Other Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: Rick remembers Nick Buoniconti

usatsi_13135694.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: Rick remembers Nick Buoniconti

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST

 

  • Rick remembers Nick Buoniconti. When I was in junior high school and high school, I worshiped #85 middle linebacker Nick Buoniconti as the linchpin of the undefeated 1972 Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins. After graduating Harvard Law School, I came back to South Florida ready to embark on a sports career. Unfortunately, other than the Dolphins, no major league sports were to be had. I was working with a commercial law firm in Miami, but my dream was to help bring the next set of sports franchises to South Florida. Nick was an established practicing lawyer in Miami, having studied by night at Suffolk Law School while playing for the then Boston Patriots. After meeting him, it became obvious that I wanted to work with him. We agreed that I would work with him and Dolphins owner Joe Robbie to create the first Miami Sports Authority and work to bring other pro sports to South Florida. Nick was my original legal mentor in Miami. His vision, understanding, and mixture of outward toughness and inner compassion would never be forgotten. It was amazing when he announced that he would donate his brain to science two years ago for CTE study; even more amazing that he was known for so many other things beyond football.  I treasured the time with him, and will always honor his legacy.
  • Ninja left Twitch for Mixer. Pro gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has “left Twitch and is taking his video game live streams to Microsoft’s Mixer platform, a stunning switch that could have wide-ranging consequences” for the esports industry, according to the Associated Press. The move ends a “hugely profitable partnership with Twitch.” Blevins has “earned millions broadcasting himself playing Fortnite and other video games on Twitch and YouTube,” and he has “over 14 million followers on Twitch.” Blevins hosted his first Mixer live stream Friday from the Lollapalooza annual music festival in Chicago. While Blevins said that he “will not actively recruit other gamers,” if more streamers “follow him to Mixer, it could become a legitimate competitor in a market dominated by Twitch.” Mixer launched in 2016 but “hasn’t nearly matched Twitch’s popularity” – Microsoft “reported 10 million monthly users last year, compared to well over 100 million for Twitch,” which launched in 2011. According to Ninja’s management company, “the decision was overwhelmingly not driven by the monetary value,” but rather the “opportunity to attract new viewers.” It’s almost impossible not to believe that Team Ninja didn’t see huge dollar signs in the Mixer.
  • Fields & Futures upgrades school athletic fields, builds futsal courts. Behind F.D. Moon Middle School in Oklahoma City sits an empty excavated field and a slab of concrete. But according to the Oklahoman, Fields & Futures President Tim McLaughlin, co-owner of OKC Energy FC, sees a space rich with possibilities. This summer, the nonprofit organization is renovating fields at seven middle schools, all affected by consolidations across the Oklahoma City school district. Some of the facilities are former elementary schools reconfigured to serve fifth through eighth grade, an age group that needs on-site athletic facilities. The concrete slab behind F.D. Moon will become a futsal pad, where athletes can play a compressed version of soccer that emphasizes footwork and ball control. Soon, every middle school in the Oklahoma City district will have one, resulting from a Fields & Futures partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco Lighting, 7-Eleven, and the Energy Assist Foundation. The cost to install 10 of these “mini pitches” exceeds $500,000. “Soccer’s the world’s largest sport,” McLaughlin told The Oklahoman. “It’s also one of the biggest unifying sports there are.”


 

