The Lesson Of Happy Gilmore and Pro Sports Marketing

I was working out the other day, watching TV trying to make time go by alot faster. On comes Happy Gilmore. The movie is a classic. It also could be the ultimate sports marketing class. It should be required viewing for every professional sports commissioner.

For those who dont know about the movie, let me give you the Sports Marketing Class recap.

Failed hockey player needs to make money so his Grandmother can keep her house.
Hockey player realizes he can drive a golfball a long way and can make money doing so.
Hockey player qualifies for golf tournaments and wins money. We root for him to save Grandmas house.
Hockey player as golfer has a huge temper. Throws clubs. Curses. Yells at fans.
We suspend belief as movie watchers. Not that this couldnt or wouldnt happen, but there arent negative articles in the media calling Happy Gilmore every name in the book and saying how he is the worst thing ever to happen to pro sports.
Happy Gilmore continues to show every bit of poor sportsmanship that he can. He screams at and threatens fans. He confronts a fellow golfer and breaks a beer bottle, willing to fight him.

Happy Gilmore’s fan base grows. Fans love him.
TV Ratings skyrocket.
Attendance skyrockets.

We suspend belief as viewers because we still dont see any headlines condemning him as the worst thing to happen to sports. Ever.
Happy Gilmore gets into a fight with an 80 year old Bob Barker.
Happy Gilmore screams at the golf ball, which is toning it down for Happy.
Happy Gilmore hates Shooter McGavin, who is having a career year on the tour.

We love him more.

Happy Gilmore saves the day for Grandma. Fans go wild and love him. He is our hero.

Why is he our hero ? Because he is as far from perfect as he can be. He has one skill he is amazing at. He also has an amazing temper . He is just like any number of people we all know , only he has a special skill that put s him into a very unique situation. He can be a pro golfer.

What does that have to do with professional sports ? Everything. Its a great example of what is wrong with pro sports marketing.

In pro sports marketing we try to make all the athletes perfect. In doing so, we make them unlike anyone any of us can relate to. Its not that we should hear about their frailities and problems all the time. Its that we should see and hear about them in situations that makes them normal. or they shouldn’t be part of league marketing plans at all.

We see them serving food in soup kitchens. We see them surrounded by kids in obviously managed situations.. We see them trying to push kids on a swingset. Its a mistake because its so contrived that we automatically ignore it as being artificial and brand management.

Consumers are savvy. Does anyone think that this situation just happened and miraculously the cameras were there ? Of course not. We all see it as an obligatory Public Service Announcement and ignore it.

NFL Cares about the United Way. MLB Cares about something. NBA Cares, NHL Cares. MSL Cares. Im sure Volleyball, Bull Riders and Bowlers Care as well. We know. We get it. Stop it.

It doesnt make fans think better of athletes. It puts athletes on pedastals . Exactly where they shouldn’t be. Whats worse is when an athlete doesnt live up to these artificial brands we create of them and falls from the pedestal the same fans and media watching the commercials, thrive on tearing them down. Its dumb marketing that creates more opportunities for failure than success.

Not only do I think the “we are so caring” marketing is a mistake, I think the trend towards taking personalities out of the game could be a fatal business mistake. Leagues are so intent on polishing and packaging athletes that they forget the Happy Gilmore lesson. Fans love, or love to hate athletes with personality. Most importantly, they watch those players and buy their merchandise.

Shaq is a larger than life personality who always has something to say. Even if it means being fined by the NBA. Phil Jackson tweaks me, Sacramento, Shaq, everyone. He is showing a personality, which helps makes the Lakers more popular.When Dennis Rodman played for the Mavs, he drew crowds and TV Ratings wherever we went, and it wasnt for his basketball skills. Terrel Owens, Chad Johnson, Barry Bonds are all big personalities that get and keep people interested in the games they play.

The beauty of Happy Gilmore and big personalities is that you don’t have to create commercials to promote them. You don’t have to build marketing plans around them. Fans take to them, whether its love or hate and pay attention to them. The media keeps their storylines going, knowing its what fans want. Knowing they are the exceptions that make things interesting.

One of the biggest challenges the NHL has is that there isn’t one player that we all know is going to be quotable and the media is going to run with and pay too much attention to. Now if Sidney Crosby, or any of the young superstars of the NHL were to be quoted bragging about themself as “The Greatest of All Time”, or about how they “hate so and so”, or were to get a hat trick and pull out a cap and put it in front of the opposing goal keeper. Or maybe, pull out a magic marker and write the score of the game on the boards. Yeah, there would be some gloves dropped, but if it happened a 2nd time, it would be all over the national news and sports fans across the country just might be curious enough to turn on the TV to see what would happen next. Its the Happy Gilmore affect.

This is of course where the “purists” of each sport jump in and say that the games themselves are enough. Yeah right. A matchup between the greatest point guard ever and one of the 3 best Power Forwards ever, both league or finals MVPs, got the lowest ratings ever. Once you get past the hard core fans of the game, or the regional fans of the team, they don’t care about a matchup between “the two best at their position” in the league. They care about a matchup that is combustible. They want to know that tempers could flare. They want to see what will happen to the guy who “stomped on the star at Texas Stadium” his next trip back. Don’t believe me, just look at the ratings and whose merchandise sells the best year after year.

Big personalities create rivalries. Rivalries are great for the sports and their leagues. But in terms of rivalries that are of national interest, all that is left is the Red Sox vs Yankees rivalry. I couldn’t care less about either team. But I’m always curious as to what will happen when they play. I want to see the fans and the signs. I want to hear the players talk about how much they hate the other team. I want to watch to see if there are any brushback pitches or bench clearing brawls, even though guys spend more all their time dancing and never brawling.. It doesn’t matter that they dont really fight. Its part of what makes a great rivalry. The chance that something intense can happen.

Thats why we watch teams we don’t directly root for. We watch because we might see something that we can’t see or feel in our day to day lives. The things that a sportscenter replay cant truly capture. The Happy Gilmore moments. We want to feel the tension through our TVs We want to feel the excitement in our stomachs when two guys who we know hate each other because of comments they made matchup. It doesnt matter if its pitcher and batter, batter sliding into 2nd, a faceoff, or skating towards an obvious check against the boards, or a player going to the basket, with the only defender being the one guy he hates. Nothing has to happen. We just like knowing it could.

