• Another big night: Wrapping up the 2016 Sports Business Awards

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    Warriors big winners…A few surprises…For many winners, it was clearly a “team” award, as more than ever entire staffs came on stage to revel in the win…The sights and sounds of longtime friends Bud Selig and Hank Aaron…Who said it and other notables.

    THE WARRIORS DID IT! The “it” team was the hot story of last night’s Sports Business Awards, as the Warriors took home Sports Team of the Year and co-owner & CEO Joe Lacob won Executive of the Year. In addition, Octagon won its first award in Best Talent Representation of the Year largely behind its work around Stephen Curry, and CAA Sports won Property Consulting, Sales, and Client Services for its work around the Warriors’ new Chase Center in San Francisco.

    We couldn’t help but notice that when Warriors President & COO Rick Welts accepted the team award at roughly 9:40pm ET, he noted, “The best part is the Warriors are up by ten.” When Lacob won Executive of the Year about 40 minutes later, he said, “Well, we were up by 11 last time I checked.” During his remarks, the Warriors went on a third-quarter run that would give them Game 2 and tie their Western Conference Finals with the Thunder at 1-1.

    IT’S ALL ABOUT TEAM: A few minutes after Welts accepted the Team award, Lacob was back stage after his Executive win and said, “I’m happier about the team award, really.” Welts, whose career dates to the 1960s, said the deep strength of the franchise demands results. “We have everything possible going for us, from the ownership to the team on the court,” he said. “So shame on us if we don’t take full advantage of it.” Lacob said his job isn’t difficult: His secret to success is simply to hire great people, pay them well, and demand focused, hard work at all times: “24-7, 365, as we say in Silicon Valley.”

    SURPRISE, SURPRISE: There were a number of surprises throughout the night – and a number of winners drawing gasps from the audience when they were announced. Here are the most talked about: Octagon, winning an upset in Best Talent Representation; LeadDog Marketing, beating bigger shops in Event and Experiential Marketing; The Belmont Stakes topping favorite Super Bowl 50 for Event of the Year; The Players’ Tribune winning Sports Breakthrough of the Year; and MLS taking home Sports League of the Year.

    BUD AND HANK: MLB Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig, recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, was in the spotlight the entire evening, giving interview after interview on the red carpet and being surrounded by friends and family throughout the ceremony. In addition, the sight of Henry Aaron, walking with the help of a cane, thrilled the audience, and as he stood on the red carpet surrounded by media, the buzz spread among attendees that he was there and they lined up, holding their phones high in the air, to shoot hundreds of photos. Both men received standing ovations. Aaron was welcomed to the stage by Abe Madkour to the soundtrack of “The Natural,” while Selig, a huge Neil Diamond fan, took the stage to “Coming To America.” Aaron noted the unlikely bond formed in the late 1950s between an African-American from Mobile, Ala., and a Jew from Milwaukee. “We all know that Bud can be as tough as nails, so I’ve called our friendship the Hammer and the Nail,” Aaron said. The sight of the two in a long embrace on stage was clearly a moment to remember.

    SELIG LOOKS BACK: Selig called his 45-year journey in baseball the realization of a “little boy’s dream that came true.” During roughly 15 minutes of remarks, Selig covered several key themes from his 22 years as commissioner, including baseball’s role as a social institution and the need to preserve hope and faith each year for as many markets as possible. “It’s important to dream and dream big dreams,” he said. 

    Running the game during the most turbulent period in its history, Selig said that maintaining steadfast determination on his goals was crucial to his career. “There was a lot of angst,” he said. “We needed to change the system, and there were a lot of people who didn’t want change and didn’t like change. But it had to happen” He joked about the initial harsh criticism that followed the introduction of realignment and the wild card: “You would have thought I defiled motherhood and apple pie.” 

    SHOW OF SUPPORT: Even though MLB is in the midst of a quarterly owners’ meeting being held across town in N.Y., many leaders from across the sport came to banquet to hear Selig’s acceptance speech, including MLB President of Business and Media Bob Bowman, Astros owner Jim Crane, Royals owner David Glass, Braves chairman emeritus Bill Bartholomay, Padres President and CEO Mike Dee, Nationals CRO and CMO Valerie Camillo, and Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger.

    THE TIES THAT BIND: There were connections to the NBA and Warriors throughout from some winners. While accepting the Best in Sports Media award for Turner Sports, Turner President David Levy referenced the broadcast crew that was working the Thunder-Warriors playoff game last night. “This is what they work for,” he said. “This is what they care about. I’m humbled to accept this for them.”

    A BIG WIN FOR OCTAGON: As the rep for two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, Octagon helped orchestrate the year's biggest individual athlete story. "We will never be able to think of this recognition without recalling the year Steph Curry had and how big an impact he had on sports, and especially the NBA, on and off the court," said Octagon Founder and President Phil de Picciotto.

    ANOTHER CONNECTION: In selling naming rights for the Warriors arena to JP Morgan Chase more than three years before the building will open, Property Consulting winner CAA Sports fashioned the most celebrated facility deal of the year — part of a $1.5 billion mixed-use development where the Warriors should be playing basketball by the 2019-2020 NBA season. "That was our fastest naming-rights deal ever," said CAA Head of Global Sales Paul Danforth. “It took eight months. When you look at all the team has accomplished at the same time, this is a very special moment for both of us."

    ALONG THE RED CARPET: The pre-ceremony red carpet was the hot spot in the Broadway Lounge as group after group lined up for photos. (Check our Twitter and Facebook feeds, links below, for lots of images.) CNBC conducted interviews with ISC’s Joie Chitwood, Welts, Madkour and NextVR’s Brad Allen, among others … Best line to reporters and photographers along the red carpet came from Fox Sports President Eric Shanks, who said, “Write down our names because nobody knows who we are.”

    SPOTTED: Award presenters David Abrutyn (Bruin Sports Capital), Stacey Allaster (USTA) and Doug Perlman taking a photo together … three AD of the Year nominees — Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione, Ohio State’s Gene Smith and Stanford’s Bernard Muir — taking red carpet photos in a group with their wives; presenter Steve Lauletta (Ganassi Racing) chatting with LeadDog’s Dan MannixTim Leiweke and Don Garber warmly greeting each other outside the ballroom … Smith catching Aaron on his way to the elevators to tell the baseball legend how much he appreciated him (Smith: “It would have been worth it to come here just to listen to him.”) … the group from State Farm, waiting patiently in the portrait room backstage for Aaron to make his way out, and telling him on the way, “We love you, Hank.” … Digital Sports winner MLBAM’s Dinn Mann in the portrait room insisting on a photo with Paul Danforth of CAA Sports (winner in Property Consulting), a nod to the companies’ long-time relationship… Intersport’s Charlie Besser, sponsor of the upcoming Brand Engagement Summit, commenting that he hopes Chicago finally gets some good weather before the conference starts … Octagon client and Cosmos player Mike Lahoud, who was there to bring luck to the agency (Overhead in the photo room: “He should come with us to all of these!”) … Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross who was thanked from the podium by NextVR’s Allen after his company won the Technology award. Ross’ RSE Ventures is an investor in NextVR … Tom Spock, media consultant and former NFL executive, who just moved to Manhattan’s Columbus Circle neighborhood from Larchmont, and who said that, given this week’s transit troubles, he was thankful that he could now just walk the 13 blocks home from the Marquis … longtime NFL PR exec Joe Browne with Carolina Panthers president Danny Morrison at the Panthers’ table … former NBA player Bruce Bowen hamming it up for photographers on the red carpet.

    IPAD ETIQUETTE: The crowd was especially appreciative of the Warriors’ contingent being on hand given that the team was at home in Oakland hosting Oklahoma City. With the game starting at 9 p.m. ET, those seated at the Warriors’ table were unsure whether protocol allowed them to watch the game during other award presentations. But they soon stopped worrying about it. Welts said. “When Adam Silver had it on in front of him, we decided it was OK to have it on in front of us.” The table’s tablets and iPhones quickly lit up with live first-half coverage. Silver and the NBA's Mike Bass were closely following the score on a tablet via NBA.com (of course) before Silver presented Exec of the Year.

    TOOTING OUR HORN: We appreciate Selig’s remarks about us when he accepted his award: “I have long been a regular reader of both the SportsBusiness Journal and the SportsBusiness Daily. In fact, my day always begins with the Daily. They are both terrific publications. Abe, I want to thank you and all of you associated with the publications for the important contributions you have made, not only to baseball but to all sports. You have always been eminently fair and accurate.”

    MORE MEDIA: Be on the lookout today for SBA-related interviews on several media outlets, including CNBC. In addition, NASCAR CEO Brian France, who was nominated for Executive of the Year, appeared on Bloomberg TV yesterday, and Welts joined the Tiki and Tierney Show on CBS Sports Radio. The Warriors also had their own video crew on hand to record the evening. You can see their recap here.

