Sports Marketer Of The Year 2016 free polls

College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017
• Bob Crable: LB, Notre Dame (1978-81)
• Marshall Faulk: RB, San Diego State (1991-93)
• Kirk Gibson: WR, Michigan State (1975-78)
• Matt Leinart: QB, Southern California (2003-05)
• Peyton Manning: QB, Tennessee (1994-97)
• Bob McKay: OT, Texas (1968-69)
• Dat Nguyen: LB, Texas A&M (1995-98)
• Adrian Peterson: RB, Georgia Southern (1998-2001)
• Mike Ruth: NG, Boston College (1982-85)
• Brian Urlacher: DB, New Mexico (1996-99)

• Danny Ford: 122-59-5 (66.9%); Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)
• Larry Kehres: 32-24-3 (92.9%); Mount Union (Ohio) (1986-2012)
• Steve Spurrier: 228-89-2 (71.8%); Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001), South Carolina (2005-15)
SOURCE: College Football Hall of Fame


NBA All-Star Game 2017 Top 25 Overall Leaders

(Totals As Of  1-12)
1. LeBron James (CLE) 1,066,147
2. Stephen Curry (GS) 990,390
3. Kevin Durant (GS) 987,479
4. Kyrie Irving (CLE) 971,362
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 963,110
6. James Harden (HOU) 961,685
7. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 899,024
8. Zaza Pachulia (GS) 823,376
9. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 630,766
10. Anthony Davis (NO) 567,201
11. Klay Thompson (GS) 555,430
12. Dwyane Wade (CHI) 514,866
13. Kevin Love (CLE) 473,328
14. Draymond Green (GS) 464,319
15. Joel Embiid (PHI) 457,300
16. Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 401,671
17. Jimmy Butler (CHI) 400,448
18. DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) 379,225
19. Chris Paul (LAC) 379,076
20. Carmelo Anthony (NY) 327,716
21. Kristaps Porzingis (NY) 324,106
22. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 256,668
23. Paul George (IND) 249,484
24. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 223,979
25. Derrick Rose (NY) 223,804



$21.95: Asking price for faux New York Jets Super Bowl III championship ring, on eBay
$39.99: Asking price for Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl VI ticket and coin, on eBay
$49.99: Asking price New England Patriots 4X Super Bowl championship tickets, on eBay
$599.99: Asking price for autographed Pittsburgh Steelers Hines Ward MVP Super Bowl XL trading card, on eBay
$1,800.00: Asking price for autographed Jerry Rice San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XXIII faux trophy, on eBay

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Conference Championships

AFC Jan. 22 Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots CBS 6:30 PM (ET)

NFC Jan. 22 Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons Fox 3 PM (ET)

AUSTRALIAN OPEN Jan. 16-29 Melbourne ESPN, Tennis Channel

BASEBALL HALL OF FAME Jan. 18 Class of '17 unveiled MLB Network

NHL FAN FAIR Jan. 26-28 Los Angeles

NHL ALL-STAR GAME Jan. 29 Staples Center, Los Angeles NBC 3:30 PM (ET)

NFL PRO BOWL Jan. 29 Camping World Stadium, Orlando ESPN 8 PM (ET)

SUPER BOWL LI Feb. 5 NRG Stadium, Houston Fox 6:30 PM (ET)

MLB SPRING TRAINING Feb. 12-14 Pitchers and Catchers report

NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT Feb. 18 Smoothie King Center, New Orleans TNT 8 PM (ET)

NBA ALL-STAR GAME Feb. 19 Smoothie King Center, New Orleans TNT 8 PM (ET)

DAYTONA 500 Feb. 26 Daytona International Speedway, FL Fox 2 PM (ET)



NCAA MARCH MADNESS Selection Sunday March 12



Coaches Make ACS Call
NCAA Plans '18 Final 4
Final Four '22 In NOLA
Cancer Drives Home
Nissan House Open

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

Sports Marketers Of The Year 2016: From Surreal To Sir Real To The Real Deal

According to the people at Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word of the year for 2016 was 'surreal,' defined as 'having the disorienting quality of a dream, unreal, fantastic.' That might also be the way to define the ten Sports Marketers of the Year as selected by the editors and staff of NYSportsJournalism: 2024 L.A. Bid Committee, the American Cancer Society, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Rams, NBCU/NBC Sports Group, NFL, NHL, Sager Strong, Topgolf and Topps, each of which distinguished themselves in sports-related and sports marketing efforts that not only had people motivated by their drive and dedication but also enabled each to separate themselves from the plethora of events, causes and competitions that happened last year. Each already a winner, the ten Sports Marketers of the Year will now seek the title of Grand Sports Marketer of the Year, to be determined in a vote by the public-at-large. MORE


Hollywood Playbook: Stars, Aliens Will Rock Big Game Ads

With more than 110M people expected to watch Super Bowl LI, and even more anticipated for the Pepsi Zero Sugar Halftime Show with Lady Gagy, movie studios again will spend big during the Big Game on Fox, possibly even topping the $29M spent duirng Super Bowl 50 and the category record of $35 million during Super Bowl XLIX two years ago, with a cast of star-driven spots for upcoming releases that could include Blade Runner 2049 with Harrison Ford, Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot, The Mummy reboot fronted by Tom Cruise, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson vehicles Baywatch and Fast & Furious 8, other-worldly beings-driven Alien: Covenant and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the return of Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and the next mega global event from a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars VIII. MORE

Open Wallets: Super Bowl 'Most Expensive Ad Time By Far'

The two teams that will play in Super Bowl LI in Houston's NRG Stadium are still TBD, but the numbers that will accompany the broadcast are already promising to give Fox and marketers ROI, with more than 110M viewers expected to tune in on Feb. 5 and the total ad spend — with 30-second spots going for upward of $5M — predicted to set Big Game history, according to a new study from Kantar Media, which shows that some 130 marketers spent nearly $2.6B between 2007 and Super Bowl 50 last season, that Anheuser-Busch has been the single biggest spender and automotive the single biggest category, trends that Kantar said would continue to accelerate in the NFL title game. MORE

Tom Brady Finds That Gifting The Rock PJs Can Be Testy

Under Armour this month unveiled Recovery Sleepwear TD12, developed in conjunction with Tom Brady, but when the New England Patriots' QB tries to send some samples to fellow UA spokesman Dwayne Johnson, he finds The Rock in a testy, sarcastic mood, as seen in a tongue-in-cheek spot in which Brady gets roasted and toasted by his buddy — who reveals some intimate details about his bedtime habits and explains why the sleepwear, designed to help the body recover from exercising and high-impact activities such as football, WWE and acting, may be wasted on him. MORE

How Will Marketers, Media, Tennis Greet Maria's Return?

The last time Maria Sharapova played in a pro tennis tournament was during the 2016 Australian Open, but as her 15-month suspension for failing a drug test comes to an end, the five-time Grand Slam winner and former world No. 1 is planning her return to competition in April at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, a friendly spot for her as the car company is one of her marketing partners, but also an early test of how the media, other tennis players and potential new brand partners will react to her post-suspension actions and attitude, especially in light of the fact that so many of her fellow Russian-born athletes have also been busted for failing drug tests. 'She has had a real wake-up call,' said tennis icon Chrissie Evert. 'She is out of her bubble now.' MORE

Tom Brady Will Play In Super Bowl LI . . . With Intel 360

Thanks to an endorsement deal with Intel, Tom Brady will play in Super Bowl LI whether or not the New England Patriots make it there, with the QB the center of a campaign and anchoring spot that will run during the Big Game to showcase 360 replay technology, scheduled to be used by Fox during the broadcast from NRG Stadium in Houston on Feb. 5 to accentuate the action on the field, a preview of which is seen in the spot with Brady, who goes through the 'mundane' routine of his day — waking up, brushing his teeth, making breakfast, playing with his dog — given a more exciting perspective with Intel's platform. MORE

Pre-Aussie Open, Novak Talks Murray, Federer, Nadal

The first tennis Grand Slam of the year is upon us, and No. 2 seeded Novak Djokovic plans to be in top form at the Australian Open (Jan. 16-29) as he seeks to take out the opposition and reclaim the world's top spot from Andy Murray, but there is a lot of admiration from him for Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as shown in a new campaign from Jacob's Creek in which Djokovic talks about the people in his life who have made him what he is, including his rivals, his wife Jelena and his brother Marko. 'Federer, Nadal and Murray are great players who made me improve, get better and understand what I need to do to be on top.' MORE

Can CEO Of $2B Medicom Save NASL, The Cosmos?

