Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Forty years after Rocky, Stallone packed a punch in 2015

Forty years after he was nominated as Best Actor in the Academy Awards for his lead performance in the 1976 boxing movie Rocky, Sylvester Stallone was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for reprising the role of Rocky Balboa in the spinoff Creed

The result was the same: Disappointment for Stallone and proponents of the sport movie genre at the Oscars in 2016.  
Although the sport movie box office was up in 2015 on the strength of Creed ($109.8M) and McFarland USA ($44.5M) -- and it was the deepest year of sport movie releases this decade -- it was the fourth straight year in which sport movies were shut out at the Academy Awards. The last winner was Undefeated, the Texas high school football documentary that won the Oscar for best documentary in 2011.
Recent big years included 2010 when Christian Bale and Melissa Leo each won best supporting honours for their parts in the terrific boxing movie The Fighter and 2009 when Sandra Bullock earned the best actress nod for her turn in Blindside.
Drinking the glass half full, Stallone still made his mark with 35 best supporting actor nominations and 18 wins in 2015-'16 for his seventh appearance as Rocky, including top honours from the Hollywood Foreign Press at the Golden Globes.
Among his 18 wins came here in The Sport Market Movie Awards for 2015, where he was the clear winner as best supporting actor in a sport movie.
Note: The 2016 sport movie campaign is off to a respectable start with the early releases of Race, the long overdue Jesse Owens biopic, and Eddie the Eagle, the story of the British ski jumper (Michael Edwards) who literally stole the show at the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
The Sport Market Movie Awards 2007-2015
The following is a list of winners in The Sport Market Movie Awards recognizing excellence in the genre of sport movies since 2007:
Best picture

2015 – Creed (boxing)
2014 - Brothers in Exile (baseball documentary)
2013 – Rush (auto racing)

2012 – Pelotero (baseball documentary)

2011 – Moneyball (baseball)

2010 – The Fighter (boxing)

2009 – The Blindside (football)

2008 – The Wrestler (wrestling)

2007 – Gracie (soccer)

Best actor
2015 – Will Smith (Concussion/football)
2014 - Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher/wrestling) 
2013 - Daniel Bruhl & Chris Hemsworth (Rush/auto racing) 
2012 - Gerard Butler (Chasing Mavericks/surfing)
2011 - Paul Giamatti (Win Win/wrestling)
2010 - Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter/boxing)
2009 - Morgan Freeman (Invictus/rugby)
2008 - Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
2007 – Will Ferrell (Blades of Glory)

Best actress

2015 – Maria Bello (McFarland USA/track and field)
2014 - Lake Bell (Million Dollar Arm/baseball/cricket)
2013 - Nicole Beharie (42/baseball)

2012 - Amy Adams (Trouble with the Curve/baseball)

2011 - Amy Ryan (Win Win/wrestling)

2010 - Diane Lane (Secretariat/horse racing)

2009 - Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side/football)

2008 - Renee Zellweger (Leatherheads/football)

2007 – Elisabeth Shue (Gracie/soccer)

Best supporting actor

2015 – Sylvester Stallone (Creed/boxing)
2014 - Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher/wrestling)

2013 - Harrison Ford (42: The True Story of An American Legend/baseball)

2012 - John Goodman (Trouble with the Curve/baseball)

2011 - Nick Nolte (Warrior/Mixed Martial Arts)

2010 - Christian Bale (The Fighter/boxing)

2009 - Matt Damon (Invictus/rugby)

2008 - Dennis Quaid (The Express: The Ernie Davis Story/football)
2007 – Dermot Mulroney (Gracie/soccer)

Best supporting actress
2015 – Tessa Thompson (Creed/boxing)
2014 - Vanessa Redgrave (Foxcatcher/wrestling) 
2013 – Alexandra Maria Lara (Rush/auto racing) 
2012 - Elisabeth Shue (Chasing Mavericks/surfing)
2011 - Jennifer Morrison (Warrior/Mixed Martial Arts)
2010 - Amy Adams (The Fighter/boxing)
2009 - Marcia Jean Kurtz (Big Fan/football)
2008 - Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler/wrestling)
2007 – Kyra Sedgwick (The Game Plan/football)

Best cast

2015 – Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker and Naomi Harris (Southpaw/boxing)
2014 - Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Hall (Foxcatcher/wrestling)
2013 - Daniel Bruhl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara (Rush/auto racing)
2012 - Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake (Trouble with the Curve/baseball)
2011 - Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, Stephen Bishop (Moneyball/baseball)
2010 - Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams, Mickey O’Keefe and Jack McGee (The Fighter/boxing)

