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• FIFA has postponed plans to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams for the 2022 event in Qatar. The plan is still being considered for the 2026 World Cup, which will be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. According to FIFA, “(There was not enough) time for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact.” The World Cup is scheduled for Nov. 21-Dec. 18, 2022.

• The NFL and NFL Players Association have unveiled two joint agreements that are intended to “support further resources directed to address pain management and behavioral health.” Full story here.

• The U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, and social impact education innovator EVERFI, Inc. have oined the students of Santee Elementary School in San Jose to launch The Compassion Project for the 2019-2020 school year, described as a “national nonprofit dedicated to providing compassion education to elementary school students across the U.S.”

• The U.S. Golf Association has aligned with Marvel Entertainment to create exclusive golf education products to “engage junior golfers on the essential elements to learning the game." Scheduled to launch in June at the 2019 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach, the collaboration features printed and digital comic books with many of Marvel’s super heroes The story follows Tony Stark (Iron Man) and other Avengers as they teach the next generation of Marvel Super Heroes about golf. Limited-edition Marvel-themed golf posters will be distributed (while supplies last) at the Junior Experience at the 2019 U.S. Open.

• Major League Lacrosse has signed a deal with Anheuser-Busch to have its Bud Light brand become the official beer partner for the 2019 MLL All-Star Game, being played in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD on July 27. The deal includes “prominent signage on the playing field, fan zone activation and various on-site promotions at several sports bars and retail locations in the Greater Annapolis area leading up to the All-Star Game.”

• Stating that “we are continually seeking opportunities to evolve our product offerings,’ Kohl’s has signed an exclusive long-term alliance with Fanatics, a global leader in licensed sports merchandise with the addition of “hundreds of thousands of items.” Full story here.

• Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, co-founders of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, have launched with The ALS Assn. the 5th anniversary of “Challenge Me” with a “new call to action to reignite the passion and generosity of the millions of people who dumped ice water on their heads in the summer of 2014.” 

POLL POSITION

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named the 23 players who will represent the U.S. in France and seek to defend their FIFA Women’s World Cup crown (July 7-Aug.7).

GOALKEEPERS

Adrianna Franch* (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris** (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher** (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS
Abby Dahlkemper* (NC Courage), Tierna Davidson* (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn* (NC Courage), Ali Krieger*** (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara*** (Utah Royals FC), Becky Sauerbrunn*** (Utah Royals FC), Emily Sonnett* (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS
Morgan Brian** (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz** (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan* (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle* (Washington Spirit), Allie Long* (Reign FC), Samantha Mewis* (NC Courage)
FORWARDS
Tobin Heath*** (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd**** (Sky Blue FC), Jessica McDonald* (NC Courage), Alex Morgan*** (Orlando Pride), Christen Press** (Utah Royals FC), Mallory Pugh* (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe*** (Reign FC)
* First Women’s World Cup
** Second Women’s World Cup
*** Third Women’s World Cup
**** Fourth Women’s World Cup

KEEPING SCORE

Luka Dončić, Trae Young Head NBA All-Rookie Team
Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young have been unanimously selected to the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Dončić and Young both received NBA All-Rookie First Team votes on all 100 ballots to finish with 200 points each.  They are joined on the NBA All-Rookie First Team by Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (195 points; 95 First Team votes), Memphis Grizzlies forward-center Jaren Jackson Jr. (159 points; 60 First Team votes) and Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III (156 points; 56 First Team votes).

The 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Second Team includes LA Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (138 points), Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (132), Clippers guard Landry Shamet (85), New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (77) and Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (45).

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office May 17-19
1. John Wick 3 $57M
2. Avengers: Endgame $29.4M
3. Pokemon Detective Pikachu $24.8M
4. A Dog’s Journey $8M
5. The Hustle $6M
6. The Intruder $4M
7. Long Shot $3.4M
8,. The Sun Is Also A Star $2.6M
9. Poms $2M
10. Uglydolls $1.6M
Source: Box Office Mojo

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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.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
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.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
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.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
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.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 6 Chicago Bears v Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 13 Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football).

