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“Summer Slugger” A Baseball Themed Online Course To Help Youth with Math and Literacy Skills

As MLB’s second half of the season intensifies, and students across the U.S. begrudgingly deal with the reality of a new school year on the horizon, EverFi’s “MLB Summer Slugger” program builds. MLB has partnered with EVERFI to launch “Summer Slugger,” a baseball-themed online course to help students in 4th and 5th grades retain math and literacy skills over the summer break. Summer Slugger is a first-of-its-kind digital platform to address summer learning loss that is offered nationwide. The program launched mid-summer, and according to Brian Cooley, President, EVERFI Sports and Entertainment Group, the online education leader “has 15-16 [MLB] teams involved now and we want to build great awareness and momentum as we get deeper into the season.” EVERFI featured MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre at their Summer Slugger launch event, and chimed in MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, “We are pleased to announce this digital education platform with our new partners at EVERFI. Summer Slugger will help address a critical academic issue among young people around the country while also providing a fun, interactive baseball experience for children on their favorite tech devices. The summer months are synonymous with our game and this is a great opportunity to have a positive impact on students through this program.”

For Second Consecutive Year High School Football Participation at the 11-Player Level Decreased By More Than 3,000 students in California

For the second consecutive year, high school football participation at the 11-player level decreased by more than 3,000 students in California, according to the California Interscholastic Federation’s (CIF’s) annual sports participation survey. In 2015, there were 100,205 participants, 3,520 fewer than the previous year. In 2016, there were 97,079, a drop of 3,126. Eight player football participation increased by 196. “I don’t think it’s a concern but reflects concerns by parents and reflects a national trend in youth sports, said Roger Blake, CIF Executive Director. “Kids are still playing sports. They’re just playing other things.” Overall, sports participation at the high school level increased for the fifth consecutive year to an all-time high of 785,357 in California, up by 0.78%. Lacrosse saw the largest percentage increase among individual sports, including a more than 12% increase among girls. Football remains the most popular sport for boys, and soccer for girls. As goes California goes the nation – and while youth football continues to thrive, the migration of kids into other sports is a strong sign that parents and participants are taking concussion and CTE data seriously.

Building on Suceess of the MLS All-Star Game in Chicago, MLS and Adidas have reportedly signed a six-year contract extension through 2024

Coming on the heels of a successful MLS All-Star Game in Chicago, MLS and Adidas have reportedly signed a six-year contract extension through 2024. According to SportsBusiness Journal, the two sides have agreed to keep the partnership alive, as adidas will continue to outfit all MLS clubs. On top of outfitting all teams, adidas will provide the league match ball. Financial terms to the deal have not yet been disclosed by either side, “but industry sources said that the extension is valued at $700 million.” The partnership between MLS and adidas began at the league’s inception in 1996, “when three clubs had deals with the brand.” This partnership is unique when compared to the other soccer leagues of the world, since each team typically picks its own jersey and apparel outfitter instead of being assigned one by the league. The adidas extension also confirms the ever-growing impact of MLS on the world soccer stage, as adidas has similar relationships with top-tier leagues around the globe.

Building on the Success of International Series Games in London Jacksonville Jaguars Sign its First United Kingdom-Only Sponsorship

The Jacksonville Jaguars have played an International Series game in London every year since 2013, and now the team has signed its first United Kingdom-only sponsorship because of that. According to SportsBusiness Journal, the NFL franchise is reaping the rewards of competing overseas as it announced a partnership with London-based investment management firm LGT Vestra U.S. The firm targets “Americans living in Europe, plans a variety of year-round joint B2B activities, including at the Jaguars’ annual game at Wembley Stadium.” The Jaguars are not given any signage during NFL International Series games, so the firm will not get any, though it will receive in-game recognition. This sponsor piggy-backs on the Jags’ two U.S.-based sponsors for the abroad series game, Visit Florida and insurance firm U.S. Assure. Jags Senior Vice President, International Development Hussain Naqi wrote, “…The fact LGT Vestra U.S. is committed to growing the game and further raising the profile of the Jaguars brand in the U.K. is great news for our team.” As futbol expands to the U.S., via increasing numbers of “friendly” matches and international player transfers, so too is the NFL digging deeper into U.K. soil.

Despite the passing of longtime Owner Dan Rooney the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise will not see an ownership overhaul or restructuring.

Despite the passing of longtime Pittsburgh Steelers Owner Dan Rooney earlier this year, the franchise will not see an ownership overhaul or restructuring According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, two high-ranking NFL officials confirmed this news, stating that the Steelers’ “family ownership” is expected to continue on for “many, many, many years to come.” The franchise was started by the Rooney family and has stayed within the family’s control ever since. Since Dan Rooney’s passing, the only ownership change has been the addition of Dan Rooney, Jr. to the “public list of Steelers ownership group on Page 8 of the team’s 2017 media guide.” Of the 19 men listed as part of the Steelers ownership group, five of them are Rooneys. There have been multiple “restructurings” of the team’s ownership over the years, but one thing remains constant through them: The Rooneys are the face of the franchise. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones received own star on Saturday when he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, but while the Jones family continues to impress and astound, there’s no question: the Rooneys are the NFL’s First Family.

