Monthly Archives: May 2023

Man City’s Haaland, Fulham’s Ream Claim Inaugural Men in Blazers ‘American Football Awards’

Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Tim Ream of Fulham were named the inaugural “American Player of the Year” and “American American Player of the Year” in the Premier League, as voted on by U.S.-based fans via the Men in Blazers Media Network’s Raven Newsletter and announced on MiB’s Season 9 finale today on NBC and Peacock.

MiB host and co-founder Roger Bennett and popular commentators Robbie Earle and Rebecca Lowe announced the winners, who appeared by video accepting their awards and accompanying prize belt.

“I want to thank everyone for voting me as American Player of the Year,” said Haaland on the program. “It’s a real honor for me and I have to keep going. Thank you for this award.”

Haaland was selected over other finalists Marcus Rashford of Manchester United, Bukayo Saka of Arsenal and Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur.

“I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who voted me your American American Player of the Year in the Premier League,” added Ream. “It’s a huge honor to win the award amongst the names that were in the running. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and winning it again.”

Ream’s fellow American American of the Year finalists were his Fulham teammate Antonee Robinson, Tyler Adams of Leeds United and Matt Turner of Arsenal.

“Football awards are an expression of the culmination of a season’s journey. That journey is different depending on your perspective — the place and reality of where you watch,” said Bennett. “MiB Network has been a manifestation of the surging growth in football fandom across the United States over the last decade — the sense of shared discovery, passion, and connectivity. These awards to Haaland and Ream are a reflection of that — the unique perspective of American football fans who have fallen head over heels in love with this game. Fans who have gone from not caring about football, to becoming football-curious, to getting a Tottenham Hotspur tattoo on their forearm and not quite believing how fast it has all happened.”

The Men in Blazers Media Network is the largest and most successful independent soccer-focused media company in North America. The “American Football Awards” show followed Sunday’s Premier League Finals.

The finalists and winners were selected by thousands of fans across the nation. MiB will also debut the women’s “American Football Awards” this fall after the World Cup and conclusion of the NWSL season, with a unified, platform coming in 2024.

Men in Blazers Launches First-Ever ‘American Football Awards’

The Men in Blazers Media Network, the largest and most successful independent soccer-focused media company in North America, today announced another expansion of their platform, “The American Football Awards.” This new award will honor the Premier League footballer deemed to have had the best season in 2022-23 as voted on by the surging audience of American fans. The accompanying “American American Player of the Year” is handed out to the best American player in English Football. The first awards show will be seen on NBC this coming Sunday following the Premier League Finals and will be hosted by Robbie Earle, Rebecca Lowe, and Men In Blazers’ Roger Bennett. The winners will be announced and both will give their acceptance speeches on the show, directly addressing the American Premier League audience.

“For decades, the United States has seemed like the Final Frontier for Football, like Space was for Captain Kirk,” said Men in Blazers Co-Founder Roger Bennett. “Over the last decade, that has changed. The sport is surging. The audience is passionate and knowledgeable, and this award is both a reflection of their surging interest, and how seriously the Premier League teams and players take our fanbase. It is our hope this award will become the Ballon D’or for a U.S. audience, and are thrilled to partner with NBC Sports who have been such a driver of the growth of football in this nation as we continue to champion the growth of the sport in the U.S. on every level to the biggest audience possible.”

The finalists and winners were selected by thousands of fans across the nation. MiB will also debut the women’s “American Football Awards” this fall after the World Cup and conclusion of the NWSL season, with a unified, platform coming in 2024.

The “American Football Awards” continues Men in Blazers expansion as a leading pop culture, sports and entertainment platform. In March, MIB significantly added to its content lineup with talent and shows that now include: “Here We Go” with Fabrizio Romano, “The Road to the Cup” with Becky Sauerbrunn, “VAMOS” with Herculez Gomez, and “Men in Blazers Live and Dangerous” with Sam Mewis on Twitch leading the Women’s World Cup 2026 programming, in addition to the widely followed and successful original MiB content.

What started as a weekly TV Show (now in its 9th Season with NBC Sports) and Podcast has become a 24/7 flourishing multi-voiced, digital integrated media network serving every aspect of global football – both men’s and women’s – with a full slate of programming and talent across a variety of channels including a co-production partnership with Twitch.

All of this comes ahead of what will be an even bigger window of exposure for football interest and growth in the U.S., with the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the 2024 Copa America and the 2026 World Cup also held in North America and the continued interest in both the business and consumer engagement with MLS, the NWSL, US Soccer, and other emerging properties. Men in Blazers partnered with Twitch prior to the 2022 Men’s World Cup, executing a strategy that fused “sidecasting” games live with celebrity guests by day, live “theater shows” by night, all streamed LIVE on Twitch, combined with a daily cascade of podcasts. The format nominated for Sports Emmy, had a total of 6M unique viewers across the 44+ hours of live streams throughout the tournament.

