The San Diego Chargers’ home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars will be blacked out after they failed to sell out by the 72 hour NFL deadline.

The NFL’s attendance issues for the 2010 season have been of major focus in the preseason and through the first week of the season. Most highlight the economic downturn and high ticket prices as the culprit but this is a more nuanced issue than most commentators are willing to accept.

Of course, Jacksonville has been the butt of the majority of blackout jokes for some time; 7 of the 20 blacked out NFL games in 2009 were Jaguars games. Is Jacksonville more economically-depressed than other NFL cities? Sort of. Jacksonville has the 73rd-highest unemployment rate for all US metro areas. How many NFL markets rank higher?

Three. Detroit, Miami, and Tampa.

The smallest of these markets, Miami, is still 250% bigger population-wise than Jacksonville. (San Diego is pretty much right between Miami and Jacksonville at a clean 1,000,000; this doesn’t count the sizable Mexican market).

Seems simple then, right? Jacksonville just doesn’t deserve an NFL team. There are 32 teams and Jacksonville’s in market 47… but Jacksonville’s the only market in Florida that’s actually gaining in population.

The key here (and this is where Jacksonville and San Diego cross paths) is in the demographics of that population. It matters little how many people live in a region; it matters how many people there fit the profile for a potential NFL fan.

Who is your NFL fan archetype? Fortunately, we know. The average NFL fan is:

Male 25-40 years old White Has a household income of $75,000

We have plenty of people like that in Jacksonville. There are plenty of people like that in San Diego, too.

You know what job pays a mean of $70,168? The military’s paying that much right now.

San Diego, Norfolk, VA and Jacksonville are the three cities with the highest saturation of active-duty military residents in the country. While combat operations are complete in Iraq, the United States military maintains more than HALF A MILLION TROOPS DEPLOYED OVERSEAS.

Put simply, San Diego and Jacksonville are great NFL cities demographically, but they’ve been stripped of their key ticket-buying demographic by the War on Terror. The people who were buying up Jacksonville Jaguars tickets during the Tom Coughlin era are now serving on aircraft carriers or in Afghanistan or Okinawa or Germany.

The same can be said for San Diego (more of them on aircraft carriers though).

Neither city has a lack of residents who love their football teams. Both cities have a lack of residents who are, well, resident… and not by choice.

The same can be applied across the NFL, of course; every city in America supplies troops to our military. But the NFL’s core ticket-buying demographic remains the exact same demographic the Department of Defense finds most preferable in war; until the War on Terror is scaled back to pre-2002 levels, the NFL will continue to struggle to find fans to buy tickets.


This story appeared on ESPN Los Angeles this morning and was quickly removed from the site. It is presented here in its entirety.

LeBron James leans against a waist-high stone wall with a 16-foot-tall Buddha hovering over him.

He’s at Tao, a bustling restaurant and nightclub inside the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, and his arms are crossed as he listens to Lynn Meritt, senior director of Nike Basketball, and Charles Denson, president of Nike Brand.James is quiet, occasionally applying Chap Stick on his lips and nodding when he hears something he likes.

Five security guards are stationed around him, one at each corner of the table he’s about to sit at and another roving around with him, watching his every move. Anyone who takes two steps toward James is stopped and must have James’ approval to come closer.

The waiter bringing him his cup of green tea with a spoonful of honey and a dash of lemon juice makes the cut, as does the scantily clad brunette with a tattoo of a heart on her right shoulder.

She wants to take a picture with him. “I can’t right now,” says James. “Maybe later, upstairs, I’ll remember you’re the one with the tattoo.”

James will host a party later in the upstairs nightclub at Tao, but he is currently hosting a dinner for his friends and family in the downstairs restaurant. Wearing a gray striped shirt and gold crucifix around his neck, he bobs his head to music played by an amped-up saxophonist who weaves his way around the table like a one-man mariachi band.

I have somehow found myself at this exclusive table, seated beside Eddie Jackson, who is introduced to me as James’ father (though he actually began dating James’ mother, Gloria, after LeBron was born and the two are no longer together). Jackson, wearing a muscle shirt accentuating his large biceps, looks like a member of James’ four-man entourage, like one of his childhood friends.

James’ circle includes Randy Mims, seated to his right at the center of the table, Maverick Carter, seated at the head of the table, and Richard Paul, seated in front of James. The quartet makes up the initials behind LRMR Marketing, the management firm James founded almost four years ago with his buddies. Their offices in downtown Cleveland gained notoriety this month as the location teams flocked to for their meetings with James.

LeBron James partied at Tao last weekend, complete with a kings’ cake and an entourage to make heads of state jealous.

