29 Jul

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 72919

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF JULY 29 : MAYOR’S EDITION

with Jacob Aere

  1. Forbes named the most valuable franchises in sports, led by the Dallas Cowboys, who for the fourth consecutive year landed atop the list. The study values the Cowboys at $5 billion, with the Yankees second on the list at $4.6 billion, and Spain’s Real Madrid in third with a valuation of $4.24 billion. Rounding out the top ten are Barcelona ($4.02 billion), the Knicks ($4 billion), Manchester United ($3.81 billion), the Patriots ($3.8 billion), the Lakers ($3.7 billion), the Golden State Warriors ($3.5 billion), the New York Giants ($3.3 billion), and the Dodgers ($3.3 billion). The NFL dominates the overall list with 26 teams in the top 50. A major contributor was the league’s lucrative media rights deals with CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN, and DirecTV, which saw each team receive more than $260 million last year. Way behind the NFL was the NBA, which had nine teams on the list. Eight European soccer clubs made the list, as did seven MLB franchises. Cowboys owner and Sport Business Handbook contributor Jerry Jones has been credited with driving up the franchise’s value since purchasing it for $150 million in 1989.
  2. The cost of the Raiders’ new Vegas stadium has risen to $1.9 billion. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ), the Las Vegas Stadium Authority has reportedly approved $40 million worth of additions to the build, including 20 more suites and a field-level club area near the venue’s north end zone. The LVRJ report added that close to $1 billion has so far been spent on the construction of the 65,000-seat stadium. The new venue is expected to be ready for the 2020 season, when the Raiders are scheduled to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas. The construction project, of which $750 million is being funded by taxpayers, has now passed the halfway stage, with the next major task being the installation of the cable steel roofing system that will support the stadium’s translucent roof. The latest update comes a month after the franchise appointed AEG Facilities to operate the new stadium. Right now, the Raiders are reluctantly in the spotlight as HBO’s “Hard Knocks” documents their every move during NFL preseason camp.
  3. World Cup star Alex Morgan looking to launch female-focused media venture. Morgan, co-captain of the USWNT and World Cup champion, is planning to launch her own media venture focused on storytelling, specifically content for girls created by female athletes. The unnamed project is one of many off-field pursuits for the 30-year-old, recently named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people. Morgan has written a series of children’s books about soccer called “The Kicks,” and last year acted in her first movie, a sports comedy called “Alex & Me.” Her sponsors include Nike Inc., Coca-Cola Co., AT&T, and Secret, a deodorant brand owned by Procter & Gamble. Morgan reportedly isn’t planning to launch it in partnership with any major media companies – rather, it’s part of a larger push by women on the team to advocate for gender equality in sports and beyond. “We’re authentic to who we are and what we stand for, and we’re becoming more brave and comfortable in our own skin,” Morgan said. This latest venture shows how the women of the USWNT can continue to use their championship platform to speak up about important issues. 
  4. The Oklahoma City Thunder partnered with the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to unveil their new City Edition uniforms, a “charcoal and gold Nike uniform [that] pays respect to those affected” by the 1995 bombing there. The Oklahoman reported that it has “long been a Thunder tradition to bring each player to the memorial when he joins the team,” but now the team will “put its own imprint on the museum.” The team “plans to underwrite a permanent exhibit that will focus on the ‘Oklahoma Standard.’” The “three values associated with that standard – service, honor and kindness – are also printed above the City jersey’s tag.” In addition, a time stamp “appears under each: 9:01, the minute before the bombing, and 9:03, the minute after.” The “survivor tree, a 90-year old elm that withstood the blast, appears on the waist band of the shorts.” The Thunder also “pledged to fund free admission to the museum once a month” during 2020. The jerseys – a touching way for basketball fans to honor those lost in the tragedy almost 25 years ago – will be available to purchase at a later date.
