October (average temperature: 61), November (average temp: 51) and December (average temp: 41) are prime TV viewing months from the late fall until the end of the year. Now, couple that with an average of 10 days of precipitation per month in each of those 3 months and that provides an explanation for Boston having such large TV viewership numbers.


In a similar way to Philadelphia, Boston also has all of the major professional sports represented in their city, plus a vibrant college sports scene; the fans in Boston are particularly loyal, consequently driving huge ratings for live sports related televised programming.


Dallas – Fort Worth


The Dallas – Fort Worth TV market is shaped by many factors dealing with demographics, weather, and a strong economy. All of these factors combined with the appeal from a marketing and advertising perspective of having a huge cross section of people to expose to your product or service, have made this market the 5th largest TV marketplace in the country.


The ranking is in line with the population because the Dallas- Fort Worth “Metroplex” area is the 4th largest metro area in the U.S. according to the O.M.B., with a population of 6.645 million, and it also has the 6th largest economy in the U.S. as well.


Dallas has common factors to the other markets in this article which contribute to the growth of their TV marketplace. The city and metro area surrounding Dallas is very diverse, including a huge Hispanic population.  The market has 18 television outlet stations with some outlets dedicated to multicultural and Hispanic programming.


Dallas also has the contributing factor of weather, except unlike the other markets focused upon in this article previously, it is weather which is too hot. Dallas has some of the hottest summer temperatures in the continental U.S. and according to the National Weather Service, it is quiet common for 70 degree days to occur throughout the winter months there as well.


The heat and humidity of those summer days’ forces people to have to remain indoors in air conditioning which strongly impacts the prevalence of consuming televised programming. This is particularly evident if you look at the May “sweeps” period, which is critically important in the television industry, and where weather can play a huge role in the viewership levels for Dallas. Those factors combine to make this market very important to advertising companies and large manufacturing companies to market products.


The final component to the growth of the Dallas- Fort Worth metro area was an unfortunate one: Hurricane Katrina. When that terrible tragedy struck New Orleans in 2005, many victims were displaced and put on buses to Dallas.


In the aftermath of the storm, those former residents of New Orleans found their homes either destroyed or their neighborhoods too drastically changed for them to return there, so aided by the strong economy in Dallas, they were able to get jobs and settle there. This migration of people caused a population surge coupled with population growth in later years due to the recessionary economy in other parts of the country.


The recession did not affect Dallas in the same way as many other regions of the country, so the city saw another influx of people from other parts of the country coming to find jobs.


They were successful in a short period of time in finding work, so those “transplants” remained in Dallas. One survey I read attributes 50% of the Dallas metro area population to being from outside of Texas. This statistical demographic measurement makes Dallas very attractive from a marketing and advertising perspective.


Rise of New Media


Any analysis of the television industry would be remiss if it did not include the current trend of new media technologies and their respective subsequent effect on the television landscape.


New media is any service which facilitates the delivery of content, in this case television programming, in an immediate “on demand” fashion directly to the consumer. That is how I would define some of these new services and products which have flooded the marketplace in recent months.


The rise of “video on demand” services through major cable television and telecom providers as well as other internet providers has created a whole new subsector of the television industry.


Some of these services are: Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon streaming video, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Ustream, Roku, and Aereo.


The obvious reaction to some of the before mentioned services from the major television broadcast companies has been one of resistance. The most recent was a high profile lawsuit, widely reported in the media, regarding the Aereo service by the major American broadcasting companies.


A federal court, according to reports, ruled in favor of Aereo stating that the content did not violate copyright infringement laws because they were not “public performances”; the content was being provided to paying subscribers.


The decision just solidified that the television and media industry has changed dramatically and will continue to adapt in the months and years ahead. The demand for content will only continue to grow as the number of specialized outlets for that content will expand.


The growing prevalence for the ready accessibility of DVR technology forced the first changes to the Nielsen ratings system in many years (www.nielsen.com). The ratings service now uses data to incorporate the replay of a program via DVR on the same day.


The future


The gold standard for television programming at this point is live sporting events because people can so easily access scores on their smart phones, tablets, or other devices. The need to see that sporting event live while it happens is still a huge draw, which correlates to the massive sums of money the broadcast companies are paying to the major sports leagues for the rights to that precious content.


The strongest case for the importance and relevance of sports is the huge ratings numbers that the Super Bowl has garnered in the past few years, setting ratings records for television (www.nielsen.com).


In the end, the demand will still remain for the traditional television viewing of certain programs and events. The challenge for the TV broadcasting industry will be to continue to provide content which is highly relevant in an increasingly complex world.


That will prove difficult, but not impossible, it remains to be seen how it will be implemented. However, it is clear from this analysis that Americans love watching television, and that trend will not change any time soon.





