Posts from Sports

Fun Friday: What Sports Team Would You Buy If You Could?

With the news that Steve Ballmer now gets to do to the Clips what he did to Microsoft, I thought we could talk about buying/owning sports teams.

My son Josh and I like to dream about owning the Knicks. That’s not likely to happen unless someone can get Jimmy Dolan on tape saying stupid shit. One can dream.

So if you could buy a sports team, what team would you buy?

Sticking With The Struggling Investments

My friend Bijan tweeted this last week:

He's right, but I would go further. One of the hardest things to do in the venture business is to stick with a struggling investment.

I woke up thinking about this as I spent yesterday with Josh watching the hapless Jets lose badly to the Dolphins and then heading up to MSG to watch the equally hapless Knicks lose to the Pelicans. It is tempting to stop watching both teams and sell off our seats at MSG for the rest of the year. But we aren't going to do that and we will sit loyally and watch loss after loss at the Garden if that's what comes for the rest of the year. We are fans, even if our team sucks. And they sure do right now.

It is equally tempting to write off a failing investment and stop showing up at board meetings, stop responding to the emails from the founder, and stop thinking about the company. At some point, the company will run out of money, there won't be a reason to put more money into the company, and the investment will fail. Until that happens, as long as the founder is willing to listen to you, I think you have to give your struggling investments your all.

The truth is the investments that are working often don't need that much from an investor. They need more capital, they need recruiting help, and sometimes they need strategy and advice. But the reason they are having success is they are doing the right thing and doing things right. On the other hand, the struggling investment needs a lot of help. And I think the lead investor board member has an obligation to provide that help.

One of the characteristics of USV that I am most proud of is that we stick with our struggling investments. And we have made a lot of them. We have way more of them than our successful ones that are always cited when we are talked about publicly. I think how you treat your struggling investments says more about you than how many billion dollar exits you have had. You need both to be successful in the VC business, of course. The latter metric defines your selection acumen. The former defines your empathy acumen. And when I pick people to work with, I look for the latter. I suspect most people do that.

This is not a new theme. I've written about this here before. But it is an important theme for me and for entrepreneurs and investors. As we headed out last night to MSG Josh said to me, "I am not feeling good about this game". I told him I wasn't either, but all we could do was root them on as hard as we could. We did that. And we will do that again on Thursday when they head out to Brooklyn to play the Nets. We will be there too. That's what fans do and what investors should do too.

FIFA Xbox

Interesting blog post on how EA's FIFA game franchise got off the ground.

My son and his friends play lots of Xbox games and they play lots of Xbox sports game. But FIFA is their favorite. It is the game they come back to again and again and it is the game they play year round.

I have this theory, based on a sample size of one (my son Josh), that FIFA for Xbox is responsible for the surging interest in football (which we call soccer) here in the US.

All of my kids played youth soccer but they never loved playing the game. They all went for basketball as their game of choice. So they didn't really learn soccer by playing it.

But Josh has learned to understand the game, the players, the teams, and so much more about football/soccer from playing FIFA. And he watches the big matches on TV and he cheers for teams like Bayern Munich because he loves Franck Ribery. And he loves Franck Ribery because he's awesome in FIFA Xbox.

And his obsession with the sport has led me to become more interested in it over time. We've been in europe during the european cup and the world cup and have hung out in the bars and watched the matches with the locals. It is a great sport and a great experience.

And for us, all of this interst in and love of the game of football, originated with FIFA on Xbox. And I suspect that is true for lots of people in the US who grew up in the age of videogames.

So going back to the post that I linked to at the start of this post, EA didn't think FIFA was going to be popular. They didn't really care about the game. And yet it has become a monster franchise for them and to my mind, one of the main reasons for the surging popularity of the game here in the US.

Like many big deals, it was ridiculed at the start. That's a sure sign you are on to something.

Video Of The Week: Cliff Chenfeld on Media Reporter

My friend Cliff Chenfeld recently appeared on the Media Reporter TV show. Cliff has been in the entertainment business for over 25 years and he talks about the changes he has seen in the music industry, film, sports, and other entertainment sectors. It’s about 30 minutes long and worth a watch/listen.

Fun Friday: Best Entertainment This Year So Far

The idea for today's fun friday comes from Tyrone who wrote this in an email to me this week:

fun friday idea: best entertainment this year across the board, albums, films, series, sites, youtube channels etc?

For me, the answer is the NBA playoffs (though the result bums me out), This Is The End (the jonah hill exorcism is hysterical), and my favorite records of the year so far are Lysandre, Modern Vampires Of The City, Random Access Memories, Mala, and Isles.