The content was amplified, cross-platform on social to create a 24/7 narrative accompaniment and drove unprecedented numbers for Men in Blazers and partners — reaching #4 across all Sports podcasts in the USA throughout the time-period.

Tanzania Tourism Board Announces New Relationships with International Tennis Hall of Fame, USTA, ITF

The Tanzania Tourism Board announced new relationships with the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the USTA and the ITF, all designed to raise awareness, opportunity and good will tied to the expedition John and Patrick McEnroe will be making to Tanzania in December. The new and expanded relationships will broaden the scope and opportunity around the trip and will be able to put this global opportunity to expand the game of tennis top of mind with many of the key enthusiasts for the game of tennis on every level.

“This partnership is key to having us reach communities through sport across North America, and in aligning John and Patrick McEnroe with some of our other partners in places like the NFL and MLS, it shows how seriously we take this commitment,” said Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources Hassan Abbas. “Of all our new relationships, this one we believe can have the greatest impact, both on people coming to experience our country and in those young people who will benefit from learning and growing the game of tennis in Africa.”

“The possibilities of what we can do with these partnerships as a way to reach and engage not just fans of tennis, but of those who have interest in social responsibility both across the United States and in Tanzania is pretty endless,” said Patrick McEnroe, the newly appointed President of The International Tennis Hall of Fame. “It is the rare opportunity to impact lives but here and in Africa and we are looking forward to moving this project along into the summer and fall, especially with those who will be coming with us.”

The partnerships include a number of opportunities for members to engage and participate with the experiences well in advance of the trip as well as learn more about how the trip and all its components will build and execute good will and growth of the sport. The programs will include digital and social media contact, select in person events and charitable connections across the board.

John and Patrick McEnroe will be travelling to Tanzania this December as part of a new goodwill, awareness and sport initiative. In cooperation and support of the Tanzanian government. The Brothers McEnroe will be accompanied by as many as 120 tennis aficionados during a special eight-day trip which will include the first ever professional tennis match in the Serengeti and other tennis related events.

Guests will also join John and Patrick when they visit a traditional Maasai Village to bring goodwill and cultural exchange and introduce the Maasai youth to the game of tennis as part of a special court dedication.

Travelers will enjoy African hospitality while staying at the Four Seasons Serengeti, Gran Melia and other luxury lodges. This bucket list tour package includes all gourmet meals on an all-inclusive basis, domestic air, almost daily Safari game drives in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, a welcome reception hosted by the President of Tanzania, tennis-themed activities and memories to last a lifetime.
Tennis fans will not want to miss this historic moment in tennis history. This is a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to one of the most majestic landscapes on the planet with tennis legends.

To learn more or join the tour, please visit:

Kitman Labs Announces Integration Deal with ZoneIn

Kitman Labs, the global enterprise SaaS platform providing the only single, centralized operating system for performance intelligence in the elite performance industry, today announced a new deal with ZoneIn – the most advanced evidence-based performance nutrition platform and app in global sport. ZoneIn currently serves over 20,000 athletes and 200+ performance specialists across pro, college and youth athletics. The ZoneIn platform will integrate directly with the Intelligence Platform from Kitman Labs, making their first party data related to nutrition and supplement management, instantly accessible to Kitman’s roster of sports and defense clients worldwide.

ZoneIn’s performance nutrition platform is currently used by EXOS and some of the biggest leagues in global sport, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, Premier League and NCAA for:

AI-driven nutrition management of Athletes

Personalized meal ordering and menu management

Integrated supplement management and inventory tracking

ZoneIn is joining the growing roster of premium data providers integrating with the Intelligence Platform, providing leagues and regulatory bodies, teams, clubs and defense organizations with a single, integrated platform built to unify thousands of single point solutions and provide a complete, holistic view of the athlete or service member.

“Kitman Labs is the leader in utilizing data in innovative and evidence-based manners to boost the health and performance of athletes. It is extremely exciting to partner with such a forward thinking organization and a company we have always looked up to,” said Kush Mahan, CEO and Founder of ZoneIn. “We are confident that the value that our unique integrated offerings will bring to organizations around the globe will be second to none.”

