Sunday, September 21, 2008

Target Field

The Twins new stadium will be named Target Field. While Minnesota is home to many large companies like Best Buy, Medtronic, Cargill, US Bank, and General Mills; Target has always been the most aggressive when it comes to marketing itself. Many Twins fans I had talked to thought General Millis would buy the naming rights and name it Wheaties Field after the cereal of the same name.

However, I got the feeling that Target wanted to enhance their name nationally. Target has really expanded across the country, and having a MLB baseball stadium named after them will definitely raise the profile of their brand name. Add the fact that the new Target Field is right next to the Target Center (home of the NBA Timberwolves) and Target has venues named after it in two professional sports league. Though I am not sure, I think they are the only company that does.

I read that Target will be spending some money to enhance the plaza outside Target Field. That’s good because the people of Minnesota have never really enjoyed the pleasure of a good pre-game gathering place. The Metrodome plaza was never anything to get excited about.

Another good aspect of this deal is the joint marketing venture the Twins and Target will be undertaking. Hopefully this will include a several sections of seats sponsored by Target that will be affordable. I also think there will be multiple player appearances at local Targets.

The Twins and Target look like they will both be around (unlike the Vikings and Northwest Airlines) in Minnesota for years to come. It makes sense they should partner together. Target Field does not exactly flow off the tongue, but at least it is the name that Minnesotans can identify with and take pride in.

2008 CMA Award Nominations

The nominations for the 2008 Country Music Association (CMA) Awards have been announced. Overall I think they were alright. There were a few people I think should not have been nominated and a few who should have been.

Brooks & Dunn’s “Cowboy Town” should not have been nominated for Album of the Year. I thought Reba McEntire’s “Duets” album should have been nominated. LeAnn Rimes and Reba should have joined Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and Miranda Lambert as Female Vocalist of the Year nominee. Also Alan Jackson’s “Small Town Southern Man” should have been nominated for Song of the Year.

However you can nitpick these things to death. I was pleased to see my prediction that Sugarland would be considered for Entertainer of the Year come true. I was also pleased to see my man Alan Jackson up for Male Vocalist, Album, Song, and Video of the Year.

Here are my predictions for the winners.

Entertainer of the Year will be Kenny Chesney. This will give him four EOY wins tying him with Garth Brooks for the most wins. I personally think Keith Urban should be the choice. I think his live performances and his music are superior to Kenny, but that is a personal preference.

Male Vocalist will be Brad Paisley. Since 1991 only one person, Toby Keith in 2001, has won this award and not won it at least a second time in a row. Paisley won last year for the first time, so the laws of percentages say he will win again. I prefer Alan Jackson here and he deserves it, but it is hard to not say Brad deserves it too.

Female Vocalist will be Miranda Lambert. Miranda is definitively deserving, and she is really making some great music. Of course Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift are the two best selling artist in country music right now. Underwood has won the last two FOY awards, but I get the feeling the industry is tiring of her winning all the time. There was a time in the 90’s when the CMA used the Female Vocalist Award to push female artists to the new level of stardom. I think that will happen here with Miranda.

Group of the will be Rascal Flatts. I think the CMA is tiring of RF as they were not nominated for Entertainer of the Year even though they had a big tour and sold some albums. It seemed to me that RF was never really accepted by the CMA and its voters. I think Lady Antebellum is more to the CMA voters liking, and will soon be taking over this award.

Duo of the Year will be Sugarland. I think they will have a big night. Nashville biggest female stars (Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Taylor Swift) are young, and country music core 25-54 female audience may not see them as one of them. Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles (age 34) is someone they can related too more wholly. The country music industry knows this and also knows Sugarland is selling a lot of albums. Country Music needs more superstars, especially with female voices, and the CMA will do its part in promoting Sugarland for that role.

The New Artist of the Year will be Lady Antebellum. Music folks think these guys are great, and the CMA voters will agree. I think Ashton Shepherd should have been dominated and won, but I was not consulted.

Album of the Year will hopefully be “Good Time” by Alan Jackson. I think it is the best album nominated. Of course the CMA could go for a more commercially successes album like Carrie Underwood or Kenny Chesney’s.

Single of the Year will be “Stay” by Sugarland. Simply put this song is sung powerfully and masterfully by a gifted vocalist in Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.

Song of the Year will be “Stay” by Sugarland. Why? See above.

Video of the Year will be “Stay” by Sugarland. I still remember watching it for the first time on YouTube. Not much happens in the video, but it was definitely powerful.

Vocal Event of the Year Sugarland will win here with “Life in a Northern Town.” Never released a single, and only recorded during a live concert, this song was an improbable success.