Other Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: Olympics, plus a new look at basketball

usatsi_10636696.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: Olympics, plus a new look at basketball

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

  • Murray and other honorees get WISE/R. Octagon’s Lisa Murray was recognized by Women In Sports and Events (WISE) as a 2019 Woman of Distinction, for her continued support of women in the industry and making a mark as a pioneer of the sports industry. WISE/R Symposium, held in New York City on June 18, was the first of its kind to focus solely on the personal and professional development of women in the business of sports, WISE/R Symposium offered the opportunity to hear from top experts, learn career strategies, connect with peers, and more. Confirmed speakers besides Murray included finance journalist Jean Chatzky and industry leaders Anita DeFrantz, Janet Fletcher, Michele Roberts, and Suzanne Smith. This annual one-day event was produced by WISE. The WISE/R vent joins SportsBusiness Journal’s annual Game Changers conference and other prestigious events now honoring the significant contributions women have made to the sports industry.
  • It’s down to two for the 2026 Winter Games. The decision to award the Olympic Winter Games 2026 to either Stockholm-Åre (Sweden) or Milan-Cortina (Italy), will be shown live on the Olympic Channel on Monday, June 24, featuring the host city announcement ceremony presided over by IOC President Thomas Bach. In most cases, the Winter Games naturally lend themselves to a sharing of expenses because with few exceptions, the venues are split between a substantial metropolitan area (where arena events are held) and a nearby mountain resort. The cost of hosting the Olympic Games has risen to the point that few cities are willing or able to take it on. This is one of the reasons that Beijing ended up winning hosting duties for the 2022 Winter Games in addition to their successful hosting of the Summer Olympic Games in 2008.
  • Overtime is changing how basketball is played to grow a younger audience. As of now, traditional three hour sports games remain at the heart of pop culture. But sports were radically different before the TV era, and the digital age is bringing about drastic change in the way sports are watched. According to Sports Illustrated, Overtime garners nearly one billion views per month across its social channels by filming viral high school sports stars. Now in its third year, the sports media company is switching basketball to a 3-on-3 game while also shrinking the court. The “Overtime Rules” most drastic changes include swapping out free throws for one-on-one duels, getting rid of taking the ball out after a made basket, and setting fans around the edge of the court, therefore eliminating out-of-bounds altogether. Additionally, games consist of four four-minute quarters, with a substitution only allowed between periods. As for the company’s overtime rules, it is an all-or-nothing, sudden death. Overtime is the start of serious shifts to the sports media scene; the next obstacle to tackle will be convincing sponsors that their content is worth the money.

 

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

lpga_1920_flag_crop.jpg
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.

11.25.19 Rick Horrow interviews EVERFI Co-founder Jon Chapman

victor_hedman_lightning_usat.jpg
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.