Category Archives: Sidebar Featured

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.

NBC Sports Boston, Strat-O-Matic Team Up For ‘What-If Wednesdays’ Simulated Content

Greater Boston has been the home of championships in each of the major sports in recent years, and nowhere are the fans of their local teams more fervent. Whether it’s the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics or Bruins, “what if” scenarios—like, imagining if Tom Brady had remained as New England’s quarterback in 2020—have long been the subject of sports debates.

NBC Sports Boston, through a partnership with Strat-O-Matic, the market leader in sports simulation, will try to answer some of those questions by recreating and simulating great moments, games and seasons with a twist, during its “What If Wednesdays” program. The program will air every Wednesday as part of the NBC Sports Boston’s primetime lineup, Early Edition and Boston Sports Tonight. The content will also be available on www.NBCSportsBoston.com and on social platforms @NBCSBoston.

Today, audiences can watch a scenario in which Brady remained as quarterback as the 2020 Patriots played out their schedule. Was the record better? Did they make the playoffs with the all-time great at the helm at age 43? Using data and research provided by Strat-O-Matic, NBC Sports Boston will create content that answers interesting “What If” questions like this one on the past, present and future in Boston sports.

“The possibilities are endless with what we can simulate working with NBC Sports Boston,” said Adam Richman, Strat-O-Matic President. “The city’s rich tradition of sports and lively banter discussing their favorite teams and the wide breadth of coverage on the network makes it an ideal partnership.”

“We’re pleased to work with Strat-O-Matic to simulate many of the questions that local sports fans have had about our sports leagues and key players,” said Kevin Miller, VP of Content Creation and Strategy, NBC Sports Boston. “We are excited for our audiences to check out our new content where we’ll discuss how different results, trades and game results could’ve changed sports history as we know it.”

While MLB paused at the beginning of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Strat-O-Matic simulated the season as it would have been played, with results published daily by dozens of media outlets. Strat-O-Matic also posted results of the shortened 60-game schedule and playoff seasons.

WAVE.TV Partners With FanDuel

WAVE.tv has recently announced a sports betting partnership with FanDuel Group. This partnership includes the creation of in-depth sports betting content, WAVE.tv launching a betting-focused media brand, as well as marketing and content integrations between the companies. The partnership officially kicked off in conjunction with Super Bowl LV.

Through the deal, WAVE.tv will create engaging sports betting content across major social platforms, leveraging an audience acquisition strategy inclusive of branded content, personality-driven segments, and much more. The partnership formally launched in conjunction with Super Bowl LV.

“FanDuel is absurdly fan-focused at its core, and with the reemergence of live sports in 2021, we have an opportunity to grow our business like never before,” said Adam Kaplan, General Manager and Vice President, Sports Content at FanDuel. “WAVE.tv has unprecedented reach and engagement across fandoms. For a company like FanDuel, that has something for everyone across its offerings, there couldn’t be a better fit.” 

“FanDuel is a perfect partner for WAVE.tv because so many of our fans are avid sports bettors and have come to admire FanDuel as a leader in the space with a willingness to innovate ahead of trends in digital media consumption,” said Faraz Fatemi, Head of Corporate Development at WAVE.tv. “With state legalization ramping up, the 2021 sports season just getting underway, and audience betting interest at an all-time high, the timing couldn’t be better to get started.” 

With nearly 75 million followers and a global reach of over 400 million sports fans monthly across a portfolio of 24 media brands, WAVE.tv will drive mass engagement and user acquisition for FanDuel’s business via this partnership.

WAVE.tv has leveraged relationships with over 110 sports leagues and rights holders around the world to cover both traditional and non-traditional sports including basketball, soccer, football, baseball, combat, extreme sports, amateur athletics, fitness/weightlifting, and eSports.

In July, WAVE.tv announced its Series A funding round, a $32M investment to, among other efforts, expand its roster of media brands onto new platforms and launch new media brands in categories of fandom. WAVE.tv expects to go out to market for Series B fundraise this spring.

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.

NLL Approves Sale of New England Black Wolves to Prestigious Investor Group with Deep Lacrosse Backgrounds

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced the sale of the New England Black Wolves to a group headed by Oliver Marti. Oliver Marti is a former standout Division 1 men’s lacrosse All-American, Canadian field lacrosse national player, and NLL standout before focusing on a career as a hedge fund manager and developing the box lacrosse game at the youth level. Capital Region NLL is an all-star group with an incredible passion for the game of lacrosse, many having played at the highest level and continue to be actively involved at the youth through professional levels as well. The group includes Brett Jefferson, major investor in and a board member of the Premier Lacrosse League, and member of the Board of Directors of the Tewaaraton Foundation, Sol Kumin, co-owner of Triple Crown Winner Justify and last year’s Kentucky Derby winner Authentic who serves as Chairman of the US Lacrosse Foundation Board, along with Russ Sheppard on which the true lacrosse movie, The Grizzlies, was based.

Albany NLL will benefit from the tenure, experience, and success of Mike French, Brad Brewster, and Ted Goldthorpe all members of the Philadelphia Wings LP which won six Championships and have been instrumental members of the Board of Governors and numerous NLL committees. Mike French is a former NLL standout and Hall of Fame member who is also a member of the Canadian and U.S. Lacrosse Halls of Fame.

