The Dallas Cowboys made NFL history after locking in a partnership with a casino to become the league’s first franchise to partner with a company in the category. The Cowboys unveiled a new sponsorship deal with WinStar World Casino and resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma, located about than 100 miles from Dallas. The venue will now have exclusive access to Dallas Cowboys’ logos and branding. A Nielsen survey from the American Gaming Association projected that the league could drum up $2.3 billion per year in additional revenue from bets placed on games and from gambling sponsorship deals.
UFC continues to lock up new partnerships, this time announcing a new marketing deal with Oscar Mayer that names P3 Portable Protein Packs as “Official Protein Snack” of UFC, creating a new, exclusive sponsorship category for the MMA promotion. Under the terms of this partnership, P3 will have a branded presence inside the Octagon at select UFC events for the remainder of the year. Additional partnership activations will include the integration of P3 branding throughout UFC’s telecasts, digital media campaigns, and Fight Week integrations. At select participating retail locations, P3 displays will feature images of UFC athletes and official UFC logos at point of sale.
Spartan and Rakuten entered a global partnership designating Rakuten as the exclusive Global Innovation Partner and “Powered by” partner of the obstacle race and endurance brand. Rakuten branding will be integrated throughout Spartan’s global ecosystem of events, digital advertising, content and merchandise. The brand will become the official kit sponsor for the Spartan Pro Team. The finisher shirts, worn by more than one million annual Spartan participants at competitions around the world, will now feature the Rakuten logo, kicking off on Sept. 29 at the 2018 Spartan World Championship Powered by Rakuten.
Delta Air Lines announced plans to bring back its Seattle Seahawks fan engagement program for a third season. Launched during the 2016 season, 12status rewards Seahawks fans for the team’s performance on the field with miles through the Delta SkyMiles program and other perks. More than 140 million miles were awarded in the first two seasons of 12status. During the 2018 season, Seahawks fans who sign up for 12status will receive one mile for every Seahawks passing yard during regular and postseason games at home and on the road. Members will also receive Priority Boarding on all Delta flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport during the 2018 season.
WizKids inked a new multi-year licensing partnership with WWE, with plans to bring the organization’s iconic Superstars to the tabletop with successful gaming platforms HeroClix and Dice Masters as well as branded board games. The partnership will bring the likeness of popular WWE Superstars to several gaming platforms with the first release is slated to hit shelves in 2019.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and GumGum Sports agreed to a multi-year partnership for the new season that will see the team utilize GumGum Sports’ f”ull valuation suite to assure the most complete measurement is conducted for their partners.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers will hold their first-ever Digital Bobblehead Night on Sept. 21 where fans will have the opportunity to download a Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner or Kenley Jansen Crypto token, the team announced. The promotion is the first of its kind in Major League Baseball, and believed to be the first Crypto giveaway in sports. The first 40,000 ticketed fans in attendance will receive a card with a unique code and directions to a website where a digital bobblehead can be unlocked and added to their Ethereum wallet.
Lockheed Martin and Drone Racing League announced an innovation competition, challenging teams to develop artificial intelligence technology that will enable an autonomous drone to race a pilot-operated drone – and win. Participating teams will compete in a series of challenges for their share of over $2 million in prizes. The AlphaPilot Innovation Challenge will enlist university students, technologists, coders and drone enthusiasts to push the boundaries of AI, machine learning (ML) and fully autonomous flight. The challenge will open for entries in November with selected participants eligible for over $2 million in cash prizes, including an extra $250,000 award for the first team that outperforms a professional DRL human-piloted drone.
Bleacher Report is launching a new series featuring Chris Simms and Adam Lefkoe. The weekly NFL focused video series – Simms & Lefkoe: The Show – runs on B/R social, the award-winning B/R app and YouTube. The series will include an array of guests, including both current and former players/coaches, such as Sam Darnold, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson and Sean McVay. B/R hired industry veteran Todd Pellegrino as executive producer of the new series.
IBM partnered with ESPN to bring the first ever Watson-powered fantasy football experience to the ESPN Fantasy app. Fantasy football team owners can now use artificial intelligence to “help make better roster decisions such as setting weekly line ups, acquiring players from the waiver wire, and evaluating trades to increase the chances of fielding winning teams.” Watson can read 3,000 different fantasy football-related sources every hour to help players make better decisions.
Twitter and the NFL kicked off the 2018 season by announcing a new lineup of NFL Media shows to stream live on Twitter all season long. These include The Checkdown, streaming on Twitter every Thursday and Sunday from 7:45-8:15p.