Rocco Commisso, chairman and CEO for Mediacom Communications, valued at almost $2B, said it was a pre-Christmas meeting with the then owners of the NASL's New York Cosmos that convinced him to become the new majority owner for the iconic but financially strapped club, and now he faces the challenge of not only keeping the team afloat after it lost $30M last season but the entire NASL, which recently was granted provisional Division II status by the USSF but is entering the 2017 season with just eight clubs. 'This needs to be said up front: It wasn't a matter if the Cosmos would survive but the entire NASL,' Commisso said of his undisclosed investment. MORE

Mountain Dew Has New Look, New Ads, Sean Malto

In what it said would be part of a major move to create a new 'worldwide unified visual identity for the brand,' Mountain Dew has unveiled a multi-media campaign, 'Fade Away,' anchored by a series of spots with pro skateboarder Sean Malto to encompass TV and numerous social media platforms, supporting new packaging and graphics intended to engage consumers and 'elevate Dew's look to be as dynamic and refreshing as the taste of Dew itself.,' while retaining the long-running theme, 'Do the Dew.' MORE

Ad Spotlight: Star Wars Force Arena, McGregor Pegasus Cup, Kohler The Jackal, Reebok Hands


Bad News For Tom Brady's Foes: He Trains While Asleep

Tom Brady was associated with science during 'Deflategate' (PSI, air temperature) and now, in a better way for him, he is associated with science again via Under Armour's launch of Athlete Recovery Sleepwear Powered by TB12, which uses biometrics technology embedded in clothing to enhance Far Infared therapy that allows the body to 'recover while promoting better sleep,' which, according to the 39-year-old quarterback for the New England Patriots as part of a multi-media supporting campaign, 'Has helped me to achieve the things I have done and hope to continue to do. To be able to rebuild my body with a good night's sleep is important for me to continue to play football at a very high level.' MORE

Jerry Rice Plays Wingman, Catches Passes For Popeyes

Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice knows a lot about catching passes, but now, as the first celebrity/athlete endorser for Popeyes Louisiana Chicken, he is helping the brand show why 'Football is better with Popeyes' in a multi-platform campaign, 'Wingovations,' that finds the NFL legend working alongside company spokeswoman Annie (actress Deirdre Henry) demonstrating such chicken-eating enhancers as spicy and mild toothpicks, two-ply napkin shirts, the sauce dome, wing gloves and the biscuit cushion ('A stadium seat that feels like heaven and smells like butter'). MORE

Recouping Gronk Laughs In Face Of Madden Curse

Since 1988, the year EA Sports premiered Madden NFL (then known as John Madden Football), nearly 20 players have been linked to the 'Madden Curse,' with such cover athletes as Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander and Troy Polamalu going down with injuries, but Rob Gronkowski, TE for the New England Patriots, who is on the cover of Madden NFL 17 and went out for the season on Dec. 2 with back surgery, is laughing at the curse, with the support of EA, in a new spot — part of a larger effort that includes social media and eSports — that shows a touchdown-obsessed Gronk making rehabilitation work in his favor. MORE

Super Bowl Host Committee In Tune With Texas Talent

Unlike the NFL, which continuously opts to sign way-out-of-town talent to star in Super Bowl half time shows (such as New York's Lady Gaga leading the next Big Game extravaganza in Houston), the Houston Host Committee knows what people who live in and will visit the area want to hear — home-grown, Texas born-and-bred talent — which is why the Super Bowl LIVE concerts the week before the game will star the likes of 'That Little 'Ol Band From Texas' ZZ Top, Gary Clark Jr. (born in Austin), The Suffers (Houston), Leon Bridges (Ft. Worth), Shakey Graves (Austin) and other top acts from the Lone Star State. MORE

Skittles, Edwards: 'You Play The Game To Win' SB Tickets

In one of the defining moments of his career, Herm Edwards, then head coach with the New York Jets, responded to a question during a 2002 press conference about his team not playing well enough to win by stating, 'Hello! You play the game to win!', which is now part of a new campaign from Mars Inc. brands Skittles, Snickers and M&Ms that is looking for the best pre-game routines using the candies as a prop — with a 90-second spot showing a senior citizen tossing aside his walker and dancing with Skittles and Edwards; and a kid building a football stadium using the candies — with the best videos to air on 'The Almost Game-Time Show' prior to Super Bowl LI in February, and the very best to get tickets to Super Bowl LII in 2018. MORE

Behind Marketing, Fans, NFL Keeps Building U.K. Presence

Apparently loving its bangers & mash, fish & chips and growing fan and marketing support, the NFL has named the eight teams that will play in a one-season record four regular season games in London in 2017 — Baltimore vs. Jacksonville, New Orleans vs. Miami, Minnesota vs. Cleveland and Arizona vs. Los Angeles — with two games each in Wembley and Twickenham Stadiums, encouraged by numbers that, per the NFL, include more than 13M fans, a local TV audience that has 'more than doubled' since the first U.K. game in 2007 and a roster of marketing partners such as Anheuser-Busch, Hyundai, Pepsi Max, Microsoft, Marriott, Visa, Bose, Papa John's and Virgin Atlantic. MORE

Super Bowl LI Could Have $200M Impact On Houston

There is no doubt that hosting a Super Bowl has a tremendous impact on the host city, but how much of an impact depends on various factors such as location, transportation, weather, amenities and the two teams involved, though it looks as if Houston will see upward of $200M in spending by locals and visitors for Super Bowl LI this February, according to a new study from financial firm BBVA Compass, which indicates that money changing hands related to travel, hotels, food, restaurants, parties and other elements by fans, consumers and league marketing partners compares quite favorably to previous NFL jewel events. MORE

NFL Players Get A Foothold On 'My Cause, My Cleats'

Like most pro sports leagues, the NFL has strict rules on player uniforms, cleats and on-field attire, but this week is bending its rules for several good reasons to support and promote 'My Cause, My Cleats,' which will see 500 players wear shoes they each designed with league partners Nike, adidas and Under Armour to raise awareness for such issues as birth defects, cancer, diabetes, lack of clean water, bullying, pet adoption and funding for more education, with the cleats garnering national attention beginning with the Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings game on Thursday Night Football (NBC, NFL Network) and running through the Monday Night Football game on ESPN when the Indianapolis Colts play the New York Jets. MORE

Pepsi Push With Papa John's Delivers Fans To SB LI

As the number of weeks in the NFL regular season grow shorter and the playoffs get closer, Super Bowl LI is getting more of a spotlight, which is what Pepsi wants as exclusive presenting sponsor for its fifth consecutive half time show, joining in a promotion with official NFL pizza partner Papa John's for a sweepstakes offering a grand prize of a trip to Houston and tickets not only for the Big Game in NRG Stadium but also for the intermission event being headlined by Lady Gaga, supported by multi-media marketing from Pepsi and Papa John's. MORE

Q&A: First Down, Goals To Go For NBC NFL 'TNF'

In 2006, the NFL began to air Thursday Night Football on NFL Network, and ten years later the platform includes CBS, which first came on in 2014, Twitter and NBC, now in its first season of broadcasting 'TNF' via a two-year deal that gives it a unique two-package along with Sunday Night Football. But as Jennifer Storms, CMO for NBC Sports Group, reveals in this Q&A, engaging viewers with 'TNF' marketing and differentiating the property from 'SNF' while keeping such other NBC sports programming as Nascar, the NHL, Premier League and golf top of mind can be as challenging as it is rewarding.

Bud Light Channels Willy Wonka For Super Bowl Promo

In the 1971 movie (and 2005 remake), Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, people who found rare golden tickets received a unique and sweet treat — a tour of the factory and candy for life — a premise that Anheuser-Busch is using in a 'Strike Gold Bud Light' campaign, in which people (of legal drinking age) who find one of 37k gold cans being placed in limited-edition packages of Bud Light (Nov. 28-Jan. 13) would be entered into a sweepstakes to receive a unique and sweet treat — a pair of Super Bowl tickets for life (up to 51 years) beginning with Super Bowl LI in Houston this February. MORE

Hot Property: Dez, Brady, Rodgers Top NFL Salesmen

Throughout his footbal career, Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys has shown that he knows how to catch footballs and score touchdowns, which has translated into his becoming the No. 1 mover of merchandise in the NFL, according to the NFL Players' Assn. and its licensing arm, NFL Players Inc., which showed that in Q2 (June 1-Aug. 31, before the season began and before he injured his knee in Week 3) some 81K officially licensed Bryant items were sold, putting him atop a list that includes a Top 10 of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Odell Beckham Jr., Tony Romo, Rob Gronkowski, Cam Newton, JJ Watt and Jason Witten. MORE

Hyundai Gets NFL Rivals Revved Up For Super Bowl LI

Now in the second of a four-year deal as the official vehicle for the NFL, Hyundai has extended its team alliances — recently adding the Los Angeles Rams — and is upping its presence in social media, launching a platform on Facebook that puts rival teams and the fans who support them face-to-face via a 'Put Your Profile On The Line' effort and another on Twitter that ties into NFL broadcasts, both with the end goal of raising brand awareness for the automaker among consumers while offering what many football fans see as the ultimate prize, tickets to Super Bowl LI this February in Houston. 'Friendly competition between rivals is an important part of NFL culture and we are tapping into that passion,' said Paul Imhoff, Hyundai director-marketing communications. MORE

Q&A: Twitter, Yahoo, TNF Rewriting NFL Media Playbook

For most of its history, NFL games aired on broadcast and then cable networks, but last year saw the first live-stream game on Yahoo and this year the league has signed with Twitter to live-stream ten Thursday Night Football games that will air during the season on CBS, NBC and NFL Network, which comes at a time when more players are not just interacting with fans via social media but using various platforms to build their own brands. But as Brian Rolapp, evp-NFL Media and CEO/president for NFL Network, reveals in this Q&A, while the league has embraced the future of social media to help grow the NFL and bring regular season, playoff games and the Super Bowl — as well as marketing messages from league partners — to people domestically and worldwide, it also is playing watchdog to see that coaches, players, fans and others are not abusing, this burgeoning power. 

