When I first pitched the Quickie to ESPN, I made a point to emphasize that it was -- by its daypart (morning) and by its appointment-style scheduling (daily) -- promising for sponsor dollars.
I even went so far as to present the concept directly to the ESPN.com ad-sales team -- I may have been the first ESPN.com columnist (or any sports columnist) to do that. It's a point of pride for me, actually, because it actively acknowledged that you can have editorial integrity of creating a good, popular product AND try to make money from it.
There was regular sponsorship of the column -- the most notable was a McDonald's deal that promoted McD's breakfast offering, a pretty good fit.
I always thought that Starbucks would be ideal -- hell, that's what I was drinking in the morning as I wrote; I'd even throw in a mugshot of me holding up a Starbucks cup.
Then I read that MSNBC's "Morning Joe" just did a presenting sponsorship with Starbucks -- it's smart, for both the show and the sponsor.
And, yesterday, the NBA announced that the WNBA would be accepting sponsorships on jerseys, fully displacing "Phoenix" and "Mercury" for "Lifelock." Guess what: That's the future folks.
It's also the present, as I lead in today's SN column (which also subtly suggests that the sponsorship opportunities remain for me) -- look at international soccer. Those are the hardest-core fans in the world, and they have no problem with the jersey sponsorships.
More notably, don't kid yourself: College football and basketball have been showcasing sponsor branding for years -- and it has moved beyond jerseys and shorts/pants and shoes to armbands, bicep-bands, headbands, eyeblack and more.
Does it spoil baseball to have "GNC" on the front or back of the Yankees or Red Sox jerseys? Or the NFL? Or the NBA? Hardly. Your team is still your team -- they just make a little more money in a pretty crappy economy... and a sponsor gets to break through the clutter with a meaningful marketing connection with fans. (Just ask AIG and Manchester United!)
Anyway, the point is this: There is no meaningful difference between "Shanoff's Wake-Up Call" and "Starbucks Wake-Up Call," just as there is no meaningful difference between "The BS Report Presented by Subway," and swapping out the "Celtics" lettering on the Boston jersey replaced by "PapaJohns.com."
More you'll find in today's column:
*The best LeBron/Kobe puppet parody video you'll see.
*Tim Tebow: Best player in college football next season. Duh.
*Vince Young needs a new team that will use him selectively.
*Danica is as disingenuous in apologizing as LeBron.
Lot more where that came from. Complete column here. More later.