Coast to Coast
AFL team to play in 2018
An Albany-area ownership group announced the return of arena football to the city last Tuesday. And the public will have the opportunity to name the AFL team, which will play its 2018 season at Times Union Center. The Albany Firebirds played at Times Union Center from 1990-2000.
United strikes again
For the fourth straight season, MLS set new league attendance records, drawing more than 8.2 million total fans for an average of 22,106 per game, up 1.9 percent over last season and topping the 22,000 mark for the first time. The Seattle Sounders were surpassed by expansion franchise Atlanta United FC this season. Atlanta United set both the North American single-game attendance record, 71,824, and the record for average single-season attendance, 48,200.
Cal partners with Fancards
University Fancards announced its newest deal with the University of California-Berkeley last week. Cal fans can receive a branded prepaid gift card and prepaid reloadable card in the school’s blue and gold. The gift card will be available in early 2018.
The Foo Fighters will return to Fenway in ‘18.
Fenway Park landed the Foo Fighters for its summer concert lineup. The rock band will play a doubleheader at the ballpark July 21 and 22. They will also bring their tour to Wrigley Field later that month. Acts such as Lady Gaga and Billy Joel have also performed at the Red Sox’s home turf.
Queen City loses bid
Charlotte’s bid for the first round of MLS expansion is dead, which was confirmed by the lead investor. Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell, who has supported using tourism tax money to help build a $175 million stadium for a new team, said that both the upcoming elections and a competing bid by Nashville dashed any hopes.
DES MOINES, IOWA
Principal stays in golf business
Principal has renewed its title sponsorship of the Principal Charity Classic through 2023. Principal has served as title sponsor since 2007. The event will continue to play at Wakonda Club. The annual PGA Tour Champions event raised a record $3,581,427 for Iowa children’s charities in 2017.
Nike honored the Patriots' Super Bowl comeback with a one-of-a-kind shoe.
Nike and Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft teamed up to create a one-of-a-kind shoe for the Super Bowl LI rematch earlier this month at Gillette Stadium. The shoe is made of Super Bowl LI game balls and was on display throughout the game weekend at The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon. This one-of-a-kind shoe was designed to commemorate the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl comeback against the Atlanta Falcons.
Verizon to leave IndyCar after 2018 season.
Verizon has chosen not to renew its IndyCar title sponsorship deal that ends after next season, series CEO Mark Miles confirmed on Oct. 20, making the telecom carrier a lame-duck partner for 2018. Verizon’s deal is worth around $10 million annually and started in 2014 after it replaced apparel company Izod.
UFC signs mouthguard partner
Las Vegas-based UFC announced its new multiyear partnership with Opro, a mouthguard manufacturing company. The deal starts in 2018 and was negotiated by IMG. It allows the company to produce UFC-branded mouthguards and provide bespoke guards to the league’s athletes.
The Memphis Grizzlies announced a new multiyear deal with Nike that aims to grow youth basketball and create fun and healthy experiences on the court for kids throughout the city. The alliance names Nike as the presenting partner of the Grizzlies Youth Basketball and GrizzFit platforms and the official athletic apparel and athletic footwear partner of the team.
Heat rides with Uber
Uber is now the Miami Heat’s official ridesharing app. The deal includes an exclusive dropoff zone for Heat fans using Uber to get to games and a designated entrance into AmericanAirlines Arena through Gate 3. The Uber dropoff will be activated for all home games. First-time users can enter the promo code HEAT17 for $20 off an Uber ride.
Bucks’ slam dunk initiative
The Milwaukee Bucks and American Transmission Co. are bringing back their “Trees for Threes” initiative for the 2017-18 season. The Bucks and ATC will sponsor the planting of a new tree in Wisconsin for every 3-pointer the Bucks make at home this season. Last season, the Bucks made 355 threes at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Wolves collaborate with community
The Minnesota Timberwolves announced a new community initiative that will award a $5,000 donation at each of their 41 home games during the 2017-18 season. This initiative will directly distribute more than $200,000 in cash donations. The focus of the gifts will be to recognize people or groups that contribute to the Minnesota community.
Comcast Spectacor, Flyers honor the late Ed Snider with a 9-foot bronze statue.
Comcast Spectacor unveiled a new statue honoring its late founder and former chairman, Ed Snider, outside of the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia. The 9-foot, 1,300-pound bronze statue was created by Chad Fisher of Fisher Sculpture in Dillsburg, Pa. The statue was unveiled on the 50th anniversary of the first Philadelphia Flyers home game. Snider, who passed away from cancer early last year, was the driving force behind the Flyers. He mortgaged his home in 1966 to establish an NHL franchise in Philadelphia.