Seated to the right of James is Chris Paul, whose brother, C.J., is seated across from him. The New Orleans Hornets point guard has seen how James has positioned himself to win a championship by signing with the Miami Heat and joining forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and has reportedly considered a similar move himself.

The truth is, in James’ dream world, the duo he would love to play with for the next decade would be Wade and Paul, his two closest friends in the NBA. Paul has been like a brother to James since the two were in Las Vegas four years ago for USA Basketball training camp, when as a rookie he carried James’ and Wade’s bags to and from the team bus.

James and Paul are fairly quiet at the center of the table as they take in the scene around them. As family style plates of miso-glazed Chilean sea bass and crispy lobster and shrimp dumplings are brought to the table, James effortlessly picks up the food with his chopsticks and occasionally raises his cup of green tea to passersby as they raise their martinis and mojitos in his direction before being helped along by security guards.

When trays of dessert plates are brought over, James gets up, preferring to start his party upstairs instead of indulging in the giant fortune cookies and chocolate cake. A security guard comes over and puts plastic wristbands on our wrists and escorts us through the back of the restaurant, up a flight of stairs in the bowels of the hotel and through a back entrance into the club. About a dozen security guards, moving their flash lights, direct us to a roped off section on the dance floor of Tao next to a couple of apparently nude women in a bathtub full of water and rose petals.

James, now wearing sunglasses in the dark club, immediately stands up on the couch and folds his arms high on his chest and nods his head. He smiles as he looks at the dozens of people crowded on the dance floor. Noticing him, they stop dancing and snap pictures as the DJ screams out, “LeBron James in the building!” and plays LMFAO’s “I’m in Miami.”

Carter, LeBron’s childhood friend and manager, begins dancing around James like Puff Daddy in a Notorious B.I.G video. A giant red crown-shaped cake is brought over to James while go-go dancers dressed in skimpy red and black outfits raise four lettered placards that spell out, “KING.” Carter grabs a bottle of Grey Goose and pours a quarter of it on the floor and raises it up before passing it off.

James’ infamous one-hour special, “The Decision,” was reportedly the brainchild of Carter, a 28-year-old who has never managed anyone outside of his friend James. This three-day party marathon in Vegas (which James is being paid six figures to host) is also Carter’s idea.

Bottle after bottle of “Ace of Spades” champagne is delivered to the table by a waiter flying down from above the dance floor like some overgrown Peter Pan on a wire. One time he’s dressed like a King, another time as Indiana Jones and another in a replica of James’ No. 6 Miami Heat jersey.

James, who can hardly see the flying figure through his tinted glasses, almost gets kicked in the head on the waiter’s last trip down. He looks at the girls around him and says, “I wish they’d have one of these girls with no panties do that instead of the guy.”

Toward the end of the night, Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis walks past James’ party and looks at the scene up and down several times like a painting in a museum, soaking in the images of the go-go dancers, the “King” sign and the costumed man delivering bottles of champagne.

Davis shakes his head and walks on.

James dances on the couch and sings along with the music blaring from speakers all around him.

The more you hang around James, the more you realize he’s still a child wrapped in a 6-foot-8, 250-pound frame. The night after the party at Tao, he and his crew walk through the casino at the Wynn and Encore and he pretends to dribble a basketball as he walks past ringing slot machines and tourists who do double-takes. In a Nike T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, James’ pantomime seems unconscious. He stops every few feet to shoot a jump shot, his right hand extended above his head on the follow through. He weaves through a pack of a dozen friends and pretends to connect on a layup as he walks past a gift shop. He passes overhead casino signs and jumps up and slaps them, pretending to dunk. Columns covered with advertisements for lounge acts become stationary defenders, chumps to fake out before connecting on imaginary mid-range jump shots.

James probably goes through a practice’s worth of shots as we walk from the XS nightclub at Encore (James left his poolside table when he saw the club was practically empty), through Wynn and over the bridge to the Palazzo.

Soon after arriving at Lavo, a restaurant and nightclub at the Palazzo, a scene straight out of “West Side Story” breaks out when James and Lamar Odom, seated at a nearby table, engage in an impromptu dance-off to California Swag District’s “Teach Me How To Dougie.”

Odom, smoking a cigar, can’t quite keep up. James celebrates by crossing himself and taking a shot of Patron. Moments later, a handful of girls dressed as cheerleaders walk toward his table with someone dressed in James’ Heat uniform. Someone throws talcum powder in the air as James does before every game, while his new unofficial song, “I’m in Miami,” plays.

