11/29/21: Survivor’s Ethan Zohn breaks down his social good push

 

Medias First Morning Read

 

Monday November 29, 2021

There are survivors and then there are thrivers, and Ethan Zohn has proven capable of being both. Zohn, the winner of Survivor Season Three, has used his fame to dedicate his life to assisting causes, especially ones that he, as a former professional soccer player and cancer survivor can get behind. It is why the reality show star and entrepreneur co-founded Grassroot Soccer, an adolescent health organization that “leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize at-risk youth in developing countries to overcome their greatest health challenges, live healthier, more productive lives, and be agents for change in their communities.” This week sees the organization hold its gala in New York as part of both World AIDS Day and Giving Tuesday, with Seth Meyers, with Sir Alex Ferguson and USWNT star Christen Press among the attendees.

Cynopsis Sports asked Zohn about cause marketing, brand value and life as a “Survivor.”

Zohn on how “Survivor” Grassroot Soccer and a life in media have shaped his narrative: Like Nelson Mandela said “sport has the power to change the world” I truly believe that. Combining sports with the power of storytelling is an effective way to raise awareness and funds for critical issues happening around the world. Sports and the leaders/heroes/mentors sports creates have the ability to break down barriers, build trust and educate the world to adopt healthy behaviors.

On the value Grassroot Soccer brings to brands: On an emotional level…soccer is the most popular sport in the world and transcends political, socio-economic, and geographic boundaries. Grassroot Soccer leverages the power of soccer to improve health outcomes for adolescents…where young people have the worst health outcomes of anywhere in the world, and where soccer is the most popular sport of anywhere in the world – Sub Saharan Africa. Grassroot Soccer is supported by top players and clubs around the world, and is growing tremendously in impact and brand awareness. Plus we have had programs in 60 countries and graduated 13 million kids. I feel we make a great case for any brand, foundation, government or concerned citizen to support the work we do around the world.

On how “Survivor” helped him grow as an entrepreneur: At its core, Survivor is a game of relationships. It’s one big 39-day community networking event. It’s how you interact with the other contestants that determine how well and how far you will go in the game. During my entire time playing Survivor Africa, I didn’t get one vote against me and that’s because I worked hard to develop real, authentic relationships based on trust and loyalty. I basically made myself a crucial member of the community, crucial to everyone else’s survival. Forging a path as an Entrepreneur and social entrepreneur it’s about the commitment to discovering and living your own greatness, then inspiring greatness in others.

On the cause marketing value sport brings to life: For most of my adult life I’ve been serving others, giving to charity, helping communities get through their crisis. So, when I was diagnosed with cancer in my 30’s, I found myself in a really unique position. All of a sudden, my world as I knew it got crushed. I went from the giving end of charity and community support with Grassroot Soccer to the receiving end of charity and community support to help me survive cancer. I’ve seen this world from both sides. So, with the marathon and any sporting event that provides a platform and structure for individuals or groups to raise money and awareness…that’s insanely important. Think about that…how cool is it that there are complete strangers out there running marathons, riding bikes, going to gala’s, volunteering…to raise money for cancer research, or HIV education, or mental health programs that saved my life…or other people’s lives. To me that’s inspiring!

PROGRAMMING

Thanksgiving left CBS Sports flush with viewers as its Thanksgiving Day presentation of Las Vegas’ overtime win over Dallas is projected to become the most-watched NFL regular-season game on any network since 1990, according to Nielsen. The game cooked up an estimated average viewership of 38.531 million, up 26% from last year’s comparable game window (30.680 million on FOX from 4:38-7:47pm), based on preliminary data. The Raiders-Cowboys game also is the most-watched television program on any network since Super Bowl LV programming on CBS on Feb. 7.

The ATP revealed the calendar for the first half of the 2022 ATP Tour season, with play beginning in January with the third edition of the ATP Cup in Sydney, Australia, and running through to the end of The Championships, Wimbledon in July. The ATP Cup, staged in partnership with Tennis Australia will feature a 16-team field and be hosted across two venues in Sydney – Ken Rosewall Arena and the Qudos Bank Arena. Elsewhere, the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, traditionally held in Week 1, will now be played in Week 7 in 2022, immediately followed by the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. All other events through Wimbledon are scheduled to occur in their customary week in the calendar.

With Bowl season almost upon us, ESPN announced that Middle Tennessee (Conference USA) and Toledo (MAC) accepted bids to the 2021 Bahamas Bowl, set for Dec. 17 in Nassau’s Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The game will be played at noon and televised on ESPN. The early invitation allows both Middle Tennessee and Toledo additional time to prepare to play in an international destination, including obtaining passports for those who still need them to travel to the Bahamas as well as giving extra time for fans to make their travel plans to Nassau for bowl week.

