24 Jun

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 62419

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF JUNE 24

with Jacob Aere

  1. Ahead of the NHL Draft, the NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved billionaire entrepreneur Alex Meruelo to purchase a majority share of the Arizona Coyotes. The sale is expected to be “finalized in July,” according to the Arizona Republic. Sources said that Meruelo’s focus will “remain on securing a permanent future in Arizona for the franchise.” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Meruelo is “committed” to finding a new arena in Arizona, adding that Gila River Arena in Glendale is “not viable long term.” The Associated Press noted that although the Coyotes "couldn’t leave Arizona anytime soon due to NHL rules prohibiting new owners from immediately applying for relocation, Bettman pointedly didn’t rule out the long-term possibility.” As The Hockey News noted, one thing “working in the Coyotes’ favor” in this scenario is their Gila River Arena lease. That agreement runs season-to-season, and all the Coyotes have to do to renew it is “state their intentions” by December 31. If Meruelo is able to negotiate an arena deal elsewhere, extricating the Coyotes from their Glendale commitment will be relatively simple.
  2. The Rays have “received permission” from MLB’s exec council to “explore a plan in which they would play early-season home games in the Tampa Bay area and the remainder of the year in Montreal,” according to sources. While the plan is in its “nascent stages, ESPN noted the Rays have embraced the two-city solution as the most feasible to saving baseball in the Tampa Bay area after years of failed attempts to build a new stadium in the region,” according to sources. The Rays would play in new ballparks in “both the Tampa Bay area and Montreal,” according to sources. The ability to play games early in the season in Florida “would preclude the need” for a domed ballpark, “cutting the cost of a new building.” The plan faces "several significant hurdles before being implemented,” and it likely would not be in place until at least 2023. Reports of a potential schedule sharing plan have “surfaced several times in recent years from Montreal media.” The Rays rank 29th in attendance only ahead of the Marlins, averaging 14,545 per game. While this bold plan is not likely to come to fruition, it is only the latest creative gambit by a pro sports team to strong arm its home city into ponying up funds for a new stadium.
  3. Adidas is accused of discrimination by employee group. Adidas built its brand in the U.S. by embracing influential African-American athletes. However, fewer than 4.5% of the workers at the company’s North American headquarters are African-American, per the New York Times, and members of that cohort say they feel ignored and sometimes discriminated against. This lack of diversity has led to multiple tone-deaf decisions that African-American employees say could put the entire brand at risk. One prime example of this is Adidas’ releasing all-white sneakers to commemorate Black History Month (which the company discontinued after an outcry). The European Union General Court also recently ruled against Adidas’ claim that its famous three stripes, applied in any direction, deserve trademark protection. The case was a rare legal loss for Adidas, which has earned a reputation in the fashion world for aggressively litigating against anyone who uses a trio of stripes in their collections.
  4. The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District board of directors held a public hearing on the proposed “special evening service to Warriors games” at Chase Center. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the proposed Chase Center ferry from Larkspur would “replicate an existing special event service to Giants games at Oracle Park, which costs $14 for each one-way ticket.” Staff at the bridge district “recommend the board set the same fare for Warriors games to recover all operating costs.” The Water Emergency Transportation Authority is “pursuing a separate ferry line to carry East Bay fans from its terminals in Oakland and Alameda.” While the Bay Area has long provided special ferry routes to sporting events, just as many other cities routinely provide expanded transit service for sports fans, New York and Seattle are among the only other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. to routinely get fans to games across the water.
  5. Cubs considering sportsbook at Wrigley. According to Hashtag Sports, the Chicago Cubs have considered opening a sportsbook at Wrigley Field and at locations just outside of the Friendly Confines. Betting windows, automated kiosks, and even a full-blown sportsbook venue inside the stadium are among the options that have been considered by the Cubs and other Chicago professional franchises, as Illinois prepares to put it new sports gambling law into effect. MLB currently prohibits sportsbooks, including betting kiosks or windows, inside a club’s stadium. The NBA has similar rules in place prohibiting retail sportsbooks from offering in-person betting inside arenas. The leagues are reviewing the Illinois legislation. If a bill is passed in Illinois, it would mean that other state-based teams, including the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, and White Sox, could also apply for a masters sports wagering license, which is said to cost $10 million. Also heating up Chicago this month – the annual Association of Luxury Suite Directors conference, where Rick will serve as master of ceremonies June 30-July 2.