  5. Williamson signs landmark deal with Jordan Brands. Pelicans forward Zion Williamson’s deal with Jordan Brand is for seven years and $75 million, according to a source cited by Forbes. In DC, The Washington Post notes for “comparison purposes,” LeBron James signed a seven-year, $87 million deal with Nike in 2003. Williamson “arrives in the league as arguably the most-hyped prospect since James.” Rockets guard Russell Westbrook and Thunder guard Chris Paul “have signature lines with Jordan Brand, but as an ascendant superstar, Williamson can quickly become the face of the brand.” ESPN reported Williamson “ultimately turned down a higher offer from Puma” and as much as $15 million annually from Chinese brands Li-Ning and Anta “in order to wear Michael Jordan’s brand.” Williamson could see also his already impressive social media following expand after signing the Jordan Brand deal. Jordan has 33.1 million total followers, with 55% of those on Instagram. Williamson became a social media juggernaut due to his high school and college exploits, amassing almost four million Instagram followers and 390,000 on Twitter. Clearly, this sneaker lace up is a win-win for Williamson and the Jordan Brand.
  6. Nasdaq makes a bet on sports gambling. The New York-based stock-exchange group announced a deal with UK betting platform Football Index to help build its trading platform using tools similar to those Nasdaq uses on traditional stock exchanges. The four-year-old, privately held Football Index launched a virtual “stock market” in 2014 in which participants buy shares in star players like Lionel Messi or Harry Kane. The site provides a mix of fantasy sports and regular sports betting with elements of stock market speculation. The Football Index deal will be the first in which the Nasdaq brand will be visible to gambling customers. Nasdaq has other sports-betting clients including the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which has a monopoly on the Chinese territoryʼs sports-betting market. It also has an agreement to provide betting technology for the horse racing unit of Australiaʼs Tabcorp, a lottery and gambling giant. In both those cases, Nasdaq has supplied back-end technology but its logo and branding did not appear on any consumer-facing products. Football Index says the ultimate goal is to create “recreational markets for retail traders in something they understand a lot better than” traditional financial instruments, such as currencies.
  7. MLS WORKS showcases the soccer league’s philanthropy during 2019 All-Star Week. According to Orlando City FC, MLS’ philanthropic group is rolling out a slate of community-focused initiatives and events in the Orlando area for the MLS All-Star Game on July 31. MLS will offset a portion of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with All-Star Week festivities by purchasing 2,600 carbon offsets from a clean cookstove project in Africa. Supporting the Orlando City Foundation’s commitment to urban agriculture, MLS will invest in a community garden as part of the MLS WORKS + Target All-Star Community Day. And in partnership with Fleet Farming and their Edible Landscape service, a garden will be installed at Neptune Middle School. MLS will also provide funding for South Street Urban Farm’s education program in the Parramore area of downtown Orlando. The charity arm of MLS will also team up to combat hunger and support the Special Olympics as the MLS All-Stars take on La Liga’s Atletico Madrid.
  8. Wasserman Media Group launches The Collective with $1 million for women in sports. According to Philanthropy Women, Wasserman unveiled its new program July 13 and the Collective will offer resources for female-focused initiatives, utilizing the full reach of Wasserman entities to support business and client campaigns. Among the Foundation’s grant recipients are Women in Sports and Events (WISE) and the City of Los Angeles’s Evolve Entertainment Fund. Currently, Wasserman represents 56% of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, 26 WNBA players, and “a number of women Olympians who have won a total of 37 gold medals since 2010.” Representing some of the top women in sports such as Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach, Mia Hamm, and Katie Ledecky, Wasserman Media Group has furthered its commitment to increasing the prominence of top female athletes.
