All posts by Alex Valentine

Oakland fans at NFL Draft learn Raiders’ selection: Las Vegas

By Alex Valentine

Oakland Raiders fans in Chicago for the NFL Draft had more to ponder than whether safety Karl Joseph was the right first-round pick.

They learned the team wants to relocate to Las Vegas.

“I don’t want them to move,” Juan Romero, a Raiders fan from Chicago, said Saturday on the final day of the draft. “They have so much history in California, especially in Oakland. Oakland is their culture, and it’s where they belong.”

On Thursday, the same day the draft started, Raiders owner Mark Davis proposed to the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee a $1.4 billion stadium, with the Raiders contributing $500 million (including a $200 million loan from the NFL) and Sands Corp. reportedly paying another $150 million.

“I think it’s going to be a great marriage,” Davis told the committee.

Al Davis, Mark’s father and franchise patriarch, famously bolted from the Bay Area for Los Angeles in 1982, only to return the team to Oakland 13 years later.
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Notre Dame finds success in NFL Draft — and from Draft Town

By Alex Valentine

Jeremy and Brittany Kitchen thumbed through “Play Like A Champion Today” shirts Friday, trying to find Jeremy’s size. When that failed, they diverted their attention to drink holders adorned with the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish mascot.

The couple, in town from Fort Worth, Texas, for the NFL Draft, was surprised to see a Notre Dame Bookstore in Chicago. “We were walking past and couldn’t believe it,” said Jeremy. “I think it speaks to Notre Dame’s reach, though.” Continue reading

NFL Draft making an impact on downtown Chicago businesses again

By Alex Valentine

Sonia Agueyo sees the difference the NFL Draft is making. The front desk agent at the Travelodge in downtown Chicago said room bookings for Thursday’s first day of the draft are more than double what the hotel would see on its busiest weeknight.

“We’ve had more than 120 arrivals, and we’re pretty much booked up the next two nights,” said Agueyo. “Normally, on the busiest weeknight, we’ll have about 60 rooms booked. Two nights ago, we had 12. Continue reading

Could 2016 NFL Draft Produce Next Endorsement Star?

By Alex Valentine

The 2016 NFL Draft initially looked devoid of high picks who would be immediate marketing stars. With offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil projected to go first overall and no compelling prospect who attracted mainstream America’s attention in college, buzz was minimal.

But with the Los Angeles Rams trading up to No. 1 two weeks ago and the Philadelphia Eagles trading up to No. 2 last week, the first two picks suddenly belong to big-market teams needing
starting quarterbacks.

The buzz is back.

But can that translate into immediate marketing magic? Will the endorsements flow? Continue reading

Disney investors unmoved by ESPN subscriber loss

By Alex Valentine

Investors in Walt Disney Co. seem to be shrugging off concerns about the growing number of Americans cutting the cord on ESPN and ditching their cable subscriptions.

Shares of Disney plummeted in August when the company acknowledged on a conference call that ESPN had lost 7 million subscribers in the last two years, reaching its lowest number of subscriptions since 2006.

Disney CEO Bob Iger insisted that the drop in subscribers was “no reason to panic,” and four months later, shares of the company have rebounded 17 percent to $111.52 since August, and are up 20 percent from a year ago. Continue reading

Bookends and Beginnings thrives in resurgent bookstore niche

By Alex Valentine

Tucked neatly into an alleyway between Sherman and Benson Avenue sits Bookends and Beginnings, Evanston’s only independent bookstore. With a narrow brick exterior and a deceptively large interior, it would fit nicely in Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley.

Evanston bookworms mourned when the building’s former resident, Bookman’s Alley, closed in October 2013, after 33 years in business. Bookman’s Alley was such a community staple that author Audrey Niffenegger mentioned it in her 2003 bestseller, The Time Traveler’s Wife.

The following summer, Nina Barrett and her husband, Jeff Garrett jumped at the opportunity to take over the tenancy of the bookstore. Continue reading

Macy’s stock plummets after profit and sales falter

By Alex Valentine

Shares of Macy’s plummeted Wednesday after the company posted a 46 percent decline in quarterly earnings and lowered its profit outlook for the rest of the year.

Shares fell 15 percent to $40.44, the lowest price for Macy’s in over two years.

The Cincinnati-based retailer’s profit fell to $117 million, or 36 cents per diluted share, from $217 million, or 61 cents per diluted share, a year ago. Earnings were far short of analysts’ estimate of $179 million and 53 cents per share.

Quarterly sales at Macy’s totaled $5.87 billion, down 5 percent from a year ago. Analysts predicted quarterly sales of $6.1 billion.

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Alibaba shrugs off shaky Chinese economy with strong earnings

By Alex Valentine

Alibaba shrugged off a shaky Chinese economy and posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and a jump in the number of mobile users.

Excluding certain one-time items, profit rose 34 percent from a year ago to $1.46 billion or 57 cents per share,  beating the analysts’ estimate of 53 cents.

Since the earnings release Tuesday morning,  Alibaba’s stock price has jumped nearly 8 percent. It closed Wednesday at $82.35.

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