  6. USWNT enters mediation over salary disparity. In the three years after they won the 2015 World Cup, the U.S. women’s national team generated more game revenue ($50.8 million) than the U.S. men’s national team ($49.9 million), according to audited financial reports acquired by the Wall Street Journal. The women’s team’s ability to match, and even exceed, the men’s team in game revenue is a key factor in their ongoing gender-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Last month, U.S. Soccer responded to the suit by emphasizing that any alleged pay differential is "based on differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex.” But while men’s games used to bring in far more money, the women’s team has closed the gap. While our national teams also generate revenue from sponsorship deals and broadcast rights, as the WSJ points out, “U.S. Soccer sells broadcast rights and sponsorships as a bundle, not separately for each national team.” That makes it difficult to parse the value between the men’s and women’s teams. Here’s a fair solution: give the men and the women the same base salary and then allow them to earn bonuses based on ticket and merchandise sales and anything else that can be tracked.
  7. Gatorade has a new media strategy to make video everywhere with an AR Snapchat lens. According to Digiday, Gatorade debuted a new augmented reality lens on Snapchat on June 20 as a follow up to the animated world of PepsiCo’s “Sisters is Sweat,” where the lens followed the journey of a young girl and her soccer ball. The upcoming AR lens, one of Snapchat’s portal lenses, allows the audience to get into the game and score the winning goal in AR. This is the latest Gatorade experiment with Snapchat, where the brand has found success with games like Serena Williams’ Match Point and filters. The brand had pivoted away from thinking about video in terms of linear, online, and premium channels to instead be wherever its athlete audience will be. That’s why the PepsiCo beverage brand is planning to spend 45% of its media budget on digital this year, an increase of 11% from 2018’s 34% on digital, with the majority of that spending focused on mobile.
  8. NASCAR’s Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises $1.7 million for Victory Junction. 250 participants completed the charity’s longest route ever, nearly 3,700 miles – from Kent, Washington to Key Largo, Florida – to raise funds to provide a life-changing camp experience for children with chronic medical illnesses. According to Kent Reporter, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America celebrated its 25th anniversary with its funds raised directly to benefit Victory Junction. The ride’s donation supports maintenance programs, building projects, and summer camps. In addition to the more than $1.7 million raised by the ride, a $2 million donation was presented to the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Trust by the Andreas family in honor of a beloved Charity. Victory Junction has served as the Ride’s primary beneficiary since its establishment by Petty and his family in 2004 in honor of his late son, Adam. Since 1995, 8,650 riders have logged more than 12.4 million motorcycle miles and raised $18.5 million for Victory Junction and other children’s charities. Getting together to cruise across America, this year’s Ride  featured several celebrity riders, including NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and NASCAR legends Harry Gant, Hershel McGriff, and Donnie Allison who helped to create a near $4 million change for children.
  9. Minnesota Vikings Foundation launches new food truck for kids in need. According to the Star Tribune, to tackle childhood obesity and hunger issues, the Minnesota Vikings Foundation has unveiled a new food truck that will dish up free healthy meals to Twin Cities kids in need. The Winnebago is called the “Vikings Table,” and is the first initiative for the foundation since it launched in 2017. The foundation replaces the nearly 40-year-old Vikings Children’s Fund charity and changes the team’s focus from doling out grants to creating and managing its own programs. The food truck will work with Twin Cities nonprofits to serve free hot meals to kids as part of the Vikings Foundation’s priorities, including children’s nutrition and physical fitness and Minnesota’s achievement gap. The NFL is stepping up its charity efforts: The Vikings Table mirrors a similar concept to the Philadelphia Eagles’ foundation’s mobile eye clinic that provides free eye exams and glasses to those in need.
  10. Former NFL official Mike Pereira helps military veterans through officiating. In 2015, the former NFL official forged a second career as a highly respected rules’ expert on Fox Sports’ NFL and college broadcasts. The ex-official then met some military vets in Los Angeles and realized that these men had acquired the same skill set through the military that it takes to be a good official. That’s when Pereira realized he could give scholarships to vets to become officials, and get them off of the streets. Since the inception of Battlefields to Ballfields in 2016, more than 220 vets have been given scholarships to get them started on a career in officiating in football, baseball, and basketball. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, the money covers the cost of their training, uniforms, equipment, and local and national association dues for a period of three years. One thing Pereira loves about getting vets into officiating is that of all the people who could ignore the abuse from fans and coaches, the former official realized that no one is better suited than veterans.

