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U.S. men take 4x100 freestyle gold, Phelps' 19th

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USA TODAY Sports

U.S. men take 4x100 freestyle gold, Phelps' 19th

Michael Phelps has earned the 19th gold medal of his career, helping the United States win the 4x100-meter freestyle relay at the Rio Olympics.

Phelps took the second leg after Caeleb Dressel led off for the Americans, and it was another memorable performance at a distance that isn't Phelps' specialty. His split of 47.12 seconds gave the Americans a lead they never relinquished. In fact, it was a faster time than all but the three anchors on the medal-winning teams.

Ryan Held protected the top spot before handing off to Nathan Adrian, the top sprinter in America. It was never really in doubt at that point, as Adrian touched first in 3 minutes, 9.92 seconds. Defending Olympic champion France took the silver in 3:10.53, while Australia rallied for the bronze in 3:11.37.

RELATED: LEDECKY RECORD GIVES U.S. 1ST SWIMMING GOLD IN RIO

10.19.18 Rick Horrow sits down with Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports

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USA TODAY Sports

10.19.18 Rick Horrow sits down with Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

Top 3 sports biz items of the week:

1) The NHL’s new season has been infused with a bit of flare and fun that it is not used to. According to The Hockey News, players across the league have started to show a bit more personality on the ice, something that fans have been “begging for” for years. The highlight of the first week came during a wild 7-6 win for the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Chicago Blackhawks. Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews and Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane exchanged jeers after each scored a goal within the final minutes of regulation. Meanwhile in Raleigh, the Hurricanes now have one of the league’s best post-game celebrations. After a win, the whole team applauds the crowd before “skating from their own blueline to the other end of the ice and jumping into the boards.” This playful nature is one thing that the NHL has lacked compared to its NBA and NFL counterparts. With more fun, expect more fans. And to the fun mix add Gritty, the startling new Muppet-like orange Philadelphia Flyers mascot, who calls his fans “Gritizens,” has been on with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, and after mere weeks has amassed over 136,000 Twitter followers.


2) E-commerce giant Amazon is used to disrupting industries in a quick and swift fashion, but its dive into sports broadcasting has been described as “humble.” According to SportsBusiness Journal, Amazon has been linked with some of the world’s biggest leagues and tournaments, such as the NFL and Premier League, despite not being a longtime player in the sports broadcasting industry. “There is more to come from Amazon, full stop. We are in it for the long-term, that’s for sure,” said Amazon Prime Video European Managing Director Alex Green. “We just get our heads down and try and do the best possible job. We are quite humble about it. Amazon may be a big name but in sports broadcasting we are not. Let’s face it.” Amazon recently celebrated its first exclusive sporting event broadcast when it streamed the U.S. Open to tennis fans in the U.K. as part of a $40 million, five-year deal. While that effort did not go smoothly, with thousands of fans unable to access the livestream, Amazon has assured its current and would-be broadcast partners that their humbling performance would only improve.


3) NFL owners are preparing for a big vote at their fall meeting this week regarding cross-ownership. According to SportsBusiness Journal, the decades-old rule currently prevents “owners of other big four sports teams in NFL markets from buying a football team,” while also preventing NFL owners from buying non-NFL Big Four sports teams in an existing NFL market. The ballooning of franchise valuations has led owners to reconsider the rule due to the shrinking pool of potential buyers for clubs. To illustrate this, when the Carolina Panthers came up for sale earlier this year, only three bidders emerged before David Tepper bought the team for $2.275 billion. Even that NFL record setting sale came in under expectations. However, the league has not strictly upheld the cross-ownership rule. Back in 2010, Stan Kroenke exercised an option to buy the then-St. Louis Rams despite owning the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Kroenke skirted around the rule after he handed off the Colorado teams to other family members, setting precedent and setting up the NFL for a sensible rule change.

10.10.18 Rick Horrow talks with Cubs manager Joe Maddon

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USA TODAY Sports

10.10.18 Rick Horrow talks with Cubs manager Joe Maddon

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

  1. The NFL is considering exercising an exit clause in its deal with DirecTV following the 2019 season. According to JohnWallStreet, in doing so, the NFL would strip the satellite provider’s exclusivity rights to broadcast its Sunday Ticket package of all out-of-market games. The current deal, signed back in 2014, sees DirecTV pay the NFL $1.5 million per year and is set to run through 2022. Speculation is that the league would break the contract to then package “satellite rights with global streaming rights and continue to grow the revenue pie.” DirecTV only allows some of its NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers — only college students and those able to prove the inability to place a dish on their home — to stream games online, proving its outdated nature in a 2018 marketplace dominated by OTT platforms. Google previously made a bid for the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket but without satellite capabilities it lost to DirecTV. Expect companies like Google and Amazon to reenter the race for the rights if the NFL opts out of the deal.
  2. Diamond Resorts has announced the initial group of world-class sports and entertainment celebrities confirmed to play in the inaugural Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. The tournament will be held January 17-20, 2019, at Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort Orlando in Florida. Hall of Famers Ray Allen, Brian Urlacher, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, John Smoltz, and Marcus Allen; six-time Cy Young Award Winner Roger Clemens; Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester; Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander; former NASCAR champion Michael Waltrip; NHL star Jeremy Roenick; and actors Alfonso Ribeiro and Jack Wagner will be among the celebrities playing alongside LPGA winners from the past two seasons at the event. The women will compete for $1.2 million in official prize money over 72 holes of stroke play with no cut, while the celebrities will compete for their own $500,000 purse. All four days will be nationally televised, with Thursday and Friday on Golf Channel, and Saturday and Sunday on NBC. Next month: Tiger vs. Phil. January: the LPGA vs. the OGs.
  3. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the NHL’s first franchise to launch an esports competition, doing so after partnering with online video gaming platform WorldGaming Network. According to SportsPro Media, the Leafs Gaming Network is set to serve as a “one-versus-one online ladder for fans and competitive gamers who play the EA Sports NHL 19 ice hockey title.” The new competition will be launched later this month. "MLSE is taking this first big step to bring structure and significance to Toronto's NHL gaming community," said Shane Talbot, esports manager at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), the company that owns Toronto’s NHL team. Gamers will compete head-to-head to climb the virtual ladder to the top, with the Grand Finals being hosted January 3 at the team’s facility, Scotiabank Arena. The NHL’s first dip into the esports world came earlier this June, when Finnish gamer Erik Tammenpaa won $50,000 from winning the NHL Gaming World Championship. Clearly, that’s just the tip of the ice[berg] when considering the NHL’s esports potential.