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One of the NFL's best runners charged with DUI

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One of the NFL's best runners charged with DUI

From Comcast SportsNet
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was charged Wednesday with driving under the influence in Northern California. Lynch was charged by the Alameda County district attorney with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and driving while having a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. Lynch has a court date on Aug. 14, which is in the middle of Seahawks training camp. But Lynch's attorney, Ivan Golde, told The Associated Press that he feels the case could get thrown out or reduced because of discrepancies in blood-alcohol tests. Golde's contention is that Lynch was not at the California legal limit of .08 when he was pulled over in Emeryville, Calif., on Saturday and tested at the scene. Golde noted that Lynch's level was higher when he was tested on a calibrated breathalyzer later at the jail. "We think we have a really strong case," Golde said. Teresa Drenick, director of communications for the Alameda County district attorney, could not confirm Golde's claim about Lynch's blood-alcohol content and said she could not discuss the details of the case. Lynch was seen weaving on Interstate 880 in the Oakland, Calif., area on Saturday morning, leading to his arrest for investigation of DUI. An incident report released by the California Highway Patrol described Lynch driving a Ford Econoline van and having two near collisions with two other vehicles driving in adjacent lanes. This is Lynch's first off-field problem since coming over to Seattle from Buffalo during the 2010 season. Lynch's career stalled with the Bills and was highlighted by two off-field brushes with the law, one of which resulted in a three-game suspension. He pleaded guilty in March 2009 to a misdemeanor gun charge in Los Angeles. He was sentenced to 80 hours of community service and three years' probation, and was suspended three games by the league for violating the NFL personal conduct policy. That was Lynch's second run-in with the law with the Bills. He was also involved in a hit-and-run accident in Buffalo in May 2008. In the earlier incident, he pleaded guilty to a traffic violation and admitted to driving away after striking a woman with his car near Buffalo's downtown bar district. The league is aware of Lynch's latest legal trouble, but it's unclear whether his past transgressions could get lumped together with his current DUI arrest and lead to yet another suspension. Lynch signed a four-year contract in March that will keep him in a Seattle uniform for the prime of his NFL career. The contract is worth 31 million, including a guaranteed 18 million. Lynch rushed for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

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After lopsided loss to Hornets, Scott Brooks says changes will be made for Wizards

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USA Today Sports

After lopsided loss to Hornets, Scott Brooks says changes will be made for Wizards

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is a master at keeping his composure when addressing the media, even if it's clear he has just calmed down from ripping into his team. But after Wednesday night's 133-109 loss to the Charlotte Hornets in which they gave up a season-high in points, Brooks was about as blunt as he has been when discussing his team publicly since taking over in Washington.

Brooks seethed as he called out his team. He didn't mention names, but hinted he's lost patience and is ready to shake things up.

"We have to change some things," he said. "We’ve gotta find guys that will compete."

Brooks has said similar things in the past, but this time it seemed different and guard Bradley Beal confirmed as much moments later.

"He’s pissed," Beal said of Brooks. "He’s upset. He’s mad. We’re not giving him what he wants from a production standpoint. He’s going to make a change for sure. That’s pretty much all I can say. He was beyond furious after the game. Guys should be ready, a lot of guys should expect to play and not play. That was pretty much his message."

PODCAST: JODIE MEEKS ON HIS SHOOTING SLUMP

Brooks is limited in the changes he can make with the Wizards' current roster construction. John Wall and Beal are safe in the starting lineup. Though they are just as guilty as others at times on the defensive end, they are each having All-Star seasons. Otto Porter is signed to a max contract and when healthy provides value in many areas of the game.

The most obvious option for Brooks would be to insert Kelly Oubre, Jr. into the starting lineup. Oubre began the season as a starter with Markieff Morris sidelined due to sports hernia surgery and the Wizards' three best lineups this season based on plus-minus rating all include Oubre.

Their best lineup in net rating with a sample size of 100 minutes or more has Oubre alongside Porter, Wall, Beal and Marcin Gortat. That group was +17.8 in 192:51 entering Wednesday night's game.

