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Top Selling MLB Gear 2017 Spring Training

• Ben Zobrist MVP Chicago Cubs
• Kris Bryant Chicago Cubs
• Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs
• Chris Sale Boston Red Sox
• Francisco Lindor Cleveland Indians
• Javier Baez Chicago Cubs
• Jake Arrieta Chicago Cubs
• Corey Seager Los Angeles Dodgers
• Ernie Banks Throwback Chicago Cubs
• David Ortiz Boston Red Sox
• Cleveland Indians
• Chicago Cubs
• New York Yankees
• Boston Red Sox
• L.A. Dodgers
• San Francisco Giants
• Chicago White Sox
• Detroit Tigers
• Kansas City Royals
• Atlanta Braves


Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2017 Finalists
• Hugh Evans
• Tim Hardaway
• Robert Hughes
ª Rebecca Lobo
• Rollie Massimino
• Tracy McGrady
• Muffet McGraw
• Kim Mulkey
• Sidney Moncrief
• Bo Ryan
• Bill Self
• Rudy Tomjanovich
• Chris Webber
• Wayland Baptist University
Source: Hall of Fame


$10.00: Asking price for Mtn. Dew March Madness Inflatable Basketball Chair, on eBay
$19.49: Asking price for Duke University March Madness Unopened 12 oz. Bottle of Beer, on eBay
$64.99: Asking price official Wilson March Madness Final Four Basketball, on eBay
$69.99: Asking price for George Mason University March Madness Patriot Mascot Bobblehead, on eBay
$279.99 Asking price for March Madness '17 Semi-Finals Ticket Phoenix April 1, on eBay

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NHL COORS LIGHT STADIUM SERIES Feb. 25 Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins Heinz Field NBC 8 PM (ET)

DAYTONA 500 Feb. 26 Daytona International Speedway, FL Fox 2 PM (ET)

ACADEMY AWARDS Feb. 26 Dolby Theater, Los Angeles ABC 8 PM (ET)

NFL SCOUTING COMBINE Feb. 28-March 6 Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis NFL Network, ESPN

MLS 2017 Opening Weekend March 3-5



WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC March 6-22 MLB Network, ESPN Deportes

NCAA MARCH MADNESS Selection Sunday CBS March 1

NCAA MARCH MADNESS Men First Four March 14-15 truTV

NCAA MARCH MADNESS Men First-Second Rounds March 16-19 CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV,

NCAA MARCH MADNESS Men Sweet 16 March 23-24 CBS, TBS

NCAA MARCH MADNESS Men Elite Eight March 25-26 CBS, TBS

NCAA MARCH MADNESS Men's Final Four April 1-April 3 CBS

WRESTLEMANIA 33 April 2 Camping World Stadium, Orlando





Coaches Make ACS Call
NCAA Plans '18 Final 4
Final Four '22 In NOLA
Cancer Drives Home
Nissan House Open

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

Save Lives, Celebrate Lives: Grand Sports Marketer Of The Year '16 — American Cancer Society

With platforms that include Coaches vs. Cancer, Suits & Sneakers, Three-Point Challenge, A House United To Tackle Pediatric Cancer and the multi-media marketing effort, 'Come And Play For Us,' the American Cancer Society has been named the Grand Sports Marketer of the Year 2016 based on thousands of votes from the readers of NYSportJournalism and input from sports and business marketing analysts and writers nationwide; an honor that also puts a spotlight on the work being done by ACS executives, staff and volunteers; doctors, nurses, researchers, technicians and others seeking a cure for cancer; programs being conducted in cooperation with such groups as IMG College, the National Association of Basketball Coaches and Princess Lacey's Legacy; and the countless number of courageous people who have defeated cancer or are fighting to beat the disease, with help from the families and friends who build their support system. SEE THE FULL STORY HERE

Q&A: ACS Game Plan To Beat Cancer More Than X's & O's

The American Cancer Society was named as the Grand Marketer of the Year through a vote by the readers of NYSportsJournalism, based on activations with many impactful partners that raised money and drove awareness for one goal: to find a cure for cancer. In this Q&A, Sharon Byers, chief development and marketing officer for ACS (and former veteran marketing executive for Coca-Cola), and David Doan, ACS's vp-sports alliances, share the advantages of being able to work with such organizations as the National Association of Basketball Coaches, IMG College and Princess Lacey's Legacy; activating during such high-profile events as the NCAA College Football Playoffs, March Madness and the Final Four; and having hundreds of college and high school coaches be part of Coaches vs. Cancer; but also the challenges of having the mechanics and logistics in place to run the 24/7 year-round fund-raising efforts needed to support the work of countless thousands of people seeking to put an end the disease.

Ageless Actor Rob Lowe Returns To Skechers' Marketing

In 2001, Rob Lowe was appearing on TV's The West Wing, was filming Austin Powers in Goldmember (as Middle Number Two), starred alongside Teri Hatch in the TV movie Jane Doe and appeared in print ads for Skechers with fellow actors and Brat Packers Robert Downey Jr. and Matt Dillon, and now the 52-year-old actor returns to Skechers for a multi-media campaign to support the brand's lifestyle footwear, with creative to break this spring. 'We know he'll be a great face for our men's footwear collections,' said Sketchers' president Michael Greenberg. 'It's like he hasn't aged a day since his initial Skechers' campaign.' MORE

'Magic' Johnson's Reappearance With NBA's Lakers No Sleight Of Hand

Hall of Famer, five-time NBA champion and three-time NBA Finals MVP Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, who played his entire pro career with the Los Angeles Lakers and has also been their coach, vice-president and a minority owner, is returning to the franchise after team president Jeanie Buss named him president of basketball operations, the center of a shakeup among team hierarchy that also sees long-time GM Mitch Kupchak relieved of his role and Jim Buss, brother of Jeanie, reassigned from his duties as vp-basketball operations (although remaining as a team owner along with Jeanie and other siblings), the result of the Lakers posting a combined record of 84-220 since 2013-14 (through the All-Star Game break this season), with both Jeanie Buss and Johnson vowing to return the franchise to 'the values and standards of the purple-and-gold' set by Buss' father and long-time franchise owner, Dr. Jerry Buss (who passed away in 2013). MORE

Motorsports Sponsor Spend Slow But Seen Revving To $6B

With the 2017 Nascar season about to start, the Daytona 500 just days away and Formula 1 putting pedal to the metal in just a month, marketers, sponsors, teams, drivers and fans are gearing up for activation, with an anticipated $5.75B expected to be spent in the category worldwide, but even with big partners and big numbers the sport has hit a wall in sponsorship, according to a new report from research and consulting firm IEG, which relates that the predicted 2017 growth in spend of 3.1% over 2016 lags behind the 4.5% growth in global sponsorship spending as motorsports faces 'concerns over the shifting global political and economic climate.' MORE

Pepsi Makes Much Ado About Uncle Drew At NBA ASG

When historians look back at our era, they might not remember Kyrie Irving as an All-Star player for the NBA defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, but if Pepsi has anything to say about it they will remember Irving's alter ego, Uncle Drew, the character who has become a caretaker of hoops history and who invites into his local pizza parlor such friends as Bill Russell, Baron Davis, Kevin Love, Ray Allen and Maya Moore to talk about the game and its players, which Irving-as-Uncle-Drew will be doing in New Orleans during All-Star Game weekend to support Pepsi, new marketing, the release of Uncle Drew clothing and accessories, and also to talk about an Uncle Drew movie that is in the works. MORE