“Kush and his team at ZoneIn have built the best-in-class end-to-end dietician management platform and app in the industry and we couldn’t be more thrilled to announce this integration partnership. As the industry continues to grapple with the volume and velocity of data hitting them daily, we remain steadfast in our goal of providing the only single, centralized and fully integrated operating system in the market,” said Stephen Smith, CEO and Founder Kitman Labs. “Our technology has been designed to aggregate those data streams and convert them into actionable intelligence that supports the myriad operating and performance outcomes of our shared clients.”

This launch follows other recent business strategy moves Kitman Labs has undertaken. That includes the successful close of a $52M Series C funding round led by Guggenheim Investments, a global asset investment and advisory firm with more than $259 billion in assets under management and two strategic acquisitions of The Sports Office and Presagia Sports. The combined companies represent the industry’s largest network of elite and youth organizations (700+) and created the industry’s largest dataset of talent, performance, and medical data for all stages of the athlete lifecycle.

Volleyball Nations League Announces Athlete Line-Up For Anaheim Week 3 July 4-9

Volleyball Nations League (VNL), the world’s premier annual international indoor volleyball tournament, has announced the official athlete rosters for the USA, Iran, Argentina, France, Germany, Serbia, Bulgaria and Cuba teams who will compete during Week 3 of preliminary play in Anaheim, Calif. from July 4 – 9, 2023.
The Men’s VNL 2023 will feature 16 national teams and will be held in seven different countries on three different continents. The teams will play four matches a week for three weeks of preliminary competition. The top 7 teams at the end of the preliminary phase will advance to the VNL Finals with hosts Poland in the city of Gdansk from July 19 – 23.
“We are excited to showcase the global superstars at the Volleyball Nations League in Anaheim for our fans in America and around the world this July,” said Finn Taylor, CEO, Volleyball World.”American sports fans will have a chance to see the world’s best players and national teams take on Team USA in some of the best international volleyball played anywhere on the globe this year.”
Below are athletes highlighted from all eight countries. For a complete roster, go to VNL 2023 – Men’s teams. |
TEAM USA – After finishing in second place in 2022, the USA Men are currently ranked No. 6 in the world. They return under 11-time head coach and UCLA coach John Speraw, with 10 Olympians on the roster, including bronze medalists David Smith, Erik Shoji and Matt Anderson, and rising star Mason Briggs.

  • Three-time Olympian David Smith out of University of California Irvine, returns to the middle blocker position. Smith earned Best Middle Blocker at the 2022 VNL Finals and is an elite athlete who plays nearly deaf.
  • Two-time Olympian Libero Erik Shoji, hailing from Hawaii and Stanford alumni, is a two-time Olympian who earned a bronze in 2016. Born to University of Hawaii women’s volleyball coach Dave Shoji, volleyball is a family business for the Shojis.
  • Rising Star Mason Briggs comes from a family of collegiate volleyball players. As upcoming talent in the VNL and professional indoor volleyball circuit, he attends Cal State Long Beach and is known for his charisma on and off the court.

FRANCE – The defending VNL champions return with 2020 Olympic gold medalists Earvin N’Gapeth, Trévor Clévenot, Jean Patry and Jenia Grebnnikov. France earned their first VNL title in 2022 by defeating the United States.
IRAN – With a seventh place finish last year, the 2023 squad includes Seyed Mousavi who has led Iran to two Olympic appearances. He is joined by veteran Masoud Gholami and rising stars Amin Esmaeilnezhad and Javad Karimi.
ARGENTINA – Led by captain Luciano De Cecco who returns for his 18th season. In addition, 12 players who led Argentina to an eighth-place finish at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship include Bruno Lima, Agustín Loser and Santiago Danani. They will look to better their ninth place finish at the 2022 VNL.
SERBIA – The 2019 European champions return to the VNL with 10 players that competed at last year’s world championship. Their roster includes Olympians Aleksandar Atanasijevic Marko Podrascanin.
GERMANY – After competing without nine key players last year, veteran outside hitter Denis Kaliberda and middle blocker Anton Brehme rejoin German teammates Julian Zenger (L) and Lukas Kampa (S) for this year’s VNL. Kaliberda has played with the national team since 2010, representing Germany at the 2012 Olympics.
BULGARIA – Returning 11 years after he last played for the Bulgarian national team, the country’s most prominent active star, Matey Kaziyski rejoins Teodor Salparov, the Bratoev twins – Georgi & Valentin; and Nikolay Penchev.
CUBA – The team won the Volleyball Challenger Cup in 2022 to earn promotion to the 2023 VNL. The team is led by Outside Hitter Miguel Lopez, who participated in the 2016 Olympic Games and Robertlandy Simon, arguably one of the most exciting middle blockers to watch in the VNL.
Tickets are now available for purchase HERE.
For a complete athlete roster and more information about the Volleyball Nations League, including the latest news, schedules, scores and highlights, please visit Follow @volleyballworld on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Youtube. Tune into the Volleyball Nations League 2023 live programming on VBTV.

