Tag Archives: Basketball

Freeman Farms

Fulton ‘Legacy’ at $15M before opening

While news headlines in August continue to declare sluggish new home sales figures in the Metro Phoenix market, one new Fulton Homes’ community in Gilbert is experiencing just the opposite.

As of Aug. 25, the Tempe-based homebuilder has sold 20 homes and has hit $15 million in sales at its Legacy at Freeman Farms community—and the models are not even open yet. Legacy’s single-level, 105-homesite community features floor plans ranging from 3,800 to 6,600 square feet, with 11-bedroom and six-bath options. Basements, a rarity in the Valley, are also. Price points begin at $575,000, some $300,000 more than the current average median price of a new home in Phoenix.

Homebuyer interest in Legacy has even outpaced that of past Fulton Homes’ communities, including the popular Fulton Ranch community in Chandler which opened in October 2006.

“We have been astounded by the enormous interest in Legacy,” said Doug Fulton, CEO of Fulton Homes. “These are among the largest homes we have even built. We are offering a luxury product with increased square footage, more bedroom space and room for vehicles, boats and storage to meet the demand of our customers. The sales spike even before the models open is a testament to both the quality homes we build and our awareness of what our customers are now looking for in a larger, modernized home.”

Located on S. Greenfield Road, Legacy will also feature swing-in motor courts, open spaces, ramadas, basketball and bocce ball courts, horseshoe pits and a shaded tot lot. Legacy is located near San Tan Mall and other amenities.

For further information, call 602-452-1000 or visit www.fultonhomes.com.

Moneyball

Taking A Gamble On March Madness

Office pools and social gambling can be harmless fun — if the rules are followed

Every human resources department in Arizona would flip a chip if employees set up a poker table in the middle of the boardroom and started playing Texas Hold ‘Em in the middle of the work day. But somehow, gambling in March Madness office pools gets a free pass.

“For many of us, March Madness is a rite of passage in the spring,” says Pavneet Uppal, managing partner of Fisher & Phillips in Phoenix. “It’s a chance to build camaraderie with co-workers through office pools, a chance to reconnect with college friends during games and a chance to indulge in a few chicken wings with the family.”

March Madness — the nickname given to the NCAA basketball tournament — is the nation’s largest gambling event. Conservative estimates project that more than $2.5 billion will be wagered on the tournament, which doubles the amount bet each year on the Super Bowl. More importantly for employers, March Madness costs anywhere from $1.4 billion to $3.8 billion in lost employee productivity each year.

Lost productivity aside, is it legal to bet in March Madness office pools?

“Under Arizona statute, March Madness pools are not illegal if they meet the four criteria of legal social gambling,” says Melissa Costello, an attorney in Bryan Cave’s labor and employment group.

The four criteria of legal social gambling are:
1. All of the participants compete on equal terms.
2. Each participant is at least 21 years old.
3. The participants can only receive winnings, and no other benefit.
4. No non-participant will gain any benefit from the pool.

“If an office pool does not meet all of the criteria for legal ‘social gambling,’ a company that allows an office pool could be charged with a class 5 felony if it conducts, organizes, manages, directs, supervises, finances, or furnishes advice or assistance in promoting the office pool,” Costello says. “A felony conviction could subject the company to a significant fine.”

If the office pool does not meet the ‘social gambling’ criteria, the organizer of the pool could also be charged with a class 5 felony for promoting illegal gambling and, if found guilty, could be sentenced to jail time and ordered to pay a significant fine, Costello warns.

“There can be numerous (other) legal issues, particularly if the gambling crosses state lines,” says Craig O’Loughlin, a partner with Quarles & Brady. “There can be IRS issues with winnings, (and) whistleblower issues.”

Beyond the legal ramifications of office pools, a Spherion study found that 52 percent of human resources executives say their top priority this year is cost containment. March Madness — accompanied by excessive score-checking and an exorbitant amount of water cooler game analysis — erodes workplace productivity and can jeopardize cost-saving measures.

“Employers have every right to expect employees to devote 100 percent of their energies to the job between stated work hours, and as long as they act consistently, can fire employees who play fantasy sports instead of working,” Uppal advises. “Human resources teams should consider reviewing and communicating the company’s office policies on the topic to ensure good people aren’t destroying their careers in the name of March Madness.”

Uppal says many managers are beginning to recognize and accept that employees will spend a portion of their work day handling personal business or surfing the Internet. And some even run March Madness pools as a team-building activity.

