Category Archives: Major Sports

Martinez, Johnson, Gregory-O’Connell to be Honored at 44th Annual Thurman Munson Awards March 14

Two hard-hitting World Series champions and a Bronx basketball trailblazer enshrined in three Halls of Fame will be honored by AHRC New York City Foundation when they are presented with Thurman Munson Awards at the 44th annual benefit on Thursday night, March 14 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers (23rd Street at West Side Highway) in New York City: Four-time New York Yankees World Series champion first baseman Tino Martinez (1996, 1998-2000), 1986 Mets World Series champion third baseman Howard Johnson and Fordham University women’s hoops pioneer and New York City Basketball Hall of Famer Anne Gregory-O’Connell will each receive “Thurmans” as members of the “Class of 2024.”

The Munson Awards are presented to individuals for on-field excellence, and the betterment of sports and community. The AHRC NYC benefit has helped to keep the memory of the legendary Yankees catcher and captain Thurman Munson alive since his tragic passing 44 years ago, while raising more than $21 million for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives.

Robert Scheinman, Principal, J.T. Magen & Company, Inc., will receive the M. Anthony Fisher Humanitarian Award.

Thurman’s widow Diana Munson is an honorary chair who has supported AHRC NYC and its fund-raising efforts through the Thurman Munson Awards for four decades.

The 2024 benefit will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of AHRC NYC.

The Master of Ceremonies will be FOX 5 lead sports anchor and Sports Extra host Tina Cervasio.

Special guests expected to attend include Football Giants Super Bowl champions Harry Carson, Ottis Anderson, Chris Canty and Karl Nelson; Yankees World Series Champion Jeff Nelson; four-time Islanders Stanley Cup Champions Butch Goring and John Tonelli, former Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa, NY/NJ Gotham FC soccer midfielder McCall Zerboni, SiriusXM Radio host Ed Randall and New York radio/television personality Sweeny Murti of MLB.com, with others to be announced.

Martinez, whose plaque installed in the Stadium’s Monument Park underline his Yankees legacy, was an integral member of four Bombers World Championship teams in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. During a 16-year major league career, Tino knocked in 1,271 runs on the strength of 1,925 hits and 339 home runs. The two-time All-Star had more than 100 RBI in six different seasons and led the American League in homeruns (44) and RBI (141) in 1997.

His two most memorable World Series home runs were a Grand Slam in Game 1 in 1998 to give the Yankees the lead and the win against the Padres; and then in 2001 against the Diamondbacks. With the Yankees down to their last out, Martinez launched a game-tying, ninth inning home run in Game 4 and the Yankees went on to win in the 10th.

Like Thurman, Martinez starred in the Cape Cod League early in his career (1986), and last summer returned to serve as an assistant coach for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. The Tampa native was a standout in college at the University of Tampa as a three-time All-American.

Johnson was a Tigers product who debuted in 1982 and was a member of Detroit’s 1984 championship team. He was traded to the Mets following that season and two years later went on to win his second World Series in 1986. With the Mets, Hojo was a two-time All-Star and led the National League in both home runs (38) and RBI (117) in 1991. Johnson still ranks third on the Mets’ all-time list for homers (192), RBI (629), doubles, and stolen bases (202).

Inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame earlier this year, Hojo is a three-time member of the “30-30 Club” (1987, 1989 and 1991) all in New York, and set the record for most home runs (36) by a switch hitter in 1987.

During his 14-year career, Johnson drove in 760 runs totaling 1,229 hits, 228 home runs and 231 stolen bases.

Gregory-O’Connell scored 2,548 points and pulled down 1,999 rebounds during a storied Fordham career from 1976-80. She is enshrined in the Fordham Athletics Hall of Fame as the first female inductee in 1986, the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame (2017) and the Bronx Basketball Hall of Fame (2023). In 2023, in a celebration of Title IX’s 50th Anniversary, she was recognized for her contributions in spearheading the growth of women’s sports as an Atlantic 10 “Trailblazer’ by the conference for “paving the way for thousands of girls and women to participate in and be successful in sports and life.” Anne’s number is the only number of a women’s player retired by her alma mater (2009), and #55 hangs from the rafters at the Rose Hill Gymnasium on the Fordham campus.

The women’s basketball pioneer is a New York product from The Bronx, New York. A stone’s throw from Yankee Stadium, Anne Gregory was a dominant force on the Fordham University women’s basketball team from 1976-80, long before women’s basketball took off as part of mainstream sports. The rebounds total stood as a record in women’s basketball until 2009. Anne graduated cum laude from Fordham with a degree in sociology in 1980.

She was one of seven children who grew up in the Parkchester section of the Bronx and is a product of Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville, New York. She played professionally briefly in France following her Fordham career.

Anne’s late husband was the beloved Hall of Fame college basketball writer Jim O’Connell, whom she met as a Fordham student when “Oc” was the university’s Sports Information Director.

Always giving young people direction during 36 years in Catholic School education, Anne’s post-basketball career included 20 years as guidance counselor at Holy Trinity High School, 12 years at Aquinas High School, and two years at Cardinal Spellman; Anne began that career at a physical education teacher and basketball coach at St. Helena Commercial High School.

The list of previous Thurman Munson Award recipients reads like a “Who’s Who” of sports stars including: Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, Yogi Berra, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Joe Torre, Bernie Williams, Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, Gary Carter, David Wright, Willis Reed, Patrick Ewing, Julius Erving, Jim Brown, Harry Carson, Aly Raisman, Nancy Lieberman, Theresa Weatherspoon, and Mark Messier, just to name a few.

Founded 75 years ago, AHRC New York City is a family governed organization that is fiercely committed to achieving equity for people who are neurodiverse in New York City. With over 5,000 staff, reflecting the demographics of our city, we offer an unsurpassed array of services to more than 15,000 people and their families annually in the five boroughs. The organization is part of a social justice movement grounded in our common humanity. AHRC NYC is fully accredited by the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) and is a recognized leader in the field. We are committed to promoting the highest levels of excellence and innovation in all of its programs and services.

Strat-O-Matic Opening Day At Glen Head, N.Y. Headquarters A Big Hit For Fans

They began lining up at 2 a.m. At least that’s the reported time that the first guest appeared at Strat-O-Matic Headquarters on Railroad Avenue, in the shadow of the Glen Head Long Island Rail Road stop. The first of what grew to more than 200 hearty souls braved near-freezing temperatures Friday in order to be among those to get ahold of the new baseball season cards fresh out of the warehouse.

In what has become an annual tradition, gamers from across the country – and sometimes other parts of the world – gather outside the blue-gray offices, not only to pick up the new season game and other items, but to meet friends old and new who share a love for the game that has been such an important part of their lives.

By all accounts, Bret Sypniewski traveled the farthest, getting into his customized white cargo van and traversing the country all the way from Las Vegas, where he took orders of his own for upwards of 30 games from friends and competitors at the various tournaments that he’s participated in regularly since retirement.

“It took me about 10 days, I took the scenic route,” said the affable Sypniewski, who has played the game for more than 35 years, a time frame that seemed to match many of the Opening Day participants. “I enjoy the tournaments, playing face to face, getting to interact with people while we play.”

Sypniewski made the Strat-O-Matic visit the fulcrum of a trip that included stops in Lubbock, Texas, for some hiking and a Texas Tech Red Raiders basketball game, another in Lexington, Kentucky, for a UK game and various other activities. His diverse interests match the variety of Strat-O-Matic baseball seasons that he enjoys playing.

“I enjoy playing the 1911-1930 teams, but I’m picking up the new season and 1984,” he added. “I like the old time stuff, I learn a lot about the players.”

