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11.25.19 Rick Horrow interviews EVERFI Co-founder Jon Chapman

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USA TODAY Sports

11.25.19 Rick Horrow interviews EVERFI Co-founder Jon Chapman

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick sits down with EVERFI Co-founder Jon Chapman and takes you through the biggest sports business stories of the week.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE



1. EverFi chants “Let’s Go Lightning.” Last Friday, the Tampa Bay Lightning invited 5,000 middle schoolers from the area to practice as part of their partnership with the Future Goals program from EverFi. The NHL and NHLPA are sponsoring the program that brings hockey into the classroom to explore STEM topics through sports. Future Goals features computer modules aimed at students in third through eighth grades on various topics. “We actually tried to use math and science in our ball hockey stuff,” Vice President of Community Hockey Development Jay Feaster shared with the Tampa Bay Times. “We show angles. If you pass off the boards here, or the different angles in the openings around a goalie.” While some of the students attending the Friday practice were hockey players, EverFi‘s NHL partnership recognizes that even those who don’t play the game have a better time absorbing STEM information through the lens of the sport.

2. Japanese hoops star Rui Hachimura made history before ever stepping on an NBA court. The 6-foot-8 forward became the first player born in Japan to be drafted when the Washington Wizards selected him with the No. 9 overall pick in June. His popularity in Japan is unmatched, making him unique among this year’s NBA rookie class. Because of Hachimura’s status as a national icon in Japan, there was intense competition to land him as a sneaker endorser. Initially, seven companies presented to Hachimura, including such basketball staples as Nike subsidiary Jordan Brand and multiple China-based companies. Hachimura ultimately decided to sign with Jordan Brand, which offered a blend of proven performance products, marketing cachet around the world, and an opportunity to join a smaller stable of players within the larger Nike umbrella. Look for other major endorsements to come Hachimura’s way for brands eager to penetrate the style-forward Japanese market.

 

3. The NHL’s Washington Capitals owners launch Caps Gaming Brand. Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE), the owners of the Washington Capitals NHL franchise, has launched an esports division called Caps Gaming, which will host a 32-team EA Sports NHL 20 competition. The Caps Gaming Showcase, a six-versus-six ice hockey esports tournament, which will launch on Xbox One, will feature an eight-week regular-season beginning in early December, with the top 16 teams advancing to a postseason stage held in late February, competing for a $15,000 prize pool. As part of Monumental’s gaming expansion, the esports division has also signed up professional NHL gamer John Casagranda, who is also known as “JohnWayne” and joins the Caps Gaming organization as an official streamer on the Caps Gaming Twitch channel until the end of June. In addition to being 2018 NHL Stanley Cup champions, Monumental owns and operates pro sports franchises based in the U.S. capital, including the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the WNBA champion Washington Mystics. By investing heavily in esports, MSE and the Capitals have kept themselves at the forefront of innovation across the NHL and are primed to cash-in on the rise of esports.

 

4. Advertising and patches in esports take root: Wizards District Gaming pen NBA 2K jersey patch deal with Alarm.com. According to SportsPro, the deal sees the Alarm.com also get virtual in-game signage during Wizards District Gaming play in the NBA 2K League, deepening its relationship with MSE, which also owns the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Alarm.com will also receive exposure during the NBA 2K League Draft, for which the Wizards’ esports team holds the number one overall pick this season. Further, the partnership features experiential activations, including a Wizards District Gaming sponsored employee program and players appearances, as well as social media features, branded content, digital banner advertisements on the team’s website, and brand integration within Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch. Esports is the perfect place for tech-oriented agencies to advertise to appeal to fans who are always looking to upgrade their digital devices and software.

 

5. Sports tech and analytics company Whoop raises $55 million for its discreet wearables. Whoop, which makes a sensor-equipped and screen-free strap that continuously tracks your activities 24/7 and then provides a multitude of performance metrics and other data based on that activity, has closed a round of $55 million funding that it will use to continue expanding its business into a wider range of wearables and analytics that can be gathered around them. According to TechCrunch, the devices measure things like how much strain a workout is causing you, how you are recovering afterward, your sleep, whether training is having the desired effect, whether you are working at a level that will be less likely to cause injury, and how you are likely to perform. Looking ahead, the plan is to place the sensors into more environments than just the strap it currently makes. One notable shift Whoop has seen in the last year is that it has dropped the price of its wearable from a sizeable $500 down to free. Instead, it bundles the strap into a wider membership program that you do pay for, starting at $30/month and decreasing, depending on what you would like to measure and use the data for – and because it’s simpler than Google’s recently-acquired Fitbit, Whoop may find more success by providing simplicity in an over-inundated tech world.

