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NBA Western Conference Finals
Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs

Game 1: Sunday May 14  Golden State 113 San Antonio 111
Game 2: Tuesday May 16  Golden State 136 San Antonio 100
Game 3: Saturday May 20  Golden State 120 San Antonio 108
Game 4: Monday May 22  Golden State 129 San Antonio 115

NBA Finals 2017 Schedule

Game 1: Thursday June  1 Boston/Cleveland at Golden State 9 PM ET  ABC
Game 2: Sunday June  4 Boston/Cleveland at Golden State  8 PM ET ABC
Game 3: Wednesday June  7 Golden State at Boston/Cleveland 9 PM ET ABC
Game 4: Friday June  9 Golden State at Boston/Cleveland  9 PM ET ABC
Game 5 * Monday June 12 Boston/Cleveland at Golden State 9 PM ABC
Game 6 * Thursday June 15 Golden State at Boston/Cleveland 9 PM ABC
Game 7 * Sunday June 18 Boston/Cleveland at Golden State  8 PM  ABC
*If necessary

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NBA Eastern Conference Finals
Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Game 1: Wednesday May 17 Cleveland 117 Boston 104
Game 2: Friday May 19  Cleveland 130 Boston 86
Game 3: Sunday May 23  Boston 111 Cleveland 108
Game 4: Tuesday May 23 Cleveland 112 Boston 99
Game 5: Thursday May 25 Cleveland at Boston TNT 8:30PM ET
Game 6 * Saturday May 27 Boston at Cleveland TNT 8:30PM ET
Game 7 * Monday May 29 Cleveland at Boston TNT 8:30PM ET
* If necessary

COLLECTIBLE CORNER

• $369.00: Asking price for John Elway autographed Broncos helmet Drafted No. 1 overall '83, on eBay
• $499.99 Asking price for 2015 Topps Chrome autographed RC Drafted No. 1 '15, on eBay
• $799.00: Asking price for 2011 Bowman Chrome autographed Cam Newton RC Drafted No. 1 '11, on eBay
• $1,700.00: Asking price for 1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw RC Drafted No. 1 '70, on eBay
• $15,000.00 Asking price for 1957 Topps Paul Hornung RC Drafted No. 1 '57, on eBay

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MARKETWATCH

FRENCH OPEN May 22- June 11 Roland Garros Paris Tennis Channel NBC Sports

NBA PLAYOFFS ESPN TNT NBA TV

NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS NBC Sports

WNBA 2017

INDY 500 May 28 Indianapolis Motor Speedway

NHL STANLEY CUP FINALS May 29 NBC Sports

NBA FINALS June 1 ABC

FIFA FEDERATIONS CUP June 7 - July 2 Russia

BONNAROO MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL June 8-11 Manchester, TN

BELMONT STAKES June 10 Queens, NY NBC

U.S. OPEN GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP June 12-18 Erin Hills, WI Fox/FS1

NBA DRAFT June 22 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY ESPN 7 PM (ET)

COLLEGE

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.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
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.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
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.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
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.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99

Despite Issues, NBA Bringing ASG Back To North Carolina

Even with opinions to the contrary and the key discrimination issue still in play, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that the 2019 All-Star Game and related events would be held in Charlotte, NC, in the same venue from which the 2017 All-Star Game was pulled and moved to New Orleans due to the state's HB2 bill, which directly impacts the LGBT community as well as others, which has since been amended to the satisfaction of the NBA and NCAA (which also is returning games to the state) but not to the satisfaction of the ACLU and the Charlotte Observer, which both claim that significant civil rights issues still exist. MORE

Serena Has Questions, SurveyMonkey Has Answers

Serena Williams wants to know what's on your mind, and that includes such issues as the gender pay gap, the growth of technology and even whether people feel she will have a boy or a girl when she gives birth later this year, so the tennis star has become a member of the board for SurveyMonkey, a leading online survey platform — along with Brad Smith, CEO and chairman for Intuit — to interact with fans and the public-at-large in a new way. 'I believe in the power of a question and the impact of data (which) is why SurveyMonkey is right for me,' said the answer to the question, Which current athlete has won 23 Grand Slams? MORE

NFL Has Los Angeles, Teams Doing Super Bowl Shuffle

When the Los Angeles Rams last week said that due to extreme weather conditions their new stadium would open a year later than planned — 2020 instead of 2019 — it set off a series of events, including the NFL pushing back the Rams planned hosting of Super Bowl LV in 2021 to Super Bowl LVI in 2022, moving in Tampa Bay to now host Super Bowl LV and sending notice to other teams that were considering future Super Bowl bids, possibly including the Detroit Lions and the Oakland-to-become-the-Las Vegas Raiders, that the next available game would now be Super Bowl LVIII in 2023. MORE

