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NEWS REAL

• Nascar has signed a deal to acquire International Speedway Corp. in a transaction valued at $2 billon. ISC owns and operates venues including Talladega Superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, Kansas Speedway, ISM Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Darlington Raceway, and Watkins Glen International.

ISC also owns Motor Racing Network, the nation's largest independent sports radio network; and Americrown, a subsidiary that provides catering services, and food and beverage concessions.

• 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.

• 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).

Tuesday
Sep222015

WNBA Campaign Challenge To Critics: 'Watch Me' Do What You Think We Can't

By Barry Janoff

September 22, 2015: The WNBA will support its post-season run to the 2015 title with a multi-platform campaign, "Watch Me," which addresses critics of the league by showing players on and off the court balancing their careers while raising families and accomplishing things that some people say they can't.

The anthem spot breaks tonight on ESPN and ESPN 2 during coverage of Game 3 of the Eastern and Western semi-finals between the Washington Mystics at the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks versus the Minnesota Lynx, respectively.

Support includes Internet, in-arena and social media, complete with a Twitter hash tag, #WatchMe.

The effort comes as the WNBA, nearing its milestone 20th season, continues to face obstacles in building a fan base, seeking stronger TV numbers and expanding its roster of marketing partners.

The extended 60-second spot and shorter 30- and 15-second versions "showcase the passion, determination and competitive spirit of playoff teams, while highlighting our players’ incredible talent, remarkable personal stories and leadership on and off the court."

Among those featured: WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne (who scored 40 points last night for the Chicago Sky, but was eliminated from the playoffs by the Indiana Fever), WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Candace Parker (Los Angeles), Maya Moore (Minnesota), Swin Cash and Tina Charles (New York) and former WNBA veteran star Becky Hammon, now an assistant coach with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs.

"I know what you're thinking. You think I can't," a voiceover says as shots of WNBA players are interspersed. "You think I can't go as hard as you . . .  Cross you up and go coast-to-coast. You think I can't train like a beast. Give it everything I have. And still be flawless.

"You think I can't open doors," the narrative continues as images of famliy life come into play. "Be legendary. Box her out. Get her to school on time. Show her I care. 'D' you up. Be who I want. Love who I want. Inspire her. And him. Take a charge. Sink a 'J.' Make them dance. You think I can't do this . . . and that. All while chasing my dream. Watch me." (See the full spot here.)

The campaign and playoffs come on the heels of empowering yet challenging comments from both WNBA president Laurel Richie and NBA commissioner Adam Silver regarding the WNBA's current and future status.

"The WNBA is the intersection of gender, race and sexual orientation," Richie said during "The State of Women's Sports" panel at last week's at a Game Changers sports marketing conference in New York under the auspices of Sports Business/Global/Journal.

"We at the W are focused on building a genuine and sustained fan base," said Richie. "That’s where our sustainable growth comes from. All good things happen when we achieve that . . . When that is in place, your games look better on TV. Your sponsors like that — a lot — and you can generate more interest and involvement from those who might not yet be fans."

While supporting the attributes of the WNBA, Silver said during the Game Changers conference, "(Interest is) not where we hoped it would be. We thought it would have broken through by now. We thought ratings and attendance would be higher.”

The WNBA's average attendance in 2015 was 7,318, lowest in league history. The average is down 3% from 2014 and down from an average of 10,864 in 2009.

"I feel that we have, on occasion, sold the WNBA too much as a cause. We are played by women . . . and we’re very proud of that, and we don’t walk away from that ," said Richie. "This is 144 elite athletes, the destination for the very best in the world, and we cannot lose sight of that. That’s where our sustainable growth comes from.”

The WNBA Conference Finals presented by Boost Mobile are scheduled to start Sept. 24 and the best-of-five WNBA Finals Oct. 4.

Pay On: After Two Decades, WNBA Still Seeking Strength In Numbers

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