  9. Kevin Durant helps to send kids from Prince George, Maryland to college. The newly-signed Brooklyn Net has opened the Durant Center, an educational facility in his hometown. According to BET, the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation has committed $10 million over the next decade in a partnership with Prince George’s County Public Schools and College Track to help minority low-income high school students earn a college degree. The Durant Center is the first College Track center on the East Coast, with the inaugural class of the Prince George’s county program totaling 69 students of color. Enrolled students attend the center after school for tutoring and advising where they are taught life skills, including time and stress management. Last year, Durant donated $3 million to University of Texas Austin, in addition to supporting organizations like the Tulsa Dream Center, Larkin Street Youth Services, and Black Girls Code in San Francisco, and was named ESPN’s 2018 Humanitarian of the Year. This only builds on his philanthropy track record.
  10. The Tom Hatcher charity golf tournament raises nearly $100,000. Six years ago, Tom Hatcher had no idea what he was starting when he decided to organize a charity golf tournament. According to The Daily Times, Hatcher is the circuit court clerk for Blount County, Tennessee and was moved to action by his father, who was in the midst of a five-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. At this year’s tournament, more than 300 golfers competed for two causes close to Hatcher’s heart. The sixth-annual event raised roughly $100,000, which will be split up and donated to Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc. and the Blount County Boys & Girls Club. The total donations have increased every year, with Hatcher’s inaugural tournament raising $23,000 in 2014. This one’s total bested last year’s by roughly $20,000. By mixing politics, sports, and charity, Hatcher continues to see growing success in raising funds and awareness for the Boys & Girls club as well as Alzheimer’s Tennessee.

29 Jul

15+5+5 To Watch 72919

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

  1. Forbes named the most valuable franchises in sports, led by the Dallas Cowboys, who for the fourth consecutive year landed atop the list. The study values the Cowboys at $5 billion, with the Yankees second on the list at $4.6 billion, and Spain’s Real Madrid in third with a valuation of $4.24 billion. Rounding out the top ten are Barcelona ($4.02 billion), the Knicks ($4 billion), Manchester United ($3.81 billion), the Patriots ($3.8 billion), the Lakers ($3.7 billion), the Golden State Warriors ($3.5 billion), the New York Giants ($3.3 billion), and the Dodgers ($3.3 billion). The NFL dominates the overall list with 26 teams in the top 50. A major contributor was the league’s lucrative media rights deals with CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN, and DirecTV, which saw each team receive more than $260 million last year. Way behind the NFL was the NBA, which had nine teams on the list. Eight European soccer clubs made the list, as did seven MLB franchises. Cowboys owner and Sport Business Handbook contributor Jerry Jones has been credited with driving up the franchise’s value since purchasing it for $150 million in 1989.
  2. The cost of the Raiders’ new Vegas stadium has risen to $1.9 billion. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ), the Las Vegas Stadium Authority has reportedly approved $40 million worth of additions to the build, including 20 more suites and a field-level club area near the venue’s north end zone. The LVRJ report added that close to $1 billion has so far been spent on the construction of the 65,000-seat stadium. The new venue is expected to be ready for the 2020 season, when the Raiders are scheduled to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas. The construction project, of which $750 million is being funded by taxpayers, has now passed the halfway stage, with the next major task being the installation of the cable steel roofing system that will support the stadium’s translucent roof. The latest update comes a month after the franchise appointed AEG Facilities to operate the new stadium. Right now, the Raiders are reluctantly in the spotlight as HBO’s “Hard Knocks” documents their every move during NFL preseason camp.