Football does a great job of letting guys talk trash about players and teams they hate while publicly saying they are against it. Players are often quoted as not liking someone/someteam. They push and shove e
ach other. They spit at each other. They smack a guy across the face and its 15 yards and they have to lineup the next play and do it again. If they truly wanted to stop it, they would kick a guy out of the game. They would automatically suspend him for the next. They don’t. Its combustion at its best. Its unpredictable. Its fun to watch. We know they leave it all out on the field. The NFL does its very best to protect guys from injury, from there, despite league pronouncements to the contrary, everything and anything goes. Fans love it.

Every other sport is trying to take out the very things fans turn towards the game for: personalities, conflicts, tension, euphoria and every other emotion we cant show away from sports.

It doesn’t have to be about fights. Fights are bad for any sport. Fans don’t want players to get hurt. Fans do want trashtalking. Fans do want players to hate each other. Fans do want confrontations. Watch hockey fans respond to fights and major penalites. Watch basketball fans repond to technicals, and in particular a 2nd technical. We shouldnt kick a guy out for a 2nd technical, we should increase the number of free throws to match the number of technicals. Fans would love it. More opportunities to get out of their seats and yell at Rasheed or whoever.

In 2007, we have to realize that fans expectations are different today than they were 10 or 20 years ago. Every kid playing every video game goes “Happy Gilmore” on the person they are playing against. Watch the trash talking on the competitive video gaming shows ESPN is running if you don’t have the chance to watch a couple people playing video games. Advertisers are lining up trying to find ways to be in front of those players.

Play a fantasy sport to see the hysterical trash talking that goes on in every league. Listen to talk radio. Advertisers are running towards, not away from both.

Sports provide us what our day to day lives can’t. Sports give us an outlet for our day to day stress that we dont get in our day to day lives. We want to love, hate, yell, scream, jump up and down. We want to be the 6th man. We want to go to work in a great mood because our team won, or commiserate if we lose. We want to laugh at and with the big personalities of sports.

Look at the fastest growing sports of the last 10 to 20 years. The sports where bragging, hating and yelling are part of the culture. From wrestling to cagefighting to Nascar where drivers hate each other, their fans hate each other, and even their girlfriends and wives hate each other. Its great entertainment.

We want as many Happy Gilmores as we can find. Its what makes sports special.

82 thoughts on “The Lesson Of Happy Gilmore and Pro Sports Marketing

  1. I agree for the most part. One of the things I hate about the new NBA is all the laughing and kissing up BETWEEN teams before the game starts. I remember HATING the Celtics and Larry Bird used to revel in being hated and he hated the other team.

    While I don\’t want criminals or jerks, I want some more passion. It is the number one reason that Tennis is in the toilet.

    Comment by Allen Berrebbi -

  2. I pretty much agree with this, but I think it raises an interesting sociological question.

    If we were to remove the NBA Cares marketing push, what would it say about a society that has stopped even pretending to CARE?

    Sure, everybody knows the NBA doesn\’t care and basically disregards those insulting commercials but there isn\’t there still something to be said in favor of those messages, something about telling PEOPLE it is still important to care.

    If we do go all the way, and really portray athletes only as who they truly are, are we somehow taking away the idyllic standard and thereby encouraging everyone to be selfish, intensely competitive, narrow-minded fools who are generally slaves to their emotions and unable to control themselves?

    Also, purely from a business standpoint, doesn\’t having Dennis Rodman and Terrell Owens playing against the infallible Tom Brady and Michael Jordan (haha, yeah right) create a sort of hero/villain, good guy/bad guy storyline. After all, sports are nice, but narrative has always been the true human attraction.

    Comment by Todd Gebhart -

  3. 81 comments and NOBODY mentioned Kerrigan/Harding?

    Look at the TV Ratings….A top 10 most watched TV event…OF ALL TIME, not just sports.

    Comment by Jake -

  4. TOTTALLY, AGREE!!!!!!!!!!! David Stern needs to read this exact blog every time he wakes up in the morning, this is exactly why NBA will never be as popular as NFL, NBA is trying to elliminate everything that they should try to keep: players coming to games wearing jordan jearseys, baseball hats backwards etc. they need to show the players\’ real personalaties, not try to hide them by making them wear suits and ties. NBA needs to understand that fans love it when the most popular players go at it with each other, not necceserely fight but talk trash or push each other. Look how many fans tuned in to see last year\’s game 7 of the Lakers-Suns series because it was the first game b/w Kobe and Bell after Bell\’s suspension, and why?-to see who would score more points? No, to see if anything would happend b/w them. I loved all of your points, it was an amazing blog, I just wish other people who actually run the sports that we love thought like you do. Great blog, I totally agree!!!

    Comment by Vitaliy Korchagin -

  5. If you are a Yankee fan and love taking shots at the Red Sox, check out this T-Shirt site. Classic stuff. I have seen these shirts outside of Stans Bar and Grill on River Ave.

    Comment by Joe Eagan -

  6. I agree with the emotional buy in that fans get when a real rivalry exists. The best NBA series were always between the Bulls-Pistons, Cavs-Bulls and Bulls-Knicks, all during the Jordan, Pippen era. Every time I see Jordan or Pippen dunking on Ewing, I feel the anger and the rivalry. It’s what I watch before playing in the local leagues, it psyches me up. Nothing like it and the NBA is to sanitized today. I don’t want to see punches thrown, but trash talking, pushing and hard fouls are a real part of the game.

    My idea is to do a version of the NBA with real commentators from real players that tell it like it is…The NBA Uncut. Dennis Rodman, Gary Payton, Charles Barkley and all the other famous opiniated trash talkers calling the game saying stuff like….”the kid ain’t shit”. Someone that can put a jawbone like Damon Jones in his place. Big mouth, no game chump. I would pay to watch an unfiltered game on Pay Per View or something.

    Comment by John Kai -

  7. Most of the people posting here are male, and maybe, as a female, I see it differently. I thought “Happy Gilmore” was an awful movie. I kept asking my husband to change the channel while he was watching it the other night. I like to see the commercials about the players building houses or helping little kids. One of the reasons I think the Mavs are such a fantastic team is that is not one player who is currently in the headlines for bad behavior. I remember when Roy Tarpley played for the Mavs. Yuck! Just because he could shoot a basket didn’t mean he needed a team of enablers to encourage his bad behavior.

