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NEWS REAL

• NBC’s Sunday Night Football on Nov. 10 became the decade’s (2010-19) only primetime series to average 20 million-plus viewers for 100 different broadcasts. American Ido is second with 69. The Minnesota Vikings’ 28-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 23.5 million viewers across NBC TV, NBC Sports Digital and NFL Digital platforms.

• CBS Sports said its coverage of the SEC on CBS with No. 2 ranked LSU beating No. 3 ranked Alabama, 46-41, on Nov. 9  “delivered a massive audience, had an average of 16.636 million viewers and scoring a fast national household rating/share of a 9.7/24 . . . the  highest-rated regular-season college football game (excluding Conference Championships) on any network in eight years.

• When the Seattle Sounders defeated Toronto FC, 3-1, to win the MLS title Sunday, 69,274 were in attendance in CenturyLink Field, a record for the franchise.

• Calling it the company’s biggest brand launch in more than a decade, Coca-Cola North America has unveiled Aha sparkling water, eyeing a March 2020 drop at retail. “As the largest and fastest-growing part of the water business, mainstream flavored sparkling water is a segment we know we must double-down on,” Celina Li, vp-water, Coca-Cola North America, said via the company. “Aha is our big-bet brand in this big-bet category.” Full story here.

• Taylor Swift has been named as the headline performer for the Capital One JamFest on April 5 as part of the NCAA March Madness Music Festival. The Men’s Div. I Final Four will be played in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on April 4 and April 6. Also part of the Music Festival is the AT&T Block Party (April 3) and the Coca-Cola event (April 4).

• Jack Hughes, rookie forward for the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, has signed an endorsement deal with Gatorade. Hughes, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, joins All-Stars Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane as NHL players on the brand’s roster.

• NBC Sports and adidas have signed a multi-year extension with the All-American Bowl through 2022. Under the partnership, which began in 2011, adidas is the “official apparel company” for the All-American Bowl. The All American Bowl features 100 of the best high school athletes in the nation. NBC will air the annual East vs. West matchup. of the 2020 All-American Bowl Jan.4 in the Alamodome, San Antonio.

POLL POSITION

MLB 2019 Award Finalists

JACKIE ROBINSON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Nov. 11 MLB Network (6 PM ET)
AL Finalists: Yordan Alvarez, DH/OF, Houston Astros; Brandon Lowe , 2B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays; John Means, LHP, Baltimore Orioles

NL Finalists: Pete Alonso, 1B, New York Mets; Mike Soroka, RHP, Atlanta Braves; Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, San Diego Padres

MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Nov. 12 MLB Network (6 PM ET)
American League finalists: Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota Twins; Aaron Boone, New York Yankees; Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays

National League finalists: Craig Counsell, Brewers; Mike Shildt, Cardinals; Brian Snitker, Braves

CY YOUNG

Nov. 13 MLB Network (6 PM ET)
AL Finalists: Gerrit Cole, RHP, Houston Astros; Charlie Morton, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays; Justin Verlander, RHP, Houston Astros

NL Finalists: Jacob deGrom, RHP, New York Mets; Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers; Max Scherzer, RHP, Washington Nationals

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Nov. 14 MLB Network (6 PM ET)
AL Finalists: Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros; Marcus Semien, SS, Oakland A’s; Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels

NL Finalists: Cody Bellinger, OF/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers; Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals; Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

KEEPING SCORE

Topps All-Star Rookie Team 2019

One player at each position plus a DH and pitchers. Topps said each player’s 2020 Topps Series 1 or Series 2 card would include the Rookie Cup trophy logo. Topps has been naming MLB All-Star Rookie teams for 60 years.
• Pete Alonso 1B, New York Mets
• Yordan Alvarez  DH, Houston Astros
• Nick Anderson P, Tampa Bay Rays
• Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
• Keston Hiura 2B, Milwaukee Brewers
• Eloy Jimenez OF, Chicago White Sox
• John Means P, Baltimore Orioles
• Bryan Reynolds OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
• Victor Robles OF, Washington Nationals
• Will Smith C, Los Angeles Dodgers
• Mike Soroka P, Atlanta Braves
• Fernando Tatis Jr.  SS, San Diego Padres

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office Nov. 8-10
1, Midway $17.5M
2. Doctor Sleep $14.1M
3. Playing With Fire $12.8M
4. Last Christmas $11.6M
5. Terminator: Dark Fate $10.8M
6. Joker $9.2M
7. Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil $8M
8. Harriet $7.2M
9. Zombieland: Double Tap $4.3M
10. Addams Family $4.2M
BoxOfficeMojo.com

SEARCH

NYSportsJournalism.com + Topic Of Requested Search

Ikea: 'Silence The Critics' See More Ads Below

COLLEGE

BodyArmor Into NCAA
No. 1 Colleges Since '92
Notre Dame Builds Brand
Cancer Drives Home
Men's Hoops Are 'Toxic'

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 Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca ESPN (Monday Night Football) 8 PM (ET

