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.

2022 AKTIV Against Cancer Award Luncheon Honors adidas, Lowe Nov. 3 in N.Y.

AKTIV Against Cancer, the organization co-founded by legendary runner Grete Waitz and Helle Aanesen, today announced it will honor adidas and Olympic Champion Chaunté Lowe for outstanding contributions to the field of Exercise Oncology at their eighth annual awards luncheon. The reception will be held November 3 at the historic New York Athletic Club.

Over more than 10 years of collaboration, adidas has accounted for more than $10M in donations toward AKTIV Against Cancer’s groundbreaking exercise oncology research and programs. United by the power of sport, the two organizations have worked together to help those fighting cancer improve their quality of life through physical activity.

“adidas has been an incredible supporter of AKTIV Against Cancer since our inception and has always embodied our mission to the highest degree,” said AKTIV Against Cancer CEO Helle Aanesen. “We simply couldn’t have done what we have done without adidas. There is no one better to honor than Grete’s longtime sponsor and our biggest believer, adidas.”

AKTIV Against Cancer’s partnership with adidas was born out of adidas’ relationship with the late Grete, who passed away in 2011. Grete had a storied history with adidas during her ground-breaking long-distance running career, having worn and promoted its apparel and footwear for more than 30 years.

“At adidas, we believe sport has the power to change lives, and few athletes have personified that motto as thoroughly as Grete Waitz,” said Adrian Leek, Sportswear & Footwear Vice President at adidas. “Our partnership with AKTIV Against Cancer represents our gratitude for everything Grete accomplished during her remarkable life, and we are proud to supported such a great cause for more than a decade.”

Additionally, AKTIV Against Cancer will honor four-time Olympian, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and former high jump world champion Chaunté Lowe with the Gabrielle Grunewald Inspiration Award for her courage and her dedication to expanding resources and support for others fighting breast cancer. Lowe is a Global Ambassador for the American Cancer Society and a spokesperson for a new partnership between pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and patient advocacy group Susan G. Komen.

Since 2015, AKTIV Against Cancer has hosted the AKTIV Against Cancer Award Luncheon in an effort to continuously honor the legacy of the co-founder, the late Grete Waitz. The award recognizes leaders who demonstrate great philanthropic efforts using health and fitness as a platform – a belief that was instrumental to Grete and at the core of AKTIV Against Cancer’s mission.

Mary Wittenberg, Global CEO of Virgin Sport, received the inaugural award in 2015 and running legend Meb Keflezighi received it in 2016. In 2017, AKTIV Against Cancer honored The Rudin Family for their long-standing commitment to the TCS New York City Marathon and the late professional runner Gabriele Grunewald for her commitment to continue running through her cancer and inspiring many to be physically active through treatments.

More recently, the organization honored Olympic Champion and cancer survivor Kikkan Randall and Dr. Jordan Metzl in 2018, Chip Gaines, Jeff Rochford & Aubrey Barr in 2019, Shannon Miller in 2020, and Cycle For Survival co-founder David Linn in 2021.

For more information about AKTIV Against Cancer please visit www.aktivagainstcancer.org/award

National Lacrosse League Announces 2022-23 Schedule; Face Off Weekend Set for December 2-3

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL) today announced the largest schedule in its history – 135 games – as the 2022-23 regular season gets underway with Face Off Weekend on December 2-3, 2022. The NLL’s 36th year opens with six games, three matchups in Canada and three in the U.S., as part of a 22-week schedule through April 29. Fans can view the entire slate at https://www.nll.com/schedule/full-schedule/.

Face Off Weekend will include two TSN Game of the Week contests on Friday, December 2 (Philadelphia Wings at Halifax Thunderbirds, 6 p.m. ET) and Saturday, December 3 (Vancouver Warriors at Toronto Rock, 5 p.m. ET). All 135 games during the regular season are available on ESPN+ and through TSN’s platforms, including TSN.ca and the TSN app. The complete national broadcast schedules for TSN and ESPN and the League’s playoff schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Our fans have been eagerly anticipating Face Off Weekend since our sensational Final’s series capped an incredible season and playoffs in the spring,” said NLL Commissioner Brett Frood. “We expect that the passionate fan bases at the six venues opening the 2022-23 regular season will pillar momentum for the rest of the year, and the broad reach of TSN and ESPN ensures that fans across North America can join in the celebration.”

The Las Vegas Desert Dogs, the NLL’s 15th and newest franchise, open Week 2 at Panther City, and will play their inaugural home game on Friday, December 16, at Michelob ULTRA Arena. The game at Las Vegas will be televised on ESPN2 at 10:30pm ET. The defending champion Colorado Mammoth will hoist their 2022 NLL Championship banner on Saturday, January 7, 2023, against the Calgary Roughnecks.

Some other highlights of the 2022-23 NLL schedule include:
• Four other Face Off Weekend games will be contested on December 3, including the Albany FireWolves at Buffalo Bandits, San Diego Seals at New York Riptide, Rochester Knighthawks at Georgia Swarm and defending champion Colorado Mammoth at Saskatchewan Rush
• Each team will play 18 games (nine home and nine away) over the 22 weeks
• There are five weeks in which all 15 NLL teams will be in action (Week 9, Jan. 27-28; Week 10, Feb. 3-4; Week 16, March 17-19; Week 17, March 24-25, Week 18, March 31-April 2

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

More Than $150 Billion Wagered in U.S. According to SportsHandle.com New Sports Betting Revenue Tracker

More than $150 billion in total sports betting handle has been wagered in the United States since the overturning of Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) according to SportsHandle.com’s new Sports Betting Revenue Tracker.

The definitive resource for information on sports betting legislation and legalization in the United States, SportsHandle.com has introduced the all-new revenue database for consumers and sports betting industry leaders who wish to stay on top of the latest handles and sportsbook revenues in states where sports betting is legal.

The first-of-its-kind tracker includes real-time updates on each of the states reported monthly handles (including Washington D.C.), as well as other key figures including gross revenue win rate, gross/adjusted sportsbook revenue, state taxes collected, and the legal betting start date.

Additionally, the tracker provides an overall snapshot highlighting each state’s regulator, tax rate on sportsbook operators, biggest monthly handle to date, and more. The launch of the revenue database follows the success of Sports Handle’s Sports Betting Partnership Tracker, which was launched back in May.

“As more states legalize sports betting and the overall sports handle continues to soar, we saw the need for an all-encompassing resource center for both consumers and industry leaders,” said Brett Smiley, Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief at SportsHandle.com. “Our team has done a terrific job in gathering all these statistics, and providing a comprehensive breakdown on the sports betting history in each state – all in one convenient location.”

Founded in July 2017 by Brett Smiley and Dan Zucker, SportsHandle.com is an elite sports betting industry news site that covers legislative and regulatory developments through original reporting, features and analysis.

Today, Sports Handle is owned and operated by Better Collective, a leading sports betting media group that develops educational platforms within the iGaming industry. Other leading websites owned and operated by Better Collective include: The Action Network, US Bets, and RotoGrinders.

Athletes First Partners to Represent Edmonton Oilers For Jersey Patch Sales

Athletes First Partners (A1 Partners) todayannounced that they have been retained by the Edmonton Oilers to handle the exclusive sale of the Oilers’ jersey patch, further expanding A1P’s growing offerings for brand partnerships. The Oilers resurgence—highlighted by last season’s trip to the Western Conference Finals, as well as their wildly passionate fan base, massive social and broadcast outreach and engagement, and return to their original iconic jersey colors of the dynasty years—is making their jersey patch one of the most unique and invaluable brand opportunities for the 2022-23 season.

