Author Archives: Jerry Milani

About Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for FAN EXPO, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

SportsHandle.com Unveils Comprehensive Betting Partnerships Tracker 

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was judicially overturned on May 14, 2018, and with the four-year anniversary of the decision approaching, SportsHandle.com today has launched a first-of-its-kind tracker with more than 250 sports betting partnerships formed since the initial ruling.  

A leading source for information on sports betting legalization in the United States, SportsHandle.com has created the go-to-resource to monitor all sports betting partnerships across professional sports leagues, teams, colleges, sports venues, athletes, celebrities, and more. 

Accessible under SportsHandle.com’s drop-down menu under “Tools,” the Sports Betting Partnership Tracker lists all agreements involving U.S. sportsbooks and sports entities. To date, 29 sportsbooks have entered into at least one partnership.

SportsHandle.com’s Sports Betting Partnership Tracker will be updated regularly with the latest agreements. As of today, the following number of partnerships exist in each of the below categories:

  • 133 – Professional sports teams 
  • 50 – Professional sports leagues 
  • 36 – Celebrity endorsers
  • 18 – Sports venues
  • 15 – Media properties or companies
  • 4 – Colleges and universities

Additional noteworthy statistics in Sports Handle’s Sports Betting Partnership Tracker include: 

  • 37 – Partnerships are the most by any one sportsbook (Caesars and DraftKings are tied) 
  • 24 – Individual DraftKings’ deals with pro sports teams (most of any sportsbook)
  • 22 – League with most individual teams partnered with a sportsbook (NBA), followed by the NFL (18), NHL (16) and MLB (11)
  • 2 – Sportsbooks have entered partnerships with major colleges and universities (Caesars and PointsBet)
  • – Sportsbook has at least one team partnership in the MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL and WNBA (FanDuel) 

“The sports betting landscape is constantly evolving, and we are proud to unveil this all-encompassing resource that provides the most up-to-date partnership and sponsorship information in one convenient location,” said Brett Smiley, Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief at SportsHandle.com. “Although there are currently more than 250 sports betting sponsorships, new partnerships and categories are being established on a weekly, if not daily, basis. We look forward to maintaining the most robust database for this information on the internet and we are extremely proud of the Sports Handle editorial and research team for making this valuable resource a reality.”

Jeffrey Pollack Named First Executive-in-Residence at Rutgers University Global Sports Business Master’s Program

Jeffrey Pollack, a sports business executive with more than 25 years of leadership experience driving catalytic change, growth, and innovation, has been appointed the first Executive-in-Residence in the Global Sports Business master’s program at Rutgers University.

Pollack will serve as a guest instructor and coach and guide students as they begin to navigate their career paths in the sports industry.

“We are thrilled to have Jeffrey as part of our GSB family,” said the program’s executive director Mike Finkelstein. “His career in sports has been extraordinary and we know Jeffrey will provide our students with a unique, seasoned perspective as they begin their professional journey.”

“It is an honor to support the Rutgers Global Sports Business program,” said Pollack. “I look forward to working closely with the students, Mike Finkelstein, Art Burke, and the rest of the faculty. The Rutgers approach to sports business education is progressive and entrepreneurial, and I appreciate the opportunity to share my stories and experiences.”

Jeffrey most recently served as President and CEO of the XFL. He joined the XFL in 2019 as President and COO to lead all strategic planning and business operations, reporting directly to Chairman and Founder Vince McMahon. Under Pollack’s leadership, the XFL launched in 2020 to critical acclaim and proved that spring football in the United States can work.

Among other projects, Jeffrey is currently advising Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady on his launch of the Ones Basketball League (OBL), a new global one-on-one-basketball tournament that has just tipped off its first season.

Lauded for helping businesses and brands rethink, recalibrate, and evolve, Pollack — immediately prior to his leadership role at the XFL — was Special Advisor and Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for the NFL Los Angeles Chargers. He has also served as Executive Chairman of the Professional Bull Riders, President and Commissioner of the World Series of Poker, Managing Director of Broadcasting and New Media for NASCAR, and Strategic Communications Consultant and Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications at the NBA.

Pollack is the founder of The Sports Business Daily, the original trade publication for the sports industry. Through his vision and direction as President and Publisher, “The Daily,” launched in 1994, immediately became the industry standard and must-read for sports executives, and gave rise to a proliferation of sports business news and information services around the world.

Trained as a leadership and organizational performance coach at the Rutgers University LCOP Program, Pollack also serves confidentially and selectively as a coach to other executives in the sports, entertainment, and media industries.

Pollack has a bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, a master’s degree from The Graduate School of Political Management, and a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He also completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

The Global Sports Business Master’s Degree Program at Rutgers, recently ranked No. 18 in the country and 32nd in the world among sports management graduate programs, is designed to train leaders for careers in all sectors of the sports industry. It is a broad-based, inherently global, industry-specific program of study that reflects Rutgers’ traditional strengths in finance, marketing, management, and law, as well as its location in the New York/Philadelphia/Washington northeast corridor, the center of the sports industry.

National Lacrosse League, USA Lacrosse Announce Strategic Partnership

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, and USA Lacrosse, the governing body for lacrosse in the United States, today have announced a strategic partnership agreement to unify efforts to help the sport grow with a specific focus on box lacrosse.

“We’re committed to expanding our presence in the box game and this agreement is a significant step in that direction,” said Marc Riccio, president and CEO of USA Lacrosse. “We’ve enjoyed a long and healthy relationship with the NLL over the years. This new agreement formalizes that relationship and helps us align our efforts to ensure that we’re maximizing our value to the lacrosse community.”

“This partnership will help expand the scope and breath of every level of lacrosse and introduce thousands of people to the stories and skills of our athletes,” said Matt Hutchings, Chairman of the NLL Board of Governors and COO and EVP at Kroenke Sports & Entertainment “We want to thank Marc and his team for helping spearhead this partnership and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.’

Using its expertise in the box game, the NLL will assist USA Lacrosse in developing box coaches and officials by supplementing the curriculum in USA Lacrosse coach and official development programs with box-specific content. The league will also provide its coaches and players to present at the annual USA Lacrosse National Convention.

The two entities will also explore options related to talent identification and player development with the goal of expanding the player pool for U.S. national teams and increasing the number of Americans positioned to play in the NLL including opportunities such as the National Collegiate Box Series.

Diversity and inclusion initiatives are a central part of the agreement. The league will collaborate with NLL Indigenous athletes and the USA Lacrosse Native American Advisory Council to create ongoing historical and cultural Native resources. The NLL will also support additional USA Lacrosse efforts in diversity and inclusion, such as the “We Stand Initiative” and incorporate elements of the USA Lacrosse cultural competency course into its player and staff education program. The league will also look for opportunities to engage with USA Lacrosse Urban Lacrosse Alliance programs that are located in NLL home markets.

The agreement includes the opportunity for USA Lacrosse members to have access to discounted tickets from their local NLL franchises. That’s part of a robust effort between the NLL and USA Lacrosse to share marketing platforms and assets to generate additional interest in box lacrosse.

Under the agreement, USA Lacrosse will align its playing rules for box lacrosse to NLL rules as closely as reasonably feasible, with the mutual understanding that modifications to USA Lacrosse rules will be necessary due to varying facility requirements, age-appropriate development, player safety, and equipment. The two entities will evaluate potential rule changes on an annual basis.