    MORE MEDIA 2, LATE NIGHT VERSION: Fox’s Shanks, one of SBA’s presenters last night, was a topic of conversation on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night talkshow last night. Fox’s Katie Nolan was a guest and discussed a video she had tweeted where she chugged a beer out of her Emmy award. Nolan: “I brought [the Emmy] to the bar, and the president of Fox Sports Eric Shanks was like, 'Too bad you can’t chug out of it, huh?’ And I was like ‘Don’t challenge me with a good time.’ Kimmel: “This guy Eric Shanks sounds like some president of a network! I mean, really.” Nolan: “He just knows me very well and knows that if it were a Stanley Cup I would have drank out of it.”

    MORE MEDIA 3, FRIENDLY FIRE?: ESPN and Fox Sports executives have sniped at each other in recent weeks over their afternoon programming lineups, as FS1 prepares to launch a PTI-style studio show against ESPN’s 6pm “SportsCenter.” Our spies spotted Fox Sports National Networks President Jamie Horowitz and ESPN SVP of “SportsCenter” Rob King having lunch in Manhattan Wednesday. When asked what the two talked about, former ESPN executive Horowitz said they simply were two old friends catching up.

    Chitwood, after winning for Sports Facility: “Now this property, maybe instead of being the world center of racing, it’s the world center of entertainment.”

    Aaron: “I thank the good lord, and I thank the great game of baseball, for making me the friend of this great man.”

    MLS’s Garber: “We were beginning to think that we were the Susan Lucci of the sports industry.”

    De Picciotto: “It’s an especially great honor to win in this category in this year, when the presidential candidates have made sports agents seem to have the moral high ground.”

    THE PROCESS: Madkour touched on the selection process and introduced the 17 outside independent judges that helped pick the winners. The judges were: Lee Berke, LHB Sports, Entertainment & Media; Dockery Clark, BlueCap Marketing; Eric Fernandez, SportsDesk Media; Derrick Heggans, Team Turnaround; Steve Horowitz, Inner Circle Sports; Sue Hunt; Jeff Husvar, SportsPlus Properties; Steve Lauletta, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams; Ed O’Hara, SME; Vicky Picca, Fanatics; Geoff Reiss, Flattery; Shripal Shah, MOKO Social Media; Dan Shanoff, Monumental Sports Network/Monumental Sports & Entertainment; Dan Singer, McKinsey & Co.; Malcolm Turner, NBA D-League; Glenn Wong, Arizona State University; and Dana Zimmer, Tribune Media.
    SOCIAL ANIMALS: There was plenty of social media action during the awards ceremony. To get an idea of what was going on, take a look at our Twitter feed, @SBJSBD, or at what was posted using the hashtag #sbjsba. Also be sure to check our Facebook and Instagram feeds for more photos from the event. Among the posts we liked:
    @burkemagnus: It does not get much bigger and cooler that this. Hammerin' Hank.
    @JohnnyVolk: Game 2 isn't even at halftime but Dubs already won a [trophy] tonight.
    @arinsegal: Nothing short of inspired and motivated after the #sbjsba tonight heading into graduation next month
    @espn_chris: Congrats to pals at @NBA for win in best in sports social media. Pressure's on for creative celebration tweet.
    @LenSantiago: Massive achievement for @MLS!!! So proud of the league and everyone involved. Outstanding professionals!
    @RobbDunn: Thanks @sbjsbd for a great evening & congratulations to all the #sbjsba winners. First class event.
    @FitzWriter: Congrats to all the @sbjsbd #sbjsba winners! Keep setting the bar high.
    EVENT SPONSORS: Thanks again to the sponsors of this year’s show: MGM Resorts International, Coyne PR, and Turnkey Intelligence/Search.

    SEE YOU IN JUNE: Next up on the event calendar is the Intersport Brand Engagement Summit on May 31-June 2. To sign up or check out the agenda and speaker list, click here. Hope to see you there.

    Tags: ING, GE, Sports Business Awards, Octagon, CAA, CES, ACC
  • Live from New York: Ninth Annual Sports Business Awards

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    IT’S TROPHY TIME: More than 850 people are expected tonight for what has become one of the biggest events in sports business. The ninth annual Sports Business Awards will fill the Broadway Ballroom at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square. It’s a must-attend party that brings the sports industry together to honor many of its most influential people and companies. You can get your refresher on the nominees for each of the 17 categories by clicking here.

    SEE AND BE SEEN: The best networking event of the year starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Broadway Lounge on the 8th floor overlooking Times Square. Check in at the Manhattan Ballroom (also on the 8th floor), then stroll the Red Carpet, where you’ll be greeted by SBJ/SBD Publisher Richard Weiss and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour. Feel free to pause in front of our banners for photos with friends, family and colleagues. Once you get by the paparazzi, head to the lounge, which boasts one of the best views of Times Square in the city.

    SHOW TIME!: The ceremony takes place on the 6th floor in the Broadway Ballroom. We promise to keep the program moving. Dinner is served at 7:15, the show starts at 8:15, and everything ends at 10:22. How’s that for precision?

    TICKET MARKET: Nothing’s on StubHub. Or Ticketmaster. If you need to get in, send us an email to check on availability. Remember to leave your tux at home. Business attire is fine tonight.

    SELIG IN THE SPOTLIGHT: From rabid fan to small-market owner to reform-minded commissioner, Bud Selig has touched every aspect of the game and business of baseball. That contribution will be recognized tonight when he receives the SBJ/SBD Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, coming at roughly 9:20 p.m., will be set up by Madkour, followed by a brief, dramatic video tribute to Selig, who will then be introduced by his longtime friend, baseball legend Hank Aaron. This should be something special, as were the ceremonies in previous years for Lifetime Achievement winners Peter Ueberroth, Billie Jean King, Jerry Reinsdorf, Dan Rooney, Paul Tagliabue and Dick Ebersol. Selig, who will be joined at tonight's event by his wife, Sue, has been hitting the talk-show circuit this week, appearing with Mike Francesa and Bill Simmons on Monday afternoon, and then on ESPN's "Mike & Mike In The Morning" on Tuesday. 

    THE SELIG STORY: In case you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out SBJ's profile of Selig in this week’s issue. Senior writer Bill King spent time talking with the former commissioner and many of his confidants for a package of stories that we call “Lessons from a life in baseball.” It includes links to Selig’s Executive Tree, a look at Baseball’s Role after 9/11, and more.

    ALWAYS REPPIN’: Selig will have plenty of supporters from the baseball ranks in the crowd, including many who represent organizations that are up for awards tonight. There will be contingents from MLB, MLBAM, and the Padres, Royals, Dodgers and Brewers. Among the team and league execs we’re expecting: the Padres' Ron Fowler, Peter Seidler and Mike Dee; the Royals' David and Dan Glass; and the L.A. Dodgers' Tucker Kain.

    PRESENTING THE PRESENTERS: Here’s who will take the stage and present tonight’s awards: MGM Resorts International’s Daniel Rush; Coyne PR Founder Tom Coyne; Turnkey Sports & Entertainment President & CEO Len Perna; ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy; Bruin Sports Capital’s David Abrutyn; Portland Timbers CEO Merritt Paulson; Toyota’s Ed Laukes; Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Lucas Herscovici; Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center CEO Scott O’Neil (who must be in a GREAT mood today!); AmEx Vice President of Entertainment Marketing and Sponsorships Deborah Curtis; Carolina Panthers President Danny Morrison; The Players’ Tribune’s Jaymee Messler; AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco; Chip Ganassi Racing Teams President Steve Lauletta; Fox Sports President Eric Shanks; NBC Olympics CMO John Miller; Sports Media Advisors CEO Doug Perlman; Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke; the USTA’s Stacey Allaster and last year’s Executive of the Year winner, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

    WHO YOU’LL SEE: Among the bold-faced names expected at tonight’s banquet: U.S. Soccer's Sunil Gulati and board member Donna Shalala; Excel Sports' Casey Close, Mark Steinberg and Alan Zucker; Populous' Earl Santee, HOK's Brad Schrock; NASCAR's Steve Phelps and ISC's Joie Chitwood; MLS' Don Garber and Mark Abbott; NBC Sports' Gary Zenkel; the Miami Dolphins' Stephen Ross; Learfield's Greg Brown; the Warriors’ Rick Welts; ESPN’s John Wildhack; and the PGA Tour's Ty Votaw.

    THE COLLEGE CONTINGENT: All of the nominees for athletic director of the year are scheduled to attend: Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione, Stanford’s Bernard Muir, Navy’s Chet Gladchuk and Ohio State’s Gene Smith. John Currie, AD at Kansas State, is also expected to support Bill Snyder Family Stadium’s nomination in the Sports Facility of the Year category.

    WHAT’S THE BUZZ?: The story line at last year’s Sports Business Awards took an interesting turn, from a competition for hardware to a celebration of the business and the people fortunate enough to work in it. 2015 Executive of the Year Adam Silver and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Dick Ebersol reflected on the privilege of working in sports, and in the ‘Industry of Relationships.’ We’ll see what themes emerge tonight and who will be fortunate enough to take home some hardware. The best chances have to go to those with multiple nominations. CAA Sports and MLB each have three, while there are eight organizations with two: Golden State Warriors, ESPN, GMR Marketing, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, Turner Sports and WME | IMG.  

