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Posts from February 2023.

Welcome back to the Spotlight! Having just celebrated Presidents’ Day here in the U.S., where better to begin than an ode to our various Commanders-in-Chief. Fittingly, 2-time Super Bowl-winning Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy just moved to the Commanders from the Chiefs (though the fact that he himself is still not a commander in chief—a head coach—remains a head-scratching and potentially ugly truth in the NFL). Now with that news of his heading to Washington, I wonder how this former student of UW-Madison might Ford a transition to Lincoln to the rest of the sports and entertainment headlines.  Well, I will try not to beat around the Bush, I’m just Biden my time. A few more lines? I Grant you that I could Fillmore, that’s probably Truman. But I should get on with it so my editors do not put the Nixon this piece. If this Arthur’s presidential wordplay has left you in a Hayes, here is the spotlight to help you Pierce through to find your way.

    • Netflix and NFL Films join forces for a docu-series entitled “Quarterback,” following two-time Super Bowl champion, Patrick Mahomes, as well as Kirk Cousins and Marcus Mariota – yet it still does not feel right to lump those three into the same sentence. 
    • Smash hit song “Flowers” performed by Miley Cyrus and co-written by Michael Pollack, find itself atop the Billboard Hot 100 charts (not to mention charts across the globe). With that buzz, I would take myself dancing, too.
    • New week, same surge in popularity and investments, as Kevin Durant’s 35 Ventures provides financial backing to a venture pickleball technology company and New York City unveils its first permanent, dedicated pickleball club.
    • No luck of the Irish for this former Boston Celtic as former NBA Star Paul Pierce (no relation to Franklin Pierce) agreed to pay a $1.4 million penalty to the Securities Exchange Commission arising out of his failure to disclose that he was a paid endorser of a particular cryptocurrency, adding insult to injury on the money he presumably already lost on cryptocurrency.

Welcome back to the Spotlight! First, a hearty congratulations to the world champion Kansas City Chiefs (an empty gesture if there ever was one—as I am fairly confident none of the Chiefs read this, but if not, hit me up!). As in years past, the Super Bowl prove itself to be a pop culture spectacle par excellence (I don’t know what that means, but it sure sounds fancy), with commercials of varying levels of poignancy, absurdity and cleverness, rife with athletes and entertainers and homages. Among the stand-outs, was the solo(-ish) halftime performance by Rihanna.   

Indeed, nestled cozily inside what was a rather entertaining game, Rihanna, who’s so famous that she’s known only by one name, revealed that she had a baby nestled cozily inside what was a rather entertaining Rihanna. Tough act to follow for future baby announcements but perhaps Rihanna will opt for a more low-key setting for the eventual gender reveal, like the Olympic torch lighting ceremony. 

Say what you will, but Rihanna made the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show--for which she was not even directly compensated. Since Sunday’s performance (the second most watched Super Bowl halftime show), Rihanna’s seeing an over 640% increase in streaming and a 390% increase in record sales. Neither this fact nor the towering heights the artist reached during her performance were likely on the artist’s mind when she recorded the Oscar-nominated song “Lift Me Up,” but it makes for an easy dad joke. Although Rihanna (herself worth upwards of $1.4 billion when factoring in her music career and various business ventures) did not need the resulting windfall, with another mouth to feed, she embraced the extra spotlight.  

    • Celebrity chef (and fabled enunciator of the word, “spaghetti”) Giada De Laurentiis inks a first look television development deal with Amazon Studios. No squid were harmed in the process.
    • The valuation of connected fitness company Tonal appears to have taken a big hit since the pandemic-related boom. Paired with the news above, it sounds like couch sales may go through the roof.
    • Sixteen-year-old, top-ranked pickleball champion Anna Leigh Waters signs an endorsement deal with a wealth management company, as she is poised to receive wealth to be managed.    