Best director

2015 – Nicki Caro (McFarland USA/track and field)
2014 - Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher/wrestling) 
2013 - Ron Howard (Rush/auto racing)
2012 - Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin and Jonathan Paley (Pelotero/baseball documentary)
2011 - Bennett Miller (Moneyball/baseball)
2010 - David E. Russell (The Fighter/boxing)
2009 - Robert D. Siegel (Big Fan/football)
2008 - Dennis Aronofsky (The Wrestler/wrestling)
2007 – Davis Guggenheim (Gracie/soccer)

Best screenplay
2015 – Ryan Coogler & Aaron Covington (Creed/boxing)
2014 - E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman (Foxcatcher/wrestling)
2013 – Peter Morgan (Rush/auto racing)
2012 – N/A
2011 – Original:Thomas McCarthy (Win Win/wrestling); Adapted: Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball/baseball) based on the story by Stan Chervin and the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis.
2010 – Original: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington (The Fighter/boxing); Adapted: Mike Rich and William Nack (Secretariat/horse racing) from Nack’s book Secretariat: The Making of a Champion.
2009 - Original: Robert D. Siegel (Big Fan/football); Adapted: John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side/football), from the book by Michael Lewis.
2008 - Original: Robert D. Siegel (The Wrestler); Adapted: Charles Leavitt (The Express: The Ernie Davis Story), from the book by Robert Gallagher
2007 - Lisa Marie Peterson and Karen Janszen (Gracie).

Best song in a sport movie
2015 – Kings Never Die by Eminem featuring Gwen Stefani (Southpaw/Boxing)
2014 - Miracles by Coldplay (Unbroken/Track & Field)
2013 - Fame by David Bowie (Rush/auto racing)
2012 - On My Way performed by The Neighbors & Greg Camp/written by Randy Brown (Trouble with the curve/baseball).
2011 - Have a Nice Day performed by Jon Bon Jovi (Win-Win/wrestling)
2010 - Never Say Never performed by Justin Bieber featuring Jaden Smith (The Karate Kid/kung fu).
2009 – Southern Voice by Tim McGraw (The Blind Side/football)
2008 – The Wrestler by Bruce Springsteen (The Wrestler)
2007 – Growing Up by Bruce Springsteen (Gracie)

Best soundtrack in a sport movie

2015 – Creed (boxing); music by various artists.
2014 - When the Game Stands Tall (football); original music by John Paesano
2013 - Rush (music by Hans Zimmer)
2012 - Chasing Mavericks (music by Chad Fischer)
2011 - The Art of Flight (snowboarding documentary)
2010 - The Fighter (music by Michael Brook)
2009 - Whip It: The Soundtrack (Whip It/roller derby)
Best sport documentary

2015 – Co-winners: Red Army (hockey) and Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newsman (autoracing)
2014 - Brothers in Exile (baseball)
2013 - The Crash Reel (snowboarding/extreme sports)
2012 - Ballplayer: Pelotero (baseball).
2011 - Catching Hell (baseball – made for TV) and Senna (auto racing – theatrical release)
2010 - Kick in Iran (tae kwon do).
2009 - Facing Ali (boxing).
2008 - Bigger, Stronger, Faster (multi-sport)

Best sport comedy

2015 – Trainwreck (basketball and sport medicine)
2014 - Intramural (football)
2008 – The Hammer
2007 – Blades of Glory (figure skating)

Best Canadian Sport Movie

2011 – Breakaway (hockey)
2010 - Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story (hockey).
2009 – Facing Ali (boxing).

Best sport-themed movie
2015 – Everest (mountain climbing)
2014 - Unbroken (the war film about US track and field Olympian Louis Zamperini).
2013 - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (archery).
2012 - Silver Linings Playbook (NFL football/sport gambling).
2011 - Drive (auto racing)
2010 – Black Swan (ballet)

Box office champion (US dollars earned worldwide)

2015 – Creed - $109.8 million
2014 - Million Dollar Arm - $36.457 million
2013 - 42: The True Story of an American Legend - $95.0 million (baseball).
2012 - Trouble with the Curve (baseball) - $35.76 million
2011 - Cars 2 (auto racing) – $191.45 million
2010 - Karate Kid (martial arts/kung fu) - $359 million
2009 – The Blindside (football) - $309.21 million
2008 – Kung Fu Panda (martial arts/animated) - $631.91 million.
2007 – Blades of Glory (figure skating) - $118.6 million

Monday, February 8, 2016


If we needed more proof that the National Football League's Super Bowl has become sport television's biggest juggernaut in North America, it came yesterday in the form of an average audience of more than 120 million in the United States and Canada.

