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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

SEARCH

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EA Sports: NHL 20 Trailer See More Ads Below

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
Jan242018

LeBron James Pitches Sprite as Baseball Alter Ego Big Taste In New Campaign

By Barry Janoff

January 24, 2018: MLB pitchers and catchers are not scheduled to report for Spring Training until the week of February 12, but don’t tell that to LeBron James, who gets his MLB groove on in a new multi-media campaign from Sprite in which he stars as ace relief pitcher Big Taste.

The effort, "Big Taste Cuts Through,” is intended to show "Sprite's ability to cut through thirst with its cool, crisp, clear, caffeine free taste,” according to the brand.

James, who has been a product endorser since joining the NBA in 2003, has openly talked about being a fan of the New York Yankees.

Here, he gets to channel former Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera (albeit with facial hair closer to Baseball Hall of Fame relief pitcher Rollie Fingers), coming out of the bullpen in a close game to strike out feared hitter Thirst.

“It was fun to do something different and play the role of what felt more like an alter ego in Big Taste,” James said in a statement.

“Sprite is always coming up with creative ways to tell their story that connect with fans, and this time that meant pulling on the stirrups and taking the mound for that big strikeout, which is something you dream about doing as a kid.”

A 60-second spot that anchors the campaign will be supported by Internet and social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hash tag “#WannaSprite.”

Sprite said that we would “continue to see Big Taste over the next few weeks” as the real 2018 MLB season approaches.

Lead agency is Wieden + Kennedy New York.

The spot also features Oakland-based rapper Kamaiyah (Interscope Records), who plays James’s catcher, “Ice-Ya.”

Kamaiyah this past summer was part of the Sprite Cold Lyrics Series, featuring limited-edition Sprite packaging that displayed lyrics from six musicians, also including Vince Staples, Lil Yachty, DRAM, Vic Mensa and Kap G.

Each artist was chosen by Sprite “because of their unique perspective and reputation for staying true to themselves.”

According to Dipal Shah, director of integrated marketing content, Sprite, “Bringing a basketball player and hip-hop artist together to cut through thirst unmistakably makes for a lot of fun content.

“For us, it’s always 'Sprite Season,' so we’re excited to kick this campaign off and to share all of the refreshing moments that we’ve captured with Sprite fans over the next couple of months,” said Shah.

The lead spot, which takes place in a nondescript stadium outfitted with Sprite signage and lemon-lime colors, is filled with baseball images integrated with Sprite references.

“If you’re just joining us we have a scorcher of a Sprite commercial here,” a voiceover/game announcer says as the door to the bullpen opens.

We see the back of a player, with Big Thirst and number 12 oz. on his jersey. “He looks a lot like LeBron James,” says the voiceover.

As James faces the batter Thirst (wearing jersey 99-degrees), catcher Ice-Ya/Kamaiyah gives a sign by shaking a glass filled with ice cubes.

James, wearing a Spirite lime-green glove that has been chilled in a freezer and a pair of custom Nike baseball cleats, uses a Sprite can instead of a ball. When he pitches, and the batter swings and misses, the umpire calls, “Sprrrrrrr-ite.”

The crowd cheers and then each of the fans drink a Sprite in unison.

"Continuing the lightheartedness of the ‘Wanna Sprite’ integrated marketing campaign, we wanted to find a fun way to remind consumers of the big taste that a cool, crisp and refreshing Sprite has,” Bobby Oliver, brand director, for Sprite, said in a statement.

“We decided to put LeBron James and Kamaiyah together in a larger-than-life environment that we’re not typically used to seeing them in, and the result is pretty refreshing.”

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