LeBron James, Savannah Brinson send ‘save the date’ cards for Sept. ’13 Calif. wedding.


caricatureWith this epic run that he’s on — his Miami Heat rolling to 16 straight wins, thanks to his Wednesday night game-winner; his shooting 64 percent for a full month; his continual reminders that when he’s doing his thing, everybody else is playing for second place; the way he’s making it hard for us to even talk about how good he is at times — it’s natural to wonder exactly is freeing up LeBron James to play as well as he has been.
[Related: LeBron’s layup lifts Heat to 16th straight win]
As it turns out, there’s an easy answer: He finally got finished with the “save the dates” for his upcoming wedding to longtime sweetheart Savannah Brinson. Ask any guy who’s ever gotten married — that’s a huge weight off your shoulders.
TMZ, as it always does, has the story:
We’ve obtained a copy of King James’ “Save The Date” … which instructs his friends to block out Friday, Sept. 13, through Sunday, Sept. 15, for the NBA star’s destination wedding to fiancee Savannah Brinson in exotic San Diego, Calif.
The “Save the Date” even came with a fun caricature of Bron, Savannah and their 2 children … each dressed in their finest wedding outfits. Cute.
Check out the mailer after the jump.
James and Brinson have been together since their high school days back in Akron, Ohio. The couple has two children together — LeBron Jr., 8, and Bryce, 5. (You might know the boys from a pair of recent James tweets — the Heat star recently shared a link to Junior’s hoops “highlight reel,” and also posted a photo of his boys rocking haircuts that would make Kid-N-Play proud.)
They’ve been engaged for a little over a year; James popped the question on New Year’s Eve 2011, with the Heat off to a 4-0 start to what would wind up being a championship season. (He did so with a ring that reportedly cost $300,000, which means he got off a little light on the whole “three months salary” thing.) It was, as these things often tend to be, a surprise, albeit with a few more high-profile key players than most of our proposal stories tend to feature, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:
With a number of teammates and close friends looking on, James pulled off a bit of a sneak attack. He and Brinson had discussed marriage in the past, but amid the din of ringing in 2012, she didn’t expect the two-time NBA MVP to get on bended knee at that moment.
“It was beautiful,” Heat teammate Chris Bosh said. “I told him, ‘Good luck.’ It was nice. It was real nice.” […]
[Also: Rudy Gay embraces challenge with star-hungry Raptors]
Heat teammate Dwyane Wade was in charge of holding the ring until the big moment.
“It’s very nice,” Wade said. “Very nice. They have good taste.”
It’s nice when things are nice.
Less nice, in TMZ’s view — the fact that the nuptials will take place on Yom Kippur, which could pose a problem for the couple’s Jewish friends and desired guests. This is a fair point, but also underlines a fundamental truth about wedding planning: You’ll never be able to accommodate everybody, so you just have to try to be as mindful as you can and hope for the best.
Here’s hoping the weather’s nice, LeBron; if you need any suggestions on where to register for gifts, maybe hit up Jay Cutler. I hear he’s got some ideas.


Hublot celebrates 25 Years of the Miami HEAT

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Hublot toasted to the 25th Anniversary of the Miami HEAT which represents the brand’s first sports partnership in the U.S. In 2012, the brand had also introduced the King Power Miami HEAT Chronograph to solidify this relationship. To commemorate the occasion, Jean-Claude Biver, Chairman of Hublot commissioned a limited edition 25th Anniversary Miami HEAT collection, a set of 25 his and her timepieces in traditional Miami HEAT team colors. This collection is a unique way for Miami HEAT fans to connect with the team through the watch brand. The ladies watch boasts of a self-winding chronograph movement, polished and satin-finished black ceramic case with a black PVD 18K white gold bezel set with 42 red spinels and 6 H-shaped titanium screws. The men’s watch on the other hand, is replete with features like self-winding chronograph movement, polished and satin-finished black ceramic case with a micro blasted black ceramic bezel and black rubber and Hornback crocodile with red stitching strap.

This exquisite range will only be available during the months of April and May at the Hublot boutique at Bal Harbour and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund. The exciting celebrations lit up the Magic City and Hublot President of Latin America, Rick de la Croix, kicked off the celebration at the AmericanAirlines Arena with a presentation of the official Hublot 25th Anniversary wall-clock to Pat Riley, President of Basketball Operations for the Miami HEAT.

Lakers’ Jerry Buss Leaves Legacy As The NBA’s Greatest Owner

Longtime Los Angeles Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss died Monday at the age of 80. He had been at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in recent days with an undisclosed type of cancer. The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Buss made a fortune on Southern California real estate in the 1960s and 1970s. He then led a partnership in 1979 that bought the Lakers, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, The Forum (the arena which housed both teams) and a 13,000-acre ranch in the California Central Valley from Jack Kent Cooke, who achieved fame through his ownership of the Washington Redskins. The Lakers’ piece was valued at $20 million. Last month the team was valued at $1 billion in Forbes annual look at the business of basketball.

