The business of Johnny Football

With Johnny Manziel’s trip to Las Vegas this weekend, the sports media had plenty to blather about. Should he have gone, or should have stayed and studied in Cleveland? We can let them worry about the football implications and whether partying in Las Vegas makes sense for a rookie quarterback trying to learn the playbook. Perhaps he should have stayed home and enjoyed himself playing instead of enjoying the trappings of late-night Vegas parties. But that wouldn’t have done quite as much for the brand of Johnny Football. Selfies by the pool trump sitting in front of a computer when you’re thinking about brand and endorsements. And Johnny definitely cares about his brand.

Of course, we’ve seen this before so it’s not that new. Remember Broadway Joe Namath? His lifestyle generated a brand and endorsements as well. With Johnny Football everything is just more immediate. Like Namath, he knows how to work the system of his time.

In Cleveland the frenzy has spurred all sorts of business ideas, with t-shirts leading the way. The Browns have always been big business in Cleveland, but years of losing have made it harder for businesses to capitalize on the Browns. All that changes with Johnny Football, especially if he can win football games.

Johnny Manziel is represented by self-proclaimed King James’s agency, so he’s definitely surrounded by like-minded people. Brand and money definitely matter. Endorsements matter. Of course, Lebron James learned to get past his choking in the past to finally win some championships. Johnny Manziel on the other hand is just getting started, so he’s milking what he can now, and setting the stage for even bigger things if he can be a real NFL quarterback. Of course, if he can bring a winner to the long-suffering fans of Cleveland, he’ll be a hero for generations.

So the potential is there for the business of Johnny Football to be quite substantial.


Video poker arrives to mix reception in Chicago area

The expansion of legal gambling continues across the United States. The state of Ohio approved four casinos, and there’s already evidence that the new casinos in Cleveland and Toledo are pulling customers away from casinos in Detroit, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Las Vegas has all sorts of problems as they no longer attract as many high rollers, but as more casinos open across the country that has to have an impact as well.

In Illinois, the state will be rolling out the first legal video poker machines to offer payouts to customers. Now, not everyone in the state will be able to play in their immediate neighborhood, as many local areas including Chicago have their own laws restricting the games. But obviously the new poker games will just be a car ride away for most residents, so expect this to find a market as well. Of course for years poker fans could just look up an online poker guide to find the most popular poker sites and play in the comfort of their own home.

In some ways, all of this just keeps making poker more popular as a game, and that’s good for the entire industry. More players means a bigger pie for everyone to share. But the companies and outlets sharing the pie might be growing faster than the number of new players.

it will be fascinating to see how all of this plays out. With the feds saying they have no jurisdiction here, we could be another round of expanding interest in poker, one of the great all-time games of skill, and many companies can benefit from this.


Will new Playboy Clubs thrive?

With the news that NBC has cancelled “The Playboy Club,” a new television show about the infamous club in Chicago in the early 1960s that helped Hugh Hefner grow his empire, we thought we’d take a look at the modern versions of the club and how the Playboy empire is doing today.

Above you can see a slideshow of beautiful Playboy Bunnies from The Playboy Club in Las Vegas. The photos are courtesy of from their coverage of the 2009 Playmate of the Year party hosted at the club at The Palms in Las Vegas. The club is spectacular and it’s located at the top of the new hotel tower at The Palms. All of the dealers are dressed as bunnies, and the atmosphere is very sexy and elegant.

Since opening the Las Vegas location, Playboy has opened clubs in London and Cancun in an attempt to leverage the brand. With that backdrop, the cancellation hurts Hefner’s company as the exposure would have helped fuel new clubs. Right now efforts to add a club in Chicago have stalled.

Even with this setback, the Playboy Club strategy seems to make sense, as it provides licensing revenue for the company. The clubs will always do very well with tourists and attract curious customers.

That said, the exclusive nature of the old clubs is not a part of this business. Also, in Las Vegas, we noticed that all the beautiful women were wearing bunny costumes, as the club wasn’t one of the hot spots that attracted the beautiful women of Vegas. They were at the hotter clubs.


In tough economy Las Vegas strip clubs offer discounts

Things are still tough in Las Vegas. Check out this article about the state of business at strip clubs.

Times are rough in Las Vegas, even for Sin City’s second-most lucrative vice.

With the recession still dragging down discretionary spending, just the opportunity to ogle — or fantasize about your chances with — dozens of beautiful naked women isn’t enough to pack in the tourists these days. So a number of Las Vegas strip clubs are offering discounts and freebies to seal the deal, particularly during off-peak hours.

Some, such as Cheetah’s, will give you two-for-one lap dances every afternoon.

Others, like the Can Can Room and Crazy Horse III, halve the price of a lap dance that usually costs $20 for three to 4½ minutes at an all-nude club or two minutes at a topless joint.

These clubs are a huge business in Vegas, and it’s a great barometer of the overall economy.

“For years, Las Vegas has pretended like the adult community doesn’t exist,” says Wayne Bridge, CEO of the Sin City Chamber of Commerce, an alliance of adult-oriented businesses. “It’s a huge part of the economy and it’s really helping to carry a lot of people.”

At last count, there are 32 active strip clubs and between 30,000 and 40,000 registered exotic dancers in the Las Vegas Valley. On weeknights, some 1,500 women bump and grind at clubs here; weekends, that number doubles or triples.

“It’s huge,” Bridge says.

How huge?

An estimated $8 billion per year, second only to gaming as a component of the Las Vegas economy.

The freebies are working, as business has picked up. You couldn’t get a deal anywhere in Las Vegas 4 years ago. Now, the hotels, clubs and other establishments are working hard for business. It might be a good time for a trip!


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