The new owners will relocate the franchise immediately to the fast-growing lacrosse and economic hotbed of Albany, New York, where the team will play in the downtown, recently renovated Times Union Center. It marks the return of box lacrosse to the Capital Region for the first time since 2002.

“This is a bittersweet day for the league and our sport,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “We want to first thank our colleagues at Mohegan Sun for all the positive work they have done building the franchise in New England. We are also very excited to welcome to the league an amazing ownership group with significant success and experience in both the financial investment industry and lacrosse led by Oliver Marti.”

“This transaction is also particularly special in that it not only brings back our league to a growing and engaged market, but also long-time NLL investor and Hall of Fame player Mike French and his group will continue to build the great team that, last season was one of the best and making a run for the NLL Championship,” Sakiewicz continued. “The fact is the demand for our teams in our current successful business model outweighs the availability of franchises, and this is an example of a savvy group seizing an opportunity to get into the NLL in a market that is now properly mature to be successful both on and off the floor.”

“While we are saddened for the fans at Mohegan Sun, we want to remind them Albany is only about a two-hour drive and the NLL will always support them and that area to provide access and grow the game,” he added, “We are very excited about what the future holds for our new team in Albany.”

“My partners and I couldn’t be more excited to join the National Lacrosse League (NLL). Our group, which is comprised of lacrosse enthusiasts, professionals, and influential people in the industry, are determined to help grow the sport of lacrosse,” said Oliver Marti, the head of the Albany NLL ownership group. “The NLL is blossoming, and we want to be a part of its growth, while also being instrumental in the direction the sport of lacrosse is heading. 

“We would like to recognize and thank the fans of the Black Wolves and the staff of MG&E for their support and efforts over the last few years,” Marti added.  “As we enter the Albany market, we are ecstatic about the opportunities that will further fuel our mission to grow the sport.  The Capital Region has a growing youth lacrosse platform and obvious success in the collegiate ranks.  Along with this, playing out of a top-notch venue like the Times Union Center and entrenching ourselves in the local community, we are poised for long term success.” 

“We are proud to have worked side-by-side with the Black Wolves players, coaches and staff,” said Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment CEO Mario Kontomerkos. “Their performance on the field has translated into positive growth in ticket sales and brand awareness across New England, but it is their leadership and commitment as ambassadors in our community that will be missed most. This sale allows Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment to focus and strengthen its position as a global brand in gaming and entertainment.”

“On behalf of ASM Global, which manages the Times Union Center and our entire staff, we are extremely honored to have a National Lacrosse League team play at the Times Union Center starting in the fall of 2021. The Capital Region is a hot bed for lacrosse in high schools, colleges and youth programs; the popularity of the sport is at an all-time high. Our management team at the TU Center will provide assistance in every way possible to help make the team a big success,” added Bob Belber, Regional General Manager, ASM Global.

The team will be known for the short term as Albany NLL and is undertaking a naming and branding contest to involve fans from across the Capital Region. The team’s name will be revealed in April 2021. The franchise will make its in-market debut when the 2021-22 season begins in the fall of 2021.

Albany NLL will be deeply involved in the League’s expanded plan to continue to embrace and empower the Indigenous community, which is so tightly tied to the Capital Region. The area was recently cited by The New York Times as one of the most progressive and fast-growing areas for young families in the country, as well as home to a network of Universities, two demographics which fit well with the NLL fan base. The move to Albany is also expected to help keep some of the fan-related ties that have been built at Mohegan Sun, given the relative proximity to the two locales.

The Black Wolves franchise is one of the most storied in lacrosse history, which includes 28 years and six championships in Philadelphia when the team was known as the Wings. On July 11, 2014 the Wings announced they would be relocating to Uncasville, Conn., where they played as the Black Wolves at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Black Wolves were 8-3 and in first place when the 2019-20 season was cut short due to COVID-19 last March. In their six seasons at Mohegan Sun, the Black Wolves made the playoffs each of the last four completed seasons. The 6 titles during their long stay in Philadelphia is tied for the most in league history with the Toronto Rock.

For more information about Albany NLL, name the team contest, tickets, sponsorship opportunities and all team information, visit AlbanyNLL.com.

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

For more information on the sale of the Albany NLL franchise, visit NLL.com.

Veteran PGA TOUR Pro Kirk Triplett Forms Partnership With Dedication To Community

Dedication To Community (D2C), a national non-profit that educates and empowers communities on diversity, belonging, and equity, today announced a partnership with PGA Tour veteran golfer Kirk Triplett for the 2021 season. Triplett will carry D2C’s logo on his golf bag and will participate in awareness and education programs throughout the year. It is D2C’s first formal partnership in golf.   

“We welcome Kirk to our growing D2C family,” said M. Quentin Williams, Dedication To Community founder and CEO. “His visibility on the PGA TOUR, his passion on the topic of education and awareness tied to diversity and his compelling backstory will be essential in helping grow our mission of education, equity and beautiful listening by all.”

“I am tremendously excited to be working with Q. Williams and the team at D2C on this topic.” said Triplett. “I look forward to participating in more training and improving my understanding of all aspects of how law enforcement and communities interact. I intend to use my platform as a professional golfer to lead others in the golf world into this discussion, many of whom might not otherwise understand its importance. I want to promote and participate in the mission of change that D2C is bringing to communities across the country.”