Philly Eyes $80M Economic Impact From '17 NFL Draft

The NFL Draft, a long-time staple in New York before relocating to Chicago in 2015, is on the move again, returning to Philadelphia — which hosted the initial Draft in 1936 and last feted the event in 1961 — for 2017 as part of the NFL's strategy to enhance and financially enrich the platform, with local planners envisioning more than 200K visitors and eying an $80M economic impact on the city via what could be a week-long party in late April that is scheduled to include many league and city marketing partners and sponsors and cover an area that features such landmarks as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum and the Cathedral Basilica. MORE


SB LV Could Raise Naming Rights In L.A. To $1B

Pats, Under Fire, Have 'Most Loyal' NFL Fans

NFL Joins With Disney To Bring Magic To Pro Bowl '17

Led By NFL, MLB, Licensed Sports Merch Nears $48B

How Much Does It Cost To See An NFL Game?

Pepsi Gets Social With NFL Players, Fan Texts



Under Armour Plays The Field With Ten-Year MLB Alliance

Calling it a 'watershed moment' in the company's history, Under Armour has signed a ten-year deal to become the official uniform provider for MLB beginning with the 2020 season, replacing the league's long-time partner Majestic in that role, in an alliance that also includes on-line retailer Fanatics, which all three parties claim would bring innovation, tech-savviness and a new business model designed to 'engage and excite MLB's incredibly diverse fan base' in the U.S. and around the world. MORE

Sign Of The Times: Jeter Returns To Topps Roster

The 2016 MLB season may be over, but the hits keep coming for Topps thanks to the Chicago Cubs, Big Papi and Derek Jeter, the former captain for the New York Yankees and five-time World Series champ, who has signed a multi-year deal to autograph cards for the company — a return to the brand he last worked for about ten years ago — which enhances what has been a prime time for Topps, led by sales of more than 500K cards in its first-year NOW platform, in which cards are instantly produced to reflect such key events as the Cubs winning the World Series (9k sets sold), highlights of David 'Big Papi' Ortiz's farewell season, Ichiro Suzuki's 3,000th MLB career base hit (more than 11.5k cards sold in one day) and 42-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon hitting his first career HR (8k+ cards sold). MORE

Retired Ortiz So Busy Peyton Looks Like Marketing Slacker

David Ortiz may have retired from baseball following the 2016 season, but he certainly has not slowed down when it comes to marketing and activation, with the ex-Boston Red Sox star over the past month having appeared in new spots for MLBAM's StatCast (along with Joe Torre) and Big Papi's Kitchen; attended events for Big Papi's Cigars and Big Hapi beer from Sam Adams; been seen on Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Last Walkout on ESPN's 30 for 30 and the World Series; and promoted through various efforts the work of UNICEF and his own Children's Foundation, with a slate of marketing and appearances still to come, all of which make the retired Peyton Manning — who is omni-present on TV for Papa John's, Nationwide and DirecTV — seem as if he's goofing off. MORE

Cubs World Series Marketing A Century In The Making

After a drought of 108 years, the marketing floodgates opened immediately following the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, with such brands as Nike, Anheuser-Busch, ESPN, Under Armour, adidas, American Airlines, Chevrolet, Topps, Red Bull and MLB itself hitting the ground running with activation that included TV, Internet, social media and championship hats, T-shirts and other gear that featured Cubs players Kris Bryant, Series MVP Ben Zobrist, Jake Arrieta and even Harry Caray, the team's legendary long-time broadcaster who passed away in 1998 but making an appearance to 'call' Game 7 for Budweiser. MORE

'Big Papi', Harper, Posey Seek Fan Vote For Topps Card

Last year, iconic trading card company Topps asked people to vote for the player they believed should appear on the prestigious No. 1 card in its MLB Series — a spot that has been held by the likes of Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan, Derek Jeter and 2016 winner, Mike Trout — and now the voting is open for the No. 1 card in the 2017 Baseball Series One, with candidates including David 'Big Papi' Ortiz, Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Kris Bryant, Clayton Kershaw, Gary Sanchez, Manny Machado, Mookie Betts and Trout, who is seeking a rare back-to-back top-card victory. MORE

Q&A: Ripken Talks Playoffs, Vin Scully, The Streak

Cal Ripken Jr. knows more than a lot when it comes to playing baseball at a high level, a streak of historic proportions and farewell tours, which puts him in rarified company with another Baseball Hall of Famer, Vin Scully. As Ripken prepares to cover the MLB AL playoffs for TBS, he opens up in a Q&A about Scully, the mental and physical challenges of maintaining a playing streak for more than 15 years (Scully has been at it for 67 years!), baseball in the Olympics, Big Papi's farewell tour and why pitchers did not want to throw at him.

Q&A: MiLB Marketing A Hit With Balls, Bulls, Business

If you are looking for diamonds buried in the infield of a baseball stadium or diamonds in the rough that could become gems, Minor League Baseball has that and more, with a roster of 160 clubs — including such iconic teams as the Toledo Mud Hens, Las Vegas 51s, Columbus Clippers and Durham Bulls — some 43M people through the turnstiles, 107M fans, national deals including Esurance and John Deere and rising retail sales of merchandise. But as David Wright, former veteran executive with MLS and now Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer for MiLB reveals in this Q&A, Minor League Baseball is reinventing itself to attract national marketers and make the game-day environment even more inclusive to an audience that is 'tech-savvy, active and family-based' without losing its traditional down-home ambiance, out-of-the-box promotional creativity — think Asparagus Night, CATurday and Diamond Digs — while remaining a development platform for future MLB stars, all of which sets the 115-year-old MiLB apart from other sports leagues.

MLB Starts Countdown, Sales Pitch To '17 All-Star Game

With the dust from the 2016 All-Star Game having just settled, and Home Run Derby balls hit by Giancarlo Stanton still rattling around PetCo Park, MLB has started the march to the 2017 All-Star Game and festivities in Miami Marlins Park, unveiling the official logo and accompanying promo video for such events as the SiriusXM Futures Game, T-Mobile Home Run Derby — where Marlins outfielder Stanton could defend his title while serving as one of the hosts for the week of events — the FanFest in the Miami Beach Convention Center and the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, with the Marlins using the jewel activities to sell season tickets for this year and beyond. MORE

Big Papi Gets Big Thanks From Pedro, Peers

IOC Puts Baseball Back In 2020 Tokyo Games



Kristen Bell Drives Enterprise To NHL, March Madness

Enterprise Rent-A-Car wants people to know that it does more than rent cars and is using its long-term sports alliances and new-found Hollywood and entertainment deals to get the word out, the latest a campaign with actress Kristen Bell (Frozen, Bad Moms, The Good Place) in which she gets to experience first-hand the company's truck rentals ('Big trucks are kinda my jam!') and upscale luxury vehicles ('Sometimes momma wants to drive like a mother!'), with this and addition TV spots to break on-air and online during the NHL Winter Classic and Centennial outdoor games in January and NCAA March Madness, playing up the official relationships that Enterprise has with both sports organizations. MORE

College Hoops Coaches Make The Call For ACS Campaign

The American Cancer Society is launching its first multi-media campaign to support the Coaches vs. Cancer program, an alliance with the National Association of Basketball Coaches that has to date raised more than $100M, with 'Come And Play For Us' built around a TV spot that sees head basketball coaches Lon Kruger (Oklahoma), Tubby Smith (Memphis), Roy Williams (North Carolina) and Jay Wright (Villianova) on recruiting calls, looking not for basketball prospects but instead seeking support and driving awareness for ACS, an effort that will run through March Madness and the Final Four in April. MORE

NCAA Unveils Details, Activation For '18 Final Four

The NCAA, currently involved with the college basketball season en route to March Madness 2017 in Phoenix, has unveiled some activation details for March Madness 2018 in San Antonio, including the official logo, marketing and community plans to support the event, with the Final Four to take place in the Alamodome March 29 and April 2, all part of the city's Tricentennial Celebration, marking the first men's Div. I hoops championship there since 2008 but the fourth overall. According to Dan Gavitt, vp-NCAA men's basketball championships, 'It's evident that the Final Four has a lasting effect on the host city and we're excited to bring it back to San Antonio.' MORE

