Drake drew laughs, Stuart Scott caused tears, at 2014 ESPY Awards

Music artist Drake (c) was the host for the 2014 ESPY Awards. He was joined on stage  at this moment by the Seattle Seahawks in attendance that won the award for  Best Team.

2014 ESPY Awards host is surrounded by members of the Super Bowl Champions Seattle Seahawks, who won the for Best Team award.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On July 16, 2014, ESPN aired the ESPYs, the network’s award show for the world of sports. Hosted by musician and former child actor Drake, the award show drew laughter and tears. The host performed numerous sketches, monologues, and presentations that are standard for current award ceremonies but Drake stood out by creating a special song for those who didn’t win an award.

Drake  had skits with a few different people including Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins.

Drake had skits with a few different people including Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins.

The well-dressed crowd was entertained all night by Drake and other stars like Brian McKnight, Blake Griffin, Chris Brown, and Skylar Diggins, who teamed up to perform skits.

Drake made jokes on some audience members including Richard Sherman (l) and Russell Westbrook (r). Both won awards that night as well.

Drake made jokes on some audience members including Richard Sherman (l) and Russell Westbrook (r). Both won awards that night as well.

Drake also poked fun at a number of athletes who were in attendance, such as Lance Stephenson, Russell Westbrook, and Richard Sherman. All those who were mentioned as part of jokes and skits seemed to take everything in stride in what was mostly a light-hearted event.

Michael Sam (r) was presented the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (l).

Michael Sam (r) was presented the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (l).

There were serious moments in the show as well. Michael Sam was presented with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Sam expressed his appreciation for the award and shared a touching story of how he was able to make a difference in the life of a young woman who gained courage to admit that she is also gay after conversing with Sam.

Stuart Scott (l) gave an emotional speech after receiving the Jimmy V Award for  Perseverance. He is pictured with his daughter Sydni (m) and Peyton Manning (r).

Stuart Scott (l) gave an emotional speech after receiving the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. He is pictured with his daughter Sydni (m) and Peyton Manning (r).

The emotional highlight of the night might was ESPN’s Stuart Scott’s acceptance speech for the Jimmy V[alvano] Perseverance Award. Scott was presented the award by the star of Scott’s favorite television show, Kiefer Sutherland, from “24”. Scott’s moving speech touched on all the challenges he currently faces while fighting cancer and continuing to persevere for the sake of his family, his daughters in particular. Scott was joined on stage at the end of the speech by the youngest of his daughters, Sydni, 14. Scott concluded his speech stating:

Scott (m) and his daugher Sydni (r) were congratulated on stage by the presenter for the  award, Kiefer Sutherland (l).

Scott (m) and his daugher Sydni (r) were congratulated on stage by the presenter for the award, Kiefer Sutherland (l).

“When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you lived, why you lived and in the manner in which you lived. So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”

Danica Patrick (l) and Taye Diggs (m) were the presenters for the Male Athlete  of the Year Award that was won by Kevin Durant (r).

Danica Patrick (l) and Taye Diggs (m) were the presenters for the Male Athlete of the Year Award that was won by Kevin Durant (r).

The awards presented to the different winners gave viewers an opportunity to see entertainers from numerous fields in the same setting. The most noticeable awards handed out that night include the Seattle Seahawks winning “Best Team,” Ronda Rousey winning Female Athlete of the Year, and Kevin Durant winning Male Athlete of the Year.

Blake  Griffin (l) and Chris Brown (m) were a part of one of the skits that kept the audience laughing at Drake's (r) expense.

Blake Griffin (l) and Chris Brown (m) were a part of one of the skits that kept the audience laughing at Drake’s (r) expense.

Overall, the ESPYs were entertaining from beginning to end. There was a good blend of levity and solemnity from host Drake and the other stars who graced the stage. If you were unable to catch the show, check your local listings for replays on the ESPN family of networks.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Is boxing prepared for what the post-Mayweather era holds?

Floyd Mayweather Jr., at the podium, speaks at a press conference about his upcoming fight with Marcos Maidana (r).

Floyd Mayweather Jr., at the podium, speaks at a press conference about his upcoming fight with Marcos Maidana (r).

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Saturday, May 3, Floyd “Money” Mayweather will attempt to unify the welterweight championship belts as he faces fellow champion Marcos Maidana. The undefeated Mayweather is the biggest pay-per-view draw by a wide margin, allowing him to earn upwards of $73 million in just two fights last year. There is no denying Mayweather is the best that boxing has to offer at this point.

However, Mayweather is 37 and has already participated in forty-five professional fights. There will come a time in the near future when Mayweather is unable to draw the fans to the television and to the ring to watch his fights. The ‘dangling carrot’ of a fight with the second most popular boxer, Manny Pacquiao, will eventually lose its effect on fans.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (r) is boxing's pound-for-pound king and biggest draw. Manny Pacquiao (l) is the fighter fans most want to challenge Mayweather.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (r) is boxing’s pound-for-pound king and biggest draw. Manny Pacquiao (l) is the fighter fans most want to challenge Mayweather.

