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10.21.19 Rick Horrow interviews Abby Warner

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USA TODAY Sports

10.21.19 Rick Horrow interviews Abby Warner

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick interviews Indy Women in Tech Summit Co-Chair Abby Warner and shares the biggest sports business stories of the past week.



LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST EPISODE HERE

1. Top cyber protection software provider Acronis is leading the way in data protection for the modern enterprise. Sports partners include Boston Red Sox, NIO Formula E, Arsenal FC, ROKiT Williams Racing, SportPesa Formula 1, Manchester City FC, and more. Trusted by the world’s leading sports teams across the world, Acronis ensures they have the latest technology backing up, storing, and protecting their valuable data. “This event will bring to life the vision… that we’ve been building across all facets of our business during the last five years,” Serguei Beloussov Acronis Founder and CEO said in advance of last week's inaugural Acronis Global Cyber Summit. The summit welcomed over 600 IT professionals to hear from world-renowned experts and business leaders shaping the future of cyber protection, including Herjavec Group CEO Robert Herjavec, Security Analyst and Researcher at Tel Aviv University Keren Elazari, and American former FBI counter-terrorism and counterintelligence operative Eric O’Neill, along with Acronis founder and CEO, Serguei Beloussov.

2. ISC exec Grant Lynch drives into sunset. Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 1000 Bulbs 500 at Talladega Superspeedway marked the final race of Rick’s friend longtime track Chairman Grant Lynch’s tenure, and ISC put out a video thanking him for the 26-year run. Lynch joined the track in January 1993, and over the years he has become one of NASCAR’s most well-known and respected track executives, influential behind the scenes and constantly doing media appearances. Lynch is retiring after this year and is set to be replaced by Talladega’s vice president of marketing and sales Brian Crichton. Daytona International Speedway, the flagship track of Talladega’s parent company, ISC, released a montage Sunday morning with several senior executives sharing their memories and thanking Lynch, including NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, ISC President John Saunders, and Chief Innovation and Development Office Craig Neeb. Alas, we won’t know the outcome of Sunday’s playoff race until Monday, as rain delayed the race’s conclusion. Talladega also unveiled their new $50 million infield renovation this past weekend – which will serve as a lasting legacy to Lynch.

3. Merging Vets and Players (MVP) charity teams up with the Atlanta Falcons to reduce military and veteran suicides. According to KOAM News, the MVP charity aims to bring together combat veterans and retired professional athletes to help them adjust to life outside their professions. The organization has set up chapters in four major U.S. cities, and the Atlanta branch is working closely with the Atlanta Falcons. MVP was founded by FOX’s NFL insider, Jay Glazer, and Nate Boyer, U.S. Army Green Beret Veteran and former NFL athlete who played for the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. After recently running some physical activities as a group, MVP coaches run “The Huddle” – a 1:15 long support group where participants are coached to be proud of their scars. Some of MVP’s ambassadors include former NFL players Michael Strahan, Olin Kreutz, and Chris Long, who have struggled with retirement. By crossing the interactions between NFL and combat veterans, both ex-players and veterans can help express their emotions and struggles in a positive way.

Teenager Coco Gauff to return to the Citi Open in 2020

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Teenager Coco Gauff to return to the Citi Open in 2020

Teenage tennis sensation Coco Gauff will return to Washington D.C.'s Citi Open in 2020. 

Gauff, who will be 16 at the time of her second appearance in D.C., broke onto the WTA Tour with a historic run at last year's Wimbledon Championships. She upset seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams en route to a Round of 16 finish in her major main draw debut. 

Last year, Gauff made the trip to the nation's capital a month after her phenomenal run. However, due to her low ranking and her primary source of ranking points coming from Wimbledon, she had to play in the qualifying tournament just to make the main draw of the Citi Open. She would end up losing in the First Round of the singles draw but win her first WTA title with fellow American teenager Caty McNally in doubles

That will not be the case for the Florida native this upcoming year. Gauff won her first WTA singles crown at the Linz Open in Austria and became the youngest player ranked in the top 100 at 15 years of age. She wrapped up her 2019 campaign ranked No. 68 in the world. 

Coco Mania in D.C. helped contribute to one of the best Citi Opens ever. The tournament set several new attendance records in 2019 and sold out seven of the 11 sessions. An empty seat could not be found in any of Gauff's qualifying or main draw matches.

“Seeing the energy and excitement that Coco brought to our Citi Open fans and community last summer was one of the highlights of the tournament, so we are thrilled to welcome her back in 2020,” the manager of the Citi Open Mark Ein said in a release.

Gauff will be defending her doubles title, in addition to playing singles, and hopes to do so with McNally again. 

