25 Nov

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 112519

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 25 : MAYOR’S EDITION

with Jacob Aere

  1. Millions of Americans are counting on Airbnb this holiday season. So is the IOC. The International Olympic Committee booked a reported $500 million, nine-year, five-Games partnership with Airbnb, designed to create “a new standard for hosting that will be a win for host cities, a win for spectators and fans, and a win for athletes.” According to SportsPro, the agreement includes accommodation provisions that will reduce costs for Olympic Games organizers and stakeholders, decrease the need for construction of new accommodation infrastructure for the Olympic Games period, and generate direct revenue for local hosts and communities. The IOC and Airbnb will launch Airbnb Olympian Experiences to provide direct earning opportunities for athletes in addition to making at least $28 million worth of Airbnb accommodations available over the course of the partnership to athletes competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games for competition and training related travel. The Olympian Experiences also encourage current and former Olympic athletes to sell personal experiences and access to their training regimes to fans via Airbnb, establishing a new revenue stream for them.
  2. The NBA is reportedly eyeing big changes. According to ESPN, the NBA is “engaged in serious discussions” with the NBPA and broadcast partners on “sweeping, dramatic changes to the league calendar that would include a reseeding of the four conference finalists, a 30-team in-season tournament and a postseason play-in.” Sources said that these scenarios "would come with the shortening of the regular season to a minimum of 78 games.” They added that discussions are “progressing with hopes of bringing a vote to the April meeting” of the league’s BOG that “would introduce some – if not all – of these proposals into the NBA’s 75th anniversary season” in 2021-2022. The NBA “still has work to do coordinating with constituents on the myriad implications involving the proposed changes.” Commissioner Adam Silver has been “driving this agenda of change – especially the in-season tournament cup modeled after European soccer – for years.” The NBA has long been at the forefront of innovation – expect these novel ideas, championed by Silver, to hold the attention of owners, broadcast partners, and the players’ association.
  3. After a $31 million opening weekend debut, "Ford v Ferrari” retains its Number One box office position and aims for $120 million total prize. “Ford v Ferrari,” perhaps the best thing to happen to motor sports marketing this calendar year, tells the remarkable true story of American car designer Carroll Shelby, played by Matt Damon, and British-born driver Ken Miles, portrayed by Christian Bale). Together, Shelby and Miles built a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and took on Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. Car and Driver notes, “The 24 Hours of Le Mans is auto racing’s Boston Marathon, a brutal test of endurance where competitors race stunningly fast cars for 24 straight hours at speeds that can exceed 200 mph.” Movie review service Rotten Tomatoes gave “Ford v Ferrari” a high 91% approval rating, which bodes well for its box office success (unlike most other motor sports movies). November not only ushers in the holidays, but also Academy Awards season – “Ford v Ferrari” gives a sport-themed picture a solid pole position in the Oscars race.
  4. On the menu this Thanksgiving week: football and…Pop-Tarts. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the Kellogg Co. brand is slated to air its first Super Bowl commercial as it looks to position the breakfast pastry as a game-day snack. Kellogg reportedly worked with New York-based creative agency MRY on the 30-second spot, which will run right before the two-minute warning in the first half of the NFL championship game. “As a beloved brand known for bold marketing, the big game provides an opportunity for Pop-Tarts to share our story and exciting product portfolio with a massive audience,” Philipp Schaffer, senior director of marketing at Pop-Tarts, said in a statement. “Advertising during the big game is a natural next step for the Pop-Tarts brand, which is always looking for new ways (and craveable flavors) to excite our fans.” Fox Sports has sold 60 of 77 available Super Bowl LIV spots, “pacing well ahead” of plans, Seth Winter, Fox’s EVP for sports sales, told Bloomberg. The price for one 30-second spot is a record $5.6 million, with a possible price hike for the last few slots. To paraphrase “Ghost Busters,” that’s a big Pop Tart.
