10/12/20: LeagueApps breaks down how it is leveraging its tech during a pandemic

 

Medias First Morning Read
Monday October 12, 2020

Last week saw news that LeagueApps named Benita Fitzgerald Mosley as the company’s new Head of Community and Impact in addition to serving as the first-ever President of FundPlay. With the appointment, Fitzgerald Mosley will help guide LeagueApps in its commitment to shape a youth sports industry centered by a core belief in the power of equitable sport and a broader societal purpose to make the world a better place for all.” Cynopsis Sports asked Fitzgerald Mosley about her goals and how the program is leveraging its partnerships in a COVID world.

Fitzgerald Mosley on opportunities: We all have likely experienced the power of sport to build life skills that extend beyond the playing field. The pandemic has only accelerated challenges the industry was facing in providing equitable access to sport and the associated benefits for every kid. Our technology platform at LeagueApps, when combined with our community of youth sports organizers and a program like FundPlay, will continue to play a key role in building the youth sports culture we know is needed. It’s the single most important opportunity for enacting industry and societal change we have in front of us.

On pro league partners: I’m excited to begin working with the great people focused on youth development initiatives at the professional leagues. Partnering with the team at LeagueApps, the leagues have expanded their already incredible programs, whether it’s R.B.I. or Youth Academies (MLB), the Jr. NBA or Learn to Play (NHL). We believe the leagues will continue to demonstrate their leadership when it comes to youth development, particularly for those in underserved areas of our country, and we’re excited to uncover new ways for our LeagueApps technology and community to help grow those efforts.

On how tech is helping youth sports survive amid the pandemic: Technology, at its core, provides access. It’s how we interact and scale industries, and youth sports is no different. Through the early days and months of the pandemic, virtual training from innovators like Famer was so important for sports programs to stay connected to their young athletes and families. As a social entrepreneur, I believe in the power of technology as a tool for both social change and business development. They are mutually reinforcing concepts that drive our business at LeagueApps and the way we impact youth sports — directly through the organizations and the leaders our technology supports.

On the PLAY Sports Coalition: We formed the PLAYS Coalition, first and foremost, to bring the youth sports industry together as a unified voice for COVID-19 relief. This has resulted in a specific bill introduced for youth sports and working families relief, which now has bipartisan support from 38 Congressional representatives. Through this crisis, we’ve been inspired by the resilience our Coalition members have shown. That spirit has inspired us to move into our next phase, which will include efforts focused on infrastructure, accessibility, participation, development and safety. We’re just getting started in uniting and advancing youth sports.

On NextUp University and its goals: NextUp University will be an expansion of the free community platform LeagueApps has developed. It’s set for December 2-4, virtually of course, and will be a unique gathering of youth sports leaders across every sport. We’ll engage the best voices from across industries to provide expertise on topics including leadership, diversified revenue generation, sponsorship and advertising and technology and media asset development. Our goal is simply to help these grassroots leaders build their operational capacity so they can focus more time on providing amazing sports experiences for youth. It’s how our industry will survive and thrive beyond the pandemic.

PROGRAMMING

Amid an evolving NFL schedule, the league saw last week’s edition of Thursday Night Football – featuring the Bears’ 20-19 win over the Buccaneers – drum up an average of audience of 15.4 million across all platforms, including FOX, NFL Network, FOX Deportes, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch and Verizon Media mobile properties. That number is up 3% over last year’s Week 5 equivalent, while the Nielsen-measured audience averaged 14.8 million – up 2%.

Meanwhile, continued pandemic positives saw the league be forced to reschedule multiple games. Following the postponement of the Week 5 Broncos/Patriots game, (now set for Oct. 18 at 1p on CBS) the NFL also announced that the Chiefs/Bills game will move from Thursday, Oct. 15 to Monday, Oct. 19 at 5p on FOX/NFL Network/Amazon. The Jets/Dolphins game jumps from Week 10 to Week 6 at 4:05p. The Jets/Chargers game moves from Week 6 to Week 11 on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 4:05p. The Jaguars/Chargers game moves from Week 8 to Week 7 on Oct. 25; the Chargers/Broncos hits Week 8 on Nov. 1; the Chargers/Dolphins goes to Week 10 on Nov. 15 and the Dolphins/Broncos takes place on Week 11 at 4:05p.

Major League Soccer also saw disruption this past weekend, as multiple Week 17 matches were postponed due to positive COVID tests. The Orlando City/Columbus Crew match was postponed following two confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the Columbus Crew staff. MLS also postponed the FC Dallas/Minnesota United match. The Colorado Rapids/LA Galaxy contest was also halted.

FOX Sports is returning to a three-man booth in 2021, announcing that retiring NASCAR Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer will be joining Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon in the FOX NASCAR booth. They will debut Feb. 14, 2021 for Daytona Speedweeks. “

The NBA returned to Chinese airwaves after more than a year off the air in recognition of the league’s help with fighting Covid-19 in China, state-owned CCTV said Friday, per ESPN, delivering Game 5 of the NBA Finals. “During the recent Chinese National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, the NBA sent their well wishes to fans in China,” CCTV said in a statement. “We also took note of the league has been continuously delivering goodwill [to China], particularly making positive contributions to Chinese people’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic.”