Play It Forward: Final Four 2022 Heading To NOLA

Seeking to lock in prime real estate while emulating the process used by the NFL and the IOC of selecting championship host cities many years in advance, the NCAA has named the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans as the site for the 2022 Men's Final Four, with the college sports governing body promising to extend the lead time even more when the next round of potential March Madness title venues comes up for a vote in 2018, all of which also helps local businesses and marketing partners to plan their activations. 'With the Final Four competing for many of the same venues that host the Super Bowl and the College Football Playoff (also under the auspices of the NCAA) we did not want to wait to make the decision,' said Dan Gavitt, vp-NCAA men's basketball championships. MORE

Dos Equis Has Most Interesting Plans For CFB Playoffs

The import beer recently unveiled a new 'Most Interesting Man in the World,' and now Dos Equis — the official beer sponsor for the College Football Playoff —  is making things even more interesting for its advertising spokesperson and football fans with a season-long effort that will culminate during the playoffs and then at the National Championship game in Tampa this January, including new TV spots, Internet, social media, POP and a sweeps offering consumers of legal drinking age the opportunity to attend the title game in Raymond James Stadium and also tailgate with the Most Interesting Man and his helicopter. 'The CFP has proven to be a key platform for reaching consumers 21+ during one of the most exciting sports events of the year,' said Dos Equis. MORE

American Cancer Calls On College Football To Go Long

When it comes to sports, there are a lot of stats that define the action on the field or court, but outside the playing field there are stats of much more importance. Pediatric cancer is the second leading cause of death among children in the U.S. ages 1-14, with more than 10K new cases expected to be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society, which has teamed with a dozen universities represented by IMG College to launch 'A House United To Tackle Pediatric Cancer,' supported by coaches, athletes and multi-media marketing including a dedicated Web site were visitors can make donations in the name of such schools as Duke, FSU, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, UCLA, Houston, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Washington, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech. MORE

Tebow, Henry Help Nissan Open Heisman House For CFB

While millions of fans prepare for the 2016 college football season, Nissan has gotten the party started with the sixth edition of its multi-platform Heisman House, which this year adds Tim Tebow and NFL rookie Derreck Henry to a mix of former Heisman Trophy winners including Eddie George, Doug Flutie, Herschel Walker, Tim Brown, Tony Dorsett and George Rogers, with a campaign that includes TV  — with Henry and Tebow the focus of early efforts — print, radio, Internet, social media and such on-campus activation as the Heisman House Tour, with Nissan also supporting via an alliance with 100 schools and numerous NCAA championships and a fan-centric app that lets people color their photo face in their favorite school colors as well as multi-layer support from lead partner ESPN. MORE

B-Dubs Ups Role With NCAA, CFB, Fans, Mascots

Buffalo Wild Wings, which since 2013 has been the 'official hangout for March Madness,' has renewed and expanded its alliance with the NCAA, acquiring the role of 'official hangout for NCAA' sports, to include enhanced marketing and activation across 90 championships and special marketing and promotional considerations in 2019 when the Men's Div. I Final Four is played in its hometown of Minnesota, with support coming from a new alliance with 23 schools and the chain's title sponsorship of CFB's Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, much of which has been brought to life in a new TV spot where mascots from schools nationwide put aside their rivalries and come together over wings and B-Dubs fun. MORE

Under Armour Hoops It Up In The Garden

In an effort to broaden its presence in college basketball, Under Armour has signed its first deal with New York's Madison Square Garden to become the official partner of college hoops during regular-season games in the 'World's Most Famous Arena,' an alliance that will be supported by multi-level marketing and anchored by 'Reunion,' a planned annual double-header scheduled to begin in December that will see South Carolina play Seton Hall and Auburn take on Boston College — all four squads being part of Under Armour's partnership roster and all four having ties to The Garden or their opponent, including SC's NIT title-winning game there in 2006 and a 1974 victory over Seton Hall in the venue, Seton Hall's regular presence as a member of the Big East Conference and Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl's history at BC, his alma mater and site of his first hoops job as an assistant coach. MORE

Gatorade Ads Put Focus On Youth Football, Hoops, Soccer

Its roster of endorsers includes such pro athletes as Serena Williams, Cam Newton, Dwyane Wade, J.J., Watt, Bryce Harper, Karl-Anthony Towns and Usain Bolt, but the focus of Gatorade's new 'Incredible Is Inevitable' push is youth and prep sports, with a series of ads putting a spotlight on football, basketball and soccer, respectively, supporting the brand's on-going support of such programs as the Gatorade High School Athletes of the Year. Little League Baseball and Pop Warner, with the spots getting up-close and personal during intense games on the field and strenuous workouts during practice, all of which, fueled by Gatorade, shows how hard work and unwavering dedication tends to win out during competition, if not always in victories, certainly in personal gains and development. MORE

Finding Dory Hits Olympic Waters With USA Swimming



NBA, Partners, Players All Gung-Ho-Ho-Ho For Xmas

Much like the NFL 'owns' Thanksgiving Day on TV and college football 'owns' New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the NBA 'owns' Christmas, this year being the 14th season it will play five games on national TV, with a player roster including LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony and a holiday roster of marketing support from the likes of State Farm, Kia, JBL's Harman Audio, Nike, adidas, Under Armour, Spalding and 20th Century Fox via new spots, online platforms, jerseys, socks, shoes and fan activation, with the NBA itself spreading good will via its new InPlay real-time fantasy game supported by FanDuel and presented by Autotrader. MORE

NBA Players Sing: 'It's Most Dunktastic Time Of The Year'

NBA players can ball, but can they sing? That's a topic for discussion in a new campaign to support the league's five-game schedule on Christmas Day (ESPN, ABC), in which the likes of Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Love, Draymond Green and others put a less than perfect-pitch spin on the holiday classic, 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,' instead crooning 'It's the Most Dunktastic Time of the Year,' which also comes with a blooper reel, social media and carolers who will hit the streets singing and spreading hoops cheer. MORE

Chris Paul Joins Spalding To Honor Hoops 125th

According to official documents, the first basketball game was played on Dec. 21, 1891 in Springfield, Mass., under the auspices of Dr. James Naismith, who brought hoops to life, and now Spalding, the official basketball of the NBA, is unveiling a multi-media campaign, 'Honor the Game,' which features new company spokesman Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, who will join with DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors) and Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) in digital, print, social media and POP — as well as in-stadium activation — to encourage fans to 'honor the game that has challenged, inspired and awakened the spirit in all of us.' MORE

Warriors Put Accent On VR, Tech With Accenture Alliance

The Golden State Warriors have signed an agreement with the second company to become a founding partner for their new venue, Chase Center in San Francisco, where the NBA team is scheduled to move (from Oracle Arena in Oakland) for the 2019-20 season, adding professional services firm Accenture to the recently signed United Airlines, with the team and Accenture planning to build a tech architecture and ecosystem throughout the venue that will involve the entire fan experience, a strategy that both parties are now testing and unveiling via prototypes, including handing out VR viewers to people attending Warriors games so that they can experience the future via a VR film. MORE

Shaq Shops Small With Kendrick Lamar For AmEx

Although the 7'1 Shaquille O'Neal fills a big space wherever he goes, he has decided to Shop Small in a new campaign for American Express, which encourages people to spend money in their local stores and shops now through the holidays, bringing along Grammy award-winning musician Kendrick Lamar in the first of several spots as part of a multi-media effort to support what AmEx said is the longest-running platform in its history. MORE 

Super (Market) Stars: Spurs Score New Ads With H-E-B

The San Antonio Spurs are one of the most successful teams in the NBA and H-E-B is one of the most successful supermarket chains in the U.S., so it makes sense that for the 12th year the two have teamed for a humorous ad campaign that touts the products for sale in the store while giving fans and consumers an opportunity to see such players as Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan — who has retired from the NBA but not from H-E-B spots — try their hand at acting. MORE

Q&A: Inside Inside The NBA's Animal House Frat House 

In the mischievously good-natured vein of the 1979 classic, Animal House, Turner Sports has its own Delta Tau Chi fraternity, populated by Robert Hoover (played by Ernie Johnson), John 'Bluto' Blutarsky (played by Charles 'Sir Charles' Barkley), Eric 'Otter' Stratton (played by Kenny 'The Jet' Smith) and Daniel Simpson 'D-Day' Day (played by Shaquille 'Big Diesel' O'Neal). But as Turner Sports evp-production and chief content officer Craig Barry — who here gets the role of Animal House director John Landis — relates in this Q&A, letting the four Inside The NBA guys banter and joke among themselves on almost any topic — such as Shaq investing in the company that makes one of his favorite foods, Krispy Kreme — resonates with viewers because they are real, the show is authentic and, above all else, the focus always comes back to the NBA.

