• For the 15th consecutive year, ESPN will present the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship in its entirety, with the 15-game, 16-team tournament beginning with regional action March 29-31 and concluding with the Frozen Four on April 11 and 13. The Frozen Four will be in Buffalo, NY, with all three games on ESPN2.

• The NFL's 100th season will begin with the Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers in Soldier Field on Thursday, Sept. 5 (NBC, 8:20 PM ET). This will be the 199th meeting between the Bears and Packers, including regular- and post-season. Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will begin their season on NBC Sunday Night Football Sept. 8. Their opponent will be named when the full 2019 regular season schedule is released later this spring.

• Kraft Heinz, in partnership with the NHL and NHLPlayers’ Association (NHLPA) has unveiled the top four finalist communities competing for the coveted title of Kraft Hockeyville USA 2019. Voting begins March 30.

• NBA Experience, the new destination coming to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort (Orlando) will officially open Aug. 12, 2019. In collaboration with the NBA, Disney is developing NBA Experience with 13 interactive elements and hands-on activities across 44,000 square feet and two floors, also including a NBA-themed retail store.

• D.G. Yuengling & Son brewery has signed a deal with Philadelphia Phillies' pitcher Aaron Nola, making him one of the first active, MLB players to have a partnership with a beer brand. Yuengling has been a sponsor of the Phillies since 2017,

• MLB and the MLB Players’ Assn. have unveiled numerous changes to the game to be installed over the next two seasons that will impact game length, marketing broadcast partners, the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby. Full story here.


Top Ten Most In-Demand MLB Tickets (based on total ticket sales on StubHub thru March 14):
1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox
3. San Francisco Giants
4. Chicago Cubs
5. St. Louis Cardinals
6. Los Angeles Dodgers
7. Philadelphia Phillies
8. Texas Rangers
9. New York Mets
10. Houston Astros



The Most-In-Demand MLB Home Openers
(based on total ticket sales on StubHub thru March 14, all on March 28):

• Arizona Diamondbacks at the Dodgers (average ticket price $229.
• Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees (average ticket price $202)
• Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies (average ticket price $84)
• Chicago Cubs at Texas Rangers (average ticket price $254)
• Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds (average ticket price $122)


Weekend Box Office March 22-24
1. Us $70.2M
2. Captain Marvel $35M
3. Wonder Park $9M
4. Five Feet Apart $8.8M
5. How To Train Your Dragon 3 $6.5M
6. A Madea Family Funeral $4.5M
7. Gloria Bell $1.8M
8. No Manches Frida 2 $1.8M
9. Lego Movie 2 $1.1M
10. Alita: Battle Angel $1M
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.
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.
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.
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.


NBA Players Union Rebrands Marketing Arm As Think450 For Group Licensing, Business

By Barry Janoff

February 16, 2018: With a stated mission to create “disruptive and substantive business relationships for the most marketable athletes on the planet,” the National Basketball Players Assn. has launched Think450.  

Think450 replaces National Basketball Players, Inc., which was established in 2017, as the public brand name for the licensing and marketing subsidiary for the NBPA.

The 450 represents the number of active NBA players.

Think450 said its mission is to “bring inspiration, growth and cultural influence to the global marketplace through an authentic connection to NBA players.”
“Every day, all day, our team focuses on opportunities for all 450 guys — so Think450 is a constant reminder of that approach for the players, the marketplace and our own team,” Jordan Schlachter, who joined NBPI — now Think450 — in July as president, said in a statement. “Think450 is an entirely new way to think about and communicate our role, our mission and our purpose.”

Think450 is based on the concept of NFL Players Inc., the incensing arm for NFL Players Assn., which handles marketing and business deals that employ a group of players.

Under terms in the NBA, players maintain control over individual deals and partnerships, and teams oversee any use of team names and logos.

However, the NBPA oversees the rights to players as a group, with the stipulation that they not appear not in an NBA uniform, according to the NBPA.

The NBA is on an upswing regarding marketing and awareness.

On average, NBA teams are now worth a record $1.65B, with all 30 franchises hitting the $1B mark for the first time, according to a new report from Forbes, with the New York Knicks ($3.6B) topping the list for the third consecutive year.

Sponsorship spending on the NBA and its 30 teams hit a record $861 million during the 2016-17 campaign, a 7.8% increase from the previous season.

it is expected to “skyrocket” this season mainly due to the new eight-year, $1 billion deal with Nike as the league’s official on-court uniform provider (replacing adidas) and the beginning of a three-year trial period during which teams are allowed to sell ad patches on game jerseys for the first time in league history, according to research and consulting firm ESP Properties, Chicago.

The NBA has two of the five highest-paid athletes in the world based on salary and endorsements: LeBron James No. 2 ($86.2 million, behind soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo’s $93 million) and Kevin Durant at No. 5 ($60.6 million), according to Forbes.

The NBA also has four other players in the Top 15: Stephen Curry ($47.3 million), James Harden ($46.6 million), Russell Westbrook 438.6 million) and Damian Lillard ($38.4 million), also based on 2017 salary and endorsements.

According to its own description, Think450 is the “innovation engine of the NBPA, charged with creating disruptive and substantive business relationships for the most marketable athletes on the planet.

“Think450 represents every current NBA player and works with leading companies and brands across all industries to help its members capitalize on growth opportunities in the content, marketing, technology, and licensing arenas — among others.”

NBPA said that Think450 has partnered with more than 30 brands to host exclusive events and business opportunities during NBA All-Star Weekend across four key pillars: Culture, Content, Commercial and Community.

The events are taking place in the London West Hollywood Hotel at Beverly Hills in Los Angeles.

Beyond All-Star Week, ThinkK450 said it would work with brands on a number of NBPA events and initiatives, including the Players Voice Awards, in addition to "creating year-round partnerships and content opportunities."

According to Que Gaskins, chief brand officer for Think450, “NBA players are already the most marketable athletes on the planet, and we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface in terms of what they can accomplish collectively off the court.

“With Think450, now is the time to take the next step in harnessing this marketing power and be truly disruptive — not just for a few, but for all 450 players, and those to come in the future.”

Think450’s leadership is suited for the task at hand.

Prior to joining NBPA in January 2015 as CMO, Schlachter was evp-sports for The Marketing Arm, vp-integrated media and marketing for Clear Channel Communications and managing director-new business development and athlete marketing for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Gaskins joined NBPI (now Think450) in September from Def Jam Recordings, where he had been eva-strategic marketing and brand partnerships. He also worked for three years as head of marketing for Nike’s east territory (Maine to Florida).

Josh Goodstadt, Think450’s evp-licensing, was with HBO for ten years, first as director-global licensing and retail and then as vp-global licensing and retail; and before that spent five years as avp-licensing for the NFL Players Assn.

Also among top members for Think450 are Dan Gladstone (svp-grassroots basketball and business development), Latoya Sterling (senior director-brand and growth), Brian Lee (vp-player marketing) and Inky Son (vp-licensing).

According to NBPA, as a result of the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NBA, the NBPA “retained their own group licensing rights, effective July 1, 2017.

“As such, the NBPA established National Basketball Players Inc., a for-profit licensing and marketing business wholly owned by the NBPA and its members, the Players.”

NBPA said NBPA, now Think450, would “work to maximize revenue, among other areas, through various commercial licensing, marketing and sponsorship endeavors, content creation and distribution, and owned and operated events.”

“The main objectives for NBPI are to give the players more awareness and control over the way their names and likenesses are collectively used in licensing, sponsorship and marketing relationships, and to provide multiple new business opportunities for players to collectively commercialize their likeness and names, as well as the intellectual property of the NBPA.”

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