“There are few North American clubs that have the deep history, including the glorious past of five Stanley Cup championships, the vibrant social media presence of today, and the young stars of tomorrow like the Oilers do. We know this opportunity will resonate for brands looking for that deep engagement, not just in the Pacific Northwest but across all of North America,” said Jim O’Connell, President Athletes First Partners. “We also know how important timing is in our business, and we are pleased to see the club continuing to drastically increase their reach as an organization, further than ever before.”

“Athletes First Partners showed us an innovative approach that we felt was different than others, and we are looking forward to seeing how they tailor all aspects of our history, brand, culture, city and fan base to find the perfect partner for our patch opportunity,” said Stew MacDonald, Chief Revenue Officer, OEG Sports and Entertainment. “As we return to our original NHL jersey colours with a rich history, including five Stanley Cup championships, this is a truly unique opportunity for a top North American brand to be part of many more historic moments in royal blue and orange starting this fall.”

Led by superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers advanced to the Western Conference finals last season, their latest and most crucial step in returning to the Wayne Gretzky-led glory years of the 1980’s. Off the ice, the Oilers have built an unprecedented social media following, leading all NHL clubs in social engagement and content consumption with 32 million impressions weekly throughout the season. The Oilers have also amassed the second largest national broadcast audience and third largest regional broadcast audience across the NHL. Those numbers are only expected to rise as the iconic club continues its much anticipated upward rise this fall.

To date, seven NHL clubs have secured jersey patch deals for the coming season.

Ready® Signs Steelers Quarterback Kenny Pickett

Ready®, one of the fastest growing sports nutrition brands in America with co-owners Aaron Donald and Giannis Antetokounmpo, today announced the signing of NFL first round draft pick and Pittsburgh Steeler rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett as a Ready® athlete.

Pickett was already quite familiar with Ready® having used its products while at Pitt, so the partnership was a logical extension. “Kenny already knew the fueling and recovery benefits of our products from his own experience. We really focus on our mentality and mission; and it became obvious he was a great fit to be a member of the Ready® Team,” said company founder and CEO Pat Cavanaugh.

Pickett will only promote products he uses during training, its Sports Drink and a few other select Ready® products in his various online and non-digital platforms. He joins NFL world champion Aaron Donald, NBA star and global basketball icon Giannis Antetokounmpo, and top rated American female tennis player Jessica Pegula as Ready® brand champions and ambassadors.

Pickett was the 2022 first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers after a stellar senior season when he was a Heisman Trophy finalist, first team All-American, and voted ACC Football Player and co-Athlete of the Year while leading Pitt to an ACC Championship.

“Kenny is a great example of continuing to work hard and remembering it’s not where you start it’s where you finish, which is a pillar of the Ready® mentality that defines our brand,” said Cavanaugh. “Throughout his career and breakout senior season, he continued to get better and better achieving one goal after the next. He’s just getting started.”

“I’m excited to be part of the Ready® Team especially since I’ve experienced the benefits of the products when I was at Pitt,” said Pickett. “The more Pat and I spoke about the brand and their mission to inspire athletes to take more pride in their effort than their talent; that attitude and mentality resonated with me and how I approach my football career.”

Telemundo Rolls Out The Future Is Futbol, A Comprehensive Report On The State Of Soccer

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises today released a timely report titled The Future Is Fútbol to define and characterize the fundamental shift in the importance of soccer in mainstream American sports and the role Latinos are playing in this economic, cultural and media phenomenon. The Future Is Fútbol report draws on primary and secondary research and data collection, including quantitative surveys and an innovative neuroscience study among bilingual Hispanics. To view the full report please click here.

Fútbol has an estimated 5 billion fans around the world and 85 million adult followers in the U.S. Gallup estimates that soccer has seen a significant increase in popularity, with a gain of 52% more fans from 2012 to 2019, compared to 27% growth in basketball and 8% growth in baseball during this period. Fueled by its growing popularity among young people and women in particular, as well as Latinos overall, the sport is benefiting from the tailwinds of growth driven by the FIFA World Cup 2022TM – kicking off in November in Qatar – and the tournament’s arrival in the U.S. in 2026.

“Fútbol is the sport of America’s future. Soccer is growing in the U.S. and Hispanics are clearly leading the way,” said Monica Gil, Chief Administrative and Marketing Officer, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. “Every four years, the FIFA World Cup TM brings Latinos and non-Latinos together with a spirit and intensity that no other sporting event in the world can match. There is no more authentic way to experience the World Cup than in Spanish. For companies and brands seeking real cultural connection and a space to engage Latinos, soccer and the FIFA World Cup TM are the place to be, this fall and for years to come.”

According to the report, the World Cup is considered more important among Hispanic World Cup viewers than any other sporting event, including the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Olympic Games, or the NBA Finals. FIFA reported that the 2018 FIFA World CupTM reached over half the global population with 3.57 billion viewers. In 2018, the World Cup had its greatest 32-day performance in Spanish-language media history, with a commanding total U.S. audience reach of 37 million.

The Future Is Fútbolfurther highlights the power of soccer as a multibillion-dollar business with profits of $40 billion in 2019, twice the worldwide revenue for American football. Fans follow players and teams year-round as celebrities and representatives of national origin and sources of local pride. U.S. soccer fans spend 7% more than the average American sports fan on team sports clothing, tickets, sports equipment, and memorabilia. In 2021, soccer matches were available almost every day, with only six days without a match on broadcast TV, a phenomenon that offers brands, retailers and advertisers alike an advantage like no other sports property.

Other key themes highlighted in The Future Is Fútbol include:

