Monthly Archives: June 2023

Showtime Sports Announces Bonded By Ball: Inside The Obl, A Documentary Series Chronicling OBL

SHOWTIME Basketball announces BONDED BY BALL: INSIDE THE OBL, a four-part documentary series chronicling the inaugural season of the Ones Basketball League (OBL). All four episodes of the series premiere consecutively on SHOWTIME EXTREME starting at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, July 28, and all episodes will be available on demand and on streaming for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers on the day of premiere.

Founded in 2022 by seven-time NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady and award-winning sports business executive and entrepreneur Jeffrey Pollack, OBL is an elite one-on-one competition series designed to discover and spotlight the best one-on-one players around the world and celebrate the competitive spirit of basketball.

“BONDED BY BALL takes you on a journey with incredible athletes you haven’t met before and also gives some insight into my life story,” McGrady said. “When I look at these players, I know how it feels to be overlooked and undervalued. When an opportunity is given, what are you going to do with it? These guys are out to prove something, and we are proud to bring their stories to a larger audience for the first time.”

“Tracy and the OBL fit the ethos of SHOWTIME Basketball, and BONDED BY BALL is a reflection of the type of boundary-pushing and innovative content we strive to create,” said Brian Dailey, SVP, Sports Programming & Content at SHOWTIME. “If you look at our roster, it’s full of Hall of Famers and champions who are open to sharing their experiences, just as Tracy has with this league and through this series.”

The documentary series is an intimate look at the league’s three-month tour across the U.S. during its 2022 season, highlighting competitions in Houston, Brooklyn, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The series, guided by McGrady, reveals the compelling and often heartbreaking stories of the star players. By uncovering each athlete’s unique personality, determination, style and circumstances, the series is an in-depth exposé on the collective joy and disappointment that comes with both basketball and life.

“One-on-one is the essence of basketball and Tracy’s vision for the game opens up a new world of storytelling,” said Pollack. “We are creating a unique stage for amazing athletes who deserve a chance to shine in the spotlight and our ultimate ambition is global. Fans can be with us at the start, enjoy a behind-the-scenes look and get closer to Tracy thanks to SHOWTIME.”

In each of the cities on the tour, 32 players compete for a chance to win $10,000. The winner in each city takes home the cash prize, and the top three players from each city earn a spot in the OBL Finals in Las Vegas and the opportunity to compete for the grand prize of $250,000.

The featured competitors include:

  • George Beamon, Roslyn, N.Y./Manhattan College (Los Angeles Winner)
    31, co-captain and two-time First Team All-MAAC at Manhattan College. He averaged 18.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 2013-14 after a season-ending injury the previous year. Won OBL Los Angeles Regional to claim the $10,000 prize and qualify for OBL Finals.
  • Isaiah Brown, Queens, N.Y./SUNY Potsdam (New York Winner)
    25, nicknamed “Leaky Roof,” played at SUNY Potsdam. The sharpshooting lefty averaged 24.2 points per game in 2019-20 at Potsdam after transferring from Missouri State-West Plains. Won OBL New York Regional to claim the $10,000 prize and qualify for OBL Finals.
  • John Jordan, Houston/TAMU-Corpus Christi (Houston Winner)
    29, arrived from Romania just in time to compete in the OBL. He’s one of the most decorated players in Texas A&M-Corpus Christi history, totaling more than 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in his TAMU-CC Athletics Hall of Fame career. He played overseas and in the G-League, where he won the dunk contest in 2017. Won the OBL Houston Regional to claim the $10,000 prize and qualify for OBL Finals.
  • Matt Kiatipis, Newmarket, Ontario/Simon Fraser University (Houston Runner-Up)
    21, played a year for Simon Fraser University in his native Canada. He then turned his focus to other basketball pursuits, including a strong social media presence, park takeovers and dunk videos. The youngest OBL Finals qualifier, “M.K.” took second in the Houston Regional.
  • Kevin Kuteyi, Lanham, Md./Gannon University and Chowan University (DMV Winner)
    29, had one of the more vocal rooting sections at The St. James. In two collegiate seasons, one at Gannon University and one at Chowan University, he averaged 12 points per game and shot 40% from deep. “Uncle Skoob” came into the OBL DMV Regional as the No. 8 seed and had to win a play-in to get into the quarterfinals. Won the OBL DMV Regional to claim the $10,000 prize and qualify for OBL Finals.

