WWE announced that Kurt Angle, who will portray Colonel Angle Sanders in the newest version of the company’s partnership with KFC, will have both personas offered as playable characters in the WWE 2K18 video game. Fans can access Colonel Sanders through the game’s Create-a-Superstar Mode, while two versions of Angle are available to those who pre-order the game at participating retailers worldwide.
The NBA tipped off Jr. NBA Week by announcing the formation of the Jr. NBA Flagship Network, a move designed to provide a more consistent and positive youth basketball experience for players, parents and coaches. The initiative is comprised of 15 best-in-class youth sports organizations, members of the network share the Jr. NBA’s vision for how the game should be taught and played at the grassroots level, and have committed to pursuing the highest standards of operation in the industry. Through the collective reach of the 15 organizations that make up the Jr. NBA Flagship Network, the NBA will help ensure that one million additional youth are playing basketball in an environment that promotes health and wellness, skill development and character education.
The Florida Cup has a new partner, with Universal Orlando Resort stepping in for the soccer event, joining adidas. The Orlando theme park destination will serve as the venue for several large fan activations, including the Florida Cup Fan Fest. The 2018 Florida Cup will run Jan. 10-20.
DraftKings announced the continuing expansion of its operations in Europe, with the launch of its games in Ireland and Austria. “Sports fans in Europe are embracing the game inside the game through DraftKings’ contests and content,” said Jason Robins, DraftKings CEO. “As we looked to expand our European footprint, it was an easy choice to launch in Ireland and Austria, given their renowned passion for sports.”
With the new NHL season underway, the Philadelphia Flyers locked in a deal with Fanchest to offer fans exclusive products not available in stores or online and are approved by over 80 officially licensed top brands. Products will be delivered to their doors with options that include the regular $59 chest, a baby chest as well as a three memorabilia chest with featured.
Hulu is taking the plunge into esports, announcing a deal for new original programming developed and produced by ESL. Overall, four unique series will be created exclusively for the streaming video-on-demand service—Player v. Player, Bootcamp, Defining Moments, and ESL Replay. Player V. Player will serve as a gamified debate show with casters and esports influencers facing off over the hottest topics in esports. Bootcamp is a weekly docu-series that follows The Immortals, a top CS:GO team, as they rebuild their roster leading up to IEM Oakland. Defining Moments will “dive deep into the most impactful moments in esports history with passionate casters and analysts explaining what made these moments so monumental. Finally, ESL Replay is a fast-paced, condensed, documentary-style recap of the most memorable moments from four of the biggest multi-day esports tournaments in the world, including in-depth analyses and behind-the-scenes footage not part of the tournament live stream.
Speaking of shows, Fnatic announced a strategic partnership with GamingZone Entertainment, the producers of reality TV show GAMERZ, that will see team members that win the GAMERZ show being placed on Fnatic’s CS:GO Academy team. Fnatic will work closely with GAMERZ, with key team personnel appearing on the show to coach the contenders.
ELEAGUE is adding retired CS:GO star Janko “YNk” Paunovic to its commentating lineup for the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017 Playoffs. YNk will join Jason “Moses” O’Toole as the second former CS:GO pro contributing to ELEAGUE’s live coverage and be part of ELEAGUE’s panel of Counter-Strike experts including host Richard Lewis and commentators Anders Blume, Daniel “DDK” Kapadia, James Bardolph, Auguste “Semmler” Massonat and reporter Sue “Smix” Lee.
Joseph Mangano joined the NHL as Senior Director National Retail Sales & Marketing where he will oversee the NHL’s global licensed product retail relationships and activities to support the increase in wholesale product commitments while collaborating with key retail accounts to create awareness and promote the retail sale of NHL licensed products.
Excel Sports Management hired Sean Barror as Head of Property Sales, a new position for the company. Previously with WME-IMG, Barror will oversee Excel’s expansion into third-party commercial sales, focusing on growing Excel’s business in naming rights, marquee partnerships, sponsorship strategy and valuation services for leagues, teams, venues and other sports properties.
Troika Media Group named Rob Schwartz as President to lead strategic growth and development of Troika Services, the performance data and intelligence division of TMG. Schwartz will be responsible for developing and executing Troika Services’ business strategy as well as seamlessly integrating data analytics, performance marketing and a live engagement platform with Troika’s creative services.
Nationals/Cubs on TBS at 5:30p.