Another highlight for Opening Day attendees is meeting the Strat-O-Matic founder and creator, Hal Richman, who enjoys hearing fans talk about the decades of enjoyment that the game has brought them.

Strat-O-Matic Chief Content Officer John Garcia presided over the Opening Day ceremonies, which included the induction of three members into the Strat-O-Matic Hall of Fame, including former major leaguer and noted SOM enthusiast Keith Hernandez, longtime game tester Larry Foster and Strat-O-Matic Forum editor Dan Patterson.

Garcia and CEO Adam Richman also raffled off some unique items, including test cards from last year’s 1933-1983 All-Star baseball set, a game autographed by Hal Richman, a subscription to the pending release of Baseball Max, currently in beta, and more.

Kitman Labs and Fulham FC Expand Data & Analytics Accord

Kitman Labs, the global enterprise SaaS platform providing the only single, centralized operating system for performance intelligence in Sports, today agreed to expand its relationship with English Premier League side, Fulham FC, to include medical and performance data.  The Club will be utilizing the Performance Medicine, Performance Optimization and Coaching & Development Solutions – combining medical, performance and talent development data into a single, interactive data and analytics system to unlock player performance outcomes and inform talent development strategy.

Kitman Labs and the Premier League announced the launch of the Football Intelligence Platform for all Academies last month.  By deploying the Intelligence Platform across the Men’s First Team and Women’s Teams (First + U18’s), Fulham will now unify all data and analytics in a singular operating system for the entire organization.  This integrated, “whole club solution” will serve to drive cross-departmental collaboration, eliminate data and information silos, and provide internal stakeholders with a complete, unified view of each athlete for the purposes of unlocking performance potential and expanding player pathways.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Fulham FC – one of the most accomplished and storied football clubs in the English Premier League – helping to bring innovation to how medical and performance data and analytics are being leveraged across the entire organization to inform strategy and decision-making with objective, analytics-based insights,” said Stephen Smith, CEO and Founder of Kitman Labs.  

“The traditional approach to simply collecting medical and performance data will no longer suffice.  We needed a single system that combines diverse sets of data across the organization. One that ensures accuracy of information, allows the information to be shared and utilized in real time, and supports planning and player health and development with actionable insights” said Chris Hanson, Head of Medical, Fulham FC. 

“Our recent transition to the Kitman Labs Intelligence Platform has allowed us to continue to improve and manage the processes relating to the capture, cleaning, enrichment, and analysis of our football related data. It’s continued to support our evolving commitments to interrogating data, interpreting results, and creating data-led insights and stories.

We have been able to combine data sets from multiple disciplines and data streams to calculate, measure and evaluate impact for the purpose of player development. Furthermore, the platform has supported key stakeholders from across the ecology of the club to reason, reflect and strategise as a consequence of these data-led insights. 

As a pilot club, these processes have been well supported through a comprehensive deployment. The ongoing and iterative support structures have flexed and been reflective of our own cares, concerns and strategies to ensure a collaborative approach to moving to our new data management system” said Tom Hounsell, Academy Insights Manager, PDP Coach.

Kitman Labs has an established track record of working with top teams and leagues across a variety of sports, including soccer, basketball, rugby, and American football. The company’s technology has been used by some of the world’s most elite soccer organizations, including Bayer LeverkusenChelsea FCLiverpool FC and Sporting Lisbon.  Kitman Labs recently announced the launch and deployment of The Football Intelligence Platform across all Premier League Academies.

This launch follows other recent business strategy moves Kitman Labs has undertaken including two strategic acquisitions of The Sports Office and Presagia Sports. The combined companies represent the industry’s largest network of elite and youth organizations (2000+), creating the industry’s largest dataset of talent, performance, and medical data for all stages of the athlete lifecycle.

NCAA Champion And WNBA Draftee, Alexis Morris Signs With The Harlem Globetrotters

The world famous Harlem Globetrotters, synonymous with basketball excellence and global entertainment, today announced the signing of former Louisiana State University (LSU) star and WNBA draftee, Alexis Morris to the Harlem Globetrotters, it was announced today by Keith Dawkins, President of Harlem Globetrotters and Herschend Entertainment Studios. Morris becomes the seventh current woman to join the organization, the most in the organization’s storied history, as they will celebrate their centennial in 2026.

“The Harlem Globetrotters have a storied history of signing some of the world’s most accomplished and coveted talent; Wilt Chamberlain, Connie Hawkins, “Curley” Neal, Lou Dunbar, Lynette Woodard and now, Alexis Morris,” said Dawkins. “As the global basketball landscape continues to evolve the Globetrotters are well positioned to offer unparalleled opportunities for professional basketball players looking to develop, and showcase, their amazing skills, make a positive impact in the community, while also benefitting from the plethora of business opportunities that our brand has to offer them. It’s an opportunity unlike any in sports. Signing Alexis reflects our commitment to pursuing the best ballers from around the world.”

Morris, who has begun her Harlem Globetrotters training and will be joining the domestic arm of the 2024 Tour, will take to the court for the first time as a Harlem Globetrotter on Friday, February 9, 2024 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball and The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Her extensive and rigorous schedule will also include stops at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY, on Sunday, February 18 and Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NY, on Saturday, February 24.

Morris, known for her exceptional ball-handling and court vision, will take the court with her self-titled moniker, Alexis ‘The Show’ Morris alongside her elite teammates. The Texas native was selected in the second round of the 2023 WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun and is currently a free agent.  She returned to North America after starting the current season in Turkey with Ilkem Yapi Tarsus of the Turkish women’s Super League. Alexis is believed to be the first athlete to join the Harlem Globetrotters while also entertaining elite professional offers since Connie Hawkins, who played for the team and went on to a Hall of Fame Career with the Phoenix Suns.   
 
“I’m excited to join the Harlem Globetrotters and want to thank the leadership team for giving me an opportunity to grow my personal and professional career while playing the game I love,” said Morris. “There is a lot to learn from my coaches and teammates and I’m excited to highlight the level of basketball and entertainment of the organization. ‘The Show’ is now a part of the growing legacy of Harlem Globetrotters basketball.”

She will join the six women athletes who make up the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals this winter, including Fatima, ‘TNT’ Lister, Cherelle ‘Torch’ George, Arysia ‘Ace’ Porter, Kaylin ‘Sunshine’ West, Eryka ‘Spice’ Sidney, and Kayla Gabor. She also joins. nine other rookies who joined the 2024 World Tour this season. Fans can expect exclusive content of her time with the team through “My Rookie Season” on Harlem Globetrotters Youtube channel.
Morris, a dynamic point guard and a top scorer on LSU’s 2023 National Championship team, brings a stellar blend of skill, athleticism, and showmanship to the iconic Harlem Globetrotters. Her electrifying style of play and passion for the game align with the team’s commitment to delivering unparalleled entertainment to audiences worldwide.

The Harlem Globetrotters’ rich legacy of combining sportsmanship and entertainment, continue to attract top-tier athletes who embrace the joy of basketball. Follow the Harlem Globetrotters on social media for exclusive behind-the-scenes content and more team updates as they travel the world. 

NOVUS Steps Up to Biggest Stage with $100,000 Donation Pledge to The Hope Center in KC, Placing Faith in Kansas City Kicker Harrison Butker

NOVUS and two-time world champion kicker Harrison Butker are built from the same values; faith, family, teamwork and service. NOVUS and the KC kicker announced today they are pledging to make a $100,000 donation to The Hope Center in Kansas City if Harrison Butker makes history and becomes the first kicker ever to win MVP in the big game. 

The Hope Center in Kansas City strives to provide opportunities for sustainable growth and development where children, youth and families can flourish.

