Monday, March 30 through Sunday, April 5, 2020
Issue No. 322
The Fall / Winter Edition is here!
The 2019 Fall/Winter edition of the Ultimate Sports Guide , a San Francisco Bay Area sports reference publication published twice a year for avid Bay Area and Northern California sports fans, has arrived. The Ultimate Sports Guide is distributed free of charge or may be ordered via subscription. Each seasonal edition provides professional and collegiate team coverage through commentary, photo essays and player profiles. To order, visit www.ultimatesportsguide.net or send $10 to: Ultimate Sports Guide ,
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Where The Bay Comes To Play!
Through June 14, 2020
The BEST Bay Area sports photos from
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Ron Sellers, Alex Ho, Rob Edwards, Kenneth Wong, Timothy Reynolds and Larry Rosa  
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Photo Gallery / Table of Contents
 
Virtuality is Reality, by Andy Dolich
Golden Gate Fields
Cal Bears vs. Stanford Cardinal MBB)
Saint Mary's Gaels vs. USF Dons (MBB)
Cal Bears vs Oregon State Beavers (WBB)
Stanford Cardinal vs. Washington State Cougars (WBB)
San Jose State Spartans vs. UC Davis Aggies (WGYM)
Saint Mary's Gaels vs. BYU Cougars (Rugby)
Ultimate Sports Guide website
A Tale of Ingenuity
First quarter phase of the COVID-19 pandemic "eclipses" the 2020 NCAA baseball season.  Photo by Rob Edwards.

The photo above is the remarkable creation of Rob Edwards, a talented USG photographer who regularly contributes to our pages. In his own words he describes what led him to create the image before you.

My goal was to create a storytelling image about the "shadow" cast on NCAA athletics by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though this example concerns the Pac-12 baseball season, it can be a metaphor for any sport that's been impacted by the virus. Here's a little bit about how the image was made and
what it "says" to me. 
 
My subject is a game-used NCAA baseball from the 2019 season, which I suspended in mid-air with invisible monofilament line. My lighting design uses three strobes to make the baseball look like the first quarter phase of the moon. In this phase, the illuminated and darkened hemispheres are evenly distributed with a central termination boundary. Our real moon will next look like this on April 1, so the lighting design is timely, especially given the late-March acceleration of the pandemic in the United States. The third strobe creates a "'starfield" in the background via a cardboard box, black cinefoil, and gaffer tape. Upon close inspection, the illuminated side of the baseball is covered with "craters," which reinforces the "lunar baseball" motif. 
 
To me, the arrangement of the light conveys despair and hope at the same time. Reading the image from left-to-right: the "world" plunged into "darkness" by the pandemic, will assuredly turn again toward the "light"
as the world recovers. 
 
Be well and stay safe everyone!

Rob Edwards
Look for Virtual Reality in sports shortly
Andy - #322
Andy Dolich

Virtuality is Reality

by Andy Dolich
In May of 2015 I wrote an earlier column for the Ultimate Sports Guide entitled Virtuality is Reality (see below).

It had to do with Virtual Reality (VR) technology becoming the Season Ticket of the future. I listed 16 reasons why some sports and events are becoming more challenging for some fans to attend in person. In addition, digital delivery now provides opportunities to those who don’t choose the live experience. The one reason I left out – a Global Pandemic.

On March 12 the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a Global Pandemic. Events are unfolding more quickly than our ability to separate perception from the reality in our daily lives. No Olympics, March Sadness, Pro Sports on hold, youth leagues cancelled and venues from tiny to titanic closed. There is no answer to when and how sports will be coming back in the form that we are used to.
At its core, sports is a community celebration bringing millions of people together to see the greatest athletes on the planet show their skills in venues of all sizes. These gatherings are not immune from the current contagion.

The Covid-19 Pandemic is taking sports away from us for an extended period of time. The tidal wave of sports cancellations and postponements stopped us in our tracks and forced a national and global re-examination if public places are considered safe havens. Sports has been cited as a healing agent for our fears, emotional pain, loss of life, angst and community trauma. Games of all kinds often seem to be an acceptable security blanket when we don’t know where to turn for solace as a larger community. Now that the games are gone, our health and safety are the focus.