  5. U.S. Representatives’ letter to MLB opposed contraction of baseball’s minors. Last week, several members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stating their “firm opposition” to the league’s “radical proposal to eliminate numerous Minor League Baseball clubs.” According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the letter argued that the “demise of dozens of minor league teams would undermine talent development and fan loyalty, and take away an affordable form of entertainment in areas far from professional sports teams.” The letter also threatened the withdrawal of the “long-term support that Congress has always afforded our national pastime on a wide variety of legislative initiatives.” Elsewhere, the league announced that the MLB minimum salary will rise to $563,500 next season, an increase of $8,500 from last year‘s $555,000. In the minors, the minimum for a player’s first contract jumps from $45,300 to $46,000, while the minimum for a player’s second or later deal jumps from $90,400 to $91,800. Baseball’s winter meetings convene in San Diego in two weeks, and the congressional support for the good work minor league teams do in American communities should bolster MiLB’s case for keeping their structure intact.
  6. Minor League Baseball has announced the continued long-term commitment to its U.S. Hispanic fans and communities with the return of the 2020 Copa de la Diversion campaign and event series. Next season, each of the 92 participating MiLB teams covering 34 U.S. states will transform its on-field brand to a culturally-relevant Hispanic persona, representing an extension of the team’s and community’s identity. MiLB’s Copa-specific website features each team’s unique identity, including the story behind its Hispanic on-field persona, and links for fans to purchase available apparel for select Copa teams. As the New York Times noted, “the local embrace of a professional baseball team is ingrained in American culture.” MiLB performs critical community outreach through programs such as building youth sports facilities and sponsoring creative initiatives in schools. As American communities continue to become more diverse, events like the Copa de la Diversion campaign only serve to cement MiLB’s role as communal centerpiece across the nation.
  7. The top 100 most valuable U.S. brands are worth a total of $3.81 trillion dollars, more than the GDP of Germany, according to WPP and Kantar’s 2020 BrandZ ranking. Among the fastest risers were Instagram, at $28.88 billion, which grew 98% in brand value, followed by Pinterest, Salesforce, Chipotle, and Cisco. The U.S. leads all other markets on innovation, with 36% of all U.S. brands ranking highly on this measure; the most innovative brand is Uber, followed by Amazon, Netflix, Disney, and FedEx. According to consumers, Uber, FedEx, Pampers, UPS, and Amazon provide the best customer experience. What’s the takeaway for U.S. advertisers? Victoria Sakal, Associate Director, Kantar, told Cynopsis, “Mattering more to consumers comes from being more relevant – meaningfully different – to them through greater insight on the things they care about, and also from playing a more active yet strategic role in more aspects of consumers’ lives: in advertising, on the retail shelf, and in our daily regimens.” According to related data analysis, total brand spend on U.S. sports sponsorship will grow 5.4% year-on-year to hit $15.5 billion in 2020. This represents an increase on the previous year’s growth of 3.5%.
  8. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan confirmed that he has signed a long-term contract extension. Whan is "completing his tenth year as the LPGA’s leader, the longest tenure of any commissioner in tour history,” according to Golf Channel. During his tenure, Whan has “rebuilt the LPGA with a healthy, diversified foundation, with 33 events” and more than $70 million in total prize money.” When Whan was named LPGA Commissioner, the organization had only 23 events on the 2011 schedule in his first year. “Ten years ago, I’m not sure many of us would have been bold enough to predict where we are our today,” he wrote in an update to members. “Events like the KPMG Women’s PGA, Race to the CME Globe, UL International Crown and Founders Cup weren’t even an idea back then. In fact, 19 of the 33 official events on the 2020 LPGA Tour Schedule weren’t on the LPGA Tour just 10 years ago! Now we have an official team event, five strong majors, multiple events played with men, exciting season-long competitions, events staged in 12 different regions of the world, and TV coverage in over 160 countries.” Well done, Mike – we are proud to call you a friend.
