Let's Kick Their . . . Tails!
The Federal Communications Commission came down hard on CBS after airing Janet Jackson's now-infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during the network's coverage of Super Bowl XXXVIII's halftime show, assessing a record $550,000 fine. But now the FCC's crackdown has expanded from the sideshow talent to those roaming the sidelines.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, in July agency commissioners requested numerous tapes from broadcasters that they suspect include vulgar remarks from unruly spectators, coaches and athletes at live sporting events. Tapes requested by the commission include live broadcasts of football games and NASCAR races where the participants or the crowds let loose with an expletive. In recent years, broadcasters of live sports have invested a significant amount of money in efforts to give audiences a better feel for the action, incorporating in their broadcasts such technological innovations as on-field microphones and in-car cameras.
But after "Nipplegate," such moves have increasingly put live sports broadcasters at risk of airing what the FCC considers indecent speech, and thus drawing the agency's ire. In 2004, the FCC was empowered by new laws that now allow it to levy fines of as much as $325,000 per violation, up from a previous maximum of $32,500.
While FCC officials refused to publicly discuss its requests, one broadcast company executive confirmed the commission's demand for 30 tapes of live sports and news programs. "I don't know how they are going to rule, but they asked us for tapes with a specific emphasis on crowd noise," the executive, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, told the Reporter. "If some bozo in the crowd calls the ref an a--hole, the commission is asking for a copy of the tape."
Second-Hand Sales According to a newly released report by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), United States consumers purchased $885 million in used sporting goods equipment in 2005, a 3.5 percent increase over the previous year's expenditures.
Spending on used outdoor sports equipment for camping, fishing and shooting sports totaled $507 million, the largest single category. Meanwhile, there were almost $194 million in purchases of used exercise equipment, including more than 800,000 treadmills and stationary exercise bicycles.
"With the rise in the number of sporting goods stores that emphasize used equipment sales and the growing use of auctions on the Internet, it is important for NSGA to look at this market more closely," said NSGA vice president of information and research Thomas B. Doyle in a prepared statement. "The purchase of used equipment is a two-edged sword. It may take away from new equipment purchases initially, but it also may provide the entry point for future purchasers of upgraded equipment."