You are seeing attempts from all levels of sports organizations trying to figure out what to do next. Whenever the national Green Light comes on to resume our normal daily routines I’m not sure that the normal routine of heading through the digital turnstiles at sports venues is going to be normal.
Virtuality is Reality
by Andy Dolich

May 2015: The four major professional sports leagues, NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, are running out of new revenue sources. Premium seating, suites and season tickets are increasingly more difficult to sell and renew. No-show rates at games are increasing. Teams are struggling to monetize the growth in social networking and all forms of new media. Team owners are asking their business-operations executives where the new revenue will be coming from? There are no easy answers.
 
The huge payday of legalized betting on the Big Four sports leagues won't happen anytime soon, although NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has launched a trial balloon over the past few months to see what the public reaction would be.
 
Will teams and leagues allow corporate names on their uniforms? Yes, check that one off, starting with training camp and practice, with the NBA moving into full logo mania. Major League Soccer has been bold enough to follow the example set by international soccer teams. Are we looking at a day in the future when we will hear "The General Electric Basketball League is proud to present tonight's game between the Tesla Warriors and the General Motors Pistons"? Yes, that day is coming.
 
The next significant new revenue source for professional sports could be ... virtual.
 
Teams have the ability to package significant pieces of inventory and benefits into virtual yet tangible off-site season tickets on a platform constructed to generate un-mined revenue without cannibalizing existing team profit centers.
 
There are tens of millions of fans devoted to 122 North American professional teams who will never set foot in the home venue. According to Navigate Research, the market of fans who are very interested or somewhat interested in the Big Four sports are as follows: NFL: 83 million fans; MLB: 59 million; NBA: 41 million; and NHL: 21 million. There are over 200 million fans interested in following their favorite teams, yet only 3.2 million have season tickets.
 
The reasons that keep fans from attending home games of their favorite teams are varied:
* Geography
* Affordability
* Time
* Ticket Availability
* Lifestyle Choices
* Free TV
* Pay TV
* New Media
* Video Games
* Fantasy Leagues
* Accessibility
* Mobile Applications
* Growing sophistication of
interactive technology
* Enhanced TY: HD, 3-D
* Transportation
* Natural Disaster
What is a VST?
It's a season ticket structured to experience everything that happens in and around the game. The VST (Virtual Studio Technology) holder will be taking the trip to and from the venue through a virtual platform, experiencing the live environment during the season without actually being at the venue.
 
Advances in technology, interactivity, 3-D TV, video games, social gaming, mobile applications, video streaming and virtual spectatorship can bring VST holders into the stadium environment in an enhanced virtual yet tangible manner without actually being there or spending thousands of dollars on tickets.
 
Think of the current market of season-ticket-holder benefits as hundreds of pick-up sticks. The VST will bring order to this chaos. There will be a matrix of inventory that fans will be able to buy as part of virtual season-ticket packages that can open up a significant new revenue stream to professional sports teams.

Size of Market
The four major professional sports attracted a combined audience of 150 million fans to their venues in 2014. That number includes season-ticket holders, partial season-ticket holders, groups, single-game purchasers and suite holders.
 
Teams keep their real number of full season-ticket equivalents (FSEs) under lock and key. The total number of account holders is less than the gross number of season tickets. There is a duplication factor inherent in fans attending multiple times and being season-ticket holders of multiple teams in a market. The numbers for season-ticket holders for each of the four major sports are as follows:
 
NFL: 32 teams averaging 68,000 FSEs – 2,176,000 season tickets
MLB: 30 teams averaging 16,000 FSEs -- 480,000 season tickets
NBA: 30 teams averaging 8,800 FSEs -- 264,000 season tickets
NHL: 30 teams averaging 10,000 FSEs -- 300,000 season tickets
TOTAL: 3,220,000 season-ticket holders
 
There is a multi-billion dollar market of spending from pro sports teams' fans that isn't being effectively marketed. By creating a unique proprietary service-product offering through one-stop shopping, teams and leagues will be able to create a new revenue pool that can break the stagnating revenue trend in pro sports.
 
The Future
Virtual season-ticket packages will be scalable so that significant new revenue can flow to the rights holders.
 