Dough Nut: Shaq Gets Sweet Deal With Krispy Kreme

NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal loves Krispy Kreme doughnuts so much that he has bought into the company, purchasing an iconic doughnut shop in Atlanta and signing on to become a global spokesman for the company — an occasion he celebrated by visiting company headquarters and enjoying some of the product — with the first activation a 'Shaq-or-Treat' Halloween giveaway on social media. 'Our goal is to help people find their happy place, and what better way than with a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts,' said Shaq. MORE

Q&A: Ready For NBA, Barkley Talks KD, Cavs, Kaepernick

Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose are among the players who will be on new teams when the NBA season begins, but the NBA on TNT's Inside the NBA will return with its Emmy-winning roster, including Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley, adding a new NBA on TNT Road Show platform and in '17 The Race Card hosted by Barkley, who in this wide-ranging Q&A talks about Colin Kaepernick, the role of athletes on the field and in the community, Kevin Durant as hero and villain, commissioner Adam Silver's decision to pull the ASG from Charlotte, his predictions for the upcoming season and the reason why LeBron James may never make his personal Top Five all-time NBA players.

Jersey Score: NBA Eyes $100M+ With Ads

Twitter Builds Sports Presence With NBA, Fans

Westbrook, Irving Take Lead In Myn. Dew Effort

Survey: NBA Teams Find Fan Loyalty More Than Winning

State Farm Tops NBA $800M Sponsorship Spend

NBA, Nike, Turner All In For #SagerStrong Fight



Reebok 'Born In The Cold' Promo Eyes NHL Classic

According to The Weather Channel, it is expected to be in the mid-30s in St. Louis on Jan. 2, 2017, not freezing but cold enough for the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic to add a spicy chill to the event, and just right for a promo from league partners Reebok and Lids, 'Born in the Cold,' which asks people to submit via Twitter and Instagram pictures or videos showing how they brave frigid temperatures, with the top prizes including tickets to the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and host Blues or to the Alumni Game, scheduled to include such icons as Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull. MORE

NHL Fans, Players Can Now Run On Dunkin' Donuts

The NHL's Centennial Celebration just got a bit sweeter with the league signing a multi-year deal with Dunkin' Donuts to become its official coffee, donut and breakfast sandwich partner in the U.S., to begin at the Bridgestone Winter Classic game Jan. 2 and then continue through All-Star Game weekend, the Stadium Series and Stanley Cup playoffs and Stanley Cup Finals, which will see Dunkin' Donuts activate multi-media marketing via TV, Internet, social media and in-arena through deals with the NHL's U.S. franchises, including fresh creative that will feature new spokespersons Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers, David Backes of the Boston Bruins and Meghan Duggan of the NWHL. MORE

NHL Stars Trash The Place For Bauer Hockey Campaign

In a spot that channels an iconic ad from the 1990s in which Magic Johnson and Larry Bird play an über game of H*O*R*S*E for a Big Mac and fries (and re-created years later by LeBron James and Dwight Howard), Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs are featured in the humorous 'Call Your Shot,' part of a multi-media 'Aim For Greatness' effort from Bauer Hockey, in which the two players challenge each other to take ever-increasingly difficult slap shots using Bauer's new 1N hockey stick, with the pair ultimately trashing on-set cameras, lights, an ice sculpture, a table filled with food and other items. MORE

NHL, Epix Double-Down On Outdoor Games Coverage

As the NHL continues to celebrate its centennial anniversary, it has again joined with the Epix premium TV network to present Road to the Outdoor Classics, which, unlike the previous two years of tracking two teams and one outdoor game, will follow the trials and tribulations of four teams and two games — the Chicago Blackhawks playing the St. Louis Blues in Busch Stadium in the Bridgestone Winter Classic (Jan. 2) and the Detroit Red Wings playing the Toronto Maple Leafs in BMO Stadium in the ScotiaBank Centennial Classic (Jan. 1) — with the Epix and NHL Production effort taking people behind the scenes, inside the locker rooms and onto the ice beyond the spotlight of national attention in a four-part series scheduled to premiere Dec. 16. MORE

Jersey State Of Mind: NHL Builds Alliance With Fanatics

The NHL wants to give you the shirts off their players' backs, as long as consumers go to Fanatics to purchase the jerseys following a deal that expands the company's role with the league, making it the official replica jersey and headwear partner for in-season and 'hot market' events such as the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals, which begins next year when adidas takes over from Reebok as the NHL's official game jersey partner and adds to a Fanatics' roster that also will see the brand become an official partner with MLB beginning in 2020, with Fanatics promising to get new merchandise to consumers quicker than ever. 'Fanatics will produce lines of replica jerseys and apparel products that will excite NHL fans and drive sales for NHL retail partners,' said Brian Jennings, chief branding officer for the NHL.  MORE

NHL's L.A. Kings Go To Market With Golden Jubilee

As the NHL celebrates its 100th anniversary this season, the comparatively young Los Angeles Kings are honorng their 50th anniversary with marketing, fan activations, special jerseys and apparel and a roster of partners that will support numerous platforms and multi-media campaigns during 2016-17 — ramping up to the league's All-Star Game weekend in L.A. this January — including McDonald's, Delta Air Lines, New Era, StubHub, Staples, Geico, Cooper Tires and Children's Hospital Los Angeles; with a bevy of in-arena and community events to feature current and former Kings players, led by the man regarded as the greatest NHL player of all-time, Wayne Gretzky, who has a statue outside of Staples Center and recently was named as ambassador for the NHL's own centennial party. MORE

Gretzky Reveals: Why I Came Back To NHL, Oilers

Last month, Wayne Gretzky, regarded as the greatest player in the history of the NHL, was named ambassador for the league's 100th anniversary celebration, which will see a multitude of activations this season, and now 'The Great One' is back with the Edmonton Oilers, which traded him to the Los Angeles Kings nearly 30 years ago after he led them to four Stanley Cups, as a partner and vice-chairman — his first NHL front-office position since 2009 — with the franchise also unveiling a Gretzky statue and a Hall of Fame filled with Gretzky memorabilia. Explained Gretzky, 'When team owner Daryl Katz and I talked a few months ago about coming back to Edmonton and the NHL, we felt this was the right opportunity.' MORE

With Gretzky At Center, NHL Plans 100th Anniversary

Backed by marketing and media partners, current players, icons led by Wayne Gretzky and a multi-platform strategy, the NHL will celebrate its Centennial this coming season with events to run from January to December and involve all 30 teams and all NHL cities across the U.S. and Canada, including the naming of the league's 100 Greatest Players, an interactive truck tour with videogames and memorabilia, special activations at the All-Star, outdoor games and playoffs and experiential festivities for fans. MORE

NHL Relines Marketing With New CMO, Other Changes

As the NHL prepares for the 2016-17 season and a year-long celebration of its Centennial anniversary, it has made major changes to its marketing department, naming Heidi Browning, who since 2011 has been svp-strategic solutions for Pandora Internet Radio, as its new CMO, with duties to include marketing strategy, creative development, production and, according to the NHL, a 'particular focus on digital and social initiatives'; appointing Brian Jennings, who had been the league's long-time svp-marketing, as Chief Branding Officer with added responsibilities; and realigning several other people, positions and departments. MORE

Will Hockey World Cup Drive Fans, Brands To ESPN?

Bauer Hockey Give Hilary Knight Pay For Play

Pittsburgh Penguins Add 'Most Loyal' Fans To Cup Reward


Call Of Duty World League Builds eSports Success

Armed with eye-popping stats from Season 1 that includes the participation of more than 1,000 teams, more than 1.2B minutes watched of live competitive content and 120M tune-ins, Activision has unveiled activation for Season 2 of Call of Duty World League Presented by Playstation4, scheduled to run from Dec. 7 through the championship in August 2017, with an anticipated multi-media marketing campaign and interaction with fans worldwide as part of the growth of eSports that is predicted to top $1.1B in revenue in 2019. MORE

20M eSports Fans, Serena Launch Overwatch League

Blizzard Entertainment, already a major player on the eSports landscape, will expand its presence in 2017 with Overwatch League, based on the game it launched in May and now encompassing 20M players worldwide, with marketing support including a spot featuring tennis icon Serena Williams and plans to emulate professional sports with teams representing different cities and a combine to evaluate talent. 'We're building a league that's accessible to fans and players, sustainable and exciting for everyone involved,' said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder for Blizzard, all part of the burgeoning success of eSports that industry analysts said would top $1.1B in revenue by 2019. MORE

New Stats Show eSports Reaching MLB, NBA Levels

The power of eSports, which has been ramping up for several years, continues to grow and is reaching the point where the number of players, followers and marketing and media partners is approaching NFL, MLB and NBA levels, according to a just-released report from research and consulting company NewZoo, which shows that the number of people in the U.S. who watch pro sports and are aligned with eSports is growing, that more executives and players in pro sports are investing in eSports properties and that more non-endemic companies that also have sports ties — such as Coca-Cola, Samsung, MasterCard, Geico, Buffalo Wild Wings and General Mills — are becoming official partners in eSports. MORE

