Grey New Jersey Mike Devils Stitched 2 College Bercovici RICK HORROW’S TOP SPORTS/BIZ/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 27, 2019 with Jacob Aere
1. The French Open is underway, and Roland Garros has gotten some work done. Immediately after last year’s tournament, Court Philippe-Chatrier, one of tennis’ most storied arenas, was stripped to its foundation. Over 80% of the existing center court was destroyed to rebuild the stands and create better fan and media experience. In 2019, Roland Garros is also expanding its footprint from 850 acres to 1,250 acres, and debuts a new set of courts, including a 5,000-seat “greenhouse” arena, named Court Simonne-Mathieu after France’s best female player of the 1930s. In 2020, a retractable roof will be put on Chatrier leading to night sessions at the French Open for the first time in 2021 – a move that is expected to generate 100,000-150,000 more ticket sales over the tournament fortnight. In 2024, the site will host the tennis competition at the Summer Olympics. The need for a roof has long been a factor in the French Open’s profitability and product consistency. The 2016 tournament, for example, was dubbed the “Drench Open” after days of play, and international broadcasting hours, were lost to rain.
2. As Roland Garros expands its footprint, it has also embarked on an ambitious plan toexpand its brand. According to Tennis magazine, “In an initiative reminiscent of France’s quest to keep its language alive, the French Tennis Federation is working to keep its surface, la terre battue, at the forefront of the sport.” To that end, the newly-conceived Roland Garros will emphasize its status as the mecca of clay, and work to make its name synonymous with the surface. In 2017, the federation began stamping prominent clay court facilities around the world as official “Roland Garros” clubs, including sponsoring competitions at the centers. In China, tennis’ largest emerging market, the French Open also signed a deal with a Chinese broadcaster in 2017, and stamped a club in the city of Nanchang, which has 11 clay courts, with its Roland Garros label. This year, the Parisian tournament also signed a sponsorship deal with Rolex, which has helped Wimbledon turn itself into a luxury brand over the last 40 years. Look for a similar effort on Roland Garros’ behalf in the future.
3. The NBA has been named the most popular sports league in China in a recent survey undertaken by Ampere Analysis. According to SportsPro, the English Premier League and Uefa Champions League ranked second and third respectively, in the report that conducted research with Chinese internet users. Alexios Dimitropoulos, senior analyst at Ampere, said: “In China, the NBA already boasts one of the country’s largest television rights contracts and that’s why the competition tours China and plays league matches locally.” Chinese soccer’s top flight, the Chinese Super League (CSL), did not make the list’s top ten even though attendances at its fixtures continue to break the 40,000 mark. The survey also showed that Chinese sports fans are younger than the national average with around 65% of sports fans aged 44 or younger. Following the NBA and Premier League and Champions League, the top ten most popular sports leagues were: the FIFA World Cup, Olympic Games, La Liga, Serie A,World Table Tennis Championships, Uefa European Championships, and the Fiba Basketball World Cup. Not surprisingly, Ampere conducted similar research in 20 markets and China was the only one where table tennis appeared in the top ten most popular sports.
Grey New Jersey Mike Devils Stitched 2 College Bercovici 4. The Padres and Diamondbacks have agreed to play a series in Mexico City in the summerof 2020. The Padres last played in Mexico in May 2018; it was a three-game series against the Dodgers in Monterrey. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the 2020 series in Mexico City is “expected to be played at El Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu.” This year’s international calendar included two MLB series in Monterrey: Cardinals-Reds in April and Astros-Angels earlier in May. In addition to Mexico, the MLB has played games in Australia, Japan, and Puerto Rico ahead of next month’s Yankees-Red Sox London Series, which will mark the sport’s first regular-season contests in Europe. Next year’s London Series will feature the Cubs and the Cardinals, leading the Chicago Sun-Times’ Rick Morrissey to wonder, “Why would Major League Baseball waste a perfectly good Cubs-Cardinals series on a country that cares for the game about as much as it cares for the way we spell color, labor and humor?” You could have made the same argument for the NFL, but more than a decade later, that league’s London series has done nothing but grow. MLB, take note.
5. The Big Ten conference recorded nearly $759 million in revenue for the 2018 financial year. This figure represents a year-on-year revenue increase of 48% for the Big Ten and exceeds any comparable annual figure amongst its NCAA rivals. A major factor is this boosted revenue is Big Ten’s new television rights deals which resulted in payments of around $54 million to the 12 longest-standing schools of the conference’s 14 teams. Maryland and Rutgers received smaller revenue share amounts but this was topped up with loans from Big Ten against future revenue shares. Compared to other NCAA athletic conferences, the Big Ten is way ahead in terms of revenue. The SEC reported revenues of around $660 million for 2018, with an average of $43.7 million afforded to each of its 13 member schools. The Big 12’s revenues didn’t even reach half the value that the Big Ten generated, with the conference securing $374 million for 2018. TV rights remain king, as shown by the Big 10 data and the recent announcement that Conference USA has made a 4-year deal with the NFL Network for a 10-game package of C-USA football games.
6. Indy 500 has a new broadcast partner: NBC. Viewership for the crown jewel of American racing events has been on a steady decline since 2015, but all of that may change with a new partnership. All IndyCar broadcasts will now be shown on NBC networks and will cover the racing series with improved marketing and a bigger approach to race-day coverage. According to Indianapolis Business Journal, the network has run dozens of IndyCar ads since March — many for the Indy 500 – and TV ratings have been up. IndyCar ads have been running during other major sporting events such as the Kentucky derby and the NHL Playoffs with a new approach to grab some more casual viewers. Thank to the new partnership, viewership is up 21% for the first four races. Under NBC’s contract, eight IndyCar races will be on broadcast TV this season, up from five last year on ABC. Indy has started to also market to a younger demographic as the sport owns one of the oldest audiences across all major us-sports; to date, its has been paying dividends.
7. The 2019 NBA playoffs have been lacking in action and ratings. According to The Atlantic, this year’s playoffs started on April 13 and won’t end until sometime in June making it roughly as long as Major League Baseball and the National Football League’s playoffs, COMBINED. Through the first two weeks of the 2019 postseason, the rating numbers were down by 18 percent. One reason for the decline is the absence of now Laker, Lebron James, who missed the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. However, the boost of second round ratings, which were the highest TV numbers since 2012, indicate that fans are still compelled to tune in to more competitive matchups. Another issue with extended playoffs is the stress and fatigue it puts on the players: the Golden State Warriors won their last series against the Portland Trail Blazers without Kevin Durant due to injury. Although adding extra games may draw in more money for the league, the long term effects of losing fans to “boring” playoffs may seriously hurt. The NBA may need to start looking into reverting to the previous 5 game format for first round basketball playoffs to help quell the extensive playoffs or potentially give a bye-round to the top ranked teams in each division.
Grey New Jersey Mike Devils Stitched 2 College Bercovici Grey New Jersey Mike Devils Stitched 2 College Bercovici 8. The NHL Stanley Cup is here and it has ignited a rivalry from the iconic mockumentary The Office. Jim and Pam are at each others necks over hockey – well at least the actors John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer who play the characters in the show. Krasinski is a Bostonian and huge Bruins fan while Fischer is from Fort Wayne, Indiana yet is an avid fan of the St. Louis Blues. The Blues clinched their spot in the Stanley Cup Final after a Game 6 win over the San Jose Sharks, which means they’ll face the Boston Bruins in a rematch of the 1970 series where the Bruins swept their opponents on the back of Bobby Orr. According to USA Today, NBC Boston’s Twitter even caught word of the two actors exchanging tweets at one another over the upcoming series. The NHL playoffs have been exciting and by engaging A-list celebrities, the sport may gain a few new fans this Stanley Cup.
9. The lack of Tiger Woods dominating at the PGA Championship hurts TV ratings. Even though Brooks Koepka has been sensational, all that the mass media seems to want is the man who has overcome numerous odds to put himself back at the top among other big names. According to Forbes, Tiger Woods sealed the first-place finish at the Augusta National last month with his career earnings now sitting over $1.5 billion thanks to 15 major championships and 5 Masters wins. The problem is that Koepka doesn’t command the superstar personality that drove in the best ratings for any morning golf telecast in 34 years after Tiger won Augusta. Koepka doesn’t soak in the limelight quite like Woods; something other leagues like the MLB has seen with their superstar Mike Trout. For now, Koepka has taken home another crown at the PGA Championship while the ratings for the event were among the lowest in the past 25 years; even second round playoff basketball performed better than the game on the green.
10. The Blues win the West to create a rematch 49 years in the making for the NHL. The St. Louis Blues are marching into the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in decades and have revived expectations for the team in the midwest. The Blues were one of the
bottom teams in the NHL as of January 3 and now they are in the Stanley Cup Finals. According to The Star, the turnaround came after Craig Berube replaced Mike Yeo as coach in November and Binnington took over as the starting goaltender in January. St. Louis has went 0-12 in its three previous Stanley Cup appearances. The last time these two teams met in the Stanley Cup, the Blues dropped the series 0-4 with an enshired goal from a flying Bobby Orr that is still one of the greatest hockey pictures of all time. The Bruins are the likely favorite to win the cup after having come in second overall in the regular season. The St. Louis Blues are the oldest active team to never have a Stanley Cup win and in a year where the improbable has happened for a last place team entering 2019, a win against the Bruins could seal one of the greatest turnarounds of all time.
