Category Archives: In The Biz

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.

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

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.”

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.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta To Host Triller Fight Club’s April 17 Card, Jake Paul vs Ben Askren

Triller Fight Club today announced that Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, will be the home for TFC’s inaugural event of 2021, the April 17 boxing Pay-Per-View card headlined by Jake Paul and Ben Askren. This will be the first-ever fighting event at one of the most dynamic venues in the world, which was the home of Super Bowl LIII.

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, DirecTV, AT&T TV, Dish, Fios, and Optimum (U.S.), as well as Rogers, Bell, Shaw, Videotron, and Sasktel (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 for international pricing.

The four-hour show, which will kick off at 8pm ET with the live PPV main card starting at 9pm ET, will also feature an exciting undercard of fights that will be announced shortly. Triller Fight Club is a partnership between Triller and Snoop Dogg and is spearheaded by Ryan Kavanaugh. 

“Our vision of big fights, big entertainment and world class events can only fit into a world class venue, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium fits that vision,” said Kavanaugh. “April 17th will have an element of surprise and action for everyone, from music fans to the casual and diehard fight fan. The way we will present the night in this state-of-the-art venue will continue to redefine consumer engagement for a global consumer, with world class partners like iNDemand and FITE joining us not just for this event, but for the others we will have in 2021 and beyond.”

“Mercedes-Benz Stadium will continue to be the place where sports and entertainment’s biggest events are held, and we welcome Triller Fight Club for this special event,” said Tim Zulawski, Chief Revenue Officer for AMB Sports and Entertainment. “We look forward to showcasing our stadium to the global audience that Ryan and his team are building, and are proud to be a part of this historic night of boxing and entertainment.”

Mercedes-Benz Stadium serves as the home stadium of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and Atlanta United of Major League Soccer (MLS). One of the most acclaimed venues in the world, the Stadium has hosted the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2018, MLS All-Star Game and some of the biggest music and entertainment events in addition to its NFL and MLS tenants. There will be no public sale of tickets for the event. A very limited number of fans and guests will be selected to join in the live event, with details to be announced in the coming weeks, and everything will be subject to stringent local, state and federal protocols due to COVID 19.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Triller again after the incredible success of our Tyson vs. Jones Jr. PPV event last November—it was one of the best-selling PPV events of all time,” said Mark Boccardi, iNDemand’s SVP, Programming & Marketing. “2021 is going to be a great year for the Pay-Per-View event category, and we know that Jake Paul and Ben Askren will put on an exciting main event on April 17th.”

“Triller Fight Club has already reinvented the fight sport presentation genre, and we are excited to be a part of bringing this event to a global audience,” said Michael Weber, COO of FITE. “Triller and FITE are the perfect pair to deliver a flawless, no-filler fan experience worthy of this moment.”

The April 17th card will be Triller Fight Club’s first in a series of 2021 special events, following the debut record setting Tyson vs. Jones Jr. PPV fight in 2020, which shattered all digital fight PPV records and became the eighth most successful fight PPV in history. This event will feature Jake Paul taking on former Bellator and ONE Championship champion Ben Askren in the headline matchup of the night. Paul, whose boxing debut against former professional athlete Nate Robinson set all kinds of records for fan engagement, will face Askren, who transitions to boxing after an MMA record of nineteen wins and two losses, six knockouts and six submissions. Askren made his professional MMA debut in 2009 against Josh Flowers where he won by TKO in the first round. As a former Bellator Champion, ONE Championship Champion, PAN American Champion in freestyle wrestling, two-time NCAA wrestling champion for Missouri and two-time winner of The Dan Hodge Trophy, Askren joins Triller’s Fight Club with a significant amount of experience in the ring.

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.

Entain Launches Global Initiatives to Support Women In Tech

Entain, the leading global sports betting and gaming entertainment operator, marks International Women’s Day today with a series of international initiatives to support girls and young women interested in building careers in technology as an opportunity to help continue the revolution in the way we socialise, work and play.

Girls Who Code, an international non-profit organisation working to close the gender gap in technology, is to receive US$250K from the Entain Foundation, its not-for-profit affiliate, to support its global programmes to bring young women into the technology industry, most notably in the UK, US, Canada and India. Entain is proud to be one of Girls Who Codes’ most significant global partners.