    ODDS AND ENDS: This year’s event includes the highest number of nominees ever: 87. Last year there were 78 nominees, and the previous high was 80, in 2014. We also have a record number of new nominees: 39. That’s up from 28 last year. The previous high was 36 in 2012. And the total number of companies represented is 75, up from 59 last year and from the previous high of 62 in 2014. Also, we added three new categories this year (Best in Sports Social Media, Best in Mobile Fan Experience and Sports Breakthrough of the Year) and took away one (Best in Sports Television).

    PLAUSIBLY LIVE: To keep up with all the winners tonight, follow @SBJSBD and the hashtag #sbjsba on Twitter. We’ll also post photos to our Instagram feed and Facebook page, and will send out breaking news emails to subscribers listing all of tonight’s winners. Check tomorrow’s SBD and next week’s SBJ for complete coverage of the awards.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: We’ve already seen plenty of posts on social media leading up to tonight. Among the posts we liked:
    @FlashHanlon: If the @ClemsonTigers do not win this … I vow to quit Twitter for a month.
    @nickstamm: Congratulations to all my @SportradarUS friends and colleagues for being a #SBJSBA finalist
    @ReplyBuy: We are extremely proud to be one of five companies nominated for Best in Mobile Fan Experience!
    @XFINITYRacing: Honored to be up for #SBJSBA Sports Sponsor of the Year. #XFINITYSeries helped make it happen!

    THE SPORTS DOCKET: As much as we’d like to think so, the Sports Business Awards won’t be the only big event on tonight’s schedule. The Penguins and Lightning start Game 3 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference Finals at 8 p.m. And there will be plenty of interest in whether the Warriors can bounce back in Game 2 of their Western Conference Finals matchup with OKC. Both the Lightning and Warriors are nominees for Team of the Year, and Warriors Co-Executive Chairman Joe Lacob is up for Executive of the Year, but we’ll forgive them if they spend part of the evening checking scores on their phones. At least, with a 9 p.m. ET start for the Warriors game, if we stick to our schedule (and we usually do!), we’ll end the banquet in time to see the fourth quarter.

    ON THE MENU: For tonight’s dinner, attendees will start with a classic steak house iceberg wedge salad before moving to a pan-seared chicken breast with sauteed kale, sweet potato puree, turkey bacon and apple cranberry chutney. And, for dessert: raspberry and banana brulee eclair with butterscotch cream.

    EVENT SPONSORS: Special thanks to tonight’s sponsors: MGM Resorts International, Coyne PR, and Turnkey Intelligence/Search.

    SEE YOU TOMORROW: Look for a full recap tomorrow morning of the sights, sounds and skinny from tonight’s ceremony.

    Tags: GE, Sports Business Awards, Marriott, ATT, ING, NFL, Most Influential
  • Live from World Congress: The vibe from Forty Under 40

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    Seen and heard at Forty Under 40…The ominous strains of “Imperial March”…the final threads from World Congress.

    GET THE PARTY STARTED: About 500 people packed into the Platinum Ballroom at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live last night to celebrate the 2016 class of the Forty Under 40. The event was hosted by Fox Sports personalities Colin Cowherd and Kristine Leahy. On the menu: a main dish of cabernet-braised beef short ribs with a dessert sampling plate featuring white, milk and dark chocolate creations. As has become tradition, Publisher Richard Weiss welcomed the crowd and asked all of the previous winners to stand. Then Executive Editor Abe Madkour gave his monologue to toast (and roast) members of this year’s class. Some of his biggest laugh lines:

    1) Russell Silvers from AEG is here. Russell is having a great year on many fronts. In December, there was the birth of his third child, Georgia Prius Silvers presented by StubHub. Yes, he sold naming rights to his own child.

    2) Dana Rosenberg from Starwood Hotels is here. Dana is our rainmaker. She made history this year by getting more congratulatory ads than any winner we’ve ever had. [On screen, we showed a graphic for a new program awarding Starwood Points for every ad sold to support Rosenberg.] Full transparency: We have decided to highlight Dana for an award in every issue from now through the end of our budget year.

    3) Chris Schlosser from Major League Soccer is here. His personalized Twitter hashtag is #workhardwinehard. I hear you, Chris, because seeing MLS’s TV ratings every week would cause me to drink heavy, too.

    4) Al Guido from the San Francisco 49ers is here. Al breaks every stereotype for a Forty Under 40 winner. Isn’t an Ivy. Doesn’t have an MBA. He defies every stereotype … except one. His favorite vacation spot is the Jersey Shore. There’s a shocker: A Guido who loves the Jersey Shore.

    Other laughs: References to Rams President Kevin Demoff’s physical “location” and two videos from winners’ past: Demoff’s appearance as a young boy in “Double Dare” and WME/IMG’s Kevin McSherry’s appearance as a young adult on “The Price Is Right.”

    SOUNDTRACK TO THEIR PERSONAL MOVIE: Forty Under 40 winners get to select the music that plays when they take the stage to accept their award, and every year we highlight a few of our favorites.

    --Yu-Han Chang, Second Spectrum, with the “Imperial March” from Star Wars. Better known, of course, as Darth Vader’s theme, and yes, quite sinister.
    -- Colin Neville, The Raine Group, with “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock, which we believe means he was fired up for the after party.
    -- Kevin Demoff, LA Rams, with, appropriately, “Ram It,” the hype song from about 1986 for the previous version of the NFL team. (We had a glitch during the program, though, and the song didn’t play, but you can check it out here on YouTube.)
    -- The biggest head scratcher was the Boston Red Sox’ Troup Parkinson picking “Jessie’s Girl,” while later in the program US Bank’s Bill Mulvihill picked the Red Sox anthem “Sweet Caroline.”

    The most popular artist choices were AC/DC and Jay Z at three each. The Jay Z crowd: Guido; Anthony DiCosmo, Nickelodeon; and Richard Rubano, DLA Piper. The AC/DC contingent: Adam Davis, Prudential Center and New Jersey Devils; Christopher Halpin, NFL; and Russ D’Souza, SeatGeek.

    NAMES IN THE BALLROOM: Among the many recognizable people we saw: Phil Anschutz, Casey Wasserman, Jed York, Stan Kroenke, Don Garber, Jim Delany, Greg Sankey, Eric Shanks, Jalen Rose and Nick Khan.

    SPOTTED IN THE CROWD: Was that former ESPNer and current Foxie Jamie Horowitz posing for a photo with current ESPNers Connor Schell and Julie Sobieski? Uh, Connor? Julie? Chris LaPlaca is on line one... Temple U football coach Matt Ruhle ran a spring practice session today in N. Philadelphia, but still made it out to L.A. in time to cheer on Temple AD Pat Kraft, a 40 Under 40 recipient.

    We said this last year, but it bears repeating: While we don’t have room to name all of the attendees, we’re proud of how much of a family event this has become, and of all the friends and supporters who join in and show up to support their loved ones. For almost an hour after the show, friends and family were posing with winners for photos on the stage. That kind of enthusiasm is great to see.

    HALF A THOUSAND: Last night, we honored the 500th person to take home one of our Forty Under 40 trophies. We’ve had an impressive group of winners during the 18 years that we’ve given out the award, including some who are now among the top leaders in sports today. We welcome all of the 2016 winners to this prestigious club.

    WRAPPING UP WORLD CONGRESS: Like the Warriors’ Peter Guber and Joe Lacob on Day 1, SAP CEO Bill McDermott was one of the most popular speakers for the event’s second day – and he barely mentioned sports. McDermott focused on leadership, telling stories of how he developed the skills to be a corporate titan. He said the best way for companies to reach millennials is to stop trying to reach millennials. “I give them very big jobs,” McDermott said. “Put them in big jobs, put them in there too early and see what they’re made of. My experience has been that they’ve never let me down and when placed in command, they take charge.”

    Comments that caught our ear:
    -- Actress Gabrielle Union: “There is no way that you can legitimately explain [wage discrimination in men’s and women’s sports], although a couple members of the men’s team tried. There’s no two-ways about it…You pay them. You boycott Rio. It’s pay or play.”
    -- McDermott: Companies that SAP partners with “have to deeply care about using technology to improve the fan experience or to improve the performance of the athlete… If they don’t themselves respect the true value and power of the technology, there’s no point in partnering with them. Ultimately, (why) would we put our brand next to a brand that really doesn’t buy into what we’re trying to do?”

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: There were 334 posts yesterday using our #sbjwcs hashtag, leading to an impressive 4.1 million impressions and to the hashtag trending on Twitter. Thanks to our most frequent tweeters: @AGMSports, @LarryChiang, @ScottyKellman and @joefav.