General Mills Joins eSports Mix With Yahoo Live Show

Add General Mills to the list of such non-endemic brands as Coca-Cola, Nissan, Buffalo Wild Wings and Red Bull either entering or expanding their role in the burgeoning eSports fray, with the food company signing a deal as the first sponsor for Yahoo eSports Live, a new weekly platform that will include news, analysis and coverage of events in the category, with GM supporting via marketing behind Resse's Puffs Cereal campaign in an effort to target 'an important audience of millennials.' MORE

eSports Continues Global Boom With AEG-ESL Alliance

AEG, which owns or operates sports and entertainment venues, teams and platforms globally, and major category driver ESL have signed a strategic long-term partnership with the lead goal ito 'broaden the worldwide reach of eSports' — a category anticipated to top the $1B mark by 2019 — including the potential of holding events in such AEG destinations as Barclays Center (Brooklyn), The O2 (London) and Staples Center (Los Angeles); leveraging AEG's experience in ticketing, marketing and producing live events; and expanding upon and developing new events across ESL's portfolio. MORE

Doodle Jump Set To Make Impact On eSports Landscape

Claiming more then 10M monthly players and 200M downloads, Lima Sky is preparing to bring its Doodle Jump game to the world of eSports, naming Skillz as the official tech partner for the upcoming launch, with game creators anticipating the same impact as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends when those platforms entered, and changed, the global category landscape, which currently has more than 185M fans and is on pace to top $9B in revenue in 2017, per industry analysts. According to Andrew Paradise, CEO for Skillz, "Doodle Jump already has hundreds of millions of players . . . it will now have organized, broadcasted tournaments and competitive leagues to transform it into a full-fledged eSport." MORE

Turner eLeague Takes eSports, Marketing To Next Level

The plan for an eSports competition unveiled by Turner Broadcasting and WME | IMG this past September — a strategic move into the burgeoning category that has a global viewing audience of motre than 225M and revenue expected to top $765M by 2018 — finally has a play date, with the two media companies saying that its eLeague would make its debut on May 24 featuring Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offense, including planned ten-week coverage of the event to include a regular season, playoffs and Global Championship, with Turner expected to support with such multi-media marketing as TV, tie-ins with Turner Sports properties NBA on TNT and Inside the NBA, ads during NCAA Men's Div. 1 basketball March Madness (which Turner airs on TNT, TBS and truTV in alliance with CBS), Internet and social media. MORE

ES Dives Into eSports With Madden, Battlefield

Fantasy Sports Face Highs, Lows, Challenges



WTA Networks Seeks To Revolutionize Women's Tennis

Stating that 'what we need as an organization and as a sport is to think differently,' WTA, the world organizing body for women's tennis, has unveiled WTA Networks, described as a 'new digital media division that will deliver to fans innovative digital storytelling, tennis news and content and unprecedented access to star athletes (such as Serena and Venus Williams, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys and Simona Halep) and the inner world of tennis,' with WTA president Micky Lawler saying that the launch, scheduled for January, would also increase platforms and audiences for potential marketing partners. MORE

Serena, Roger Help Tennis Net $800M In Sponsor Deals

Driven by Serena Williams' quest to set a Grand Slam record, Roger Federer's $60M in endorsements (despite dropping out of the Olympcis and U.S. Open due to rehab) and activation led by such companies as Emirates Airline, FedEx, BNP Paribas, Coca-Cola and Rolex, tennis is projected to reach a record $801M in sponsorship deals this year, according to a new report from IEG, which represents a 4% increase over 2015 and more than $60M over 2014, but women's tennis still took a hit due to such factors as low TV ratings and the absence of Maria Sharapova (PED-related suspension) and Victoria Azarenka (pregnancy), both of whom missed the Olympics, U.S. Open and other tournaments. MORE

Will Marketers Net Garbiñe As The Next Maria?

Court Testers: When Andy Met Luol

Sharapova Won't Net Call For Olympics, U.S. Open

Serena, WTA A Perfect Match For Record Numbers



PGA Tour Uses Great Players For 'Good' Campaign

Barely two weeks into 2017, the PGA Tour is already having what some might call a great year, with new commissioner Jay Monahan seeking to make changes to improve the game, Tiger Woods seemingly planning to play for the full season, sponsorship spend on the rise, a deal with Twitter and the launch of a multi-media campaign, 'That's Good,' which includes the likes of Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson and Woods, with the effort intended to 'demonstrate the extraordinary skills of PGA Tour players, the competitive drama that unfolds throughout the season and the meaningful things they do off the course.' MORE

Now Playing: Kevin Hart Is 'The Man Who Kept Running'

Has actor/comic Kevin Hart been missing from Hollywood? According to Nike, he has been gone since October, when he got a new Apple Watch Nike+ and started to run — 700 miles — until he was found in the desert sporting a full beard by a 'documentary crew' that filmed his adventure for a multi-media campaign, using the device to keep from getting lost, communicate with other runners, determine the best time of the day to continue his quest and update his vital stats. 'I got my rocks full of wisdom and my Apple Watch Nike+ full of GPS wisdom,' says Hart. 'I also have my wisdom teeth.' MORE

Troubled NASL Seeks Another New Direction, Vision

The NASL, which was reborn in 2009 in name and with some pieces from the original NASL that disbanded in 1984, is again seeking another new start after a season in which bills mounted and clubs folded and/or departed for other U.S. pro soccer circuits, and now enters 2017 looking for a commissioner after 'amicably' parting ways with Bill Peterson while trying to find new investors to bolster its future in order to meet provisions from the USSF, which granted a Division II status but wants growth and a strong plan nof operation to keep the NASL from disappearing once again. MORE

Pro Bull Riders Unleash Celebrate America, More $ For '17

The 2017 Professional Bull Riders season begins in New York (Jan.6-9), and the circuit said it would be unlike any other in its nearly quarter-century history, with an 'unapologetic patriotic' multi-platform effort, 'Celebrate America Tour,' that will see numerous initiatives to honor members of the military, veterans and 'heroes who unite and defend our country,' as well as the biggest prize purses ever, with more than $11M expected to be won by PBR bull riders and stock contractors in competitions across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and such global destinations as Brazil and Australia, all supported by the 'Vs' marketing effort with Steven Tyler launched late last year and marketing partners including Ford, Jack Daniel's, Monster Energy, Cooper Tires, Lucas Oil and Kawasaki. MORE

Bridgestone Expands Top-Tier Alliance With IOC

Bridgestone, which this past summer experienced its first Olympics as a top-tier partner with the International Olympic Committee, has expanded the deal it signed in 2014, which gave the company marketing rights in the U.S. and several other countries, to now include global rights for the 2018 and 2022 Winter Games, (South Korea and Beijing, respectively) and the 2024 Summer Games (site to be determined this September), building on a platform that will also see the Japan-based firm support as a Paralympics Gold partner during the 2020 Games in Toyko, where Bridgestone Corp. is headquartered, a Bridgestone Americas alliance with the U.S. Paralympics and founding partner rights with the IOC's Olympic Channel. MORE

UFC's McGregor Seeks Crown In Lucrative Horse Race

Is Conor McGregor planning for a career after the UFC? It might seem so to some based on his actions in a new humorous campaign to support the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational, which finds the top-ranked MMA athlete working to become a jockey, with somewhat imperfect help from his trainer, actor/comic Jon Lovitz, with McGregor claiming that he will win the $12M purse — the most lucrative in the sport — and in the process become the top jockey in the world. 'Alexander wept when he had no more worlds to conquer,' McGregor proclaims during a faux press conference that turns into a brawl. 'I will become the pound-for-pound No. 1 jockey on the planet.' MORE

To Help Reboot Its Image, GNC Will Play Super Bowl LI

If GNC was an NFL franchise it likely would be the Cleveland Browns, winless through the majority of the 2016 season and out of the playoffs but backed by a core of loyal fans and management looking to rebuild for the future, with the vitamin and supplements company coming off a year in which its CEO left, its latest financial figures were down 8% and its bank account was $2.25M lighter after paying a fine to the DOJ for selling illegal dietary supplements, all leading to a massive rebranding of its more than 4.4K stores from GNC to One New GNC, complete with an interior overhaul, simplified pricing, a new loyalty program and a redesigned POS system, all to be touted in a multi-platform campaign that includes a 30-second spot during Super Bowl LI this February on Fox. MORE 

New Olympic Channel Will Be 24/7 Home To Team USA

In what was called a 'ground-breaking collaboration to connect fans to the Olympic movement year-round,' NBCU, USOC and the IOC unveiled plans to launch 'Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA' in the second part of 2017, with opportunities for IOC and USOC marketing partners to support what will be 24/7 programming to include coverage of athletic events involving pre-and post Summer and Winter Games competitions, original programming, features about players and coaches, documentaries and historic replays from around the world but with a focus on U.S. teams and athletes. 'This is a tremendous way to grow the real estate beyond the two weeks of programming every two years,' said Jim Bell, executive producer for NBC Olympics. MORE

Tiger Woods On The (B330-S) Ball With Bridgestone Golf

According to Tiger Woods, the 'No. 1 most important item in your golf bag is the ball,' one of the reasons he has signed a multi-year deal with Bridgestone Golf to use its B330-S line and support it in multi-media marketing, a move necessitated by Nike Golf, Woods' long-time partner, continuing to move away from golf equipment, meaning that the former No. 1 golfer in the world, who this month returned to the pro circuit after 16 months away due to surgery and rehab, will also be signing a new deal soon for golf clubs, part of an endorsement roster that includes Hero, Kawa, Rolex, Upper Deck and Monster Energy. MORE

Nike Asks: Would You Take Running Over Zombies?

