Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sampras Goes InsideOut

With thicker hair on his chest than on top of his scalp, a weathered Pete Sampras intends to play tennis on the over-30 tour. This was originally going to be a serious post about the beauty of homogeneity by rule in sports leagues. Restricting participation to a select few (e.g., softball leagues for Congressional staffers or Westchester Jews), results in more competitive games at the expense of quality of play. That's a good exchange for those of us who wouldn't make a D-I program. Anyway, on to the comedy:

The ESPN headline calls the senior league Sampras is joining the "Champions Series," although the text of the article calls it the "Outback Championship Series." If that's not bowl-season enough for you, the tour's website says, "InsideOut Sports & Entertainment presents the Outback Champions Series." I guess Gaylord Hotels and the San Diego County Credit Union had other sponsorship commitments.

So what is this InsideOut Sports? Glad you asked. (Please don't read this paragraph like the Royal We told you to read Mel Kiper.)

InsideOut Sports & Entertainment develops and produces proprietary events and promotions that provide advertisers unprecedented access to talent, unique opportunities to generate exposure for their brands, and the ability to connect in a meaningful way with their target customers.

There's not much about aging athletes maintaining their dignity and quenching their thirst for competition. Sampras, by the way, joins a roster of luminaries in the sports and entertainment world, including:
  • Taylor Dent
  • Mardy Fish
  • Anna Kournikova
  • Clyde Drexler
  • Sean Elliot
  • Paul O'Neil
  • Dr. Phil McGraw
  • Neil Schon (Journey)
  • President George Herbert Walker Bush
  • Barbara Bush
Pete must already share with Dr. Phil InsideOut's "common vision - to create world-class properties." You really thought this was about tennis?


High Desert Tennis News said...

If I remember correctly, InsideOut is Jim Courier's company, which was involved in other activities before assuming the lead role in the Champions' Tour. It's possible it forgot to rewrite the mission statement, but as far as I know, it's incorrect to imply that InsideOut is a faceless enterprise devoted to squeezing what remains out of past players for its own soleless purposes.

Quality said...

I'm going to stand by my post. If you google "champions series" you get a link to "InsideOut Sports & Entertainment presents The Outback Champions Series."

Once on that page, if you click on "insideout sports and entertainment" at the bottom of the page (because you're curious why the league where Pete Sampras plays is "presented" by a company you've not heard of) you're taken to a page where the "develops and produces proprietary events and promotions that provide advertisers unprecedented access to talent" language is the first text on the page.

That Jim Courier is the founding partner of InsideOut has no bearing on whether his company is looking to make money off "retired" tennis players. I have no problem with him doing that, btw, as *all* sports leagues are designed to make money off the players.

The list on InsideOut's "talent" page of athletes, "artists" and "special guests" groups together a strange bunch of folks.

Quality said...

Re-reading my original post, I have to admit that the last line implied that for Pete, it's not about tennis. I should have been clearer.

Sampras is going to the Champions Series to play and compete.

The Champions Series exists so it can make money off former tennis starts like Pete. Not that there's anything wrong with that.