“When you see that pain I’m putting in, it’s because I missed out on an opportunity,” OBL finalist George Beamon expresses in BONDED BY BALL: INSIDE THE OBL. “I want to get that breakout that I should’ve got. That ain’t stopping me. It’s motivating me.”

Beamon is not alone. The OBL is designed to create opportunities for gifted athletes who can earn a chance to shine on a national stage. McGrady’s devotion to nurturing and motivating the hundreds of players in the OBL comes from a shared place of perseverance and dedication.

BONDED BY BALL: INSIDE THE OBL is co-directed by Eric W. Newman and Rashad Floyd, and executive produced by Stephen Espinoza, Dailey, Newman, McGrady, Pollack and Elissa Grabow. Newman also directed and produced SHOWTIME documentaries KEVIN GARNETT: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE and BE NOW: INSIDE THE 2022 IVERSON CLASSIC, and the show ALL THE SMOKE WITH MATT BARNES AND STEPHEN JACKSON.


Is 2023 Oakland Or Kansas City The Worst Team Ever? Strat-O-Matic Simulates Series

With the 2023 Oakland Athletics adding the ignominy of having a perfect game thrown at them last night by New York’s Domingo Germán to pile on a 21-61 record that threatens to be the lowest win total in the expansion era, and Kansas City just a few ticks better at 22-58, Strat-O-Matic got to wondering: are one of these teams the worst in history? Worse than the famed 40-120 Mets in 1962 and 43-119 Tigers in 2003, recognized by many as the most miserable in that span?

The baseball wizards at Strat-O-Matic simulated a seven-game series between those Tigers and Mets, with the loser taking on the A’s-Royals loser. And… drumroll, please… Oakland adds “Worst Team Ever” to its litany of shame this week and this year.

In the “semifinal” sets, the 1962 Mets were swept by the 2003 Tigers in four straight and this year’s A’s lost in five to the Royals to “advance” to the “finals.” Oakland then won the first two against the Mets, 10-6 and 2-1, but amazingly dropped the next three before winning game six to set up a “loser take all” game seven. There, Oakland fell in embarrassing fashion, 13-0, managing just four hits against Al Jackson, a 20-game loser in the actual inaugural Mets season.

To conduct the simulation, this year’s teams were constructed using rosters from the current “Strat-O-Matic Baseball Daily 2023,” which recalculates player cards each day throughout the current season, while the Detroit and New York squads are part of the standard Strat-O-Matic historical baseball seasons, which date back to 1871.

“Fans are always asking about the greatest teams ever, so we thought it would be fun to pit two of the worst ever against two truly bad teams in this year’s Oakland and Kansas City,” said Adam Richman, CEO, Strat-O-Matic Media. “Most think of the ‘62 Mets and ‘03 Tigers as the worst teams, and this simulation shows that they may have company with these two clubs.”

Kitman Labs Announces Transcontinental Deal with Chicago Fire and FC Lugano

Kitman Labs, the global SaaS platform providing the only single, centralized operating system for performance intelligence in the elite performance industry, announced a recent deal with the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer (MLS) and FC Lugano of the Swiss Super League – both owned by Joe Mansueto. The deal will give both clubs access to Kitman Labs’ state-of-the-art Intelligence Platform including access to the Performance Medicine, Performance Optimization and Coaching & Development Solutions. The advanced operating system has now been deployed at the two clubs – and their Academies – with the full suite of resources now in play.