  • Latinos Fueling Growth – Latinos have driven shifts in the U.S. population over the last decade. As their influence grows, so does soccer’s popularity. Hispanics and other diverse fans bring with them a love for soccer that has been part of their story for generations, shaped by history and now representing the next breakthrough in mainstream American sports.
    • Among U.S. Latinos ages 16 and older, almost three-quarters (73%) say they are soccer fans, and three times more Hispanics call themselves Superfans (22%) compared to non-Hispanics (7%).
    • More than half (53%) of Latinos ages 16 and older and nearly 1 out of 3 non-Latinos (29%) say they plan to watch the FIFA World Cup 2022.
    • Latinos rank both soccer (57%) and American football (59%) well above basketball (45%) and baseball (40%).
  • Fútbol is Everything” Culture
  • 61% of Hispanic World Cup viewers are fútbol Enthusiasts, regular fans or superfans, who say that if their team won the World Cup, their euphoria would be unmatched, an experience more exciting than getting their dream job or getting married.
  • Over half (57%) of Hispanic Enthusiasts say they have reshuffled their priorities to watch an important game, including skipping family or friend events, taken off work, spent money they did not have or traveled miles to watch an important match.
  • The FIFA World Cup TM is as big as a holiday. Soccer gatherings are momentous among Latino Enthusiasts who rank the event second only to Christmas, more significant than Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
  • Biggest Multi-Platform Sporting Event –The ability of fans to watch and engage on any screen has a monumental impact on the growing FIFA World Cup TM fandom. Soccer media coverage and content have increased exponentially to meet the demand for more high-quality live, virtual and social fan experiences 24/7.
    • The FIFA World Cup 2022TM is expected to be the world’s biggest multi-platform sports event ever. The incremental viewership from live streaming helped make the 2018 FIFA World CupTM the biggest multi-platform sports event in Spanish-language history.
    • 67% of Hispanic viewers plan to watch the World Cup on broadcast TV, and 42% plan to stream the matches.
    • Television is the preferred device for Hispanics to watch the World Cup (90%), followed by smartphone (34%) and computer (17%).
  • The Power of Spanish – For most Hispanic fans, Spanish is the language and culture of fútbol. Viewers describe Spanish-language soccer commentators as excellent storytellers, utterly poetic and animated about what is happening on the field.
    • Over half (56%) of U.S. Hispanic World Cup viewers prefer watching the FIFA World CupTM in Spanish.
    • Even 1 out of 5 English-dominant Hispanic World Cup viewers prefer to watch in Spanish.
    • Spanish is not exclusive to Hispanics because 17% of non-Latino tournament viewers said they would watch some of the matches in Spanish as well, an increase of 12% over 2018.
    • According to a brain neuroscience study conducted among U.S. bilingual Hispanics, watching a World Cup match with Spanish commentary generated 15% greater likeability, keeping fans glued to their screens longer than watching the identical match in English.
      • Key game moments, like the iconic goal call by the Spanish commentator, prompted an average of 37% greater emotional intensity compared to English, making the “highs” higher and the “lows” lower.
      • The effects of Spanish game commentary also transferred to advertising. In the study, the identical ad, when played in Spanish had 19% higher likeability and 49% greater emotional intensity vs. English.
  • Latinas Are Watching and Bringing Their Kids Hispanic women are an untapped opportunity among soccer viewers.
  • Four in ten (41%) U.S. Latinas say they are likely to watch the FIFA World Cup 2022TM.
  • 76% of Hispanic mom tournament viewers encourage their kids to follow the World Cup and professional fútbol.
  • Hispanic females are passionate fans and together comprised 17 million Spanish-network FIFA World CupTM viewers in 2018, making the tournament the most-watched Latina sporting event in Spanish-language history.
  • Among the World Cup audience, a fifth (21%) of Latinas call themselves Superfans, which is far greater than both non-Hispanic males (10%) and non-Hispanic females (8%).
  • And Latino viewing is a family affair, with 70% of Latino parent event viewers saying it’s important to watch the FIFA World CupTM in Spanish with their kids.
  • First-Choice Sport of Young People in the U.S. Soccer has become the fastest-growing major team sport among all high school students and is the most popular among Hispanic high schoolers.
    • High school soccer participation increased 32% from 2002 to 2019, far more than the average growth of basketball (-6%), American football (-2%), baseball (6%), or ice hockey (7%).
    • Soccer is egalitarian, considering that high school girls play almost as much as boys, with participation growing 31% for girls versus 33% for boys from 2002 to 2019. There were 394,105 high school girls who played soccer in 2019, a figure not far behind the 459,077 high school boys who played.
    • Soccer is currently the most popular team sport among 40% of Hispanic high school students who say they played or were planning to play the sport in 2020, compared to 21% of all high school students.

Global and inclusive, growing across women and youth, fútbol is poised to redefine the American sports landscape. After years of wins, both large and small, fútbol is coming of age at the moment when millions of Latinos and fútbol fans of all backgrounds stand ready to watch, engage and lead the way.

Telemundo Deportes is the exclusive Spanish-language home of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ taking place in Qatar this Fall, starting Nov. 20. The network is prepared to deliver the most ambitious coverage in Spanish-language history with all 64 matches live, including all four games on Thanksgiving Day. Peacock will stream all the Spanish-language World Cup matches live, and will feature pre-game and post-game coverage, as well as special programming with extended interviews and highlights.

Topps NOW Timmy Trumpet Card Celebrates Diaz Save

With the Mets holding onto a narrow 2-1 lead over the Dodgers on Wednesday night at CitiField, Timmy Trumpet took the field to welcome closer Edwin Diaz into the game. Trumpet played a live rendition of his song “Narco,” Diaz’s intro song all season.

Now through Friday at 2 p.m. ET, fans can get a Topps NOW card commemorating the occasion. The card, depicting Trumpet’s live performance, is available here. Only the number of cards ordered by Friday at 2 p.m. ET will be printed.

Ready® Signs Top Ranked American Tennis Star

Ready®, one of the fastest growing sports nutrition brands in America, today announced the signing of WTA tennis star, Jessica Pegula–the 8th ranked player in the world and the top ranked American female–as a Ready® athlete. She joins fellow Ready® team members NFL star and world champion Aaron Donald and NBA great and global basketball icon Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Pegula has been a steady riser on the WTA tour and Grand Slam circuit since her debut in 2011-12. Her determination and effort to join the elite of women’s tennis has paid off in 2022 with her ascension to a career-high WTA singles ranking of No. 7 in singles and a career-high doubles ranking of No. 6. Her and partner Coco Gauff will be one of the favorites for the double’s championship at The US Open.

The Buffalo native has won one WTA singles title and two WTA doubles titles, one WTA Challenger doubles title, and seven ITF doubles titles. She is a three-time Grand Slam singles quarterfinalist, having reached this stage twice at the 2021 and 2022 Australian Open and once at the 2022 French Open. She is also a Grand Slam finalist in doubles, achieving this feat at the 2022 French Open with Gauff.

“We’re very selective on who we sign as members of our Ready® Team Roster,” said Pat Cavanaugh, Ready® founder and CEO. “We look for people who take more pride in their hard work than their talent. Beyond athletic excellence, we love seeing someone be relentless in their journey to make their best, better. Jess’s grit and determination over the last 10 years to grind and improve her game to reach her goals and her current world ranking is a great testament to her mentality and the kind of mindset that defines our Ready® Brand.”

“I am really excited to partner with Ready®, a sports drink and nutrition company that helps me stay prepared on and off the court,” said Pegula. “I put tremendous pride into my team, my training, and what I put into my body.”

When I first tried Ready®, the products stood out to me above everything else out there. As Pat and I continued conversations, we shared philosophies on hard work and determination to continue moving forward no matter what life throws at us. Seeing the athletes that Ready® is currently working with, Aaron Donald and Giannis Antetokounmpo, it’s an honor to join two champion athletes and be the first female athlete partner of Ready®.”

Ready® sports nutrition products will continue to fuel Pegula that she’s been using for the past year in her workouts and training. She will promote the Brand and its portfolio of scientifically formulated, performance products in her various online and non-digital platforms.

ESPN, TSN To Provide Most Extensive Coverage of National Lacrosse League Entry Draft

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL) today announced the broadcast coverage plan for the 2022 NLL Entry Draft, which will be held on Saturday, September 10 beginning at 2 p.m. ET at the historic The Carlu in downtown Toronto. This year’s first round will be available for the first time on TSN.ca and the TSN app in Canada and ESPN+ in the United States, with additional rounds covered in real time on NLL social channels. It marks the most extensive live coverage of the NLL Draft in the league’s history.

“We are proud to be able to work with our North American broadcast partners ESPN and TSN to be able to provide in-depth, wide ranging coverage of the 2022 NLL Draft for the first time,” said NLL Commissioner Brett Frood, who officially assumes the fulltime position September 1. “Being able to showcase the personalities of these elite athletes on such a special day to a passionate and engaged fan base is essential to the continued growth of the league and sport. We look forward to utilizing the draft as a catapult to foster authentic and meaningful connections between our players, teams, fans and communities throughout the 2022-23 season and beyond.”

The 2022 NLL Draft coverage will be hosted by Devan Kaney with TSN’s Teddy Jenner and Pat Gregoire providing analysis. TSN’s Ashley Docking will report from the floor of the Draft adding analysis and interviews with the decision makers, influencers and prospects and their families in attendance. The live broadcast starts at 2 p.m. ET and will include a 10-minute pre-show prior to the first pick. Following the conclusion of Round 1 (23 picks), continuing coverage of Rounds 2-6 will be published, in real time, on the league’s social media channels with supporting video.

