Category Archives: Featured

Data Driven Sports/ShotTracker Announces Automated Content Products To Drive Engagement And Revenue

Data Driven Sports (DDSports), the parent company of ShotTracker,  today unveiled an exciting suite of new products to support digital publishers and broadcasters in engaging and monetizing college basketball fans this upcoming season. Leveraging the ShotTracker’s unique, real-time player and ball tracking data, combined with automated content and analytics platforms, DDSports now offers three innovative products designed to efficiently increase sponsorable content for its clients:

  • Automated Visualizations – customizable graphics with sponsor integrations designed for easy publishing to broadcast/OTT, digital, social and in-venue signage.
  • Insights Engine – AI-powered trends and streaks to drive game storylines and data-driven sales campaigns.
  • 3D Gamecast – animated ball and player graphics powered by real-time X-Y-Z location data, designed to allow out-of-market fans to watch their team live, and for all fans to relive exciting game moments. 

The three new products will be available for all men’s and women’s games across top NCAA Division 1 conferences where ShotTracker is installed, and will include unique, data-driven brand activation capabilities. “Our goal is to provide turnkey solutions to leading sports broadcasters and digital publishers to make the integration of ShotTracker data as streamlined and seamless as feasible,” said Davyeon Ross, DDSports/ShotTracker Co-Founder and President. “We commit to innovating and creating digital products that drive new revenue while also streamlining the content production process.”

Automated Visualizations

Leveraging the robust ShotTracker Data API, and through its partnership with IMPACT, a leading automated visualization platform, ShotTracker data will come to life in dynamic graphics designed for use across broadcast/OTT, digital, social and in-venue signage. Graphics that once took hours to produce will now be automatically generated. Broadcast customers will have access to a user portal that will allow for design, data points and sponsor customizations. Product benefits include more content, lower production costs and greater advertising revenue.

Insights Engine

Realizing the increasing need to grab fans’ attention and keep them engaged, ShotTracker has partnered with Inside Edge, a leader in sports analytics, to develop a cutting-edge platform to produce instant insights from ShotTracker’s robust data set. Broadcasters and digital publishers will now have real-time access to unique streaks and trends that once took hours to manually derive. This innovative platform will not only drive engaging storylines for announcers and writers, but will also support high-value sponsor activations.

3D Gamecast

Since many fans do not have access to live game broadcasts, and because game highlight rights are often complex and limited, ShotTracker has developed a real-time visual representation of every second of game action for all ShotTracker-enabled men’s and women’s games across top NCAA Division I conferences. Fans will have the option to watch an entire game or to select key game moments. With ShotTracker’s X-Y-Z data stream, game action comes to life in a more engaging visual representation than the traditional 2D products in the marketplace. Developers can use ShotTracker’s Gamecast SDK to customize design as well as advertiser integrations.

Gonzaga Selects Fast Rising Ready as Official Sports Drink

Ready® Nutrition (@ready_nutrition), one of the fastest growing sports nutrition companies in North America, with NBA Finals Champion and MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and three-time NFL Defensive MVP Aaron Donald as co-owners, today announced that Gonzaga University selected the brand as the Official Sports Drink of Bulldog Athletics.

Ready® Sport Drink will be the exclusive isotonic sports drinks for fueling and replenishing Gonzaga student-athletes with its scientific, all-natural formulation featuring three dominant electrolytes, energy from superfruits, and B-Vitamins for complete hydration.   

“We’re looking forward to this partnership with Ready® ” Incoming Gonzaga Director of Athletics Chris Standiford said. “It’s vital that we provide our student-athletes with the best sports nutrition options, and we know that Ready® will be the best choice for Gonzaga.”

Gonzaga is a member of the West Coast Conference, one of 8 conferences that have selected Ready® as their Official Sports Drink.  The Bulldogs’ national profile is highlighted by the success of its men’s and women’s basketball programs. The women have been crowned WCC champions and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in eight of the last 12 years.  The men’s program, under future Hall of Fame Coach Mark Few, has become a traditional national power.  The team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 10 years, making numerous Sweet 16 and Elite 8 appearances and playing for the National Championship in 2021.

“We’re always looking to provide our guys with the best in everything,” said Coach Few.  “We used Ready® during the tournament last year and our players loved it. It was an easy decision for us to name Ready® our Official Sports Drink.”

In addition to its sports drink, Ready® will also make available it’s full portfolio of performance products including its popular protein water, protein bars and functional snacks.  

“We’re excited to welcome Gonzaga into the Ready® family and thrilled that another elite program and coach has selected our sports drink for their student athletes”, said Ready® Founder and CEO Pat Cavanaugh, himself a former student-athlete and University of Pittsburgh basketball team captain.  “Coach Few’s program has such a high standard of excellence and I know he wants the very best for his players and all Gonzaga student-athletes.  We’re committed to helping them reach their team and individual goals with our science-based performance products.”

NLL Pivots Entry Draft to Virtual Setting Streaming on TSN, NLL Facebook and YouTube Channels

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced that the 2021 NLL Entry Draft will be held virtually on Saturday, August 28 and the induction ceremony of the NLL Hall of Fame Class of 2021 presented by GAIT Lacrosse has been postponed to a later date.

“After lengthy discussions we have decided it is in the best interests of our team and league staff, and most importantly our draftees, to hold our 2021 NLL Draft on Saturday, August 28 in a virtual live stream format. We have also chosen to postpone our formal NLL Hall of Fame induction, which was scheduled for the day prior, to a later date to be determined” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “While we have complete confidence in safety protocols that we were planning, the U.S. border for those driving from Canada remains closed. We were anticipating it would reopen in time for an in-person event, however with so many team staff located in Canada and the logistics of travelling back and forth across the border would have made staging such a large, first class event very difficult. Our plan is to host the NLL Hall of Fame ceremony in person, at a time when everyone of the inductees and their families can attend and, travel logistics are much easier. The NLL Hall of Fame is very important to the heritage of our league, it is crucial all will be able to attend and be properly honored surrounded by friends and family.”

The league will present comprehensive and expansive broadcast coverage of the 2021 Entry Draft. The first two rounds will be available for live streaming on TSN.ca and the TSN app in Canada along with the NLL’s YouTube channel and Facebook (@NLL). Live coverage begins at 7pm ET. Rounds three through six will be updated in real time on NLL.com and NLL social media accounts.

“We want to thank our board, our staff, and especially all those we have worked closely with at Pegula Sports and Entertainment over the last few months in helping us set up what would have been a memorable on site weekend, which now will be carried out from locations across North America” continued Sakiewicz. “We will release the NLL’s regular season schedule next month and we look forward to launching the 2021-22 season on December 3, 2021.”