Teams, Athletes Unite To Support Manchester, Victims

In an effort to drown out the deafening madness, teams, athletes, organizations and people with ties to Manchester, England have united to support the community and honor the victims and their friends and families following the tragedy Monday night outside Manchester Arena, with Manchester United, Manchester City, soccer star Carli Lloyd (who plays for the ManCity women's team), Orlando City FC (which has honored victims in its own community) and others offering assistance, shelter, condolences and words of encouragement, proving that the united efforts of the vast majority will always overpower the misguided plans of the criminal minority. MORE

Beer Industry Brews 2.2M Jobs, $350B For U.S. Economy

'Beer is more than a refreshing adult beverage. The beer industry is vital to the United States,' says Jim McGreevy, president and CEO for the Beer Institute. And he has the numbers to prove it in Beer Serves America, a new report from the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Assn., offering such stats as the beer industry generating 2.2M U.S. jobs, $350B for the American economy — including more than $103B in wages and benefits for workers and families — and creating 33 jobs in other sectors for every one job in the beer sector (i.e. retail, farming, wholesale and manufacturing), led not just by major brewers such as Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and Heineken USA but also mid-size companies Boston Beer (Samuel Adams), Sierra Nevada and Mike's Hard Lemonade as well as more than 1,000 small brewers and brew pubs. MORE

Crocodile Rock: Djokovic Switches Styles To Lacoste

As he prepares for the 2017 French Open, Novak Djokovic has not only signed a new coach — tennis icon Andre Agassi — but also has changed fashion alliances, leaving long-time partner Uniqlo to join Lacoste, a brand whose originals and tennis history traces back to founder René Lacoste, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, world No. 1 player and in 1933 co-founder of the company that bears his name, with 12-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic to be the center of a multi-media campaign including TV, print, Internet, social media and on-site activation at Roland Garros. MORE

Citing Fan, Ad Growth, NBC Goes All-In With Rugby

Calling the U.S. 'one of the fastest-growing markets for rugby participation and fan growth,' World Rugby has signed a seven-year deal that gives NBC Sports exclusive multi-platform U.S. rights to the sport, including men's Rugby World Cups (2019, 2023), women's Rugby World Cups (2017, 2021) and in 2018 the first Rugby World Cup Sevens to be held in the U.S. (San Francisco), with USA Rugby claiming some 40M fans in America and such marketing partners as adidas, Gatorade, Emirates Airway and AIG. 'This is a great deal for rugby and for rugby fans in America,' said World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper. 'It's a lot of money, about three-times what we earned in the last cycle.' MORE

In Your Face(Book) MLB's New Social Media Manta

A deal that had been months in the making comes to life when Facebook is scheduled to live-stream its first MLB game tonight (May 19) as part of a new deal that brings a second social media platform into the live-stream mix, with Facebook set to air a total of 20 Friday night games througout the season and Twitter live-stream games previously on Friday now moving to Tuesday as MLB continues to broaden its reach to fans. 'This is really important for us in terms of experimenting with a new partner in this area,' said league commissioner Rob Manfred. MORE

Topps Adds Star Power, Cards To MLB Sports Crate

Iconic trading and memorabilia company Topps is bringing its expertise to MLB's new deal with Sports Crate, creating a series of collectible cards that will be added to ten respective team boxes going to subscribers every month during the season that also include action figures, apparel and other unique items, with the initial group of stars featuring the likes of Jon Lester, Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Justin Verlander, Adam Wainwright and Noah Syndergaard. 'Trading cards hold timeless memories and we're excited to partner with Topps,' said Doug Wadleigh, CEO for Sports Crate. MORE

WWE Set To Soar With Rocket League Alliance

In an effort to broaden its alliance with a key 15-34 demographic, WWE has signed a deal with Psyonix to have the publishing company's popular video game, online and eSports property, Rocket League, integrated into marketing and live events, beginning with a sponsorship of Backlash (May 21), followed by Great Ball of Fire (July 9) and the mega Summer Slam (Aug. 9), supported by such activation as creative across WWE Network, Smackdown Live, Monday Night Raw, online, social media and in-arena, where fans will have the opportunity to get a hands-on experience with the soccer-meets uber-driving Rocket League adventure. MORE

YouTube Hot Spots: Destiny 2, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, The Dark Crystal, Star Trek Discovery

NEWS FROM NFL 2016

Brady On Madden Cover Curse 'It Doesn't Stand A Chance'