I have sat on the other side of the table from today's vendors and entrepreneurs who are pitching various unconnected bits-and-pieces components of this virtual puzzle. No single entity is effectively addressing the matrix concept of the VST. Companies are trying to get teams to buy their products with promises of additional revenue or greater insight into existing fan behavior. At this point the market activation has many spokes but no hub. A strong Virtual Season Ticket product will capture new fans with their prized demographic information and provide a quantum leap in activating the virtual fan into a new revenue producer.
 
The days of the little piece of cardboard known as a ticket are slowly disappearing. As we peer around the corner, the VST could become just the ticket.
 
* * * * *

Andy Dolich has over five decades of leadership in the sports industry, including executive positions in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, pro soccer and lacrosse. Presently Dolich is COO of the Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) and teaches sports business at Stanford's School of Continuing Studies.
Dolich is also co-author of the new book:
Golden Gate Fields
Jockey Juan Hernandez continues his hot streak aboard Indian Peak, owned by Mr. and Mrs. William T. Gray. Trained by Quinn Howey, the 1 1/16 mile race went in 1:44.19, with a purse of $40,300.  
To Our Readers:
To fill the barren sports landscape we reached into our archives and selected recent games we thought you would enjoy. Last week we focused on local professional teams. This week we have chosen among the collegiate ranks. To reward yourself further, click each
Facebook Page link.
Cal Bears 63, Stanford Cardinal 51, Round One, NCAA Playoffs
Played before the shutdown of NCAA athletic events, Paris Austin, Cal's co-scoring leader with 18 points, drives to the basket in the second half. The 10th seeded Golden Bears upset the 7th seeded Stanford Cardinal in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, 63 to 51, on Tuesday evening, March 11. To view a game photo album, visit our Facebook Page  and be sure to LIKE us or visit www.ultimatesportsguide.net. Photo by Ron Sellers.
Saint Mary's Gaels 69, USF Dons 58
A “Sold Out” sign hangs on a door outside the entrance before the game between the San Francisco Dons and the Saint Mary's Gaels at War Memorial Gym at Sobrato Center in San Francisco on Jan. 2, 2020. In the highly anticipated matchup, the Dons' strong defensive effort was not enough to turn back the visiting Gaels who prevailed, 69-58. To view an annotated photo album, visit our Facebook Page  and be sure to LIKE us or visit www.ultimatesportsguide.net .   Caption and photo by Darren Yamashita .
No. 15 Oregon State 76, Cal Bears 63 -- Senior Day
Cal seniors (L to R) Jaelyn Brown, Chen Yue, CJ West, Mi'Cole Cayton and Sara Anastasieska pose for a picture after a Senior Day program following the game against Oregon State. To view an annotated photo album, visit our  
Stanford Cardinal 77, Washington State Cougars 58
A Stanford Cardinal fan displays his pleasure with the final results, a resounding shellacking of the visiting Washington State Cougars on Jan. 3 at Maples Pavilion. Stanford would win their 13th game of the season, 77-58, crushing their Pac-12 foe. To view a game photo album, visit our Facebook Page  and be sure to LIKE us or visit www.ultimatesportsguide.net . Photo by Rich Yee.
San Jose State Spartans vs. UC Davis Aggies
Taylor Chan recorded her 16th 9.900 on floor to win the event as the San José State Spartans women's gymnastics team hosted the UC Davis Aggies in a home meet at the Provident Credit Union Event Center on the SJSU campus on Jan. 31. Chan had the team's top score in two other events with a 9.775 on vault and a 9.725 on bars. She finished with a 38.625 in the all-around.
Team results: UC Davis 194.925, San José State 192.575. To view a photo album, visit our Facebook Page and be sure to LIKE us or visit www.ultimatesportsguide.net . Photo by Kenneth Wong.
Saint Mary's wins on final play of game vs. BYU, 25-24
The Saint Mary's Gaels defeated the BYU Cougars, 25-24, on the last play of the game at Saint Mary's Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 15. Above, Gaels flanker Alex Glover (6) celebrates with teammates after scoring a try during the first half. To view an annotated photo album, visit our Facebook Page  and be sure to LIKE us or visit www.ultimatesportsguide.net . Caption and photo by Darren Yamashita .

WEEKLY SPORTS CALENDAR
Monday, March 30 through Sunday,
April 5, 2020
All games for major and minor league sports, including collegiate and high school teams,
have been cancelled .
Enjoy the
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