Bulls of the week
Neon Deion Sanders continues to make sports business headlines as head coach of Colorado football. Rarely has a coach turned around a franchise — and the interest in it — than the way Coach Prime has in Boulder, Colo., now the hottest ticket in college football south of the border.
The team’s average ticket price skyrocketed from US$122 per game to US$517, surging ahead of Ohio State, the gold standard in this department.
And in something I didn’t see coming in this age of new technologies, Phoenix Suns owner Matt Ishbia turned his back on cable TV this week, opting instead to put more than 70 of their 82 regular-season games on a local TV station.
That makes it a good week for TV antennas, with the Suns distributing them free to fans.
Bears of the week
Newly hired Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock has clearly not had a good week.
Yet it’s been a picnic compared with the week it’s been for the Toronto Blue Jays.
It has to be one of the most glaringly inexcusable fails in the history of the Jays. In the closest thing to a “play-in” tournament in MLB, the Jays were swept in four games. They were embarrassed at home at the Rogers Centre in the most important series they’ve played in a half-decade, outscored 35-9 with a playoff berth very much on the line.
Toronto went in to the four-game series Monday up 1 1/2 games on the Rangers and now find themselves 2 1/2 games back of Texas and 1 1/2 behind the Seattle Mariners, who currently hold the final wild-card spot in the AL.
The Jays’ odds of making the post-season — something that was considered a foregone conclusion given the pre-season hype around these Jays — plummeted from over 80 per cent to 33.9 per cent going into a three-game weekend set at home against the Boston Red Sox.
A team that boasts George Springer, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and Mark Chapman in one of the vaunted offences in baseball — at least on paper — along with the deepest starting pitching that they’ve had in more than six years is now a fringe consideration with just over two weeks left, holding a minuscule 1.8 per cent probability of winning the World Series according to FanGraphs.
Teams have overcome much larger deficits to reach the post-season, but you would have to think these frustrating, on-again, off-again Jays will need to win 10 of their final 15 games.
How do they do that after losing 10-4, 6-3, 10-0 and 9-2 against the Rangers this week?
There’s never a good time for this kind of choke job, but throwing away the chance to win playoff games at home is particularly untimely given the Jays are halfway through their $300-million-plus renovation of the Rogers Centre.
A major push on season tickets for 2024 will be all the more difficult if they don’t find a way to leapfrog past the Mariners or the Rangers in the stretch run.
Meanwhile, I may have to find a new sports drink. The makers of my favourite — BioSteel — filed for creditor protection this week after an abysmal first quarter. BioSteel made US$17 million in the quarter.
The problem is they bled US$150 million in the process.
Marketing communications executive and sport business commentator Tom Mayenknecht — a co-founder of what was TEAM 1040/TSN 1040 in Vancouver — provides a behind-the-scenes look at the sport business stories that matter most to fans. Follow Mayenknecht at: twitter.com/TheSportMarket.
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