Having already taken on commissioner Roger Goodell over 'Deflate-gate' and opposing defenses on a regular basis, Tom Brady is ready for perhaps the most ominous challenge of his career, the Madden NFL curse, which the New England Patriots veteran QB says he is prepared to do as the featured athlete for EA Sports' Madden NFL 18 (due out in August), the first such placement of his career and the first time Madden has had teammates on consecutive covers, with Rob Gronkowski having graced the game box (and faced the curse) for Madden NFL 17. MORE

Twitter Gets All Social With Enhanced NFL Partnership

One season after its exclusive deal to live-stream Thursday Night Football games — a pact that now belongs to Amazon Prime — Twitter has signed a new multi-year alliance that expands and enhances its union with the NFL beginning in 2017, including a five-times weekly live digital show, pre-game access during each of the league's prime time games and other key match-ups, highlights, news and analysis throughout the year, all part of the social media-based company's overarching strategy to build a sports and entertainment platform with such partners as the WNBA, MLBAM, the PGA Tour and Live Nation. MORE

Elliott, Cowboys Top NFL's $1.6B Retail Merch Sales List

Running back Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys not only made an impact on the field during this past NFL season but also in marketing and retail sales, becoming the first rookie to finish No. 1 on the fiscal year-end NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales list, where total retail sales surpassed $1.6B, based on official merchandise and products sold by more than 80 licensees, with the Cowboys as a team proving to be America's favorite by placing three players among the Top 4 — Elliott, Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant — and a league-leading five players overall. 'To accomplish this level of success shows how passionate Cowboys fans are in Dallas and around the world,' said Elliott. MORE

Q&A: Shawne Merriman Thrives In Life After Football

This week, more than 250 players will begin their pro football life when they are drafted by an NFL team, just as Shawne Merriman did in 2005 when he was selected by the Chargers No. 12 overall, a move that led to Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and three-consecutive Pro Bowls when he led the league with 39.5 sacks. But a serious knee injury and other issues cut his career short and turned Merriman's attention to another desire: Creating a sports apparel company based on his nickname, Lights Out. Merriman has made Lights Out a thriving business, and he also is an owner in Nascar, a spokesman for and in-training with Bellator MMA and on the roster of MTV's new reality competition, The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros. But as the 32-year-old ex-linebacker shares in this Q&A, life after football has been filled with challenges and obstacles, all of which have made the victories that much more rewarding.

Gruden: NFL Teams Should Draft QB's In First Round

Jon Gruden has been up-close and personal with QBs for nearly 20 years, including 11 as a NFL head coach and eight with ESPN's Gruden QB Camp, and he has words of advice for executives and coaches in the NFL Draft on April 27: Even teams with solid QBs such as the Saints, Giants and Cardinals should look at the incoming group of signal-callers and plan for the future, making such athletes as Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, Mitch Trubisky, Nathan Peterman and DeShone Kizer their heir apparent. 'Three or four QBs will be selected in the first round (so) wouldn't it be wonderful to get one of these guys, put him in your program now and watch him develop,' said Gruden. MORE

Tony Romo: Why I'm Taking CBS Sports Over Cowboys

Romo, oh, Romo. Where forth art thou? He may have played for 14 seasons at quarterback in the NFL, but Tony Romo is a rookie again as he plans to join CBS Sports as lead analyst for the network's Sunday NFL on CBS and Thursday Night Football broadcasts beginning in 2017, replacing long-time analyst and former NFL QB Phil Simms and leaving behind a pro career with the Dallas Cowboys during which he passed for more than 34K yards, threw 248 TD passes and made the Pro Bow four times, but was plagued by various injuries and fell to No. 2 on the depth chart last season behind rookie phenom Dak Prescott. 'It's going to be a great challenge,' said Romo. 'If I don't do a good job, I'll spend 20 hours a day in the film room to get better.' 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

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


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

Tom Brady Finds That Gifting 'The Rock' Can Be Testy

Hot Property: Dez, Brady, Rodgers Top NFL Salesmen

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

How Car Companies Got Mileage From Super Bowl Ads

NFL Continues To Build Presence In U.K.

 

NEWS FROM MLB 2016 

MLB Stars Pitch New Plan To Sell Signed Memorabilia

In an effort to eliminate the middle-man in the memorabilia business and give fans better access to personalized items — while also enhancing cause marketing efforts — two-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, All-Star pitcher Stephen Strasburg and other members of MLB's Washington Nationals have launched FanSigner, which enables people to buy directly such autographed items as jerseys, baseballs and photos from players aligned with the company, with a portion of net proceeds going to benefit the likes of the Humane Society, ZiMS (helping to find a cure for multiple sclerosis) and the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, with more players and celebrities expected to participate. 'Everyone benefits from FanSigner,' said Scherzer. MORE

