The National Hockey League and the NHLPA announced plans to partner with the University of Illinois to evaluate the possible addition of hockey as a varsity sport as part of a move that will see the NHLPA and NHL fund feasibility studies exploring the potential of adding NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs at five institutions across the US. Illinois is the first university to participate in the study, which is funded by the Industry Growth Fund, a joint venture between the two organizations to help grow the game of hockey and enhance fan experience.
Meanwhile, the NBA and Basketball Australia announced the official opening of The NBA Global Academy, an elite basketball training center at BA’s Centre of Excellence at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. The NBA Global Academy will serve as the NBA’s hub for top male and female prospects from outside the United States. “Basketball Australia is delighted to partner in this venture, which will enable our world-class coaches and athletes to share their knowledge with the NBA,” said Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Moore. “Our Centre of Excellence has an incredible track record of producing athletes who can compete on the international stage. We are honoured to be hosting The NBA Global Academy and helping to develop promising young talent from around the world.”
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the New York Post that live-streaming games is the future of the NFL. “The thing we have to be careful of is millennials,” Kraft told the outlet. “They don’t watch TV, they don’t have TVs or subscribe to cable. So we have to bring that audience in. Partly it’s done through fantasy games and linking to that. Over-the-top is a great opportunity.” He noted that the league will be “very interested” to see how the games do on Amazon, because it will be on Amazon Prime, a subscriber service.
Twitter reports that there were 3.2 million Tweets about the #NBADraft during the evening of the event. The top Tweeted moments of the night were:
- Celtics select Jayson Tatum #3 overall (7:55 PM ET)
- Lakers select Lonzo Ball #2 overall (7:48 PM ET)
- News breaks that Jimmy Butler is being traded to the Timberwolves (7:53 PM ET)
- Suns select Josh Jackson #4 overall (8:02 PM ET)
Amazon is navigating uncharted waters for Breakaway courtesy of an esports match set for today at noon PT with the Royal Dutch Navy, Red Bull Esports, and AMD. Teams from Echo Fox and Rogue will square off on a battleship to play the game, which will be shown on the Red Bull Esports Twitch channel with giveaw ays of four AMD Ryzen CPUs and a number of Breakaway alpha keys.
McDonald’s is stepping up as a sponsor for the StarCraft 2 World Championship (WCS) eSports Series in Australia, according to AdNews. The deal is limited to the region, but includes s naming, on-ground activations, content integration and branding for activations linked to the event.
YouTube Red announced that Good Game, a new scripted series from Dan Harmon’s Starburns Industries that follows the lives of an esports team vying to move up the ladder, will debut on Aug. 30 on the platform. The series stars Game Grumps’ Dan Avidan and Arin Hanson as well as Michele Morrow.
Mobile title Color Switch is partnering with Skillz to get into esports. “The creation of organizations such as the NFL and NBA began with games that were the most popular of their time,” said Andrew Paradise, CEO and founder of Skillz. “Today, Color Switch is one of the most popular games in history, and with this partnership, we’re excited for it to transcend gaming to become a sport for millions of players and spectators around the world to enjoy.”
Cubs/Nationals on MLB Network at 7p.