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NEWS REAL

• 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.

• The U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, and social impact education innovator EVERFI, Inc. have oined the students of Santee Elementary School in San Jose to launch The Compassion Project for the 2019-2020 school year, described as a “national nonprofit dedicated to providing compassion education to elementary school students across the U.S.”

• The U.S. Golf Association has aligned with Marvel Entertainment to create exclusive golf education products to “engage junior golfers on the essential elements to learning the game." Scheduled to launch in June at the 2019 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach, the collaboration features printed and digital comic books with many of Marvel’s super heroes The story follows Tony Stark (Iron Man) and other Avengers as they teach the next generation of Marvel Super Heroes about golf. Limited-edition Marvel-themed golf posters will be distributed (while supplies last) at the Junior Experience at the 2019 U.S. Open.

• Major League Lacrosse has signed a deal with Anheuser-Busch to have its Bud Light brand become the official beer partner for the 2019 MLL All-Star Game, being played in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD on July 27. The deal includes “prominent signage on the playing field, fan zone activation and various on-site promotions at several sports bars and retail locations in the Greater Annapolis area leading up to the All-Star Game.”

• 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).

Wednesday
Mar142018

Vin Scully Helps Kingsford Charcoal Get Fired Up For MLB Deal, Opening Day

By Barry Janoff

March 14, 2018: Several years ago, Kingsford Charcoal began a campaign, “Opening Day Is Back,” in which it encouraged people to take the afternoon off to watch the first games of the MLB season, with marketing support that included signing a petition to declare Opening Day as a national holiday.

The holiday never materialize but that has not discouraged Kingsford Charcoal from trying even harder.

The brand returns this season with its “Opening Day” mantra, but with more support.

Kingsford has signed as an official partner with MLB, and is supporting the deal with a new multi-media campaign that features a lineup of heavers-hitters, including David “Big Papi” Ortiz, Vin Scully, Johnny Bench and Noah Syndergaard.

MLB opening day is March 29, when for the first time since 1968 every team will be in action.

Kingsford Charcoal joins a growing list of brands signed as MLB partners in 2018, including Snapple, SuperCuts and Mitel as its “official business technology and communications partner.”

MLB has also expanded its alliance with YouTube TV and signed with Facebook to air for the first time games exclusively on a social media platform via Facebook Watch.

Continuing in the food category, MLB is hosting its first FoodFest next month in New York, in which each of the 30 MLB teams will contribute a dish being offered this season in their respective ballparks.

Kingsford Charcoal’s motivation to have people to take the afternoon off on Thursday, March 29 to enjoy Opening Day: “Because whether you're planning to fire up your tailgate in the stadium parking lot, or gather around the grill from the comfort of your own backyard, nothing goes together quite like baseball and barbecue.”

"What could be more distinctively American than baseball and barbecue?" Lauren Kahn, studio lead for Kingsford Charcoal, said in a statement.

“Both are all about family and friends, food and fun and tradition. We're fired up to partner with MLB to help fans celebrate America's favorite pastime – at the ballpark, in their own backyards and hopefully around the grill with great company, great food and great baseball."

The multi-media campaign features a TV spot, “Opening Day is Officially Back,” in which Scully, Bench, Ortiz and Syndergaard are seen trying to recruit people to the “take the day off” cause.

Scully, in a golden voice that called Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers games for 67 seasons (1950-2016) on radio and TV, offers, “Opening Day is back. Go out and tell it to the world.”

Bench gets on the phone and randomly calls people while Syndergaard stands on a rooftop with a megaphone shouting, “Opening Day is not a national holiday but it should be. Who wants a hot dog?”

Ortiz goes to offices to talk with workers, urging them to “Go fire up the grill.” One woman gets so excited she jumps out of her chair and yells to her co-workers, “I’m not $&%#-ing coming into the office on March 29.”

Scully returns to say, “Thanks friends. You’ve helped Kingsford and MLB take back Opening Day.”

The campaign also features Internet, social media, POP and in-stadium activation.

An interactive digital leg, “Backyard All-Stars powered by Vivoom,” directs people to create a video of themselves or their kids “swinging for the fences to the call of some of MLB's most beloved announcers, including famous calls by Scully, Joe Buck and Ken 'The Hawk' Harrelson.”

People who upload their video will be entered for a chance to win a VIP trip to the 2018 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Washington, D.C. (Details here.)

Kingsford has created a dedicated spot to explain the "Backyard All-Stars” process.

Kingsford is planning a special event on March 29 with the Texas Rangers, which hosts the defending World Series champion Houston Astros on Opening Day. According to Kingsford, people in attendance will be able to celebrate with complimentary barbecue.

(According to Kingsford, for a chance to be part of the event, tag @Kingsford on Twitter with #OpeningDayIsBack and continue to follow Kingsford on its social channels.)

According to Scully, "Having had the pleasure of calling games for 67 years, I've seen my fair share of Opening Days . . . and nights and weekends. I couldn't be more excited to team up with Kingsford this season to celebrate that the original 'Opening Day Is Back' in all its glory!"

Added Ortiz, ”In my playing days, I found every opportunity to grill out, but obviously never got a chance to tailgate while in-season. A perk of retirement is celebrating Opening Day by firing up the charcoal grill for an epic day of baseball and barbecue. I hope all baseball fans do the same — doesn't matter if it's at the ballpark or in the backyard, just grill, chill and cheer on your favorite team."

MLB hit a record one-season mark in 2017 with sponsorship deals totaling a $892 million, up 7.9% from $827 million in 2016 and up nearly $230 million from 2013, according to research and consulting firm ESP Properties, Chicago.

MLB sponsorship has risen steadily over the past several years, from $663 million in 2013,  $695 million in 2014, $778 million in 2015 and $827 million in 2016, per ESP.

MLB Builds Food Field Of Dreams

MLB Says In Your Facebook With $30M Deal

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