29 Apr

10 To Watch : Mayors Edition 42919

10 TO WATCH : RICK HORROW’S TOP SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 29 : MAYORS EDITION with Jacob Aere

  1. Nashville hosted a “record-breaking weekend” for the NFL Draft, as attendance figures released Saturday by the league noted the city “welcomed an estimated 600,000 draft-goers across the three day event,” according to the Tennessean. For first person evidence of the Draft’s impact well beyond the bottom line, consider what country music artist Dierks Bentley, who closed out the NFL Draft main stage on Saturday with a post-selection concert, said prior to performing, “This must be the greatest day I’ve ever had here in Nashville.” To his point, a “sea of swarming football fans…greeted Bentley with drink-raising elation as he ran on to the towering Lower Broadway draft stage.” The NFL Draft in Dallas last year had a $125 million economic impact, with people spending $74 million. Officials with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. believe the city will far surpass the number from last year. And even though Sin City bills itself as the Entertainment Capital of the World, Nashville set the bar pretty high for Las Vegas, next year’s NFL Draft host. Thanks to Nashville, other cities jumping in line to host the Draft must even more sharply evaluate how they can maximize locale, entertainment offerings, and activation to draw top crowds.
  2. The 145th Kentucky Derby will feature lots of hooves…and claws. The annual Running of the Roses is always primetime for rising brands to launch new activations, and this year is no exception. To this point, White Claw Hard Seltzer has signed on as a Kentucky Derby sponsor, marking the event’s first sponsorship in the hard seltzer category. The agreement includes custom White Claw-branded scarves and pocket squares, which will be handed out to fans onsite, as well as a custom White Claw Snapchat filter that will debut Friday, May 3 around the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. In addition, the beverage brand will have an official area in the infield at turn three, with product available for purchase. 2019 may go down as the Year of the Seltzer – from the omnipresent LaCroix sparkling water to its alcoholic brethren. But it’s doubtful it will be another year for a Triple Crown winner, as there’s a lot more parity in the strong Kentucky Derby field this year.
  3. Collective bargaining agreement clause encourages NFL owners to maintain minority ownership in On Location Experiences. According to JohnWallStreet, reports indicate that Endeavor had agreed in principle to acquire the 80% of On Location Experiences owned by Bruin Sports Capital, Carlyle Group, and RedBird Capital for a figure upwards of $700 million, with the NFL retaining their 20% stake. The NFL generates 40% of OLE’s profits, but league was never a threat to re-acquire the majority stake it sold to the private equity firms for $70 million in 2015. That’s because as a minority shareholder, the league collects its cut of the profits “free and clear. There’s no risk involved, they don’t have any expenses.” If the NFL took control of OLE once again, it “assumes 100% of the corporate tax responsibilities, without an allowance for any of the expenses.” Remember, under the league’s current CBA, NFL players are entitled to 48.5% of gross (not net) revenues – yet another good reason for the league to keep its minority shareholder stance.
  4. The NHL has confirmed that it will purchase carbon credits to offset the airline emissions produced during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The announcement, which coincided with Earth Day, is part of the NHL’s ongoing efforts to tackle climate change. This effort marks the first time the NHL will offset carbon emissions. The league will purchase credits for all four rounds of the competition which will equate to approximately 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions in total. The NHL will purchase carbon offsets from a non-profit organization based in Oregon that provides environmentally friendly product solutions. For the first playoff round, the NHL offset more than 465 tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of taking 99 cars off the road for one year. NHL Green, which was launched in 2010, is committed to developing green business practices across the league and maintaining efforts to preserve the environment. Last season, the NHL released its second sustainability report which detailed the body’s efforts to manage its environmental impacts on all levels of hockey.