11. UEFA aims to change perceptions of women’s soccer with new marketing and recruitment strategies. The ‘Time for Action’ strategy will invest in programmes from grassroots to professional level and will take an aim to change the perception of women’s soccer across the globe. UEFA also hopes to double the reach and value of the Women’s Champions League and Women’s European Championship, as well as double the number of females on all UEFA bodies by 2024 to 2.5 million. According to Sports Pro, UEFA has been making concerted efforts to improve the women’s game in recent years, including boosting its funding for the women’s soccer development program by 50 percent as of 2020. With the Women’s World Cup set to kick off on June 7, it is a perfect time to announce a long overdue interest in the women’s side of soccer.Stitched Watson Jersey Player Fashion Tigers Deshaun College Purple 4
12. NBA Playoffs help to display big tech and provide a glimpse into the future of sports in Seattle. Seattle is getting an NHL franchise and a high-tech arena in 2021. According to GeekWire, tech executives from companies based in the Pacific Northwest have been attending private VIP events for potential season ticket holders. Meanwhile, during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at Oracle Arena, Google displayed its voice assistant to help “turn down the lights,” play music, and provide stats for the Golden State Warriors. After the game, all 19,596 fans walked away with a free Google Home Mini device. At $1 million, it was hailed as “the largest and most valuable giveaway of a Google product at a live sporting event in history.” Silicon Valley plays a big role in the Warriors’ success as players like Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Jonas Jerebko all noted the region’s forward thinking as a partial reason they chose to play with the team; they all have investments in a range of tech ventures. Looking at the success of the Warriors, the new NHL team in Seattle would provide an opportunity for the region’s tech companies, like Amazon and Microsoft, to further plunge into sports.
13. Women’s World Cup tickets have have a major hiccup. According to The Washington Post, many fans who purchased seats were unaware of the fact that their seats were grouped in different rows. Upset fans rushed FIFA’s website to double-check their seats and observers criticized how world soccer’s governing body treats the women’s side of the sport. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fans who purchased multiple World Cup tickets will not be able to sit with the other members of their groups, and it’s not clear if
FIFA knows how many ticket orders are affected. To try and cover up the blunder, a tweet from the Women’s World Cup account on Monday said that “a message indicating not all seats would be located next to each other did appear” before fans purchased tickets online. For any families with young children, the organizations said it would attempt to help families sit together. Although FIFA says that the situation only affects 1% of fans, international soccer aficionados may have to brace for a slight disruption to their World Cup plans.
14. The NFL draft is headed to Cleveland in 2021 and Kansas City in 2023. In conjunction with the relocation of the Oakland Raiders and opening of their new stadium, the 2020 draft was awarded to Las Vega. Now, the Browns will be celebrating their 75th anniversary with the draft events taking place around FirstEnergy Stadium in 2021. According to ESPN, the Kansas City Chiefs plan to host the draft near Union Station and the National World War I Museum and Memorial for their draft in 2023. Since last holding the draft in the traditional New York location in 2014, the NFL has taken the event on the road to five different cities. The league still has not moved on bids for the 2022 draft, saying about 20 cities are interested in hosting that year. This year’s draft in Nashville, Tennessee had more than 600,000 people attend over the three days which marks a dramatic increase from 250,000 in Arlington the year prior.
15. NASCAR acquires ISC for $2B with a dozen more tracks. NASCAR announced the $2 billion purchase of International Speedway Corp. which will give it control of key racetracks and set itself up for sweeping changes that could save America’s popular racing series which has been in decline for several years. This deal should close by year’s end. ISC is one of two major facilities companies that host NASCAR races, along with Speedway Motorsports Inc. According to AP News, NASCAR gaining control of a dozen tracks would seemingly make it easier for the racing league to alter its schedule, including the possibility of hosting fewer events in order to maximize its profit. The parent company of Speedway Motorsports made an offer last month to acquire all its outstanding common stock, which would privatize SMI and make it better positioned for an anticipated NASCAR overhaul. Many big sponsors have left NASCAR in recent years — Cup Series title sponsor Monster Energy is in the final year of its deal — and television ratings hit all-time lows at 26 events last season. Because NASCAR is a private company it won’t have to publicly report attendance revenue and other financials allowing the company more leeway in their attempt to rebuild the iconic racing series.
