Bulls

Olympic tickets on sale for how much?

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Olympic tickets on sale for how much?

From Comcast SportsNet

LONDON (AP)There are still tickets on sale for the mens 100-meter finals at the London Olympicscontrary to what most people think. The opening and closing ceremonies too. Even beach volleyball (but not too many.)

As with all things in life, though, there is a catch. It will cost you.

They are part of hospitality packages sold by a company contracted by London Olympic authorities to sell the most desirable events. Combined with vintage champagne, fine wines, canapes, and multi-course dinners, the deluxe deals offer companies a chance to entertain their most favored clients.

This is for people who dont mind spending 4,500 pounds (7,000) per person to attend a 10-second event if it could mean closing a deal worth a few million. Not what one might call the nosebleed seats.

You may not remember who you were with when Chelsea played West Brom, said Alan Gilpin, chief operating officer of Prestige Ticketing Ltd., referring to two English soccer teams. But you will remember who you were with when Usain Bolt runs.

The Prestige concept is new in an Olympic context. Among American sporting teams, NFL franchises have for years made their best seats available to top-paying season ticket holders and combined them with food, wine and extras. But up until now, the usual way to get such treatment at the Olympics was being an executive at McDonalds, Coca-Cola or other Olympic sponsors.

Big corporations are still willing to pay millions to attach their name to the games, piggybacking on the branding of an event devoted to healthy competition and warm, fuzzy stories of overcoming adversity. Prestige, however, gives high-rollers and smaller business executives a fighting chance to be oh-so-close as well.

The payoffs can be huge, says Marc Ganis, the president of Chicago-based SportsCorp., a sports consultancy.

What the Olympics provide more than anything else is a platform for multinational companies to bring together their top customers and their top corporate decision makers, Ganis said, noting that chief executive officers are likely to attend to lead their own teams. That can tend to lead to tighter relationships and more business.

Still, its a tricky issue for Londons organizers, who have struggled this year over the subject of tickets and access to them. They set up a complicated lottery system in which people blindly registered for tickets and handed over credit card details to pay for them before they even knew whatif any tickets were getting.

Its like going to a supermarket and putting some money down at the checkout in hopes of getting the shopping you want, said Matthew Bath, the technology editor of the consumer group Which?

Two-thirds of ticket seekers failed to earn any in a first round that ended in Aprilwith 22 million requests in the first round for the 6.6 million tickets available. A second round was blighted by computer problems. Plans for further ticket sales at the end of December and again next year have failed to stem public grumbling.

Those dashed expectations are worrisome in a time of economic austerity, as critics have charged that millions were spent to build stadiums and otherwise finance the gamesonly for the public to be shortchanged when it comes to actually seeing them, complaints exacerbated by reports of huge ticket allocations for sponsors.

Prestige says its allocation comprises about 1 percent of the overall London Olympic ticketsand stresses that 70 percent of its packages sell for less than 1,000 pounds (1,500) a person. Their clients include broadcasters, national Olympic committees and media companies. Some 20 percent of their sales have gone to individuals, with packages offered to a minimum of four.

There will be stiff competition out there to lay on the best party for the London Games. Even Queen Elizabeth II has taken note. In an unprecedented move, the monarch has given permission for big fancy rooms at St. Jamess Palace in central London to be rented out to holders of royal warrantscompanies with long-standing ties to the royal family. Those rooms are reported to include the Throne Room, the Tapestry Room and the Queen Anne Room.

Nonetheless, Andrew Burton, the chief executive of Prestige, said hes not worried about losing business to people who might want to rent out the palace.

Thats great, Burton said. But it doesnt give you access to tickets.

Still London organizers might be a tad uneasy, since they have just over half of their tickets sold with under nine months to go, Ganis said.

The Olympics are different than most other sporting events in that people who want to attend really plan ahead.

There are a lot of logistics involved in traveling to an Olympics, unless theyre planning on selling a lot of these packages locally, he said. (Ticketholders) make those kind of arrangements months in advance and not on the spur of the moment.

Lineup changes could be on the way for Bulls: 'It's still up in the air'

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USA TODAY

Lineup changes could be on the way for Bulls: 'It's still up in the air'

It’s tough to call the position battle for the backup point guard spot on a Lottery-bound team important, but here we are two days into the Bulls’ season.

It won’t move the needle in NBA circles and Dwane Casey won’t be putting in additional time getting ready for Saturday’s game, but there appears to be potential for change in Fred Hoiberg’s rotation.

One day after an embarrassing display in a season-opening loss to the Sixers, Hoiberg said the Bulls have yet to make a decision on a potential lineup change for tomorrow’s affair against the Detroit Pistons. Kris Dunn, who missed Thursday’s game for the birth of his first child, was not at practice on Friday and may or may not be available for the home opener.

That could prompt changes after Cam Payne, inserted into the starting lineup, was largely ineffective, failing to score on 0 of 4 shooting in 21 minutes.

“We’re gonna see how practice goes today and then make that decision,” Hoiberg said. “It’s still up in the air on what we’re gonna do.”

The loss certainly can’t fall on just Payne, as the Bulls went lifeless after a 41-point first quarter that had them in the lead after 12 minutes. From there the Sixers outscored them by 29 in the second and third quarters, facing little resistance from a Bulls defense that doesn’t appear to have made much improvement from a year ago, Dunn or no Dunn.

Philadelphia shot 48 percent from the field, scored 20 fast-break points and 46 points in the paint, cruising to 102 points through three quarters before reserves finished things off. Even with Dunn the defensive prospects don’t look good, meaning Hoiberg might have to make changes to ignite the offense that scored just 35 points in those second and third quarters.

The Bulls could go a few different routes. Zach LaVine’s hot hand in the first quarter – 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting – saw the ball in his hands, and he even added two assists.

“It's a collective effort. You've got to have all five guys out there trying to play the right way and again, we found a recipe with Zach, especially in that first unit, where we let him bring the ball up the floor,” Hoiberg said. “We ran a couple actions where he was the facilitator and we put Cam in the corner. So a lot of that will be dictated by who has it going on a particular night and last night it happened to be Zach, so he was the one that was doing a lot of facilitating.”

Past a point guard-less lineup, the backups to Payne – Ryan Arcidiacono and Tyler Ulis – could also see extended minutes going forward.

Arcidiacono had 8 points and 8 assists in 28 minutes, though the majority of those stats came in garbage time. Still, he hit a pair of 3-pointers and didn’t turn the ball over, and five of his assists resulted in makes at the rim.

Ulis, acquired off waivers last week, could inject some life into the second unit.

“He’s ready. He’s done a good job in practice,” Hoiberg said. “We’ve gone through the system with him as far as what we expect and if there’s a point in the game where he can go out there and we feel he can help us, I’m confident that he’ll go out there and give us good effort.”

The point guard rotation isn’t the key to unlocking the Bulls as a lockdown defensive team, or no longer suffering the offensive dry spells that happened Thursday. But in a season that’s already showing signs of adversity, shaking up the lineup might be Hoiberg’s only chance.

The Way We Hear It: Khalil Mack will probably play after all

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USA Today

The Way We Hear It: Khalil Mack will probably play after all

The Bears are back in Chicago and Tom Brady and the Patriots are in town! With a week of practice wrapping up today, here's what's been happening in the lead up to Sunday's Bears-Pats matchup: