09 Jan

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 1620

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF JANUARY 6 : MAYOR’S EDITION

with Jacob Aere



  1. The sports world and beyond remembers David Stern. Former Commissioner David Stern took the NBA into the modern era over the course of his 30 years as Commissioner after he assumed the role in 1984. By the time he left the Commissioner’s office in 2014, a league that had once struggled for a foothold had grown into a more than $5 billion-a-year industry. The NBA’s longest-serving commissioner, Stern was credited with transforming the NBA into the global powerhouse it is today, overseeing major uplifts in commercial revenue and media coverage, domestic and international expansion, and a surge in global popularity. Under Stern, the NBA added seven new franchises, including two in Canada, and grew into a commercial behemoth. It also created the WNBA in 1997 and a developmental league, now known as the G League, in 2001. Thanks largely to Stern, the NBA is now revered as a sports industry pioneer and innovator. Rick had the privilege to work with Commissioner Stern on the formation of the Miami Heat and the eventual Oklahoma City Thunder, as well as interviewing him numerous times. He will be greatly missed.
  2. Endeavor acquired majority equity ownership stake in experiential hospitality leader On Location Experiences from existing investors. Last week, Beverly-Hills based agency giant Endeavor announced that it had acquired On Location Experiences. The reported $660 million deal will give Endeavor a majority stake in the hospitality and live events company, which works with the NFL, the NCAA, and the PGA Tour, among other entities. The NFL, through its strategic investment arm, 32 Equity, will continue to be a minority shareholder and retain its seat on the Company’s Board of Directors. On Location will seek to enhance its existing sports and entertainment offerings, including its long-term relationship with the NFL, by leveraging Endeavor’s access to content and experiences across entertainment, sports and fashion. The deal will also help to strengthen Endeavor properties, including the UFC, which it acquired in 2016 for $4 billion. Former Bloomberg, Westwood One, and Time Inc. executive, Paul Caine, will lead the newly integrated entity. The deal is the latest in a flurry of acquisitions by major Hollywood talent agencies as they expand into other entertainment disciplines, particularly music and sports. 
  3. Tennis Australia announces a charity match to support bushfire relief. According to The Guardian, Australian tennis player Nick Krygios’ plans for a massive fundraising effort for bushfire victims has resulted in a tennis exhibition match set to feature some of the world’s top players. Kyrgios kicked off a flood of donations to the fundraising campaign from sporting names around Australia, including American basketballer LaMelo Ball. After Krygios’ initial push, Tennis Australia announced “Rally For Relief,” an exhibition match on Rod Laver Arena January 15. It will also grant $1 million for communities to rebuild tennis facilities. Kyrgios has also pledged $200 for each ace he serves across the Australian summer of tennis. Fellow Australian players Alex de Minaur, John Millman, and Samantha Stosur, among others, also vowed to donate money from their aces while the new ATP Cup got on board. The tournament announced that $100 would be donated to the Australian Red Cross for every ace served over the next 10 days, with the final figure expected to surpass $150,000. Much of Australia is up in flames and sports figures are here to help inspire seismic change across the globe for charitable donations.
  4. In the wake of record low ratings for their annual New Year’s Day outdoor game, no progress is yet evident on discussions of NHL Olympic participation. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that there is “really nothing new” on possible Olympic participation at the moment, but there will be “further discussion in the near future,” according to The Athletic. Daly said, “I imagine it will be discussed further with the NHLPA in connection with any resumption of talks relating to a potential CBA extension. But, we and the NHLPA will also need to get a better understanding from the IIHF and/or IOC regarding the conditions on which NHL players would be invited to the Olympics. That remains a question as to which we do not have a lot of clarity at this point.” NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr said the players have “made it clear that they want to participate” in the Olympics. He said, “We want to find a way to do that.” More discussions are expected before the end of the month, between the league, the NHLPA, and the IIHF.
  5. U.S. men’s national soccer team cancels Qatar training camp amid escalating tensions in the Middle East. The USMNT is moving the team’s training camp out of Qatar back to the United States as a “precaution” given heightened tensions in the Middle East following the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Suleimani last Thursday. According to the Los Angeles Times, the camp was scheduled to open Sunday in Doha, host city for the 2022 World Cup, but now will be staged in Bradenton, Florida. Though Doha is 950 miles from Baghdad – the center of the current conflict – “tensions in the region have escalated.” The Washington Post adds that U.S. outposts and personnel have “braced for retaliatory attacks.” The last thing the struggling USMNT needs at this point in time is to worry about a potentially life-threatening military conflict. USMNT officials did the right thing in moving the camp to Brandenton and out of harm’s way.
  6. A lawsuit blaming Pop Warner for two fatalities is dismissed in federal court. According to the New York Times, a federal court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Pop Warner, stating that the two women who sued the youth football organization had no proof that their sons’ deaths later in life were linked to any head trauma they had sustained over a decade earlier as youth football participants. The judge in the case, ruling for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, said the mothers did not show sufficient links between any head trauma their sons may have suffered while playing Pop Warner football and their behavior later in life. The judge added that the plaintiffs had discounted other contributing factors, including the “social and biological.” The case, which was set to go to trial this month, was a benchmark for head-trauma related cases against sports organizations. Pop Warner, meanwhile, continues to refine and improve its football safety practices each year, with the constant input of renowned doctors as well as football experts, and remains the gold standard of youth football organizations nationwide.
  7. The NBA G League secondary competition has announced the addition of Mexican professional men’s basketball team Capitanes next season, its first franchise based outside the U.S. and Canada. Established in 2016, the Mexico City outfit will become the NBA G League’s 29th team from the start of the 2020-2021 season, and will play their home games at the Gimnasio Juan de la Barrera, based in Mexico’s capital. The announcement was made during a press conference ahead of Dallas Mavericks 122-111 victory over the Detroit Pistons in Mexico City on December 12, the first of two regular-season games played in the Hispanic nation during the ongoing 2019-2020 season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: “Bringing an NBA G League team to Mexico City is a historic milestone for the NBA which demonstrates our commitment to basketball fans in Mexico and across Latin America. As the first G League franchise based outside of the US and Canada, we look forward to welcoming Capitanes to the NBA family.” The schedule for the 2020-2021 NBA G League season, which tips off next November, will be announced in August, 2020.
  8. Sports teams using machine learning tech to drive sponsorship revenues. According to JohnWallStreet, the sports industry has begun to place a greater emphasis on data capture and analytics, particularly as it relates to on-field performance. But while sports has become big business, Adam Grossman, founder of Block Six Analytics (B6A), suggests “from an economic and financial perspective – in terms of understanding concepts like asset valuation, cash-flow and regression – it remains behind the times.” To help bring the industry up to speed, Grossman developed a sponsorship evaluation platform that values sports assets in the same manner “that venture capitalists, private equity firms and investment banks look at investment opportunities.” B6A’s proprietary sponsorship model translates traditional fit and engagement benchmarks into probabilistic revenue growth metrics. Over the last 10 months, more than a dozen pro sports organizations have begun using Block Six technology to drive sponsorship revenues. Sports sponsorships sellers naturally seek brand partners that are demographically aligned. While most teams and media entities have managed to gather insights on their own, “the challenge has always been capturing the demographic data needed to ensure audience alignment, so that both parties can achieve their goals.”
  9. Sony and Verizon are bringing 5G to sports broadcasting. According to Mobile Marketing Magazine, Sony and Verizon collaborated to demonstrate how 5G technology and streaming can be used in live sports broadcasting during the NFL’s Texans vs. New England Patriots game on December 1. A camera person from NBC Sports used Sony’s PXW-Z450 shoulder camcorder to capture the game and the video was sent through to a production room in the NRG Stadium in Houston with the help of Sony’s prototype transmitter box, Xperia 5G mm Wave device, and finally, Verizon’s 5G Ultra-Wideband network. The result was an almost real time broadcast sent to NBC producers without any hiccups. In the future, the same 5G-connected cameras could be used to transmit to remote production teams that aren’t located at the site of the sporting event. In the future, another advantage to 5G is the use of wireless connectivity, so cameras can use all angles and positions to capture the games.
  10. David Stern passes away, but his legacy lives on through NBA Cares. David Stern was dedicated to public service, as is evidenced by NBA Cares, which he launched in 2005. Over its first five years, the program donated more than $100 million to charity. NBA Cares is the league’s global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA’s mission of addressing important social issues in the U.S. and around the world. Causes the platform supports include education, youth, and family development, and health, including Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Share Our Strength and GLSEN. NBA Cares programs and participants have provided more than five million hours of hands-on service, created more than 1,300 places where kids and families can live, learn or play, and engaged more than 51 million youth basketball programs in communities around the world. Internationally, NBA Cares has created more than 323 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play in 40 countries – largely thanks to Stern and his legacy.