“If the employer sponsors (March Madness pools), make the entry free, and have prizes for the winners,” O’Loughlin says. “Also, know the tax ramifications of the prizes.”

Even if employers feel disinclined to allow March Madness office pools because they are a drain on employee productivity and efficiency, the reality is that employees will likely still participate in pools outside of the office, Costello says.

“Office pools should not be official company events, but rather than spend energy prohibiting office pools that meet the ‘social gambling’ criteria, employers should consider using March Madness as a tool for developing employee relationships and increasing morale, such as by inviting employees to wear a shirt from their alma mater on game days, hosting viewing parties during lunch hours, or providing basketball-themed snack breaks in the afternoon.”

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012

NCAA March Madness

NCAA March Madness: Get Your Tickets Now

You can watch as much of Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology as possible, study your match-ups and build your Excel spreadsheets, but the office secretary who picked her teams based on mascots will still beat you.

Yes, it is that time of the year again: March Madness.NCAA March Madness Bracket

And luckily for us college hoops fans here in Phoenix, the West Regional will be landing at the US Airways Center March 22 and 24.

Tickets through Ticketmaster already are sold out, but they are currently on sale on StubHub. Get them now before the tournament gets started and before fans make plans to come to Phoenix to support their teams.

If rankings play out, there could be some high-profile programs coming through town.

From Big 10 Tournament champion Michigan State (27-7) to Big East Tournament champion Louisville (26-9), the best of the best have the opportunity to play in the building Barkley built.

That’s only if they can get past some of the dark horses hidden within the West Regional.

And what would March Madness be without some of the tournament-defining upsets?

So here we go. My predictions. Because what kind of March Madness article would this be without them?

While I’ve been doing March Madness brackets for more than 10 years now, I am in no way an expert. Because, truthfully, no one is thanks to past teams like Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason.

I’m going to break this down region by region.

South

In the South Regional, there aren’t too many teams that will get the upper hand in the earlier rounds. And picking VCU in the 5-12 matchup versus Wichita St. is not going to give you the edge on any of your friends or co-workers, as they are likely to pick after the runs they’ve made in the past.

But watch out for Indiana. Even though they are a four seed, they still have a tough road ahead facing the No. 1 overall Kentucky in the Sweet 16 (if both make it there). And don’t forget about Indiana’s year-defining win over Kentucky earlier this season.

I expect to see Indiana taking out Baylor in the Elite 8 and representing the South Region in the Final Four.

West

My end result of the West Regional may be a little conventional, but leading up to that I took some risks with my picks.

And while this may not be a shocker due to their amazing record (30-1), Murray State is going to face Michigan State in the Elite 8.

Also, watch the Lobos from New Mexico as a I predict them taking out Louisville in the round of 32. I don’t see them getting past Michigan State, which will eventually head to the Final Four in New Orleans out of the West.

East

Like the West Regional, my end results here are not very unconventional.

While Syracuse and Ohio State sat in the top 10 rankings all year long, it’s the Florida State Seminoles who you need to watch out for. Coming off their ACC Tournament championship, and beating Duke and UNC both twice this year, they are my pick to come out of the East Regional.

With experienced guards and an athletic inside game, this is the year the usually-disappointing Seminoles make a run in the tournament.

And riding off alumni’s Linsanity, watch Harvard to win the 5-12 matchup against Vanderbilt, and then upset No. 4 seed Wisconsin.

Midwest

And finally, the Midwest.

We’ll start with the upsets. After San Diego State takes out NC State in the first round, look for them to end No. 3 Georgetown’s championship dreams.

Also, Cal., coming off the play-in game vs. South Florida will follow my trend of 5-12 upsets taking out Temple. And if Cal doesn’t beat South Florida in the play-in game, look to see the athletic USF team create the 5-12 upset on their terms.

Every year I seem to end up picking Kansas to make a nice run in the tournament, and it’s the same this year. I don’t know what it is about the Jayhawks and coach Bill Self, but they impress me every year. And this year is no different.

Final Four

On the left bracket we’re going to see Indiana and Michigan State meet in New Orleans. While Michigan State should be the obvious victor in this matchup, Indiana will be riding a string of huge victories that will carry them into the championship.

And on the right, the Seminoles and the Jayhawks will also be meeting in New Orleans. The inside play of Robinson will be too much for the Seminoles to handle, propelling Jayhawks into the NCAA championship tournament for the first time since 2008.

On April 2, Indiana’s amazing tournament run will end. Kansas has too many weapons inside and out and will win the university’s fourth national championship.

To see all my March Madness bracket picks, click here.