  3. As NFL teams settle into training camp, Patriots legend Tom Brady sits at No. 1 on the NFLPA Top 50 players sales list, while new Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is the highest rookie on the list at No. 21. The first list of the 2019 season, according to the NFLPA, is based on total sales of all officially-licensed NFL player merchandise, tracking year-to-date preseason results from March 1 to May 31. The NFLPA list is the only verified ranking of all officially licensed, NFL player-branded merchandise sold from online and traditional retail outlets as reported by more than 75 NFLPA licensees. Additionally, Fox Business noted the Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr., who ranked second in sales overall, was the NFL’s “top-selling player in terms of jerseys manufactured by Nike, the league’s official uniform supplier.” Brady “ranked third in that category.” Also high on the list – Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
  4. Lovers of the made-for-TV Skins Games of the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, rejoice. According to ESPN.com, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Hideki Matsuyama are rekindling the series, with the first event taking place before the inaugural Zozo Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Japan on October 21. The Zozo Championship was Woods’ first official commitment following his historic Masters victory in April. The one-day Skins competition will reportedly offer “lucrative prize money.” The event, which will be run and sanctioned by the PGA Tour, harkens back to The Skins Game series that ran 1983-2005. The upcoming event is also reportedly part of Woods’ content agreement with GolfTV; negotiations are currently taking place to televise the event in the U.S. The Zozo Championship is the second leg of a three-tournament Asia swing on the 2019-2020 PGA Tour schedule that includes CJ Cup in South Korea and the WGC HSBC Champions in China. The Zozo Championship features a 78-player field, no cut, and a $9.75 million purse. 
  5. It’s official – Colombia has its first official Tour de France win. Columbian Egan Bernal left his mark on the Tour de France in the mountains and in the record books, at 22 becoming the youngest Tour winner since the World War II. NBC Sports also clocked some firsts – throughout this year’s event, NBC Sports Group provided U.S. cycling fans with a deeper look at the action than ever before. The Peacock deployed several new production tools for its coverage of the 21-day race, including, for the first time, live feeds from POV cameras mounted on several competitors’ bicycles. NBC Sports’ studio production had another new tech toy in its arsenal this year: an augmented-reality graphics and telestrator system developed by Israel-based Morpheus, which produces virtual cyclist graphics. Live Tour de France coverage on NBCSN averaged 307,000 viewers through last Sunday’s Stage 15 – the highest since 2015, and up 11% from last year at this point in the competition. In two years, the Tour will have a fresh look as well, as in 2021 it will begin in bicycle-mad Copenhagen for the first time in its 100+ year history.
  6. World Cup star Alex Morgan looking to launch female-focused media venture. Morgan, co-captain of the USWNT and World Cup champion, is planning to launch her own media venture focused on storytelling, specifically content for girls created by female athletes. The unnamed project is one of many off-field pursuits for the 30-year-old, recently named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people. Morgan has written a series of children’s books about soccer called “The Kicks,” and last year acted in her first movie, a sports comedy called “Alex & Me.” Her sponsors include Nike Inc., Coca-Cola Co., AT&T, and Secret, a deodorant brand owned by Procter & Gamble. Morgan reportedly isn’t planning to launch it in partnership with any major media companies – rather, it’s part of a larger push by women on the team to advocate for gender equality in sports and beyond. “We’re authentic to who we are and what we stand for, and we’re becoming more brave and comfortable in our own skin,” Morgan said. This latest venture shows how the women of the USWNT can continue to use their championship platform to speak up about important issues. 
  7. Although he didn’t prevail, racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was still a win for IndyCar driver Zach Veach. Stockdale, Ohio native Zach Veach is still searching for that elusive first IndyCar win. But as the Mansfield News Journal pointed out, Veach, “in his second full season behind the wheel of an IndyCar, racing for Andretti Autosport…is still looking for the checkered flag, but there is plenty of time left in what looks to be a very long career behind the wheel.” Veach’s work off the track makes him a compelling public figure. In 2010, when he was 16, he made CNN’s list of most intriguing people for his role as national spokesperson for FocusDriven, an initiative to fight distracted driving. His newest venture is with EverFi, an education initiative to help kids learn life lessons through sports. Veach also “has a ton of success over his career at Mid-Ohio.” During his three-year Indy Lights Series run, Veach had five Top 5 finishes at the track. While that didn’t come to pass this weekend, the confident, talented young driver considers the event a win for his family, his friends, and primary sponsors Group1001 and Gainbridge.
