Monthly Archives: November 2015

Poll Results Featured in NY Daily News, NJ.com, The Record, Legal Sports Report and USC/USA Today Sports, ‘Fields of Green’

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The Seton Hall Sports Poll’s results were featured in the NY Daily News, NJ.com, The Record, Legal Sports Report and Fields of Green, an online partnership between USA TODAY Sports Media Group and the USC Sports Business Institute

A discussion about the poll results can be heard on Seth Everett’s “Sports with Friends.”

The Daily News and NJ.com focused on the finding that following the Paris attacks that included terrorist activity outside the Stade de France during a major soccer match, 73% of Americans say they are very or somewhat concerned about attending a sporting event in a large venue.

Daily News, “Seton Hall Sports Poll: Paris terror has raised concerns about stadium safety in U.S.

NJ.com: “Paris attacks have Americans fearing safety at sporting events, poll says

The Record and Legal Sports Report wrote about the findings regarding Daily Fantasy Sports.

The Record: “U.S. public seeing DFS as gambling moreso than game of skill, per Seton Hall poll

Legal Sports Report: “Poll: Half Think Daily Fantasy Sports Should Be Legal; Half Also Think DFS Is Gambling

Fields of Green focused on the public perception of stadium sponsorship included in the Poll’s last results.

Fields of Green: “Fans say they aren’t affected by team sponsorship deals

You can hear Seth Everett and Rick Gentile discuss these and other findings on the podcast, here.

Seton Hall Sports Poll November, 2015

73% OF AMERICANS SAY THEY ARE ‘CONCERNED ABOUT ATTENDING A SPORTING EVENT IN A LARGE VENUE’ IN WAKE OF PARIS ATTACKS

South Orange, NJ, November 19, 2015 — 73% of Americans say they are either very or somewhat concerned about attending a sporting event in a large venue, following the Paris attacks last week which included terrorist activity outside of Stade de France during a major soccer match.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll was conducted this week (Nov 16-18) among 879 random adults across the country, reached by landline and cellphone. 34% said they were very concerned, 39% said they were somewhat concerned, and 23% said it made no difference.  The Paris attacks took place last Friday.

The poll has a margin of error of 3.3%.

“This is a dramatic number, and something that should be noted by all sports leagues that play in large venues,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “Normally, Americans rally quickly and say ‘This will not change my way of life.’ But in this case, it has clearly given them pause.”

THREATENED STRIKE BY MISSOURI FOOTBALL GARNERS REACTION

The Poll also asked whether the threatened strike by the University of Missouri football team, in the wake of reaction to racial tensions on campus by the University president, was appropriate – the question being, “Do you think a school sponsored sports team should involve itself in campus politics?” On this the nation was evenly divided, with 44% saying yes and 46% no. However, among those 18-29, the “yes” received a 57% to a 37% “no,” while those over 60 were 38% to 50%.

PAY FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES? A SPIKE IN SUPPORT IS REGISTERED

The Poll regularly asks whether college athletes in revenue-generating sports should be compensated beyond scholarships. In the past, those saying yes has been fairly consistent, ranging from 21% in 2007 to 27% in 2011. This year (with the question saying “football players” as opposed to “athletes”), 36% said yes, which was up sizably from the 25% approval in 2013. “Public opinion is slowly shifting on this one,” noted Gentile. “Of course the majority still say ‘no,’ but we will be watching this.”

ONLINE FANTASY SPORTS CONTINUES TO DRAW MIXED OPINIONS

Despite all the recent attention paid to online fantasy sports (notably through DraftKings and FanDuel, and more recently, Yahoo!), the public remains consistent on whether these are games of skill or a form of gambling, and whether they should be legislated. 50% believe them to be a form of gambling, 30% say it is a game of skill, and 20% don’t know. In September, the numbers were 52%, 31% and 17%. As for whether states should be regulating the sites, (New York and Nevada have banned them), 51% say the states should regulate, and 35% say no. As for legality, 54% say the practice should be legal, 38% say it should be illegal and 9% don’t know. And finally, as to whether or not people agreed with the decision by the New York State Attorney General to order that Fan Duel and Draft Kings cease doing business in the state:

  • Agree                            38%
  • Disagree                       31
  • Don’t know                   31

BAN ALL RUSSIAN TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES FROM OLYMPICS?

With the World Anti-Doping Agency finding Russian track and field athletes guilty of systematic doping, people were asked whether Russian athletes should be banned from next year’s Olympics. 77% said only athletes testing positive should be banned, with just 14% saying the whole Russian track and field team should be banned.

The Agency has banned the guilty athletes from international competition.

Rick Gentile and Seth Everett talk about the results.

ABOUT SETON HALL UNIVERSITY

One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership — developing students in mind, heart and spirit — since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S.News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. Its attractive main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles by train, bus or car from New York City, offering a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The university’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark.

For more information, visit www.shu.edu.

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone November 16-18 among 879 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

The Results (all findings listed in %):

Fan Duel and Draft Kings, two daily fantasy sports websites, were ordered to cease doing business in New York State last week because they were deemed to be gambling sites. Do you agree with the decision by NY State or disagree?

