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NEWS REAL

• 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.” 

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
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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
May052017

WWE All-In To Expand Fan, Consumer, Ad Base With Social Media ‘Land Grab’

By Barry Janoff

May 5, 2017: The WWE has released its Q1 numbers and, although soft in some areas, the financial figures were pretty much a smack down, including expanding its "land grab" in the social media landscape.

Among the highlights, WWE revenue increased 10% to $188.4 from $171.1 million in the prior year quarter, WWE Network averaged 1.49 million paid subscribers over the first quarter 2017, which represented a 16% increase from the Q1 2016 and social media topped a WWE record 770 million.

"We delivered a strong revenue growth of 10%, and that is due to our live event as well as our Network and television businesses, generally speaking," Vince McMahon, chairman and CEO for WWE, said during a media financial conference call on Thursday (May 4).

"(A) barometer I use is our content as far as our social media and digital. We had more than four billion video views combined on our social and digital platforms for the first quarter, up 8%, and it continues to be a  (success).

“For many years we have trying to be part of that land grab. And I can say we are still grabbing (while) holding onto ours. Social media itself, we have 774 million followers, up 23%, which is extraordinary. And speaks to the power of the brand. And the health of the brand on-going,” said McMahon.

WWE’s main Facebook destination has just shy of 36.5 million followers, its RAW Facebook page has more than 12.6 million followers and WWE Network’s Facebook site has more than 10.6 million followers.

On Twitter, WWE has some 9.1 million followers.

Among its athletes, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has more than 69 million followers on Facebook (58 million) and Twitter, John Cena more than 53 million followers (43.8 million on Facebook), Undertakers and Roman Reighs each have more than 17 million followers on their respective Facebook pages and Nikki and Brie Bella have nearly 20 million followers combined on Facebook and Twitter.

WrestleMania 33 in April (during Q2) was a major driver and continued to build on Q1 numbers, according to the company, with attendance topping 75,000 and subscribers on WWE Network over 1.9 million, although McMahon said that latter number came up short of expectations.

During WrestleMania Week, WWE Network subscribers watched 22.5 million hours of content (or an average of approximately 13 hours per subscriber), representing a 4% year-over-year increase.

The WWE also said that WrestleMania 33 was the most social event in its history, led by 5.19 million interactions on Facebook.

"You know the WrestleMania results were excellent in terms of all aspects," McMahon said. "As far as our network, right after WrestleMania we were at 1.94 million subs. We just missed 2 million, which we were hoping for.

"Speaking of live-event attendance, that has always been one of my barometers since Day One. We’ve increased our attendance by about 100,000 over the first quarter last year. Which is pretty amazing. (And we had) 91 (live) events as compared to 72 (in 2016)," said McMahon.

Sponsors activated across numerous WWE platforms, including on-site during WWE WrestleMania Week in Orlando, reaching fans, viewers and consumers alike.

Snickers was presenting sponsor for the second consecutive year. Partners also included DiGiorno, 5-Hour Energy Drink, Mattel and Cricket Wireless.

“For many years we have trying to be part of that land grab. And I can say we are still grabbing (while) holding onto ours."

"All of our partners took advantage of our reach across all of our platforms,” Michelle Wilson, chief revenue officer and CMO for the WWE, said during the conference call. "The development of new video content adds increasing value to advertisers . . . (They realize) the increasing strength of our brand."

WWE touted its social media growth as a vital part of the company’s strategy.

"Our strategy on social and digital is that absolutely we have to be there," said Wilson. "Vince mentioned it as a land grab. Not only for monetization in the long term but also to bring in new consumers.

"We know that’s where they are discovering brands and where they become attached to brands. They are not necessarily turning on the TV for us, (so social media is) imperative to our growth," she said.

McMahon said the WWE is focusing on building not only the core audience but younger fans and more women, as well.

"There is a huge effort on our part to grow our base," said McMahon. "And you can grow the base and continue to grow the base. As far as women, they are the gate-keepers many times to programming and likes of whether or not they enjoy the brand. There is an initiative now, and has been for a while, to get to the younger audience.

"One of our secrets, of course, has been generation after generation. So we continue to broaden our platform and our overall bases. You have to grow. We are looking at all of these areas and continue to invest in them. We have a long-term point of view. We try to hit as many different areas and as many different demos as we can. There are many different ways in which we are doing it but generally we are trying to reach a broader audience,” said McMahon.

Looking forward, WWE sees the growth among fans and sponsors continuing, including new deals being formed worldwide and such jewel events as the first WWE Women’s Tournament, including 32 participants, scheduled for the fall.

This week, WWE and Combos, a brand from Mars. Inc., launched an in-store promotion and sweepstakes at some 75,000 retailers. The "BUY, SNAP, WIN" effort directs people to take a picture of their Combos purchase receipt and submit it via social media for a chance to win such WWE prizes as tickets, gear and WWE experiences. The effort runs now through June 30. (Details here.)
 
"As we continue to focus on producing engaging content across all platforms, we remain on track to achieve our 2017 financial objectives with record revenue, record Adjusted OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization)results and record subscriber levels," George Barrios, WWE chief strategy & financial officer, said during the conference call.

According to Wilson, "We think all parts of the eco system are important. The digital and social bringing in the next generation and ultimately moving them to long-form on pay TV and then up to our direct-to-consumer WWE Network. So in our view, it all works in concert."

WrestleMania 33 Numbers Bring Down The House

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