RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 4 : MAYOR’S EDITION
with Jacob Aere
- Fully 14.8% of all World Series ads focused on giving back and corporate social responsibility. There were more advocacy and corporate social responsibility ads aired during the first four games of the World Series than any other type of ad outside of auto makers, according to data from Advertising Analytics, a strategy firm that specializes in political and issues advertising. The World Series attracted mostly defense, enterprise technology, and healthcare ads. While this was a departure from typical sports championships, in which consumer package goods and retail ads typically dominate, Axios noted World Series games in DC presented a juicy opportunity for brands to “reach Washington decision-makers in a casual environment. While many marquee advertisers sponsor events around Washington DC, there are few games that will have as high of an impact and as engaged of an audience as a World Series that includes a Washington team.” As the hyper-political environment in Washington becomes more contentious, companies are pressured to take a stand on more issues than they have in the past – and this is reflected in their marketing initiatives. Expect this trend to continue at least through the 2020 election cycle.
- A college players’ rights group has entered into a partnership with the NFL Players Association to explore how to maximize name, image, and likeness rights. A day before the NCAA announcement last week, the NFLPA and National College Players Association (NCPA) announced jointly that the partnership will “explore opportunities for” college athletes in merchandise, gaming, licensed products, and “how recent developments impact television broadcast revenues in pursuit of fairness.” California’s Fair Pay to Play Act granting college athletes in that state the ability to profit off their name, image, and likeness goes into effect in 2023. A similar bill has been proposed in Florida, but it would go into effect far sooner—July 1, 2020. A Pennsylvania bill is expected to be introduced soon. Were college players able to unionize in a similar fashion to the way NFL players are able to collectively bargain, it would put even more pressure on the NCAA to craft new rules that give student athletes the same rights that all their classmates on campus currently enjoy.
- Premier League Primary Stars USA visits Austin elementary school for soccer-themed learning. On October 25, Austin, Texas elementary school students worked side-by-side with Premier League stars during a soccer-themed educational experience. Premier League, the top level of the English soccer league system and EVERFI, a leader in driving social change through technology and education, recently joined forces to bring an interactive soccer-themed education program to students at Perez Elementary School in Austin. The event was part of the Premier League Primary Stars USA program, an educational initiative focused on health and wellness and social and emotional learning skills. Representatives from the Premier League and associated pro soccer clubs led a digital learning session, a hands-on soccer skills clinic, and a school-wide assembly centered on areas of critical emotional development. Perez students also engaged with visiting soccer stars, met mascots from four Premier League clubs, and saw the iconic Premier League trophy. On hand for the event were Premier League star winger and ambassador Shaun Wright-Phillips, EVERFI Global CMO Brian Cooley, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, and youth coaches from clubs including Aston Villa, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Wolverhampton.
- Kansas City, here we come. Our “Power of Sports” program heads to Kansas City this month, highlighting community outreach programs, culturally significant sites, and people who have made a difference through sports. This month, host Rick Horrow visits the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to speak with President Bob Kendrick about the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Negro Leagues coming up next year and the museum’s role in the celebration and in the community. He also checks in on two of the Kansas City Royals’ youth outreach programs: Royalty Fields grants and a recurring Special Olympics clinic, and hears from James McGinnis, a high school football player from the KC Metro, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and used the Chiefs’ success last season to motivate his recovery. Our Game Changer segment features an interview with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue filmed in early October at a Sport Business Handbook contributor symposium hosted by EVERFI at their Washington, DC headquarters
- The Orlando Magic have “filed an updated master plan” for their downtown Orlando Sports + Entertainment District that is “expected to more than double” the original $200 million project budget. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the mixed-use district will be built “starting next year on 8.4 acres across from Amway Center.” Magic Chief Communications Officer Joel Glass said the project will now cost “well over” $500 million. The district will “contain nearly 110,000 square feet of retail space, a conference center hotel with 80,000 square feet of event space, offices, apartments and a 2,500-space parking garage.” The updated plan maintains the original concept from 2018 but “increases the number of hotel rooms by 50 and more than doubles the amount of office space from the original 200,000 square feet to 420,000 square feet.” District Director Pat Gallagher said that the office tower “would now rise to 18 stories, which includes the ground-floor retail, multilevel parking structure and commercial office space.” The Sentinel notes the Magic’s new headquarters “would occupy 40,000 square feet in the office tower,” or close to 10%.
