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NEWS REAL

• Nascar has signed a deal to acquire International Speedway Corp. in a transaction valued at $2 billon. ISC owns and operates venues including Talladega Superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, Kansas Speedway, ISM Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Darlington Raceway, and Watkins Glen International.

ISC also owns Motor Racing Network, the nation's largest independent sports radio network; and Americrown, a subsidiary that provides catering services, and food and beverage concessions.

• FIFA has postponed plans to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams for the 2022 event in Qatar. The plan is still being considered for the 2026 World Cup, which will be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. According to FIFA, “(There was not enough) time for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact.” The World Cup is scheduled for Nov. 21-Dec. 18, 2022.

• The NFL and NFL Players Association have unveiled two joint agreements that are intended to “support further resources directed to address pain management and behavioral health.” Full story here.

• Stating that “we are continually seeking opportunities to evolve our product offerings,’ Kohl’s has signed an exclusive long-term alliance with Fanatics, a global leader in licensed sports merchandise with the addition of “hundreds of thousands of items.” Full story here.

• Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, co-founders of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, have launched with The ALS Assn. the 5th anniversary of “Challenge Me” with a “new call to action to reignite the passion and generosity of the millions of people who dumped ice water on their heads in the summer of 2014.” 

POLL POSITION

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named the 23 players who will represent the U.S. in France and seek to defend their FIFA Women’s World Cup crown (July 7-Aug.7).

GOALKEEPERS

Adrianna Franch* (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris** (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher** (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS
Abby Dahlkemper* (NC Courage), Tierna Davidson* (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn* (NC Courage), Ali Krieger*** (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara*** (Utah Royals FC), Becky Sauerbrunn*** (Utah Royals FC), Emily Sonnett* (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS
Morgan Brian** (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz** (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan* (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle* (Washington Spirit), Allie Long* (Reign FC), Samantha Mewis* (NC Courage)
FORWARDS
Tobin Heath*** (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd**** (Sky Blue FC), Jessica McDonald* (NC Courage), Alex Morgan*** (Orlando Pride), Christen Press** (Utah Royals FC), Mallory Pugh* (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe*** (Reign FC)
* First Women’s World Cup
** Second Women’s World Cup
*** Third Women’s World Cup
**** Fourth Women’s World Cup

KEEPING SCORE

Luka Dončić, Trae Young Head NBA All-Rookie Team
Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young have been unanimously selected to the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Dončić and Young both received NBA All-Rookie First Team votes on all 100 ballots to finish with 200 points each.  They are joined on the NBA All-Rookie First Team by Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (195 points; 95 First Team votes), Memphis Grizzlies forward-center Jaren Jackson Jr. (159 points; 60 First Team votes) and Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III (156 points; 56 First Team votes).

The 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Second Team includes LA Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (138 points), Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (132), Clippers guard Landry Shamet (85), New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (77) and Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (45).

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office May 17-19
1. John Wick 3 $57M
2. Avengers: Endgame $29.4M
3. Pokemon Detective Pikachu $24.8M
4. A Dog’s Journey $8M
5. The Hustle $6M
6. The Intruder $4M
7. Long Shot $3.4M
8,. The Sun Is Also A Star $2.6M
9. Poms $2M
10. Uglydolls $1.6M
Source: Box Office Mojo

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COLLEGE

BodyArmor Into NCAA
No. 1 Colleges Since '92
Notre Dame Builds Brand
Cancer Drives Home
Men's Hoops Are 'Toxic'

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
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 6 Chicago Bears v Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 13 Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football).

Saturday
Sep052015

Q&A: For ESPN's U.S. Open Coverage, Voya Financial Orange Is The New Track

By Barry Janoff

September 5, 2015: When spending time in New York, people enjoy painting the town red.

Thanks to an alliance with Voya Financial, ESPN is painting its coverage of the U.S. Open in New York orange.

When Voya Financial began its company-wide rebranding last year from ING, it took a road that ultimately led it to ESPN and the self-proclaimed "Worldwide Leader In Sports" coverage of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open (now through Sept. 13).