24 Jun

15+5+5 To Watch 62419

15 TO WATCH/5 SPORTS TECH/POWER OF SPORTS 5: RICK HORROW’S TOP SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF JUNE 24

with Jacob Aere

  1. Ahead of the NHL Draft, the NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved billionaire entrepreneur Alex Meruelo to purchase a majority share of the Arizona Coyotes. The sale is expected to be “finalized in July,” according to the Arizona Republic. Sources said that Meruelo’s focus will “remain on securing a permanent future in Arizona for the franchise.” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Meruelo is “committed” to finding a new arena in Arizona, adding that Gila River Arena in Glendale is “not viable long term.” The Associated Press noted that although the Coyotes "couldn’t leave Arizona anytime soon due to NHL rules prohibiting new owners from immediately applying for relocation, Bettman pointedly didn’t rule out the long-term possibility.” As The Hockey News noted, one thing “working in the Coyotes’ favor” in this scenario is their Gila River Arena lease. That agreement runs season-to-season, and all the Coyotes have to do to renew it is “state their intentions” by December 31. If Meruelo is able to negotiate an arena deal elsewhere, extricating the Coyotes from their Glendale commitment will be relatively simple.
  2. As Mitel and Major League Baseball prepare to present the league’s first regular-season series in London June 29-30, MasterCard is likewise on deck. According to SportsPro, MasterCard is serving up several promotions around the two-game series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox at The London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Park. On June 28, MasterCard is offering 30-minute advance access to the London Series Superstore before it opens to the general public, with select shoppers holding a prepaid $100 gift card in hand. Master Card is offering early admission to the Hall of Fame suite, where attendees can watch the ballgame, indulge in food and drink, and take home a branded gift bag. Ahead of the second game, fans can take batting practice on the field, before heading up to the Hall of Fame hospitality suite. MLB’s first London Series is getting near All-Star Game treatment by the league, as MLB officials hope that the event catches on with baseball fans across the pond and becomes an eagerly anticipated annual summer event.
  3. Global brands are activating around the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. Univision Deportes unlocked its full roster of sponsors for its coverage of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup with more than 20 brands from across categories signing on to be part of that network’s exclusive Spanish-language coverage. Sprint returns to Gold Cup with a 360-sponsorship across linear and digital, while first-time supporters of the event include Valvoline, Uber Eats, Jeep, and AT&T. AT&T, Modelo Especial, Victoria Beer, Corona, Mazda, State Farm, Toyota, Bud Light, Walmart, and Wells Fargo will activate around the tournament as part of Univision’s partnership with Twitter. “We have surpassed all previous milestones with our Gold Cup inventory,” said Univision’s Steve Mandala. “The anticipation for this year’s tournament has been unlike any I can remember, and that excitement has extended to our valued partners who have lined up to be part of the summer’s premier soccer event.” Concacaf also unveiled several initiatives designed to deliver new and engaging digital experiences to soccer fans, including the “This Is Ours” campaign, which leverages fans’ love for the game. Physical activations include the Futbol Fiesta Pre-game Fan Destination at the 15 U.S.-based stadiums, as well as the Gold Cup Station at Chicago’s Union Station.
  4. The Rays have “received permission” from MLB’s exec council to “explore a plan in which they would play early-season home games in the Tampa Bay area and the remainder of the year in Montreal,” according to sources. While the plan is in its “nascent stages, ESPN noted the Rays have embraced the two-city solution as the most feasible to saving baseball in the Tampa Bay area after years of failed attempts to build a new stadium in the region,” according to sources. The Rays would play in new ballparks in “both the Tampa Bay area and Montreal,” according to sources. The ability to play games early in the season in Florida “would preclude the need” for a domed ballpark, “cutting the cost of a new building.” The plan faces "several significant hurdles before being implemented,” and it likely would not be in place until at least 2023. Reports of a potential schedule sharing plan have “surfaced several times in recent years from Montreal media.” The Rays rank 29th in attendance only ahead of the Marlins, averaging 14,545 per game. While this bold plan is not likely to come to fruition, it is only the latest creative gambit by a pro sports team to strong arm its home city into ponying up funds for a new stadium.