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

18 Nov

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 111819

 RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 18 : MAYOR’S EDITION

with Jacob Aere

  1. A draft agreement between Miami-Dade County and the Dolphins would “pay the team at least” $2.5 million a year for bringing a F1 race to Miami Gardens. According to the Miami Herald, the subsidy is “tied to an existing agreement” from 2014 that pays Hard Rock Stadium up to $5.75 million annually for big events. The drafted F1 agreement would “boost that cap” to $7 million, a 20% increase. However, Miami-Dade Deputy Mayor Jennifer Moon affirmed the Dolphins “dropped the request for the higher cap.” Even without the higher cap, the proposed F1 agreement would make the 2014 agreement a “more reliable source of county revenue” for Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross. The Dolphins “already are allowed” a $1 million payment for the Miami Open tennis tournament. International soccer matches “qualify for a $750,000 payment, while a college football championship brings in $3 million. An annual F1 race would let Ross lock in another $2.5 million more for the yearly allocation allowed under the 2014 agreement.
  2. In a new poll commissioned by the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, 77% of voters are for keeping the A’s. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, building a privately financed ballpark at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal “got the support of 68% of the voters, even if it means setting up a special tax district to pay for infrastructure.” The poll also shows that 44% of voters believe the city should “drop its lawsuit over the Coliseum land sale,” compared with 28% who support the lawsuit and 28% with no opinion on the matter.“ Analytics firm FM3 took a poll of 601 registered voters October 29-November 1 as part of the chamber’s annual Pulse of Oakland survey. The poll, "which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%, came as the clock ticked down” on the deadline Major League Baseball set for the city to “drop the suit or risk the A’s relocating to another city.” Since the city has lost the Warriors and soon, the Raiders, it’s not surprising that a majority of voters would back keeping its one remaining pro sports team.
  3.  EverFi chants “Let’s Go Lightning.” Last Friday, the Tampa Bay Lightning invited 5,000 middle schoolers from the area to practice as part of their partnership with the Future Goals program from EverFi. The NHL and NHLPA are sponsoring the program that brings hockey into the classroom to explore STEM topics through sports. Future Goals features computer modules aimed at students in third through eighth grades on various topics. “We actually tried to use math and science in our ball hockey stuff,” Vice President of Community Hockey Development Jay Feaster shared with the Tampa Bay Times. “We show angles. If you pass off the boards here, or the different angles in the openings around a goalie.” While some of the students attending the Friday practice were hockey players, EverFi‘s NHL partnership recognizes that even those who don’t play the game have a better time absorbing STEM information through the lens of the sport.
  4.  Black News Channel, the brainchild of former football and political star J.C. Watts, has moved its launch date from November 15 to January 6. The Tallahassee, FL-based network co-founded by former Oklahoma congressman J.C. Watts and TV exec Bob Brillante made the date change to take advantage of new distribution platforms. “If we have the opportunity to include the largest African American audience possible from day one, then that should be our top priority,” said Watts. The network, which offers 24/7 news serving African American viewers, has carriage deals set with Comcast, Charter, and Dish Network, and will be available in TV markets including New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Watts entered the national conversation as a star quarterback for the University of Oklahoma in 1979 and later made a name for himself on Capitol Hill both as a congressman and a lobbyist backing diversity and economic issues still resonating in sports — and elsewhere — today.
  5. WWE and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy have announced that WrestleMania 35 generated $165.4 million in economic impact for the New York/New Jersey region last April, according to a study conducted by the Enigma Research Corporation. This marks a more than 60 percent increase from the $101.2 million generated for WrestleMania 29 in New York and New Jersey and the eighth consecutive year that WrestleMania generated more than $100 million in economic impact for its host region. Over the past 13 years, WrestleMania has now generated more than $1.3 billion in cumulative economic impact for the cities that have hosted the event. WrestleMania 35 also generated approximately $27.1 million in federal, state, and local taxes. A sold-out crowd of 82,265 fans from all 50 states and 68 countries attended WWE’s pop-culture extravaganza this past April, making it the highest-grossing entertainment event in the history of MetLife Stadium. Next year, WrestleMania 36 will take place Sunday, April 5, from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay and looks to positively impact a hurting sports industry in Tampa Bay.
  6. The National Women’s Hockey League announced that it had closed a new round of equity funding that ensures continued growth for the league for many years to come. According to Cynopsis, the financing was led by insurance and IT entrepreneur Andy Scurto, who now joins a group of more than 20 NWHL investors. The funding round is another boost for a league whose existence was in doubt after a tumultuous summer. According to Sports Business, the five-team, U.S. based NWHL is continuing to operate despite the fact that more than 200 of the world’s top female ice hockey players pledged to not compete in North America this season in an attempt to gain better pay and working conditions. The NWHL also recently signed a partnership with athlete marketing platform Opendorse in an attempt to increase its players’ presence and engagement on social media. If the players can have their salary wishes met, this league has a chance to become equally prominent to the NHL in 10 years’ time.
  7. The shift is here: more fans are streaming sports than paying for TV packages. According to SportsPro, fans are watching more live sport on their smartphones and connected devices than they do on TV, despite the majority of sports media rights being held by linear broadcasters, according to new research by cloud video specialists Grabyo. While more than 50% of fans watch sport via a satellite or pay-TV subscription, Grabyo’s OTT Video Trends Report claims that more than 60% view sports content via either an OTT or premium social media service. Overall, Grabyo’s research found that the global market penetration of OTT services has hit 38%, with DAZN and Kayo Sports cited as the most popular dedicated sports streaming platforms used by fans. Furthermore, Grabyo links a growth in short-form video, real-time highlights, and viral video consumption with the widespread adoption of social media use on smartphones as social media platforms such as Facebook Watch, Twitter, and YouTube TV capitalize on a growing demand for streaming options.
  8. The NHL’s Washington Capitals owners launch Caps Gaming Brand. Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE), the owners of the Washington Capitals NHL franchise, has launched an esports division called Caps Gaming, which will host a 32-team EA Sports NHL 20 competition. The Caps Gaming Showcase, a six-versus-six ice hockey esports tournament, which will launch on Xbox One, will feature an eight-week regular-season beginning in early December, with the top 16 teams advancing to a postseason stage held in late February, competing for a $15,000 prize pool. As part of Monumental’s gaming expansion, the esports division has also signed up professional NHL gamer John Casagranda, who is also known as “JohnWayne” and joins the Caps Gaming organization as an official streamer on the Caps Gaming Twitch channel until the end of June. In addition to being 2018 NHL Stanley Cup champions, Monumental owns and operates pro sports franchises based in the U.S. capital, including the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the WNBA champion Washington Mystics. By investing heavily in esports, MSE and the Capitals have kept themselves at the forefront of innovation across the NHL and are primed to cash-in on the rise of esports.
  9. John Cena confronts veteran suicide through charity.  Cena has partnered with the FitOps Foundation, a nonprofit committed to training and certifying veterans as personal trainers as the suicide rate among U.S. veterans continues to increase. According to Sports Illustrated, FitOps runs camps for its training sessions, providing a recognizable feeling for the veterans who attend. In addition to raising awareness about the needs of vets, Cena is also raising funds to expand the FitOps program. A number that really jumped out to Cena to inspire change was that roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide. In a fundraising effort for FitOps, Cena pledged to match all donations up to $1 million through Veterans Day, as well as offer a VIP meet-and-greet with Cena to one lucky donor. Fittingly, on Veterans Day, the project crossed the $1 million threshold. An integral part of FitOps is rebuilding the sense of community and purpose that many veterans lose when returning to civilian life. While Cena has always showed his appreciation for the military, his current actions have him involved directly. 
  10. All-electric racing series Formula E sees BBC extension to include two races on FTA television. According to SportsPro, the Marrakesh ePrix on February 29 and the Rome ePrix on April 4 are the two races that have been chosen for the BBC’s television coverage, although it is not yet confirmed which channels will air the events. The extension will also see the BBC continue to show every Formula E race across its online platforms, including the BBC iPlayer and its website. Coverage of select races will also be available via the BBC red button. The expanded deal comes ahead of Formula E’s return to the UK, with a double-header race through London’s ExCel exhibition center and along the waterfront on the streets of the Royal Docks set to close the 2019/20 season on July 25-26. Formula E, which debuted on the BBC last season, will also be broadcast in the UK this season on Discovery-owned channel Eurosport, with select events also being shown live on free-to-air network Quest. This is an eco-friendly racing league that allows for the same excitement as non-electric racing with the benefit of no negative carbon emissions and could set an example for NASCAR in the U.S.

14 Nov

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 111119

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 11 : Mayor’s Edition

with Jacob Aere

  1. Sports investor Bruin Sports Capital received $600 million more to spend. According to the New York Times, Bruin Sports Capital is a sports investment and management company that invests in the technologies of media, marketing, and data surrounding sports. After raising $600 million from two even larger investors – CVC Capital Partners and the Jordan Company – Bruin Sports will be able to expand its portfolio of investments, which already include data analytics, media and streaming companies, and a fledgling drone-racing league. Currently, Bruin, led by Sport Business Handbook contributor George Pyne, has nearly $1 billion invested, including significant stakes in six companies across the modern sports landscape, from sports media start-ups such as The Athletic to a live-event provider selling high-end trips to events like the Super Bowl and the NFL draft. Overall, Bruin Sports Capital’s guiding philosophy is that people under 40 watch and consume sports and media in radically different ways from their parents – and this is likely how the strategic company will invest its newly-acquired $600 million: toward attracting future generations of sports and tech fans.
  2. As “Ford v Ferrari” prepares to open nationwide, with Oscar in its sights, the Raiders have announced Desert Ford Dealers Las Vegas as founding partner of their new Allegiant Stadium. The tie-up also sees Ford, which has five dealerships across Las Vegas, named as the official vehicle of the Raiders. The deal gives Ford a year-round presence throughout Allegiant Stadium including pre-game tailgate activations and naming rights on the north gate entry. Construction on the $1.8 billion stadium is due for completion July 21. Said Raiders president Marc Badain, “We are excited to add another world-wide brand to the Raider family and for the annual activation and tailgating experiences this partnership will provide to our fans.” Set to open this Friday, “Ford v Ferrari” focuses on the relationship between visionary car designer Carroll Shelby (played by Matt Damon) and British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) as they worked to develop the Ford GT-40 car that swept the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. In case you’re wondering, the original cars sold and licensed by Ford in the 1960s have great value. A 1965 GT-40 roadster prototype was sold in August at a Monterey, CA auction for $7.65 million.
  3. While the majority of America’s top high school basketball talent chose to spend the year in college where they will earn $0 in wages, LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton chose to spend the year in Australia’s National Basketball League, where they will earn $68,400. Ball was unlikely to be NCAA eligible anyway after playing professionally in Lithuania, but Hampton had full eligibility at an American college. Instead, he chose the path he thought would best prepare him for the NBA. Hampton’s decision embodies the modern challenge facing college basketball, but fears over this becoming the new normal are exaggerated. After all, thanks to a new collective bargaining agreement on the horizon, the “one-and-done” era will likely end soon. And when it does, these alternative paths will be moot. We’ve seen international prospects make noise before, but we’ve never seen two young Americans — both active on social media with big followings: Ball has five million Instagram followers while RJ has 430,000 – playing  overseas while their former classmates play on campuses. Should be a fun storyline to follow this college basketball season and into next year’s NBA Draft.
  4. As MLS once again crowned the Seattle Sounders as their champion, the average value of an MLS franchise has climbed 30% from $240 million to $313 million, according to Forbes. The year-on-year growth outpaces the rising team values in the NBA, which were up 13%, as well as the 11% increase in the NFL, an 8% rise in MLB, and a 6% climb in the NHL. Atlanta United remains the most valuable MLS franchise for the second straight year at $500 million, up from $330 million in last year’s rankings. The club’s revenue soared from $47 million to $78 million, resulting in an operating income of $7 million. Atlanta United are closely followed by the L.A. Galaxy ($480 million), with LAFC ($475 million), MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders ($405 million), and Toronto FC ($395 million) rounding off the top five. Despite the increase in team values, Forbes estimates that just seven of the league’s 24 teams turned a profit last season, with Toronto FC recording the biggest loss of $19 million. However, that has not stemmed the demand from investors looking to own an MLS franchise, even though expansion fees have soared to $200 million
  5. In similar sports engagement news, a new study from Telemundo Deportes was welcome news for brands looking to engage with Hispanic fans. Telemundo Deportes, in partnership with Turnkey Intelligence-MarketCast, reports that Hispanic fans show 15% higher propensity to support sponsors on television and elsewhere than non-Hispanics, “by trying, buying, or recommending a product or service,” according to the study. Additionally, 57% of Hispanic sports fans who consume Spanish-language media would try, buy, or recommend a product or service — a 22% increase over non-Hispanics. Among the report’s other highlights, more than three-quarters of Spanish-language media consumers consider the FIFA Men’s World Cup a “can’t miss event.” 81% of Hispanic sports fans watch sports on television, predominantly at home, and were somewhat less likely than non-Hispanic fans to follow sports on other media platforms such as streaming services, social media, and online news sites. It’s never too early to prepare for the World Cup. Even though the 2022 event in Qatar is later than normal in the calendar due to brutal summer heat in that country – it kicks off in almost three years to the day – brand marketers should take note of this timely study.
  6. The New York Knicks and New Jersey Devils broadcasts will soon feature FanDuel betting. According to Bloomberg, FanDuel will become an official sports gaming partner for broadcasts of the NBA’s Knicks, as well as the exclusive sports gambling partner for broadcasts of the NHL’s Devils. Also, New York Rangers hockey telecasts will include FanDuel commercials, but not betting-related content. Devils telecasts will have updated betting odds in a scrolling sidebar during each intermission. The partnership also will include a mix of in-game and halftime spots, branded content, and commercials. Prior to the Knicks halftime show, the network recently began showing a five-minute segment called “Inside the Lines,” devoting that time to look at the NBA betting landscape. A similar one-minute NHL-focused show will air leading into every Devils pregame show. Sports betting companies increasingly are signing deals with pro sports teams and media entities in places where betting on games is legal, and more teams will sign deals with betting partners as state by state legislation continues to relax on sports betting.
  7. Privacy-focused messaging app Signal is making waves in the NBA, NFL, and NCAA. Tampering issues loom over professional sports and a widespread federal investigation still lingers over the NCAA landscape, meaning that the desire for privacy, encryption, and even disappearing messages has increased. For public schools in college sports, the app has emerged as an outlet to avoid jeopardy under Freedom of Information Act requests and to circumvent NCAA amateurism rules. In pro sports, Signal is used to combat the uptick in tampering enforcement. According to Yahoo! Sports, all the messages, photos, and documents passed back and forth are heavily encrypted on Signal. In the NBA and NFL, Signal spans every level from players to executives. In the wake of an NBA free agency period in which news of deals was broken prior to the formal start of the free agency round, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced stricter enforcement of rules for tampering and salary-cap circumvention. While the Signal app was originally created for use in politics, the sports world has been using its security features to avoid legal repercussions for phone conversations or texts or, simply, an escape from stardom.
  8. Total advertising on connected TV devices and platforms will grow 37.6% in 2019 to hit $6.94 billion, forecasts eMarketer – and surpass $10 billion by 2021. “When looking at ad revenues, YouTube, Hulu and Roku are the leaders in this market,” eMarketer lead analyst Eric Haggstrom shared with Cynopsis. “Users of these platforms are likely either cord-cutters or cord-shavers. That means some TV ad buyers are willing to pay a premium to reach users who are difficult to reach via traditional TV ads. These platforms are also bulking up their targeting, programmatic and attribution capabilities in order to attract buyers from the digital world.” While these numbers comprise all programming, including sports, major recent deals that pro sports leagues have done with the likes of Amazon and YouTube prove that they understand where the content consuming world is going and are already headed in that direction.
  9. Boston Marathon Charity eclipses $100 million in donations for cancer over its 20 years. According to Tucson.com, Boston Marathon runners participating on behalf of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute since 1990 have surpassed the $100 million fundraising mark. The research center says more than $500,000 has already been raised by runners in next year’s race, putting it over the threshold. Dana-Farber was one of the first charities allowed to use the Boston Marathon as a fundraiser. More than 500 runners are expected to take part in the 2020 race as part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. They are hoping to raise $6.25 million. 100% of the money raised from the team’s Boston Marathon runners supports promising cancer research in its earliest stages. The Boston Marathon is the pinnacle of marathon and media coverage and the race will make positive headlines as multiple charities will be highlighted on the day of the event next year, April 20, 2020.
  10. Phillies coach Charlie Manuel will sleep on the street for charity. According to Crossing Broad, Manuel will be sleeping outside on a Philly street along with Larry Bowa and Phillies executives to raise money for the Covenant House “Sleep Out” program, which supports homeless youth. Charlie went on Twitter to explain that his family had 11 kids and that he “grew up poor,” so it’s a cause he can relate to. As of Friday, $1,415 of the $5,000 goal had already been raised. The sleep out will take place on November 21 and is not about pretending to be homeless. It’s an act of solidarity with the 4.2 million young people who experience homelessness each year. It’s a decision that we can’t stay indoors while so many kids remain outside. The funds raised will be donated to Covenant House, a shelter for kids experiencing homelessness and trafficking. Covenant House offers these young people respect and unconditional love, and their continuum of care provides essential services to help kids transition from homelessness to independence. Manuel is raising awareness of homelessness in Philadelphia and speaking from a place of respect, as he too suffered financial struggles in his childhood.

04 Nov

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 11419

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 4 : MAYOR’S EDITION

with Jacob Aere

  1. Fully 14.8% of all World Series ads focused on giving back and corporate social responsibility. There were more advocacy and corporate social responsibility ads aired during the first four games of the World Series than any other type of ad outside of auto makers, according to data from Advertising Analytics, a strategy firm that specializes in political and issues advertising. The World Series attracted mostly defense, enterprise technology, and healthcare ads. While this was a departure from typical sports championships, in which consumer package goods and retail ads typically dominate, Axios noted World Series games in DC presented a juicy opportunity for brands to “reach Washington decision-makers in a casual environment. While many marquee advertisers sponsor events around Washington DC, there are few games that will have as high of an impact and as engaged of an audience as a World Series that includes a Washington team.” As the hyper-political environment in Washington becomes more contentious, companies are pressured to take a stand on more issues than they have in the past – and this is reflected in their marketing initiatives. Expect this trend to continue at least through the 2020 election cycle.
  2. A college players’ rights group has entered into a partnership with the NFL Players Association to explore how to maximize name, image, and likeness rights. A day before the NCAA announcement last week, the NFLPA and National College Players Association (NCPA) announced jointly that the partnership will “explore opportunities for” college athletes in merchandise, gaming, licensed products, and “how recent developments impact television broadcast revenues in pursuit of fairness.” California’s Fair Pay to Play Act granting college athletes in that state the ability to profit off their name, image, and likeness goes into effect in 2023. A similar bill has been proposed in Florida, but it would go into effect far sooner—July 1, 2020. A Pennsylvania bill is expected to be introduced soon. Were college players able to unionize in a similar fashion to the way NFL players are able to collectively bargain, it would put even more pressure on the NCAA to craft new rules that give student athletes the same rights that all their classmates on campus currently enjoy.
  3. Premier League Primary Stars USA visits Austin elementary school for soccer-themed learning. On October 25, Austin, Texas elementary school students worked side-by-side with Premier League stars during a soccer-themed educational experience. Premier League, the top level of the English soccer league system and EVERFI, a leader in driving social change through technology and education, recently joined forces to bring an interactive soccer-themed education program to students at Perez Elementary School in Austin. The event was part of the Premier League Primary Stars USA program, an educational initiative focused on health and wellness and social and emotional learning skills. Representatives from the Premier League and associated pro soccer clubs led a digital learning session, a hands-on soccer skills clinic, and a school-wide assembly centered on areas of critical emotional development. Perez students also engaged with visiting soccer stars, met mascots from four Premier League clubs, and saw the iconic Premier League trophy. On hand for the event were Premier League star winger and ambassador Shaun Wright-Phillips, EVERFI Global CMO Brian Cooley, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, and youth coaches from clubs including Aston Villa, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Wolverhampton.
  4. Kansas City, here we come. Our “Power of Sports” program heads to Kansas City this month, highlighting community outreach programs, culturally significant sites, and people who have made a difference through sports. This month, host Rick Horrow visits the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to speak with President Bob Kendrick about the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Negro Leagues coming up next year and the museum’s role in the celebration and in the community. He also checks in on two of the Kansas City Royals’ youth outreach programs: Royalty Fields grants and a recurring Special Olympics clinic, and hears from James McGinnis, a high school football player from the KC Metro, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and used the Chiefs’ success last season to motivate his recovery. Our Game Changer segment features an interview with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue filmed in early October at a Sport Business Handbook contributor symposium hosted by EVERFI at their Washington, DC headquarters
  5. The Orlando Magic have “filed an updated master plan” for their downtown Orlando Sports + Entertainment District that is “expected to more than double” the original $200 million project budget. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the mixed-use district will be built “starting next year on 8.4 acres across from Amway Center.” Magic Chief Communications Officer Joel Glass said the project will now cost “well over” $500 million. The district will “contain nearly 110,000 square feet of retail space, a conference center hotel with 80,000 square feet of event space, offices, apartments and a 2,500-space parking garage.” The updated plan maintains the original concept from 2018 but “increases the number of hotel rooms by 50 and more than doubles the amount of office space from the original 200,000 square feet to 420,000 square feet.” District Director Pat Gallagher said that the office tower “would now rise to 18 stories, which includes the ground-floor retail, multilevel parking structure and commercial office space.” The Sentinel notes the Magic’s new headquarters “would occupy 40,000 square feet in the office tower,” or close to 10%.
  6. Unsung World Series winner this year:  Palm Beach County, FL.  The most publicized “first” this year involves the visiting team winning every World Series game.  However, maybe one of the most important economic “firsts” is the first time the World Series finalists shared a Spring Training facility:  the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.  The 7,700-seat stadium also features six practice fields each for the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros.  The 160-acre site also includes a 1.8 mile public walk trail and other facilities.  The Palm Beach County Sports Commission touts the facility as a major economic generator for the county, as it also hosts over 1,400 youth and tournament baseball games each year.  Look for a series of major announcements by the county and sports commission over the next two months.
  7. San Diego State is now offering the city of San Diego $87.7 million for Mission Valley stadium site. San Diego State University is "now offering to pay” the city $19.5 million more than before to purchase the Mission Valley stadium property formerly occupied by the Chargers. According to the letter delivered last Monday to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, SDSU’s new offer is $87.7 million, which consists of a “revised purchase price” of $86.2 million for 135 acres of land, plus an estimated $1.5 million to “account for a portion of the site’s appreciation” since 2017. In addition, SDSU is “proposing to take over the portion” of Murphy Canyon Creek immediately adjacent to the site “without requiring the city to pay for any past-due maintenance,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The news comes as SDSU cracked the Associated Press college football Top 25 for the first time in many years (they are now #24), an achievement that should aid local enthusiasm for the SDSU West project, as a new football/soccer stadium is part of the master plan.
  8. Parisian soccer club PSG goes green with Gaussin transport deal. According to SportsPro, French soccer giant Paris Saint-Germain has signed a strategic partnership with the Gaussin Group for the supply of self-driving, 100% electric vehicles for public transport and goods transport. The long-term agreement includes equipment for all of the Ligue 1 champions’ infrastructure, including their new training complex which will open its doors in 2022. The deal also falls in line with PSG’s ambition to utilize innovations in sustainable development and autonomous mobility, especially with regard to the practice facility as it bids to become the first recognized Smart City in sports. The Gaussin Group will initially undertake research to understand where to best deploy its autonomous and electric mobility solutions before rolling out its products where it best suits the needs of the club. This deal marks a movement for sports franchises to be more environmentally conscious of their off-field impacts.
  9. Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris donates $1 million to charities. According to 247 Sports, Harris announced a combined donation of $1 million to assist nine different charities in Philadelphia. He announced the charities and the dollar amount for each during a community draft at a local elementary school. The benefitting organizations include the Center for Black Educator Development which received $300,000; Read by 4th was given $200,000; The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools, and Legends Academy were all given $100,000; World Literacy Foundation and True Love Missions each received $75,000; and both WUFSD Wynadanch Memorial High School and Team Up Philly were given $25,000. Although Harris was traded just eight months ago from the Los Angeles Clippers, the basketball star seems to be investing heavily in the youth of Philadelphia, a city facing a major teacher shortage and in which two-thirds of third graders can’t read at grade level.
  10. Call of Duty League launches in January, 2020.  According to BusinessWire, Activision Blizzard Esports announced the inaugural season of the Call of Duty League will begin with the Call of Duty League Launch Weekend at the Minneapolis Armory January 24-26, 2020. The event will be hosted by Minnesota Røkkr, which is the Call of Duty League team operated by WISE Ventures Esports, under the ownership of the Minnesota Viking owner Wilf family and tech investor Gary Vaynerchuk. The league will feature all 12 of the professional Call of Duty League teams competing across three days, and the opening weekend will feature additional fan and player experiences to celebrate the launch of Activision Blizzard Esports’ highly anticipated new city-based league. In a concept that should appeal to traditional sports fans, the Call of Duty League follows a home-vs-away format with 5-versus-5 professional match play. Throughout the season, each team will host “Home Series” weekends in their market, with multiple pro teams competing at each which will draw in crowds to take part in the events and participate in one of the most far-reaching video game series ever created.