As a sponsor of ESPN’s first year of exclusive 14-day wall-to-wall U.S. Open coverage, Voya has been able to present its rebranding message — "Orange Money: The  money you save for tomorrow, today" — and company strategy via integrated activation, including ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3; Internet, social media destinations such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube as well as other on-air presence.

As it did during Wimbledon (June 29-July 12), the agreement includes significant commercial inventory, plus live "Voya Bench Talk” segments with accompanying graphics and audio mentions and Voya on-screen branding during ESPN's 360-degree “freeD” replay technology, which was tested at Wimbledon but has made its full-fledged debut at the U.S. Open.

A key part of Voya's marketing tactic includes an alliance with former tennis player, coach and current ESPN tennis analyst and commentator Brad Gilbert. Gilbert reprises during the U.S. Open a role in which he appeared in six original Voya-produced videos throughout ESPN's Wimbledon coverage by starring in six new videos, again explaining such tennis terms as "Paint the Lines," "Bagels and Breadsticks" and "Moonball." Each video concludes with text that reads, “Brad Gilbert: Changing the Way You Think About Tennis. Voya Financial: Changing the Way You Think About Retirement.

The deal with ESPN enables Voya to get its message out to consumers without becoming an official partner of the U.S. Tennis Assn. or the U.S. Open itself.

"Clearly from a Voya perspective and other partners, the ability to weave that content throughout our platforms, to be able to put it in more places, to be able to provide more access points for the content and the relationship with sponsors, it’s something that we certainly think is going to be a big step up for us and a step up for our partners throughout the two weeks," Scott Guglielmino, svp-programming for ESPN, told NYSportsJournalism during a pre-U.S. Open media conference call.

NYSportsJournalism spoke with Ann Glover, CMO for Voya Financial, about the strategy in aligning with ESPN and Brad Gilbert, the challenges of rebranding — "Voya is an abstract name coined from the word 'voyage,'"  Glover explained when the rebranding process began in mid-2014. "It reflects momentum and optimism, and a view towards the future" — and the company's other new and on-going marketing plans to reach consumers.

NYSportsJournalism.com: What was the internal strategy to align Voya and the company's rebranding process with ESPN, in particular during Wimbledon and currently the U.S. Open?

Ann Glover: We are at the first-year anniversary of unveiling the Voya rebrand to consumers. We study and think a lot about who those consumers are and what they like to do. One thing that we know is that they like to watch tennis, and that the demographics are in equal numbers between men and women. So that puts tennis in a very desirable spot for us. The other thing that we love, which we did at Wimbledon and that we are doing at the U.S. Open, is that with the tennis tournament we have the opportunity, especially with a new brand, to get our message in front of consumers multiple times throughout the duration of the tournament. That's really important to us. The third thing is that tennis as a sports property offers us the opportunity to talk to consumers not just during the broadcast but through social media, digital advertising, other activations. Even though it's also the start of football season, people, especially in and around New York, are talking about tennis and the U.S. Open. We knew we could do an integrated program around tennis.

NYSJ: Have you been able to access the impact of working with ESPN during Wimbledon?

AG: We had very good results from Wimbledon in terms of numbers of impressions across multiple channels. We had more than four million paid and organic consumer views of our Brad Gilbert series, which is really good. The campaign also generated earned media placement across more than 40 online news and sports outlets. Those outlets attract a combined 250 million unique visitors a month. The whole goal with the new brand is to keep the Voya name in front of the consumer for as much of the year as we can. So with Wimbledon, we were able to extend our media presence into the beginning of the summer. And we have a really nice fall schedule that is going to kick in. But the U.S. Open becomes a bookend for the end of the summer and the beginning of our fall media schedule. So it's way for us to get that awareness back up in gear.

NYSJ: How important is it for Voya that this is ESPN's first year of exclusive wall-to-wall coverage of the U.S. Open?

AG: It's great to be able to work with them to get our message across on multiple levels across multiple platforms. We know that anything on ESPN gets lots and lots of views. One example: ESPN on Instagram features photos of the day, and some of those will be brought to you by Voya. Along with commercial inventory we will have the 'Voya Bench Talk Series.' And this is really cool. ESPN is using a new system, a 360-degree 'freeD' replay technology (in Arthur Ashe Stadium) where they have (28) cameras set up around the court, which we are sponsoring and will have on-screen branding. They tested it at Wimbledon but are using it for the entire U.S. Open. We will also highlight on ESPN's digital platforms our sponsorship of the tennis home page, various banner media, promoted video tweets and Voya-created social content.