  5. American Express announced a partnership with two-time Wimbledon champion Sir Andy Murray. The arrangement will launch at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, next month, as the Official Payment Partner of The Championships. American Express will unveil its Fan Experience on-site at The Championships, along with a range of on-site benefits for card members, including a unique interactive gaming experience, Champion’s Rally that will allow fans to step into a virtual reality experience and play tennis in both the digital and physical worlds. Players will aim to hit five targets positioned over the net to measure their speed and accuracy, encouraged by Murray, all in the environment of Wimbledon’s iconic Centre Court. An ecstatic Murray won the Queen’s Club doubles championship with Spain’s Feliciano Lopez over the weekend, in his first tournament back from hip surgery, and is now reportedly mulling over a return to singles play at the U.S. Open later this summer as well.
  6. Adidas is accused of discrimination by employee group. Adidas built its brand in the U.S. by embracing influential African-American athletes. However, fewer than 4.5% of the workers at the company’s North American headquarters are African-American, per the New York Times, and members of that cohort say they feel ignored and sometimes discriminated against. This lack of diversity has led to multiple tone-deaf decisions that African-American employees say could put the entire brand at risk. One prime example of this is Adidas’ releasing all-white sneakers to commemorate Black History Month (which the company discontinued after an outcry). The European Union General Court also recently ruled against Adidas’ claim that its famous three stripes, applied in any direction, deserve trademark protection. The case was a rare legal loss for Adidas, which has earned a reputation in the fashion world for aggressively litigating against anyone who uses a trio of stripes in their collections.
  7. Anthony Davis is not officially a Laker yet, but he is seeing his marketing profile rise, as Ruffles announced a new partnership with him. Ruffles, the official chip of the NBA, signed Davis to a first-of-its-kind “chip deal” in which he will serve as a creative partner to help the brand develop products. Davis was at the NBA Store in New York last week to announce the deal and debut a Ruffles-inspired signature shoe, the Ruffles Ridge Tops. From June 24-August 4, fans who purchase a bag of Ruffles can enter to win a pair of the shoes. Davis’ deal with Ruffles runs through the NBA All-Star Game in Chicago next year. While Zion Williams has officially been an NBA player for less than a week, expect many highly customized, unique sponsorship and branding opportunities for this exceptional athlete to snap open like a Ruffles bag in the coming weeks and months.
  8. The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District board of directors held a public hearing on the proposed “special evening service to Warriors games” at Chase Center. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the proposed Chase Center ferry from Larkspur would “replicate an existing special event service to Giants games at Oracle Park, which costs $14 for each one-way ticket.” Staff at the bridge district “recommend the board set the same fare for Warriors games to recover all operating costs.” The Water Emergency Transportation Authority is “pursuing a separate ferry line to carry East Bay fans from its terminals in Oakland and Alameda.” While the Bay Area has long provided special ferry routes to sporting events, just as many other cities routinely provide expanded transit service for sports fans, New York and Seattle are among the only other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. to routinely get fans to games across the water.
  9. Golf Channel prepares for a summer trip abroad. Coming off the U.S Open, Cynopsis Sports caught up with Mike McCarley, President of Golf for NBC Sports Group. On July’s Open Championship, McCarley shared, “What may surprise fans is the spectacular landscape of this year’s host course, Royal Portrush. The area around Belfast is a spectacular corner of the world. We’ve developed a special appreciation for the people and the area — and not just because Game of Thrones was shot there. As we set up the stories of The Open and help tell the story of the complicated political history of the region, we’ll rely on people like David Feherty, a native of Northern Ireland, and Sky Sports producing Golf Films’ ‘Road to Royal Portrush.’ What won’t be a surprise is the comprehensive coverage from our live tournament group — we’re live on Golf Channel and NBC from the first tee shot on Thursday through the final putt on Sunday, the most coverage for any golf tournament anywhere in the world.” Following the Open Championship, Golf Films’ “Tiger Woods: Chasing History” debuts, chronicling Tiger’s pursuit of Sam Snead’s 82 PGA Tour wins.
  10. Executive search firm Korn Ferry has taken over title sponsorship of the Web.com Tour.  According to SportsBusiness Journal, financial terms of the 10-year deal "were not disclosed but the name change is effective immediately, with the newly christened Korn Ferry Tour to debut” at the Wichita Open” this past week. Korn Ferry’s title deal also “includes an official marketing partnership with the PGA Tour.” The search firm also “will assume sponsorship of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance in Evansville, Indiana, the third and final event in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.” Web.com had been the title sponsor of the tour since 2012, but the title sponsorship once again became available “after the website development and marketing company was sold last year.” This marks Korn Ferry’s “first sports sponsorship deal.” Wasserman represented Korn Ferry in the deal as the company “looks to expand its brand beyond C-suite executive placement services.” The deal makes complete sense when you consider that Korn Ferry is the search firm of choice when many sports industry executive positions need filling.