While $20 million might seem like a bargain for a marquee franchise like the Lakers, the NBA was a very different league in 1979. The league was reeling from drug allegations. Playoff games were shown on tape-delay. CBS and USA paid less than $20 million annually for the broadcast rights to the entire league. It was also the year that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird joined the NBA and it began its staggering ascent over the next three decades. The Lakers and Buss were in the middle of it all.

The Lakers and Buss collected NBA stars like Magic, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. These players helped lead the Lakers to 10 titles under Buss’ ownership (the franchise has 16 championships overall). The next best during that time are the six titles won by the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan. The Lakers’ chief rival, the Boston Celtics, won four titles since 1979. The Lakers won two-thirds of their regular season games since 1979–the best record in the NBA.

The Lakers became the biggest show in town under Buss. Celebrities flocked to the Forum, and later the Staples Center, to see “Showtime” and the stars on the court. Courtside seats set fans like Jack Nicholson back more than $3,000 a game, while luxury suites cost more than $300,000 on average at Staples.

Buss was never afraid to spend money to attract stars. The Lakers have the NBA’s highest payroll this season, $99 million, for the fourth straight year. Buss could afford it. The Lakers operating profit averaged $37 million a year the past 10 years, which is second best in the NBA behind the Bulls.

The Lakers are in a huge transition period with Buss’ death. Buss was the longest-tenured NBA owner (a post now held by Clippers owner Donald Sterling). Buss was a regular at Lakers games, but he did not attend a game this year as his health deteriorated. Two of his kids, Jeanie and Jim, have been running the franchises with Jim focused on the player side and Jeanie concentrating on business. AEG, which owns a 27% stake in the Lakers, put itself up for sale last year.

Buss’ estate faces a massive tax bill with the soaring value of the Lakers, as he owned two-thirds of the billion-dollar franchise. The Lakers are expected to stay in the family thanks to its massive $3.6 billion television deal with Time Warner Cable, which kicked off this season. The 20-year deal includes a 5-year option that is expected to bring the total value to $5 billion.

If the Buss family needs to raise money to pay estate taxes, they have a benefactor in their backyard. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the richest man in L.A., bought a 5% stake in the Lakers from Magic Johnson in 2010 and could easily afford a bigger stake if the Buss family wants to raise any cash.


Nigeria 1-0 Burkina Faso: Super Eagles seal Afcon Glory

The continental heavyweights of Nigeria
overcame the underdogs of Burkina Faso in a
convincing Afcon final display in South Africa

Nigeria’s young squad made Africa Cup of Nations history by besting Burkina Faso in Johannesburg to claim the nation’s third continental crown. Sunday Mba’s first half goal was enough to seal victory against the Stallions. Few in attendance at the National Stadium were under any doubt as to the
magnitude of the occasion, and the anticipation
created a powerful atmosphere inside the arena.
While both sides belted out the national anthems with vigor and aplomb, Nigeria were the only side that succeeded in overcoming the emotion and
expectation early on. Burkina Faso, by comparison,
were nervy and at times looked overawed by the
altitude of the final.
The tension afforded Naija the better opportunities
early on, as the Stallions’ defence failed to settle.
Victor Moses, a player who has begun to emerge as a
genuine international star during this competition,
was particularly bright, and looked keen to profit from any unease among the opposition. He appeared
everywhere, troubling both fullbacks with his pace,
and also the subtler side of his game, his feints and
Efe Ambrose and Ideye Brown had opportunities to
demonstrate their aerial prowess early on, but despite the bumbling and fumbling of Daouda Diakite in the Burkinabe goal, neither could capitalise. As the first half unfurled, the Stallions struggled to impose themselves; in frustration, perhaps more than hope, Aristide Bance – one of the semi-final heroes – twice shot from distance, but both of his efforts were wayward – the first hurtling over the bar, the second dribbling wide.
With the game threatening to become congested in
the midfield, and Burkina still struggling to settle,
Nigeria struck first. Moses forged some space for
himself, and after demonstrating admirable
determination and work rate, indirectly provided an
opportunity for Sunday Mba – the slayer of Cote d’Ivoire – to fire the Eagles ahead.
The Enugu Rangers midfielder still had a lot to do
however, and a compilation of delicate touches
allowed him to glide past the Stallions defence before
finishing. It was further vindication of Keshi’s
domestic-based selection policy, the manager
becoming only the second figure in history to win the
cup as both a player and a coach.
Burkina Faso, on the other hand, failed to truly grow
into the contest and find their rhythm. While few
would have begrudged them a place in the final, after
their heroic performances previously, perhaps the
occasion was too big as the side appeared to lack
self-belief, and rarely convinced.
As the game became stretched late on, the Stallions
began taking risks, but only looked menacing on rare
occasions, one such chance, a terrific shot by the
substitute Sanou, demanded a stunning save from
Enyeama to preserve Nigeria’s lead.
The Eagles also carved out several chances to end
things, but Moses and Brown conspired to waste these promising situations – every missed opportunity may have felt like a portent to another Burkinabe uprising, but, as the minutes dripped by, the inspiration never arrived. Images of Alain Traore, injured on the touchline, a horrible reminder of ‘what might have been’ for the Stallions.
The result ended a wait of 19 years for the Super
Eagles to be reunited with the trophy that means so
much to Nigerians worldwide. Only time will tell if the
generation of 2013 can emulate the past vintages
beyond this tournament, however, with a young
squad, including superstars such as Moses, Mikel, and Musa, as well as the rawer talents of Mba, Oboabona, and Omeruo, the future looks very promising indeed.
Nigeria claim their third Cup of Nations with the 2013 edition, as a continent recognises their revival, and a nation rejoices.


