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Thuzio Party Brings Insightful Content and Networking to Super Bowl

With a Q&A with Adrian Peterson and David Johnson and an earlier time slot, the Thuzio party offers a home for the company’s partners in Atlanta.

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 02: (L-R) Jared Augustine, Tiki Barber and Drew Rosenhaus arrive at the Thuzio & Rosenhaus Party during Super Bowl weekend at The Exchange & Alibi Lounge on February 2, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Thuzio)

Super Bowl weekend is loaded with parties, but Thuzio looks kick off the weekend with an all-star event.

The sports event and media company will host its invite-only party 7-10 p.m. Friday at SweetWater Brewing Co. in Atlanta. It’s the fifth Super Bowl event for Thuzio, a way to welcome its partners on the ground for the game a way to settle into the weekend, said Thuzio co-founder Jared Augustine. Augustine co-founded Thuzio with former NFL running back Tiki Barber and Mark Gerson.

“We try to have an event that runs 6 to 9 or 7 to 10 Friday, and that’s done on purpose,” Augustine said. “We’re trying to create an upscale networking vibe along with a fun sports experience; we’re not trying to run to 2 a.m.”

While parties hosted by brands like Maxim and Playboy are more geared toward rambunctious partiers, Augustine said the Thuzio party activation has programming that fits the company’s overall brand and message.

Thuzio produces a wide range of sports content for business audiences, and the Super Bowl party is no different. The event will feature a similar live interview held at most of its annual events in 15 cities across the U.S. NFL All-Pro running backs Adrian Peterson and David Johnson will be interviewed live at the event.

READ MORE: Microsoft’s NFL Campaigns Culminate in Super Bowl Week Activation

Augustine said the intention is to offer in-depth documentary-style content with athletes to inspire a business audience.

“We try to pull out inspirational themes from careers that resonate,” he said. “The ‘Legends’ series is kind of what we’re known for, that unfiltered interview style. Our corporate partners have grown to expect that. It’s a bit more abbreviated than normal; it’s easier to do with 150 people in New York than 500 people in Atlanta.”

Hosting the party’s interview will be Adam Lefkoe, the host of Bleacher Report’s “Simms & Lefkoe.” Augustine was high on Lefkoe’s promise as a media personality.

“The reason we have Adam, and anyone on any show we run, is we think they are a fit to both entertain and inspire an audience like ours,” Augustine said. “We think [Adam] is a terrific upcoming media star … and in a business environment, he really shines. He’s an exceptional personality.”

Attendees can also sample a variety of specialty cocktails, beers, and food inspired by the game.

The invite-only event is largely open to Thuzio’s annual partners, but Augustine said Thuzio does work with companies for individual event sponsorship packages, which can be an entryway for longer-term relationships.

READ MORE: Nike Turns App Into Store With First SNKRS Pop-Up in Atlanta

Along with the corporate sponsor invitees, friends and families, the Thuzio parties have seen plenty of NFL talent like Brett Favre, LeSean McCoy, Tyreek Hill, Charles Woodson, Brandon Marshall, Jonathan Ogden, Takeo Spikes, Lance Briggs, Steve Mariucci, and Terrell Davis.

The party has a broad sponsorship base, as well, made up of the broader community that attends the party. One such sponsor is Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which is often involved with Thuzio’s events around foundations.

This event will support Jay Glazer’s Merging Vets & Players. Merging Vets & Players, or MVP, sets out to match combat veterans and former professional athletes together to help transition together.

Augustine said Thuzio simply wants to create a laid-back opportunity to bring together an eclectic group of attendees in Atlanta.

“We’re just trying to create a relatively unique experience, a more intimate experience, but still a lot of fun relative to the other parties this weekend,” he said. “We like this niche we’ve carved out for the weekend.”

Pat Evans is a writer based in Las Vegas, focusing on sports business, food, and beverage. He graduated from Michigan State University in 2012. He's written two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer. Evans can be reached at pat@frntofficesport.com.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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