Ones Basketball League Crowns Atlanta Regional Champion at CORE4 in Chamblee; Awards $10,000 Prize

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady – crowned its second Regional Champion at CORE4 in Chamblee, Georgia, on Saturday and Sunday. A total of 32 top area and national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was Glen Rice Jr. (Marietta, Ga.), Antonio Hester (Miami) and Tiras Wade (Tampa) who took the top three places in a weekend filled with exciting and high-quality play across the board.

Rice, the OBL (@oblhoops) Atlanta Regional Champion and recipient of the $10,000 prize, seeded fifth after a 6-1 record on Saturday despite an injured lower leg, won the Championship match, 9-7, over Hester, who had qualified as the #2 seed after going a perfect 7-0 in pool play. Wade, the #1 seed who was also unbeaten at 7-0 on Saturday, bested Atlanta’s Phil Taylor in the third-place game. At 40, Wade was the oldest competitor in the field. All three now advance to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas this summer (dates and location TBA).

“This league is giving players an opportunity to show what they can do, and these three guys took advantage with great play all weekend,” said McGrady. “We are proud that they will be representing the Atlanta region in Las Vegas.”

“It was fun competing with this group of guys, playing a game that we love and seeing who was the best at it,” said Rice, 31, who starred collegiately at Georgia Tech. “I don’t know where everybody came from, but the competition level was great both days. It was better than I expected.”

Tracy McGrady and Dikembe Mutombo

“It was love, man. I enjoyed this weekend and it was such a blessing to be here,” added the powerful Hester, 31, who played at Miami Dade and the University of Mobile and has competed professionally overseas for more than a decade. “Getting to compete with all these pros, it was definitely another level.”

In last week’s inaugural event in Houston, John Jordan, 29, of Houston was the champion. Jordan and H-Town Regional runner-up Matt Kiatipis were both on hand in Atlanta to take in the action. OBL’s next regional event is May 21-22 at Chicago Hope Academy Athletic Center.

Following Chicago, the remainder of the regional schedule is as follows:
• New York City, May 28-29 (Major R. Owens Community Center hosted by New Heights, Brooklyn, NY)
• The DMV, June 4-5 (The St. James, Springfield, VA)
• The Bay Area, June 11-12 (The Ultimate Fieldhouse, Walnut Creek, CA)
• Los Angeles, TBD (TBD)

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

OBL media partners include SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions. Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.

Columbia University’s Sports Management Graduate Program Joins Forces with Team USA and LA28

Columbia University’s Sports Management Graduate Program today announced a new joint program with Team USA and LA28 to develop, plan and help execute a variety of special initiatives in the run up to the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. The new collaboration, to include two internships per year for Columbia students, will begin in the spring of 2022 and last throughout the next six years, making it the most comprehensive engagement for the program in its 14-year history.

“We are elated to expand even deeper into the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement with this comprehensive, new arrangement with the upcoming LA28 Games and Team USA,” said Scott Rosner, Academic Director of the Sports Management Program and Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University. “This long-term program will give our students, faculty and staff the ability to learn and engage directly with LA28’s leadership team on a host of projects as the 2028 Games come into shape, which is a rare, sustained opportunity to take part in such a historic event taking place in the United States.”

“Kudos to Scott and his team for devising such a high-quality program for Columbia students and faculty. We look forward to advancing it in substantive and impactful ways in the coming years,” added Maureen Harper, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at LA28. “We aim to provide world-class, real life learning opportunities for students as they prepare to join the sports industry and are delighted to work with Columbia to bring this to life.”

This partnership is the latest in a series of ongoing global projects that the Columbia Sports Management Program has created with some of the world’s leading sports organizations. Others include programs with FC Bayern Munich, the NFL, A-B InBev, La Liga North America, Real Madrid and NYCFC, as well as additional short-term projects that are part of the curriculum in various programs each semester.

Recognized as one of the top five global programs, Columbia University’s master’s degree program in Sports Management, available part-time and full-time, trains professionals in all sectors of the sports industry by teaching specific management skills in the areas of finance, business intelligence, analytics, social justice, digital media, entrepreneurship, leadership, law, marketing, sales, communications and facility management. This combination of broad-based and specific skill training is a hallmark of the program and is evident in both the content and sequencing of courses. www.sps.columbia.edu/sports

Ones Basketball League Crowns First-Ever Regional Champion at Dub Sports Zone in Houston

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady – got off to a rousing start with its debut event at The Dub Sports Zone in Richmond, Texas, on Saturday and Sunday. A total of 32 top area and national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was Texas residents who took the top three places in a weekend filled with exciting and high-quality play across the board.

The OBL Houston Regional champion, and recipient of the $10,000 prize, is John Jordan, 29, of Houston. Jordan, the second seed, defeated runner-up Matt Kiatipis, 21, of Austin (by way of Canada and Simon Fraser University), 9-5, in the finals. Taking third was Myron Taylor, 29, of Killeen. All three now advance to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas this summer (dates and location TBD).

McGrady couldn’t have been happier with the league’s first action.

“The first weekend in Houston was what we expected when we envisioned OBL,” said the seven-time NBA All-Star. “The level and quality of play was outstanding, the facility was first rate, the production was world-class, and we have our first qualifiers for the road to Las Vegas.

“Now it’s on to Atlanta for Week Two,” he added.

John Jordan

“It’s Championship Sunday, this is where champions are made,” said Jordan, who played collegiately at TAMU-Corpus Christi. “I took a tough ‘L’ yesterday and I bounced back, because that’s what champions do.”

Jordan, who arrived back in the U.S. from overseas in Romania just in time to compete in the inaugural OBL event, was also effusive in his praise of the league.

“This is a really big-time league,” he added. “This is the first time they’ve had this league. I know from here on it’s gonna be tougher. Everyone sees (OBL) is real. The money is real. I’m just happy I won the first year.”

Kiatipis, one of the youngest competitors in the field, is also excited about qualifying for the OBL Finals.

“I’m excited to be going to Las Vegas,” said the sixth seed who started slowly but finished strong to earn the spot. “I expected to be going and it’s going to be a big show out there.”

Taylor, the eighth seed, rallied to beat Jamal North in the third-place game.

OBL’s next regional event is this coming week in Atlanta on May 7-8 at CORE4 Atlanta, in Chamblee, Georgia.

The rest of the regional schedule is as follows:

  • Chicago, May 21-22 (Chicago Hope Academy Athletic Center, Chicago, IL)
  • New York City, May 28-29 (Major R. Owens Community Center hosted by New Heights, Brooklyn, NY)
  • The DMV, June 4-5 (The St. James, Springfield, VA)
  • The Bay Area, June 11-12 (The Ultimate Fieldhouse, Walnut Creek, CA)
  • Los Angeles, TBD (TBD)

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

Media partners include SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions.

Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.

National Lacrosse League Playoff Pairings, Schedule Set As Buffalo, San Diego Win Conference Titles

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL) regular season is complete, with Saturday’s results completing the expanded playoff format as eight teams have advanced to the NLL “Chase for the Championship,” beginning on Friday, May 6. Buffalo (14-4) and San Diego (10-8) are the East and West Conference regular season champions, respectively, and will have home floor advantage in Quarterfinal single-elimination games, along with Conference runners-up Toronto (13-5, East) and Calgary (10-8, West).

In the new NLL postseason format, the top four teams in the East (Buffalo, Toronto, Halifax, Albany) and top three in the West (San Diego, Calgary, Colorado) and one wild card team (Philadelphia) qualified. The Wings’ thrilling 11-10 victory in OT over Georgia last night gave them the final slot over the Swarm. Albany also secured its berth with a win over New York.