How Advertisers Made The Super Bowl Power Outage Work For Them

Call it the Super Bowl of real-time marketing.
Savvy advertisers quickly took to Twitter tonight to
capitalize on the unexpected power outage during
this year’s Super Bowl. “We do carry candles,”
Walgreens tweeted when the power went out at the
Super Bowl. “We also sell lights.” Oreo tweeted,
“Power out? No problem,” posting an ad that
finished, “You can still dunk in the dark.”
Meanwhile, Tide tweeted, “We can’t get your #
blackout, but we can get your stains out,” posting
its own ad. Audi took a direct hit at competitor and
Superdome naming rights-holder Mercedes-Benz
with this tweet: “Sending some LEDs to the @
mbusa Superdome right now…”
They and other marketers responded to–indeed,
capitalized on–an unprecedented event with instant
on-brand communication.
“This is an example of the new world of marketing
where things happen so fast, where brands respond
real time to the environment,” said Tim Calkins, a
marketing professor at the Kellogg School of
Management. “In the Super Bowl tonight we saw
advertisers respond to other advertisers–for
example, right after Mio runs their spot,
SodaStream puts out a tweet that says, ‘ @
makeitmio is delicious in SodaStream! Try it
sometime.’ Everybody is responding incredibly fast.
This is a huge change. It used to be you created a
Super Bowl ad and you were done. Now what’s
happening is marketers are generating content and
interacting with people all throughout the game,”
he said.
“What was nice about the power outage is
everybody jumped on their mobile devices when
the power went out and everybody started talking
about the game but moreso about the ads, which
was a positive development because it gave the
early advertisers an even bigger impact,” Calkins
said. It’s a consequence of marketing’s speed that
during the Super Bowl advertisers are creating new
messages every few minutes.
What are the implications on the Super Bowl as an
ad stage? “The Super Bowl provides a platform and
prompts a discussion,” Calkins said. “A Super Bowl
ad is a ticket to participate in all of these
discussions, because very few people are talking
about brands that aren’t on the Super Bowl tonight.
the brands on the super bowl–either good or bad–
are being talked about. what it says is marketing is
really changing because you have to respond so
fast. getting a supper bowl ad is important but its
just the first step.
So how can brands measure the ROI of instant
advertising? “It’s very tough, but it’s very smart,”
Calkins said. “When SodaStream is out there
commenting on other people’s ads, it’s just a way
to multiply the effect of your spending.”


The Best And Worst Super Bowl XLVII Commercials Of 2013

The Baltimore Ravens overcame both a blackout
within the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and a
second-half comeback attempt by their opponents
to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super
Among the game’s biggest winners will be Joe
Flacco. The MVP-winning quarterback, an
unrestricted free agent this off-season, will likely
see his annual salary jump to $15-18 million from
his current $6 million annual take.
But which corporations scored big with their
advertisements? At an average cost of $3.8 million
per 30-second spot, which companies scored
season-winning touchdowns…and which companies
fumbled the ball in front of a world audience?
Dr. Pat’s Unofficial Assessments of Super
Bowl XLVII Commercials
BEST COMMERCIAL…Mercedes-Benz “Soul“,
featuring Willem Dafoe, Kate Upton, Usher, and a
man tempted by the dark side but who ultimately
feels confident than he can comfortably afford his
new Mercedes without signing his soul away to
Devil Dafoe.
“Brotherhood”, about a man who raised a
Clydesdale, saw him leave the farm, watched him
trot during a parade in Chicago thinking that his 4-
legged friend hadn’t seen him, only for the horse to
dramatically track the man down before he drove
back to his farm. If you weren’t welling up just a
bit when the man and horse unite in the street, you
have problems.
4 FUNNY COMMERCIALS (in no particular order):
(1) Audi’s “Prom”, where a dateless young man
shows that getting to drive his dad’s Audi to the
prom is worth getting a black-eye administered by
the prom king after stealing a kiss from the prom
(2) Best Buy’s “Asking Amy”, where comedian Amy
Poehler plays part goofy, part cougar while being
escorted about a Best Buy by a helpful young man.
(3) Tide’s “Miracle Stain”, as a fan discovers a stain
of Joe Montana’s face on his shirt, framed the shirt,
gains tremendous notoriety, only to have his
Ravens-loving wife has washed the stain out of the
(4) Kia’s “Space Babies“, as a man’s elaborate
explanation to his inquisitive son that babies come
from outer space is not readily received by the
young boy.
Honorable mentions include Toyota’s spot with
Kaley Cuoco, the promotion of Milk by The Rock,
the Volkswagen ad with unsuspecting accents and
attitudes, Taco Bell’s spot with members of a
retirement community partying across town and
ending up making a late night run for the border,
Speed Stick’s spot where the guy caught with a
girl’s panties at the laundromat talks himself out of
but then back into trouble, and Samsung’s spot with
Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen.
Budweiser’s Black Crown. There was no flash, but
no play on emotion either. Just a routine pitch to
what appears to be an upscale market. Very basic
and unimaginative.
Bar Refaeli kissing a nerd for Go Daddy. The lip-
smacking from their smooching sounded like an
elderly man with dry-mouth syndrome while
walking vigorously through the desert.
Oreo. Regarding their theme of a library fight in
which everyone must keep it down amidst all the
violence, this is akin to the scene in The Other Guys
where a similar fight breaks out at the wake of 2
recently departed cops.
E-trade babies. Guys, this concept cycle has
expired. Time to move onto a new concept.