Report: eSports Revenue To Accelerate To $1.5B By 2020

Envisioning it as the next battleground for brands, marketers, media and players, the global eSports landscape will continue to grow in 2017 and accelerate thru 2020, reaching revenues of $1.5B, according to a new study from research and consulting firm NewZoo, which anticipates that the number of players will top 58M, the audience will hit 358M and the global eSports economy will near $700M this year; and forecasts the category could impact nearly 2B people over the next four years, driven by increased viewership on TV, the addition of more pro sports leagues such as the NBA and FIFA; and more investments and activation from non-endemic companies, a list that already includes the likes of Coca-Cola, Bud Light, Buffalo Wild Wings, Taco Bell, Ford, Hyundai, Gillette, Axe and sportswear and shoe companies Nike, adidas and Under Armour, 'which will battle it out for eSports team jerseys and footwear deals.' MORE

Special Olympics Says 'Let's Go' To '17 Winter Games

When the Special Olympics World Winter Games begin in Austria in March, there will be 2,700 athletes from more than 100 countries competing in nine events, with Team USA sending some 150 athletes and 40 coaches, and to help pay for travel, hotels, food and other expenses the organization has aligned with GoFundMe to raise money, supported by a multi-media effort, 'Let's Go,' which shows some of the athletes in action and includes participation from such current and former Olympians as Simone Biles, Apolo Ohno, Hannah Teter, Aly Raisman and Julie Mancuso. 'GoFundMe's mission is to empower people to help people, and Special Olympics has been helping to empower people with intellectual disabilities for almost 50 years.' MORE

Main Event: WWE, Stars Go Big In Digital, Social Media

A week after unveiling record-setting numbers in revenue, TV, live event and merchandise for 2016, WWE has shared another set of figures that show a boost in digital and social media engagements for the company and many of its top performers, including more than 15.1B video views and more than 750M social media followers on platforms worldwide, with top individual showings from Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson (11M followers on Twitter, 56.7M likes on Facebook), John Cena (9M Twitter, 43.3M Facebook), The Bella Twins (combined for 17M+ followers on Twitter and Facebook), Roman Reigns (16.8M Facebook) and Triple H (12.2M Facebook); 12B YouTube video views; and growth on Instagram and Snapchat, all of which has WWE anxiously awaiting more record-setting numbers from WrestleMania 33 this April. MORE

Gee Whiz: Gatorade Takes Title Role For NBA D-League

Beginning next season, in what was called an unprecedented alliance, Gatorade will take title sponsorship of the NBA's Developmental League, which will be known as the NBA Gatorade League, to include uniform logos, signage and other marketing platforms, with the partnership to focus on players testing new Gatorade 'products and innovations' and Gatorade using its Sports Science Institute to 'collaborate with the G-League on programs to enhance sports performance and recovery,' much of which will be shared with the public and NBA marketing partners during All-Star Game weekend. MORE

Video Game Industry Hit Record $24.5B Sales In '16

With titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Grand Theft Auto V, Star Wars Battlefront, FIFA 17, Madden NFL 17 and Pokémon Sun/Pokémon Moon, the video game industry continues to entertain a growing number of players and fans, a power also reflected in revenue and sales, which in the U.S. last year hit record numbers, according to a new report from the Entertainment Software Assn. (the trade group that represents the video game industry in the U.S.), with revenue reaching $30.4B (up from $23.5B in 2015) and sales registering $24.5B (up from $16.5B in 2015), not only owing to hot new titles but also to the increasing interested and participation in eSports, where such platforms as Call of Duty World League and League of Legends are among those leading the charge. MORE

Danica Gets Green Flag For '17 With New Lead Sponsor

With the Daytona 500 fast approaching, Danica Patrick received a special gift on Valentine's Day with the news that Aspen Dental, already one of her partners since 2014, would expand its role with Stewart-Haas Racing and Patrick to become the lead sponsor for her No. 10 car for upward of 20 races during the upcoming Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series season, filling a void created when Nature's Bakery decided to step away from that role two years early. 'We've worked together on some impactful programs (and) I'm looking forward to delivering the company's message at even more races this year,' said Patrick. MORE

Sports Marketers Of The Year 2016: From Surreal To Sir Real To The Real Deal

According to the people at Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word of the year for 2016 was 'surreal,' defined as 'having the disorienting quality of a dream, unreal, fantastic.' That might also be the way to define the ten Sports Marketers of the Year as selected by the editors and staff of NYSportsJournalism: 2024 L.A. Bid Committee, the American Cancer Society, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Rams, NBCU/NBC Sports Group Rio Olympics, NFL 'My Cleats My Cause' (including Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan, pictured), NHL World Cup of Hockey, Sager Strong, Topgolf and Topps, each of which distinguished themselves in sports-related and sports marketing efforts that not only had people motivated by their drive and dedication but also enabled each to separate themselves from the plethora of events, causes and competitions that happened last year. Each already a winner, the ten Sports Marketers of the Year will now seek the title of Grand Sports Marketer of the Year, to be determined in a vote by the public-at-large. MORE

Ad Spotlight: Marvel 10 Smartest Heroes, Red Bull Pranks Kris Bryant, Questions For The Rock, Shaqtin' A Fool '17


Despite Challenges, NFL Sponsor Spend A Record $1.25B

Although TV ratings may have been down, issues of health and player safety at the forefront and franchise relocation a focal point, sponsors and marketing partners still saw a bevy of reasons to put their money into the NFL to the tune of $1.25B this past season — up 4.3% over 2015 but behind the 4.7% increase in overall sports spending, according to research firm IEG — led by the beer and auto categories and driven by activity from insurance and QSR, with the Super Bowl LI champion New England Patriots among nine teams that recorded sponsorship deals above the league average. MORE

Super Bowl LI Numbers Big For NFL, Fox, Marketers

They may be crunching numbers for some time in Atlanta to figure out how the Falcons went from a 28-3 lead to a 34-28 OT loss to the New England Patriots, but the NFL, Fox and such marketers as Budweiser, Mr. Clean and Pepsi have already reaped the rewards of Super Bowl LI statistics, with the viewing audience just short of 112M putting it in the Top Five all-time, the Pepsi Halftime Show reaching 117.5M and nabbing an estimated $32M in on-air brand value, ads generating more than $509M for Fox, Bud's 'Born the Hard Way' racking up 10M-plus YouTube views (and counting), Netflix (Stranger Things) and Disney (Pirates of the Caribbean) scoring tons of eyeballs for their respective movie trailers and Alfa Romeo USA driving $12M in brand exposure by sponsoring the NFL on Fox Halftime Report. MORE

The Real Super Bowl Stats: 51M Cases Of Beer, 1B Wings

Super Bowl LI will come with a lot of X's and O's to make the game between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons unique and ultimately send one home with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, but the stats that many people really care about are those off the field: How many cases of beer will be sold on Super Bowl Sunday? (51.7 M) How many chicken wings will be eaten? (1.23B) How many lbs. of guacamolé will be consumed at parties? (8M) How many slices of pizza will Dominos sell? (12M) And how much money will visitors to Houston spend each day? ($400 on average) With many more questions surrounding the Big Game, its marketing and impact on the city and future Super Bowls answered, thanks to WalletHub and other research firms. MORE

Car Companies Get Big Mileage From Big Game Ads

When it comes to driving marketing during the Super Bowl, the car category is among the leaders putting ad spend pedal to the metal, with nine different companies pumping in some $445M last year (including pre-, post- and in-game spots) and analysts expecting another big number attached to the upcoming game from the likes of Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Ford (pictured), Audi, Lexus, Buick and Honda. But is there ROI? Global information services company Experian suggests there is, based on their new study of five Unnamed automakers from Super Bowl 50 that had a large dose of social media attached to their campaigns, with some 60% of viewers engaging online with their brands and a significant percentage of people who responded to Super Bowl messages from these companies falling into the demo of being 'highly likely to be looking to buy' a new or used vehicle. MORE

