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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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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
Feb152017

Main Event: WWE, Stars See Engagement Rise On TV, Social Media, Live Events

By Barry Janoff

February 15, 2017: WWE plays big, works big and has seen big results from fans, followers and marketers.

Last week, WWE said that revenue in 2016 increased 11% to $729.2 million, the highest in the company’s history, including record levels of revenue from its network, television, live event, venue merchandise and WWE Shop segments, according to the company’s financial year-end report.

Now comes word that the WWE has just eclipsed 750 million social media followers across 16 global social media platforms, which it said "further cements its position as one of the most-followed brands in the world."

According to WWE, digital engagement "continued to grow over the past year with video views up 56% to more than 15.1 billion and social media engagements up 45% to 1.1 billion from 2015."

Among the leaders not just for WWE but celebrities and athletes, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has almost 11 million followers on Twitter and more than 57.6 million likes on Facebook.

John Cena has more than 9 million Twitter followers and tops 43.3 million Facebook likes.

The Bella Twins have nearly 17 million followers combined on Facebook and Twitter.

Also among the WWE leaders are Undertaker (17.1 million Facebook likes), Roman Reigns (16.8 million Facebook likes), Randy Orton (13.8 million Facebook likes, 5.1 million Twitter followers), Triple H (12.2 million Facebook, 4.6 million Twitter), "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (7.9 million Facebook, 3.7 million Twitter), Shawn Michaels (7.8 million Facebook, 3.5 million Twitter) and Sheamus (7.8 million Facebook, 3.7 million Twitter).

WWE Network subscribers watched a total of 294 million hours of content (up 15% from 256 million in 2015), yielding an average of 194 hours per household that places it among top cable and broadcast networks

By claiming more than 12 billion video views in the last 12 months and more than 14 million subscribers, WWE said it is the "No. 1 sports channel on YouTube, ahead of the NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, ESPN, Nascar and FIFA."

Last year WWE received the Diamond Play Button, YouTube’s highest honor, after surpassing 10 million subscribers, joining Taylor Swift, The Ellen Show and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
 
Among other big WWE numbers on social media:

• WWE’s Facebook page has more than 36 million followers.

• With 43.2M followers on Facebook, John Cena is the most followed active U.S. athlete on the platform  

• WWE’s Twitter page has more than 8.7 million followers

• On Instagram, WWE has 11.6M followers

And with all of that, WWE said that Snapchat is its fastest growing social platform.

WrestleMania 32, held last April 3 in AT&T Stadium north of Dallas, generated $170.4 million in direct, indirect and induced impact derived from spending by visitors to the Dallas/Arlington region — including $25 million spent on hotels and accommodations and $8.4 million in area restaurants — and also generated about $23.8 million in federal, state and local taxes, according to a study conducted for WWE by the Enigma Research Corp.

WWE said that was a new record for WrestleMania’s economic impact and marked the fifth consecutive year that WrestleMania generated more than $100 million in economic impact for its host region.

In addition, the crowd of 101,763 fans in AT&T Stadium (home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys) made it the highest-grossing and best-attended event in WWE history.

WrestleMania 33 is scheduled for April 2 in the Orlando Citrus Bowl.

PHOTOS: COURTESY WWE

WrestleMania 32 Set Fan, Financial Marks

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