University of Texas historically one of the strongest collegiate football programs in the country, but recent lackluster Seasons Over the Past Few Years is nearly 3,000 season ticket sales short of where it was a year ago in 2016

The University of Texas historically boasts one of the strongest collegiate football programs in the country, but lackluster performances over the past few years have driven ticket sales down. According to MyStatesman.com, ticket sales for this coming season are down thus far, despite circling buzz and excitement around new Head Coach Tom Herman. As it currently stands, the university is nearly 3,000 season ticket sales short of where it was a year ago in 2016, sitting at 52,979 currently. One of the biggest contributing reasons to this trend is speculated to be a “lackluster home schedule,” as the “most high-profile home opponents are Maryland (September 2) alongside Big 12 rivals Oklahoma State (October 21) and Texas Tech (November 24).” Coming off an a dismal 5-7 season, with a 3-6 Big 12 record, the Longhorns are looking to turn things around this coming season, regardless of how many people pack the stands. Tickets for all games should be available on StubHub.com throughout the season, much to the university’s chagrin. Another factor contributing to empty seats in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and elsewhere across the U.S. – declining student interest in attending live games, a disturbing trend the NCAA needs to rectify ASAP.

Boston College Considering Adding Wine And Beer Options To All Concessions Stands at Alumni Stadium

A hot topic over the past few years has been the question of whether universities should make alcoholic beverages available to all fans at college football games; Boston College might be the next Power 5 school to start doing so. According to the Boston Globe, new BC Athletic Director Martin Jarmond is seriously considering adding wine and beer options to all concessions stands at Alumni Stadium this coming season. As it currently stands, only fans in the stadium’s 60 boxes or suites have access to alcoholic beverages – a trend that is common across a number of bigtime college football programs. About one-third of “colleges nationwide are selling alcohol during games,” according to university spokesman Jack Dunn. “We are looking to file an amendment to our entertainment license that would enable us to expand distribution of beer and wine at locations throughout Alumni Stadium this coming season,” said Dunn. The issue is fairly black and white – should schools embrace a multi-million dollar revenue stream, or take a stand against college alcohol abuse? There’s clearly a way to do it right, as long as stringent measures are taken to not sell to minors.

Owner Glen Taylor not interested in Selling in his Stake in the Minnesota Timberwolves Franchise

Minnesota Timberwolves Owner Glen Taylor is not interested in selling his team, at least now right now. According to SportsBusiness Journal, Taylor, who owns about 70% of the NBA franchise, noted that he will not be selling any of his stake in the club, despite two of the team’s minority owners revealing that they are interested in selling their shares. The team recently underwent a massive rebranding campaign and is looking forward to having star forward Jimmy Butler on the court with the team this coming season. “We’re running through terrific times not only for the owners and the players, because of the interest, but just the value that has been put on the franchises that have been sold,” said Taylor. The impending sale of the Houston Rockets is thought to play a role in increasing the franchise value of the Timberwolves, since Taylor thinks the Rockets “will go for a lot of money.” They say a rising tide lifts all boats, and in the case of pro sports franchise sale prices, a lot of zeros behind a number for one team usually means a lot of zeros for others as well.

UFC President Dana White Hopes Popularity of Upcoming Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor Showdown Positively Affects New Media Rights Deal

UFC President Dana White could not be happier about the timing of the upcoming Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor showdown, as the organization is shopping for a new media rights deal. According to the Hollywood Reporter, WME-IMG is currently “in the midst of negotiating new TV rights deals for UFC and banking on a hefty premium over the $115 million that Fox Sports” pays annually. WME-IMG co-CEO Ari Emanuel will be the point man in charge of negotiating the rights deal. One potential bump in the road that could impact a huge deal is that PPV typically has the best UFC bouts, taking away business from a new TV partner. Asked about this, White said: “I built this business from the ground up. We continue to innovate. I don’t ever want to be in a position where guys who didn’t believe in this sport 15 years ago are telling me what to put on PPV. But if you go into a negotiation, I’d say everything is on the table.” All you have to do is look at Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, and other digital and social powerhouses to know that the sports media rights landscape has shifted to the degree there’s no going back. The PPV position is not a deal breaker.

 

David Beckham’s MLS Bid Closer to Approval and MLS will Announce New Expansion Teams at Summer’s End or Early Fall

David Beckham’s MLS bid is finally pushing forward toward winning approval. According to the Miami Herald, Beckham won permission “for formal talks on launching a Miami franchise that will have a billionaire financier as the majority owner.” The former English soccer star brought new investor Todd Boehly to Chicago for the MLS All-Star game to meet with league officials. Beckham was granted a significant expansion fee discount nearly 10 years ago, back in 2007; he has an option to purchase an MLS expansion franchise for $25 million, “while the league now requires $150 million for new teams.” League Commissioner Don Garber was a bit skeptical about the vote passing with the owners. “I had some concerns they wouldn’t get past today,” said Garber. “We’re not announcing MLS Miami today, but I am confident we’ll be able to do that, perhaps by the end of the summer.” You can bank on an announcement at summer’s end or early fall, as MLS will couple that with its announcement of new expansion teams. Good times rule in soccer, across the board.