The Draft will be open to the public, free of charge, with initial seating for up to 200 at The Carlu. More seats may become available as the draft nears. Fans interested in attending can reserve their seat by registering at this link. The NLL Entry Draft was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 following a two-year run at Philadelphia’s Xfinify Live! in 2018 and 2019.

Media who are interested in attending should fill out this form to request a credential.

The Rochester Knighthawks will make the first overall selection in the draft followed by the Las Vegas Desert Dogs making their inaugural selection.

The full first round NLL Entry Draft order, as of August 30, pending pre-Draft transactions, is as follows:

1. Rochester (from Las Vegas)
2. Las Vegas (from Rochester)
3. Vancouver
4. Albany (from New York)
5. Panther City
6. Saskatchewan
7. Albany (from Georgia)
8. New York (from Philadelphia via Albany)
9. Panther City (from Albany via Halifax)
10. Calgary
11. Georgia (from San Diego)
12. Halifax
13. Buffalo (from Toronto)
14. Buffalo
15. Colorado
16. Las Vegas (additional compensatory selection)
17. Albany (compensatory selection)
18. Las Vegas (from Calgary) (compensatory selection)
19. Buffalo (compensatory selection)
20. Georgia (compensatory selection)
21. Panther City (from Albany) (compensatory selection)
22. San Diego (compensatory selection)
23. Philadelphia (from Saskatchewan) (compensatory selection)

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

FanDuel Group Launches FanDuel TV With Kay Adams

FanDuel Group, the premier online gaming company in North America, announced today its intent to launch FanDuel TV which will include a broadly distributed linear cable television network, and its new OTT platform to be known as FanDuel+. Both FanDuel TV and FanDuel+ will go live in September of this year and become the first linear/digital network dedicated to sports wagering content and delivering more live sports programming than any other network in America. As part of the launch, FanDuel TV is excited to welcome Kay Adams who will headline the network with a live daily morning show five days per week. Adams, who previously served as a host of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network will host the show from FanDuel TV’s Los Angeles studios each day at 11:00 am EDT. As part of the launch, the company announced that FanDuel+ will be free to download for existing FanDuel customers with accounts on any of its sportsbook, casino, horse racing or daily fantasy platforms.

“FanDuel TV is the first network designed from the ground up to be watched by viewers with their phone in hand,” said Mike Raffensperger, Chief Commercial Officer, FanDuel. “We intend for FanDuel TV to sit at the intersection of live sports and interactive content and believe Kay is the best example of an on-air talent who can bring fans closer to the narratives of the games they care about most. Our goal is to provide fans compelling programming to watch and wager on in tandem with our mobile app.”

Kay Adams Headlines New Morning Show

Adams will host her own hour long show Monday through Friday, welcoming guests and a wide range of personalities from across sports and entertainment. She looks forward to continuing her well-established track record of entertaining and informing sports fans in the morning! Daily viewers can expect the same “Hey Kay Adams” energy as always, and the daily studio show will also be available on YouTube and other social media platforms.

Pat McAfee and the Squad at PMI to Produce Original Content

FanDuel TV is excited that one of the hottest and most influential people in sports media Pat McAfee and his team at PMI Network will also be joining the party!  McAfee’s PMI Network will be producing fresh new content as part of the network’s weekly block of programming.  Details regarding new PMI Network content will be shared by Pat on The Pat McAfee Show when it’s ready for primetime!

Programming from Bill Simmons’ The Ringer Network

As part of the launch of FanDuel TV, the company has reached a programming agreement with The Ringer providing FanDuel TV content from one of the industry’s most listened to and followed sports and pop-culture podcasts and digital networks. Details on specific content from The Ringer, which Bill Simmons founded in 2016, will be disclosed in the future. 

More Ways to Win with Lisa Kerney

In addition, FanDuel’s signature sports betting show More Ways to Win will continue to be hosted by former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Lisa Kerney bringing sports betting analysis and insight of the major sports leagues to viewers each week. More Ways to Win has been a cornerstone of FanDuel’s programming with Kerney covering a variety of sports content focused on the sports wagerer in her high energy style. A FanDuel brand ambassador, Kerney has appeared recently in the company’s baseball ads and hosted the company’s FanFest event, which was streamed live from Los Angeles to more than 300,000 viewers during the week of Super Bowl LVI.

“Having proven on-air talent, live content from the most influential name in sports media in Pat McAfee and the industry’s best team covering horse racing today demonstrates that FanDuel TV will be a dynamic network from day one,” said Amy Howe, Chief Executive Officer, FanDuel Group.   

New Live Sports Programming

FanDuel TV intends to become the new home of international basketball in the U.S. As part of a licensing agreement with Sportradar, FanDuel TV and FanDuel+ will air more than 3,000 hours of live sports including international basketball league action from the National Basketball League (NBL) Australia’s professional league, the Chinese Basketball League, as well as the French and German pro leagues.

Stable of Horse Racing Experts  

FanDuel TV will emerge from predecessor TVG Network, a channel synonymous with delivering racing excellence for the past quarter century. In keeping with its proud TVG lineage as the unquestioned home of horse racing, FanDuel TV will feature a stacked lineup of unparalleled coverage from respected experts including Christina Blacker, Britney Eurton, Gabby Gaudet, Mike Joyce, Todd Schrupp and the rest of TVG’s award-winning on-air talent roster.  FanDuel TV’s programming schedule will be underpinned with the best live coverage from the top tracks including Gulfstream, Del Mar, Keeneland, Pimlico, Santa Anita and many more. FanDuel TV will also deliver unmatched coverage of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships this November, hosted at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.

“TVG has been the undisputed leader in the horse racing space for the past 20 years and the launch of FanDuel TV creates an exciting new platform for the next 20 years,” added Raffensperger. “FanDuel TV and FanDuel+ will accelerate the renaissance racing is enjoying and repackage the sport for a new generation of mobile enabled fans, while also bringing new leagues and sports to the U.S. market.  We plan to offer more live sports than any network in America.”

FanDuel TV will be broadly distributed on linear television through its relationships with the industry’s leading cable and satellite distributors including Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, Verizon FIOS, DirectTV, DISH, Cox Communications, FuboTV, YouTubeTV, and Hulu. FanDuel+ will also be widely available on direct-to-consumer OTT platforms including Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire. For more information on FanDuel TV programming and news, follow @FanDuelTV on Twitter and Instagram.

NY Regulator Expects To Clear 2022 Sports Betting Targets

Since launching Jan. 8, New York sportsbooks have already handled more than $9.7 billion on sports wagers statewide, a figure that cements the Empire State as the nation’s capital of sports betting. Online wagering has already generated more than $368 million for New York state tax coffers, an astounding figure considering that only four states across the nation have eclipsed the $100 million threshold since the U.S. Supreme Court’s repeal of PASPA in May 2018.

The explosion of sports betting leaves New York State Gaming Commission Executive Director Rob Williams optimistic that the state could generate $500 million in tax revenue from online sports wagering in the first year of the market. For context, when former Gov. Andrew Cuomo reversed course on sports betting in 2021, his administration projected that the state would not clear that figure until Fiscal Year 2026, at the earliest. The numbers are astounding when you consider that more than two other dozen states have generated around $1.31 billion in combined tax revenue from legal sports wagering since May 2018.

