Author Archives: Jerry Milani

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About Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

Captain Morgan, Fanduel Announce Exclusive Soccer Contest Partnership

Captain Morgan and FanDuel have announced today the launch of the Captain Morgan Soccer Pick ‘Em contest series as one of the most highly anticipated seasons in the history of the United States and Canada’s top-flight professional soccer league gets underway. Fans across the country have been waiting months to settle back into their gameday routines, and this season, they’ll be able to play for a chance to win cash prizes as they cheer on their teams each week.

On Saturdays (and other designated days) throughout the 2021 regular season and postseason, the Captain Morgan Soccer Pick ‘Em contest series will offer fans 21 and up the chance to win cash prizes† by making quick predictions about the day’s matches and earning points for each correct pick. Prizes will be awarded each week, and even if you don’t score with all of your picks, you could still take home a share‡ of up to $3,000 in total winnings!†

“Enthusiasm for the game of soccer in America is at an all-time high, and we’re so excited to be working with Captain Morgan as our first soccer partner ahead of what will undoubtedly be a season to remember,” said Alyssa Zeleznik, VP of Sponsorship & Advertising Sales, FanDuel. “We are fully aligned with Captain Morgan in that we both strive to give fans a fun and engaging way to enhance their viewing experience, and we can’t wait to get this season going with the Captain Morgan Soccer Pick ‘Em.”

“All of us at Captain Morgan have been looking forward to this season for several months now, and we know there are millions of soccer fans out there who are as eager as we are to see teams back in action at their home stadiums once again,” said Sam Salameh, Vice President Captain Morgan. “We know soccer fans are some of the most passionate in all of sports, and we can’t wait to help fuel that passion. We’re so thrilled to have found a partner in FanDuel that will help us offer fans new ways to consume and engage with the game we all love this season.”

In addition to the Captain Morgan Soccer Pick ‘Em contest series, Captain Morgan will also be activating across various platforms throughout the season to remind soccer fans to Sub in the Captain for any monotonous, bland or just plain boring elements of their gameday routines that may be in need of a refresh. As soccer fans know best, substitutions are a key part of any match – managers must make the decision to bring on the right players at the right times, whether it be for tactical reasons or to give the team a necessary spark.

This season, Captain Morgan encourages fans to take the same approach when managing their drink choices. When your gameday routine becomes flat and sluggish, introduce some variety and spice things up by subbing in a Captain Morgan cocktail that’s fun and delicious. With a new season comes an opportunity for new traditions, new experiences and making new memories, so no matter what team you’re rooting for this year, be sure to Sub in the Captain and make it one to remember with Captain Morgan.

Dedication to Community launches partnership with South Carolina State University Athletics

Dedication to Community (D2C), a national non-profit that educates and empowers communities on diversity, belonging, and equity, today announced a historic partnership with South Carolina State University (SCSU) to create and implement an extensive awareness and action strategy for all of SCSU’s 270 student-athletes, staff and coaches.

The Edwin R. Woodriffe Partnership, an interactive program scheduled to begin this summer, will include on-site training, and customized interactive sessions and speakers. D2C’s growing college presence has included dozens of institutions of higher education, including Boston College, Harvard University, University of Maryland College Park, Seton Hall University, University of North Carolina Charlotte, St. John’s University School of Law and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“These on-campus programs to educate and listen beautifully to student-athletes will be vital to the process of bringing communities together and developing life skills that will resonate well beyond the field of play,” said M. Quentin Williams, D2C founder and CEO. “SCSU is a key starting point for us, especially given our powerful bond with Pro Football Hall of Famer and SC State Trustee Donnie Shell. Mr. Shell believes in D2C’s mission and we are excited about initiating our heightened focus on HBCU’s with the brilliant students, faculty and staff at SCSU.

“Additionally, the D2C family is honored to support the legacy of Agent Edwin R. Woodriffe, the only black FBI Agent to be killed in the line of duty, as an integral part of this initiative,” Williams said.

SC State President James E. Clark said D2C’s commitment to diversity and social justice is in keeping with the university’s mission and ideals.

“The actions of Mr. Williams will make a difference for student-athletes across the nation,” Clark said, “and we are tremendously grateful that the SC State campus community will be on the forefront of this crucial endeavor.

“We also are indebted to Trustee Shell for his role in this partnership, which is just one example of his steadfast and comprehensive dedication to SC State and our student-athletes,” the SC State president said.

The Edwin R. Woodriffe Partnership model will contain four sessions for the fall and four sessions for the spring with all student-athletes, campus student leaders and coaches attending in the semester when they are not actively playing and training. The sessions will include training on cultural awareness and shifting perspectives related to social justice with an emphasis on empowerment through voting, interacting with law enforcement at traffic stops, the power of social media and D2C’s “Recipe for Reconciliation.”

The interactive discussions will embrace a reflection on the Derek Chauvin trial, the plight of people of color, including African American civilians, who have lost their lives during encounters with law enforcement and the real-life experiences of the attendees. Additionally, there will be a transition program entitled, “When the Cheering Stops and Lights Go Out,” to help prepare the students athletes for their inevitable move from college athletics to their life’s next chapter, encompassing self-identity and positive reinforcement in their post-athletic career.

D2C’s next step with HBCUs starting at SCSU is a natural fit given Shell’s work with both organizations. A SCSU graduate and member of the school’s Board of Trustees, Shell is also an executive advisor for D2C, a role that he embraced in the Fall of 2020 and brings significant experience as a legendary athlete, professional mentor, and spiritual and civic leader.

A member of both the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame, Shell won four Super Bowl championships with the Pittsburgh Steelers among other highlights in his 14-year playing career. From 1994 to 2009, he directed player development for the Carolina Panthers, ensuring financial education, family assistance, internships and continuing education for players. After the NFL, Donnie served as director of the Spiritual Life Center at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., where he focused on programs to inspire change while enriching the religious, spiritual and intellectual lives of students.

“It brings me great pleasure to see two organizations, my alma mater South Carolina State and Dedication to Community, commit to working together to do good,” Shell said. “There is a great need today to unite, listen, and learn from each other, and that’s what SCSU and D2C are all about; cooperative relationships, progressive thought and helping us all move forward with the challenges we continue to face.”

Shell established the Donnie Shell Scholarship Foundation, and along with the D2C Sports Division head Lamonte Winston, at one time was the namesake for the NFL’s Winston/Shell Award recognizing the League’s Most Outstanding Player Development Director/Program. In September 2020, D2C expanded its reach to involve professional, collegiate, and K-12 athletes, having Shell join Winston (former director of player engagement and Development, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders) to further expand the foundation’s capabilities.