  5. Ahead of National Golf Day, the National Golf Foundation has released its annual Golf Industry Report, a comprehensive state-of-the-industry overview. The Golf Industry Report aims to provide the most holistic view of the business of golf and the health of the game within the U.S. According to the latest numbers, golf’s participation base remains stable, with an estimated 24.2 million people who played golf on a course in 2018 — a slight increase from 23.8 million a year earlier. Almost as many people play off-course forms of the game, with 23 million hitting golf balls with clubs at golf-entertainment facilities like Topgolf and Drive Shack, indoor simulators and driving ranges. With 9.3 million people exclusively playing golf off-course, the game’s overall participant pool has increased 4% to 33.5 million. Despite rainy weather’s impact last year, there are 14.7 million people who didn’t play golf last year but say they are “very interested” in playing golf on a course. Another great stat – the U.S. remains the best-supplied golf market in the world, with 14,613 facilities and 16,693 courses – more than 75% of which are open to all players, the highest public-to-private ratio in history.
  6. Serena Williams has become the latest athlete to announce her own VC firm. In an Instagram post, the 23-time Grand Slam winner revealed that Serena Ventures has quietly been investing in a variety of startups since 2014. The firm’s website counts 30 startups in its portfolio, with an accumulated market capitalization of $12 billion. Among the startups that the investment vehicle has already backed are meal-delivery services Daily Harvest and Gobble, home fitness system Tonal, women’s razor brand Billie, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, female co-working startup the Wing, and Propel, which offers financial software for low-income Americans. Serena Ventures’ website states that the company invests in firms that “embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity.” According to Forbes, Williams was the highest paid female athlete in 2018, bringing in $18.1 million thanks to an unmatched endorsement portfolio that includes deals with Nike, Intel, Audemars Piguet, JPMorgan Chase, Lincoln, Gatorade, and Beats. This week, Serena is involved in another massive undertaking, as she and sister Venus co-chair the prestigious Met Gala, which benefits the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City.
  7. Sneaker marketplace StockX to cross $1 billion mark with new investor. Online sneaker resale marketplace StockX is in "advanced talks” to be valued at least $1 billion in a new round of financing, according to Recode. Sources said that DST Global, the venture firm run by Russian-American billionaire Yuri Milner, is “expected to lead the deal.” The exact size of the financing round “couldn’t be learned.” StockX is “planning to make some other major company announcements when it unveils the fundraising round, which is likely to be closed in the next few weeks.” StockX launched in 2016 and was founded by Cleveland Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert, COO Greg Schwartz, and CEO Josh Luber. StockX plays “matchmaker for sneakerheads looking for rare kicks and resellers looking to flip unworn, in-demand sneakers for a profit.” The company has “benefited from the rising popularity of acquiring tough-to-buy sneakers, especially among millennial men and teenage boys.” You only have to look at the success of hard-to-find designer handbag sites Baghunter and Rebag to realize that a dedicated sneaker marketplace foots a lot of potential.
  8. The WNBA slams home a multi-year broadcast deal with CBS. Starting this season, the broadcaster will feature 40 matches per season starting May 25 as the Minnesota Lynx host the Chicago Sky during the opening weekend of the new WNBA campaign. According to SportsPro, 11-time All-Star Sue Bird and the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm will make six appearances on CBS Sports Network this season, including a WNBA finals rematch against the Washington Mystics on June 14. The 12-team WNBA has been consistently overshadowed by their male counterpart NBA league, however the new CBS broadcasts may pave ways for the women’s league to find new economic avenues and exposure to different fans. If the WNBA wants to take their push one step further, the next investment would be further exposure on OTT platforms since the sports market is trending toward more a-la-carte basketball media interactivity. 
  9. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge is bringing together a 12-team field of NCAA coaches and celebrities for a charity golf tournament. According to tigernet.com, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge has provided a total of $7.6 million in charity over the past 12 years. Proceeds from the event benefit scholarships at the participating universities and charitable foundations selected by the coaches. Some of the names competing in the tournament include: Urban Meyer, Dabo Swinney, Brian Kelly, and Kirby Smart. The nation’s premier head coach and celebrity golf event will be held April 28-30 outside Atlanta and will be broadcast on ESPN in August and December. This tournament allows college rivalries to exist off the gridiron while the total prize purse of $650,000 incentivizes the coaches to deliver their best game on the green for the benefit of students and other charities.