In an effort to raise awareness for its running division and to help promote fitness, Nike has unveiled a campaign, 'Time is Precious,' that addresses the ways in which it sees people devoting too much time — viewing TV shows and movies about zombies, taking selfies, photographing minutia, sharing endless opinions via the Internet, watching celebrities watching themselves on reality programs — and asks, 'Is that what you want to do instead of running, working out and staying in shape?' According to Nike vp Sean Tresvant, 'We want to make people aware that they have more time than they think to run or train.' MORE

Ronda's Mantra: 'Don't Hate Me Because I'm Strong'

This past summer, UFC fighter-actress-author Ronda Rousey was featured in a campaign for Reebok in which she said, 'I'm fine with not being perfect,' and now via a new deal with P&G's Pantene she says in a multi-media effort, 'Don't hate me because I'm strong,' which breaks just weeks before her first bout in more than a year (UFC 207 in Las Vegas on Dec. 30) and as Rousey is seeking to maintain her bad-ass image while also building her brand beyond the Octagon in movies, books and TV appearances. MORE

NBC Sports Campaign Celebrates EPL Houses Of Soccer

The English Premier League is a burgeoning partner for NBC Sports, which has exclusive broadcast rights in the U.S., and a new multi-media campaign focuses on the elements that make it such a hot property, re-envisioning such clubs as Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Liverpool as the 'Houses of Football' in a Game of Thrones-type scenario, with Premier League Sunday also getting new graphics and a show opener, touted through a TV spot as well as Internet and social media. According to NBC Sports, (We want to) make ELP appointment TV viewing,' similar to what it has done with its Sunday Night Football programming. MORE

Team USA Heats Up For '17 World Winter Games

With just about 90 days to go until the Opening Ceremony for the 2017 Special Olympics World Games, Team USA has started to train in earnest, gathering for three days this week in and around the Killington (VT) Resort to prepare for competition in such sports as alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowboarding, snowshoeing and speed skating, which this March in Austria will see more than 200 athletes and coaches representing the U.S. be part of what is expected to be the largest Winter Games in Special Olympics history — some 2,600 athletes from 106 nations — airing for the first time domestically from start to finish on ESPN and ABC. MORE

IOC President: Games Bid Process 'Has Too Many Losers'

Even as Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest were cleared by the International Olympic Committee to move to the next stage in their respective efforts to host the 2024 Summer Games, IOC president Thomas Bach stated that 'the bidding procedure as it now exists has too many losers and must be changed,' while also focusing on the situation in which the Tokyo 2020 Games have gone four times over budget to $30B. 'We have cut $20B (from that) and want to cut $2B more (very soon).' MORE

Comcast Builds Olympic Role As Official USOC Partner

NBCUniversal has a deal with the International Olympic Committee as the exclusive U.S. media rights holder for the Olympics through 2032, and now parent company Comcast is expanding its own role by becoming an official partner with the U.S. Olympic Committee thru 2020 — covering the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo — giving it access to Team USA marks for use in advertising and marketing and becoming the official Internet, video distribution, wireless, home security and business services provider, filling a void that would have been created with the departure of AT&T at the end of this year while boosting Comcast's brand awareness among sports fans and consumers. MORE

Padlokt Open For Business, Signs Deal With UFC

In an effort to bring athletes closer to fans and vice versa, Padlokt has launched its multi-level platform offering exclusives such as one-on-one video chats with players, news and inside information, with deals in place that include Randall Cobb of the NFL's Green Bay Packers, Julius Randle of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, four-time track & field gold medal winner Sanya Richards-Ross and the UFC, which will bring to the table the likes of Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson, Anthony 'Rujble' Johnson and Miesha Tate, with the prospect of more stars, teams and celebrities from movies and music to come. MORE

Speed Thrills: How Nascar Energized Deal With Monster

Getting Monster Energy to sign on as title sponsor for its top-tier competition was a move of such major importance that Brian France, Nascar chairman and CEO said, 'This was one of the few sales calls that I personally made,' which resulted in Monster agreeing to a multi-year pact to fill the Cup Series spot vacated by Sprint, becoming official energy drink of the entire race circuit and building a strategy to work with Nascar on a plethora of on- and off-track promotions and activations to reach not only the core racing fan but also a new generation of followers and potential consumers. MORE

NBC Pact, Marketing Deals Boost USATF's Golden Year

USA Track & Field had a very good year based on such measuring sticks as TV, marketing and athlete success, the latest being what was called an 'historic' eight-year exclusive deal between USATF and NBC Sports Group — encompassing both the 2020 and 2024 Summer Olympics — which accented such highlights for the governing body as four new marketing partners added to a roster that includes Nike, Gatorade, Hershey, Visa and BMW; a record 32 medals won during the Rio Games; and USATF athletes earning almost $7M from such official programs as Olympic events and trials,  sanctioned competitions events and other revenue streams. MORE

Demi Lovato Joins Curry, NBA To Sing Praises Of JBL

Singer/actress Demi Lovato already hangs with a popular crowd that includes Nick Jonas and DNCE, but now she is joining another another high-profile crew that includes the NBA (where JBL is an official partner), NBA stars Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard, music legend Quincy Jones and music group DNCE as a global spokesperson for Harmon division JBL to promote its array of headphones, speakers and other music-oriented products, with Lovato to appear in multi-media marketing and make personal appearances and JBL supporting via a dedicated Demi Web site that includes videos, tour information and updates about her efforts not only on-stage but in her public efforts to support equal rights, empowerment of young girls and dealing with the issues of mental health and drug addiction. MORE

Snickers Is Still Hungry For WWE's WrestleMania

It seems as if WWE's top-tier event, WrestleMania, is not itself without Snickers as the candy brand has signed on for the second time as exclusive presenting partner, bringing to the ring a multi-platform campaign under its 'You're Not You When You're Hungry' mantra, to include TV with WWE stars, Internet, social media, POP and a bevy of activations on-site in Orlando the week before and then during WrestleMania 33 on April 2 in the Citrus Bowl, involving such other WWE jewel events as the Axxess FanFest, NXT Takeover, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Monday Night Raw and Smackdown. MORE

MLS Marketers Riding Wave Of Fan, Consumer Support

As Major League Soccer prepares for its version of the Final Four and championship games, sponsors and marketers are reaping the rewards of what has been a time of steady growth for the league, with attendance and club values on the rise and fans interacting more with such MLS-aligned brands as adidas, Audi, Anheuser-Busch, Heineken, Comcast, PepsiCo and Papa John's, which rank among the soccer circuit's most active partners, according to a new study from IEG, at a time when all 20 clubs have jersey-front sponsors — such as the Seattle Sounders with Microsoft's Xbox, Colorado Rapids with TransAmerica, and Montreal Impact and Toronto FC with BMO Bank, all of which will get national exposure during the Conference Finals this week. MORE

NBC Preps For '18 Games With World Cup Finals

The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea do not begin for about 440 days, but NBC is preparing for its covering by airing some 100 hours of world cup events between now and March in sports that will be in the next Games, including snowboarding, skiing, cross-country, speed skating, bobsled and skeleton. According to Jim Bell, executive producer for NBC Olympics, 'Our unprecedented coverage of these events will provide fans with more quality Olympic-sport programming than ever before.' MORE

FanDuel, DraftKings Seek Merger 'For Stronger DFS Future'

Following months of speculation and more than a year of legal, financial, logistical and marketing challenges, FanDuel and Draftkings, the leaders in the daily fantasy sports category, are moving ahead with a merger, which both sides said would create an 'efficient and economically sound' operation, enable them to work more closely with state and federal officials and 'allow for further growth in the fantasy industry at large." The deal, targeted to close in 2017 (pending approval), will see DraftKings CEO Jason Robins as the new CEO and FanDuel CEL Nigel Eccles as chairman. According to both companies, 'Our consumers are at the core of everything we do and we have always been passionate about providing the best possible experiences.' MORE

Under Armour Rock Troops Collection Kickin' Sales Butt

Earlier this month, Under Armour unveiled in alliance with brand spokesman Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson the UA Freedom x Project Rock 'Rock the Troops' collection, intended to honor and support current and former members of the military, and the response has exceed expectations, according to Johnson, who wrote on his Facebook page, 'Rock the Troops collection is not only Under Armour's No. 1 seller but also the fastest-selling athlete apparel of its kind,' featuring patriotic-themed T-shirts, hats, backpacks and duffle bags, with more products to come, including The Rock's first signature shoes for UA. MORE