    Among the tweets we liked:
    @chrisyates11: Some powerful speakers at #SBJWCS I am very impressed
    @AshAStewart: Interesting panel on investing on a global scale. China the one to watch, Aus not yet considered a hot spot.
    @JessicaAnguliano: An inspirational life story mixed with business, courtesy of @BillRMcDermott
    @SDSUsportsMBA: Thanks to our friends at @sbjsbd for the opportunity for #SDSU Sports MBAs to assist w ’16 #SBJWCS. On to 40<40!
    @brisatrinchero: Packed house this morning at #sbjwcs despite last night’s epic #Kobe festivities!
    Panelist @KLemkau posted a picture taken of her on stage and tweeted: Rocking my @Chase blue at #sbjwcs talking about the value of sports sponsorships.
    @chrisyates11 responded: Wearing team colors. Smart move

    Our final interview subject of the conference, Union, was popular with the Twitter crowd.
    @BamaBelle6969: Gotta love that @itsgabrielleu just walked out to WhiteSnake
    @Mc_Huge: Nailed it: @itsgabrielleu on “The Decision” (Wade/James/Bosh): “It was like the #panamapapers” – she is awesome!
    @nmoses23: Gabrielle Union bringing it on at the #sbjwcs
    NEARLY LIVE FROM WORLD CONGRESS: We partnered with NeuLion for a series of streaming live interviews from a studio set in the main exhibit hall. You can see them all on demand at WorldCongressLive.NeuLion.com.

    SIGNING OFF FROM L.A.: We hope our morning emails have given you a sense of the feeling and vibe from our week in L.A. As always, we welcome your thoughts, questions and comments! Have a great weekend. We know we will!

    Tags: Forty Under 40, GE, Marriott, Fox, ING, AEG, StubHub, Budget, Soccer, Twitter, MLS, San Francisco 49ers, CES, Videos, IMG
  • Live from World Congress: The morning after Kobe

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    GOOD MORNING! Kobe…Kobe…Kobe…What a way to finish out a career. The Lakers legend’s 60-point game – and the huge throngs of his fans that took over the hotel bar – are certain to dominate conversations today. At least in L.A. Elsewhere, of course, the Warriors had their own story to write, and everyone at Day 1 of the Congress who heard top Golden State execs Joe Lacob and Peter Guber on stage had to be happy for their accomplishment.

    AHEAD FOR TODAY: Don’t miss the opening panel on the sports industry’s new leaders, with CAA’s Paul Danforth, ESPN’s Laura Gentile, AEG’s Todd Goldstein, Gatorade’s Brett O’Brien and the Red Sox’ Sam Kennedy. Then stay for what’s sure to be an entertaining interview with SAP’s Bill McDermott, where you will find out what he learned from running a deli in his teens. We’ll end with Gabrielle Union, wife of Heat star Dwyane Wade, in a one-on-one interview with Hollywood VIP Mike Tollin.

    DINNER CIRCUIT: While many tried to find their way through the LA Live crowd into Staples Center, Proskauer hosted a dinner at Faith & Flower, a short walk from LA Live. Joe Leccese led a group that included partners Brad RuskinRob Freeman, Jon Oram, Wayne Katz and Frank Saviano, as well as guests such as GSP’s Russ Granik, Goldman Sachs’ Greg Carey, PJT's Don Cornwell, Sports Media Advisors’ Doug Perlman and SBJ's Richard Weiss and Abe Madkour. Patrons dined on Kanpachi Ceviche, Albacore Carpaccio, Shellfish Risotto, aged ribeye, handmade pappardele and mesquite grilled asparagus.  

    At Wasserman's sixth annual gathering of women sports marketers, we counted four members of the original crew among a crowd of more than 50 guests. Among those seen: the NBA's Rachel Jacobson, Tiffany's Suzanne Taddei, the NFL’s Renie Anderson and Wasserman's Elizabeth Lindsey. We also ran into IRG Sports + Entertainment (IRGSE) Vice Chairman/CEO Chris Lencheski, on his way to a DLA Piper dinner; and Premier Partnerships President Randy Bernstein at downtown hotspot Redbird, on East Second St.

    ON EVERY SCREEN: The scene on Figueroa and LA Live around Staples Center, with people twenty deep outside bars cheering every Kobe Bryant possession and making the sidewalks impassable, was unlike anything we've seen – especially around a game between two non-playoff teams. You needed magical powers to get a drink, and we were told that Lucky Strike, where AEG hosted a Kobe watch party, was over capacity. Spotted at the JW bar Wed. night, post-Kobe: Rick Fox taking pictures with happy Lakers fans, MLS' Gary Stevenson, Finsbury's Peter Land and Lead Dog Marketing’s Dan Mannix. At Dodger Stadium, where the home team beat the D-backs 3-1, Kobe highlights appeared on the jumbotron a few times throughout the evening – getting big applause every time. There were plenty of fans wearing Kobe jerseys, even with a Bank of America-sponsored sweatshirt giveaway at the ballpark.

    IN THE AEG SUITE…:  … during the Lakers game we spotted Phil Anschutz and his wife, Nancy, Galaxy star Robby Keane, MLS’ Mark Abbott, AEG’s Dan Beckerman, Bob Newman, Ted Tanner, Nick Baker and Russell Silvers, with Scott O’Neil stopping by briefly. Elsewhere in the arena, Eventellect's Patrick Ryan had Stevenson as a guest. The pair sat near the player entrance tunnel, so Ryan's primary concern was "not getting crushed" by the Lakers faithful.

    WHAT’S THE BUZZ?: The Kobe frenzy actually started much earlier in the day, with the bars in the JW Marriott lobby starting to fill up in the middle of the afternoon as people mingled and staked out their territory. We saw Stephen A. Smith chatting with Guber, and Kenny Smith talking with ESPN staffers. AEG’s Michael Roth said last night’s game was bigger than an NBA Finals game in terms of buzz and demand. Jim Gray, Lesley Visser and Ed Desser held court in the hours before the game, trying to come up with a current great player who is universally beloved. Gray’s pick: Steph Curry.

    OAKLAND’S FINEST: Lacob and Guber were a hit with the Congress crowd, entertaining with stories about life in the NBA hours before their team set an NBA record for wins in a season. We laughed at their story of an NBA conference call – complete with a spot-on imitation of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.  On their new arena, which opens in ’19, Lacob said: "There is no arena in S.F. It really changes the enterprise, in terms of what you are and the way you need to think about your future as a basketball team." Guber: "What do you do with the other 310 nights, just shut the lights out? ... You have to fill it with benefits for a wider range audience. It requires the organization to be very nimble, to begin thinking of itself in a wider aspect.”

    BTW, the Warriors game was playing on the second screen in Anschutz’s suite, and though most eyes were on Kobe, guests did pay attention to what was happening in Oakland.

    SOCIAL LOVE: Twitter loved the Warriors execs, too. A sample:
    @michaelaneuman: Peter Guber quickly becoming the “must hear” speaker @ #sportsbiz conferences, honest, quotable, insightful
    @Lopey: Easy to understand why the Warriors are successful listening to Peter Guber & Joe Lacob. Their vision/passion is inspirational
    @catherine_CSM: These two are as funny as they are smart. Peter Guber & Joe Lacob are highlights thus far.

    SEEN AND HEARD: With rock star-like status, we couldn’t help but notice the line of attendees waiting to talk to Riot Games cofounder Marc Merrill following his on-stage interview yesterday afternoon. We also noticed Anschutz working the room and engaging with some of our Champions class: Joe Cohen, Jeremy Jacobs and Roger Penske.

    DID HE SAY THAT?: Fox Sports’ Jamie Horowitz became a Twitter star yesterday morning when he bashed the flagship show at his former employer. Speaking of “SportsCenter,” he said, “If you look at recent trends, they’ve lost 30 percent of the audience in the last five years. And among younger viewers, it’s 40 percent. That’s a staggering fall. I would be a little worried if I were them…..There has been a seismic shift in how people consume content. If you want to see a highlight, you’re not going wait eight hours to see it.” Moderator Abe Madkour followed up by saying, “With all due respect, what hit show have you created at Fox?”

    YES, WE HAVE NO DEAL: Fox Networks’ head honcho Peter Rice talked about his company’s carriage battle with Comcast, and he accused the cable operator of having ulterior motives. “With Comcast, there are lots of other moving pieces going on,” he said. “I don’t think it’s specifically about the price of the Yankees in that market. It wasn’t last season.”

    WHAT’S YOUR QUESTION?: Yesterday’s World Congress crowd may have set a record for the most questions submitted to our moderators. Help us keep it going today and make sure we get to the topics that are important to you. Send a question to our moderators through the event app (link below), at pollev.com/sbjsbd, or by sending SBJSBD to 22-333 to join our text messaging system.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: There were 561 posts yesterday using our #sbjwcs hashtag, leading to an impressive 7.4 million impressions. Among our most-influential tweeters: @sethdavishoops, @stubhub and @USATF. And thanks to our most frequent tweeters: @AGMSports, @LarryChiang, @ScottyKellman and @joefav.
    Among the tweets we liked:
    @StevePacheco: There are 800 people here. And 2000 smart phones.
    @JeffYocom: Abnormally excited about this session on creating corporate culture of transformation & innovation.
    And Visser had one of the most retweeted quotes of the day. An example:
    @Catherine_CSM: Sometimes you have to cross when it says don’t walk – Lesley Visser’s mom as told by Lesley

    GIVE IT AWAY, GIVE IT AWAY NOW: Be sure to drop your business card off at conference sponsor Ticket Galaxy's booth in the exhibit hall. Ticket Galaxy will give away two premium tickets to an event of your choice, valued up to $250. 