  10. NBA Cares Community Assist Award nominees highlight the best of charity work in basketball. According to CBS 3 Philly, the season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award recognizes an NBA player who reflects the passion of giving back to a community. The ten 2019 finalists include the Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris, Brooklyn Nets’ Jarrett Allen, Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal, Memphis Grizzlies’ Mike Conley, Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, Portland Trailblazers’ Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks’ Khris Middleton, Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, Dallas Mavericks’ Dwight Powell, and Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam. Each player has gone above and beyond off the court this season. Harris, for example, has pushed for the construction of a school in Haiti and for further representation and fair treatment of women in sports and technology. The awards will be announced at the 2019 NBA Awards on June 24 with some of the game’s most recognizable names up for the award.

29 Apr

15+5+5 To Watch 42919

15 TO WATCH/5 SPORTS TECH/POWER OF SPORTS 5: RICK HORROW’S TOP SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 29 with Jacob Aere

  1. Nashville hosted a “record-breaking weekend” for the NFL Draft, as attendance figures released Saturday by the league noted the city “welcomed an estimated 600,000 draft-goers across the three day event,” according to the Tennessean. For first person evidence of the Draft’s impact well beyond the bottom line, consider what country music artist Dierks Bentley, who closed out the NFL Draft main stage on Saturday with a post-selection concert, said prior to performing, “This must be the greatest day I’ve ever had here in Nashville.” To his point, a “sea of swarming football fans…greeted Bentley with drink-raising elation as he ran on to the towering Lower Broadway draft stage.” The NFL Draft in Dallas last year had a $125 million economic impact, with people spending $74 million. Officials with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. believe the city will far surpass the number from last year. And even though Sin City bills itself as the Entertainment Capital of the World, Nashville set the bar pretty high for Las Vegas, next year’s NFL Draft host. Thanks to Nashville, other cities jumping in line to host the Draft must even more sharply evaluate how they can maximize locale, entertainment offerings, and activation to draw top crowds.
  2. Besides drafted athletes preparing to sign multimillion dollar contracts, big winners coming out of the NFL Draft include CAA and Instagram. CAA Football for the fourth year in a row led all agencies, with six players taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, highlighted by the No. 2 pick Nick Bosa (49ers) and No. 5 pick Devin White (Buccaneers). Lagardere Sports tied CAA with three players represented in the top 10. In all, 18 different agencies represented players picked in the first round, up from 17 last year. The NFL also partnered with Instagram ahead of the Draft in a move that allowed fans to directly buy merchandise worn by the top picks. Draftees were photographed wearing New Era Draft Day hats, which were then shared on the official NFL account with Instagram shopping tags, which led users to the NFL Shop to purchase. Shopping and ecommerce on Instagram has grown exponentially over the last year. 130 million people interact with Instagram’s shopping tags each month, and while only a fraction of these interactions focus on sports-related merchandise and services, that segment is growing fast.
  3. The 145th Kentucky Derby will feature lots of hooves…and claws. The annual Running of the Roses is always primetime for rising brands to launch new activations, and this year is no exception. To this point, White Claw Hard Seltzer has signed on as a Kentucky Derby sponsor, marking the event’s first sponsorship in the hard seltzer category. The agreement includes custom White Claw-branded scarves and pocket squares, which will be handed out to fans onsite, as well as a custom White Claw Snapchat filter that will debut Friday, May 3 around the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. In addition, the beverage brand will have an official area in the infield at turn three, with product available for purchase. 2019 may go down as the Year of the Seltzer – from the omnipresent LaCroix sparkling water to its alcoholic brethren. But it’s doubtful it will be another year for a Triple Crown winner, as there’s a lot more parity in the strong Kentucky Derby field this year.