28 Oct

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 102819

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 28 : MAYOR’S EDITION

with Jacob Aere

  1. Under Armour and Nike announce CEO shifts on the same day. Last Tuesday, Under Armour announced that founder Kevin Plank was stepping down from his CEO role, just as Nike was letting the world know that Mark Parker, a 40-year Nike veteran, was likewise assuming a different role at the $40 billion company. While Under Armour struggled financially under Plank, Parker oversaw a profitable but controversial period for Nike. In Maryland, Plank will become Under Armour executive chairman and brand chief. The changes come as the company’s North American sales are struggling. In Oregon, Parker led Nike through a period of tremendous growth but also saw his leadership challenged by a number of controversies. While Nike earnings are currently ahead of expectations, the company has also been plagued by recent scandals, including a doping accusation that saw Nike shutter its renowned track and field program, and a sexual misconduct and gender discrimination case. Plank will be replaced by COO Patrik Frisk, who will assume the CEO role on January 1. Parker will step down January 13 and be replaced by John Donahoe, CEO of ServiceNow Inc. and chairman of PayPal Holdings.
  2. There’s no shortage of intrigue and excitement surrounding this year’s match up, as the Washington Nationals square off against the Houston Astros in the 115th World Series. As the Series enters its second week with the Astros leading the Nationals 3-2, WalletHub takes a closer look at everything that makes the Series such a special event. For starters, the number 53 marks the combined number of years of the Astros’ and Nationals’ World Series droughts. While the Astros won the Series in 2017, it’s been 51 years since the team formerly known as the Montreal Expos won a championship. Forbes values the two teams at roughly the same number, $1.8 billion, and the two teams have roughly the same team salary allotment, in the $207-$208 million range. The projected ad revenue for FOX for each game beyond the minimum four to win the Series is $45.7 million. And finally, for the eventual winner, the “Commissioner’s Trophy” crafted by Tiffany and Company has an estimated physical value of $19,000.
  3. The San Francisco 49ers will include basic food and beverages in the cost of season tickets starting in 2020, marking a major shift in concessions strategy. According to 49ers President Al Guido, the all-inclusive approach will not extend to season tickets resold on the secondary market, or to single-game buyers. The undefeated 49ers have about 60,000 season-ticket holders in a stadium that seats 68,500. In market research, Guido said season-ticket holders “overwhelmingly” reported they are willing to pay more than what the stadium currently makes on each fan to get concessions included. The non-transferability of the food & beverage deal is possible under Ticketmaster’s mobile ticketing system that assigns unique barcodes to every user. Items that will be free include chicken tenders, beef and vegan hot dogs, hot links, nachos, fries, pretzels, popcorn, peanuts candies, water, coffee, and all Pepsi products. The 49ers and concessionaire Levy have reportedly been studying the change since Levy won Levi’s Stadium business in February, 2018. It took more than a year of research to determine whether it could be done without causing prohibitive financial or operational costs. 
  4. The Green Bay Packers and Microsoft raised $25 million for their TitletownTech business innovation fund. The TitletownTech fund reached its goal of $25 million with the addition of a dozen Wisconsin-based investors, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette. The Packers and Microsoft each committed $5 million to the fund, which will invest in high-growth early-stage and existing businesses aligned with industries in northeastern Wisconsin. Other investors in the accelerator program include Boston Bruins alternative governor Jerry Jacobs, Jr. and New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, both of whom sit on the TitletownTech advisory board. TitletownTech, a technology and innovation-focused campus in the Packers’ Titletown District development near Lambeau Field, includes an innovation lab, a business solutions space called a venture studio, and the venture fund’s headquarters. Moving forward, its work will focus on five business silos: sports, media, and entertainment; digital health; agriculture, water, and environment; advanced manufacturing; and supply chain technology. The Packers-Microsoft partnership is just the latest example of how sports franchises are thinking way outside the mixed-use stadium district development box to benefit their communities. 
  5. NFL Players Coalition, Meek Mill, and others host Philadelphia Town Hall event. On Monday, October 28, global music streaming and entertainment platform, TIDAL will be live streaming, for free, the NFL Players Coalition Town Hall Event in Philadelphia. The event, according to a TIDAL release, will feature rapper Meek Mill, co-founder of Players Coalition/NFL Player Malcolm Jenkins, and other influencers discussing what the city of Philadelphia wants in its next police commissioner. Players Coalition aims to make an impact on social justice and racial equality through advocacy, awareness, education, and allocation of resources. TIDAL’s support of key social justice issues has been a pillar of the streaming service’s mission since its inception, and it is committed to amplifying conversations through the platform that will lead to a better future globally. The Philadelphia town hall meeting, and others like it nationally, are testaments to the NFL’s commitment to support social justice issues important to its players, alumni, and fans. Time will tell if the Players Coalition, with the league’s support, will truly be able to influence grassroots issues in the cities in which its games are played. 
  6. Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney and his $9.3 million annual salary have taken over the top spot in the annual USA Today coaches’ salary database. Rounding out the top five are Nick Saban ($8.9 million), Jim Harbaugh ($7.5 million), Jimbo Fisher ($7.5 million), and Kirby Smart ($6.9 million). Notably, the top 83 coaches included in the list of 130 schools earned more than $1 million annually in salary alone. Also, the average total pay for the 122 FBS coaches for whom USA TODAY Sports could obtain compensation figures is $2.67 million, up 9% compared to last season – the increase is the largest in four years. And, for the first time, there is a league in which all of the coaches are making at least $3 million. That league is the 14-school Southeastern Conference, in which the average total pay is $4.95 million. College football coaches have seen salaries sky rocket in the last 10 years, meanwhile college athlete compensation is set to kick off in California come 2023.
  7. The NBA has confirmed that Salt Lake City will host the 2023 NBA All-Star Game. The 72nd   edition of the mid-season exhibition match, which sees teams selected by a combination of fan, player, and media voting, will be staged at Vivint Smart Home Arena, the home of the Utah Jazz, February 19 2023. The event will mark the 30th anniversary of the only previous time Utah’s capital city hosted the All-Star Game in 1993, when the Vivint Smart Home Arena was known as the Delta Center. The NBA’s 2023 All-Star festivities will kick off February 17 that year, featuring additional programming for fans at venues throughout Salt Lake City. The league also plans to run a full schedule of NBA Cares and Diversity & Inclusion events. “Along with a rich basketball tradition, Salt Lake City has proven to be a world-class destination for large-scale events and sports competitions,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “I want to thank the Miller Family and the Utah Jazz organization for their commitment to hosting our All-Star festivities and to developing a program that will leave a lasting impact on the community.” Added Jazz owner Gail Miller, “The memory of John Stockton and Karl Malone sharing MVP honors 30 years ago remains strong.  We are excited to create new memories for this generation of NBA fans.” Next year’s All-Star Game is being held at Chicago’s United Center before heading to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in 2021.
  8. National Women’s Soccer League inks an exclusive deal with Octagon for media rights and marketing consulting. According to Sports Video Group, Octagon will provide comprehensive media rights valuation, sales strategy services, and work directly with NWSL executives to secure and amplify new media distribution opportunities. In addition, Octagon’s Marketing division will assist the league with brand marketing, asset development, sponsorship valuation, and fan engagement insights to help generate increases in overall reach and revenue for the league and its teams. Featuring more than 200 of the world’s best professional soccer players, including U.S. Women’s National Team members and two-time World Cup Champions Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Alex Morgan, as well as international stars Marta, Christine Sinclair, and Sam Kerr, the NWSL is highlighted by 23 current FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions and 58 FIFA Women’s World Cup team members. Budwesier has also launched a campaign focused on finding the NWSL new sponsors as more money is being put into women’s soccer across the globe.
  9. The sports world aims to tackle ocean plastic pollution. According to SportTechie, a research expedition embarked from the southwest coast of the U.K., on a two-year mission to sail westward around the world. The crew aboard the S.V. TravelEdge, a 73-foot floating laboratory, will travel 38,000-nautical-miles and cross all five of the world’s major ocean gyres, regions where rotating currents lead to the accumulation of floating plastic waste. The 300 women joining the all-female rotating team will investigate to find solutions to plastic pollution. The “eXXpedition Round The World” is being organized by sailor Emily Penn, who is among a growing group of athletes and people connected to the sports world that is advocating for and taking action to protect the environment. Another goal of Penn’s journey is to create a global network of ambassadors who can advocate to help solve the problem. She has been working with a larger environmental organization called 11th Hour Racing over the last few years to give talks and run workshops for other sailors to learn how they can play a role in tackling plastic pollution. By having athletes tackle environmental problems head on, they can use their social influence to be advocates for policy and lifestyle change.
  10. Seven NFL dads partner with Pampers to install changing tables in their local communities. According to Business Wire, Pampers’ commitment to install 5,000 changing tables across North America by 2021 secured the help of seven hands-on NFL dads today. In honor of October 26’s National Make a Difference Day, Pampers is leading the installation of changing tables in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Detroit and Charlotte so all parents can #LoveTheChange in public places. The seven players include Sterling Shepard of the New York Giants, Tevin Coleman of the San Francisco 49ers, Marvin Jones Jr. of the Detroit Lions, Brian Westbrook of the Philadelphia Eagles, Derek Wolfe of the Denver Broncos, Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears, and Dontari Poe of the Carolina Panthers. The changing tables help to address the changing table inequality for men who care for babies and by using seven NFL dads the topic will gain more limelight.

21 Oct

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 102119

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 21 : MAYOR’S EDITION

with Jacob Aere

  1. TV broadcasters and streamers invested $38 billion in sports rights in 2018, nearly double the $20 billion spent in 2012. Globally, TV broadcasters, and to a lesser degree, online streamers, fork out 26% of their total content spend on sports rights, according to a report published last Wednesday by Ampere Analysis and carried by the Hollywood Reporter. The market for sports rights has nearly doubled in the last six years, from $20 billion in 2012 to $38 billion last year. The U.S. remains the largest single market for sports rights, with a $19 billion annual spend, a figure likely to jump as new rights cycles kick in for the NFL, MLB, and the NBA. Ampere forecasts the top U.S. leagues generating $4 billion more per year in rights revenues by the end of the next six years. And in Europe, broadcasters and online players in Europe’s big five markets – the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Spain – shelled out $11 billion for sports rights in 2018, double the amount from six years ago. European broadcasters and pay TV operators in the big five spend a third of their content budget, on average, on sports, compared to 26% in the U.S.
  2. espnW and the U.S. Department of State are hosting the eighth year of the Global Sports Mentoring Program October 11-November 19. The program will see 16 emerging female leaders from around the world begin a month-long mentorship in the United States alongside top American female executives from some of the most influential organizations in sports and business. Including ESPN, executive mentors in the 2019 program represent: the Big East Conference; Creative Artists Agency (CAA); Google; LISC; Minnesota Lynx/ Timberwolves; the NCAA; New Balance; the NHL; Saatchi & Saatchi, Spurs Sports & Entertainment; the University of Connecticut; and the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA). The initiative joins such other events as this week’s espnW Women + Sports Summit in Newport Beach, CA and the recently-completed LPGA Indy Women in Tech Driven by Group1001 tournament and week-long symposium that promote women’s leadership, education, and advancement both in and out of sport.
  3. MLS will officially award Sacramento an expansion franchise this week. According to the Sacramento Bee, MLS will hold a press conference and fan event in California’s capital city on Monday to announce that the United Soccer League’s Sacramento Republic FC will make the step up to become MLS’ 29th team. Sacramento has been attempting to secure an MLS expansion team since 2015, but its chances were improved at the beginning of this year when Ron Burkle, billionaire part-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, joined the Republic as lead investor. The Republic then received city council backing in April for a new $252 million, 20,000-seat stadium. Later that month, the Republic emerged as a front runner in the race to join MLS when the league announced it had been authorized to advance talks with the ownership groups of Sacramento and St Louis, which was officially awarded its own expansion team in August. If Sacramento is confirmed, it will pay a $200 million expansion fee to become the fourth MLS team in California. Confirmation would also mean that MLS has only one spot left to fill if it is to stick to its expansion target of 30 teams.
  4. Tiger Woods has been the subject of countless articles, books, and TV segments, but for the first time, he will tell his story in his own words. Last Tuesday, Harper Collins announced Woods’ BACK, a memoir chronicling the golfer’s life from growing up a celebrated golfing prodigy to shattering racial barriers and rising to fame, then facing continuing injuries and personal scandal, to mounting a comeback at 43 years old culminating with the 2019 Masters. “I’ve been in the spotlight for a long time, and because of that, there have been books and articles and TV shows about me, most filled with errors, speculative and wrong,” Woods said in the statement. “This book is my definitive story.” No publication date has been announced; the release stated that BACK will be “the first and only account directly from Woods, with the full cooperation of his friends, family, and inner circle.” For the moment, however, Woods is focused on “The Challenge: Japan Skins,” a big money made-for-TV match with Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Hideki Matsuyama taking place at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan.
  5. Formula 1 eyes Miami to host its first-ever Grand Prix after reaching an agreement in principle to host a race at Hard Rock Stadium beginning in 2021. The proposed Formula One Miami Grand Prix would see F1 cars navigating a custom-built track around the stadium. Formula One had initially set its sights on a downtown track location, only to scrap the proposal in favor of Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins, after local opposition. Concerns remain among residents over noise, traffic and pollution, though organizers insist this new location would reduce disruption compared to a downtown race. According to the Miami Herald, Dolphins and stadium owner Steve Ross will cover all race costs, including an expected $40 million custom track. It takes Formula One a step closer to holding a second U.S. race, a long-held ambition for the global motor racing series’ owners, Liberty Media. Since 2012, the sole F1 stop in the U.S. has been the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. A Miami F1 race would have an estimated annual impact of more than $400 million and 35,000 room nights.
  6. ATP Media, the in-house rights agency for the global men’s tennis tour, saw revenues rise by 6.7% to $120.96 million in 2018. The UK-based production hub, which is also responsible for ATP Tour content creation, has registered gross profits of $13.57 million. The spike represents a 9.6% growth compared to the end of 2017. Broadcast rights sales, where ATP Media works alongside IMG, remain the dominant source of income. ATP Media also said it had benefitted from “favorable movements” on the euro and British pound exchange rates during last year. Broken up geographically, the UK operation generated $11.59 million in revenues at the end of 2018, while the rest of Europe raked in $31.91 million behind $77.45 million generated by ATP Media in other international territories. Among several of the media group’s high-profile broadcast deals, 2019 has already seen ATP Media secure an improved five-year agreement with Amazon Prime Video in the UK, which runs through the 2023 ATP season. In addition, deals were confirmed with Discovery-owned Eurosport in France and Sky Deutschland in Germany.
  7. Finally, before a big game, it’s important for fans to get a Goodyear night’s sleep. The Goodyear Blimp has provided aerial coverage of college football games since 1955, and later this season will become the first non-player or coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Now, Forbes reports, fans will have the chance to stay in the iconic dirigible prior to the Notre Dame vs. Michigan game October 26. One-night stays can be booked through Airbnb for October 22, 23, and 24 in the blimp hangar in Mogadore, Ohio. Each night is priced at $150 (plus taxes and fees) to celebrate college football’s 150th anniversary. Guests “will have exclusive access to the Goodyear hangar, which is the size of 2.6 football fields, and a football lounge will be provided where guests can relax and watch some of the all-time best rivalry games in college football history.” Goodyear and Airbnb will also collectively donate $5,000 to the Cotton Bowl Foundation, which supports college football-related causes. While the blimp will remain on the ground, this takes “Air”bnb to a whole new level. 
  8. FOX Bet becomes an MLB authorized gaming operator just days before the World Series.  According to Sports Handle, FOX Bet announced a multi-year partnership with Major League Baseball under which the online and mobile betting platform will become an Authorized Gaming Operator of MLB. The announcement came exactly a week before the scheduled first pitch of Game 1 of the 2019 World Series on October 22. FOX Sports, an MLB broadcast partner, has televised the World Series in every season since 2000. FOX Bet is the fourth sports betting entity to join MLB’s Authorized Gaming Operator program since the Supreme Court’s historic PASPA decision in May 2018, joining MGM Resorts International, DraftKings, and FanDuel as MLB official data licensees under the program. The partnership is the latest in a string of deals for the network’s nascent sports betting division. FOX is looking to go all in on sports betting – this partnership marks the third deal that FOX Bet has inked with a major U.S. pro sports league, including the NBA and a deal with the NFL through its Super 6 contest.
  9. Ex-NFL star Warrick Dunn helps deliver 173rd home to single parent for charity. According to FOX Business, the former NFL running back helped surprise a single Florida mother with a new home Wednesday through his charity along with Habitat for Humanity and health care company Cigna. Warrick Dunn Charities, which is run by the former Pro Bowler, presented LaToya Reedy with a new home in St. Petersburg. It was the 173rd home the charity has given thanks to its “Home for the Holidays” campaign, which helps single parents achieve home ownership. Reedy told local media she had been working hard as a nursing assistant to provide a stable lifestyle for her 18-year-old son, but high rent prices and living paycheck to paycheck was getting difficult. Before Dunn became a pro football player, he was living with a single mother who worked very hard to provide for him and five other children, but his mother was killed before his 18th birthday and he helped raise his siblings while playing college football. Dunn sees his charity as a form of therapy to deal with his own traumas, taking comfort that he is helping others avoid similar housing and economic struggles.
  10. Michael Jordan donates a huge sum to two Novant Health clinics in Charlotte, North Carolina. During a recent speech, Jordan teared up as he spoke about his $7.2 million donation to two Novant Health clinics in his area. According to the Charlotte Observer, The Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinic and a second facility expected to open soon nearby will serve at least 35,000 children and adults over the next five years. The clinics provide both primary health care services as well as access to social workers, behavioral health experts, oral health practitioners, and physical therapy. Jordan’s financial gift to Novant Health is the latest in his philanthropic giving in Charlotte and his home state of North Carolina. Jordan has significantly ramped up his charitable giving since he became the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets in 2010. The Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic opened just over three weeks ago, and has already cared for more than 300 people. It is particularly important for Charlotte families to get the health care they deserve, as the city ranks last among major U.S. cities in enabling people to lift themselves out of poverty.