  9. The 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target is heading to Los Angeles where, for the first time, the MLS All-Stars will face the Liga MX All-Stars on July 29 at Banc of California Stadium. The match will be broadcast on ESPN and Univision networks in the U.S., TSN, and TVA Sports in Canada, as well as on ESPN throughout Mexico and Latin America. “We are so pleased to bring the 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target to Los Angeles, one of the great soccer markets in North America,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement. “As we celebrate our 25th season, we wanted to deliver a unique and unprecedented format for our annual All-Star Game. Our first ever game between the best of MLS and Liga MX’s top players is the perfect way to build on the growing relationship between the two top soccer leagues in the region.” The MLS All-Star Game will unfold in the same timeframe that SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Rams and the Chargers, will roll out inaugural concerts before it hosts its first official NFL games. Next summer, it seems, all eyes will be on LaLa Land.
  10. A $50 million soccer fund has been put aside by the U.S. for the 2026 World Cup. According to Bloomberg, part-owner of the Philadelphia Union, Richie Graham, is leading a $50 million investment in the sport. Graham and a team of former executives from Adidas AG, ESPN, U.S. Soccer, and soccer-focused digital media company Copa90 have established For Soccer Ventures, a $50 million investment fund focused on growing the game in North America. The ultimate goal is to create a one-stop platform where those invested in U.S. soccer – including kids, parents, casual fans, professional players, and coaches – can reach the sport and its culture. Graham said the world’s most popular sport is benefiting in the U.S. from a rising Hispanic population and a tech-savvy, millennial, and Gen Z fan base. The venture will comprise two principal components: the Soccer Collective, a multimedia content producer aimed at promoting the culture of American soccer, and the Soccer Alliance, meant to build on Graham’s existing holdings through a network of clubs, leagues, and tournaments. For Soccer Ventures will be part of a larger initiative to spur further interest in soccer across the U.S. while a number of marquee international teams, featuring such icons as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar, are also staging exhibitions in the U.S. for the same reason

25 Nov

15+5+5 To Watch 112519

15 TO WATCH/5 SPORTS TECH/POWER OF SPORTS 5: RICK HORROW’S TOP SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 25

with Jacob Aere

  1. Millions of Americans are counting on Airbnb this holiday season. So is the IOC. The International Olympic Committee booked a reported $500 million, nine-year, five-Games partnership with Airbnb, designed to create “a new standard for hosting that will be a win for host cities, a win for spectators and fans, and a win for athletes.” According to SportsPro, the agreement includes accommodation provisions that will reduce costs for Olympic Games organizers and stakeholders, decrease the need for construction of new accommodation infrastructure for the Olympic Games period, and generate direct revenue for local hosts and communities. The IOC and Airbnb will launch Airbnb Olympian Experiences to provide direct earning opportunities for athletes in addition to making at least $28 million worth of Airbnb accommodations available over the course of the partnership to athletes competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games for competition and training related travel. The Olympian Experiences also encourage current and former Olympic athletes to sell personal experiences and access to their training regimes to fans via Airbnb, establishing a new revenue stream for them.
  2. The NBA is reportedly eyeing big changes. According to ESPN, the NBA is “engaged in serious discussions” with the NBPA and broadcast partners on “sweeping, dramatic changes to the league calendar that would include a reseeding of the four conference finalists, a 30-team in-season tournament and a postseason play-in.” Sources said that these scenarios "would come with the shortening of the regular season to a minimum of 78 games.” They added that discussions are “progressing with hopes of bringing a vote to the April meeting” of the league’s BOG that “would introduce some – if not all – of these proposals into the NBA’s 75th anniversary season” in 2021-2022. The NBA “still has work to do coordinating with constituents on the myriad implications involving the proposed changes.” Commissioner Adam Silver has been “driving this agenda of change – especially the in-season tournament cup modeled after European soccer – for years.” The NBA has long been at the forefront of innovation – expect these novel ideas, championed by Silver, to hold the attention of owners, broadcast partners, and the players’ association.
