John Clay: Louisville first, UK seventh in Emory's fan rankings

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJuly 15, 2014 

Random notes:

   Emory University's Sports Marketing Analytics group has put together what it calls "Fan Equity Rankings" and for the second straight year, Louisville came out on top.

   Kentucky was ranked seventh by a formula that, according to Emory, goes by "a statistical model of revenue as a function of team quality (winning percentage, NCAA tournament qualification, etc. ...) and market potential (conference affiliation, median income, area population, number of students, etc. ...) and then compares the model's prediction to the self-reported revenues."

   I'm guessing that means Louisville is overachieving. Duke is No. 2 on the list, followed by Arizona, Texas, Xavier, Syracuse and then UK. Indiana ranked 12th.

Big Blue Nation, direct all hate email to Emory.

  Let us pause here to give props to Reds owner Bob Castellini.

I was at Great American Ball Park on Saturday night for what turned out to be the largest non-opening day/non-playoff game crowd in the history of the park.

Castellini has done a great job emphasizing community with the Reds, be it by promoting charities, by having a young boy bring the lineup card out with Manager Bryan Price, recognizing a military veteran at every home game, etc.

Even though the Reds lost, it was a great atmosphere Saturday.

  Speaking of Reds, I don't get the Walt Jocketty critics. The team has been ravaged by injuries, yet the Reds are just 1.5 games out of first at the All-Star break.

  At the SEC Media Days, otherwise known as footballpalooza, in Hoover, Ala., South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier said Nick Saban is the "greatest recruiter in college football history" which of course is a vintage Spurrier ploy putting all the pressure on Saban.

Back when Spurrier was at Florida and beating the daylights out of Ray Goff at Georgia, Spurrier loved to say, "I don't know what happened. Georgia has all those great recruiting classes on paper."

  It's great to see Nerlens Noel playing so well in the NBA Summer Leagues. It has been a long, tough road after tearing his ACL at Florida in 2013.

  The numbers are in, and this was the most-watched World Cup in American history. In fact, if you count Univision, the Germany-Argentina final drew 26.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched match in U.S. history. Soccer Nation.

  Even Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen talked about soccer Tuesday at the SEC Media Days. Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times joked on Twitter that Mullen might face a steep fine from the league office.

  The USA Today College football coaches poll will now be sponsored by Amway, which somehow seems appropriate.

  The NBA is reportedly looking to double the broadcast rights fees that it's getting from Disney and Turner. It must think it's the SEC Network.

  UK says quarterback Maxwell Smith might not be ready for fall practice after having off-season shoulder surgery. Smith has had nothing but tough luck during his time at Kentucky.

  Someone posted a picture on the Internet on Monday night that people thought was Eric Bledsoe, current free agent, having dinner with Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat. Turns out it was Luol Deng, who has just signed with the Heat.

  Did you see that Louisville basketball picked up a commitment from Deng Adel, a five-star prospect out of Sudan?

Given the number of foreign players Pitino has recruited recently, I expect him to be appear on HGTV's House Hunters International in the near future.

  Del Mar rejected a $50,000 appearance fee that the connections of California Chrome wanted for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to be there on Pacific Classic Day. Apparently there is a price tag on hospitality.

John Clay: 859-231-3226. E-mail: jclay@herald-leader.com. Blog: Johnclay.bloginky.com. Twitter: @johnclayiv.

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