    Comment by Barbara Durso -

  8. Great comments Mark, Having lived in London past 2 years have really gained an appreciation for football (soccer) not American football. In the final World Cup game, France’s captain Zinedine Zidane headbutted one of the Italian players and flattened him. The TV announcers were apoplectic suggesting that Zidane’s career would forever be blemished by this decision to headbutt another player.
    How wrong those announcers were as Zidane became even more popular than he already was at the time. I noticed that FIFA 2007 now has a headbutt option. This is exciting stuff that the fans love.

    Comment by S St.Clair -

  9. I saw that Happy Gilmore movie and hated it, and now Mark’s blog has told me why. It’s because both Mark’s target (saccharine sports stars) and the Happy Gilmore character (obnoxious sports star) are part of exactly the same movement: to promote sports for the financial and egotistical benefit of promoters, owners, and the stars themselves.

    Some years ago I spent a lot of time coaching sports for youngsters (up to 16 yrs old) here in New Zealand. All of it was competitive, exciting, rewarding – for spectators and participants, because, I believe, it was amateur.

    Once money enters the frame something serious, joyous and meaningful is lost.

    Suddenly money rather than enjoyment becomes the goal, and out of this arises greed, ego, manipulation, dishonesty.

    So go market your stars any way you want Mark. I won’t be watching.

    Comment by Peter Hatch -

  10. Hi Mark, love the blog.

    alot is two words.

    a lot.

    The Grammar Police

    Comment by chris the impaler -

  11. Good article Mark, or do you prefer Cubes? I can’t wait for a full week of tailored quotes prior to the SB from the Crash Davis manifesto. Hockey and Baseball are trying to more fully immerse the fan into the game with live audio from players and managers during the game but what’s the point when we know the answers? The same for press conferences or post game interviews. I don’t necessarily think athletes need to be wild or outrageous, but at least be yourself and not an android. Anyways, that’s my two cents, and I have no idea if you read each response, but if you stumble upon this one, you may be moderately amused by my time-crunched attempt at humour.
    Thanks and good luck with your Mavs, unless they play the Raps.

    Comment by Mike Samways -

  12. The “NBA Cares” commercials make me cringe everytime I see them. It’s so blatant. Who falls for that crap, seriously?

    Comment by Norm -

  13. No doubt. Well said. I would like to draw your attention to boxing though. Talk about the foundation of a lot of what you said. They talk trash during the weigh-in. Who doesn’t love to see that? Why do you think they air it? It creates exactly what you described. They get in each others face, a little push here, shove there. The beauty about boxing as opposed to any other sport is that they DO get to beat the crap out of each other. Hockey is the closest sport to this. They have helmets, pads, etc. Hell, they’re even on ice. Not a whole lot different than football, except for the ice part. Why don’t they let professional football players go at it for a few minutes? Is it merely because of the ice factor and the difficulty in relation. Must be. The NFL and NHL have both been around for almost 100 years….. Great comments Mark!

    Comment by Keith -

  14. Great article Mark, I wonder if your even still reading this since its going into the archive pretty soon. But some thoughts regarding the “happy image” and polishing image that you feel is redundant and not market focused.

    If personalities are marketable, its at a scale that is close enough to check in at a mental hospital. Happy Gilmore was seen as a hailarious movie only because the reality of it happening is so out of the ordinary. It simply stands out. An individual, like a product, needs product differentiation.

    So what you say? It has nothing to do with the argument. Theres enough personalities to go around so as to be marketable. Well perhaps one of the reasons why the ratings are so high for such personalities is partly attributed to the fact that the league plays a role in attempting to penalize deviant behaviour. People love to see conflicts, fines being handed out, arguing with refs. It happens. Seeing that such ratings are attributed to such personalities doesnt exactly attribute that it will holster more ratings if the league endorses (not to mention some serious corporate social responsibility contreversy) such character because whats defined as “deviant” is not such the case anymore.

    Do you want to see a league purely run by personalities? WWE and the former WCW are such examples. As far as if it can be defined as success, I feel its not on the level that sport franchises like NBA.

    I agree stuff like the uniform code in the NBA is pushing it, reducing the ability for athletes to market themselves. But I don’t think having a league based on personalities is the thing to go.

    Comment by Andrew -

  15. We had a Happy Gilmore (although a better sport), but unfortunately he retired.

    Comment by Mr Funk -

  16. Mark, This is my first forray into the blog thing and I have to admit that I am impressed. You have shown surprising intellect and savey in most of your blogs. I fully expected to read a lot of nonsense about NBA fines and the evil of the powers that be. Because of the media coverage of you personally over the past several years I expected a spoiled, goofey, unrealistic view of things from you. I commend you. Now! I agree with most of your views on the sports fans and the changes in these major sports. I do not agree with the notion that it is a good thing. It needs to be said that, Yes, the modern fan loves the outspoken, bigger than life athlete who can’t seem to keep his personality in check but only if that athlete is very successful. A marginal or bottom tier athlete that acts like T.O. is short lived in any sport. Fans will not tolerate him for an instant. Bottom line: “If you are going to act up, you had better produce!” This attitude of tolerance towards the performer is just an extension of the actions of the owners and governing entities over the last couple of decades. It all boils down to money. The teams and the commissioners have allowed these individuals to create this following and this air of “me against the world” just because they produced on the field(court). You cannot believe that Allen Iverson would even still be in the league if he was a bottom tiered player. We are dominated by a generation of people who have grown up with “JACKASS” and “VICE CITY” as their model of living. Most of these people would not even be sports fans if it were not for the players(and owners) who operate outside the standards of a few decades ago. The younger generation is bored stiff by cut and dried, controlled activities. They need excitement and risk in order to be happy and to function outside of what has been tradionally called acceptable. These people support the loudmouth punk athletes of todays society just because of their actions. Add this to the real fans who will overlook the activities because of what the athletes bring to the court and you get a pretty good idea of why they are so popular. If the athlete does not produce then nobody cares even a little for them. I personally think that the worst part of this is not what this says about the athlete but what it says about society. The fact that we, not only tolerate, but embrace athletes like T.O., A.I. and Brad Johnson says tons about the direction all our lives are going. From my perspective it cannot be desirable for these things to become acceptable and common in our everyday lives. This may show my age but we are headed down a bad path.