  8. James Harden has joined the ownership group of MLS club Houston Dynamo. According to Front Office Sports, Harden has acquired a 5% stake in the Dynamo, which carries an overall valuation of more than $475 million. Harden, who in 2017 signed a then-NBA record $228 million dollar contract extension with the Houston Rockets through the 2022-2023 season, becomes the fifth member of the ownership group, which also owns the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) Houston Dash and BBVA Stadium. The group is led by Mexican businessman Gabriel Brener, who acquired control from AEG in 2015. The other members of the group are Ben Guill, Jake Silverstein, and former boxing world champion Oscar De La Hoya, all of whom are expected to continue their involvement after the basketball player’s investment. Harden said, “Houston is my home now, and I saw this as a way to invest in my city and expand my business interests at the same time.” On the pitch, the Dynamo sit two points behind the playoff positions in MLS’s Western Conference, while the Dash are five points off the pace for a spot in the NWSL’s final series.
  9. The Oklahoma City Thunder partnered with the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to unveil their new City Edition uniforms, a "charcoal and gold Nike uniform [that] pays respect to those affected” by the 1995 bombing there. The Oklahoman reported that it has “long been a Thunder tradition to bring each player to the memorial when he joins the team,” but now the team will “put its own imprint on the museum.” The team “plans to underwrite a permanent exhibit that will focus on the ‘Oklahoma Standard.’” The “three values associated with that standard – service, honor and kindness – are also printed above the City jersey’s tag.” In addition, a time stamp “appears under each: 9:01, the minute before the bombing, and 9:03, the minute after.” The “survivor tree, a 90-year old elm that withstood the blast, appears on the waist band of the shorts.” The Thunder also “pledged to fund free admission to the museum once a month” during 2020. The jerseys – a touching way for basketball fans to honor those lost in the tragedy almost 25 years ago – will be available to purchase at a later date.
  10. A new report by MVPindex shows the NBA’s latest season brought notable increases in the league’s social media footprint and brand value. The report shows a 132% increase in the NBA’s collective social media footprint during the 2018-2019 campaign, with league and team accounts collectively generating more than $1.1 billion of value for brand partners, up 20% from $921 million 2017-2018. By comparison, the NFL last season generated $343 million in brand value, the second-highest social media value among the top leagues. Among the various social media platforms, Instagram proved most valuable to brands, generating about 90% of the total brand value while accounting for only 10% of the NBA’s total social media content. The NBA patch program is also driving activations, with seven team patch partners among the top 25 of the league’s top social media activations. “The smart teams are activating around moments along with scores and highlights,” said MVPindex co-Founder and CMO Kyle Nelson, also a Sport Business Handbook contributor. The team with the most social media engagement was the Warriors with 291 million social media engagements, followed by the Lakers with 147 million.
  11. Williamson signs landmark deal with Jordan Brands. Pelicans forward Zion Williamson’s deal with Jordan Brand is for seven years and $75 million, according to a source cited by Forbes. In DC, The Washington Post notes for “comparison purposes,” LeBron James signed a seven-year, $87 million deal with Nike in 2003. Williamson “arrives in the league as arguably the most-hyped prospect since James.” Rockets guard Russell Westbrook and Thunder guard Chris Paul “have signature lines with Jordan Brand, but as an ascendant superstar, Williamson can quickly become the face of the brand.” ESPN reported Williamson “ultimately turned down a higher offer from Puma” and as much as $15 million annually from Chinese brands Li-Ning and Anta “in order to wear Michael Jordan’s brand.” Williamson could see also his already impressive social media following expand after signing the Jordan Brand deal. Jordan has 33.1 million total followers, with 55% of those on Instagram. Williamson became a social media juggernaut due to his high school and college exploits, amassing almost four million Instagram followers and 390,000 on Twitter. Clearly, this sneaker lace up is a win-win for Williamson and the Jordan Brand.
