The NBA next year will introduce a first-of-its-kind youth basketball tournament for the top boys and girls teams, ages 14 and under, from around the world. The Jr. NBA World Championship will be played Aug. 7-12, 2018 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando. A total of 16 regional champions (eight U.S. teams and eight international squads) will receive all-expenses-paid trips to the event, which NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said represents “another significant step” in the league’s effort to promote youth basketball globally.
WWE owner Vince McMahon is looking into starting another professional football league. McMahon, who in 2001 started the short-lived XFL, is personally funding a separate entity from WWE – Alpha Entertainment – to explore investment opportunities in sports and entertainment, including football. A joint venture between the WWE and NBC, the XFL lasted just one season before NBC canceled its TV contract.
LL Cool J has been confirmed as host of the CBS special ‘MVP: Most Valuable Performer,’ which will air Jan. 25 and feature NFL players whose teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. Jonathan Stewart, AJ Green and Ameer Abdullah are among those who have submitted their talent auditions that include skills and passions such as singing, juggling, magic, archery and more. A fan vote will determine which players will compete in the live one-hour special.
Speedskater J.R. Celski, a three-time Olympic medalist, has signed an endorsement deal to promote Core Power’s high protein milkshakes in concert with the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.
The NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights have started a program, VGK University, which allows hockey fans to experience five film sessions with vice president Murray Craven and director of hockey operations Misha Donskov. The Golden Knights quickly sold out the first 50 spots for the fan-engagement program, which was designed to provide a deeper appreciation for the game, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
DIGITAL & STREAMING
NBC will stream Sunday Night Football games on all mobile devices starting next season, most notably acquiring the rights from the National Football League to stream to mobile phones for the first time. The agreement also allows NBCUniversal to extend those authenticated streaming rights to its cable, satellite and telco partners, as well as virtual multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs). NBC also broadcasts and streams Thursday Night Football.
Professional poker player Fedor Holz has invested in Envy Gaming, Inc., the parent company of TeamEnvyUs and their Overwatch League brand, the Dallas Fuel, according to esportsinsider.com. Holz, 24, is the highest-earning German poker player in history, with almost $27 million in winnings over the past five years.
Minkonet, a Seoul-based gaming technology company, has partnered with PUBG Corp. to deliver 3D replay functionality in the online game, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.” A 360-degree data capture technology powers the 3D replay and Killcam features that will enhance gameplay and discourage cheating in PUBG’s upcoming PC 1.0 release.
Competitive gaming is coming to movie theaters around the U.S. thanks to a partnership between Coke ESports and Hi-Rez Studios. The SMITE World Championship finals will be held Sunday, Jan. 7, and those experiencing the esports action live at a participating theater location will also get exclusive SMITE prizes from Hi-Rez Studios.
Andrew Lustgarten has been promoted to president of The Madison Square Garden Company and will oversee MSG’s entertainment and sports bookings and productions businesses, as well as all aspects of the business operators of the company’s professional sports franchises (including the Knicks, Rangers and Liberty). Lustgarten joined MSG in 2014 as executive vice president of corporate development and strategy, helping to drive MSG’s growth initiatives and expand the portfolio of live experiences.
THE MAIN EVENT
Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks, at 8:00p on NBA TV