|Just when we thought it was safe to hang out by the pool all summer long, in preparation for another football season of producing our sports betting tabloid Players’ Choice, a matter we thought was resolved has jumped up and forced us to deal with it. |
Earlier this year we were approached by Benjamin Eckstein and asked to join with him and his company, America’s Line, in producing a new version of the magazine we had published from 1994-2001, known as Players Guide.
Initially, it sounded promising, so we entered into discussions about the possibility of participating in the project. However, after a few meetings, we lost our enthusiasm and decided not to proceed. The proposed name of the magazine, Bettor’s Business, left us underwhelmed, so we wished them well and disassociated ourselves completely … or at least we thought that’s what we had done.
It should be noted that in our last conversation we were told that they would run an ad for our newspaper in Bettor’s Business, and we said we would try to contribute a story. There was no followup on those items by either party.
Subsequently we learned that a sales kit sent to advertising prospects included the following statement: “The yearly publication previously known as Buzz Daly’s Players’ Guide has changed its name to Bettor’s Business, and is the youngest branch in the America’s Line family tree, which is owned by sports columnist Benjamin Eckstein.”
Before going any further, let us say categorically that such a sale never took place, and to state that it did is a deliberate falsehood. We have absolutely no connection or relationship -- financial or otherwise -- with Bettor’s Business or Mr. Eckstein. We say this not out of pique, but because circumstances force us to refute these fallacious claims.
Our original stance was to simply shrug and do nothing after we saw the sales piece. But after showing it to the Players’ Choice sales rep, who was appalled and angry since it could compromise his sales efforts for the newspaper, we changed our mind.
The sales rep showed it to his lawyer, and we were subsequently apprised in no uncertain terms that if we didn’t take action to set the record straight we could be considered acquiescing to or affirming their fallacious statement and could be held liable for problems encountered by Bettor’s Business. They are making a variety of claims regarding content, distribution, etc., for which we cannot take any responsibility since we have no connection with the publication.
As it turns out, they could make up whatever claims they wished regarding us and be under no constraints to retract them. The onus is on us to get out the truth about the non-relationship.
So, with a news release to local media, an explanatory note to accompany Players’ Choice marketing efforts, and this column, we are reluctantly doing what needs to be done to clarify the situation.
To suggest that we changed the name of Players’ Guide to Bettor’s Business is particularly disingenuous, since we advised them that we thought it was an inappropriate, poorly chosen title. Equally disappointing is the decision to completely ignore the offshore market on the cover of the sales kit which features a few Las Vegas logos.
However, since we disavowed any association with them, we hardly have any right to criticize their decisions. It is their vision, and they can do whatever they please in fulfilling it.
But they can’t trade on any good will, and whatever reputation we may have earned. That is ours, and we achieved it by dealing truthfully and honestly with readers, advertisers and the industry we covered. Bettor’s Business must rise or fall on its own merits.
We hope we’re not being petty and small minded about this issue. We stopped publishing Players Guide simply because we were not sufficiently staffed or capitalized to continue putting out an annual magazine that accurately and responsibly covered the sports betting industry. Offshore in particular has grown to a size that defied our ability to adequately serve both the bettors and the bookmakers with comprehensive coverage of informational, betting-related and complex issues-oriented material.
If another magazine can step up and get the job done, that’s terrific. Since we have no insight into the editorial aspect of Bettor’s Business, we cannot offer an informed opinion on the direction it is taking. But misrepresenting themselves as blatantly as they seem to be doing is not an encouraging start.
The key reason we never seriously considered joining with them was what we perceived as a flawed and egocentric decision-making process that was in place. When you are in business for yourself, you must make lots of hard decisions, based on a myriad of factors, with a bias toward good judgment.
Our tsk-tsking notwithstanding, Bettor’s Business could be a worthwhile pub. We hope our action serves as a wakeup call and that they get their act together. Sports bettors are certainly entitled to a specialized magazine that caters to their passion.
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