The Wizards have also had success in the past two seasons with Oubre in there alongside Wall, Beal, Porter and Morris. That small-ball group has produced dividends particularly on the defensive end.

If Oubre were to be inserted into the starting lineup, it will not be an easy call picking who to remove. Porter is the Wizards' third-best player and both Morris and Gortat play valuable and specific roles when at their best.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

There are also egos at play. Guys like Porter, Morris and Gortat are used to being NBA starters. Pushing them to the bench would require a difficult conversation. 

Morris and Gortat going to the bench would create uneven spots in the Wizards' rotation. Unless he's replaced by Ian Mahinmi, Gortat on the bench would give the Wizards two centers of similar ilk who can't coexist in the second unit. If Oubre were swapped in for Morris, the Wizards would have a power forward logjam on the bench with no obvious backup small forward to spell Oubre and Porter.

Another option for Brooks would be to slide backup power forward Mike Scott into the starting lineup. He has been one of the Wizards' most efficient scorers this season and a standout on their bench.

The Wizards could of course change the dynamic with a trade, but that's unlikely to happen immediately with the trade deadline still three weeks away. The Wizards do not have anything imminent in the works, as their hope has been to patiently evaluate their roster leading up to the deadline like in years past.

At some point, a deal may have to happen but for now Brooks is going to have to figure it out with the group he has. Like Beal said, it's coming. We just don't know which direction he will go or how drastic it will be.

PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE

15 TO WATCH/5 SPORTS TECH/POWER OF SPORTS 5: RICK HORROW’S TOP SPORTS/BUSINESS/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 15

15 TO WATCH/5 SPORTS TECH/POWER OF SPORTS 5: RICK HORROW’S TOP SPORTS/BUSINESS/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 15

15 TO WATCH/5 SPORTS TECH/POWER OF SPORTS 5: RICK HORROW’S TOP SPORTS/BUSINESS/TECH/PHILANTHROPY ISSUES FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 15
with Jamie Swimmer & Tanner Simkins

  1. Forget fancy touchdown dances and color block unis. As the NFL Playoffs draw to their thrilling conclusion this coming weekend, the latest trend in the NFL appears to be throwing big money at free agents. As a result of the NFL salary cap exploding from $120 million to $167 million over the past six years (and rising at least $10 million per year in the past four seasons), NFL team-building strategies have completely changed. Spending in free agency used to be viewed as a bad idea or last resort. Now it's the secret to winning. Just ask the six teams of the top 10 spenders in free agency this past offseason that made the playoffs – the Rams, Panthers, Titans, Vikings, Jaguars, and Patriots. The Jaguars, who spent more in free agency than any other NFL team, went from 3-13 to 10-6 in the regular season. Their winning formula is still working, as they’ll face off against the Patriots at Foxborough on Sunday, with a Super Bowl berth at stake. Likewise the free agent happy Vikings, after their amazing finish on Sunday, take on the Eagles at home – and look to be the first team in NFL history to play a “home” Super Bowl championship game. Stay tuned.
     

  2. With the Australian Open now underway, professional tennis is facing serious scheduling issues as injuries continue to mount. According to the New York Times, the current structure of professional tennis, “with multiple governing bodies and no final arbiter,” has limited flexibility for schedule changes. The annual calendar’s current structure is even harder on the world’s best players, who are required to attend many of the events. “It’s not about the crazy calendar,” said Rafael Nadal. “For me it’s about how long the calendar is in terms of mandatory events for the top players.” The sport is now at a tricky crossroads of trying to keep players healthy and available for tournaments, while also giving them the rest they need. When more players ask for exemptions, tournaments inevitably lose some of their attraction. The tough part is striking the balance economically for events and sponsors while protecting the health of top players.