  3. After a $31 million opening weekend debut, "Ford v Ferrari” retains its Number One box office position and aims for $120 million total prize. “Ford v Ferrari,” perhaps the best thing to happen to motor sports marketing this calendar year, tells the remarkable true story of American car designer Carroll Shelby, played by Matt Damon, and British-born driver Ken Miles, portrayed by Christian Bale). Together, Shelby and Miles built a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and took on Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. Car and Driver notes, “The 24 Hours of Le Mans is auto racing’s Boston Marathon, a brutal test of endurance where competitors race stunningly fast cars for 24 straight hours at speeds that can exceed 200 mph.” Movie review service Rotten Tomatoes gave “Ford v Ferrari” a high 91% approval rating, which bodes well for its box office success (unlike most other motor sports movies). November not only ushers in the holidays, but also Academy Awards season – “Ford v Ferrari” gives a sport-themed picture a solid pole position in the Oscars race.
  4. On the menu this Thanksgiving week: football and…Pop-Tarts. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the Kellogg Co. brand is slated to air its first Super Bowl commercial as it looks to position the breakfast pastry as a game-day snack. Kellogg reportedly worked with New York-based creative agency MRY on the 30-second spot, which will run right before the two-minute warning in the first half of the NFL championship game. “As a beloved brand known for bold marketing, the big game provides an opportunity for Pop-Tarts to share our story and exciting product portfolio with a massive audience,” Philipp Schaffer, senior director of marketing at Pop-Tarts, said in a statement. “Advertising during the big game is a natural next step for the Pop-Tarts brand, which is always looking for new ways (and craveable flavors) to excite our fans.” Fox Sports has sold 60 of 77 available Super Bowl LIV spots, “pacing well ahead” of plans, Seth Winter, Fox’s EVP for sports sales, told Bloomberg. The price for one 30-second spot is a record $5.6 million, with a possible price hike for the last few slots. To paraphrase “Ghost Busters,” that’s a big Pop Tart.
  5. Not to be outdone by a breakfast pastry, Hyundai announced it will run a 60-second Super Bowl ad in the game’s second quarter. According to Ad Age, Hyundai will run a 60-second ad in the second quarter of Fox’ Super Bowl LIV telecast on February 2, which “marks the 12th time in the past 13 years Hyundai will advertise in the game.” The automaker “declined to reveal details beyond confirming that its agency-of-record Innocean will handle the spot.” During Super Bowl LIII last February, the brand “ran an ad starring Jason Bateman that ranked as the game’s fourth-best ad” on USA Today’s Ad Meter. Ad-scoring service Ace Metrix “has ranked Hyundai’s Super Bowl ads in the top 10 the last seven times it has appeared in the game.” You’ll also see a lot of Hyundai during football games this week, as the car brand and its automotive brethren get into the holiday spirit via ubiquitous Black Friday and end of model year sales campaigns.
  6. It’s rivalry week in college football, and that means that bowl season is right around the corner, capped by the CFP National Championship in New Orleans and primo entertainment. The College Football Playoff has announced a lineup of multi-platinum national recording artists who will perform at AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! January 11-12 as well as at the Capital One Stage at Allstate Championship Tailgate Plaza on January 13. The free concerts will take place in New Orleans’ Woldenberg Park. January 11 sees performances be H.E.R., Nas, and MAX. January 12 features Meghan Trainor, Bastille, and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. January 13 then offers Tim McGraw and Judah & the Lion, while Lauren Daigle performs the “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the CFP Championship game. Once again, the Superdome will captivate global audiences from both a sport and entertainment perspective.
  7. U.S. Representatives’ letter to MLB opposed contraction of baseball’s minors. Last week, several members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stating their "firm opposition” to the league’s “radical proposal to eliminate numerous Minor League Baseball clubs.” According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the letter argued that the “demise of dozens of minor league teams would undermine talent development and fan loyalty, and take away an affordable form of entertainment in areas far from professional sports teams.” The letter also threatened the withdrawal of the “long-term support that Congress has always afforded our national pastime on a wide variety of legislative initiatives.” Elsewhere, the league announced that the MLB minimum salary will rise to $563,500 next season, an increase of $8,500 from last year‘s $555,000. In the minors, the minimum for a player’s first contract jumps from $45,300 to $46,000, while the minimum for a player’s second or later deal jumps from $90,400 to $91,800. Baseball’s winter meetings convene in San Diego in two weeks, and the congressional support for the good work minor league teams do in American communities should bolster MiLB’s case for keeping their structure intact.
