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BreakingT: Breaking the Sports Memorabilia Mold

The company is hoping to capitalize on the real-time shirt making opportunities around the MLB All-Star Game.

John Collins

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If BreakingT sounds like breaking news, there may be a specific reason.

“That’s pretty much what we’re doing here at BreakingT,” said company president Jamie Mottram, who is urging all rabid sports fans to #WearTheMoment. “We’re the For The Win (popular sports blog) for apparel. It’s all timely, trending, following the big storyline and based on whatever is in the zeitgeist at the time.”

BreakingT is a sports apparel company dedicated to making teams, players, and great sports moments relevant in fun and clever ways, giving fans a unique method to celebrate their favorite moments from the game.

Actually, Mottram’s involvement in the company came about rather serendipitously. With a strong background in digital media and content marketing, Mottram is a veteran in the sports media industry. As the creator of For The Win, FanHouse, and many other popular sports blogs, Mottram emphasized that he, “has always been in content. Now, it’s just bringing that content generation to the commerce side…”

Mottram is focused on using his previous experience to “disrupt the multi-billion dollar sports merchandise industry with a social data-driven, real-time approach…operating like a newsroom.”

The innovative sports apparel company is redefining the industry by consistently churning out new, topical t-shirts almost instantaneously. The company is able to do this faster and more effectively than others because of licenses with MLB Players Association, NBA Players Association, and others.

“They’ve been great partners,” Mottram said. “They see the tees as adding to the marketing of the game, adding shelf life to sports biggest moments.”

That successful marketing and injection of unique sports moments into the conversation is precisely what happens in what Mottram described as the ideal scenario for BreakingT.

“The ultimate goal, as a brand, is to create something that fans like, the players and teams that inspired the design want to wear … and suddenly our tees become part of the cultural conversation and moment.”

Take one look at its website, and you’ll see that BreakingT has been able to do this, as players like Justin Verlander, Jose Altuve, and the entire San Francisco Giants roster have been shown in the news rocking their designs. That, in turn, gets covered by the media, and gives the sports moment and story a much longer tail.

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While BreakingT emphasizes creating timely, topical designs, Mottram did mention that they have to walk a fine line. “Yes, we focus on the moment, but also ‘how will this wear over time?’ Our shirts aren’t designed to be a one-time, immediately outdated purchase; we want our shirts to become closet staples, a fan’s favorite tee memorializing a great memory.”

It’s that dedication to producing something meaningful and lasting that is behind BreakingT’s product quality, vintage designs, and well-thought-out styling. Yes, most of the company’s sales happen in the first 24-48 hours, but unlike the deluge of more basic, novelty tees that pop up outside the stadium or card-tables virally, BreakingT products are built to last.

“There are lots of knock-offs out there; that’s what makes us different. Our shirts are inspired by what’s happening and you’re interested in that moment, but are also stylishly designed and made to be high-quality and enduring,” Mottram said.

Most of BreakingT’s shirts are sold DTC (direct-to-consumer) online, although Mottram was eager to mention a few of the new partnerships with teams and the leagues that are consistently rolling out. Some, like the Giants, Astros, and Nationals have ordered the shirts in bulk, and actually carry them in the stadium with the other standard team and player souvenirs.

One of the more interesting, innovative ideas Mottram mentioned is how BreakingT intends to capitalize on its relationship with the Nationals this year (Capitals…Nationals…do I sense a D.C. theme?).

The company has a pre-existing relationship with the team, and launched its first-ever official BreakingT storefront in the stadium. Nationals Park will also be playing host to MLB’s All-Star Game and Home Run Derby this year, which has provided Mottram and the BreakingT’s team with a unique opportunity to plan an in-stadium, event-based activation where the company will have the ability to create and produce shirts in real time based on the action that day.

“Say Bryce Harper has a great play…or somebody hits an amazing homer…feasibly, we’ll be able to design, print, and sell a tee based on that moment to the very fans at the stadium attending the game.”

Now you’ll be able to get clever, fun souvenirs that encapsulate your favorite, specific memories just as quickly as the next day’s paper. Only, unlike the news, these tees aren’t fake and definitely last.

One of the most important things about the company that Mottram emphasized is that, “Yes, what we do may seem fun and frivolous, but we’re also very serious and passionate.”

Just like the sports they commemorate.

A Communication major from the University of Southern California, with eclectic experience in the sports, business, and the entertainment industry, John Collins is the baseball writer at Front Office Sports. An avid sports fan and highly opinionated writer, John is of the firm belief that Bull Durham is far superior to Field of Dreams and looks forward to you telling him otherwise. Reach out: John@frntofficesport.com any time!

