All That and a Bag of Mail

March 16, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Matthew Fisher-Davis (5) reacts following the 68-66 loss against the Northwestern Wildcats in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports Kelvin Kuo

It’s the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament and I’m in Las Vegas watching games and gambling. Tough to get much better than this. (Also, I was so rattled after Vanderbilt lost and cost us the double blood bank guarantee that I accidentally hit publish on this mailbag before I even finished writing it. So I’m an idiot, clearly.) 

Let’s go ahead and dive into the mailbag early on Friday since I’m betting the vast majority of you aren’t paying attention to anything on the Internet unless this mailbag goes up early given all the college basketball going on. 

In case you missed them earlier this week, here are all my Friday gambling picks. We went 10-6 on Thursday. That’s a 62.5% winning percentage. And that’s even though Vandy choked away a win for us.    

Here we go with the mailbag:

“Tons of you: where does the Vandy foul rank in most boneheaded NCAA decisions of all time?”

From a pure decision making perspective, I think the Vandy foul is a more boneheaded play than Chris Webber’s timeout. Webber knew the score, he just didn’t remember that Michigan was out of timeouts. That seems like a much easier mistake to make.  

Now the stakes were infinitely higher in the Michigan-North Carolina title game than in an opening round NCAA tourney game, but the actual decision making wasn’t as bad for Webber as it was for Matthew Fisher-Davis.

This was worse than the Webber timeout.  

I feel bad for Fisher-Davis who is an incredible talent, but a total enigma on the basketball court. Fisher-Davis had to believe one of two things: 1. that Vandy was trailing, which is probably the most likely or 2. that Northwestern was not yet in the bonus and he was fouling to allow Vandy to set up their defense. I’d probably argue number two if if I were him because it turns a dumb play into an attempt to make a smart play.

Regardless, you’ve gotta love that 35 foot pull up for the win from Riley Lachance when you were only down 1. Also, hate to point this out to all my fellow blood bank guarantee losers, but if Vandy gets a stop on defense instead of intentionally fouling then the Dores have a great shot to cover on free throws at the other end.

Dave writes:

“You’ve talked a ton about the decline of the cable bundle and the ESPNs of the world, but what does the “TV” market actually look like in ten years?”

That’s a great question with hundreds of billions of dollars at stake.

I’m going to write a longer piece on this at some point after the NCAA tournament ends, but I think the Amazons, Googles, Apples, Facebooks, and Netflixes of the world are not going to pay for sports rights and lose money on them. What I believe they will do is offer revenue share agreements with the leagues and teams to stream their games online.

That is, Facebook will go the NBA and say, we’ll pay you (insert percentage here) of the overall revenue that your broadcasts produce on our social media network. What Facebook will sell those teams is the ability to target market all the viewers based on the specific profiles of the viewers.

Facebook will be capable of serving a thousand different ads to a thousand different viewers based on their profile of what that viewer wants. So instead of everyone seeing the same commercial during a league game, Facebook would be able to offer the guy who likes Range Rovers a targeted Range Rover ad. Or if you were between 26 and 35 and had been in a relationship for two years, Facebook could show you a commercial for a diamond retailer. As a result I believe those ads would be infinitely more effective, and hence command a premium.

Instead of an ad airing that might hit 10% of the viewing public, every ad would hit its target market every time. 

But what these kinds of deals would eliminate is the up front payment with zero risk to the leagues. Now maybe these big Internet companies would have to compete on revenue share or the audience that they guarantee to the leagues and that could come close to a guarantee, but I don’t see these companies that are already wildly profitable suddenly agreeing to lose money on sports. So I think the sports rights will only be as profitable as the actual audience that can be monetized.

We will not see another deal like ESPN and Turner’s with the NBA, where hundreds of millions of dollars a year are lost on the broadcasts.   

Chris writes:

“What percentage of people watching sports online are paying cable subscribers? I’m 24 and none of my friends actually have a cable subscription, we just have wifi and use our parent’s password. As long as we can use our parent’s password why would we ever pay for cable?”

I think this is a huge issue for networks. When I talked at Tennessee a few weeks ago I asked how many of the college kids there had a cable or satellite subscription and no hands went up. Then I asked how many of the kids there used their parents cable or satellite login to watch games online and everyone’s hands went up. 

I suspect this represents a huge percentage of the cord cutting that we see going on, the younger generation has gotten used to watching these channels for free and doesn’t see the need for their own subscription.

A part of me wonders whether these channels may be cutting their own throats by making it so easy to access their online streaming channels.  

William writes:

I’m sure you’ve seen this quote: “A billion dollars, it has to be there,” Lavar Ball said. “That’s our number, a billion, straight out of the gate. And you don’t even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 million a year.”

Now obviously, Lonzo Ball is a fantastic player and will be a top 5 draft pick (although many scouts and analysts have issues with his shooting form). He will make millions. His brothers,on the other hand, are a different story as LiAngalo (attending UCLA this fall) is only a 3-star recruit and LaMelo (currently a sophomore) is barely a top 100 player in his own recruiting class so the billion dollar request is quite the reach. Based on some articles I’ve read, all his sons drive $100,000 BMWs. His dad has been quoted saying he could have beaten Michael Jordan 1-1 in his prime and that Lonzo is better than Stephen Curry. He has said Lonzo will only play for the Lakers and that all three of his sons will be one-and-done players at UCLA. I’ve heard stories of him controlling the Chino Hills high school basketball team (yelling orders from the stands and the coach following them) and sending a friend to every single UCLA basketball practice to keep an eye on Lonzo. Is Lavar Ball the craziest, most controlling sports dad in the history of American sports?