All 14 active NLL franchises for the 2021-22 season will participate in the Entry Draft, with the Panther City Lacrosse Club making its inaugural selection, followed by the Georgia Swarm and Buffalo Bandits currently scheduled to make the next two selections, respectively.

The full first round NLL Entry Draft order, as of August 20, pending pre-Draft transactions, is as follows:

1. Panther City Lacrosse Club

2. Georgia (from New York)

3. Buffalo (from Rochester)

4. Vancouver

5. San Diego

6. Calgary

7. Saskatchewan (from Colorado)

8. Saskatchewan (from Philadelphia)

9. Georgia

10. Philadelphia (from Buffalo)

11. Panther City Lacrosse Club (from Toronto via Georgia)

12. Halifax

13. Buffalo (from Saskatchewan)

14. Buffalo (from Albany)

15. Calgary (from Panther City Lacrosse Club)

16. Albany (Compensatory)

The NLL Entry Draft was held virtually in 2020 following a two-year run at Philadelphia’s Xfinify Live! in 2018 and 2019.

FanDuel Group Announces Multi-Year Partnership with Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth, three-time major champion, is joining the FanDuel Group team as part of an exclusive partnership with America’s #1 sportsbook.

This new partnership designates FanDuel, an official sports betting partner of the PGA TOUR, as the exclusive sports betting and daily fantasy provider for Jordan Spieth. As part of the relationship, Spieth will be featured in national television commercials and will be the face of FanDuel’s golf products. Spieth will work with FanDuel on content for social media and responsible gaming initiatives. FanDuel will also support the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation to continue its great work in the community.

“As the world of legal sports betting grows rapidly in the U.S, I’m incredibly excited about what’s happening in the space and the potential it has to bring new fans to the sport of golf,” said Jordan Spieth. “As the PGA Tour and others in the golf world have strongly embraced legalized sports gaming, I look forward to working with FanDuel to find unique ways to engage the fast-growing fanbase.”

Spieth’s golf career has been one of dominance from his days as a junior golfer to today, where he is one the most recognizable global stars. Very few golfers have entered the professional ranks with the poise and dominance of Jordan Spieth. He was the youngest player to win on the PGA TOUR in 82 years, when he won the John Deere Classic in 2013 at the age of 19.  At 21 years of age he won the 2015 Masters and the 2015 US Open and two years later he won the 2017 Open Championship.  2021 has been a great season for Jordan, who is currently 2nd on the Fed-Ex Cup rankings.  He has 9 Top-10 finishes this season, including earning his 12th PGA Tour victory at the Valero Texas Open.   

“Golf is an incredibly popular sport on the FanDuel platform and we are always looking for new ways to engage the growing golf fanbase and community,” said Mike Raffensperger, Chief Marketing Officer of FanDuel Group. “As one of the most universally admired golfers at the top of his game, Jordan Spieth is a perfect fit for our first official golf partner and the face of golf at FanDuel.”

Spieth is the newest member of FanDuel’s deep roster of exclusive sports betting talent and influencers headlined by Pat McAfee. FanDuel has also formed exclusive sports betting partnerships with blue chip media companies like Pat McAfee Inc., Turner Sports and Bleacher Report. 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. 

WTA Announces FanDuel As Its First Authorized Gaming Operator

Naomi Osaka (Flickr-Rob Prange)

The WTA and FanDuel today announced the designation of FanDuel as an Authorized Gaming Operator in North, South, and Central America. The new relationship brings America’s number one sportsbook and industry-leading daily fantasy sports products directly to WTA fans and marks the first time a women’s sport will have video highlights throughout FanDuel’s digital platforms and sportsbooks. WTA will grant FanDuel access to its trademarks and FanDuel will also use WTA Tour’s official scoring data from Stats Perform, the Official Data Supplier of the WTA throughout FanDuel’s platforms. This integration will allow tennis fans in the Americas to join the growing engagement opportunities surrounding fantasy sports and further professionalize the legalized gaming category for tennis.

“The WTA is pleased to welcome FanDuel as its first Authorized Gaming Operator,” stated WTA President, Micky Lawler. “FanDuel is a premier destination for sports fans online and this relationship provides the building blocks for growing our fan base. This milestone not only delivers on the growing appetite fans have for a more personalized sporting experience, but also paves the way for us to have a proactive role in managing the responsible gambling standards and practices we wish to foster. Our top priority is providing our fans with more opportunities to engage with the sport in a fun and safe way.”    

“We are incredibly proud of our commitment to supporting women in sports and are continuously looking for new ways to further raise awareness of female athletes, teams, and all women in sports,” said Amy Howe, President and Interim CEO, FanDuel Group. “Aligning with the WTA — the global leader in women’s professional sports – is consistent with our overall mission to elevate the profile for talented women in sports. We are delighted to partner with such a prestigious organization.”

Driven by the WTA’s sponsorship sales agency of record, CSM, the agreement with FanDuel represents the WTA’s latest innovation to strengthen the growth and exposure of women’s tennis. Following the announcement of Stats Perform’s data integration last November, FanDuel will showcase the next evolution of data-driven touchpoints and trusted betting products for WTA fans. 

“Our platforms are now a destination for WTA content and highlights, which significantly enriches the sports betting experience, while continuing to expand our media and content capabilities,” continued Howe.

As part of the new strategic collaboration, FanDuel will work closely with the WTA to promote safe and responsible gaming. Demonstrating its commitment to promote responsible gaming and the availability of prevention, treatment & recovery resources, the WTA has joined the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG). The WTA looks forward to working with NCPG on its Safer Sports Betting Initiative.

cover image: Naomi Osaka-(Flickr/Rob Prange)

FanDuel Unveils Renderings for New Footprint Center Sportsbook in Arizona

FanDuel, the premier online gaming company in the United States, today unveiled the renderings for its new, luxury sportsbook in the Footprint Center, home to the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Rattlers, in Phoenix, AZ.

Earlier this year, FanDuel was named as the Suns’ Official Sportsbook and Daily Fantasy Sports Partner, and the FanDuel Sportsbook at Footprint Center will be one of the first sportsbooks in an NBA arena in the entire country.

Stretching over 7,400 square feet, including an outdoor terrace, the FanDuel Sportsbook at Footprint Center will be fans’ one-stop-shop to enjoy Suns games and other sporting events around the world while placing wagers on the action. The sportsbook will feature five betting windows, and one VIP window, 40 HD televisions, a 35-foot video wall, an MVP Room and 26 self-service betting kiosks. The FanDuel Sportsbook will be open daily for patrons to place wagers on a wide variety of events throughout the year.