    Comment by Old man Tim -

  17. I liked your remarks Mark. However, what you’ve got left after taking this concept to it’s logical conclusion is pro wrestling. I’m not so sure that’s where David Stern wants to go…

    Comment by Dave Spencer -

  18. I agree somewhat. Sports fans love drama, they love trashtalking, they love controversy, and yes, they love coaches or players blowing their stack. HOWEVER, too much of a good thing will turn off fans. Too much fighting during hockey games, over-the-top flamboyant in-your-face touchdown celebrations and too many fearsome hooligans have turned fans away in the past. Marketing needs to operate within a range of drama. Too few histrionics is boring, too much is unprofessional.

    Comment by Peter Rath -

  19. I couldn’t agree with you more. There are a few examples I look to to verify your argument:

    1. Heavyweight Boxing – Obviously it was never bigger than the Ali-Frazier-Forman days. And why is that, because they all hated eachother and had a personality to go with it. You either loved or hated Ali, but you had to watch to see what would happen.

    2. Volleyball & Tennis – In the late 80s & early 90s, beach volleyball had incredible personalities like Randy Stoklos and Tim Hovland. They were loud, obnoxious and fun to watch, no matter whether you like them or not. And even as a kid, I understood that Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe hated eachother and would do anything to win the match. Now, athletes in both sports are so tame, nobody outside of the hard-core fans could attach themselves to a favorite player.

    The NFL does a decent job of promoting the personalities like C. Johnson, P. Manning and Sapp. The NBA is ok, but who’s really out there. The NHL and MLB are absolutely terrible. There are just no athletes out there for fans to connect with. Perhaps the fact that so many football players are normal people b/c they can stay somewhat anonymous (those outside of skill positions) makes the just another “every man.”

    Why does professional wrestling have such a following. It isn’t because of their amazing acting, but the personalities and the story for people to follow. With the invention of TIVO, viewers are the same way for their favorite shows like Survivor, Lost or Grey’s Anatomy.

    People need things to take them out of their everyday lives. Whether it’s the monotony of a 9-5 job, or the struggles they go through in everyday life.

    Comment by Mike Grace -

  20. Nice post Mark.
    I love the Mavs-Spurs Rivalry the most. And our win in the last match on Jan 5th..thats was awesome. GO MAVS…………….

    Comment by Santhosh -

  21. I agree, seeing an athlete as “just another guy” really does help fans relate to them. So, why don’t you do a reality show about what it’s like being the owner of the Maverick’s and what the players are like on and off the court?

    Just a thought…

    Comment by shelby teasley -

  22. Love this column. Had a fun time reading it. You’re right Mark, Everyone cares. NBA cares, who cares?!

    Comment by roman -

  23. Trash talking is not what fans “want”. They want to know that the players are playing hard night in and night out. They want to see great teams (i.e., the “Jordan Bulls”, the “Magic Lakers”, and the “Bird Celtics”) duel out on the floor. Tell me with a straight face that Shaq, Kobe, LeBron, Carmello, KG and the rest leave it on the floor like Jordan, Magic and Bird did. I could watch those Bulls, Lakers and Celtics teams night after night. Today, I can hardly bring myself to watch the NBA finals. Bring back the heart.

    Comment by Scott Lewis -

  24. interesting point mark, but remember teams and leagues primarily market players (and merchandise) at children who look up to their favorite players. since kids look up to players as role models (which even barkley admits) the leagues/teams feel an obligation to not let kids down and as a result only cast players in a glowing light (ex: look at any team’s websites and local tv broadcasts/team oriented shows). now the sports leagues are eventually going to come around (as video game companies eventually did) and realize that adults comprise an enormous audience segment for sports and that marketing mostly to kids is a mistake. in some ways sporting events try to juggle servicing both segements already; mascots for the kids, skantily clad cheerleaders for the adults. popcorn and cotton candy for the kids, alcohol for the adults. i don’t know what the solution is: an adults section at the arena so you can curse and scream without feeling guilty when a parent chides you for ruining the game for his son? not sure that’s the solution, adult only sporting venues already exist. they’re called sports bars. to recreate that experience at the arena is a tough task.

    no question athletes with character are what fans of all ages want — in tennis john mcenroe would get jeered for his antics but people always filled the seats when he played — but how do you market athletes with character without disillusioning the kids who look up to players as role models?

    in real life happy gilmore’s reputation would’ve been destroyed by espn talking heads on tv 24/7 (stoking controversy even when they know there’s none because that’s what gets them higher ratings) saying he is a menace to society, and print and digital media forming public opinion (or at least trying). a few play-by-play announcers would offer their own opinions mirroring what the mob mentality already thinks (or risk losing their jobs) and gilmore would be cooked, sprewell-ed or artest-ed out of the pga. that’s reality.

    Comment by db -

  25. This should be posted in the NYTimes

    Comment by Damian D. -

  26. The “We Care” style marketing is important to show that these athletes are required to do at least something more than play their favorite game in exchange for the money and attention we laud on them. You’re absolutely right–no one thinks the photo-op ads are real, I’m just happy to see that these Gods-who-were-once-men are forced to do at least a little something to give back. Sure it doesn’t market well, but it does alleviate the fact that, as far as I can tell, almost every vocal/visible athlete with a big personality is a total jerk. I know most professional athletes don’t fit that mold, and I don’t argue that Rodman, Bonds, and their ilk sell tickets, but I also appreciate seeing them made to act like decent people, even if I know they aren’t.

    Comment by Amram -

  27. yes. as a pats fan, i love to hate peyton manning. it is a great vehicle to create a solidarity with fellow new englanders, knowing when a colts game is approaching. i’d even go as far as to argue that pats fans loathing of manning and his whiney excuses surpasses how we feel about the red sox/yankees. this may seem like an outrageous comment, but let’s be honest – hating the yankees is passe.

    i also think that if some hockey player commented on how bobby orr was overrated, passion would be reignited in bruins fans. although, given last night’s disaster of a game, it still might be a reach.

    Comment by holly -

  28. Mark:

    I completely agree with you that people like to watch athletes that they can relate to or that do things that are unpredictable. I love watching games with TO and Chad Johnson when they use the football as a pillow, a violin, or a drink. To me that’s funny and that’s good entertainment. I like that taunting and show boating personally because if I was playing I would do the same thing. I can relate.
    I think that is the main reason Nascar is the most popular sport right now because it appeals to the majority of people in this country. From the rich to the poor they can find a way to relate.
    Same reason Larry the Cable Guy is highest paid comedian. He relates to the majority of people, and does not try to be something he is not. Git R Done

    Comment by Ryan Hyde -

  29. This is exactly the reason why Soccer is the biggest sport in the world. Fans are not only passionate but hate the other team as well as the opposing players. There is nothing even close in the US to the rivalry that exist between soccer clubs in Europe. May be the Yankess – Red Sox rivalry but that is about it.