“We’re very pleased with the overall success of the mobile sports wagering industry in New York. We are very cognizant that we’ve reached those great numbers without going through a football season,” Williams told Sports Handle last week on the sidelines of the Racing and Gaming Conference at Saratoga.

The nation’s capital for sports betting

From the outset, there were clear indications that New York appeared poised to shatter national records, based on the sheer volume of activity in certain sports-crazed neighborhoods of Manhattan. New Yorkers placed more than 300,000 wagers over the first hour of legal sports betting in the Empire State, and a total of 17.2 million over the first weekend on Jan. 8-9, according to Vancouver-based geolocation provider GeoComply. For the Super Bowl, New York activity represented a whopping 25% of the company’s U.S. sports betting traffic, ranking first.

Consequently, there are strong indications that New York will surpass $2.3 billion in handle for the upcoming NFL season. Of the seven states that provide a breakdown for revenues by sport, wagering on the NFL last year represented about 18-20% of their overall handle, according to Sports Handle internal research. The figure jumped to 27.6% in Mississippi for retail sports wagers (the state only accepts online sports bets inside casino properties). One outlier is Nevada, where NFL wagers represent about 37% of the state’s overall handle on a historical basis, according to the UNLV Center For Gaming Research. Last year, NFL wagering represented 33.4% of the handle statewide.

New York launched online sports betting one day before the final Sunday of the 2021-22 NFL regular season.

When you toss in betting on college football, New York appears on track to clear $500 million in tax revenue. As a point of comparison, Colorado handled more than $158 million in college football wagers in 2021, on top of the $689.1 million state sportsbooks handled on the NFL. Although the Colorado figures contain wagers in several offseason months, the bulk of wagering occurred in the four months during the season. The population in New York outranks Colorado by a factor of 3.4x.

“There’s no doubt that as we go through this upcoming fall football season with both college and professional football that we will exceed the initial revenue numbers that we were aiming for,” Williams said. “It has been a wonderful success without what everyone concedes is the most important season to benefit sports wagering, so we’re very bullish on the market.”

At a hold of 8%, New York sportsbooks could generate more than $180 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR) from the NFL alone. Given the explosion of single-game parlays, it stands to reason that the hold this fall could be considerably higher. For those attempting to forecast the NFL hold in New York, trends on the hold from parlays in Illinois might be instructive:

SGPNTV debuts in 150 million homes

The Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s flagship program, The Sports Gambling Podcast with Sean Green and Ryan Kramer, will be available to some 150 million additional viewers next month as the free sports gambling content provider launches SGPNTV on the popular TV streaming platforms RokuAmazon Fire, and Apple TV.

The launch of SGPNTV is set for Thursday, September 1, just in time for the 2022 NFL and college football seasons. The Sports Gambling Podcast will air its final NFL Predictions Show during a live stream at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT that day.  Additionally, all 32 NFL team previews previously produced by SGPN will also be available On Demand on the day of launch. Future episodes of The Sports Gambling Podcast will be available daily on SGPNTV. Additional SGPN podcasts are expected to be available on SGPNTV in the coming months. 

SGPNTV, which is free to download and watch, adds approximately 150 million more streamers to the potential viewership during a time when more and more states are making sports gambling legal. Currently, 30 states plus the District of Columbia allow sports betting, while five more states have approved the legislation and are awaiting its launch, and three more have bills pending.

“We’ve found a sizable audience and it’s growing, so this is another step in our journey as the top independent, always-free provider of sports betting content,” said SPGN co-founder Green, who has experience as a Hollywood show writer and comedian. Green funded the growth of SGPN five years ago when he won $200,000 in a DraftKings daily fantasy contest.

The American Gaming Association estimated that 31.4 million Americans bet over $7B on the Super Bowl and that over 45 million people in the U.S. bet over $3B on March Madness this past year. 

“The addition of SGPN to these platforms is key as the entire industry continues to climb,” said SGPN co-founder Kramer. “The growth of sports betting and the amazingly diverse populations that are engaged is a great fit for our offering of all free, all the time sophisticated picks and analysis.  Content is king and we produce more than anyone in the non-subscription space.”

As the marketplace begins to mature, more platforms are hiding content behind paywalls and forcing followers to pay for picks and analysis on the bigger games. SGPN’s traditional model relies on delivering the desired audience in both size and demographics to advertisers, marketers and brand-builders.  Audiences continue to grow because the content comes at no cost.

National Lacrosse League Announces Information For 2022 Entry Draft

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced that the 2022 NLL Entry Draft will be held on Saturday, September 10 at 2 p.m. ET at the historic The Carlu in downtown Toronto.

Information about live broadcast coverage and details surrounding how fans can consume the 2022 NLL Draft on social media will be announced at a later date. The Draft will be open to the public, free of charge, with seating for 400 at The Carlu.

After a blockbuster trade following the 2022 Expansion Draft, the Rochester Knighthawks will make the first overall selection in the draft followed by the Las Vegas Desert Dogs making their inaugural selection. Vancouver, New York, and Panther City will make the following picks, respectively.

The full first round NLL Entry Draft order, as of August 23, pending pre-Draft transactions, is as follows:

  1. Rochester (from Las Vegas)
  2. Las Vegas (from Rochester)
  3. Vancouver
  4. New York
  5. Panther City
  6. Saskatchewan
  7. Georgia
  8. Albany (from Philadelphia)
  9. Halifax (from Albany)
  10. Calgary
  11. Georgia (from San Diego)
  12. Halifax
  13. Buffalo (from Toronto)
  14. Buffalo
  15. Colorado
  16. Las Vegas (additional compensatory selection)
  17. Albany (compensatory selection)
  18. Las Vegas (from Calgary) (compensatory selection)
  19. Buffalo (compensatory selection)
  20. Georgia (compensatory selection)
  21. Panther City (from Albany) (compensatory selection)
  22. San Diego (compensatory selection)
  23. Philadelphia (from Saskatchewan) (compensatory selection)

The NLL Entry Draft was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 following a two-year run at Philadelphia’s Xfinify Live! in 2018 and 2019. Draft eligibility requirements are available at https://www.nll.com/combine/draft-eligibility/.

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

Betting Innovation Centre launches Opta BetBuilder Plus for the World Cup

Stats Perform and Sporting Solutions’ new Betting Innovation Centre announced its first B2B product set, Opta BetBuilder Plus, that will quickly unlock the true potential of player props and same-game betting for every operator and bettor.

Initially built for football and ready to integrate today, Opta BetBuilder Plus is the only major betbuilder product to utilise Stats Perform’s renowned Opta player statistics and enables sportsbooks of all sizes to offer thrilling experiences for the 2022 World Cup and many competitions beyond.

The product fills key gaps that have held back the growth of football betting by connecting sharp pricing with contextual front-end Opta stats, in-play as well as pre-game, delivered in multiple formats including singles, pre-combined multis, a betbuilder API and hosted betbuilder UI.

Opta BetBuilder Plus features unique Opta-powered markets, like player shots on target and goalkeeper saves, which are available for a broad range of global football competitions. The service has also been built from the ground-up to be fast and simple to launch, particularly for hundreds of operators with an existing Sporting Solutions or Stats Perform integration.

“Opta BetBuilder Plus creates dream experiences for bettors and operators and will set a benchmark for the future of betbuilder products. It perfectly combines the best of Sporting Solutions and Stats Perform: elite modeling and trading expertise, uniquely deep player data, product expertise and the world-renowned Opta brand,” said Shane Gannon, SVP Betting at Stats Perform.