Tech Top Five
1. OTT platform FuboTV and FanDuel form a sports wagering partnership in New Jersey. According to Deadline, the deal makes FanDuel the exclusive sportsbook, online casino, exclusive advertiser, and horse racing and daily fantasy sports partner of the live TV streaming service. It will also expand FuboTV’s sports offering for consumers when FanDuel’s betting data is integrated on the Fubo platform. Initially, odds and other gambling information will only be added to the mix in New Jersey, though general sports data will be integrated more broadly afterward. Additionally the TVG and TVG2 horse racing networks affiliated with FanDuel will be available to Fubo subscribers nationwide, joining the 90-plus channels in the $55-a-month base package. TVG2 will be on the Sports Plus tier, which brings more than 20 additional channels for an extra $9 a month. This is huge as it is the first real push for a OTT sports platform to incorporate sports wagering into its properties and could open the floodgates for others to follow suit.
Grey New Jersey Mike Devils Stitched 2 College Bercovici 2. UC Irvine esports will star on an ESPN 2 series. UCI’s esports organization is the focus of a four-part documentary series called Good Game: UC Irvine. The mini series follows UCI’s varsity computer gaming team in the lead-up to their national title defense in the 2019 League of Legends College Championship. According to UCI News, the team competed in the Riot Games LCS Battle Arena in west Los Angeles May 23-26. The footage is honest: film crews accompanied UCI Anteater video gamers studying, practicing and working with team member support staff, and they even followed players into their dorms and families’ homes. The 2018-2019 collegiate championship featured more than 350 university teams competing for a million dollars in scholarship money from LoL developer Riot Games. By documenting esports on television it helps to introduce different demographics to competitive gaming.College Ducks Thomas Jersey Black 24 Tyner Combat Stitched
3. The NHL will air virtual reality highlights of the Stanley Cup. The National Hockey League has partnered with NextVR to offer fans free, on-demand virtual reality game highlights of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues. According to Sports Pro, fans will be able to access highlights by using the NextVR app through a dedicated Stanley Cup Final channel. Already, NextVR has partnered with the NHL to bring VR highlights of the NHL All-Star Game and Stanley Cup playoffs this year. Now, NextVR will comes to the Stanley Cup with the added bonus of the ‘Goalie Experience’ which will puts fans in the skates of goalkeepers on the ice, allowing them to see and experience through the eyes of NHL stars during a game. By offering more ways to experience a NHL game, the league will be able to attract a more diverse array of fans – especially younger demographics who tend prefer shorter, engaging videos.
4. Jack in the Box meets esports via players on the Dallas Fuel. According to The Drum, Big-headed Jack is now an animated character in a web series in support of the esports team Dallas Fuel. To bring the organization and team closer to its players, a six-part animated web series called ‘Fuel-House’ places the esports in a 90s sitcom-style world, introducing the characters as they deal with living in the same house with Jack. Each episode features specific themes related to the Dallas Fuel team, gaming and pop culture, aimed to relate to fans. New episodes drop each Sunday on multiple digital and social platforms like Gamespot, Reddit and Xbox. The web series was timed to coincide with the first Overwatch League stage held outside of its traditional home in Burbank, California where Jack in the Box brought Fuel House to the event with an interactive experience for fans. Jack in the Box is trying to leverage itself as a forward-thinking sponsor who is looking to make a name for itself in the rapidly growing marketing sector of esports.
Grey New Jersey Mike Devils Stitched 2 College Bercovici 5. Air Jordan drops its latest look in the videogame ‘Fortnite.’ In the past Fortnite has teamed up to collaborate with with Avengers: Endgame and John Wick. Now, ahead of the NBA Finals, basketball will take center court on the game that stormed the world nearly two years ago. According to Engadget, Nike will promote the Jordan brand via in-game items, centering on the classic Air Jordan 1. Unlike the recent movie-themed collaborations, Fortnite x Jordan won’t focus on the game’s main fight-to-the-death mechanics. Instead, Epic Games has launched a new Creative “Downtown Drop” world which requires players to “launch off massive jumps, grind down city streets and collect coins to win.” Even though the Toronto Raptors won the Eastern Conference Finals, the Jordan brand will be the winner of the NBA in one of the world’s most popular video games.