VKTRY Insoles Bounce Their Way To Gold Medal Success In Tokyo

The summer-long growth of elite athletes and rising stars using VKTRY GEAR, the fast growing, industry leader in Performance Insoles for heightened performance and injury protection, literally reached a gold standard this past week, when Olympians Jordan Larson and Haleigh Washington led Team USA to its first-ever indoor volleyball gold medal, defeating Brazil to take the historic title. Larson and Washington were two of several members of Team USA to wear VKTRY, and their title further enhanced the growing popularity of the innovative insoles.

The win extends the company’s Olympic tradition. As VKTRY Insoles were originally invented for the US Olympic Bobsled Team to improve athletic explosiveness. In 2010, these carbon fiber insoles helped Team USA win gold in the 4-man bobsled – first time in 62 years.

“We congratulate Jordan, Haleigh and the whole team on their success and are proud to have played a small part in their performance, health and wellness,” said VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik. “We have some of the best athletes in the NFL, MLB, NBA and now on the world stage using our VKs to maximize performance and minimize injuries.”

“I’ve been really impressed with how VKTRY Insoles have helped me increase my vertical, even at my age,” said Larson, Team USA Captain. “I felt the difference immediately when I put these insoles into my shoes – Wow!”

“I’ve struggled with good foot support for my entire athletic career,” added Washington. “VKTRY has made a difference in my comfort, my explosiveness, and how my feet feel when I play!”

Larson is one of the most decorated athletes in the sport of volleyball. An All-American at The University of Nebraska she is now a three-time Olympic medalist. Larson won gold with the national team at the 2014 World Championship, the Rimini Volleyball Nations League, and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, silver at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, and bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. VKTRY has been a key part of her success in career longevity and injury recovery. Washington, a three time All-American at Penn State, and key member of the 2014 NCAA Championship team, won gold as a middle blocker in her first Olympics.

The volleyball success is the latest in a series of continued growth for the company. In June, the company announced that Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady joined the company as both a brand ambassador and a member of their growing athlete advisory team. Then in July, The Foot & Ankle Research and Innovation Laboratory at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital completed a 12-month long, IRB-approved, randomized control trial of VKTRY Performance Insoles used in the treatment of 1st Metatarsophalangeal (MTP) arthritis, commonly known as “Turf Toe.” The study showed that VKTRY carbon fiber insoles proved to be a statistically significant better solution for patients than the traditional treatment. Patients reported a demonstrable improvement in comfort and pain management with the VKTRY Insoles.

Additional announcements are expected in the next few weeks.

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.

Because all athletes are not alike, VKs are customized based on the size of the athlete and the sport or activity. 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. A recent study of 263 NCAA athletes showed 41% less foot injuries and 22% less lower leg injuries when athletes use VKs. More and more people are discovering the benefits of energy return, improved stability and the shock absorption that VKs provide.

During the 2020 NFL season, a record number of over 200 NFL players, from 29 of 32 clubs, wore VKTRY’S carbon fiber insoles, a 300% increase from 2019. 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 Williams, Buffalo Bills CB Josh Norman, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans 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 have embraced the benefits of VKTRY Insoles.

Entain Joins 50 Global Leaders on Sustainability

Entain, the global sports betting and gaming entertainment group, has joined the line-up in this year’s 50 Global Leaders sustainability initiative, showcased on Bloomberg’s global media platform, marking its progress on responsible gaming and ESG.

The 50 Global Leaders Campaign shown on Bloomberg’s global platform, highlights work on ESG and sustainability made by leading international companies and specifically highlights the advances made by Entain over the past year in these areas, as well as across other responsibility initiatives.

Last year, Entain launched a Sustainability Charter, and pledged to invest £100 million over five years in the Entain Foundation, to fund responsible gaming initiatives and support people and communities around the world where it operates.

Entain is fully committed to player protection, and is developing a pioneering, personal protection system for players using its technology called ARC (Advanced Responsibility and Care), which will build individual risk profiles for each customer and, if they show signs of being at risk, intervene without them being aware to keep their play safe.

Through its Foundation, Entain has taken a lead in supporting community and grass roots sport through initiatives such as Pitching In and a partnership with SportsAid in the UK, respectively providing funding to help local football clubs and support aspiring young athletes. Internationally the Group supports similar initiatives, such as bwincares in Greece.

Entain is ranked #1 in the All-in Diversity Charter’s All-Index list, the industry benchmark for diversity and inclusion, and is developing initiatives around the world to support under-represented groups, and notably young women, seeking careers in technology. The Group has provided support through the pandemic, with a global Employee Assistance Programme linked to the wellbeing platform, Unmind, and relief, through the Foundation, for victims of COVID-19 in India.

Also over the past year, Entain achieved its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target one year early, reducing emissions by over 15% per employee since 2018, and has committed to become net-zero by 2035. This includes setting a Science-based Target, which we have formally committed to via the Science-based Targets Initiative. The Group is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the S&P Sustainability Yearbook 2021, and FTSE4Good.

SGPN’s Colby Dant Records 130 Podcasts Previewing Every FBS College Football Team

In an unprecedented commitment to college football bettors across America, Sports Gambling Podcast Network (SGPN) college gridiron expert Colby Dant is providing a pre-season forecast on every FBS football team, including recommendations on over/under regular season win total wagers for all.

The daunting initiative is underway with the podcast and transcription content available at www.sportsgamblingpodcast.com, home of the only independently owned and operated sports gambling media network that places a premium on entertainment value. The predictive podcasts are most readily available on the SGPN app, downloadable at Apple’s App Store, the Google Play Store, and from www.SportsGamblingPodcast.com

In concise but detailed 20-minute podcasts, Dant also provides a rationale for all predictions, requiring a time-consuming level of immersion, his fulltime job with SGPN since 2017.

Colby Dant

SGPN, consistently ranked among the top football podcasts in America by Chartable.com, will also track and report the results of Dant’s prognostications in a service to its audiences that is unusual in the burgeoning sports wagering advice/analysis industry. Dant is one of over 45 contributors covering sports and entertainment for SGPN platforms.

“I’m definitely going above and beyond with this project, but college football is the one sport for which it is actually necessary,” stated Dant, a veteran sports wagering expert who has handicapped every Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) game (over 1,500) since 2017. “The sport generates an emotional attachment among its fans that is hyper-local, regional, sectional and national. The time is right for this deepest of dives into the entire FBS. Full schedules are back, fans are returning and interest is spiking with the season just weeks away. Our SGPN audiences and all college football fans want it and deserve it.”

