PhillyDeals: Social media preferred Team USA over Belgium - before the match

Posted: July 03, 2014

Going into the U.S.- Belgium soccer game Tuesday, social-media spies sorting tens of millions of Facebook, Twitter, and other posts for SAP AG found that the American team, led by goaltender Tim Howard, was viewed more positively than negatively.

Several of the Belgians attracted more social haters than lovers, especially midfielder Marouane Fellaini, even though he scored a goal for Belgium against Algeria.

Are American fans less critical? No. U.S. players got negative ratings last week, when Portugal tied the team in the last minutes, says SAP's Evan Welsh. But the American starters won back fans just by surviving the "Group of Death" to advance and face Belgium, said Welsh. SAP's American head- quarters (and CEO Bill McDermott) are based in Newtown Square.

Also, the Belgian posts may be skewed by British critics of Fellaini's performance in his day job as a high-paid player for underachieving Manchester United - and the fact there are a lot more trash-talking English-speakers than Belgians posting.

In soccer-commerce stats: Adidas was the World Cup's most-talked-about sponsor-advertiser, with roughly double the mentions of Coca-Cola, Sony, or McDonald's, and four times Castrol or Budweiser.

And Jennifer Lopez'sfutbol anthem "We Are One" crushed Shakira's "LaLaLa Brazil" by more than 2-1. JLo's positive flow was even bigger than Adidas.

Taking on Cabela's

Vestis Retail Group L.L.C., the Meriden, Conn., retail group owned by Greg Segall and Ira Lubert's Philadelphia-based Versa Capital Management L.L.C., says it has agreed to buy Sport Chalet, a Southern California chain of 50 sporting-goods outlets. The group will add Sport Chalet to two Eastern chains it already owns, Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob's Stores, to create a national, 150-store, $800 million yearly sales group.

Versa says it has agreed to borrow up to $180 million to invest in the combined chains, about 15 times the market value of Sport Chalet.

Besides the Vestis group, Versa also owns Avenue Stores L.L.C, Black Angus steakhouses, and the Civitas Media community newspapers, among other firms.

Unpaid

Standard & Poor's Rating Services has cut its credit rating on Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum two notches to D - S&P's lowest rating - from last year's low-junk-bond-level CC.

Bondholders demanded June 10 that the museum refund "all principal and interest" used to build its underused Fairmount Park facility.

After missing a bond payment in the fall in a failed attempt to persuade bondholders to accept less, the museum has $1.8 million in its debt-service reserve, $3.6 million in a collateral fund, and $11 million in cash and marketable investments - more than enough to cover the $2.16 million principal-and-interest payment due Aug. 1. But it does not have nearly enough to cover the $58 million in principal that it owes bondholders, let alone millions more in interest, analyst Nick N. Waugh wrote in a report to S&P clients.

Rich kid

Twitter Inc. has agreed to buy New York-based TapCommerce, a mobile- phone advertising platform. Brian C. Long, the 29-year-old cofounder of TapCommerce and a grad of Episcopal Academy and Penn, told the world of the transaction in a post on his company blog.

Twitter will pay $100 million to the owners, who include Bain Capital and other venture firms, Long's cofounders, and Long's own Eniac Ventures.


JoeD@phillynews.com

215-854-5194

@PhillyJoeD

www.inquirer.comphillydeals/

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