Kirk and his wife Cathi had twin boys, Conor and Sam, in 1996 and then adopted their daughter Alexis (now 20) and son Kobe (now 18). Alexis’ birth parents are Latino; Kobe’s birth mother is Japanese, and his birth father is African American. As the parents of a racially diverse family, the Tripletts understand that social justice issues, especially the intersection of law enforcement and the communities they serve, affect all of us, not just those in the news. The publicity around the incidents in 2020 caused Kirk and Cathi to realize that an opportunity to educate and potentially unite people of diverse backgrounds was upon them. They realized that the discussions they were having at their own dinner table needed to be had by their peers in the golf community as well.

To facilitate these discussions Triplett placed a Black Lives Matter sticker on his PING golf bag at the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship in August. It generated a great deal of media interest. One of his quotes, “I actually googled, ‘what can a white guy do?’ caught the interest of a Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Football Hall of Fame member, and D2C board member, Donnie Shell. Shell reached out with an answer…join the player platform at D2C…and a conversation started between the Tripletts and D2C. The Tripletts eventually participated in a relationship training session and from there this partnership was born.

Kirk earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Nevada Reno in 1985 and then turned professional. He joined the PGA Tour in 1990 and the PGA Tour Champions in 2012. He was a member of the Presidents Cup team in 2000 and is one of a small group of players that have won titles on all three sanctioned tours (Korn Ferry, PGA Tour, and PGA Tour Champions). The Tripletts have been residents of Arizona for more than 25 years. For more details please visit kirktriplett.com.

To date, D2C has worked with law enforcement agencies in several states across the U.S., including Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, the Carolinas, and at the FBI National Academy in Virginia, where Williams has been an instructor. In September, D2C expanded its reach to involve professional, collegiate, and K-12 athletes, adding former NFL executive Lamonte Winston (former Director of Player Engagement and Development, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Donnie Shell (Pittsburgh Steelers). Williams also announced in September a historic partnership with the Miami HEAT and the City of Miami Police Department and additional partnerships tied to athletes and teams are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. 

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

La Vida Baseball Launches “The Year of 21” Multi-Platform Experience Dedicated To Roberto Clemente

La Vida Baseball, the leading multi-language Latino baseball lifestyle media company, today announced the launch of “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.

In collaboration with a range of media platforms, content creators and unique voices, “The Year of 21” will elevate the living legacy of Clemente’s humanitarian worldview, cultural impact and athletic brilliance through an unprecedented year-spanning reflection of history, current-day vitality and impact well into the future. The season-long celebration launches in April.

“For baseball fans, Roberto Clemente and his number ‘21’ are truly iconic, and the spirit of his legacy is more relevant than ever right now,” La Vida Baseball Managing Director Jesse Menendez said. “2021 is the right moment to elevate and celebrate everything Clemente stands for. Using the entire “The Year of 21” to elevate his legacy is something La Vida Baseball, its platforms, its partners and its community are built to execute better than anyone.”

“On behalf of the Clemente family, we’re excited to be partnered with La Vida Baseball for ‘The Year of 21,’ Roberto Clemente, Jr. said. “We’ve had a great relationship with La Vida Baseball since they launched years ago and they are the right partner to continue our father’s legacy and build upon the growing positive movement of what the number 21 signifies through stories that involve fans, celebrities and generations around the world.”

La Vida Baseball has been acquiring exclusive content assets, securing commitments – headlined by full support of the Clemente Family – and conducting more than 100 in-depth interviews with current and former MLB players, fellow Hall of Famers, star-struck celebrity fans, Clemente family members and others to power the project.

“The Year of 21” programming lineup will include a signature documentary series, a lineup of incredible short-form films, all-star roundtables, a Mi Clemente video series, a dynamic podcast series, energizing live events, memorable regional tie-ins, limited-edition merchandise collaborations and exclusive collectibles, with even more programming elements to be released at key moments during The Year of 21. Additional media, content and sponsorship partners will be announced in the coming weeks.

The La Vida Baseball network was launched in 2017 by TeamWorks Media, the award-winning content studio, and has since become the hub of coverage and community of the Latino influence within baseball, its lifestyle, its players and its fans. La Vida Baseball has created more than a dozen content franchises featuring more than 200 current and former MLB players, baseball media and celebrity super-fans, including “Being Guillen,” featuring the family of longtime MLB star player and manager Ozzie Guillen; “Polvoro, Voz y Diamante,” a rollicking weekly Spanish-language show; the “La Vida Baseball Live” studio show; and wildly popular Instagram Stories and viral moments curated by on-air talent Jennifer Mercedes and Julie Alexandria, widely shared by MLB players and fans.

”In this time of such upheaval and social consciousness both in and out of the athletic world, there may be no more important figure to honor and recognize than Roberto Clemente, and we are excited to be able to work with the Clemente family and a growing list of partners to bring his entire story, as well as those of who he has impacted, and continues to impact to life,” TeamWorks Media CEO Jay Sharman said. “In all our work, we have seen the reverence and respect athletes from all walks of life, and especially Latino athletes, have for Roberto, and we feel that ‘The Year of 21’ will expand the celebration and appreciation of Roberto Clemente to an even wider, cross-generation audience.”

Clemente, the Hall of Fame outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates and one of the most inspiring athletes in modern history. Clemente’s charity work in Latin American and Caribbean countries during the off-seasons, especially his work in his native Puerto Rico with young people, was what he may be best remembered for. On December 31, 1972, he lost his life in a plane crash at the age of 38 while attempting to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The following season, the Pirates retired his uniform number 21, and MLB renamed its annual Commissioner’s Award in his honor; now known as the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” His impact went well beyond his 3,000 hits and a myriad of other marks in and around baseball and the city of Pittsburgh. His trailblazing work for causes and in uniting peoples of different backgrounds across the Americas is even bigger, than his athletic impact.