    Comment by Jay Hawk -

  30. I think it’s sad how sports has become Entertainment, when it used to be entertainment. I am not a purist but I definitely don’t find showboating, opinionating etc. the least bit entertaining. When I watch sports I want to see athletes use their skills to the best of their ability and when they win, act like they have done it before. Hockey is the best at this and I guess that’s why I watch it the most. Too bad for me that I am in the minority.

    Comment by Steve in Jersey -

  31. Obviously he IS God.

    Comment by Compressors -

  32. Are you saying Brett Favre is or isn’t God?

    Comment by Cordless Phones -

  33. Hi Mark,

    I enjoy your blog very much. As an NCAA basketball official I especially enjoy your writing on the refs 🙂

    I do have one important suggestion since so many young impressionable kids read what you write. Could you run spell-check on your posts before letting them fly? It would catch things like…”alot” (a common non-word) for “a lot” (correct). I suspect I will be flamed for this comment, but it is genuine and well intended. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Mark -

  34. show BUSINESS!

    Comment by Jim Nesfield -

  35. “Fights are bad for any sport”… I Agree. You know me the “MVP” Teaser, and you know I know what your’re talking about. What may appear to be “fighting” to fans; to these grown men its “revenge ethic” -… Mark, nice chating with ya’, please give my best to Avery,… So will we see each other at the next NBA Finals!
    832-687-3512, I look forward to purchasing a team.

    Comment by SneakyV -

  36. While I find this interesting, it kind of makes me sad that you had nothing better to do on Christmas afternoon. You should have been stuffed with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie and sitting (lying) on the couch like Al Bundy watching a football game. And shouting at young, screaming children to “keep it down”!

    Comment by Jackie -

  37. Brilliant! Thanks for your always insightful comments. I couldn’t agree more with the Happy Gilmore effect and wish that our sporting leagues didn’t punish individualism. Along with that is bring back the heart(thanks Scott).


    Comment by J Sandifer -

  38. Waiting for your friend Donald Brashear and Ted Leonsis to chime in here.

    Comment by Joel Cohen -

  39. I’m glad someone else caught what I was thinking…

    16. Charles Barkley helps.
    I can’t remember the last time I heard an NBA player on talk radio (except for standard post-game chatter.)
    They ARE boring because Stern says they MUST be.
    I can’t believe how many times I find myself agreeing with you!

    Posted at 1:35PM on Dec 26th 2006 by Snake 0 stars

    The whole ANTI Hero thing has already been done…. remember the “I am not a role model” campaign??? Yup Nike made money….

    Comment by Brewer -

  40. Mark:

    The NHL has totally killed the product in it’s adoption of European rules. Fighting is way down since the implementation of the instigator rule, and it’s caused the sport to be more boring than ever. The instigator rule has done nothing more than contribute to the injuries throughout the league since players know that they have liberty to take cheap shots at your franchise players and not suffer the consequences. Fighters would rather not take the extra 2 minutes and the skilled players pay for it. Heck, anymore some of these 6’5 250 pound Euro dudes look like they are going to cry after a big check.

    As a hardcore (from birth) Wings fan I really miss the old days of the Av’s vs. Wings rivalry, man those teams hated each other. Nowadays, it’s boring as hell. Heck, just for old times sake I’d like to see Colorado do better.

    Funny how the NHL’s attention is always focused on the people “out there” rather than the fan base that they already have. Some of the guys that I bowl with say they don’t watch hockey because of “the fighting”. My ass, they don’t watch because they aren’t interested.

    The “violence” facade is just that, if people have a problem with “violence” could somone please explain why the UFC is growing so fast that it’s not even funny, and boxing has steadily lost it’s audience since the decline of “Iron Mike Tyson”??

    My wife had never been to or watched a hockey game before we got married. While on vacation with the family I took her to 2 Wings games, we got our picture taken with Gordie Howe and witnessed a great game. She got the sense of being at a game with a big fight during a game and now she is hooked. Her words on the way home, “THAT WAS THE BEST DATE I’VE EVER BEEN ON..” not “That was to violent, blah, blah..” she got a taste of the electricity and loved every minute of it!

    Bettman and all of the other brand killers need to go!!

    Sorry but I’m really passionate about this topic..


    Comment by EJ -

  41. mark,

    how dare you mitigate with the peoples new narcotic……..sports

    having surpassed religion in our generation…….. rubens

    Comment by rubens -

  42. Mark,

    While this type of marketing does increase TV ratings and exposure to the respective sports team, I am not really sure if this is truly sports marketing as the way I see it (benefiting the athlete). I don’t see too many corporations sponsoring and marketing nationally these “Happy Gilmores” of sports today (i.e. T.O., Chad Johnson, Barry Bonds, etc). Usually, the guys with the cleanest image gets marketed the most (Tiger Woods, D-Wade, Jeter, etc. Sure, there are exceptions to this, but who is willing to risk marketing TO, Chad and Barry? Unless you are referring to selling commercial spots during their games, increasing the national exposure of the team, then I see your point. The Happy Gilmore effect increases media coverage and has a snowball effect in the marketing world, but I see little benefit directly to the athlete by these type of actions. In my opinion, it can only hurt their personal “marketing value” by being like Happy Gilmore. Just my 2 cents.


    Comment by Brian -

  43. mark-

    i totally agree with the sports and possibility of conflict angle. i’m from pittsburgh and was seated in the endzone on sunday- not b/c i believed my beloved steelers would make the playoffs- but for the opportunity to see them beat baltimore at the end of the season. bruise an ego or two.

    ….to bad we got mopped though.

    buy the pens!

    Comment by Jack Beitler -

  44. Mark,
    Great commentary. I think developing pro sports have a lot to learn about this. Look at lacrosse, a game older than any other game played in teh US and the national sport of Canada. Yet there si very little draw by major markets(NYC, Chicago, LA). This game has everything to succeed: Take the skills of basketball, the hitting of hockey and thre stamina of soccer and you have a great sport. But why is its draw limited? Becase of the Yankee/Red Sox effect that takes place during the summer.

    I think you article explains that its becasue there is no drama or characters to look at for the non-educated fan of teh sport. Most of the kids playing had prolific college successes but the failure of pro teams to capitalize on this draw and further it is the downfall.