  8. Minor League Baseball has announced the continued long-term commitment to its U.S. Hispanic fans and communities with the return of the 2020 Copa de la Diversion campaign and event series. Next season, each of the 92 participating MiLB teams covering 34 U.S. states will transform its on-field brand to a culturally-relevant Hispanic persona, representing an extension of the team’s and community’s identity. MiLB’s Copa-specific website features each team’s unique identity, including the story behind its Hispanic on-field persona, and links for fans to purchase available apparel for select Copa teams. As the New York Times noted, “the local embrace of a professional baseball team is ingrained in American culture.” MiLB performs critical community outreach through programs such as building youth sports facilities and sponsoring creative initiatives in schools. As American communities continue to become more diverse, events like the Copa de la Diversion campaign only serve to cement MiLB’s role as communal centerpiece across the nation.
  9. VISA has announced the roster of 70-plus athletes it will sponsor at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, and the list includes some history-making women: Megan Rapinoe, Simone Biles, and Katie Ledecky. The company told AdAge its new Team VISA roster is the most diverse ever, representing 43 countries. Since the beginning of the Team VISA program in 2000, the company says, 54% of members on average have been women. VISA added Rapinoe to its roster in May, and also signed a five-year sponsorship deal with U.S. Soccer, with over half of its support going to women players. Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and the most-decorated gymnast in World Championship history, and Ledecky, a five-time Olympic champion in swimming, were also announced last Wednesday as new members of VISA’s team, along with athletes representing new Olympic sports in surfing, skateboarding, and sport climbing. VISA, an Olympic sponsor since 1986, is the worldwide payment technology partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and is among the Games’ top-tier sponsors, along with companies including Alibaba Group, Coca-Cola, and Toyota. 
  10. The top 100 most valuable U.S. brands are worth a total of $3.81 trillion dollars, more than the GDP of Germany, according to WPP and Kantar’s 2020 BrandZ ranking. Among the fastest risers were Instagram, at $28.88 billion, which grew 98% in brand value, followed by Pinterest, Salesforce, Chipotle, and Cisco. The U.S. leads all other markets on innovation, with 36% of all U.S. brands ranking highly on this measure; the most innovative brand is Uber, followed by Amazon, Netflix, Disney, and FedEx. According to consumers, Uber, FedEx, Pampers, UPS, and Amazon provide the best customer experience. What’s the takeaway for U.S. advertisers? Victoria Sakal, Associate Director, Kantar, told Cynopsis, “Mattering more to consumers comes from being more relevant – meaningfully different – to them through greater insight on the things they care about, and also from playing a more active yet strategic role in more aspects of consumers’ lives: in advertising, on the retail shelf, and in our daily regimens.” According to related data analysis, total brand spend on U.S. sports sponsorship will grow 5.4% year-on-year to hit $15.5 billion in 2020. This represents an increase on the previous year’s growth of 3.5%.
  11. Professional sports gambler “Jeopardy James” heads to prime time. Las Vegas resident James Holzhauer, the Jeopardy! champion who cleaned up on the game show’s Tournament of Champions last week, will face off against the only two “Jeopardy!” contestants (Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter) who have won more money on the show than he has. ABC premieres multi-night event “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time,” on Tuesday, January 7 with Alex Trebek as host. “We’re excited to bring ‘Jeopardy!’ to primetime! It’s been a long time in the making – we wanted to create a unique experience sure to wow not just our fans, but all audiences,” said Mike Hopkins, Chairman, Sony Pictures Television. If poker is a sport, so is “Jeopardy!” – and it’s probably not lost on any SportsBusiness Daily readers that the publication features a daily roundup of sports-related “Jeopardy!” questions …and nary an ESPN-broadcast “World Series of Poker” recap.