14 Oct

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 14 : MAYOR’S EDITION

with Jacob Aere

  1. A single tweet from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey escalated into a geopolitical crisis, pitting the NBA’s progressive brand against the influence of Chinese money. According to CNN Business, all of the NBA’s official Chinese partners have now suspended ties with the league in the wake of Morey’s provocative (and soon deleted) tweet about Hong Kong freedom last week. And months after paying billions of dollars to extend its streaming deal with the NBA, Tencent Holdings has “suspended all reports/streaming of Houston Rockets.” Notably, nearly 500 million people in China watched the NBA on Tencent last season. The New York Times further quoted a source who stated that “China’s punitive response could cost the Rockets around $25 million this season,” and Yahoo Sports last Wednesday reported that “at least five unnamed teams fear that the $116 million salary cap projected for the 2020-2021 season could drop by as much as 10-15%.” Obviously, the NBA has significant business interests in China. At the same time, it has positioned itself as the most progressive of mega American sports leagues by supporting social activism. Will those values be upheld now that the league’s bottom line is at risk?
  2. Elsewhere in MLS, DC United has ended their broadcast deal with subscription-based streaming service FloSports after less than a year. The four-year local media rights deal, which was only signed in January, was worth a reported $12 million, according to the Washington Post. The team’s final regular-season home game of the year, against FC Cincinnati on October 6, was made available to all fans for free through a live stream on DC United’s official website. The move brings to an end what proved to be a problematic deal for DC United. Fans of the franchise were initially unhappy at having to pay between $5.99 and $8.99 per month for FloSports, which was compounded when the streaming service suffered technical difficulties. DC United’s draw against New York City FC in March, for example, was marred by interruptions. The partnership never fully recovered and now the club is on the hunt for a new local media rights partner in time for next year.
  3. The Los Angeles Chargers are struggling to sell personal seat licenses at SoFi Stadium. One high ranking team executive told JohnWallStreet that Dean Spanos’ organization is roughly $350 million short of their initial $400 million target. While it’s not uncommon for large scale construction projections to be slightly off, off by nearly 87.5% is an abnormally wide miss. An initial study conducted by Legends subsidiary CSL suggested that the market could support $1 billion worth of PSL sales (Rams: $600 million, Chargers: $400 million). When the Chargers stumbled with CSL’s suggested pricing, a second study was done and the team’s sales target was lowered to $150 million. But Spanos’ club isn’t even close to reaching that number. A source said that while the Rams are nearing $500 million in PSL sales, the Chargers have sold only $50 million worth. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is understandably upset about his tenant’s inability to move PSLs. Those revenues are supposed to go towards the new venues’ constructions costs (about $5 billion) and Kroenke is responsible for the difference. The Chargers’ second class citizen status in L.A. has also made it difficult for them to sell high-priced products.
  4. A lawsuit is holding up redevelopment of the Oakland Coliseum site, and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred threatens relocation. According to JohnWallStreet, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf confirmed last Tuesday that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has threatened relocation of the Oakland Athletics if the city fails to drop a lawsuit filed to prevent Alameda County from selling its stake in the land on which the Oakland Coliseum sits to the team; the city wants the county’s 50% share, but lacks the funding necessary to make the purchase. A’s owner John Fisher intends on redeveloping the 155-acre site to help pay for a new $850 million “privately financed” waterfront ballpark and mixed use space. It should be noted that “many people believe the most logical solution is to build a new ballpark – much less expensively – on the Coliseum site.” Manfred has made it clear, however, that construction of the Howard Terminal ballpark and the Coliseum redevelopment project (which does not include construction of a new sports venue) are a package deal. Unless the lawsuit goes away, the city risks losing the A’s to Las Vegas, just as it lost the Raiders.
  5. U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee relaxes Rule 40 guidelines. The guidance relates to Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter, which restricts the use of athletes’ names and images for advertising purposes. U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be able to thank personal sponsors, appear in advertisements for those sponsors and receive congratulatory messages from them during next year’s Tokyo Games under guidance released last Tuesday by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Official partners will maintain exclusive use of Team USA and Olympic Games logos and imagery, but athletes’ personal sponsors will be permitted to run generic ads. The same brands will no longer face a deadline to put a campaign into market prior to the Olympics and will have more freedom on social media. The loosening of marketing rules gives athletes more freedom to benefit from sponsors they deal with directly, rather than limiting advertising to official partner companies of the USOPC and IOC. Are you listening, NCAA?
  6. AdWeek shows how the NFL connects television, advertising, and American culture. This month, AdWeek notes, network TV “returns once more with a shiny slate full of fall debuts. It’s an annual ritual of foreordained failure, with the vast majority of shows unlikely to survive to see a second season. Only one form of broadcast programming really matters anymore, economically for the media industry and existentially for American culture: sports, broadly—and the NFL, specifically.” Some of the metrics are obvious: 19 of the 20 highest-rated broadcasts in TV history have been Super Bowls. More than a billion people reportedly tuned in for the 2018 World Cup final. Other stats are more surprising: At peak, 93 of the top 100 rated shows in a single season were sports programs. Tellingly, through Week 5 of the 2019 season, over 142 million people tuned into an NFL game, with each game averaging 16.7 million viewers across TV and digital, a 6% increase over last year. Streaming is up 51%, and all 20 of the top 20 highest-rated TV programs this season are NFL games.
  7. The Sacramento Kings will reward fans with CryptoTokens that contributes towards charity. According to CoinDesk, the Sacramento Kings are the first U.S. pro sports team to develop a crypto token for fan rewards. “Kings Token” will pair with a predictive gaming platform the team has developed in anticipation of the legalization of sports betting in California. Last year, the Kings became the first pro sports team to mine cryptocurrency, setting up a program called MiningForGood that donates the funds to charity and now they are even donating to loyal cryptocurrency to fans. Kings Tokens will exist within a token wallet added to the team’s Golden 1 Center app, which tracks the engagement and accumulated points. Fans can earn rewards through the predictive gaming platform and redeem those points for access to unique events, signed merchandise or courtside tickets. This initiative is getting fans involved with current tech advancements in crytocurrency while also helping the MiningForGood program which donates the funds to charity.
  8. The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs Silver & Black Giveback program awards $180,000 to local nonprofits. According to News 4 San Antonio, the $180,000 in facility grants have been given to three local nonprofits whose programs serve the youth of San Antonio and support SBGB’s mission to empower youth through service and sports. Grant recipients include Rise Recovery, the San Antonio Zoo, and Good Samaritan Community Services. Rise Recovery aims to help teens, young adults, and families overcome the effects of drugs and alcohol while also partnering with the community in education and prevention and were granted $100,000 to provide furniture, fixtures, and equipment for the sport court and surrounding outdoor educational classroom at their new campus. Meanwhile, the San Antonio Zoo will use the $75,000 Operation Renovation facility grant to renovate the San Antonio Zoo Education Center, which hasn’t been renovated since it was first occupied in 1984. Lastly, Good Samaritan Community Services was awarded $8,222 to purchase two evaporative cooling units for outdoor basketball courts. The SBGB program will help to keep youth in San Antonio active, educated, and comforted.
  9. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a four-year deal with FIFA to promote healthy lifestyles through football globally. According to SportsPro, the agreement includes multiple areas of collaboration, including: Advocacy to promote a healthy lifestyle through football; Policy alignment to ensure tobacco-free environments at FIFA events; encouraging national football federations to adopt tobacco-free policies, including at stadiums; and enabling WHO to provide technical advice to FIFA on health matters; Building on FIFA events to institute lasting improvements in health and safety; Joint programs and initiatives to increase participation in physical activity through football, in line with WHO guidance, as well as working with national associations and networks of WHO goodwill ambassadors, football players, coaches, and volunteers to increase physical activity through football. While we continue to take smoke-free sporting environments and related health initiatives for granted in the U.S., that’s not the case in much of the rest of the world.The new WHO-FIFA tie up can make inroads in these policies that benefit all sports fans.
  10. Merging Vets and Players (MVP) charity teams up with the Atlanta Falcons to reduce military and veteran suicides.  According to KOAM News, the MVP charity aims to bring together combat veterans and retired professional athletes to help them adjust to life outside their professions. The organization has set up chapters in four major U.S. cities, and the Atlanta branch is working closely with the Atlanta Falcons. MVP was founded by FOX’s NFL insider, Jay Glazer, and Nate Boyer, U.S. Army Green Beret Veteran and former NFL athlete who played for the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. After recently running some physical activities as a group, MVP coaches run “The Huddle” – a 1:15 long support group where participants are coached to be proud of their scars. Some of MVP’s ambassadors include former NFL players Michael Strahan, Olin Kreutz, and Chris Long, who have struggled with retirement. By crossing the interactions between NFL and combat veterans, both ex-players and veterans can help express their emotions and struggles in a positive way.

