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Wednesday, January 14, 2021


I’m wondering just when the Canadian sports media is going to abandon the nickname “The Swamp” when referring to where the New Jersey Devils play. Because I’ve got news for our northern brethren: It’s outdated and inaccurate.

It used to fit, because for years, the Devils played at the sports complex in the Meadowlands. And yes, the area around East Rutherford, NJ is indeed swampy and fen-like. So nicknames like “Swamp” and “Swamp Rats” for the National Hockey League club were whimsically appropriate.

But that ended last season, when the Devs moved to Newark and their new arena, the Prudential Center. No swamplands in the Garden State’s largest city. There are plenty of other objectionable things about Newark, but they’re more of the urban-landscape brand; in fact, hockey’s own Barry Melrose got into some PR hot water over his disparaging remarks regarding such. But it’s a real stretch to tag the Pru’s surroundings as a new swampland.

This is typical of media professionals, who tend to cling to insiderish nomenclature years after it loses its original meaning. I’m assuming that Canadian hockey-watchers don’t particularly know or care about the particulars of New Jersey geography, so this misconception about the State’s only NHL team are bound to persist. But they shouldn’t.

So heads up, TSN. Because you seem to be the main offender, with headlines like the one above, “BACK TO THE SWAMP”, for news about Brendan Shanahan signing with the team that originally drafted him. Shanny’s back with his first NHL team, but he’s not heading back to the old swamp. And neither will any other Devil, for a long time.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/14/2009 09:57:50 PM
Category: Hockey, Media
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residential run
Given that modern stadium Personal Seat Licenses are a disposable-income equivalent of buying a lease, it’s logical that sports teams should target their ticket-sales pitches via property-brokering channels. So it is that the New York Yankees have engaged residential real estate agency Prudential Douglas Elliman to sell their ultra-pricey luxury boxes and premium seats in new Yankee Stadium to their house-buying clients.

Jim Grinstead, the editor and publisher of Revenues From Sports Venues, an industry newsletter, said he had never heard of real estate brokers marketing premium seating.

“The Yankees are tapping into a constituency to which real estate agents have better access than Yankee executives do,” he said. “It’s an interesting play. When people talk about pricing seats in stadiums and arenas, the phrase is ‘location is everything.’”

The Pinstripes are characterizing the move as simply another way to reach potential ticket-buyers in “an innovative way”, while insisting that the new barn is selling out briskly anyway. That’s a blatant lie, although it’s true that the seats would eventually get snapped up anyway; this is simply a quicker way to convert sales.

I’m looking forward to the strained marketing slogans to emerge from this seat-filling effort, either from the Yankees or Prudential. Especially from brokers, who could neatly wrap the promise of season tickets into a juicy lease, in an otherwise buyers’ market. Let me contribute the first: “If you lived here, you’d be behind home plate by now”…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/14/2009 11:56:33 AM
Category: Baseball, New Yorkin', SportsBiz
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Somehow, FOX Network came to its senses and is finally pulling the plug on “Prison Break”.

When a show’s still pulling in strong ratings, there has to be some extenuating circumstance behind killing it before every last drop of revenue-generating potential has been wrung out. And, in a snarky nutshell that encompasses many a modern television series, here it is:

The problem with most big American dramas these days is that they don’t know how to stretch out for multiple seasons. “Lost” got around this by becoming so impossibly dense that you can’t follow episodes without the aid of a flipchart and an encyclopedia. “24″ just repeats itself exactly every year with only minor changes, like the introduction of a female president who’s got a face that looks like a cake. And “Heroes” is determined to deliberately lose all of its viewers by progressively getting worse and worse with every passing minute.

And then there’s “Prison Break” — a show about a man breaking out of prison with the aid of his magical tattoo. Which was all well and good, except that at the end of the first season he broke out of prison, leaving nowhere for the show to go.

That’s why the following three seasons of “Prison Break” — where tattoo man goes on the lam, gets caught, goes to another prison, breaks out of that prison too and goes on the lam again, all because the president is evil or something — were such hopeless failures.

Basically, the premise underlying “Break” was so limited that even TV’s propensity for keeping a series alive, despite the lack of credible plot or character support, couldn’t justify its continuation. For once, profit potential lost out to creative priorities. Really remarkable, actually.

I would say that “Break” bowed out before it got the chance to truly jump the shark. But that would suggest that it was at all good to begin with. Far as I could tell, the sole reason for its success was fans of Wentworth Miller and his all-purpose scowl-face.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/14/2009 10:52:04 AM
Category: TV
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