30 Aug

Rick Horrow and Fox unveil new show: Power of Sports

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POWER OF SPORTS PRESENTED BY GROUP ONE THOUSAND ONE

SET TO LAUNCH SEPTEMBER 4, 2017

NEW MONTHLY SHOW TO AIR EXCLUSIVELY ON FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST
AND OTHER PARTICIPATING FOX SPORTS REGIONAL NETWORKS

AUGUST 30, 2017 – Power of Sports presented by Group One Thousand One, is a new 30-minute
television show making its national debut on September 4, 2017 on FOX Sports Southwest and other
participating FOX Sports Regional Networks. Viewers are encouraged to check local listings for show times.
Each month’s show will share inspiring stories of people, organizations and communities connecting through sports to create opportunities for youth to join teams and find the motivator they need to go to school, stay in school and prepare for life beyond the classroom. Power of Sports will help show what’s possible when people work together for the greater good of others.

Hosted by sports industry insider Rick Horrow, Power of Sports will take viewers into conversations with industry thought leaders to understand how different sports and business organizations are creating grassroots opportunities to engage youth and help drive positive social change. Says Horrow, an executive producer of the show, “I am constantly amazed at the innovation taking place in our world, to better serve people and communities in need. As we consider stories for Power of Sports, we are humbled by the sacrifice and investment we see happening everywhere we go.”

Group One Thousand One CEO Dan Towriss commented, “In the realm of sports there are so many
inspiring and untold stories that need a place to be told. We hope that Power of Sports provides the platform to celebrate these amazing stories, both professional and amateur, with the simple goal of
inspiring others to step forward.”

Added Towriss, “Earlier this year, our Delaware Life team made the decision to go all in with
support for Fields & Futures, a local nonprofit in Oklahoma City. In collaboration with the local school
system and community, they are working together to create amazing opportunities for kids to participate
in sports and belong to something bigger than themselves. The scope of this effort encompasses a
comprehensive and sustainable rebuild of all 42 athletic fields in Oklahoma’s largest school district, a
district that serves more than 46,000 students from predominantly high poverty neighborhoods. The
desired outcome is a bigger opportunity and a brighter future for each kid that steps on the field, court or
track. Power of Sports has been created to tell these stories and to remind us there are children all across
the country who, if given a chance, want to get in the game. It is our hope this show will help inspire and
empower viewers to find ways they can help. We look forward to sharing the Fields & Futures story and
look forward to learning about similar initiatives taking place across America.”

Power of Sports is produced and directed by V2 Content, owned by Tiffany and Brandon Verzal.

For more information, email info@powerofsports.tv. Follow Power of Sports Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram @PowerofSportsTV.