76ers esports franchise growing
The Philadelphia 76ers have signed Independence Blue Cross as the first sponsor of the team’s NBA 2K esports franchise. Financial terms of the multiyear deal were not disclosed, but the agreement will include exposure and activation within the NBA 2K virtual game/arena during 76ers NBA 2K-designated home games, including courtside LED signage. The deal also includes digital content of NBA 2K players training at the 76ers’ practice facility.
HyperX, 76ers partner
HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, announced its deal with the 76ers as the team’s official gaming headset. HyperX will participate with the 76ers with in-game activation elements, including courtside and in-arena LED ring signage and branding, exposure on the scoreboard, concourse activations and giveaway nights. The 76ers are the first NBA team to partner with the company.
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIF.
Pebble Beach fills up its golf schedule.
USGA officials are bringing the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2027 U.S. Open to Pebble Beach, marking the first time the course will host the women’s championship, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Pebble Beach is also set to host the 2019 U.S. Open to celebrate the course’s 100th anniversary.
Capitals model for good cause
The Washington Capitals participated in the 2018 Capitals Canine Calendar photo shoot last week to benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. Calendars will be available for purchase at the team stores at Capital One Arena and Kettler Capitals Iceplex. They will also be available at team store stands throughout the arena and online.
COAST TO COAST — BEYOND THE COASTS
China seeks soccer growth
Chinese private equity firm Orient Hontai bought a majority stake in Spanish sports rights group Imagina for $1 billion, the latest deal to help transform the Asian country into a global football powerhouse, according to Reuters. Imagina has the rights to distribute La Liga. Imagina Founder & Chair Jaume Roures said Orient Hontai reached a preliminary deal with three of Imagina’s shareholders to buy a 54 percent stake.
Orient Hontai entered into exclusive talks with Imagina’s shareholders back in May. The selling shareholders are Spanish private equity firm Torreal, which holds 23 percent of the share capital, Mexican broadcaster Televisa, which owns 19 percent, and one of the firm’s founders, Gerard Romy, who has 12 percent.
Anti-Doping Agency looks into Chinese doctor’s claims
The World Anti-Doping Agency is looking into allegations made by a German broadcaster that Chinese athletes benefited from systematic doping in the 1980s and 1990s, reported the AP. The accusations were brought forward by former Chinese physician Xue Yinxian, who is said to have looked after several national teams in China during the decades in question. Xue claims more than 10,000 athletes were affected and anyone who was against doping was considered a danger to the country and thus imprisoned.
The 79-year-old Xue said that she lost her job with the national gymnastics team after refusing to treat an athlete with doping substances before the 1988 Seoul Olympics. She said she has not felt safe in her home city of Beijing since 2012, when she first made her allegations of doping. Xue and her son recently arrived in Germany seeking political asylum.
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND
Hertz aligns with NZC
New Zealand Cricket named Hertz New Zealand an official partner through Aug. 2019. The two-year agreement will see NZC and Hertz NZ offer fans and car rental customers exclusive promotions, deals and rates. Hertz will also provide both the men’s and women’s national teams, the Black Caps and White Ferns, with transport vehicles when they tour New Zealand in the summer. Hertz will be integrated across the organization’s digital and social media platforms.
Pringles joins competition
Snack brand Pringles announced it will be sponsoring the ESL One Hamburg competition, reported the Esports Observer. Pringles will have on-the-ground activation for its first sponsorship of a large-scale esports event. There will also be a Pringles gaming area at the tournament, which takes place Oct. 28-29.
Manchester City is the first English football club to reach 1 million YouTube subscribers.
Manchester City became the first English football club to hit the 1 million subscribers mark on YouTube, according to The Drum. Man City’s Yaya Touré was featured in the club’s video to mark the milestone. One of the most popular clips from the team’s page includes the team doing the dance move, the Harlem Shake, which garnered 9.2 million views.
Manchester City extended its partnership with Nexen Tire throughout the EFL Cup. As the official sleeve partner of the club, Nexen Tire’s logo will continue to be featured on the left sleeve of the player’s kits worn during the EFL Cup. Nexen Tire extended its multiyear partnership with Man City in March, becoming the first official sleeve partner in the Premier League.
AFL lobbies for improved deal
Concerned Australian Football League club presidents Peter Gordon, Ben Buckley and Peter Summers could approach the AFL Commission next month to lobby for a better deal for their clubs at Etihad Stadium, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The government is still considering the AFL’s plans for a $234 million redevelopment of the stadium.
Taekwondo for Tokyo 2020
Taekwondo will make its Paralympics debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games, according to World Taekwondo. The World Taekwondo Council presented its roadmap for the Olympics and also tackled procedures. The games will be held from August to September. Seventy-two athletes will compete in six medal events — three male and three female.
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