Wednesday, August 20, 2014

NFL wants performers to pay to play Super Bowl halftime show: Report

Last year's Super Bowl halftime show had more viewers than the actual game and the freebie television extravaganza is so coveted by artists in the music industry, they schmooze the NFL long before a big name performer is secured for the gig.

But this year the National Football League is asking potential performers to pay to play the high-profile concert, according to The Wall Street Journal

While the NFL is notorious for demanding — and receiving — major concessions from its Super Bowl host cities. Now it wants halftime performers, who typically perform for free in exchange for monumental publicity, to add a little more jingle to the wealthy football league's coin pouch.

The NFL, in seeking to book the halftime show for Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015 outside Phoenix, has reportedly asked the potential headliners to "contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig, reported the WSJ.

The proposition has returned icy responses from the three final candidates: Katy PerryRihanna and Coldplay . The NFL does not usually pay the act that performs during the halftime ceremony, but has covered travel and production expenses, which can run into the multimillion-dollar range, The Journal reported.

Joanna Hunter, a spokeswoman for the NFL, said the league's goal is "to put on the best show possible." 

A valuable promotional opportunity for any performer, the halftime show drew a record 115.3 million viewers last February when the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars took the stage. Some artists have used this platform to announce upcoming tour dates and boost ticket sales. Many also see a sharp increase in CD and download sales directly after the performance. 

But shaking down Katy Perry? Think of the singer's 15-year-old girls demographic the NFL will lose for the big game.

Kole Calhoun robs Brock Holt of home run with towering catch at wall (VIDEO)

Kole Calhoun — the Angels outfielder with a rodeo wrangler's name — corralled a long fly ball to rob Brock Holt of a three-run homer with a ridiculous catch Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

Calhoun timed his second-inning catch perfectly before leaping over the right field wall bailing out Jared Weaver — who looked ready to be stampeded by the Red Sox doggies.

Kole, Brock and Jared? Sounds like a few cowhands from Rawhide.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rams offer free tickets to high schools near Ferguson riots: Report

There doesn't seem to be anything that anyone can do to ease the tension in Ferguson, Mo. right now, but one NFL team has made a small attempt at bringing normalcy back for some school kids in the nearby area.

The St. Louis Rams organization is offering free tickets to Saturday’s preseason game to area schools overwhelmed by the riots which followed the police shooting of an unarmed man and set off days of protests and mayhem in the streets.

Whether or not you consider it a generous offer to help bring sanity back to kids confused by the current state of affairs or a blatant PR attempt conveniently combining national news with something far less important like sports, three local high schools will each receive 75 free tickets to see the home team play the Cleveland Browns, reported

Rams manager of fan development and alumni relations Kyle Eversgerd contacted coaches at McCluer High, McCluer North and McCluer South; offering the free tickets to each team if they wanted them.

“In light of everything going on it just kind of hit me,” Eversgerd said. “I can’t imagine with all that stuff going on, how tough it must be to practice. We were able to get them away from it all.”

It’s a nice gesture for a suburban town gripped by uncertainty and, hopefully, the payoff will be peace of mind for a couple of hundred teenagers — and that they can pay it forward.

Peyton bounces back from lame rap video with hilarious Gatorade spots (VIDEO)

It looks like it's time for Peyton Manning to dump his straight man (we're talking about about you Eli) and get back to what he does best — starring in funny TV commercials all by himself.

After this summer's less than sidesplitting DirecTV's new Fantasy Zone commercial with his bro, the Denver Broncos quarterback has bounced back with a couple of hilarious spots for Gatorade.

In the first, a thirsty customer strolls up to a convenience store counter with a bottle of Gatorade, only to be cut off by the cashier for not perspiring enough. Then the red-vested clerk asks to check with his manager, who just happens to be Manning.

The unsuspecting woman — having a rough time after a night out — is told to "sweat it to get it" by the demanding Manning before he sets up and goes deep with a bottle of Gatorade across the store.

In the other spot, Manning the manager has another woman get on the floor and do a "chaturanga" yoga move — "We're gonna need some back sweat going" — in the middle of the store aisle.

The spots are a little mean-spirited, since the women don't seem to recognize the straight-faced 6-foot-5 NFL star, but it's funny.

Neil Walker hits home run ball into Allegheny River ... no really (VIDEO)

On Monday night, Pirates second baseman Neil Walker jacked a baseball over the PNC Park stands and into the Allegheny River and no, it wasn't just a mic'd up Andrew McCutchen's exaggeration of the home run shot.

Walker literally hit the ball into the river.

Walker's solo home run was just the 35th ever to reach the Allegheny River on a bounce, and he's 23rd player to pull off the glorious feat.

Unfortunately, the home team's comeback hopes sunk as fast as the ball did into the murky river and the Pirates fell to the Braves 7-3.

"Tell you the truth, I couldn't care less," Walker said about his water shot. "I wish it had come with the bases loaded and us down by three runs. As it was, it was just one run in another loss."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Taiwanese sculpture of Kobe Bryant features snake biting his Achilles (PHOTO)

NBA superstar Kobe Bryant has a number of statues displayed around the world in his honor, but this sculpture may be just a little too bizarre even in praise.

The Taiwanese sculpture looks to be that of Los Angeles forward holding a basketball while wrestling with a mamba.

But, if you look closely, the snake also appears to be biting Kobe's Achilles, which he tore at the end of the 2012-2013 NBA season.

What's next? A crocodile chomping on Derrick Rose's knee?

The strange artwork was on display at the Basketball Art Exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan. 

Nadal pulls out of U.S. Open due to wrist injury: Report

Rafael Nadal has announced he will not defend his U.S. Open crown due to his ongoing recovery from a wrist injury.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Monday morning, Nadal said he won't compete at the Grand Slam event, which begins next Monday in New York. 

I am very sorry to announce I won’t be able to play at this year’s US Open a tournament on which I’ve played 3 consecutive finals in my last participations. I am sure you understand that it is a very tough moment for me since it is a tournament I love and where I have great memories from fans, the night matches, so many things… Not much more I can do right now, other than accept the situation and, as always in my case, work hard in order to be able to compete at the highest level once I am back.

Although the announcement wasn’t a huge surprise, there had been speculation in recent days that Nadal might be able to mount a title defense. He posted training photos to his Facebook page that showed him practicing with a splint on his injured wrist.

Nadal will miss his third Slam in the past two years leaving the men’s field with just four former champions: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Lleyton Hewitt playing in New York.

It’s only the fourth time in the Open era a defending champion won’t play in New York.