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NEWS REAL

• Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Miami Open (March 23) due to knee issues.

• Picking up the mantle of National Women’s Month, and anticipating what next year will be its 70th anniversary, the LPGA has unveiled “Drive On,” a multi-platform refined brand position. According to the LPGA, “Drive On is clearly rooted in golf, but it's a bigger idea. It captures the power and potential in each of us and celebrates the hard work, focus and tenacity that it takes to achieve our goals.” Full story here.

• The NBA said that the Chinese and Croatian National Teams would join all 30 NBA teams to compete at MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2019 in Las Vegas, marking the first time that the league will feature two international teams, with 83 games over 11 days (July 5-15).

• The 2019 Alliance of American Football Championship, originalluy scheduled for April 27 in Las Vegas, will be played in Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas., which is owned and operated by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.

• 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.

POLL POSITION

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

SOURCE: STUBHUB

KEEPING SCORE

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)

BUY SELL

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.
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
SUPER BOWL LIII

Thursday
Apr022015

Shaq's New Challenge: Take Down Bella Thorne, Win Post Cereal Competition

Special to NYSportsJournalism.com

April 2, 2015: It would seen an unfair mismatch to put 5'8" 17-year-old actress Bella Thorne into a fight with former NBA star center Shaquille O'Neal, who stands 7'1' and weighs in at 325 lbs.

But Post Foods is doing that, pitting the two celebrities in a friendly competition between Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles "to see which flavor has the most passionate fans."

Shaq leads Team Fruity and Thorne, heads up Team Cocoa in a multi-media effort that includes TV, Internet, social media and limited-edition boxes featuring the two spokespersons.

The pair are following in the footsteps of WWE icon John Cena and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who last year were leaders for Team Fruity and Team Cocoa, respectively.

“We are excited to expand the Team Fruity and Team Cocoa rosters with amazing talents who exemplify the Pebbles spirit,”  Sue Fruzzetti-Reich, senior brand manager for Post Foods, said in a statement. “We know both Shaq and Bella will bring a renewed surge of energy to their respective teams and inspire fans to share their love for Pebbles.”

The alliance adds to O'Neal's vast array of endorsement deals, which also include AT&T, Arizona Iced Tea, Gold Bond, Icy Hot, Reebok, Buick, Zales, Phillips Van Heusen, Peerless Clothing, 2K Sports, Bloomsbury Publishing and Monster Electronics.

He has been an NBA analyst with Turner Sports since 2011.

“Fruity Pebbles brings out the big kid in me,” four-time NBA champion O’Neal said in a statement. “After a great Pebbles season last year, I’m excited to suit up and go head-to-head against Bella and Team Cocoa. I can’t wait to lead the Team Fruity charge, this is going to be a slam dunk!”

According to Thorne, “I’m a huge fan of Cocoa Pebbles and am pumped to lead Team Cocoa. Just because I’m not a professional athlete, doesn’t mean I’m not competitive. I’m ready to show Shaq and his team that while I may be small, Team Cocoa has BIG game and is ready to take Team Fruity down!”

People can support their favorite flavor online by choosing a team at a dedicated Web site, accessible on desktop, mobile and tablet.

A sweepstakes offers the opportunity to win such prizes as a meet-and-greet with Shaq or Bella, electric scooters, GoPro cameras, gift cards and VIP family vacation in Orlando. (Details here.)

"Since the Pebbles flavor showdown kicked off early last year, our Team Captains and teammates have done a great job at rallying support behind Fruity and Cocoa," said Fruzzetti-Reich. "Both sides have a passionate fan base and it has kept the competition tight.

Shaquille O'Neal Returns A Hero In Orlando; Will There Be Room For Dwight?

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