Floyd Mayweather Sr., the boxer’s father and trainer, may have added fuel to that proposed fight by recently when he said:

“Manny and Floyd? That would be the easiest fight Floyd could make…This [Maidana] fight right here will be harder than Manny, trust me.”

As clamor for Mayweather versus Pacquiao wanes, there are different options for fans of combat sports.

A survey completed by the company Scarborough and published in the Sports Business Journal shows interest in combat sports as of 2013.

A survey completed by the company Scarborough and published in the Sports Business Journal shows interest in combat sports as of 2013.

Two of UFC's biggest stars are decorated champions,  Jon "Bones" Jones (l) and Ronda Rousey (r).
Two of UFC’s biggest stars are decorated champions, Jon “Bones” Jones (l) and Ronda Rousey (r).

Mixed martial arts has risen drastically in popularity over the last twenty years. In particular, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has established a product that has targeted the very demographics that boxing used to dominate. UFC president, Dana White, is excited to extol the gains the UFC has made on boxing in viewership among males.

“When I was at ESPN all day, all the guys there were talking about our numbers. That’s all that matters,” she said.

White is counting on the rising popularity of champions Jon “Bones” Jones and Ronda Rousey to continue the growth of the UFC. Meanwhile, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) launched a 24-hour streaming network in February, in preparation for the marquee event, WrestleMania 30 that took place early April.

The WWE continues to give their fans more ways to enjoy their product with the advent of the WWE Network. Featured Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (l) and John Cena (r).

The WWE continues to give their fans more ways to enjoy their product with the advent of the WWE Network. Featured Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (l) and John Cena (r).

The WWE continues to reinvent itself as a brand by marketing to multiple demographics through cross promotions. The firm routinely has WWE superstars featured on television and in movies, while producing original programming that gives extra recognition to their talent. The WWE Divas are providing an added dimension to the company as their reality show Total Divas allows fans to connect even more with their favorite WWE cast member.

The bottom line for boxing is that the other combat sports are continuing to add layers of interest to grow their sport. Meanwhile, boxing appears to be doing more to harm its sport than help it. The multiple governing bodies, uncooperative promoters, and incompetent judges that have plagued boxing over the past 20 years have placed the sport in a precarious situation: loss of interest from the fan base. The sport of boxing needs to make some major changes before Mayweather retires and takes major fan interest in boxing into retirement with him.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

WWE, perfecting the art of cross-branding

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson graces the cover of the latest WWE 2K14 video game to be released  Oct. 29, 2013.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson graces the cover of the latest WWE 2K14 video game to be released Oct. 29, 2013.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The WWE has become a leader in the concept of cross-branding, a tactic that has helped them become a billion dollar industry. The idea of promoting two or more brands at one time was not invented by the WWE but the company has perfected the approach.

Through different generations, the WWE has had superstars like Hulk Hogan (l) and John Cena (r) crossover to the big screen.

Through different generations, the WWE has had superstars like Hulk Hogan (l) and John Cena (r) crossover to the big screen.

 

In sports, cross-branding is second nature as commercials offer networks the opportunity to advertise other network shows during sporting events. The challenge for sports trying to increase viewership is to be interesting enough to attract brands that can help grow both industries.

 

Most sports market their biggest attractions in commercials and cameo appearances on television and in movies. Many sports also have their athletes featured in video games and fantasy sports leagues. The WWE became a promotion partner with other stars by inviting them to be guest hosts on WWE’s flagship show “Monday Night Raw”. Donald Trump, former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal, actor and “Wolverine” star Hugh Jackman, and former “Price Is Right” host Bob Barker led a long line of superstars from various areas to guest host in the WWE over the years.

Stone Cold Steve Austin has transitioned from being the face of the WWE to a star in movies and television.

Stone Cold Steve Austin has transitioned from being the face of the WWE to a star in movies and television.

The WWE has been exceptional at cross-branding because it has had a long list of superstars appear in movies that have earned hundreds of millions of dollars across the globe. Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and John Cena are among the long list of WWE superstars to headline major motion pictures. The WWE has taken the next step in cross-branding with the growth of the WWE movie production company. WWE Studios has collaborated with other major movie production companies to produce films in 2013 that featured stars like Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard, and Halle Berry.

Halle Berry stars in The Call, a WWE Studios movie released in theaters in March, 2013 and on DVD in July, 2013.

Halle Berry stars in The Call, a WWE Studios movie released in theaters in March, 2013 and on DVD in July, 2013.

The WWE model is not easy to replicate but there are a few methods that sports struggling to increase their popularity can learn from. The number one skill a major WWE superstar learns is how to sell themselves. That connection between the stars and the fans is necessary to grow interest in those stars outside of their perspective sports. The WWE shows that cross-branding their industry with other major genres like video games, television, and movies, ensures that their superstars attract more fans to the WWE brand.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.