National Lacrosse League Announces Finalists for 2022-23 NLL Awards

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced the finalists for its annual season-end awards honoring the best players, coaches, and executives for the 2022-23 NLL season.

Reigning NLL Most Valuable Player, Buffalo Bandits forward Dhane Smith, looks to repeat against last year’s NLL Rookie of the Year, New York Riptide’s Jeff Teat, and Calgary Roughnecks’ standout goaltender, Christian Del Bianco.

All 11 award categories are based on 2022-23 regular season stats and performances, with voting taking place prior to the start of the 2023 NLL Playoffs. Voters ranked their choices from 1st through 5th place with those votes correlating with a point total (noted below). The top three vote getters for each award are listed as the finalists.

The winners will be announced next week leading into Game 1 of the NLL Finals.

Most Valuable Player
• Christian Del Bianco (Coquitlam, BC) – Goaltender – Calgary Roughnecks
• Dhane Smith (Kitchener, ON) – Forward – Buffalo Bandits
• Jeff Teat (Brampton, ON) – Forward – New York Riptide

Rookie of the Year
• Brett Dobson (Oshawa, ON) – Goaltender – Georgia Swarm
• Jonathan Donville (Oakville, ON) – Forward – Panther City Lacrosse Club
• Jack Hannah (Milford, OH) – Forward – Las Vegas Desert Dogs

Goaltender of the Year
• Christian Del Bianco (Coquitlam, BC) – Calgary Roughnecks
• Nick Rose (Orangeville, ON) – Toronto Rock
• Matt Vinc (St. Catharines, ON) – Buffalo Bandits

Transition Player of the Year
• Reid Bowering (Coquitlam, BC) – Vancouver Warriors
• Zach Currier (Peterborough, ON) – Calgary Roughnecks
• Challen Rogers (Coquitlam, BC) – Toronto Rock

Defensive Player of the Year
• Latrell Harris (St. Catharines, ON) – Toronto Rock
• Graeme Hossack (Port Perry, ON) – Halifax Thunderbirds
• Brad Kri (Acton, ON) – Toronto Rock

Sportsmanship Award
• Kyle Buchanan (Nepean, ON) – Buffalo Bandits
• Tom Schreiber (East Meadow, NY) – Toronto Rock
• Lyle Thompson (Onondaga Nation, NY) – Georgia Swarm

Teammate of the Year
• Kyle Buchanan (Nepean, ON) – Buffalo Bandits
• Dan Dawson (Oakville, ON) – Toronto Rock
• John LaFontaine (Whitby, ON) – Albany FireWolves

Les Bartley Award (Head Coach of the Year)
• Mike Hasen – Rochester Knighthawks
• Tracey Kelusky – Panther City Lacrosse Club
• Curt Malawsky – Calgary Roughnecks

General Manager of the Year
• Mike Board – Calgary Roughnecks
• Dan Carey – Rochester Knighthawks
• Jamie Dawick – Toronto Rock

Executive of the Year
• Melissa Blades – Director of Business Operations, Calgary Roughnecks
• Mark Fine – Chief Executive Officer, Las Vegas Desert Dogs
• Matt Hutchings – Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, KSE, Governor, Colorado Mammoth 

Tom Borrelli Award (Media Person of the Year)
• Pat Gregoire – TSN/Halifax Thunderbirds color commentator and co-host, “Off the CrosseBar” Podcast
• Teddy Jenner – TSN play-by-play and co-host, “Off the CrosseBar” Podcast
• Adam Levi – Inside Lacrosse, NLLPA, and contributing writer and host, “Lacrosse Matrix” Podcast

Each NLL team had the opportunity to nominate and vote for each of the awards with the exception of Teammate of the Year, as each NLLPA Player Representative nominated a player from their team for this honor that was voted on by the NLLPA and its 15 Player Representatives.

Once nominations were finalized, each NLL team casted three ballots for each award by three members of its organization. Select media were eligible to vote for all awards except Teammate of the Year and Executive of the Year with the same voting system.

Each ballot allowed voting members to select their top five choices for each award among all nominated persons. Points were distributed for each first through fifth place vote as follows:

• 1st Place – 10 points
• 2nd Place – 7 points
• 3rd Place – 5 points
• 4th Place – 3 points
• 5th Place – 1 point

The person that accumulated the most points will be announced as the winner while the top three are the finalists. The All-League and All-Rookie teams are determined by the top vote getters in each correlating award. The All-Rookie team will be made up of six rookies, regardless of position. The All-League First Team and All-League Second Team will be made up of six individuals per team. Each Team will consist of two forwards, one transition player, two defenseman, and one goaltender.

