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• Sacramento, California's capital city, has been awarded an MLS expansion team with Sacramento Republic FC becoming the league's 29th team and beginning play in MLS in 2022. The club will build a new, $300 million, 20,100-seat soccer stadium in the downtown Railyards District. 

• Octagon and the National Women’s Soccer League have signed a multi-tier consulting partnership, in which Octagon’s Global Media Rights Consulting and Marketing divisions will "advise the NWSL on its league media rights, sponsorship, and marketing." “The growth of the NWSL over the past six years has been tremendous, and the league, its teams and players show absolutely no sign of slowing down,” Christine Franklin, SVP, Marketing, Octagon, said via the firm.

• The Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and minor league teams expires at the end of the 2020 season. But if a new MLB proposal were to become reality, more than three dozen cities with affiliated minor league teams will lose those teams a year from now and thousands of minor league players will be out of work as well. Full story here.

• "We said there's no chance that's happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him." — NBA commissioner Adam Silver regarding China’s request that the league fire Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey

• "The losses have already been substantial. Our games are not back on the air in China as we speak, and we'll see what happens next. I don't know where we go from here. The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic." — NBA commissioner Adam Silver at the Time 100 Summit on Thursday regarding the league’s on-going situation with China.

• Showtime Sports will launch on Oct. 21 a weekly podcast, All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, in which the two NBA veterans (now retired) and NBA champs (Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, respectively), will “deliver an authentic, unfiltered perspective on the most polarizing topics in and around the game of basketball.”  It will air Thursdays on the Showtime Basketball YouTube Channel. 

• Halloween this year is Oct. 31, and retailers, marketers and consumers are ready for another season of trick-or-treat. Total spend on Halloween 2019 is expected to reach $8.8 billion according to the National Retail Federation, Washington, DC. Full story here. 

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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Nominees

• Pat Benatar
• Dave Matthews Band
• Depeche Mode
• Doobie Brothers
• Whitney Houston
• Judas Priest
• Kraftwerk
• MC5
• Motorhead
• Nine Inch Nails
• Notorious B.I.G.
• Rufus feat. Chaka Khan
• Todd Rundgren
• Soundgarden
• T. Rex
• Thin Lizzy

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KEEPING SCORE

Most Popular NBA Player Jerseys (based on eBay sales October 2018-October 2019)
1. LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
2. Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
3. Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
5. Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
6. Dwyane Wade Miami Heat (retired)
7. Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
8. Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans
9. Carmelo Anthony (most recently with Houston Rockets)
10. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets

Most Popular Player Merchandise (based on eBay sales October 2018-October 2019)
1. LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
2. Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
3. Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
4. Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
6. Paul George Los Angeles Clippers
7. James Harden Houston Rockets
8. Dwyane Wade Miami Heat (retired)
9. Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
10. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets
SOURCE: STUBHUB.COM

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office Oct. 18-20
1. Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil $36M
2. Joker $29.2M
3. Zombieland 2 $26.7M
4. Addams Family $16M
5. Gemini Man $8.5M
6. Abominable $3.5M
7. Downton Abbey $3M
8. Judy $2M
9. Hustlers $2M
10. It 2 $1.5M
BoxOfficeMojo.com

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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. 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)

NBA 2019 Opening Nights
• Oct. 22 New Orleans Pelicans vs. Toronto Raptors TNT 8 PM (ET)
• Oct. 22 Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers TNT 10:30 PM (ET)

• Oct. 23 Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers ESPN 8 PM (ET)
• Oct. 23 Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers ESPN 10 PM (ET)

Entries in Shaquille O'Neal (1)

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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