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NEWS REAL

• ESPN’s X Games Minneapolis 2019 (Aug. 1-4 U.S. Bank Stadium, ESPN, ESPN2, ABC) has signed Wendy’s as an official sponsor, joining returning sponsors Harley-Davidson, Hotels.com, Monster Energy, Nexcare First Aid Products, Pacifico, SoFi and The Real Cost (FDA). Geico will again serve as the official music stage sponsor.

On-site activation in X Fest is provided by Marvel, Go RVing, US Marines, TINCUP Whiskey, TRIA, FloWater, Star Tribune, Shred Hate, 93X, The CW, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Lynx, MN United, City Pages, GO MN, iHeart Radio and Minnesota Wild.

• ESPN said that the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Championship – won by Novak Djokovic over Roger Federer 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12 (7-3) – earned an overnight rating of 3.0 for its more than five hours of coverage up 114% vs. the championship match a year ago for Djokovic vs. Kevin Anderson. The match peaked at its conclusion with a 4.6 rating. At 4:57, it was the longest match of the Gentlemen’s Singles tournament this year and the longest Gentlemen’s Singles final in Wimbledon history. It also was the first men’s singles Major championship to be decided by a tie-break.

• New York Life has signed as a founding partner of the ESPN-owned ACC Network, the national network dedicated to Atlantic Coast Conference sports coverage, scheduled to launch Aug. 22. New York Life remains the official life insurance company of the ACC as well as the exclusive presenting sponsor of the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament which airs across the ESPN and ACC networks. 

• The Baseball Hall of Fame has signed a deal with VIDSIG, Inc., a San Francisco-based software company that offers live one-on-one video interactions between athletes and fans. The technology will allow Hall of Famers to “hold virtual meet-and-greets or autograph sessions through the use of a computer from the comfort of the athletes' homes.”

• 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

AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 Starter Pool

  • Liz Cambage, Aces
  • Elena Delle Donne, Mystics
  • Chelsea Gray, Sparks
  • Brittney Griner, Mercury
  • Natasha Howard, Storm
  • Jonquel Jones, Sun
  • Jewell Loyd, Storm
  • Kayla McBride, Aces
  • Kia Nurse, Liberty
  • A‘ja Wilson, Aces

AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019, featuring Team Delle Donne vs. Team Wilson, is scheduled for July 27 in the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas (ABC 3:30 PM ET).

KEEPING SCORE

The Top 25 MiLB Teams With Best-Selling Merchandise (alphabetically, with MLB affiliate):

  • Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies)
  • Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees)
  • Charlotte Knights (White Sox)
  • Columbia Fireflies (Mets)
  • Columbus Clippers (Indians)
  • Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)
  • Durham Bulls (Rays)
  • El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres)
  • Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres)
  • Gwinnett Stripers (Braves)
  • Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies)
  • Indianapolis Indians (Pirates)
  • Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins)
  • Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies)
  • Nashville Sounds (Rangers)
  • Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox)
  • Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox)
  • Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants)
  • Rochester Red Wings (Twins)
  • Sacramento River Cats (Giants)
  • Salt Lake Bees (Angels)
  • San Antonio Missions (Brewers)
  • Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)
  • Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers)
  • Trenton Thunder (Yankees)

SOURCE: MiLB

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office July 5-7
1. Spider-Man:Far From Home $45.3M
2. Toy Story 4 $20.7M
3. Crawl $12M
4. Stuber $8M
5. Yesterday $6.8M
6. Aladdin $5.9M
7. Annabelle Comes Home $5.6M
8. Midsommar $3.4M
9. Secret Life of Pets 2 $3.1M
10. MIB International $2.2M
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).

Friday
Jan292016

Despite Obstacles, WNBA, Marketers Look Ahead, Honor Past For 20th Season

By Barry Janoff

January 28, 2016: When the WNBA launched in April 1996 and began play in June 1997, there were critics aplenty who foresaw a short live for the NBA's distaff partner.

On May 14, the WNBA is scheduled to begin its 20th season of play, still facing critics, dealing with growth issues and other challenges, but solid with players, marketing partners and a rabid fan base.

A new multi-media campaign, "Watch Me Work," touts not only current stars such as 2015 MVP Elena Delle Donne, WNBA Finals MVP Maya Moore, WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Brittney Griner, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi (who missed the 2015 season to focus on playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Premier League), Skylar Diggins and Candace Parker, but looks back at the players who drove the league and inspired players through its first two decades.

The 2015 anthem campaign was "Watch Me."

Last year, the WNBA faced several significant hurdles, including the departure of president Laurel Richie "to pursue other interests," (NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum has been overseeing the WNBA on an interim basis), soft attendance and criticism from NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

"I think we might have been ahead of ourselves 20 years ago in terms of what we were doing, (In 2015, interest is) not where we hoped it would be," Silver said during a sports marketing conference in September. "We thought it would have broken through by now. We thought ratings and attendance would be higher.”

According to Silver, "In terms of our marketing overall, we may have lost our way at certain points."

To Silver's point, the WNBA's average attendance in 2015 was 7,318, the lowest in league history. The average was down 3% from 2014 and down from a one-season high average of 10,864 in 2009.

Silver later clarified that he and the NBA were very supportive of the WNBA. "We are 100% committed to the league," he said.

Also supportive of the league are a roster of national marketing partners.

WNBA Tip-Off 2016 will be presented by Verizon. It consists of 12 games over nine days — May 14-22 — including the home opener of every team.

Samsung was the presenting partner for both the 2015 WNBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.

Marketing partners also include adidas, American Express, BBVA Compass, Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light), Coca-Cola, Diageo, EA Sports, Gatorade, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, SAP, Spalding and State Farm.

Several teams ended the 2015 season with jersey-sponsor deals, including the Washington Mystics (Draft Ops), Chicago Sky (Magellan), Minnesota Lynx (Mayo Clinic), Phoenix Mercury (Casino Arizona), Indiana Fever (Finish Line),  Los Angeles Sparks (EquiTrust) and New York Liberty (DraftKings).

In October 2014, the NBA and ESPN announced an extension of the partnership between the WNBA and ESPN through which WNBA games would continue to be televised on ESPN networks through the 2025 season. 

The agreement extends the league’s relationship with ESPN, which commenced in 1997, to 29 years.

ESPN networks will air as many as 33 games this season, then will broadcast every WNBA post-season game, including the WNBA Finals presented by Verizon.

NBA TV will televise more than 40 games during the regular season.

Among the changes this season, the Tulsa Shock have relocated and rebooted as the Dallas Wings.

The 2016 season features a new regular-season schedule highlighted by more cross-conference games.

In addition, the playoffs will no longer be divided into the Eastern and Western conferences. Instead, the top eight teams by winning percentage will make the playoffs and will be seeded 1 through 8 by record.

As happened during the 2004, 2008 and 2012 seasons, the WNBA take a break in the schedule for the Summer Olympics, during which the U.S. will seek its sixth consecutive gold medal in women’s basketball,

With as many as 25 WNBA players likely to represent their respective countries at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from Aug. 5-21, the league has not scheduled any games from July 23-Aug. 25, also forgoing this season's All-Star Game.

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