Report: Consumer Super Bowl Related Spend To Top $14B

When it comes to the Super Bowl, the numbers are big, with more than 110M people expected to watch the game, even more tuning in for the half time show with Lady Gaga and marketers parting with upward of $5M for a 30-second spot, a situation that includes consumers and fans who will spend $14.1B on Super Bowl Sunday related items, according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation, including food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, party favors, clothing, NFL apparel, travel, dining out and even new TVs — an average of $75 per person for those planning to watch the game. The NRF also has good news and bad news for game-day marketers:78% of those surveyed said they watch the commercials for entertainment and 18% said the spots make them more aware of the products being advertised, but only 10% said that the commercials motivated them to actually buy the products. MORE

Super Bowl Preview Hollywood Blockerbusters For '17

With more than 110M people expected to watch Super Bowl LI, and even more anticipated for the Pepsi Zero Sugar Halftime Show with Lady Gagy, movie studios again will spend big during the Big Game on Fox, possibly even topping the $29M spent duirng Super Bowl 50 and the category record of $35 million during Super Bowl XLIX two years ago, with a cast of star-driven spots for upcoming releases that could include Blade Runner 2049 with Harrison Ford, Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot, The Mummy reboot fronted by Tom Cruise, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson vehicles Baywatch and Fast & Furious 8, other-worldly beings-driven Alien: Covenant and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the return of Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and the next mega global event from a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars VIII. MORE

B-Dubs Intercepting Super Bowl Marketing With Brett Favre

Buffalo Wild Wings is not an official partner with the NFL or Super Bowl LI, but it is using one of the league's all-time great players, Brett Favre, to hijack the conversation and bring some guerrilla marketing to the Big Game with a multi-level campaign, 'What the Favre?!' which sees the Hall of Fame QB on a quest to uncover the 'real' reason he threw an NFL all-time record 336 interceptions during his pro career, with Favre encountering 'Men in Black' characters straight out of Fringe or The X-Files and mysterious clues that lead him to a cryptic phrase, 'Hit the Button,' one that is well-known among B-Dubs customers. MORE

Tom Brady Finds That Gifting The Rock PJs Can Be Testy

Under Armour this month unveiled Recovery Sleepwear TD12, developed in conjunction with Tom Brady, but when the New England Patriots' QB tries to send some samples to fellow UA spokesman Dwayne Johnson, he finds The Rock in a testy, sarcastic mood, as seen in a tongue-in-cheek spot in which Brady gets roasted and toasted by his buddy — who reveals some intimate details about his bedtime habits and explains why the sleepwear, designed to help the body recover from exercising and high-impact activities such as football, WWE and acting, may be wasted on him. MORE

Open Wallets: Super Bowl 'Most Expensive Ad Time By Far'

The two teams that will play in Super Bowl LI in Houston's NRG Stadium are still TBD, but the numbers that will accompany the broadcast are already promising to give Fox and marketers ROI, with more than 110M viewers expected to tune in on Feb. 5 and the total ad spend — with 30-second spots going for upward of $5M — predicted to set Big Game history, according to a new study from Kantar Media, which shows that some 130 marketers spent nearly $2.6B between 2007 and Super Bowl 50 last season, that Anheuser-Busch has been the single biggest spender and automotive the single biggest category, trends that Kantar said would continue to accelerate in the NFL title game. MORE

Behind Marketing, Fans, NFL Keeps Building U.K. Presence

Apparently loving its bangers & mash, fish & chips and growing fan and marketing support, the NFL has named the eight teams that will play in a one-season record four regular season games in London in 2017 — Baltimore vs. Jacksonville, New Orleans vs. Miami, Minnesota vs. Cleveland and Arizona vs. Los Angeles — with two games each in Wembley and Twickenham Stadiums, encouraged by numbers that, per the NFL, include more than 13M fans, a local TV audience that has 'more than doubled' since the first U.K. game in 2007 and a roster of marketing partners such as Anheuser-Busch, Hyundai, Pepsi Max, Microsoft, Marriott, Visa, Bose, Papa John's and Virgin Atlantic. MORE

NFL Players Get A Foothold On 'My Cause, My Cleats'

Like most pro sports leagues, the NFL has strict rules on player uniforms, cleats and on-field attire, but this week is bending its rules for several good reasons to support and promote 'My Cause, My Cleats,' which will see 500 players wear shoes they each designed with league partners Nike, adidas and Under Armour to raise awareness for such issues as birth defects, cancer, diabetes, lack of clean water, bullying, pet adoption and funding for more education, with the cleats garnering national attention beginning with the Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings game on Thursday Night Football (NBC, NFL Network) and running through the Monday Night Football game on ESPN when the Indianapolis Colts play the New York Jets. MORE

Hot Property: Dez, Brady, Rodgers Top NFL Salesmen

Throughout his footbal career, Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys has shown that he knows how to catch footballs and score touchdowns, which has translated into his becoming the No. 1 mover of merchandise in the NFL, according to the NFL Players' Assn. and its licensing arm, NFL Players Inc., which showed that in Q2 (June 1-Aug. 31, before the season began and before he injured his knee in Week 3) some 81K officially licensed Bryant items were sold, putting him atop a list that includes a Top 10 of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Odell Beckham Jr., Tony Romo, Rob Gronkowski, Cam Newton, JJ Watt and Jason Witten. MORE

Philly Eyes $80M Economic Impact From '17 NFL Draft

The NFL Draft, a long-time staple in New York before relocating to Chicago in 2015, is on the move again, returning to Philadelphia — which hosted the initial Draft in 1936 and last feted the event in 1961 — for 2017 as part of the NFL's strategy to enhance and financially enrich the platform, with local planners envisioning more than 200K visitors and eying an $80M economic impact on the city via what could be a week-long party in late April that is scheduled to include many league and city marketing partners and sponsors and cover an area that features such landmarks as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum and the Cathedral Basilica. MORE


SB LV Could Raise Naming Rights In L.A. To $1B

Pats, Under Fire, Have 'Most Loyal' NFL Fans

NFL Joins With Disney To Bring Magic To Pro Bowl '17

Led By NFL, MLB, Licensed Sports Merch Nears $48B

Houston Eyes $200M Economic Impact From Big Game



Cubs' Bryant Gets Top Spot In Topps '17 Baseball

As if he needed another reason to show that he was No. 1, Kris Bryant has been voted by fans, consumers and collectors to appear on the prestigious card No. 1 in the upcoming Topps Baseball Series 1, with the World Series and NL MVP, who helped to lead the Chicago Cubs to their first MLB championship in 108 years — and who also has an exclusive deal with Topps — coming in ahead of such players as Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw and Yadier Molina to earn a place of honor that has previously been held by the likes of Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Nolan Ryan and Derek Jeter. MORE

Under Armour Plays The Field With Ten-Year MLB Alliance

Calling it a 'watershed moment' in the company's history, Under Armour has signed a ten-year deal to become the official uniform provider for MLB beginning with the 2020 season, replacing the league's long-time partner Majestic in that role, in an alliance that also includes on-line retailer Fanatics, which all three parties claim would bring innovation, tech-savviness and a new business model designed to 'engage and excite MLB's incredibly diverse fan base' in the U.S. and around the world. MORE

Sign Of The Times: Jeter Returns To Topps Roster

The 2016 MLB season may be over, but the hits keep coming for Topps thanks to the Chicago Cubs, Big Papi and Derek Jeter, the former captain for the New York Yankees and five-time World Series champ, who has signed a multi-year deal to autograph cards for the company — a return to the brand he last worked for about ten years ago — which enhances what has been a prime time for Topps, led by sales of more than 500K cards in its first-year NOW platform, in which cards are instantly produced to reflect such key events as the Cubs winning the World Series (9k sets sold), highlights of David 'Big Papi' Ortiz's farewell season, Ichiro Suzuki's 3,000th MLB career base hit (more than 11.5k cards sold in one day) and 42-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon hitting his first career HR (8k+ cards sold). MORE