  4. The Green Bay Packers’ TitletownTech fund draws national investors. The Packers and Microsoft each committed $5 million to the venture fund, which will invest in high-growth startups aligned with industries in northeastern Wisconsin. Out-of-state investors joining in TitletownTech’s venture fund, according to multiple sources, are Jerry Jacobs Jr., Delaware North Co-CEO and alternate governor for the Boston Bruins, and Jeff Wilpon, partner of Sterling Equities and New York Mets Chief Operating Officer. Wilpon’s and Jacobs’ investments help boost the fund toward its goal of $25 million, and both will serve as members of the advisory board. TitletownTech HQ will include an innovation lab, a business “venture studio,” and offices for the venture fund, which is geared towards fostering growth throughout Wisconsin. Likely more interesting to the general public: the new Titletown Tech building will feature a new restaurant on its ground floor that will include local food and beer and seven sports simulation bays powered by TopGolf Swing Suite.
  5. Collective bargaining agreement clause encourages NFL owners to maintain minority ownership in On Location Experiences. According to JohnWallStreet, reports indicate that Endeavor had agreed in principle to acquire the 80% of On Location Experiences owned by Bruin Sports Capital, Carlyle Group, and RedBird Capital for a figure upwards of $700 million, with the NFL retaining their 20% stake. The NFL generates 40% of OLE’s profits, but league was never a threat to re-acquire the majority stake it sold to the private equity firms for $70 million in 2015. That’s because as a minority shareholder, the league collects its cut of the profits “free and clear. There’s no risk involved, they don’t have any expenses.” If the NFL took control of OLE once again, it “assumes 100% of the corporate tax responsibilities, without an allowance for any of the expenses.” Remember, under the league’s current CBA, NFL players are entitled to 48.5% of gross (not net) revenues – yet another good reason for the league to keep its minority shareholder stance.
  6. The winner of the PGA Tour Charles Schwab Challenge May 23-26 will receive a restored 1973 Dodge Challenger to "go along with the signature plaid jacket.” According to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, the car is “painted Glacier Blue, a nod to Schwab’s colors” and features Colonial Country Club’s “trademark Scottish royal tartan on the seats, a nod to the plaid jacket.” The tie-in stems from the fact that the tournament is 73 years old, and Charles Schwab was incorporated in 1973. The investment management company is in its first year as the tournament’s title sponsor. The stylish prize will no doubt be an added incentive for some of the Tour’s noted car buffs – Bubba Watson and Ian Poulter come to mind – to enter the Charles Schwab Challenge the week after the year’s second Major and find an extra gear as they attempt to win once they’re there. Colonial officials no doubt know that they’ll have to go the extra mile beyond a $7.3 million purse this year to lure golf’s top players to their event, which immediately follows the PGA Championship at New York’s challenging Bethpage Black May 16-19.
  7. IHG Hotels and Resorts has reached a deal with the USTA to be the new hotel sponsor of the U.S. Open, replacing Westin after that brand’s nine-year run. IHG, which owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains, will use the tennis event to promote some of its luxury hotels, like InterContinental, Kimpton, Regent, and the recently-acquired Sixth Senses. IHG CMO Claire Bennett said that the company has not decided which brand will get the signage exposure onsite at the two-week event. Said Bennett, “It’s been awhile since we have been in these type of events.” The deal also includes the USTA-owned Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. IHG did not use a marketing agency but plans to hire one for activation. The USTA used CSM Sport & Entertainment. In the past, IHG activated its sports sponsorships by promoting its non-luxury hotels. Holiday Inn has been a sponsor of the SEC, as well as the London and Berlin marathons. And from 2007-2015, Crowne Plaza sponsored the PGA Tour event in Ft. Worth. The U.S. Open will run August 26-September 8 in New York – look for other new or returning brands to align with the event over the summer.