Q&A: John Hancock Keeps All-Star Author Big Papi Busy

Since retiring from baseball in 2016 following 20 MLB seasons, three-time World Series Boston Red Sox champion David Ortiz has done anything but relax, with a schedule that has included appearing in campaigns for Turbo Tax, ESPN, MLBAM, Dunkin' Donuts, JetBlue and, most recently John Hancock, a long-time supporter of 'Big Papi' and his Children's Foundation, in which Ortiz will actually film suggestions from people regarding what he should do with his down time (with such possibilities as looking for buried treasure, mentoring Little Leaguers, working as a vendor in Fenway Park and being a mime). With Ortiz's new book, Papi: My Story, coming out and Ortiz embarking on a book-signing tour that includes appearing in the heart of Boston rival New York City, Rob Friedman, AVP Sponsorship and Event Marketing for John Hancock, reveals in this Q&A how marketing is enhanced by Ortiz' personality, how his presence impacted the recent Boston Marathon (where John Hancock is a top-tier sponsor) and why Ortiz can't sit still in retirement.

MLB Renews Church & Dwight Deal, Brings In Jennie Finch

Just in time for Mother's Day and the upcoming All-Star Game, MLB has renewed and enhanced its alliance with consumer goods giant Church & Dwight, which began in 2014, retaining Arm & Hammer as the official laundry detergent and OxiClean as the official stain fighter for the league, with the partnership initially to be supported by an 'All-Star Mom' effort lead by Olympic gold medalist Jennie Finch, who stars in a series of spots with such MLB moms as Debbie Trout (mother of Mike) and Amber Sabathia (wife of CC and mom to their four kids), with a sweeps element offering tickets, accommodations and other perks for the 2017 All-Star Game in Miami. MORE

Home Run Icon Big Papi Walks The Bases In Skechers

During his 20 year MLB career, David Ortiz hit 541 home runs in the regular season and another 17 in the post-season when he helped lead the Boston Red Sox to three World Series titles, but now Big Papi is spending his retirement promoting clothing, food, several brands, the David Ortiz Children's Fund, a book he has due out later this month and his newest endorsement deal, Skechers, for which he will appear in a multi-media marketing campaign breaking this fall for men's casual shoes, an appropriate alliance considering that he has rarely stopped moving since retiring after the 2016 season. 'With a fanbase beyond the U.S., he will help us build awareness around the globe,' said Skechers' president Michael Greenberg. MORE

MLB Says Chicago Cubs Are Champs — In Jersey Sales

After winning your first World Series since 1908, anything is possible, which is what the Chicago Cubs are saying now that they not only have title rings, but the title of best-selling jerseys, with four of the top five spots held by members of the team — led by Kris Bryant at No. 1 (a position he has held since 2015), Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez and Kyle Schwarber — according to MLB and MLBPA, based of sales at MLBShop.com between the the end of October and Opening Day in April, with only Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers able to break into the Top Five. MORE

Q&A: NY Mets Have Recipe For Success In Citi Field

In sports and entertainment laden New York, the Mets have been working hard to make their home venue a buzzwothy destination, including restaurants and concession stands that feature lots of local goodies — Shake Shack, Papa Rosso, Two Boots, Mama's of Corona, Mister Softee and Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs, to name a few — the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, out-of-the-box promotions and touchpoints throughout Citi Field that are unique in MLB and sports. As Lou DePaoli, evp and chief revenue officer for the team, relates in this Q&A, everything is done using a fan-first strategy, with food, activations and players all directed to keeping the people who pass through the gates coming back for more. And as Patrick Schaeffer, senior executive chef for Aramark, which oversees food, beverage and merchandise services in Citi Field and works with the likes of such top culinary masters as Michael White, John Capon and Pat LaFrieda, offers, 'We want everyone from adults to kids to come here and eat, be entertained and tell others about it.'

Q&A: Fans Spoke, Brand Keys Listened, MLB Again No. 1

With baseball in full swing and the NFL coming off a campaign that saw overall viewing and ratings numbers take a hit, many people were asking, 'Can baseball reclaim its spot as the favorite sport among fans?' According to the recently released 25th annual Brand Keys Sports Loyalty Index, that has happened, with people ranking MLB No. 1 and the NFL dropping to No. 3 behind the NBA. In this Q&A, Robert Passikoff, founder and president for Brand Keys, reveals how the Chicago Cubs played a key role in moving baseball back to the top spot it last held a decade ago, how MLB is building loyalty between players and fans in ways that the NFL can not, how attitudes among fans have changed over the past quarter century and why baseball may remain No. 1 for years to come.