Among Dant’s most assertive recommendations is Minnesota over 6.5 wins and North Carolina under 9.5 wins. The podcasts offer amusing takes on the traditions and history of the college programs with comparative references to rival teams and conferences in conjunction with the SGPN style of combining entertaining content with free, money-making predictions for sports bettors.

Other offerings on the Dant podcasts include suggestions that Texas A&M is overrated, and that Big 12 officials should consider thinking outside the box and grabbing Deion Sanders’ Jackson State team and Eddie George’s Tennessee State team, plus the transfer portal impact on both high-major and mid-major programs.

The podcast series, available under the “College Football Experience” name on the SGPN website and the SGPN App, is more than half complete with the remaining podcasts on track for posting over the next three weeks.

ESPN To Broadcast Cornhole World Championships This Week

It’s not just a backyard sport anymore; it’s the real deal. 256 professional cornhole players and over 800 amateurs from across the country will gather in Rock Hill, SC though Sunday to attend the American Cornhole League World Championships. 

In attendance will be ESPN personalities Ryan McGee and Marty Smith, plus former Carolina Panthers running backs Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert. The four VIP guests will each be paired with an ACL Pro and go head-to-head in a televised cornhole tournament at Friday’s ACL Pro Celebrity event, which will air on ESPN2 at 9:00pm EST for ESPN’s infamous Ocho Day.

Open to the public, the World Championships expect to draw a crowd of approximately 2,500 people to the newly renovated Sports and Events Center in Historic Downtown Rock Hill. Just minutes away from the future Carolina Panthers headquarters, the space is also the newfound headquarters of the American Cornhole League after previously being based in the Queen City. 

The national sports organization relocated in late 2020 after experiencing exponential growth despite the Covid-19 pandemic. This growth was largely due to the profound scarcity of televised sporting events once lockdown commenced. Cornhole thrived due to its low-contact nature and flexibility of the sport, making it ideal content for ESPN coverage.

At the World Championships, the 256 ACL Pros will duke it out to claim highly-coveted titles including Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Pro Singles Champion, Pro Doubles Champion, and more.

Guests can enjoy choice food and beverages, play in blind draw tournaments, purchase merchandise from local vendors, visit the new ACL Headquarters, and sit courtside while watching the ESPN-televised broadcasts.

There is no entry fee to attend, but parking is available for $5.00 per car per day.

Chief Marketing Officer Trey Ryder stated, “We couldn’t be more excited to be hosting the ACL World Championships here in our home of Rock Hill, SC! With over 1000 of the best cornhole players in the world flocking to the region, fans will be spoiled with seven days of competitive play, over 40 hours of livestream coverage, and six hours of ESPN television coverage.”

ESPN will cover the following events during the American Cornhole League World Championships:

August 5 – ACL Pro Singles Bracket Finals at 8:00pm EST on ESPN3

August 6 – ACL Pro Celebrity Event at 9:00pm EST on ESPN2

August 7 – ACL Pro Singles Playoff and Co-Ed Doubles Final at 1:00pm EST on ESPN

August 8 – ACL Pro Doubles Playoff and Women’s Doubles Final at 1:00pm EST on ESPN2

Ruth, McCovey, DiMaggio/Monroe Pieces Highlight HA Summer Auction

$20 million worth of sports history will be up for grabs when Dallas-based Heritage Auctions conducts its star-studded Summer Platinum Auction which is underway and continues through August 21-22. The event features a treasure-trove of sports memorabilia including a vintage Babe Ruth rookie trading card worth more than $1 million, the finest known baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, Magic Johnson’s title-clinching jersey from his rookie season with the Lakers, another $1 million artifact, and the collection of San Francisco Giants beloved icon Willie McCovey.

Chris Ivy, founder and president of Heritage Sports, recently showcased the pieces at the 41st National Sports Collectibles Convention in Chicago.

For the first time, all of the trophies, rings and plaques accrued by Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey will be made available to fans and collectors during the August auction. The Willie McCovey Collection – which features some 210 lots, among them some of the most coveted hardware in baseball history – is a centerpiece of the event. Among the artifacts of the first baseman known as “Stretch” are a 2012 San Francisco Giants World Series Championship ring and a his first-baseman’s glove that he used in games from 1975 through 1980. The expansive, extraordinary collection includes a myriad of personal effects from throughout the Baseball Hall of Famer’s career.

The 1916 M101-4 Sporting News Babe Ruth Rookie card, graded PSA EX-MT 6, which shot up to $370,000 within hours of opening. No surprise there: Just last weekend Heritage sold one of the highest-graded 1933 Goudey Ruths for a record-setting $540,000 in the auction house’s Summer Sports Card Catalog sale, more than five times than what a similar card realized just 10 months ago.

The Johnson jersey is one of the finest NBA jerseys ever to head to auction, and is photo-matched to that championship game, when Magic, en route to the first of his three Finals MVP awards, took center stage – playing every position that night, including center in the absence of an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Johnson wore the jersey again during the 1984 Finals loss to the Boston Celtics.

This is a monster piece. Twenty-four hours after bidding opened, it was already up to $330,000. With more than three weeks to go before the auction.
The bevy of museum-quality pieces on the block range from a 1920 Ruth game-used and signed bat (already up to $280,000 in early bidding) to the 1955 New York Yankees American League Championship Ring presented to Mickey Mantle to items owned and worn by Muhammad Ali never before displayed to the public.

The finest-known baseball signed by Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, has already grabbed the attention of the international media.

GSE Worldwide Signs Boxing Superstar ‘Bud’ Crawford

GSE Worldwide announced that they have signed Terence “Bud” Crawford to represent the legendary boxing superstar with his marketing and brand.  Currently ranked #1 by ESPN, he is considered by many to be the world’s top active boxer pound-for-pound. He also becomes the first professional boxer to join the GSE family.

Crawford has held multiple World Championships in three weight classes, including the WBO welterweight title since 2018. He is also one of only five male boxers in history to hold all four major world titles in boxing (WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO) simultaneously when he accomplished the feat at light welterweight. He has been named “Fighter of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2014, and by ESPN in 2014 and 2017.

“I’ve accomplished a lot inside the ring, with a lot more to come, but I wanted a partner who can help develop my corporate partnerships and elevate my marketing game outside the ring,” said Terence “Bud” Crawford. “GSE has a proven track record with their athletes, and I look forward to being the first boxer to join the GSE family.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome Bud to the GSE family,” added Russ Spielman of GSE Worldwide.  “What Bud has accomplished thus far in his career is nothing short of remarkable – he’s already a legend inside the ring, and we can’t wait to start helping raise his profile outside of it.”