Shortly thereafter, Williams announced a historic partnership with the Miami HEAT and the City of Miami Police Department and, in February 2021, launched a partnership with veteran PGA TOUR golfer Kirk Triplett.

Additional D2C partnerships tied to athletes, universities and teams are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. To date, D2C has continued to expand its work with law enforcement agencies in several states across the U.S., including Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, the Carolinas, and at the FBI National Academy in Virginia, where Williams has been an instructor.

Messier, Frazier, Bird, Boone Lead Off Steiner’s New ‘Athlete Direct’ Marketplace

A plethora of champion players and coaches – from New York Rangers Stanley Cup icons Mark Messier and Mike Richter to Football Giants Super Bowl legends Tom Coughlin and Mark Bavaro to women’s basketball greats Sue Bird and Nancy Lieberman to Yankees World Series champs Aaron Boone and Willie Randolph to college coaches Lou Holtz and Jim Boeheim – have all lined up to partner with Brandon Steiner’s brand new “Athlete Direct.” “Athlete Direct” is just another Steiner brainchild. He launched the new sports marketplace CollectibleXchange.com just over a year ago.

Steiner, who revolutionized the sports memorabilia and collectibles industry during 32 years as founder of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia, has transitioned from that company to transform the industry once again with the launches of “Athlete Direct” and (earlier) CollectibleXchange.com (in 2019); AD gives the players and coaches a “one-stop-shop” to sell memorabilia – autographed, game-used and commemorative items – as well as new product lines – directly to their fans.

In addition, collector’s will be able to have their own photos, jerseys, balls and other items personally-signed by the athletes. And that’s not to mention fan experiences for zoom one-on-ones to such video greetings as birthday messages, and specialize products.

“This was always the big picture I had in my mind,” says Steiner. “I found that over the years, there was too much of the same thing, hundreds, thousands of balls and jerseys signed by the same player. People bring collections to us, and are disappointed in their value because players just signed so much. Now we are away from the volume and give propriety to high end exclusive stuff; those ‘hard to get,’ cool, pieces. We’re trying to work on not only collectibles but also private items – from exercise machines to skin care products to healthy snacks.”

NFL Announces Official Sports Betting Partners

The National Football League (NFL) today announced their first-ever U.S. sportsbook partnerships naming three exclusive partners. As part of the multi-year agreement, FanDuel becomes an Official Sports Betting Partner of the NFL and will have the ability to leverage NFL marks within the sports betting category and activate around retail and online sports betting. The company will also engage with fans through NFL-themed free-to-play games.

FanDuel, becomes the NFL’s newest partner and will have a series of content integrations including both in-game and post-game highlights directly available within its sportsbook and fantasy sports platforms this coming season. The company will have access to footage rights that bring the NFL’s excitement to FanDuel’s owned and produced content across its various platforms and will work with the League on pre-game integration opportunities on the NFL Network for the seven regular season games the network will air in 2021.

“On Superbowl Sunday we got a glimpse at how powerful the combination of the NFL’s excitement and our platform can be in delivering an enhanced fan experience. We are delighted to make that combination official by pairing America’s #1 sportsbook with America’s #1 sports league,” said Matt King, Chief Executive Officer at FanDuel. “This partnership provides our shared customers with a new level of innovation and unmatched premium content directly within our platform ultimately enhancing every gameday.”

Additionally, FanDuel will have the right to integrate relevant sports betting content directly into NFL Media properties including NFL.com and the NFL App. FanDuel will enhance fan experiences with NFL highlights, footage and Next Gen Stats content.

“As the sports betting landscape has continued to evolve in the United States, we have been thoughtful with our strategy and are excited to announce three partners who share the NFL’s vision and goals,” said Renie Anderson, Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President of NFL Partnerships.

Chicago Fire FC Becomes First MLS Club to Launch Gambling Awareness Session

Chicago Fire FC, entering into their 24th season in Major League Soccer, have become the first football club in the United States to deliver problem gambling and gaming awareness sessions to teams throughout their organization through a partnership with EPIC Risk Management and Entain Foundation US, Entain plc’s unique non-profit subsidiary that is dedicated to promoting responsible gambling and sports integrity.

Epic Risk Management will lead sessions with the Chicago Fire’s U-13’s through U-19’s, plus the first team. Each session will be appropriately tailored for the varied audience and age groups through the Club’s roster, covering issues such as problem gaming, disordered gambling and sports betting integrity.

Delivery of these sessions will begin in May and continue throughout 2021, aiming to provide continued support across Chicago Fire’s P.A.S.S. program. Due to COVID-19, sessions will take place via videoconference and move to in-person sessions when safely allowed.

“We know that young athletes are at greater risk of being effected by problematic gaming and gambling, and we recognize the need to take a proactive approach to educating our players and parents on these risks,.” sSays Brian Roberts, Director of Performance, Advisory and Support Services (P.A.S.S.) at Chicago Fire FC. “The real-life stories that EPIC Risk Management use in their educational sessions brings focus to gambling in a way that will have a true impact and will provide our Academy players with the understanding needed to make informed decisions. We are excited to work with an organization open to customizing an approach to educating our Academy players.”

“We are delighted to be able to work closely with Chicago Fire and their Performance, Advisory, and Support Services (PASS) staff to customize our program to integrate into their existing PASS Education,.” says John Millington, VP of US Operations at EPIC Risk Management. “Our collaboration with the Entain Foundation US represents a key strategic piece of our prevention pillar. It is essential that professional sports teams and leagues recognize a collective responsibility to educate their players, staff, and their fan base, and we are delighted Chicago Fire have proactively embraced the importance of integrating this market leading education into their existing programs. I hope many more teams will follow their lead.”

Martin Lycka, Entain plc’s Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling, and trustee of the Entain Foundation US, noted, “This new partnership among Chicago Fire FC, EPIC Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US is another important milestone in promoting player protection and responsible gambling—a top priority of our Foundation. I am proud to affiliate our Foundation in the US with these two outstanding partners.”

To date, EPIC Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US have launched collaborations with the NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation, colleges across the U.S., and the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, on research into elite athletes’ relationships with problematic gambling behavior.

cover image: credit Michael Barera

FanDuel Group Collaborates with MotorCity Casino As Official Gaming Partner Of Tigers, Red Wings

FanDuel Group today announced a new collaboration with MotorCity Casino that provides FanDuel Sportsbook with official gaming partner status with the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, two of Detroit’s most iconic professional sports franchises. 

FanDuel Sportsbook will be prominently featured on static and digital signage at both Comerica Park and Little Caesars Arena – including the outfield wall and on dasher boards – and be featured on the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings Radio Networks, which reach fans across the state of Michigan.