Odom casts a glance James’ way before looking in the opposite direction and raising his glass at a couple on the dance floor who point to their ring fingers and smile.

Back at his table, James and his crew sing every word to Rick Ross’ “Free Mason.” LeBron raps every line to former teammate Damon Jones (who played with him in Cleveland). Jones, puffing on a cigar, nods.

James rips out the lines:

“If I ever die, never let it be said I didn’t win/ Never, never say/ Never say legend didn’t go in/ I just wanna die on top of the world.”

While he looks at club-goers flashing the LA and Westside signs at him, James smiles and points to Jackson’s T-shirt, which reads, “Another Enemy,” and raises his glass of champagne.

Finally, Carter tells James it’s time to leave the club and they do, LeBron pretending to cross-over tables and shoot over slot machines all the way back to his room.

It's another Independence Day

This is your anthem



Je me suis substitué à la Providence pour récompenser les bons… que le Dieu vengeur me cède sa place pour punir les méchants!

Remember when Maria Bartiromo was hot?

2010 April 1 7 55 0.jpeg

you are all a bunch of idiots

| 1 Comment

MTV does not have a “new logo” — it’s not even a revised or “refreshed.”

It’s the same damned logo. It’s just cropped to a widescreen format, JUST LIKE THE OLD SQUARISH TELEVISIONS YOU USED TO WATCH MTV ON ARE NOW WIDESCREEN.

[Yes, i realize the negative-space stroke on the v is removed, but I’m standing ground that it doesn’t constitute a revision, only the removal of what then becomes after the crop a distracting element.]

MTV has had the same “official” logo since 1981, and I put that word in marks because FROM DAY ONE IT WAS AN AMORPHOUS, NON-STATIC BRANDING. Indeed, they took pride in the fact that the logo never looked the same twice, though the cake be it made with different ingredients WAS ALWAYS COOKED IN THE SAME PAN.

Next, you idiots are making a huge deal of the cropping of the words “MUSIC TELEVISION” and feeling fresh, mighty, and orgasmic that your bitching about “MTV NEVER PLAYS VIDEOS ANYMORE” has been quietly acknowledged by the network.

If MTV was supposed to be about music videos, it would have been named MVTV. The M means MUSIC, and in 1981, the primary external (i.e. non-radio) music promotional avenue was the short-form video.

That hasn’t been the case for a very long time. Indeed, ONLY THREE YEARS AFTER MTV LANDED ON THE MOON the new promotional tool for music was discovered, or invented, by Michael Mann in his executive production of Miami Vice. Do you not remember USA Today PRINTING A LIST OF THE SONGS THAT WOULD APPEAR ON THAT NIGHT’S EPISODE?

[Note to readers who were not yet born in 1984: I’m not talking to you. In fact, I’m not really talking to any of you who read this.]

Of course, Brandon Tartikoff, the most brilliant human in television history, came up with the idea for the show, and titled his idea “MTV Cops” in his memo.

The point is, we’ve been a long time coming in the shift of music promotion from short-form video to dramatic (and, later, reality) television inclusion. It’s kind of hilarious that Michael Mann had to PAY THE RECORD COMPANIES TO USE THEIR MUSIC, but I doubt many others have had to do so ever since.

And guess what? MTV’s programming now is engaging viewers with the exact same music promotion that they started with 29 years ago. Hell, I’d argue that there is MORE music content on MTV now than there was in the 1980s. Every single program on MTV has a soundtrack — where was the soundtrack on Remote Control?

Go back and watch the first (and best) season of The Real World. Then watch an episode of Jersey Shore and tell me which one is exposing you to more music.

MTV is still music television, their logo is the same as it ever was, and if you think for one minute that cable subscribers aren’t subsidizing the promotion of corporate music to themselves any less now than they did in 1981 then you’re nuts.

My, he is accomplished

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  1. That really tells us nothing about this guy. After all, I edited an underground newspaper when I was a senior in high school.

  2. That fact is something that, by definition, is something that has to be self-disclosed, and if it’s to the degree that it is being listed in a Chyron sidebar, well, he must be awfully proud of it.

  3. Yeah, I’m proud of my underground newspaper too, but I don’t list it in my Vita.

We love Deadspin and fat people

Thanks to Deadspin for the 30fps praise this morning.

I tend to keep MSNBC on all day while I do other things, and it’s usually muted. So when I glance at it and see this, my imagination runs wild with the possibilities of what they could possibly be discussing:

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Fiesta Bowl screencaps

I’m sick of seeing shitty Fiesta Bowl screencaps of Cowbell Girl and otherwise. Get the good ones at That is all.


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