February 3, 2010
Slightly shameless plug there. The 2011 Mathematics in Sport conference will be held in Salford, Greater Manchester. The venue, the Lowry Centre (think: the artist of Northern English stick people) has excellent views of Old Trafford, home to Manchester United, hence is an excellent venue for a sports conference.
The dates are 23-24 June 2011 for the conference, which is now into its third year, having been held in Groningen, Netherlands in 2009.
Deadline for abstracts will be January 2011, so plenty of time for tentative ideas to be formed ahead of the conference, and this could be an excuse to encourage a Masters student to delve into some investigation of sports-related economics of finance research. A journal special issue is envisaged out of the conference proceedings, so a publication is a realistic possibility.
More details as and when they become available.
February 3, 2010
The NFL (No Fun League) has a hard earned reputation for ruthlessly pursuing profits. The most recent example involves the long time catchphrase of New Orleans Saints fans, “Who Dat?” The Saints (all time record 275-378-5, all time playoff record 4-6) stumbled along for years. The team joined the NFL in 1967 and did not have a winning season for 20 years. In 1983, when the team got off to a fast start, Aaron Neville recorded a novelty song about the team containing the phrase “Who dat say they going to beat them Saints? Who dat, who dat?” The Saints promptly fell apart and finished 8-8, but “Who Dat?” caught on with Saints fans.
Fast forward to 2009. The Saints make the Super Bowl and people begin to print and sell shirts bearing the phrase “Who Dat?” A mere 27 years after Saints fans adopted “Who Dat?” as their unofficial motto, the No Fun League observes someone making a few bucks off the phrase during Super Bowl week, and decides that the NFL owns the rights to the phrase. Pavlovian NFL lawyers salivate. “Cease and desist” orders are issued to small businesses who are probably making hundreds of dollars off these shirts. Hilarity ensues.
Today, the NFL ran up the white flag, and admitted that nobody owns the rights to “Who Dat?” which has been traced to call-and-response acts in minstrel shows in the late 1800s. Entrepreneurs in New Orleans can go back to selling a few t-shirts, Saints fans can continue to yell “Who Dat?” without risk of infringing on the NFL’s seemingly limitless intellectual property rights, and the No Fun League is left with yet another black eye. I imagine NFL commissioner Roger Goodell restlessly pacing the floor of NFL headquarters late at night, deeply disturbed by the idea that somewhere, someone is making a couple of bucks off the NFL that he cannot expropriate.