    LIVE FROM WORLD CONGRESS: We’re partnering with NeuLion for live interviews from a studio set in the main exhibit hall. You can see the interviews live or on-demand at WorldCongressLive.NeuLion.com. Among those scheduled to appear today: Todd Goldstein, Bill McDermott, Laura Gentile, Kristin Lemkau and James Pallotta

    FOLLOW THIS: Keep up with the conference through our social feeds. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/sbjsbd, and on Twitter at @SBJSBD and using the hashtag #sbjwcs. Also check out our Instagram feed.

    AGENDA, SPEAKERS, ETC.: Be sure to download the app for easy access to the agenda and speaker bios, and to send questions to our panel moderators. You can also view the program guide online.  

    UP NEXT: HONORING THE FORTY: Tonight we’ll hold the annual banquet to honor our newest class of the Forty Under 40, with hosts Colin Cowherd and Kristine Leahy. Look for a report in tomorrow’s email.

    Tags: ING, GE, ACC, CAA, ESPN, AEG, Gatorade, Staples, CES, Media
  • Live from World Congress: Big day (and night!) in L.A.

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    GOOD MORNING! 800-plus at World Congress...Warriors' Lacob & Guber talk (potential) history...Speaking of history, who's in for Kobe's finale? ... Seen and spotted at the JW Marriott ... Cranes dot the LA Skyline ...

    THE PLACE TO BE: More than 800 people descend on the JW Marriott at LA Live today for the 2016 CAA World Congress of Sports. Owners and marketers, media and league execs, Hollywood heavy hitters and many more will join us to talk about the hot topics of the day. It all kicks off this morning at 8:15 local time. The forecast calls for sun and 72 degrees, so leave the umbrella at home. That’s what we get for holding a conference in L.A. You can thank us later.

    OFF TO A GREAT START: About 125 speakers and special guests took over the 3rd floor for a reception at CAA headquarters last night at 2000 Avenue of the Stars in Century City. CAA Sports co-heads Howie Nuchow and Mike Levine welcomed the group, with Nuchow saying, "Growing up in the business, this was the event we all aspired to be a part of. Everyone we looked up to was speaking at this, so it's special to be a part of it." Attendees who mingled in a gathering that flowed to the outside balcony included SBJ Champions recipients Roger Penske (with Penske Racing's Jonathan Gibson), Joe Cohen, Lesley Visser and her husband, Bob Kanuth, and Jeremy Jacobs with his wife, Peg. Others spotted throughout the night: A slew of CAA execs, including President Richard Lovett, Rob Light, Nick Khan, Pat Brisson, Paul Danforth, Greg Luckman, Michael Mand and more; MLS Commissioner Don Garber and MLS’s Gary Stevenson; Proskauer's Joe Leccese and Brad Ruskin; Covington's Doug Gibson and Peter Zern; DLA Piper's Peter White, Chuck Baker and Mark Whitaker; ESPN's Hannah Storm, Rachel Nichols, Jalen Rose and Connor Schell; A-B/InBev's Lucas Herscovici; JPMorgan Chase CMO Kristin Lemkau, Sporting KC's Robb Heineman, Fox's Eric Shanks and Larry Jones; Modell's Sporting Goods' Mitch Modell (who has dropped more than 100 pounds!); SBJ/SBD'S Richard Weiss, Abe Madkour, Jim Sullivan and Julie Tuttle; actress and entrepreneur Alyssa Milano; AEG's Todd Goldstein and Michael Roth. Diners snacked on chicken parm strudels, filet mignon skewers, lamb chops, shrimp with melon and cucumber rolls.

    Picked-up pieces: Lovett sharing with Brisson how excited he is about the start of playoff hockey; Brisson talking about going old school at the Guns 'N Roses reunion show at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas; Storm on her plans to host ESPN's tributes around Kobe Bryant's final game before taking her daughter to the Coachella Festival (just dropping her off, not attending) ... Guests were given gift bags as well as their own pairs of Toms eyewear/glasses.

    AHEAD FOR TODAY: Get ready to hear about the top issues and trends in sports, including: Where does sports fit into the entertainment vision of Fox Networks Group’s Peter Rice and Randy Freer? And which TV personalities does Fox Sports’ Jamie Horowitz have in mind to help reach his goal to “embrace debate” on the network? What does A-B/InBev’s Herscovici believe is the next big engagement opportunity in sports? How is the NBPA’s Michele Roberts’ relationship with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver developing as they get ready for CBA talks? And, of course, we’ll ask everybody about e-sports, one of the hottest segments of the industry.

    Proskauer’s Leccese will show off his knack for getting into the details when he talks to four owners about the challenges of running a team today. Chiefs and FC Dallas Chair Clark Hunt will chime in on the NFL’s return to L.A., and Orlando City SC Founder Phil Rawlins will offer a glimpse behind that team’s smashing success in its inaugural season (which earned a Sports Business Award nomination for Team of the Year).

    OUR TRAILER: ESPN’s Sage Steele will sit with CAA’ Lovett to discuss the agency’s current plans and future growth – and we’re sure he’ll have a thought or two on The Hollywood Reporter’s cover story on WME-IMG... Five of our 2016 class of six Champions of Sports Business will join us today: Joe Cohen, Jeremy Jacobs, Bob Lanier, Roger Penske and Lesley Visser. They’ll surely motivate and inspire. To set the table, read our profiles of this year’s class of The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business.

    FROM THE SILICON STARS: Little did we know when we confirmed the appearance of Warriors execs Joe Lacob and Peter Guber months ago that their team would be shooting for the NBA record book. Everyone’s talking about whether the team can get to the magic number 73 when they play the Grizzlies tonight at Oakland’s Oracle Arena. Kudos to them for sticking to their commitment when they obviously have so many demands on their time. The two will sit with Abe Madkour to discuss their POV on the sports-and-entertainment landscape during a featured interview at 10:25 a.m.

    By the way, if you missed the N.Y. Times Magazine feature on the Warriors, you can read it here.

    NO QUIET RIOT: In addition to fielding questions, Guber will bring his own adroit interviewing skills – seen so well in AMC’s classic “Sunday Morning Shootout” with Peter Bart – to the Congress and take the stage with Marc Merrill, co-founder and president of Riot Games. With everyone trying to get a sense of the e-sports landscape, our Guber & Merrill shootout will be one you won’t want to miss.

    WHAT’S YOUR QUESTION?: Help us make sure we get to the topics that are important to you. Send a question to our moderators through the event app (link below), at pollev.com/sbjsbd, or by sending SBJSBD to 22-333 to join our text messaging system.

    SPOTTED AND OVERHEARD: AEG’s Phil Anschutz sharing a meal with the Ritz Carlton's GM/VP Javier Cano in LA Live at the Japanese restaurant Katsuya...Delaware North's Boston Holdings CEO Charlie Jacobs with TD Garden President Amy Latimer and BofA's Jim Nash sharing a table and chatting in the lobby bar before before Jacobs' dad is honored today...Omnigon's Dave Nugent with Sports Media Advisors' Doug Perlman chatting after a group dinner at The Palm...New Legends CMO Nicole Jeter West getting a hug from former MSG colleague Ron Skotarczak ...Team Epic's Mike Reissman and WME-IMG's Ed Horne getting in a late afternoon workout on Tuesday...Former coach and ESPN analyst Hubie Brown checking in at the front desk ... Also at the lobby bar: Patrick Rishe, Forbes contributor and director of the sports biz program at Washington Univ.; media consultant Ben Grossman; Fox Sports’ Lou D’Ermilio talking with SBJ staff writer John Ourand, Meier Raivich, NBA great and SBJ Champion Bob Lanier, comScore Sports’ Tom Sommer, Ascendant Sports’ Gordon Kane and Doug Hall ... Per veteran sports marketer Joe Favorito, who was one of many enjoying the sidewalk coffee shop scene, on Twitter: “1st unique sighting for tomorrows @sbjsbd #sbjwcs in LA; #Clippers Chris Anderson hobnobbing with [SBJ staff writer] Terry Lefton @Starbucks, lol.”

    East Coast-based attendees were raving yesterday as they checked in about the ease of travel heading west. The typical strong headwinds were absent, and many reported landing at LAX a half hour or more ahead of schedule.

    ON TAP FOR TONIGHT: Proskauer hosting cocktails and dinner at Faith & Flower ... AEG with a Kobe watch party at Lucky Strikes at L.A. Live, complete with bowling, beer and bar food ... and our own World Congress networking reception, complete with a special cocktail ordered up by sponsor GSP.

    If you have a gathering, a menu or a happening that should be on our radar, let us know. We'd love to share it with the sports business community.

    THE VIEW TO SEE: If you get a chance in the next few days, grab a cocktail at WP24 in the Ritz Carlton. (Elevators to the restaurant are connected to a walkway from the JW Marriott lobby). It offers stunning views of L.A., the famed Hollywood sign, the lineup of planes into LAX and even Marina Del Ray and Santa Monica. It also offers a visual road map of the future of the city's downtown. In every direction, you see cranes, and the construction of one skyscraper after another (including the Korean Airlines-owned hotel nearby that will be the tallest in the city). In addition, it's a great perch from which to see the footprint of L.A. Live and AEG's plans for growth. We can testify to the food, too. Our rave faves included the Tempura Green Beans, Bao Buns, Lobster Spring Rolls and Da-Dan Dumplings.