In collaboration with MotorCity Casino, FanDuel Group recently launched a fully integrated, real money online gaming experience for residents and visitors to the state of Michigan. The FanDuel Sportsbook & Casino app and the standalone FanDuel Casino app are both available for iOS and Android.  

“After a very successful launch in Michigan, we are excited to continue our momentum by partnering in this way with two of the most iconic sports organizations in the country,” said Mike Raffensperger, CMO of FanDuel Group. “To celebrate, we are offering a $25 registration bonus for all eligible Red Wings and Tigers fans that use the code DETROIT after registering for a FanDuel Sportsbook account.”  

This partnership with the Tigers is part of FanDuel Group’s continued strategy of aligning with Major League Baseball teams in markets where mobile gaming is permitted. FanDuel is recognized by Major League Baseball as one of roughly fifteen MLB Authorized Gaming Operators. FanDuel is also an official sports betting partner of the National Hockey League. 

The Tigers and Red Wings are also marketing partners with MotorCity Casino. MotorCity Casino is FanDuel Group’s sports betting and casino collaborator in Michigan, and the home of the state-of-the-art FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino in Detroit that opened in March 2020.  Little Caesars Arena, home of the Red Wings, features the MotorCity Casino Club where fans in select seating locations will, when safe to do so, be able to enjoy a lively VIP experience with gourmet food and beverage options.  For select Red Wings road games, MotorCity Casino, when safe to do so, will be hosting viewing parties featuring food, drink, giveaways, and the occasional appearance by a Detroit sports legend.  Comerica Park features the MotorCity Casino Tiger Club.  Baseball fans will also be able to grab a cold drink at the MotorCity Casino Hotel “Off Ramp Bar” located inside Comerica Park.     

For more information on the FanDuel Sportsbook and sports betting content, follow @FDSportsbook on Twitter.  All core services affecting wagering for online gaming and sports betting will be administered by FanDuel, in compliance with gaming law and sports league rules.  

cover image: Pixabay/bk_advtravlr

ShotTracker Secures An Additional $2m Financing From Hearst Ventures

DDSports Inc. (ShotTracker), a revolutionary sports technology that captures rich performance data via sensors and provides statistics and analytics with sub-second latency, today announced a new round of financing by Hearst Ventures, the venture capital unit of Hearst. The $2 million USD investment by Hearst Ventures is in addition to an $11 million USD investment led by Evertz Technologies Limited (Evertz) and Verizon Ventures, which was announced earlier this year and completes the current funding round for the company.

“We are proud to have brought on Hearst Ventures as our latest investment partner,” said ShotTracker Chief Executive Officer Bill Moses. “Their expertise and knowledge of the media partnerships space will be pivotal as we refine and grow not just our offering to NCAA men’s and women’s basketball programs, but to broadcast partners as well. That broadcast integration has been the most requested element for our technology and we feel will be a key for our growth in the coming years.”

“Our goal with ShotTracker from day one is to go beyond the work we do with our partner schools,” said ShotTracker Co-Founder and President Davyeon Ross. “This investment, on top of our work with Evertz and Verizon Ventures, gives us a much wider runway and a greater opportunity for scaling success of our business going forward. We will continue to focus on our platform for NCAA men’s and women’s basketball, but additional opportunities are now coming into focus that will make this partnership very important for us.”

“ShotTracker’s autonomous, low-latency data collection is giving broadcasters, fans and other sports data consumers unprecedented insights in real time,” said Hearst Ventures Managing Director David Famolari, who will also be joining ShotTracker’s board of directors. “We see this as key to innovating the viewing experience and delivering data-driven storylines and visualizations that bring fans into the action in new and compelling ways. Bill, Davyeon and the ShotTracker team are leading the industry in developing technology to make unique sports data immediately actionable across a range of use cases.”

ShotTracker currently brings elite-level, real-time analytics to the court. The company’s patented technology tracks data in three parts: a ShotTracker-enabled ball, sensors on players’ jerseys and court sensors that map the court in 3D. Data is processed through the company’s proprietary algorithm displayed on the ShotTracker app and dashboard and is also integrated with Evertz’s cloud-based live production solutions. The real-time data can be used to automate camera productions from remote locations and can be licensed by media and sports data companies and will be enhanced by all the innovation Verizon is bringing through their cutting-edge work in 5G.

Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company Unveils Cities, Team Names and Logos for the Hall Of Fantasy League

Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company (“HOFV” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: HOFV, HOFVW), the only resort, entertainment and media company centered around the power of professional football, is excited to unveil the team locations, names and logos for the Hall Of Fantasy League (“HOFL”), the first national fantasy league that allows you to experience a fantasy team with a community of shared stakeholders. The 10 franchises that will comprise the HOFL include:

  1. Atlanta Hot Wings
  2. Boston Barflies
  3. Chicago Hogmollies
  4. Los Angeles Sidekicks
  5. New York Bodega Cats
  6. Ohio GOATS
  7. Philadelphia Powderkegs
  8. Seattle Haze
  9. Texas Y’allers
  10. Vegas Pocket Kings

Unlike traditional fantasy sports leagues where individuals pay an entry fee, manage their own teams and compete against friends over the course of a season, the HOFL reimagines fantasy entirely through a professional sports league structure and community-driven format. Utilizing the concept of staking, the HOFL’s model aggregates fan bases and large communities of fantasy players by unifying them as shared team stakeholders in a season-long national fantasy league. Each franchise will be managed by a dedicated front office consisting of prominent fantasy experts and will include high-profile personalities from the world of professional football as team ambassadors. Staking – making a financial contribution to cover a portion of a participant’s entry fee, and in return taking a percentage of the winnings – is made possible through HOFV’s previously announced partnership with StakeKings.

“Today is another very exciting day for our company and for the millions of fantasy football fans across the country,” said Michael Crawford, President and CEO of HOFV. “The HOFL will transcend the way people have traditionally participated in fantasy sports, allowing them to be part of a community that financially stakes a regional franchise to receive a percentage of any winnings and interacts with a dedicated front office consisting of top fantasy players. No other fantasy sports platform can offer its participants an experience like this over the course of a season. We look forward to the growth of the league and to each of our franchises becoming embedded in the sports cultures of their respective locations.” 

Starting today, sports fans and fantasy football enthusiasts throughout the country can purchase stakes in any of the HOFL’s franchises. Team stakeholders will be entitled to a portion of their teams’ winnings based on their entry amount, and will have access to exclusive content, communications and team governance features. This will provide opportunities for stakeholders to collaborate and engage with each other, as well as provide direct input on key roster moves with their franchises’ front office teams, which will be unveiled at a later date.