  11. Cubs considering sportsbook at Wrigley. According to Hashtag Sports, the Chicago Cubs have considered opening a sportsbook at Wrigley Field and at locations just outside of the Friendly Confines. Betting windows, automated kiosks, and even a full-blown sportsbook venue inside the stadium are among the options that have been considered by the Cubs and other Chicago professional franchises, as Illinois prepares to put it new sports gambling law into effect. MLB currently prohibits sportsbooks, including betting kiosks or windows, inside a club’s stadium. The NBA has similar rules in place prohibiting retail sportsbooks from offering in-person betting inside arenas. The leagues are reviewing the Illinois legislation. If a bill is passed in Illinois, it would mean that other state-based teams, including the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, and White Sox, could also apply for a masters sports wagering license, which is said to cost $10 million. Also heating up Chicago this month – the annual Association of Luxury Suite Directors conference, where Rick will serve as master of ceremonies June 30-July 2.
  12. USWNT enters mediation over salary disparity. In the three years after they won the 2015 World Cup, the U.S. women’s national team generated more game revenue ($50.8 million) than the U.S. men’s national team ($49.9 million), according to audited financial reports acquired by the Wall Street Journal. The women’s team’s ability to match, and even exceed, the men’s team in game revenue is a key factor in their ongoing gender-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Last month, U.S. Soccer responded to the suit by emphasizing that any alleged pay differential is "based on differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex.” But while men’s games used to bring in far more money, the women’s team has closed the gap. While our national teams also generate revenue from sponsorship deals and broadcast rights, as the WSJ points out, “U.S. Soccer sells broadcast rights and sponsorships as a bundle, not separately for each national team.” That makes it difficult to parse the value between the men’s and women’s teams. Here’s a fair solution: give the men and the women the same base salary and then allow them to earn bonuses based on ticket and merchandise sales and anything else that can be tracked.
  13. U of O remains on track. University of Oregon spokesperson Molly Blanchett told the Eugene Register Guard that the construction of Hayward Field is "on schedule and would finish in time for the Pac-12 track and field championships in mid-May” next year. The $195 million project is “being privately funded, largely” by Nike co-Founder and Chair Emeritus Phil Knight. TrackTown USA CEO Michael Reilly, whose company will organize the 2020 Olympic Trials set to be held at Hayward Field, said that the new stadium will “offer more room so athletes and spectators can get around easier compared to the former venue.” He added that it will “improve the fans’ experience with wider seats, two video screens and closer proximity to the competitors.” The stopwatch has started: on the heels of the Pac-12 championships, the Olympic track and field trials are now just a year away.
  14. Murray and other honorees get WISE/R. Octagon’s Lisa Murray was recognized by Women In Sports and Events (WISE) as a 2019 Woman of Distinction, for her continued support of women in the industry and making a mark as a pioneer of the sports industry. WISE/R Symposium, held in New York City on June 18, was the first of its kind to focus solely on the personal and professional development of women in the business of sports, WISE/R Symposium offered the opportunity to hear from top experts, learn career strategies, connect with peers, and more. Confirmed speakers besides Murray included finance journalist Jean Chatzky and industry leaders Anita DeFrantz, Janet Fletcher, Michele Roberts, and Suzanne Smith. This annual one-day event was produced by WISE. The WISE/R vent joins SportsBusiness Journal’s annual Game Changers conference and other prestigious events now honoring the significant contributions women have made to the sports industry.
  15. It’s down to two for the 2026 Winter Games. The decision to award the Olympic Winter Games 2026 to either Stockholm-Åre (Sweden) or Milan-Cortina (Italy), will be shown live on the Olympic Channel on Monday, June 24, featuring the host city announcement ceremony presided over by IOC President Thomas Bach. In most cases, the Winter Games naturally lend themselves to a sharing of expenses because with few exceptions, the venues are split between a substantial metropolitan area (where arena events are held) and a nearby mountain resort. The cost of hosting the Olympic Games has risen to the point that few cities are willing or able to take it on. This is one of the reasons that Beijing ended up winning hosting duties for the 2022 Winter Games in addition to their successful hosting of the Summer Olympic Games in 2008.