“While the number of individual clubs adopting our Intelligence Platform across both Europe and North America continues to scale, we anticipate that additional deals like this one – encompassing multiple clubs with joint ownership, straddling Leagues and addressing clubs with distinct training methods and styles of play – will become more frequent as we work with shared ownership groups,” said Stephen Smith, CEO and Founder of Kitman Labs. “There is nothing ‘cookie cutter’ when it comes to the bespoke needs, health and performance of a given club, but we think the economies of scale achieved and efficiencies realized by adopting the configurable platform by multiple clubs within a single organization will be a key multiplier for relationships like this for decades to come.”

Each club will work with a version of the system that has been configured for their specific needs. In addition, all club-related data will remain confidential – and only accessible to – that respective club. The collaboration between the Fire and Lugano performance staffs will provide shared learnings in real time as the clubs progress throughout their respective seasons. The partnership is designed to provide both clubs with deeper, strategic insight into all areas of on-pitch performance, ranging from developmental club best practices to helping gamify trade and transfer scenarios, making sure that injury prevention and maximal performance scenarios are created effectively and easily for all athletes, while giving performance leaders the ability to maximize every area of performance.

“In data-driven recruitment, matching the physical and medical profile of a player with the club and the league’s tactical and technical demands is paramount,” said Chicago Fire FC Director of Performance Nacho Torreño. ‘Through our relationship with Kitman Labs, we are working to develop the software that will allow us to track both the Chicago Fire’s and FC Lugano’s physical and medical metrics in one place and through one methodology. We are excited about the work being done that will give us an excellent understanding of how players from one environment will translate to the other. Additionally, this tool will also allow us to monitor players within our Academy, from the early stages through the professional ranks, to further enhance their development.”

“Kitman Labs is a value-add in the daily work of the technical staff of our first team and academy,” said FC Lugano Chief Sports Officer Carlos Da Silva. “It provides crucial support to those responsible for athletic preparation in terms of quality and intensity of training.”

Kitman Labs has an established track record of working with top teams and athletes across a variety of sports, including soccer, basketball, rugby, and American football. The company’s technology is being used by some of the world’s most elite sports organizations, such as MLS Next, Columbus Crew, and Bayer Leverkusen.

This new business launch follows other recent business strategy moves Kitman Labs have 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.

Ones Basketball League and Dunk Media Partner to Bring 1-on-1 Basketball Content to Young Fans

The Ones Basketball League (OBL), founded by Basketball Hall of Famer and entrepreneur Tracy McGrady, today announced a content and distribution partnership with Dunk Media LLC, a leading digital property, founded by creative entrepreneur Eliot Robinson, with a fanbase of more than 13 million basketball enthusiasts across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.

Starting in July 2023, Dunk will produce and distribute existing and new content highlighting the OBL and its successful proof-of-concept season that took place in the summer of 2022. Dunk will also work with McGrady to create new content focused on celebrating the one-on-one game, which McGrady calls “the essence of basketball.” In total, OBL-related content on Dunk is expected to drive over 50 million video views in the second half of 2023.

Tracy McGrady, Founder of OBL, said, “OBL celebrates the best one-on-one players in the world and highlights the essence of our great global game. This new partnership with Dunk will put a spotlight on the best moments from our pilot season and the incredible skill and talent of our elite players.”

Jeffrey Pollack, Co-Founder of OBL, said “Our proof-of-concept season was a smash hit with both players and fans, and Dunk will help re-energize and expand the OBL community as we put the pieces in place for a re-launch in 2024.”

Dunk Media CEO Josh Gotthelf said “The one-on-one game, and OBL’s unique format, are a perfect fit for the way today’s young audience consumes basketball content. We’re looking forward to telling the OBL’s many stories and creating new emotional connections to our community.”

Dunk will produce and distribute a wide range of engaging basketball content, including highlights, behind-the-scenes footage, player interviews, and insightful analysis that will provide an unprecedented glimpse into the world of OBL.