Continuing the theme, Yahoo Sports is launching “Yahoo Fantasy Slate” a weekly mobile trivia contest within the Yahoo Sports app in which users can answer prediction-based questions about upcoming games and sports-related pop culture events. The questions in Yahoo Fantasy Slate will be curated by Yahoo Sports’ editorial team with topical content designed to spark debates and discussion among sports fans.
Rachel Demita signed with Overtime to collaborate on new shows and live coverage for the sports-media startup. The 28-year-old DeMita has 1.4 million followers on Instagram and hundreds of thousands on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. She’s the host of NBA 2KTV, the digital show for the “NBA 2K” video game series published by Take-Two Interactive.
The Players’ Tribune and Snap Inc. announced today the launch of a new, 12-episode Show, Best of TPT that will feature both current and former athletes from the NFL, NBA and other sports. Current and former athletes that will appear in the series include Damon “Snacks” Harrison (New York Giants), Keith Smith (Oakland Raiders), Isaac Yiadom (Denver Broncos), Rashaan Evans (Tennessee Titans), DeMarco Murray (retired), Miles Austin (retired), Isaac Whitney (Oakland Raiders), Marcus Maye (New York Jets) and Cam Jordan (New Orleans Saints).
The Overwatch League confirmed plans to finalize expansion ahead of season two, announcing an additional six teams that would join Atlanta and Guangzhou as new teams for the league. The additions include Chengdu, Hangzhou, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C. for an overall total of 20 total teams—nine of them outside of the United States. The ownership groups for the new franchises include the Aquilini Group for the Vancouver slot; Bilibili for Hangzhou; DM Esports overseeing the Paris franchise; HUYA Inc operating the team in Chengdu, China; OverActive Media owning the team in Toronto and Washington Esports Ventures taking on the team in DC.
Following a report from VPEsports that the H1Z1 Pro League, created through a partnership between Twin Galaxies and the Daybreak Game Company, was struggling to fulfill contractual obligations and that the second split for the season would no longer begin on Oct. 3 (postponed until early 2019), NantWorks announced a strategic investment in Daybreak Game Company that will see the company assume control and management of the current PC H1Z1 Battle Royale game. Jace Hall, Chairman of Twin Galaxies, and Vision Entertainment, posted that the new partnership would help rectify issues with the H1Z1 Pro League. In addition, game producers noted that the league is still targeted to return in 2019.
The Rocket League World Championship will return to the US this season with Psyonix locking in Orleans Arena in Las Vegas to host the Season Six finals. Season six got underway this past weekend. In the announcement, Psyonix noted that the event, running Nov. 9-11 will follow the online Regional Championships with the best ten teams in the world competing for their share of the largest RLCS prize pool yet, $1,000,000.
Turn 10 Studios posted that this year’s Forza Racing Championship will bring its championship race to London from Oct. 20-21 at Gfinity Esports Arena. Competition gearing up with the ForzaRC Series 2 Playoffs taking place in Mexico City from Sept. 29-30, where the top 36 ForzaRC drivers will compete. After the Playoffs, the top 24 drivers will have the chance to move on to the Forza Racing World Championship 2018.
The NBA 2K League announced that Jazz Gaming won the NBA 2K League Draft Lottery and will have the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft. Warriors Gaming Squad will have the second overall pick, and Kings Guard Gaming will have the third overall pick. Additionally, the affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks won the NBA 2K League Expansion Draft Lottery, which was also conducted today at the NBA office in New York City, and will have the first overall pick in the first NBA 2K League Expansion Draft. The affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets will have the second overall pick in the expansion draft, the affiliate of the Minnesota Timberwolves will have the third overall pick in the expansion draft, and the affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers will have the fourth overall pick in the expansion draft. The expansion draft will be held Sept. 24, the four expansion teams will each select two players from the non-protected player pool.
ISM Raceway announced the promotion of two executives. Jonathan Stone has been promoted to Senior Director of Corporate Sales and Mark Bailey will move into the newly created role of Senior Manager of Corporate Sales and Hospitality.
ONE Championship appointed Hari Vijayarajan as its new Chief Business Development Officer. In his role, Vijayarajan will help to increase ONE Championship’s scalability and growth across all key markets.
MNF on ESPN delivers a double dose, with Jets/Lions opening at 7p, followed by Rams/Raiders at 10:20p.