The 2020 Citi Open will be Aug. 1-9, where they will also be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the women's draw at the event. 

MORE CITI OPEN:

11.27.19 Rick Horrow sits down with Phil de Picciotto, Founder and President of Octagon

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USA TODAY Sports

11.27.19 Rick Horrow sits down with Phil de Picciotto, Founder and President of Octagon

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick sits down with  Founder and President of Octagon Phil de Picciotto and takes you through the biggest sports business stories of the week.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE



1. Minor League Baseball has announced the continued long-term commitment to its U.S. Hispanic fans and communities with the return of the 2020 Copa de la Diversion campaign and event series. Next season, each of the 92 participating MiLB teams covering 34 U.S. states will transform its on-field brand into a culturally-relevant Hispanic persona, representing an extension of the team’s and community’s identity. MiLB’s Copa-specific website features each team’s unique identity, including the story behind its Hispanic on-field persona, and links for fans to purchase available apparel for select Copa teams. As the New York Times noted, “the local embrace of a professional baseball team is ingrained in American culture.” MiLB performs critical community outreach through programs such as building youth sports facilities and sponsoring creative initiatives in schools. As American communities continue to become more diverse, events like the Copa de la Diversion campaign only serve to cement MiLB’s role as a communal centerpiece across the nation.

2. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan confirmed that he has signed a long-term contract extension. Whan is “completing his tenth year as the LPGA’s leader, the longest tenure of any commissioner in tour history,” according to Golf Channel. During his tenure, Whan has “rebuilt the LPGA with a healthy, diversified foundation, with 33 events” and more than $70 million in total prize money.” When Whan was named LPGA Commissioner, the organization had only 23 events on the 2011 schedule in his first year. “Ten years ago, I’m not sure many of us would have been bold enough to predict where we are our today,” he wrote in an update to members. “Events like the KPMG Women’s PGA, Race to the CME Globe, UL International Crown and Founders Cup weren’t even an idea back then. In fact, 19 of the 33 official events on the 2020 LPGA Tour Schedule weren’t on the LPGA Tour just 10 years ago! Now we have an official team event, five strong majors, multiple events played with men, exciting season-long competitions, events staged in 12 different regions of the world, and TV coverage in over 160 countries.” Well done, Mike – we are proud to call you a friend.

3. The National Lacrosse League’s Alterna Cup begins Friday. On November 29, the National Lacrosse League will usher in a brand-new season-long competition among all five Canadian clubs. Calgary, Halifax, Saskatchewan, Toronto, and Vancouver will be competing for the inaugural Alterna Cup. This Cup was created in partnership with Alterna Savings and Alterna Bank (Alterna), who will be the exclusive banking partner of the NLL in Canada this season. To capture the Cup, Canadian teams will be competing in head-to-head matchups throughout the NLL regular season. To get the action started, the Calgary Roughnecks will pay a visit to the Vancouver Warriors next Friday, November 29 at 10:00 pm ET. Save a little room for lacrosse after you gorge on turkey and football.

4. The 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target is heading to Los Angeles where, for the first time, the MLS All-Stars will face the Liga MX All-Stars on July 29 at Banc of California Stadium. The match will be broadcast on ESPN and Univision networks in the U.S., TSN, and TVA Sports in Canada, as well as on ESPN throughout Mexico and Latin America. “We are so pleased to bring the 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target to Los Angeles, one of the great soccer markets in North America,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement. “As we celebrate our 25th season, we wanted to deliver a unique and unprecedented format for our annual All-Star Game. Our first ever game between the best of MLS and Liga MX’s top players is the perfect way to build on the growing relationship between the two top soccer leagues in the region.” The MLS All-Star Game will unfold in the same timeframe that SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Rams and the Chargers, will roll out inaugural concerts before it hosts its first official NFL games. Next summer, it seems, all eyes will be on LaLa Land.

5. NASCAR launches a new OTT platform with NBC Sports. The new live and on-demand streaming platform, TrackPass, will launch on the NBC Gold OTT service next month and will provide access to live motorsports events and archive footage and documentaries, including NASCAR practice and qualifying sessions, but not live races. According to Sports Pro, subscribers will have the option of watching exclusive live race coverage from the American Flat Track motorcycle series, select events from the ARCA Menards U.S. stock-car series, as well as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and live International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) events. The new TrackPass service will cost $4.99 per month or $44.99 per year, while other price offerings include series-specific sub-packages for select motorsports. Creating an OTT offering just for NASCAR fans attracts more millennial and Gen Z audiences while other companies like DAZN or ESPN+ could add them to their roster in the near future.