Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Stadium Equals New Mentality

Matthew Futterman, a writer for the Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Arizona Cardinals President, Michael Bidwell. Highlighting the Arizona Cardinals rise to prominence this season, and ultimately, a trip to the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay on Sunday.

The difference, Bidwell states, from being the Cardinals of old, to today was first building and moving into a first class facility. After migrating the Cardinals from St. Louis in 1988, their home had been sharing the Arizona State University facility. Moving away from Arizona State had been the goal from the beginning. However, putting a mediocre product on the field each week, to crowds averaging 35,000 fans, was not very convincing to those who were asked to fund such a project. The time spent in Arizona State granted them only 12 sell-outs.

Moving into the University of Phoenix (the for-profit online school) Stadium, has provided a revenue stream has attract the talent (players, coaches, and administration) necessary to compete at a high level. Revenue generated from the stadium that the did not have access to includes, parking, attractive suites, naming rights, and more sponsor sinage.

I find it very interseting that the Cardinals consider the turning point for their current success the building of a new stadium. They had looked at a trend across the NFL and saw that teams with newer stadiums were the ones having more and better success. I think that this is a trend that could be refuted when looking at other sports like Basketball or Baseball.

The Bidwell's plan has been successful thus far. Their final test will be on Sunday as they take on the Pittsburg Steelers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rolling in Security and Style - Limo One


In the spirit of marking President Barack Obama's Inauguration today, following the recent theme of automotive related posts, I wanted to learn more about - and pass on to you - information on the new limousine for our 44th President. Wired.com posted a blog featuring the new Cadillac Stagecoach.



Many specifics of the vehicle remain unknown, for obvious security reasons, but it is intriguing to know that the vehicle weighs over seven tons. The Stagecoach is taller and wider than the previous Cadillac DTS, which President Bush has used since 2005. Watching the parade coverage, it is very easy to see why the car would need to be wider. The doors are clearly just as wide commercial jet. Cadillac has produced fewer than 25 editions of Presidential Limos.

In terms of staying connected, the Stagecoach will allow the President to never miss a beat while traveling via Limo One. It has the latest satellite and communications technology. As far as safety, more than 5 inches of bulletproof glass, a kevlar mat protecting the underside of the vehicle, and a sealed air recirculation system will protect anyone inside from most any attack.

One interesting fact mentioned in the blog is that since 2001, the current Presidential Limos are no longer allowed to serve as museum pieces, and are required to be destroyed after their use has passed in order to protect their security secrets.

A limousine will not make or break a Presidency, however, I believe it will be one of the many tools that will help him fulfill his duty. Here is to a new era, President Obama!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Auto Show Brings Hope

Every year, many car enthusiasts look forward to the North American International Auto Show. Often, car makers take to the public, new, exotic cars, showcasing their design talents, which often influence future designs, technology and car models. The Wall Street Journal has a slideshow featuring new concepts.

This year is certainly no different in terms of excitement and anticipation of whats to come.

Many of the concepts featured, include green technology like improved efficiency from combustion engines, electric, and hybrid powered vehicles. Looking at a number of concepts, I think a number of the vehicles seem very feasible (as well as being told that by their company executives). With the style and technology, experts and consumers are less likely to say WOW (when some of them deserve the attention!) and more likely to ask, When?

The Chrysler 200C, a beautiful midsize concept, state that it will be a rear-wheel drive platform in order to possibly accomodate, hybrid, extended-range electric, or efficient V6 engines. When? When will I get to see these options available? I assume that will be when the economy begins to turn around.

GM is looking to play to its strengths. It is about time. For the past few years, Chevrolet and Buick have tremendous success selling their products in China. The first redesign since the Buick LaCrosse was introduced at the NAIAS. Looking quite different from the original, it was stated that GM's China design team had a major part in redesigning the car from the ground up.

Getting the products the consumers want, are going to take time for the established companies (GM, Chrysler, Ford), however, because of the infancy of the new, alternative fuel vechicles, many companies are at a level playing field, looking to capitalize on the new, important segment of the market.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Forget HD - Let's Go 3-D!

Today in the Wall Street Journal, Joseph DeAvila writes about the opportunity sports fans have for the BCS National Championship game on Thursday night. Close to 80 theaters across the nation will offer fans a Three-Dimensional viewing of Florida Gators and the Oaklahoma Sooners battling it out for the national title. Fox Sports has been putting 3-D to the test, most recently with an NFL game, and also mentioned that NASCAR's season opening Daytona 500 may also have 3-D broadcast.

The introduction of more regular 3-D programming seems to be the next step in television, despite having been developed decades ago. Technological advancements like High Definition Television make the high quality imaging more possible.

I find two aspects of 3-D sporting events fascinating. First, the quality of the broadcast is most-likely phenominal. Using theater surround sound, and huge projection screens would the stadium seating into a theater into a "satellite" stadium section. Second, using theaters as the destination for the watching games in 3-D may create a whole new market for attracting customers to movie theaters creating an additional revenue stream for them.

The only downside to a theater environment for watching sporting events is the environment. As movie-goers, we are conditioned to be quiet during films and not to engage in conversations. Sports fans are used to watching events in noisy stadiums, drinking at bars, sitting at home while entertatining friends, cursing the referees, high-fiving, and discussing the next play call. While the veiwing experience only becomes more enhanced, creating a similar atmosphere will be the primary challenge.