The HOFL leverages and replicates key aspects of pro sports leagues with its professional management of its franchises and merchandise/apparel with team branding. Beginning this morning, staking, the purchase of merchandise as well as high-quality content providing contextual coverage and analysis of the HOFL will be live, all of which can be found at www.thehofl.com. Participants can also stay engaged with the HOFL community year-round via the Hall Of Trivia, a live, weekly sports and fantasy-themed trivia show airing exclusively on the HQ Trivia app every Tuesday at 8 p.m. EDT. The show is hosted by sports broadcaster Jeff Eisenband, and features appearances by NFL legends as well as prominent sports and fantasy personalities.

“We are so excited to kick off a new era in fantasy sports by unveiling the locations, team names and logos of the HOFL,” said Mat Sposta, Senior Executive Consultant for HOFV. “In addition to transforming the way fantasy sports are played altogether, the HOFL solves one of the biggest pain points fantasy players are subjected to each year: the solitary fandom and lonely experience of managing a team by yourself. By financially backing one of the HOFL’s regional franchises, individuals become part of an immersive community with similar rooting interests and financial incentives.” 

In addition to announcing who will comprise the front office of each franchise over the coming weeks, HOFV will be launching the HOFL mobile app, which will serve as the league’s main platform. What’s more, HOFV plans to leverage its partnership with Dolphin Entertainment to offer fans opportunities to buy and sell NFTs associated with the HOFL’s unique gameplay, content and talent.

To learn more about the HOFL and stay updated on all league announcements (including signing up for its newsletter), visit www.thehofl.com or follow it on FacebookTwitter or Instagram (@TheHOFLeague).

Pete Davidson, Mario Lopez, Taylor Hill, Snoop Dogg Among Commentator Team For Triller FC April 17

Mario Lopez (credit: Gage Skidmore)

Triller Fight Club today announced one of the most unique and disruptive broadcast lineups for the inaugural Triller Fight Club 2021 event on April 17 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The world-class group calling the event for Pay-Per-View will include SNL star Pete Davidson, media personality and host of NBC’s Access Hollywood Mario Lopez, supermodel Taylor Hill, and internet stars Dixie and Charli D’Amelio. They will join Triller Fight Club co-owner Snoop Dogg as well as veteran boxing voices Ray FloresAl Bernstein and Mike Coppinger creating an unprecedented commentating team for the event.

The four-hour Pay-Per-View fight and entertainment spectacle will be headlined by the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren fight and include performances by Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo, Major Lazer and the exclusive world premiere of the hip hop supergroup Mt. Westmore (Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Too $hort and E-40) performing for their first time ever together.

Emmy-winning filmmaker Bert Marcus (Netflix’s critically acclaimed “The American Meme,” HBO’s Emmy award-winning “The Apollo” and recent Cannes-lauded “Bull”) is leading Triller’s re-imagining of boxing as a new kind of cinematic entertainment.

“Viewers on April 17 will be immersed into a world unlike anything they could imagine, a true movie-like experience that reinvents the great sport of boxing by taking them into the ring in ways they’ve never seen before and also deep into the behind-the-scenes action with our fighters and musical performers as it unfolds in real time,” said Marcus. “We’re thrilled to have Pete, Mario, Taylor, Dixie and Charli as well as Snoop, Ray, Al and Mike as our incredible commentating team to lead people through the action. They will be unapologetically themselves, creating a vibe that is culturally savvy, raw and unexpected.”

“This group of headline talent from all areas of music and entertainment will make this the must-watch event of 2021,” said Kavanaugh. “Nowhere else will you be able to see this mix of pop culture, comedy and hip-hop legends and top-notch fights in one place. April 17 will be the new standard not just for boxing, but for a new genre of entertainment and sports that Triller Fight Club is creating and implementing for fans of every demo, genre and age. We’ve already broken pre-sale records, and just wait for what’s to come.”

Along with Marcus, executive producer Malea Rose will also oversee and execute Triller Fight Club’s overall creative vision.

The April card will be Triller Fight Club’s first in a series of 2021 special events, following the debut record-setting Tyson vs. Jones PPV fight in 2020, which shattered all digital fight PPV records and became the 8th most successful fight PPV in history.

In the headline matchup April 17, Jake Paul takes on former Bellator and ONE Championship champion Ben Askren, with all bouts seen on the main Pay Per View card. The event will also feature super lightweight Regis Prograis (New Orleans) taking on Ivan Redkach (Shostka, Ukraine); heavyweight MMA Bad Boy Frank Mir (Las Vegas) will battle former IBF titleholder Steve Cunningham (Philadelphia, PA); and Joe Fournier (London) will challenge music icon and worldwide star Reykon (Envigado, Colombia). The card will be subject to all professional boxing rules, with eight rounds and 10-ounce gloves, and each will be an official professional fight.

iNDemand, the leading transactional video-on-demand and PPV programming provider in North America, will serve as the exclusive U.S. and Canadian cable, satellite, and telco PPV provider for the event. Fans will be able to order the event on PPV through their existing cable, satellite and telco PPV providers, including Xfinity, Spectrum, Contour, Fios, and Optimum in the U.S., as well as leading providers in Canada. 

FITE, the premier PPV digital platform, will handle worldwide live pay-per-view streaming distribution online, and via FITE mobile and Smart TV apps, game controllers and all major OTT devices as well as power TrillerFightClub.com.

The suggested PPV retail price for the event is $49.99 (U.S. & Canada). Fans outside North America can check the FITE link at https://www.fite.tv/watch/jake-paul-vs-ben-askren/2p8y0/ for international pricing. All fight information can be found at TrillerFightClub.com, which features fight news, announcements, promotional videos, and the digital portal to buy the event. 

**HOW TO WATCH THE APRIL 17, 2021, TRILLER FIGHT CLUB PPV EVENT**

TV: Cable, satellite & telco PPV providers, including Xfinity, Spectrum, Contour, Fios, and Optimum in the U.S., as well as leading providers in Canada.

Worldwide Streaming: FITE.TV and all FITE mobile, Smart TV, game controller and OTT apps as well as the event microsite hub: TrillerFightClub.com

Goose Island Beer Company To Be Presenting Sponsor of La Vida Baseball’s Being Guillén In April

TeamWorks Media today announced that Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Company will become the presenting sponsor of Being GuillénLa Vida Baseball’sregular visit with the Guillén family for the opening month of the MLB season. The show will stream from the Goose Island Brewhouse opening week to coincide with the Cubs home opener and then April 8 (White Sox home opener) before moving back to the La Vida Baseball® studio in Chicago for the rest of the month. It will feature Ozzie Sr, Ozzie Jr, and Oney Guillén offering their always entertaining take on baseball and family.