The Entain Foundation is also providing Aus. $50K funding to the Tech Girls Movement Foundation in Australia, which challenges gender perceptions that limit girls’ participation in STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) through community and industry collaborations, providing mentorship by women who already have successful technology careers to young women looking for guidance on career choices.

The new initiatives follow recent senior female appointments to the leadership team at Entain, including that of new chief executive Jette Nygaard-Andersen and two new non-executive board directors, Stella David and Vicky Jarman, taking female representation of Entain’s Board to 40%. Almost half of Entain’s workforce is female, including over 30% in technology roles. 

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO, Entain, comments:
“I’m proud to be leading a global technology company which is making real strides in promoting women’s careers, not just in the West, but also developing markets like India where creating opportunities for young women is especially important.

“One of the biggest impediments to career choices around the world continues to be cultural, based on preconceived notions of what society and young women themselves believe they can do. That is why we are focusing on initiatives to support their education and build stronger pathways into technology-related careers.”

Speaking about the partnership, Dr. Tarika Barrett, incoming CEO of Girls Who Code, said:

“Passionate, ambitious and diverse young women are the key to transforming the world and the technical workforce. This International Women’s Day, we’re excited to partner with the Entain Foundation to support young women around the world on their journey into the technical workforce. Our work together will help spur the creation of a fairer and more equitable workforce, helping more women of all backgrounds rise to the top and achieve their goals of working in tech.”

This funding will help Girls Who Code continue to expand its global pipeline of programmes to spark girls’ interest in technology.  This pipeline includes free coding clubs, at home modules, virtual mentoring, panels and workshops as well as career fairs and other. Through these programmes, Girls Who Code has reached more than 300,000 young women globally and has more than 80,000 college-aged alumni, who are majoring in Computer Science and related fields at 15 times the US average.

Speaking about the contribution, Founder & CEO of Tech Girls Movement, Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen OAM said:

“We strongly believe that the challenges of the future are best addressed through youth-focused initiatives. The profile, affiliations and notable gains of Techgirls thus far have created a momentum that places us in the best position for continued achievement of these crucial objectives. Our flagship programme, the Techgirls competition, is held annually and invites teams of schoolgirls to solve real-world problems through technology, linking them to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“The financial contribution from Entain Foundation will directly impact our ability to reach girls interested in technology across Australia, particularly in regional and remote areas.” 

The news coincided with a panel event held for global employees of Entain to mark International Women’s Day, following this year’s theme of ‘Choose to Challenge’, celebrating the achievements of women and challenging gender bias and inequality. Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen opened the event and led a panel also including Simon O’Halloran, Chief People Officer, and Sophie Hawley, Entain’s Inclusion Manager.

cover image credit: christina @ wocintechchat.com

Boyd Gaming, Fanduel Group Announce Plans To Launch Stardust Online Casino In N.J., Pa.

Boyd Gaming Corporation and FanDuel Group today announced plans to launch Stardust-branded online casinos in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, marking the iconic gaming brand’s return to real-money gaming.

FanDuel and Boyd Gaming anticipate launching the Stardust casinos in April, pending final regulatory approval from each state. FanDuel plans to rebrand its existing Betfair Casino in New Jersey under Boyd Gaming’s Stardust brand, while launching a Stardust online casino in Pennsylvania.  A single Stardust Casino app will be available for iOS and Android in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Keith Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming, said: “For nearly 50 years, the Stardust was one of the most famous casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.  And while the resort has been gone for more than a decade, the Stardust brand is still as well-known and popular as ever.  We are excited to work with our partners at FanDuel to launch our first real-money online casinos and are confident this legendary brand will give us a significant advantage in connecting with players looking for a distinctive online gaming experience.”

The Stardust Casino will be built on FanDuel’s proprietary front-end, apps and player account management system.  Both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey online casinos will be linked to Boyd Gaming’s B Connected player loyalty program, allowing players to earn B Connected points and tier credits for their play on Stardust Casino.

The new Stardust Casino experience (www.stardustcasino.com)will include a number of key features, including:

  • A robust offering of players’ favorite casino games, including slots, blackjack, roulette, video poker and baccarat, as well as live dealer games.
  • The ability to securely and quickly cash out winnings, with the same level of customer support, convenience, safety and security that customers have come to expect from FanDuel.
  • Numerous account protections will be available to players, reflecting Boyd Gaming’s and FanDuel’s strong shared commitment to responsible gaming.