David Beckham Joins Paris Saint-Germain, Opts To Donate Salary to Children’s Charity

FBL-FRA-ENG-PSG-BECKHAM“It has never been about the biggest contract or the money,” said David Beckham in his press conference today announcing his five-month deal to join Paris Saint-Germain of the French Ligue 1.

“It’s always been about playing football. I’ve been lucky to achieve what I’ve achieved and earned what I’ve earned.”. The 37-year old highest paid soccer player in the world’s most popular sport put his money where his mouth is. The “huge sum” Beckham confirmed he would earn — estimated at €800,000 ($1 million) a month, nearly double his salary at his previous club, the Los Angeles Galaxy — will all be donated to a yet-to-be-named Parisien children’s charity.

It’s a move in line with Beckham’s (and his wife, Victoria’s) philanthropic efforts. As a UNICEF ambassador since 1999, he has championed such childhood causes as malnutrition, domestic abuse and trafficking among others. The power couple also operates a charity to provide wheelchairs to disabled youth.

Additionally it’s a move that shields Beckham, who plans to stay in a hotel and whose family will stay in London, from France’s exorbitant income tax rates. It’s a luxury a man who will continue to make upwards of $37 million from endorsements from the likes of Adidas, Samsung, H&M, Burger King and Sainsbury can afford.

By all indications though, it was a goodwill gesture decided upon by both Becks and Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of PSG which has been majority owned by the Qatar Sport Investment of the government-backed, oil-rich Qatar Investment Authority since 2011.

“He’s a very proficient player and I’m sure he will add big volume to the club,” said al-Khelafi as he thanked Beckham for being part of the club’s big project.

That project is to elevate PSG and Ligue 1 to that of the European elite like Spain’s La Liga and England’s Premier League, both former homes of Beckham. PSG has gotten off to a good start, shelling out over $300 million since 2011 for players like Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the league’s current top scorer, and Brazil defender Thiago Silva from Milan.

The results to date have been positive. The team is currently atop Ligue 1′s standings and is a favorite to capture the league’s top honors this year, which would be a first for the club in two decades. Ibrahimovic has been credited for boosting higher television rights fees from foreign partners.

Brand Beckham, rather than Beckham’s foot, is expected to further fuel growth. After all, he has a proven track record.

During Beckham’s six years in Major League Soccer, the last two in which he won the league championship with the Galaxy, average attendance climbed each year. Part of this was due to the increase in the number of franchises (7), although MLS executives said that was possible due to the exposure Becks brought to their league. Last season, average attendance (18,800) eclipsed averages in the NBA (17,375) and the NHL (17,450). Additionally, television rights were sold to more than 100 countries.

Prior to his jaunt in LA, in the two years after Beckham joined Real Madrid in 2003, the Spanish team’s sponsorship and advertising income more than doubled while jersey sales and other merchandising jumped 62 percent.

In anticipation, PSG reportedly is already contemplating increasing its pre-order of No. 32 Beckham jerseys, with early estimates that the team has already under-ordered. This may prove a windfall. As with previous contracts, Beckham is expected to earn a portion of his jersey sales in the form of a bonus, separate from his salary.

While it seems Becks only has a small window of opportunity to have any effect on the team — his five-month contract only runs through the end of the current season — he eluded to having an option similar to the one he has with MLS (he remains an ambassador for the league, has been linked to recruiting European players to it, and presumably still has an option to invest in a team).

“I might have only signed the contract until end of season, but I consider to see myself part of the club in the future,” he said. “I want to help the French league to grow and help this club become one of the biggest powerhouses in football.”

In the near-term though, he wants to contribute any way possible. While he says he still feels like he runs around like his former 21-year old self — and with self-depricating humor says he has no change in pace because he never had it — he admits he doesn’t expect to be part of the starting 11.

That said, he will be the oldest player in the league and he’s unsure of his playing future beyond this one.

“I don’t know if it will be my last contract. I’ll see how I feel at the end of the season. I want to continue to play for as long as possible.”


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Manchester United Becomes First Team Valued At $3 Billion

296px-Manchester_United_FC_crest.svg_Manchester United has become the first sports team in the world with a $3 billion valuation.