The Quarterfinal matchups are as follows:

(E3) Halifax at (E2) Toronto, Friday, May 6, 7:30 p.m. ET, Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN, ESPN+
(W3) Colorado at (W2) Calgary, Friday, May 6, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+, TSN.ca, Altitude
(E4) Albany at (E1) Buffalo, Saturday, May 7, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+, TSN.ca
(WC) Philadelphia at (W1) San Diego, Saturday, May 7, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+, TSN.ca, WPSG, FOX5

The Quarterfinal winners will meet in best-of-three Conference Finals: the first games are set for May 12-16), with Game 2 (May 19-23) and Game 3 (if necessary, May 26-30) set to close out the month (dates subject to change). The best-of-three NLL Finals will take place June 2-6, June 9-13, and June 16-20 (if necessary). Exact dates and broadcast schedules for media partners TSN and ESPN for the Conference Finals and NLL Finals rounds will be announced once the pairings and dates are set.

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

Hildebrandt Accepts Final X Berth, And Will Compete For U.S. World Team Spot In New York On June 8

2020 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time World silver medalist Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC/USOPTC) has officially accepted her 50 kg women’s freestyle berth in Final X

Hildebrandt will battle for a spot on the 2022 U.S. World Team in Final X New York. presented by Tezos, on Wednesday, June 8 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Hildebrandt won a bronze medal at 50 kg at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. She boasts a pair of Senior World silver medals, claimed in 2018 and 2021. Hildebrandt has dominated her continent, winning the 2019 Pan American Games gold and claiming five Pan American Championships titles. She won U.S. Open titles in 2018 and 2020. She was a two-time NCWA women’s college national champion and four-time finalist for King University. A native of Granger, Ill., Hildbrandt competed for Penn High School.

This will serve as the 12th Beat the Streets Annual Benefit. These unique and electrifying annual events help Beat the Streets New York raise millions of dollars to support local youth wrestling programs which empower young people in New York City.

There are a variety of ticket options available for Final X New York, beginning at $65 so you don’t miss the first in-person Benefit since 2019. Purchase your wrestling-only event tickets on Ticketmaster (https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/3B005C8B9CD81033). For information on Benefit tickets and sponsorship packages (wrestling event and exclusive after party access) that also provide the best wrestling-event seats, visit give.btsny.org/benefit (https://give.btsny.org/event/annual-benefit-2022/e396736) or email Fund Development Manager Kerry Doyle at kdoyle@btsny.org.”

The Final X series will determine the 2022 U.S. Senior World Teams in men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling which will compete in Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 10-18.

The Team Selection procedures for the U.S. World Teams in each style allows for 2021 Senior World medalists and 2020 Olympic medalists to advance directly to Final X at a specified weight class. Hildebrandt has met this requirement and accepted her qualification.

There are 15 weight classes contested in Final X New York, five in each discipline. The weight classes assigned to the Final X New York are:

  • Men’s freestyle: 65 kg, 74 kg, 79 kg, 86 kg, 125 kg
  • Women’s freestyle: 50 kg, 53 kg, 57 kg, 62 kg, 72 kg
  • Greco-Roman: 60 kg, 67 kg, 77 kg, 87 kg, 97 kg

The Final X opponent for Hildebrandt will be determined at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament, set for Coralville, Iowa, May 20-22.

The Beat the Streets Annual Benefit, a fan-favorite, is a major showcase of the best of international wrestling. These competitions have been at iconic locations across New York City.

This will be Hildebrandt’s first Beat the Streets Benefit event

In addition to Final X New York, Final X Stillwater will be held Friday, June 3 at Gallagher-Iba Arena on the campus of Oklahoma State University. There will be 15 other weight classes contested in Stillwater.

FloWrestling will serve as the host broadcasting partner for both Final X Stillwater, presented by Tezos, and Final X New York, presented by Tezos

FINAL X NEW YORK, presented by Tezos

At Madison Square Garden Hulu Theater, Wednesday, June 8

Declared Qualifiers to date

Women’s freestyle 50 kg – Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC/USOPTC) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

Men’s Freestyle 74 kg – Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y./Titan Mercury WC/Spartan Combat RTC) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

Men’s Freestyle 86 kg – David Taylor (State College, Pa./Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

Greco-Roman 97 kg – G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

Women’s Freestyle 57 kg – Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./Sunkist Kids) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

Men’s Freestyle 79 kg – Jordan Burroughs (Philadelphia, Pa./Sunkist Kids/Pennsylvania RTC) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

SARAH HILDEBRANDT

Residence: Colorado Springs, Colo.

Club: New York AC

College: King Univ.

High School: Granger, Ind. (Penn)

Born: Sept. 23, 1993

  • 2020 Olympic bronze medalist
  • 2018 and 2021 World silver medalist
  • Four-time World Team member (2016, 2018, 2019, 2021)
  • 2019 Pan American Games champion
  • Five-time Pan American Championships champion (2013, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021)
  • Two-time Final X champion (2018, 2019)
  • 2018 and 2020 U.S. Open champion
  • Two-time WCWA national champion and four-time finalist

Ones Basketball League Starts to Score with Media Partners

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that will celebrate the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady — today announced its initial roster of storytelling and media partners. SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions will all help OBL capture and distribute short-form digital content during this inaugural and proof-of-concept season.

“Our initial focus is on short form digital storytelling to capture the journey of our competitors and we know SLAM, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle are a winning combination to help us shine a bright light on the essence of basketball and exciting young stars headed our way,” said Lisle Bowen, OBL’s Creative Director. “SLAM is the definitive voice of basketball culture, Playmaker has an elite influencer network that will amplify OBL’s reach, and Heart and Hustle Productions’ extraordinary production team will capture all of the rich stories we find on and off the court.”

The three partners each bring a unique expertise to OBL this season:

SLAM Media will co-produce OBL digital content in and around every event this season, build the OBL storytelling platform week-to-week, and drive engagement with its ardent basketball and pop culture audience of more than 16 million.

Playmaker will amplify OBL’s content and brand. expand the league’s social media presence, and integrate Playmaker social media talent into the OBL experience, and expose OBL to an audience in excess of 12 million at launch.

Heart and Hustle Productions’ world-class production team will capture every moment of the inaugural OBL season, produce compelling stories from on and off the court, and ensure the league is well positioned to engage with its growing audience on the platforms and media that matter most.

“What Tracy has created with the OBL is exactly what basketball needs: innovation, fun, and pure competition,” said Les Green, SLAM CEO. “It’s right in line with what we want to provide to our SLAM audience and coming from T-Mac, a living legend and multiple SLAM Cover athlete, makes the partnership even sweeter.”

“OBL is one of the most exciting leagues to come out in a long time. It’s one of those ideas that’s so obviously great that you have no clue why it hasn’t been done,” said Brandon Harris Founder and CEO Playmaker. “At Playmaker, we are obsessed with creating fast paced, high action short form content. OBL could not be more aligned with our brand and content strategy and we couldn’t be more excited to be on this ride as partners from the very start with Tracy McGrady, as well as Lisle Bowen & the amazing OBL team.”

“T-Mac’s idea to create The Ones Basketball League is a revolutionary idea and one that will bring the culture of basketball full circle,” said Rashad Floyd, Founder and Executive Director, Heart and Hustle Productions. “There’s no question how deeply rooted the 1 v 1 competition is to the hoop game and now with OBL, the world gets to witness these matchups on a professional level.”

Beginning this weekend, seven cities across the United States will host a two-day, regional, 32-player round-robin knockout tournament with athletes aged 18 and up who are currently not under an NBA contract and have not been on an active NBA roster for more than 164 games (equivalent to two NBA regular seasons). The participants will come from a combination of open-sourced video submissions and the advice of basketball insiders. The aim is to welcome both best-in-class talent and players who may still be under the radar of most basketball fans. The inaugural events this year will feature only men, and women will be welcomed as equal participants as soon as 2023.