“The new Stardust Casino will retain all of the great games that customers love on Betfair Casino, while incorporating a new stylish look that captures the glitz, glamour and nostalgia of old Las Vegas,” said Amy Howe, President of FanDuel Group.  “Stardust Casino allows us to take a market leading product to the next level, creating a unified platform across New Jersey and Pennsylvania and integrating Boyd Gaming’s B Connected player loyalty program to provide even more value to our customers.”  

Stardust Casino will be available for download on iOS and Android or via web at www.stardustcasino.com pending regulatory approval.  New Jersey and Pennsylvania players will be able to sign up for a new account or login using either their existing Betfair Casino credentials in New Jersey or their FanDuel fantasy/sportsbook credentials in both states.

In addition to Stardust Casino, the FanDuel Sportsbook & Casino app is currently available to customers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. 

While players must be in New Jersey or Pennsylvania to access the real-money Stardust Casino, customers across the country can access Boyd’s Stardust Social Casino.  Stardust Social Casino is free-to-play and available for download on the Apple app store or the Google Play store.

FanDuel Group Appoints Amy Howe to Newly Created Role of President

FanDuel Group, the premier online gaming company in the United States, announced the appointment of Amy Howe to the newly created role of President with responsibility for leading the company’s core commercial functions across its Sportsbook, Casino, Racing and Daily Fantasy units. Howe joins FanDuel Group from Live Nation Entertainment where she most recently served as Global Chief Operating Officer of Ticketmaster. Howe will join FanDuel’s executive leadership team and report directly to Chief Executive Officer Matt King.

“I am delighted to welcome a leader of Amy’s extraordinary caliber to our executive team,” said FanDuel CEO Matt King. “She has a proven track record of building highly successful digital and retail businesses and I’m excited to have her leading our commercial functions during a period of enormous growth for the company.”

Howe joins FanDuel after an illustrious career with Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster where she held several positions of increasing authority culminating in her most recent role as Global Chief Operating Officer for Ticketmaster, the largest division of Live Nation Entertainment. As COO of Ticketmaster, Howe led the digital transformation and modernization of the company’s ticketing platform and business model, doubling its growth in gross ticketing value and growing the mobile app install base by 400%. During her tenure at Ticketmaster, Howe also appeared and testified before the United States Congress Subcommittee for Energy and Commerce. Prior to Live Nation Entertainment, Howe was a Partner at McKinsey & Company in Los Angeles where she advised many Fortune 500 clients in the Media & Entertainment, Retail, and Consumer Goods sectors across a wide range of issues, including growth strategy, restructuring/turnaround, organizational transformation, and commercial and operational excellence.

“I am honored to be joining FanDuel at such an important moment in its history,” said Howe. “As the sports gaming industry continues to grow at a breakneck pace, I am excited to help fortify our leadership position and build new competitive advantages that will deliver sustained financial performance.”

Howe earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing & Management from Cornell University.

Entain Pioneers Preventative Approach To Player Protection

Entain, the leading global sports betting and gaming entertainment operator, has completed the initial stage of its pioneering preventative approach to customer protection, known as ARC (Advanced Protection and Care). As a first outcome the company has significantly extended behavioral indicators used to identify players potentially at risk and is now developing models using more than three times the previous number.

Entain believes ARC will provide unprecedented safeguards for customers of its online sports betting and gaming brands by minimising problems before they arise. This promises to revolutionise conventional thinking around responsible gaming and usher in a new era of more personalised and proactive, technology-driven player protection, widely applicable across many forms of online sports betting and gaming entertainment.

“ARC is fundamental to our future strategy for sustainability and growth,” said Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Chief Executive of Entain. “We are putting customers first, both by prioritizing their safety through our use of technology to limit individual exposure to risk, whilst also enhancing their experience across all our brands.  We will do this not only in our traditional markets of sports betting and gaming, but also as we grow into new areas, like videogaming and esports as a global entertainment company.” 

Since 2018 Entain has monitored customers using markers of protection based on things such as frequency of play, changes in spend patterns and length of time of online play. The new markers being trialed include additional checks on, for example, fluctuations in stake levels, erratic play during a single session and signs that a player might be chasing losses. These were identified as potential danger signs by world-leading academics and gambling support groups taking part in scientific workshops held by Entain earlier this year.