Shares of the English soccer team, which were offered to the public last August at $14, did poorly at first but have soared the past few days. Last seen at just under $17, Manchester United’s stock has outperformed the S&P 500 since its IPO and made the controlling Glazer family and legendary investor George Soros, who bought a big stake in the team shortly after it went public, wealthier.

The recent increase in its stock price has pushed up Manchester Untied’s enterprise value (equity plus debt) to $3.3 billion, the highest value of any team in the world. The second most valuable sports team in the world are the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, worth $2.1 billion.

Despite a drop in first quarter earnings because of a reduction in television revenue, the appetite for shares of the 19-time English champion has increased due to brighter earnings prospects from new sponsorship deals with Japan‘s Kansai, and China Construction Bank, and the potential of much more lucrative English Premiership (Manchester United currently is in first place) and Champions League payouts this year.

Publicly traded sports teams have traditionally been bad investments. But thus far the Red Devils are bucking history.

Kobe And LeBron Top List Of The NBA’s Highest-Paid Players

NBA owners intended last season’s lockout to
reduce player salaries and increase parity between
small- and large-market teams. While overall
player costs are down, the stars are still raking it in.
The NBA’s 10 highest-paid players will collectively
earn $340 million this year alone through salary
and endorsements, with big-market players
dominant: Seven of the top 10 suit up in New York,
Los Angeles or Chicago, while two others hail from
sunny, no-income-tax Miami.

The NBA’s highest-paid player is Kobe Bryant, who
will make $59.8 million in salary and endorsements
this year. Bryant’s Lakers salary of $27.8 million is
$7 million higher than any other player’s. The NBA’s
collective bargaining agreement limits individual
player salaries to 35% of the team salary cap,
which is $58 million this year. But players can also
sign deals that are 105% of their previous salary
even if it exceeds the cap. Bryant is an exceptional
case because he is in his 17th season with the
same team at 34 years old and is still playing at an
exceptionally high level. The result: Bryant has
signed a series of maximum level contracts with
the Lakers.
Bryant, who was voted this month to start in his
NBA-record 15th All-Star game, is a popular
corporate endorser, earning an estimated $32
million annually off the court from partners Nike,
Coca-Cola (he plugs Sprite), Turkish Air, Mercedes-
Benz and memorabilia firm Panini. Nike provides
the bulk of his sponsorship income. Bryant is a
hugely popular figure in China, where Nike is
looking to make further inroads. Nike sells twice as
many of Bryant’s sneakers in China as in the U.S.,
according to sources.

LeBron James of the Miami Heat ranks second with
annual earnings of $57.6 million. James accepted a
smaller contract ($17.6 million this season) to sign
with the Heat than what the Cleveland Cavaliers
offered when he left the Cavs in the infamous 2010
“Decision.” Florida offered a lower state tax rate
and the Heat provided a clearer path to an NBA
James had a historic 2012 when he led the Heat to
the NBA title and the U.S. men’s Olympic team to
the gold medal in London. Along the way, he was
awarded the MVP award for the regular season and
the NBA Finals. Michael Jordan is the only other
player to nab the four honors above in the same
James’ memorable 2012 has helped dissipate much
of the fallout from his departure from the Cavs. The
NBA announced in November that James had the
league’s best-selling jersey. He is the NBA’s top
pitchman, earning $40 million annually off the
court. His sponsors include global titans Nike, Coca-
Cola, Samsung and McDonald’s. Audemars Piguet,
Dunkin’ Donuts, State Farm and Upper Deck are
also part of James’ endorsement portfolio.
Derrick Rose clocks in third with earnings of $32.4
million. Rose’s income skyrocketed this season in
the first year of his five-year, $95 million contract
extension with the Chicago Bulls. The point guard
also kicked off his new 13-year, $185 million
Adidas deal.
Adidas is fighting an uphill battle in the U.S. in
basketball. Nike, including its Jordan Brand
subsidiary, is the dominant basketball shoe
company in the States with a 92% market share,
according to SportsOneScan, which tracks sports
shoe and apparel sales. Adidas is at 5.5% in the
“Today’s athletes do not provide the ROI in terms of
footwear sales,” says SportsOneScan analyst Matt
Powell. “However, athletes like Lebron and Rose
have become more than just shoe endorsers, and
act as the face of the brand, which amortizes some
of the huge contracts.”
The popularity of U.S. hoops is only part of the
story. The NBA is soaring in China, helping players
land lucrative deals with shoe, beverage and car
companies, as the brands fight to expand their
reach in Asia. There are 300 million basketball
players in China, according to the Chinese
Basketball Association. Chinese companies are also
tapping NBA stars for endorsement deals. Chinese
athletic apparel firm Li-Ning signed Dwyane Wade
in September to a long-term deal, worth an
estimated $10 million annually. Wade ranks fourth
among the highest-paid players with earnings of
$30.2 million.
Two of Bryant’s teammates also made the cut.
Dwight Howard is No. 8 with earnings of $26.5
million. Howard was once one of the NBA’s most
marketable players, but his prolonged messy exit
from the Orlando Magic damaged his endorsement
potential. Coca-Cola and McDonald’s both choose
not to renew sponsorship deals with Howard in
recent years. Lakers’ forward Pau Gasol ranks 10th
thanks to $21.5 million in income this season,
largely driven by his $19 million playing salary.