    KOBE’S FINALE: We can save you some time and energy. No, we don’t have any tickets to Kobe Bryant’s final home game tonight. Maybe try your friends at the Lakers or AEG? The last time we checked secondary prices were going for anywhere from $612 on the low end (via Ticket Exchange) to $13,889 on the high end (via StubHub). ESPN’s @ArashMarkazi put the ticket frenzy into perspective on Twitter: “There's a ticket in section 310 selling for $989 for Kobe's last game. That's the same price of a season ticket in that same seat.”

    As for the other L.A. teams in town this week, the Clippers held their regular-season finale last night, beating Memphis by a score of 110-84, and the D-backs are in town for three games with the Dodgers. L.A. opened the home stand last night with a 4-2 loss. (The D-Backs are also staying at the JW Marriott, in case you see a few athletic types who look familiar.)

    WE HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE...: ... and it may look a lot like a group of 10 students who will be joining us today. Conference sponsor Eventellect awarded scholarships that give students a chance to mingle with leaders of the industry. Keep an eye out for them and maybe give them a few minutes of your time. The students and their schools are:
    Tatianna Carthorn, Mount Union; Lindsey Hutterer, Penn State; Kristen Rollerson, Louisville; Hannah McDonald, Ball State; Roberto Bagnato, Laurentian; Paaton Karel, Memphis; Jerron Wheeler, South Florida; Ryan Gordon, Drexel; Justin Waite, Pennsylvania; Ignatius Michael Ingles, Georgetown.

    WORLD CONGRESS NEWSMAKERS: The people on our speaker roster tend to make a lot of news. Here are recent stories that caught our eye:
    — The L.A. Times sayd Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten and other team execs need to “restore their credibility” by striking a new TV deal for Vin Scully’s final year. Under Kasten, the Dodgers have also bolstered the size of the front office, creating what he says is “an unusually collegial atmosphere.” Kasten is on our Day 1 opening panel.
    — Chiefs CEO Hunt says the team will take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to marketing to Rams fans who just lost their team.
    — Vanity Fair has an excerpt from James Andrew Miller’s oral history of CAA.
    — Lacob talks about team ownership: “People want to know that the owner cares.”
    — From VR to netting, Sam Kennedy and the Red Sox have plenty new at the ballpark.

    GIVE IT AWAY, GIVE IT AWAY, GIVE IT AWAY NOW: Be sure to drop your business card off at conference sponsor Ticket Galaxy's booth in the exhibit hall. Ticket Galaxy will give away two premium tickets to an event of your choice, valued up to $250.

    LIVE FROM WORLD CONGRESS: We’re partnering with NeuLion for live interviews from a studio set in the main exhibit hall. You can see the interviews live or on-demand at WorldCongressLive.NeuLion.com. Among those scheduled to appear today: Herscovici, Roberts, Guber, Lacob, Penske, Jacobs, Rawlins and Roth.

    FOLLOW THIS: Keep up with the conference through our social feeds. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/sbjsbd, and on Twitter at @SBJSBD and using the hashtag #sbjwcs. Also check out our Instagram feed.

    AGENDA, SPEAKERS, ETC.: Be sure to download the app for easy access to the agenda and speaker bios, and to send questions to our panel moderators. You can also view the program guide online.

    Tags: ING, Marriott, CAA, World Congress of Sports Dont use ever, Media, GE, ATT, Champion, Champions, MLS, CES, ESPN, JPMorgan Chase, Fox, Dell, AEG
  • CBS, Turner extend deal for NCAA tourney to 2032

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    CBS and Turner Sports said today that they’ve extended their joint deal with the NCAA another eight years to 2032 for the men’s basketball tournament.

    The additional eight years are being valued at $8.8 billion total, or $1.1 billion per year. That’s a big leap from the $771.4 million average annual rights fee in the original 14-year contract, which was signed in 2010 and runs through 2024.

    The NCAA’s rights include TV, digital and marketing/sponsorship for the tournament. Turner and CBS will maintain the same shared financial and programming structure as they’ve had for the first six years of the deal.

    “The NCAA tournament has exceeded all of our expectations on every metric,” Turner President David Levy told SportsBusiness Journal today. “We’re way ahead of where we thought we’d be six years ago and that’s why we wanted to get this done.”

    Talks to extend the deal began in October when CBS/Turner and the NCAA opened up negotiations as part of a contractual look-in. SportsBusiness Journal reported in December that talks had centered on an extension to 2032.

    Those negotiations were finalized in Houston at the April 2-4 Final Four and signed shortly thereafter, despite historically low TV ratings for the three games, which were telecast on Turner. It marked the first time the championship game had been on cable TV.

    The dramatic April 4 final between Villanova and North Carolina on Turner pulled a 10.6 rating, or 17.75 million viewers, across TBS, TNT and truTV, down 34 percent from last year’s 16.0 rating for Duke-Wisconsin on CBS. But Turner, which manages the digital rights through March Madness Live, remains bullish on the growth of its digital and overall audience. MML generated a record 18.1 million hours of live viewing for this year’s tournament across more than 10 digital platforms.

    Despite the TV ratings, both Levy and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said this year’s March Madness generated the most revenue during the time they have shared the NCAA’s rights, and that it was profitable. The terms of the extension are intended to keep it profitable.

    “We weren’t going to do a deal unless it was financially responsible and profitable. This is,” McManus said. Levy added: “It certainly is profitable.”

    The growth in rights fees marks an important step for the NCAA. Such a long-term deal represents financial predictability and growth for the college game’s governing body.

    The current deal provides the NCAA with substantial annual increases, from $740 million this year to $761 million in 2017, $782 million in 2018, $804 million in 2019, and $827 million in 2020. But those increases flatten over the final few years of the original contract, NCAA President Mark Emmert said. Some of the money from the extension will be used to beef up the numbers near the end of the current deal.

    “We needed to address that, and the extension does,” Emmert said. “That financial security and predictability is very important to the membership. … It’s obviously critical that we get it right [in the extension]. We have 90 championships, but only one — basketball — generates virtually all of the revenue that comes into the association and goes back out to the schools.”

    Emmert said the NCAA has been pleased with the way Turner and CBS have jointly presented the tournament and the desire to extend overrode any considerations to let the contract play out and go back to the marketplace in eight years.

    Turner pays close to 70 percent of the rights fee.

    “For our three organizations to come together the way we do on the tournament, it’s maybe unprecedented,” Emmert said. “We felt very comfortable continuing with such a unique partnership.”

    Given the changing media landscape, Turner and CBS wanted to make sure they had a long-term grip on the NCAA’s rights, no matter what the future might hold.

    “There are very few premier sports properties out there that can produce the kind of value the NCAA tournament delivers to our distributors, our advertisers and our consumers,” Levy said. “This event captivates the nation for three weeks unlike anything else in sports. When you have the opportunity to re-up a contract like this — the linear TV, the marks, the rights — and distribute on many different platforms, these things make us very comfortable to know this event is something you want in your portfolio, no matter where the TV ecosystem goes.”

    Both sides said that CBS will have all three games for the Final Four in 2017, while Turner will have the Final Four in 2018, and they’ll continue to alternate through the contract.

    The sides said they did not discuss expanding the tournament field.

    Emmert credited the NCAA’s Mark Lewis, executive vice president for championships and alliances, and Dan Gavitt, vice president of men’s basketball, for directing much of the negotiations.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Symmonds targets USOC, USATF with lawsuit

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    Two-time U.S. Olympian Nick Symmonds
    The legal team behind O’Bannon v. NCAA is now targeting the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Track & Field.

    Hausfeld LLP Partner Sathya Gosselin filed suit today in U.S. District Court in Oregon, accusing both bodies of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by restricting sponsor advertising at the U.S. Olympic Trials in July.

    The only plaintiff is Run Gum, a caffeinated gum company co-founded by two-time Olympic 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds. An outspoken athletes rights advocate, Symmonds quit the 2015 IAAF World Championships team amid a marketing dispute with the USATF and called the suit part of a larger mission.

    “This is round three of 12 that I will fight over the course of my career or my lifespan,” Symmonds said.

    The lawsuit targets USATF and USOC rules prohibiting athletes from wearing corporate logos at the Olympic Trials, except for the standard marks of approved equipment or clothing manufacturers. Run Gum is seeking an injunction to invalidate the rules, allowing it to advertise on competition clothing worn by endorsed athletes, Gosselin said.

    “We think that this will benefit both the sport and athletes, in that the current practice pushes down the prices paid to individual athletes for individual sponsorships, and necessarily reduces the number of sponsors,” Gosselin said. If the suit prevails, Gosselin said, hundreds of companies could offer athlete sponsorships that activate at the Trials, rather than the few dozen equipment or apparel makers today.

    USATF spokeswoman Jill Geer said: "We are unaware of the lawsuit and have not been served. In any circumstance, we do not comment on pending litigation."

    The USOC also had not seen the suit and declined comment.

