More

Oregon Lottery's Scoreboard app 'pretty hamstrung,' but you can still gamble

Oregon Lottery's Scoreboard app 'pretty hamstrung,' but you can still gamble

With no athletic events to bet on, virtually anywhere in the world, the Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard app is dormant these days.

No games, no bets.

“It’s pretty hamstrung,” is the way Chuck Baumann, senior public affairs officer for the Oregon Lottery, puts it.

But that doesn’t mean the state lottery isn’t still in the gambling business. There are still scratch-offs, video games and the like to satisfy those with an itch to wager.

“Currently, Scoreboard is just a fraction of the Oregon Lottery’s revenue,” he said. “We’re just going to weather the storm and when sports come back and sports bettors are all excited about wagering again, Scoreboard will be there.”

The possible closure of restaurants and bars will hamper those video games, but if places are open for carryout or pickup, expect the terminals to be up and running, too.

It’s been a slow start for the sports betting segment of the Lottery. In the words of Baumann, it’s still, “Five million in the hole, behind our projections.”

“The first nine months are below projections. A lot of that has to do with startup costs and us just getting a game like that up and going,

“We’ve had over 50,000 folks registered and set up accounts. So people were using it and liking it. But it’s kind of hard to do anything now with nothing to wager on.”

In the meantime, gamblers will have to settle for the other gambling the lottery provides.

“We had the largest two video weeks we’ve had earlier this month, before the virus ramped up,” Baumann said. “Traditionally, that part of the year, with tax returns, it’s that way.”

The only thing I can think of to bet on is when we might start seeing games again. But I don’t think anyone is going to take bets on that.

Baseball's plan to play is encouraging, but won't work without essential tools

Baseball's plan to play is encouraging, but won't work without essential tools

Let me start by saying I love the fact that baseball is being creative with a plan to open its season sooner than expected. And I like the idea that players might be willing to be sequestered in the Phoenix area to play all games in that vicinity.

Playing and living in a bubble for weeks is not something anyone would relish, but on the other hand, if you're making a million bucks to do it...

I don’t think it’s a viable solution for an entire season, but it could work until life gets safer outside that bubble.

But I also hope the people pushing this plan forward with so much zeal understand the risks involved. And the tools that would be necessary to make it all work.

Obviously, reliable and rapid tests must be available for players, staff and everyone expected to be there. Those gathering in groups must be tested -- frequently. Anything short of that is an extreme gamble.

And those tests must also be readily available to all of us. For any sport to hoard thousands of testing kits while the general public is going without them is going to create an outcry that no sport wants.

So, plentiful testing for the whole country is a must. And possible, I think, because those tests are in the works and reportedly on the way.

But another thing that would be critical to this plan is the frantic search for a treatment plan for COVID-19. It’s extremely doubtful that a vaccine can be found for the virus, but certainly it’s possible to find a medication or a treatment regimen that can keep people from dying after being infected.

Unprecedented measures are being taken to repurpose existing drugs that might be useful in fighting off what is a very strong opponent.

And an effective treatment is the key, of course, for all of us being safe enough to return to a more normal existence. Just finding a way to reduce this virus to something akin to flu would be the answer.

But before that treatment is found, baseball would be taking the gamble of having to shut its plan down in failure if the virus spreads among the participants in what would be a very large group of quarantined people.

I’m not sure this is an idea that can be executed and I would hope it doesn’t set off a race to see which sport can come back first.

I don’t think being the first to come back is as important is being the sport that is the first to come back and stay back.

NHL Seattle hopes to release team name ‘sooner rather than later’ 

nhltoseattle.png
USA Today Images

NHL Seattle hopes to release team name ‘sooner rather than later’ 

He was named one of the 100 greatest NHL players of all-time in 2017 after winning two Stanley Cup’s with the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Now, Ron Francis, looks to bring his 22 years of hockey experience as a player and general manager to Seattle. But first, there’s a long list of business items Francis and NHL Seattle has to accomplish before the league’s 32nd expansion franchise takes the ice in 2021.

Francis went live on Twitter Friday afternoon for a happy hour session to provide fans with an update on the team, while the 2019-20 season is paused due to the coronavirus.

First things first, fans wanted to know what the update is on the future team’s name. Here’s what Francis had to share on the unveiling of the team name, which was rumored to be announced in late March. 

“We’re still going through that process with the league, working hard on the trademark and the legal process,” Francis said. “Trust me when I say our people are really working hard on this and soon as we’ve completed it, we’ll look at how our community is doing and when is the right time to announce that name. 

“We know there’s a lot of people who are super excited about the name. We hear you. We’re excited about it as well, but we also know at the same time that there’s a lot of people in our community experiencing challenges, so we certainly want to be very respectful and sensitive and think about when is the right time to share our name with everybody, but we’re looking forward to doing that hopefully sooner rather than later.” 