Retired Ortiz So Busy Peyton Looks Like Marketing Slacker

David Ortiz may have retired from baseball following the 2016 season, but he certainly has not slowed down when it comes to marketing and activation, with the ex-Boston Red Sox star over the past month having appeared in new spots for MLBAM's StatCast (along with Joe Torre) and Big Papi's Kitchen; attended events for Big Papi's Cigars and Big Hapi beer from Sam Adams; been seen on Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Last Walkout on ESPN's 30 for 30 and the World Series; and promoted through various efforts the work of UNICEF and his own Children's Foundation, with a slate of marketing and appearances still to come, all of which make the retired Peyton Manning — who is omni-present on TV for Papa John's, Nationwide and DirecTV — seem as if he's goofing off. MORE

Cubs World Series Marketing A Century In The Making

After a drought of 108 years, the marketing floodgates opened immediately following the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, with such brands as Nike, Anheuser-Busch, ESPN, Under Armour, adidas, American Airlines, Chevrolet, Topps, Red Bull and MLB itself hitting the ground running with activation that included TV, Internet, social media and championship hats, T-shirts and other gear that featured Cubs players Kris Bryant, Series MVP Ben Zobrist, Jake Arrieta and even Harry Caray, the team's legendary long-time broadcaster who passed away in 1998 but making an appearance to 'call' Game 7 for Budweiser. MORE

'Big Papi', Harper, Posey Seek Fan Vote For Topps Card

Last year, iconic trading card company Topps asked people to vote for the player they believed should appear on the prestigious No. 1 card in its MLB Series — a spot that has been held by the likes of Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan, Derek Jeter and 2016 winner, Mike Trout — and now the voting is open for the No. 1 card in the 2017 Baseball Series One, with candidates including David 'Big Papi' Ortiz, Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Kris Bryant, Clayton Kershaw, Gary Sanchez, Manny Machado, Mookie Betts and Trout, who is seeking a rare back-to-back top-card victory. MORE

Q&A: Ripken Talks Playoffs, Vin Scully, The Streak

Cal Ripken Jr. knows more than a lot when it comes to playing baseball at a high level, a streak of historic proportions and farewell tours, which puts him in rarified company with another Baseball Hall of Famer, Vin Scully. As Ripken prepares to cover the MLB AL playoffs for TBS, he opens up in a Q&A about Scully, the mental and physical challenges of maintaining a playing streak for more than 15 years (Scully has been at it for 67 years!), baseball in the Olympics, Big Papi's farewell tour and why pitchers did not want to throw at him.

Q&A: MiLB Marketing A Hit With Balls, Bulls, Business

If you are looking for diamonds buried in the infield of a baseball stadium or diamonds in the rough that could become gems, Minor League Baseball has that and more, with a roster of 160 clubs — including such iconic teams as the Toledo Mud Hens, Las Vegas 51s, Columbus Clippers and Durham Bulls — some 43M people through the turnstiles, 107M fans, national deals including Esurance and John Deere and rising retail sales of merchandise. But as David Wright, former veteran executive with MLS and now Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer for MiLB reveals in this Q&A, Minor League Baseball is reinventing itself to attract national marketers and make the game-day environment even more inclusive to an audience that is 'tech-savvy, active and family-based' without losing its traditional down-home ambiance, out-of-the-box promotional creativity — think Asparagus Night, CATurday and Diamond Digs — while remaining a development platform for future MLB stars, all of which sets the 115-year-old MiLB apart from other sports leagues.

MLB Starts Countdown, Sales Pitch To '17 All-Star Game

With the dust from the 2016 All-Star Game having just settled, and Home Run Derby balls hit by Giancarlo Stanton still rattling around PetCo Park, MLB has started the march to the 2017 All-Star Game and festivities in Miami Marlins Park, unveiling the official logo and accompanying promo video for such events as the SiriusXM Futures Game, T-Mobile Home Run Derby — where Marlins outfielder Stanton could defend his title while serving as one of the hosts for the week of events — the FanFest in the Miami Beach Convention Center and the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, with the Marlins using the jewel activities to sell season tickets for this year and beyond. MORE

Big Papi Gets Big Thanks From Pedro, Peers

IOC Puts Baseball Back In 2020 Tokyo Games



Barkley Picks His Next 'Fight': Hoops Icon 'Magic Johnson

Following his war of words with LeBron James, NBA on TNT's Inside the NBA hoops analyst Charles Barkley is squaring off against another basketball icon, Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, as part of a March Madness-related campaign from Kellogg's that gets personal when Cheez-It Team Barkley faces off against Pringles Team Magic to drive awareness for the Celebrity Crunch Classic, to be played during Final Four weekend in Phoenix, where Barkley and Magic will be the head coaches for two rosters filled with celebrities, being held in conjunction with the National Association of Basketball Coaches. MORE

Atlanta Launches Year-Long Push For CFB '18 Title Game

The city of Atlanta is living up to its nickname of 'Hot-Lanta' these day, with the Falcons in Super Bowl LI and next season moving into the new $1.5B Mercedes-Benz Stadium (which will host Super Bowl LIII in 2019), the Hawks making a push for the NBA playoffs, United FC preparing for its first MLS campaign, the Braves ready to open the 2017 MLB season in their new SunTrust Park stadium and local sports movers and shakers unveiling marketing under the banner 'I'm In' for the '18 College Football National Championship, to be played next January in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, including Internet, social media and a heavy dose of outdoor, anchored by a bevy of billboards that will focus on luminaries and 'behind-the-scenes employees' who helped to bring the game to Atlanta. MORE

ACS Plays Point For Coaches Vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers

If something seems a bit different during college basketball games this week, that's because some 4,000 men's and women's head coaches and their staffs on teams and in conferences nationwide are participating in Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers Awareness Week (Jan. 23-29), an annual event under the auspices of the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which seeks to raise awareness and drive donations for the fight against cancer, supported by a multi-media campaign, one element of which is teaming with Shoe Carnival to back Princess Lacey's Legacy, named after Lacey Holsworth, a dedicated fan of the Michigan State Spartans basketball teams who passed away from cancer in 2014 at the age of eight. 'Often we think there is nothing we can do — but there is,' said Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo. MORE

Kristen Bell Drives Enterprise To NHL, March Madness

Enterprise Rent-A-Car wants people to know that it does more than rent cars and is using its long-term sports alliances and new-found Hollywood and entertainment deals to get the word out, the latest a campaign with actress Kristen Bell (Frozen, Bad Moms, The Good Place) in which she gets to experience first-hand the company's truck rentals ('Big trucks are kinda my jam!') and upscale luxury vehicles ('Sometimes momma wants to drive like a mother!'), with this and addition TV spots to break on-air and online during the NHL Winter Classic and Centennial outdoor games in January and NCAA March Madness, playing up the official relationships that Enterprise has with both sports organizations. MORE

College Hoops Coaches Make The Call For ACS Campaign

The American Cancer Society is launching its first multi-media campaign to support the Coaches vs. Cancer program, an alliance with the National Association of Basketball Coaches that has to date raised more than $100M, with 'Come And Play For Us' built around a TV spot that sees head basketball coaches Lon Kruger (Oklahoma), Tubby Smith (Memphis), Roy Williams (North Carolina) and Jay Wright (Villianova) on recruiting calls, looking not for basketball prospects but instead seeking support and driving awareness for ACS, an effort that will run through March Madness and the Final Four in April. MORE