New York Knicks News: J.R. Smith out 10-14 weeks / Metta World Peace returns to NYC

The recent news as reported by CBS Sports, is that the New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith recently underwent knee surgery and will be out 10-14 weeks. The team also announced it has reached agreement with small forward Metta World Peace (a.k.a. Ron Artest) on a 2 year contract (www.cbssports.com).


The fact that Smith had to have these knee surgeries done is a concern to me as a fan on a couple of levels. First, the injuries to Smith’s knees have been chronic and what if these procedures do not fix those problems?


Now, the Knicks have signed him to a 4 year contract, and he could hypothetically miss extended periods of time due to nagging injury.


However, Smith has battled through injury his entire career and has shown toughness and resilience in the past, but I do think that the injuries have an effect on his shooting capability. It could help to explain the long scoring drought he had in the playoffs this past season.


Who is going to help Melo?


The second area of concern I have regarding the absence of Smith is that he will miss training camp and the beginning few weeks of next season. That timetable, of course, is if everything involving in his rehab goes well. What if he has a setback?


In the absence of Smith, who is going to be the secondary scoring player to help Carmelo Anthony (a.k.a. Melo)?


The Knicks are going to need some scoring help from one of the other guards on the roster. I would look to Iman Shumpert as a potentially capable source of that offense.


I know so far Shumpert’s calling card is his ability to play lock-down defense, but the Knicks sent him to play Summer League ball in Las Vegas specifically to work on the offensive aspects of his game.


The other option is that secondary scoring might have to come from the front court with Andrea Bargnani. He has a very well rounded offensive game, as I covered in a prior post here on “Frank’s Forum”. Any seven foot guy who can shoot the 3 pointer, drive to the basket, and shoot mid-range jumpers is difficult to defend.


The opposing team will be looking to stop Carmelo Anthony, so that may open up some shots for Bargnani to knock down.


Outside of those two players, I do not know where the Knicks are going to find the points that Smith would normally contribute. In his absence, they need to put together a game plan to figure that out.


Metta World Peace: return to NYC


It was widely speculated that following the Los Angeles Lakers using their amnesty buyout on the contract of Metta World Peace, he would come and play for the Knicks.


The rationale behind that rumor was because he would still be paid by the Lakers the remainder of the money on his contract with them, the Lakers just eliminated those dollars from the salary cap and the luxury tax figures.


The Knicks have very little money left to spend on free agents but figured to offset the money he was receiving from the Lakers with half the mid- level trade exception which is around $1.6 million.


The Knicks used the other half of the mid-level trade exception to sign Pablo Prigioni recently to bring him back after his successful first year with the team last season. Prigioni will fill an important role in the Knicks backcourt in the upcoming season.


Metta World Peace (a.k.a. Ron Artest) figured to resume his NBA career with the Knicks because they are a potential title contender (he has played 14 years in the league so he was not going to go to a bad team at this point) and he is from New York City. The Knicks have a need at small forward, so this is a good move for all sides.


I know that World Peace has had a checkered past history, but I believe in redemption and second chances. He has grown into a solid defender and rebounder as well as a locker room leader which Kobe Bryant wanted back with the Lakers. This is a guy who used to drink beers before games when he was with the Indiana Pacers.


Then, he famously changed his name and thanked his psychiatrist after the most recent Lakers championship series victory a few years ago. He will fill an important void for the Knicks in their frontcourt and in the locker room. I think Coach Woodson will get a high caliber of effort out of him as well.


So, Knicks fans, we have a bad news and good news type of day. The team still has a couple of smaller roster moves yet to make, including the continued negotiations to bring back Kenyon Martin, which I think is imperative for them to do moving forward. Stay tuned.



A Move Toward a Better Future: Sea Bright Wins

Main Street Makeover Contest

The news was much needed for this small beach town, Sea Bright, which my wife and I called our home for 10 years prior to the landfall of Hurricane Sandy. The storm surge devastated the town and the downtown business district.


Now, the road to rebuilding the downtown can finally begin with the announcement that Sea Bright won the “Main Street Matters” contest sponsored by New Jersey based paint manufacturer, Benjamin Moore.


The contest awarded 20 different towns nationwide with a free makeover of a two or three block section of their downtown paid for by Benjamin Moore. This contest was an on-line based competition, which Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long was very involved with drumming up support via Twitter and social media.


Slow Rebuilding


I was so excited at the news of the contest victory for Sea Bright because the rebuilding process has been very slow in the months since Sandy ravaged this small town nestled between the Shrewsbury River and the Atlantic Ocean.

The federal aid money has been distributed at a very slow pace, as the saying goes that I have heard recently, Sandy victims are paying for “the sins of Katrina” referring to the rampant misuse and abuse of federal funds following that disaster.

