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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. 

POLL POSITION

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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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 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)

Tuesday
Dec242013

Tony Ponturo Has The Real Playbook On Super Bowl Marketing, Broadway Hits

By Barry Janoff

(Originally Published in MediaPost)

December 24, 2013: During his three decades as a top executive for Anheuser-Busch, Tony Ponturo helped to define, and then redefine, the way companies handle sports marketing and the way consumers view and relate to those marketing efforts.

Ponturo, from 1982-2008, held key executive positions for Anheuser-Busch, among them vp-global media & sports marketing and president/CEO for the Busch Media Group.

Strategic among his duties was working with such leagues as MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and the NFL to build and enhance Anheuser-Busch's presence with fans and consumers. Under his watch, Anheuser-Busch was among the first to create a marketing landscape not just during but also before and after the Super Bowl.

"We were running ads that people remembered back at a time when people really weren't tuning in to the game to watch commercials," said Ponturo. "But even then we realized that, if you spend millions for Super Bowl commercials, the strategy needs to be about much more than the 30 seconds your ad is running. It needs to be about building your brand and expanding the life of your campaign."

Looking at the current marketing landscape, Ponturo said the companies that best utilize their time in the Super Bowl spotlight are the ones that take advantage of all the outlets available to them. Even though the price for some 30-second spots during the upcoming game has topped $4 million, according to Super Bowl XLVIII broadcast network Fox, that is easier said than done.

"With the impact of social media, you have to get people talking about you and your product," said Ponturo, who is a consultant for the New York-New Jersey Host Committee for Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be played in MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2. "You have to connect with your consumer, make them remember not just the commercial but the brand.

"The conversation used to start three weeks ahead of the Super Bowl," said Ponturo. "Now it starts three months out. And it should last well past the game itself."

Turns out that Ponturo has a knack for creating a landscape on Broadway, as well.

In 2008, Ponturo and producing partner Fran Kirmser revived the classic Hair; in 2009, the Kirmser-Ponturo Group produced Memphis the Musical, which ran for more than 1,150 performances.

Tapping into his sports background, Ponturo and Kirmser in 2010-11 staged Lombardi, based on the life of iconic coach Vince Lombardi, for which the NFL had its first official Broadway marketing partnership. Ponturo and Kirmser followed that with Magic/Bird, looking at the rivalry and admiration between Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson, which came with the NBA's first official Broadway marketing alliance.

The Kirmser-Ponturo Group is now in the process of bringing Bronx Bombers to Broadway. The play focuses on the most iconic figures in Yankees, and arguably baseball, history, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Billy Martin, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter.

Bronx Bombers comes with official sanctioning and marketing support from MLB and the Yankees, which allowed writer-director Eric Simonson access to team archives. Berra and his wife, Carmen, who are at the center of the play's action, also shared personal stories and artifacts.

Steiner Sports, which has exclusive alliances with the Yankees and Jeter, will create a memorabilia museum in the lobby of the Circle in the Square Theatre, including seats and dirt from the original Yankee Stadium and plaques and jerseys autographed by the likes of Mariano Rivera, Jeter, Berra and DiMaggio.

The play, which ran Off-Broadway earlier this year, will open on Broadway with previews on Jan. 10, then makes its official debut on Feb. 6. And, yes, Ponturo is well aware of the fact that the show's initial Broadway splash coincides with Super Bowl XLVIII.

"The week before the Super Bowl will be a big week in New York," said Ponturo, channeling his days as an über-Super Bowl marketing expert. "If you're asking whether we will try to tap into that excitement and attention, the answer would be yes."

Bronx Bombers
Circle in the Square Theater, New York

Playwright/Director: Eric Simonson

Cast: Peter Scolari (Yogi Berra), Francois Battiste (Reggie Jackson/ Elston Howard), Chris Henry Coffey (Joe DiMaggio), Bill Dawes (Mickey Mantle/Thurman Munson), Christopher Jackson (Derek Jeter), Keith Nobbs (Billy Martin), Tracy Shayne (Carmen Berra), John Wernke (Lou Gehrig) and CJ Wilson (Babe Ruth).

Previews Begin: Jan. 10 Opening Night: Feb. 6.

Photos: Walter McBride

Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle Eye Bronx Bombers Hit On Broadway

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