Francis didn’t rule out the possibility that the Seattle team could incorporate some history into their uniforms. One fan suggested using the color scheme or design of the Seattle Metropolitans, who played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1915-24 and won a Stanley Cup in 1917.

“Yeah, cool looking jersey,” Francis said. “That’s certainly something I’d be happy to pass along to them for consideration.”

Francis says it’ll be interesting to what transpires with the coronavirus pandemic currently impacting league play and how it’ll effect NHL Seattle leading up to their first puck drop.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how things pan out,” Francis said. “There’s a lot of things that could affect us in regard to cap and where that level is at, players have to play 40 game a year vs. 70 previous two years.

“Rest assured we’re doing everything to build the best possible team for our city and our fans.”

Francis also delves into how the team is preparing for the expansion draft and what qualities he is looking for in a coach and in building his team. Head on over to the NHL Seattle Twitter for more updates. 

Columbia Sportswear CEO sets shining corporate example by continuing employees' pay

Columbia Sportswear CEO sets shining corporate example by continuing employees' pay

I know, a lot of people are going to have the same reaction when they see this story about Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle cutting his salary to $10,000 a year while continuing to pay his 3.500 retail employees at their regular rate, even though the company’s retail stores are closed.

They are going to say, “Well, Tim is a billionaire and he can afford that. He SHOULD do that.”

On the other hand, I’m going to give him a lot of credit for doing it. He didn’t have to do anything -- many corporations aren’t doing this. And at the same time, I’m hoping a lot of other CEOs and owners of companies will see this as a proper example of smart business, generosity and leadership and follow his example.

It's not only the right thing for companies that can manage it, it's good business. Those employees of the Washington County-based sportswear giant are going to eventually return with a sense of loyalty and love for their company they may never have had, And that will make for a stronger company.

There are certainly many business operators who can’t afford this kind of policy. I understand that. And while everybody has the right to do whatever they please with their money, it’s a time for us all to help each other as best we can.

And I know, too, gestures like this one have a way of leading to good fortune. I believe in karma.

As far as I’m concerned, the next time I’m looking for a winter coat or a pair of gloves, I know where I’m going to shop for them.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed over COVID-19 concerns

usatsi_13079261.jpg
IMAGN

Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed over COVID-19 concerns

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday.

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo Olympic organizers came to an agreement to to move the Tokyo Games to 2021.

The prime minister said Japan will fulfill its responsibility as the host nation "to prove that humanity has beaten the novel coronavirus."

It will mark the first time in history that the start of an Olympics will be delayed to another year.

From the IOC official release

In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The announcement came two days after IOC President Thomas Bach said detailed discussions began to assess the coronavirus’ impact on the Olympics, including the scenario of postponement but not cancellation.

On Monday, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee joined the list of National Olympic Committees, including those from Canada and Australia, urging for postponement. 

Before the postponement announcement, the IOC was already working with international federations to make changes to Olympic qualifying, which has been impacted by global sporting events being canceled into April and May.

A total of 76 athletes had already qualified for the U.S. Olympic team.

“With this decision, the work of planning a new version of the Tokyo Games is now officially underway,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland wrote in a letter to U.S. athletes. “At the same time, we know from you, it’s important that the process of ensuring it is a fair and equitable Games be given equal attention. Working in partnership with athletes, [National Governing Bodies], International Federations, the IOC and IPC, we’ll (re)define standards for selection and anti-doping, and ensure the reimagined Games live up to the original promise of Tokyo 2020.”

This is the first major disruption to the Olympics since World War II, when the 1944 Summer Olympics, which were also to be held in Tokyo, were canceled.

Portland's 'Baseballism' hit hard by COVID-19 economic impact

Portland's 'Baseballism' hit hard by COVID-19 economic impact

Local baseball-lifestyle apparel brand “Baseballism” has been hit hard by the nationwide economic slowdown caused by COVID-19.

Travis Chock, the CEO of Baseballism, told Maury Brown of Forbes.com, “We’re fighting hard, but this thing hit us at the perfect time to cripple us.”

Baseballism began as a mail-order business out of the garage of friends who attended University of Oregon and played club baseball there. It now has brick-and-mortar stores near six big-league ballparks, in Cooperstown, N,Y., pop-up stores in spring training locations and stores under construction in St. Louis and at Field of Dreams in Iowa. The company's online sales have become a small percentage of the company revenue compared to the retail outlets.

The drop in revenue from the ballpark-area stores with early games not being played and the spring-training locations with no games, in conjunction with the short-term construction loans, have caused cash-flow difficulties for a company that had been hailed as a rags-to-riches success story.

Seventy employees have had hours cut or been laid off and Chock told Forbes, “After that, we’ll need a cash infusion, whether it be debt or selling equity.”

