Sponsors Line Up For 50th Head Of The Charles Regatta

A staple on the New England calendar, the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR) will celebrate its 50th rowing this fall.  The 2014 event is scheduled for the weekend of October 18 & 19 and features new sponsor Victorinox Swiss Army.

Victorinox VSA_Logo“We are delighted to welcome Victorinox Swiss Army into the Head Of The Charles family, especially in our milestone year,” said HOCR Executive Director Fred Schoch.  “The Regatta is a cherished Boston tradition, and our partnership with a storied brand such as Victorinox will only enhance the historic nature of this event.”

The world’s largest and most prestigious regatta was established in 1965 and continues to bring the best crew teams to Boston’s Charles River for the ultimate two-day rowing competition along the three-mile course.  With the race’s bi-centennial expected to attract 11,000 world-class rowing competitors and over 400,000 spectators, Victorinox will use this opportunity to bring awareness to its enhanced collection.  The plan: create pop-up retail shops at the HOCR Rowing & Fitness Expo, with special offers on personalized Swiss Army knives, wrist watches, luggage and fragrances.  The company, known primarily for its iconic pocket knives and cutlery, looks to change its image as it has been named the “official timepiece and travel gear sponsor.”  This comes at an opportune time as Victorinox Swiss Army celebrates its own 130th anniversary.

The presenting sponsor of this year’s Head of the Charles Regatta is BNY Mellon.  Other current sponsors on the line-up include data storage giant EMC Corp., and luxury brands Brooks Brothers, Land Rover, New Balance, and Sperry Topsider.

Planned commemorative events include a 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner, a documentary showcase, and a historical exhibit.  The Regatta will run on both Saturday and Sunday from 8AM – 5PM, and admission is free.

To learn more about the Head of the Charles and the full event line-up, check out the official website and follow HOCR on Twitter and Facebook.


(Photo: hocr.tumblr.com)

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Maccabi Tel Aviv Celebration

5 More Questions With Rayde Luis Baez, Senior Manager of Marketing Partnerships at Euroleague Basketball

Last fall we caught up with Rayde Luis Baez, Senior Manager of Marketing Partnerships at Euroleague Basketball, and asked him a few questions about the 2013 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Basketball season. Maccabi Tel Aviv won the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Championship last year. A year later, we checked in with Rayde again and asked him about the Euroleague Basketball World Tour, the FIBA World Championships, and the upcoming Euroleague Basketball season.

TSBX: The World Tour started last week and runs through early October. What makes this year’s series of games so special?
RLB: This year’s tour is the most comprehensive and far reaching tour so far. Multiple teams in multiple markets are participating across the globe which reinforces the notion that Euroleague Basketball, and its participating clubs, are high in interest and appeal.

TSBX: Can you explain a bit of the background of the World Tour? How are teams chosen to participate?
RLB: The process is a joint one with the interested teams and their availability according to their planning. We also consider the input of the different event promoters, resulting in a weighted model between opportunity and market demand.

Euroleague Basketball World Tour

TSBX: How are some of the Euroleague’s biggest sponsors capitalizing on the World Tour?
RLB: The World Tour has it’s own partners contracted from the event’s promoters. There were the Euroleague and its teams brands are, there are our Global Sponsors. Our Global Sponsors have access to activate locally around the event as but we protect the different local categories from the promoter. Just this past week Turkish Airlines and New Era Cap were present at the Intercontinental Cup in Rio de Janeiro.

TSBX: Has the FIBA World Championships helped to increase popularity during the off season?
RLB: Undoubtedly major international tournaments uplift the appeal of the sport across the board. From USA to Philippines, through Angola or the Dominican Republic, I think that basketball is in better shape now that before the summer started.

TSBX: Shifting gears, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds have already ended and the final spot in the 2014-2015 regular season has been awarded. What can we expect both on and off the court during the upcoming season?
RLB: The Qualifying Round is the first big event of the season, as the hopes and wishes from 8 fan bases and teams battle off for a coveted place in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague season. This year’s winner is Russian side, Unics Kazan, becoming the 3rd Russian team for the season and the 24th and final team. Now we can say that we’re ready to rock! The season kicks off October 15th!

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Scotland’s Other Vote For Inclusion

A historic vote occurred in Scotland yesterday. More than 85% of eligible citizens voted in the Scottish Referendum for independence. As the final votes were tallied, more than two million votes, approximately 55%, were casted in favor of Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom. The Scottish had voted for inclusion; they voted to stay connected with the other members of the United Kingdom.

The vote on independence was not the only historic vote for inclusion in Scotland yesterday. The 2,400 members of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club were asked to vote on Thursday as to whether women should be allowed to become members. About three quarters of the members participated in the ballot and of those who voted, 85% voted for inclusion.

18th Green and Clubhouse.jpg
18th Green and Clubhouse” by paul birrell – From geograph.org.uk. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The R&A Club is based at the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. Previously, women were allowed to play at the course, but they were not allowed to become members. The R&A Club sets the rules for the game of golf everywhere in the world except the United States and Mexico. While women were allowed at St. Andrews, they were not permitted in the clubhouse nor had a significant influence on any of the rulemaking.

The LPGA approved of the R&A’s decision releasing a statement saying “the LPGA is happy to hear that the members of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews have voted to include female members. This decision is certainly a step in the right direction and one that better captures the current diversity and inclusiveness of our great game.”