TeamWorks Media is the parent company of La Vida Baseball® and this is an expansion of the partnership with Goose Island that began last October.

“We are all looking forward with a return to normalcy this spring, and nothing could be more fun than to spend it with the Guillén family as fans and baseball return to Chicago,” said Jay Sharman, CEO of TeamWorks Media. “Our partnership with Goose Island got off to a great start in October as the season ended, and we are ready to expand it with some fun engagement during MLB’s opening month.”

“We’re excited to continue our partnership with the Guillén family who does so much for the Chicago community,” said T.J. Annerino,  Director of Experiential Marketing for Goose Island. “We’ve been lucky to work with Ozzie and the Being Guillén show in the past and are looking forward to continuing the partnership with La Vida Baseball®.  The Guillen family embodies one of the best traditions in Chicago – sharing opinions and arguing about baseball over beers. We love everything about it.”

The show will touch on all the recent developments in and around the Chicago teams and look ahead to what is one of the most anticipated seasons in baseball in The Windy City for some time. There will be special guests from around the country as well as engaging fan segments and a host of other promotions as Being Guillén and Goose Island help celebrate the exciting return of baseball.

Additional La Vida Baseball® programming includes the live social media streaming series, La Vida Baseball ¡Live!, the brand’s weekday interactive, fan-centric live show, hosted by Jennifer Mercedes (@Chica_Deportes) and Julie Alexandria (@JulieAlexandria); Gaming with The Guilléns, a live, engaging Twitch experience where Ozzie Guillén Jr. challenges Major Leaguers to play him in the video game “MLB The Show,” and the rowdy and hilarious Spanish language show, Pólvora, Voz y Diamante, hosted by Polo Ascencio, Pliego Villa and Jesse Castillo, offering baseball conversation like you’ve never seen before and mixing hilarious pop-culture sensibilities with an undeniable love for the game.

Triller Fight Club Names Peter Kahn Chief Boxing Officer

Triller Fight Club today announced that Peter Kahn has been named to the newly created position of Chief Boxing Officer. Kahn, a Boxing Writers Association of America 2019 and 2020 Manager of the Year nominee, is an industry veteran who has worked both on the promotional side and management side at the highest level for 25 years. Triller Fight Club is a partnership between Triller and Snoop Dogg spearheaded by Ryan Kavanaugh.

“We are excited have Peter formally join us in this critical role as we expand and advance the boxing side of Triller Fight Club,” Kavanaugh said. “In a very short period of time as we set up for our April 17th, June and July events it became clear that he is one of the smartest, most respected people in the sport, as well as someone who shares our vision for changing the way boxing can be presented as a sports and entertainment property. His input to date has been invaluable, and it will continue to grow as we expand our business this year and beyond.”

“I am looking forward to adding quality fights and providing the fans with matchups that will appeal to the hard-core and casual boxing fans alike to complement the four-quadrant model of Triller Fight Club that consists of influencers, legends, music artists and contemporary fighters.” Kahn said. “I will work closely with the major promoters and managers in the sport to find ways to elevate the profiles of the fighters while providing entertainment to the pay-per-view audience. The Triller platform itself is an excellent vehicle for the fighters to grow their brand, connect with fans and build their social media following as they progress in their careers.”

Kahn’s role as Chief Boxing Officer will consist of overseeing all boxing related aspects to the Triller Fight Club events that will include incorporating high-level matches at the world championship, contender and top prospect level. Kahn is a boxing contributor to Forbes and Associate Producer of Original Netflix Series “Fightworld.”

The Florida resident is the manager of George Kambosos Jr, who will be fighting Teofimo Lopez on the Triller Fight Club event in June for the undisputed lightweight championship of the world as part of Triller Fight Club’s second event of 2021.

The April 17 card will be Triller Fight Club’s first in a series of 2021 special events, following the debut record setting Tyson vs. Jones PPV fight in 2020, which shattered all digital fight PPV records and became the 8th most successful Fight PPV in history. In the headline matchup April 17 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Jake Paul takes on former Bellator and OneFC Championship champion Ben Askren, with all bouts seen on the main Pay Per View card. The event will also feature super lightweight Regis Prograis (New Orleans) taking on Ivan Redkach (Shostka, Ukraine); heavyweight MMA Bad Boy Frank Mir (Las Vegas) will battle legendary light heavyweight Antonio Tarver (Orlando, Fla.); and Joe Fournier (London) will challenge music icon and worldwide star Reykon (Envigado, Colombia).

The PPV will also include an unparalleled music and entertainment experience, including performances by Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo, Major Lazer, and the exclusive world premiere of the hip hop supergroup Mt. Westmore (Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Too $hort and E-40) performing for their first time ever together.

In addition to being a co-owner, Snoop also provides strategic counsel to Triller Fight Club, helping to select fighters and musical acts for the show-stopping events. An entertainment expert who has successfully maneuvered through a range of projects in a variety of different fields, Snoop secured his spot as a fan favorite during Triller’s first sporting event, Tyson vs. Jones.

iNDemand, the leading transactional video-on-demand and PPV programming provider in North America, will serve as the exclusive U.S. and Canadian cable, satellite, and telco PPV provider for the event. Fans will be able to order the event on PPV through their existing cable, satellite and telco PPV providers, including Xfinity, Spectrum, Contour, Fios, and Optimum in the U.S., as well as leading providers in Canada. 

FITE, the premier PPV digital platform, will handle worldwide live pay-per-view streaming distribution online, and via FITE mobile and Smart TV apps, game controllers and all major OTT devices as well as power TrillerFightClub.com.

The suggested PPV retail price for the event is $49.99 (U.S. & Canada). Fans outside North America can check the FITE link at https://www.fite.tv/watch/jake-paul-vs-ben-askren/2p8y0/ for international pricing. All fight information can be found at TrillerFightClub.com, which features fight news, announcements, promotional videos, and the digital portal to buy the event. 

**HOW TO WATCH THE APRIL 17, 2021, TRILLER FIGHT CLUB PPV EVENT**

TV: Cable, satellite & telco PPV providers, including Xfinity, Spectrum, Contour, Fios, and Optimum in the U.S., as well as leading providers in Canada.