  12. The LPGA’s 2020 schedule will feature record prize money. The LPGA on Friday released its 2020 schedule, and it includes 33 "official events and a record $75.1 million in prize money,” according to Golf Week. There will be “more than 500 hours of global television coverage, with at least seven events on network TV.” The “most significant purse jump” comes from the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, which will grow to $4.3 million, up $450,000 from 2019. The tour also announced two new Florida events: one in Belleair, and one in Boca Raton, sponsored by Group1001, backers of the popular Indy Women in Tech tourney. Nearly half of the 33 tournaments “have prize money” of at least $2 million. The five majors have an average purse of $4.26 million, with the U.S. Women’s Open “leading the way.” Meanwhile, heading into last week’s CME Group Tour Championship, live LPGA telecasts across Golf Channel, NBC, and CNBC were averaging 150,000 viewers. For seven telecasts on NBC alone this season, the tour is up a respectable 7% year-over-year. 
  13. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan confirmed that he has signed a long-term contract extension. Whan is “completing his tenth year as the LPGA’s leader, the longest tenure of any commissioner in tour history,” according to Golf Channel. During his tenure, Whan has “rebuilt the LPGA with a healthy, diversified foundation, with 33 events” and more than $70 million in total prize money.” When Whan was named LPGA Commissioner, the organization had only 23 events on the 2011 schedule in his first year. “Ten years ago, I’m not sure many of us would have been bold enough to predict where we are our today,” he wrote in an update to members. “Events like the KPMG Women’s PGA, Race to the CME Globe, UL International Crown and Founders Cup weren’t even an idea back then. In fact, 19 of the 33 official events on the 2020 LPGA Tour Schedule weren’t on the LPGA Tour just 10 years ago! Now we have an official team event, five strong majors, multiple events played with men, exciting season-long competitions, events staged in 12 different regions of the world, and TV coverage in over 160 countries.” Well done, Mike – we are proud to call you a friend.
  14. The National Lacrosse League’s Alterna Cup begins Friday. On November 29, the National Lacrosse League will usher in a brand-new season-long competition among all five Canadian clubs. Calgary, Halifax, Saskatchewan, Toronto, and Vancouver will be competing for the inaugural Alterna Cup. This Cup was created in partnership with Alterna Savings and Alterna Bank (Alterna), who will be the exclusive banking partner of the NLL in Canada this season. To capture the Cup, Canadian teams will be competing in head-to-head matchups throughout the NLL regular season. To get the action started, the Calgary Roughnecks will pay a visit to the Vancouver Warriors next Friday, November 29 at 10:00pm ET. Save a little room for lacrosse after you gorge on turkey and football.
  15. The 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target is heading to Los Angeles where, for the first time, the MLS All-Stars will face the Liga MX All-Stars on July 29 at Banc of California Stadium. The match will be broadcast on ESPN and Univision networks in the U.S., TSN, and TVA Sports in Canada, as well as on ESPN throughout Mexico and Latin America. “We are so pleased to bring the 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target to Los Angeles, one of the great soccer markets in North America,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement. “As we celebrate our 25th season, we wanted to deliver a unique and unprecedented format for our annual All-Star Game. Our first ever game between the best of MLS and Liga MX’s top players is the perfect way to build on the growing relationship between the two top soccer leagues in the region.” The MLS All-Star Game will unfold in the same timeframe that SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Rams and the Chargers, will roll out inaugural concerts before it hosts its first official NFL games. Next summer, it seems, all eyes will be on LaLa Land.

Top Five Tech

  1. Derek Jeter’s Players’ Tribune is acquired by Minute Media. According to Variety, the Players’ Tribune, the media company founded by Derek Jeter dedicated to serving up first-person content from athletes, has been acquired by Minute Media in the latest roll-up play in a wave of consolidation in digital media. Founded in 2014, New York-based Players’ Tribune had raised $58 million. Investors included IVP, Alphabet’s GV, Thomas Tull, New Enterprise Associates, GenTrust and dozens of individual athletes. Jeter launched the Players’ Tribune in partnership with Tull, with the former New York Yankees star shortstop angling to provide a home for athletes to share unfiltered, honest, and unique perspectives to fans. Jeter will continue to be directly involved in the Players’ Tribune business as the founder and he’s joining Minute Media’s board of directors. This acquisition will allow for the Players’ Tribune to continue to exist as a standalone brand so that players can continue to create their own original content while the brand will benefit from an expanded global reach and access to an integrated publishing platform that includes audience-development tools.