  • Agree                            38%
  • Disagree                       31
  • Don’t know                   31

Do you think participation in daily fantasy sports is a form of gambling or is it a game of skill?

  • Form of gambling         50
  • Game of skill                  31
  • Don’t know                     20

Internet betting on sporting events is illegal in most states. Do you think playing daily fantasy sports on the internet should be illegal as well?

  • Yes                                    38
  • No                                     54
  • Don’t know                        9

Do you think betting on sporting events on the internet should be illegal?

  • Yes                                    40
  • No                                     47
  • Don’t know                      13

A number of states, including New Jersey and California, are discussing regulating of daily fantasy websites. Do you think these sites should be regulated by state governments?

  • Yes                                    51
  • No                                     35
  • Don’t know                      14

The University of Missouri football team threatened to strike and forfeit a game if the president of the university didn’t resign over his remarks about racial tensions on campus. Do you think a school sponsored sports team should involve itself in campus politics?

  • Yes                                    44
  • No                                     46
  • Don’t know                      10

College football generates enormous profits for many universities. Do you   think college football players should be compensated beyond the scholarships they receive?

  • Yes                                    36
  • No                                     57
  • Don’t know                        7

Russia has been banned from international track and field competitions pending a doping investigation of athletes and officials. If the allegations prove to be true do you think all Russian track and field athletes should be banned from next year’s Olympics, or only Russian track and field athletes who test positive for performance enhancing drugs should be banned?

  • All Russian track and field athletes should be banned            14
  • Only athletes testing positive should be banned                      77
  • Don’t know                                                                                         8

There was just a terror attack at a soccer stadium in Paris. How concerned does this make you in regard to attending a sporting event in a large venue in the United States?

  • Very concerned               34
  • Somewhat concerned    39
  • It makes no difference   23
  • Don’t know                         4

Rick Gentile in The New York Times, ‘Blood and Sport’

Rick Gentile, Seton Hall faculty member and Director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, was featured in this NY Times video report that looks at the violence of football amidst concerns about the health and well being of football players.  The news report, “Blood and Sport,” asks whether these concerns could have an impact on football’s popularity in the way that similar concerns, stemming from the death of a boxer on a televised bout, led to a precipitous decline in corporate sponsorship for, and then the popularity of, boxing.

Gentile, a former Executive Producer and Senior Vice President of CBS Sports, was asked to weigh in.

rick-gentile-ny times-seton hall

The Impact of Corporate Sports Sponsorship

A recent Seton Hall Sports poll found, as Darren Rovell of ESPN noted, that

Some of the responses to this finding were interesting, to say the least; a couple wondered if this news would “finally” lead to less corporate spending for sponsorships — a decluttering of stadiums.

I believe Rovell’s take is closer to the truth — that the number saying sports sponsorship did have an impact was too low for the money spent by sponsors.

And, importantly, it should be noted that the poll gauged what people said, not what they do.

Among marketing people, that 44% admitted that they paid attention was cause for major celebration; and perhaps, that 85% believe themselves to be unaffected by the ads was cause for even greater celebration– as advertising works best that way, just under the radar.

But what do sponsors get from these placements and affiliations?

I’ll leave that analysis to the able hands of Seton Hall, Stillman School of Business, Professor Kurt W. Rotthoff, a co-author of “Influences on Sponsorship Deals in NASCAR: Indirect Evidence from Time on Camera,” which was published in Applied Economics and looks at sponsorship value and influence. This passage below deals with sponsorship and stock price, as good a place to start as any.

Rotthoff writes:

Although the measurement of sponsorship effectiveness if notoriously difficult (for a description of the difficulty see Breuer and Rumpf 2012), the marketing literature, as well as the economics and finance literature, have all attempted to measure the overall benefit and effectiveness of corporate sponsorship dollars. In the finance literature, event studies have found a positive relation between athletic sponsorship and stock prices. Cornwell, Pruitt, and Clark (2005) find that sponsorship in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) all increased the stock prices of the sponsoring firms. Pruitt, Cornwell, and Clark (2004) also find that announcement of sponsorship of a NASCAR team increases the sponsoring company’s stock price. Mahar, Paul, and Stone (2005) find that NASCAR sponsors that sell directly to end consumers have a positive relationship between winning and sponsors stock price; however, this does not hold for firms that market to businesses. Durr, Eaton, and Broker (2009) find that a portfolio of corporations that sponsor NASCAR teams consistently outperforms the risk-adjusted returns of the S&P 500.

They claim that NASCAR sponsorship sends a signal of a firm’s financial health. Other event studies have also found a relationship between athlete image and stock prices. For instance during the Tiger Woods scandal in 2009, his sports-related sponsors’ stock value decreased by over four percent and the stock prices of his top five sponsors fell by two to three percent (Knittel and Stango 2010).

Seton Hall Sports Poll Update

Seth Everett gives the latest Seton Hall SportsPoll update: MLB’s World Series vs. NFL; interesting result for sports stadium billboard sponsorship and perceived effect (1 minute, 27 seconds).