Rotoworld Relaunches As NBC Sports Edge

Rotoworld, the industry leader in fantasy sports information, has relaunched as NBC Sports EDGE with a new look and feel across its digital catalog and fantasy sports magazines.

Formerly Rotoworld.com, the new NBCSportsEDGE.com includes the up-to-date, around-the-clock news, injury reports, fantasy advice, and exclusive analysis that Rotoworld users are accustomed to. All Rotoworld magazines and draft guides will now carry the NBC Sports EDGE name as well.

Rotoworld shows and social media handles have also rebranded under NBC Sports EDGE. NBC Sports EDGE podcasts include fantasy football’s “A Good Football Show,” fantasy baseball’s “Circling the Bases,” and fantasy basketball’s “Roundball Stew.”

The NBC Sports EDGE Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide Magazine is available for purchase now, and the digital version goes on-sale tomorrow, Feb. 12, ahead of the 2021 MLB season. New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole serves as this year’s cover athlete. Click here for more details.

In 2020, Rotoworld, one of the internet’s highest-trafficked fantasy sports information sites, was nominated for seven Fantasy Sports Writers Associations awards, including two wins:

  • Player Notes Writer of the Year: Patrick Daugherty2020 winner
  • Best Football PodcastRotoworld Football Podcast (FSWA 2019 winner)
  • Best Long-Form Video: Rotoworld NFL Mock Draft Show
  • Bets Fantasy Podcast All/Multi-SportRotoworld Fantasy Basketball Podcast
  • College Sports Writer of the Year: Eric Fronton2020 winner
  • Best Football PublicationRotoworld Football Draft Guide Magazine (FSWA 2019 winner
  • Best Baseball PublicationRotoworld Baseball Draft Guide Magazine

NBC Sports EDGE+ premium products include four available subscription tiers with an array of Draft, Season-long Fantasy, DFS, and Betting-focused tools. The plans, which are available for purchase now, include:

  • EDGE+ ROTO – Including draft and full-season tools, EDGE+ ROTO is available now annually for $3.99/month and features player profiles, rankings and projections, positional tiers, Start/Sit tool, custom scoring, and more.
  • EDGE+ PRO – Featuring all aspects of EDGE+ ROTO plus daily fantasy tools, the plan is available now annually for $7.99/month. Additional features include DFS optimizer, the all-new League Sync tool, customizable projections, and more.
  • EDGE+ MAX –EDGE+ MAX is available annually for $11.99/month and includes all aspects of EDGE+ PRO as well as the sports betting tools found in EDGE+ In addition to draft, season-long, and daily fantasy resources for football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, EDGE+ MAX includes betting tools for those four sports, plus college football and college basketball.
  • EDGE+ BET – With access to all the tools that help you sharpen your betting skills, EDGE+ BET includes the all-new EDGE Finder, top trends, and more. Betting tools include access to football, baseball, basketball, hockey, college football, and college basketball.

All plans include annual and monthly billing options. In addition to the subscription tiers, cheat sheets for all sports will continue to be free for all users with a Rotoworld account. For more information, go to NBCSportsEdge.com.

Entain extends responsible gaming partnerships Into video-gaming and esports

Entain, the global sports betting and gaming entertainment provider, today announces that in line with its commitment to raise both the quality of entertainment and protections to customers worldwide it has extended its initiatives in responsible gambling to new areas including video-gaming and esports.

The new partners include the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association, Kindbridge, Rise Above the Disorder, and an expanded partnership with EPIC Risk Management. These four organizations will provide mental health support services and education for players potentially at risk and will work internationally with Entain and the Entain Foundation, the company’s non-profit charity dedicated to promoting responsible gambling, sports integrity, and corporate compliance.

Each organization seeks to bridge the gap between demand and availability of affordable professional, individual therapy and care. The Entain partners include:

  • Counter-Strike Professional Players Association – The CSPPA is the worldwide association for professional players of the largely popular Counter-Strike videogame, which regularly features in esports events.
  • EPIC Risk Management – An international consultancy specializing in prevention of gambling-related harm, EPIC already works with Entain both internationally and the U.S. and will now be extending its activity further, also to address videogaming and esports.
  • Rise Above the Disorder – A non-profit universal mental health care system, RAD covers the cost of mental health care for tens of thousands of people around the world. Once a video game group selling in-game items to crowd fund therapy, RAD is now celebrated by the United Nations for having helped over 36,000 people receive free support.
  • Kindbridge – The world’s first teletherapy company focused specifically on the successful treatment of gamblers and gamers struggling with their mental health, Kindbridge is a U.S.-based mental health services organization that provides access to online professional mental health counselors and specialized support services.

Entain’s strategy for sustainability and growth underscores its commitment to delivering the highest possible levels of player safety and protection across all its markets. As part of its safer gambling strategy, the Entain Foundation supports customer protection through a mix of education and support projects, as well as research and data analysis, using Entain technology to pioneer new and higher standards of online player protection.

