1. The NBA’s All-Star weekend was thrilling and lucrative, delivering an estimated $116 million economic impact to Los Angeles. It was also educational. During the All-Star break, Jerome Williams, NBRPA Chapter Members, fathers and mentors of pro basketball players, and the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation visited Manual Arts High School to celebrate their commitment to bringing African-American history education to schools across several states. Williams and company have partnered with education-technology company EVERFI to deliver 306 – African American History(TM), a web-based course that communicates African-American history through primary texts and compelling vignettes. At Manual Arts High, EVERFI and special guests held a group conversation and panel discussion about lessons from the course. The event also recognized 10 students for top essay reflections through the 306 – African American History writing competition. The 10 winning students received a prize pack from the NBRPA Chapters Legends Shooting for Peace program and scholarships for HBCU schools. The event ended with a Celebrity Basketball Game, which featured Williams, Houston, and other retired NBA players versus the Manual Arts High basketball team. This is yet another terrific example of how sports partnerships and mega events don’t just deliver ratings and economic impact, they can change lives.
2. NBA All-Star break brings at least $116 million in increased economic activity to Los Angeles County. A new study completed by Micronomics (an independent economic research firm) estimates that NBA All-Star Weekend generated at least $116 million in increased economic activity for Los Angeles County. Of that $116 million, an estimated $90 million is tied to tourism; visitors from out of town spending in local hotels, restaurants, and in Jimmy Butler’s case, possibly clubs. The Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission also believes that the city received intangible value from the league marketing it as a desirable destination to a global audience. If Micronomics estimates are correct, the All-Star Game brought 40% more business to Los Angeles than it did to New Orleans last season. $116 million is a particularly impressive figure when you consider that the MLB All-Star Game played in Anaheim in 2010 generated just $85 million; no MLB All-Star Game (except the 2 recently hosted at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field) has ever made a larger impact on a host city. Los Angeles will host several other prominent sporting events over the next several years, including the 2022 Super Bowl, 2023 CFB National Championship Game, and the 2028 Summer Olympics.
3. The Oakland A’s are still working to get a new ballpark despite the constant setbacks and rejections from Bay Area politicians and land owners. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s Owner Dave Kaval is still aiming to “have a deal for a new ballpark – somewhere – by the year’s end.” The team is still working on and considering three potential sites in Oakland to construct a new stadium. In the past few months, the A’s got a “no go” from the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees about building on campus grounds and conflicting information from Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) General Manager Grace Crunican about building a station near a possible ballpark site at Howard Terminal. Kaval noted that the team’s third option of rebuilding a stadium at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is currently the front-runner. Any new stadium will most likely be 100% privately financed, through Kaval does not like the idea of building on the Coliseum site, which is five miles from downtown.
4. Ticket sales for May’s Indianapolis 500 are “booming,” according to Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles. Last year’s race drew a record crowd of 300,000 fans to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the largest crowd “IMS has welcomed in the last 20 years outside the 100th running in 2016,” which saw a crowd of 350,000 in attendance. Boles did not cite a specific number as IMS never reveals its ticket sales or attendance figures, though he did note that not only were sales ahead of last year’s marker, but they were “ahead by a considerable margin.” Boles and his team at IMS have been working hard to strategically promote and brand racer Danica Patrick, who is set to end her career at the Indy 500 on Sunday, May 27. Patrick’s final race of her career is expected to deliver a bigger bump to ticket sales and TV ratings for the famous racing event than Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso’s presence brought last year. The “Danica Bump” will also undoubtedly benefit the entire Verizon IndyCar Series, and up and coming drivers such as Andretti Autosports’ Zach Veach, sponsored for his first full Verizon IndyCar season by Group One Thousand One.
5. With the new MLB season just around the corner, the San Diego Padres are hoping break even financially in 2018. According to The Athletic, despite signing first baseman Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract just a week ago, the roughly $50 million in cash that the club is set to receive from Disney’s purchase of BAMTech is arriving “at a convenient time.” The deal for Hosmer nearly doubles the team’s previous free agency record. Speaking about the one-time payout that all clubs are getting from the league this season, Padres Executive Chair Ron Fowler said, “We’re going to spend a good portion of that. We’ve got $20 million in payroll here and we’ve got another $20 million we just added.” On top of the new mega contract for Hosmer, the team will be spending another $18 million on Petco Park to put up a new video board in right field, and recently installed the largest array of solar panels in baseball this offseason. As the only pro sports game in town, the Padres are under constant, massive scrutiny. Hopefully for the franchise the Hosmer acquisition and other upgrades will pay off come Opening Day.