    In general, the Olympic movement desires competition venues with limited commercial presence, and the USOC and its member governing bodies follow that theme at the Trials. The Olympic Trials are owned by the USOC but run by individual governing bodies through a management agreement. An international guideline known as Rule 50 restricts athlete advertising during competitions, but it doesn’t apply to Olympic Trials. “Rule 50 by its own terms does not reach anything other than the Olympic Games,” Gosselin said.

    The Federal Amateur Sports Act of 1978 grants the USOC a monopoly over the administration of Olympic sports and intellectual property. But, Gosselin argues, the Trials’ rules fall “well outside” the law’s purview.

    Symmonds says he’s “very pleased” with sponsorship rules at most USATF events, but the Trials are a uniquely valuable marketing property in the sport. The Olympic Trials are slated for July 1-10 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., and will enjoy extensive coverage on NBC and NBCSN. “At least for the purposes of the United States, it’s the Super Bowl of track and field,” Gosselin said.

    Hausfeld lawyers have been eyeing the Olympic movement for possible legal action, Gosselin said. The firm helped former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon successfully challenge the NCAA on antitrust grounds in 2014, paving the way for many college athletes to receive cost-of-attendance stipends.

    “My firm has been receiving complaints over the last 12 months or so from professional track and field athletes who really feel there are inequities in the sport, and that athletes aren’t receiving a fair share of the revenues that USATF and its corporate sponsors are seeing as the sport of track and field increases in popularity,” Gosselin said.

    To date, Symmonds and his fellow athlete’s rights advocates have focused on athlete income. But as this case makes clear, Symmonds thinks corporations are being wronged, too. At 32, Symmonds will compete at the Trials for probably the last time and he’s trying to expand Run Gum.

    “We estimate there’s about 1,200 athletes competing, and 60 percent will not have an official deal with a shoe company,” Symmonds said. “That’s 720 athletes we’d like to work with, and they’re not able to court sponsors.”

    Run Gum has discussed sponsorship deals with some track and field athletes but has not yet signed any.

    Tags: USOC, Law and Politics, Olympics
  • Day 1 of NFL owners meeting features Iger presentation

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    SportsBusiness Journal/Daily’s Daniel Kaplan is in Houston for this week’s NFL owners meeting on possible franchise relocation to Los Angeles. He filed this report on today’s activities.

    Covering an NFL owners meeting is never easy: chasing after owners, being restricted on where you can go, getting people to talk (or not). But this week’s NFL owners meeting in Houston on Los Angeles relocation — it’s unique in its own right.

    First, the media is not even allowed on the same floor as the owners, so the usual news-gathering techniques are out the door. Second, more than 200 media representatives were credentialed for this meeting. To give an idea of how big that is, that’s more than for an annual meeting, and far and away more than other meetings through the year.

    Many outlets sent multiple reporters, ranging from local newspapers whose hometowns may lose a team to ESPN.

    Bob Iger is surrounded by reporters on Tuesday.
    Perhaps the highlight of the day for the media was when Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, who would run the Carson project proposed by the Raiders and Chargers, chose to go to the media level Starbucks for a cappuccino. He was swarmed by dozens of media members — and conducted an interview at the Starbucks counter (see picture).

    “You guys are desperate,” he said jokingly as he left. (For the record, he also said he thinks momentum is behind the Carson effort and that owners are ready to make a decision.)

    Most meetings also don’t come with Dr. Death outside holding up signs, something that is surely bewildering motorists passing by the Westin Houston, Memorial City, where the meetings are being held. (For those not familiar: Dr. Death is the 28-year-old Raiders superfan who has been at almost as many league meetings this year as Raiders games). In all, there were a dozen fan protesters on-site today: nine Raiders fans, two Rams fans and one lonely Chargers fan.

    How do I know this is a special meeting though? Easy. Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen is here. By my count, it’s his third meeting in 10 years, with there being on average four or five meetings a year. The first was in August 2006, outside Chicago, when owners voted in Roger Goodell as the league’s new commissioner. The second was in July 2011, in Atlanta, when owners approved a new collective-bargaining agreement after a 4 1/2-month lockout. And then there’s now, January 2016, in Houston.

    Of course, there’s been news today as well. SportsBusinessDaily was the first outlet to report that the league’s Los Angeles committee voted to approve the Carson project over the Inglewood project. (Sources said it was 5 to 1 in favor, with the one being Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt).

    As for Iger, we knew he would be here for the presentation but not that he would take the lead role on Carson’s behalf. No knock against Rams President Kevin Demoff, who made the presentation for that franchise’s desired new home in Inglewood, but it must not have been easy to go up against the man who runs arguably the top entertainment brand in the world.

    What’s next? There’s a lot of talk about whether this could all end tonight, even with the meeting scheduled to run through tomorrow. That’s doubtful, though: 24 votes are needed for approval, and more politicking is necessary — and with more time comes pressure and leverage.

    The L.A. committee vote is important, and in all the years I have covered the league I have never seen full ownership reject a committee recommendation. That said, this is an unprecedented situation, so if there were to be a first, this could be it.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Video of the Week: Stories of the Year

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    Executive Editor Abe Madkour takes a look at the stories, people and issues that made news this year, and talks about what we'll be looking for in 2016. 

    Tags: OTG Video, In The Studio
  • Sports Business WakeUp!: A new day for college sports

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    A DIFFERENT DAY: Change has come to college sports. It may be gradual, it may be overdue, and there’s much more on the way. But the consensus is that there is a different environment – for the NCAA, for the Power 5 and for everyone else. A clear focus by speakers during Day 1 of the ’15 IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum was the well-being of the student athlete – over time demands, health and wellness, player safety and other issues. In terms of governance, there remain questions about the future role of the NCAA, and while most believe there is a future, that future will be different. As former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said at the end of the day, “We need the NCAA to be helpful. To be helpful.”

    Now, more from day one and what to look for on Thursday:

    EMMERT TIPS OFF: NCAA President Mark Emmert, fighting a head cold and sore throat and carrying green tea with him to the stage, opened the Forum in a one-on-one interview with SBJ/SBD Exec Editor Abe Madkour, setting the tone for many of the topics discussed during the rest of the day. Emmert clearly had a mission in his remarks – a resolute focus on the well-being of the student athlete and a stress on admission standards that will ensure academic success for today’s athletes. He also touched on the one-and-done rule in college basketball, calling the NBA's requirement for players to attend college for one year before going pro “utterly antithetical” to the NCAA’s mission, and on the need to give student athletes more time off. “I’d try to find blocks of time for students,” he said, “whether it’s a day or two a week, whether it’s a block of time in the postseason or a block of time in the summer, where they don’t have any athletic responsibilities. And we’ve failed to do that for them.” Emmert is consistently on message, and you can see that in our expanded writeup on his remarks in SportsBusiness Daily.

    MEDIA DAY: Roughly 15 members of the national media surrounded Emmert outside the ballroom after his appearance on stage. Among the questions asked by reporters:
            – Should the NCAA determine whether an athlete’s high school is good enough academically? Emmert: “Our membership has got to decide if they want a national association to verify that a high school is legitimate. Nobody is advocating that right now.”
            – It seems like every time a group of athletes speaks out or takes action, rules change quickly. Is that the case? Emmert said rules take a long time to change, and that there is no cause and effect. “We had a young man stand up [at a tournament] and say he went to bed hungry the night before, and the next week the food rules changed. That change had been in the works for two years,” and was up for a vote the next week.
            – Is it appropriate for so many 5-7 teams to be invited to bowl games? Emmert: “The football oversight committee is already having engaged conversations about that. As long as you’ve got 40 bowls, you have to have 80 teams to play in them. Our members have to decide if all of these bowls serve a purpose. The thing I’ll be nagging on is: Is this a good experience for students?”
            In addition, there were large media contingents around commissioners Bob Bowlsby, Greg Sankey and John Swofford, and the NCAA’s Oliver Luck.

    FROM THE HUDDLE: Four college football players gave attendees a close look at what it’s like to be an athlete on campus. Led by ESPN’s Jay Williams, a former Duke basketball star, the players talked about everything from paying athletes to the time demands that prohibit some players from selecting the major they want. The panelists were clear on the benefits of their scholarships. Said Baylor's Spencer Drango: “[That] I’m halfway through a master’s degree with no student debt at all is unbelievable. …You can start with a clean slate when you get out." But they were also willing to talk about the tough issues they face. The players, all members of the 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, were Ohio State center Jacoby Boren, Mississippi State defensive back Taveze Calhoun, Baylor offensive tackle Drango and Kent State safety Jordan Italiano. They were also finalists for the NFF’s Campbell Trophy, which is awarded to the top football scholar-athlete in the country. Read more in today’s SBD.

    NO LACK OF INTENSITY: New SEC Commissioner Sankey touched on the workload of a conference leader. Since taking over in June for the legendary Slive, Sankey said he’s been struck by “the pace and intensity. It never stops. That has caused a narrowing of focus, and you never get away from it. So you have to reconfigure how you manage your energy and your day.” Joining Sankey on the commissioner panel were the ACC’s Swofford and the Big 12’s Bowlsby. Not surprisingly, they spent a lot of time discussing – and defending – the College Football Playoff system (and, of course, all were bullish on it!), while also covering topics as varied as social activism and selling alcohol at sporting events.