Data scientists at the company are now building models to test the extended range of new behavioral indicators in real situations, seeking to identify customers who, according to the research, may show signs of potential problems as well as people exhibiting intermittent signs of being at potential risk. Eventually, Entain hopes to offer every customer both a personalised playing experience and protection tailored to their individual risk profile.

“We’re using our technology, leveraging our data and behavioral science, to deliver a fundamental shift in customer care,” said Peter Marcus, Entain Group Operations Director, who is overseeing the development of ARC. “The real innovation is to apply hyper-personalisation, to customer protection – using insight into the individual behaviors of customers to manage their exposure to risk in real time.”

Data from the new models is to be assessed prior to further development of ARC in the coming months. Entain will also seek further input from Harvard Medical School Faculty, Division on Addiction collaborating with Entain on a multi-year research project, Dr Michael Auer, from the scientific management of the Gambling Research Centre at the University of Hohenheim in Germany and Dr Mark Griffiths, a Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Addiction and Psychology, who participated in the workshops and contributed expertise to feed into the design of the new system. 

Entain will launch ARC first in the UK in the summer, offering real time online player protection for customers across all its brands and products, and plans to roll it out internationally from later in the year.

Snoop Dogg, Futura, Ron English Among Artists In ‘Project70’ Series Throughout 2021, Launching Today

On the heels of its overwhelmingly successful Project 2020, Topps today unveiled the first cards in Project70, a new series which celebrates the 70th anniversary of the first Topps baseball set in a comprehensive program featuring 51 premier artists and designers from around the world each creating 20 cards of their own player and card year design choice. The set commemorates both the initial year of 1951 and the 70 years that it has produced baseball cards, with three new issues daily, each available for 70 hours. Similar to its Topps NOW and Project 2020 products, Topps will print only the number of each card ordered in that time frame.

The set features premium, thick trading cards encased in a protective plastic case, as well as several premium offerings. Each day’s new pieces are available at http://www.topps.com/project70.

The creators selected to participate comprise a diverse group that includes the likes of rap musician Snoop Dogg, graffiti artist Futura, pop artist Ron English, jeweler Ben Baller, painter Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins, comic and album artist Alex Pardee, sneaker artist The Shoe Surgeon, designer Sophia Chang and many more. Nineteen of the 20 artists from Project 2020, including Baller, Chang, Gregory Siff, Fucci, Mister Cartoon and others return for Project70.

In contrast to Project 2020, in which artists were assigned specific player cards to interpret, Project70 allows each creator to choose any player and card design from the last seven decades.

“Project70 is one of our most ambitious sets ever, celebrating 70 years of Topps baseball cards in a contemporary way,” said Jeff Heckman, Global Director of Ecommerce. “Giving these creators the freedom to select the players and designs they want to interpret as they see fit means we will have very different cards from these uniquely and diversely talented individuals.

“We can’t wait to see what their fertile minds will produce, and we know that collectors and baseball fans share that anticipation,” Heckman added.

In addition to the base units, Topps is randomly inserting a limited number of rainbow foil parallel cards, numbered to 70, plus a foil numbered 1/1 Gold Frame for each card, into print runs. Collectors who purchase all 20 cards from an artist will also receive a gold-stamped bonus print featuring all 20 Project70 cards from that artist.

The artists contributing to Project70 include:

Action Bronson, musician, New York
Alex Pardee, comics/apparel, Los Angeles
*Andrew Thiele, art/design, New York
*Ben Baller, jeweler, Los Angeles
*Blake Jamieson, pop art/portraits, New York
Blue the Great, painting, Los Angeles
Bobby Hundreds, illustrator/writer/photographer, Los Angeles
Brittney Palmer, model/artist, Los Angeles
CES, graffiti, Bronx, New York
Chinatown Market, streetwear, Los Angeles
Chuck Styles, fine art, Philadelphia
Claw Money, public art, New York
Distortedd, illustrations, Philadelphia
DJ Skee, artist/TV host, Los Angeles
*Don C, streetwear, Chicago
*Efdot, murals, New York
*Ermsy, cartoons, UK and Paris
*Fucci, pop painting, Montreal and Toronto
FUTURA, graffiti, New York
Greg “Craola” Simkins, surrealism, Los Angeles
*Gregory Siff, painting, Brooklyn and Los Angeles
Infinite Archives, contemporary art, fashion
*Jacob Rochester, pop art, Los Angeles
Jeff Staple, graphic and fashion designer, New York
*JK5, tattoo, Brooklyn
Jonas Never, murals, Los Angeles
*Joshua Vides, stencils, Los Angeles
*Keith Shore, creative design, Philadelphia
*King Saladeen, murals, Philadelphia
Lauren Taylor, mixed media, Vancouver
Matt McCormick, multimedia, Los Angeles
*Matt Taylor, poster design, U.K.
Mikael B, graffiti, impressions, Copenhagen
Mimsbandz, wristband art, Los Angeles
*Mister Cartoon, tattoos, Los Angeles
Morning Breath, graphics, apparel, San Francisco, New York
*Naturel, murals, Washington D.C.
New York Nico, filmmaker, New York
*Oldmanalan, streetwear, Sacramento
POSE, pop artist, Chicago
Quiccs, toy design, Manila
Risk, sculpture, graffiti, Los Angeles
Ron English, pop art, filmmaker, Jersey City, N.J.
Sean Wotherspoon, streetwear, Richmond, Va.
The Shoe Surgeon, streetwear, Los Angeles
Snoop Dogg, rap musician, Los Angeles
SoleFly, streetwear, Miami
*Sophia Chang, design, New York
Toy Tokyo, pop art/toys, New York
*Tyson Beck, logo art, Adelaide, Australia
UNDEFEATED

Digital bank Monzo doubles down on gambling safeguards

Monzo made a name for itself as a pioneer in mobile-only banking in the U.K. It also has made a splash with its anti-gambling controls, becoming one of the first financial institutions to allow its customers to prevent their accounts from being used for gambling activity. Now, the bank is doubling down on its gambling stance, pushing for changes on the part of the U.K. government to take gambling safeguards to a new level. It wants the government to require gaming operators to give up their banking details and to implement a single solution that would give individuals a streamlined process to stop themselves from spending money on gambling.

SBC News explains that Monzo’s CEO, TS Anil (Tummalapalli Sai Anil), is behind the initiative, authoring an open letter to the U.K. government to request additional consumer safeguards. Responding to the ever-changing gambling environment in the U.K., and the continued rewrite of the 2005 Gambling Act, Anil singled out Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Heritage and Tourism Nigel Huddleston to place an emphasis on “self-exclusion increasingly seamless and efficient covering all gambling operators and businesses that transact with the sector.” Huddleston is also behind the review of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which is expected to provide major changes to U.K.’s gambling laws.

Amil believes that gambling companies should provide their banking details in order to create a “universal blocking of transactions” for those individuals who want to be excluded from gambling. This would essentially enable a one-click stop for those who feel they may have a gambling problem, and Amil adds, “We believe the government should take the opportunity afforded by the Gambling Act review to make sure every consumer in the U.K. can access these blocks, regardless of who they bank with. These tools are simple to build, proven to work, and will help protect hundreds of thousands of people.”

Banks across the U.K., as well as in other parts of the world, provide mechanisms that allow their customers to block their accounts from being used for gambling spend. However, Amil thinks the country can raise the bar on safeguards and wants to have the government provide the control. He’s already getting support from some within the industry, including the Betting and Gaming Council, which told The Guardian, “We support all forms of blocking capabilities and are encouraged by the continued uptake by banks of these functions.”

Strat-O-Matic Expands Partnership With Negro League Baseball Museum

As Black History Month begins, Strat-O-Matic (www.strat-o-matic.com), the leader in sports simulation games now celebrating its Diamond Anniversary, is proud to announce the renewal and expansion of its partnership with the Negro League Baseball Museum (NLBM) and President Bob Kendrick. Strat-O-Matic continues to augment its selection of popular Negro League baseball roster sets, with 10% of all sales donated to the Kansas City, Mo., based museum.

Strat-O-Matic has the most robust and highly researched Negro League simulation products, now boasting more than 25 individual seasons rosters dating back to 1908, plus Stars and legendary Diamond Gems rosters. Three new rosters, 1918, 1928 and 1943, will be released on February 19 along with the rest of SOM’s current baseball card and digital sets.