NOVUS will also donate football jerseys to all varsity high school football teams in Kansas City and San Francisco if Butker kicks a game-winning field goal in the final minute. With a 90% career field goal success rate, Butker has proven his tenacity in the game’s most pivotal moments, exemplified by his clutch performance in last year’s big game, where he kicked KC to victory with a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining.

“NOVUS products are second to none—the attention to detail and unparalleled quality empower me to perform at my peak during every training session,” said Harrison Butker. “Our shared values of faith, hard work, and service make our partnership a natural fit, and I’m proud to be a part of the NOVUS family.”

Headquartered in Albany, New York, NOVUS is a fast-growing apparel brand specializing in high-quality, purpose-driven, custom apparel for athletes, teams, and professionals nationwide. As a mission-based company, NOVUS’ mantra, “Claim Your Crown,” is rooted in living a life of passion, conviction and perseverance.

“We’ve always made our best effort to use our platform to make an impact. Harrison’s passion and conviction to be the best on and off the field inspires us daily and we’re proud to stand with him as he continues to chase greatness,” added Garrett Bernardo, Co-Founder and CEO of NOVUS. “One of the pillars of our company is that we are purpose and value driven, and we want to embody that through supporting the Kansas City community and youth sports in both Kansas City and San Francisco.”

There is no bigger stage in North American sports than this Sunday’s game and NOVUS is ready to raise its game with this pledge to donate $100,000 with the clutch kicking of Harrison Butker as a driving force.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Named ‘The Official Exclusive Beer Partner’ For SlamBall’s 2024 and 2025 Seasons

SlamBall, the fast-paced, gravity-defying sport that combines elements of basketball, football, hockey and acrobatics co-founded by Mike Tollin and Mason Gordon, announced today that Pabst Blue Ribbon has been named “The Official Exclusive Beer Partner” for the worldwide 2024 and 2025 seasons. Pabst Blue Ribbon will become the title sponsor of the SlamBall Summer Series Dunk Contest and will work with SlamBall to build out special year-round consumer activations, with more details to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

“We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Pabst Blue Ribbon as our Official and Exclusive Beer Partner,” said Mason Gordon, SlamBall Co-founder. “SlamBall fans will see Pabst Blue Ribbon be featured in SlamBall programming across the ESPN platform, in exciting new social media initiatives and as the title sponsor of the Pabst Blue Ribbon Dunk Contest. As a young, emerging sport we couldn’t be more proud to have a comprehensive multi-year partnership with a brand that will be celebrating its 180th year.”

“SlamBall brings the energy, excitement, and disruption to sports with an attitude and independent spirit that parallels the Pabst Blue Ribbon brand through its 180 years,” said Josh Feingold – Senior Director of Marketing Partnerships of Pabst. “We only scratched the surface last season and are thrilled to be partnered with SlamBall moving forward.”

Dates and details for SlamBall: Series 7, which will be held this summer, as well as potential domestic and international touring events for early and mid 2024, are currently being finalized.

SlamBall returned last summer to rave reviews and record responses across every measurement tool. The numbers included massive social engagement which bested virtually any other live sports property during the period, solid numbers in its time slots on ESPN, quality attendance numbers and the attention of a global media audience. During the time period of the build up and relaunch of SlamBall, no other active professional sports league, whether a startup or established league, came close in engagement or growth across Twitter and Instagram, even during a MUCH shorter run and season than the others.

SlamBall’s return last May became official when a new Series A round of funding of $11 million was announced. Led by IA Sports Ventures and Eberg Capital, both of which are co-owners of the Miami Marlins, among other investments. Others include: David Blitzer and David Adelman, both of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment; Fanatics founder Michael Rubin; VC investor Gary Vaynerchuk; NBA player Blake Griffin; Sacramento Kings investor Kevin Nagle; Lloyd Danzig of Sharp Alpha; Legends Growth Enterprises; Red Games CEO Brian Lovell; attorney Jesse Sharf, Accelerate Sports; and VC investor Eric Manlunas.

Fanatics Partners with Hurricanes for North Carolina Market Access

Fanatics Betting and Gaming, a subsidiary of Fanatics Holdings Inc., a global digital sports platform, will enter into a long-term partnership agreement with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes to become the team’s Official Sports Betting Partner and secure market access for its online sports betting platform, Fanatics Sportsbook, pending licensing and regulatory approvals. 

“The Hurricanes are thrilled to welcome Fanatics as our Official Sports Betting Partner,” said Hurricanes President and General Manager Don Waddell. “Fanatics Sportsbook will bring a user-friendly experience for North Carolinians to wager on sports responsibly, and we’re proud to partner with them on this endeavor.”

With the launch of regulated online sports wagering in North Carolina scheduled for March 2024, the partnership gives Fanatics Sportsbook access to the North Carolina market for mobile sports betting, as well as, the opportunity to put a retail sportsbook at PNC Arena. The partnership also includes marketing assets such as in-arena signage, broadcast integrations, PNC Arena activations for hockey fans, and many other opportunities for Hurricanes fans and ticket holders to engage with Fanatics Sportsbook.   

“We are excited to have the Carolina Hurricanes as our market access partner in North Carolina,” said Ari Borod, Chief Business Officer, Fanatics Betting and Gaming. “We are working with one of the most talented professional sports organizations that knows how to grow a sports business by putting a competitive product out on the ice. We look forward to partnering with the organization to bring sports fans in North Carolina a sports betting product that meets the expectations of such a passionate fanbase.”   

The Fanatics Sportsbook officially launched in August 2023 and is currently available in ten states. The Fanatics Sportsbook makes being a fan easy with fast signup, easy betting, transparent withdrawals, live streaming, industry leading search functionality, the ability to earn FanCash on bets and a curated Discover page with the sports and bets that matter most to a customer.  Fanatics Betting and Gaming and the Carolina Hurricanes believe that responsible gaming is a core tenet and a part of each organization’s DNA. Online customers will have access to Responsible Gaming tools to manage their time and money.   

To download images and videos of the Fanatics Sportsbook, visit the Fanatics Media Center and for more news and information, follow us on the Fanatics Sportsbook social channels on X @FanaticsBook_PB and on Instagram @FanaticsBook_PB.   

RealResponse Partners with a Global Leader providing comprehensive Anti-Doping Programs to Help Protect Athletes and Fair Sport

The International Testing Agency (ITA), based in Lausanne, Switzerland, selected RealResponse’s versatile technology platform to augment and expand the channels it uses to collect suspicious doping information securely and anonymously through REVEAL, its anti-doping reporting tool. With ITA’s focus on delivering comprehensive anti-doping programs and its obligations to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) International Standard for Testing and Investigations, implementing RealResponse’s secure, two-way anonymous platform to obtain anti-doping intelligence helps it achieve its stated mission.

The ITA’s new Proactive Reporting Policy – outlining how potential anti-doping rule violations are reported to and processed by the ITA – reinforces for athletes and athlete support personnel that they have the ability and confidence to come forward because of anonymous and confidential anti-doping reporting methods enabled by RealResponse.

ITA’s Nicholas Raudenski, Head of Intelligence & Investigations, comments, “The ITA’s core mission is to protect athletes and encourage a safe space for proactive reporting. Providing them with the best options to report any suspicions they could have in a confidential or anonymous manner supports this mission. RealResponse’s platform has the ability to reduce reporting barriers by providing multiple communications channels, including text and WhatsApp. And, the fact that we are able to engage in two-way, anonymous dialogue with a person reporting a doping concern supports efficient investigations and our clean sport mission in general.”

Through its secure and confidential reporting channels, RealResponse technology will play a crucial role in protecting athletes who disclose doping information and will help ITA achieve the objectives laid out in its new reporting policy.

