1. Last week, Group1001, led by CEO Dan Towriss, empowered the world’s best – by providing 144 of the world’s best female golfers a platform to showcase their talents at one of the most iconic venues in the world, and by providing a platform to rewrite the history books of a predominantly male-oriented venue. The LPGA Indy Women in Tech tournament driven by Group1001 also empowered Indianapolis by shining a global spotlight on the city through TV broadcasts and by convening the city’s tech leaders in one place to address important issues. “Diversity in the field of technology is of great importance – it’s the right thing to do and it’s good for business,” Towriss said. “It is with the diversity of life experiences, perspective and creativity that we are able to innovate and grow. Our ability to work together has been a key to the early success of this event. The Indy Women in Tech Foundation was created to be a collaborative and unifying platform to work with the many great organizations in place today to mutually expand our collective footprint. To our existing and future partners, Indy Women in Tech is committed to continuing that work.” Showcasing her work at Indy’s Brickyard Crossing Golf Club was winner Sung Hyun Park.
2. In a bold stroke, La Liga has agreed to move a regular season game across the Atlantic to be played in North America. According to ESPN.com, La Liga has reached an agreement with Relevant, a multinational media firm, “on a 15-year joint venture for promotion in North America.” The date and location for the first match have not yet been determined, though Hard Rock Stadium in Miami is considered a “frontrunner to host the event” due to Relevant founder and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ involvement in the deal. “It’s not hard to figure out where we would want it to be based on our ownership with Stephen Ross,” said Relevant CEO Danny Sillman. “That part isn’t too difficult to figure out.” The new venture is being called La Liga North America and will be run by former Televisa and Univision executive Boris Gartner. Media rights are expected to be La Liga North America’s biggest revenue driver, capitalizing on La Liga’s premier status and North America’s lucrative sports and media market.
3. With the new NFL season weeks away, it appears that a mutually agreed upon national anthem policy will not be ironed out by the time opening day is here. According to The Undefeated, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith noted that despite the league’s eagerness to get this situation worked out, “the union would support maintaining the current standstill throughout the season.” Smith has been pleased with the way talks have been going between the two sides but has “no interest in meeting a contrived deadline.” The complex matters of the national anthem issue, directly involving race relations and social justice, mean that the problem requires both time and trust to work through. NFL officials have spoken with veteran players about their reasons for protesting, seeking guidance for what to do next. “This is one of the first times where [the league has] tried to seek a mutual solution,” Smith said. “I think it’s positive.” Positive progress is great, but the NFL really needs to find a solution ASAP so that season opening headlines concern the game on the field, not the lingering anthem issue.
4. The decision to legalize sports betting in New Jersey has proven to be more successful than initially expected. According to the Asbury Park Press, over the first 45 days of sports betting in the state, a total of $57.1 million had been wagered. In July, the first full month of legal gambling, sports book produced $3.8 million in gross revenue from $40.7 million in wagers; those numbers compare to $3.5 million in gross revenue generated from $16.4 million in wagers placed in June. The FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands Racetrack, which opened on July 14, generated a state-best $1,357,477 in gross revenues over this period, producing an average daily revenue of $75,415 through the end of July – “by far the best in the state.” The Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill, previously the top-producing sports book during the final 17 days of June after becoming the first sports book to accept wagers on June 14, “saw its number tumble dramatically.” Monmouth Park “had gross revenues of $856,280 for July, compared with $2,279,166 for the second half of June.” What was near universally feared has become a win-win situation for sports fans, sportsbooks, and state tax coffers alike.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at Juventus has had a ripple effect well beyond Italy and Europe. According to SportsBusiness Journal, late last month ESPN had already been in control of about “90% of Serie A inventory” for this upcoming season, but when the news broke that Ronaldo would be heading to Turin, Italy, the network pushed to increase its media rights share of Italian soccer matches. “Originally we were going to take a big portion of the package but not the entire package,” said ESPN Executive VP Burke Magnus of purchasing Serie A rights from IMG. “Ronaldo’s decision got us interested in a comprehensive rights agreement. With him there, we wanted to have control of 100% of the inventory.” From there, ESPN inked a three-year, $165 million deal to acquire the U.S. media rights to all 390 Serie A games. Previously, beIN Sports had controlled the rights and was paying around $28 million per year for the past three years. Ronaldo is now the Tiger Woods of Serie A – capable of moving media rights in a single bound.