NCAA Unveils Details, Activation For '18 Final Four

The NCAA, currently involved with the college basketball season en route to March Madness 2017 in Phoenix, has unveiled some activation details for March Madness 2018 in San Antonio, including the official logo, marketing and community plans to support the event, with the Final Four to take place in the Alamodome March 29 and April 2, all part of the city's Tricentennial Celebration, marking the first men's Div. I hoops championship there since 2008 but the fourth overall. According to Dan Gavitt, vp-NCAA men's basketball championships, 'It's evident that the Final Four has a lasting effect on the host city and we're excited to bring it back to San Antonio.' MORE

Play It Forward: Final Four 2022 Heading To NOLA

Seeking to lock in prime real estate while emulating the process used by the NFL and the IOC of selecting championship host cities many years in advance, the NCAA has named the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans as the site for the 2022 Men's Final Four, with the college sports governing body promising to extend the lead time even more when the next round of potential March Madness title venues comes up for a vote in 2018, all of which also helps local businesses and marketing partners to plan their activations. 'With the Final Four competing for many of the same venues that host the Super Bowl and the College Football Playoff (also under the auspices of the NCAA) we did not want to wait to make the decision,' said Dan Gavitt, vp-NCAA men's basketball championships. MORE

Dos Equis Has Most Interesting Plans For CFB Playoffs

The import beer recently unveiled a new 'Most Interesting Man in the World,' and now Dos Equis — the official beer sponsor for the College Football Playoff —  is making things even more interesting for its advertising spokesperson and football fans with a season-long effort that will culminate during the playoffs and then at the National Championship game in Tampa this January, including new TV spots, Internet, social media, POP and a sweeps offering consumers of legal drinking age the opportunity to attend the title game in Raymond James Stadium and also tailgate with the Most Interesting Man and his helicopter. 'The CFP has proven to be a key platform for reaching consumers 21+ during one of the most exciting sports events of the year,' said Dos Equis. MORE

American Cancer Calls On College Football To Go Long

When it comes to sports, there are a lot of stats that define the action on the field or court, but outside the playing field there are stats of much more importance. Pediatric cancer is the second leading cause of death among children in the U.S. ages 1-14, with more than 10K new cases expected to be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society, which has teamed with a dozen universities represented by IMG College to launch 'A House United To Tackle Pediatric Cancer,' supported by coaches, athletes and multi-media marketing including a dedicated Web site were visitors can make donations in the name of such schools as Duke, FSU, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, UCLA, Houston, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Washington, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech. MORE

Tim Tebow Opens Door For Heisman House

B-Dubs Heats Up Role With NCAA, CFB



NBA, All-Star Players, Partners Ready To Party In NOLA

LeBron James, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook will be among the stars participating in the NBA's upcoming All-Star Game and weekend in New Orleans, but there will be plenty of support from league partners and other brands, including new campaigns, activations and platforms from Mountain Dew, State Farm, Foot Locker, 2K, Gatorade, America Express, Nike, adidas, Under Armour and first-time ASGers Jack Daniel's, ExxonMobile, Marriott and Shock Doctor. MORE

LeBron, Serena, Alicia Raise Their Voices For Nike Equality

Nike has gathered together some of its most impactful athletes — including LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Gabby Douglas and Megan Rapinoe, plus singer Alicia Keys and actor Michael B. Jordan — for a mutli-platform cause-marketing push, 'Equality,' which encompasses partnerships with Mentor and PeacePlayers — organizations that use sports to support and encourage youth and equality worldwide — to be shared via TV, outdoor, Internet, social media and on-site activation at the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans in an effort to show how equality on the court, based on skill not color, should extend to all walks of life. MORE

Triple-Double Russell Westbrook Schooled By Bill Russell

Despite the fact that he's averaging a triple-double this season, Russell Westbrook claims he is not about the numbers but is all about the wins, until he shares a list of his stats in a new spot from Foot Locker, including the number of times he has crashed into cameramen (1.7 times a game), appearing in 72% of opposing coaches' nightmares and keeping Vine alive for seven months with his highlights, then crosses the line when he claims to be the 'greatest Russell in NBA history,' a statement quickly refuted by Hall of Famer, 11-time NBA champ and five-time MVP Bill Russell — all in good fun to sell Air Jordan XXI kicks and other gear from Jordan Brand. MORE

NBA Lifts Marketing Spirits With Jack Daniel's Partnership

Calling it the 'largest partnership with a professional sports league in its history,' Jack Daniel's has signed a multi-year deal making it an official marketing partner with the NBA, WNBA, D-League and USA Basketball, to be supported by a hoops-themed multi-level campaign — which has launched with an ad that shows a statue of brand founder Jasper Newton 'Jack' Daniel and a basektball — to also include a heavy dose of 'Drink Responsibly,' with the alliance's coming-out party to be staged at the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans, where the spirits and alcohol company to feature sponsorship of the All-Star Celebrity Game and Jack Daniel's House No. 7 hosting music, food, 'unique programming' and, of course, drink for people legal age. MORE

Curry, LeBron Top List Of Best-Selling NBA Merchandise

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors have won the past two NBA championships and they could meet in the Finals again this June, so it comes as little surprise that LeBron James and the Cavs and Stephen Curry and the Warriors have the best-selling jerseys and overall NBA merchandise October-December 2016, according to, with Curry's teammate Kevin Durant, who joined the team this season from the Oklahoma City Thunder, at No. 3, James' teammate Kyrie Irving at No. 4 — with James and Irving tops among players via sales of their Nike shoes — and Russell Westbrook of the Thunder rounding out the Top 5 ahead of Dwyane Wade (Chicago Bulls), Kristaps Porzingas (New York Knicks), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Jimmy Butler (Bulls) and Derrick Rose (Knicks). MORE

Chris Paul Joins Spalding To Honor Hoops 125th

According to official documents, the first basketball game was played on Dec. 21, 1891 in Springfield, Mass., under the auspices of Dr. James Naismith, who brought hoops to life, and now Spalding, the official basketball of the NBA, is unveiling a multi-media campaign, 'Honor the Game,' which features new company spokesman Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, who will join with DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors) and Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) in digital, print, social media and POP — as well as in-stadium activation — to encourage fans to 'honor the game that has challenged, inspired and awakened the spirit in all of us.' MORE

Super (Market) Stars: Spurs Score New Ads With H-E-B

The San Antonio Spurs are one of the most successful teams in the NBA and H-E-B is one of the most successful supermarket chains in the U.S., so it makes sense that for the 12th year the two have teamed for a humorous ad campaign that touts the products for sale in the store while giving fans and consumers an opportunity to see such players as Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan — who has retired from the NBA but not from H-E-B spots — try their hand at acting. MORE

Q&A: Inside Inside The NBA's Animal House Frat House 

In the mischievously good-natured vein of the 1979 classic, Animal House, Turner Sports has its own Delta Tau Chi fraternity, populated by Robert Hoover (played by Ernie Johnson), John 'Bluto' Blutarsky (played by Charles 'Sir Charles' Barkley), Eric 'Otter' Stratton (played by Kenny 'The Jet' Smith) and Daniel Simpson 'D-Day' Day (played by Shaquille 'Big Diesel' O'Neal). But as Turner Sports evp-production and chief content officer Craig Barry — who here gets the role of Animal House director John Landis — relates in this Q&A, letting the four Inside The NBA guys banter and joke among themselves on almost any topic — such as Shaq investing in the company that makes one of his favorite foods, Krispy Kreme — resonates with viewers because they are real, the show is authentic and, above all else, the focus always comes back to the NBA.