  3. Asics inked Novak Djokovic to a global footwear deal, and the Japanese company will start activating around the new partnership in Melbourne during the Australian Open. Asics declined to disclose terms of the contract. Djokovic last year signed with Lacoste for apparel, but left the footwear category open. It is not uncommon in tennis for athletes to sign separate contracts for footwear and apparel. “For us, of course, we want to be number one in the tennis footwear globally, and partnering with Novak is a great part of the strategy to win this category,” said Asics CMO Paul Miles, who added Asics is the No. 1 tennis footwear brand in several European markets. Miles negotiated the deal for Asics. Djokovic will begin wearing the shoes at the Australian Open. Asics already has several top tennis players under contract, including Coco Vandeweghe, David Goffin, and Gaël Monfils. Those deals are for both footwear and apparel. Djokovic, the former world No. 1, is currently ranked 14th in the world. As the action unfolds in Melbourne at tennis’ first Slam of the year, look for other high-level marketing deals to unfold outside the court.

  1. Just a few weeks away from Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, NBC has nearly sold out all of its ad spots for the game. According to the Los Angeles Times, NBC is expecting to rake in $500 million in ad revenue on Super Bowl Sunday from longtime advertisers such as Pepsi, Hyundai, and Budweiser, with ads being priced at $5 million for a 30-second spot. Both of those numbers are similar to those from last year. NBCU Executive Vice President/Sales & Marketing Dan Lovinger confirmed these numbers and also added that advertising demand for next month’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea has been similarly strong. For the Olympics, Lovinger said that the net is “projecting an audience ‘close’ to the 21.4 million viewers who tuned in each night” to the 2014 Sochi Games, with a projected $900 million in advertisement revenue from the Olympics alone. The two events, only five days apart, should bring a major windfall of cash to the NBC.

  1. Since coming out as openly gay, U.S. freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy’s brand has been on the rise, picking up endorsements left and right. According to the Washington Post, Kenworthy went to the 2014 Sochi Olympics as a “relative unknown,” gaining more attention when he adopted stray dogs in Russia than when he took home a silver medal in the slopestyle event. Despite still having to qualify for the Olympics in PyeongChang next month and maintaining only a few small sponsorships back in Sochi, Kenworthy now boasts a sponsorship portfolio consisting of big corporate names such as VISA, Toyota, United, P&G, Ralph Lauren, and Deloitte. “I’m definitely like ‘the gay skier’ now, and that’s fine,” said Kenworthy. “All these brands want me to tell my story, and my story isn’t just the story of an athlete.” All of Kenworthy’s sponsors immediately showed support for the skier after he came out, but most of them decided to exercise the caution they would with any modern athlete and sign deals closer to the PyeongChang Opening Ceremonies.

  1. The 2018 NHL All-Star Game rosters have been selected for all four divisions ahead of the event taking place on Sunday, January 28 in Tampa Bay. According to Sports Internet, this year’s All-Star Game will have the same format as it did last year: a 3-on-3 tournament between the four divisional teams. The host Lightning lead the league with four selections: Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper will head the Atlantic Division, while Stamkos will serve as captain for the team. P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators (Central Division), Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (Metropolitan Division), and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers (Pacific Division) will captain the other three squads at Amalie Arena. Despite playing in South Florida, the Lightning currently rank sixth in the NHL in attendance, averaging 19,092 fans per game through 22 home games this season – another sign that the NHL’s southern expansion continues to pay off over time.

  1. Now that South and North Korea have agreed that the North will send a contingent of athletes to next month’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the IOC will meet to work out the details and specifics. According to Reuters, the IOC is planning to meet on January 20 at its Lausanne, Switzerland, headquarters to talk about issues such as flags and the number of athletes that North Korea will send. The talks between North and South Korea marked the first time the two bordering nations spoke in over two years. “I warmly welcome the joint proposals by the governments of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which have been applauded by so many other governments worldwide,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. The agreement between North and South Korea comes amidst a time in which North Korean leader Kim Jung-un and President Donald Trump have exchanged “fiery barbs.” However, one of the primary Olympic ideals, since the Games’ beginning, is to remain apolitical. Expect Olympic committees and broadcasters to strive to maintain this ideal. Athletes and politicians – especially those with big social media followings – are the wildcards.

