With X Game Minneapolis 2019 set from August 1-4 at U.S. Bank Stadium, ESPN is putting the finishing touches on its sponsor roster Wendy’s is joining returning sponsors Hotels.com, Monster Energy, Nexcar First Aid Products, Pacifico, SoFi, The Real Cost and Harley-Davidson. Geico will once again serve as the official music stage sponsor. The packages include a media presence within the 18 hours of coverage scheduled on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC and the ESPN App, as well as content creation and on-site activation at the event.
Liverpool FC is partnering with Electronic Arts in a new long-term partnership that will see EA SPORTS become the club’s official football simulation game partner, ahead of the launch of EA SPORTS FIFA 20, available worldwide in September. The partnership will see the club and EA SPORTS work together to create content.
World TeamTennis, which began its 44th season on July 14, inked international streaming deals. In China, coverage of all of the eight-team circuit’s 59 regular-season matches will be available in China for the first time through video hosting service Youku’s website. In Latin America, Claro Sports and its digital brand, MARCA Claro will air seven WTT matches.
Yahoo! Sports launched short-from docuseries Play it Forward, providing looks at NFL players and how they give back. Produced by Bright Bay Creative, in association with Complex Networks, the 11-minute episode premiere on Yahoo! Sports on Mondays and Thursdays over an eight-week stretch affording a look at different players during offseason training. Among those under the spotlight: Antonio Brown, Kirk Cousins and Nick Chubb.
With home games in the cards for its third season, Overwatch League mapped out a slate of changes that will occur in its schedule in 2020, including a realignment of its divisions. The Atlantic Conference will now see a North Division comprising the Boston Uprising, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, Paris Eternal, and Toronto Defiant. The South Division will house the Atlanta Reign, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, Philadelphia Fusion, and Washington Justice. The Pacific Conference, meanwhile, sees an East Division made up of the Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, Shanghai Dragons, and Seoul Dynasty, while the West Division features the Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Valiant, Los Angeles Gladiators, San Francisco Shock, and Vancouver Titans. Scheduling will see 52 homestand weekend events hosted at venues across the world, with each team hosting a pair. On top of those, teams in each division will also collectively host three additional regular-season events in their home territories and play 28 matches over the course of the regular season.
100 Thieves locked up its Series B funding round, raising $35 million for the team. Investment was led by Artist Capital Management with Josh Dienstag, its Chief Investment Officer, joining 100 Thieves’ board of directors. In addition, the round included investment from Aglaé Ventures. 100 Thieves will leverage the capital to fund esports, apparel, and content.
ReKTGlobal is shoring up its executive ranks, adding Michael “ODEE” O’Dell as Chief Gaming Officer. In addition, the company announced that Kevin Knocke had been promoted to Chief Creative Officer. O’Dell joins after serving as GM of Dignitas, which he founded in in 2003. In his new role, O’Dell will work across ReKTGlobal, its Riot Games League of Legends European Championship franchise in Berlin and subsidiaries Rogue and Greenlit Content, developing strategy, forging client partnerships and brand sponsorships, and working with the organizational heads to add value globally.
Bill Rasmussen, who founded ESPN in 1979, has revealed that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014. He had elected to keep the news private, but in recent years the symptoms have begun to show and he wrote on ESPN’s Front Row website that he is now committed to advocating for research, treatment and support for others similarly afflicted. As part of his outreach, the now 86-year-old will throw out the first pitch of the Sunday Night Baseball game between the Red Sox and Yankees at Fenway Park on Sept. 8, along with ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro. Rasmussen has also scheduled visits with the sports programmer’s employees in Charlotte, New York, Los Angeles and its headquarters in Bristol. Conn.
NBC Sports Northwest has hired veteran sports writer Joe Fann as an NFL and Seattle Seahawks Insider. The Seattle native will cover the Seahawks, creating multiplatform content throughout the year. Reports on the squad’s coaches and players and league news will appear on the regional sports network’s air, website and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app social media; and podcasts.
New Hampshire will allow for sports betting on mobile devices, as well at 10 retail locations. The wagering — on professional sports and Division 1 college sports, save for those within the state — is expected to generate an $7.5 million for education in fiscal 2021 and $13.5 million two years later. The state’s lottery commission will regulate the new industry.
Rays/Yankees in The Bronx on ESPN at 7p.