Top Five Tech

  1. Eurosport sees French Open digital viewership boost. The European Broadcaster recorded a 31% year-on-year increase in unique views of the clay-court Grand Slam on Eurosport Player, the company’s over-the-top streaming service, and official app. According to SportsPro, compared to last year, average viewing time of the Roland Garros tournament on Eurosport Player was up 45% from 2018 figures. Eurosport broadcast the French Open to more than 50 countries and also saw viewership increases across its TV coverage in markets throughout Europe. Eurosport is trusting in digital audiences, and investing time and money in their app and OTT service has been paying dividends. Rafael Nadal secured his 12th French Open title at this year’s tournament, while Ashleigh Barty of Australia won the women’s competition for the first time; however, the real winner seems to be OTT content for tennis fans.
  2. Overtime is changing how basketball is played to grow a younger audience. As of now, traditional three hour sports games remain at the heart of pop culture. But sports were radically different before the TV era, and the digital age is bringing about drastic change in the way sports are watched. According to Sports Illustrated, Overtime garners nearly one billion views per month across its social channels by filming viral high school sports stars. Now in its third year, the sports media company is switching basketball to a 3-on-3 game while also shrinking the court. The “Overtime Rules” most drastic changes include swapping out free throws for one-on-one duels, getting rid of taking the ball out after a made basket, and setting fans around the edge of the court, therefore eliminating out-of-bounds altogether. Additionally, games consist of four four-minute quarters, with a substitution only allowed between periods. As for the company’s overtime rules, it is an all-or-nothing, sudden death. Overtime is the start of serious shifts to the sports media scene; the next obstacle to tackle will be convincing sponsors that their content is worth the money.
  3. FloSports adds FIBA 3×3 rights to basketball portfolio. As part of an agreement through 2020, FloSports will show live and on-demand coverage of the Fiba 3×3 World Cup, Fiba 3×3 World Tour, and a 3×3 qualifying tournaments ahead the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where the sport will make its Olympic debut and shake up the standard 5×5 basketball format.  Subscribers to the OTT service will be able to access the events via FloSports’ basketball channel, FloHoops.com, as well as the FloSports mobile app and even Amazon Fire. According to SportsPro, the partnership comes just as Fiba’s three-on-three format is gaining popularity in the U.S., which has been bolstered by creation of the Big3 league and Overtime’s recent lean towards the alternate style for basketball. In May, USA Basketball also announced a multi-year partner with Red Bull North America to drive its athlete recruitment ahead of the Olympic qualifiers as part of a newly-created Red Bull 3x series. Between Overtime’s jump into 3×3 basketball and FloSports’ new OTT distribution, it seems standard NBA style basketball has some major competition for viewership.
  4. Gatorade has a new media strategy to make video everywhere with an AR Snapchat lens. According to Digiday, Gatorade debuted a new augmented reality lens on Snapchat on June 20 as a follow up to the animated world of PepsiCo’s “Sisters is Sweat,” where the lens followed the journey of a young girl and her soccer ball. The upcoming AR lens, one of Snapchat’s portal lenses, allows the audience to get into the game and score the winning goal in AR. This is the latest Gatorade experiment with Snapchat, where the brand has found success with games like Serena Williams’ Match Point and filters. The brand had pivoted away from thinking about video in terms of linear, online, and premium channels to instead be wherever its athlete audience will be. That’s why the PepsiCo beverage brand is planning to spend 45% of its media budget on digital this year, an increase of 11% from 2018’s 34% on digital, with the majority of that spending focused on mobile.
  5. Quibi has booked $100 million in ad sales ahead of its 2020 launch, with Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, Walmart, Progressive, and Google onboard. According to Cynopsis, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman were at Cannes Lions to share news about their upcoming short-form digital service, and revealed that an hour of Quibi content will be divided into chapters and include about two and a half minutes of advertising (versus seventeen and a half minutes on broadcast TV). “The opportunity exists for us to do something really new and differentiated and is going to create a new consumption habit,” said Katzenberg. The expectation is that about 75% of subscribers will opt for the service’s $4.99/month ad-supported offering. The ad-free service will set viewers back $7.99/month. While Quibi is much broader based than sports, its sports applications are practically endless, and intriguing.

