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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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BodyArmor Into NCAA
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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 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
Mar072019

NBA Enhances Presence In China With Expanded Alibaba Group Alliance

By Barry Janoff

March 6, 2019: The NBA has taken a major step in its ongoing strategy to build its presence in China.

NBA China and China-based Alibaba Group said an expansion of their existing partnership would bring NBA content to Alibaba’s platforms for the first time, along with an enhanced online shopping experience for consumers in China.

Alibaba Group, founded in 1999, had nearly $40 billion in revenue in 2018.
 
Key to the expanded alliance will be a “NBA Section” to launch across Alibaba’s platforms.

The section will “leverage Alibaba’s technology and consumer insights, allowing fans in China to enjoy personalized and engaging content, in addition to shopping for NBA merchandise all in one ecosystem.”

The NBA and Alibaba will also “provide business partners with robust marketing solutions to promote their products and brands across Alibaba’s platforms.”

Joe Tsai, a co-founder of the Alibaba Group, is a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets and recently acquired a majority ownership in the WNBA New York Liberty.

He also is a member of the NBA China board of directors.

The league recently said that the NBA China Games 2019 Presented by Vivo would feature two pre-season games between LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers and the Nets: Oct. 10 in Shanghai and Oct. 12 in Shenzhen on Oct. 12.

The NBA China Games 2019 will be the NBA’s 27th and 28th games in China, with 17 NBA teams having played games in Beijing, Guangzhou, Macao, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei since 2004.

In the U.S., the NBA has had league-wide celebrations for Chinese New Year for eight seasons, supported by multi-media marketing featuring NBA players, Chinese New Year-themed jerseys and in-arena fan activation.

“The NBA is always looking to innovate, and we are absolutely thrilled to expand our partnership with Alibaba,” Derek Chang, CEO for NBA China, said via the league.

“We share the same goal, which is to provide fans with one-of-a-kind online content consumption and shopping that leverages the latest technology. We look forward to working with Alibaba to continue to grow the game of basketball in China.”

NBA game highlights, original programming and classic NBA games will be offered via Alibaba platforms to nearly 700 million consumers, including leading B2C marketplace Tmall, social commerce destination Taobao, video-streaming platform Youku and browser and content platform UC.
 
The NBA said that original programming would cover a “wide range of popular basketball and cultural topics, including game predictions, fashion, sneakers, and memorabilia.

Content will be available throughout the regular season, All-Star Game, playoffs and The Finals through such interactive formats as short videos and live-streaming by celebrities and influencers.

According to Toby Xu, vp-Alibaba Group, “The NBA is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world, with a sizable and passionate fan base in China.

With this expanded partnership, we will fully leverage Alibaba’s ecosystem to create a unique digital experience and bring the NBA closer to fans and consumers in China.”
 
The content offering is the latest collaboration between the NBA and Alibaba.

The NBA Tmall flagship store,, hosted by Alibaba, was launched in 2012, offering a wide variety of NBA-licensed merchandise.

The NBA opened its first office in Honk Kong in 1992. China, which conducts all of the league’s businesses in the nation, was formed in January 2008.

The NBA currently has relationships with several TV and digital media outlets in China, including a partnership with CCTV that goes back more than 30 years.

The league said it hosts hundreds of touring basketball events in the country for fans, conducts community enrichment programs and maintains marketing partnerships with a combination of world-class China-based and international corporations.

NBA-licensed merchandise is available through retail and authorized online stores on e-commerce and social media platforms, including NBAStore.cn, NBA.Tmall.com, NBAStore.hk and NBAStore.tw.

WNBA New York Liberty Sold To NBA Brooklyn Nets Billionaire Owner Tsai

Antetokounmpo, Thompson, Lillard Star In NBA Chinese 'Year Of Pig' Campaign

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