In 2012, the Augusta National Club, which hosts the Masters, admitted two women members, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore, for the first time in the 80-year history of the club.

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Updates To Our Website

The Sports Business Exchange logoWhen we started The Sports Business Exchange in 2009, we set out to give a voice to young professionals working in the sports industry. Over time, we’ve adjusted our focus, created a journal, broadened our audience to all sports business professions, eliminated the journal, added and subtracted features on the site, hosted plenty of networking events, and most importantly, welcomed thousands of new readers to the website. Without our readers, the website would not be where it is today. Thank you.

Very quietly a few months ago we updated the design off the website. We did this with little fanfare in case there were errors or parts of the new website that didn’t work correctly. No one who works or writes for The Sports Business Exchange has a background in web design and to be completely honest, we’re still making minor tweaks all the time.

All of that being said, we thought it was important to take the opportunity to formally acknowledge the new website and review some of the major features. As I mentioned earlier, we continue to tinker with the site as we make changes based on new ideas (podcast anyone?) but I thought it was important to highlight some of the features that are currently on our website.

KAEO Startups: Our longest running and most successful series examines sports startups. KAEO stands for “Keep An Eye On” and is a common phrase used on message boards to discuss high school recruits. Among the many startups we’ve featured, several have expanded considerably since they were on our site into well-known companies within the industry including numberFire, Chat Sports, and LockerDome. Our latest KAEO Startup featured company will be post in the next few weeks.

Visualizations: Infographics have plowed through social media over the last two years because of their readability and shareability. However, we have found visualizations to be a lot more compelling and enlightening. They’re also more fun and interactive. All of our visualizations are stored under the “Visualizations” tab on the upper right corner of the website. After you find a visualization that you like, click around the graphic to learn more.

Good Sports: Good Sports is our newest feature on the website and I am excited to launch it. In this section, we’ll be looking at the better side of sports where sports positively impacts society and communities. We’ll also tackle more serious social issues in this section as well. We’re excited to have Danielle Pourbaix on board as one of our key contributors for this section and throughout the website.

Around the Blog: The original blog that launched the website isn’t going anywhere. You’ll see a lot more guest posts and featured contributing writers as we plan on expanding our sports business coverage even further. If you’re interested in writing about a particular topic or just sharing your thoughts, please email us.

As mentioned above, we hope you’ll share your thoughts on the new website. Feel free to leave a note in the comments section below or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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For Women’s World Cup, The Turf Debate Heats Up

This is a guest post by Michael Tarantino, CSFM, Director of Maintenance and Operations at Poway Unified School District and Sports Turf Managers Association board member.

Photo credit: Roberto Gurgel / Sod Solutions
Credit: Roberto Gurgel / Sod Solutions

Just a few months ago, the world turned its attention to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina. The backdrop to this July 13 match was a beautifully maintained and manicured Celebration Bermuda grass field at one of soccer’s most historic stadiums, Estadio do Maracanã.

Flash back to July 2007, FIFA officially chose Brazil to host the 2014 event and soon finalized 12 host cities across the country with all venues to feature natural grass.

One would expect FIFA to create the same “playing field” for the Women’s 2015 World Cup in Canada. However, in early 2013, soccer’s global governing body announced the tournament would be the first senior World Cup – men’s or women’s – to be held entirely on artificial turf.

As seen in recent media coverage, there has been considerable backlash to this decision. More than 50 international female players from 12 countries have stepped forward, taking to social media and backing a petition with more than 4,000 signatures to express disproval of using a “second-class surface.”

The debate over natural versus artificial turf is turning vehement. Players are threating lawsuits if forced to play on synthetic turf, citing gender discrimination. Every World Cup and Champions League Final has been played on a natural grass field. So why does FIFA feel the need to change the surface for women?

In a New York Times article, former professional player Alecko Eskandarian commented on how playing on artificial turf changes the game. He noted “the ball bounces different on artificial stuff, the passes run a lot faster, it’s more difficult to cut and change direction, and it generally makes your body a bit more sore than if you were to play on grass.”.

John Herdman, Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team Head Coach, has been vocal about the wear-and-tear synthetic turf causes on his players’ bodies. “Turf burn” and “turf toe” – injuries unique to artificial fields – can sideline a player or hinder the ability to perform at the highest level. The potential for injury imperils the competitive balance for the World Cup.

With FIFA still not responding to the players concerns, is there really anything that can be done?

Phil McQuade, Director of Turf for Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids and a long-time member of the Sports Turf Manager Association (STMA) member suggests FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association look at laying turf over the synthetic fields. This was tested earlier this summer in front of more than 109,000 fans for a match at Michigan Stadium between Manchester United and Real Madrid.

McQuade recommends overlaying the current synthetic fields with thick cut, big roll natural grass. Once the venue is finished with play, the sod could be donated to a local school or park.

The natural grass versus artificial turf debate is ongoing and with the outcome still looming the only real known, is come next summer the world will watch as the best players come together to play for the championship for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.


About Michael Tarantino

Michael Tarantino is a Certified Sports Field Manager (CSFM) and Director of Maintenance and Operations at Poway Unified School District in Poway, Calif. The Poway School District consists of 40 sites covering 100 square miles and an enrollment of 35,500 students.

STMA logoCurrently, he is a STMA board member. In 2009, Michael received the Dick Ericson Founders Award for his service to the STMA and leadership at the national level to advance the sports turf industry.

Michael holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management with a minor in Human Resources. He is a licensed landscape contractor in the state of California.

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