Welcome back to the Spotlight! We are just days away from the NFL championship game (I was scared away from using the more popularly used, and heavily policed name for the game [see:]), and to be candid, I do not have a dog in the race. On the one hand, there are the Philadelphia Eagles, whose victory would catch my ire as a New York Giants fan and would (for reasons still unclear to many New Yorkers) likely turn the Empire State Building green and white, once more. On the other hand, there are the Kansas City Chiefs, whose victory would be their second in the past four years and would almost certainly guarantee more insufferable TikTok dancing from QB Patrick Mahomes II’s brother, Jackson.  Instead, I will most definitely be interested in the halftime show and the commercials (most notably the several that I have had the privilege of working on over the past few months #humblebrag).  And to the extent that I am still longing for dogs in the race, well I have the Puppy Bowl earlier in the day on Sunday to lift my spirits and carry me through to next season when I hope my team will be in the championship spotlight.   

    • Madison Square Garden Sports is rumored to be exploring a sale of a minority interest in the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. I would make a joke, but I would like to continue being one of the lawyers that is not denied entry to Madison Square Garden.  
    • Artist Mason Rothschild found himself on the losing end of a trademark infringement trial where Parisian fashion house Hermes filed suit asserted claims against Rothschild for his Metabirkins NFT project that put a metaverse spin on Hermes’ famous Birkin bags. Not the first and certainly will not be the last time someone loses money on NFTs.
    • Louisiana State University Women’s Basketball star Angel Reese files a trademark for her nickname “Bayou Barbie” and is likely to face opposition from Barbie® doll company Mattel (if not an NIL deal). After all, in trademark law, asserting rights in names likely to cause confusion is not something you Ken do.
    • As part of cost-cutting and restructuring measures for the media conglomerate, Disney does not intend to spin-off its ESPN properties, but it has announced layoffs of (Snow White and the) seven thousand workers.

Welcome back to the Spotlight! Ok readers, rise and shine and don’t forget your booties ‘cause it’s coooold out there. That line of course being inspired by the 1992 Harold Ramis film, “Groundhog Day” seems awfully relevant on account of…it’s Groundhog Day, at least in my neck of the woods, we’re in for a deep freeze and like Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, we find ourselves waking up to a day that we have lived before: the day after NFL great Tom Brady’s retirement. Indeed, just yesterday, Brady emerged from his post-playoff hibernation and announced that he is retiring “for good.” Strange timing after having been rumored to be linked to a trade that would have moved the 45 year old quarterback to the San Francisco 49ers. Perhaps the franchise rebuffed Brady’s attempts to change its name to the 45ers. Perhaps Brady didn’t see his shadow. Whatever the reason, like last time, he has a doozy of a next step in a $375 million broadcasting deal for the NFL on FOX. That to go on top of a nest egg built through business ventures, investments and endorsements during his professional career (not to mention his salary). Much more than what the lion’s share of athletes can say for themselves upon retirement (at least without the right guidance). Believe him this time or not, but one way or another—as sure as Sonny and Cher have got their babes—we will still be seeing a lot of Brady in the Sunday spotlight. 

    • Breakfast company Post unveils a line of on-the-go cold cereal cups under the brand name “OK GO,” for which all one needs to add is cold water and promptly tries to throw cold water on indie rock band OK Go’s attempts to have Post stop using its name. The case Post filed in federal court to seek a judgment declaring that it may continue using the name will hinge on the open question under trademark law is whether a consumer is likely to confuse the cereal cups as being affiliated with or originating from the band.  Meanwhile, less of an open question is whether one is likely to confuse just-add-water breakfast cereal with breakfast cereal to which you add milk.
    • Jaden Rashada, the four star quarterback that bolted from the University of Florida after the $13 million NIL deal he was promised fell through, finds his way from one mirage to another, heading out to the desert to play for Arizona State University.
    • Universal and TIDAL join forces to build what they believe will be a more “artist- and fan-friendly” streaming model.  (Pssst…that’s code for a more Universal- and TIDAL-friendly streaming model). 

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