• Six first-year eligible candidates are among the 27 semi-finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018: CB/S Ronde Barber, G Steve Hutchinson, LB Ray Lewis, LB Brian Urlacher, WR Randy Moss andDE/DT Richard Seymour. The Class of 2018 will be unveiled during NFL Honors, a two-hour prime-time awards special to air nationally (Feb. 3, 2018) on the eve of Super Bowl LII.
• The New York Knicks named Dan Sabreen vp-public relations, effective Nov. 27. Sabreen has spent more than a decade at CBS Sports, most recently as vp-communications.
• For every save made by goalkeepers during MLS Eastern and Western Conference Championships and MLS Cup, Allstate said it would donate two new soccer nets to fields in need in that club's city. MLS goalies participating inlcude Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew), Joe Willis (Houston Dynamo), Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders) and Alex Bono (Toronto FC).
• 2018 BBWAA ballot unveiled, with 14 1st timers including Chris Carpenter, Johnny Damon, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Hideki Matsui, Jim Thome, Johan Santana, Omar Vizquel Full ballot


2018 NFL Pro Bowl Voting (To Date)
1. Carson Wentz QB Philadelphia Eagles 273,367
2. Tom Brady QB New England Patriots 239,989
3. Le’Veon Bell RB Pittsburgh Steelers 227,771
4. Todd Gurley RB Los Angeles Rams 215,687
5. Antonio Brown WR Pittsburgh Steelers 215,584
6. Drew Brees QB New Orleans Saints 207,751
7. Kareem Hunt RB Kansas City Chiefs 204,611
8. Jared Goff QB Los Angeles Rams 200,346
9. Russell Wilson QB Seattle Seahawks 183,630
10. Alex Smith QB Kansas City Chiefs 178,392
11. Rob Gronkowski TE New England Patriots 168,663
12. Zach Ertz TE Philadelphia Eagles 156,183
13. Julio Jones WR Atlanta Falcons 124,556
14. Joey Bosa DE Los Angeles Chargers 117,480
15. Kyle Juszczyk FB San Francisco 49ers 116,816
16. Aaron Donald DT Los Angeles Rams 102,194
17. Luke Kuechly LB Carolina Panthers 101,131
18. A.J. Buoy CB Jacksonville Jaguars 92,686
19. Everson Griffen DE Minnesota Vikings 91,621
20. Geno Atkins DT Cincinnati Bengals 88,126


Top-Selling MLS Jerseys
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3. Josef Martínez
4. Jordan Morris
5. David Villa
6. Clint Dempsey
7. Sebastian Giovinco
8. Kaká
9. Andrea Pirlo
10. Nicolás Lodeiro


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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.
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.

Audi Kicks Into Spring With New A6 Campaign, Major Alliance With MLS

By Barry Janoff

March 6, 2015: Audi of America is hitting Spring 2015 in a big way, including a multi-media campaign for the 2016 Audi A6 and a major commitment to become the new automotive partner for Major League Soccer.

In what was called a "landmark" alliance, Audi and MLS have signed multi-year partnership making the car company the league's official automotive partner.

Audi replaces Volkswagen, which held the position since 2008, that season replacing Honda.

The deal coincides with the kickoff of the 2015 MLS season, the league's 20th campaign, this weekend and includes presence in such jewel events as the AT&T All-Star Game and as presenting sponsor of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Support will include multi-media marketing across the league and with media partners. A launch spot, "The Game," breaks during season-opening games on ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision Deportes.

In "The Game," shots of MLS action are accompanied by text including "Hail the Game, Respect the Game, Curse the Game, Suffer the Game, Praise the Game, Conquer the Game and Champion the Game."

The spot will be updated throughout the season with "key moments that transpire over the upcoming months and with real fan footage captured in stadiums around the country," according to Audi.

Audi, which already has partnerships with MLS clubs Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers FC through local dealerships and a global footprint that includes Real Madrid and FC Bayern Munich sponsorships, said it would continue to bulls its MLS and MLS club deals.

Audi said that its partnership with MLS, which the company describes as having "the highest percentage of millennial audience of any major U.S. sport," enabling it to target a "diverse, passionate and fast-growing audience that aligns with the brand’s strategy of reaching the next generation of millennial buyers."
“Audi’s partnership with MLS parallels the aggressive, challenger spirit of the two brands,” Loren Angelo, director of marketing for Audi of America, said in a statement. “Audi remains committed to soccer and raising the profile of the game in the United States. Last year the league’s attendance hit an all-time high. As a major supporter of the sport globally, we’re looking forward to cultivating the enthusiasm of soccer stateside and driving participation of the sport in a new way.”

In addition to TV, Audi marketing will include in-stadium signage and fan activations, player appearances, Internet, social media and POP.

Audi joins a national MLS marketing roster that includes adidas, Allstate, AT&T, EA Sports, Heineken, The Home Depot, Kraft, Panasonic, Wells Fargo and Microsoft.

Audi's deal nearly was waylaid by a potential player walkout, which was averted when MLS and the players' union agreed to a five-year collective bargaining deal. Among other assets, it creates free agency for players 28 or older who have a minimum of eight years experience and a minimum salary of $60,000, according to industry analysts.

Audi is also launching a campaign for the 2016 Audi A6 sedan, including national and cable TV, print, Internet, social media and event sponsorship to  highlight the "purposeful technology and smart interface of the new Audi A6.

Audi's new tagline for 2015: “Challenge All Givens.”

According to Angelo, “’Challenge All Givens’ captures the spirit the brand has lived by for well over a century. Audi has always believed that to move the world forward, we must challenge convention. This is evident in our engineering breakthroughs as well as our attention to design, none of which have ever adhered to status quo.”

A national spot for the A6 Sedan, “The Drones,” channel's Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie, The Birds, showing, according to Audi, how the "advanced technology in the new Audi A6 is the opposite of daunting." The spot ends with text, “Advanced technology doesn’t have to be intimating.”

“The Drones” will air on CBS, NBC, AMC, ABC and FX. Support includes print and online ads on such Web sites as The New York Times, Forbes, The Onion, ESPN and Wired.

A regional spot, “Teenager” showcases the social media capabilities of the car through a story of a father and daughter going on a drive.

Audi has ramped up its domestic support for soccer over the past year. Last July, the company hosted  it’s first U.S. Audi Football Summit, which featured  FC Bayern Munich versus Club Deportivo Guadalajara in Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.

“We are excited to welcome Audi to the MLS family,” Gary Stevenson, president and managing director for MLS Business Ventures, said in a statement. “Audi is an elite brand that is committed to helping the sport of soccer grow in North America and we look forward to partnering with them for many years to come.” 

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