This contest provides a shot in the arm to Sea Bright, which desperately needs one at this point. Benjamin Moore will provide the necessary quantity of paint, stain, and supplies for the exterior buildings of the two to three block area selected by the respective winning town. Their color experts will assist in the color selection and a group of professional painters will provide the service of doing the actual work on the building exteriors.


Social Media and the Victory


Sea Bright was very active in social media to gather support for the participation needed to win this on-line competition, which displays the changed society in which we live in. The town created a separate Facebook page named “All About Sea Bright”  https://www.facebook.com/groups/AllAboutSeaBright/

This page became integral to the community gathering the votes necessary to win the contest. The campaign for social media was very effective. Personally, I received a Twitter message every day to vote for the contest.


Benjamin Moore deserves some credit here too, many corporations have made donations of funds to the relief efforts of Hurricane Sandy, but this contest takes the rebuilding effort directly to the community in need. This donation of needed paint and supplies covers the cost that Sea Bright would have had to wait a long period of time to get these supplies through other resources.



The Future


I have seen Sea Bright at its lowest point just following the horrible events of Hurricane Sandy where the town was decimated. I saw destruction on a scale I had never seen before, and I was not sure if the town would ever make it back.

The future will entail a lot of work to rebuild Sea Bright, but the people in the community are united and believe in that cause very strongly. The Benjamin Moore contest brings new meaning to “Main Street Matters” in the case of Sea Bright it matters a great deal. It is a symbolic gesture toward rebuilding the place that we all remember as a wonderful town with incredible natural beauty that is part of the fabric of the New Jersey Shore.

The New York Knicks Acquire Andrea Bargnani

The New York Knicks have acquired forward Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors in a trade in exchange for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, a future first round draft pick, and two second round draft picks (www.espn.com).


The trade will not be official until July 10th and because the trade had been announced and had not yet cleared league approval, the trade has been revised. On July 1st the new salary cap and salary contract years began in the NBA, so Bargnani had an increase in salary and Camby and Novak both had their salaries decrease according to New York Newsday. In that same report on July 1st, it was explained that Quentin Richardson would be added to the trade because the salary numbers in the NBA have to match up on both sides of a proposed trade.


Bargnani – Talent in need of a change


Andrea Bargnani is a very talented player who was drafted 1st overall in the 2006 NBA Draft (www.nba.com). He is 27 years old and will turn 28 on October 26, and I think he still has some good years left in his career. It is not like you are getting a guy that is 30+ years old.


Bargnani had an elbow injury and missed 47 games last season, and when he did play it lead to questions from the fans in Toronto as well as the executives throughout the league about how much he really wanted to play. According to scouting reports, he looked at points like he no longer cared, but that could also be due to the fact that Toronto is a terrible team.


In the end, Bargnani finished last season averaging 12.7 points per game on 40% shooting, and his career numbers are 15.3 points per game on 43.7% shooting (www.espn.com).


This move was also made based on timing, the Knicks need another front court player, particularly with the teams’ announcement of the minutes restrictions on Amare Stoudemire. The financial side of the deal is important too from a business and salary cap perspective. According to ESPN, Bargnani is owed $23 million on the last two years of his contract, which means he will be a free agent heading into the same summer as fellow Knicks players Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Stoudemire.


All of these large contracts coming off the books at the same time is going to create a situation where the Knicks will have an incredible amount of salary cap flexibility. The Knicks could essentially re-sign Carmelo Anthony if they choose and then revamp the entire roster around him adding 2 or 3 star “max contract” type players to the roster.


In the meantime, Bargnani will help this team. I also believe that he needs a change of scenery. Some athletes do, and sports fans have seen that happen with other star athletes in the past, across every major sport. I think he was tired of the Raptors never competing or having even a chance at the playoffs, and the fan base in Toronto was tired of him. I think New York will be a fresh start, and for an Italian born player it does not get much better than playing and living in New York City.


Bargnani’s contribution – a tactical perspective


Andrea Bargnani brings to the Knicks a unique skill set in that he is a big front court player (7 feet tall) but he has a good outside shot. He can shoot 3 point field goals, but he can also put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket. His outside shooting is such a threat that he will help space the floor for Carmelo Anthony and the recently re-signed J.R. Smith to slash and drive the ball to the hoop.


I think he is a very good fit for the Knicks and will fill an important role for them in the front court. Bargnani does not rebound the ball well, he needs to work on his defense, and his passing skills are average. However, I think Coach Woodson and the Knicks coaching staff is very good at helping players and that they will foster improvement in some of these deficient areas, especially on the defensive end.


The trade was a good one, in my view as a fan of the Knicks, mostly because they got a player I always thought was a talented player stuck on a bad team. The Knicks gave up a potentially valuable 1st round pick but the other players all had issues meshing into the Knicks system. Marcus Camby was a bad contract for the Knicks too because he still has 2 years left on the deal and he is pushing 40 years old.