2013 Panerai Pocket Watch Tourbillon GMT Ceramica


panerai-pockrt-watch-2Panerai introduces an exclusive Pocket Watch Tourbillon GMT Ceramica which is in amalgamation of the essence of the past with the strong technical knowhow of today, both combined in a unique and fascinating way. The Pocket Watch Tourbillon GMT Ceramica is the first pocket watch by the makers though there are specimens of the same in the brand’s history. The tourbillion regulator in its graceful and breathtaking P.2005/S skeletonised version is a watch with a very superior technical content. The tourbillon cage makes two rotations per minute on an axis perpendicular to that of the balance

Other highlighting specifications include a Radiomir case 59 mm in diameter in ceramic made from zirconium oxide, power reserve of six days and KIF Parechoc anti-shock device. The chain of this pocket watch is inspired by a nautical chain and can be easily removed, transforming the watch into a table clock. Adhering to tradition, the watch is water-resistant and guaranteed to a pressure of 3 atmospheres (30 metres).

2013 Panerai Pocket Watch Tourbillon GMT Ceramica is an exquisite edition of only 50 watches of 10.05mm thickness and comprising of 31 jewels, giving it an admirable look.

Cartier unveils Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon and Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hours at SIHH 2013



cartier-1Cartier is known in the world of watch making for its rich heritage of mystery clocks in which the hands appear to float on the dial for more than a century now. It is only after this substantially long span that the expertise is again transformed into two new watches with Mysterious movements: Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hours and Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon. The Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hours is the finest creation of Cartier’s Watch making line this year. Not only has the watch inherited the unusual movement from Cartier’s but also is accessible at a fair price. Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon with Geneva Seal, as the name suggests is a double tourbillion with two axes of rotation. The technicality with which the mystery is achieved is straightforward. Both the watches function by the same phenomenon in which the hands of the watch are positioned on a clear sapphire disc with a toothed rim and both the discs are driven by gearing around the disc, all of which are neatly hidden by the dial and act as the source of mystery.

Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hours is available in two royal colours- white and rose gold with a 42mm case of a height of 11.6mm.Though the editions are not limited but they are a few counted ones. The rose gold is available at the astonishing price of $47,852.95 and white gold for $51,182.65.But what is lures are the jeweled versions with either diamond-set bezel or dial and bezel, available at a price ranging $67,807.70 to $94,386.52.

Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon is available only in platinum and comes in a case diameter of 45 mm. Unlike Mysterious hours it is not a numbered production and is priced at $159,544.02.Another attraction of the watch is its two limited editions fully set with diamonds, either on leather strap or fully paved bracelet available at a price of about $ 611,567.12 and $ 1597320.

McLaren P1 supercar made a private appearance at Beverly Hills




mclaren-p1-4-600x400McLaren has brought to the limelight yet another fantastic supercar, crafted to woo the world! Previously tagged as nothing more than a concept, this supercar called the McLaren P1 is now a near production-ready vehicle and was recently unveiled at a private showcasing in Beverly Hills. The manufacturer has termed to it be one of the finest automobiles created. While the interiors of the car were hidden at the unveiling with dark tinted windows, the P1’s carbon-fiber passenger tub, aluminum structures and sleek carbon-fiber body panels were highlighted.

Supposedly packing a 3.8-liter V8 making about 800 horsepower, the car also sports a Kinetic Energy Recovery System that gives horsepower boosts from time to time. Weighing in at 1,300 kilograms, the McLaren P1 will be the world’s quickest production vehicle around Nürburgring and will hit production lines in the next few months. Also, this car will be limited-edition and only 500 units will be manufactured, each priced at about $1.2 million!

Sacramento Kings Sold For $525 Million

The Maloof family has agreed to sell the
Sacramento Kings to hedge fund manager Chris
Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $525
million, plus a relocation fee that will likely be well
in excess of $30 million, according to my sources
familiar with the transaction. A last ditch effort
by Sacramento‘s mayor Kevin Johnson to keep the
NBA team in the city failed because he could not
assemble a group of investors fast enough.

The $525 million price for the Kings is the second-
most ever paid for an NBA team. In 2010 Ted
Leonsis bought the 56% of the Washington Wizards
and Verizon Center he did not already own for an
enterprise value of $551 million. The most ever
paid for a basketball team without an arena was
$450 million for the Golden State Warriors shortly
after the Wizards deal.
The billionaire Ballmer and rich Hansen can simply
write a check to the Maloofs, whose casino
business and basketball team are highly leveraged.
Ballmer and Hansen will move the team to Seattle
and play in KeyArena for two seasons before
moving into a new, state-of-the-art arena that will
cost $490 million. When the relocation fee is
factored in, the final price for acquiring the Kings
will be around $600 million.
In addition, by moving to Seattle the Kings will get
a richer local television deal. Seattle’s metro area
population is 3.3 million, more than a million
people more than Sacramento.
A year ago we valued the Kings at $300 million. But
the new arena, which will be run by Ballmer and
Hansen, will add tens of millions of dollars a year
from premium seating, sponsorship and non-NBA
events that the Kings currently do not get at Sleep
Train Arena. In addition, there is the possibility of
an NHL team eventually moving into the arena,
which would add more money to the pot.