Led By Yankees, Cubs, MLB Teams Top $1.5B In Value

Stating that 'long gone are the days when MLB was replete with teams bleeding cashing,' a new report from Forbes shows that, on average, MLB's 30 teams are valued in excess of a record $1.5B, led by the New York Yankees ($3.5B), Los Angeles Dodgers ($2.75B), Boston Red Sox ($2.7B), World Series champion Chicago Cubs ($2.68B) and the San Francisco Giants ($2.65B); with the league's per team average trailing the NFL ($2.39B) but ahead of the average of the world's top 20 soccer teams ($1.49B), the NBA ($1.36B) and the NHL ($517M). MORE

New MLB Partner Set To Deliver Series Trophy To Cubs

For an organization involved with a lot of traveling you'd think MLB would have an official freight carrier, an untapped category until now with the league signing Old Dominion Freight Line as its partner, to be supported by mutli-media marketing, 30K MLB-branded trucks and presence at the seven ballparks where OD has team alliances, including delivering the World Series Trophy to the Chicago Cubs at the club's home opener (April 10, ESPN) in Wrigley Field. MORE

5-Hour Energy Gets Roster Spot For MLB All-Star Game

MLB games last about three hours, but the league is looking at a different time frame via a new alliance that names 5-Hour Energy drink an official partner for the '17 All-Star Game this July in Miami and also for the '18 All-Star Game in Washington Nationals Park, with the brand unveiling a limited-edition Apple Pie 5-Hour Energy sporting a MLB label and multi-media marketing to include a TV spot with José Altuve of the Houston Astros and presence during All-Star Week, which may come with the message, 'With its delicious apple pie taste, Apple Pie 5-Hour Energy is sure to deliver in the clutch.' MORE

Under New Ownership, Majestic Still In Baseball Plans

In a plan initiated last summer, VF Corp. has sold its Licensed Sports Group, anchored by Majestic Athletic, to online sports apparel retailer Fanatics, a move that will be integrated with a deal signed in December naming Under Armour as MLB's official on-field apparel supplier when the league's pact with Majestic expires in 2019 that also gave Fanatics consumer product licensing rights to distribute UA products, which created significant concern among Majestic employees until it was revealed that their factory was also part of the VF Corp.-Fanatics transaction, supported by Under Armour stating that Majestic's crew 'would continue to play a major role in building Under Armour's MLB team apparel business.' MORE

Soda Wars: Coca-Cola Reclaims MLB From Pepsi

In the world of MLB partnerships, Coca-Cola has alliances with 18 teams and Pepsi 11, but Coke has taken back the big chip by signing a multi-year pact to be the league's official soft drink, a status it last held in 1996 before  rival Pepsi moved in, complete with planned multi-platform marketing driven by two elements that had barely seen the light of day 20 years ago — digital and social media — as well as more traditional TV and print efforts, with presence at jewel events including the All-Star Game and post-season. 'Our goal is to entertain and refresh fans on a daily basis,' said Sandy Douglas, president for Coca-Cola North America. MORE

Cubs Help MLB Tackle NFL In Sports Fan Survey

It may have taken ten years, but MLB has regained the No. 1 spot it relinquished to the NFL in the new Brand Keys 25th annual Sports Fan Loyalty Index, with the NBA also moving up to second and the NFL down to third (ahead of the NHL), a situation that came as a surprise to Robert Passikoff, founder and president for NY-based Brand Keys, but one that was not completely unexpected. 'The Chicago Cubs win the World Series and fans say, 'All the support I put into them was worth the wait,' and baseball is fostering that attitude,' said Passikoff. 'But fans see the NFL treating franchises like Monopoly pieces and it is reflected in lower TV numbers and fan loyalty.' MORE

Tailgating Rules During MLB Dog Days Of Summer

MLB is famous for its dog days, those hot, oppressive games in summer when players and plays seem slow and lethargic, but MLB is also known for its Dog Days — aka Bark in the Park, Pups at the Park and Pooches in the Ballpark — when canines can go to the stadium along with their owners, with more than half the league's teams holding such events this year, supported by team marketing partners and aligned with local and national animal adoption or rescue agencies, including Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) under the auspices of three-time winning World Series manager Tony La Russa. 'Our commitment to people saving animals and animals saving people has never been stronger,' said La Russa. MORE

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


Bryzzo '17: More Dingers, Eddie Vedder

MiLB Sees Ballparks Of The Future

Nathan's Famous Named MLB Official Dog

Topps, Aramark Cook Culinary Treats For Fans

MLB Comes To Bat With New Heroes, Stars Campaign

Buster Posey Leaves Home (Plate) For Esurance

 