Thursday
May102018

Future Of Boxing: $1B Strategy Seeks To Excite Fans, ‘Reignite Boxing’ In The U.S.

By Barry Janoff

May 10, 2018: That did’t take long.

One day after naming former ESPN president John Skipper as its new executive chairman, Perform Group has signed a joint-venture deal with Matchroom Boxing with the intent to “re-ignite the sport of boxing in the U.S. for fans.”

The eight-year pact was put at $1 billion and called “the biggest-ever deal in boxing.”

Global sports media company Perform Group and Matchbox Boxing, both based in the U.K., said they have ”have worked closely together for over ten years.”

Eddie Hearn, managing director for Matchroom Boxing (pictured, middle), and Simon Denyer, CEO for Perform Group (pictured, right), unveiled  the joint venture — to be known as Matchroom Boxing USA — Thursday at a press conference in New York.

The nucleus of the pact will see Matchroom Boxing USA promote 16 fights a year with boxing’s “biggest stars at the best venues across America.”

DAZN, Perform Group’s live and on-demand streaming service, will be the exclusive U.S. broadcast partner for the 16 U.S. fights, in addition to Matchroom’s existing 16 fight nights in the U.K.

Early marketing support is labeling the platform, “The Future of Boxing.”

According to Hearn, “This is a dream scenario for us. We can build a formidable team of fighters and also put our stamp on events from production to talent to in arena experience.”

He said the plan is to make DAZN the “home of boxing, and with 32 big fight nights already confirmed from the U.S. and U.K. we are nicely on our way.”

Although the sport maintains a core audience, boxing’s popularity in the U.S. has not fully impacted  casual and non-boxing fans — and potential marketing partners —  due in part to the rise of UFC and MMA.

This week, Walt Disney Co. and UFC signed a five-year media rights pact, valued at $750M, for exclusive UFC content on ESPN+ as well as programming to air on ESPN networks, social and digital platforms, beginning January 2019, with 12-fight cards to live-stream under the banner, UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night.

Matchbox Boxing believes it has the star power to attract audiences en masse.

Leading Matchroom Boxing’s roster is British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs), who won the gold medal in the super-heavyweight division at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and currently holds the heavyweight titles for the IBF, WBA, IBO and WBO.

Joshua had one of the top fights of 2017, an 11-round TKO of Wladimir Klitscho in front of 90,000 people in London’s Wembley Stadium. Joshua’s last three fights had a combined live gate of more than 250,000, according to Matchbox Boxing.

Matchroom Boxing made its first foray into the U.S. boxing scene this past September, signing  Brooklyn, NY-born Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) — who lost his WBA middleweight title to Gennady Glolovkin in 2017 — and promoting two fights in New York.

“This is a historic moment for Matchroom and the sport of boxing,” said Hearn.

“Since our expansion to the U.S., we have been looking for a partner that shares our vision and that can give us the volume of dates and rights fees required to build the strongest stable in world boxing and take it to a new level.”

"We can build a formidable team of fighters and also put our stamp on events from production to talent to in arena experience.”

According to Skipper (pictured above, left), “DAZN has already proven itself in Japan, Germany and Canada as the best platform for delivering great live sport to passionate fans. It’s time to bring DAZN to America, and the amazing events we have planned with Matchroom is a great place to start.”

Denyer said that Perform Group “has a rich history of long term strategic partnerships with the best rights holders in world. I’m excited about working with Matchroom; we share the same passion and vision for reigniting boxing in the U.S.

“It’s a better deal for everyone — especially fight fans.”

Matchroom Boxing said it has promoted more than 100 boxing events over the past five years, with 57 World title fights, as part of an exclusive broadcast deal with Sky Sports.

PHOTO: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

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