POS Top Five
1. One of the most charitable figures in the NFL is retiring. According to ESPN, Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive end Chris Long is calling it quits as the reigning Walter Payton Man of the Year after 11 years on the field. Long was a part of two Super Bowl championship teams in back-to-back seasons – with the New England Patriots in 2016 and then the Eagles in 2017. The son of NFL legend Howie Long will be defined by the way he used his NFL platform to maximize his humanitarian efforts. Through his organization, Waterboys, he has helped provide more than 200,000 people with clean water in Africa, building close to 60 water wells in Tanzania. Additionally, Long donated his entire 2017 salary to educational efforts in Virginia and a quarter of his 2018 salary to help get books into the hands of kids in underserved neighborhoods. With Long announcing his retirement over social media, he can now focus his efforts on charity alongside his wife to continue their community and global impact.
Grey New Jersey Mike Devils Stitched 2 College Bercovici 2. Charles Barkley pledges $45,000 for East Africa Clean Water Charity. According to Sports Illustrated, the NBA legend gave an assist to the Milwaukee Bucks’ Malcolm Brogdon during an appearance on TNT’s Inside the NBA as he pledged to donate $45,000 to the guard’s clean water initiative. Off the court, Brogdon created Hoops2o in 2018, a program dedicated to providing clean water to East Africa. Brogdon’s non-profit was actually founded by Chris Long and its efforts focus on building wells for clean water in East Africa and Tanzania. Brogdon personally travels overseas each summer to help out and has four other NBA players across the league who are helping him raise money for his initiative. The star power in the Raptors and Bucks series helped to highlight philanthropic initiatives such as Hoops2o which adds a new level of depth to the NBA Playoffs.
3. The Somerset Patriots baseball team are selling t-shirts for charity to highlight a viral catch from their broadcaster. Broadcaster Marc Schwartz’s narrated his own catch of a foul ball hit into his booth captured on film by Patriots beat writer Mike Ashmore of and it has since gone viral with millions of views around the world. The video has appeared on multiple MLB broadcasts, ESPN, CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC, Sports Illustrated, local network affiliates, and even Jimmy Kimmel Live and now a shirt has been made to honor the call. According to My Central Jersey, the front of the shirt quotes Schwartz and says “Boy am I impressive” with a cartoon version of Schwartz while the back says “I am very proud of myself” with the Somerset Patriots logo. These “Impressive” T-Shirts are $30 with $5 of every shirt going to the Somerset Patriots Children’s Foundation. The charitable work of the team’s foundation has raised over $5.5 million since the team began play in the Atlantic League in 1998. Marc Schwartz catapulted himself from small ball fame to MLB stardom while helping to raise money for educational, military, and health programs across New Jersey.
4. CC Sabathia’s charity softball game brings together stars in New York. Aaron Judge, Michael Strahan and other notables like Didi Gregorius, Tino Martinez, Action Bronson, Tiki Barber, Johnny Damon, and Aroldis Chapman joined in for CC Sabathia’s second annual charity softball game hosted in the Bronx. According to Feeling the Vibe, team Michael Strahan took on Team CC Sabathia and came out victors by a score of 8-2 with all proceeds being sent to the PitCChIn Foundation led by CC and his wife Amber and the New York Yankees Foundation. The Sabathia’s charity runs multiple initiatives that span baseball clinics, delivering backpacks to kids in need and renovating baseball fields. On the other hand, the Yankees Foundation has done everything from helping a teacher in need of supplies, to refurbishing a neighborhood sports facility, giving $500,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief, or providing assistance in Haiti and Japan. CC Sabathia is a veteran presence on a now young and injured Yankees roster and his leadership is felt both during and outside of game time.
Grey New Jersey Mike Devils Stitched 2 College Bercovici 5. Nike is launching an official guide to sustainability for brands. Nike recently partnered with Central Saint Martins to create a manual for designers that lays out the principles for materials that can be indefinitely recycled called circular design. The company has also has researched case studies from companies that have done groundbreaking work on these fronts including Patagonia, Outerknown, For Days, and Eileen Fisher. According to Fast Company, Nike’s guide is deliberately formatted as a kind of textbook. It lays out 10 principles that take you through the life of a product, including elements like picking low-impact materials, designing with recyclability in mind, minimizing waste in manufacturing, prolonging the lifetime of a product through repair and durable construction, and using more thoughtful packaging. Nike is dropping this guide during the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, an annual gathering organized by the sustainability-minded Global Fashion Agenda. Although none of these steps are revolutionary to eco-friendly practices on their own, this outlines a plan for fit a comprehensive eco-friendly system which could potentially change the norm of the fashion and sports industries.