Worldwide Streaming: FITE.TV and all FITE mobile, Smart TV, game controller and OTT apps as well as the event microsite hub: TrillerFightClub.com

The American Cornhole League and DraftKings Forge Collaboration During 2021 Season

The American Cornhole League (ACL) is excited to announce today that DraftKings Inc. (Nasdaq: DKNG) is now the “Official Sports Betting Partner of the American Cornhole League.” As the ACL Johnsonville Cornhole Championships progress, the sports technology and entertainment company will offer a variety of free-to-play pools nationally and the industry’s first regulated sports betting on professional cornhole. Select ACL events will also feature DraftKings [Sportsbook] odds and lines via a live ticker for audiences tuning into the competitions.

“As we’ve learned in the past year, fandom is not limited solely to mainstream sports, and the tremendous growth of the ACL underscores these new engagement possibilities,” said Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer at DraftKings. “The popularity of cornhole has skyrocketed in general, and there is a real draw for fans to see the best in the world compete, so we’re adding yet another dimension to the enjoyment of cornhole through odds and pools.”

The partnership also includes certain marketing rights including the use of ACL trademarks and logos, footage and photography and on-site branding at events (including center court signage for all broadcasts). DraftKings will also receive exclusive access to select ACL content which will be streamed on DraftKings’ owned and operated channels on YouTube, Twitch, and Gamecenter, among others, with plans to offer pre-competition analysis, in-broadcast wagering and more. The deal also provides DraftKings the ability to utilize ACL talent in promotions, custom content and events, which will further highlight top players in the league.

“First and foremost this is another way for our fans to experience and access the game and we’re very much looking forward to how our partnership with DraftKings will help enhance their enjoyment of the sport,” said Stacey Moore, Commissioner and Founder of the American Cornhole League. “Not only do we expect this to help expand our audience through additional exposure on DraftKings channels, but we look at this is as positive in terms of engagement with our broadcast partners and fans as a whole.”

Every year, thousands of players take part in the competitions and tournaments that ACL hosts across the amateur, collegiate, and pro ranks. For the ACL event on March 19th, fans in Colorado, Illinois and New Hampshire will be able to place wagers via DraftKings, while nationally others can enter a free to play pool. DraftKings continues to broaden its sportsbook product suite to capture more niche categories, including other recent additions like Major League Eating and Drone Racing League.

For additional information on how to participate visit iplaycornhole.com. Fans can learn more and check out DraftKings’ American Cornhole League offerings by downloading the DraftKings app via iOS and Android.  

Entain Foundation Partners with Responsible Gambling Council on Research to Inform Regulatory Approach to Gaming & Sports-Betting in Canada

Entain, the global sports betting and gaming entertainment group, today announced that its non-profit Foundation will fund research into consumer practices, preferences and behaviours in Ontario, Canada as regulators prepare to legalize gaming and sports betting for the first time. The research will be conducted by the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), a Toronto based non-profit organisation and one of the world’s leading advisors on responsible gambling practices.

The Canadian federal government introduced a bill at the end of last year which could pave the way for legalisation of single-event sports betting, with licences for online operators.  Entain has already expressed interest in applying for a licence in Ontario if, and when, they are available.

The research project, led by the Responsible Gambling Council’s RG Plus – a global consultation service that offers research and strategic consultation services –  aims to draw on consumer insights in Canada and experiences across other international jurisdictions to help regulators to make evidence-based recommendations that balance the mandates of online operators with the identifying behaviours and risk factors for consumers.

International experience shows a vast majority of people enjoy sports betting and gaming with no issues, but regulation helps to protect those potentially at risk.

Martin Lycka, Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs & Responsible Gambling at Entain said: “We know from similar research in many markets in which we operate, including the United States, that regulators value research which supports an evidence-based approach to decision-making and effective regulation from a wide range of other international jurisdictions.  Entain, which operates across five continents and over 20 countries, has unparalleled experience with different regulatory approaches taken around the world in the past 15 years. “

The research will focus on a sample of approximately 4,000 adult bettors and gamers (18+ years old), providing the most comprehensive and up to date evidence into responsible online sports betting and gaming needs and interests. The work will also review other key international jurisdictions to assess regulatory approaches, using informant interviews to identify effective responsible betting and gaming practices.

Shelley White, CEO of RGC expressed “As a global leader in responsible gambling, RGC is committed to working with regulators, operators and the public to establish the development and implementation of a robust responsible gambling culture. RGC’s work with Entain will contribute to vital advancements in consumer safeguards.”   

Research work is expected to begin shortly with the full report due later in the year.  Assuming the regulatory process continues, Ontario is expected to become the first Canadian province to introduce online gambling, with initial licences expected to be granted in 2022.

VKTRY Insoles To Be Worn By Over 100 NFL Prospects For Upcoming Pro Days

VKTRY GEAR today announced that a record number of NFL top prospects will be wearing their carbon fiber insoles as they go through their on campus Pro Days in the coming weeks. The NFL Combine has moved from Indianapolis to local workouts due to COVID 19 restrictions. Over 100 prospects from more than 60 schools will be wearing VKTRY Insoles in this critical stage of career preparation.

“Many of our relationships with NFL stars began at the Combine where athletes experience +9.3% added explosiveness from their VKs,” said VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik. “Most athletes see significant improvements in the broad jump, the vertical jump and their time in the 40. They really feel the difference and understand how VKTRY Insoles can help them get an edge both at the Combine and on the playing field. Athletes also appreciate the improved injury protection with VKs, recently proven by one of the top athletic research facilities in the world, the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut.”

Amongst those athletes using VKTRY Insoles for their Pro days are projected first round picks: Alabama Running Back Najee Harris, Florida TE Kyle Pitts, Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, Miami DL Gregory Rosseau, Miami DE Jaelen Phillips, and LSU WR Terrace Marshall. Players from every Power Five Conference will be using VKTRY Gear for the first time during their Pro Days.

Made from aerospace-grade carbon fiber, VKTRY Insoles store and return energy to the athlete. They also provide a “spring-like” effect to improve shock absorption and reduce the load and stress on the athlete’s body. In independent performance testing, athletes wearing VKs increased their broad jump by an average of +4.0”, their vert by +1.6” and improved their 40 times by 0.12 seconds.

The large number of prospects continue unprecedented growth in football for the company. During the 2020 NFL season, a record number of over 200 NFL players, from 29 of 32 clubs, wore their carbon fiber insoles, a 300% increase from 2019 and included a list of some of the brightest young stars and respected veterans in the NFL, including Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb, LV Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, Washington RB Antonio Gibson, Buffalo Bills RB Devin Singletary, SF 49ers WR “Deebo” Samuel, Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf, NY Jets DE Quinnen Williams, Buffalo Bills CB Josh Norman, Chicago Bears WR Anthony Miller, LA Chargers OT Brian Bulaga, Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant, New York Giants TE Evan Engram, Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson, Pittsburgh Steelers LB Devin Bush and many more.