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28 Aug

15 to watch + tech week of 82817

  1. More change is coming to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center – and we don’t just mean the gradual approach of Fall. Tennis fans flocking to the 2017 U.S. Open, both in person and via television, can gauge whether modifications made to dampen sound under the $150 million retractable roof that debuted over Arthur Ashe last year are working, as well as witness progress on the complex’s next major project, the construction of a new 14,000 seat Louis Armstrong Stadium scheduled to open in 2018. And in July, the USTA announced that total player compensation for this year’s Open will top $50 million “for the first time,” with a record $3.7 million going to “each of the singles champions.” The total purse will be $50.4 million, a nearly 9% “increase from last year.” Not as welcome are ticket price increases for fans. While the $60 daily grounds pass remains one of the best values in sports, many already-pricey seat packages have seen a double-digit increases over 2016, such as fourth-row tickets cited by Sports Illustrated that went from $17,560 to $23,960. Like all mega events, basic principles of supply and demand reign at Flushing Meadows – especially in the “twilight years” of tennis’ reigning global ambassador Roger Federer.
  2. StubHub Signs 8 New NCAA Properties. As the 2017-28 NCAA football season gets underway, StubHub ups its collegiate partnership roster to 50+, signing 8 new properties and renewing ten with Power 5 and mid-major conference schools. Through StubHub’s strategic partnership integration with industry-leader Paciolan, season ticket holders for the following eight schools will access StubHub as the athletic programs’ official ticket marketplace: University of Washington, University of Pennsylvania, Tulane University, Northwestern University, University of Cincinnati, University of Houston, University of Memphis, and University of Tulsa. Among renewed schools are University of Alabama, University of Georgia, University of Oklahoma, Florida State University, and University of Pittsburgh. Together, StubHub and Paciolan offer partners proprietary ticketing integration technology that provides buyers and sellers an intuitive, industry-leading ticketing experience. They also provide a wealth of analytics from StubHub’s 16+ years of operation for every partner – by far the most robust in the industry. Coupled with the ever-growing appetite for properties to better understand its consumer by leaning on StubHub’s breadth and depth of data, the long list of these new and renewed deals is a signal that the StubHub-Paciolan partnership is something that no one else can offer in the ever-competitive, ever-changing collegiate market.
  3. The Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim has announced an upgraded food experience during event week. byte @ THE #IWiTCHAMP will take place September 8-9 onsite at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Said Harry Hardy, Tournament Director, “byte will highlight some of the best restaurants, chefs, and breweries Central Indiana has to offer.” byte @ THE #IWiTCHAMP is one of several ancillary events furthering the tournament mission by providing exposure and funds for initiatives focusing on women in tech and youth STEM and robotics programs. As such, byte will showcase compelling stories of diversity and highlight female chefs, restaurateurs, and brewers. “Indy’s culinary scene, which has attracted national attention over the past few years, is ripe for hosting a food experience that highlights the achievements of our women-owned restaurants and chefs,” said Lauren Petersen, Director of Events and Community Engagement at TechPoint and chair of the IWiT Championship Ancillary Events Committee. One notable byte participant is Sabrina Richards, a 13 year-old local chef, who has been featured on Rachael Ray’s Kids Cookoff, Disney’s Food and Wine Festival and local Indy events. The IWiT Championship will activate diverse corners of America’s tech ecosystem, while highlighting Indianapolis’ vibrant food scene and supporting exceptional women entrepreneurs, chefs, brewers, and more.
  4. Upon the club’s October 16 season opening, Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Billy Payne will step down from his longtime leadership position. According to the Augusta Chronicle, current Masters Tournament Competition Committee Chair Fred Ridley is set to replace Payne, who served as chairman for 11 years. Payne’s legacy will be a terrific one: as the sixth chairman of Augusta National, he invited the first women to join the club, “vastly increased” the Master’s digital presence, and transformed the Augusta grounds “with an aggressive program that included improvements in parking, on-course amenities, hospitality and even how patrons arrived at the course.” In 2007 alone, Payne helped land a new Masters TV contract with ESPN and added Mercedes-Benz and Rolex as the Master’s first two global sponsors. Going forward, Augusta National Golf Club now “has a bigger voice in the game’s issues and seems to operate with more autonomy,” setting up Fred Ridley for success. Through his stewardship, Payne achieved a rare balance: he held fast to the heritage of the club while looking beyond Magnolia Lane to see how the Masters could wield influence around the world for more than just one week each year.
