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Katie Ledecky's impact away from competition at the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships

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Katie Ledecky's impact away from competition at the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics are officially under two years away, which will mark Japan's fourth time hosting the Games. 

Just this week wrapped up the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships from Tokyo serving as a preview for not only next year's world championships, but the 2020 Games itself. 

21-year-old American swimming phenom Katie Ledecky continued to make her dominant presence felt finishing with three individual gold medals (400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle races) in the meet.  The 1,500-meter wasn't even close. 

What she did with her time away from competition, though, was just as impactful. 

The Washington, D.C. native held a Sports Diplomacy swimming clinic in Setagaya Ward. This will be the site of Team USA training camps ahead of Tokyo 2020. 

The U.S. Department of State thanked Ledecky for "deepening US-Japan cultural bonds & educational exchanges." 

So far Ledecky has won five Olympic gold medals and 14 world championship gold medals, the most in history for a female swimmer. 

2019 World Swimming Championships are set to be held in Gwangju, South Korea next July. 

7-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to retire after 2020

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7-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to retire after 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  -- Jimmie Johnson sat down next to Jeff Gordon at a 2001 driver meeting and asked the champion if he had time to offer any career advice.

Gordon was so impressed with the fellow California native that he encouraged Rick Hendrick to start a team built specifically for the 25-year-old Johnson.

It turned into one of the greatest hires in NASCAR history and nudged Gordon aside as the most dominant driver on the track. Now Johnson will follow Gordon and many other NASCAR superstars into retirement as the seven-time champion announced Wednesday he will retire from full-time competition after next season.

The 44-year-old Johnson joins an exodus of popular drivers that began when Gordon retired after the 2015 season. Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Danica Patrick and Jamie McMurray are among those who followed Gordon out the door.

Johnson, the winningest driver of his era, said in a video posted to his social media and titled "(hash)Chasing8 one final time" that next season will be his final attempt to win a record eighth Cup title. It will be his 19th season in the No. 48 Chevrolet.

"I am so thankful for 18 incredible years of racing in NASCAR," Johnson said in the black-and-white video comprised of highlights from his career. "This sport has been good to me and allowed me to do something I truly love. I showed up chasing a dream and achieved more than I thought possible. I am looking forward to next season and celebrating what will be my last year as a full-time Cup driver. I know what this team is capable of and I hope 2020 is one of the best yet."

Johnson scheduled a Thursday news conference at Hendrick Motorsports to discuss his decision. He joins Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. as Hendrick drivers who have called it a career since 2015.

Reaction was immediate from drivers, as well as retired cyclist Lance Armstrong and seven-time Supercross champion Jeremy McGrath.

"Proud of you, bro," Armstrong wrote. "And even prouder to call you a friend. Let's go get (hash)8."

Gordon wrote that Johnson is "a class act & true champion on & off track" while current Hendrick teammate Chase Elliott was among the many young drivers to refer to Johnson as the greatest of all time with an emoji of a goat.

Johnson had two years remaining on his contract when new sponsor Ally signed on before this season to replace Lowe's, which had sponsored Johnson from his 2001 debut through 2018. Ally last month announced a three-year extension to sponsor the No. 48, but Johnson's future was not tied to the renewal through 2023.

"Jimmie Johnson is a legend in racing, the epitome of class and the ultimate representative of our brand," said Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing and PR Officer at Ally. "We are proud that Jimmie will finish his remarkable NASCAR driving career with Ally as his primary sponsor."

Johnson has 83 career victories, tied with Cale Yarborough for sixth all-time. His seven titles are tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most in the Cup Series, the last one coming in 2016.

Johnson has been in a two-year slump and last won a race in 2017. He had two different crew chief changes this season and missed the playoffs for the first time since the format began in 2004. He finished 18th in the final standings and has just five top-five finishes the last two years.

Johnson has driven for Rick Hendrick his entire Cup career and set a NASCAR record in winning five consecutive titles from 2006 through 2010, an accomplishment that earned him Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year after his fifth crown.

All 83 of Johnson's wins have come in the No. 48 and include two Daytona 500s, four victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a record 11 wins at Dover International Speedway, nine at Martinsville Speedway and eight at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

11.15.19 Rick Horrow interviews PepsiCo Vice President of Marketing Todd Kaplan

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11.15.19 Rick Horrow interviews PepsiCo Vice President of Marketing Todd Kaplan

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick interviews PepsiCo Vice President of Marketing Todd Kaplan and takes you through the biggest sports business stories of the week.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

1. Sports investor Bruin Sports Capital received $600 million more to spend. According to the New York Times, Bruin Sports Capital is a sports investment and management company that invests in the technologies of media, marketing, and data surrounding sports. After raising $600 million from two even larger investors – CVC Capital Partners and the Jordan Company – Bruin Sports will be able to expand its portfolio of investments, which already include data analytics, media and streaming companies, and a fledgling drone-racing league. Currently, Bruin, led by Sport Business Handbook contributor George Pyne, has nearly $1 billion invested, including significant stakes in six companies across the modern sports landscape, from sports media start-ups such as The Athletic to a live-event provider selling high-end trips to events like the Super Bowl and the NFL draft. Overall, Bruin Sports Capital’s guiding philosophy is that people under 40 watch and consume sports and media in radically different ways from their parents – and this is likely how the strategic company will invest its newly-acquired $600 million: toward attracting future generations of sports and tech fans.

2. The NBA altered its bylaws prior to the start of the 2019-2020 season to allow teams to sell sponsorship packages outside of the U.S. and Canada for the first time. League rules previously prevented teams from participating in any ad campaign or sponsorship event outside of their home market. However, NBA chief innovation officer Amy Brooks told JohnWallStreet that the companies currently participating in the league’s jersey patch program – two-thirds of which have an international presence – indicated that the time was right “to grow [the NBA] brand and our partners’ brands globally.” Loosening bylaws surrounding international marketing rights should help the league grow revenues and connect with fans in other regions. The Washington Wizards were the first NBA franchise to take advantage of the rule change, signing an agreement with Japanese tech conglomerate NEC. The Wizards made Rui Hachimura the first Japanese player ever selected in the first round of the NBA Draft in 2019.

 

3. Airbnb is set to announce a global sponsorship with the International Olympic Committee running through the Los Angeles 2028 Games, according to SportsBusiness Journal. The deal would represent a significant shift in the home-sharing platform’s sports marketing strategy as Airbnb prepares for its IPO in 2020. According to SBJ, the deal would focus on Airbnb’s “experiences” strand, which allows hosts to offer access to their hobbies, skills, or expertise as part of offering out their homes for rent. The arrangement is not intended to infringe on the hotel and hospitality business that Olympic organizers require to stage the Olympics. Recent partners joining the IOC’s global TOP program have made significant investments, with a joint Mengniu Dairy and Coca-Cola deal back in June being valued at $3 billion over 11 years. Currently, 13 companies comprise the TOP program, getting category-exclusive rights to every Games, the IOC, and national Olympic committees.