For the latest scores and developments in the National Lacrosse League, please visit and find the NLL on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

Kitman Labs announces Performance Intelligence Deal with Danish Superliga Club, FC Midtjylland

Kitman Labs, the global enterprise SaaS company providing the only single, centralized operating platform for performance intelligence in the elite performance industry, today announced a new deal with Danish Superliga club, FC Midtjylland. This deal makes FC Midtjylland the fifth club in the League to subscribe to Kitman’s proprietary, multi-solution advanced operating system, iP: Intelligence Platform. Other clubs adopting the platform include: Aalborg Boldspilklub, Aarhus Gymnastikforening, FC Nordsjaelland and Viborg FF. All five clubs have now been onboarded, the technology has been deployed and will be in use throughout the 2024 season.

In all instances, the clubs have adopted the full suite of Solutions including: Performance Medicine, Performance Optimization and Talent Development. The platform combines medical, performance and talent development data into a single, interactive system that yields actionable intelligence to support specific performance outcomes while providing a complete, comprehensive view of each individual player within the team.

“We are pleased to continue to work with progressive and insightful football clubs the world over. These five clubs – representing close to half of the Danish SuperLiga – show how we can customize each program to support the bespoke needs and objectives of each organization within the League,” Kitman Labs CEO Stephen Smith said. “ Whether it’s ensuring a heightened level of regulatory compliance related to personal and medical data or systemizing the most effective talent development pipeline, our technology – combined with the Team’s expertise – has been designed to address the most critical operational needs and objectives of teams and leagues within global sport.”

The Intelligence Platform allows us to gather all of the Club’s data and make it easily accessible to all relevant departments. This applies to everything from training planning to talent development and treatments in the physical sector,” said Sven Graverson, Sporting Director, FC Midtjylland . “With Kitman Labs, the data is available in real time and ensures that there is a common thread from Guldminen to the first team with better insight into the individual player, efficiency of the work process and integration of data into the decision-making process.”

Kitman Labs has an established track record of working with top Leagues and teams across a variety of sports at the professional and collegiate level including, soccer, American football, basketball, and rugby. The company’s technology has been used by some of the world’s most elite sports organizations, such as Bayer Leverkusen, Malmö FF, and Columbus Crew.

This new business launch follows other recent business strategy moves Kitman Labs has undertaken. That includes the successful close of a $52M Series C funding round led by Guggenheim Investments, a global asset investment and advisory firm with more than $259 billion* in assets under management and two strategic acquisitions of The Sports Office and Presagia Sports, both made in the last two years. The combined companies represent the industry’s largest network of elite and youth organizations (700+) and created the industry’s largest dataset of talent, performance, and medical data for all stages of the athlete lifecycle.

TSN, TSN+ ESPN+ to Broadcast Every National Lacrosse League Conference Finals Beginning Thursday

National Lacrosse League (@NLL) broadcast partners TSN, TSN+ and ESPN+ will provide live coverage of every game of the best-of-three Conference Finals beginning with Thursday’s West Final Game 1 between Calgary and Colorado at Ball Arena in Denver (9:30 p.m. ET). This year’s format features Games 1 and 2 of both Conference Finals this weekend, followed by Game 3 next week, if necessary.

The broadcast teams for both Conference Final are as follows:

West Finals – (4) Colorado Mammoth vs. (2) Calgary Roughnecks
Game 1 – At Colorado, Thursday, May 11 @ 9:30 p.m. ET, Teddy Jenner, Brad Challoner, John Gallant
Game 2 – At Calgary, Saturday, May 13 @ 9:30 p.m. ET, Teddy Jenner, Brad Challoner, Shantelle Chand
*Game 3 – At Calgary, Saturday, May 20 @ 9:30 p.m. ET, Teddy Jenner, Brad Challoner, Shantelle Chand

East Finals – (2) Toronto Rock vs. (1) Buffalo Bandits
Game 1 – At Buffalo, Friday, May 12 @ 7:30 p.m. ET, Jon Abbott, Pat Gregoire, Ashley Docking
Game 2 – At Toronto, Saturday, May 13 @ 7 p.m. ET, Jon Abbott, Pat Gregoire, Ashley Docking
*Game 3 – At Buffalo, Saturday, May 20 @ 7:30 p.m. ET, Jon Abbott, Pat Gregoire, Ashley Docking

*If necessary

The East and West Conference champions will face off in the best-of-three NLL Finals, with broadcast information for that series to be announced. To view the 2023 NLL Playoffs bracket, visit