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1.2.20 Rick Horrow sits down with Tina Davis, Managing Director and Head of Global Sponsorships, Citi


1.2.20 Rick Horrow sits down with Tina Davis, Managing Director and Head of Global Sponsorships, Citi

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick sits down with Tina Davis, Managing Director and Head of Global Sponsorships, Citi. As a special edition episode, Rick also shares the top sports philanthropy issues for the year ahead and what to watch for in 2020.


Tokyo 2020 brings six new sports to the Olympics. According to C|Net, the first of the six sports to debut is karate, which fittingly makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo, joining judo, taekwondo, and wrestling. Karate consists of two disciplines for both men and women: kata (forms) and kumite (sparring). Skateboarding and surfing will also be joining the Olympic fray, with park and street skateboarding and shortboard surfing. The other three new sports include sport climbing, which will consist of three disciplines: speed climbing, bouldering; and lead climbing; and baseball and softball make a return to the Olympics after having not been played during the last two summer Games. All of these sports will get a global popularity boost thanks to the influence and amazement of the Olympics.

Group1001 brings another women’s leadership and STEM-centric event to the LPGA Tour. Three weeks from now, the LPGA and Group1001 will kick off a new official LPGA Tour event in Boca Raton, Florida. The inaugural Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio will be held January 20-26 at Boca Rio Golf Club and feature a 108-player field competing for a $2 million purse. As a key part of tournament week, the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio will host the Women’s Leadership Summit presented by Versant Health with top female leaders from a variety of industries, creating a space to empower women, develop and strengthen skills, build networks, and inspire change. The summit will feature a panel headlined by female business leaders, a fireside chat with an LPGA Tour professional, as well as inspirational stories and presentations from pioneering women. The Boca Raton event is a bookend of sorts to the Group1001-sponsored Indy Women in Tech LPGA tournament held in Indianapolis late summer, which also features multiple educational and networking events for women looking to reengage or advance careers in STEM and business/leadership fields. 


Name, Image, and Likeness will dominate collegiate sports conversations in 2020. No matter which Tigers win the CFP National Championship on January 13, regardless of whether a blue-chip team or an underdog ignites the Final Four, primary conversations around NCAA events will center on looming Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) legislation in California and 21 other states. The NCAA is under the gun to come up with a policy that’s acceptable to athletes and its member institutions alike before California’s Fair Pay to Play bill takes effect in 2023. On the issue of when an NCAA NIL policy will go into effect, NCAA President Emmert has said that 2021 is the goal, but could be impacted by what happens at the state level, emphasizing that we can’t have a model where multiple states have different rules. Congress and state legislators are now firmly vested in the process as well, looking to preserve the rights of student-athletes as well as the Title IX structure and other anti-discrimination measures. Look for Emmert to produce a draft national NIL solution by year-end – one that will be intensely debated and breathlessly revised in 2021.


The 2022 Qatar World Cup is forging ahead in the desert, with major milestones within the country and decisions outside of it to come in 2020. According to ESPN, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is less than three years away and the tiny Gulf state has now staged its first-ever major football tournament, having hosted the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup earlier in December, won by Liverpool. There will be an eight stadium rotation within the 2022 World Cup footprint, and Qatar is debuting a new metro system that will link the majority of the eight stadiums along a 46-mile path. Although the country looks to build its hotel industry to host a substantial number of World Cup fans, the number of rooms available at the current count will fall well short of the likely 3 million incoming fans. And in 2020, qualifying countries that abhor Qatar’s poor human rights record will have hard philosophical choices to make about sending a national team. Another obstacle to overcome will be the country’s anti-liquor laws, which will push drinking into mainly hotel bars. The country, however, is likely to relax its tough alcohol rules to make the soccer masses happy and the World Cup a financial success.


Legal U.S. sports gambling and media platforms continue to grow. According to Digiday, sports media will rush to embrace gambling in 2020 in order to boost ad revenues, following the path of ESPN’s popular “Daily Wager” show that launched in 2019. Currently, sports betting is legal in just 11 states, but seven more states are preparing to take the sports betting plunge in the near future. Research published recently by the consultancy Gambling Compliance projects that 40 U.S. states will have legalized sports betting by 2024. That rush of legalization, encompassing an estimated $150 billion industry, is expected to attract the attention of almost every kind of mainstream sports publisher. Over the past year, both Vox Media (with DraftKings) and Bleacher Report (with Caesars Palace) signed long-term deals to create wide varieties of content designed to build interest in sports betting. The potential for multiple income streams from sports betting – via related ads and the bets themselves – will be a cash cow for sports media companies.


