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.
By Rick Horrow
Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins
TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST, CLICK HERE
- Peyton’s Places, a 30-episode documentary series hosted by legendary quarterback Peyton Manning, will air on ESPN+. Manning will host the football-themed series, revisiting seminal moments in NFL history. In the series, the two-time Super Bowl champ with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos interviews former NFL players, coaches, and other key figures about football history and its cultural impact. Slated to debut July 15 exclusively on ESPN+, the series will be presented in five chapters, each comprising six episodes. In addition, ESPN and/or ABC will air special compilations, recapping each part after the full episodes debut on ESPN+. The series is part of ESPN’s celebration of the NFL’s 100th season, produced by NFL Films in collaboration with ESPN+. While not specifically tied to the NFL Draft, the announcement of the new Manning-led series has particular significance before this year’s Draft in Nashville. Manning was selected by the Colts with the first overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft…out of Tennessee.
- Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber has announced that the league will expand to 30 teams in the coming years, up from the previous expansion target of 28. In 2006, MLS had 11 teams. This season, there are 24, with another three on the way: Inter Miami CF (2020), Nashville SC (2020), and Austin FC (2021). Garber also anticipates selecting the 28th and 29th expansion teams in the coming months with no timetable set for the 30th team. Sacramento and St. Louis appear to be the frontrunners for slots No. 28 and 29, as they’ve both been asked to make formal presentations to the MLS Expansion Committee. The MLS Board of Governors also set the expansion fee for those two spots at $200 million apiece. Other cities whose expansion hopes may now be reignited include Charlotte, Detroit, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Raleigh, and San Diego, according to Sports Illustrated. Pro soccer is thriving in the U.S. and Canada, and expansion during the last decade has been a key driver of MLS’ growth. Investors continue to be enthralled. So why not keep it going?
- Even though NBA viewership was down 8% during the regular season, marketers have lined up to take part in NBA post-season action. Strong demand has already gobbled up between 85%-95% of the ad inventory on ESPN, ABC, and Turner’s TNT, with percentage rate increases over last year in the high single digits. Regular-season ratings have minimal impact on the post-season because the NBA Playoffs involve marquee teams with stars playing head-to-head every night. Moreover, numerous postseason superstars have huge social media followings that help draw viewers – particularly younger ones. Perhaps with that in mind, Adidas Basketball and Marvel have unveiled a campaign for a new limited-edition "Heroes Among Us” shoe collection featuring five current and former NBA and WNBA players. Players featured include the Rockets’ James Harden (Iron Man), the Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard (Black Panther), the Wizards’ John Wall (Captain America), former NBAer Tracy McGrady (Nick Fury), and the WNBA Sparks’ Candace Parker (Captain Marvel). The shoe line will be available at retail April 26, as the playoffs tip off their second round.
Story by Noah Levick
If you follow the NBA, you’ve probably seen the Sixers in the headlines.
Jimmy Butler reportedly “aggressively challenged” head coach Brett Brown during a film session in Portland, though both player and coach disagreed with that characterization.
On the court, the Sixers have been playing well — the team’s 26-14 start is their best through 40 games since the 2000-2001 season, when an Allen Iverson-led squad won the Eastern Conference.
Before the Wizards and Sixers square off in a home-and-home set on Tuesday and Wednesday, here are a few things you should know about the Sixers.
1. Joel Embiid might be the best first-half player in the NBA
Embiid, the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played between Dec. 31 and Jan. 7, is very, very difficult to contain in the first half.
He’s averaging 15.9 points on 53.7 percent shooting, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in first halves this season.
Most of Embiid’s performances have followed the same pattern — he flashes tremendous skill in the post, gets the opposing center in early foul trouble, and lifts the Sixers to a quick lead.
Then he tails off in the second half, often because he starts to see regular double-teams as it becomes clear that the game plan of guarding him one-on-one was unadvisable.
In second halves, Embiid averages 10.7 points on 42.1 percent shooting, 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists.
The Wizards should be wary of his usual early dominance. For Scott Brooks, aggressively double-teaming Embiid wouldn’t be a bad idea.
2. Ben Simmons has started to take more jump shots
The reigning Rookie of the Year, Simmons has four triple-doubles in his last 10 games. Yet all anyone seems to care about is his jump shot.
He made 2 of 4 jumpers in Saturday night’s win over the Mavs, which might not seem like much to the average point guard. But it’s a significant development for Simmons, who has in the past been highly averse to taking the open jumpers presented to him every game.
Simmons is averaging 16.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists this season, and his post-up play has been much improved. Still, his lack of a dependable jumper does limit the Sixers’ offense, tending to clog the paint and making it easier for defenders to double-team Embiid.
3. The bench is a serious weakness
Since Butler’s Sixers debut on Nov. 14, the bench has a minus-0.7 plus-minus, 18th in the NBA.
The Sixers still have an open roster spot after the Butler trade, and it’s clear they’ll need to fill it with a capable player.
The bench’s perimeter defense is a glaring problem. Players like rookie Landry Shamet and 21-year-old Furkan Korkmaz have often been exposed.
Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, is undergoing rehab for thoracic outlet syndrome in Los Angeles and is out indefinitely. Without Fultz, 6-foot-2 T.J. McConnell has assumed backup point guard responsibilities.
Keep an eye on Australian rookie big man Jonah Bolden, who impressed during the Sixers’ recent five-game road trip with his athleticism and ability to both protect the rim and switch onto guards.
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