    Great article.


    PS. Also note the blatant in movie adverts by a certain sandwich chain that becomes part of the plot. So much so that it was further talked about in the reviews of the movie. Now movies like the ballad of Ricky Bobby laud this sort of placement. Was this perhaps the first sign of placement 2.0 in a movie?

    Comment by Kip -

  45. Pro sports. It’s a kinship system driven by cause marketing. I couldn’t posssibly do what Iverson does. But he’s my next-of-kin fighting the good cause on my behalf. Thank you, Allen. I will follow you anywhere.

    Comment by Thomas Molitor -

  46. If this is how you feel why do I constantly see the Dallas Mavericks caring about their communnity in the same staged way you described? I’d love for you to encourage your players to start talking trash more in the media about say the Spurs and Rockets, something to create a bigger even rivalary among the texas threesome.

    Comment by Nick -

  47. Just wanted to clarify that it is not the “MSL” but rather the MLS (Major League Soccer).

    Comment by Mark B -

  48. Mark,

    I don’t follow US sports, so i am not sure how things work out here. But back in India we have one of the greatest cricket players ever, Sachin Tendulkar, who does not hate anyone and most of the fans just love him for that. He keeps his mouth shut, blast the opposition all around and gets the things done. Back in the best days of his career, if he ever used to get out of the game early people used to stop watching the game from that very instant.

    I think hating or yelling for reason can count. Being outright AO just works against you and it is matter of time before fans start ignoring you.

    Also movies tell you what you want to hear. Raging Bull is another perspective.

    Comment by Vivek Puri -

  49. I think it’s really good. Very enjoyable post.
    I will take this link my friends.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Dota Allstars -

  50. You’re right…the NBA was never more popular than when Reggie and the Knicks were hating each other. No one considers that great basketball, but it was great theater.

    Sports needs personality. The only personality coming out of the NBA now is you. Phil and Shaq offer some interesting quotes a few times a season, but Mark Cuban is the only one making the unwatchable NBA interesting.

    Hey Lebron – get a personality!

    Comment by jordan -

  51. I agree, but I have to say that as a Mavericks fan, this may not be true of other sportscasters, but Mark and Bob do a wonderful job of mentioning how hard all the Mavericks work, which makes me appreciate the team, because we all have to work hard at our jobs, or we get fired, or in their cases, traded. I think that for true sports fans, we know they care if they do, and we know that they don’t if they don’t. But to the kids that the marketing targets, I agree with you, because kids don’t know the difference.

    Comment by Sabrina -

  52. I must disagree with this post – People that have to talk trash in order to get access to the media are pathetic. Anyone can shoot off their mouth like T.O., but at the end of the day, who cares how many sit-ups he can do on his driveway? The joy of someone like Sidney Crosby is that he’s so talented that people should be watching him because of his skill (Not to watch a goal celebration). On that note, I’m still surprised that you haven’t used this blog to comment on the Pittsburgh Penguins situation – I would have thought that you’d have better things on your mind than Adam Sandler movies. I keep waiting to hear about Plan C(uban) in the paper, but, it doesn’t look like Santa’s going to pull that out of his bag anytime soon.

    Comment by Michael -

  53. Sports addiction is really very heavy,we have many clients who stream only sports videos,infact when we were checking thier website stats as our normal routine, i noticed they have Unique visitors in bulk every month.Sounds great to me.

    Comment by Dedicated Hosting -

  54. AMEN. Couldn’t agree with you more Mark. Why are you so [in]famous? Because you completely live this out. You STAND for something; people hate anyone that know what they live for.

    Be yourself and others will follow suit.


    Comment by Sam Purtill -

  55. I fully agree about the public wanting a personality and they are drawn to it. That is the reason I am a Mavericks fan because of Mark. I live in Michigan, so I would probably be a Pistons fan, but because I love Mark’s personality and passion I have become a Mavs fan. Go Mavs!!!

    Comment by Rob -

  56. The NBA pedestal factor may explain why so many teams passed on AI…or, is there a point when a personality is truly detrimental to a team?

    My opinion is that BIG personalities in team sports can be a volatile mix so the direction of the taunting is critical – public bagging should always be external. Internal taunting and prodding has to play a big role in a championship caliber team but should be behind closed doors.

    Comment by btan -

  57. I disagree with the original post. Sometimes, saying and doing all the right things and being “perfect” blows up in an athlete’s face (Alex Rodriguez), and sometimes fans eat it up (David Robinson and Tim Duncan).

    Much as it’s poetic more fun to make hard-and-fast rules (see Bill Simmons’ articles), it’s incorrect in my opinion.

    And, for what it’s worth, I have to say that fights are actually good for hockey – especially minor league hockey. They’re pretty much the selling point of the tickets (that and the reduced price relative to pro hockey tickets). In the long term, perhaps a minor league hockey game with no expectation of fighting could outsell the current version. But in the near term, fighting brings people to these hockey games.

    Comment by Mike -

  58. Mark,

    Happy Gilmore is a movie, just like Santa Clause is Coming to Town.

    Yes, I know you boys really love to see your favorite teams go after each other. I LOVE to watch an aggressively played game. Tall, good-looking guys, running up and down the court; its beautiful!!
    But Im quite certain that if Bob Barker actually came to one of your Maverick games, and you and he got into it, it wouldnt be as funny as in the movie to watch you throw an 83 yr old across the floor.

    (he does all that charity work with the animals you know. Theyd hate you for sure!!)

    Funny things that happen in a movie are funny because they happen in a movie. No one that I know really wants to see anything that even closely resembles bar brawls at out basketball games. Innovative moves, the 3 point shots, teamwork, team chemistry, good sportsmanship, and yes a healthy amount of team rivalry, thats what brings people to games.

    I love watching how passionate you are about the game, but personally, I love to watch you guys play hard on the court period.

    So you were working out to Happy Gilmore? A classic?
    Thats cute!!! I love your blog!!!

    Comment by Toni Marano -

  59. Mark,

    This is interesting, but I want to know how to apply it to non-sports arenas? For example, what about a small book company collects, recycles and sells used books? It is somewhat gilmore-ish in that it is pretty course, and really only does one thing well… that is collecting and sorting books… but how does somebody jump to that first big exposure?

    Comment by john -

  60. One difference between the NBA fight and a baseball brawl is that baseball fights tend to be contained on the field. The DEN/NYK melee spilled into the stands, with paying customers getting crushed in the process. Not so entertaining, that.