New Jersey Bill: DFS ‘Not Gambling’ but Should be Regulated by Gambling Commission

Seal_of_New_Jersey.svgInteresting article in NorthJersey.com on Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and the prospect of it being regulated in New Jersey. The article’s author, John Brennan of The Record, notes that New Jersey is the “nation’s No. 2 gambling state” behind Nevada and that a bill (Whelan, D-Atlantic County) to be discussed before the New Jersey Assembly would designate DFS as “not gambling” under state law, but have it fall under the jurisdiction and regulation of New Jersey’s “Division of Gaming Enforcement, the state body that oversees Atlantic City’s casinos and online gambling.”

Brennan notes that:

The crux of the debate over daily fantasy sports is whether the competitions are games of skill — as operators insist — or games of chance, and therefore gambling, as critics contend.

The confusion on this issue appears to extend to the public at large. A recent national poll by Seton Hall University found that 52 percent of Americans consider daily fantasy sports to be a form of gambling, while 31 percent consider them to be a game of skill.

On this point, Whelan’s bill appears to be “inconsistent,” said Nicholas Casiello, a gaming law attorney partner at the Atlantic City-based law firm Fox Rothschild.

“If daily fantasy sports is not gambling, you have to question whether it needs to be regulated in the same way that gambling is regulated,” he said.

The Casino Association of New Jersey, which represents seven of Atlantic City’s eight remaining casinos including the market-leading Borgata, did not respond to a request for comment. However, Tom Ballance, the Borgata’s president and chief operating officer, offered an unambiguous assessment of daily fantasy sports.

“Borgata’s and Boyd Gaming’s position is simple: Daily fantasy sports is clearly gambling and should be regulated as such,” Ballance said in a statement, referring to the casino’s parent company.

The bill is the product of New Jersey State Senator Jim Whelan, an Atlantic County Democrat who served as mayor of Atlantic City for 11 years and is known as a steadfast casino advocate. Senator Whelan is said to have met privately with representatives of FanDuel and DraftKings this last Thursday.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the New Jersey Assembly on Monday, November 9 and “is expected to feature testimony from representatives of the leading daily fantasy sites.”

Baseball: The Most Excruciating Sport

20151101_230723If boxing is the cruelest sport (it is), then baseball is, perhaps, the most excruciating. In the middle of July in the midst of a 162 game season it is excruciating in the sense that it seems as though it will never end: the teams trudge through summer in a schedule designed for attrition.

In September and October, with the playoffs at hand, it is excruciating because it will end – or could end – with the very next pitch.

With the drama distilled and rolled up into a little ball – focused and traveling at 97 mph— there is nothing quite like a full count on a batter with the game and maybe the entire season on the line. Nothing quite like a playoff game (never mind a World Series game) when your team is playing, and almost every pitch feels that way. The entirety of a year’s work (pitchers and catchers report in February) resting on and rolled into a series of moments—the next moment.

It waits. And in that waiting, that time before the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd, lies the beauty of baseball: an anticipation, a dread even, that has built to a fine point over a period of a year—or decades, or 107 years if you’re a Cubs fan.

Nearly unbearable at times, playoff baseball is, in short, dramatic.

And this has been, by almost all accounts, the most exciting World Series in years. But relatively few people are watching.

A recent Seton Hall Sports Poll found a strong gain for Major League Baseball’s World Series:

That’s a shift in differential from 34 to 12% — with an effective upward movement for baseball of 22 points.

That, coupled with a Game One this year that had the highest TV ratings for a World Series game in 5 years, represents a strong gain for Major League Baseball.

But as Jason Notte notes in his article at Marketwatch: “This is the most exciting World Series no one is watching,” viewership for baseball’s biggest games is decidedly lackluster in comparison with its own illustrious history and, contemporaneously, other sports. He also notes that “baseball has problems with demographics and how playoff games are broadcast.”

He is right. As Rich Hoffman, Sports Editor at the Philadelphia Daily News posits:

But there’s hope. I watched game 4 on Saturday night with my girlfriend’s 17 year old son. He is not a baseball fan. He plays the guitar, works on cars, spends an inordinate amount of time on his phone and watches football and basketball. We rooted for the Mets. As the game progressed and I cheered and cursed in turn, he turned to me and said, a number of times with a big smile on his face: “I can’t believe how exciting this is. It’s soooo tense. I don’t know what to say.”

Nothing to say, really— it’s post season baseball.

But there is a question to be asked: With a product that good, how didn’t he know? What is MLB’s marketing strategy for people who aren’t “about the average age”?

Notte concludes: “Baseball has gone from a national pastime to a niche, and neither it nor its World Series are going to work their way back until they become more accessible.”

I’m not sure niche is quite the right word here. Boxing is niche. I’ve written about boxing for The Guardian, 15Rounds.com, Queensbury Rules (named a Top 25 blog by Time magazine, but you’ve almost certainly never heard of it), the Daily Record and the Asbury Park Press. When I look for boxing news and go to a general sports source such as ESPN.com, BleacherReport or SBNation, my sport is listed under “Other” or “More.”

Baseball still holds a place in the header, but Notte has a point— and MLB should listen, and build upon the tenuous gains it’s made— or risk finding itself relegated in the popular consciousness and sports pages to “Other.”