“In our 60th Anniversary year, we couldn’t be more excited about extending our partnership with the Negro League Baseball Museum and we’re especially grateful to Bob Kendrick for his support and friendship,” said Adam Richman, Strat-O-Matic President. “We look forward to celebrating the 101st anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues throughout 2021,”

“Strat-O-Matic has been a great partner in helping further the Museum’s mission of preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America,” said Kendrick. “Members and fans often talk about what it would be like to see these players in action, and Strat-O-Matic continues to be a great way to realistically relive their performances.”

Strat-O-Matic released its first comprehensive Negro League products in 2001 with more than 100 players in the Negro League Stars set.

Entain Foundation U.S., Epic Risk Management Team For Gaming Education Initiative

The Entain Foundation US and EPIC Risk Management today announced the launch of a player education initiative with colleges around the nation to deliver a series of gaming awareness educational sessions.  The Entain Foundation US is funded by Entain plc, the global sports betting and gaming entertainment operator which jointly owns and provides the technology to BetMGM in the United States.

The joint initiative will be focused on education and awareness and the need to keep betting safe as sports betting and gaming continues to expand across more states, with New York most recently expressing interest.  More than 40 colleges in the U.S. will initially take part in the nationwide educational initiative, including the Mid-American Conference, Fordham University in New York City and Monmouth University in New Jersey. 

Entain Foundation US and EPIC plan to work together to add new colleges to the program throughout 2021.  Those colleges already participating include the University of Akron, Eastern Illinois University, Harvard University, Northern Illinois University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), University of Ohio, University of Oregon, Seton Hall University and the University of Utah.  

EPIC and Entain Foundation US launched the partnership and program in March 2020.  Overall, the program is fully funded by the Entain Foundation US and is part of Entain’s pledge to invest $132 million over five years towards responsible gaming initiatives and to support people and communities around the world where it operates.

To date, EPIC Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US have launched collaborations with the National Football League Players’ Association Professional Athletes Foundation (NFLPA PAF) and USA Rugby, as well as the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, which is already working with Entain on a five-year research initiative better to understand problematic and addictive behaviors.

EPIC is a global leading gambling harm minimization consultancy providing strategic advisory and impactful and proven awareness, education, and risk management programs to the highest risk sectors in over 20 countries worldwide to reduce the human, financial, brand and reputational risks associated with gambling harm.

Executive Quotes:

Martin Lycka, Entain Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling, and Trustee of the Entain Foundation US: “We know from international experience that the most successful sports betting operators are also the most responsible.  As legalized sports betting continues to expand in the US, education and responsible gaming is a top priority.  We are excited to expand our partnership with EPIC to reach colleges across the country to educate young people.”

John Millington, VP of US Operations at EPIC Risk Management: “We are delighted to be able to work closely with colleges around the nation on this essential education and awareness program. There is a collective responsibility to ensure the minimization of potential gambling harms, and the promotion of player safety. Our collaboration with the Entain Foundation represents a key strategic piece of our prevention pillar, and it is great that so many organizations are recognizing the importance of education and awareness for this potentially high-risk population.”

AJ Schaufler – Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, Monmouth University: “Monmouth University Hawks are delighted to have EPIC Risk Management deliver their gambling awareness and sports betting integrity education sessions to our student athletes.  This is a topic that we take very seriously here at Monmouth and indeed, these sessions are providing our students with an increased understanding of the risks of problematic gambling, and in particular, its close links to sports betting integrity breaches.  Furthermore, they are now better aware of the support mechanisms that are available to them and have a deeper understanding and knowledge of this growing issue. We look forward to a long and successful partnership and would absolutely recommend this to all NCAA programs across the nation.”

Shannon Raymond –Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance, Fordham University: “Fordham Athletics is excited to engage with EPIC Risk Management to educate our student-athletes around the dangers of problematic gambling and the ever-growing risk that sports betting brings to both student-athletes and institutions. As part of our overall student development and wellbeing program, we see this as an extremely beneficial collaboration and are committed to ensuring our student-athletes learn from EPIC’s expertise to better understand how student-athletes can be susceptible to gambling harm. We look forward to learning how we can best support our student-athletes in this area with a long and successful partnership with EPIC.”