CEO of Sporting Solutions, Andy Wright, said: “Since announcing the Betting Innovation Centre, operators have been asking for player proposition prices like shots to be available at scale in betbuilders and same-game products, in-play as well as pre-game, to make football betting more entertaining for their users.

“They also want their traders to have genuine confidence in the player proposition pricing, so they can keep more markets open longer, for more games, and be creative with their boosts and promotions. That’s a large part of the unique value we’re bringing.”

Added Gannon, “Operators want their customers to be able to quickly find and place the right bet, to track it and have stats to help them make a cash-out decision, for all the big leagues but also their local hero players and teams.

“Our Opta BetBuilder Plus product set enables all of this, via a very fast integration. It is perfect for any operator wanting to unlock the true potential of football betting and means every operator can quickly offer trusted, unbeatable football betting experiences,” he said.

EBET’s Sports Betting Brand BetTarget Secures Ring Sponsorship of Saturday’s Bare Knuckle Fighting

Touted as the biggest combat sporting event this summer, EBET’s brand BetTarget will gain brand exposure leading up to and throughout the live action. The event will be distributed in over 60 countries and is expected to be broadcast to 133 million homes. The event is also expecting over 300,000 live PPV viewers and a rebroadcast viewership of 25 million.

EBET’s BetTarget offers the latest odds and live betting on all major sports and events with more than 3,000 live events per month and thousands of additional pre-event markets.

“Bare Knuckle fighting is rapidly becoming one of the most popular combat sports in the world. And with 91% of the fan base above the age of 21, this event is a great fit for our sports wagering brand, BetTarget,” commented Mark Thorne, Chief Marketing Officer of EBET. “We look forward to exposing our brand to the massive audience this fight card will engage.” 

Robust H1 performance with strategic focus on broader customer appeal delivering record level of activesLaunch of Entain CEE and acquisition of SuperSport in Croatia

Entain plc (LSE: ENT), the global sports-betting, gaming and interactive entertainment group, today reports its Interim Results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2022 (“H1”).

Strategic progress

  • Group’s strategic focus on a broader recreational customer base delivering record level of actives, up 57% versus H1 2019, and higher quality earnings
  • Greater customer engagement driven by innovative new products and enriched experiences
  • Further geographic expansion with five transactions this year to date consistent with our strategy of expanding into regulated markets
    • Creation of Entain CEE and acquisition of SuperSport announced separately today, provides a strategic springboard to unlock the clear expansion opportunity in Central and Eastern Europe (“CEE”)
    • Acquisition in June of BetCity in the Netherlands to deliver growth in the newly regulated Dutch market
    • Completion of Avid Gaming (Canada), Klondaika (Latvia) and Totolotek (Poland) transactions
  • Ongoing ESG leadership and further progress made across our Sustainability Charter
  • Expansion of Advanced Responsibility & Care (“ARCTM “) player protection trials into international markets
  • Founding partner of Global Gaming Alliance (“GGA”), awarded GamCare’s Advanced Safer Gambling Standard, and received numerous awards for safer gambling, including from S&P, SBC & EGR
  • Pitching-In Volunteer Hub for the UK Trident Leagues launched to connect volunteers and local clubs
  • Appointment of Rahul Welde as an independent Non-Executive Director

Financial highlights

  • Robust Group performance during H1, reflecting the diversified business model and underlying momentum of the online business
  • Total Group net gaming revenue (“NGR”) growth of 18% (+18%cc2)
  • Online NGR down 7% (-7%cc2) reflecting strong prior year comparators driven by Covid lockdowns, temporary closure in the Netherlands, affordability measures in the UK and customers responding to the economic backdrop
    • Excluding the Netherlands, NGR was down -3%cc2
    • Strong underlying momentum with H1 Online NGR 3yr CAGR up 13%cc2
  • Retail perfomance ahead of expectations with a more interactive digital experience across gaming machines and betting terminals driving greater customer engagement
  • BetMGM continues to perform strongly and is on track to deliver FY22 NGR of over $1.3bn
  • H1 NGR of $608m, 65% ahead of 2021
  • Established number two operator with 23%7 market share where BetMGM operates (excluding New York)
  • Consistent leading iGaming operator with 30%7 market share
  • Reiterate expectation to reach positive EBITDA during 2023,8
  • Group EBITDA4,5 up 17% at £471m
  • Group profit after tax from continuing operations £28m, down £63m
  • FY 2022 Group EBITDA4,5,9 expected to be in the range of £925m to £975m, in line with current consensus10
  • New progressive dividend policy announced:
  • Full year payment of £100m split evenly between Interim and Full Year
  • Interim dividend of 8.5p per share

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain, commented:

“We continue to make excellent progress on our strategic priorities, with momentum in our business remaining strong as a result of putting the customer at the heart of everything we do.  I am delighted that more customers are choosing to play with us as we focus on providing them with even better products, engaging content and exciting experiences.  This has resulted in our highest ever level of actives in H1, up 57% versus the same period two years ago.  Not only is this approach great for our customers, but it also provides us with a broader, more recreational customer base that will support more sustainable long-term revenues.

Underpinned by the Entain platform, we continue to expand our growth opportunities, and have already announced five transactions so far this year.  This includes today’s announcement of an innovative growth strategy for Central and Eastern Europe, starting with the acquisition of SuperSport in Croatia.  In the US, BetMGM goes from strength to strength and continues to demonstrate its market leadership with a 23%7 market share.

We continue to lead our industry on responsibility and sustainability as we deliver further progress on our Sustainability Charter.  ARC™ continues to be rolled out into international markets and our efforts have been recognised in the UK and internationally with awards from GamCare, S&P, SBC as well as our inclusion in the Global Sustainability Yearbook 2022.

As ever, I would like to thank each and every one of our talented colleagues around the world for their hard work and dedication in helping deliver these results. We have established a meaningful runway for sustainable and high-quality growth.  While we remain vigilant to the consumer backdrop, our geographic and product diversity provides resilience which, together with our proven ability to drive superior returns, gives us confidence that we will continue to deliver benefits for our stakeholders.”

Telemundo Deportes Introduces Expanded FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Commentary Team

Telemundo Deportes, the exclusive Spanish-language home of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, announces an expanded lineup of experts joining its commentary team as it kicks off the 100-day countdown to the start of the tournament this fall, airing live exclusively in Spanish on Telemundo, Universo and Peacock.

“This is a year that will be a total game-changer for the biggest sporting event in the world, and we’re thrilled to celebrate this milestone by introducing and welcoming an impressive roster of legendary figures joining us in Qatar in 100 days,” said Ray Warren, President of Telemundo Deportes.

Former Mexican national team head coach Miguel “Piojo” Herrera, Real Madrid and Spanish national team legend Fernando Hierro, World Cup champions Mauro Silva of Brazil and Claudio Borghi of Argentina, and 2010 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball winner Diego Forlán of Uruguay are some of the iconic soccer personalities joining Telemundo Deportes to provide an “on-the-pitch” perspective and expert analysis.

Telemundo Deportes assembled an unprecedented lineup of experts to enhance the coverage and broaden the scope of the World Cup commentary team’s technical expertise, experience and diversity with voices that represent many of the countries participating in the World Cup that are most relevant to Hispanic audiences.

“This is our most ambitious World Cup presentation yet with the largest onsite presence the network has ever had, and we’re proud to have a world-class team of experts and on-air talent at the helm of our coverage,” said Eli Velazquez, Executive Vice President of Sports Content, Telemundo Deportes. “This group reflects our commitment to deliver deeper coverage, unique perspectives, relevant storylines, and more excitement than ever before.”