NEWS FROM COLLEGE 2016

NCAA Urged To Spend More On Health, Diversity Issues

A major report from the Knight Commission is urging the NCAA to increase funding for initiatives that support the health and safety of athletes and programs that will expand diversity among head football coaches as well as men's and women's hoops coaches, with the Commission — founded in 1989 to recommend and promote reforms that support and strengthen the educational mission of college sports — saying that although the NCAA has been more proactive 'it's time for them to demonstrate national leadership on health and safety issues' while also offering data showing that diversity among head coaches has not changed much since 2007, with just 10% of FBS coaches and  25% of hoops head coaches African American. MORE

NCAA Eyes Changes In Men's Hoops, March Madness

With the end goal being to 'create more excitement' and 'create a less-compressed schedule to benefit student-athletes,' the NCAA said it would spend the next six-to-12 months gathering data that could initiate such changes in men's hoops as widening the lane, extending the three-point line, reconfiguring games from two 20-minute halves to four ten-minute quarters and starting the campaign days earlier while providing a break during mid-season, some or all of which could happen for 2018-19. According to the NCAA, the Men's Basketball Rules Committee would 'conduct a holistic review of potential significant rule changes, including an examination to determine if changes would benefit the sport and help positive trends continue.' MORE

NCAA, March Madness Returning To North Carolina

Looking ahead to the 2019-22 seasons, the NCAA has unveiled more than 600 host sites for preliminary and finals games across its 90 championships, with perhaps the biggest take-away being a return to North Carolina, which the NCAA, NBA and others had previously withdrawn from due to HB2, the controversial bill that local officials said has since been amended but which major opponents claim has not. While the NCAA stated that is decisions on these host sites would 'create a great atmosphere for student-athletes, coaches and fans,' James Essecks, director for the ACLU's LGBT and HIV Project, had a different view. 'When the NCAA originally withdrew from North Carolina they did so because they claimed to care about fairness and inclusion for college athletes and fans. It's a shame to see that those concerns have already fallen by the wayside.' MORE

Nike, adidas, UA Get A Foothold On Big Dance Kicks

According to the saying, There's no business like shoe business . . .  especially if those shoes can help take you to the NCAA hoops championship, and the big three brands during March Madness are Nike which has deals with 40 schools — including No. 1 seeds Villanova, Gonzaga and UNC, as well as women's No. 1 overall seed UConn — adidas with 15 schools (including No. 1 seed Kansas) and Under Armour with ten schools plus Russell Athletic (which outfits the feet of Texas Southern), according to Apex Marketing Group, whose numbers also show that while Nike sits atop the Big Dance kicks count, they have eight fewer schools than in 2015 while Under Armour (plus six) and adidas (plus four) schools have taken those spots in the tourney this year. MORE

Citizen Watch Makes Time For College Hoops Trophy

With the NCAA Div. I Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments heading to their respective Final Fours this weekend, trophies, honors and awards for the top players and coaches from this past season will be front and center, including what is considered the most prestigious, the Naismith Trophy, which now has a presenting sponsor, Citizen Watch, just in time to see four men and four women vie to be named the college players of the year, including Lonzo Ball (UCLA), Josh Hart (Villanova), Frank Mason III (Kansas) and Caleb Swanigan (Purdue) among the men; and Naphessa Collier (UConn), Kelsey Plum (Washington), Katie Lou Samuelson (UConn) and A'Ja Wilson (South Carolina) among the women — each hoping to join a list of such previous Citizen Watch Naismith College Players of the Year as Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Breanna Stewart. MORE

NCAA Gets Real With Intel VR March Madness Partnership

With the Men's Div. I Basketball Tournament heading toward the Sweet 16, it is fitting that Intel has signed on to become the NCAA's 16th Corporate Partner — the NCAA also has three Corporate Champion alliances — which said it would enable people to access for the first time Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four and the Championship Game in VR for the first time via Intel True VR, providing the equivalent of a courtside seat with 360-degree capability and live commentary, plus an Intel VR app that will offer enhanced video highlights, stats, scoreboards and other touchpoints in and around the games. 'Intel's technology integrations during March Madness is one example of how Intel is changing the fan experience with True VR and 360 replay technology,' said James Carwana, GM for the Intel Sports Group. MORE

Cap One Will Survive Madness With Charles, Gloria Gaynor

Of all the people heading to Phoenix to see the men's Final Four and championship game, Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee are three of them, thanks to Capital One's fourth edition of 'This Is March Madness,' which sees the trio also bringing a guest, Gloria Gaynor, who in one of several new spots gets to sing her signature song, 'I Will Survive,' as part of a multi-platform campaign in which the official NCAA partner will be title sponsor for the March Madness Bracket Challenge, Capital One Jam Fest (starring Aerosmith), the Final Four FanFest and, on the women's side, presenting sponsor for Tourney Town at the Final Four in Dallas. MORE