6. The Columbus Crew are one step closer to relocating to Austin after the Texas city approved a deal to build a soccer-specific stadium. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the Austin City Council voted 7-4 in favor of a deal with Crew owner Precourt Sports Ventures to privately finance and construct a $200 million, 20,000-seat stadium at the McKalla Place site “in exchange for the city-owned land.” In clearing this hurdle, which has proven nearly insurmountable for MLS-hopeful Miami, the ownership group hopes to move the Crew to Austin in time for the 2019 season. The move cannot be officially announced yet because “Crew Chair Anthony Precourt and MLS are ensnarled in lawsuits in Ohio.” Construction of the new stadium will take approximately two years, so the team would need to find a temporary site to play until the project is finished. Among the options currently being considered are a facility owned by the University of Texas, the Dell Diamond – home to the Triple-A PCL Round Rock Express – and Texas State’s Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos. But first, amends must be made with Columbus.
7. A recent proposal from Elon Musk’s Boring Co. would be of huge aid to the Los Angeles Dodgers if approved. According to the Los Angeles Times, Musk’s tunneling company made a proposal to build a 3.6-mile tunnel, called the Dugout Loop, that would take fans directly to Dodger Stadium. The underground tunnel would be capable of transporting about 1,400 people per event, helping to reduce the amount of game day traffic funneling toward Dodger Stadium. Fans would access the Dugout Loop from one of three Metro Red Line stations and arrive at the stadium in less than four minutes. Construction on the 14-month project will not begin until the proposal is fully approved. The service is expected to run one way since only one tunnel is planning on being constructed; fans will “pile into 8- to 16-passenger pods, which will whisk them through the tunnel.” The Boring Co., founded in December 2016 by Musk, chose Dodger Stadium because “the game times and the direction people were going provided a tangible way of being able to solve a traffic problem.” However, this is pie-in-the-sky Musk, so Dodger fans shouldn’t hold their breath.
8. Tokyo 2020 to use NEC for facial recognition system. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the first edition of the multi-sport event to use facial recognition technology to increase security around all venues. Games organizers have teamed up with Japanese telecommunications and information technology giant NEC to develop the system, which is built around an artificial intelligence engine called NeoFace. The technology will be used to identify over 300,000 people at the event, including athletes, volunteers, media, and other staff, all of whom will be required to submit photographs to a database before the Olympics start in July, 2020. The system will use IC chips within identification cards to automatically verify the identity of people entering Games venues. The aim of the system is to speed up the security process to ensure people are not spending long periods of time waiting in the heat. If temperatures match what Japan has experienced so far this summer, the Games are on course to be the hottest Olympics in more than a century.
9. Yao Ming holds seventh annual charity basketball game. The Yao Foundation, initiated by former NBA player Yao Ming, held its 7th charity game in Dalian, Liaoning Province, on August 12. The first edition of the Yao Ming charity game took place in 2007, with previous games held in Beijing, Taipei, Dongguan, Shanghai, Fuzhou, and Hong Kong. For the 2018 game, Yao invited seven professional basketball players who are now playing or used to play in the NBA to form a USA team, competing with the Chinese all-star team. The American team included Kevin Love, Jayson Tatum, Markelle Fultz, Lauri Markkanen, De’Aaron Fox, Gary Payton II, and Langston Morris-Walker. Yao was not just a celebrity face for the game, but actually contributed a tremendous amount of time to the charity. He went to China’s rural areas to learn more about the difficulties faced by left-behind children, taught them basketball skills, and called for more people, including some fastidious stars, to join his charity efforts. His speech before the charity game expressed the goal of his foundation – to build the human spirit through sports.
10. Cowboys star Jaylon Smith announces new charity. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith has teamed up with the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne and Parkview Sports Med to help battle childhood obesity through his new program “Active Science.” The program instantly grew legs, with hundreds of children having now participated. “With ‘Active Science,’ the overall objective of having better physical activity along with gaining knowledge and wisdom aligns with everything I stand for,” Smith said. And he is taking his giving nature to the next level in 2018. Smith is launching a new branch of his Clear Eye View Charitable Fund that will focus specifically on preparing underprivileged youth in the arena of business ownership. “If you know me, you know how passionate I am about entrepreneurship and helping to close the economic gap, helping to give minority children equal opportunity,” he said. “That’s why I’m so excited to announce that my CEV Charitable Fund will be launching the Jaylon Smith Minority Entrepreneurship Institute.” The program will provide funding, strategic planning, and mentoring for minority entrepreneurs.