Jersey Score: NBA Eyes $100M+ With Ads

Twitter Builds Sports Presence With NBA, Fans

Westbrook, Irving Take Lead In Myn. Dew Effort

Survey: NBA Teams Find Fan Loyalty More Than Winning

State Farm Tops NBA $800M Sponsorship Spend

NBA, Nike, Turner All In For #SagerStrong Fight



NBC Sports, NHL All-Stars Shine Spotlight On Hollywood

As they sing in the 1937 warbler, Hooray for Hollywood, 'Any office boy or young mechanic can be a panic,' which is what NBC Sports is crooning for a multi-media effort, 'Hockey Goes Hollywood,' to support its coverage of the Honda NHL All-Star Game and surrounding events taking place this weekend in Los Angeles, with a dozen of the league's top players — such as Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Lane, Tuukka Rask and Wayne Simmonds — appearing in a series of TV spots and NBC and the NHL joining their Internet and social media forces to put a spotlight on the game as well as the league's Centennial Celebration. 'The campaign is about bringing the stars and the sport to life authentically through the lens of Hollywood, including the movie life that Los Angeles is known for,' said NBC Sports Group CMO Jenny Storms. MORE

Reebok 'Born In The Cold' Promo Eyes NHL Classic

According to The Weather Channel, it is expected to be in the mid-30s in St. Louis on Jan. 2, 2017, not freezing but cold enough for the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic to add a spicy chill to the event, and just right for a promo from league partners Reebok and Lids, 'Born in the Cold,' which asks people to submit via Twitter and Instagram pictures or videos showing how they brave frigid temperatures, with the top prizes including tickets to the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and host Blues or to the Alumni Game, scheduled to include such icons as Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull. MORE

NHL Fans, Players Can Now Run On Dunkin' Donuts

The NHL's Centennial Celebration just got a bit sweeter with the league signing a multi-year deal with Dunkin' Donuts to become its official coffee, donut and breakfast sandwich partner in the U.S., to begin at the Bridgestone Winter Classic game Jan. 2 and then continue through All-Star Game weekend, the Stadium Series and Stanley Cup playoffs and Stanley Cup Finals, which will see Dunkin' Donuts activate multi-media marketing via TV, Internet, social media and in-arena through deals with the NHL's U.S. franchises, including fresh creative that will feature new spokespersons Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers, David Backes of the Boston Bruins and Meghan Duggan of the NWHL. MORE

NHL Stars Trash The Place For Bauer Hockey Campaign

In a spot that channels an iconic ad from the 1990s in which Magic Johnson and Larry Bird play an über game of H*O*R*S*E for a Big Mac and fries (and re-created years later by LeBron James and Dwight Howard), Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs are featured in the humorous 'Call Your Shot,' part of a multi-media 'Aim For Greatness' effort from Bauer Hockey, in which the two players challenge each other to take ever-increasingly difficult slap shots using Bauer's new 1N hockey stick, with the pair ultimately trashing on-set cameras, lights, an ice sculpture, a table filled with food and other items. MORE

Jersey State Of Mind: NHL Builds Alliance With Fanatics

The NHL wants to give you the shirts off their players' backs, as long as consumers go to Fanatics to purchase the jerseys following a deal that expands the company's role with the league, making it the official replica jersey and headwear partner for in-season and 'hot market' events such as the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals, which begins next year when adidas takes over from Reebok as the NHL's official game jersey partner and adds to a Fanatics' roster that also will see the brand become an official partner with MLB beginning in 2020, with Fanatics promising to get new merchandise to consumers quicker than ever. 'Fanatics will produce lines of replica jerseys and apparel products that will excite NHL fans and drive sales for NHL retail partners,' said Brian Jennings, chief branding officer for the NHL.  MORE

NHL's L.A. Kings Go To Market With Golden Jubilee

As the NHL celebrates its 100th anniversary this season, the comparatively young Los Angeles Kings are honorng their 50th anniversary with marketing, fan activations, special jerseys and apparel and a roster of partners that will support numerous platforms and multi-media campaigns during 2016-17 — ramping up to the league's All-Star Game weekend in L.A. this January — including McDonald's, Delta Air Lines, New Era, StubHub, Staples, Geico, Cooper Tires and Children's Hospital Los Angeles; with a bevy of in-arena and community events to feature current and former Kings players, led by the man regarded as the greatest NHL player of all-time, Wayne Gretzky, who has a statue outside of Staples Center and recently was named as ambassador for the NHL's own centennial party. MORE

Gretzky Reveals: Why I Came Back To NHL, Oilers

Last month, Wayne Gretzky, regarded as the greatest player in the history of the NHL, was named ambassador for the league's 100th anniversary celebration, which will see a multitude of activations this season, and now 'The Great One' is back with the Edmonton Oilers, which traded him to the Los Angeles Kings nearly 30 years ago after he led them to four Stanley Cups, as a partner and vice-chairman — his first NHL front-office position since 2009 — with the franchise also unveiling a Gretzky statue and a Hall of Fame filled with Gretzky memorabilia. Explained Gretzky, 'When team owner Daryl Katz and I talked a few months ago about coming back to Edmonton and the NHL, we felt this was the right opportunity.' MORE

With Gretzky At Center, NHL Plans 100th Anniversary

Backed by marketing and media partners, current players, icons led by Wayne Gretzky and a multi-platform strategy, the NHL will celebrate its Centennial this coming season with events to run from January to December and involve all 30 teams and all NHL cities across the U.S. and Canada, including the naming of the league's 100 Greatest Players, an interactive truck tour with videogames and memorabilia, special activations at the All-Star, outdoor games and playoffs and experiential festivities for fans. MORE

Will Hockey World Cup Drive Fans, Brands To ESPN?

Bauer Hockey Give Hilary Knight Pay For Play

Pittsburgh Penguins Add 'Most Loyal' Fans To Cup Reward


How NBA Seeks To Score In eSports With 2K eLeague

Calling it a 'unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the growing eSports community,' the NBA and Take-Two Interactive have unveiled plans to launch the NBA2K League, which will see all 30 league teams closely involved with the competition, being called the first official eSports league to be operated by a U.S. pro league and set to begin in 2018, which comes at a time when eSports is experiencing viewership and investment growth, with the NBA especially interested in reaching what  research firm NewZoo says are 9.6M hoops fans who are also into eSports. MORE

Call Of Duty World League Builds eSports Success

Armed with eye-popping stats from Season 1 that includes the participation of more than 1,000 teams, more than 1.2B minutes watched of live competitive content and 120M tune-ins, Activision has unveiled activation for Season 2 of Call of Duty World League Presented by Playstation4, scheduled to run from Dec. 7 through the championship in August 2017, with an anticipated multi-media marketing campaign and interaction with fans worldwide as part of the growth of eSports that is predicted to top $1.1B in revenue in 2019. MORE

20M eSports Fans, Serena Launch Overwatch League

Blizzard Entertainment, already a major player on the eSports landscape, will expand its presence in 2017 with Overwatch League, based on the game it launched in May and now encompassing 20M players worldwide, with marketing support including a spot featuring tennis icon Serena Williams and plans to emulate professional sports with teams representing different cities and a combine to evaluate talent. 'We're building a league that's accessible to fans and players, sustainable and exciting for everyone involved,' said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder for Blizzard, all part of the burgeoning success of eSports that industry analysts said would top $1.1B in revenue by 2019. MORE

New Stats Show eSports Reaching MLB, NBA Levels

The power of eSports, which has been ramping up for several years, continues to grow and is reaching the point where the number of players, followers and marketing and media partners is approaching NFL, MLB and NBA levels, according to a just-released report from research and consulting company NewZoo, which shows that the number of people in the U.S. who watch pro sports and are aligned with eSports is growing, that more executives and players in pro sports are investing in eSports properties and that more non-endemic companies that also have sports ties — such as Coca-Cola, Samsung, MasterCard, Geico, Buffalo Wild Wings and General Mills — are becoming official partners in eSports. MORE