$1.2B Ad Spend Makes Tourney 'Valuable TV Franchise'

When it comes to March, there is no shortage of Madness or marketing, with the 2017 tournament seeking to top last year's record $1.24B ad spend, driven by NCAA partners including GM ($493M), AT&T ($80M), Coca-Cola, Capital One and Unillever and such categories as automotive, telecom, financial services, restaurants and insurance; with broadcast partners CBS and Turner Sports' TBS, TNT and truTV again loaded with companies seeking to reach eyeballs and wallets from the First Four (March 14-15) through the Final Four (April 1) and Championship Game (April 3). MORE

Q&A: Ivy League Learning Lessons In Hoops Tourney 101

The Ivy League is going to a new classroom — its first post-season men's and women's basketball tournament, being played in the iconic Palestra in Philadelphia (March 11-12), with the winning teams getting a bid to the NCAA Tournament; joined by such marketing partners as presenting firm Citizens Bank, Coca-Cola, Nike and Under Armour, and games to air on ESPN platforms. But as Paul Bamundo, former marketing exec for the NBA and Subway and now CMO for Ivy League Sports — a collaboration between JMI Sports and the Ivy League — relates in this Q&A, although the Ivy League was the last NCAA hoops conference to organize a post-season event, the excitement, intensity and competition will rival that of more-established basketball tournaments.

Unhidden Figures: Hoops Tourney Means Money, Beer

By the numbers, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament starts with the First Four (March 14-15) and runs through the Final Four (April 1-April 3), with 68 teams and some 900 players seeking to be this year's real deal or Cinderella, but the numbers can be drilled down much farther, including a projected $150M economic impact on Final Four host city Phoenix, where 125K visitors will spend an average of $2,100 each, according to online financial destination WalletHub; with some 70M brackets expected to be filled out; but of equal importance: the sales of pizza and desserts will rise and the number of barrels of beer being produced will go up 3.5M to 17.5M during the month. 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

Ivy League Markets First Tourney

Hoops Final Four '22 Playing In NOLA

College B-Ball Coaches Make Call For ACS

NCAA Plays In Candy Aisle With Hershey

Marriott Books Room For Tourney Campaign

 

NEWS FROM NBA 2016-17

LeBron, Cavs See Global Reach With Goodyear Ad Deal

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed a multi-year deal with Goodyear to have the brand's Wingfoot logo appear on its jerseys beginning next season, part of the NBA's three-season pilot program that has to date seen five other teams align with companies, with the Cavs-Goodyear pact also including branded merchandise, a $1M donation to schools in Cleveland and Akron and the Cavs logo on the iconic Goodyear Blimp for promotional events. In addition to exposure in the U.S., "The NBA is growing internationally and specifically in China, where we have a significant presence,' said Rich Kramer, Goodyear chairman, CEO and president. MORE

Ainge Shines Light On Celtics, Thows Shade At Lakers

Following the NBA Draft Lottery Wednesday night (May 16), Danny Ainge, president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics, praised the growth of his team, which received the overall No. 1 draft pick even as they were preparing for their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Clevelan d Cavaliers, but stressed that it would take time for any of the numerous 18- and 19-year-old players coming into the league — including top prospects Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball — to grow into impact players. 'It's good not to have to force them into being the star of a franchise right away,' Ainge said, a reference to both the Celtics roster of established players and, perhaps, the Los Angeles Lakers situation where drafting Ball with their No. 2 overall pick would make him the franchise's center of attention. MORE

NBA G-League Gaining Teams, Partnerships, Visibility 

The Los Angeles Clippers have become the sixth NBA team since December to unveil an ownership deal with a club in the Developmental League — which is being renamed the Gatorade League beginning with the upcoming season following a multi-year alliance with the brand this past February — via the Aqua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Calif.), in association with the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahiulla Indians, which owns major resort, golfing and casino property in and around the Palm Spings area, bringing the G-League to a record 26 teams. 'This is another exciting day for the league,' said Malcolm Turner, president for the G-League, which also has seen new ownership deals from the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic over the past five months. MORE

Play It Forward: WNBA GMs Forecast Top Players, Teams

In anticipation of the 2017 season, which begins this weekend (May 13-14), a dozen WNBA GMs have given their predictions for the coming campaign, selecting the Minnesota Lynx to win the franchise's fourth championship, Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics to be named MVP, Kelsey Plum of the San Antonio Stars as ROY, Diana Taurasi as best guard, Maya Moore as best forward, Minnesota's Cheryl Reeve as coach of the year and the Mystics as the most improved team. MORE