Strat-O-Matic Celebrates 1933, 1983 All-Star Games With Unique Limited Edition Collectible Card Set

Ninety years ago, baseball debuted its All-Star Game, a novelty that quickly became an annual tradition. Babe Ruth, naturally, launched the classic’s first home run in that inaugural contest, and it was 50 years later that California’s Fred Lynn hit the game’s first grand slam. Those two memorable shots, in games replete with dozens of Hall of Famers and other favorites, have made the 1933 and 1983 games among the most memorable in history, and beginning on July 10, Strat-O-Matic fans can relive and replay them like never before with the issue of the second entry in the Strat-O-Matic Collectibles Series: Strat-O-Matic All-Stars.

This special edition card set will feature the baseball All-Star teams from the 1933 and 1983 seasons on vivid, colorful cards with all-red (for the American League) or all-blue (for the National League) backgrounds and white text on both the basic and advanced sides of the cards. The numbered sets will be offered in a unique shrink-wrapped box that will also include charts detailing the starting lineups, rosters, and a box score for each game.

All 96 player cards from these two games will be released in Super Advanced format: a first for the majority of 1983 players (the season having been previously released with advanced-only features) while the 1933 season has never been released in card form by Strat-O-Matic.

“We expect demand for Strat-O-Matic All-Stars to be at least as strong as our Strat-O-Matic Black set, which sold out in less than two days,” said Adam Richman, CEO, Strat-O-Matic, Media. “Only 600 of these All-Star sets will be offered, never to be printed in this format again, so we advise fans to reserve theirs as soon as they go on sale at noon on July 10, just in time for the All-Star Game.”

The 1933 game, and this card set, featured Hall of Famers including Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Carl Hubbell, Pie Traynor, Frankie Frisch, and more. The 1983 classic included an incredible 18 Cooperstown inductees. Both contests were played at the revered Comiskey Park in Chicago.

Kitman Labs Announces Deal with New Zealand Football Club, the Wellington Phoenix

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 New Zealand’s Wellington Phoenix Football Club – the only New Zealand-based club in the Australian League. The club will be utilizing several Solutions in the Intelligence Platform, 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 operating and performance outcomes.

The Intelligence Platform is being deployed across the Men’s and Women’s Teams as well as the Academy. The platform will serve as the singular operating system for the Organization – eliminating data and information silos, enabling cross-Departmental communication and providing a comprehensive, real time view of every player in the organization.

By deploying the Intelligence Platform across the Academy and First Teams, Performance and Coaching staff will be able to effectively systemize their talent pipeline, enabling the early identification and progression of talent across the entire organization while creating key performance benchmarks and markers to inform their overall talent development strategy.

“The Intelligence Platform has been designed to unify data, people and processes to support informed decision-making, streamline operations and ultimately, yield the action plan necessary to achieve critical performance outcomes,” said Stephen Smith, CEO and Founder of Kitman Labs. “By deploying the platform across every aspect of the club, The Phoenix will have access to a complete, 360 view of each athlete and each team, eliminating data gaps and providing the intelligence necessary to develop and execute their performance strategy across every department.”

“Football clubs are no different than any other complex organization faced with significant amounts of incoming data and information,” said Shaun Gill, Director of Football, Wellington Phoenix FC. “Traditionally that information gets stuck or siloed within specific departments or project teams with limited transparency or context. By adopting the Intelligence Platform across every aspect of the Wellington Phoenix Organization – from our academy to first teams, men’s and women’s – all relevant, pertinent data will not only be centralized, but integrated. Kitman Labs will give us a comprehensive, real-time view of every player at all levels across the club and will provide the analytics necessary to support informed, strategic decision-making – whether that’s related to our development and recruitment objectives or athlete performance and health.”

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

This launch follows other recent business strategy moves Kitman Labs have 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.

SlamBall, ESPN Announce Exclusive Two-Year Broadcast Partnership for the 2023 and 2024 Seasons

SlamBall, the fast-paced, gravity-defying sport that combines elements of basketball, football, hockey and trampolines, today announced an exclusive, two-year national broadcast partnership with ESPN for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. The partnership begins on Opening Night, as SlamBall relaunches live from Las Vegas on July 21 from 7-9 p.m. EDT. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+ will combine to air more than 30 hours of live SlamBall programming across five weekends, culminating August 17-19 with the SlamBall Playoffs and SlamBall Championship Game. All games will be played at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, with ticket sales beginning on June 27.

