Ian Thomas

Friday Five: NBA’s Ralph Rivera On Playing Games In Paris

  • The NBA is playing its first-ever regular season game in Paris this season - and has already announced plans to play another in 2021.
  • The league has specifically targeted France as a growth market, a country that already supplies the league with star players like Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.

The NBA will play its first regular-season game in Paris today, as the Charlotte Hornets will play the Milwaukee Bucks in the French capital. While it’s the first time the league is playing a game outside of London since the NBA began playing regular-season games in Europe in 2011, it won’t take long for the league to return – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced yesterday that another game would be played in Paris in 2021. What has attracted the NBA […]

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Jägermeister Lines Up Another Shot With The NHL

  • Jägermeister has renewed its U.S. sponsorship deal with the NHL, remaining as the league's official shot.
  • The new deal will see the herbal liqueur continue to activate at the league's biggest events like the Winter Classic, as well as add a number of new team-level deals across the NHL.

After giving a league-level partnership a shot last season, Jägermeister is aiming to go deeper into hockey thanks to a new multi-year partnership with the NHL. “We knew that we wanted to create a larger footprint within the NHL fan base to increase opportunities for those memorable toastable moments and hockey drinking occasions,” said Chris Peddy, Mast-Jägermeister U.S. chief marketing officer. “Hockey fans were very receptive and excited by the NHL and Jägermeister partnership, so we’ve created additional opportunities to […]

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As Sports Properties Grow On Twitter, Twitter Sports Aims To Grow Alongside Them

  • The nine-member Twitter Sports team works with nearly every U.S.-based broadcaster, league, and team within the sports industry.
  • Forging deep bonds with properties has enabled Twitter to maintain its positon as one of the most important platforms for sports properties.

Having the second-most followed Twitter account in college football with more than 948,000 followers, Clemson University has developed a strong bond with the Twitter Sports team. There are some simple benefits to that relationship, according to Jonathan Gantt, Clemson’s associate athletic director for creative solutions. “A basketball player had their account hacked, and I was able to get a response from the Twitter Sports team in less than five minutes; that’s a big deal,” Gantt said, who oversees the digital […]

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Chance The Rapper Adding Comedic Touch To NHL Player Interviews

  • A Saturday Night Live skit featured Chance the Rapper as clueless rinkside hockey reporter Lazlo Holmes went viral in November 2017, prompting the NHL to try to further capture that excitement.
  • The Holmes character has featured on NBC Sports broadcasts so far this season, with his interviews of players garnering nearly six million video views thus far.

In November 2017, the NHL received a request from Saturday Night Live to use NHL team logos and NHL footage in an upcoming skit. After reviewing the request, the league allowed for the usage and waited to see what would happen next. “We knew it was coming and knew some fun was going to be poked at us, but we knew it was going to be fun and presented in good nature so we were fine with that – I […]

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Five Questions With FOS: ESPN Radio’s Beth Faber

There have never been more ways for a fan to consume sports than there is today. However, one of the original ways to consume live games remains popular: on the radio. Amid all of the changes brought forth by digital and social media, ESPN Radio has continued to hold its own as the nation’s largest sports radio network. More than 32 million listeners tune in each week, and the broader ESPN Audio division captures half of all sports listenership. Within […]

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Five Questions With FOS: Nike’s Ron Faris

Want to better understand how Nike wants to ramp up its sales straight to shoppers? The best place to start might be at New York City’s South Street Seaport. That is the new home of Nike’s s23NYC Digital Studio, a group of engineers, designers, data scientists, marketers and operators that are being tasked with finding innovative ways to connect with the company’s most dedicated consumers. The s23NYC team began three years ago and has operated Nike’s highly successful SNKRS app, […]

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FOS Exclusive

NWHL Closes New Funding Round, Sets Sights On More Growth

  • The NWHL has closed on a round of equity funding, which now brings the number of total investors in the league to more than 20.
  • The league has seen signficiant growth alongside its fifth season, including its first revenue-generating media rights deal and the sale of its Boston franchise.

The NWHL has closed a new round of equity funding that the league said will ensure its viability and growth for future seasons to come. The round was led by Andy Scurto, an insurance and IT entrepreneur who was the founder of insurance software firm ISCS which he sold for $160 million in 2017. The league now has more than 20 investors, including Texas Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman, former New Jersey Devils co-owner Michal Gilfillan, PaySafe Group Vice Chairman Joel […]

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NWHL Gets Assist From New Twitch Deal

  • The NWHL signed a three-year exclusive live-streaming partnership with Twitch, which brings all of the league’s games and programming to the platform.
  • Streaming on Twitch is also allowing the NWHL to more deeply engage fans around the games.

The NWHL is seeing early success on Twitch in the first year of its deal with the platform. The fourteen NWHL games streamed on Twitch in October averaged 67,790 viewers each. There were 949,065 viewers across all games combined. “Our expectations are always high, but viewership this first month surpassed our expectations,” said NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan. “Twitch is the largest sports streaming platform in the world, so that has brought before a large and new audience, and the management […]

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Biofreeze Using Sports Marketing To Follow Same Path As Gatorade

  • Prior to 2016, Biofreeze was only sold in clinical channels and used on sidelines by doctors and trainers.
  • Now sold at retail at stores like Target and Walmart, Biofreeze is using sports marketing and partnerships with teams like the Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors to increase its relevancy and sales.

It may be hard to believe now given its ubiquity in sports, but at one point in time, Gatorade was a drink that while trusted on the sidelines was not nearly as relevant in the eyes of consumers. Biofreeze, the pain-relief gel, sees itself in a position not far from where Gatorade was in the 1960s, with the potential for the same sort of trajectory. “It feels similar to the Gatorade model from 30 years ago,” said Michael McGoohan, chief […]

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Professional Fighters League Punching Above Its Weight Class In Year Two

  • The Professional Fighters League is the first MMA organization to be structured like a traditional sports league with a regular season, knock-out playoff rounds and a winner-take-all championship.
  • The PFL has been a hit thus far in the eyes of investors and fans, raising more than $58 million and drawing more than 200,000 viewers for its broadcasts this season.

In July 2016, venture capitalist Donn Davis was sitting at his desk reading the press release that announced UFC was being sold for approximately $4 billion to a grounp led by the Hollywood talent agency WME-IMG, now known as Endeavor. At the time, Davis didn’t consider himself a big mixed martial arts fan. Regardless, there were always a few times a year that he found himself buying a pay-per-view for a fight: “It’s just great theatre,” he said. But, Davis […]

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