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• 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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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).

Tuesday
Oct232018

With MLL, PLL, Is Lacrosse At Crossroads Of Mainstream Marketing, Olympics?

By Barry Janoff

October 22, 2018: Paul Rabil, an icon in the sport of lacrosse, is at the forefront of a new league, Premiere Lacrosse League, scheduled to begin play in June, with media partner NBC Sports and with backers that include Creative Artists Agency and investment firms The Raine Group, The Chernin Group and Blum Capital.

According to Paul’s brother, Mike Rabil, a businessman and investor who is the league’s co-founder,  PLL will provide players with full-time wages, equity in PLL and benefits — “becoming the first major North American professional team sports league that offers equity to the players.”

With a scheduled start of June 1, all leagues games in its planned 14-week season will be presented live across NBC Sports Group’s broadcast, cable, digital, and direct-to-consumer platforms.

“We are excited to partner with one of the world’s greatest lacrosse players, Paul Rabil, and his brother Mike on this innovative and revolutionary new league,” Jon Miller, president, programming for NBC Sports, said via the network.

The arrival of PLL coincides with a major overhaul at 18-year-old Major League Lacrosse, which is in the process of rebranding itself and enhancing its marketing and activation platforms.

“Along with the significant modifications and improvements that MLL has made to the league this year, we knew it was essential to refresh our brand image,” commissioner Alexander Brown said via MLL.

Key among the changes was a 51% increase in the salary cap.

“After speaking with players, sponsors and fans throughout last season, we are refocusing our brand to align with our consumer.," said Brown.

Boston-headquartered MLL’s non-endemic sponsors currently include Coca-Cola, Powerade, adidas, New Balance and ’47 headwear. This past season it aired games on CBS Sports platforms.

PLL has not as yet named marketing partners.

It also comes as various organizations in the sport are seeking to expand their audience, marketing opportunities and position regarding potential inclusion in the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Lacrosse is among the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. but is still at a niche level.

According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, lacrosse participation is up 35% since 2012.

Lacrosse participation on organized teams topped a record 826,000, according to the most recent numbers from U.S. Lacrosse, the national body for the sport in the U.S. In addition, the number of youth players has topped 450,000 for the first time.

“Lacrosse continues to be the fastest-growing team sport at the high school and collegiate levels,” according to U.S. Lacrosse. “Over the last five years, the number of schools sponsoring lacrosse at the high school level has risen 27%, and the number of NCAA schools sponsoring lacrosse has grown 33%.

However, reaching a mainstream audience and reaching a global stage at the Olympics, has not yet happened.

Field lacrosse was a medal sport in the 1904 and the 1908 Summer Olympics. In the 1928, 1932, and the 1948 Summer Olympics, lacrosse was a demonstration sport.

Efforts were made to include lacrosse as an exhibition sport in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, but failed because the International Olympic Committee felt the game did not have enough global involvement.

Last week, leaders of nine national men’s and women’s lacrosse organizations met “to share organizational priorities, strengthen relationships and expand collaboration on common objectives.. They include MLL, National League Lacrosse, the United Women’s Lacrosse League, the United Women’s League and both the Intercollegiate Women’s and Men’s Coaches Association.

According to U.S. Lacrosse, those in attendance “agreed to increase cooperation on several shared priorities, including collaborative efforts to introduce the sport to more diverse communities, build the pool of youth coaches and officials, address cultural concerns related to alcohol and drug use in the sport,and support the goal of lacrosse inclusion in the 2028 Olympic Games.”

Premier Lacrosse League said it would “deliver what the lacrosse community has been seeking: a true home for the sport with the best players, a strong business model, significant financial support, national media coverage through an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group and a unique touring structure that will better serve players and fans.”

According to Paul Rabil, “We’re building the professional sports league that lacrosse deserves. The best players in the world will be showcased like never before, thanks to a unique touring model, a robust media-rights partnership and player content strategy.

“Additionally, our players will be owners in the PLL, contributing to the build, competition, and ultimate success of the league. This is a product that aligns a league and the players like never before, serving a passionate fan base that deserves access to the sport nationwide, at state-of-the-art venues, and on screens everywhere.”

MLL said it has distributed RFPs to a “select group of agencies” as part of its plan to undertake a “comprehensive rebranding initiative.”

The effort would include a revamping of the MLL logo, Web site, branding on all marketing and communications materials and all league branded apparel and merchandise.

Once an agency has been signed, the project is “expected to take several months, but will be released before the 2019 MLL season.”

The changes will build on those already unveiled by MLL, including an increase in the salary cap, an expansion of the game schedule, adding a player to the game day active roster and moving the start of the season after Memorial Day, which will now begin on May 31, 2019.

"The best players in the world will be showcased like never before, thanks to a unique touring model, a robust media-rights partnership and player content strategy."

The inaugural PLL season is scheduled to begin June 1.

The 14-week season will have stops in 12 major-market cities across the country, including ten regular-season weekends, one all-star weekend and two playoff weekends, according to PLL.

The championship weekend is scheduled for Sept. 21.

NBC Sports will air 17 games on NBC Sports Network and two on NBC, all of which will also be streamed via authentication on NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app.

NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer live streaming product powered by Playmaker Media – will live stream 20 games exclusively for its subscribers.

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