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NEWS REAL

• NBA All-Star James Harden has joined the ownership group of the Houston Dynamo. According to the MLS club, the 2018 NBA MVP with the Houston Rockets becomes the fifth member of an ownership group led by Gabriel Brener, which also includes boxing icon Oscar De La Hoya, Ben Guill and Jake Silverstein.

In addition to the Dynamo, the group also owns the NWSL's Houston Dash and BBVA Stadium, the home venue for both clubs.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to join the ownership group of the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash and proud to be a part of a club with tremendous history and a great future,” Harden said via the team.

• Spend a "Day in the Life Of Blake Griffin." Full story here.

• Cavs Legion Gaming Club, the NBA 2K League affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has unveiled plans for an eSports center in Cleveland’s Battery Park neighborhood. The 2,700 square foot venue is scheduled to open this fall,

• The NFL Network is planning 129 hours of “Inside Training Camp Live” coverage July 22-Aug. 7 Additional coverage will appear across NFL media platforms including NFL.com, NFL Films, NFL app and NFL RedZone.

ESPN also said it would provide comprehensive coverage of the opening week of the 2019 NFL training camps beginning July 22 on daily editions of SportsCenter and NFL Live.

• NBC’s Golf Channel unveiled details for its next Golf Films project, “Tiger Woods: Chasing History,” to premiere July 22  The film will present viewers with a chronological look at the “sights and sounds from each of Woods’ 81 professional victories, from his first at the Las Vegas Invitational in 1996, through the most recent win at the Masters earlier this year.”

• 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

AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 Starter Pool

  • Liz Cambage, Aces
  • Elena Delle Donne, Mystics
  • Chelsea Gray, Sparks
  • Brittney Griner, Mercury
  • Natasha Howard, Storm
  • Jonquel Jones, Sun
  • Jewell Loyd, Storm
  • Kayla McBride, Aces
  • Kia Nurse, Liberty
  • A‘ja Wilson, Aces

AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019, featuring Team Delle Donne vs. Team Wilson, is scheduled for July 27 in the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas (ABC 3:30 PM ET).

KEEPING SCORE

The Top 25 MiLB Teams With Best-Selling Merchandise (alphabetically, with MLB affiliate):

  • Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies)
  • Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees)
  • Charlotte Knights (White Sox)
  • Columbia Fireflies (Mets)
  • Columbus Clippers (Indians)
  • Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)
  • Durham Bulls (Rays)
  • El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres)
  • Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres)
  • Gwinnett Stripers (Braves)
  • Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies)
  • Indianapolis Indians (Pirates)
  • Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins)
  • Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies)
  • Nashville Sounds (Rangers)
  • Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox)
  • Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox)
  • Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants)
  • Rochester Red Wings (Twins)
  • Sacramento River Cats (Giants)
  • Salt Lake Bees (Angels)
  • San Antonio Missions (Brewers)
  • Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)
  • Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers)
  • Trenton Thunder (Yankees)

SOURCE: MiLB

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office July 12-14
1. Spider-Man:Far From Home $45.3M
2. Toy Story 4 $20.7M
3. Crawl $12M
4. Stuber $8M
5. Yesterday $6.8M
6. Aladdin $5.9M
7. Annabelle Comes Home $5.6M
8. Midsommar $3.4M
9. Secret Life of Pets 2 $3.1M
10. MIB International $2.2M
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).

Sunday
May052019

Batter Up: With Baseball A Hit, Sports And Fitness Products Industry Tops $92B

By Barry Janoff

May 3, 2019: People will do many things to stay healthy and keep in shape.

The translates to investing more than $92 billion in 2018 to do so.

The fitness market, including 25 different categories of equipment, reported positive growth nearly across the board.

The baseball/softball category experienced the greatest growth among team sports at 7.7%, driven by a huge year in baseball bat sales, reporting 18.9% growth, according to a new report from the Sports and Fitness Industry Assn., the trade association of leading industry sports and fitness brands, suppliers, retailers and partners.

SFIA said its 2019 SFIA Manufacturers’ Sales Report is broken down into four categories, “all of which experienced an increase in sales": Sports Equipment $25.1 billion (0.8%), Fitness Equipment $5.4 billion (3.6%), Apparel $36.6 billion (1.2%) and Footwear $16.6 billion (4.6%).

“Last year’s performance reflects a challenging market environment, where it’s more about the market share than it is about industry growth,” Tom Cove, SFIA president and CEO, said via the Silver Springs, Md.-based organization.

“As an industry, we must understand the critical importance of increased sports and fitness participation, as a long-term strategy to fortify the foundation of our industry.”

According to SFIA, “Fitness participation is the highest it's been in six years,” with 66% of the population involved in one or more of seven key activity categories, including fitness, outdoor sports, individual sports, team sports, water sports, racquet sports and winter sports.

That figure is up from 60.1% participation in 2013.

Regarding baseball, SFIA said there was an “increase in participation; baseball is thriving.”

The surge in bat sales was driven by a USA Baseball rule change in 2017, “which created a new standard for all youth bats starting on Jan. 1, 2018, requiring all players and leagues to purchase a new bat last year.”

Also likely a factor: Baseball and softball are returning to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games for the first time since the 2008 Games in Beijing.
 
Another potential factor for the rise in baseball equipment sales: The sport was voted No. 1 in fan loyalty in 2017 and 2018, passing the NFL for the first time in a decade, according to the Sports Loyalty Index survey conducted by research and media intelligence firm Brand Keys, NY.

Although baseball was replaced again by the NFL in the 2019 survey, the sport remains No. 2 among the major pro sports in the U.S.

Overall, athletic footwear experienced an increase of 4.6%, with sport sandals/slides (20.0%), casual/fashion (18.0%) and classic/originals (10.0%) ranking as the top three growth categories, according to the 2019 SFIA Manufacturers’ Sales Report.

“Fitness participation is the highest it's been in six years,” with 66% of the population involved in one or more of seven key activity categories."

“The top three categories are not performance wear, representing the strong influence of sports and fitness styles in today’s fashion world,” reported SFIA.

Apparel sales grew 1.2%, while licensed merchandise came in with at 5.8% growth, “indicating greater fandom and new opportunities for brands and apparel manufacturers.”

Golf clubs also experienced healthy growth at 8.9%.

Boutique fitness trends, responsible for introducing people in the U.S. to many nontraditional exercises, “are likely stimulating across the board increases in the fitness and martial arts equipment categories,” according to SFIA.

PHOTOS COURTESY SFIA

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