  12. Women’s Wear Daily reported Vineyard Vines has signed a deal with the Premier Lacrosse League to become its “official style partner.” Vineyard Vines will “create exclusive product that will be available for purchase” during the current 2019 season as well as the 2020 season. It will “consist of PLL T-shirts and Shep shirts for men, women, and children that will be sold on the league’s web site.” The deal “includes Vineyard Vines activations in each of the league’s 13 major-market cities that will include branded signs, on-field half-time entertainment for fans and T-shirt giveaways.” Vineyard Vines, which recently wrapped up a massive collaboration with Target that is thought to have helped revive the classic but aging brand, previously partnered with Peyton Manning, Manning’s Nationwide ad campaigns, and has outfitted golf announcing legend Jim Nantz. The PLL deal seems to be right in line with Vineyard Vines’ preppy image, albeit for a younger sports generation. 
  13. Outland Trophy finds presenting sponsors again. The Outland Trophy – awarded to college football’s top interior lineman – will have presenting sponsors again, in 2019. The Football Writers Association of America and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases announced that they plan to partner on a public awareness campaign bringing attention to the importance of flu prevention. Selected by FWAA, the trophy is awarded annually to the top interior lineman in college football. As part of the public awareness campaign, the Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases will use the hashtag #FightFlu on all advertising, marketing, social media, and public relations materials. The 2019 Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases will be awarded during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on December 12. While this may seem like an odd alliance for a football award, it exemplifies the power of sports as a vehicle for widespread messaging and the commitment of collegiate and pro sports alike toward public service campaigns.
  14. Nasdaq makes a bet on sports gambling. The New York-based stock-exchange group announced a deal with UK betting platform Football Index to help build its trading platform using tools similar to those Nasdaq uses on traditional stock exchanges. The four-year-old, privately held Football Index launched a virtual “stock market” in 2014 in which participants buy shares in star players like Lionel Messi or Harry Kane. The site provides a mix of fantasy sports and regular sports betting with elements of stock market speculation. The Football Index deal will be the first in which the Nasdaq brand will be visible to gambling customers. Nasdaq has other sports-betting clients including the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which has a monopoly on the Chinese territoryʼs sports-betting market. It also has an agreement to provide betting technology for the horse racing unit of Australiaʼs Tabcorp, a lottery and gambling giant. In both those cases, Nasdaq has supplied back-end technology but its logo and branding did not appear on any consumer-facing products. Football Index says the ultimate goal is to create “recreational markets for retail traders in something they understand a lot better than” traditional financial instruments, such as currencies.
  15. Nike, Nickelodeon join forces in a pineapple under the sea. Nike and Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products have launched the Kyrie x SpongeBob SquarePants collection, available August 10. The collection features five shoes inspired by the signature characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as apparel and accessories including T-shirts, a hoodie, socks, and backpacks. According to the official release, NBA superstar Kyrie Irving’s latest collection “is suited for on-court competition and off-court jellyfishing.” The sneakers in the collection showcase the signature Kyrie 5 silhouette in bright yellow for SpongeBob, pink and green tones for Patrick, and turquoise accents for Squidward. The low-cut silhouette of the Kyrie Low 2 pays homage to the currency-crazy crustacean, Mr. Krabs, as well as a Sandy Cheeks version with colors inspired by the squirrel’s space suit. SpongeBob SquarePants, one of the most iconic TV series ever created, has impacted pop culture with its universe of beloved characters. The title character has also influenced the worlds of fashion and streetwear with recent collaborations, including Moschino, Lisa Frank, Marlou Breuls, and Chinatown Market. This year marks SpongeBob’s 20th anniversary, off the court and on.