    Comment by ted -

  61. Agreed Mark, but you owners are part of the reason that athletes have turned into robots. You all are so quick to trade that players wind up playing for 3 or 4 teams in their career — and that’s if they’re really good. If they’re just average, they could play for a half dozen teams. So talking trash is potentially harmful to them, as the people they are talking trash about might wind up their teammate or their employer.

    Comment by Matthew -

  62. If you think basketball has its personalities, have heard of Maradona? Pele? Eric Cantona? Roy Keane? Vinnie Jones? These are the biggest names in the largest sport in the world – football. You can go into the darkest corners of Africa, South America, Europe, Australia, or China and the locals will know some of these names.

    So yes you’re right Mark, big personalities create rivalries = entertainment. The more these athletes misbehave or not conform to the norm of society outside of their games, the more exposure they bring to their sport. It also helps if they have a lot of skill to back up their trashtalking. There’s nothing like 2 people or teams with skill going head to head. For example, Rodman versus anyone in the NBA that he played, Magic versus Bird, Evander Holyfield versus Tyson, Ali versus Joe Frazier, Australia versus England in cricket, or South Africa versus the New Zealand All Blacks.

    Sometimes Mark, it’s not necessarily the skill or the trashtalking that attracts people. Irregardless of talent, one just has to look good to attract a following eg. Anna Kournikova, Jessica Simpson, Jordan (aka Katie Price (UK)) etc etc.

    One has to love the imperfections of our personalities especially when they’re on the ‘box’.

    Comment by Mahei -

  63. I suppose that if watching games for the games makes me a “purist”, that’s what I am. I do have to say that watching Dennis Rodman when he was just “The Worm” busting his butt for the Pistons was more enjoyable than when he was a well-hyped freak show for the Bulls. When I’m at a Cavs-Pistons playoff game where Cleveland is about to inbound the ball down a point with three seconds left, and the PA guy is telling “the best fans in the NBA” to “make some noise!”, I feel like sports marketing has passed me by. And once we “purists” are no longer buying tickets, you’re going to be in trouble when people who come for the other stuff realize that they can get it cheaper, and without the athletic distractions, at their local amusement park.

    Comment by Jerry -

  64. Mark:

    I look a this differently. Fans live vicariously through their favorite (or not so favorite) athlete. How many times did you wish you could “get in someone’s face”? But in no other environment can we experience the combative tolerance that we see in professional sports. Yes, fans love colorful athletes, but only because they can’t do the coloring themselves.

    Comment by tim timmer -

  65. Very enjoyable post. Thanks. I wanted to take something you said about yesterday’s match up a bit further. The thing that made the Heat-Lakers game so enjoyable in years past was the fact that Shaq and Kobe had such a heated rivalry on an individual level. The day they shook hands and made up publicly, that game was doomed as a ratings cash cow.

    Like Bill above was getting at, rivalries are gradually becoming all about the stories behind the individuals playing each game. It isn’t about the rivalries between the cities anymore as much as it is about which opponent an incendiary player is playing against who formerly employed him or who on Team A said what about a player on Team B or the team itself. Imagine how much higher the ratings for yesterday’s Cowboys-Eagles game would have been if McNabb were healthy. More people would have likely tuned in for the back story of McNabb-TO than to see how the playoff implications inherent to the game panned out. Look at the coverage the Lions received when the public address announcer singled out Joey Harrington in pre-game introductions of the Miami-Detroit game a few weeks ago. How smart would the NFL have been to schedule an inter-conference match up between the Chargers and the Saints this season to see a Brees-Rivers rivalry start up?

    The NFL of all the professional conferences probably does the best to fuel these individual rivalries by allowing incendiary players to mouth-off (Shockey, TO, Randy Moss). They allow it to take place without the commissioner stepping in to try and ameliorate situations and put on a public image for their league of sugar and spice and everything nice. Why can’t other leagues take a lesson from the NFL and cultivate some of the “ugly” side of sports in a controlled way instead of trying to cover it up with a friendly public image? In the NFL, for every T.O. there are numerous Tikis and Brees’ and Tomlinsons who are examples of what good character the NFL also has. Every league has bad apples and even more good apples. What the NFL does better than the others is embrace the bad for the Happy Gilmore affect as well as raise up the good for the “We Are a League of Good Character” affect.

    The other leagues are fully capable of fostering the heated individual rivalries that make the NFL so great if they would only follow that pattern. Find a happy medium between league sanctions and vilification in the court of public opinion for reprehensible actions (fighting, publicly made inflammatory comments). Too much of the former leads to a candy-coated league image whereas enough of the latter will only lead to increased interest in players, teams, and the league as a whole. No matter how hard you may try, you cant take the passion out of competition. After all, competition is defined as a rivalry for supremacy. Take out the passion, youve got no rivalry. Embrace the passion, good or bad, and see competition flourish.

    Comment by Nick -

  66. It makes you wonder who gets these PR jobs in the first place. I have a feeling they make it 10x more confusing and complicated than it needs to be in order to justify their jobs. Fighting sells. It’s really that simple.

    Comment by George -

  67. Charles Barkley helps.
    I can’t remember the last time I heard an NBA player on talk radio (except for standard post-game chatter.)
    They ARE boring because Stern says they MUST be.
    I can’t believe how many times I find myself agreeing with you!

    Comment by Snake -

  68. Mark you’re absolutely right on this one. Sports are, after all, entertainment, and personalities & conflict sell. That’s why the NHL was so dumb to take the fighting out of the sport. Look at Boston where the Bruins, a team with one of the most loyal hard core fan bases around, can’t draw flies anymore to their arena, even though they’re a much better team this year. No personalities, no conflict, it’s dull.

    I also wouldn’t give the NFL too much credit. They do, after all, penalize taunting and excessive celebration. What they can’t penalize though are intensity, passion and smacking people hard. You do that on every play and conflict, passion etc are a natural extension of all that.

    Comment by scotbo -

  69. Part of the reason Happy Gilmore was so funny was that it was meant to be slapstick. But you are right in that people lover personalities. People love drama and success and failure, because that it what people experience in their lives. People love heroes, but they also like to see the fall (because they don’t want anyone getting too high and mighty). But the bottom line is that sports are an escape from reality, they’re a controlled competition, and people like escaping from their everyday lives.