SHOWTIME Sports is cooking up a short feature series from the makers of Shut Up And Dribble, the 2018 Showtime Sports Documentary Films series from executive producers LeBron James and Maverick Carter of The SpringHill Company and Gotham Chopra of Religion of Sports. The new, six-part series features bonus footage and never-before-seen elements from the original series, which spotlights the changing role of basketball and its athletes in advancing social justice and civil rights. Each five-to-seven-minute short, voiced by journalist Jemele Hill, will be released on the SHOWTIME Basketball YouTube Channel and air interstitially on SHOWTIME over the next two weeks.

GOL has acquired the rights to Karate Combat’s second season in Spain. Each Sunday night through December “The minute we announced the creation of Karate Combat, that Spanish fighting spirit came at us fast and we were approached by the country’s top competitors” said Adam S. Kovacs, League President of Karate Combat (who is also a world karate champion). “We’ve zeroed in on the most skilled champions who also have the cajones for full contact fighting. Spain is well represented in our league and I look forward to seeing how they stack up against top international competition.”

Kevin Durant hosts the latest NBA edition of Detail, the sports analysis series created by the late Kobe Bryant and available to stream on ESPN+. “It was a true honor to be able to host episodes of Detail on ESPN+ during the NBA Finals,” said Durant. “I have been a huge fan of the show from day one, and I really do love watching film and breaking down footage. This is an exceptional series Kobe created and I hope I honored it in the appropriate way. Jimmy Butler’s performance was a special one to start with.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers will host drive-in viewing parties for the National League Championship Series, which begins today against the Braves in Arlington. Viewing will take place on 60-foot screens in Dodger Stadium Parking Lots 2/3, with audio broadcast through an FM transmitter (radio). Concessions will not be available, and fans are encouraged to bring their own food and beverages, though alcohol is strictly prohibited.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

NASCAR is tapping the brakes on its partnership with Barstool Sports, per SBD, as a result of “both a COVID-forced adjustment on marketing and due to sensitivities around social-justice protests this summer.” NASCAR confirmed to the publication that it is not currently spending with Barstool Sports, and added that it has had to adjust much of its marketing and media spends due to the pandemic.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The Women’s Tennis Association teamed up with Qualtrics, an SAP company, to “understand how their players felt about returning to play and what actions they needed to take to resume the season safely.” When asked which motivating factors prompted WTA athletes back to the court following a five-month hiatus, 68% of players stated that “love of the game” was one of their top two motives. Other factors for consideration included “financial,” “ranking,” and “legacy.” Since competing in a new setting with little to no fans, players also described “atmosphere,” “energy,” and “cheering” as the elements they missed most about not having crowds on site.

PointsBet and Genius Sports Group, via its Betgenius business, are broadening their sportsbook content partnership to include the supplier’s Streaming service. The new agreement makes PointsBet the first US operator to sign-up to Streaming, adding thousands of live streams across a broad range of sports and geographies, complete with official data-powered in-game pricing for every fixture.

ESPORTS

League of Legends Pro League revealed that the Worlds 2020 final, set to take place on Oct. 31, will have a live audience, running at Pudong Football Stadium in Shanghai, according to Ginx.tv. Only 6,312 fans will be able to attend, however. Attendees will need to maintain social distancing with each person having one free seat on either side of them. Additionally, attendees will need to have a level 30 Tencent server league account, and Chinese phone number.

The International 10 continues to make mountains, as the delayed event saw its prize pool top $40 million as Valve extended this year’s Battle Pass. That tally tops last year’s then-record of around $35 million. TI10 originally was scheduled to be held Aug. 18-23 at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm.

Super League Gaming and Access Intelligence, the parent company behind the Esports Business Summit and Cynopsis Esports, announced Super League’s selection as the production partner to broadcast this year’s all virtual Tempest Awards gala on October 28. The awards ceremony, a major part of the annual Esports Business Summit, will be produced on a fully remote basis by Super League, with all award nominees, luminaries, and hosts, and every member of the broadcast production crew participating comfortably and safely from their homes. Super League was selected by EBS for several reasons, including the “ease with which the company’s veteran team and versatile system can accommodate any combination of pre-recorded, live-to-tape, and live broadcast content within a seamless entertainment experience, even while adjusting for COVID-related production requirements. As a result, the show will feature exciting elements audiences have come to expect in a first-class awards broadcast – namely live, reactions of nominees and winners, real-time interactions between hosts and talent, use of pre-recorded segments, roll-in graphics, and more. Click here to get your ticket to EBS now!

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association unveiled the NBA Foundation Board of Directors, comprised of eight representatives from the NBA Board of Governors, players and executives from the NBPA and the league office. The Foundation’s Board of Directors will provide strategic direction with respect to programming and grantmaking as well as oversee the organization’s activities, working directly with all 30 NBA teams and their governors to support and facilitate sustainable initiatives in team markets. The inaugural board members are: Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings Forward; Gayle Benson, New Orleans Pelicans Governor; Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers Forward; Michael Jordan, Charlotte Hornets Chairman; Tony Ressler, Atlanta Hawks Principal Owner; Michele Roberts, NBPA Executive Director; Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner; and Larry Tanenbaum, NBA Board of Governors Chairman and Toronto Raptors Governor.

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Who won his first major at the Masters in 2015 and also won the 2015 U.S. Open? Answer: Jordan Spieth. Kudos: Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Phillip McCrevice-Comedy Sports Business/NY; Frank Costa-CBS/NY; / Daniel Laub-Premion/NY; Mike May-R2 Innovative Technologies/Wellington; Kathi Gillin-Comcast/Yardley; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo; Nic Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego

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