• 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.” 


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).


Adrianna Franch* (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris** (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher** (Chicago Red Stars)
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)
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)
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


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).


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.
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.
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).


For NBA Xmas Campaign, Star Players Sing 'The Most Dunktastic Time of the Year' 

By Barry Janoff

Originally Published In MediaPost

December 16, 2016: NBA players can pass, shoot, dunk, dribble and score points.

But can they sing?

Several NBA stars are put to the test in a multi-platform campaign, "The Most Dunktastic Time of the Year," to support the league’s five-game schedule on Christmas Day (ABC and ESPN).

In a lead spot, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Zach Levine, Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade, Draymond Green, Victor Oladipo and D’Angelo Russell sing new words to "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," a holiday classic made famous by Andy Williams.

Some of the players can carry a tune. None will make it to The Voice.

"It’s the most dunktastic time of the year,: Griffin, wearing a Santa hat, croons as he sits behind a piano. The others continue, “Behind-the-back-passes/While driving through traffic/Taking the ball to the hole/Slam dunks we’ll be making/Shot blocks so amazing/And three-pointers from the first row.”

A choir, comprised of fans outfitted in NBA holiday gear, chimes, “It’s the most dunktastic time of the year.”

The San Antonio Spurs mascot, The Coyote, even has a cameo. (See the full spot here.)

"The Most Dunktastic Time of the Year" will break tonight (Dec. 16) during NBA games on ESPN, then go into rotation through the holidays on TNT, NBA TV,, BET, VH1 and elsewhere.

The spot, as well as a companion blooper reel — which shows the players even more off-key, missing cues and dropping props — will live on social media including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The NBA will also post the spots on its international Web sites.

According to the NBA, "Sometimes there is so much good NBA basketball on TV that you can't help but break into song. This Christmas, the NBA has gift-wrapped five of the season's best match-ups into one action-packed day. With the help of our players and dozens of fans, the NBA has put its own spin on the classic 'The Most Dunktastic Time of the Year.'"

To help further spread the word about it’s Christmas Day schedule, an app from will enable people to lip-sync to the song while watching a clip from the TV spot.

The NBA will hit the streets with carolers in New York and other cities, singing "The Most Dunktastic Time of the Year." The NBA Store in NY will have "Dunktastic" activation beginning today.

Lead agency is The Marketing Arm, New York.

Separately, ESPN has been running a series of spots promoting the NBA Christmas schedule on ESPN and sibling ABC starring "NBA Commissioner" Santa Claus, via Wieden+Kennedy, New York.

In one spot, Santa gets a FaceTime from Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, a native of Latvia. But Santa can only say, "Hello, Kristaps," in that language and is clueless when Porzingis, thinking Santa knows much more, begins a conversation in Latvian. In "Rookie Commissioner," while being interviewed, he answers the burning question: "Who looks better in red velvet — you or Russell Westbrook?"

In another, Santa is wearing "Headphones," dancing to to a music track, which turns out to be a loop of bells jingling, which he wants to send to Russell Westbrook. In another, he gets a call from Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr — "He has everything! What could he want?" Santa asks a nearby helper. Kerr, it turns out, wants a new clipboard, a reference to the one he smashed during Game 1 of the NBA Finals last season.

NBA partners are also in on the action. Special Xmas jerseys, sweatshirts, T-shirts and hats are available from adidas; Xmas NBA socks are from Stance.

The NBA has found a nice ratings home on Dec. 25, with this year marking the 14th time it has scheduled five games for national TV on Christmas.

Last year, a 2015 NBA Finals rematch from the previous June between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers averaged almost 11 million viewers, "the most-watched Christmas game in four years," according to the league.

Overall, the Christmas 2015 five-game schedule was up 6% in viewership over 2014 on ESPN and ABC.

NBA Christmas Day Schedule (ET)
• Noon: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks ESPN
• 2:30 PM: Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers ABC
• 5 PM: Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs ABC
• 8 PM: Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder ESPN
• 10:30 PM: Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers ESPN

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