The TV ratings box score for the Denver Broncos' 24-10 win over the heavily-favoured Carolina Panthers went like this:

- A Nielsen rating of over 49 (percentage of all television households in the US), with share numbers as high as 73 (percentage of televisions that were in use at the time). Those ratings numbers translated into an average national audience of 111.9 million Americans watching on CBS, peaking at more than 115 million at the end of the game.

- In Canada, Numeris reported that an average of 8.3 million viewers watched (7.3 million in the English-language on CTV and 1.0 million in French on RDS).

Those numbers made Super Bowl 50 the second most-watched NFL championship in television history. In both countries, #SB50 was second only to last year's last minute victory by the New England Patriots over the Seattle Seahawks (114.4 million in the US and 9.23 million in Canada).

It proved yet again that the Super Bowl this decade has grown to the point where it no longer matters who plays in the game.

Regardless of whether it's Denver versus Carolina or New England against Seattle or Green Bay and Pittsburgh, it's become a virtual lock to draw north of 110 million in the U.S. and upwards of 7 or 8 million in Canada.

Yet if the past three Super Bowls have demonstrated anything beyond the increasing irrelevance of match up, it's that TV ratings for the NFL's showcase seem impervious to factors as typically important as amount of scoring, entertainment value or even margin of lead or victory.

Sunday's game was a low-scoring affair dominated by stifling defenses and two offenses that staged very few highlight reel plays. The entertainment needle moved most when mistakes were made and turnovers caused. Regardless, there were 120 million pairs of American and Canadian eyeballs on the game from start to finish (and many more who tuned in for at least part of the game).

One possession games are the optimal for television ratings. Yet this year, it was a 14-point margin of victory and still, 120 million watched. In 2014, the Seahawks blew out the Broncos in the first half and yet, almost 120 million watched in the US and Canada.

This year also proved that we don't even demand strong game coverage for us to stay glued to our high-definition television screens. Much like the Panthers, US rights holder CBS underperformed and delivered what would be described -- at best -- as a mediocre game package. And still, it was the second most-watched Super Bowl in the history of television in both the US and Canada.

The television behemoth that is the Super Bowl has become what it is today as a perfect storm of football, music,advertising and streaming pop culture, from national anthems by the likes of Lady Gaga to halftime shows headlined by Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.

In the U.S., it has grown from a viewership of 73.9 million in 1990 to the 100 million mark (106.5M) in 2010 and now regularly north of the 110 million plateau. In Canada, it took over from the Grey Cup as the country's single biggest annual sport television event and has never looked back.

It has done so on the strength of appointment television, multiple network rights holders, dynamic cross-promotion and hours of lead-in programming. In recent years, HDTV, social media and fantasy football have not only pumped up the Super Bowl, they've made the NFL the executive producer of most of the year's 30 most-watched television shows.

The Super Bowl is the cherry on the cake of a brilliantly efficient four-month regular season and five-week post-season; one that like the world's greatest rock and roll bands always leave the fans wanting more.

That's why -- regardless of match-up, scoring, margin of victory and even broadcast quality -- we keep coming back in record numbers for a game that is a virtual national holiday in the U.S. and now the biggest annual sports bar event of the year in Canada.

Marketing executive and sport business commentator Tom Mayenknecht is the host and founder of The Sport Market on TSN Radio. The sport business show airs in Montreal (TSN 690), Ottawa (TSN 1200), Toronto (TSN 1050), Hamilton (TSN 1150), Vancouver (TSN 1040) and Victoria (CFAX 1070). He is also a regular contributor to CTV News Channel and the PostMedia News Network through The Vancouver Sun and a principal in Emblematica Brand Builders.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pat Quinn Way or Pat Quinn Arena: The Case for Both