Charles Cohen

One year ago, the GGB Podcast sat down with Charles Cohen and heard him talk about the potential for the IGT PlayDigital sports betting platform. This year, we hear about the successes that IGT has had across the U.S. Cohen talks about how players have taken to the IGT platform and why more and more sports books are selecting IGT as a partner. He details the lessons learned over the last year and gets down in the weeds a bit about how sports betting is actually conducted in the U.S. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros at G2E in Las Vegas in October 2019.

Famer, Alliance Fastpitch Announce Multi-Year Partnership to Deliver Softball Training Curriculum

Famer, the virtual sports coaching and mentorship platform, today announced a partnership with The Alliance Fastpitch, the fast-growing national organization unifying the sport of fastpitch softball with a player-first approach to adding value, purpose, recognition and top-level championship play. Founded in 2020, The Alliance Fastpitch has quickly grown to over 700 teams, and 10,000 members connecting top programs and teams nationwide through six regional Member Leagues including the Pacific Coast Fastpitch League, Heart of America Fastpitch League, Northeast Fastpitch League, Rocky Mountain Fastpitch League, Southeastern Fastpitch League and Texas Fastpitch League.

Under terms of the deal, Famer’s video production arm, Famer Productions, will work with The Alliance Fastpitch to produce a custom library of hundreds of holistic player and coach training videos covering everything from softball skills, drills and game situations, to sport specific training, to leadership and mental toughness. Typically priced at $60 annually per player or coach on the Famer app, this content will be included free to every member of the Alliance as part of their efforts to provide value to their members. Drills will be led by some of the top coaches in the game of fastpitch softball, such as Marty Tyson and Mike Stith, as well as current and former professional and National team players like Natasha Watley. Alliance Fastpitch members will download the Famer app and receive exclusive weekly content from The Alliance year-round.

“Famer shares The Alliance’s mission to deliver content and experiences that allow players and coaches to reach their full potential,” said Famer Chief Revenue Officer Bill Richardson. “We are proud to have been chosen to power The Alliance’s digital member development programming and we are excited to welcome the very best fastpitch coaches, players and organizations in the nation onto the Famer platform. In 2020, virtual coaching and training became a critical component of the way many organizations stay connected to their athletes. As we emerge from the pandemic, physical and digital training has merged forever. This partnership demonstrates the value of virtual coaching and mentorship extending and enhancing the core work coaches and athletes do on the field.”

“One of our goals as The Alliance Fastpitch is to drive athlete-centric programming and create development-based resources that elevate our game and participants,” says Jami Lobpries, Executive Director of The Alliance Fastpitch. “There is a need at the youth level to have a centralized location for continued learning, sharing of best practices, mentorship, and certified training. Famer enables us to bring together our best resources, including our cohesive network of the best minds in the game, and share those amongst our members in an innovative manner. With Famer, we will be at the forefront of education and innovation for our sport and will continue to add even more value to our Alliance membership”.

Famer and The Alliance will work closely to bring the best coaching and mentorship programming exclusively to The Alliance Fastpitch members. Along with the national membership curriculum, local organizations in The Alliance will also be able to use the Famer Team platform to provide interactive team training with group chat and workouts with their own custom content on top of the core Alliance video library. The Alliance Fastpitch empowers all players, coaches and member organizations to develop their skills and be their best both on and off the field.

Play’n GO to sponsor several panels at the European Gaming and Gaming Americas Quarterly Meetups in 2021

Transylvania – 19 January 2021 –

Leading supplier for slot gaming in the casino industry all virtual quarterly meetups by Hipther Agency through 2021

The team at Hipther Agency, organizers of the European Gaming & Gaming Americas Quarterly Meetups, is excited to announce the support of Play’n GO as panel sponsor for multiple discussions all through the 8 quarterly meetups in 2021.

Based on several surveys and feedback, the team at Hipther Agency has made the necessary steps to support the gaming industry’s informational needs all through the year.

Legends Media & Entertainment Names Julio Manteiga As Head Of Content And Communications

Julio Monteiga

The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) announced today that veteran NBA communications specialist Julio Manteiga has joined the organization in the newly-revamped role of Head of Content and Communications. Manteiga joins the NBRPA from the NBA, where he served in a dual role as Director of NBA’s Latin America communications and Media Monitoring Departments. He will oversee all of the NBRPA’s growing digital and social efforts as well as handle the day-to-day proactive communications for the organization.