“Everyone knows about me as the boxer but now is the time for me to tell the world about the other parts of my story” – Terence Crawford

GSE aims to help capture Bud as a strong community role model, family man, father, businessman and philanthropist. Terence is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pixelbird (www.pxlbrd.com),which is a company helping athletes take ownership of their digital likeness.

La Vida Baseball Launches New All-Female and Latina Multimedia Show ‘Locker Room Talk’ Wednesday

TeamWorks Media, the parent company of La Vida Baseball, today announced the launch of its new weekly show highlighting the achievements of women and Latinas in sports, “Locker Room Talk.” Hosted by Julie Alexandria and Jennifer Mercedes, two Latinas with more than 20 years of sports industry reporting experience, “Locker Room Talk” is a show celebrating women in all aspects of the sports world by recognizing their contributions and the barriers they have overcome in their journeys. The show debuts Wednesday August 4 with new episodes rolling out weekly on YouTube and Facebook along with additional content across all La Vida Baseball social channels. The promo for the show can be seen here https://vimeo.com/572384643

“Women have always been at the forefront of challenging cultural norms. This show was created as a platform for the incredible community of trailblazers who continue to redefine our industry,” said Jesse Menendez, Managing Director of La Vida Baseball.  “Julie Alexandria and Jennifer Mercedes are leading important conversations with industry leaders. With Locker Room Talk, Julie and Jennifer have created a space where women can share their stories, experiences and of course their triumphs. Everyone needs to watch this show.”

“Locker Room Talk is my way of giving back and creating space for the next generation of women who are looking to enter the world of sports broadcasting and business,” said co-host Julie Alexandria.

Co-host Jennifer Mercedes added, “Forget about getting your foot in the door, with Locker Room Talk we’ve created our own door. Our goal is that it’s big enough to let in as many women as possible.”

Guests currently lined up for “Locker Room Talk” include NY Yankees hitting coach Rachel Balkovec, NFL Network’s MJ Acosta-Ruiz, Chief Business Officer at A-Rod Corp. Kelly Laferriere , MLB agent Lonnie Murray, diplomat and non-profit We Are All Human CEO Claudia Romo Edelman, MLB writer Shakeia Taylor, Turner Sports’ Lisa Byington (first woman to call NCAA men’s March Madness game), MLB Network’s Melanie Newman, ESPN’s Sarah Spain, Drone Racing League president Rachel Jacobson and Arizona Diamondbacks’ Mariana Patraca.

In addition to “Locker Room Talk,” LaVida Baseball has a wide range of social media streaming series, highlighted by “Being Guillén”, a hilarious weekly show and podcast, hosted by former World Series Champion manager, Ozzie Guillén and two of his sons, Ozzie Guillén Jr. and Oney Guillén; and “Polvora, Voz & Diamante”, a high energy Spanish language show hosted by a Mexican League MVP, the Cardinals Spanish language broadcaster and a Mexican rock star. Earlier this year La Vida Baseball launched “The Year of 21,” a multi-platform content initiative created to inform, engage and educate fans worldwide about the life, the impact and the legacy of Roberto Clemente.

NFLPA, RealResponse Extend Agreement On Reporting Platform

RealResponse (@RealResponseHQ), the leading safe and secure feedback, monitoring and anonymous reporting platform for athletic teams, organizations, and over 50,000 athletes, today announced an expansion of their agreement with the NFL Players Association. Last season, players used RealResponse to communicate COVID-19 health and safety questions and violations to the NFLPA; now, all players and clubs will have the ability to anonymously and securely report any and all issues with regard to player health and safety to the NFLPA in real time for everything from training camp issues, drug policy infractions, social injustice concerns, medical issues, COVID-19 policy violations, misconduct, hazing, harassment, and more as well as using the system to highlight successes and best practices which might go otherwise unnoticed. The NFLPA is the first professional organization to fully implement the RealResponse system, which was significantly enhanced and upgraded in 2020. The NFLPA joins USA Gymnastics and over 100 colleges and Universities as RealResponse partners.

“Health and safety remain the priority for all organizations, and our system will now give thousands of NFL players a safe and secure opportunity to voice concerns beyond only COVID-19 for any issues on and off the field,” said 31 year old David Chadwick, former Division I basketball player at Rice University and Valparaiso University and the founder of RealResponse. “We were proud to support the NFLPA last season amidst COVID-19, and today’s announcement is ample proof of last season’s success and that our system, working with the first movers who lead the NFLPA, will be a model not just for football, but for all athletic organizations as we expand, enhance, refine and customize our offering to meet the needs of athletes, organizations and colleges around the world.”

“The NFLPA is committed to providing players a confidential way to bring forward any issues or concerns that may require the Unions assistance, therefore we are excited to announce that we are expanding our use of RealResponse,” said Don Davis, Senior Director Player Affairs & Senior Advisor to the Executive Director at NFL Players Association. “The successful utilization of this platform in 2020, allowed players to bring forward any COVID-19 questions or violations. We believe this system will go a long way in addressing problems and letting all focus on the task at hand, which is being successful athletes, teammates and family members for decades to come.”

The program will begin with the start of training camp and will continue throughout the season.

Last season, the NFLPA partnered with RealResponse to provide its members with a safe platform to anonymously text potential violations of NFL/NFLPA health and safety protocol related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Triller Enters NASCAR Space With Partnership With Rising Star Toni Breidinger

Triller, the globally popular AI-powered social media experience, today announced its entry into NASCAR with a partnership with driver Toni Breidinger, the 22-year-old rookie driver who has made history as the first Arab-American female driver in the circuit’s history. The partnership will begin this Saturday with the ARCA Menards Series race at Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Indiana. Breidinger will be driving the #25 Triller Toyota Camry after recently switching to Venturini Motorsports, a Toyota Racing Development team, for the remainder of the 2021 season. Breidinger, who already has one of the largest social followings for any NASCAR driver, will fully document her racing experience on Triller and will have her car wrapped with Triller signage this weekend. She is the all-time winningest female in United States Auto Club (USAC) history with 19 wins, a record that helped her move into NASCAR’s ARCA Menards series this year.

“Toni Breidinger is the perfect fit for our entry into NASCAR and all forms of racing for Triller,” said Bobby Sarnevesht, Chairman and Co-Owner of Triller. “She is a disruptive, smart, highly competitive, socially conscious and engaged athlete who our millions of followers are just starting to learn about. We look forward to helping to elevate her story and her platform and to connecting her with the stars who are already deeply involved in Triller, as well as giving our followers a first look into NASCAR and helping to grow the sport with a younger and very engaged and loyal audience.”