The legacy of Pat Quinn reaches far and wide, but no community was more impacted by the Big Irishman's hockey acumen and leadership than Vancouver. The fact he lived in West Vancouver and is well-known for his time with the Vancouver Canucks supports the notion of civic recognition in Vancouver.
My recent piece in The Vancouver Sun argued that Quinn's contributions were big enough to merit more than one form of recognition:
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson this week tabled a motion to have the city's naming committee consider renaming the portion of Abbott Street in front of Roger Arena as Pat Quinn Way:
That's a great start, although I would suggest there's plenty of rationale to justify both Pat Quinn Way downtown and Pat Quinn Arena at the Pacific Coliseum:
The case for recognition
The late Pat Quinn, who is an honoured member of the BC Sports Hall of Fame as the W.A.C. Bennett Award winner in 2013 and is a member of the Order of Canada (2012), should have his name and legacy further enshrined with some form of civic landmark on the strength of his body of work in hockey and in the community:
-          He is one of the most respected and admired British Columbians and is a recognized icon in the provincial, national and international hockey communities.
-          Original member of the Vancouver Canucks Hockey Club in 1970;
-          Head Coach, General Manager & President of the Canucks (leading the club to one of its three berths in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994);
-          Quinn championed Canucks community relations, including the club’s support of Canuck Place and the Canucks charitable foundation (now the Canucks for Kids Fund);
-          Co-owner of the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (Canadian Hockey League) since their inception in 2001;
-          Coached Canada’s 2002 Olympic Men’s Hockey Team to a gold medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah (Canada’s first gold medal in 50 years);
-          Coached Canada to gold medal championships at the World Cup of Hockey, IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championships and IIHF U18 World Junior Hockey Championships.
The case for Pat Quinn Way
The proposal: The section of Abbott Street in Vancouver between Pacific Boulevard to the south and Expo Boulevard to the north be officially renamed Pat Quinn Way.
The rationale: He presided over the move of the Canucks from the Pacific Coliseum to Rogers Arena (formerly GM Place) in 1995;
-          His former office overlooked the intersection of Pacific Boulevard and what would be renamed Pat Quinn Way;
-          There is a strong symbolic connection between Quinn and Gate 16 on what is currently that section of Abbott Street – named for former captain and current team President Trevor Linden (drafted by Quinn in 1988);
-          There is a long-standing relationship between Quinn and the Griffiths family and hence a natural symmetry between Griffiths Way to the west and Pat Quinn Way to the east;
-          Quinn is recognized on the Ring of Honour at Rogers Arena but should also be remembered as a franchise executive, coach and builder by future generations of Canucks fans;
-          The creation of Pat Quinn Way is simple and convenient given that Canucks Sports & Entertainment is the only business operating on that segment of Abbott Street.
The case for Pat Quinn Arena
The proposal: The Pacific Coliseum be officially renamed Pat Quinn Arena (or Pat Quinn Place).
The rationale:  Quinn coached the Canucks at the Coliseum from 1991 to 1994;
-          His greatest coaching accomplishments came at the Coliseum, including the 1994 run to the Stanley Cup Final;
-          Arguably the greatest Canucks win in franchise history – Game 6 of the 1994 Final – was played at the Coliseum;
-          Quinn served as a founding co-owner of the Vancouver Giants of the WHL in 2001 and the team won the Memorial Cup at the Coliseum in 2006;
-          Quinn died as a co-owner of the Giants;
-          Renaming is no detriment to facility operations (a generic name is replaced by an individual’s name).
 The case for both
The proposal: The Canucks endorse the creation of Pat Quinn Way at Rogers Arena and the Giants champion the renaming of the Coliseum as Pat Quinn Arena or Pat Quinn Place.
The rationale: The arc of Quinn’s career – as a player, head coach, general manager and team president  of the Canucks and as a co-owner of the Giants – spans both buildings;
-          The modern history of professional hockey in Vancouver involves both buildings;
-          Quinn coached the Canucks at the Coliseum from 1991 to 1994;
-          Quinn played and coached at the Coliseum and coached at what is now Rogers Arena with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers;
-          The dual naming ensures that Quinn’s name is forever remembered as part of the histories of both Vancouver hockey franchises;
-          The story-telling around Pat Quinn Way and Pat Quinn Arena forms another strong relationship bridge between the NHL Canucks and WHL Giants.
Follow Tom Mayenknecht on Twitter @TheSportMarket.
Listen to The Sport Market Saturdays (7-11 a.m. PT on TSN 1040 in Vancouver and 7-8 a.m. ET on TSN 1050 in Toronto) and Sundays (9 a.m. ET on TSN 1050 and TSN 690 in Montreal).