“With the Paris Summer Olympics on the horizon, and as our first global client, the International Testing Agency recognizes the value of ensuring that all voices are heard when it comes to preventing doping in sport,” said David Chadwick, Founder and CEO of Real Response. “Nothing is more important than protecting the safety of all athletes and the integrity of competition around the world. By rolling out RealResponse to its stakeholders, the ITA is taking a major step to opening up communications channels that did not exist before and at a critical juncture.”

Brandon Steiner’s CollectibleXchange.com Acquires StarStock.com Trading Card Marketplace

CollectibleXchange.com by Brandon Steiner has acquired StarStock.com – a marketplace for sports card collectors to buy, sell, and invest in their favorite sports cards –it was announced today by Steiner and StarStock.com founder Scott Greenberg.

StarStock houses more than 1.3 million sports trading cards including superstars from every sport and league – from Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani to LeBron James and Nikola Jokic to Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.

There’s a card for every budget, with prices ranging from as little as $1 to 10’s of thousands of dollars.

Through today’s technology, StarStock provides a one-of-a-kind user experience, low fees, and rapid speed for every transaction. StarStock stores each individual collection in a centralized vault and issues a digital version of the card inside each person’s StarStock portfolio, allowing users to trade players instantaneously, at scale, and at a substantially lower transaction cost than other markets.

The cards are put into a digital collection stored in a vault, where owners can go into the collection and list for a specific price. Once a card sells, ownership immediately changes hands and the buyer can have the card shipped, or keep it in the vault

“Our goal is to help service collectors with a white glove device. We will help them organize, store (vault), grade and evaluate for collectors to buy and sell cards,” said Steiner.

“Too many card collectors are confused with the market. added Steiner. “StarStock will help them to understand what to do with their cards.”

Steiner, who revolutionized the sports memorabilia and collectibles industry during 32 years as founder of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia, transitioned from that company to transform the industry again with the 2019 launch of CollectibleXchange.com, giving the advantage to the buyers and sellers of collectibles, and for athletes to sell product directly to fans.

CollectibleXchange now has over 150,000 pieces of memorabilia in stock, not to mention collectibles in regularly scheduled auctions. “The ‘BidCx’ platform has really taken off, and now we’ll be adding trading cards to our auction platform,” said Steiner.

In this unique marketplace community, an individual – from the avid collector to athletes to a one-time owner of a piece – to buy and sell at the best price.

The website allows both collectors and athletes to set their own price on one-of-a-kind memorabilia or an entire collection – to sell individually to buyers or at auction. Steiner and his team will authenticate and determine the value of each collectible.

In April 2021, as part of CollectibleXchange.com, Steiner launched Athletedirect.com, with a plethora of champion players and coaches – from New York Rangers Stanley Cup icons Mark Messier and Mike Richter to Football Giants Super Bowl legends Tom Coughlin and Mark Bavaro to women’s basketball greats Sue Bird and Nancy Lieberman to Yankees World Series champs Aaron Boone and Willie Randolph to college coaches Lou Holtz and Jim Boeheim – lining up to team with Steiner.

The Buck Starts Here: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Milwaukee Jersey Worn During His First Two NBA Seasons Debuts at Heritage

In 2018, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned an open letter to that year’s NBA Draft class in which he welcomed them to the “rollercoaster ride that is your rookie year.” Abdul-Jabbar, as accomplished a writer today as he was a scorer during his basketball career, warned the newbies about the “rush of confusing paradoxes, conflicting emotions, competing options, and dubious advice from crusty been-there old-timers. Like me.” At which point, Abdul-Jabbar turned his attention toward his rookie season in 1969, when the 22-year-old still known as Lew Alcindor out of UCLA was drafted first overall by the last-place Milwaukee Bucks thanks to the flip of a coin.

“I found that the best way to deal with the jitters was for me to focus on setting personal goals rather than think about the expectations others put on me,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “And, man, were there a lot of expectations: I’d been the first person drafted and the media directed intense attention at me about what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. All the hype left me thinking that this was mine to screw up.”

Of course, Abdul-Jabbar did anything but screw it up: During the 1969-70 season, he led the Bucks to second place in the Eastern Division and was named Rookie of the Year. One season later, he was the league’s scoring leader; the Bucks swept the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA Finals; and Abdul-Jabbar was named the Most Valuable Player for the regular season and in the Finals — of which served as prelude to a legend, as both a Buck and a Los Angeles Laker.

For the first time, Heritage offers in the Nov. 16-18 Fall Sports Catalog Auction a road Milwaukee Bucks jersey worn by Abdul-Jabbar during those historic seasons when the center snagged a league championship and a scoring title — each, the first of many to follow. Photo-matched by multiple third-party experts to crucial moments throughout Abdul-Jabbar’s days as a legend-in-the-making, the jersey serves as a thrilling offering in an auction abounding with palpable reminders of historic achievements and magical memories shaped by titanic athletes.

Resolution Photomatching confirms it was at least worn during an April 1971 Western Conference Finals versus the Lakers and an April 1971 NBA Finals game against the Bullets. Sports Investors Authentication turned up likely matches to several regular season and post-season games, dating from March 18, 1970, to the Game Four title-clinching contest against the Bullets on April 30, 1971. It is graded a MEARS A10 and also comes with a letter of provenance from Patrick McBride, a former Bucks equipment manager.

The jersey is joined in this auction by the 1969 Look Magazine College All-America Basketball Team ring presented to Alcindor in 1969. It hails from The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Collection.

Angel City FC Launches Performance Optimization Solution From Kitman Labs

Kitman Labs, the global enterprise SaaS platform providing the only single, centralized operating system for performance intelligence in the elite performance industry, today announced a new relationship with LA-based, NWSL club, Angel City Football Club.  On the heels of the NWSL’s deployment of the Performance Medicine Solution from Kitman Labs as its league-wide advanced EMR, Angel City FC will expand the use of iP: Intelligence Platform across the club to include Performance Optimization.  

Angel City FC will now be able to combine performance data – including game, training, gym, physical testing and more – with player-level medical data for a complete, real-time assessment of each athlete.  All data is captured in a single, interactive system – eliminating data and information silos, enabling cross-Departmental communication and supporting informed, data-led decision-making.  Both players and practitioners will be able to access and input data through a dedicated Coach and Player App to allow for real-time data capture and on pitch application.

“Communication, collaboration and cohesion are critical for the success of any elite sports organization.  By combining both the medical data from our new advanced EMR with our performance data, our staff, coaches and players are now equipped with the analytics and actionable intelligence necessary to work together to unlock optimal performance outcomes across the squad,” said Sarah Smith, Head of Medical and Performance at Angel City FC. 

“The purpose of The Intelligence Platform is to unify data, people and processes,” said Stephen Smith, CEO and Founder of Kitman Labs.  “Elite sports organizations are inundated with data – typically incomplete, captured in various departments throughout an organization and largely under used and under leveraged.  Angel City FC now has the ability to centralize and mobilize their data and extract the full value of that data to support evidence-based decision-making at every level of the organization.”

Kitman Labs has an established track record of working with top leagues, teams and athletes across a variety of sports, including soccer, basketball, rugby, and American football.  The company’s technology is currently being used by leagues and teams within some of the world’s most elite sports organizations, including the National Football League (NFL), Premier LeagueMajor League Soccer (MLS), National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU). 

This launch follows other recent business strategy moves Kitman Labs has undertaken including two strategic acquisitions of The Sports Office and Presagia Sports. The combined companies represent the industry’s largest network of elite and youth organizations (1000+), creating the industry’s largest dataset of talent, performance, and medical data for all stages of the athlete lifecycle.