Jack Daniel's Ad Envisions NBA Team In Lynchburg

Since becoming an official NBA partner in January, Jack Daniel's has been very active in promoting the alliance, including initial print ads featuring the company's founder and activation during All-Star Game week, but now the brand is unveiling its first NBA-themed ad, which offers up the premise that hometown Lynchburg, Tenn., deserves an expansion franchise, despite its population of less than 600, with residents going all-out to pitch commissioner Adam Silver with banners, foam fingers, newspaper headlines, a mock-up of a hoops arena and even a cameo from Hall of Famer Bill Walton. MORE

NBA Sending 17 Teams Into New eLeague Competition

Led by teams that have appeared in the last 13 finals, including three of the past four champs, the NBA said 17 of its clubs will participate in the upcoming NBA 2K eLeague competition, scheduled to launch in 2018, with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat heading up a field that also includes the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards. 'This is the first step in what promises to be an extraordinary league,' said NBA 2K eLeague managing director Brendan Donohue. MORE

Under Armour Ready To Activate At NBA Draft Combine

The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 22, but first comes weeks of player evaluation, beginning with the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago May 11-12, with nearly 70 of the top incoming prospects invited to display their basketball skills for coaches, GMs and executives, all 'Powered by Under Armour,' during which the first-time lead sponsor of the event will seek to enhance the role it has at the NFL Scouting Combine, including supplying all players with NBA Draft Authentic Combine jerseys, shorts, workout gear, backpacks, Athlete Recovery Sleepwear and Curry 3Zero kicks — with limited-edition amounts of product available in the Under Armour Chicago Brand House before going national this fall — in addition to working with the NBA this week on several cause marketing and community efforts. MORE

NBA Stars Show Love, Respect For WNBA Game, Players

The NBA post-season may be in full swing, but NBA stars are also thinking about the start of the WNBA campaign on May 13 in a new multi-media effort anchored by a spot in which such players as Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, DeMar DeRozen, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeAndre Jordan, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson show the love and respect for the WNBA and its players, even calling out some game-changers by name, among them Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore and Candace Parker. MORE

Top Hoops Exec Tapped To Lead NBA 2K eLeague

The NBA 2K eSports League, unveiled in February with a launch scheduled for 2018, now has a top executive, Brendan Donohue, the NBA's svp-team marketing and business operations, who has been assigned to 'ramp up this venture in record time,' with immediate goals being to determine which NBA teams will be participating, oversee the process to select a squad of gamers for each franchise and jump-start the competition. 'The league will have all the structure and polish of the NBA coupled with the thrills and engagement of our NBA 2K franchise,' said Strauss Zelnick, CEO for 2K parent company Take-Two. MORE

Curry, Warriors Still Driving NBA Jersey, Merch Sales

The Golden State Warriors have again finished with the best record in the NBA, a rewarding advantage for them in the upcoming playoffs and a rewarding result in marketing and sales, with Stephen Curry for the second season leading the league in jersey sales and the Warriors sitting atop team merchandise sales, according to NBAStore.com results from the beginning of the 2016-17 campaign, with LeBron James coming in second in jersey sales and his Cleveland Cavailers No. 2 in team merchandise, but James' and teammate Kyrie Irving were the leaders in shoe sales, with their respective Nike lines outpacing all other players. MORE

LeBron, Adriana Tell Kids 'We Need More Scientists'

Athletes such as LeBron James, Drew Brees, Karl-Anthony Towns, Joey Logano and David Villa know how much hard work and sacrifice it takes to become a pro player, just as model Adriana Lima and actress Zendaya understand the years of dedication it takes to get high-paid jobs in their fields, but they all come together in Verizon's Innovative Learning campaign, 'We Need More . . .' to tell kids 'We don't need more LeBrons, more Drews or more Adrianas, we need more scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians — the STEM fields — which are growing and well-paying professions that can help to improve the future of the world.' MORE

Global Games Helps NBA To Strengthen Ties With China

As part of its on-going efforts to build alliances with and create more inroads to fans and consumers in China, the NBA is continuing to send top stars to the nation under its Global Games platform, with the Golden State Warriors — led by Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — scheduled to play two pre-season games this coming October against the Minnesota Timberwolves with Karl-Anthony towns, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio; part of the NBA's strategy that also includes games airing on TV and streaming live, a dedicated China Web site, offices in three cities, products sold in some 50K locations and a NBA Playzone family-themed destination in Shanghai, as well as off-season tours by LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Curry, Durant and others spearheaed by the likes of Nike, adidas and Under Armour. 'We are proud that after these games, nearly half of the NBA teams will have played live in front of fans in China,' said David Shoemaker, CEO for NBA China. 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

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

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

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 NBAStore.com, 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

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.