Just say no to uniform advertisements

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From the Over My Dead Body Department:

The Houston Texans are reportedly seeking a sponsor to purchase
advertisements on the team’s practice jerseys, the Houston Chronicle
reports. The ad would be on a patch no larger than 3 1/2 by 4 1/2
inches on the left shoulder of the jerseys. To entice potential buyers,
the Texans put team patches on their practice jerseys to show what the
ad would look like.

“It’s a natural evolutionary step in sports marketing,” said Oliver
Luck, president and general manager of the Houston Dynamo. His team
started selling ads on its jerseys in 2007. “It’s probably something
Major League Baseball and perhaps even the NBA will look at,” Luck
said. “It’s a very important piece of the soccer industry . . . Because
soccer is the most popular sport in the world, you have a broad
acceptance from fans around the world that it’s appropriate to put
advertising on soccer jerseys,” he said. “And it’s a small step to go
from a soccer jersey to a football, basketball or baseball jersey.”

I’ve long argued that whenever football comes up with a bright idea,
baseball would do well to look it, understand it, and then do the exact
opposite. This goes doubly true when football gets its ideas from
soccer.

Yes, ads on soccer kits have “broad acceptance” around the world.
Soccer fans also broadly accept ties, loose interpretations of game
time limits, and rampant nationalism as a basis for their rooting
interests. That’s fine. It’s their sport and they can do what they want
with it. But if baseball ever allows soccer-style advertising on
uniforms, I’ll do whatever I can to ensure that such advertisements
serve only as a means of identifying products to be boycotted.

Trevor May joins eSports team Luminosity

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 04: Trevor May #65 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the sixth inning at Progressive Field on August 4, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Twins 9-2.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
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When he’s not throwing baseballs, Twins pitcher Trevor May is an active gamer. He streams on Twitch, a very popular video game streaming site, fairly regularly and now he’s officially on an eSports team. Luminosity Gaming announced the organization added May last Friday. It appears he’ll be streaming and commentating on Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter made by Blizzard Entertainment.

May is the only current athlete to be an active member of an eSports team. Former NBA player Rick Fox owns Echo Fox, an eSports team that sports players in games including League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Mortal Kombat X. Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is also a known advocate of eSports.

The NBA in particular has been very active on the eSports front. Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov launched NRG eSports in November 2015. Shortly thereafter, Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in the Immortals eSports team. Almost a year later, the 76ers acquired controlling stakes in Team Dignitas and Team Apex. The same month, the Wizards’ and Warriors’ owners launched a group called Axiomatic, which purchased a controlling stake in Team Liquid, a long-time Starcraft: Brood War website which has since branched out into other games. And also in September 2016, Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko bought team Renegades, moving them to a group house in Detroit. In December 2016, the Bucks submitted a deal to Riot Games in order to purchase Cloud9’s Challenger league spot for $2.5 million. The Rockets that month hired someone specifically for eSports development, focusing on strategy and investment. Last month, the Heat acquired a controlling stake in team Misfits.

Once an afterthought, eSports has grown considerably in recent years and now it should be considered a competitor to traditional sports. League of Legends, in particular, is quite popular, reaching nearly 15 million concurrent viewers at its peak in the most recent League of Legends World Championship. That championship featured a prize purse of $6.7 million with $2 million of it being split among winner SK Telecom T1’s members.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.