The regional tournament schedule for the first season of the OBL season is:

Houston, April 30-May 1 (The Dub Sports Zone, Richmond, TX)

Atlanta, May 7-8 (CORE4 Atlanta, Chamblee, GA)

Chicago, May 21-22 (Chicago Hope Academy Athletic Center, Chicago, IL)

New York City, May 28-29 (Major R. Owens Community Center hosted by New Heights, Brooklyn, NY)

The DMV, June 4-5 (The St. James, Springfield, VA)

The Bay Area, June 11-12 (The Ultimate Fieldhouse, Walnut Creek, CA)

Los Angeles, TBD (TBD)

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.

For Soccer Ventures to hold Alianza de Futbol National Finals in Phoenix, Arizona, April 30-May 5

For Soccer Ventures (FSV), an organization focused on the growth and long-term development of American soccer, today announced the start of the Alianza de Futbol National Finals in Phoenix, AZ, from April 30th – May 5th. The winning teams and top players from the 2021 Alianza tour, which featured over 30,000 players and 300,000 attendees, will meet in Phoenix beginning April 30th. This is the first time the National Finals have been held since 2019 and the finals will feature three distinct programs–the Ford Copita Alianza National Finals (youth), the Verizon Copa Alianza National Finals (adult), and the Allstate Sueno Alianza National Showcase (youth).

This is the first time the Ford Copita Alianza National Finals will be played in the U13, U15, U16 Girls, U17 and U19 age groups. 41 teams will compete over two days for the right to be crowned national champions.

The Verizon Copa Alianza National Finals will feature 12 teams from across the country competing for a $50,000 prize. The national tournament has been held three times in the history of Alianza. The defending champion is San Nicolás from Los Angeles, CA.

Following in the footsteps of current stars Santiago Muñoz (El Paso, TX), Nico Carrera (Frisco, TX), and Jonathan González (Santa Rosa, CA), the top 64 players from the 2021 Allstate Sueño Alianza National Showcase will compete in front of over 30 scouts from MLS, Liga MX, USL, the FMF, and U.S. Soccer in hopes of realizing their dream of playing professional soccer. The Allstate Sueño Alianza National Showcase has launched the careers of more than 70 professional players to date. This year’s 64 finalists were selected from over 5,000 players around the country.

The Allstate Sueño Alianza National Showcase will also feature a girls division featuring the top Hispanic talent scouted during the 2021 tour. During its inaugural year, the girls program lead to the discovery of Yaneisy Rodríguez (Vancouver, WA) and her signing to Club Necaxa from Liga MX Femenil.

Scouts from the following professional teams and federations will attend the Allstate Sueño Alianza National Showcase: América, Atlas, Atlanta United FC, Atlético San Luis, Austin FC, Barca Academy, Chicago Fire, Chivas, Club Celaya, Club Santos, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, DC United, FC Dallas, FC Juarez, Houston Dynamo, LAFC, Necaxa, New England Revolution, North Carolina FC, NYCFC, New York Red Bulls, Pachuca, Philadelphia Union, Phoenix Rising, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, Rayados de Monterrey, Sacramento Republic, San José Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders and Toluca.

“Alianza continues to nurture and showcase an amazing community of Hispanic players and coaches who fully deserve the opportunity to compete on a national level. We are thrilled to be hosting this event in a world class facility with professional scouts from some of the biggest clubs and federations in North America,” said Eduardo Ruiz, Executive Director of Alianza de Futbol.

Additionally, this year’s inaugural eAlianza Cup, in partnership with EA Sports, recently concluded with hundreds of participants from across the country playing for a $5,000 prize. Each of the eight finalists won a Sony Playstation 5 and all of the games were live streamed on Twitch.

The 2022 Alianza Tour officially kicks off May 28th – 29th in Phoenix. This year’s tour will visit 10 cities across the US including Dallas, Denver, Houston, Chicago, New York, LA, San Jose, Austin and El Paso. To register please click here.

PepsiCo Adds 16 New Organizations To The ‘Team Of Champions’ For Soccer In Underserved Communities

PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) today announced that it has added 16 new organizations to this year’s “Team of Champions,” a national purpose platform that improves access to soccer in underserved communities, including Black and Hispanic youth, across the U.S. The $1 million commitment over three years makes actionable investments on and off the field, including helping the teams with apparel and equipment costs, field access, mentoring, coaching and education, and fan experiences. In its second year, in addition to expanding its reach to more communities, “Team of Champions” will focus on recruiting more women athletes to the program.

Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, who continues to serve as “Team Captain”, will help raise the visibility of this year’s lineup and the impact these organizations have in local communities across the country. “Last year, PepsiCo and I worked together to establish the ‘Team of Champions’ program and, together, have brought 9,000 athletes and coaches onto the field,” said Chicharito. “In addition to the physical benefits of playing soccer, bringing this beautiful game into these communities teaches youth about teamwork, problem-solving, and accountability. Participation in sports overall enhances resilience and has been proven to boost self-esteem. I’m excited to continue to deliver on our mission to remove barriers to the game in underserved communities.”

New to this year’s “Team of Champions” program is “Access for Champions,” an opportunity for participating players to connect with UEFA ambassadors. Through these inspirational events, participants will have the chance to engage with athletes and leaders, from both PepsiCo and in the soccer industry, to discuss various topics ranging from creating a growth mindset to exploring soccer as an industry. Additionally, for the second consecutive year PepsiCo is partnering with ACCESS U, a non-profit dedicated to mentoring players and their families throughout the college recruiting process, to help guide students who are pursuing athletic scholarships.

The “Team of Champions” is an important initiative part of PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey’s community pillar, which in 2020 saw the company announce commitments of more than $570 million over five years to increase representation within its workforce, and uplift Black and Hispanic businesses and communities in the U.S. to address issues of inequality and create opportunity.

“The ‘Team of Champions’ is symbolic of PepsiCo’s commitment to drive long-term change and address systemic barriers in these underserved communities,” said Antonio Escalona, SVP & GM, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Foods North America. “Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and the commitment made by our brands Lay’s, Pepsi and Gatorade through this program has had a measurable impact on Hispanic-owned and Black-owned soccer clubs, programs and businesses in the United States.”

This year’s “Team of Champions” lineup is comprised of 16 local organizations in cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C.

“Last year, we leveraged our largest global platform – UEFA Champions League – as a force for good, introducing the ‘Team of Champions’ and breaking down barriers to the game in cities across the country,” said Esperanza Teasdale, VP & GM, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Beverages North America. “We saw an opportunity to help level the playing field, and this year, we’re focused on expanding our support in more local communities – bolstering efforts to equalize access for underserved youth, including a focus on increasing the recruitment of young women athletes who have fewer opportunities to play sports than young male athletes.”

Building on the success of the 2021 program, PepsiCo has been able to:

· Benefit more than 9,000 athletes and coaches in the first year alone; and increase from 11 teams in 2021 to 16 teams in this second year.
· Provide players with new gear and safety equipment.
· Offer student-athlete mentorship opportunities with highly regarded athletes, team executives and soccer business leaders.
· Unlock access to local facilities and provide resources for field maintenance, including installing lighting.
· Cover competition and referee fees.
· Provide coaches with educational opportunities to refine and optimize their leadership skills.

In the lead up to the 2021-2022 UEFA Champions League final, PepsiCo will amplify stories from the 16 organizations through a content series that will be distributed across broadcast, social and digital platforms to provide more visibility on the impact of each dollar donated.

