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NEWS REAL

• ESPN’s X Games Minneapolis 2019 (Aug. 1-4 U.S. Bank Stadium, ESPN, ESPN2, ABC) has signed Wendy’s as an official sponsor, joining returning sponsors Harley-Davidson, Hotels.com, Monster Energy, Nexcare First Aid Products, Pacifico, SoFi and The Real Cost (FDA). Geico will again serve as the official music stage sponsor.

On-site activation in X Fest is provided by Marvel, Go RVing, US Marines, TINCUP Whiskey, TRIA, FloWater, Star Tribune, Shred Hate, 93X, The CW, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Lynx, MN United, City Pages, GO MN, iHeart Radio and Minnesota Wild.

• ESPN said that the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Championship – won by Novak Djokovic over Roger Federer 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12 (7-3) – earned an overnight rating of 3.0 for its more than five hours of coverage up 114% vs. the championship match a year ago for Djokovic vs. Kevin Anderson. The match peaked at its conclusion with a 4.6 rating. At 4:57, it was the longest match of the Gentlemen’s Singles tournament this year and the longest Gentlemen’s Singles final in Wimbledon history. It also was the first men’s singles Major championship to be decided by a tie-break.

• New York Life has signed as a founding partner of the ESPN-owned ACC Network, the national network dedicated to Atlantic Coast Conference sports coverage, scheduled to launch Aug. 22. New York Life remains the official life insurance company of the ACC as well as the exclusive presenting sponsor of the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament which airs across the ESPN and ACC networks. 

• The Baseball Hall of Fame has signed a deal with VIDSIG, Inc., a San Francisco-based software company that offers live one-on-one video interactions between athletes and fans. The technology will allow Hall of Famers to “hold virtual meet-and-greets or autograph sessions through the use of a computer from the comfort of the athletes' homes.”

• 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

AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 Starter Pool

  • Liz Cambage, Aces
  • Elena Delle Donne, Mystics
  • Chelsea Gray, Sparks
  • Brittney Griner, Mercury
  • Natasha Howard, Storm
  • Jonquel Jones, Sun
  • Jewell Loyd, Storm
  • Kayla McBride, Aces
  • Kia Nurse, Liberty
  • A‘ja Wilson, Aces

AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019, featuring Team Delle Donne vs. Team Wilson, is scheduled for July 27 in the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas (ABC 3:30 PM ET).

KEEPING SCORE

The Top 25 MiLB Teams With Best-Selling Merchandise (alphabetically, with MLB affiliate):

  • Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies)
  • Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees)
  • Charlotte Knights (White Sox)
  • Columbia Fireflies (Mets)
  • Columbus Clippers (Indians)
  • Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)
  • Durham Bulls (Rays)
  • El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres)
  • Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres)
  • Gwinnett Stripers (Braves)
  • Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies)
  • Indianapolis Indians (Pirates)
  • Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins)
  • Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies)
  • Nashville Sounds (Rangers)
  • Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox)
  • Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox)
  • Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants)
  • Rochester Red Wings (Twins)
  • Sacramento River Cats (Giants)
  • Salt Lake Bees (Angels)
  • San Antonio Missions (Brewers)
  • Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)
  • Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers)
  • Trenton Thunder (Yankees)

SOURCE: MiLB

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office July 5-7
1. Spider-Man:Far From Home $45.3M
2. Toy Story 4 $20.7M
3. Crawl $12M
4. Stuber $8M
5. Yesterday $6.8M
6. Aladdin $5.9M
7. Annabelle Comes Home $5.6M
8. Midsommar $3.4M
9. Secret Life of Pets 2 $3.1M
10. MIB International $2.2M
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).

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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