The roster combines diverse soccer legends and experts who bring unique experiences from all facets of the game to complement Telemundo Deportes’ renowned award-winning commentary team. Coverage will be anchored by soccer Hall of Famer, six-time Emmy award-winner and chief commentator Andres Cantor alongside Emmy-award winning sports journalist Miguel Gurwitz, Telemundo’s Emmy-nominated sports and entertainment host Ana Jurka, Premier League host Carlota Vizmanos and Mexican soccer icon Carlos Hermosillo as the official hosts, leading the pre- and post-game analysis from Telemundo’s presentation studio located at the center of the cultural Souq Waqif Marketplace.

Telemundo Deportes’ production will feature the largest onsite footprint ever with in-venue presence at all 64 games and dedicated commentary teams calling the games from within the stadium. The experts join Telemundo Deportes announce teams to serve as analysts and join the announce teams for relevant matches. Former Mexican National Team and Chivas player Manuel Sol will join Cantor as lead analyst; network play-by-play veteran Copán Álvarez, two-time Emmy award nominee Sammy Sadovnik and accomplished Spanish-language sports broadcaster Jorge Calvo will provide play-by-play alongside experienced sports analyst Eduardo Biscayart, who has four World Cups and nine Champions League finals under his belt.

Telemundo Deportes is the exclusive Spanish-language home of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM taking place in Qatar this fall. The network is prepared to deliver the most ambitious coverage in Spanish-language history with all 64 matches live, including all four games on Thanksgiving Day. Peacock will provide live coverage of all matches live and a dedicated 24/7 channel with exclusive content.

Biographical highlights of Telemundo Deportes’ lineup of experts for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ coverage below. Visual assets such as images and videos here or at https://publicity.gettyimages.com/telemundo/Qatar2022.

AMELIA VALVERDE

Costa Rica

Coach

As the current head coach of the Costa Rica Women’s National Team, Valverde will bring her expertise to Telemundo Deportes for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™. She has previously contributed as game and studio analyst for the Tokyo Olympics women soccer coverage and expert commentator for 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France.

CARLOS TENORIO

Ecuador

Forward

Former Ecuadorian player represented his nation in two FIFA World Cups. Tenorio’s club career began with LDU Quito and later joined Saudi Arabian Al-Nassr FC for one season, scoring 15 goals in 16 appearances. From 2003 to 2009, Tenorio played in Qatar for Al Sadd, winning three Qatar Stars League titles, before moving to Al-Nasr SC in the United Arab Emirates and later returning to South America and finishing his career with the Ecuadorian club Atlético Saquisilí.

CLAUDIO BORGHI

Chile-Argentina

Midfielder

World Cup champion played alongside Maradona when Argentina won the 1986 FIFA World Cup™. The Argentine-Chilean manager and former attacking midfielder returns to Telemundo Deportes after serving as guest analyst in Russia.

DIEGO FORLÁN

Uruguay

Forward

Regarded as one of the greatest Uruguayan players of all time, Forlán has participated in three FIFA World Cups, including the 2010 tournament where Uruguay came in fourth place, and he received the Golden Ball as the best player. Through his career he also played for some of Europe’s top clubs including Manchester United, Villarreal, Atletico de Madrid, and Inter Milan. He returns to Telemundo Deportes after serving as analyst for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

FERNANDO HIERRO

Spain

Center Back & Defensive Midfielder

Decorated Spanish player regarded as one of the best defenders in the history of the Real Madrid. Hierro won La Liga five times and the Champions League in three occasions. Representing his National Team, he played in three FIFA World Cups and was a member of the FIFA All-Star World Cup Team in Korea/Japan 2002. As a coach, he managed the Spain National Team during 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia™.

HORACIO ELIZONDO

Argentina

Referee

Former international football referee who’s best known for being the first ever to officiate both the opening and Final Match in a World Cup (2006). Elizondo has analyzed calls for Telemundo Deportes’ coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and will rejoin our team in Qatar.

JAIME HERRERA GARDUÑO

Mexico

Referee

With a five-year career in Mexico’s First Division, Jaime Herrera Garduño 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. He retired in 2016 and will join Telemundo Deportes for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™.

MAURO SILVA

Brazil

Defensive Midfielder

World Cup champion and standout figure of Deportivo de La Coruña. Silva won La Liga title once, Copa del Rey twice and the Supercopa de España on three occasions with the Galician team. He represented Brazil in the nation’s victorious 1994 World Cup where he played in all of Brazil´s seven matches.

MAXI RODRÍGUEZ

Argentina

Midfielder

Former Argentine footballer nicknamed “La Fiera” left his mark in Spain playing for Espanyol and Atlético Madrid for the bulk of his career, 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.

MIGUEL “PIOJO” HERRERA

Mexico

Midfielder

Former Mexican player, and current manager for Liga MX club Tigres UANL. “El Piojo” is best known for his coaching career with Club America, where he won his first title at the 2013 Clausura Tournament, and with the Mexican National team when he led “El Tri” to a playoff victory over New Zealand securing the last qualifying spot and final ticket for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014.

NATALIA ASTRAIN

USA

Coach

Recently appointed new head coach of the U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team, Astrain returns to Telemundo Deportes for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ after her contribution as soccer analyst for the Tokyo Olympics women soccer coverage. She is a well-respected and experienced soccer coach previously serving as an assistant coach with NWSL Kansas City after a long run in Spain with FC Barcelona, Atletico de Madrid, and the Spanish Federation.

ÓSCAR “CONEJO” PÉREZ:

Mexico

Goalkeeper

Goalkeeping legend nicknamed “El Conejo” is considered one of the best in Mexican history. While representing Mexican teams Cruz Azul and Pachuca, Pérez achieved three CONCACAF Champions League titles, two Mexican leagues and one Mexican Cup. He represented his country in 55 matches including three World Cups. Additionally, he won three CONCACAF Gold Cup titles along with the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.

SEBASTIÁN ABREU “EL LOCO”

Uruguay

Forward

Commonly known as “El Loco” for his unpredictable shows of skill and technique, Abreu is a former Uruguayan player who gave “La Celeste” a ticket to the 2010 World Cup semifinal scoring a “Panenka style” penalty in the controversial victory over Ghana. He´s also recognized for his record of playing in 32 teams from 11 different countries.

TAB RAMOS

USA

Midfielder

Former American soccer player returns to Telemundo Deportes after serving as analyst for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. Over his thirteen-year professional career he played as a midfielder in Spain, Mexico, and the United States. Ramos participated in three FIFA World Cups with the USMNT. He was inducted to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005.

USA Swimming Partners with RealResponse

USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport of swimming in the United States, today announced their alignment with RealResponse, the award-winning safe and secure feedback, monitoring and anonymous reporting platform. Starting September 1, 2022, USA Swimming members can submit anonymously or on the record through simple text messaging at 888-270-SWIM (7946). To enhance the ability of USA Swimming to gather facts while still protecting the identity of anonymous reporters, select USA Swimming staff will be able to respond through the platform for appropriate follow up. This includes the recent hiring of two additional Safe Sport staff members who will focus on responding to reports.

This summer, the RealResponse platform was made available to USA Swimming’s National and Junior National Teams as they traveled overseas for competitions. It will now be released to the rest of the organization on September 1 to track, monitor and proactively address reports.

“We are excited to provide this valuable new resource for our USA Swimming members,” said Liz Hahn, Program Director for Safe Sport at USA Swimming. “Our utilization of this platform will allow all members to easily report from their phones, while still remaining anonymous – if they wish. In addition to continuing to provide anonymous reporting, this tool will allow USA Swimming to gather additional facts to effectively permit staff to follow up on all reports.”