Texas in Five: Strat-O-Matic Simulation Crowns Rangers World Series Champions

The Texas Rangers franchise has never won the World Series, but with Nate Eovaldi earning victories in both of his starts, Jonah Heim hitting .450 for the series, Evan Carter batting .357 and José Leclerc saving all four Rangers wins, Strat-O-Matic (@strat-o-matic), the market leader in sports simulation games, has tabbed Texas taking its first title in its simulation of the 2023 World Series, four games to one over Arizona.

In the sim, Eovaldi won games one and five, permitting three earned runs over 11 ⅓ innings in the two contests. After Texas won the opener, 5-3, highlighted by a Marcus Semien home run and four innings of one-hit shutout relief by the bullpen, Arizona battled back to take Game 2, 6-5, on the first of Tommy Pham’s two series homers and a two-run double by the Diamondbacks’ right fielder. 

Game 3 went to Texas and Max Scherzer, who allowed one run over 5 ⅓ and again depended on a strong bullpen outing in the 8-3 victory. Corey Seager had a home run and three RBI in the win. Texas took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a narrow 4-3 win in Game 4, surviving a three-run first inning for an early 3-0 deficit and getting 3 ⅔ shutout innings of long relief by Dane Dunning and ending the game when Leclerc induced a double play grounder by pinch hitter Pavin Smith.

With a chance to close out the series in Arizona, Texas turned again to Eovaldi, who allowed five hits and no earned runs over 6 ⅓ innings in the 4-1 win. A three-run second was decisive, with RBI singles by Heim and Josh Jung and a sacrifice fly by Leody Taveras to back Eovaldi and three relievers, culminating in Leclerc’s save, getting two strikeouts and a fly out, all with the tying run at the plate in the ninth.

Pham had two home runs and seven RBI in a losing cause for Arizona, whose starters failed to get out of the fourth inning in the final three games.

In his four saves, Leclerc allowed no runs, three hits and struck out four over 4 ⅔ innings.

Game 1:

Arizona………. 0 0 0  0 0 3  0 0 0  –  3  4  0

Texas………… 2 0 0  2 0 0  1 0    –  5  6  0

WP: Eovaldi (1-0); LP: Gallen (0-1); SV: Leclerc (1)

HR: Semien (1)

Game 2:

Arizona……… 3 0 1  0 0 1  1 0 0  –  6 14  0

Texas……….. 0 0 3  0 0 0  2 0 0  –  5  9  0

WP: Kelly (1-0); LP: Montgomery (0-1); SV: Sewald (1)

HR: Pham (1), Garver (1)

Game 3:

Texas……….. 0 0 1  1 1 0  1 2 2  –  8 10  1

Arizona……… 0 0 0  1 0 0  2 0 0  –  3  7  1

WP: Scherzer (1-0); LP: Pfaadt (0-1); SV: Leclerc (2)

HR: Seager (1), Jung (1), Moreno (1), P. Smith (1)

Game 4:

Texas……….. 0 2 1  1 0 0  0 0 0  –  4  8  0

Arizona……… 3 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0  –  3  5  1

WP: Dunning (1-0); LP: Castro (0-1); SV: Leclerc (3)

HR: Seager (2), Marte (1), Pham (2)

Game 5:

Texas………… 0 3 0  0 1 0  0 0 0  –  4 11  1

Arizona………. 0 0 0  0 1 0  0 0 0  –  1  7  0

WP: Eovaldi (2-0); LP: Gallen (0-2); SV: Leclerc (4)

HR: none

Boston Takes 18th NBA Title In Strat-O-Matic 2023-24 Simulation

After last year’s Conference Finals appearance, the retooled Boston Celtics are all-in on making a run at the NBA title. And Strat-O-Matic, the market leader in sports simulation games, has them earning their 18th crown in dominant fashion in its 2023-24 season simulation, winning 64 regular season games and nearly sweeping through the playoffs, taking 16 of 17 including the Championship in four games over upstart Minnesota.

Denver’s Nicola Jokic (27 points, league-best 13 rebounds, eight assists per game) was named MVP, with the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum (27/9/5) second and Milwaukee’s Damian Lillard (27/4/9) third. The trio plus Jimmy Butler (24/5/5) of Miami and Dallas’s Luka Doncic (31/8/8) comprised the All-NBA First Team.

Boston finished five games ahead of Milwaukee (59-23) in the Eastern Conference for the top seed, sweeping #8 Charlotte, topping #4 Cleveland (49-33), 4-1, and upending sixth seeded Miami (44-38) in four in the East playoff rounds. In the Western Conference, Minnesota (55-27), Memphis (51-31), the Los Angeles Lakers (51-31) and Golden State (51-31) comprised the top four playoff spots. The Timberwolves topped #7 Sacramento (47-35) in the Western Conference Finals to advance to its first Finals.

In his rookie season, San Antonio’s Victor Wembanyama averaged 19.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

Strat-O-Matic also simulated the league’s first in-season tournament, with Dallas surprising Boston in the final.

Kitman Labs Launches ‘The Football Intelligence Platform’ For Premier League Academies

Kitman Labs, the sports technology and analytics company setting the industry standard for how elite sports organisations use data, today announced a new partnership with the Premier League.

The partnership will provide all Premier League club academies with a centralised, fully integrated ‘Football Intelligence Platform’ designed to aggregate and mobilise player and staff data across coaching, medical, sports science, operations, player care and education.

Data for academy players will be centralised in one platform – providing participants and coaching staff with a comprehensive, unified and real-time view of players’ medical, performance, training and development profiles.

The platform gives academies data accuracy and the ability to conduct advanced analytics at a league, club, or player level. Staff will manage player pathways through performance benchmarking and personalised development plans, in addition to providing tools, reporting, insights and actionable data to achieve specific operating and performance outcomes.

The goal of the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) is to not only enhance the pipeline of homegrown talent for the professional game but also to ensure academies provide life-enriching experiences for all players, empowering them to fulfill their potential on and off the pitch. The Football Intelligence Platform will also provide clubs with the ability to track and support players’ progress in their social, educational and cognitive development and will help serve as a holistic record for each player.

The platform will be supported by dedicated staff and a player app (iOS and Android), to support the need for frequent and instant access to player data on the pitch, in the training room and on the go.

Stephen Smith, Kitman Labs Founder & CEO, said: “Data’s value can only be realised when it’s consistent, accurate, pervasive and directly aligned with the fundamental operating and performance objectives of the league or club.

“The Football Intelligence Platform has been developed to aggregate and leverage all data sources in a single platform to ultimately drive collaboration across the organisation(s), eliminate information silos and provide actionable intelligence. That intelligence will be used specifically to systemise talent development and player pathways as well as support and validate data-led decision-making related to coaching methodology, best practices and policies.”

Tony Scholes, Chief Football Officer at the Premier League, said: “The EPPP aims to create unrivalled development environments where every young person is supported to maximise their potential on and off the pitch. Innovation and insights are key elements of this work, to ensure we are informed and evidence-led in our decision making.”

“This partnership represents a significant development in how clubs and the Premier League can use data to support elite player development and personal growth across all club academies. Through this first-of-its-kind strategic partnership, we and our clubs will have access to world-leading technology and support, equipping us with the tools and knowledge to help the development of players.”

Kitman Labs has an established track record of working with top governing bodies, leagues, teams and athletes across a variety of sports, including soccer/global football, basketball, rugby, and American football. The company’s technology has been used by leagues and teams in some of the world’s most elite sports organisations and universities including the NFL, NBA, MLS, NWSL and NCAA.

