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Spike Lee in London to cheer on the Knicks

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Spike Lee in London to cheer on the Knicks

LONDON (AP) Fresh from shooting his new film, Spike Lee walked onto the basketball court at the O2 Arena clad in Knicks gear and ready to cheer on his team.

The American director is a staple at Knicks games in New York, and the trip across the pond for a regular-season NBA matchup against the Detroit Pistons just wouldn't be the same without him.

``The orange and blue, baby,'' said Lee, wearing a big, furry orange hat, Knicks sweatshirt and blue pants.

Lee has been to London many times since 1986, the year he made his first feature-length film, ``She's Gotta Have It.'' He said the last time he was in the British capital he saw Kanye West and Jay-Z perform.

Lee said he had just finished shooting ``Oldboy,'' which stars Josh Brolin, Samuel L. Jackson and Elizabeth Olsen.

But enough talk about the movies. Lee was all about the Knicks.

``We're going to win tomorrow night, and then Monday is Martin Luther King's birthday, which is a national holiday, we play the Brooklyn Nets. That's a win,'' Lee said.

``The last New York Knicks NBA championship was the 1972-73 season. That's a long, long time. Too long.''

The NBA has been playing preseason games in London - and across Europe - for several years. But the only regular-season games were played two years ago at the O2 Arena, when the then-New Jersey Nets swept a two-game series against the Toronto Raptors.

British fans have embraced the NBA, selling out game after game at the O2 Arena, the same venue that hosted the Olympic basketball final last year. But with soccer firmly entrenched as the No. 1 sport in the country, Lee appealed to Africa.

``I want all my brothers and sisters in the continent of Africa to support the New York Knickerbockers,'' Lee said. ``The New York Knickerbockers are Africa's team. I just said that. Orange and blue.''

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.

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

Even during this relatively quiet period of the NFL calendar, there's still plenty of controversy around the league.

Take Jacksonville for example, where Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been firing back at executive vice president Tom Coughlin for saying he wants every player to attend the team's voluntary offseason workouts. Ramsey, as you may have already guessed, has elected to skip these workouts. 

Seeing an opportunity, new Redskins safety Landon Collins invited Ramsey to Washington via Twitter, going into full Suge Knight "Come to Death Row" mode to make his pitch. 

Ramsey seemed quite amused by the prospect, but also didn't seem totally opposed to the idea of teaming up with Collins in D.C. 

While it's unlikely Washington trades for Ramsey, nothing's stopping you from firing up the NFL Roster Builder and putting the two-time Pro Bowler in burgundy and gold, Redskins fans! 

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