    GUILT BY ASSOCIATION: Former U.S. Congressman and 11-year NBA player Tom McMillen spoke publicly about his new role as CEO of the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association. He stressed the need for athletic directors at the highest level to pull together in order to move their industry forward. “There needs to be a stronger and more powerful and more unified voice of athletic directors with respect to college sports,” McMillen said. “We are going to see a tipping point over the next few years in college sports – litigation, player rights … there are a lot of things happening. But we want to preserve a lot of the great things in college sports and want to make it even better.”

    STORYTELLING: McMillen touched on his fascinating background as a student-athlete and NBA player. A couple of fun anecdotes:
            — He got all "A's" when he attended the Univ. of Maryland, but had one "B." It’s interesting that his "B" was in "Speech and Speaking," as the Rhodes Scholar is engaging on stage. He talked about why he believes he got the "B." "My photo was on the front page of the Washington Post, standing right next to President Nixon, when I was named to the President's Council On Fitness,” he said. “My Speech professor was very much against the Vietnam War and very anti-government policy at that time, and I believe she felt I was too close to President Nixon."
            Another interesting note: Asked who was the toughest player to take on in the NBA, he said, "Larry Bird. Maybe not surprising. But I found him a very challenging player for me to defend."

    SPEAKER GETS THE MOST LAUGHS: The always-engaging Chris Del Conte, AD at TCU, had the audience constantly laughing during a presentation on the branding and design of the school’s Hall of Fame and facilities. Asked about possibly selling naming rights to sections of the Hall of Fame, he said, "I'm like NASCAR, I'll sell everything. The bathroom … everywhere." Asked about the cost of the project, he mocked a whipping sound: "Thank you, sir, may I have another??!! These guys (pointing to developer Advent) took me to the cleaners. … Ha! But don't let cost get in the way of a good story. It was a lot!"

    AND THE IAF’S BEST DRESSED: Del Conte was rocking the purple-and-white colors of his Horned Frog program, with a stylish purple blazer, purple tie and purple handkerchief to go with a white dress shirt, trendy jeans and brown boots. He probably also deserves his own Quote Board. Here are two things we heard often during the presentation: “No bueno,” and “Ha!” (On the latter, think of the staccato voice of Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman.”)

    THE COMMISH ENDS THE DAY: Former SEC Commissioner Slive and SEC Network personality Paul Finebaum closed the first day with a lively 30-minute conversation that started with an update on Slive’s health. His energetic response brought applause from the audience. “Cancer is a competitor,” he said, “like any other competitor. I’ll be damned if it’s going to get me. Being here is part of that battle.” Slive was relaxed and in good spirits and clearly enjoyed playing off the questions of his friend Finebaum. He touched on his legacy, role of the NCAA, the success of the CFP and the attributes of leadership. “Leadership, to me, is really about being a decent human being and caring for people,” he said. His litmus test for leadership: “How you treat people who can’t do anything for you.” It was a feel-good session and a fascinating look at a man who accomplished so much in college sports.

    CREATING A STIR: Two of the remarks at the Forum that got the most media attention came from the morning’s AD panel, which included North Carolina State’s Debbie Yow and Alabama’s Bill Battle. They managed to ignite a social media firestorm when talking about their efforts to educate athletes on financial responsibility, related to the athletes’ new income from Cost of Attendance stipends. ”You know you’ve failed when you see them on their new hoverboards,” Yow said. To which Battle added: “Or tattoos and rims.” Battle later had to clarify his comments to AL.com, but that didn’t stop the momentum, as the story was picked up and carried forward by media as varied as Deadspin and Syracuse.com. "It was a frivolous statement that was meant to be cute,” Battle said.

    SEEN AND HEARD: Before the formal program launched Wednesday morning, IMG College and Veritix hosted a breakfast for athletic directors. USF’s Mark Harlan and Ole Miss’ Ross Bjork, who used to work together at UCLA, shared stories over coffee about the Rebels’ new basketball arena with Appalachian State’s Doug Gillin. Tim Pernetti, from IMG College and a former AD at Rutgers, spoke briefly to welcome the group and spent time with the NCAA’s Mark Lewis and Oliver Luck. And data analytics experts Michael Thompson from Ole Miss and Texas A&M’s Jason Cook shared stories in advance of their panel later in the day. … Sankey is known for his workout routine, but the commissioner was visibly frustrated by his lack of gym time recently due to his travel and crazy schedule, and predicted he wouldn't get in a solid workout until Friday. “And then I'll really feel it." …. Big 12 boss Bowlsby was in a clearly better place than last year at this time, when the Big 12 was absent from the inaugural College Football Playoff. Having Oklahoma in the CFP brought an easy smile and relaxed vibe during his appearance. “I was in a patently unhappy place last year,” he said, “so it was a relatively low bar.”… Slive and his daughter Anna, who accompanied him to the event, both got a hug from Finebaum when they walked into the speaker room.


    CHECKING IN WITH DAVID STERN: Since he retired from the NBA after three decades as commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, David Stern has been consulting, traveling and continually studying the latest technologies. Stern will sit with Madkour to start the morning in what should be a wide-ranging interview touching on everything from Stern's view of today's athlete, daily fantasy, gaming, the future of e-sports and the growth of the global sports economy.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN DAY TWO: Six national media members will offer their perspective on the state of college sports -- everything from the health of the bowl system, to the CFP, to how college basketball can be rejuvenated and women’s sports can get better media coverage; athletic directors Jack Swarbrick, Kevin White, Ray Anderson and Shane Lyons will discuss the impact of autonomy on their jobs and institutions; another session will examine how to build out a big event and entertainment strategy on campus; and the Forum will close with a look at the latest trends in college sponsorships.

    – Emmert: “People think schools play sports because they make so much money on it, and they absolutely don’t.”
    – Ohio State center Boren: “At some point, we're not regular students. [Regular students] don't get death threats if they mess up in the game. They don't get hate mail.”
    – Swofford, on athletes taking stands on social issues: “We don’t live in a vacuum in the sports world. And I recall Dean Smith, who often said that he hopes that sports leads society and doesn’t just reflect it.”
    – Kansas State President and NCAA BOG Chair Kirk Schulz: “The NCAA is perceived as the IRS. But we’ve reformed.”
    – Slive, on the state of college athletics: “Do we have the fortitude, do we have the courage to keep [college athletics] in perspective? It has to be part of higher education.”

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: Social media traffic was great throughout the day, resulting in #SBJIAF trending on Twitter across the country. Click here to see all of the tweets from yesterday. Here are some that we liked:

    @RealJayWilliams: So excited to host the #SBJIAF & do a panel discussion with 4 amazing athletes. @Espn
    @JasonBelzer: 8 of the 25 individuals ranked in @Forbes Most Powerful People In College Sports will be speaking at #SBJIAF forbes.com/sites/jasonbel…
    @LinaTaylorInt: The student athlete perspective. It's really all about them so involving them in the conversation is key. #SBJIAF pic.twitter.com/e2Irpb5hvi
    @GregSankey: In a cab heading to #SBJIAF after finishing a morning meeting on #SECStoried...don't start the panel without me! pic.twitter.com/VgD3igDfXG
    @D1Ticker: Will the NCAA be around in 2020? Bit of a pause from Sankey/Bowlsby/Swofford, but "no indication otherwise." So, yes.
    @Kstate_pres: I enjoyed visiting with @bradwolverton in a wide ranging conversation at #SBJIAF about @NCAA & D1 athletics

    And many thanks to some frequent tweeters who kept the conversation going: @bradwolverton, @JasonBelzer and @D1ticker.

    DROP CARDS, WIN PRIZES: Several sponsors are holding giveaways during this year’s Forum. Just drop your card off for a chance to win.
            Barclays Center announced the winners of its ticket giveaway. Mark Devaney of Langan won two tickets to a Nets game, and Michael Braunfield of Maryville University won two tickets to the ACC/A-10 doubleheader on Dec. 22. Still to come: Networking break sponsor DTI Management will give away a pair of tickets to the NCAA Final Four championship. And breakfast sponsor Ticket Galaxy will award a $500 gift card good toward the purchase of event tickets on TicketGalaxy.com. In addition, official design sponsor HOK will give away an iPad mini.
            Check out the complete list of IAF sponsors and exhibitors.

    CONFERENCE COORDINATES: All of our sessions will be held on the seventh floor of the Marquis. You can get their via the elevators or zoom up on the escalators from the ground floor. Registration, breakfast and exhibits open at 7:45 a.m.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: All the information you need about the conference — agenda, speakers, venue, etc. — can be found in the conference app and the program guide. You can download the app from the iTunes store or the Google Play store, and you can use any device to view our digital program guide.

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the IAF app or by texting ‘SBJSBD’ to 22-333 to join our session. If you are posting tweets or photos, be sure to use the conference hashtag: #SBJIAF. We will recognize the most active and engaging users over the next two days.

    FOLLOW OUR FEEDS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference using our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds.

    Tags: GE, NCAA, CAA, ING, IMG, SEC, CES, Basketball, NBA, ATT
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