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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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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).

Thursday
Dec142017

WWE Pitting 'Raw' Vs. 'SmackDown' Stars In New Tournament On Facebook Watch

Special to NYSJ Sports-Entertainment Business News Service

December 13, 2017: As the James Bond movie from 1999 implies, The World Is Not Enough for WWE, which has created a 12-episode in-ring series, Mixed Match Challenge, to stream in the U.S. exclusively on Facebook Watch Tuesday nights beginning Jan. 16.

Airing in 20-minute segments, Mixed Match Challenge will feature WWE superstars from Monday Night Raw versus those from SmackDown Live “competing in a single-elimination mixed tag-team tournament to win $100,000 to support the charity of their choice.”

WWE will promote the series across its digital and social footprint, including a new Facebook Watch show Page dedicated to Mixed Match Challenge, plus a promotional spot, Internet, social media and on-air during Monday Night Raw and SmackDown.

Facebook Watch is a new platform for shows on Facebook where “brands can build and engage with a community of fans.”

WWE will use Mixed Match Challenge to not only expand its social media footprint but to interact with fans.

WWE’s main Facebook page has more than 38 million likes and WWE has nearly 500 million likes across all its Facebook Pages.

WWE said that John Cena is the No. 1 most-followed active U.S. athlete on Facebook with more than 45 million likes.

“As we continue to expand our strategic partnership with Facebook, this new series, Mixed Match Challenge, jointly reflects our innovative approach to content distribution and fan engagement,” Michelle Wilson, WWE chief revenue officer and CMO, said in a statement.

“This show will deliver the action and excitement our passionate fan base is accustomed to while offering new production elements and social experiences that only Facebook can provide.”

Among the competitors from Monday Night Raw will be Enzo Amore, Asuka, Baley, Finn Bálor, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Gold Dust, Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, The Miz and Braun Strowman.

Among the competitors from SmackDown Live will be Carmeila, Charlotte Flair, Lana, Becky Lynch, Naimi, Shinsuke Nakamura, Natalya, Bobby Roode, Rusev, Jimmy Uso and Sami Zayn.

People will be able to vote on Facebook for the final competitor from the Raw roster, as well as which tag-team member of The New Day will be added to the SmackDown Live roster.

Teams are scheduled to be unveiled starting Jan. 4.

According to WWE, each 20-minute episode will “reflect a progressive approach to production, with elements optimized for mobile consumption, experimentation and social interaction, including the ability for fans to engage with Superstars during the show.”

In addition, people will have the opportunity on Facebook to select match-ups, match stipulations and other elements.

“Mixed Match Challenge demonstrates WWE’s flexibility in creating and producing compelling content across platforms in a media landscape that is evolving each day,” Jayar Donlan, WWE evp-digital and social content, said in a statement.

“The social interaction leading up to and during each show will connect WWE Superstars with our massive fan base on Facebook in more ways than ever before.”

WWE said that the unique storylines for Mixed Match Challenge would continue between episodes across WWE’s Facebook pages with short-form videos and social content.

According to Dan Reed, head of global sports partnerships for Facebook, “As a leader in entertainment innovation, WWE is an ideal partner to demonstrate how the live sports viewing experience can be reimagined on Facebook Watch.

Mixed Match Challenge is a new competition produced specifically to take advantage of the reach, interaction and ongoing engagement enabled by our platform," said Reed.

Facebook Watch is available on desktop, mobile and connected TV apps. Fans can follow Mixed Match Challenge to add episodes to their personal Watchlists.

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