What are your favorite entertainment moments of the year so far?

Fun Friday: Favorite Sport

I was at my friend Vanessa’s birthday party last night and another friend Cliff was saying to me that baseball is falling fast in popularity amoung the younger people in america. So we asked all the kids who were in attendance and sure enough baseball was considered “boring” and was not interesting to them. Soccer (football) on the other hand was rising fast. Among the kids in attendance last night, basketball was first, football and soccer were in a close second, with hockey and baseball in the rear view mirror.

So for fun friday today, I thought I would poll the AVC readers on our favorite sport:

Please participate in the poll and in the comments. After all, this is fun friday.

Congratulations Indiana

We talk a lot of NBA basketball in the comments but I don't post about it. This blog is supposed to be about startups and tech, for the most part. But the Knicks lost last night in Indiana and my season is over. I will root for the Grizzlies and the Pacers now but I doubt I will watch many games.

This photo sums up the Knicks Pacers series. Actually it sums up the entire season for me.

Roy and melo

Carmelo Anthony is an incredible talent. He has upped his defensive game in the past year and he carried the Knicks as far as he could. But he doesn't have a second superstar at his side and he could not beat Indiana all by himself.

Roy Hibbert played a great series. In the end, Roy and the Pacers were too much for Melo.

I went to something like twenty five Knicks games this year, almost all of them with my son Josh. I had a great time. We saw some incredible games. And I remain a diehard Knicks fan. My season is over.

I wish Roy and his mates the best of luck with Miami. I will be rooting them on.

Fun Friday: March Madness

I know we are already a day in and if you had Montana, Belmont, or UNLV in your brackets (like my son Josh did), then you are already behind the eight ball. But March Madness is so much fun that we are going to make it fun friday anyway.

My sentimental pick to go all the way is the Georgetown Hoyas. With Otto Porter Jr leading the charge and a stifling defense that has brought the likes of Louisville and Syracuse (twice) to their knees, I like Georgetown's chances this year.

Speaking of Syracuse, they looked dominant last night. And so did Louisville. In memory of the Big East, my basketball conference (may it rest in peace), I am calling a Big East NCAA championship this year.

What is your March Madness pick this year? Let's go at it in the comments.

And given the topic, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the work of my friend Pravin, who was the inspiration for MBA Mondays. Pravin also taught Josh a bit of progamming when Josh was in middle school. Too bad he did not teach him to leave the likes of Belmont and Montana out of his March Madness picks! But I digress.

Pravin works for Google and along with Dan Vanderkam built the awesome March Madness card for Google search. When you are on your phone (or desktop/laptop), just search for march madness. You will get the entire bracket with game times and up to date scores. I told Josh and his friend Max about it the other day and Josh said "I use the ESPN app for that". A few minutes later Josh said "Pravin's thing is better". We've been using Google search to keep up to date with the tournament since. Folder that under "HTLM5 vs native apps".

Tape Delay In The Age Of Twitter

We sat down in the family room and tuned into the Opening Ceremony last night. And out came the Nexus 7. The second screen. I launched Twitter to see what folks were saying and found tweets talking about the event in the past tense. And then it occurred to me that we were watching on a tape delay. Of course we were watching on a tape delay. The opening ceremonies had happened in London in the evening which was friday afternoon New York time.

I get why NBC chose to show the opening ceremonies on tape delay in the US, but I am not sure it is the right call. Everything is live on the Internet. Everything is live on Twitter.

And now I'm thinking of the big events. Football, Basketball, Gymnastics, Swimming, Track & Field. Are these events going to be on tape delay too? Am I going to find out that Michael Phelps won his 19th medal on Twitter or on TV?

That's the challenge for NBC and all broadcasters who are carrying the Olympics. I vote for a live TV schedule and watching the games on my computer at work over a tape delay and the information coming at me before I can see it happening with my own eyes.

I think tape delay is a goner in the age of Twitter. I just don't know when the folks who make these calls will figure that out.

Fun Friday: What Is Your Favorite Summer Olympics Event?

The opening ceremony is tonight. The London Olympics are upon us.

London olympics

So I thought it would be fun to talk about everyone's favorite Summer Olympic sport.

For me, it's men's boxing. I really enjoy amateur boxing at the highest level. The athleticism of boxers always impresses me and there's a primal thing to the sport. So when men's boxing is on the next two weeks, I will do my best to tune in.

What is your favorites Summer Olympics sport?