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Kyrie Irving Expected to Sign with Roc Nation

Kyrie Irving is expected to sign with Roc Nation, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Michael McCarthy

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Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving is expected to sign with Roc Nation, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Irving, who was most recently repped by Jeffrey Wechsler of 24/7 Sports Management, joins an NBA client roster at Roc Nation that includes the likes of Kevin Durant, Josh Hart, Justise Winslow, Danny Green and Caris LeVert.

The switch in representation comes on the same day that Irving took the first step toward his prospective free agency this summer.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Irving is not opting into his $21.3 million contract for the 2019-20 season and will become an unrestricted free agent.

By not opting into his contract, Irving can sign with any NBA team when free agency opens on Sunday, June 30th.

If he signs with a team other than the Celtics, he will be eligible to sign a max deal worth $139 million over four years.

If he were to stay with the Celtics, Irving can sign a five-year deal worth $188 million.

An industry source speculated that Roc Nation could be waiving the fees on Irving’s contract in order to retain his marketing rights.

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Meet the WNBA’s New Boss

Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert will become the first commissioner of the WNBA and the first woman to lead a Big Four professional services firm in the U.S.

Front Office Sports

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else.

For the first time ever, the WNBA will have a commissioner. Before now, all of the league’s previous leaders like Val Ackerman and Lisa Borders were given the title of president. 

Cathy Engelbert, the current CEO of Deloitte, will take control of the role on July 17th and will report directly to Adam Silver. 

What should you know?

1. By the time she is done at Deloitte, Engelbert will have spent more time at the company (33 years) than the WNBA has been a league (23 years)

2. Engelbert is the first female to lead a Big Four professional services firm in the U.S.

3. She is the fifth person to lead the league after Val Ackerman (1997-2005), Donna Orender (2005-10), Laurel Richie (2011-15) and Lisa Borders (2016-2018)

4. Engelbert has spent the past four years in charge of Deloitte’s U.S. operation.

Basketball is in her blood…

Although she might be an accountant by trade, Engelbert is no stranger to the game of basketball. 

According to Bob Hille of Sporting News, she played at Lehigh for Hall of Fame coach Muffet McGraw and was a team captain as a senior. Her father Kurt also played and was drafted in 1957 by the Pistons.

What are they saying?

“Cathy is a world-class business leader with a deep connection to women’s basketball, which makes her the ideal person to lead the WNBA into its next phase of growth. The WNBA will benefit significantly from her more than 30 years of business and operational experience including revenue generation, sharp entrepreneurial instincts and proven management abilities.” – Adam Silver on the hiring of Engelbert

“I think that’s probably one of the reasons I was selected for this role, to come in and bring a business plan to build the WNBA into a real business and a thriving business, quite frankly.” – Engelbert to ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel

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Adam Silver Wants More Gender Diversity

The NBA commissioner states his desire to get more women into the sports industry. The NBA currently has a 31.6 percent ratio of women in team management.

Front Office Sports

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Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else. 

If Adam Silver has his way, 50 percent of the new incoming NBA officials will be women.

That number applies to coaches too, Silver said speaking at the Economic Club of Washington.

How do the leagues stack up?

The following numbers, outside of MLB, come from 2018 reports put together by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida. MLB is the first league to have a report done on it this year.

1. NBA – 31.6% of team management are women / 37.2% of team professional admins are women

2. NFL – 22.1% of team senior admins are women / 35% of team professional admins are women

3. MLB – 28.6% of team senior admins are women / 26% of team professional admins are women

4. MLS – 26.5% of team senior admins are women / 31.6% of team professional admins are women

5. WNBA – 48.6% of team VPs and above are women / 58% of team managers to senior directors are women

6. NHL – No report done

Quotes from Silver… 

“It’s an area, frankly, where I’ve acknowledged that I’m not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long. Because it’s an area of the game where physically, certainly, there’s no benefit to being a man, as opposed to a woman, when it comes to refereeing.”

“The goal is going forward, it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league. Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.”

That’s not all Silver wants to see change…

Silver, who has been adamant about getting rid of the one-and-done rule, provided some clarity as to when that might be achieved.

According to the commissioner, the 2022 NBA Draft will likely be the first one since the 2005 NBA Draft to allow high school players to go straight into the league rather than playing a season in college first.

Citing “active discussions” with the NBPA, Silver noted that they are still “a few years away.”

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