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Tuesday
Oct052010

Coming Soon: Sponsor Names on Pro Sports Jerseys?

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- American sports fans may soon see sponsor names appearing on team jerseys, according to AdAge.com. 

The 20 English Premier League soccer teams generated $155 million by selling ad space on their jerseys as reported by Sports Illustrated, causing the four major American sports leagues and its corporate partners to consider and even debate the idea of sponsor patches on team uniforms.

Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, told Advertising Age, "It's definitely on the horizon.  I think it's more an issue of 'how much' rather than 'if' [it happens]."

The National Football League currently allows for teams to sell advertising on practice jerseys, with more than half of the 32 franchises taking advantage of the opportunity.  However, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Ad Age the league has no plans to allow sponsor patches on game jerseys, despite being approached by major companies who say that "NFL jerseys represent the most valuable real estate in sports."

While a National Hockey League spokesman chose not to comment, Major League Baseball is perhaps the most opposed to selling sponsorship.  According to an email sent to Ad Age, an MLB spokesman wrote, "Baseball has a longstanding policy of not allowing corporate advertising on our uniforms for non-international competitions. We are continuing to monitor what appears to be an increase in the trend that places non-manufacturer corporate marks on uniforms."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Tuesday
Oct052010

Ford and N.Y. Power Authority Prepare New York for Electric Vehicles

Photo Courtesy -- New York Power Authority(NEW YORK) -- Ford Motor Company has announced that it will team up with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to prepare New York state for the operation of electric vehicles.  The collaboration was announced during Ford's "Charging Into the Future Electric Vehicle Tour," which visited New York City Monday.

The plan is that Ford and NYPA will develop consumer outreach and education programs on electric vehicles to ensure the electrical grid can support customers' needs.

“Ford plans on bringing five new electrified vehicles to market over the next two years including the Transit Connect Electric later this year and the Focus battery electric in late 2011,” said Sherif Marakby, Director of Electrification Programs and Engineering, Ford Motor Company.

Marakby added, “We know there is an incredible excitement for electric vehicles in the New York area and across the country.  To support the rollout and acceptance of these vehicles, it is crucial to work with utilities, like NYPA, to make sure the necessary infrastructure is ready.”

NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer, Richard M. Kessel said that the Power Authority is a leader in efforts to introduce electric and hybrid vehicles in the New York Metropolitan Area and other parts of New York state.  Kessel adds, "Ford's new electrified will certainly contribute to the efforts."

Over the next two years, Ford will introduce the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, the Ford Focus Electric passenger car, two third generation lithium-ion battery hybrids (2012) and a plug-in hybrid (2012).

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Tuesday
Oct052010

Frito Lay to Scrap Loud SunChips Bag

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News Radio(NEW YORK) -- About 18 months after the company unveiled its new 100-percent compostable packaging for SunChips, the company has said it will transition back to the original packing for five of its six flavors.  The original, plain flavored chips will still be sold in the eco-friendly wrappers.

The reason for the switch?  Consumers say the packaging is too loud.

And the only thing louder than the packaging may be the complaining about it.  A Facebook page titled "SORRY BUT I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THIS SUN CHIPS BAG" has been liked by more than 44,000 users.  The page's motto, "The new SunChips bags are so... loud.  I crinkle them constantly on purpose whenever I am walking around with one.  You should do the same" concisely summarizes the issue.

FritoLay spokesperson Aurora Gonzalez told ABC News the particular Facebook page did not influence the company's decision.  In fact, Gonzalez said that the decision to pull the bags off grocery shelves was more of a direct response to customer feedback -- in the form of letters and phone calls.

"There was a lot of feedback that asked for changes to the packaging," Gonzalez said. "But there were a lot of consumers who gave us kudos for this innovative step. So for those people that want this kind of packaging we want to make it available to them."

That green wrapper appeals to SunChips fan Lacy Garrison, a 34-year-old computer programmer in Brooklyn, N.Y. For Garrison, the loud wrapper is not an issue.

"They're a little noisier I guess, but it's not a big deal," he said.  "With so many problems in the world, I'm not too concerned about the crinkliness of a SunChips bag."  Garrison, who said she eats SunChips about three times a week, would prefer the biodegradable bags remain.  "That's one less piece of plastic on the planet," he said.

But the company is not willing to drop the plan for more eco-friendly packaging.  Gonzalez said FritoLay will work to create a fully compostable bag that is "a little less noisy."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct052010

Airline to Make Cell Phone Calls Possible on Flights

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Singapore Airlines announced Tuesday it will soon allow wireless connections for text messages, Blackberrys and perhaps cell phone calls on its medium and long-haul flights.

The move comes as the airline announces a multi-million-dollar collaboration with in-flight connectivity provider OnAir to offer Wi-Fi Internet access and other services on its flights.

Details are still being worked out, but when the airline implements the system early next year, it could be the first carrier to allow passengers to make and receive voice calls on their personal cell phones. The airline is waiting to see how customers respond to the idea.

No word yet on how much, if at all, the airline plans to charge passengers to make calls.

Singapore Airlines flies some of the world's longest flights, including an 18-and-a-half-hour flight from Newark Liberty International Airport outside New York to Singapore. That all-business class, 10,371-mile flight is the longest commercial trip in the world. The 100-seat plane is used mainly by corporate travelers.

A Singapore Airlines spokesman said the system will be installed on 43 aircrafts, a little less than half of the airline's fleet.