“We are proud to be able to bring Julio into this new and expanded role,” said NBRPA Executive Director Scott Rochelle. “His experience as a global strategic storyteller will be invaluable to us as we grow our scope, our partnerships and our strategy.”

“I am looking forward to be joining Scott and the team he is assembling,” Manteiga said. “The stories and the personalities of the men and women that make up the NBRPA are more valuable today than ever before, and we now have a great structure to tell them to a wide global audience.”

Manteiga started at the NBA in 2003 and rose within the ranks at the league, eventually serving as Director of Communications for Latin America for five years. He developed communications plan for daily and weekly dissemination of league announcements to key media stakeholders in the U.S. and Latin America, ensuring accurate league information was published by media partners and regional news outlets. He also integrated standardized operations for local PR/Marketing agencies in Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Puerto Rico to enhance the NBA’s efforts in region and vastly increasing relevancy with local fans and business partners. The New York native also developed, implemented, and executed NBA’s global influencer program for all influencer appearances and promotions at key events that expanded the NBA’s global social media presence among many other duties.

A graduate of Five Towns College in Dix Hills, NY, Julio is fluent in English and Spanish and conversational in Portuguese.

The NBRPA represents over 1,000 former NBA and WNBA players, making it the largest agency of its kind in basketball. In three months LME in both audio and video has drawn almost 600,000 views and listens, more than three times the combined numbers of audio and video around the players in the previous nine months. Viewers and listeners have come from over 20 countries, and have enjoyed content from some of the most unique storytellers in the history of professional basketball. The key unified elements of LME include: Legends Magazine, Legends Studiosthe All-Access Legends Podcast and the NBRPA’s social media strategy and content.

To follow along with LME content from the NBRPA, find them on social media at @NBAalumni on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch or on Facebook at NBA Alumni.

Drone Racing League, DraftKings Sports Betting Precedes DRL Finale

The Drone Racing League (DRL), the global, professional drone racing property, today announced a deal with DraftKings Inc. (Nasdaq: DKNG) to make the sports technology and entertainment company an Official Sports Betting Partner of DRL. Upon completion of this deal, DRL drone races became the first aerial sporting event upon which fans can wager. Mobile sports betting on DRL drone races is currently legal in Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee and West Virginia with regulatory approvals pending in additional states. DRL’s final drone races of the 2020 DRL Allianz World Championship Season will kick off this Saturday, January 9th at 4:30pm ET on NBC, Twitter and Facebook.

“The sky is now the limit for DRL fans to get skin in the game, and we’re thrilled to partner with DraftKings to transform our high-speed race competition into the ultimate sport to bet on,” said DRL President Rachel Jacobson. “The opportunity for us to elevate our engagement through all forms of gaming and gambling will only increase as mobile betting becomes more adopted across the country.”

DraftKings is a leader in the rapidly growing motorsports and esports sportsbook categories and believes DRL will bring an entirely new audience of fans to gaming. Consumer research indicates drone racing fans are three times more likely to place a bet than fans of major sports leagues and 90 percent more likely to be interested in sports betting than the average global sports fan. After initially introducing DRL drone races to customers as a free-to-play pool during the 2020 season, DraftKings saw over 30 percent more entries in its first week than the average for new sports, totaling over 150,000 entries to date.

This deal gives DraftKings exclusive marketing rights around sports betting and branding integrations, including custom gates, through the culmination of the current 2020 DRL Allianz World Championship Season. Both pre-race wagers and in-race live bets will be available for fans in approved states to engage before and during the high-flying action.

“DRL is scaling their business as fast as their drone races, and we’re excited to be flying with them given DRL’s thrilling, innovative racing events are perfect for the customized wagering offerings we can create,” said Ezra Kucharz, Chief Business Officer, DraftKings. “Our expertise in sports betting combined with DRL’s stats-packed competition will make this a fun and seamless opportunity to engage their avid audience along with tech-savvy, adrenaline-loving sports fans.”

In the lead up to DRL’s final drone races of the season, DraftKings and DRL will host “Pre-Flight Shows” ahead of the live events, including tonight at 7pm ET on Twitter, where expert sports bettors and elite drone pilots will educate fans on how to participate.

Fans can learn more and check out DraftKings’ Drone Racing League offerings by downloading DraftKings Sportsbook via iOS and Androidhere.