General Mills Joins eSports Mix With Yahoo Live Show

Add General Mills to the list of such non-endemic brands as Coca-Cola, Nissan, Buffalo Wild Wings and Red Bull either entering or expanding their role in the burgeoning eSports fray, with the food company signing a deal as the first sponsor for Yahoo eSports Live, a new weekly platform that will include news, analysis and coverage of events in the category, with GM supporting via marketing behind Resse's Puffs Cereal campaign in an effort to target 'an important audience of millennials.' MORE

eSports Continues Global Boom With AEG-ESL Alliance

AEG, which owns or operates sports and entertainment venues, teams and platforms globally, and major category driver ESL have signed a strategic long-term partnership with the lead goal ito 'broaden the worldwide reach of eSports' — a category anticipated to top the $1B mark by 2019 — including the potential of holding events in such AEG destinations as Barclays Center (Brooklyn), The O2 (London) and Staples Center (Los Angeles); leveraging AEG's experience in ticketing, marketing and producing live events; and expanding upon and developing new events across ESL's portfolio. MORE

Doodle Jump Set To Make Impact On eSports Landscape

Claiming more then 10M monthly players and 200M downloads, Lima Sky is preparing to bring its Doodle Jump game to the world of eSports, naming Skillz as the official tech partner for the upcoming launch, with game creators anticipating the same impact as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends when those platforms entered, and changed, the global category landscape, which currently has more than 185M fans and is on pace to top $9B in revenue in 2017, per industry analysts. According to Andrew Paradise, CEO for Skillz, "Doodle Jump already has hundreds of millions of players . . . it will now have organized, broadcasted tournaments and competitive leagues to transform it into a full-fledged eSport." MORE

Turner eLeague Takes eSports, Marketing To Next Level

The plan for an eSports competition unveiled by Turner Broadcasting and WME | IMG this past September — a strategic move into the burgeoning category that has a global viewing audience of motre than 225M and revenue expected to top $765M by 2018 — finally has a play date, with the two media companies saying that its eLeague would make its debut on May 24 featuring Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offense, including planned ten-week coverage of the event to include a regular season, playoffs and Global Championship, with Turner expected to support with such multi-media marketing as TV, tie-ins with Turner Sports properties NBA on TNT and Inside the NBA, ads during NCAA Men's Div. 1 basketball March Madness (which Turner airs on TNT, TBS and truTV in alliance with CBS), Internet and social media. MORE

ES Dives Into eSports With Madden, Battlefield

Fantasy Sports Face Highs, Lows, Challenges



How Will Marketers, Media, Tennis Greet Maria's Return?

The last time Maria Sharapova played in a pro tennis tournament was during the 2016 Australian Open, but as her 15-month suspension for failing a drug test comes to an end, the five-time Grand Slam winner and former world No. 1 is planning her return to competition in April at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, a friendly spot for her as the car company is one of her marketing partners, but also an early test of how the media, other tennis players and potential new brand partners will react to her post-suspension actions and attitude, especially in light of the fact that so many of her fellow Russian-born athletes have also been busted for failing drug tests. 'She has had a real wake-up call,' said tennis icon Chrissie Evert. 'She is out of her bubble now.' MORE

Serena, Maria Get Top Billing For beIN WTA '17 Schedule

Last May, the Women's Tennis Assn. signed a five-year deal with beIN Media Group that gives the media company broadcast rights in some 30 territories worldwide, including the U.S., for all WTA tournaments and certain premier competitions, beginning with the 2017 season that launches this week with such stars as newly reminted world No. 1 Serena Williams, Venus Williams, former No. 1 and now No. 2 Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Garbiñe Muguruza and Maria Sharapova, who is scheduled to return to the courts in late April (following a suspension due to her use of a banned substance), many of whom are also featured in a new beIN multi-level campaign to tout the alliance with the theme, 'You can't stop these women.' MORE

Go Figure: Deloitte Signs On As Official USTA Partner 

Audit, consulting, tax and advisory firm Deloitte has signed what was called a 'long-term, wide-ranging' pact with the U.S. Tennis Assn. to become an official sponsor for the U.S. Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams and the premiere sponsor for the Wheelchair Competition at the U.S. Open this summer; with plans to work with USTA to 'revamp the core enterprise digital technology and build the USTA's grassroots digital capabilities,' with Deloitte supporting via multi-platform marketing such as interacting with tennis groups on local community levels to expand the sport's reach and build alliances that 'promote inclusion and empower well-being and innovation beyond tennis.' MORE

Pre-Aussie Open, Novak Talks Murray, Federer, Nadal

The first tennis Grand Slam of the year is upon us, and No. 2 seeded Novak Djokovic plans to be in top form at the Australian Open (Jan. 16-29) as he seeks to take out the opposition and reclaim the world's top spot from Andy Murray, but there is a lot of admiration from him for Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as shown in a new campaign from Jacob's Creek in which Djokovic talks about the people in his life who have made him what he is, including his rivals, his wife Jelena and his brother Marko. 'Federer, Nadal and Murray are great players who made me improve, get better and understand what I need to do to be on top.' MORE

WTA Networks Seeks To Revolutionize Women's Tennis

Stating that 'what we need as an organization and as a sport is to think differently,' WTA, the world organizing body for women's tennis, has unveiled WTA Networks, described as a 'new digital media division that will deliver to fans innovative digital storytelling, tennis news and content and unprecedented access to star athletes (such as Serena and Venus Williams, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys and Simona Halep) and the inner world of tennis,' with WTA president Micky Lawler saying that the launch, scheduled for January, would also increase platforms and audiences for potential marketing partners. MORE

Serena, Roger Help Tennis Net $800M In Sponsor Deals

Driven by Serena Williams' quest to set a Grand Slam record, Roger Federer's $60M in endorsements (despite dropping out of the Olympcis and U.S. Open due to rehab) and activation led by such companies as Emirates Airline, FedEx, BNP Paribas, Coca-Cola and Rolex, tennis is projected to reach a record $801M in sponsorship deals this year, according to a new report from IEG, which represents a 4% increase over 2015 and more than $60M over 2014, but women's tennis still took a hit due to such factors as low TV ratings and the absence of Maria Sharapova (PED-related suspension) and Victoria Azarenka (pregnancy), both of whom missed the Olympics, U.S. Open and other tournaments. MORE

Will Marketers Net Garbiñe As The Next Maria?

Court Testers: When Andy Met Luol

Sharapova Won't Net Call For Olympics, U.S. Open

Serena, WTA A Perfect Match For Record Numbers



NBC, USOC, IOC Start One-Year Clock To Winter Games

There may still be some people shaking sand out of their shoes from the Summer Games this past August and  a good many working to bring the 2024 Summer Games to Los Angeles, but NBC and the U.S. Olympic Committee are looking 12 months ahead to the start of the '18 Winter Games in South Korea, marking the one-year-out date with multi-platform marketing, activation and athlete appearances from the likes of Shaun White (snowboarding), Gracie Gold (skiing) and Hilary Knight (hockey), with official broadcast network NBC integrating the message across all of its assets, led by TV, cable, digital, regional, local and radio. MORE

Costas Steps Back From Olympics, Upfront About PEDs

Part of the news that came during NBC's one-year-out celebration for the '18 Winter Games in South Korea was that long-time on-air host Bob Costas would be stepping away from that position and would be replaced by Mike Tirico, but the veteran sports analyst and broadcaster was not stepping way from the controversial issue of the use of PEDs and other illegal drugs by Olympians and other athletes, claiming in no uncertain terms that such overseeing bodies as the IOC, WADA and CAS 'would have to get even more serious about drug testing and issuing lifetime bans to offenders — either that or throw up a white flag, and I don't see them doing that.' MORE