Baseball’s new marijuana policy will spark change in NBA and NFL rules. Earlier this month, Major League Baseball and its players’ association announced that the league would drop punishments for positive tests of “substances of abuse” such as marijuana and cocaine, treating those violations the same as alcohol-related situations, with players facing voluntary treatment rather than suspensions and fines. The change in MLB policy could be a short term trigger for similar changes within the NBA and NFL. According to a study done by ESPN last spring, 82% of teams over the four major pro North American sports leagues play in states or provinces where recreational and/or medical marijuana use is legal.  The NFL and NBA put players who test positive in a substance abuse program before fines and suspensions for subsequent positives. The NHL, the pathfinder in this area, recommends treatment for “abnormally high levels” of THC but does not punish players. The NHL and MLB are now treating their athletes more like ordinary people. This will likely give the NFL and NBA precedent to change their respective recreational drug policies.


Bolstered by support from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the fate of 42 Minor League Baseball franchises will become a solid rallying point during the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. The current dispute between MLB and MiLB became public in October, when Baseball America reported that MLB had offered a plan to eliminate as many as 42 minor-league teams after the 2020 season, when the Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and MiLB expires. In November, the New York Times released a list of the 42 teams that would be cut. “Suddenly,” Sporting News noted, “we knew what towns could potentially lose teams, which communities — some significant to the sport’s history — could be without baseball. That made it much more real.” Politicians coast to coast have rightfully joined the effort to save grassroots pro baseball at its best. Democratic presidential candidate Sanders has been the loudest voice. He’s met with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, and in mid-December, Sanders also met with people representing minor league baseball in Burlington, Iowa. Not coincidentally, that’s one of the towns on the elimination list. Expect other presidential would-be hopefuls to join the charge to save the MiLB teams as well.


Zion Williamson will finally play in 2020 and he will have a big impact on the NBA market. According to Forbes, season-ticket sales calls for the New Orleans Pelicans reached historic levels after the team won the NBA lottery with Williamson. But a couple of lawsuits are going to delay many off-court endorsement options. Currently, most of the money being made from Zion’s likeness is unlicensed merchandise. All of the different styles of street market shirts, posters, and even rosary candles are not Zion blessed products. Williamson is so good that he’s even reviving the basketball card industry single-handedly and is sure to raise ticket prices when he’s on the road just due to his presence. Williamson will eventually get a huge shoe deal, and will net a huge raise once he hits the NBA open market as a free agent, perhaps becoming even more marketable than LeBron James within the next two years. If LeBron is the NBA’s current most marketable basketball player, Zion is the future.


2.20.20 Rick Horrow sits down with former NBA All-Star Dan Majerle


2.20.20 Rick Horrow sits down with former NBA All-Star Dan Majerle

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick Horrow sits down with former NBA All-Star Dan Majerle and takes you through the top sports business stories of the past week.


MLB stands beside USA Softball Women’s National Team as presenting sponsor of “Stand Beside Her” Tour. Chicks (and fellas) who dig the long ball have something else to pay attention to right now besides burgeoning activity in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. USA Softball is proud to announce that Major League Baseball has stepped up to the plate as the presenting sponsor of the “Stand Beside Her” tour. As the presenting sponsor of the “Stand Beside Her” tour, MLB proudly stands alongside members of the 2020 USA Softball Women’s National Team as they embark on a nation-wide tour that will hit over 35 cities as the team prepares for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with training and exhibition contests. Like baseball, softball was almost shuttered by international Olympic governance during the last decade, but global fan and player outcry and renewed investment by the pros in the amateur development of the sports helped solidify the bat swinging sports’ place in the Games. And it looks like they’re here to stay – especially after what should be a very high profile turn this summer in baseball crazy Japan.


SINC2020 kicks off this weekend. The 2020 Sports Industry Networking and Career (SINC) Conference will be held February 21-22 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Rick looks forward to leading a session on Saturday, and keynote speakers include Sarah Hirshland, CEO, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee; Sport Business Handbook contributor Zach Leonsis, Senior VP Strategic Initiatives for Monumental Sports & Entertainment and GM, Monumental Sports Network; Max Siegel, CEO USA Track & Field; and JoAnn Scott, NCAA's Managing Director for Division I Men's Basketball Championships. More than 100 sports business professionals from teams, leagues, agencies, collegiate athletics, sports media, esports, corporate sponsors, and sporting goods manufacturers participate and share trends, best practices, and advice for young professionals and those


The Inaugural class at LeBron James' high school will receive free tuition to Kent State. According to CNN, all 193 students, who are currently high school juniors, will have their college tuition covered. The kids attend James' I Promise School located in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. When they were visiting the Kent State campus, they were told of the donation and erupted in cheers while many of their parents, watching from a live feed in a separate room, burst into tears. The included donation from James comprises free tuition for four years as well as one year of a free room and meal plan. If admitted to Kent State, students need to remain in good academic standing, take part in a required number of community service or volunteer hours, and complete a minimum number of credit hours per year in order to remain eligible. James’ legacy has long been cemented on the court – now he’s solidifying his philanthropic efforts and post-basketball identity even before leaving the league.