'Beyond the Scoreboard': 'Power of Sports' premieres, plus Chase Center opens

usatsi_13468384.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

'Beyond the Scoreboard': 'Power of Sports' premieres, plus Chase Center opens

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST

  • “Power of Sports” Indianapolis episode premieres. This month, the popular show hosted by Rick Horrow and distributed by FOX Sports regional sports networks nationwide returns to Indianapolis to profile the regional impact of sports. A big part of the October episode takes place inside iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but not on the bricks…instead, on the links. 2019 marked the third year of the Indy Women in Tech Championship Driven by Group1001, one of the premiere stops on the LPGA Tour. The best golfers in the world fought it out at Brickyard Crossing with a $2 million purse on the line. Off the course, a full week of events made the most of this community-centered event. The week began with the IWiT Summit, where leaders from the golf, business, and tech worlds came together to discuss the benefits of inclusivity and diversity in their industries. The October episode also profiles philanthropic initiatives by the Indianapolis Colts – who stunned the Kansas City Chiefs in a primetime Sunday upset – and an Indy nonprofit founded by a national champion cyclist who uses an innovative program to share his love of cycling with kids.\
  • In Miami, Super Bowl LIV has already kicked off. Last Saturday, the HistoryMiami Museum opened the exhibit, “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football HOF.” The exhibit arrives ahead of Super Bowl LIV and “will remain there until February 9,” according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The exhibit features 8,000 square feet of “photographs, vintage jerseys, helmets and interactive displays,” along with the Lombardi Trophy on display in a “Champions Theater.” The museum’s “Hometown Heroes” section “celebrates the Dolphins and athletes who played in South Florida during high school and college.” And last Friday, Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel announced that Hard Rock Stadium will "phase out 99.4% of single-use plastics by 2020 – including for Super Bowl LIV.” On December 22, Hard Rock Stadium will become the first venue in the NFL to “feature 20oz sustainable draft cups.” In all, the team will “eliminate more than 2.8 million pieces of plastic annually including over 600,000 plastic bottles.”
  • The Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center tenure begins. The Warriors were “happy to get into their new billion dollar home” on Saturday night despite losing to the Lakers during the team’s exhibition opener at Chase Center, according to ESPN. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “The crowd was fantastic. It seemed like everybody was, including the players and coaches and officials, everybody was sort of looking around.” The “cheapest ticket on the secondary market for Saturday’s debut game” was $131, and to get in the lower bowl, fans had to “shell out $300-plus.” The San Jose Mercury-News added that the arena is an "impressive building and a testament to what next-level perseverance, strong vision, and a ton of cold, hard cash can build.” There is “not a thing functionally wrong with this place.” Along with the indoor Jumbotron, Chase Center "boasts a prominent outdoor video screen, the captivating feature of a spacious outdoor area.” Samsung partnered with the Warriors to install the Jumbotron, the largest center hung main videoboard installed in a sports arena — a feature that will make the building a top level concert destination.

'Beyond the Scoreboard': Super Bowl halftime performers announced, plus NHl social media development

usatsi_10758845.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

'Beyond the Scoreboard': Super Bowl halftime performers announced, plus NHl social media development

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST

  • EverFi “Runs the Right Plays.” Premiering earlier this year, The Sport Business Handbook recognizes the last 50 years as the formative period for the modern era of sport. Likewise, online education leader EverFi is celebrating over a decade of harnessing technology to equip communities with the skills they need for success. To celebrate the good work in our communities contributors continue to do, EverFi presents "Running the Right Plays: Doing Good Through Sport” on October 2 in Washington, DC. This symposium will present a rare opportunity to hear directly from key contributors in sport, business, and philanthropy and gain exclusive access to their personal insights. Panelists joining Rick Horrow for the evening include Lisa Bowman, Chief Marketing Officer, United Way Worldwide;  Jon Chapman, Co-Founder & President, EverFi; Phil de Picciotto, Founder & President, Octagon; Damon Phillips, General Manager, NBC Sports Washington; Nick Sakiewicz, National Lacrosse League Commissioner; and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. We will also present the top five Washington, DC community impact milestones in and around sports.
  • Pepsi, the NFL, and Roc Nation announced that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show. “Ever since I saw Diana Ross fly off into the sky at the Halftime Show, I dreamed of performing at the Super Bowl,” said Lopez. “And now it’s made even more special not only because it’s the NFL’s 100th anniversary, but also because I am performing with a fellow Latina.  The Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show telecast on FOX taking place at the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium on February 2, 2020 will be produced by NFL Network. Roc Nation will serve as producers and strategic entertainment advisors of the live performance. According to Variety, although Lopez is originally from the Bronx and Shakira from Colombia, Miami is "widely recognized as the global capital of the Latin music business.” The booking also “bears the fingerprints of Jay-Z,” as it comes on the heels of the NFL-Roc Nation partnership announced last month that “encompasses entertainment – including the Super Bowl halftime show." 
  • The NHL looks to boost players’ social media presence through a deal with Opendorse. According to NHL.com, the NHL and participating clubs will use Opendorse to help players publish their highlights, in-game images, and other media to their personal social channels with the tap of a button. Rather than simply handing players a library of assets to wade through, the NHL and its clubs can now send individual players specific photos, videos, or GIFs, streamlining the process to effectively engage their social media audiences. Almost all of the work is done by Opendorse, all the athletes have to do is add or edit their own messaging, then approve the post to publish with a single tap. Opendorse then automatically publishes the post to the appropriate channel at the scheduled date and time. As NHL players already significantly outpace fellow professional athletes in terms of engagement rate in 2019, this added addition of Opendorse will boost the NHL’s social media game to a higher frequency to build a larger brand for hockey overall.