BIG3 Basketball to stage quarantined basketball tournament

usatsi_13297160.jpg
USATI

BIG3 Basketball to stage quarantined basketball tournament

For those of us jonesing for some basketball, or just need some sports to watch in general, it appears the Big3 is here to help. 

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Big3 will be bringing basketball back in April, but with a twist.

The league plans to take 16-22 players, quarantine them together in a mansion, and have them play in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for a cash prize. 

All the players involved would have tested negative for COVID-19 and there would be strict rules to keep them from outside contact.

It's essentially Big Brother with a basketball court. 

According to Haynes, "To assure the league is operating under safe conditions, players will be quarantined in a large home provided by the league, sources said. A basketball court/facility will be built on site. If a player breaks quarantine at any point during the tournament, he would be eliminated and removed from the premises, sources said. The games and the players’ daily lives will be captured on camera for added drama and storylines. The production crew would be stationed nearby but offsite from the players."

The players would play 3-on-3 games, just like in the Big3, but in this reality version, the players on each team would shuffle after the first round. 

Once an individual player, not a team, accumulates three losses, they would be eliminated from the competition.

The final three players would win millions of dollars in cash prizes.

It may not be the NBA, but basketball is basketball. 

Take it from the brain behind the project, Big3 founder Ice Cube.

The new Big3 project could hit your TV as soon as this April. 

Report: NHL Seattle to delay unveiling of team name 

etbo6wiuyaeihgv.jpeg
@NHLSeattle_

Report: NHL Seattle to delay unveiling of team name 

We are just 17 months away from the first puck drop at the renovated Key Arena in Seattle, and the team’s name has yet to be released.

The name was expected to be announced in April, but with Seattle reeling from the spread of COVID-19, fans will have to wait a little longer to find out the name of the 32nd NHL franchise. 

According to the Sports Business Journal’s Mark J. Burns, NHL Seattle will not release a name at this time “due to the sensitivities around the coronavirus outbreak.”

The news comes just days after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league would pause the 2019-20 season. The statement came hours after NBA player Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. 

“Given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some members of the NHL community would test positive at some point, it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time,” Bettman said. 

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday evening that one of its players tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first case in the NHL. 

While NHL Seattle will delay its name reveal for the time being, work on KeyArena continues. Per the New Arena at Seattle Center construction updates page, reconnection of the arena footings is in the works. 

The NHL team out of Seattle also broke ground in late February on their practice facility, which will be located a few miles away from their home ice at New Arena. 

As of now, the unnamed team is still expected to join the NHL for the 2021 regular season. 

Report: Nike, Phil Knight committing more than $15M in COVID-19 aid

Report: Nike, Phil Knight committing more than $15M in COVID-19 aid

Nike and co-founder Phil Knight are offering us all a little bit of light during a challenging and uncertain time. 

Phil Knight, along with the company he founded, executive chairman Mark Parker and president & CEO John Donahoe are contributing more than $15M in COVID-19 assistance. 

This according to Darren Rovell:

Knight, Parker, and Donahoe alone will contribute a combined $10M of their own money.

The Oregon-based company is also doing its part to help its employees, improve statewide care coordination, increase access for COVID-19 patients and help prepare for expanded diagnostic testing.

"We are coming together to support communities where our employees live and work," said a Nike global corporate communications spokesperson.

According to KGW-TV, $10 million of the money being donated would be dedicated locally to the Oregon Food BankOregon Health & Science University, and a recovery fund created by the Oregon Community Foundation.

Nike already donated more than $1 million to China Youth Development Foundation back in January to help provide supplies and equipment to treat COVID-19 patients.

NBCSNW reported late last week that if Nike was forced to close any of its stores or distribution centers, those who are unable to work from home would receive paid time off and will not be required to take PTO.

Two days after that report, Nike announced they would be closing retail stores.

With stores closing, Nike is staying true to its word and helping those employees affected. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold, Nike is making sure it does everything it can to help.

XFL to cancel season due to COVID-19 concerns

usatsi_14085990.jpg
USA Today Images

XFL to cancel season due to COVID-19 concerns

Following the NBA, NHL and MLS’ decision to suspend all games effective immediately, the XFL will follow suit.

According to a statement from the XFL, the league will not play its regular season games and the season has been canceled. 

"The XFL is commited to playing a full season in 2021 and future years," the statement said. 

All players, however, will continue to be paid a base salary in benefits for their contributions in 2020. XFL season ticket holders will be issued refunds or credit toward future games. 

Former Seattle Seahawks player, now Seattle Dragons wide receiver Keenan Reynolds seemingly confirmed the news before it was announced Thursday. 

“Welp…it’s been real @xfl2020.”

The Seattle Dragons announced Wednesday that they would play Sunday’s home game against the Los Angeles Wildcats in front of empty stadium at CenturyLink Field.

The changes came after Washington Govenor Jay Inslee’s ban of gatherings of more than 250 people in effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Now instead of the Dragons game being played without fans in the building, it won’t be played at all.