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Volume 21 No. 39
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Dreams of ’18: A Look Ahead

“That won’t happen this time.”

on the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” when he last performed at the Super Bowl. The NFL announced in October he will play the Super Bowl LII halftime show in February 2018.

Season's greetings for esports

The big question for esports in 2018: How goes the Overwatch League? Activision Blizzard’s audacious gamble that it can build a world-class esports league and draw millions of fans, based on a game that’s not yet 2 years old, will be put to the test. If it works, expect demand for expansion spots to skyrocket and steer other publishers to turn the trick too. Meanwhile, Riot Games will prepare to franchise in Europe, too.

Preparations are underway at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
The challenges of Pyeongchang

Consider Pyeongchang 2018 a critical measuring stick for the overall health of the Olympic movement. For starters, it’s the first of three straight Games in East Asia, a long-term challenge to Team USA, its sponsors and NBC in keeping fans engaged. Also, the NHL won’t send its players and the threat of North Korea has everyone distracted. If enthusiasm for Pyeongchang reaches the usual Olympic levels in February, then the industry will exhale a bit. But the degree of difficulty is high.

Russia recently said its budget for the World Cup has risen to $11.8 billion.
Russia takes its turn

It was more than six months before World Cup play begins, and Russia already had its first victory. A favorable draw on Dec. 1 put the host team atop a group that give is a strong chance to advance out of group play. As Russia pays more than $11 billion to stage the event in summer 2018, will the International Olympic Committee’s decision from Pyeongchang cast a long shadow?

Wanna make a bet?

The Supreme Court is expected to rule this spring on New Jersey’s six-year quest to allow sports wagering in its Atlantic City casinos. Justices heard arguments Dec. 4 in Christie v. NCAA, which seeks to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a federal law that since 1992 has barred all states but Nevada from allowing traditional sports betting. The breadth of that ruling will set the tone for how, and at what rate, the conversation evolves nationally. While all four major pro leagues have warmed to the idea of sports wagering, they’d prefer to see it regulated by the federal government. New Jersey’s gambit presents the option that they consider the least palatable — unregulated sports wagering. That poses even greater concerns than regulation done state by state.

New facilities opening in 2018 

Banc of California Stadium
Tenant: Los Angeles Football Club
Opening: March-April
Cost: $350 million

SRP Park
Tenant: Augusta GreenJackets
Opening: April
Cost: $58 million

Audi Field
Tenant: D.C. United
Opening: Late June
Cost: $300 million

Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Arena
Tenants: Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette University men’s basketball
Opening: Fall
Cost: $500 million

O ther openings

Renovations totaling $178 million to ISM Raceway in Phoenix, in March

New American Airlines 2014 Club behind home plate at Wrigley Field, and Hotel Zachary, in the spring

Infield redevelopment project totaling $30 million at Richmond Raceway, in September