6. The Golden State Warriors are planning to head north to Seattle for a preseason matchup against the Sacramento Kings. According to the Sacramento Bee, the exhibition game marks another opportunity “to re-ignite the intensely passionate discussion about bringing back the Sonics” via expansion or relocation. The game in Washington will be a return to the Pacific Northwest for former Supersonic Kevin Durant, who played his first NBA season with the club before the Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City. Speaking on the potential of playing in Seattle, Durant said, “That’ll be amazing. I hope that goes through. The fans in Seattle definitely deserve basketball.” The game on October 6 is set to be played at KeyArena, the first NBA game inside the arena since April 13, 2008. KeyArena is currently set to undergo a $600 million renovation by the Oak View Group and should be finished in time for the 2020-2021 NHL season. While the Oak View Group and the city are currently more focused on landing an NHL franchise, the preseason game will serve as a realistic sounding board for Seattle’s fan interest in the NBA once again.
7. This past season, college football experienced its largest per-game attendance drop in 34 years — and second-largest ever. Attendance among the 129 FBS schools was down an average of 1,409 fans per game from 2016, and get this: the most iconic league in the country, the SEC, saw the biggest drop of any Power Five conference (2,433 fans per game). This is not a fluke. Since establishing an all-time high in 2008, FBS average attendance has slipped an alarming 10.1% over the last nine years. And now, thanks to 2017, some very depressing history has been made: For the first time ever, average attendance has declined for four consecutive seasons. What seems to be the problem? Some blame college students: “This issue is with lack of involvement of the college students. They no longer view attending sporting events as part of the university experience. Others blame TV/technology and the comfort of being able to watch pretty much whatever game you want from the comfort of your own couch. Here’s another theory: these days, college football has gotten so compelling that fans are just as interested in the national slate of games as they are in rooting on their own college team.
8. Hyperice launches vibration therapy device at the NFL Combine. At the NFL Combine this week, top college athletes will come to Indianapolis to show off their skills as NFL hopefuls. What goes into training, conditioning, and recovery is crucial for these athletes to go pro. Hyperice’s recovery devices are key for a successful training regimen, especially for players with pressure to perform at their very best. Hyper is used by NFL athletes such as Tom Brady, Patrick Peterson, Antonio Brown, and Myles Garrett. Hyperice will be present at the NFL Combine to debut their newest recovery product, a hand-held vibration massage device, which gives both athletes and consumers the ability to feel the benefits of vibration therapy. Hyperice was founded in 2010 and caught traction after Kobe Bryant used their products and endorsed them. Founder Anthony Katz said “Athletes use cold therapy to recovery from daily training or competition, treat an injury, and as a means of preventing injury by breaking the inflammation cycle in the body.”
9. This is for you if your mother always told you to eat clean snow. According to Sports Internet, Lake Tahoe’s iconic Squaw Valley ski resort, and its sister resort, Alpine Meadows, plan to go 100% renewable energy by the end of this year and get a cleaner, more reliable and resilient grid — all at no added cost. Squaw Valley’s utility, Liberty Utilities, will supply the ski resorts with 100% solar, wind, hydropower, and other renewables under a special agreement, and the utility plans to buy and install a pack of Tesla batteries on the mountain that will provide backup power to the resorts and to the wider community. The improvements will allow the resorts to cut their carbon footprint by more than half, to less than 6,000 metric tons a year of carbon dioxide from 14,000 metric tons a year currently, and will provide much-needed electric reliability and resilience at no extra cost. Now if they could only manufacture more reliable and resilient snow pack — unlike last year’s El Nino, most Western ski resorts are hurting in this year’s snow drought.
10. Blackhawks fans donate $20,000 to support Caps’ Devante Smith-Pelly. Four Chicago Blackhawks fans were ejected from the United Center after yelling racist taunts at Washington Capitals Devante Smith-Pelly. A week later, Blackhawks players are rallying together to donate money to a charity of Smith-Pelly’s choice, Fort Dupont Ice Arena. Fort Dupont is a not-for-profit charity that the Capitals’ Monumental Sports Foundation has supported for years. It’s the only full-size indoor ice arena in the District, and it is home to the Cannons, the oldest minority youth hockey program in North America. That program is also involved with the NHL’s Hockey Is for Everyone Initiative, a campaign that’s especially emphasized in February. The 501c3 charity also houses the Kids On Ice program. The goals of both are to teach young people discipline and self-esteem while instilling a sense of purpose and offering an incentive to excel academically. Over $20,000 has been raised toward this cause by Blackhawks players to date.