Martin Lycka, Entain Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling and Trustee of the Entain Foundation US, explains, “We are committed to supporting initiatives that encourage responsible gambling and gaming in every way we can. The vast majority of people enjoy playing for fun have no problems whatsoever, and we want to leverage our capabilities to offer them additional experiences whilst keeping all our customers safe. These new partnerships are initial steps in this and other new directions as we both expand our offer to customers and the protections we put in place to protect the very small number who may be at risk.”  

Today’s announcement supports Entain’s planned expansion into video-gaming and esports alongside furthering its commitment to responsible gaming. Entain recently unveiled its Advanced Responsibility and Care (ARC) initiative, pioneering use of data science, behavioral analysis, and technology to develop protective and preventative measures that work in real time.  

Late last year Entain appointed Dr. Mark Griffiths as Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Addiction and Psychology, a title he also holds at Nottingham Trent University. Professor Griffiths is advising Entain on triggers for problems with online play and addiction, which is supporting the ongoing development of ARC. Professor Griffiths was previously involved in work with the World Health Organization around online addictions, resulting in the first official recognition of gaming disorder as a psychological problem among video-gamers.

American 7s Football League Enlists SeventySix Capital Sports Advisory

Entering its 7th hard-hitting season, The American 7s Football League (A7FL®), pioneering no-helmets, no-pads, full contact tackle football, continues to make significant strides on the national stage with the announcement of its appointment of sports industry experts SeventySix Capital Sports Advisory to explore new opportunities for the league’s media rights.

“The A7FL has built a huge grassroots following of football fans across the country,” remarked A7FL Co-Founder and CEO Sener Korkusuz, “As the league expands in 2021 to Florida and Southern California, we want to build on the cutting edge distribution partnerships we have to showcase our unique brand of football and our star athletes to an even wider audience.” Last season, the A7FL was available on Facebook Watch, Twitch, Eleven Sports (satellite and cable) and via WAVE.tv with widely distributed video clips from ESPN’s SportsCenter, Barstool Sports and many other outlets.

“As the major sports leagues look to reach Millennial and Gen-Z fans, the A7FL has consistently captured 18 to 34 year-olds as its core audience.”, said SeventySix Capital Sports Advisory President Dan Bravato, “We think there is a great deal of potential for this property and are excited to be working with them on distribution.”

The two organizations will work together to search for media distribution partners across the global sports landscape. SeventySix Capital Sports Advisory will see their media division lead the project. The team will bring their network and extensive experience to the A7FL in shaping their media strategy and lead conversations in the marketplace.

The league’s signature 7-on-7 format features players competing without helmets and pads, maintaining the exciting and hard-hitting elements of American football while demonstrating amazing athleticism. “It’s the way many of us learned to play in our backyards,” says David Isaacs, UFC® Co-Founder and A7FL Advisory Board Chair David Isaacs. “Removing the equipment actually makes the game safer but also takes the action to another level with great games and tremendous highlights from players looking to get their shot.”

The upcoming 2021 season will feature 2020 Champion the Patterson U looking to defend its title against a recently expanded league, with 4 divisions and a total of 32 teams across 4 states (California, Florida, Maryland, and New Jersey). Play starts on April 11, 2021, with the regular season and playoffs culminating in the National Championship slated for Sunday July 18.

Entain Partners with UNLV on Women’s Innovation Igniter Program

Unsplash/Marcus Spiske

Entain plc (“Entain”:ENT.L) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) today announced a new, groundbreaking partnership to launch the Women’s Innovation Igniter. The first-of-its-kind academic, technology, innovation and mentoring program is designed to provide UNLV undergraduate and graduate women with a pathway toward successful careers in the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries. 

Entain is the global sports betting and gaming entertainment operator which jointly owns, with MGM Resorts International, BetMGM in the United States.  Entain leads the betting and gaming industry through its industry leading proprietary technology that also provides the engine for the roll-out of BetMGM.

Through the Women’s Innovation Igniter initiative, Entain and UNLV will recruit, mentor, support and introduce talented women to the industry and design more inclusive working environments in historically male-dominated fields. 

The program will be housed at the Harry Reid Research and Technology Park, a unique innovation building featuring a state-of-the-art laboratory with an esports arena, virtual reality studio and more.  The curriculum will include practical, hands-on experiences, internships, and mentoring from top executives in the industry, as well as providing the support and resources needed to bring innovations and designs to life.

In partnership with Entain and UNLV, The Women’s Innovation Igniter project will be led by Jan Jones Blackhurst, Chief Executive in Residence, International Gaming Institute and Robert Rippee, Ph.D., Executive Director, Innovation Hub. The program is set to launch in August 2021 with about 20 women in the initial class.

“Entain is the ideal partner to help us bring this groundbreaking program to life,” said Jan Jones Blackhurst. “As a leader in online sports betting and gaming, Entain will help us showcase the myriad of opportunities available in these professional fields, further develop our curriculum, and help women see career pathways in a technology led industry where they are not always well-represented.”

Last month, Entain named Jette Nygaard-Andersen its CEO, marking her out as one of the highest profile female executives in the sports betting industry. Teaming up with UNLV on The Women’s Innovation Igniter gives Entain the opportunity to continue to set precedents in the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries, and help ensure commercial success with talented women in key roles.

“We are honored to be a part of such an inspiring and pioneering program with UNLV,” said Jette Nygaard-Andersen. “Women can face many obstacles in getting traction in careers that are often or traditionally male dominated.  This program will encourage women to aspire for careers they previously may not have considered, and it provides the hands-on experience they need to make the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries more inclusive.”