07 Oct

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 10719

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 7 : MAYOR’S EDITION

with Jacob Aere

  1. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act, allowing collegiate athletes to collect endorsement money. The law, which would go into effect January 2023, makes it illegal for schools to prevent athletes from earning money by selling the rights to their name, image, or likeness to outside bidders. The NCAA responded by saying in a statement that the organization would continue its effort to monitor make adjustments to its rules “that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education.” At the national level, U.S. Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R., Ohio), a standout receiver at Ohio State and in the NFL, is planning to propose a new national law that would give college athletes the opportunity to make endorsement money. U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R., N.C) also proposed in March the Student-Athlete Equity Act that would change the definition of a qualified amateur sports organization under the U.S. tax code. Discussion at the state level also intensifies: nine other states to date have introduced similar legislation.
  2. William Hill inks new partnerships with the NBA and Monumental Sports. The British bookmaker will become the NBA’s fourth licensed betting operator. In addition, they will be opening an all-purpose sports-betting complex in Monumental’s crown jewel, Capital One Arena. William Hill joins MGM Resorts, FanDuel, and The Stars Group as official partners with the NBA, as the league looks to expand its gambling footprint. The Washington Post and other sources reported that William Hill will crucially get access to official betting data from the league, while the NBA will get a cut of their bets based on volume, a “royalty” of sorts for use of its intellectual property. Also announced last week was a partnership with Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the owner of Capital One Arena which is home to the Washington Wizards, Capitals, and Mystics. Executives from both companies said they hope to turn the arena into an all-purpose sports-betting complex where fans can place wagers on their phones while watching from the stands, or stop over at the site formerly occupied by Greene Turtle Bar and Grill. The sportsbook is expected to open as soon as 2020, “depending on regulatory approval.”
  3. “Power of Sports” Indianapolis episode premieres. This month, the popular show hosted by Rick Horrow and distributed by FOX Sports regional sports networks nationwide returns to Indianapolis to profile the regional impact of sports. A big part of the October episode takes place inside iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but not on the bricks…instead, on the links. 2019 marked the third year of the Indy Women in Tech Championship Driven by Group1001, one of the premiere stops on the LPGA Tour. The best golfers in the world fought it out at Brickyard Crossing with a $2 million purse on the line. Off the course, a full week of events made the most of this community-centered event. The week began with the IWiT Summit, where leaders from the golf, business, and tech worlds came together to discuss the benefits of inclusivity and diversity in their industries. The October episode also profiles philanthropic initiatives by the Indianapolis Colts – who stunned the Kansas City Chiefs in a primetime Sunday upset – and an Indy nonprofit founded by a national champion cyclist who uses an innovative program to share his love of cycling with kids.
  4. Also on the social good front, for the eleventh consecutive season, the NFL and the American Cancer Society will work together to support the fight against cancer through “Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer.” The initiative kicks off in stadiums this weekend and will run through Week 7 games, addresses early detection and risk reduction efforts for multiple cancers. As part of the campaign, the NFL and ACS will continue encouraging the entire NFL community to complete the Defender, a free digital tool, which provides consumers with a personalized game plan to reduce their cancer risk. Several players will again support the campaign, including Drew Brees, Quinnen Williams, Kyle Rudolph, and the American Cancer Society’s fifteen player ambassadors who have lent their voice. “Crucial Catch” again joins the NFL’s lengthy list of annual philanthropic initiatives, including NFL players’ “My Cause My Cleats” collaboration during Week 13 and its 46-year partnership with United Way.
  5. In Miami, Super Bowl LIV has already kicked off. Last Saturday, the HistoryMiami Museum opened the exhibit, “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football HOF.” The exhibit arrives ahead of Super Bowl LIV and “will remain there until February 9,” according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The exhibit features 8,000 square feet of “photographs, vintage jerseys, helmets and interactive displays,” along with the Lombardi Trophy on display in a “Champions Theater.” The museum’s “Hometown Heroes” section “celebrates the Dolphins and athletes who played in South Florida during high school and college.” And last Friday, Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel announced that Hard Rock Stadium will "phase out 99.4% of single-use plastics by 2020 – including for Super Bowl LIV.” On December 22, Hard Rock Stadium will become the first venue in the NFL to “feature 20oz sustainable draft cups.” In all, the team will “eliminate more than 2.8 million pieces of plastic annually including over 600,000 plastic bottles.”
  6. The Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center tenure begins. The Warriors were “happy to get into their new billion dollar home” on Saturday night despite losing to the Lakers during the team’s exhibition opener at Chase Center, according to ESPN. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “The crowd was fantastic. It seemed like everybody was, including the players and coaches and officials, everybody was sort of looking around.” The “cheapest ticket on the secondary market for Saturday’s debut game” was $131, and to get in the lower bowl, fans had to “shell out $300-plus.” The San Jose Mercury-News added that the arena is an "impressive building and a testament to what next-level perseverance, strong vision, and a ton of cold, hard cash can build.” There is “not a thing functionally wrong with this place.” Along with the indoor Jumbotron, Chase Center "boasts a prominent outdoor video screen, the captivating feature of a spacious outdoor area.” Samsung partnered with the Warriors to install the Jumbotron, the largest center hung main videoboard installed in a sports arena — a feature that will make the building a top level concert destination.
  7. AEG Facilities, SMG officially combine to create ASM Global, the world’s largest venue management company. AEG Facilities and SMG have officially merged to create ASM Global, a new, standalone global facility management and venue services company. ASM’s vast portfolio spans more than 300 arenas, convention centers, and other venues across five continents. ASM will be headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in suburban Philadelphia, the UK, Australia, and Brazil. Former AEG Facilities President Bob Newman has been named ASM President and CEO, effective immediately. Newman spent more than 20 years at SMG prior to joining AEG. Private equity firm Onex, AEG, and their affiliates are contributing their entire equity investments in SMG and AEG Facilities, respectively, into the combined business and are now equal co-owners of ASM Global. SMG is a premier operator of convention centers, while AEG’s background is as an arena developer. This is a merger of extremely complementary companies. AEG owns and operates venues, while SMG primarily provides venue management services. 
  8. LeBron James’ and Maverick Carter’s media company Uninterrupted launches Nike sneaker and e-commerce store. According to Fast Company, the partnership not only includes an Uninterrupted-branded Air Force 1 sneaker but also a new apparel collection that features a hoodie, shorts, hats, and socks, available exclusively on Uninterrupted’s newly launched e-commerce store on October 7. The brand has always been based in athlete empowerment, and the announcement timing conveniently suggests Uninterrupted’s version of empowerment is more than a marketing slogan. On Monday, news broke that California Governor Gavin Newsom had signed a bill on LeBron and Carter’s show “The Shop” that would allow college athletes to hire agents and get paid for endorsement deals. LeBron is standing up for athletes across the globe to be more than one-dimensional, while simultaneously setting himself up in the media and business worlds for life after basketball.
  9. WWE legend John Cena announces pledge for veterans’ charity. According to FOX Sports, Cena appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” last Monday to call on others to donate to FitOps, pledging to match all donations from now through Veterans Day (November 11) up to $1 million. FitOps is a foundation that helps military veterans find stability, success, and community through fitness. The organization helps veterans achieve personal trainer certification, creating a path in life after service. Out of the ring, Cena is known for his charitable endeavors with Make-a-Wish and his receipt of the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award – it seems that even through his busy Hollywood schedule, his philanthropy won’t get lost in the shuffle.
  10. Tim and Negah Connelly’s Ping Pong charity fundraiser for LuBird’s Light Foundation includes Nuggets’ Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray. Some of the Mile High City’s biggest athletes and local sports personalities were in attendance at the EXDO Event center in the Rino neighborhood to show their support for the Connelly family and help raise awareness for the LuBird’s Light Foundation. The organization is raising money to create accessible playgrounds for children of all abilities. High-profile athletes ranging from the Colorado Rapids’ Tim Howard and Jamal Murray to several members of the Denver Broncos were on hand. The event raised over $22,000 in less than four hours. According to NBA.com, Jokić plays a ping pong match three hours before every Nuggets home game and almost won the entire competition. Jokić and Murray were joined by 11 other Nuggets players in attendance. By playing a game that levels the playing fields across diverse athletes, the Nuggets have shown unity to rally for children who need greater accessibility on playgrounds.