“ESPN’s multi-year commitment to SlamBall is further validation of the enormous appeal and growth potential of our sport,” said SlamBall creator and CEO Mason Gordon. “The level of interest in our hybrid team sport not just in the U.S., but across the world, has been beyond our expectations for the 2023 season. It’s clear that this is the best talent we have had in the sport’s history.”

“Mason and I couldn’t help but respond to the #BringBackSlamBall clamor,” said SlamBall co-founder Mike Tollin. “Live sports dominate the airwaves these days and audiences are looking for the next big thing. It’s a thrill to collaborate with ESPN in bringing this ground-breaking sport back to the world.”

“We are excited to partner with SlamBall, a league that combines elements of some of our fans’ favorite sports, resulting in a unique game that is sure to entertain viewers across ESPN’s platforms.” said Ashley O’Connor, Sr. Director, Programming & Acquisitions at ESPN.

The broadcast team, production details, and full broadcast schedule will be announced in the next few weeks. SlamBall has a long-term partnership with global premium experiences company Legends to provide e-commerce and on-site event retail; global, data-driven partnership strategy and execution; and business intelligence with actionable insights to drive revenue across all areas of the league. David Levy at Horizon Sports and Experiences is providing additional sponsorship sales support in the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

SlamBall recently closed an $11 million Series A round led by Roger Ehrenberg’s IA Sports Ventures and Eberg Capital (Owner and Advisory Board Member, Miami Marlins, Betr, Simplebet) with participation from strategic investors across sports, gaming, entertainment, and media. Strategic investors include David Blitzer (Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Cleveland Guardians, Crystal Palace), David Adelman (76ers, NJ Devils), Michael Rubin (Fanatics), Gary Vaynerchuk (VaynerX, Major League Pickleball), and Blake Griffin (Boston Celtics power forward and six-time NBA All-Star), as well as Kevin Nagle (Sacramento Kings), Lloyd Danzig (Sharp Alpha), Legends, Brian Lovell (Red Games), Jesse Sharf (Gibson Dunn), Accelerate Sports, and Eric Manlunas (Wavemaker Partners). Accelerate Sports provided investment banking services for the round.

Telemundo Introduces Largest Women’s Commentary Team In World Cup History

Telemundo, the exclusive Spanish-language home of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, unveils its complete broadcast lineup and announce teams, featuring a commentary team with the most women ever in Spanish-language U.S. media history. 

The network’s broadcast schedule is outlined below, including all 64 matches will air live and exclusively in Spanish with 33 on Telemundo – the largest ever FIFA Women’s World Cup matches on a broadcast network in U.S. television history – 31 on Universo, and every match streaming live on Peacock starting July 20 through August 20.  

“For us, the Women’s World Cup is more than a premier global sporting event – it is an opportunity to contribute to something bigger, and we’re proud to enhance our coverage with experienced and diverse voices,” said Eli Velazquez, Executive Vice President of Sports, Telemundo. “We will be complementing our team of top sports commentators and journalists with the depth and expertise of former coaches, players, and referees who will provide their unique on-the-pitch perspectives offering our viewers the most thorough analysis throughout the tournament.” 

Telemundo’s cross-continental production will feature on-the-ground coverage across Australia and New Zealand anchored by Telemundo’s Emmy-nominated sports host Ana Jurka, Emmy-award winning sports journalist Miguel Gurwitz, lead Premier League host Carlota Vizmanos and World Cup veteran reporter and Telemundo 48’s Carlos Yustis as the official hosts, leading the pre-, halftime and post-game analysis. Sports journalist and host Veronica Rodriguez will host Telemundo’s leading late-night weekend sports show, Zona Mixta, throughout the tournament. 