NYSJ: Brad Gilbert was part of Voya's platform at Wimbledon. How did that come about and what have the results been to date?

AG: Brad Gilbert is a fun guy And it's fun to hear him talk about using the 'Gilbert Glossary' to help people think in a different way about tennis. And we are tying that in to our platform about how people can think differently about retirement. Each video ends with the text, 'Brad Gilbert: Changing the Way You Think About Tennis. Voya Financial: Changing the Way You Think About Retirement.' It supports the optimistic, forward-thinking tone of our brand and the way in which we want consumers to start thinking about their retirement, and how Voya can help them.

NYSJ: Was he the guy you wanted from the outset to carry your message?

AG: Absolutely. What we loved about Brad is that he is an announcer, he is an ESPN celebrity, so he has maintained his public profile in transitioning from player to being an on-air personality. And he's a real guy.  He fun and he enjoys what he is doing. At Wimbledon, we dressed him in Wimbledon white; at the U.S. Open, he's dressed in Voya orange.

NYSJ: You mentioned being at the one-year anniversary of rebranding to Voya. Are people aware of the change and responding to it, through your activations in tennis and elsewhere?

AG: We have seen that it is gaining traction. In the many areas where we are getting the message out through our distributors, there has been unbelievable awareness about the Voya brand. And the consumer numbers are also clicking up very steadily. We love the fact that people are connecting Voya with the whole idea that we are helping people be better prepared for retirement by planning, investing and protecting their savings. They are connecting Voya with a better path to retirement.

NYSJ: When you talk about the demographics of tennis being split between men and women, how does that translate to the demographics of your consumers?

AG: We have found that in many cases, the financial decision-makers are women. This is interesting: If you ask men who makes the financial decisions in the family they say 'I do.' If you ask women, they say 'We do.'

NYSJ: Considering that Serena Williams and Roger Federer are in their 30s and, in tennis terms, are nearing retirement, have you considered having them as Voya spokespersons?

AG: We don't have deals with them. But let's put it this way: We are always on the lookout for new ideas and new people to help us. To help us bring the idea to life that we are committed to change the way that people think about retirement. The fact that they are going to be moving into a different phase of their lives does tie-in to what we are getting across, that moving on to the next part of your life is challenging but can be very enjoyable. Retirement planning is so easy to put off. And we are trying to make it much more in the present and more relevant. So if talking about Serena and Roger retiring does get people thinking about their own retirement plans, they should know that with Voya, retirement plans are based on individuals and what they want.

NYSJ: Beyond tennis, what has Voya been doing to support the rebranding process?

AG: We recently won an award from a life insurance marketing organization for a 'Born to Save' program we ran last year during National Save For Retirement Week. The headline was, 'We are helping the next generation take its first step toward retirement readiness.' We were expecting about 10,000 babies to be born (during that week), and for every baby who was born on the first day of National Save For Retirement Week in October we offered a $500 mutual fund investment. We had 1,000s of babies signed up by their parents. So when we say we want to change the way people think about retirement, it's not immediately obvious that you would link newborns with retirement. It was different enough that people stood up and took notice. It received great traction in traditional media, social, digital. We have a lot of data which shows that when people see your brand in more than one media format there is a significant increase in awareness.

NYSJ: Specifically with Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, is the plan to have people associate retirement with being active rather than sitting on a chair and not doing anything?

AG: Yes. People today want the retirement phase of their lives to be better. It should be an after-party. It should be better than your working life. People are living longer, so when you retire you still have a lot of years left to enjoy yourself.

NYSJ: What does Voya have planned beyond the U.S. Open?

AG: We are looking for consumer passion-points. It could be sports but there are a lot of interests that motivate people — cooking and travel, just as examples — into which we can tie and create an integrated program. To use all of the forms of media at our disposal to bring that to life. We know that integration is a great way to capture the attention of customers. It's smart, it's efficient and it works.

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