This partnership with the Premier League follows other recent business strategy moves Kitman Labs has undertaken including the successful acquisition of The Sports Office (TSO) and Presagia Sports, both made in the last two years. The combined companies represent the industry’s largest network of elite and youth organisations (1000+) and created the industry’s largest dataset of talent, performance, and medical data for all stages of the athlete lifecycle.

For more information on Kitman Labs, visit www.kitmanlabs.com.

NWSL Launches Performance Medicine Solution From Kitman Labs As Advanced EMR

The National Women’s Soccer League and Kitman Labs, the sports technology and analytics company setting the industry standard for how elite sports organizations use data, today announced a new deal that, beginning in 2024, will provide all current and incoming NWSL teams with a centralized and configurable operating system designed to aggregate and mobilize all player medical data.

The Performance Medicine Solution – one of four Solutions offered as part of Kitman Labs’ iP: Intelligence Platform – will provide the technology and infrastructure to automate and power accurate, league-wide medical data collection and analysis, drive collaboration among all relevant league and team stakeholders, yield actionable intelligence to support specific performance outcomes and enable data-led decision-making and research.

The Performance Medicine Solution powered by iP: Intelligence Platform will enable the NWSL to:

  • Standardize league-wide medical documentation and data collection – eliminating data gaps, inconsistencies and inaccuracy and facilitating club-level compliance
  • Collaborate and align relevant internal stakeholders across both the Medical and Performance Teams to support evidence-based decision-making around player health, care and wellness
  • Enable practitioners to spend less time dedicated to data collection, analytics and administrative oversight and more time with athletes
  • Establish a solid and complete data set to support ongoing and future league-wide research initiatives and innovation

“In making the decision around what technology to deploy, it was critical for us that the technology not only represent the gold standard in performance intelligence but be supported by a team of practitioners born from the Sport. We get both in Kitman Labs,” said NWSL Chief Medical Officer Cindy Chang. “We’re not looking for the quick fix or a short term solution. We’re looking for a partner that understands our vision and can provide a platform that can scale and adjust as the League continues to grow and evolve. We also needed a platform that would help automate and streamline workflows, freeing up bandwidth for medical and performance staffs to do what they do best – develop and train elite athletes.”

“We have extensive experience developing and deploying league-wide technology solutions related to medical, performance and talent development data. The insights and intelligence gleaned from a platform capable of aggregating and analyzing disparate data sets across multiple organizations is invaluable,” said Stephen Smith, Founder & CEO Kitman Labs. “The NWSL will now have a fully configurable operating system that can grow with them, drive league-wide efficiencies and support data-led decision-making at every level of the organization – league, team and athlete.”

Kitman Labs has an established track record of working with top governing bodies, leagues, teams and athletes across a variety of sports, including soccer/global football, basketball, rugby, and American football. The company’s technology has been used by teams in some of the world’s most elite sports organizations and universities including the NFL, NBA, Premier League, MLS and NCAA.

This partnership with the National Women’s Soccer League follows other recent business strategy moves Kitman Labs has undertaken including the successful acquisition of The Sports Office and Presagia Sports, both made in the last two years. The combined companies represent the industry’s largest network of elite and youth organizations (1000+) and created the industry’s largest dataset of talent, performance, and medical data for all stages of the athlete lifecycle.

For more information on Kitman Labs, visit www.kitmanlabs.com.

New NFL and NCAA Schools Join The Lineup For Second Annual Coach Knapp Stair Climb Initiative

The Coach Knapp Memorial Fund, named in honor of veteran NFL assistant coach Greg Knapp, today announced its expanded lineup of NFL and NCAA teams participating in this fall’s “Knapp Stair Climb.” Launched last fall, the initial project had seven NFL teams and close to 200 coaches, players and staff participating in various forms on game days, easily surpassing the goal of raising $100,000. In honor of Coach Knapp, NFL and NCAA coaches, players, executives and alumni will participate in raising funds and awareness for the dangers of distracted driving at each NFL or NCAA stadium prior to team warm ups.

“It’s been very special to see so many people sign up for the Stair Climb to raise awareness for the dangers of distracted driving and to honor Greg’s legacy. We are so grateful for the groundswell of support from across the NFL and at the college level,” said Charlotte Knapp, co-founder of Knapp Memorial and Greg Knapp’s widow.

The Coach Knapp Memorial Fund designated their first grant to SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), which funded TextLess Live More events in high schools across the country. TextLess Live More utilizes evidence-informed strategies to reduce technology’s prevalence in young people’s lives – especially behind the wheel, reducing distracted driving rates and deaths. This year, teams will be able to choose which middle and high schools they want these events to take place to create a local impact in their communities.

This year’s initiative will start even earlier in the season, with Head Coach Matt LaFleur leading the Green Bay Packers in taking to the steps of storied Lambeau Field on Sunday, September 24th.

In addition to the Packers, the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Houston Texans, plus a growing number of NCAA colleges and universities from Division I to Division III have signed on to participate this fall. The initial NCAA list includes the football programs at Sacramento State, Stanford University, Fordham University, The University of Michigan, Caldwell University and Ripon College, with more schools joining on each week.

“Coach Knapp was a mentor and friend. I can only hope that the impact he made on me as a player, I can pay it forward to my athletes, added Bobby Fresques, Sac State Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback Coach and loyal friend. “Through his foundation, his legacy will continue to have a profound effect on Sac State Football.”

Fans, athletes, and coaches or anyone interested can also participate wherever is most convenient to them across the country, such as apartment building stairs or a high school sports stadium. Images will be shared on various social channels.

Details on how to get involved individually can be found at https://www.knappmemorial.org/stairclimb. All proceeds will benefit The Coach Knapp Memorial Fund.

San Francisco Tops Baltimore in Strat-O-Matic Simulation of 2023 Football Season

San Francisco, with an NFC-best 12-5 regular season mark and 17-14 victory over Baltimore in the championship, reigned supreme as Strat-O-Matic (@StratOMatic), the market leader in sports simulation, played out the 2023 football season through the playoffs. A 59-yard field goal attempt by Justin Tucker missed wide in the final minute to secure the sixth title for S.F.

San Francisco bested AFC #1 Baltimore after defeating Philadelphia in the conference championship game, 27-7. Baltimore outlasted rival Pittsburgh, 40-33, in the AFC title game.

Josh Allen, who paced the Bills to a 13-4 mark and #2 seed in the AFC with 4,259 passing yards, 814 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns total, earned MVP honors, edging Aaron Rodgers, who helped New York to 10 wins, throwing for 4,827 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Justin Jefferson of Minnesota had a league-best 115 receptions and 1,543 yards.

Division winners were: AFC, Buffalo (13-4), Baltimore (13-4), Tennessee (10-7) and Kansas City (10-7); NFC, Dallas (10-7), Green Bay (10-7), Atlanta (9-8) and San Francisco (12-5).