Entain intends to open an office at The Harry Reid Research and Technology Park with employees that will include engineers as well as software and gaming developers.  Entain will seek opportunities to mentor, as well as create internships and jobs for some of these young women following the program, not just at Entain, but also with other leading companies throughout the industry.

UNLV’s Harry Reid Research and Technology Park was unveiled in 2020 and provides students the resources and skills needed to accelerate the introduction of new concepts into the gaming and hospitality market, and spur creativity and entrepreneurship overall.

MSG Networks to Unveil Free-to-Play Gaming App for Sports Fans

MSG Networks Inc. (NYSE: MSGN) today announced that it will launch a new, free-to-play app – MSG Networks Pick ‘Em – developed in partnership with Boom Sports, a leader in online sports-gaming technology.  The new prediction gaming app, expected to be available on iOS and Android starting in March, will offer sports fans the chance to win cash prizes during Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, and Sabres games.

“MSG Networks is thrilled to partner with Boom Sports on our new free-to-play app.  We’ve been offering trivia and pick’em games on our MSG GO streaming app since 2018 and have seen firsthand how interactive games can help increase viewer engagement – including how long and how often they tune in,” said Peter Tulloch, Senior Vice President, Digital Products and Distribution, MSG Networks. “MSG Networks Pick ‘Em will further deepen our connection with viewers, providing sports fans with a fun and, potentially, rewarding way to enjoy MSG Networks’ live coverage of their favorite sports teams, while providing MSG Networks with new revenue opportunities.”

“We are excited to be working with MSG Networks to create an app that will enrich the viewing experience, and also offer unique value in the form of user insights and a strategic digital asset,” said Greg Viverito, VP of Partnerships, Boom Sports. “We’re also a New York City-based company so we embraced the opportunity to create a product that adds to the fun of being a fan of New York sports teams.”

MSG Networks’ Pick ‘Em games will have a series of predictive questions rewarding fans with cash prizes for every basketball game, and for hockey games, the jackpot will be progressive.

MSG Networks Pick ‘Em is the latest example of MSG Networks’ commitment to innovation and creating engaging content for its viewers. MSG Networks is the first regional sports network (RSN) to announce a standalone app for free-to-play pick ‘em-style contests.  In 2018, MSG Networks was the first RSN to integrate live stats and interactive games on its MSG GO streaming app, which encourages fans to play along with the actual game broadcast for a chance to win prizes.

The free-to-play app is expected to build off of engagement with the gaming fan that MSG Networks has cultivated over the past few seasons, starting with a daily-fantasy focused simulcast in 2018 and evolving to sports-betting focused programming blocks, short-form content acting as previews for the game, and the aforementioned fan contests on MSG GO.

MSG Networks’ exclusive coverage of the NBA’s New York Knicks, and the NHL’s New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres can be seen on MSG, MSG+ and on the MSG GO streaming app for phones, tablets and computers.  Official rules, scoring, prize and other information for MSG Networks Pick ‘Em will be available when the app launches.  

National Lacrosse League Will Focus On Next Season

NLL

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced that plans for an abbreviated season this spring have been cancelled due to uncertainties arising from the ongoing Pandemic. The league, with the full support of the NLL Board of Governors, will now move to start a traditional season in the fall of this year.

“We have gone through many scenarios, including playing a bubble season in Canada in April, but the logistical challenges, including the recently announced tighter travel and quarantine restrictions across the Canadian border have required us to pivot. We have decided to focus on playing a full season in our markets, starting in the fall of this year,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “While many of the factors we can control were moving along well, those outside of our control, especially pertaining to obtaining government approval as far in advance as we would have needed, are no longer feasible. All the efforts and innovations we were planning will now go towards a full season starting this fall and into next year. We thank our players, teams and Board of Governors, whose thoughts in this process were invaluable, and we now set our sights on getting lined up for a full NLL season starting in the fall. We also thank our fans for sticking with us – we will be back, and it will be even more exciting than ever before.”

“We appreciate the League’s extensive efforts to provide us the opportunity to play an abbreviated 2021 season in a safe and controlled environment throughout the changing landscape during this Pandemic.  While we are disappointed that it will not be possible to play this spring, we are even more excited and passionate about having a full 2021-22 season and are eager to get back on the floor this fall,” said Zach Currier, PLPA President.

While the exact start date of a full season will be announced at a later date, which will include the debut of Panther City Lacrosse Club in Fort Worth, the NLL is planning to start in the fall playing a complete season into the spring of 2022. Additionally, exciting franchise announcements are coming very soon, as well as other initiatives that were being planned for the shortened 2021 season.

Details will be coming as they are finalized. For additional information, please visit @NLL YouTube to watch an interview with Commissioner Sakiewicz.

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

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.

NBRPA, Swoopes And Flexion Therapeutics Announce Partnership To Raise Awareness Of Zilretta

Unsplash/Marcus Spiske

The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) and Flexion Therapeutics Inc. today announced a new partnership to raise awareness of osteoarthritis-related knee pain and present ZILRETTA (triamcinolone acetonide extended-release injectable suspension) as an effective treatment option. The educational program tipped off with a virtual event featuring Sheryl Swoopes, basketball Hall of Famer and ZILRETTA patient, discussing how osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee has impacted her life and how ZILRETTA has helped with pain management. Swoopes is the first athlete from the WNBA to participate in the awareness program. The partnership with Swoopes complements Flexion’s relationship with ZILRETTA Athlete Ambassadors, NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson and 1980 USA hockey team captain and gold medal winner Mike Eruzione.