  1. The NFL has announced its plans for next season’s International Series, reducing games played in London from four to three in 2018. According to ESPN, the 2018 games in London will be played in consecutive weeks for the first time, “as the league continues to build out its operational structure in the U.K.” While the order of the three games has not yet been announced, the teams competing have been shared. The Seattle Seahawks will play the Oakland Raiders at Tottenham Hotspur’s new White Hart Lane stadium, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles will square off at Wembley Stadium, and the Tennessee Titans will play the Los Angeles Chargers at Wembley as well. “This is another important year as we develop our plans for London and the U.K.,” said Mark Weller, the NFL's executive vice president of events and international. “By playing games on three consecutive weeks, we will learn a lot, both from the fans buying tickets and attending games, and from a logistics and organizational standpoint.” With this move, the NFL inches closer to maintaining a week in, week out schedule in London, getting fans used to the routine. If 2018 goes well, look for four consecutive weeks of play there in 2019.

  1. The NBA’s most recent international game – a matchup between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers – was deemed a success by the league after a sellout crowd packed London’s 02 Arena. Tickets for the game went on sale October 20 and sold out in less than an hour.  According to SportsBusiness Journal, the NBA had 11 partners for this year’s London game, ranging from Nike to Gatorade to SAP and Tissot. Ben Morel, the NBA’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Europe and Middle East, noted that the league now has 36 European broadcast partners providing live game coverage and programming, and that even more NBA coverage is being demanded by fans across the pond. Currently, the NBA hosts only one game per year in London. Commenting on playing more games there, Morel said, “We’re very happy with where we are right now…It’s such a Europe All-Star [game] for us and all our European business contacts and fans.” You can bet the NBA is also keeping a close watch on the NFL’s U.K. expansion strategy.

  1. A close-up documentary series chronicling the life of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be available to the masses on Facebook Watch later this month. According to the New York Times, Brady granted filmmaker Gotham Chopra “sweeping access” to “an array of intimate settings, including footage of Brady at his Brookline, Massachusetts, home with his family.” The six-episode series, titled “Tom vs. Time,” is meant to give fans an inside view of his life off the field and how the quarterback has been able to remain so effective this late in his career. News of the documentary series comes at a time when Brady has been making headlines for reported riffs between him and Head Coach Bill Belichick and Owner Robert Kraft. It is “unclear if Brady had even told [Belichick] about the project.” The first four episodes, according to a source who has seen them, do not discuss anything related to player protests, trading Jimmy Garoppolo, or Brady’s “polarizing body coach” Alex Guerrero. This looks to be a well-timed extension of the Brady brand – especially when he is barreling toward another Super Bowl appearance, if Saturday’s thumping of the Titans is any gauge.

  1. Despite not addressing his 10-year, $100 million contract, the Oakland Raiders officially welcomed back Jon Gruden as the franchise’s new head coach. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Gruden’s introductory press conference was held at the team’s Alameda headquarters in their recently-built weight room. “It is the biggest day of my life right now to have him here,” said Raiders owner Mark Davis at the press conference. The team welcomed more than 110 media members and nearly 50 former Raiders players to the event. Gruden hung up the microphone when he left his position as ESPN’s highest-paid on-camera employee to step back onto the sideline. Bringing Gruden back on will mean more than just having a new head coach though; the franchise is hoping their new coach’s “star power” will help ease the transition to Las Vegas in 2020, while "simultaneously striving to engage a scorned local fan base while selling PSL’s, naming rights and advertising in their new Vegas digs." For $10 million a year, Gruden will indeed be expected to add some sizzle to the Raiders brand, both in Oakland and in Las Vegas.
     