The $3.4 million LykanHypersport 2013 hypercar to be unveiled at the Qatar Motor Show

LykanHypersport 2013, the Arab world’s first high
performance luxury sports car is all set to be
introduced at the Qatar Motor Show, opening on the
29th January. Priced at $3.4 million, only seven
units of the car will be produced making it the most
exclusive sports car in the world. The salient
features of the car are its uniqueness, high
performance and luxury quotient. The car has the
potential to go from 0 to 100 kms per hour in 2.8
seconds to reach the maximum speed of 390 kms
per hour (242 mph), over 100 kmh (62 mph) faster
than the take off speed of Airbus 380, the world’s
largest commercial jet.
It is not only the high performance of the sports car
but also its luxury quotient that attracts. The lavish
diamond coated LED lights; gold stitched interior
leather seats, a reverse door opening system and a
creative ID4Motion interactive Dashboard are some
of its appealing specifications.

The exclusive car is the outcome of six years of
hard work of distinguished names in the automotive
industry including RUF automobile, Studiotorino,
Viotti, Magna Steyr Italia and ID4MOTION; all of
them Italy based, a land with the heritage of
producing the most iconic sports cars.
LykanHypersports 2013 by W Motors is said to
make its first delivery in September this year and
the seven lucky owners will be rewarded with a
Special Edition Cyrus Klepcys watch, worth over

Lance Armstrong and Oprah: Destroying What Was Left of His Reputation

Oprah Interviews Lance ArmstrongLance Armstrong admitted a lot of wrongdoing during his 90-minute interview with Oprah Winfrey tonight, but he did almost nothing to win back the sympathy of the world. In fact, he said things that are bound to offend people deeply.

She began with yes and no questions about different kinds of doping he had done as he won seven Tour de France bicycle races, and in answering them he quickly admitted to a broad range of illegal and unethical drug use. How could he have so “brazenly and defiantly” lied about what he had done, Oprah then asked. “This story was so perfect for so long,” he coolly said, “. . . behind that picture and behind that story there’s momentum. . . . It just gets going, and I lost myself in that. . . and I was used to controlling everything in my life.” It was as if to say he was a victim of circumstance, and as the interview went on he portrayed himself as someone who had had no choice but to cheat, because everyone else did, and, that done, he had no choice but to lie and cover up and furiously attack his accusers.

Oprah asked about reports that he had forced his teammates to do drugs too. Absolutely not, he responded. He insisted that what they did was entirely up to them. “The culture was what it was,” he said, and “It was a competitive time. We were all grown men. We all made our choices.”

Why did he attack and even sue people who told the truth about what he had done? “Because it’s the second time in my life when I can’t control the outcome.” In other words, he felt he had been trapped by his drug use, just as he had been trapped by cancer.

It was all very easy, he admitted. He never even had any doubt he’d win the Tour de France: “The winning was almost phoned in.” And, most amazingly, he doesn’t believe he really cheated anyway. He said cheating is when you do something to gain an unfair advantage; he “didn’t do it to gain an advantage on a foe. I saw it as a level playing field.” Every serious contender in the Tour de France used drugs; Armstrong was, in effect, just playing by the unofficial rules.

Perhaps his ugliest moment came in discussing Betsy Andreu, whose husband, Frankie, was part of his team. She had testified that she had heard Armstrong admit to doctors in 1996 that he had used performance enhancing drugs. He had attacked her viciously, and tonight when she came up, he chuckled and said, “I did call her crazy. . . . I called her crazy, I called her a bitch, but I never called her fat.” That line left him smiling.

He said, with a spark of more somber emotion, that he wished he could go back to last year, when the United States Anti-Doping Agency finally charged him with using illicit drugs. He said he wished that instead of his customary vehement denials, he had said, “Give me three days, let me call some people, let me call my family, mother, sponsors, foundation” and tell them he was going to confess everything.

But that was not in his nature. Lance Armstrong was and is a born fighter through and through. Life was and apparently still is about playing to win. He thinks the same fierce spirit that helped him defeat cancer helped him win seven Tours de France. How, in fact, could that not be true? And he is fighting now. He admitted guilt tonight, but even when he said “I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people,” he was combative. He followed that with a startling assertion that “I am happier today than I was then, for a whole host of reasons.”

Oprah, amazed, said, even now, as you confess so much wrongdoing, you are happier than through your years on top of the world? He answered, “I said I’m happier today, not yesterday.”

Lance Armstrong is out doing battle. That’s who he is. But his battling is unlikely to win back the love of millions that he once enjoyed. He has done too much damage to too many, and he shows too little real compunction for that.

Tomorrow, however, Oprah will ask him about his family, his children, his parents. Perhaps that may reveal a different side of him.