Toni Breidinger

“As a young athlete who has diverse interests and wants to have young people get excited about the sport I love, racing, Triller is the perfect place for me,” Breidinger said. “The mix of engaged socially conscious young people from around the world is the audience I want to connect with, and I think as we grow together all will learn, have fun and experience new events together. I am thankful for this partnership with Triller and for them to believe in female athletes and especially in motorsports.”

In February, Breidinger made history as NASCAR’s first Arab-American female driver, when she raced in the ARCA Menards Series at the Daytona International Speedway, finishing in 18th place out of 33 — ahead of the two other women who competed, and earning her an appearance on “Ellen.” She is one of 10 females competing across NASCAR races this season.

The partnership will begin with the ARCA Menards Race at Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Indiana, and will continue for all five of her races this season: August 22 at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield Illinois; September 5 at the DuQuoin State Fair in DuQuoin, Illinois; October 23rd at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS; and November 6th at Phoenix Speedway in Phoenix, AZ. Toni currently races in the ARCA Menards Series, a feeder division into the Nascar Touring Series. In 2021, Toni placed 18th at Daytona, 12th at Talladega, 12th at Kansas, and 20th at Charlotte.

This is the latest part of a progressive strategy that Triller is going to extend into sports. In addition to the highly successful Triller Fight Club series, which continues with the first of a long series of Tuesday night fights at Madison Square Garden and will also feature the September 11 matchup between Oscar de La Hoya and Vitor Belfort at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Triller is an exclusive broadcast partner of the BIG3, the official creator of the new global sport, FIREBALL3, and purchased premium entertainment and sports channel FITE earlier in the year. The platform continues to also engage in large scale promotions marrying sports and entertainment, including hosting the cast of Space Jam 2 at Triller House in LA prior to the premiere of the film starring LeBron James, Don Cheadle and other NBA and WNBA stars.

Triller will have additional announcements about new partnerships in all areas of global sport in the coming weeks.

FanDuel Casino Now Available in NJ, PA, MI and WV

FanDuel Group is expanding its FanDuel Casino offerings in New Jersey and Michigan. FanDuel Group announced today the official launch of its FanDuel branded, standalone FanDuel Casino product in New Jersey on iOSAndroid and desktop. In Michigan, FanDuel Casino customers can now enjoy live dealer games from Evolution.  

FanDuel Casino was initially offered exclusively within the FanDuel Sportsbook app in New Jersey. With the addition of the standalone FanDuel Casino product, customers living in, or visiting, New Jersey now have a dedicated online casino experience that is secure, legal and fully regulated. The standalone FanDuel Casino app will feature casino game staples like blackjack, roulette, video poker and a multitude of recognizable slots and fan-favorite games from the casino floor. Players will receive the same customer support, convenience, safety and security that customers have come to expect from FanDuel, while making it secure and simple for customers to cash out winnings. FanDuel Casino will still be available within the FanDuel Sportsbook app, and new casino players can either signup for a Casino account or use their existing FanDuel Fantasy or Sportsbook account to log in and play. New FanDuel Casino players can play their first day risk-free up to $1,000.

FanDuel Casino is also expanding in Michigan. FanDuel Casino has added live dealer blackjack, roulette and baccarat games for customers living in, and visiting, the state of Michigan. The live casino games launched this past Thursday, July 22, after approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Live dealer casino games give players the social interaction of a casino with the convenience of playing from home.

FanDuel Casino is available today on iOSAndroid and desktop in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia.  

Hall Of Fantasy League Unveils Inaugural Front Office Staff Of Former NFL Standouts

Hall of Fame Resort and Entertainment Company (“HOFV” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: HOFV, HOFVW), the only resort, entertainment and media company centered around the power of professional football, today announced the Front Office staffs for the 10 franchises competing in the inaugural season of the Hall Of Fantasy League (“HOFL”), the first national league that allows sports fans to experience a fantasy football team with a community of shared Stakeholders. As a result of HOFV’s partnership with StakeKings, fans who purchase a stake in any of the HOFL’s teams are eligible to receive their pro rata share of winnings based on the success of their respective franchise during the 2021-22 season. Fans can purchase stakes today by clicking here.

Each franchise will consist of a dedicated Front Office comprised of prominent fantasy experts and former NFL players, who will serve as General Managers and Team Captains. The Front Office staffs will be responsible for the configuration and daily management of rosters as well as regular engagement with their respective franchise’s Stakeholders. The Front Office personnel for the 2021-22 season include:

