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AFL Defending champs Washington Valor announce 2019 regular season schedule

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NBCSW

AFL Defending champs Washington Valor announce 2019 regular season schedule

The Washington Valor will kick off their season as defending AFL champions on April 26 against the Baltimore Brigade at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Md. They will then head to Albany before returning for their home turf debut on May 11 vs. Atlantic City at Capital One Arena. 

The rest of the season looks pretty repetitive — the Valor will face off against both Albany and Baltimore three times and Atlantic City, the league's newest team, Columbus and Philadelphia twice each. The team closes out the 2019 regular season at home, facing off against Columbus on July 20 at Capital One Arena.

The 2018 ArenaBowl champions will face some rule changes this year, including the elimination of first-half one-minute timing rules and the shortening of media timeouts.

The Valor will be led by Head Coach Benji McDowell, who just joined the team's coaching staff last year. McDowell joined the team amid a four-game losing streak, eventually turning things around leading the Valor to the ArenaBowl XXXI title. He was then promoted to head coach in September.

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Josh Norman's older brother Marrio, makes final Washington Valor opening day AFL roster

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NBC Sports Washington

Josh Norman's older brother Marrio, makes final Washington Valor opening day AFL roster

With days to go until they open the 2019 AFL season, the Washington Valor finalized its opening day roster and Josh Norman's older brother, Marrio made the cut, the team announced Monday.

Norman came over from the Albany Empire, where he was second in the league in tackles with 68.5. He had his best game of the season last against the Valor, in which he racked up 10 solo tackles and two interceptions - one of which he returned for a touchdown.

“Marrio Norman is a proven, impact defensive back and plays a style of football that fits what we want to do on the defensive end of the ball,” Valor head coach Benji McDowell said in a statement last month. “Marrio provides an immediate upgrade to a position that saw a lot of injuries for us last season. We’re excited to have him here.”

Along with Norman, the Valor added defensive lineman Leon Mackey, who is in his third season in the AFL after spending 2014 and 2016 with the Arizona Rattlers.

Quarterback and ArenaBowl XXXI Most Valuable Player Arvell Nelson, defensive lineman James Atoe, who has appeared in 17 games over the last two seasons and offensive lineman Anthony Parker, who started all nine games last season and was named First Team All Arena in 2017 all return to the Valor this season. While wideout Dezmon Epps, defensive lineman Malik Forrester, defensive back Jadar Johnson and offensive lineman Kasimili Uitalia will see their first action in the AFL this season for the Valor.

The Valor open the 2019 season on the road against the Baltimore Brigade on April 26.

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4.19.19: Minor league baseball makes big improvements to fan stadium experience

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USA TODAY Sports

4.19.19: Minor league baseball makes big improvements to fan stadium experience

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

 

TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST, CLICK HERE

 

  • Heads up! This year, Minor League Baseball fans might notice new digital screens and displays at their favorite stadiums. Together with ISM Connect, over 25 MiLB teams will be adding new smart displays to their ballparks. But beyond delivering unique stories and creative ads to fans during each game, these displays are also equipped with smart cameras to measure audience engagement. These smart cameras will help keep ads and content fresh. The cameras record anonymous interactions – how long someone watches the screen or their age range – not individual images of specific people. By measuring foot traffic and engagement, MiLB teams and ad sponsors can better understand who their fans are, what resonates with them, and how they’re experiencing each game. The result is a better, more engaging experience for fans, and a better way for teams and partners to learn how to best serve their loyal audience.
  • The Boston Marathon passes $200 million in economic impact, and welcomes seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to its field. This year’s Boston Marathon, held Monday April 15 and carried on NBCSports Network, will be the 123rd running of the race that winds its way 26.2 miles from the town of Hopkinton to the finish line at Copley Square. It is the world’s oldest annual marathon, starting in 1897 after the successful debut of the marathon at the first modern Olympics in 1896. The Boston Marathon is traditionally held on Patriots Day, the third Monday in April. The Boston Red Sox also have a traditional home game on Patriots Day with an 11:05 a.m. first pitch against the Orioles this year. Boston is among the six largest marathons, along with Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City. A special prize purse is given to runners who accumulate the most points in the majors. Here’s a bit of trivia: Just five national sporting events were held during the two World Wars, and the Boston Marathon was one. The others? The Kentucky Derby, Penn Relays, Rose Parade, and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
  • La Liga, Spanish soccer’s top-flight league, has been named the eighth biggest brand domestically, according to a report by valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance. The report places La Liga above major Spanish brands such as the insurance provider Mapfre and telecommunications company Movistar. Using its brand strength score metric, a figure based on calculations regarding emotional connection, financial performance and sustainability, Brand Finance gave La Liga a score of 80.7 out of 100. Fashion retailer Zara topped the Brand Finance list overall, with the likes of Santander and Iberdrola also featuring inside its top ten. The new 2019 report marks the first time a sports league has appeared in Brand Finance’s top ten, highlighting the continued growth of La Liga. Brand Finance values the league body at $548 million. Based on monetary value along it occupies 50th place on the list, a considerable drop. However, taking into account the value of participating league clubs – which includes the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – La Liga’s overall value jumps to $4.5 billion, which would place it sixth on that list.