PHF Names Reagan Carey As Commissioner

The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) today announced that Reagan Carey has been appointed the league’s next commissioner, bringing over twenty years of leadership in the sports industry to the role including unparalleled experience in women’s hockey. Carey previously served as USA Hockey’s Director of Women’s Ice Hockey and General Manager of the U.S. National Women’s Team, highlighted by a gold medal victory at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Beginning full time on May 10, she will help deliver the PHF’s vision to provide leading opportunities in professional women’s hockey and growing the sport for its athletes, partners, and fans.

“Throughout my career, I have been fortunate and honored to have played a part in growing and improving the landscape of women’s hockey at all levels,” said Carey. “I continue to be energized and committed to moving the needle in the right direction and will be dedicated to the work required to build trust and elevate the PHF into a beacon for professional women’s hockey. I’m excited for the opportunity to continue making history with a relentless pursuit of success on all fronts. Through our work we will aim to honor past pioneers of our sport, and inspire young girls to see a vibrant future in the game by ensuring that athletes who want to train and compete at the highest professional levels will always have a home at the PHF.”

A search committee chaired by Tobin Kelly of the PHF Board of Governors was formed to identify and evaluate candidates for the role. Board members Johanna Boynton and Andy Scurto were part of the committee that also included Lisa Haley (Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations, PHF), Digit Murphy (President, Metropolitan Riveters), and Susie Piotrkowski (Head of Women’s Team Sports, Octagon).

“The search committee had the opportunity to speak with many exceptional candidates who were considered for the role of PHF Commissioner over the course of this process,” said Kelly. “What stands out about Reagan Carey is not only her incredible depth of experience in the world of women’s hockey but the collaborative approach she brings to the position. In all of our many conversations, Reagan’s commitment to communication and her values that advocate for what is right and put players first, make her the perfect leader for the next phase of growth in the PHF. We are all excited about welcoming Reagan as she takes the lead in moving the PHF forward.”

Carey’s career reflects a common thread of leading teams to new heights by creating meaningful cultures and crafting a clear vision for winning. A decade of work with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers with a focus on sports development, performance, and marketing led to her opportunity with USA Hockey where she served from 2010-18. Her leadership helped produce a record number of World Championship victories for the women’s program and achieved an unprecedented stretch of four straight undefeated seasons in IIHF competition across the U18 Women’s National Team and U.S. Women’s National Team. Her gold medal resume includes U18 titles in 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, World Championship wins in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and the 2018 Winter Olympics.

“When aligning with the PHF, hiring the right fit for the long-term growth of the league was imperative,” said Piotrkowski. “Having met with several incredible candidates alongside the search committee, Reagan Carey differentiated herself not only as a result of her hockey experience but through her deep understanding of the women’s sports landscape. Her approach to relationship building, attention to detail and human first leadership will ensure the best interest of the women in this league today and moving forward.”

Most recently Carey has been applying her skills and experience to various consulting roles and speaking events in both the sport and corporate world with a focus on leadership, performance, alignment and culture. Additionally, she has been a member of the Maine Girls & Women in Sports Committee helping generate content, programming, and opportunities for girls and women in sport. Carey was a two-sport athlete, captaining both the ice hockey and volleyball teams during her time at Colby College where she graduated with a sociology degree in 2001. She is a proud 2010 recipient of the school’s Carl Nelson Sports Achievement Award, and in 2018 was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.

“Having been a part of both the U18 program and U.S. Women’s National Team during Reagan’s tenure with USA Hockey, I’ve seen her passion and dedication in action and always appreciated how much she cared about the athletes,” said Shiann Darkangelo, captain of the Toronto Six. “I am very excited for the knowledge and expertise she will bring to the PHF in this important leadership role to help continue the growth of our game.”

Carey becomes the third commissioner in PHF history, succeeding Tyler Tumminia who served in the role on an interim basis during the league’s sixth season and permanently throughout season seven. The PHF has made great strides over the past 18 months by establishing a joint venture ownership model, generating landmark broadcast and corporate partnerships, drawing record digital viewership, and redefining its brand based on the singular skills of its athletes. In January the PHF’s Board of Governors announced a commitment to invest more than $25 million over the next three years to directly enhance the player experience by providing competitive compensation and benefits that will continue to distinguish the PHF as a leader among professional sports leagues.

Team roster building for the PHF’s eighth season is underway with unrestricted free agency officially commencing on May 1. The salary cap for 2022-23 will be a record $750,000 per team with a floor of $562,500. The 2022 PHF season concluded March 28 with the Boston Pride crowned Isobel Cup champions for the third time in Tampa Bay, Florida in a thrilling 4-2 victory over the Connecticut Whale seen live across North America on ESPN2 and TSN2.

New Las Vegas Lacrosse Team Named ‘Desert Dogs’

The National Lacrosse League’s (“NLL”) 15th expansion team, located in Las Vegas, announced that the team will be known as the “Las Vegas Desert Dogs.” The Desert Dogs will begin their first season in December 2022, and the team will play home games at Michelob ULTRA Arena located inside Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

The team’s ownership group includes Wayne Gretzky, Dustin Johnson, Steve Nash and Joe Tsai – and oversaw a comprehensive naming process dating back to the franchise’s official introduction in June 2021. The team considered over 2,000 fan submissions and conducted surveys throughout Las Vegas to identify Desert Dogs as the name and brand that would best represent the local community.

“We could not be more excited to officially introduce the Desert Dogs to Las Vegas,” said Mark Fine, CEO of the Las Vegas Desert Dogs. “We are so appreciative of this community’s support and patience as we prepared our name announcement. The ‘Desert Dog’ represents all that Las Vegas Lacrosse embodies – scrappy and cunning, friendly but fierce, and powerful alone but unstoppable as a pack. We aspire to create an environment here for lacrosse to thrive, and everyone involved in the Desert Dogs organization – whether it’s our owners, players, front office, business staff or supporters – will play an integral part in making that mission a reality.”

The team will begin assembling players in July when the NLL holds its 2022 expansion draft. The franchise will add additional players in August during the league’s entry draft before holding its first training camp in November.

Fans interested in learning more about season tickets can visit LasVegasDesertDogs.com or by calling 702-818-DOGS.

Shawn Williams, one of the most accomplished players in NLL history, has been selected to lead the Las Vegas Desert Dogs as the franchise’s first General Manager and Head Coach.

Williams brings a wealth of experience to Las Vegas, having played 17 seasons in the NLL from 1998-2014 before being inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame as a first ballot honoree in 2021. The Scarborough, Ontario native ranks eighth all-time in NLL points scored, seventh in assists, and ninth in games played. Williams made the transition to coaching in 2015 as a Scout for the Buffalo Bandits before becoming an Assistant Coach / Offensive Coordinator with the Colorado Mammoth from 2018-20.

“I want to thank our owners for entrusting me to lead this franchise and introduce the game of box lacrosse to the great fans of Las Vegas,” said Williams, “and I want to build a team and culture of excellence that this city will be proud of. Desert Dogs lacrosse will be gritty, hard-working, and community-first. We will bring the best players in the world to Las Vegas to become engaged members of this community who are committed to growing the game. My wife, Tamara, and I can’t wait to move our family here and experience all that Las Vegas has to offer.”

In the coming months, Williams will lead the launch of a local and regional camps and clinics program to support the growth of youth lacrosse in Las Vegas, Southern Nevada, and the Pacific Southwest.