Denny Hamlin wins another Daytona 500 for Joe Gibbs; Ryan Newman hospitalized

USA TODAY Sports Images

Denny Hamlin wins another Daytona 500 for Joe Gibbs; Ryan Newman hospitalized

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Ryan Newman flipped across the finish line, his Ford planted upside down and on fire, a grim reminder of a sport steeped in danger that has stretched nearly two decades without a fatality.

At the finish line, Denny Hamlin made history with a second straight Daytona 500 victory in an overtime photo finish over Ryan Blaney, a celebration that quickly became muted as drivers awaited an update on Newman's condition.

"I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are," Hamlin said. "But number one, we are praying for Ryan."

Roughly two hours after the crash, NASCAR read a statement from Roush Fenway Racing that said Newman is in "serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life-threatening."

During the long wait for an update, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to express his concern. Trump a day earlier attended the race as the grand marshal, gave the command for drivers to start their engines and made a ceremonial pace lap around Daytona International Speedway before rain washed out the race.

"Praying for Ryan Newman, a great and brave @NASCAR driver! #PrayingForRyan," Trump tweeted. Newman was one of several NASCAR drivers who attended a 2016 rally for Trump in Georgia when he was a presidential candidate.

Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, acknowledged the excruciating delay for information on Newman.

"To hear some positive news tonight is a relief," Rushbrook said. "He is so respected for being a great competitor by everyone in the sport."

NASCAR scrapped the traditional victory lane party for Hamlin's third Daytona 500 victory, rocked by Newman's accident 19 years after Dale Earnhardt was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt was the last driver killed in a NASCAR Cup Series race.

Newman had surged into the lead on the final lap when Blaney's bumper caught the back of his Ford and sent Newman hard right into the wall. His car flipped, rolled, was hit on the driver's side by another car, and finally skidded across the finish line in flames (VIDEO - watch with caution).

It took several minutes for his car to be rolled back onto its wheels. Medical personnel used solid black barriers to block the view as the 2008 Daytona 500 winner was placed in a waiting ambulance and taken to a hospital. The damage to his Mustang was extensive -- it appeared the entire roll cage designed to protect his head had caved -- and officials would not allow his team near the accident site.

Drivers were stricken with concern, including a rattled Corey LaJoie, the driver who hit Newman's car as it was flipping.

"Dang I hope Newman is ok," he posted on Twitter. "That is worst case scenerio and I had nowhere to go but (into) smoke."

Hamlin is the first driver since Sterling Marlin in 1995 to win consecutive Daytona 500's, but his celebration in victory lane was subdued.

Hamlin said he was unaware of Newman's situation when he initially began his celebration. It wasn't until Fox Sports told him it would not interview him on the frontstretch after his burnouts that Hamlin learned the accident was bad.

"It's a weird balance of excitement and happiness for yourself, but someone's health and their family is bigger than any win in any sport," he said. "We are just hoping for the best."

Team owner Joe Gibbs apologized after the race for the winning team celebration.

"We didn't know until victory lane," Gibbs said. "I know that for a lot of us, participating in sports and being in things where there are some risks, in a way, that's what they get excited about. Racing, we know what can happen, we just dream it doesn't happen. We are all just praying now for the outcome on this."

Runner-up Blaney said the way the final lap shook out, with Newman surging ahead of Hamlin, that Blaney got a push from Hamlin that locked him in behind Newman in a move of brand alliance for Ford.

"We pushed Newman there to the lead and then we got a push from the 11 ... I was committed to just pushing him to the win and having a Ford win it and got the bumpers hooked up wrong," he said.

Hamlin had eight Ford drivers lined up behind him as the leader on the second overtime shootout without a single fellow Toyota driver in the vicinity to help him. It allowed Newman to get past him for the lead, but the bumping in the pack led to Newman's hard turn into the wall, followed by multiple rolls and a long skid across the finish line.

Hamlin's win last year was a 1-2-3 sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing and kicked off a yearlong company celebration in which Gibbs drivers won a record 19 races and the Cup championship. Now his third Daytona 500 win puts him alongside six Hall of Fame drivers as winners of three or more Daytona 500s. He tied Dale Jarrett -- who gave JGR its first Daytona 500 win in 1993 -- Jeff Gordon and Bobby Allison. Hamlin trails Cale Yarborough's four wins and the record seven by Richard Petty.

This victory came after just the second rain postponement in 62 years, a visit from Trump, a pair of red flag stoppages and two overtimes. The 0.014 margin of victory was the second closest in race history, and Hamlin's win over Martin Truex Jr. in 2016 was the closest finish in race history.

That margin of victory was 0.01 seconds. The win in "The Great American Race" is the third for Toyota, all won by Hamlin. Gibbs has four Daytona 500 victories as an owner.

"I just feel like I'm a student to the game. I never stop learning and trying to figure out where I need to put myself at the right time," Hamlin said. "It doesn't always work. We've defied odds here in the last eight years or so in the Daytona 500, but just trust my instincts, and so far they've been good for me."