Top Five Tech

  1. The PGA Tour adds DraftKings as its daily fantasy sports (DFS) partner in a multi-year partnership. According to Golf Channel, DraftKings offers a DFS golf game where contestants in most U.S. states can wager real money to compete for cash prizes. The typical game setup requires participants to submit an entry fee and choose a fantasy roster of six players for each tournament while staying within the guidelines of a designated salary cap. The new partnership began during the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, with PGA Tour-related prizes to be added to the cash offerings available to top finishers. The Tour will also make available real-time video highlights of rostered players for DraftKings participants among other specific content offerings, similar to video offerings now available around other fantasy leagues. By moving golf into the DFS format with DraftKings, the sport may be able to pick up new and younger fans who wager on live tournaments.  
  2. Odell Beckham, Jr. is launching a production company and YouTube Channel. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the NFL superstar is changing up more than just his longtime New York Giants outfit this offseason. The new Cleveland Browns wide receiver has launched his own media outfit, ITN Productions, as part of a pact with Wheelhouse Entertainment. To start his new productions, Beckham will launched his YouTube channel to offer an off-the-field look into his life. The new YouTube platform will add to the wide receiver’s hefty social media presence with 13.4 million Instagram followers and another four million on Twitter. Looking to current NBA superstars with production companies like LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment and Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media, it looks like OBJ is on the right track to set himself up for long term success.
  3. The Fortnite World Cup has appointed IMG to manage distribution and media production. The Epic Games event was hosted July 26-28 at the 23,000 capacity Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. According to Esports Insider, the tournament featured several separate events including the Creative championship, solos and duos finals, as well as the Celebrity Pro-Am.  The total prize pool for the tournament was $30 million, with the winners of both the solos and duos competitions taking home the top prize of $3 million each. IMG delivered all content via an encoded stream from its IMG Studios production facility in the UK and The Finals was broadcast live on Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and within the game itself (via the Watch Live button when you log into Fortnite). Sport 24 Extra, IMG’s in-flight sports channel, also presented the Fortnite World Cup live during international flights on select airlines. Bringing IMG Media on-board is a smart move from Epic Games, as it will continually allow them to reach a multitude of worldwide audiences on social media and even up in the sky.
  4. NASCAR, NBC, and iRacing team up to deliver eNASCAR on NBCSN. According to Sports Video Group, this is the first ever eNASCAR live event on television. The world’s best NASCAR iRacers will compete in the event on TV as part of “NASCAR America” and will later return to “NASCAR America” on NBCSN on the last Thursday of each month in a four-race series. In the online simulation racing game, competitors race head-to-head from around the world. More information on the three future iRacing events on NBCSN will be revealed in the coming weeks. In addition to the eNASCAR iRacing All-Star events being broadcast on NBCSN, iRacing and NASCAR also have a professional esports series known as the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series, where global drivers compete for more than $100,000 in prize money in a year-long championship. NASCAR’s aging audience may get a younger boost with a heavy dose of esports while real life racers have transitioned to notable esports team owners including NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and other racing stars Clint Bowyer and Austin Dillon. 
  5. MLS’ Los Angeles Football Club is using tech for food and drink orders at home matches. According to the Los Angeles Times, LAFC and Satisfi Labs have partnered up to expand their virtual assistant platform, Olly, with Apple Business Chat to offer a new system for fans to communicate directly with food and beverage vendors at their home venue, Banc of California Stadium. Fans will be able to order food and drinks from their seats and pick them up at their convenience using the Messages app on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac – but not Android. To start an Apple Business Chat to order ahead, fans open the camera on their Apple device to scan a QR code found around the stadium. A conversation with Olly will open immediately in the Messages app, and then the user can respond in their own time frame for a pickup location and finalize the purchase with Apple Pay. The food and drink options will always be changing depending on what LAFC wants to experiment with and what fans are demanding – allowing for a more pleasurable, convenient fan experience.