Prominent Soccer & Baseball Owner Gary Green Teams With Jet Linx Aviation In ‘Fly Like An Owner’ Sweepstakes

Prominent businessman Gary Green is living the dream of every sports fan as the owner of four professional sports teams: the United Soccer League’s Union Omaha, and MiLB’s Omaha Storm Chasers, Richmond Flying Squirrels and Montgomery Biscuits. Now, the native New Yorker is teaming with Jet Linx Aviation – founded in Omaha, Nebraska with a New York flagship terminal in Teterboro, NJ – to share that dream with sports fans.

The recently-launched “Fly Like An Owner” sweepstakes will send two fans from both Omaha teams to accompany Green on a private Jet Linx plane to road games with the owner.

“As a sports fan, when I became a team owner it was a dream come true,” said Green. “I am excited to share that feeling with a lucky Storm Chasers and Union Omaha fans, and am so appreciative of the partnership with Jet Linx to make that possible.” For more information and complete rules, please visit www.omahastormchasers.com/contests.

The soccer contest began on the first home match on April 23 and continues through the August 31 match against Forward Madison at Werner Park. Every fan that attends a home match will automatically be entered in the contest. The winner will get to select one guest to bring along for the trip which will take place on one of three dates: Sunday, September 11 at FC Tucson; Wednesday, September 21 at Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC; Saturday, October 1 at North Carolina FC.

The baseball sweepstakes began with the Storm Chasers’ April 12 homestand against the Louisville Bats and will continue through the August 23 homestand against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Every fan that attends a home game at Werner Park in Omaha will automatically be entered in the contest. The winner will get to select one guest to bring along for the trip which will take place when the Storm Chasers visit the Columbus Clippers on Saturday, September 17, 2022.

“We are proud to partner Union Omaha and the Omaha Storm Chasers, both beloved and engaging community institutions that offer the kind of entertainment and inspiration that helps attract top talent to our area,” said Jamie Walker, President and CEO of Jet Linx Aviation. “As an Omaha-based company, we are excited to support the fan-base of these teams through the ‘Fly Like An Owner’ contest, and to introduce their supporters to the Five-Star service of Jet Linx and the opportunities in private aviation.”

Six Teams In, Three Fight For Final Two NLL Playoff Spots In Regular Season Finales Saturday

With one weekend of regular season play to go, several National Lacrosse League (NLL) matchups have critical playoff impact. Georgia (9-8), Albany (8-9) and Philadelphia (8-9) can still claim the final two spots, while Colorado (10-7), San Diego (9-8) and Calgary (9-8), which have already clinched the three West Conference slots, are vying for the West Conference regular season title and home playoff games in their respective contests this Saturday, April 30. The NLL playoffs begin with Quarterfinal action Friday, May 6.

Under the new expanded “Chase for the Championship” playoff format announced this season, the top four teams in the East, top three teams in the West and one wild card team with the next best record qualify.

In the East, Buffalo (14-3) is the Conference Champion and will have home floor advantage throughout the playoffs, beginning with its announced May 7 Quarterfinal. Toronto (12-5) has clinched a playoff berth and quarterfinal home game set for May 6, and Halifax (10-7) has secured a playoff spot. The breakdown for the contending East clubs is as follows:

Georgia:

  • Can clinch an East Conference playoff berth with a win vs. Philadelphia (Sat., 7 p.m. ET)
  • Can clinch a Wildcard playoff berth with a loss vs. Philadelphia AND Albany loss vs. New York (Sat., 7 p.m. ET)
  • Can be eliminated from playoff consideration with a loss vs. Philadelphia AND Albany win vs. New York

Albany:

  • Can clinch an East Conference playoff berth with a win vs. New York AND Georgia loss vs. Philadelphia
  • Can clinch a Wildcard playoff berth with a Philadelphia loss at Georgia
  • Can be eliminated from playoff consideration with a loss vs. New York AND Philadelphia win at Georgia

Philadelphia:

  • Can clinch an East Conference playoff berth with a win at Georgia AND Albany loss vs. New York
  • Can clinch a Wildcard playoff berth with a win at Georgia AND Albany win vs. New York
  • Can be eliminated from playoff consideration with a loss at Georgia

In the West, the three playoff teams will determine their respective slots as follows:

Colorado:

  • Can clinch the West Conference regular season title with a win at Calgary (Sat., 9 p.m. ET, TSN Sports Interaction Game of the Week)
  • Can clinch a Quarterfinal home game with a San Diego loss at Vancouver (Sat., 10 p.m. ET)

San Diego:

  • Can clinch the West Conference regular season title with a win at Vancouver AND Colorado loss at Calgary
  • Can clinch a Quarterfinal home game with a win at Vancouver, OR Calgary loss vs. Colorado

Calgary:

  • Can clinch the West Conference regular season title with a Win vs. Colorado AND San Diego loss at Vancouver
  • Can clinch a Quarterfinal home game with a win vs. Colorado

For the full standings, visit https://www.nll.com/standings/. The playoff schedule is as follows:

  • Quarterfinals, May 5-9, Single-elimination
  • Conference Finals, May 12-16, May 19-23, May 26-30 (if necessary) Best-of-three
  • NLL Finals, June 2-6, June 9-13, June 16-20 (if necessary) Best-of-three

Media partners ESPN and TSN will broadcast every playoff game. TSN and ESPN broadcast schedules for the quarterfinal round will be announced after the pairings are set. Follow along at NLL.com for clinching scenarios as they develop.

Amanda Serrano Becomes First-Ever Professional Boxer to Partner Exclusively With FanDuel For Sports Betting 

FanDuel Group and seven division boxing champion, Amanda Serrano, today announced a new partnership, designating FanDuel as the exclusive sports gaming partner of Amanda Serrano ahead of her historic title fight against Katie Taylor at Madison Square Garden on April 30th.

As part of the partnership, FanDuel will have access to Serrano’s name and likeness. Serrano will also create unique content on her social channels and will include the FanDuel logo on her trunks during the fight. In addition, FanDuel will offer custom promotions on the FanDuel Sportsbook ahead of Serrano’s title fight in April.

“As the first female professional boxer to headline the iconic Madison Square Garden, I recognize the responsibility I have to uplift women in sports,” said Serrano. “I am honored to be the first boxer to partner with FanDuel who are showing their unwavering dedication to supporting and elevating female athletes and I will proudly wear their logo in the ring during my historic battle against Katie Taylor on April 30th.”

“We are incredibly proud to partner with Amanda Serrano, a game-changer making history being the first- woman ever to headline a fight at Madison Square Garden alongside Katie Taylor,” said Amy Howe, FanDuel Group CEO. “At FanDuel, we are deeply committed to women in sports, from the office to the boxing ring, and partnering with Amanda is part of our ongoing support to invest in female athletes.” 

Amanda is signed with and advised by Jake Paul and Nakisa Bidarian’s Most Valuable Promotions, and the fight will be available on DAZN.

Serrano is the newest member of FanDuel’s deep roster of exclusive sports betting talent and influencers headlined by Pat McAfee, including Charles Barkley, Jordan Spieth, Kenny Smith, Colin Cowherd, Jon Rothstein, and Cousin Sal. FanDuel has also formed exclusive sports betting partnerships with blue-chip media companies like Pat McAfee Inc., Audacy, Turner Sports, Volume, Bleacher Report, The Ringer, SportsGrid, Sinclair, and Minute Media. This is all in addition to FanDuel’s own sports betting and daily fantasy content offerings that includes numberFire, The Duel, an extensive podcast network with a total of seven podcasts, and More Ways to Win on TVG hosted by Lisa Kerney.