  5. With college football season mere days away, the country is gearing up for the Chik-Fil-A Kickoff games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Two marquee games – to be held on Saturday, September 2, and Monday, September 4, respectively – will feature the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Florida State Seminoles and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets against the Tennessee Volunteers. Last year, the NFL was plagued with sub-par viewership numbers from season start-to-finish, but NCAA football churned out more impressive numbers. According to Sports Illustrated, last year’s Week 1 in CFB had viewership up 22% from the previous year, and that positive trend continued for weeks. With Week 1 this year promising to feature some thrilling contests, the NCAA expects this trend to continue. On the other hand, overall CFB crowds did slightly decrease last year for the sixth consecutive year. The decrease was small, so the NCAA hopes to buck this trend starting next week.
  6. Protesters recently gathered at the NFL’s HQ to support free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick. According to USA Today, The United We Stand Rally Coalition organized the gathering. Protesters were heard shouting “Boycott, Boycott” and “Stand with Kaep, Stand with Kaep” in front of the building. Rally organizers requested a meeting with NFL officials to “discuss potential policy changes and methods to support and protect players who are socially active.” The organizers further noted that if they are not granted a meeting by September 7, they will boycott the NFL “and singled out Verizon as a league sponsor, urging those in attendance to potentially change their service provider to competitors.” The NAACP also requested a meeting with the NFL to discuss the current handling of the Colin Kaepernick situation. While these meetings might be productive, Commissioner Roger Goodell is not the person who would sign Kaepernick to a contract – a team owner would. While including Verizon in the protest may improve short-term leverage, long term NFL policy change will need to come from within, and earn the 32 owners’ support.
  7. Barely a year after the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the Brazilian government is stuck at another roadblock. According to Bloomberg, the Brazilian government is trying yet again to sell Olympic Park after a failed attempt last year. The government is pushing forward with its Investment Partnership Program (PPI), which includes “multi-sport arena 1, 2, and 3, the velodrome, the tennis center and the car park.” The government is aiming to finish the sale “by the end of next year,” relieving itself of the significant maintenance costs the facilities incur. So far this year, the government has paid $14.2 million to maintain Olympic Park, though the facilities are mostly abandoned, damaged, and breaking down. A fire recently destroyed part of the velodrome roof, meaning a potential buyer would have to spend money to fix the facility despite it only being a year old. The Rio Games will end up being the latest cautionary tale for cities vying for Olympic hosting honors, in line behind Montreal, Athens, Sochi, and others.
  8. Even with the Chargers leaving, San Diego State University is still in the hunt for a new stadium. According to SportsBusiness Journal, SDSU AD John David Wicker confirmed that the university is working with the city to find a potential stadium site near campus. As of now, Mission Valley remains the most promising area in which to build. With the Chargers in Los Angeles, the Aztecs are now the main tenants of Qualcomm Stadium, although facility officials recently announced that the stadium will be closing its gates for good on December 31, 2018. This does not change SDSU’s plan to land a new stadium, though it does put a hard deadline on the date they need to move out. One of the main reasons that the Chargers left San Diego was their inability to work with the city to build a new stadium. But unlike a professional sports team, a university cannot just uproot and move. Since no other existing facility in the region satisfies SDSU’s stadium needs, a new solution needs to be reached pronto.
  9. Despite officials claiming recently that the roof at Mercedes-Benz Stadium would be ready for opening day, problems ensue. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the sunflower-shaped roof has required “more money, time, steel and stress than anyone involved expected.” The roof is still not ready to open completely and properly, meaning all games and events will have to be run under a closed stadium roof for now. Over the past few months, Atlanta Falcons officials have listed multiple dates when they expect the roof to be ready to operate; now they say that they do not “know exactly when they’ll be able to open the roof for a game.” Architectural firm HOK, which won the $35 million assignment, is responsible for the roof design and implementation. Firm Senior Vice President Bill Johnson said that the difficulties “had a lot to do with the fact that this roof [design] has never been done before.” Innovation always breeds risk, and while the Mercedes-Benz roof design was heavily vetted, simulated, and tested, real world conditions can never be duplicated 100%. Expensive lessons learned.
  10. In wake of the Manchester Arena attack and other acts of terrorism across Europe these past few months, English Premier League clubs have started to consult with counter-terrorism police. According to the London Daily Mail, EPL clubs have started to worry more that their stadiums will be targeted by terrorists, prompting them to take proactive steps to stop this from happening. Manchester United was the first club to employ a counter-terrorism chief, but others are now following that club’s footsteps. Recently, “a summit was held with every top-flight head of safety and security” in attendance to ensure safety at all matches this season. The counter-terrorism experts not only spoke about what preventative safety measures to take, but also what to do in the event of a terrorist attack during a game. In Manchester and across the country, “rings of steel have been put in place around a number of top-flight grounds including Old Trafford and the Etihad.” While it’s numbingly sad that such measures have to be taken, “better safe than sorry” has never taken on such importance. One more life lost to terrorism is one too many.
