03/17/20: The NFL will no longer host public events in Las Vegas for the NFL Draft

 

 

Tuesday March 17, 2020

As casinos close their doors on the Las Vegas Strip, the NFL made its decision on the upcoming NFL Draft formal, and will alter its plans for the 2020 NFL Draft as a result of the coronavirus, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced. While the clubs’ selection of players will proceed as scheduled from April 23-25, the live, public events that had been slated will now be cancelled. The NFL is exploring “innovative” options for how the process will be conducted and will provide that information as it becomes available. “This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” said Commissioner Goodell. “While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”

PROGRAMMING

ESPN lined up more than 13 hours of live NFL Free Agency specials through Wednesday. Wendi Nix (through Wed), Suzy Kolber (Tue) and Trey Wingo (Wed) all host back-to-back editions of NFL SportsCenter Special: NFL Free Agency Countdown at 3p on ESPN. Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen, Josina Anderson and Dianna Russini will report on player signings, trades and more, while Tedy Bruschi, Booger McFarland, Louis Riddick and Mike Tannenbaum will provide expert analysis and front office insight. Additionally, ESPN’s Ryan Clark, Dan Graziano, Dan Orlovsky and Marcus Spears will offer analysis on NFL Free Agency during editions of Get Up and First Take.

Major League Baseball is now push Opening Day into mid-May at the earliest after Sunday’s recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control. MLB reports that Commissioner Rob Manfred conducted a conference call on Monday with all 30 Clubs. “We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts, and urge all baseball fans to follow suit,” MLB said in the statement. “MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.”

The International Olympic Committee will not implement a closed doors policy at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics despite the coronavirus outbreak, according to The Guardian, which noted an IOC source stating that a closed doors approach that kept out live audiences was already rejected in internal IOC meetings

The WTA announced more cancellations due to the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak, including its tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague will not be held as scheduled. “At this point in time, the WTA Tour is now suspended until May 2. We will make a decision in the week ahead regarding the remaining WTA European clay court events and will continue to monitor this situation closely and its impact on the 2020 WTA Tour season.”

The NHRA is also downshifting, telling fans that it was shutting down its drag racing for 30 days as a result of the virus. This suspension includes events at all NHRA-owned tracks and any NHRA-sanctioned events such as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. “We intend at this time to resume the original schedule on April 17-19 in Houston, and continue thereafter, subject to developments in the interim. The spring Las Vegas event is postponed with new dates TBD. Please go to LVMS.com for information if you have purchased tickets for the postponed event.”

The IOC boxing task force decided to suspend the current boxing Road to Tokyo European Qualifier in London, as well as the subsequent Americas and final world qualifiers, which were scheduled to take place in May.

Golf media personality Nikki Bondura is joining instructor Martin Hall as a guest co-host for GOLF Channel’s studio instruction show, School of Golf, beginning with a new world premiere episode tonight at 7p. Bondura will be filling in for regular co-host Blair O’Neal, who is on maternity leave.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association made a joint donation of $1 million to help fight hunger as a result of school closures and quarantines stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The donation will be split evenly among Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America. Feeding America will distribute funds to local member food banks in high need areas across the United States to help feed children and families impacted by current, and potentially extended, school closures and other disruptions as a result of the epidemic. Meals on Wheels America will use the emergency funds to boost the organizational capacity of the network to provide in-home meals to vulnerable senior citizens during this time of crisis.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The European Volleyball Confederation locked in a long-term betting streaming and data rights deal with IMG Arena for events spanning volleyball, beach volleyball and snow volleyball. Advisers Media International, the independent sports rights distribution company, brokered the agreement on behalf of the CEV and has retained all betting category sponsorship rights for all CEV events.

ESPORTS

The U.S. Soccer Federation opened the doors to the USeNT Open 2020, a fully-online qualifying tournament designed to select the U.S. eNational Team representatives for the FIFA eNations Cup 2020 online qualifiers. U.S. Soccer will host the online tournament on March 28-29, with the PS4 and Xbox winners forming the two-player squad which will represent the United States during FIFA eNations Cup 2020 qualifying and other national team events.

DreamHack and ESL saw TV 2 Norway pick up Norwegian media rights for the ESL Pro Tour, the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) circuit, linking more than 20 tournaments and leagues. TV 2 Norway’s new CS:GO season broadcasts will start in March 2020, broadcasting the top CS:GO matches in the world from DreamHack and ESL’s ESL Pro Tour — including the ESL Pro League and major tournaments.

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is launching free daily “Community Club” sessions for students that will continue as needed. The interactive online gatherings will provide fun activities, socialization with friends, development of game skills, and insights into the careers and lives of professionals working in the esports industry, according to the announcement

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association reached an agreement to not subject players to drug testing during the coronavirus hiatus, according to Yahoo Sports. Players typically undergo “six random, unannounced urine drug tests during each season and off-season,” as stated in Article XXXIII of the collective bargaining agreement.

David Aufhauser was named CEO of NeuroTrainer, a San Francisco-based cognitive training platform that enables athletes to train their minds and achieve new levels of human performance. The company allows athletes to step inside a virtual reality training neuro-gym and engage in “challenging brain exercises that generate relevant, personalized real-time neuroanalytic feedback to improve individual performance.” Clients include teams in the NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS and NCAA. Aufhauser will be tasked with growing the company.

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On This Day
2002: WrestleMania XVIII takes place in Toronto.

In the Know
Which country has produced the most Formula One World Championship winning drivers? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
What was the name of Dwayne Johnson’s character on Ballers? Answer: Spencer Stasmore. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Keith Marder-Halstead Real Estate/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Art Salisch-Nielsen/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Travis Wacker-ESPN Chicago/Chicago; Sean Dennison-Fire Football Club/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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