    Comment by basketball -

  70. This was an excellent post. This is why I love blogs; you have a spontaneous thought from watching something and BAM!, you have a story.

    I’m in Chicago, and Rodman was a show all by himself. People could careless about his skills; they wanted to see the show. In New York, Reggie Miller vs. Spike Lee. It was great. People watched intently to see them talk smack back and forth. The fan who sat behind Reggie Miller all those seasons and taunted him…classic. It increases ratings and interest.

    While I do not advocate seeing violence, and I know you don’t too, I want to see an interesting game. Boring games get turned to another channel. This is the only reality TV I want to see.

    Again, great post, and a lesson well learned from a great movie.

    Comment by Lamarr Wilson -

  71. I fully agree – about the point you made, and Happy Gilmore. I love to watch great games between talented teams, but I am not going to make it a point to watch a game because Tim Duncan is playing. With the NBA, I hear as much about the uniform rules and dress code as I hear about actual rule of the game, and the occasional punch is treated as if it may change the game as we know it. Maybe when our hometown Hawks figure out who owns them, they can actually find a way to get some personality. Who coaches them again???

    Comment by Scott Riddle -

  72. This is exactly why poker does so well on TV and why its popularity grew grew grew. We don’t watch for the cards. We watch for the personalities, the banter, the conflict. (WPBA and IBT take note!)


    Comment by TMS -

  73. Nice post Mark. Incidentally, this is why people are increasingly turning to blogs and away from main stream media. Readers like blogs because they feel they can relate to the author and bloggers can speak their mind free of inhibitions. There is no fear of censorship and the free form spontaneity of a blog allows the raw emotions of a blogger to be expressed.


    Comment by Downtowntrader -

  74. Can u say John Daly? Go to any golf tourney he is in and follow him around, people love him and identify with him. He drinks, he smokes and he crushes the ball. A trainwreck playing at the highest level, go figure!! A Major Talent.

    Comment by Todd -

  75. Mark,
    Interesting that in the rivalry category you mention Yanks/Sox, but not Steelers-Browns. We are near the same age, and I have a lot of Browns fans in the family. I never thought of the Browns as the big rivalry that the Browns’ fans thought of it. They were just too bad during my formative years (and then when they had some talent, we had Abercrombie, Lipps, and Malone). I thought of the Raiders or the Cowboys as the big games. Who was the immaculate reception against? The Browns? No, the Raiders.
    What little was left was killed when the Browns left and came back. It just isn’t the same at all.
    Long way to go to get to my point, so here it is. I put more emotional investment into OSU-Mich than any Steelers game. As a result, I care less about seeing the Steelers than I used to. It just doesn’t mean as much as it did. There isn’t that big emotional game twice per year to get my juices flowing again. I’m not even that upset that they had a bad year. Rivalries are what makes sports.
    I think that Free Agency has killed the rivalries, too. You don’t have players who spend 10 years in a city feeding off the fans hatred of the rival. It is just another game to many, against a team they might have played for last year, or be looking for a contract from next year.
    Even your examples of rivalry topics (TO with a sharpie, Chad Johnson’s mouth) are individual based. People are tuning in to see TO or to see of CJ can back up his talk. There are very few instances where TEAMS hate each other, unless you get back to HS or college.
    And college rivalries will die if there is a bigger paycheck. Shitt-Penn State was sacrificed to the Big10 gods. Now for rivalry week, Penn State plays for the Land Grant trophy. WTF!

    Comment by Bill -

  76. Good point Mark. So who are you going to make the Happy Gilmore of the Mavs? Or are you Happy?

    Comment by techguy -

  77. Test of the bromide that there’s “no such thing as bad publicity” —

    “…DVD sales of the television sitcom Seinfeld were robust, 12th on’s best-seller list on Friday, after actor Michael Richard’s racist rant in a comedy club and his contrite public apologies alongside various black leaders.

    And Disney Co. expected moviegoers to look past Mel Gibson’s drunken anti-Semitic comments — which were also followed by a public apology and a stint in rehab — when it came to his film ‘Apocalypto,’ which is out next week … “

    Comment by JohnDe -

  78. Merry Christmas.

    Interesting, This is a good argument about what current fans truly find entertaining. Dare I say it says a lot about the fans and, maybe, not a lot of good. Still, they are paying customers and that makes them important.

    I’d like to add another viewpoint. I wouldn’t say it’s opposing, more like putting some whipped cream on the pie. You’re probably familiar with Clayton Christenson’s “The Innovator’s Dilema?” Throwing his hypothesis into the mix, we would consider that, while current sports media serves the current fan base, there is another niche method that no one is noticing that could either peel fans away or engage them via different channels. Fantasy teams are a good example of something that exploded in the last decade, with online management becoming an enabling technology. Blogs may not have caught on as much yet, but perhaps there is something else out there. Like a weekly link to the top events on You Tube where a link (spread virally of course) gets sent to all the fans of each team?

    Finally, Happy Gilmore gets a pass. In fact, I’d take him as my office mate.

    Comment by Rob -

  79. well said…

    Comment by Rob -

  80. This was my exact reaction to the recent brawl. No-one called it a “disaster” for baseball when the Red Sox and Yankees mixed it up.

    The NBA of course wants a polite and amiable Michael Jordan in perpetuity. For some reason I’m reminded of the following anecdote.. When I was in college around ’94-95, MacDonalds was running one of those collectible cup promotions. Larry Bird was one of the handful of NBA stars featured on the cups — even though he had been retired for 2-3 years.

    Comment by Jason Ruspini -

  81. A couple thoughts here…

    Mark, you’re a fanatic fan. You’re an educated fan. You’re a well informed fan. Most fans are none of those three.

    Athlete’s that get paid millions of dollars should be held to a higher (albeit impossible to maintain) standard. Much like CEO’s and other high paid business people should be held to a higher standard, I think it’s part of the deal. You want the big bucks, you get many eyes watching, and all the corresponding consequences – like it or not.

    I will agree that the enticing things mentioned in this post, those are the ones that make watching sports more fun and make rivalries more fun. I just don’t think it’s possible to treat multi-millionaires the same way as common folk.

    Comment by Toby Getsch -

  82. I agree, Mark. But even Happy toned it down a bit. I seem to remember the “oh, look, he’s restraining himself.” line or something similar as Happy began to tone down his antics. My point, there has to be a limit or line somewhere — and what SOME fans like may not be liked by most advertisers.

    Comment by David -

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