  2. Eleven states expected to pass gambling legislation in 2018. The SCOTUS will decide by June 30 (likely in April or May) if it will overturn a federal ban prohibiting single-game sports betting in every state but Nevada. According to a new report by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, should that occur, 18 states would look introduce sports betting legislation before the end of 2018, with the expectation that the bill would pass in at least 11. The firm believes that upwards of 30 states will ultimately pass sports gaming laws. Tax revenue is driving states to draft gambling legislation, but even if a state passes their bill prior to the SCOTUS issuing its decision on Christie vs. NCAA; this isn’t a plug and play situation (i.e. casinos aren’t opening a sportsbook the next day), hurdles remain. Brett Smiley, Editor and Chief of SportsHandle, pointed out that “sportsbooks will still have to find quality personnel, including experienced sportsbook directors; which are in limited supply. There must be the right infrastructure, sensible rules and regulation; integrity monitoring, software, employees who understand it, and of course a tax structure that won't doom the sportsbooks before they take their first bet.” Don’t expect to be placing legal sports bets outside Vegas til midyear at least.

  1. The Dallas Mavericks have been less than stellar on the court this season, but that has done nothing to stop the team’s unbeatable attendance record. According to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, the Mavericks’ sellout streak first began in 2001 and has continued through this season, though the team remains a longshot to make the playoffs. Through the second week in January, the Mavs remained in 12th place in the Western Conference with a record of 15-28, a mere half-game in front of the last-place Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, and Los Angeles Lakers. The team has been able to keep its NBA-best streak alive by keeping ticket prices affordable for fans, having “two highly visible franchise players (Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes) and approachable management.” The team’s recent win over the Orlando Magic marked the 727th consecutive home sellout – the second-longest streak in NBA history, behind only the Portland Trail Blazers’ 814-game streak lasting from the 1970s through the 1990s. It’s hard to put a price on fan loyalty, but the Mavericks’ front office staff would likely say their fans are worth their weight in gold.

  1. This season has marked a massive turnaround for the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise. According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, after acquiring All-Star Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls in the offseason, the Timberwolves have been averaging almost 2,000 more fans per game compared to last season. At the current rate, the team is on track to post its best attendance numbers for a season in a non-lockout-shortened year since 2005. The Timberwolves are averaging 16,175 fans per game at the newly-renovated Target Center, while holding onto a top four seed in the competitive Western Conference. T'Wolves Chief Revenue Officer and Senior Vice President Ryan Tanke “expects that number to reach between 16,500 and 17,000 by year’s end.” Tanke further commented that the team “got a boost from a 20% increase in season-ticket sales following the offseason trade for Jimmy Butler,” and has seen single-game ticket gains throughout the first half of the season. The next few weeks will be telling for the T-Wolves, as the franchise will be dealing with fans distracted by local Super Bowl activities – especially if the Vikings ascend to the Big Game.

  1. The New York Yankees are taking precautionary steps to ensure that nobody is hit by a line drive foul ball again. According to the New York Times, the Yankees released a statement saying that they would extend protective netting down the foul lines, going beyond MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s encouragement after a toddler was severely injured by a foul ball at a game in September. To this point, Manfred has not mandated that teams add protection, but the Yankees have taken matters into their own hands. The netting will “extend nine feet above the dugout roofs and five and a half feet above the short walls that extend down the foul lines.” It also will provide “increased protection for fans who are sitting inside the so-called moat that surrounds the highest priced seats, extending to the point where the wall makes a slight turn and hugs the foul lines.” Teams can scrimp on many things but fan safety isn’t one of them. Every other MLB franchise with dangerous foul lines should follow the Yankees’ example and extend their netting.

Power of Sports Five

  1. Afghanistan will compete in the Winter Olympics for the first time. The story of two Afghan skiers is a story that defies norms. Sajjad Husaini and Alishah Farhang are going to make Olympic history at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. Afghanistan Olympic Committee President Mohammad Zahir Aghbar registered the two in November 2017, and news of their acceptance broke shortly afterwards. Their stories stand out, not only because they are the first athletes to represent this long war-torn country, but because of their modest beginnings. Their journey to Olympic enrollment does not parallel a typical athlete’s journey. It reflects how true passion and love of the sport have been a driving factor for the two skiers. After living as a refugee in Iran for 13 years, the 26-year-old Husaini returned to Afghanistan and started skiing at the age of 21. Farhang, who is 27, started skiing in 2011 at the age of 19. Both skiers were much older than most professional athletes when they were introduced to the sport. “We wanted to represent Afghanistan in a different way, to show the other countries that Afghanistan is not only war and destruction,” said Husaini.
     