IOC, Alibaba Pact 'Will Transform The Olympic Movement

'We were founded in China but we were built for the world,' said Jack Ma, head of Alibaba Group, which operates China's largest online platform, during a media conference unveiling the company's long-term alliance with the IOC to become the Olympic governing body's official 'cloud services' and 'e-commercial platform services' through the 2028 Games, with such goals as helping the IOC to 'run more efficiently and securely, provide better engagement with fans and consumers, support the Olympic Channel and reduce the amount of Games-related counterfeit items.' 'This strategic partnership will transform the Olympic movement,' said IOC president Thomas Bach. MORE

Bridgestone Expands Top-Tier Alliance With IOC

Bridgestone, which this past summer experienced its first Olympics as a top-tier partner with the International Olympic Committee, has expanded the deal it signed in 2014, which gave the company marketing rights in the U.S. and several other countries, to now include global rights for the 2018 and 2022 Winter Games, (South Korea and Beijing, respectively) and the 2024 Summer Games (site to be determined this September), building on a platform that will also see the Japan-based firm support as a Paralympics Gold partner during the 2020 Games in Toyko, where Bridgestone Corp. is headquartered, a Bridgestone Americas alliance with the U.S. Paralympics and founding partner rights with the IOC's Olympic Channel. MORE

New Olympic Channel Will Be 24/7 Home To Team USA

In what was called a 'ground-breaking collaboration to connect fans to the Olympic movement year-round,' NBCU, USOC and the IOC unveiled plans to launch 'Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA' in the second part of 2017, with opportunities for IOC and USOC marketing partners to support what will be 24/7 programming to include coverage of athletic events involving pre-and post Summer and Winter Games competitions, original programming, features about players and coaches, documentaries and historic replays from around the world but with a focus on U.S. teams and athletes. 'This is a tremendous way to grow the real estate beyond the two weeks of programming every two years,' said Jim Bell, executive producer for NBC Olympics. MORE

Team USA Heats Up For '17 World Winter Games

With just about 90 days to go until the Opening Ceremony for the 2017 Special Olympics World Games, Team USA has started to train in earnest, gathering for three days this week in and around the Killington (VT) Resort to prepare for competition in such sports as alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowboarding, snowshoeing and speed skating, which this March in Austria will see more than 200 athletes and coaches representing the U.S. be part of what is expected to be the largest Winter Games in Special Olympics history — some 2,600 athletes from 106 nations — airing for the first time domestically from start to finish on ESPN and ABC. MORE

IOC President: Games Bid Process 'Has Too Many Losers'

Even as Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest were cleared by the International Olympic Committee to move to the next stage in their respective efforts to host the 2024 Summer Games, IOC president Thomas Bach stated that 'the bidding procedure as it now exists has too many losers and must be changed,' while also focusing on the situation in which the Tokyo 2020 Games have gone four times over budget to $30B. 'We have cut $20B (from that) and want to cut $2B more (very soon).' MORE

Comcast Builds Olympic Role As Official USOC Partner

NBCUniversal has a deal with the International Olympic Committee as the exclusive U.S. media rights holder for the Olympics through 2032, and now parent company Comcast is expanding its own role by becoming an official partner with the U.S. Olympic Committee thru 2020 — covering the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo — giving it access to Team USA marks for use in advertising and marketing and becoming the official Internet, video distribution, wireless, home security and business services provider, filling a void that would have been created with the departure of AT&T at the end of this year while boosting Comcast's brand awareness among sports fans and consumers. MORE


Allianz Alliance Ensures Drone Racing League Growth

Critics who might have seen the upstart Drone Racing League as a fly-by-night operation may have to re-evaluate their opinions as the DRL has unveiled a multi-year deal that names global insurance firm Allianz as title sponsor for its elite racing circuit, now known as the Allianz World Championship series, with the German-based company set to support via multi-level marketing — including a spot that introduces the alliance — on-site activation and through other platforms, with Allianz saying that it would 'leverage its motor racing heritage to bring the sport of the audience to a growing worldwide audience.' According to DRL CEO and founder Nicholas Horbaczewski, 'This is a huge leap forward for professional drone racing.' MORE

Report: Global Issues Hit Sponsor Spend, But $62B In Sight

In a year that does not include such periodical high-profile events as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, but does include the Super Bowl, World Baseball Classic, Oscars, Grammys and the Coachella Music Festival, worldwide sponsorship spend is expected to top a record $62B, according to research firm IEG, but the bottom line is that categories across the board — sports, entertainment, arts, music, festivals and others — could take a hit due to global and domestic situations in how companies will invest in ads, marketing, sponsorships and partnerships. MORE

Gronk, Durant Bring Shark Tank-Themed Show To go90

Injuried Rob Gronkowski will not be playing in Super Bowl LI with the New England Patriots, but he is not sitting round either, using his down time to connect with Kevin Durant, Antonio Brown, Marshall Faulk, Jennie Finch, Terrell Owens and others for MVP — which in this case means 'Most Valuable Partner' — a weekly show on Verizon's go90 platform that in many ways mirrors the script of Shark Tank, which here sees entrepreneurs presenting their new products or concepts to the panel of athletes (plus a financial advisor) in the hopes of getting an endorsement deal and some financial backing, with pitches including Man Crate (filled with man-cave items that are shipped to your home), GameVice (a mobile, interactive game controller), Buiced energy drink and Incredi-Whip, an all-organic product that can be used as a coffee creamer or desert topping (or, as Durant does, squirted right into your mouth. MORE

LPGA Stresses Youth, Diversity In Playful New Campaign

The LPGA wants people to know that it is a 'Global Tour Like No Other,' a mantra it will focus on in a new light-hearted multi-media effort that talks about two key themes — youth and diversity —  as the average age of tournament winners last year was under 23 and the 2017 season features women from 33 nations, with the campaign to include TV, Internet, social media and on-site activation, all coming at a time when the LPGA has increased its tournament schedule to 35 and boosted its prize money by more than $4M to a record $67.4M, with such golfers as Lydia Ko (who is 19), Brooke Henderson (19) and Anya Jutanugarn (21) among the leaders. MORE

Target Buys Into Partnership With MLS, Youth Soccer

Calling the move its largest push into team sports, Target has signed a multi-year deal to become an official partner for Major League Soccer, US Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Foundation, including multi-platform marketing, support of USYS's three million players and 900K coaches and volunteers, activation to include many of Target's venders — such as Crest, Degree, Dove, Gillette, Hershey's, Smuckers and Tide — and in its hometown of Minneapolis — where it has naming rights to the Target Center (NBA's Timberwolves, WNBA's Lynx) and Target Field (MLB's Twins) — the jersey-front and presenting sponsorship for the expansion Minnesota United. MORE

Mountain Dew Has New Look, New Ads

In what it said would be part of a major move to create a new 'worldwide unified visual identity for the brand,' Mountain Dew has unveiled a multi-media campaign, 'Fade Away,' anchored by a series of spots with pro skateboarder Sean Malto to encompass TV and numerous social media platforms, supporting new packaging and graphics intended to engage consumers and 'elevate Dew's look to be as dynamic and refreshing as the taste of Dew itself.,' while retaining the long-running theme, 'Do the Dew.' MORE

Can CEO Of $2B Medicom Save NASL, The Cosmos?

Rocco Commisso, chairman and CEO for Mediacom Communications, valued at almost $2B, said it was a pre-Christmas meeting with the then owners of the NASL's New York Cosmos that convinced him to become the new majority owner for the iconic but financially strapped club, and now he faces the challenge of not only keeping the team afloat after it lost $30M last season but the entire NASL, which recently was granted provisional Division II status by the USSF but is entering the 2017 season with just eight clubs. 'This needs to be said up front: It wasn't a matter if the Cosmos would survive but the entire NASL,' Commisso said of his undisclosed inv