  11. Athletes such as LeBron James have openly condemned President Trump and the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. But Buffalo Bills wide receiver Anquan Boldin has taken his disapproval one step further. According to the AP, Boldin has decided to hang up his cleats and pads and retire in wake of the Charlottesville conflict. The 14-year veteran was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2015, and this act only exemplifies how worthy he is of the award. “There’s not enough money in this world for me to continue to allow the things that are going on to continue to spread,” said Boldin. “Anybody with any sense can see how divided we are as a country, and Charlottesville only magnified what we were already seeing.” Boldin further stated that not only players need to use their platform to speak out against social injustices, but coaches, GMs, and owners need to use their status to push for change. While there’s not a straight line between Charlottesville and Boldin’s decision to step down, he act may inspire many more high-profile athletes to speak out, and take specific, concerted action to correct social injustice and affect needed change.
  12. The San Francisco 49ers have one of the nicest, newest stadiums in the NFL, but it just doesn’t feel like “home.” According to the Sacramento Bee, the 49ers have made a number of aesthetic changes to Levi’s Stadium this past offseason in response to critiques that the venue was “too bland and didn’t have enough of a home-stadium feel.” The four-year-old stadium got a touchup with the addition of 100 portraits and banners, a new “ring of honor” atop its suite tower, and “splashes of gold.” The “ring of honor” features jerseys that belonged to 49ers legends, such as Steve Young’s No. 8. 49ers President Al Guido said, “A lot of people kept saying, ‘You know, we need to add some gold into the building. It feels like it was red and white. And we’re not the Arizona Cardinals. We’re the San Francisco 49ers – so where’s all the gold?’” Sounds like the Niners and Levi’s Stadium officials added the gold so they wouldn’t be panned….
  13. One might think that adding an all-star to your lineup would boost ticket sales. That is not the case in Oklahoma City. According to the Oklahoman, the addition of Paul George has hardly boosted the NBA Thunder’s ticket sales, but the team is not concerned. The Thunder have maintained such a high level of popularity over the years that there was little “inventory available to sell or to market” upon George’s arrival. For the last seven seasons, the “Thunder have had a season-ticket renewal rate between 94-96%,” despite losing stars Kevin Durant and James Harden. Sources close to the team noted that while ticket sales might not reflect the impact George has had on the team and market, a better indicator will be merchandise sales and TV ratings. “We’ve seen a lot of demand for Paul George T-shirts…but sometime around training camp or so we’ll be able to show what the last two or three months have looked like and the impact,” said Thunder Senior VP Brian Byrnes. Lack of ticket inventory is always a sneakily good problem for a team to have – and the Thunder are clearly well-positioned for success on and off the court this season.
  14. In wake of the blockbuster move between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics to trade Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick, 2K Sports is left scrambling. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, less than a month before NBA 2K18 is set to hit the stores, cover athlete Kyrie Irving has been traded. Irving is set to be featured on the cover in a white Cavs jersey shooting a reverse layup. 2K Sports has not yet commented on whether or not it will try to remove Irving from the cover; “it is possible the game is too far into production to change things.” The gaming agency has never faced this problem before – “never had a cover athlete traded before the season even starts.” Acknowledging the situation, the NBA2K Twitter accounted tweeted a link to the cover with the caption, “Whoops.” While “Whoops” is a clever start, what 2K Sports really needs is some new art.
  15. Expanding its portfolio yet again, Manchester City’s parent company, City Football Group, has made another club acquisition. According to the London Guardian, City Football Group purchased a major stake in La Liga side Girona. The 44.3% share the company bought in Girona equates to the share that Girona Football Group owns, “the agency owned by Man City Manager Pep Guardiola’s brother Pere.” After being promoted to La Liga last season, Girona is playing in Spain’s top flight for the first time in the club’s 87-year history. Negotiations for the takeover were said to have begun last year, with City Football Group citing the Catalan club’s “on- and off-field potential, together with a positive academy track record” playing a major role in validating the purchase. City Football Group now has stakes in Manchester City, Girona, MLS club New York City FC, Australian club Melbourne City FC, Japanese club Yokohama F. Marinos, and Uruguayan Club Atletico Torque. Five continents down. Only Africa and Antarctica to go.  