“We are excited to partner with the NBRPA to raise awareness of knee OA and ZILRETTA, and we are truly honored to be working with Sheryl, a world-class athlete who continues to exemplify greatness well after the height of her career,” said Michael Clayman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Flexion. “As one of the most exceptional women athletes of all time, a hall of famer, and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Sheryl knows about pushing the limits physically, and we are very pleased that she has finally found the much-needed relief from her OA knee pain with ZILRETTA.”

Swoopes, the first player to be signed in the WNBA, is a three-time WNBA MVP and was named one of the league’s Top 15 Players of All Time at the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game. She won three Olympic gold medals and is one of 10 women’s basketball players to have won an Olympic gold medal, an NCAA Championship and a WNBA title. She was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 and is an active leader in the NBRPA.

“The best partnerships are all about authenticity, and we found out through a survey of our membership that knee pain ranked among retired players’ top ailments following their careers,” said Scott Rochelle, NBRPA’s Executive Director. “There is no better, more engaged advocate for those suffering OA knee pain and no stronger advocate to speak to the benefits of ZILRETTA than Sheryl. We look forward to growing this relationship in the coming months to be one of our most inclusive and informative to date.”

Swoopes added, “I fully understand the way OA knee pain can impact your life in every aspect, not just physically but mentally. To be able to tell my story and share the results of what can be done with treatment with my colleagues, friends, former players and family is very important. This partnership will not only help many of the athletes who have played in the NBA and WNBA, but it will serve to raise awareness for thousands who may be suffering in silence.”

Swoopes was treated by Rabah Qadir, M.D., a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at the Woodlands Sports Medicine Center and Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery at Memorial Hermann Woodlands Medical Center in the Houston area. Dr. Qadir said, “While Sheryl has enjoyed the career of an elite athlete, unfortunately, her experience with OA knee pain is far from unique. Knee injuries, especially cartilage and meniscus injuries, are common for basketball players and can lead to OA over time. After evaluating Sheryl and understanding her desire to stay active with a non-surgical treatment plan, ZILRETTA was an obvious choice to offer Sheryl the extended pain relief she needed.”

More information on how to find a treating physician can be found at https://www.getthez.com or by calling 888-600-GETZ (4389).

The NBRPA represents over 1,000 former NBA and WNBA players, making it the largest agency of its kind in basketball. This has allowed for direct access to players for opportunities to educate other members and their treating physicians.

The Electronic Gaming Federation To Launch ‘EGF Leads’ Series For Collegiate Esports Leadership

The Electronic Gaming Federation, the national governing body for formalized collegiate D-I esports and high school level leagues, will host a series of panels on topics in collegiate esports ranging from team management to mental health beginning on February 3rd for member colleges and universities across the country to engage in information sharing to their esports and gaming communities. The event is open to all faculty, coaches and students as a way to bring together the fluid and fast rising world of gaming across college campuses. The event is free and will be streamed on twitch.tv/officialEGF each Wednesday at 2PM ET.

“The esports and gaming communities across the country continue to grow, but the market, as happens with many startup industries, can be very siloed and fractured, our goal is to bring together like minded individuals with one purpose; to share best practices and learn from each other,”  said EGF CEO Eric Johnson. “For esports to continue to grow holistically, we need consistency and we believe this is a great next step.”

EGF Leads is one of the first major projects initiated by the recently elected EGFC Board of Governors under the leadership of Michele King (William & Mary) and Courtney James (DePaul University). “I am excited to see how EGF Leads allows students to learn to lead from industry leaders and staff professionals at EGF Member Institutions. EGF has established itself as an industry leader when it comes to competitive play; and the expansion of EGF Leads will allow the Federation to be a industry leader when it comes to co-curricular leadership development for students involved in the Esports & gaming community.”  – Courtney James, Director of Student Involvement & Esports, DePaul University

The goal of this series of panels and educational sessions will be to have students learn from peers, industry leaders and member institution staff and faculty about topics pertaining to leadership, communication and more.

“EGF’s strength is in its leadership and active participation of its member institutions.  What better way to enable our students to grow and to develop than to offer EGF Leads–a weekly panel discussion on topics relevant to the esports ecosystem.  We believe in integrity and transparency, so we want all esports community members to join in the discussion as we learn from schools across the country and industry leaders.  I’m excited to be part of an organization that encompasses what it means to be a part of the esports community from the competitive and industrial side to the academic rigors of creating the esports landscape.” –Michele King, Ph.D., Director of Esports at William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia

Schedule of panels (Wednesdays at 2PM ET on twitch.tv/officialEGF):

  1. February 3rd: Marketing Your Team & Esports Program
  2. February 10th: Mental Health & Esports
  3. February 17th: Content Creation for Live Streams
  4. February 24th: Team Management as a Student Captain
  5. March 3rd: Prioritizing Inclusivity in Your Esports Community
  6. March 10th: Introduction to OBS & Esports Production
  7. March 17th: Shoutcasting 101
  8. March 24th: Facilitating Community Meetings
  9. March 31st: Build a PC Demo

EGF will start the second half of EGFC Season 2 on February 1st with over 40 schools, and will have conference and national championships starting in March, 2021 across a wide range of games.

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.”

