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Posts from May 2023.

Welcome back to the Spotlight! In advance of the long weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Sports Business Journal and Leaders Group’s 4se (pronounced “force”) 2023 focusing on marketing, branding and leadership in the sports and entertainment industries.  There, I met handfuls of like-minded peers, while listening to panels of influential people sharing their experiences with the attendees, while highlighting the seemingly endless intersections between these industries.

Notably, conference attendees had the privilege of hearing athletes and entertainers such as 2 time Superbowl champion New York Giants players Eli Manning and Justin Tuck and rap icon Fat Joe talk candidly about how they have parlayed their professional careers into even loftier heights in the business world. Other highlights included an emphasis on the ascendancy of women’s sports, impressive rap skills from Rhymefest and Golden State Warriors’ Chief Legal Officer David Kelly (I graciously conceded he was the better rapping lawyer).

All in all, I came away from the event feeling inspired and dare I say cool? And that’s notwithstanding an embarrassing blunder by me! Let’s just say trying to shake hands while balancing a cup of rice and beans on a plate is more perilous than it sounds. Anyway, let’s kick things off…

    • Maryland-based Under Armour goes local for their NIL deal with University of Maryland basketball star, Diamond Miller. A Zales endorsement deal can’t be too far away. 
    • Bank of America is sued by would-be Washington Commanders suitor Brian Davis’ company, for allegedly flubbing a $7.1 billion offer. $500 billion in damages is being sought, which in Bank of America’s defense seems egregious in light of the fact that the case concerns the Washington Commanders. 
    • Shaquille O’Neal and David Beckham’s production companies are being housed under the newly formed Authentic Studios. Here’s hoping a “Kazaam” and “Bend it Like Beckham” crossover is in development. 

Welcome back to the Spotlight, where your readership is coveted as much as French basketball player Victor Wembanyama (bonus points to me for spelling it right the first time without Google) is by your favorite NBA team. More likely than not, Wemby will be landing in San Antonio where fellow countryman Tony Parker once parlez vous’ed all over the league. As the presumptive first pick in the NBA Draft, he has a sizable rookie contract and endless international marketing opportunities in front of him. That’s all before even touching the NBA hardwood. Of course, there’s always the ability as a later draft pick like Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant to achieve stardom and fortune through on-court performance. In the span of four seasons, he’s secured endorsement deals from Powerade and Nike. But while Morant’s on-court talent has never been in question, his off-court actions — appearing armed with a handgun on his social media accounts (already resulting in a 10 game suspension, with more likely on the way)—may make sponsors distance themselves. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! It’s a familiar cautionary tale, but in the public eye, athletes and entertainers alike should be mindful to be beyond reproach and keep themselves out of the controversy Spotlight.

    • Live professional pickleball matches will soon be available for streaming on Amazon Prime. So now the sport accessible to all ages will be available to the masses (as long as your parents can figure out how to use the remote control). 
    • Short form video social media company TikTok strikes deals with several digital music distributors to provide new monetization opportunities for their artists (and new choreography trends for Gen Z to make the older generations increasingly out of touch). 
    • The members of disco group The Village People sent a cease and desist letter to Donald Trump alleging that impersonating acts at his Mar-A-Lago Resort is an illegal misappropriation of their name, image and likeness. Trump would do well to look into alternative acts. 

Welcome back to the Spotlight! The buzz this week surrounds the strike announced by the Writers’ Guild of America after failing to obtain concessions from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.  Leave it to the WGA to script that the strike took place on May Day (International Workers’ Day).  As it is, countless television and film productions have been sidelined and rendered speechless. Lucky for you, dear reader, I carry no union cards, so the only “scab” currently in my world is on my son’s chin from a slip and fall.  For any television and film executives out there who are looking for help, consider this blog my portfolio. Feel free to contact me any time.  My conditions of employment? Good question! I have a bunch of requests – but I don’t feel like I have the leverage to ask for them on my own.  If only there were some type of organization of others like me that could negotiate on behalf of us all…oh well! Anyway, brief programming note (call it solidarity) but I will not be in my writers’ room next week. See you in two weeks (unless ChatGPT replaces me in meantime).

  1. Just days after pop singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran testified that he would stop making music if the jury handed down a verdict against him in the copyright infringement litigation by Marvin Gaye’s estate, Sheeran prevailed. Whether it was because the jury thought it was in bad taste when Gaye’s estate made a similar statement, or because there was no substantial similarity in the works is unknown. 

  2. Snoop Dogg joins businessman Neko Sparks’ bid for the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators. The move would mark the first majority black owned franchise for the NHL, potentially opening up the NHL to an untapped market. Snoop might also bring new meaning to the term, “high-sticking.”

  3. Louisiana State University gymnast and NIL pioneer Olivia Dunne has parlayed her social media presence into the pages of the upcoming Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. The move is not only a lesson on the new self-branding opportunities available for college athletes, but is also likely to drive a photographer’s production assistant to research what to feed a pommel horse.

  4. Nike inks a lifetime deal with Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant. A rare feat, but don’t get too excited – he will probably ask to be traded 2 years from now.     

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