“I have worn VKs since I was a rookie and I love the added burst and explosiveness they give me on the field. I seriously feel 10X faster with VKs,” said Chubb, a two time All Pro selection and the Browns leading rusher each of the past two seasons, helping lead them to their first road playoff win since 1969, over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card game in January. “Most insoles are made from foam and plastic, but VKTRY is full length carbon fiber and that makes a difference – that gives me a competitive edge.”

VKTRY Insoles are available in five different levels of flexibility to optimize performance, protection and comfort. Athletes at more than 300 professional and college teams wear VKTRY Insoles for training and competition. Some of those athletes include Fernando Tatis Jr of the San Diego Padres, Vlad Guerrero Jr. the Toronto Blue Jays, WNBA All-Star Angel McCoughtry of the Las Vegas Aces, Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington and US Olympic Volleyball Team Captain Jordan Larson.

VKTRY Insoles were originally invented for the US Olympic Bobsled Team to improve athletic explosiveness. In 2010, VKTRY helped Team USA win gold in the 4-man bobsled – first time in 62 years. Now, more and more people are discovering the benefits of energy return, improved stability and shock absorption that “VKs” provide.

Sports Illustrated, Topps Team for a 70th Anniversary Card Set Featuring Classic Baseball Covers

Sports industry titans, Sports Illustrated and Topps, come together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first Topps baseball cards with a new series launching March 16. With a total of 70 cards in the special edition set, each one will depict one of the most memorable Sports Illustratedbaseball covers ever printed. Two new cards will be offered per week, printed on demand and available for only seven days. Following a similar way in which TOPPS NOW products are made available, the 70th Anniversary cards will be printed exclusively to meet demand. Fans and collectors will be able to view and purchase the cards as they are released week to week on https://www.topps.com/cards-collectibles/online-brands/sports-illustrated.html.

Among the initial card offerings are legendary covers featuring Mike Trout (August 27, 2012), Duke Snider (June 27, 1955), Larry Walker (June 11, 2001), Kirby Puckett (April 6, 1992), Vladimir Guerrero Sr. (May 1, 2000), Boston Red Sox (November 10, 2004), Greg Maddux (August 14, 1995), Mookie Betts (October 28, 2020), Derek Jeter (June 21, 1999), and Stan Musial/Ted Williams (July 8, 1957).

“Millions of baseball fans know and love both Topps and Sports Illustrated, and we’re proud to be able to bring these two iconic names together in this highly collectible product,” said Jeff Heckman, Global Director of E-commerce, Topps. “The amazing photography from nearly seven decades ofSports Illustrated covers has provided works of art that can also be cherished as collectible cards to help relive great memories.”

“For both baseball fans and collectors, Topps and Sports Illustrated rank as two of the most venerable brands in sports,” said Michael Sherman, VP Media Brands, Authentic Brands Group, owner of Sports Illustrated. “We’re thrilled to continue building the brand’s legacy in the booming collectibles space and help commemorate Topps’ 70th anniversary with so many of Sports Illustrated’s historic covers.”

FanDuel Group Announces Multi-Year Partnership with Kenny Smith

Kenny “The Jet” Smith, two-time NBA Champion and analyst for TNT’s Sports Emmy Award-winning show Inside the NBA, is joining the FanDuel Group team as part of an exclusive content deal with America’s #1 sportsbook.

This new partnership designates FanDuel as the exclusive sports betting and daily fantasy provider for Kenny Smith.  Additionally, Smith will appear in FanDuel advertising and TNT promotions featuring FanDuel’s free to play contests.  Smith will also provide unique content for FanDuel Group’s social media channels.    

In addition to Kenny Smith becoming an official member of the FanDuel Team alongside his TV partner Charles Barkley, FanDuel will debut a new free to play game exclusively for Turner Sports.  FanDuel Over/Under will debut Thursday, March 11 when Boston visits Brooklyn at 7:30 PM ET on TNT.  The free to play game, available at https://www.fanduel.com/freegames/over-under will feature between eight and twelve Over/Under style questions.

For the remainder of the NBA season, players will be able to test their NBA knowledge alongside Kenny Smith each night for Over/Under supremacy.  FanDuel Over/Under will be integrated into Inside the NBA and NBA on TNT broadcasts encouraging fans to join in the fun each night for a share of a $5,000 prize pool.  

“Partnering with FanDuel has been a great addition to Inside the NBA,” said Smith. “I am looking forward to collaborating with FanDuel on future projects, as well as, interacting with our viewers each night through FanDuel’s new free to play game that will become a bigger part of our broadcasts.” 

In July 2020, FanDuel Group became the exclusive sportsbook partner for NBA programming on Turner Sports properties including content integrations across Bleacher Report.  Smith alongside fellow FanDuel partner Charles Barkley have been educating viewers on sports betting via FanDuel Sportsbook integrations since last year’s NBA playoffs.    

“Over his 23 years with Turner Sports, Kenny’s trademark humor and insight has stirred the pot and helped make Inside the NBA one of the best shows on television. We’re excited to feature him as part of FanDuel’s branded content across our NBA programming,” said Will Funk, Executive Vice President, Sports Partnerships and Branded Content, Turner Sports.

Smith is the newest member of FanDuel’s deep roster of exclusive sports betting talent and influencers headlined by Pat McAfee and the PMI Team, in addition to Charles Barkley, World Wide Wob, Cousin Sal and JJ Zachariason.  FanDuel has also formed exclusive sports betting partnerships with blue chip media companies like Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, The Ringer, SportsGrid, Entercom and Minute Media.  This is all in addition to FanDuel’s own sports betting and daily fantasy content offerings that includes numberFire, The Duel, an extensive podcast network with a total of seven podcasts and More Ways to Win on TVG. 

“Kenny Smith is an NBA Champion, a beloved NBA analyst, the all-time assist leader at the University of North Carolina and someone whose magnetic personality and smile brings people together,” said Mike Raffensperger, Chief Marketing Officer of FanDuel Group. “We love Kenny on TV every Thursday night, but it’s his positivity and tireless dedication to the community that made us want to add his voice to our brand roster of sports personalities.” 

National Lacrosse League to Begin 2021-22 Season The Weekend of December 3-4

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced that the NLL Board of Governors has officially approved the start of the 2021-22 season for the weekend of December 3rd-4th. The schedule will call for 18 regular season games followed by Playoffs and a Championship Series.