Pep Guardiola confirmed as Bayern Munich coach on three-year deal •

Bayern Munich have announced that Pep
Guardiola will become the club’s new coach when
Jupp Heynckes’ contract expires this summer.
Heynckes will stay on in his post until the end of
this season before retiring, at which point the
former Barcelona coach will take over on a deal
that runs until June 2016.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern’s chief
executive, said: “We are delighted that we have
managed to get Pep Guardiola whom several big
clubs wanted and contacted. He is one of the
most successful trainers in the world and we are
sure that not only Bayern Munich but the whole of
German football will benefit from what he brings.”
The news comes 24 hours after Bayern’s media
director Markus Horwick described claims the club
had approached Guardiola to take over as
“complete rubbish”, and Guardiola himself said he
hoped to manage in the Premier League.
Chelsea and Manchester City were strongly linked
with Guardiola, with Roman Abramovich
signalling his intention to take him to Chelsea by
pointedly handing Rafael Benítez the title of
“interim manager”.
Guardiola, 41, replaced Frank Rijkaard at Barca in
2008 and during his four years at the Nou Camp
he led the club to 13 trophies, making him the
most successful coach in the club’s history.

Rory McIlroy Joins Highest-Paid Athletes After Blockbuster Nike Deal

mcrory golfThe worst kept secret in golf was confirmed today when Nike announced the signing of Rory McIlroy to a long-term endorsement deal that covers apparel and equipment. McIlroy is making his season debut this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and will use a Nike ball, putter and driver.

The deal is worth a reported $20 million annually, although multiple sources told me the deal is worth significantly less than $20 million (terms of the deal were not announced). Even at $10 million to $15 million a year, the deal catapults McIlroy near the top of the world’s highest-paid golfers. McIlroy ranked fifth in our August look at the sport’s top-paid players, but after leading the PGA and European Tours in earnings in 2012, as well as signing with Nike, McIlroy will jump to third behind only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson among active golfers.

“Rory is the sport’s new number one and its future,” says Ed Kiernan, president of sports marketing agency Engine Shop. “Nike fills its global rosters with the best athletes in every sport, and clearly it has decided that Rory is the future of the sport based on his performance on the golf course and his ability to attract the public eye.”

The deal has been telegraphed over the past few months as McIlroy ended previous endorsement deals so he could sign a “head-to-toe” Nike pact. Acushnet announced in October that it would not extend its deal with McIlroy. The Irish golfer used the company’s Titleist and FootJoy gear since he turned pro in 2007. Longtime partner Jumeirah said this month it would part ways with the golfer after five years. McIlroy’s agreement with Oakley was set to expire at the end of 2012, but the sunglasses-maker sued McIlroy and Nike, citing breach of contract because Oakley did not receive “right of first refusal” to match the Nike deal. McIlroy will continue his endorsement deal with watchmaker Audemars Piguet.

In Pictures: The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes

Nike’s golf division had revenues of $726 million for the fiscal year ending in May, up 10% from 2011. This comes on the heels of three straight years of declining revenues. The McIlroy signing pairs him with Woods, who Nike used to launch a golf division when Woods turned pro in 1996. The two recently filmed a TV commercial together that Nike aired at Monday’s press conference.

What does this mean for golf and Nike’s alpha dog Woods? “This shows that Tiger has been moved into second position when it comes to the future of Nike Golf,” says Kiernan.

McIlroy might be the future of Nike Golf, but Woods is still expected to cash a bigger annual check from Nike under his current agreement (ranking and tournament bonuses will ultimately determine who earns more). Woods re-signed with Nike in 2006. The deal paid Woods as much as $30 million a year, as Woods racked up 14 major championships. Woods’ latest deal was scaled back, according to multiple sources, after his 2009 car accident that knocked Tiger from his perch as the perfect pitchman. Woods’ Nike deal and Mickelson’s deal with Callaway Golf are the only endorsement deals in golf comparable to McIlroy’s.

Woods is still the most dominant brand in the sport, delivering nearly 50% more airtime for sponsors than McIlroy in 2012, according to a study done for Forbes by brand analysis and research firm Repucom. Woods is a polarizing figure, but he remains a much more popular player among sports fans in the U.S. than McIlroy. Repucom’s monthly survey of fans asks people to select their three favorite golfers and 45% picked Woods. Mickelson ranked second at 42%, while McIlroy ranked fifth with 16% between Fred Couples (19%) and Tom Watson (15%).

In Pictures: The World’s Highest-Paid Golfers

McIlroy is gaining momentum though as only 10% of U.S. sports fans choose him among their favorite golfers at the start of 2012. Nike will put its full marketing muscle behind McIlroy because the demographics of golf fans make them an attractive target. Die-hard golf fans are twice as likely as general sports fans to earn more than $100,000 annually, according to Repucom. This group buys a lot of golf balls, equipment and apparel. Golf fans are also loyal with 78% of die-hard golf fans saying they’d consider a sponsoring company’s brand, behind only Nascar (80%) among the major sports. This is what Nike had in mind when committing millions to McIlroy.

“Nike needs the faces of its brand to be competing at the elite level, and it has determined that Rory is the next superstar of golf,” says Kiernan. “By signing this deal, Nike is making a huge statement about who it thinks is the new face of golf on a global scale.”