  2. A $50 million soccer fund has been put aside by the U.S. for the 2026 World Cup. According to Bloomberg, part-owner of the Philadelphia Union, Richie Graham, is leading a $50 million investment in the sport. Graham and a team of former executives from Adidas AG, ESPN, U.S. Soccer, and soccer-focused digital media company Copa90 have established For Soccer Ventures, a $50 million investment fund focused on growing the game in North America. The ultimate goal is to create a one-stop platform where those invested in U.S. soccer – including kids, parents, casual fans, professional players, and coaches – can reach the sport and its culture. Graham said the world’s most popular sport is benefiting in the U.S. from a rising Hispanic population and a tech-savvy, millennial, and Gen Z fan base. The venture will comprise two principal components: the Soccer Collective, a multimedia content producer aimed at promoting the culture of American soccer, and the Soccer Alliance, meant to build on Graham’s existing holdings through a network of clubs, leagues, and tournaments. For Soccer Ventures will be part of a larger initiative to spur further interest in soccer across the U.S. while a number of marquee international teams, featuring such icons as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar, are also staging exhibitions in the U.S. for the same reason.
  3. The Golden State Warriors open Hooptopia pop-up to promote Chase Center via social media marketing. According to Adweek, the success of themed “museums” aimed at the Instagram crowd has led brands in multiple industries to execute their own versions, and pro basketball is the latest to hop on the trend. The Warriors partnered with one of the biggest names in social media-friendly pop-ups to launch their own experience designed to take fans on the career journey of a Warrior. Different sections of Hooptopia include a physical combine exam, a simulation of a Warriors’ draft day war room, wearing a Warriors hat of your choice to take the draft night stage and taking a picture with faux commissioner Adam Silver, hanging out on a set that includes the seats of a private jet, and a replicated portion of the Splash Bros area of the locker room, a dunk zone where you get lifted into the air. This is a highly interactive fan experience that is perfectly packaged to be shared online so that more people are brought into an NBA franchise and its extensions.
  4. NASCAR launches a new OTT platform with NBC Sports. The new live and on-demand streaming platform, TrackPass, will launch on the NBC Gold OTT service next month, and will provide access to live motorsports events and archive footage and documentaries, including NASCAR practice and qualifying sessions, but not live races. According to Sports Pro, subscribers will have the option of watching exclusive live race coverage from the American Flat Track motorcycle series, select events from the ARCA Menards U.S. stock-car series, as well as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and live International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) events. The new TrackPass service will cost $4.99 per month or $44.99 per year, while other price offerings include series-specific sub-packages for select motorsports. Creating an OTT offering just for NASCAR fans attracts more millennial and Gen Z audiences while other companies like DAZN or ESPN+ could add them to their roster in the near future.
  5. NBC’s Peacock streaming platform won’t have live 2020 Olympics events, for the time being at least. NBC Sports has been broadcasting the Olympics for a long time, and one of the reasons it works so smoothly is NBC’s willingness to stream every event live online, no matter the sport or what time it’s happening. But as popular as the platform is, there’s one hitch: You have to have a pay-TV subscription to access it. “The Olympics lives within the cable ecosystem and it has been thriving, so I don’t see that changing,“ NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel said. Two months later, though, Zenkel told The Hollywood Reporter that NBCUniversal’s new company-wide streaming platform, Peacock, will have some Olympics content. He expanded on the remark somewhat last Tuesday, saying, "There are plans, but the plans are still in the works, to bring some content from the Olympics to Peacock in the wake of the launch in April.” We’re still more than half a year away from the Tokyo Games, leaving the Peacock plenty of streaming wiggle room.