  2. Mentorship program uses snow, skate, and surf to reach youth. “Any activity fueled by physical activity, passion, and community — and using your hands to build things — is developing a part of your brain that I believe our society is missing out on right now,” Stoked Founder and President Steve Larosiliere says. Because of its unique model of connecting professionals from a variety of creative fields with youth through a shared love of action sports, Stoked has become more than a mentoring program. It’s grown to become a design-thinking community of leaders that includes athletes, creatives, and media executives all mobilized around the life-changing ideas that can be sparked when great minds come together. While gaining experience in action sports, many of the kids have found themselves on the precipice of potential new careers in design, photography, and branding. “Stoked really attracts a lot of creative people, so this evolved naturally,” Larosiliere says. “Our kids wanted more than just to learn how to snowboard, skate, and surf. They were learning all these new skills and felt like they wanted to do more, and wanted to be more, and be more closely aligned with their mentors’ industries.”

  3. “You Can Be a Pioneer” – like the Orlando Magic’s Becky Bonner. Over the past few years, women have slowly moved into positions of power within NBA front offices. There's still a ways to go, but for the female decision-makers already in place, the possibility that they could run a franchise themselves isn't just a theory anymore. Officially, Becky Bonner is the Magic’s director of player development and quality control — tasked with everything from player appearances and facilities upgrades to scouting and player evaluation. Unofficially, she’s training to become a general manager — perhaps the first female GM in league history. One night, Bonner is shepherding Magic players through Walmart. The next day, she’ll be filing reports on a batch of draft prospects, then watching the Magic-Clippers game from the executive suite, alongside Magic president Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond. In the weeks and months ahead, she’ll be in the Magic’s war room, offering input on free-agent targets or potential deals in advance of the February 8 trade deadline. She will be the lone female voice in that room—and one of the few in the NBA, period.
     

  4. This U.S. men’s hockey star is set to make Olympic history. 20-year-old Jordan Greenway is poised to make history when he takes the ice at next month's Winter Olympics. The Boston University forward was officially named to the team's roster earlier this month. With NHL players absent from this year's Games — the league opted not to put a break in the season schedule as they'd done in years past — Greenway is arguably the face of U.S. hockey thanks to his newfound fame. Like many Winter Olympic sports, hockey is still very white, though its makeup is slowly changing. Greenway understands that no matter what happens later in his promising career, this moment represents a unique opportunity to inspire a younger generation. “I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of good things and just allowing a lot of African American kids who are younger than me who see kind of what I’m doing, I hope that can be an inspiration for them,” he told Sporting News. “Go out and do something different against the typical stereotypes that most African-Americans play basketball, or whatever the case is.” Greenway is just one of 13 African American athletes playing Division I men’s hockey, making up less than one percent of the total. When it comes to pro hockey, black athletes are represented slightly better, though they still account for just 2.29% of all players.
     

  5. Meet a NBA General Manager who’s a food blogger on the side. Rich Cho is the first Asian-American general manager in the NBA, first of the Portland Trail Blazers, in 2010, and then of the Charlotte Hornets. He is also the founder of a food blog, Bigtime Bites. The site reviews dishes rather than restaurants, and it only covers food that people love. “You don’t have to sift through all the negativity,” Cho said, in between sips from a large black coffee cup adorned with the Bigtime Bites logo. On the site, dishes are graded according to both taste and presentation, and they are grouped into basketball-themed categories: a “rotation player” might be a desirable choice occasionally, depending on mood, whereas a “franchise player” is a good pick any day of the week. Cho has worked in the NBA for more than two decades, starting as an intern with the Seattle Supersonics while he was still in law school. Now, you can find the GM going off to “scout” another meal.