Onsite in-venue announce team will be led by Hall of Famer, seven-time Emmy award-winner Andres Cantor with analysis by former Mexican National Team and Chivas player Manuel Sol and former U.S. Soccer coach Natalia Astrain. Additional announce teams will feature play-by-play by two-time Emmy award nominee Sammy Sadovnik, the voice of World Cup 2019’s Final Copan Alvarez, well-known soccer host and announcer Daniella Lopez-Guajaro, and accomplished Spanish-language sports broadcaster Jorge Calvo.  

Experienced sports analyst Eduardo Biscayart and sports journalist Diana Rincon join the coverage as lead analysts. In addition, the soccer experts will join Telemundo Deportes’ announce teams to serve as analysts for relevant matches.  

Team of Experts Joining Telemundo Deportes’ FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ Coverage: 

Natalia Astrain (Spain/USA | Coach), former U.S. coach, returns as guest analyst for Women’s World Cup joining Cantor’s announce team onsite after making history with the network during the World Cup Qatar 2022 calling Morocco-Portugal alongside head coach of the Costa Rica women’s national football team Amelia Valverde, the first ever Men’s World Cup match called by two women. 

Deyna Castellanos (Venezuela| Forward) rejoins Telemundo Deportes’ commentary team as a guest analyst after contributing to the coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019. Castellanos is a forward for Manchester City’s Women’s Super League Club and the Venezuela women’s national team. 

Isabella Echeverri (Colombia | Center back) former soccer player who last played as a center back for the Liga MX Femenil club CF Monterrey and the Colombia women’s national team. Telemundo Deportes welcomes Echeverri to the team for the first time. 

Janelly Farias (Mexico| Center back) is a Mexican soccer player who was part of the Mexican national team during the Women’s World Cup in 2006 and who provided analysis for the Women’s World Cup in 2019 for Telemundo. Farias is also the co-host for NBCU’s new bilingual podcast My New Favorite Futbolista / Mi Mundialista Favorita profiling the most-inspiring FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 stars.  

Jaime Herrera (Mexico | Referee) is recognized for being the first Mexican referee to officiate in the Major League Soccer. During his 19-year career he officiated international tournaments such as Copa Libertadores among others. The retired referee joined Telemundo for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ and returns this summer to analyze the calls for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 this summer. 

Kenti Robles (Mexico | Right Back) is a Mexican professional footballer who plays as a right back for Spanish Primera División club Real Madrid CF and the Mexico women’s national team. 

Maxi Rodriguez (Argentina | Midfielder) is a former Argentine footballer nicknamed “La Fiera” returns to Telemundo after his successful participation in Qatar. Previously, the legendary midfielder left his mark in Spain playing for Espanyol and Atlético Madrid then spent two years with Liverpool in England, and returned to Newell’s Old Boys where he began and ended his career. Rodríguez represented his country in three World Cups, finishing second in 2014. One of his career highlights occurred in Germany 2006 when he scored the goal that eliminated Mexico during the extra time of the Round of 16 match played in Leipzig. 

Lucila Venegas (Mexico | Referee) is an international football referee from Mexico who became a FIFA listed referee in 2008. Since then, she served as an official at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. 

Telemundo’s presentation marks the first time in U.S. television history the women’s competition is broadcasted in its entirety in Spanish and the most matches ever airing live on a U.S. broadcast network, regardless of language. In addition, the highly anticipated tournament this summer will be the first-ever Women’s World Cup on Peacock, the exclusive Spanish-language streaming home of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, which will stream every match live.  

MLS NEXT, Kitman Labs Build New System To Drive Operational Efficiencies, Optimize Player Pathways

MLS NEXT and Kitman Labs, the sports technology and analytics company setting an industry standard for how elite sports organizations use data, today announced a new deal that will provide MLS NEXT with new software to enhance the operation of MLS NEXT and provide coaches and players with improved insights into player performance.