Power of Sports Five

  1. MLS WORKS showcases the soccer league’s philanthropy during 2019 All-Star Week. According to Orlando City FC, MLS’ philanthropic group is rolling out a slate of community-focused initiatives and events in the Orlando area for the MLS All-Star Game on July 31. MLS will offset a portion of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with All-Star Week festivities by purchasing 2,600 carbon offsets from a clean cookstove project in Africa. Supporting the Orlando City Foundation’s commitment to urban agriculture, MLS will invest in a community garden as part of the MLS WORKS + Target All-Star Community Day. And in partnership with Fleet Farming and their Edible Landscape service, a garden will be installed at Neptune Middle School. MLS will also provide funding for South Street Urban Farm’s education program in the Parramore area of downtown Orlando. The charity arm of MLS will also team up to combat hunger and support the Special Olympics as the MLS All-Stars take on La Liga’s Atletico Madrid.
  2. Wasserman Media Group launches The Collective with $1 million for women in sports. According to Philanthropy Women, Wasserman unveiled its new program July 13 and the Collective will offer resources for female-focused initiatives, utilizing the full reach of Wasserman entities to support business and client campaigns. Among the Foundation’s grant recipients are Women in Sports and Events (WISE) and the City of Los Angeles’s Evolve Entertainment Fund. Currently, Wasserman represents 56% of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, 26 WNBA players, and “a number of women Olympians who have won a total of 37 gold medals since 2010.” Representing some of the top women in sports such as Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach, Mia Hamm, and Katie Ledecky, Wasserman Media Group has furthered its commitment to increasing the prominence of top female athletes.
  3. LA Galaxy and Chevrolet team up to launch the Chevrolet Charity Challenge. According to LA Galaxy, The LA Galaxy Foundation, Chevrolet, and players from the club have teamed up to launch a competition to raise awareness and donations for local Community Partners. Eight LA Galaxy players will compete and be rewarded for completing designated tasks at upcoming games and their earnings will go to charity. For every pass completed, tackle, duel won, meter covered, clearance made, and cross completed, the LA Galaxy Foundation will donate up to $1,000 to a local Community Partner. The eight community partners include Garden School Foundation, Playworks, Make-A-Wish: Greater Los Angeles, The Mission Continues: Reporting for Duty in Your Community, SurfRider Foundation: Los Angeles, Gift of Life, Special Olympics Southern California, and Positive Coaching Alliance: Los Angeles. Fans of the game were also encouraged to support community partners by making their own donation to the partner of their choice during the club’s July 24 home match. 
  4. Kevin Durant helps to send kids from Prince George, Maryland to college. The newly-signed Brooklyn Net has opened the Durant Center, an educational facility in his hometown. According to BET, the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation has committed $10 million over the next decade in a partnership with Prince George’s County Public Schools and College Track to help minority low-income high school students earn a college degree. The Durant Center is the first College Track center on the East Coast, with the inaugural class of the Prince George’s county program totaling 69 students of color. Enrolled students attend the center after school for tutoring and advising where they are taught life skills, including time and stress management. Last year, Durant donated $3 million to University of Texas Austin, in addition to supporting organizations like the Tulsa Dream Center, Larkin Street Youth Services, and Black Girls Code in San Francisco, and was named ESPN’s 2018 Humanitarian of the Year. This only builds on his philanthropy track record.
  5. The Tom Hatcher charity golf tournament raises nearly $100,000. Six years ago, Tom Hatcher had no idea what he was starting when he decided to organize a charity golf tournament. According to The Daily Times, Hatcher is the circuit court clerk for Blount County, Tennessee and was moved to action by his father, who was in the midst of a five-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. At this year’s tournament, more than 300 golfers competed for two causes close to Hatcher’s heart. The sixth-annual event raised roughly $100,000, which will be split up and donated to Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc. and the Blount County Boys & Girls Club. The total donations have increased every year, with Hatcher’s inaugural tournament raising $23,000 in 2014. This one’s total bested last year’s by roughly $20,000. By mixing politics, sports, and charity, Hatcher continues to see growing success in raising funds and awareness for the Boys & Girls club as well as Alzheimer’s Tennessee.