30 Sep

10 To Watch : Mayor’s Edition 93019

RICK HORROW’S TOP 10 SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 30 : MAYOR’S EDITION

with Jacob Aere

  1. EverFi “Runs the Right Plays.” Premiering earlier this year, The Sport Business Handbook recognizes the last 50 years as the formative period for the modern era of sport. Likewise, online education leader EverFi is celebrating over a decade of harnessing technology to equip communities with the skills they need for success. To celebrate the good work in our communities contributors continue to do, EverFi presents “Running the Right Plays: Doing Good Through Sport” on October 2 in Washington, DC. This symposium will present a rare opportunity to hear directly from key contributors in sport, business, and philanthropy and gain exclusive access to their personal insights. Panelists joining Rick Horrow for the evening include Lisa Bowman, Chief Marketing Officer, United Way Worldwide;  Jon Chapman, Co-Founder & President, EverFi; Phil de Picciotto, Founder & President, Octagon; Damon Phillips, General Manager, NBC Sports Washington; Nick Sakiewicz, National Lacrosse League Commissioner; and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. We will also present the top five Washington, DC community impact milestones in and around sports. 
  2. The San Francisco 49ers filed a lawsuit to “block Santa Clara’s attempt to end the team’s management of non-football events at Levi’s Stadium,” according to the San Jose Mercury News. The lawsuit filed on Friday “comes in the wake of the City Council’s vote to terminate the 49ers’ management agreement, effective November 15.” City officials “contend the team misrepresented its experience in managing ‘public assembly facilities’ and has violated city and state rules governing public contracts and prevailing wages.” Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor in a tweet Friday night “doubled down on those claims.” She tweeted, “We terminated the 49ers non-NFL events agreement because we discovered fraud and wage theft. They mismanaged a public facility. Net profits plunge from around $5 million to $0 in two years.” If the city succeeds, the 49ers would “no longer book and manage stadium events unrelated” to NFL games and activities. Santa Clara “owns Levi’s Stadium and leases the facility to the 49ers.” The team is “responsible for managing it year-round and generating revenue to be shared with the city through concerts and other non-NFL events.” The 49ers’ lawsuit requests that a judge invalidate the city’s termination notice. 
  3. Tennis Channel is going bi-coastal, opening a fully equipped broadcast control room on the site of the USTA National Campus in Orlando. The new facility is designed to give the network a year-round presence at the training center for elite American professional and junior players. The facility, which establishes an East Coast production base for the West Coast-based network, provides Tennis Channel with greater access to National Campus competitions and players, in addition to Florida’s tennis community. It was put to immediate use September 24-29, as the network carried the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals for the first time. Tennis Channel has clearly benefitted operationally and financially from its $350 million acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group three years ago – a fact that’s not lost on Sinclair’s newly-purchased roster of Fox Regional Sports Networks and their executives.
  4. Kroenke, Spanos reportedly at odds over Sofi Stadium PSL sales. According to a report from ABC 10 News San Diego, Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke is upset about a lack of financial contribution by the L.A. Chargers for their shared Inglewood stadium, which is set to open next summer. Kroenke was anticipating the Chargers would generate close to $400 million from the sale of Personal Seat Licenses. Instead, the real figure is turning out to be tens of millions short of the target, and Kroenke is the one responsible for making up the difference. Costs for the Inglewood stadium are skyrocketing to almost $5 billion. The facility was initially expected to cost $1.9 billion. Kroenke is responsible for everything but the money the Chargers generate in PSL sales and a $200 million NFL G-6 loan. The Chargers, though, get to keep all of their game day revenues when they play in the new building. Kroenke has very little way of recouping the money from Spanos, because it was all part of the deal allowing the Chargers to move from San Diego to L.A.
  5. Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency has announced the launch of its new global division to be headquartered in London, with Michael Yormark, who will serve as president of the new venture, heading up branding and strategy. Over the past couple years, Roc Nation has drastically expanded their roster in Europe and become more involved with sports. Roc Nation Sports International’s clients currently include six soccer players: Jerome Boateng, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Eric Bailly, Axel Witsel, and Samuel Chukwueze. The company will officially open its London office on October 1 with a major focus on soccer. Based on the expertise of Roc Nation, on the artist and athlete side of the business, the agency believes this is a natural next step to have feet on the ground in the U.K. and develop their company in a 360 degree fashion. The new international venture will bring lifestyle, music and sport to the epicenter of the world’s soccer market. 
  6. Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Field House officially open after $185 million renovation. Downtown Cleveland was “electric” Saturday afternoon for a “celebration and official opening” of the $185 million renovated Rocket Mortgage Field House, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. An “estimated 2,500 people attended the ceremony” that was followed by a “free public open house.” People had the “chance to explore the space and try new dining options.” Updates include a “77,110 square foot illuminated aluminum curtain, more than 42,000 square feet of new space in the atrium, a power portal entryway featuring LED panels and Soundscape technology.” Cavaliers President of Business Operations Nic Barlage said, “Today was perfect.” The first event in the renovated arena "won’t be a sporting event but a concert, when the Black Keys perform” on Monday night. A fitting opening for a building mere blocks from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  7. ESPN and Facebook strike a deal to bring sports shows to the social media platform. Under the new deal, ESPN will distribute exclusive digital shows and content on the social giant’s Facebook Watch video platform. According to Variety, the new collaboration will begin with ESPN’s Facebook Watch lineup of additional segments from “Always Late With Katie Nolan,” the late-night sports/comedy show premiering this week on ESPN2; exclusive versions of college-football “Countdown to GameDay” and “Fantasy Focus Live,” and “The People’s MMA Show,” a weekly series about mixed martial arts fighters. With the new content, ESPN will engage with fans through Facebook Watch platform via Watch Parties, polls, or live talent Q&As. Facebook has made a huge push in the last two years to gather more sports content including live MLB games and now all-encompassing sports content from one of sports media’s titans as the push to break into OTT sports intensifies.
  8. Burton Snowboards joined millions of students and workers from around the world in support of the Global Climate Strike. On September 20 and 27, the snowboard brand closed all its offices and retail stores in America, Canada, Europe, China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia so its employees could join the strike and attend local marches, while still being paid. Burton.com was also closed for online orders around the world on the same days. According to The Telegraph, visitors to the website were automatically redirected to the Global Climate Strike homepage instead. In addition, the brand’s flagship stores, which are largely based in the U.S., were open to the public as a space to gather before and after the marches. People in 150 countries organized Global Climate Strikes in September, in which people were encouraged to walk out of work or school to join a local march to draw attention to the need for a new approach to combat climate change.
  9. A pair of new-found friends cycle from London to Tokyo for charity and the Rugby World Cup. James Owens and Ron Rutland cycled from London to Tokyo, a total of 20,093 kilometers and a distance that spanned across 27 countries over 230 days to reach rugby’s showpiece event. The primary aim of the journey was to raise money and awareness for ChildFund Pass It Back, the Rugby World Cup’s official charity. According to CNN, the aim of the project was to help children from developing communities in Asia learn essential life skills through the sport. Seeing the actual children who were benefiting from the project’s $83,181 raised was the highlight of the journey for Owens and Rutland, who had only met five days before their journey and were also tasked with delivering the official whistle for the opening match between Japan and Russia. Rutland had previously cycled 41,843 km over two years and three months in the world’s first unsupported solo cycle through Africa to watch his beloved South Africa in 2015 in England. This time, he used his extreme conditioning to better the lives of others.
  10. The U.S. Soccer Foundation donates three mini soccer pitches to Baltimore. The D.C.-based soccer philanthropy and advocacy organization plans to fund and build three $60,000 “mini-pitches” at Desoto Park in Southwest Baltimore’s Morrell Park neighborhood, the Farring-Baybrook Recreation Center in Brooklyn, and Betty Hyatt Community Park in Washington Hill. According to Baltimore FishBowl, the donations would come as part of the nonprofit’s “Safe Places to Play” program. The foundation has partnered with sports-lighting firm Musco Lighting on a modular soccer field design, roughly the size of a basketball or tennis court, for underserved areas around the country and they come with lighting to allow for after-hours play, plus storage and benches. And the effects from these “city pitches” won’t be short lived – the foundation is partnering with MLS teams, corporations, and others to install 1,000 around the country by 2026.