World Rugby named England and Australia as the org’s ‘preferred candidate’ countries to host the 2025 women’s World Cup and 2027 men’s tournament, respectively. The decision will formally be made in May next year. In addition, World Rugby also confirmed that the US will enter into exclusive targeted dialogue regarding the men’s Rugby World Cup in 2031, according to multiple reports.

Dorna Sports is launching a new Amazon Exclusive docuseries following the FIM MotoGP World Championship. The slate will be produced by The Mediapro Studio, in collaboration with Dorna, and premiere in 2022, taking viewers behind the scenes of the world’s fastest motorcycle racing Championship via eight 50-minute episodes.

Save the Date!

 

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

 

TaxAct, a provider of digital and downloadable tax preparation solutions, signed on to serve as the title sponsor of both the Texas Bowl and the Camellia Bowl as part of a multi-event college football agreement with ESPN Events. TaxAct will also serve as presenting sponsor of the Myrtle Beach Bowl telecast and be featured throughout 2021 ESPN Events bowl telecasts across ESPN networks. “TaxAct will have a significant presence across our ESPN Events Bowl portfolio throughout the college football postseason as a result of this unique and comprehensive agreement, including title sponsorship of two marquee events with the Texas and Camellia Bowls,” said Clint Overby, vice president, ESPN Events. “We are thrilled to have TaxAct’s support and look forward to working with them, along with our local event organizers, in preparation for these upcoming events.”

Crypto.com is continuing its torrid run on sponsorship deals, this time inking an agreement to become an official partner of Latin America’s CONMEBOL Libertadores. Crypto.com will now serve as an official partner of CONMEBOL Libertadores from 2023 to 2026 and as a licensee of the competition’s official non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as of 2022. As part of the deal, Crypto.com will become the first brand to be integrated into the Virtual Assistant Referee system through which referees review plays.

American Express announced that Maroon 5 and American country musician Brad Paisley will headline its musical lineup for its 2022 Concert Series Jan. 21-22 on the PGA WEST Stadium Course driving range at Coachella Valley’s annual PGA TOUR golf tournament. “Our concert series should be quite the performance. Together with American Express, we will bring in world-renowned artists Maroon 5 and Brad Paisley to our fans while also potentially introducing music buffs to their first taste of professional golf,” said Pat McCabe, Executive Director of The American Express. “We believe we are meeting the musical interests of our fans in providing premium, topical musical entertainment for all to enjoy.”

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The NFL is tackling the metaverse, opening up a virtual storefront on gaming platform Roblox. Drops feature digital merchandise featuring all 32 NFL team helmets and jerseys. The NFL is also offering a free 3D NFL helmet for a limited-time and will look to expand offerings in the future.

ESPORTS

G2 Esports entered into an exclusive partnership with New Era. The duo will serve up a cap and beanie collection across both New Era and G2’s ecommerce platforms in addition to brick-and-mortar retail locations and third-party New Era retailers. “New Era has been synonymous with sports for over a century, so a partnership with G2 is a natural as a leader in their field, as we navigate new platforms and audiences,” said Laurence Joslin, Brand Director EMEA of New Era.

BLAST Rising is adding Latin America to its umbrella, expanding its CS:GO series into the region in an event that will feature 16 invited teams. The tournament is being produced by Fantasyexpo, and begin tomorrow.

Gaming nonprofit organization Coalition of Parents in Esports announced a sponsorship from gaming candy platform The Truman Factory. The org looks to remove “esports’ outdated negative stigmas, educating parents on esports’ positive effects, and providing resources to make esports more rewarding.” “One of the things we see in the gaming community is young kids becoming entrepreneurs and running with brilliant ideas,” said COPE CEO Chris Spikoski. “When we saw Truman, a young gamer pushing his candy for gamers by gamers, as well as the unconditional support of his father, it was a no-brainer to partner with them. The COPE values and mission align with The Truman Factory.”

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The NFL and Rams owner Stan Kroenke will pay $790 million to settle a lawsuit filed by St. Louis interests over the team’s relocation to Los Angeles, according to the AP. “This historic agreement closes a long chapter for our region, securing hundreds of millions of dollars for our communities while avoiding the uncertainty of the trial and appellate process,” read a statement from St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page.

Geoff Allardice was formally appointed chief executive of the International Cricket Council, following an eight-month run under the “interim” moniker. “It’s a great privilege to be appointed as the CEO of the ICC and I would like to thank Greg [Barclay, ICC chair] and the ICC Board for the opportunity to lead the sport as we enter an exciting new phase of growth,” said Allardice.

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ON THIS DAY in
1890: Navy beats Army, 24-0, in the very first matchup between the two teams.

IN THE KNOW
In what sport were women first allowed to compete in the modern Olympics? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Who were the first two members of wrestling stable, the NWO? Answer: Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Kudos: Matthew Willence-ITN Networks/NY; Louis Lewow-FITE/Atlanta; Brianne Maciejowski-Odyssey Studios/Sarasota; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Paul Barrere-Home Team Sports/Playfly/LA; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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