Tech 5

  1. Samsung gives speedskaters SmartSuit tech for Winter Games. With the PyeongChang Olympics beginning next month, Samsung has revealed that it has given two Dutch short track speedskaters access to the Samsung SmartSuit to try to help them win Olympic gold. A competitive form of speed-skating, short track speed competitions take place on an oval ice track of a circumference of just 364 feet. The suit, thanks to five sensors embedded in it, is able to measure body posture and calculates how far a skater’s hips are from the ice. The reason why this analysis is so crucial is because this distance, if maximized, allows skaters to increase their speed, especially as the current men’s and women’s world records are 39.9 and 42.3 seconds, respectively. All this data is captured by an accompanying app, which can be analyzed in real-time by a coach. If a skater isn’t crouched at the optimal level, a reminder can be sent by the coach via the app, which will send a vibration that the athlete feels on their wrists advising them to correct their posture.
     

  2. Amazon says its Thursday night NFL audience outpaced Twitter. Amazon has disclosed its season-ending viewership numbers for its 11-game Thursday Night Football NFL package and claimed victory over Twitter by average-minute audience. The numbers that Amazon provided to SportTechie indicated that the AMA tuning into NFL action on Prime Video for at least 30 seconds was more than 310,000, a number said to be 17 % higher than Twitter during the 2016 season. An analysis by MarketingLand pegged Twitter’s AMA at 265,800. Whether Amazon truly outperformed Twitter in reaching a live-streaming audience, however, is not clear, because the two tech giants have not reported apples-to-apples metrics. Amazon used the 30-second AMA increment because, a spokesman said, that data point was most comparable to average TV ratings and thus more similar to the traditional Nielsen numbers. With regard to total reach — i.e. the total number of viewers to tune in for any length of time — Amazon said its peak was the two million fans.
     

  3. Peloton introduces internet-connected treadmill at CES. Peloton, known for reinventing the stationary bike, introduced an internet-connected treadmill offering on-demand built-in live workouts at CES. Designed to mimic the boutique fitness studio class experience, the $3,995 Peloton Tread offers workouts for athletes of all levels; accounting for their varying tastes in music. The hardware includes an HD touchscreen 3x larger (32 inches) than the one on the Peloton bike, ensuring the user maintains a clear view of the screen when he/she steps off the machine to do floor exercises; along with a 20-watt sound bar and 59 individual shock absorbing-slats (as opposed to a single belt), reducing the impact on the user’s feet. In 2016, Peloton tripled its annual revenue to $170 million. The treadmill market is 5x larger than that of the stationary bike, so the new product should help keep revenues rising. The company has raised nearly a half billion dollars to date ($444 million), but nearly all that money is privately held.
     

  4. Chinese basketball association partners with Beitai Digital. The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) will soon be receiving robust data solutions. A partnership has been formed making Beitai Digital the league’s official, exclusive data service provider. Beitai, will develop data products and services for the league and its fans. “For us, this deal is a proud culmination of all the hard work and research we have put in to our data-related expertise, systems and ambitions,” Beitai CEO Andy Xue said, in a statement. “Collecting stable and accurate data statistics for the CBA is just the first phase of this partnership. We will be developing a whole host of applications based on live and historic data that will significantly enrich the experience for fans of this exhilarating league, whether they engage with it on TV, on computers, on mobiles or via social media.” New developments include 40% more data points per game and more analytical stats. Data will be made available to broadcasters, CBA teams, and preferred digital media outlets for their pre/post-game analysis.
     

  5. Floyd Mayweather unveils virtual reality fitness experience. Floyd Mayweather has announced he will open a gym franchise where people can get fit using a number of innovative technologies, even training with the undefeated pro boxer in virtual reality and through a companion app. The virtual reality experience is now reality, and “Money” is in your corner. Mayweather Boxing + Fitness announced at CES that the VR component is ready, just weeks ahead of the opening of the flagship gym location in Los Angeles. While the virtual reality boxing is designed to be usable at home with a headset and hand controller, those looking to get into the ring with Mayweather will have to head to one of the gym locations. The virtual reality boxing experience will allow users to select a 12-week program based on their preferences: training, padwork, or head-to-head virtual competition. In all modes, Mayweather will act as the trainer, teaching users the trademark moves that have made him so successful. Users can also train in a number of different virtual environments, and the hand control helps track calories, speed, and intensity.