SGPN Marks 10th Anniversary As Featured Podcast For NFL Draft ‘Pre-Game Show’

Sports Gambling Podcast Network (SGPN),  the only major independent sports wagering media network that places a premium on entertainment value and free user content, will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the NFL Draft next week, providing picks, props and prognostications for their audiences of millions as a featured podcast on the prominent BlueWire network during the NFL’s annual meeting to select newly eligible players in Las Vegas.

Sports Gambling Podcast co-hosts Sean Green and Ryan Kramer will live stream from the state-of-the-art BlueWire Studio at Wynn Las Vegas from 3-5 p.m. PT, just one mile from where the 32 teams will make their selections in front of a live audience.  The NFL Draft was ticketed for Las Vegas in 2020 but was reduced to a video conference because of COVID-19.  Will Blackmon, the former standout NFL kick return specialist and member of the New York Giants 2012 Super Bowl Championship Team, will be among the guests during the podcast, which will stream live on YouTube.


The coveted pre-draft BlueWire studio slot is one of four podcasts that SGPN will produce during NFL Draft week with an additional 10 mock drafts on SportsGamblingPodcastNetwork.com and scores of social media posts to inform and guide its audiences as America’s intense interest in the proceedings reaches a fever pitch.  Green estimates that SGPN’s NFL Draft coverage will encompass 12 podcasts, 25 articles and 12 hot takes via social media, arguably surpassing the volume of any other comparable media platform in the industry.

In 2012, Green and Kramer were still recording in Green’s one car garage amidst Christmas decorations and camping equipment.

“Pretty much unimaginable is the only way to describe our journey from that 2012 NFL Draft to today,” offered Green, who won $200,000 in a Draft Kings Fantasy Competition in 2017 to enable SGPN to turn the corner as a profitable, sustainable business. 

With the repeal of the Professional Sports and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that following year, SGPN was well positioned to seize the moment and grow the enterprise that now includes 50 contributors, 18 different podcasts and a new state-of-the-art studio plus offices in Los Angeles. One validation of their success came in February when the Los Angeles Business Journal featured SGPN’s path to profitability in a 20-paragraph article that appeared in both the online and print editions.

“We’ve been fortunate timing-wise with the PASPA repeal, for sure,” offered Kramer, a data and metrics specialist who spent 10 years in the tech industry for Hulu and other companies. “We’ve also complemented each other on the business side so that the steady growth has been efficient.  There’s plenty more to do but right now we’re focused on delivering some winning wager recommendations on all things NFL Draft because our loyal audiences deserve it.”

In 2012, the big stories were the amazing skills of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Baylor Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, who went first and second, respectively, in that draft. “Like everyone else, we believed that both guys would be stars in the league ten years later, but that’s how unpredictable our world is,” recalled Green in reference to their shortened careers. 

  • The Sean Green/Ryan Kramer SGPN eye-opening prediction for next week:

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis to go second to the Detroit Lions or another team via trade as the first QB selected. Consensus odds have Willis going around the ninth or tenth selection. “Great players at that position have immense value,” offered Kramer.“We believe the Lions – or multiple other teams via trade – will pull this trigger.”

SGPN clobbered industry growth projections with a 30 percent year-over-year increase in total downloads during the course of 2021 (over 3 million) and is continuing its record growth in 2022. SGPN launched eight new podcast feeds last year and has become a leading authority on the USFL, producing over 10 hours of original content around the draft and continuing that momentum as the season got underway, recording three podcasts per week on the sport.

Hancock accepts Final X berth, and will compete for U.S. World Team spot in New York on June 8

2021 World bronze medalist and 2020 Olympian G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)

has officially accepted his 97 kg Greco-Roman berth in Final X

Hancock will battle for a spot on the 2022 U.S. World Team in Final X New York. presented by Tezos, on Wednesday, June 8 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Hancock won a bronze medal at 97 kg at the 2021 World Championships, the first U.S. Greco-Roman medal since 2018. He placed seventh at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Hancock has made four straight U.S. Senior World Teams. He was a 2016 Junior World bronze medalist. In 2017, he made three U.S. World Teams (Junior, U23, Senior). A native of Fountain, Colo., Hancock was a Colorado state placewinner for Fountain-Fort Carson High School.

This will serve as the 12th Beat the Streets Annual Benefit. These unique and electrifying annual events help Beat the Streets New York raise millions of dollars to support local youth wrestling programs which empower young people in New York City.

There are a variety of ticket options for Final X New York, with prices beginning at $65. Purchase your wrestling-only event tickets on Ticketmaster (https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/3B005C8B9CD81033) or Benefit tickets with access to Final X New York and the Benefit celebration (after party) tickets at btsny.org (https://give.btsny.org/event/annual-benefit-2022/e396736), so you don’t miss the first in-person Benefit since 2019. For more information on Benefit tickets and sponsorship packages that also provide the best seats for watching the wrestling, email Fund Development Manager Kerry Doyle at kdoyle@btsny.org.

The Final X series will determine the 2022 U.S. Senior World Teams in men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling which will compete in Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 10-18.

The Team Selection procedures for the U.S. World Teams in each style allows for 2021 Senior World medalists and 2020 Olympic medalists to advance directly to Final X at a specified weight class. Hancock has met this requirement and accepted his qualification.

There are 15 weight classes contested in Final X New York, five in each discipline. The weight classes assigned to the Final X New York are:

  • Men’s freestyle: 65 kg, 74 kg, 79 kg, 86 kg, 125 kg
  • Women’s freestyle: 50 kg, 53 kg, 57 kg, 62 kg, 72 kg
  • Greco-Roman: 60 kg, 67 kg, 77 kg, 87 kg, 97 kg

The Final X opponent for Hancock will be determined at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament, set for Coralville, Iowa, May 20-22.

The Beat the Streets Annual Benefit, a fan-favorite, is a major showcase of the best of international wrestling. These competitions have been at iconic locations across New York City.

This will be Hancock’s first appearance in a Beat the Streets Annual Benefit event.

In addition to Final X New York, Final X Stillwater will be held Friday, June 3 at Gallagher-Iba Arena on the campus of Oklahoma State University. There will be 15 other weight classes contested in Stillwater.

FloWrestling will serve as the host broadcasting partner for both Final X Stillwater, presented by Tezos, and Final X New York, presented by Tezos

FINAL X NEW YORK, presented by Tezos

At Madison Square Garden Hulu Theater, Wednesday, June 8

Declared Qualifiers to date

Greco-Roman 97 kg – G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

Women’s Freestyle 57 kg – Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./Sunkist Kids) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

Men’s Freestyle 79 kg – Jordan Burroughs (Philadelphia, Pa./Sunkist Kids/Pennsylvania RTC) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

G’ANGELO HANCOCK

Residence: Colorado Springs, Colo.

Club: Sunkist Kids

College: Daymar College

Training Center: U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center

High School: Fountain, Colo. (Fountain-Fort-Carson)

Born: July 27, 1997

  • 2021 World bronze medalist
  • 2020 Olympian (7th place)
  • Four-time Senior World Team member (2017-19, 2021)
  • 2020 Pan American Championships champion
  • 2019 Pan American Games silver medalist
  • Made two U.S. World Teams in 2018 and 2019 (U23, Senior)
  • Made three U.S. World Teams in 2017 (Junior, U23, Senior)
  • Two-time U.S. Open champion (2017, 2019)
  • Third in 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
  • 2016 Junior World bronze medalist

photo credit: Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors

Maroulis Accepts Final X Berth, And Will Compete For U.S. World Team Spot In New York On June 8

2016 Olympic champion and three-time World champion Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./Sunkist Kids) has officially accepted her 57 kg women’s freestyle berth in Final X

Maroulis will battle for a spot on the 2022 U.S. World Team in Final X New York. presented by Tezos, on Wednesday, June 8 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Maroulis is a history-maker for Team USA in women’s wrestling. She became the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic gold medal in wrestling with her victory at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She became the first U.S. women’s wrestler to win two Olympic medals with her bronze medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Maroulis has won three World gold medals (2015, 2017, 2021) and boasts five Senior World medals. Maroulis also won three Junior World medals. She was a four-time WCWA college national champion, winning three titles for Simon Fraser and one for Missouri Baptist. Maroulis is a native of Rockville, Md.