Starting at the beginning of next year’s MLS NEXT season, this program will allow MLS NEXT to consolidate and streamline program-wide operations and build a unified data set about players, staff, coaches and games played at every level for every season. By leveraging the data and technology offerings from Kitman Labs, MLS NEXT will gain insights into areas such as where and how players are playing, how they are progressing through the League and how different teams are performing and who is coaching them, which can drive immediate improvements in the player pathway and experience.

“Kitman Labs is a world-class technology company, and by teaming up with them we are excited for the opportunity to utilize next generation technology to power our entire MLS NEXT operation,” said Justin Bokmeyer, General Manager, MLS NEXT. “The player pathway within the MLS ecosystem is of the utmost importance to us, and there is no better place to introduce this combining of forces than within MLS NEXT. We look forward to working alongside Kitman Labs and sharing their game-changing capabilities and software tools with academy directors throughout the U.S.”

Kitman Labs

Through Kitman Labs’ proprietary Intelligence Platform (iP: Intelligence Platform), which provides high performance organizations with the technology and tools to support data collection, advanced analytics, communication and collaboration across leagues and teams, MLS NEXT will have access to data optimization and visualizations to empower decision-making and to assist in continuous program improvement. Additionally, Kitman Labs will help to streamline all of MLS NEXT’s daily operations, including the improvement of the quality of talent and play at every level while delivering an elevated experience for both staff and players. 

MLS NEXT is the first to launch the new League Operations Solution from Kitman Labs. Core capabilities within the solution include, but are not limited to:

• Player Registration
• Staff and Officials Registration
• Fixture Management
• Digital Match Rosters
• Match Reporting
• Discipline Management and Eligibility Tracking
• Registration Payments
• Waivers and Consents
• Competition Management 

“As Leagues become increasingly more complex, the need to consolidate and streamline operations and logistics into a single platform, enabling collaboration, elevating the player and staff experience and providing the infrastructure to scale is paramount to future success,” said Stephen Smith, Kitman Labs Founder & CEO.  “MLS Next is setting a new standard across the board while simultaneously enhancing and prioritizing player pathways to elevate the overall level of play throughout the League.”  

This announcement arrives during a period of tremendous momentum behind the sport of soccer in North America, as MLS’ 28th season is underway, the highly anticipated 2023 Leagues Cup will take place from July 21 to August 19 and as the 2026 World Cup hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico approaches.

In Support of National Indigenous History Month in Canada NLL Launches ‘Every Child Matters’ Auction

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced its continued and expanded support for the “Every Child Matters” movement during National Indigenous History Month in Canada.

“Every Child Matters” is an initiative bringing awareness to the forcible placement of Indigenous children in residential and boarding schools by the Canadian and United States governments from the 19th century to as recently as 1996 in Canada so that these mistakes are not repeated.

Fans and anyone who wants to support the initiative can bid on team-signed merchandise from NLL teams starting today through Friday, June 30, 2023, at 5pm ET. To bid on the items, fans can visit

All funds raised from the “Every Child Matters” auction will be split evenly between the NLL’s two non-profit partners, the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund in Canada, and the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition in the United States.

Available items range from team-signed “Every Child Matters” t-shirts to the Vancouver Warriors’ First Nations Night theme jersey.

The “Every Child Matters” logo was designed by Indigenous artist, Justin Gilbert of Kuvua Designs. The Warriors’ uniform, worn during its January 28th game against the Panther City Lacrosse Club, was designed by Heiltsuk artist, K.C. Hall.

The 2022-23 season marked the second consecutive year the NLL prominently featured the “Every Child Matters” movement across North America. For three weeks in January and February, every NLL team wore “Every Child Matters”-themed warmups and added a campaign-branded helmet decal for games. During halftime of each broadcasts, special segments ran discussing this topic and others relating to Indigenous populations across Canada and the United States.