RealResponse allows individuals to report with ease through text messaging. Additionally, all current reporting mechanisms, such as email, phone and the online reporting form, will continue to be available here.

“USA Swimming has always had athlete and member well-being at the top of their priorities, and our partnership will give all involved the ability to further promote the well-being of USA Swimming members,” said David Chadwick, Founder and CEO of RealResponse. “Not only will RealResponse provide for timely, critical reporting, but USA Swimming will be able to watch for trends in health and wellness aspects of its athletes, from mental health to out of competition concerns.”

USA Swimming will continue to protect the identity of reporters, and will serve its members through resources such as the Whistleblower and Anti-Retaliation Policy.

For more information on USA Swimming’s Safe Sport efforts, please visit https://www.usaswimming.org/safe-sport.

For Soccer Ventures And BODYARMOR Sports Drink Announce Local Minneapolis Soccer Initiative

For Soccer Ventures (FSV), an independent media and experiences company focused on the growth and long-term development of American soccer and BODYARMOR Sports Drink, today announced a new grassroots community initiative in Minneapolis, MN ahead of the upcoming 2022 Major League Soccer All-Star Game.

In partnership with local soccer organization, Sol of the Cities, FSV and BODYARMOR will host a free, one-day soccer event designed to provide access and opportunity to the sport of soccer in the Minneapolis community at Ninth Street Soccer + Coffee (801 9th St SE) on Tuesday, August 9th. The local event will include free youth soccer clinics taught by local Academy coaches, coaching development workshops, and will feature well-known professional soccer players and influencers, Rodney Wallace, Wil Trapp, Sarah Fuller, Cobi Jones, MoAliFC and Calen Carr competing in a 3v3 tournament, hosted by former US Men’s National Team Player Heath Pearce.

“With many barriers limiting access to soccer for underserved communities, we’re thrilled to join forces with BODYARMOR,” said Mario Wimberly of Sol of the Cities. “Our mission at Sol of the Cities is to unite the Minneapolis community through soccer and provide a player-centric environment for athletes and coaches of all levels and ages. This event will embody that spirit while providing a fun and collaborative experience around a massive event for our city.”

The new initiative with FSV and Sol of the Cities helps to create a meaningful connection for BODYARMOR with the Minneapolis community – site of the 2022 MLS All-Star Game – and builds upon its existing foundation with the larger soccer community. BODYARMOR has been Official Sports Drink of Major League Soccer since 2019.

BODYARMOR COMMUNITY EVENT ITINERARY
The Location:
Ninth Street Soccer + Coffee
801 9th St SE Minneapolis, MN 55424
IG – https://www.instagram.com/ninthstreetmpls
URL – https://www.ninthstreetmpls.com

FIRST TOUCH YOUTH CLINIC
Free clinic for eighty underserved boys and girls in partnership with the Harold Mezile North Community YMCA, Sol of the Cities, and Black Star. These two clinics will be an hour long and taught by local Academy coaches, (Minnesota Youth Soccer Association Coaches), (Augsburg University Men’s Soccer team), and feature MLS talent while welcoming all levels of soccer players as part of BODYARMOR’s initiative to providing access to local youth community groups. All participants will receive a shirt, a ball, and two tickets to MLS Skills Challenge.
Clinic 1: ages 7-9, Clinic 2: ages 10-12

BODYARMOR COACHES CLINIC
Free soccer coaching clinic program for up to 30 local coaches featuring US Soccer-licensed coaches (from Minnesota Youth Soccer Association) that provides soccer coaches, non-soccer coaches, and community leaders grassroots coaching education. The event will feature surprise appearances from MLS players. Additionally, BODYARMOR will connect these coaches with on-going educational opportunities after the event through US Soccer Foundation, so they can continue developing their practice as they become meaningful coaches within their communities. All participants will receive a shirt, a branded notebook, and two tickets to MLS Skills Challenge.

COMMUNITY CUP TOURNAMENT
An eight team, 3v3 round robin tournament featuring teams from local brands, local soccer organizations, micro influencers, media personalities, and former MLS players with live music, entertainment, live commentary, and a party-like atmosphere around the matches hyped by an emcee. Content will be captured by attendees and released on their personal channels and curated into a socially-optimized recap video.

cover image Credit: Omar Ram

Fantasy Guru Ryan Kramer To Draft 24 Teams In 24 Hours Tuesday To Launch 2022 Season

Ryan Kramer of the Sports Gambling Podcast Network (SGPN), America’s leading free content Fantasy Football expert, will conduct a marathon, 24-teams-in-24-hours draft live on multiple video platforms for the second consecutive year in another unprecedented offering to NFL fans gearing up for the 2022 season. 

The live stream event, “Draft Day 2.0,” is set to begin at noon PT/3 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 9, from the Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s Los Angeles studio.  It will continue until noon PT/3 pm ET Wednesday and be available on You Tube at https://sg.pn/watchdraftday

The co-host of the prominent Sports Gambling Podcast, Kramer, broke new ground one year ago with his unique offering for Fantasy Football fanatics who can join any time within the day-long window to get his expertise and actual selections plus insights, strategy, entertainment and tips with detailed rationale. 

The initiative will also be a platform to raise money via GoFundMe for the medical bills of an SGPN friend and colleague injured earlier this year in a motorcycle accident. Darryl, 31, from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was riding home from work when he was cut off by a box truck, resulting in the loss of his right leg (above the knee) and multiple other injuries, some permanent.  The accident happened four days before he was to marry his fiancé.  The couple is now putting their lives back together and they appreciate the support of the Sports Gambling Podcast Network community and the Draft Day 2.0 fundraising efforts.  In addition to the GoFundMe opportunityall Draft Day 2.0 merchandise profits will be directed to pay the ongoing medical expenses.  Branded apparel is available in the SGPN Merch Store and further information on Darryl’s story can be found here. 

The format will be “Best Ball Draft” on Underdog Fantasy and Kramer will be joined by multiple guests and SGPN contributors while constructing 24 separate and distinct teams over the full day span, providing viewers with the player selections that he believes will pile up points for the millions of Fantasy participants looking forward to the 2022 season. 

“Fortunately, the analytics research is done so I can focus now on news coming out of the camps to sharpen my views and deliver the well-reasoned selections that people need to get an edge in their drafting,” stated Kramer, a three-time Top 20 Fantasy Football Players Championship Main Event finisher.  “It’s a bit of an audacious undertaking, but the growing phenomenon of Fantasy Football deserves this level of commitment and our SGPN audiences always respond.” 

With over 25 years’ experience in the Fantasy Football space, Kramer has put together over 1,000 teams while overseeing 50 leagues and originating 10 more. The content will include hourly raffles and giveaways plus prop-style contests accessible in the SGPN App and live audience interaction, all free in line with the Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s wagering picks and analysis on all popular sports available at www.sportsgamblingpodcast.com.    

Kramer will be drafting full teams, consecutively, for the full 24 hours with each cycle expected to take slightly less than one hour. He will intersperse the player selections with traditional wagering commentary on the upcoming NFL season plus analytics drawn from his background as a computer engineer and the myriad skills that have enabled his elite fantasy football accomplishments. 

Viewers should expect Kramer to be bullish on Najee Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers for the running back position based on volume touches in a run-oriented offense led by Mitch Trubisky.  He is high on Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Drake London and new Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota as affordable, point-scoring options.  Look for Kramer to stay away from aging Dallas Cowboys running back Zeke Elliott. 

“Draft Day 2.0” will also be live on SGPN’s Facebook and Twitter.