Super Squares® Attempts New Guinness World Record While Hosting the World’s Biggest Super Bowl Squares Party

 Today, Super Squares®, the live mobile game show that launches Advertising as a Sport™, announces the World’s Biggest Super Bowl Squares Party, happening concurrently with Super Bowl LV on Sunday on February 7th where the Kansas City Chiefs will go head-to-head with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thousands will play the football squares game using the free-to-play app while watching the NFL Championship game on television. Fans seeking a multi-screen experience will be able to join a live Twitch watch party hosted by notable NFL analyst Mike Golic, and NFL Super Bowl XLVII Champion and Commissioner of Sports at React, Matt Birk.

The football squares tournament happening on Super Squares® has been designated as a World Record attempt by Guinness World Records, allowing every participant the opportunity to help set a World Record simply by competing in the app. In addition to the Guinness World Record attempt and fun happenings on Twitch.tv, Super Squares® offers a $2.4 million prize pool, including a $1 million Perfect Game Jackpot that will be doubled to $2 million when shared with a ‘Buddy’ who may have referred the Winner to Super Squares®. The highest score during the tournament-culminating Bigger Game® event will be awarded a $80,000 Rivian Electric Adventure Vehicle, expected to roll into production later this year.

“Playing the football squares game is a tradition that brings everyone together and I’m happy we can still do so virtually this year,” said Mike Golic, notable NFL analyst and former ESPN commentator. “I’ve always been a fan of the squares game and I’m proud to lead the charge for fans to move from paper squares to Super Squares®. Mobile technology has eliminated paper in mail, maps and even Fantasy Football, and Super Squares® takes a game that millions have played on paper to the next level – just in time for a season where social distancing is keeping us apart.”

While in-person paper-based squares games usually found in offices, pubs and parties are less practical, the Super Squares® app still allows friends to play against each other using a proprietary “SkyBox” feature. To demonstrate, Golic has created his own SkyBox and is inviting “…everyone to crash my SkyBox and compare your final score to mine. I’ll award $250 from the Pro Football Hall of Game store to the highest score in my SkyBox, IF you can beat me!” Super Squares® players can enter the SkyBox by using the password “Golic” when joining gameplay on February 7th.

The free-to-play app combines the score matching elements of squares, with prediction and ad gamification, to provide a unique game show element that attracts casual and avid sports fans alike. Since the start of the 2020 season Super Squares® has already awarded over $300,000 to more than 3,000 players, and the Guiness World Record attempt will be the first time the entire nation will converge in a national tournament around the Super Bowl.

“This has been a different NFL season for all fans and I’m thrilled to be part of something that is bringing everyone together to bond over the game, but also be part of the real-time feedback for Super Bowl advertising,” said Matt Birk, Commissioner of Sports at React, the company behind Super Squares® and NFL Super Bowl Champion. “The Super Bowl is, of course, about crowning the NFL Champion, but it has also developed into a showcase for ads and people all over the country talk about advertising. Super Squares® understands this unique relationship and puts brands at the center of the action.”

Super Squares®, which piloted in May 2020, is the first reactive product showcasing the natural relationship between sports and branding. Players compete while watching live sports and are prompted to rate each in-app mobile TV commercial and then answer questions about them and are rewarded for being correct. This provides instant ad sentiment while verifying attention and ad recall, removing all the guesswork brands have about the delivery and effectiveness of their ads. These reactions provide participating brands and agencies with census-level validation of fan engagement and sentiment, measurable over time. This depth of understanding is simply not available to brands delivering traditional TV ads, even when they spend $5.5 million for a single TV spot. The live game show app provides consumers an opportunity to “get in the game” and will ultimately allow sports fans around the world to engage with all sports, no matter the league.

FanDuel Group to Deliver PGA TOUR Highlights to FanDuel Sportsbook Customers

Today, FanDuel Group announced they will begin providing real-time highlights of PGA TOUR golf events to FanDuel Sportsbook app users.

“We’re taking the FanDuel Sportsbook app experience beyond just placing a bet — now our customers will get the best TOUR highlights delivered to them each week to consume and act on,” said Adam Kaplan, GM/VP of Sports Content, FanDuel Group. “Part of our ongoing focus is providing a fully integrated experience that gives our customers the ability to follow and interact in real-time with the sports they care about.”

In August, FanDuel became an Official Betting Operator of the TOUR, which gives them rights in the United States to use TOUR marks, rights to advertise within TOUR media and TOUR partner platforms, plus content and video rights allowing FanDuel to create pre-game and post-game betting programming, as well as distribution of highlights to FanDuel Sportsbook users who have placed bets.

“We’re excited to further activate our Official Betting Operator marketing relationship with FanDuel by sharing TOUR highlights with their customers,” said Norb Gambuzza, SVP, Media and Gaming at the PGA TOUR. “Engaging new fans with PGA TOUR content is a top priority of our sports betting strategy and this innovation with FanDuel is a key step in that direction.”

Beginning this week with the TOUR’s Farmers Insurance Open, FanDuel will utilize WSC Sports’ AI technology to deliver highlights to betting customers through FanDuel Sportsbook app notifications for each TOUR event in 2021. FanDuel customers will be able to view automated highlights through rich media push notifications, capitalizing on FanDuel’s vision to use in-game, real-time content to enhance the customer experience.

FanDuel Group will begin by delivering TOUR golf content, with the opportunity to expand into other sports. Video asset for download here.