Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson landed a new sponsor for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team next year, inking a deal with Ally Financial to serve as primary sponsor for every race of both the 2019 and 2020 season. “The opportunity to work with a partner like Ally is incredible,” Johnson said in a team release. “Their commitment to leading in both the workplace and the community is something that resonates with me in a big way. They’ve sent a strong message about how much they believe in me and in our team, and I will do my part to make sure it’s the best investment they’ve ever made. I’m ready to chase more history with Ally on board the 48.”
Legends has been named the sponsorship sales agency by LA 2028. The company will work with U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Properties to help develop, identify and secure sponsorship opportunities for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Under the multi-year agreement, Legends will work with the joint venture to market and sell the collective LA 2028 and Team USA story.
Girl Up and WWE unveiled a multi-year partnership to support the creation of Sports For a Purpose, which will launch in the fall of 2019 and “create a culture of sports participation for girls around the world.” The program will equip Girl Up’s girl leaders with tools and resources so that they can help tackle gender-based barriers girls face to playing sports, including access to safe play spaces and sporting equipment.
The NCAA is forming a new committee designed to take a hard look at the impact of sports wagering. In a statement, the org said that “The Board of Governors Ad Hoc Committee on Sports Wagering will examine the sports wagering landscape and its potential impact on current NCAA rules, educational efforts, player availability reporting, and any associated risks as more states legalize sports wagering.” However, the NCAA states that current rules prohibiting sports wagering by student-athletes or athletics employees remain in effect.
Altered Reality Corp. announced a new licensing partnership with the NFL Players Association, via its licensing and marketing arm NFL Players Inc., to create the first-in-the-world shareable 3D imagery of NFL Players. The athletes will become “virtual presences” in ARC’s Play3D Augmented Reality App, the world’s first photorealistic hologram mobile camera. At launch, the mobile AR technology will feature seven professional football stars: Josh Allen, Saquon Barkley, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
NASCAR debuted its first app for the Apple Watch, which is now available in the App Store. The new app’s features include in-car and race broadcast audio, race schedules, driver standings and favorite driver functionality. The app is compatible with previous versions of the Apple Watch and syncs fully with user settings from NASCAR’s official app, NASCAR Mobile, for iOS devices.
Amid a week of high-profile investments that included Michael Jordan and Drake, Fortnite creator Epic Games announced its own round an investment of approximately $1.25 billion from companies that include KKR, ICONIQ Capital, Smash Ventures, aXiomatic, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. This investment “creates powerful partnerships with highly strategic investment firms and individuals at the forefront of technology, entertainment, professional sports, esports, and live events.” New investors join Tencent, Disney and Endeavor as minority shareholders in Epic.
Mastercard opened the books to its first activation of the League of Legends World Championship, which will be anchored by The Mastercard Nexus, a League of Legends-themed experiential pop-up in the Gangnam Gu neighborhood of Seoul. Meanwhile, the 2018 World Championship Finals will kick off in Incheon with the “Finals Opening Ceremony presented by Mastercard,” which will include a performance of the 2018 Worlds anthem ‘RISE’ featuring The Glitch Mob, Mako, The Word Alive, and Bobby of iKON. There will also be a special performance debut of a new Riot produced song featuring Madison Beer, Miyeon and Soyeon of (G)I-DLE, and Jaira Burns. The Mastercard Nexus run from Nov. 1-3 and include experiences such as: “Become a Champion” through social, shareable Augmented Reality experience; the ability to play on high-performance gaming PCs and experience Riot Game’s Snowdown Showdown 1v1 game mode.
TwitchCon saw Twitch announce the expansion of their esports program, Twitch Rivals. The initiative has played host to 55 gaming events featuring Partners, Affiliates, and their friends, so far, awarding over $5 million in prizing. Streamers who participated in a Twitch Rivals event saw an average of 20% more viewers and 90% more ad revenue on event days and 10% more revenue from subs nearly a month later. In 2019, Twitch Rivals will more than double in size to 128 events, with the program expanding to cover more games and genres, such as MOBAs and even single-player RPGs, with millions of dollars in prizes.
Blizzard launched a new Blizzard Esports app, offering content, scores, schedules, and more for Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch (not including Overwatch League), StarCraft, StarCraft II, and World of Warcraft. The new platform means, – for the first time ever – that esports content from all of Blizzard’s games will be housed in one location, on both Android and iOS devices.
Ninja aka Tyler Blevins, will be livestreaming a Fortnite New Year’s event exclusively on Twitch with a full competitive computer set-up based in Times Square. For twelve hours, he will invite the world to tune in to his Twitch channel “where he will be playing his favorite game, Fortnite, alongside some of his notable friends, teeing-up audience surprises and, of course, demonstrating top gameplay.”
The NBA announced that Ralph Rivera has been appointed Managing Director of NBA Europe and Middle East where he will oversee the league’s basketball and business development throughout Europe and the Middle East and will be supported by the region’s senior leadership team to continue to grow the popularity of basketball.
Patriots/Bills on ESPN at 8:15p.