Top Sports Tech

  1. On Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor competed in one of the most highly-anticipated boxing in the last decade. Both athletes use social media extensively to build their public brand, but the days leading up to the fight saw a large spike in mentions and other interactivity on many social media platforms. Although Twitter was the site where they made most of their posts and headlines, another form of social media changed the way the fight was viewed by thousands of people. The two most controversial social media platforms became Periscope and Facebook, which some fight viewers used to live-stream the bout for thousands of others to see for free. As a result, many viewers did not need any type of livestream link to watch. All they needed was someone on Facebook to share the live stream from another person, or for someone to do the same on Periscope. Once word spread via Facebook and Twitter, the secret was out and thousands were able to watch a version of the fight for free. How many people? During the 10th and final round, one Facebook Live stream had over 310,000 people watching at once. Periscope became a trending topic on Twitter as the fight raged on, as more and more people turned to the livestream site to be able to view the fight. Before the fight took place, Showtime tried to curb any illegal live streams by obtaining a preliminary injunction from a federal court in California. It could take months for Showtime to succeed in any sort of legal action to prevent this from happening in the future. As for now, the people who took advantage of free live streaming can revel in their victory.
  2. Riddell Sports has created a new “Speed Flex” helmet that could change the way the public views the danger of playing football today. In the past few years, a bevy of research has been conducted implicating playing football with severe head trauma. This head trauma has taken the name of CTE, short for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE has tilted public opinion and youth players away from football. As parents look to keep their children safe from lasting negative effects, youth sport participation numbers have increased in both baseball and basketball in the last three years. In Nebraska, Omaha public school football players will be equipped with the high-tech helmets in order to better protect players during their games. The helmet has built in sensors that detect exactly how hard each player gets hit, and will alert the training staff during an especially hard hit that causes concern. OPS supervisor of athletics Steve Eubanks had this to say of the implementation of the new helmets: “We really have one shot to get this right, so we’re taking our time.” If the use of Speed Flex helmets works in Omaha public schools, we could see a change in the way the public views the safety of football. Only time will tell if this new technology could help save football in the long run.
  3. Aaron Gordon is known for his elite athleticism and dunking ability on the basketball court. The 2016 NBA Sprite Slam Dunk Contest runner-up, Gordon’s brand shot up after a breakthrough showcase of his leaping ability and creativity. As Gordon nears his fourth NBA season, he is in line to receive a massive payday through restricted free-agency next summer. Now, Gordon is helping develop a mental-training application to help athletes better prepare for competition in other ways than physical training. Gordon is known to meditate before games on his phone, using the in-development application before its release sometime in the next year. “There’s a lot of things you can meditate before the game so when you get to the game, you feel like you’ve already played,” Gordon said. “You feel like you’ve already won.” In the NBA, players are pushed to physical limits as far as any athlete in the world. Combine that with the pressure these players face from the intricacy of the game, and it seems that an application to help hone mental skills along with physical skills may be a new league essential.
  4. In Major League Baseball, there is no greater challenge than consistently hitting off of elite pitching. Teams are always looking for new ways to gain a competitive advantage, and virtual reality may be the frontier for professional baseball position players. The Arizona Diamondbacks are expected to adopt VR technology to help prepare their players better for the tall task of hitting major league pitching. The Diamondbacks would join the Tampa Bay Rays as the only MLB teams to use VR in game preparation. On the SportTechie Podcast, Arizona Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall said, “I think it’s going to become a big part of the preparation for each team as well. I think we’re going to start seeing the installation of virtual reality downstairs in the clubhouses or in areas where you do have space available, so they can go in and prepare for [pitchers].” It is clear that along with the increased, and basically mandatory, use of sabermetrics and advanced statistics in MLB, teams are continuing to look to data and technology to help their team gain an advantage. In the next few years, we could see the number of MLB teams using VR to train their players spike from just two today to over a dozen.
  5. Sport’s Illustrated Play mobile application, also known as the Play App, is expanding to include an all in one application for youth sports teams, players, and coaches. On the app, coaches can set schedules, rosters, and communicate about various topics with players and parents. In the past, SI Play was only available to certain leagues. Today, SI Play is available to any coach or administrator looking to organize information for their youth sports league. Said SI Play CEO Jeff Karp, “Previously, software to build a website, register your team, navigate payments, help with scheduling, store photos and videos, was disparate. With SI Play, which is really unique, what we’re offering is the technology that combines that, and with the SI Play app, it essentially comes to a mobile-first environment…Now, we can see youth coaches and leagues change for the better in the coming year. This application will help players earn the same amount of playing time, leaving parents and coaches happy alike. Time will tell just how far-reaching the Play App will take youth leagues across the country.