  8. The NBA wil allow teams to sell international sponsorship rights after team owners “approved a three-year test of the International Team Marketing Program.” According to SportsBusiness Journal, the program will allow each team to "sell global marketing rights to two current or new sponsors beginning next season.” Previously, the league “controlled all international sponsorship inventory.” Domestically, teams are “limited to a 75-mile marketing territory, a policy that remains in place.” The international program “allows teams to include global advertising and marketing rights outside the U.S. and Canada; activation at retail locations globally outside the U.S. and Canada; and rights to post non-game team content on the sponsors’ own digital and social media sites.” Of course, many existing “team naming-rights and jersey patch sponsors are global brands and would be likely targets in the new program.“ NBA President of Team Marketing and Business Op Amy Brooks said the new plan is designed to "take advantage of the global reach of team partners and to create more targeted non-game content.” This move only makes sense given the NBA’s large international player makeup, and the league’s exploding popularity far outside its original footprint.
  9. After Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart ruptured her Achilles while playing in Europe, some are “pointing to the almost year-round basketball schedule for women as the culprit.” While ESPN.com notes Stewart is “far from the first WNBA player to be injured while playing overseas,” it is fair to wonder if this situation will “make a difference going forward” as the WNBA and its players union negotiate a new contract. WNBA players “make the case that improvements in salary and other issues will result in an even better product.” The NBA “countered that it loses money on the WNBA every year, and said it lost” $12 million for 2018. Ending WNBA players’ “financial need for nonstop play is a prime focus” of WNBPA Executive Director Terri Jackson. But observers in the medical field, such as Norfolk, Virginia-based Embody, which provides innovative solutions to restore peak performance to orthopedic patients and is seeing successful results with Achilles patients, note that money alone won’t solve the problem. Creating a more holistic employment scenario that allows athletes real downtime during the year will go a long way toward injury prevention.
  10. The NHL has confirmed that it will purchase carbon credits to offset the airline emissions produced during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The announcement, which coincided with Earth Day, is part of the NHL’s ongoing efforts to tackle climate change. This effort marks the first time the NHL will offset carbon emissions. The league will purchase credits for all four rounds of the competition which will equate to approximately 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions in total. The NHL will purchase carbon offsets from a non-profit organization based in Oregon that provides environmentally friendly product solutions. For the first playoff round, the NHL offset more than 465 tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of taking 99 cars off the road for one year. NHL Green, which was launched in 2010, is committed to developing green business practices across the league and maintaining efforts to preserve the environment. Last season, the NHL released its second sustainability report which detailed the body’s efforts to manage its environmental impacts on all levels of hockey
  11. Tiger Woods used a Bridgestone Tour B XS ball to win The Masters, and now the ball maker is congratulating both Woods and fans by releasing a commemorative box of the product. According to GolfWeek, the commemorative TW Wrap box, on sale for $44.99, “hit store shelves” the Friday after The Masters. Bridgestone “started selling the special boxes to stores last week, and within 24 hours they sold out.” In fact, Bridgestone said that “every Tour B XS ball it has made has been sold to retailers.” ESPN.com noted Bridgestone doesn’t yet know whether its exposure through Woods’ victory at The Masters will “translate to long-term sales, but it is anticipating increases based on the consumer interest displayed already.” Bridgestone Golf President and CEO Dan Murphy said, “We’re pretty excited to see the order bank starting to increase. I’d say for the specific models that (Woods) plays, we’re looking at 20 to 30 percent we can bump up the sales on that product.” After The Masters, Bridgestone saw a 209% increase in engagement on Twitter, a 400% increase on Facebook, and a 205% increase in website traffic as compared to last year’s Masters
