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Dodgers, Diddy, and Adidas Invest $30M in High School Esports | Hashtag Sports Weekly

November 21, 2018

Editor's Note:
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this week we're sharing a special taste of our Daily newsletter with our Weekly subscribers. If you dig the extra stories/sections below, you know where to find us. For those celebrating, have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Top Story

Diddy helps high school esports and PlayVS secure $30.5 million in funding

PlayVS brings esports to high school students, giving them access to competitions and even university scholarships.

Who's in?

Elysian Park Ventures, the private investment arm of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group, led the round.

The company closed out its Series B funding round with $30.5 million from other key investors including Adidas, Samsung, and even Sean “Diddy” Combs.

The bottom line:

As esports grows, so does the pool of interested investors. The LA Dodgers have been one of the earliest sports franchises to get in on the esports train, and with non-endemic names like Diddy lining up to get a piece, the industry shows no signs of slowing down.

Read: Variety, VentureBeat


TALENT SHIFTS

Cohen replaces founder as President at Whistle Sports

Whistle named Michael Cohen as president, taking over day-to-day duties that had been handled by co-founder Jeff Urban.

Cohen continues as chief operations officer. Urban remains on the company's board of directors, whose investors include Tegna, NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Liberty Global and Emil Capital, as well as multiple pro sports leagues.

Read: Broadcasting & Cable

Globalization

UFC plants flag in China with $13 million training facility

The 93,000-square-foot facility is expected to open next year. and will become UFC’s Asia headquarters, and have built-in spectator seating so the organization can produce live events on-site.

UFC has about a dozen regional TV deals in China that give it coverage of almost the entire country. For bigger live events, it has a streaming deal with PPTV, plus another partnership with Alibaba’s AliSports.

Read: Bloomberg


New to Innovate

A Look at Thanksgiving's Best in Sports Advertising

"In keeping true to the holiday spirit, this week we’re celebrating some of the best Thanksgiving spots in sports advertising from the past decade. Snickers' over-the-top NFL Films mockumentary from BBDO, Nike's clever Calvin Johnson campaign with help of Wieden + Kennedy, and Red Bull making pigs fly—we're looking back at it all."

Read More

Ratings

Chiefs-Rams instant classic does huge ratings for 'Monday Night Football'

The Chiefs-Rams overnight rating of 11.3 is the highest overnight rating for “MNF” since 2014. The rating peaked on the final drive at 12.5. The Rams won 54-51.

The rating for Monday night was 57 percent better than the Monday night game in Week 11 last season. That game was actually an entertaining Falcons win over the Seahawks that went down to the last minute.

Read: Yahoo


Streaming

NASCAR mulling OTT service launch

Fox Sports and NBC Sports are set to air three of NASCAR’s national series for an extended six years, through 2024. However, the series is apparently “studying the idea” of launching its own OTT service which could arrive as soon as 2020.

If a move did materialize, the stock car series would follow in the footsteps of other bodies by going into OTT.

Read: SportsPro


What Else Is Trending?
  • ATHLETES: While after-hours extracurricular activities on the road are commonly credited for NBA losses, a new study shows late-night tweeting has a direct correlation to a decrease in shooting percentage
  • CAMPAIGNS: DAZN is banking on Canelo Alvarez to gain subscribers, but Alvarez is doing more for that cause than seeking a super-middleweight belt at MSG to build that base
  • RESEARCH: "College GameDay" and the promotional power of college sports: The Central Florida Case Study
  • MEDIA: Amazon's threat of buying sports rights should freak out traditional media companies banking on owning must-see live content
  • SOCIAL: In a new redesign effort, Twitter has made follower counts appear less prominent on its iOS app by making the font size smaller

Rad Ads

  • Brand: @FanDuel
  • Athlete: @VontaeDavis
  • Campaign: Why I Walked Away

DEAL OF THE DAY

Pizza Hut and Pepsi Team Up to Deliver Fans to Super Bowl LIII

The Details
This year, the two brands are giving fans a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl LIII and get on the field for the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show. Fans can enter the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show Sweepstakes by purchasing limited-edition Pepsi 4-Pack carriers, and entering a code from the product on PizzaHut.com/PepsiSweeps.


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