Brady, Carmelo Find Fame Is Fleeting With Foot Locker

As the holidays approach, Foot Locker has launched for the fifth year a multi-media campaign to support its 'Week of Greatness,' anchored by humorous spots featuring, respectively, Tom Brady, who spoofs his four-game NFL suspension this season due to his association with 'deflate-gate'; Carmelo Anthony, who gets into an argument with two guys who feel that 'Melo's NBA achievements are 'really good, but not great'; Ja Rule, who must resort to an Uber-type driving job when his music career falters; Kyrie Irving (for Kids Foot Locker) and soccer stars Gareth Bale and Anthony (for Foot Locker Europe). MORE

Ford Sells Autos With Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z Anime

In their own cartoon universes, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z use special powers to defend the Earth from alien invaders, but for Ford, the Japanese anime characters become Madison Avenue salespeople for the Fusion and Focus in a series of commercials to lure customers their world with such phrases as 'The new Ford Fusion is the most stylish car I've ever seen' and 'We want a car that has a Sony audio system for listening to our favorite music,' using overdub lip-synching from the respective show's actual voiceover actors to add a real, albeit low-budget, authenticity to the campaign. MORE

Brands On Board For Rogue One: A Marketing Story

If you are a company looking to climb on a marketing bandwagon, it might as well be Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, scheduled to open in December, making it the perfect vehicle to attract not only film-goers but holiday shoppers, which is why the list of brands aligned with the movie include Gillette, Nissan, Duracell, General Mills, Verizon, Toys 'R' Us and What on Earth, which each have launched or are about to launch campaigns and/or products targeting not only fans of the iconic Lucasfilms franchise but 'anyone with an imagination' on Earth or elsewhere. MORE

Bull Shot: PBR Goes Big With Bulls, 'Boys, Steven Tyler

When some of your athletes weigh 1,500 lbs. or more and are regarded as being among the toughest competitors on the planet, you have some big marketing chutes to fill, and Professional Bull Riders has done just that with its new 'Vs' multi-platform campaign, called the 'largest (and) first fully-integrated, season-long brand effort' in its history, being fronted by music legend Steven Tyler — who appears in promos and a 60-second anchor TV spot — and featuring some of the top cowboys and bulls on the circuit, all timed to support the PBR World Finals being held this week in Las Vegas. MORE

Rome Says 'Arrivederci' To 2024 Summer Games

Facing tough competition from rival bid cities and strong opposition from within its own city, the Italian National Olympic Committee has officially withdrawn its bid for Rome to host the 2024 Summer Games, a move that was months in the making due to finances and the political climate in the city, leaving front-runners Los Angeles and Paris, as well as Budapest, still in the running, with a decision from the International Olympic Committee due next September. 'We cannot do any more than we have done,' said Committee chairman Giovanni Malago. 'The Bid Committee is officially liquidated.' MORE

Most Wanted Cars (By Those Most Wanted By The Cops)

If your '96 Honda Accord or '98 Honda Civic has gone missing, you're not alone as more than a combined 100K of those two cars were stolen last year, about one-seventh of all cars reported heisted in 2015, according to a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, topping a 'Hot Wheels' list that also includes the '06 Ford full-size Pickup, '04 Chevrolet full-size Pickup and the '14 Toyota Camry; while a separate list of 2015 year model vehicles most popular among thieves in 2015 is headed by the Nissan Altima, Chrysler 200 and Toyota Camry. MORE


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Like LeBron, Ronaldo A $1B Nike Man

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Q&A: Padlokt Gives Fans Keys To Sports Inner Sanctums

In what it calls a game-changer in the world of social media, Padlokt has just launched a platform that enables fans and team supporters to speak directly with sports, movie and music stars in a live casual format, asking questions, getting answers and having chatroom conversations with the likes of Julius Randall (Los Angeles Lakers), Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers), Sanya Richards-Ross (four-time Olympic gold track & field medal winner) and such UFC champions as Miesha Tate, Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson and Stipe Miocic, with more stars to come. But as Trent Sydney, managing director and co-founder for the Australian-based start-up reveals in this Q&A, the logistics of bringing athletes together with fans around the world is as challenging as it is rewarding.

Q&A: Spread The Word Around, PBR Boys Back In Town 

There are seven-foot tall NBA players and 300 lb. NFL linemen, and then there are 150 lb. cowboys who climb on the backs of 1,500 lb. bull to, compete in events for Professional Bull Riders, a circuit formed in 1992 which now is ramping up its presence via a multi-platform ad campaign fronted by Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, unveiled this week during the World Finals in Las Vegas. But as svp-marketing Chad Blankenship reveals in this Q&A, part of the challenge to expand PBR's presence in the U.S. and worldwide is highlighting the rough-and-tumble heritage of the Old West in which the sport is rooted while embracing the entertainment-based marketing devices of 2016.

Q&A: At Topgolf, Chip Shots Are Par For The Course

According to the late sports legend Arnold Palmer, 'What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive,' an observation that has been taken to heart at Topgolf, a sports-entertainment chain that serves in some 30 locations 13M guests — who tee off via hitting bays and virtual courses using microchip-embeded golf balls and relax via food, drink and HDTVs. The Dallas-based company has been on a growth spurt with new destinations in Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Sacramento and Portland; an alliance with the PGA Tour and LPGA; and the acquisition of World Golf Tour, which has more than 14M players via Internet and mobile. But as Erik Anderson, co-chairman and CEO, and the main catalyst behind bringing Topgolf from the U.K. to the U.S. in 2005, reveals in this Q&A, even as the tech and entertainment value grows, driving brand awareness and building the game of golf means reaching not just core golfers but also those who have never picked up a club.

Q&A: Russell Athletic Looks To Redefine Brand Vision

In sports, it is not unusual for a team to win games by close margins in the closing seconds, sending players and fans into frenzied celebrations, but Russell Athletic is flipping the narrative in its new 'Team On' campaign by looking at several prep schools that lost their high school state championship in 2015 by a TD or less, some in the final moments, and showing how these teams are using the experience to motivate them in 2016. But as Taylor Vernier, senior director of marketing for Russell Athletic, reveals in this Q&A, the multi-platform effort is not just an intimate look at the inner workings of teams and the relationships between players and coaches, but a redefining of the company's vision, the way it brings products to consumers and the impact it wants to have on youth sports in America.

Q&A: B-Dubs Serves UFC, eSports, Big Papi To Customers

Buffalo Wild Wings has been the 'official hangout of March Madness' since 2013, but more recently the casual-serve sports-themed restaurant has been serving other options to its customers in more than 900 locations nationwide, including an extensive alliance with UFC leading to the milestone 200 event this July in Las Vegas, a Blazin' Wings promotion with Rob Gronkowski, signing as a marketing partner for Turner Sports' just launched E-League and a B-Dubs Alive Event in which David 'Big Papi' Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox confronted fans of the New York Yankees. But as Bob Ruhland, vp-marketing for Buffalo Wild Wings reveals in this Q&A, the challenge is not just to bring sports and athletes to people but  "to find a way to communicate the benefits of your product and do it in a way that will resonate and break through the clutter."

Mission Sees The Good, Bad, Sweaty In Sports, Marketing

In May, Mission AthleteCare gathered its roster of athlete endorsers, in this case led by Dwayne Wade, Reggie Bush and David Villa, for a multi-layered effort to support the launch of VaporActive, a line of products that uses a version of thermal technology developed by 37.5 to help keep athletes cool and dry; a perfect counterpart to ThermaCool towels and accessories designed to keep athletes cool and wet. But as Josh Shaw, CEO and founder for New York-based Mission AthleteCare reveals in this Q&A, the company's efforts to improve the physical well-being of athletes will be accomplished not only by using modern technology, but by continuing to reinforce among consumers that its brand ambassadors are also involved in the research, development and testing of its products.

Q&A: At 90, The Harlem Globetrotters Still Got Game

In 1926, Buster Keaton starred in The General, Babe Ruth hit 47 homers and had 153 RBI for the Yankees, RCA-GE-Westinghouse formed NBC and The Harlem Globetrotters, then known as the Savoy Five, were introduced to the world. Now celebrating their 90th anniversary, with a history that includes such iconic players as Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, Goose Tatum, Marques Haynes and Wilt Chamberlain, they are as entertaining and innovative as ever. But as team president Howard Smith reveals in this Q&A, the challenge is to maintain the team's tradition while introducing new concepts and players and embrace the social media world to keep the Globetrotters on top of the world. 

Q&A: How UFC Marketing Is Moving Beyond The Octagon

The Ultimate Fighting Championship was formed in 1993 as a pro MMA group and acquired in 2001 by Frank Fertitta III, his brother Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White for $2M, which under the corporate auspices of Zuffa LLC now produces more than 40 live events, runs UFC GYM and is broadcast in more than 129 countries, a growth aided over the past year by the presence of such fighters as Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Conor McGregor and Chris Weidman. But as Garry Cook, former executive with Nike and Manchester City and since 2014 the UFC's chief global brand officer, reveals in this