  12. Ahead of National Golf Day, the National Golf Foundation has released its annual Golf Industry Report, a comprehensive state-of-the-industry overview. The Golf Industry Report aims to provide the most holistic view of the business of golf and the health of the game within the U.S. According to the latest numbers, golf’s participation base remains stable, with an estimated 24.2 million people who played golf on a course in 2018 — a slight increase from 23.8 million a year earlier. Almost as many people play off-course forms of the game, with 23 million hitting golf balls with clubs at golf-entertainment facilities like Topgolf and Drive Shack, indoor simulators and driving ranges. With 9.3 million people exclusively playing golf off-course, the game’s overall participant pool has increased 4% to 33.5 million. Despite rainy weather’s impact last year, there are 14.7 million people who didn’t play golf last year but say they are “very interested” in playing golf on a course. Another great stat – the U.S. remains the best-supplied golf market in the world, with 14,613 facilities and 16,693 courses – more than 75% of which are open to all players, the highest public-to-private ratio in history
  13. Serena Williams has become the latest athlete to announce her own VC firm. In an Instagram post, the 23-time Grand Slam winner revealed that Serena Ventures has quietly been investing in a variety of startups since 2014. The firm’s website counts 30 startups in its portfolio, with an accumulated market capitalization of $12 billion. Among the startups that the investment vehicle has already backed are meal-delivery services Daily Harvest and Gobble, home fitness system Tonal, women’s razor brand Billie, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, female co-working startup the Wing, and Propel, which offers financial software for low-income Americans. Serena Ventures’ website states that the company invests in firms that “embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity.” According to Forbes, Williams was the highest paid female athlete in 2018, bringing in $18.1 million thanks to an unmatched endorsement portfolio that includes deals with Nike, Intel, Audemars Piguet, JPMorgan Chase, Lincoln, Gatorade, and Beats. This week, Serena is involved in another massive undertaking, as she and sister Venus co-chair the prestigious Met Gala, which benefits the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City.
  14. Sneaker marketplace StockX to cross $1 billion mark with new investor. Online sneaker resale marketplace StockX is in “advanced talks” to be valued at least $1 billion in a new round of financing, according to Recode. Sources said that DST Global, the venture firm run by Russian-American billionaire Yuri Milner, is “expected to lead the deal.” The exact size of the financing round “couldn’t be learned.” StockX is “planning to make some other major company announcements when it unveils the fundraising round, which is likely to be closed in the next few weeks.” StockX launched in 2016 and was founded by Cleveland Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert, COO Greg Schwartz, and CEO Josh Luber. StockX plays “matchmaker for sneakerheads looking for rare kicks and resellers looking to flip unworn, in-demand sneakers for a profit.” The company has “benefited from the rising popularity of acquiring tough-to-buy sneakers, especially among millennial men and teenage boys.” You only have to look at the success of hard-to-find designer handbag sites Baghunter and Rebag to realize that a dedicated sneaker marketplace foots a lot of potential.
  15. The newest revolution taking place in high school and college sports is AI-automated production, powered and pioneered by Pixellot. The impact to date has been tremendous, and its projected growth is even bigger. Within high school sports, in partnership with the NFHS Network since 2017, Pixellot has installed over 1,500 systems across the country, producing over 100,000 live games, reaching over 25,000 live hours per month. The company is projected to install 20,000 systems over the next seven years, with a goal of broadcasting more than 1 million live events per year. And in collegiate sports, a new partnership with SIDEARM Sports will lead to producing 50,000+ live college events per year. Schools within the NFHS Network or SIDEARM Sports pay an up-front fee to install a Pixellot solution. End-users then pay a one-time subscription fee to gain access to the live games and highlights. Not only do adopting schools gain an additional marketing platform, as well as a new revenue stream for their sports programs, but the Pixellot system is a godsend for both high school and collegiate athletes looking for exposure to help them get to the next level. It’s also great for fans. 

