The Extra Word on … when Taylor Swift met Colonel Sanders

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Updated: January 22, 2015

Welcome to this regular TIW column, highlighting some of the stories and results that have caught the punting eye of our team.

 

The writing was on the wall for WWE betting when Brock Lesnar defeated the legendary Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30, ending the 'Taker's 21-0 record at the WWE's premier event of the year

The writing was on the wall for WWE betting when Brock Lesnar defeated the legendary Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30, ending the ‘Taker’s 21-0 record at the WWE’s premier event of the year

World Wrestling Entertainment occupies a unique position in that twilight world between sports and entertainment. But until 1989, pro wrestling was considered and treated purely as a sport. Tiring of the constraints of dealing with state athletic commissions and paying affiliation fees (and sailing very close to the wind in terms of the use of prohibited substances by wrestlers), then-WWF supremo Vince McMahon lifted the curtain on the entire industry admitting what (hopefully) everyone had suspected all along – that the matches and results were pre-determined. Offshore sites like 5Dimes and Bodog started taking bets on wrestling matches years ago, and the WWE is now a widely accepted product upon which to bet.

Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it – taking bets on a pre-determined result. It actually took the WWE nearly six months to realise, via a Deadspin article that raised a few eyebrows last year, that their storyline results were being leaked. Nobody knows for sure who’s responsible, but a mysterious Reddit user, who the WWE referred to as a “modern day Nostradamus”, seemed to have a good idea. Going by the alias Dolphins1925, the account holder was able to predict the results of every single WWE pay-per-view match since February of last year with near 100 per cent accuracy until the Deadspin article.

 

Asher Keddie (pictured) was the hot pick to win last year's Gold Logie, and duly saluted for favourites punters

Asher Keddie (pictured) was rated second favourite to win last year’s Gold Logie after a plunge on the Nine Network’s top bloke Scotty Cam proved off the mark

Scour the list of betting markets on any site and you’ll still find many pre-determined events on which punters can play – Logie Awards, Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Royal Baby specials, reality TV shows and player of the year/MVP awards. Results for any or all of these could easily be leaked prior to their announcement. We can state categorically that the name of the winner of the Australian of the Year in 2010 (Professor Patrick McGorry) was leaked ahead of time, as we were informed up to six weeks prior to the announced. But it’s not only leaks that threaten the integrity of these events (and markets) as the bizarre case of Triple J’s Hottest 100 has revealed in recent weeks.

Run in one form or another since 1988, the Australian youth radio station’s Hottest 100 is an annual music poll based on the votes of listeners to determine their favourite song of the year. Voting for the previous year’s songs is conducted on the Internet and begins roughly two weeks prior to the new year. Kids being kids, they like to stick to the indy flavour of Triple J and generally shun the biggest top 40 hits of the day. Then the #tay4hottest100campaign was started by former ABC reporter Mark Di Stefano when his article Why Isn’t Everyone Voting for ‘Shake It Off’ in the Hottest 100, was posted on January 13 by viral content site Buzzfeed Australia.

Purists argue that as a highly successful commercial artist who has never received airplay on Triple J, and as a result is not on the list of songs on the stations website for Hottest 100 voting, Swift should be ineligible.

The tongue-in-cheek call for action took off as fans of US artist Taylor Swift attempted to have their idol featured as part of the countdown – Melbourne fan Eliza Day had already used her 10 votes for her favourite tracks from Swift’s most recent album 1989. Within 24 hours Sportsbet had added the first single from her album 1989 (Shake It Off) to the market ($251.00). Purists argue that as a highly successful commercial artist who has never received airplay on Triple J, and as a result is not on the list of songs on the stations website for Hottest 100 voting, Swift should be ineligible. But the competition allows for listeners to add their own choices to the shortlist. Station manager Chris Scaddan told news.com.au on January 14 that the Swift action was completely within the rules.

As votes flowed in by the thousand, a fast food chain then chose to throw some fuel on the fire. On January 15, KFC launched a competition on its social medial platforms that referenced the #tay4hottest100campaign. Customers were invited to share their favourite Swift song with KFC for the chance to win a voucher for $19.89. The chain also claimed Swift had its vote for the Hottest 100. The competition caused a virtual uproar with many claiming it provided voters with an incentive for voting for Swift. According to the Hottest 100 rules “triple j reserves the right to remove artists from the list who have benefited from competitions or commercial campaigns that incentivise fans to vote for them”.

 

The addition of Taylor Swift's Shake It Off threw a proverbial bucket of razors into the hipster beard-fest that is Triple J's Hottest 100

The addition of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off threw a proverbial bucket of razors into the hipster beard-fest that is Triple J’s Hottest 100

On January 19, former Triple J presenter Angela Catterns claimed on 2UE that Swift had been disqualified from the competition because KFC had been endorsing her for the countdown. She later retracted the statement. The following day KFC deleted the Taylor Swift post and said it did not intend to influence the voting. Triple J and Scaddan have not commented on the Tay-FC promotion. But on January 20 Scaddan emailed all Triple j staff to remind then that the station was not commenting on the Taylor Swift saga and asked them not to talk to the media, family or friends about issue. Voting for the Hottest 100 closed at midnight on Sunday, January 19 and Triple J is unlikely to reveal if Swift will be included in the countdown until it starts on Monday (January 26).

Australia’s leading provide of online legal services for small and medium businesses, Lawpath, said the station could face legal action if it excluded Swift from the countdown. In an article posted to Lawpath website the company stated: “If removed, Triple J will have to prove that the song was voted for by the public as a result of ‘commercial campaigns’. If they cannot prove commercial influence the song may be excluded unfairly. Future court battles aren’t impossible to rule out here – as bizarre as it would be Triple J could find themselves having to ‘shake off’ a lawsuit.” Very droll.

So who’s going to top the 2014 Hottest 100? According to a Twitter account @socialhottest, run by Michael George, High by Peking Duk will prevail ahead of two Chet Faker songs 1998 and Talk is Cheap with Milky Chance’s Stolen Dance at No. 4. Swift will come in at No. 75 with Shake it Off. @socialhottest listed its predicted 100 songs to make the countdown on Twitter. It based its list on an analysis of 2000 choices for the countdown posted on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #hottest100. Mr George acknowledged that it had no way of accounting for voting not shared on social media. Two years ago the website Warmest 100 did come close to the final result by analysing social media posts – but that year Triple J’s voting portal featured an option to immediately post choices to social media. Not that we could give a stuff – it’s Katy Perry all the way in the TIW offices.

Note: The 2014 Hottest 100 will be broadcast throughout Triple J’s national Australian network from noon on Monday, January 26 (AEDT).

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