Power of Sports Five

  1. The International Safeguarding Children in Sport Initiative has launched a campaign for the second year in a row. According to Sportanddev.org, the United Nations established Universal Children’s Day to occur every year on November 20 back in 1954 to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide, and to improve children’s welfare. Working with the International Safeguarding Children in Sport Initiative. The 20 November campaign raises awareness about children’s safety in sport. Sport and play benefit children in multiple ways, but there are also instances of abuse that can occur through sports and excessive authoritarian training regimens. The group launched a set of safeguards in 2014, which are designed to be implemented by organizations internationally to guarantee the safety of children. While the U.S. generally has a positive sports culture, through an extreme lens, sports for young children can be seen by parents as the only way to escape poverty and can lead to harmful parenting and training patterns.
  2. ESPN analyst promotes a GoFundMe to help Memphis’ basketball star James Wiseman pay his charity donation. According to Newsweek, ESPN analyst and former NBA player Jay Williams posted a Twitter video supporting a GoFundMe campaign to help Memphis center James Wiseman pay a charity donation required by the NCAA. The GoFundMe campaign titled #EndAmateruismForJamesWiseman plans to help Wiseman pay the donation without violating any NCAA rules. The NCAA announced that Wiseman, who was previously ruled ineligible due to accepting $11,500 to help with moving expenses from Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway in 2017, will instead be suspended for 12 games and must donate $11,500 to a charity of his choice. Wiseman, who was recruited as the number one ranked prospect in the 2019 class, is the projected No. 1 prospect in several 2020 NBA mock drafts and many see this punishment as reinforcing negative stereotypes for people of lower socioeconomic status. 
  3. A sport equality charity launches new online research to address the lack of female representation at the executive level. According to The Telegraph, international sports federations were facing calls to have their funding cut over the “shocking” lack of women in positions of boardroom influence. The statistics, which focused on 10 major international federations, revealed that none had 40% of women on their boards, and only three even had 25%. Women in Sport is now focused on tackling these cultural issues of female discrimination and fair treatment in order to create an environment which will attract significantly more women into key executive roles. The Telegraph’s investigation centered on the International Olympic Committee, FIFA, the International Cricket Council, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), World Rugby, World Athletics, the International Golf Federation, the International Tennis Federation, the International Hockey Federation, and the International Cycling Union. While this new charity is based in the UK, major U.S. sports boards are likely to get an overhaul in the near future to allow for better representation of both genders.
  4. Pro Sport Development and Girls Not Brides hosted a workshop in New Delhi around sports and gender equality. According to Sportanddev.org, Pro Sport Development (PSD) in collaboration with Girls Not Brides organized a two-day joint consultation called "Changing the game: Sports for gender equity and ending child marriage” November 5-6 in New Delhi. Members from 40 organizations from across 16 states in India, along with a few participants from Nepal, Bangladesh, and the UK deliberated the role of sports in breaking gender norms. The aim was to understand the sports-based strategies that can be used in challenging gender stereotypes and empowering girls and women to stand up against child, early, and forced marriages. To ensure the implementation of key learnings and recommendations from this convening, a report on the consultation will be shared with various organizations and stakeholders, channeling a collaborative effort to end child marriages and foster equal participation of girls and boys in sports.
  5. Movember is here, and so are the mustaches in hockey. According to WUSA9, Capitals hockey players including TJ Oshie, Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, and Evgeny Kuznetsov are sporting mustaches as part of Movember, a challenge designed to spread awareness for men’s health. Participants start the month of November with a clean-shaven face and spend the remainder of the month committed to growing a ‘stache. Supporters – called Mo Bros and Mo Sistas – get friends and family to help donate to their efforts along the way. The challenge was created by the Movember Foundation, a 501©(3) nonprofit organization created by Australian friends Travis Garone and Luke Slattery in 2003. The two friends wanted to promote men’s health initiatives that they felt were underrepresented, such as prostate and testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention. November is also Hockey Fights Cancer month, where the NHL provides each team in the league with a $10,000 charitable grant that is then donated to a cancer organization of the team’s choice. Last year, Monumental Sports and the Caps raised $131,003 for four cancer-related charities from their Hockey Fights Cancers efforts: Flashes of Hope, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic, and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.