“During what has been a very challenging year and uncertain times we are thrilled to finally announce that the NLL will return to play in December. We want to thank everyone that has helped us navigate the last 12 months with tough decisions, learning new innovations and, most importantly still finding a way to grow,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “We are very excited to welcome the NLL’s 14th team, Panther City Lacrosse Club to the upcoming season and confident it will be another record setting year. Thank you to our fans whose passion and commitment continues to inspire us every day. We are raring to go with a robust run up to the opening face-off already in the works.”

The 2021-22 season will be the debut of the NLL in Texas with Panther City Lacrosse Club playing at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as the return of the NLL to the Capital Region, New York with Albany NLL (team name contest currently underway visit albanynll.com to learn more) and its new ownership group at the Times Union Center.

Details about the 2021 NLL Draft, player training camps, player combine, broadcast partner(s), the relaunch of the NLL Hall of Fame and other league and team information will be coming in the next few months.

For the most up to date information and breaking news, sign up for the NLL newsletter at NLL.com. Also follow Deputy Commissioner Jessica Berman and Commissioner Sakiewicz on Twitter @JessicaBerman1 and @NLLcommish, respectively.

Topps To Create Special Box Set Featuring College Football Superstar Trevor Lawrence In Partnership

Having just completed one of the most decorated careers in college football history and weeks away from the likely No. 1 selection in the pro draft, Trevor Lawrencehas signed on with Topps in a landmark deal that will see the winningest starting quarterback in Clemson history featured in an exclusive box set of cards scheduled for release in April. The set will be created in collaboration with Trevor’s brother and sister-in-law Chase and Brooke Lawrence, professional artists who will create exclusive artwork of the decorated 2018 national champion and first quarterback ever to win three ACC Championship Games.

The series will include 50 cards, including autographs on select pieces and will feature a mix of oil paintings and digital depictions crafted by Chase and Brooke (https://bclawrence.art). To create the exclusive artwork, Chase and Brooke took inspiration from psychedelic period pieces from the 1960’s-70’s as well as classic comic book and graphic novel illustrations.

“Trevor Lawrence is one of the most popular and visible players in college football in years and we can’t wait to capture his talent and personality in this set,” said Jeff Heckman, Global Director of Ecommerce. “We look forward to revealing the unique designs that Chase and Brooke will develop, and we think football fans across the country will love the series.”

“I’m excited to be working with Topps on this really unique set,” said Lawrence. “Chase and Brooke are extremely talented artists and it’s special to collaborate with them on these custom designs.”

Lawrence completed 231 of 234 passes (69.2%) for 3153 yards and 24 touchdowns this past year, finishing second in the Heisman Trophy balloting as he led Clemson to the national championship game. In his storied three-year career, he completed 758-of-1138 career passes (66.6 %) for 10,098 yards with 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions for a pass efficiency rating for 164.26 in 2,237 snaps over 40 career games (36 starts).

Alliance Sports Creates Fund to Provide Capital to Minor League Baseball Teams

Alliance Sports LLC (“Alliance Sports”), in partnership with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. will provide loans to Minor League Baseball (“MiLB”) teams in need of capital through a newly created fund. 

The fund will be for MiLB teams impacted by COVID-19 who need financing. Eligibility criteria includes all levels of MiLB affiliated teams with a trailing EBITDA of greater than $300,000 and a trailing three-year average revenue of greater than $3,000,000. Loan sizes are expected to range from $1 million to $10 million, with a 2 to 5-year term and an interest rate of 8-12%. 

“We believe that Alliance Sports is uniquely positioned to provide capital to MiLB teams,” said Larry Botel, President of Alliance Sports. “As fellow owners, we have a deep understanding of the details of the business and have the ability to work with owners to create financings that we believe meet the needs of the teams without being over burdening.” 

Alliance Sports, founded by Gary Green (CEO) and Larry Botel, owns and operates the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals; the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the San Francisco Giant’s Double-A affiliate; the Montgomery Biscuits, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Double-A affiliate; and Union Omaha, a USL League One Team. Alliance Sports also owns the digital platform and publication Baseball America Magazine. 

This portfolio of business has put Alliance Sports in a unique position to provide capital to the minor league sports industry.

Entain Marks National Awareness Month with New Initiatives to Promote Safer Betting and Gaming

Entain, the leading global sports betting and gaming entertainment operator, has today unveiled a number of initiatives in support of Problem Gambling Awareness Month, taking place across the US throughout March.

The initiatives build on Entain’s commitment to provide the world’s safest and most trusted betting and gaming experience for its customers around the globe. Via its not-for-profit, Entain Foundation, the Group has heavily invested in the research, education and treatment of problematic behaviours as well as in educating and promoting the integrity of sport.

The initiatives announced by Entain today include:

o       Together with BetMGM, the joint venture it operates with MGM Resorts, Entain is promoting the Eighth Annual Gambling Disorder Screening Day led by Harvard Medical School faculty at the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance. The event provides resources including an online screening toolkit to enable individuals to identify if they may be exhibiting behaviours associated with increased risk of harm. BetMGM will promote the screening day to its customers in the U.S., while Entain will promote to its UK customers through the Ladbrokes and Coral brands.

o       Platinum membership of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.  Entain is pleased to join the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling as a supporting Platinum organizational member. Incorporated in September 1984, the non-profit Council serves as an advocate, information resource, and a provider of programs and services to meet the needs of individuals and families who are affected by problem gambling in Nevada.

o       Support for a nationwide survey in the U.S. with partners NAADGS,  EPIC Risk Management and Kindbridge to establish the extent of existing provision and support for individuals who do identify as suffering from gambling-related disorders in the U.S.

“It is our ambition, with our partners and support from BetMGM, to provide the most comprehensive portfolio of responsible gambling initiatives, partnerships and services in the gaming entertainment sector in the United States,” said Martin Lycka, Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs & Responsible Gambling.  “We are proud of our commitment and will continue our leadership in serving this vital area.”

The screening day event is one of several initiatives on responsible gambling that Entain is pursuing with Harvard Medical School faculty at the Division on Addiction, with whom it has a five-year research program underway into drivers of addiction. The program is wide-ranging, across all areas of sports betting and gaming including around recommendations for markers of activity that can be used to help protect those at risk. Entain is pioneering a technology-led, proactive approach to help protect those at risk.

The announcement by Entain follows the recent extension of its responsibility and player protection initiatives to support related sectors, including video gaming and esports earlier this year. It has partnered with NAADGS, Kindbridge, and EPIC Risk Management to deliver these projects.

Entain is also working with organizations to feed into the next iteration of the APGSA (Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators) survey. Last conducted in 2016, the survey is the most frequently cited study in legislative debates across the U.S. in relation to responsible betting and gaming.