TeamTeam CaptainsGeneral Managers
AtlantaHot WingsHarry Douglas·      10-year NFL career·      7 seasons with Atlanta Falcons·      Career totals of 310 receptions, 3,759 receiving yards, 10 receiving TDs Joe Dolan·      Co-Owner and Managing Editor of Fantasy Points·      FantasyPros #1 Cumulative Ranker 2014-2018·      Co-Host of SiriusXM Fantasy Football Gameday & the Fantasy Feast Podcast Graham Barfield·      Co-Owner and Director of Analytics at Fantasy Points·      Formerly worked for Fantasy Guru and NFL Network·      Originator of charting process Yards Created
BostonBarfliesPatrick Chung·      11-year NFL career – 10 with New England Patriots·      3x Super Bowl Champion·      Career totals of 11 INTs and 778 combined tackles  John Paulsen·      Director of Forecasting at 4for4 Fantasy Football·      FantasyPros Most Accurate 2010 & 2014·      FantasyPros top 6 accuracy in 9 of last 11 years Jennifer Eakins·      Senior Editor and Writer at 4for4 Football·      Co-Host of The Most Accurate Podcast (TMAP)·      Contributor for Yahoo Fantasy Sports
ChicagoHogmolliesEddie Royal·      9-year NFL career – 2 with Chicago Bears·      Career totals of 408 receptions, 4,357 receiving yards, 28 receiving TDs·      4 600+ receiving yard seasonsJeff Ratcliffe·         Fantasy Sports Analyst at FTN Fantasy·         Host for SiriusXM Fantasy Radio·         CBS Sports Network TV Analyst 
Los AngelesSidekicksRicky Proehl·      17-year NFL career – 5 with St. Louis Rams·      2x Super Bowl Champion·      Career totals of 669 receptions, 8,878 receiving yards, 54 receiving TDsChristopher Harris·         Host of the Harris Football Podcast·         FSWA “Best Fantasy Podcast” winner·         Renowned for evaluating fantasy via game film on YouTube.com/harrisfootball  
New YorkBodega CatsRashad Jennings·      8-year NFL career – 3 with New York Giants·      Career totals of 3,772 rushing yards, 1,469 receiving yards, 23 rushing TDs·      Contestant on Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars  Scott Engel·         Writer at RotoBaller·         Host of RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio·         FSWA Hall of Famer known in the industry as “The King” Raphael Rabe·         Co-Founder of RotoBaller·         Host of RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio·         Outspoken fantasy sports talking head known as “Real Talk Raph”
OhioGOATSJoe Thomas·      11-year NFL career with Cleveland Browns·      10x Pro Bowler; 6x First Team All Pro Offensive Lineman·      NFL 2010s All-Decade TeamMichael Fabiano·         Senior Fantasy Analyst for Sports Illustrated·         FSWA Hall of Famer·         Formerly of NFL Network and “The NFL Today” on CBS Bob Harris·         Senior Editor for FootballDiehards.com·         FSWA Hall of Famer & first-ever Fantasy Football Writer of the Year 2005·         Host for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio
PhiladelphiaPowderkegsJason Avant·      10-year NFL career – 8 with Philadelphia Eagles·      Career totals of 346 receptions, 4,118 receiving yards, 13 receiving TDs·      14th on Eagles all-time receptions list (297)Adam Caplan·         NFL Reporter, now in his 20th season·         Host on SiriusXM NFL Radio & SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio·         Host of “Inside the Birds” Eagles podcast 
SeattleHazeJustin Forsett·      9-year NFL career – 4 with Seattle Seahawks·      1x Pro Bowler·      Career totals of 3,890 rushing yards, 210 receptions, 19 rushing TDs Melissa Jacobs·         Founder and Managing Editor of The Football Girl (TFG)·         NFL Columnist at The Guardian·         Former Fantasy Analyst at espnW and NFL Editor at Sports Illustrated Pat Fitzmaurice·         Winner of FantasyPros’ 2020 Ranking Accuracy Contest·         Contributor to The Football Girl and Footballguys.com·         Host of the Fitz on Fantasy Podcast
TexasY’allersDarren Woodson12-year NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys3x Super Bowl Champ; 5x Pro Bowler: 4x First Team All-Pro SafetyCareer totals of 23 INTs, 12 forced fumbles, 967 combined tacklesSigmund Bloom·         Co-Owner of Footballguys.com·         Current all-time #1 in the FFPC Pros vs. Joes Competition·         Co-Host of The Audible & On The Couch podcasts Joe Bryant·         CEO & Co-Founder of Footballguys.com·         FSWA Hall of Famer·         Mr. Rogers > Aaron Rodgers… and he likes Aaron Rodgers
VegasPocket KingsMarquette King7-year NFL career – 6 with Oakland Raiders1x Second Team All-Pro Punter46.7 yards per punt – tied for 4th all timeJeff Mans·         Part-Owner and President of Elite Sports Network·         Host for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio·         Has earned over one million dollars in fantasy sports winnings

Terrell Davis, Commissioner of the HOFL and Pro Football Hall of Famer, said, “The HOFL is rolling into its inaugural season with serious momentum as the pre-season ramps up and Stakeholders lay claim to their teams. There is a high level of anticipation for the League within the NFL, fantasy and sports fan communities. I am thrilled to be part of this transformational League season and look forward to the franchise battles and trash talking ahead!”

Michael Crawford, President and Chief Executive Officer of HOFV, stated, “It’s the beginning of fantasy football season and we could not be more excited to unveil the Front Offices for the 2021-22 season of the HOFL! The HOFL offers a unique value proposition for fantasy sports fans unlike any other national league. It is the only place where fans can be part of a fantasy franchise that is managed by some of the top fantasy experts and beloved former players, and be eligible for a pro rata share of season winnings. Let the games begin!”

Each franchises’ Front Office will take input from their Stakeholders and crowdsource decisions regarding their teams, but will ultimately have sole discretion on all decision-making. General Managers will interact directly with their respective Stakeholders on the HOFL app via their team’s feeds, and can take part in exclusive team chats and a direct message feature called “DM the GM.” General Managers will also contribute weekly content on the HOFL app by providing commentary and analysis regarding roster decisions, trades, waiver wire pickups and previewing and recapping key matchups, while Team Captains will provide distinct fantasy insights, analysis and perspective that reflects their experience in the League. Team Captains will also periodically engage with Stakeholders on the HOFL app. The HOFL app will be available on the App Store and Google Play in the coming weeks.

The HOFL will leverage its access to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, NFL alumni and fantasy football personalities to create original video, audio and written league-focused content that will be hosted on its platform, helping to entertain, educate and engage team Stakeholders throughout each week of the season. To keep up to date on the latest news surrounding the HOFL – including the date of the first draft in League history – fans can visit www.thehofl.com or listen to The HOFL Podcast on Apple PodcastsSoundcloud or Spotify. Fans of the HOFL can also purchase team apparel of their favorite franchises via the League website.

RealResponse Passes 100 Partners And 50,000 Athletes

RealResponse (@RealResponseHQ), the award winning leading safe and secure feedback, monitoring and anonymous reporting platform for athletic teams and organizations, today announced the addition of new colleges and universities to its fast-growing list, reaching the 100 partner milestone for the first time in the company’s short history. More than 50,000 athletes now have the ability to use RealResponse to share feedback, safely and securely report issues to coaches and administrators in real time for everything from mental health issues, social injustice concerns, COVID-19 policy infractions, misconduct, hazing, sexual harassment as well as using the system to highlight successes and best practices which might go otherwise unnoticed. Their work was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal this month as one of the “Fifty Most Innovative Companies in the Region.”

“As we head towards a period of increased scrutiny and challenges for athletes in everything from the Olympics to the return to play in colleges big and small this fall, the pressure and challenges placed on athletes and coaches at all levels has never been greater, and we are proud to be able to work with this growing number of colleges, universities and organizations to document, address and most importantly, head off issues within any size programs,” said 31 year old David Chadwick, former Division I basketball player at Rice University and Valparaiso University and the founder of RealResponse. “We started this because we saw, and heard, the need to help the athletes speak, and to help coaches and administrators address issues safely and securely, and the response continues to speak loudly. We are thrilled to eclipse 100 partner institutions and welcome our recent members and look forward to additional news, partnerships and growth in the coming weeks.”