Lavar Ball also has his own brand, “Big Baller Brand.”. Now unless Nike, Under Armour or Adidas comply with his $1 billion dollar request (I can’t help but think of Dr. Evil here), Lonzo will seemingly sign with the brand and honestly I could see this being a big play for the Ball family. Given that you’ve created your own brand and had tremendous success in doing so, how do you see this playing out?”

Lavar is the latest in a long line of dads who have gotten too involved in the inceptino of their son or daughter’s careers. Whether you’re talking about the Marinovich dad, Earl Woods, Jack Elway, Archie Manning or Richard Williams — the father of Venus and Serena Williams — all of them were overly protective early in their offspring’s sports career. The best you can say for Lavar Ball is that all these dads eventually learned to give their kids some space as they get older. 

So maybe there is some hope for Lavar. 

The only overly involved parent I can think of who has stayed involved and represented her family better than the kids could have themselves is Kris Jenner. She turned the Kardashian/Jenner family into a massive brand. And when you really think about it she’s done it as a helicopter mom. 

As for whether or not Lavar’s brand can be successful, I see it panning out very poorly unless Lonzo — or one of his brothers — becomes the best NBA player of his generation.

That’s because the shoe market is really crowded right now. Michael Jordan still dominates and LeBron and Steph Curry haven’t sold shoes that well compared to Jordan. Hell, no one has. Do you really think Lonzo Ball is likely to be better than LeBron?

Of course not. 

So what makes Lavar Ball think that his son is going to be such an iconic talent that he’s the most successful sports brand since Jordan? The odds of that happening are minuscule.

Further, take it from somebody with about ten different LLCs, you cannot imagine the amount of time, money and effort involved when it comes to branding your own new company and turning it into a profitable entity.

Do you know how much money it costs to launch a national brand, design gear, make the gear, distribute that gear, and then make so much money on it that you are making millions a year?  

It’s just not happening.

Lonzo probably makes $5 million a year at most in his new shoe deal with one of the existing companies and that’s if he has a fantastic NCAA tournament and gets drafted into a big city market in the top 5 or so of the NBA Draft.

Otherwise he’s worth much less than that. 

$100 million a year is a pipe dream unless one of these brothers becomes the next LeBron. 

I admire Lavar’s balls and his aggressiveness, but he’s insane.  

Josh writes:

“First off congrats on the radio show, Facebook Live/Periscope show, website and overall media domination.

The basics – I am a tall, in shape 30 year old living in a fairly large southern city. I make a good living(100K+ yearly) so I typically don’t have a problem getting dates and meeting most of the basic “criteria” women look for in this fucked up world of dating.

Recently I have noticed a trend with girls I’ve taken out on dates and hung out with. Some of them talk to their parents (mainly mom) A LOT. I’m not talking once a week, i’m talking every damn day and usually multiple times a day. If they aren’t talking then they are texting back and forth. Being conservative, I would say that at least 1 out of every 4 girls I’ve met talks to their mom on a daily basis. Funny thing is every one of them brags about it and says their mom is their best friend and they talk all the time. I’ve found that these girls are usually somehow fucked up emotionally or so immature that I end up cutting if off with them fairly quickly.

Now I view it as a huge red flag. In my opinion no grown adult should be talking with their parent/parents all the time and the ones that do are carrying some baggage that I don’t want to deal with. My question is, am I wrong to think this is fucking insane and immature, or am I an asshole because I only talk to my folks 2-3 times a month?”

There’s a fine line these days between dating someone who has a great relationship with her family and someone who has overly involved parents. And technology is making it increasingly hard to tell the difference.  

As a general rule I think men talk to their parents less than women, but that doesn’t always apply. For instance, I talk to my mom on the phone more often than my wife talks to her mom. Having said that, I think it’s rare that dads are the helicopter parents. 

That’s because it’s impossible to get most men to ever talk on the phone. My dad has a cell phone and I think he’s called me four times in the past four years and all four times that was to tell me that my mom’s cell phone wasn’t working. 

So I would say that over 90% of these helicopter relationships are between mom and daughter. Why is that? I think moms have a harder time letting go emotional relationships with their children and that daughter are more likely to share emotional thoughts with their moms than sons are.

Put it this way, I bet back in 1876, when there were no telephones or easy communicative devices that allowed instantaneous contact, daughters were writing over 90% of the letters back home to mom.  

Now modern day communication devices make it easier for parents to never let their kids go. And I’ll admit, I used to think helicopter parenting was crazy, but now I see why it’s addictive from the parent’s perspective. My kids don’t have cell phones or anything yet, but based on how awesome I think it is when my wife or our nanny Facetimes or Snapchats the kids to me when I’m out of town, I can definitely see how it’s hard to be directly involved in so many of your kids decisions as they grow up and then get cut off and have no idea what’s going on in their lives once they leave for college and move to a new city to take a job.

Would I want to follow my kid on Snapchat in college? Definitely. Is it healthy for parents to do so? I’m not sure, but I lean towards probably not. (Don’t find this for my kids when they go to college because I’m definitely trying to follow them). 

When I was in college I didn’t have a cell phone so I might talk to my parents once a week. That seemed normal for pretty much everyone I knew in college. Nowadays I bet it’s a rare college kid that isn’t communicating with his or her mom every single day.

All of this is a long way to get your primary question — I do agree with you that as a general rule someone who calls their mom multiple times a day is definitely a red flag. 

So you may be an asshole, but your concern is valid. 

Hope y’all have a great weekend getting rich.

10-6 is an awesome start in Vegas for Thursday. 

I’ll have gambling picks up on Saturday and Sunday for the NCAA Tourney opening weekend. 

Remember:

#dbap #shootersshoot 

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