 

Beyond the Scoreboard: Title sponsors and major events in Indianapolis

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USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: Title sponsors and major events in Indianapolis

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST, CLICK HERE

  • Indianapolis is the center of the golf world as the LPGA Indy Women in Tech tournament and educational program unfolds this week. The 2019 IWiT field consists of seven out of the Top 10 LPGA Tour money leaders and 17 Solheim Cup players. There are also numerous activities during IWiT Championship week that focus on women and children in technology: The Indy Women in Tech Summit comprises over 600 tech leaders in the community coming together to discuss diversity and inclusion in the workplace, with a session featuring LPGA Tour Pro Mariah Stackhouse and LPGA Chief Brand and Communications Officer Roberta Bowman. Tournament week will also feature the Eureka! Exchange – a fun and engaging area where kids can interact and have fun with hands on tech activities, curated by industry experts. Finally, Nextech’s Pathways to Tech presented by Saint Joseph’s College of Marian University allows two hundred high school students to learn about the different pathways to tech careers. This is a fun experience at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway pagoda providing an opportunity for the next generation of STEM/Tech leaders to interact with Indy tech companies and professionals.
  • IndyCar headed into its season finale Sunday afternoon at WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca with a roughly 10% increase in linear TV viewership and attendance jumps at half of its races this year. This was the first year of NBC Sports’ full-season media-rights pact with IndyCar, which had a new title sponsor in Japanese tech company NTT. According to SportsBusiness Daily, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles believes the series had a good year when looking at key performance indicators, in addition to being a “terrific year on the track.” Miles said, “The two biggest things commercially were NTT as series entitlement partner, and we’re very happy with that…Then NBC – we think they’ve done a great job.” The season finale was held at Laguna Seca this year after the series dropped Sonoma Raceway from its schedule. On Sunday, Josef Newgarden was crowned IndyCar champion as Colton Herta won at Laguna Seca.
  • Online lender Social Finance, known as SoFi, will pay more than $30 million annually for the next 20 years to entitle the new NFL stadium under construction in Los Angeles, making it the largest deal in U.S. naming rights history. According to multiple sources, the partnership eclipses the previous NFL high-water mark of $20 million annually at MetLife Stadium, and Chase’s $30 million annual deal with MSG for extensive promotional rights that stop short of entitlement. It may also eclipse Scotiabank’s $40 million deal to rename Air Canada Centre in Toronto in 2017. SoFi’s CEO is Anthony Noto, the NFL’s former CFO. Along with stadium rights, SoFi becomes a sponsor of both tenants, the Chargers and Rams, and will sponsor the adjacent performance venue. SoFi becomes one of Silicon Valley’s biggest sports spenders; it has spent more than $200 million annually on marketing in recent years. It currently claims 800,000 members, with products including student loans, mortgages, personal loans, and wealth management. The company believes the venue will help it become a household financial brand.

Beyond the Scoreboard: Raiders in Vegas updates, plus Loudon United and more

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USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: Raiders in Vegas updates, plus Loudon United and more

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

  • Raiders, Allegiant agree on a naming rights deal for Las Vegas Stadium. The Raiders and Allegiant announced an agreement for the naming rights to Las Vegas Stadium, the future home of the Raiders and UNLV Football. Sources said that Allegiant is likely paying between $20-25 million in “cash and in-kind services a year to put its name on the building.” This partnership with the Raiders presents a global branding opportunity for the Las Vegas-based airline company as Allegiant will have its name showcased on the 1.75 million-square-foot, state-of-the-art domed stadium that will also host many world-class major sports and entertainment events. Said Raiders President Marc Badain, “As the hometown airline, Allegiant is the perfect partner to showcase the incredible support we continue to receive from the Southern Nevada community.” Allegiant Stadium will also serve as the home for UNLV football in addition to serving as the site of the Las Vegas Bowl beginning in 2020, as well as the 2020 and 2021 Pac-12 football championship games.
  • Loudoun United christens new Segra Field home. D.C. United last Friday night opened the gates to a new venue for its second-division team in Leesburg, Virginia. USL club Loudoun United “announced a sellout crowd of 5,015” for its draw against the Charlotte Independence at Segra Field, according to the Washington Post. A week ago Saturday, however, the club welcomed numerous local dignitaries and representatives from D.C. United for an official ribbon cutting ceremony. Among the guest speakers at the event were Dave Johnson, longtime television voice of D.C. United, D.C. United CEO and managing general owner Jason Levien, Loudoun United Chief Operations Officer Adam Behnke, and Loudoun County Department of Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer, along with almost every Loudoun County supervisor. Real estate firm JLL secured the deal to manage the venue, its fourth in the D.C. region. The stadium will be joined next year by a new training facility that will be shared by Loudoun United and D.C. United, with the $15 million development set to be completed next summer. 
  • Joe Maddon’s Try Not to Suck Celebrity Golf Classic returns. For the fourth year, Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will hold his annual “Try Not to Suck” Celebrity Golf Classic on Monday, August 19 at Bryn Mawr Country Club in Lincolnwood, Illinois. The event benefits Joe and Jaye Maddon’s Respect 90 Foundation which provides assistance to at-risk children and families in the areas Joe and Jaye call home including Chicago; Tampa, Florida; Hazleton, Pennsylvania; Mesa, Arizona;  and Southern California. Respect 90 provides children and families opportunities to develop championship attitudes through sports, academics, and community involvement. The total proceeds from four years of the Maddon Celebrity Golf Tournaments (including this year) will approach $1 million dollars. The field includes dozens of former Cubs players, front office staff, and local and national celebrities – and Rick is proud to continue to participate in the event. On Sunday, the longtime Chicago skipper reassured Cubs fans that his level of optimism about returning to the Cubs is “very high” as he enters the final seven weeks of his current five-year deal.