NFL Thanksgiving Nov. 28, 2019
• Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions Fox 12:30 PM (ET)
• Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys CBS 4:30 PM (ET)
• New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons NBC 8 PM (ET)

NBA Mexico 2019
• Dec. 12 Dallas Mavericks vs. Detroit Pistons Arena Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico City NBA TV 9 PM (ET)

NBA Christmas Dec. 25, 2019
• Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors ESPN Noon (ET)
• Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers ABC 2:30 PM (ET)
• Houston Rockets vs. Godlen State Warriors ABC 5 PM (ET)
• Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers ESPN/ABC 8 PM (ET)
• New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets ESPN 10:30 PM

NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic Jan. 1, 2020

• Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas NBC

Sunday
Mar242019

Shaq’s Your Papa: Will ‘Shaq-eroni’ O’Neal Investment Help Papa John’s Brand?

By Barry Janoff

March 23, 2019: Embattled pizza chain Papa John’s needs some good news, and this might be it.

Shaquille O’Neal, NBA Hall of Famer, Turner Sports hoops analyst and businessman, has joined the company as an investor, member of the board of directors and will enter into a marketing agreement to be an ambassador for the Papa John’s brand.

O’Neal, who said he approached the company about forging a deal, said he would be an investor in nine franchises in the Atlanta area.

O’Neal will have a three-year endorsement deal valued at $8.25 million, paid half in cash and half in Papa John's stock, according to CNBC

“I have truly enjoyed the high-quality of Papa John’s product for years and am excited to be able to help Papa John’s raise their game to new heights,” O’Neal said via the company.

“This is a triple threat opportunity for me. I am excited to join the board and to help lead from the top, while also investing in nine stores in my home town of Atlanta and being an ambassador for the brand."

O’Neal doesn’t have to work too hard to reach a mass audience. He has more than six million followers on Facebook, 11.1 million on Instagram, more than 14.7 million on Twitter.

Papa John’s has had a challenging time since November 2017.

At the time an official NFL partner, Papa John’s company founder and then-CEO John Schnatter said during a media conference call that NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem before games led to lower NFL TV ratings, which in turn contributed to Papa John’s suffering lower sales and having to predict a lower profit forecast. Its stock dropped 11% in Q3 2017.

“The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction,” Schnatter said during the conference call. “The NFL has hurt Papa John’s shareholders . . . This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”

The actual correlation between players kneeling and Papa John’s finances was never shown.

In December 2017, the company promoted Steve Ritchie from president and COO to CEO, effective Jan. 1, replacing Schnatter, who become chairman.

In February 2018, Papa John’s and the NFL ended their official alliance, with the league quickly signing Pizza Hut to fill the category.

In May 2018, Schnatter used racially offensive language during a conference call. He resigned as chairman in July 2018 but remained a member of the board.

Earlier this month, following a legal and financial battle between Papa John’s and Schnatter, Schnatter resigned from the board.

"As I think about all of the stuff that went on, I worry about the 800 franchisees who did nothing wrong,” O’Neal told CNBC.

O’Neal is not alone in the NBA-pizza category. LeBron James is an investor in pizza chain Blaze.

Pizza Hut is the No. 4 pizza chain in the U.S. in terms of gross sales (nearly $3.7 billion), behind Domino’s ($12.3 billion), Pizza Hut ($12 billion) and Little Caesars ($4 billion).

According to Jeff Smith, chairman of the Papa John’s board of directors, “Shaquille has an excellent entrepreneurial background, including as a restaurant franchise owner, and is a natural creative marketer.

“Shaquille has demonstrated great success through understanding the customer value proposition with product and brand differentiation. The board and I are excited to work with Shaquille and look forward to the terrific possibilities to strengthen our position together.”

Included on his business portfolio, O'Neal currently owns a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts franchise in Atlanta; is the founder and owner of Big Chicken, a fast-casual fried chicken restaurant in Las Vegas, and Shaquille’s, a fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles; is a minority owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings; and is a commentator and analyst for Turner Sports’ coverage of the NBA.

His endorsement deals include Carnival Cruise Line, Gold Bond, Icy Hot, National General Insurance and Ring home security, the latter of which he invested in when the company was in start-up mode.

The company was acquired for $1 billion by Amazon last March.

“One key component of my success is only investing in companies and products that I believe in — I’m a big fan of Papa John’s,” Shaq wrote in a post on the company’s Web site.

“I love that they are committed to making pizza with high-quality ingredients – something I got to see firsthand when I met CEO Steve Ritchie and made my own pizza called the 'Shaq-eroni' earlier this year as part of the Shaq’s Fun House Event in Atlanta.

"Beyond the taste, Steve was able to help me understand what truly makes the Papa John’s family so special — great people, fresh ingredients and the vision for the brand going forward. Steve sounded like a player preparing for a big game — his passion for the company and its people is authentic and exciting.”

NFL, Papa John’s Slice, Dice Alliance, New Category Partner Ready To Take Order

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