This will serve as the 12th Beat the Streets Annual Benefit. These unique and electrifying annual events help Beat the Streets New York raise millions of dollars to support local youth wrestling programs which empower young people in New York City.

There are a variety of ticket options for Final X New York, with prices beginning at $65. Purchase your wrestling-only event tickets on Ticketmaster (https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/3B005C8B9CD81033) or Benefit tickets with access to Final X New York and the Benefit celebration (after party) tickets at btsny.org (https://give.btsny.org/event/annual-benefit-2022/e396736), so you don’t miss the first in-person Benefit since 2019. For more information on Benefit tickets and sponsorship packages that also provide the best seats for watching the wrestling, email Fund Development Manager Kerry Doyle at kdoyle@btsny.org.

The Final X series will determine the 2022 U.S. Senior World Teams in men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling which will compete in Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 10-18.

The Team Selection procedures for the U.S. World Teams in each style allows for 2021 Senior World medalists and 2020 Olympic medalists to advance directly to Final X at a specified weight class. Maroulis has met this requirement and accepted her qualification.

There are 15 weight classes contested in Final X New York, five in each discipline. The weight classes assigned to the Final X New York are:

  • Men’s freestyle: 65 kg, 74 kg, 79 kg, 86 kg, 125 kg
  • Women’s freestyle: 50 kg, 53 kg, 57 kg, 62 kg, 72 kg
  • Greco-Roman: 60 kg, 67 kg, 77 kg, 87 kg, 97 kg

The Final X opponent for Maroulis will be determined at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament, set for Coralville, Iowa, May 20-22.

The Beat the Streets Annual Benefit, a fan-favorite, is a major showcase of the best of international wrestling. These competitions have been at iconic locations across New York City.

This will be the seventh time that Maroulis has competed in a Beat the Streets Annual Benefit event, and she is undefeated in her previous Beat the Streets matches. Her first came in 2012, where she beat U.S. wrestler Ashley Hudson. Her most recent came in 2108, with a victory over Odunayo Adekuoroye of Nigeria.

In addition to Final X New York, Final X Stillwater will be held Friday, June 3 at Gallagher-Iba Arena on the campus of Oklahoma State University. There will be 15 other weight classes contested in Stillwater.

FloWrestling will serve as the host broadcasting partner for both Final X Stillwater, presented by Tezos, and Final X New York, presented by Tezos

FINAL X NEW YORK, presented by Tezos

At Madison Square Garden Hulu Theater, Wednesday, June 8

Declared Qualifiers to date

Women’s Freestyle 57 kg – Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./Sunkist Kids) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

Men’s Freestyle 79 kg – Jordan Burroughs (Philadelphia, Pa./Sunkist Kids/Pennsylvania RTC) vs. winner at World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

HELEN MAROULIS

Residence: Rockville, Md.

Club: Sunkist Kids

College: Simon Fraser Univ., Missouri Baptist

High School: Marquette, Mich., Rockville, Md. (Colonel Zadock Magruder)

Born: Sept. 19, 1991

  • 2016 Olympic champion (first U.S. woman to win an Olympic wrestling gold medal)
  • 2020 Olympic bronze medalist (first U.S. woman to win two Olympic medals)
  • Three-time World champion (2015, 2017, 2021)
  • 2012 World silver medalist
  • 2014 World bronze medalist
  • Three-time Junior World medalist (2008, 2010, 2011)
  • 2011 Pan American Games champion
  • Four-time WCWA women’s college national champion (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013)

Maroulis Beat the Streets Annual Benefit History (6-0 record)

2012: Ashley Hudson (USA), 4-0, 2-1

2014: Marcia Andrades (Venezuela), Fall

2015: Yamilka del Valle Alvarez (Cuba), 10-0

2016: Samantha Stewart (Canada), Fall

2017: Yuzuru Kumano (Japan) 7-4

2018: Odunayo Adekuoroye (Nigeria), 4-1

Castrol Continues Support for Roush Fenway Keselowski Carbon Neutrality 

Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing (RFK) is proud to announce it is bringing back the carbon neutral No. 6 Ford powered by Castrol at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 24. RFK Co-owner and driver Brad Keselowski will be behind the wheel of the Castrol Mustang in the now iconic all-white paint scheme. RFK became the first carbon neutral NASCAR race team in 2021.  

The initiative is part of Castrol’s ongoing relationship with RFK and is another step toward supporting its partners in achieving their lower carbon ambitions. RFK continues to make strides on its carbon neutral journey, having been able to achieve reductions across Scope 1, 2 and certain 3 emissions associated with the team and in accordance with internationally recognized PAS2060 standard that RFK utilized in becoming carbon neutral.   

RFK achieved a 40% reduction in absolute carbon emissions from Scope 1 and 2 (twice their initial goal of 20%) and a 23% reduction in absolute Scope 3 emissions. Reductions at these levels were planned for 2022 but achieved a full year ahead of schedule. *  

Beginning at the Talladega race both RFK cars will be using motor oils specially formulated for RFK by Castrol with more than 50% RRBO (re-refined base oil).  Re-refined oil, on average, is 50% lower lifecycle carbon emissions vs. ordinary/conventional oil.** 

Prior to the race on Sunday, Castrol will lead a community-wide clean-up with Keselowski and fellow RFK driver Chris Buescher, who pilots the No. 17 car, on Friday April 22 (which is also Earth Day) in Oxford, Ala. Fans across the country are invited to join in the efforts by posting pictures to Instagram of their own clean-ups with the hashtag #drivingforchange for a chance to win Keselowski’s race-worn, fire suit.  Consumers must post pictures of their local clean ups by May 8.   

“Since RFK’s milestone commitment to carbon neutrality last year, we at Castrol have continued to look for ways to help drive change and to support our partner RFK,” said Castrol’s Vice President of Marketing, Americas Rayne Pacek. “And we’re excited to get fans involved this year in the community clean up and to have Chris and Brad leading the charge in Oxford, in addition to raising awareness on the track.” 

Speaking about RFK’s carbon neutral journey Brad Keselowski said, “None of us can change the world overnight by ourselves, but every bit counts and I’m proud to be working alongside Castrol to raise awareness. I hope that RFK and Castrol can help inspire others and help to drive change.” 

“We’re thrilled to work with both Castrol and RFK to help make Oxford, Ala., even more beautiful,” said Alton Craft, Mayor of Oxford, Alabama. “We hope that our efforts can help inspire fans across the country to chip in – a chance for them to win Brad’s white fire suit doesn’t hurt, either!”

Anyone interested in learning more about Castrol’s #drivingforchange initiative should go here.  

* Reductions were made in accordance with the BSI PAS2060 standard for carbon neutrality, whereby an organization commits to reduce carbon emissions within their measured boundary and to report on that progress. Both the measured boundary and emission reductions have been assessed in accordance with BSI PAS2060 and the achievement of carbon neutrality has been assured by ERM CVS, a third-party assurer. RFK’s QES available upon request.