- Unsung World Series winner this year: Palm Beach County, FL. The most publicized “first” this year involves the visiting team winning every World Series game. However, maybe one of the most important economic “firsts” is the first time the World Series finalists shared a Spring Training facility: the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The 7,700-seat stadium also features six practice fields each for the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros. The 160-acre site also includes a 1.8 mile public walk trail and other facilities. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission touts the facility as a major economic generator for the county, as it also hosts over 1,400 youth and tournament baseball games each year. Look for a series of major announcements by the county and sports commission over the next two months.
- San Diego State is now offering the city of San Diego $87.7 million for Mission Valley stadium site. San Diego State University is "now offering to pay” the city $19.5 million more than before to purchase the Mission Valley stadium property formerly occupied by the Chargers. According to the letter delivered last Monday to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, SDSU’s new offer is $87.7 million, which consists of a “revised purchase price” of $86.2 million for 135 acres of land, plus an estimated $1.5 million to “account for a portion of the site’s appreciation” since 2017. In addition, SDSU is “proposing to take over the portion” of Murphy Canyon Creek immediately adjacent to the site “without requiring the city to pay for any past-due maintenance,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The news comes as SDSU cracked the Associated Press college football Top 25 for the first time in many years (they are now #24), an achievement that should aid local enthusiasm for the SDSU West project, as a new football/soccer stadium is part of the master plan.
- Parisian soccer club PSG goes green with Gaussin transport deal. According to SportsPro, French soccer giant Paris Saint-Germain has signed a strategic partnership with the Gaussin Group for the supply of self-driving, 100% electric vehicles for public transport and goods transport. The long-term agreement includes equipment for all of the Ligue 1 champions’ infrastructure, including their new training complex which will open its doors in 2022. The deal also falls in line with PSG’s ambition to utilize innovations in sustainable development and autonomous mobility, especially with regard to the practice facility as it bids to become the first recognized Smart City in sports. The Gaussin Group will initially undertake research to understand where to best deploy its autonomous and electric mobility solutions before rolling out its products where it best suits the needs of the club. This deal marks a movement for sports franchises to be more environmentally conscious of their off-field impacts.
- Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris donates $1 million to charities. According to 247 Sports, Harris announced a combined donation of $1 million to assist nine different charities in Philadelphia. He announced the charities and the dollar amount for each during a community draft at a local elementary school. The benefitting organizations include the Center for Black Educator Development which received $300,000; Read by 4th was given $200,000; The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools, and Legends Academy were all given $100,000; World Literacy Foundation and True Love Missions each received $75,000; and both WUFSD Wynadanch Memorial High School and Team Up Philly were given $25,000. Although Harris was traded just eight months ago from the Los Angeles Clippers, the basketball star seems to be investing heavily in the youth of Philadelphia, a city facing a major teacher shortage and in which two-thirds of third graders can’t read at grade level.
- Call of Duty League launches in January, 2020. According to BusinessWire, Activision Blizzard Esports announced the inaugural season of the Call of Duty League will begin with the Call of Duty League Launch Weekend at the Minneapolis Armory January 24-26, 2020. The event will be hosted by Minnesota Røkkr, which is the Call of Duty League team operated by WISE Ventures Esports, under the ownership of the Minnesota Viking owner Wilf family and tech investor Gary Vaynerchuk. The league will feature all 12 of the professional Call of Duty League teams competing across three days, and the opening weekend will feature additional fan and player experiences to celebrate the launch of Activision Blizzard Esports’ highly anticipated new city-based league. In a concept that should appeal to traditional sports fans, the Call of Duty League follows a home-vs-away format with 5-versus-5 professional match play. Throughout the season, each team will host “Home Series” weekends in their market, with multiple pro teams competing at each which will draw in crowds to take part in the events and participate in one of the most far-reaching video game series ever created.