Full standings and playoffs scores below:

AFC East
Buffalo, 13-4
New York, 10-7
Miami, 9-8
New England, 5-12

AFC North
Baltimore, 13-4
Pittsburgh, 12- 5
Cleveland, 9-8
Cincinnati, 8-9

AFC South
Tennessee, 10-7
Jacksonville, 9-8
Houston, 8-9
Indianapolis, 4-13

AFC West
Kansas City, 10-7
Las Vegas, 9-8
Los Angeles, 8-9
Denver, 8-9

NFC East
Dallas, 10-7
Philadelphia, 10-7
New York, 8-9
Washington, 7-10

NFC North
Green Bay, 10-7
Detroit, 7-10
Minnesota, 7-10
Chicago, 5-12

NFC South
Atlanta, 9-8
Tampa Bay, 9-8
Carolina, 8-9
New Orleans, 7-10

NFC West
San Francisco, 12-5
Seattle, 9-8
Los Angeles, 7-10
Arizona, 2- 15

AFC Wild card
BUF over MIA 24-23
NYJ over KC 31-17
PIT over TEN 17-16

NFC Wild card
DAL over SEA 26-23
TB over GB 34-32
PHI over ATL 17-16

AFC Divisional
BAL over NYJ 33-27 (OT)
PIT over BUF 26-23

NFC Divisional
SF over TB 29-28
PHI over DAL 27-20

AFC Conf Chp
BAL over PIT 40-33

NFC Conf Chp
SF over PHI 27-7

Super Bowl
SF over BAL 17-14

CIRCA-Keenan-Love-vs Tamyrik Fields (Photo by Bryan Steffy-Getty Images for SlamBall)-2800

Gambling A Part of Impressive Metrics For This Summer’s SlamBall League: Series 6 in Las Vegas

SlamBall, the fast-paced, gravity-defying sport that combines elements of basketball, football, hockey and acrobatics co-founded by Mason Gordon and Mike Tollin, today unveiled its comprehensive look at data for the recently completed season, and announced its first official plans for what lies ahead for the property.

The numbers included massive social engagement which bested virtually any other live sports property during the period, solid numbers in its time slots on ESPN, quality attendance numbers and the attention of a global media audience, all of which is detailed below.

“We set out this relaunch season with very lofty goals, and in almost every aspect we exceeded our marks,” said Mason Gordon, SlamBall co-founder. “In addition to all the positive numbers in broadcast and the digital/social space came a wide number of parties, cities and event partners eagerly interested in what our athletes and coaches were delivering on and off the court, which has led us to re-think our event footprint even sooner than next summer. While we are encouraged, we are working through many details that will be announced soon. One thing is for sure, we have set out to be the UFC for team sports, and I know we are well on our way to getting there now.”

Some key metrics:

Digital/social:

During the time period of the build up and relaunch of SlamBall, no other active professional sports league, whether a start up or established league, came close in engagement or growth across Twitter and Instagram, even during a MUCH shorter run and season than the others.

-Close to 100 SlamBall original posts exceeded 100,000 views across social platforms during the six week run, amongst the most for any sports property during the period.

-Other major media platforms including ESPN, Barstool Sports, Bleacher Report, Overtime, FanDuel, The Score, Jomboy Media, FOS, Ballislife, Complex and more organically shared SlamBall content over 100 times across platforms, totaling over 10M additional views.

– SlamBall’s engagement far surpassed the competition of other major sports leagues during the lead up and run of the season, with engagement rates of over 6% vs the competition average of 1.62%. The only league that came semi-close was the Premier Lacrosse League at 2.7%.

– Twitter was much of the same story with an engagement rate of .464%, more than 4x the average of .111% and beating the second league, Professional Pickleball League (.140%) by a very healthy margin.

– SlamBall also saw TREMENDOUS growth vs the competition, growing 48.5% on Instagram (competition average of 18.4%) and still ahead of MLS (44.6%) during a time period in which Lionel Messi joined the league.

– This was true on Twitter as well, where SlamBall grew 46.9% vs a 16.1% competition average, and the second highest being PFL at 31.8%.

Broadcast:

SlamBall was able to secure almost 50 hours of live programming on the ESPN networks, one of the most comprehensive partnerships for a property coming back into the marketplace after a long dormant period. SlamBall’s live late night viewership window on ESPN and ESPN2 scored with audiences 18-45 across the country, delivering with the key demo brands crave. SlamBall’s average of 105,000 was on par with other live broadcasts in the time slot.

-SlamBall’s launch led to immediate international interest as well, with games being shown live through the ESPN partnership in Latin America (on DTC on Star+); in the Caribbean (via ESPN & the affiliate-authenticated ESPN App), and in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands (via ESPN & the affiliate-authenticated Watch ESPN). Additionally, SlamBall China launched its broadcast on Douyin, Kuaishou, WeChat Videos, Xiaohongshu, and Weibo, with over 25 million views in the first few days.

-Additionally, SlamBall’s decision to use former athletes like Nate Robinson and Marshawn Lynch in its broadcasts alongside ESPN personality John Schriffen led to millions of additional digital views, making it one of the most talked about broadcasts not just of the summer, but of the year.

Gambling:

In its first few weeks SlamBall entered into a partnership with US Integrity which led to live gambling on games after just two weeks of play, thanks to its partnership with Circa Sports. The almost unheard-of quick turnaround for launch live money gaming is a testament to the intense and vocal interest of a young audience, and SlamBall’s ability to build the sport’s relaunch with gaming applications top of mind.

Media:

SlamBall’s earned media coverage impressions for the six weeks were in the multi millions, with consistent coverage not just from the largest media platforms, but from some of the most influential and engaged social media influencers and athletes as well. SlamBall captured the attention of everyone from Snoop Dogg, to athletes (former and current) ranging from Pat McAfee, Jalen Brunson, Rex Chapman and Alex Caruso to Patrick Mahomes, Dez Bryant, Shawne Merriman and DeAndre Jordan, all of whom were engaged viewers for games on multiple nights, with posts they shared across social media. Traditional media ranging from CBS News to CNN to GQ to SI.com and USA Today all took note and shared the growing story of SlamBall as a property. SlamBall also resonated by building the stories of its amazing athletes and leadership, with features ranging from The Philadelphia Inquirer and Indianapolis Star to the New York Post.

-SlamBall’s weekly highlights service also delivered in excess of 1.5 million views, with highlights being shared by platforms such as the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News and the L.A. Times among many others.

Brand Partners:

In addition to Circa, SlamBall secured a growing number of brand partners as the season built momentum and interest and engagement grew. They included Old Trapper as a Founding Partner, and Launch Hydrate, The PBR, Hakkasan, Betr, SunnyD vodka seltzer, MaxAir, and Hertz as supporting partners. A number of additional partnerships are in discussions to be announced in the coming weeks.

Website:

SlamBall’s website traffic exceeded expectations with over 400,000 visitors during the period. Users again were largely in the 19-30 demo and came from as many as 30 different countries.

In May, SamBall’s return became official when a new Series A round of funding of $11 million was announced. Led by IA Sports Ventures and Eberg Capital, both of which are co-owners of the Miami Marlins, among other investments. Others include: David Blitzer and David Adelman, both of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment; Fanatics founder Michael Rubin; VC investor Gary Vaynerchuk; NBA player Blake Griffin; Sacramento Kings investor Kevin Nagle; Lloyd Danzig of Sharp Alpha; Legends Growth Enterprises; Red Games CEO Brian Lovell; attorney Jesse Sharf, Accelerate Sports; and VC investor Eric Manlunas.

Attendance

This was the first time in the history of the sport that larger scale fan attendance factored into the SlamBall experience. Cox Pavilion was scaled for 2,500 seats for each of the multiple night sessions throughout the six week season. The league reached capacity six times during the run, and averaged over 80% for the season, exceeding expectations by over 15%. Fans were in attendance from over 20 states and countries as far away as China, Germany, Denmark, Canada and the UK.

Series 6:

The Mob finished a perfect 18-0 to win SlamBall’s return championship on Thursday night, August 24 in front of the second straight sold-out crowd of 2,500 at Las Vegas’ Cox Pavilion, downing the Lava, 49-36. Darius Clark (Blue Springs, MO) led the Mob’s offensive onslaught, earning SlamBall Playoffs Most Valuable Player honors with 45 total points in the two playoff wins.