Power of Sports Five

  1. NASCAR’s Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises $1.7 million for Victory Junction. 250 participants completed the charity’s longest route ever, nearly 3,700 miles – from Kent, Washington to Key Largo, Florida – to raise funds to provide a life-changing camp experience for children with chronic medical illnesses. According to Kent Reporter, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America celebrated its 25th anniversary with its funds raised directly to benefit Victory Junction. The ride’s donation supports maintenance programs, building projects, and summer camps. In addition to the more than $1.7 million raised by the ride, a $2 million donation was presented to the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Trust by the Andreas family in honor of a beloved Charity. Victory Junction has served as the Ride’s primary beneficiary since its establishment by Petty and his family in 2004 in honor of his late son, Adam. Since 1995, 8,650 riders have logged more than 12.4 million motorcycle miles and raised $18.5 million for Victory Junction and other children’s charities. Getting together to cruise across America, this year’s Ride  featured several celebrity riders, including NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and NASCAR legends Harry Gant, Hershel McGriff, and Donnie Allison who helped to create a near $4 million change for children.
  2. FIFA pledges a half billion dollars for women’s soccer. On June 7, at the end of FIFA’s first Women’s Convention, President Gianni Infantino announced the organization’s new commitment to dedicate $500 million to women’s soccer programs over the next four years. The announcement came on the heels of FIFA’s new partnership with UN Women, focused on promoting gender equity around the world. According to Philanthropy Women, the FIFA Women’s Football Convention was the organization’s latest foray into empowerment for female soccer players. As the first event of its kind, the Convention gathered leaders from sports and politics to discuss key issues surrounding women’s empowerment and development in professional football. Both Infantino and two-time World Player of the Year and World Cup champion Mia Hamm spoke at the event. In 2016, FIFA established a dedicated Women’s Football Division, rolled out the first steps in its ten-year plan to reach 60 million female soccer players, and appointed its first female Secretary General, Fatma Samoura. Although backlash is still happening, such as the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team suing U.S. Soccer for being underpaid, the future is firmer for women who play soccer.
  3. Minnesota Vikings Foundation launches new food truck for kids in need. According to the Star Tribune, to tackle childhood obesity and hunger issues, the Minnesota Vikings Foundation has unveiled a new food truck that will dish up free healthy meals to Twin Cities kids in need. The Winnebago is called the “Vikings Table,” and is the first initiative for the foundation since it launched in 2017. The foundation replaces the nearly 40-year-old Vikings Children’s Fund charity and changes the team’s focus from doling out grants to creating and managing its own programs. The food truck will work with Twin Cities nonprofits to serve free hot meals to kids as part of the Vikings Foundation’s priorities, including children’s nutrition and physical fitness and Minnesota’s achievement gap. The NFL is stepping up its charity efforts: The Vikings Table mirrors a similar concept to the Philadelphia Eagles’ foundation’s mobile eye clinic that provides free eye exams and glasses to those in need. 
  4. After the Raptors win, a Toronto fan starts a GoFundMe campaign for Kevin Durant’s charity. According to Sports Illustrated, the campaign was created by Toronto native Hamzah Moin, and the fundraising efforts aim to raise $25,000 for Durant’s organization, one that provides supports low-income, at-risk youth with educational, social, and athletic programs. The initiative’s intent was to apologize to Durant for the way Raptors fans cheered after the 10-time All-Star ruptured his Achilles during Game 5. Moin said, “I’d like to believe that the people cheering/waving goodbye at KD inside Scotiabank and in Jurassic Park also do not reflect our passionate fan base.” The GoFundMe surpassed its original goal of $25,000 and had reached $36,280 by June 20. Durant has now undergone surgery to repair his ruptured Achilles and is awaiting where free agency will take him.
  5. Former NFL official Mike Pereira helps military veterans through officiating. In 2015, the former NFL official forged a second career as a highly respected rules’ expert on Fox Sports’ NFL and college broadcasts. The ex-official then met some military vets in Los Angeles and realized that these men had acquired the same skill set through the military that it takes to be a good official. That’s when Pereira realized he could give scholarships to vets to become officials, and get them off of the streets. Since the inception of Battlefields to Ballfields in 2016, more than 220 vets have been given scholarships to get them started on a career in officiating in football, baseball, and basketball. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, the money covers the cost of their training, uniforms, equipment, and local and national association dues for a period of three years. One thing Pereira loves about getting vets into officiating is that of all the people who could ignore the abuse from fans and coaches, the former official realized that no one is better suited than veterans.