Fans can still purchase “Every Child Matters” t-shirts through the NLL’s official online stores, and powered by Fanatics. For every t-shirt sold, the NLL will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund and The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

About the National Lacrosse League
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s premier professional lacrosse league. Founded in 1986, the League is comprised of 15 franchises across the United States and Canada: Albany FireWolves, Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, Las Vegas Desert Dogs, New York Riptide, Panther City Lacrosse Club (TX), Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors.

For more information, visit and find @NLL on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

Image Courtesy NLL/Vancouver Warriors

Beat the Streets Raises Record $1.3 Million with Annual Benefit, Final X

Beat the Streets New York raised more than $1.3 million with its 13th Annual Benefit on Saturday at Prudential Center. BTSNY also set an attendance record for its Annual Benefit and Final X with more than 8,000 fans.

For a second straight year, Final X served as BTSNY’s benefit with 29 athletes claiming a spot on Team USA for the 2023 Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 16-24.

Among the men’s freestyle winners were 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder (97 kg), and 2020 Olympic champions Gable Steveson (125 kg) and David Taylor (86 kg), and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist and four-time World champion Kyle Dake (74 kg). Two notable upsets occurred as Zane Richards (57 kg) topped 2021 World champion and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Thomas Gilman, and Chance Marsteller (79 kg) dethroned 2016 Olympic champion and six-time World champion Jordan Burroughs.

In women’s freestyle, 2020 Olympic silver medalist and six-time World champion Adeline Gray (76 kg) won just 10 months after giving birth to twins. World champions Jacarra Winchester (55 kg), Dominique Parrish (53 kg) and Amit Elor (72 kg) also claimed victories.

Two 2020 Olympians led the 10 Greco-Roman winners, as Ildar Hafizov (60 kg) and Alejandro Sancho (67 kg) emerged victorious.

“Moving our benefit to Prudential Center was a big factor in making this our largest event, with $1.3 million raised,” said Brendan Buckley, Executive Director of Beat the Streets New York. “The funds raised during this event enable our programs to operate year-round and continue to make a lifelong impact through wrestling on New York City student-athletes.”

It is the second time the benefit has been held in New Jersey after a virtual event in 2020 in Hoboken. BTSNY held its Annual Benefit at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in 2019 and 2022, and previously at other historic New York locations. The benefit events help BTSNY raise at least $1 million each year to support youth wrestling programs that empower young people in New York City. To provide contributions to BTSNY, visit

For full match results, visit

image: Kamal Bey (credit: Robbert Wijtman)

‘The League’ Negro Leagues World Premiere at the Tribeca Festival on Monday

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI), executive produced by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (Oscar-winning SUMMER OF SOUL), Tariq Trotter (DESCENDANT), and produced by RadicalMedia, THE LEAGUE celebrates the dynamic journey of Negro League baseball’s triumphs and challenges through the first half of the twentieth century. The story is told through previously unearthed archival footage and never-before-seen interviews with legendary players like Satchel Paige and Buck O’Neil – whose early careers paved the way for the Jackie Robinson era – as well as celebrated Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Hank Aaron who started out in the Negro Leagues.

The feature-length documentary debuts at the Tribeca Festival in New York on Monday and opens in theaters July 7 and on digital July 14.

From entrepreneurial titans Cumberland Posey and Gus Greenlee, whose intense rivalry fueled the rise of two of the best baseball teams ever to play the game, to Effa Manley, the activist owner of the Newark Eagles and the only woman ever admitted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, THE LEAGUE explores Black baseball as an economic and social pillar of Black communities and a stage for some of the greatest athletes to ever play the game, while also examining the unintended consequences of integration.

“My vision was simple,” said Pollard. “Find voices of those who played the game, surround them with historians and fans of the Negro Leagues, use as much archival footage and stills I could find and, to add drama, shoot period recreations and create animation that would add another level of cinematic texture to the film. Fortunately, I was able to find the voices of former Negro League players because Byron Motley (whose dad, Bob Motley, had been a Negro League Umpire) had interviewed and recorded many former players years ago.”

Producers are Robin Espinola, Dave Sirulnick, Jen Isaacson and Byron Motley.