Cell phone use on airplanes is prohibited in the United States by federal regulations. The airline said the system would be configured to comply with those rules and guidelines.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct052010

Corrupt Paperwork Threatens US Foreclosure Mess

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The discovery of a sea of corrupt paperwork has threatened to make the U.S. foreclosure epidemic -- already bad -- significantly worse, delaying resolution by months or years.

In recent days, major lenders -- including JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial's GMAC Mortgage unit and Bank of America -- have conceded that paperwork supporting an unknown number of foreclosures contains errors ranging from wrong dates to forged or inconsistent signatures. In many cases, mortgage company employees signed foreclosure documents without first verifying the information in them.

Whether sloppiness or deceit is the greater culprit remains to be determined. In response, the banks have suspended tens of thousands of pending foreclosures. Bank of America, for example, has suspended all its foreclosures in 23 states.

It's not as if foreclosures weren't a big enough mess already. In August, according to real estate data firm RealtyTrac, lenders foreclosed on 95,364 U.S. properties -- the highest monthly total since May 2005, when the company first began its tracking. In 19 states the number of homes seized by lenders at least doubled; in seven states it more than tripled. The number of loans 60 days or more past due now stands at 5.2 million.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-California, who has drafted legislation to stabilize foreclosures, calls the paperwork scandal "a cloud over the whole mortgage and banking industry. It could delay things two to ten years. I don't know how it will all shake out, but it's going to require ongoing attention from Treasury and from Congress."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct052010

Toshiba to Create First Glasses-Free 3D TV

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Toshiba announced Monday it will manufacture the first-ever glasses-free 3D television.  As AFP reports, the Japanese electronics company will offer two models that will be available in Japan starting at the end of December.

A 12-inch model is expected to go for about 120,000 yen, which is the equivalent of about $1,400, while the second model, a 20-inch, will cost 240,000 yen, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Current 3D models require viewers to wear glasses that act like filters, dispersing separate images to both eyes to create the illusion of depth.  The screens on Toshiba's new models will use processing technology that will create depth-filled images from any angle.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct052010

Toyota Repair Tally Reaches Five Million 

Photo Courtesy - Toyota(TOYOTA CITY, Japan) -- Instead of selling cars, Toyota has spent much of 2010 fixing them.  The Japanese automaker's reputation was affected following three recalls at the end of 2009 and beginning of this year involving numerous models with either floor mats that slipped under gas pedals or sticky accelerators that made cars speed up on their own.

The U.S. government fined Toyota $16.4 million, the steepest of its kind in history, for deliberately hiding problems that were blamed for dozens of deadly crashes.

Over the past nine months, Toyota has made five million repairs to vehicles in the U.S. alone. The company said Monday that 80 percent of 2.3 million cars diagnosed with a “sticky pedal” have been fixed.

Meanwhile, about six in ten of the 5.4 million vehicles with floor mat problems have been brought to dealerships, while about 150,000 Prius and Lexus models found to have braking problems were repaired.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct042010

YouTube Launches Arabic Website

Photo Courtesy -- YouTube.com(NEW YORK) -- The Google-owned website YouTube launched an Arabic version Monday, according to ArabianBusiness.com. 

The new version is one of seven local language sites that would assist users of the popular video sharing site.

“We are always looking for ways to improve the online video experience for our incredibly diverse global community," Google told ArabianBusiness.com.

Google also added that its addition of a YouTube site in Arabic is an acknowledgment and celebration of its global roots.

YouTube is the second-most popular site in Saudi Arabia and the third-most popular in Egypt, reports The National, citing internet traffic monitor Alexa.com.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Monday
Oct042010

Justice Department Sues American Express, MasterCard and Visa

Photo Courtesy -- PRNewsFoto | American Express(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that it filed a civil antitrust lawsuit challenging rules that American Express, MasterCard and Visa currently have in place that prevent merchants from offering rewards, discounts and information about card costs.  As a result, consumers ultimately end up paying more for purchases. 

 “With today’s lawsuit we are sending a clear message: We will not tolerate anticompetitive practices,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “We want to put more money in consumers’ pockets, and by eliminating credit card companies’ anticompetitive rules, we will accomplish that.”

According to the statement from the Justice Department, a proposed settlement with Visa and MasterCard has also been filed, that, if approved by the court, would require for the two companies to allow merchants to offer consumer discounts, incentives and encourage the use of less costly methods of payment.

The proposed settlement states that merchants that only accept Visa and MasterCard will be allowed to take advantage of the relief immediately.  However, ongoing litigation against American Express will seek to allow merchants that accept its credit card to engage in the same kind of relief named in the proposed settlement with MasterCard and Visa.

Once American Express files its response to the government's lawsuit, the court will determine a pretrial schedule for the case against the company.        

Monday
Oct042010

Twitter CEO Ev Williams Steps Down

Photo Courtesy -- Twitter (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Twitter CEO Ev Williams announced Monday in a post on the site's blog that he would be stepping down from his role to focus on the growing company's product strategy.  Dick Costolo, who served as Twitter COO for the past year, will take Williams' place as CEO. 

After recounting some of Twitter's accomplishments and challenges, Williams said that he had come to his realization during the recent Twitter relaunch. 

Williams wrote, "I am most satisfied while pushing product direction. Building things is my passion, and I’ve never been more excited or optimistic about what we have to build.  This is why I have decided to ask our COO, Dick Costolo, to become Twitter’s CEO. Starting today, I’ll be completely focused on product strategy."

Williams, who began his new Twitter role Monday, stated that he expects a smooth transition, given Costolo's previous experience in a CEO role.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio








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