Mob stopper and team captain Gage Smith (Elizabeth, CO) was named SlamBall League: Series 6 Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year. The Wrath’s Ty McGee (Littleton, CO) earned Offensive Player of the Year honors and Mob gunner Cam Hollins (Avon, IN) was selected 5th Man of the Year, while the Mob’s Brendan Kirsch (Indianapolis, IN) was tabbed Coach of the Year.

Joining Smith and McGee on the All-SlamBall First Team were Mob gunner Darius Clark (Blue Springs, MO) and Slashers handler Tony Crosby II (Long Beach, CA). The All-SlamBall Second Team features Gryphons’ gunners KyShawn Jones (Danville, VA) and Justin Holmes (Roseville, CA), Mob handler Cameron Horton (Jacksonville, AL) and Buzzsaw stopper Tyquan Scott (Long Beach, NY).

Fanatics Sportsbook & Columbus Blue Jackets To Open Retail Location in Columbus’ Arena District Today

Fanatics Betting and Gaming, the online and retail sports betting subsidiary of Fanatics Holdings, Inc., a global digital sports platform, will open its retail sportsbook location today in partnership with the Columbus Blue Jackets in Columbus’ Arena District.

“Tomorrow will be an exciting day for Blue Jackets fans and for sports fans in Ohio as we officially open the Fanatics Sportsbook in the shadow of Nationwide Arena,” said Blue Jackets Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Cameron Scholvin, on Thursday.  “I’d like to thank RJ and Ryan for joining us today, as well as extend our gratitude to our partners at Fanatics and the many others that worked very hard to make this remarkable facility a reality.”

At a special preview event today, Ohio sports legends Ryan Shazier and RJ Umberger placed the ceremonial first bets at the brand new Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus.  Shazier, a former linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers and The Ohio State University, placed $20 @+700 on the Buckeyes to win the college football national championship.  Umberger, a former center for the Columbus Blue Jackets, also placed $20 @+475 on the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the AFC North Division. 

“It was a great day to be a Buckeye at the Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus,” said Ari Borod, Chief Business Officer, Fanatics Betting and Gaming. “Having Columbus sports legends like Ryan and RJ come out and place the first bets shows that we plan to be the premier sports viewing and betting destination in the Arena District when we open our doors to the public on Friday.  The Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus will be a great complement to our online sportsbook experience for sports fans living and visiting Ohio.”  

The Fanatics Sportsbook is the most rewarding online sportsbook in Ohio, allowing customers to earn up to 5% back in FanCash on every bet and is available for download on iOS and Android for sports fans living and visiting the state of Ohio. It makes being a fan easy with fast signup, easy betting, transparent withdrawals, an industry-leading search functionality and a curated Discover page with the sports and bets that matter most to a customer. 

The Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus is located at 401 North Front Street just outside Nationwide Arena. The main entrance is located in the alleyway immediately north of the entrances to Buca di Beppo and Starbucks. The new sportsbook was designed by architecture firm BLTa, a Perkins Eastman Studio, and built by Lehman Daman Construction Services.  It is more than 5,000 square feet and features four betting windows, 14 self-service betting kiosks from Suzohapp, one giant LED Video Wall and 20 TV monitors. The full-service restaurant operated by Delaware North, will have food options that every sports fan will enjoy.  The Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus will offer viewing experiences and legal betting markets for all major sports including professional and college football, basketball, hockey, baseball, alongside tennis, soccer, golf, MMA and boxing. The development and trading of sports betting markets will be done in house at Fanatics Betting and Gaming and supported by a number of world-class trading suppliers. 

Fanatics Betting and Gaming and the Columbus Blue Jackets believe that responsible gaming is a core tenet and a part of each company’s DNA.  On-site staff at the Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus have received responsible wagering training and can offer support services to customers when needed.

Kitman Labs Data Analytics: A Case For Why Each Team Can Win Women’s Title

Play continues in New Zealand and Australia this week, and Kitman Labs, the global SaaS platform providing the only single, centralized operating system for performance intelligence in the elite performance industry, has used its proprietary approach to analytics to provide insight into how each of the four remaining sides can win the championship.

Kitman Labs demonstrates a commitment to objectivity over opinion, highly valuing expertise and experience while keeping data as the guard-rails to protect bias and subjectivity creeping in. Nothing in the team evaluation provided is without foundation in data.

Utilizing the data gleaned from the matches to date and accounting for how that can influence play in past semifinals and finals level contests, Kitman Labs has developed paths for each of the four teams to claim the title.

Why Australia Will Win The World Cup: What is the biggest reason Australia are going to win the world cup? The Matildas have been preparing for this event since June 23th 2020 when they were announced as the hosts. The preparation they have put into their squad is bearing fruit in this tournament.

Australia have put their focus on developing a core group of young players over the past years, and giving them the tools to succeed in this world cup. Australia has started only 12 players during the tournament, while 5 key players have played every minute of the world cup. Despite the squad having 9 players with over 100 international caps, and having the joint highest number of caps on the field across each of their games, the age of the players on the field is second youngest of the semi-finalists. This is a cohort with the experience to succeed in a major tournament, while still having the youth required to manage so many matches in such little time.

For the full analytic breakdown visit: https://bit.ly/KitmanWWCAustralia

Why England Will Win The World Cup: England are going to win this world cup because they have the most balanced squad left in the competition. They do not need superstar players to be world champions – instead their key strength is for every player you take out of their starting team, the replacement is just as strong. None of their players are coming into the world cup undercooked, and the majority of their squad is in their peak years. Peak age players can go longer, and England have been able to save their depth for later in the tournament.

England have gotten to the Semi Finals of the world cup without playing their best football. Their game has mitigated risk – limiting opportunities for opposition sides to difficult chances and leading to the lowest goals conceded in the tournament. They have dominated possession, but looked to create high quality opportunities. Coming into the tournament ranked 4th, they have underperformed thus far against weaker opponents, but their stats make clear there an opportunity for additional risk taking when the lionesses face the toughest opponents of the tournament. Many teams have peaked too early in this world cup – Japan and the Netherlands having impressive group stages but going out in the quarter finals – and knowing what it takes to win and peaking at the right time can be precisely what is required to be champion.

For the full analytic breakdown visit: https://bit.ly/KitmanWWCEngland

Why Spain Will Win The World Cup: Why are Spain going to win the World Cup? They will win because they have the highest quality of player in the tournament, and have been able to bring the strongest squad onto the pitch in each of their games. This squad has bossed the game in each of their matches, averaging over 70% possession over the course of the competition.

Spain also have an elite set of goal scorers and assisters – more than any of the other semi-finalists. These players have created and scored goals at an elite level coming into the tournament, and have also performed during the FIFA WWC. Spain have scored the most goals and created the highest number of chances of any team remaining in the competition. With 8 goalscorers and 6 players having given assists this tournament they are most well insulated against an off-day from any individual player.

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Why Sweden will win the World Cup: Two words give the biggest reason Sweden are going to win this world cup – set pieces. Sweden’s strength lies in their physicality; on average their players are taller than 75% of other players left in the tournament. This gives them an advantage over the opposition any time the ball is in the air and in any dead-ball situation, something they have used to devastating effect. Of their 11 goals, 7 have come as a result of set pieces. Four goals have been scored directly, two penalties have been won, and a further goal has come from post-set-piece chaos. Amanda Ilestedt, a centre back, is their top scorer with four as a result. Clearly, Sweden’s height is too much for their opponents to handle.

Sweden are the most experienced team left in the tournament. They have wise heads that have done it at international level before. Experience is going to be crucial at the business end of this tournament. While tiredness can sometimes be the downfall of older sides, this isn’t a concern for the Swedes. They got their business done early in the group stages and were able to rest players against Argentina. As a result, their players have played the fewest minutes in the world cup – Sweden are in a great physical condition to compete in the latter stages.

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