Top Five Tech

  1. The National Lacrosse League announces a partnership with Fanseat to live stream all remaining games, including playoffs, to viewers outside of North America. The National Lacrosse League (NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, has announced a partnership with Fanseat to offer live streaming of all NLL games, including playoffs, to viewers outside of North America for the remainder of the 2018-2019 season. All games will be accessible live and on demand on the sports entertainment service Fanseat. With viewers in six continents, the NLL has a rapid, passionate fan base. Fans from across the globe will now have the opportunity to watch all NLL games live and keep up to date with their favorite teams. Lacrosse has grown 9% year over year since 2001, with the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships in Israel being the strongest indicator of the sports growth. The games featured 46 participating countries, up from 38 teams in 2014 and 29 teams in 2010. The Fanseat partnership will provide another way to bring lacrosse to a growing global audience.
  2. Wave Sports Media is making a splash in the sports industry thanks to its social native content and newsroom model. According to JohnWallStreet, not yet two years old, Wave has positioned itself to become the “alternative to TV consumption for the next generation of fans.” Wave has an audience of 150 million millennial (20%) and Gen-Z (80%) fans (monthly) across 120+ Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat channels. The concept is to differentiate itself from Turner or ESPN by providing a laid back platform where consumers feel like they are talking to a peer rather than hearing from a broadcast personality. Although the business model is based upon creator submissions, it is different than SB Nation as it rewards its top talent with jobs and salaries. Although there is a risk to building a company on top of third party platforms, it seems that Wave has been able to hone in on a fan base that looks for the comfort of an online community.
  3. The WNBA slams home a multi-year broadcast deal with CBS. Starting this season, the broadcaster will feature 40 matches per season starting May 25 as the Minnesota Lynx host the Chicago Sky during the opening weekend of the new WNBA campaign. According to SportsPro, 11-time All-Star Sue Bird and the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm will make six appearances on CBS Sports Network this season, including a WNBA finals rematch against the Washington Mystics on June 14. The 12-team WNBA has been consistently overshadowed by their male counterpart NBA league, however the new CBS broadcasts may pave ways for the women’s league to find new economic avenues and exposure to different fans. If the WNBA wants to take their push one step further, the next investment would be further exposure on OTT platforms since the sports market is trending toward more a-la-carte basketball media interactivity. 
  4. T-Mobile’s Metro uses influencers during NBA playoffs to play H-O-R-S-E. T-Mobile’s prepaid wireless brand Metro is running a social influencer campaign for the NBA Playoffs in which contestants must follow one or more basketball influencers including Tristan Jass, Jesser, Kris London, and Cash on Instagram to try and copy the trick shot and later post the video on social media with the hashtag #MetroFreak. According to Mobile Marketer, each influencer will choose a single winner from video submissions after five weeks to be his teammate in a June tournament. Those selected teams will then go head-to-head in H-O-R-S-E, with the winner receiving a trip to meet the "Greek Freak” (Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks) who will give the campaign its name at a TV commercial shoot. T-Mobile has previously helped fundraise for natural disasters during the MLB Playoffs using #HR4HR and now is trying to cash in on user-based content to build its online fan base during the NBA Playoffs.
  5. Sportradar and SportsGrid are set to launch a free 24-hour sports-betting network. According to Sports Video Group, the partnership brings together Sportradar’s ad tech, OTT technology, and data with SportsGrid’s programming, which features coverage and analysis of stats and betting odds across professional sports on both TV and digital formats. Sportradar is the official data partner of the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, FIFA, and UEFA, monitoring, analyzing, and delivering insights from more than 400,000 matches annually across 60 sports. After launching in 2017, SportsGrid is the first free 24-hour audio and video sports wagering network. The network can be heard or viewed on Amazon Fire TV, AppleTV, Pluto TV, Xumo, Xbox, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Stitcher. It also owns industry leading subscription properties DailyRoto and RotoExperts, in addition to the FNTSY Sports Network. Already, SportsGrid is an official partner of the NBA, FanDuel, The Elvis Duran Group, and other industry leaders. Thanks to the lifting of the federal ban on sports gambling last May, a constant voice can now be read or heard to deliver breaking news in the sports betting silo.