Recent additions to the growing number of partners for RealResponse includes: Boston College, Campbell University, Appalachian State University, Cal State Northridge, UNC Asheville, and Arkansas State University. They join a list that has schools from the Major Five Conferences (Wake Forest, the University of Maryland, Ole Miss, TCU) as well as mid major schools (Army, Georgetown, Grand Canyon, and Liberty) and schools from Division II and III (Cal State Monterey Bay, Western New England, Bowdoin). RealResponse has also begun working actively outside the collegiate space with organizations like the NFLPA, National Governing Bodies like USA Gymnastics and others, and will be expanding with other relationships in the coming months.  

“We are living in a very changing, dynamic time, for intercollegiate athletics and the world in general. Within our athletics department we challenge our coaches, staff, and even our student-athletes to question whether just because we have been doing something one way does not mean we need to keep doing it. Is there another better way? Or are we missing something?  And that is where RealResponse came in,”    said Janet Cone, Director of Athletics, UNC Asheville. “We wanted to give our student-athletes an easy to use and real time tool to provide us with critical information . We are now very confident that the anonymous aspect is going to allow us to gather more information. Instead of someone hesitating and trying to decide, ‘Should I go forward or not?’ They know they can send a message to us. And we now have some information that  we did not know that can help us address concerns and issues.” For more on UNC Asheville’s partnership click here.

Three other athletic directors, two in the Big 12 Conference, the other in the ACC, also reaffirmed their growing support of RealResponse:

“RealResponse is used extensively by our Leadership Team, especially our Sport Administrators. The Survey Platform streamlined how we collect feedback and measure our student-athlete experiences, both internally and benchmarked against national trends,” added Jamie Pollard, Director of Athletics, Iowa State University. “The Real-Time Reporting has created an open and safe channel for our administration to stay responsive to student-athlete needs. Lastly, the Documentation Repository has allowed our team to centralize and manage important notes and communications in the daily execution of our departmental processes. It has truly become an essential part of our operations, and I would recommend RealResponse to any peer. 

“RealResponse has been tremendous for Baylor University. Student-athletes can approach us anonymously and I can still communicate back, creating a safe environment while offering key resources such as Title IX, Equity, and Mental Health Services. Importantly, these conversations are automatically captured, and the documentation trail and timeline generated provide peace of mind to our department,“ said Dawn Rogers, Deputy Director of Athletics, Baylor University

“Protecting the health and safety of our student-athletes and the integrity of the institution are paramount responsibilities for an Athletics Director. RealResponse is an invaluable tool to help identify student-athlete needs and concerns – and determine the right administrative response – before they escalate into a crisis,” added John Currie, Director of Athletics, Wake Forest University

$ 3 Million Collection: Baseball Cards Not Only Hot Commodity: Now It’s Pokémon

Sports trading cards aren’t the only memorabilia skyrocketing in value. Heritage Auctions has put a Pokémon card collection, valued at an estimated $3 million, on the auction block July 24-25.  This is potentially the largest sale of a non-sports card lot in US history.

Bart Kiser, had a love affair with Pokémon which was almost as big as the love he had for his children, earning him the nickname “Rad Dad.” So much so, that he gifted his massive collection to his children on Christmas morning 1999. Some 20 years later that collection will be up for grabs, expected to attract spirited bidding.

Kiser passed in 2018 but the colorful cards depicting “pocket monsters” will remind his now adult children again of his Pokémon passion and generosity.

His son Matt Kiser and Joe Maddalena, Executive VP at Heritage Auctions, are available to the media on mutually convenient times and dates to discuss the Bart Kiser Collection.

Highlights from the Rad Dad Collection offered at auction includes sealed box sets such as a Pokémon Japanese Base Set Sealed Booster Box (Media Factory, 1996) released only in Japan (est. $40,000). These boxes were released in Japan on Oct. 20, 1996, which was a little over two years before the English version. English versions of these boxes came with 36 card packs but Japanese versions came with 60 packs.

Pokémon Unlimited Edition Base Set Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast) remains sealed since 1999, the year the set was released (est. $20,000). It includes 36 booster packs, each with 11 cards, for a total of 396 cards. The cards have never been touched and they are all likely gem mint condition.

Bart Kiser obtained a rare Pokémon First Edition Jungle Set Sealed Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast, 1999) (est. $15,000). This was the second set of the mega-popular Pokémon Trading Card Game, released on June 16, 1999. The set included a total of 64 cards and it was the first set to include copies of the holographic cards in non-holographic form.

National Lacrosse League Returns To Play With Realigned Conferences, Six Matchups Face Off Weekend

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, will officially start its 35th season with Face Off Weekend, December 3-4th, 2021, with six games across North America, highlighting a series of exciting changes for 2021-22. A new two-Conference format, expanded playoffs, and the inaugural season of Panther City Lacrosse Club are among the changes in the upcoming season.

The NLL’s 14 teams competing this year will be aligned into two Conferences: East (Albany FireWolves, Buffalo Bandits, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, New York Riptide, Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, and Toronto Rock); and West (Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Panther City Lacrosse Club, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, and Vancouver Warriors).

The new alignment means a revised playoff format, with the top four teams in the East and top three in the West advancing to the playoffs. The eighth playoff slot will go to the team with the better record between the fifth place East and fourth place West teams, per NLL tiebreaker rules. The first round will be single elimination, while the second round and Finals will each be best-of-three series.

The first matchup for the 2021-22 season will take place on Friday, December 3, when Colorado visits San Diego. On Saturday, December 4, there will be five matches, with Calgary visiting Buffalo, Philadelphia visiting Georgia, Rochester visiting New York, Saskatchewan visiting Halifax and Albany taking on Toronto in its new home in Hamilton, Ontario. Two teams, Vancouver and expansion Panther City, will have byes the first weekend.

“It’s very exciting to announce Face Off Weekend and returning to play,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “Face Off Weekend will mark a long-anticipated return to play for the NLL in a very big way with a new TSN Game of the Week partnership featuring 20+ games on linear television and the remaining match-ups streamed on TSN GO.”

“Combined with our 14th team, our Panther City Lacrosse Club in Ft. Worth, Texas, a new conference alignment and expanded playoff format there will be more games, more access for fans, and more amazing NLL electricity and excitement,” Sakiewicz added. “With more announcements coming in the months and weeks ahead, this will truly be a season to remember for all.”

The entire NLL schedule and game times, as well as national broadcast showings, will be announced in the coming weeks. Each team will have 9 home games during the regular season, followed by the playoffs and the league championship series. The Calgary Roughnecks, who defeated the Buffalo Bandits to win the 2019 NLL Title, are the league defending champions, since the 2019-20 NLL season was not completed due to the pandemic.