I read some other reports in the media that Camby was very upset with the trade and the Raptors are trying to trade him to a contending team. His contract may make that a difficult move at this point. Steve Novak, for those who have read my blog, you know I am not and never have been a Novak fan. I thought he was overpaid and had a limited skill set.

I can’t shoot an NBA three pointer as consistently as he can, the issue is that is all Novak can do. His defense is average and he was not a good rebounder for a 6 foot 10 inch guy. Quentin Richardson was a late addition to the team and barely played last season, so they are not giving up much there either, though his veteran presence and his great personality will help the Raptors locker room.


The Knicks now can move past the J.R. Smith deal, now that it is done, and focus on rounding out the roster with signing Pablo Prigioni, and either Elton Brand or Kenyon Martin. Though other sports reporters on social media have told me that the Knicks front office has something else potentially big they are working on. That translates into: Knicks fans stay tuned.

Phoenix Coyotes Update: Team Staying in the Desert

In a follow up to an earlier entry about the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team, it was announced late last night that the City of Glendale voted to accept the arena management deal with the new Coyotes ownership group. This all but seals the future of the team in the Valley of the Sun, for at least the next five years.


The NHL will sell the Coyotes franchise to Renaissance Sports & Entertainment (RSE) shortly now that the lease agreement has been ratified, according to ESPN and other sports sources.


The RSE group will purchase the Coyotes, a moribund franchise which the NHL had to take control of during the bankruptcy of former owner Jerry Moyes in 2009.


The vote was very close though in the Glendale City Council meeting last night 4-3 in favor of ratification of the arena lease deal (www.espn.com) with the dissenting members of the council having misgivings about the length of the deal and the money the City is putting toward an arena and a hockey team. One city council member quoted by ESPN said that she would have rather had this money go toward education improvements.


Sticky Situation


The City of Glendale though was in a sticky situation because they chose to build the arena with the intent of the Coyotes being the anchor tenant. According to ESPN and other sources, the arena cost $220 million to build in 2003 of which the city put in $180 million from tax revenue. The arena would have almost certainly failed without the anchor tenant, the Coyotes, taking 41 dates per year for hockey games.


The arena management deal is for 15 years and Glendale will pay RSE $225 million to manage the operations of the arena. That was seen by the City Council as a huge expenditure of funds without any insulation for losses if the team leaves.


The other big issue is that the team can still leave, there is an out clause in the deal that allows RSE to relocate the team after 5 years or if the group takes $50 million in losses on the team. Either scenario is possible given, as I detailed in my earlier coverage of this situation, the fact that the Coyotes are dead last in attendance in the NHL.


The City of Glendale essentially built their own out clause in the deal which has RSE paying the city for any losses in revenue above $6 million if the team should relocate at any point in the course of the deal (www.espn.com).


The Key for RSE


Many reporters and others who have followed this story closely believe that the announcement by RSE that they had agreed to a partnership deal with Global Spectrum, the huge arena and stadium management company, was the key for them winning the vote last night.


Global Spectrum is a respected company with a reputation in the industry for successful management of sports and entertainment facilities.


It was widely reported yesterday that Global Spectrum is familiar with the market there in Phoenix because they manage the events at the University of Phoenix Stadium across the street from the arena in Glendale (www.espn.com).


The help of Global Spectrum gave RSE the confidence to project $8.5 to $11 million in revenue for the City of Glendale as part of the better management of the arena, this is also according to ESPN.


Westgate and the Future


The reports I read detailed a scene where several people watched on closed circuit TV in overflow areas around the Glendale City Hall building last night for the vote on the future of the team.


According to those same reports, some people cheered and others booed as the news came in of the vote to ratify the arena management deal with RSE. It is clearly a divisive issue for the people in the Phoenix area.


I also read reports that the city council was being pressured to ratify by the small business owners in Westgate, which is the area of Glendale developed right around the football stadium and the arena. The city had sunk money into developing Westgate, and many small business owners were certain that without the Coyotes the arena would probably close.


The ripple effect being that the arena closure would dramatically impact their businesses in Westgate, and mean potential lost jobs and further lost tax revenue.


The future of the Coyotes gained some certainty with last night’s vote but it remains to be seen whether RSE can make a very difficult situation work: hockey in the desert. Other owners have tried and failed. I detailed the issues with the location of the arena and the traffic to get to weekday games in rush hour.


I also do not think many people care about the team there, I never thought it was a good fit for Phoenix or the NHL. The other big factor there that is not present in many other NHL cities is that the weather in Phoenix is actually really nice during January, February, and March. In many other places the weather is lousy so people go to indoor events like an NHL hockey game.


Meanwhile, the saga of the Coyotes is over for now at least, and the media and fans there can move on to the non-business related aspects like talking about the players and the team as they prepare to play a truly “new” season in the history of that franchise.