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Posts from October 2023.

We’re just a few days away from Halloween, but I don’t feel the same excitement about the holiday as I once did. Maybe it is because I am older and eat less candy (I have the before and after pictures to prove it).  Maybe it is because the world is a scarier place right now than any horror movie could be.  Maybe it is because I am dreading all of the Barbie-Ken and Travis Kelce-Taylor Swift costumes.  Or, even more troubling, it is because I am looking forward to all of the Barbie-Ken and Travis Kelce-Taylor Swift costumes.  I’ll ponder that some more as I snack on some candy corn (controversial choice, I know--if only that was the most divisive issue facing us in our time…).  In any event, practice safe trick-or-treating: look both ways before crossing the street and carry both a flashlight and the knowledge from this spotlight.

    • Collectibles company Rally is selling fractional ownership of New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle’s childhood home.  One can only assume the space above the fireplace will garner top dollar.
    • Unable to secure the $30 million per year that he was seeking for NBA jersey sponsorship rights for the Las Vegas Sphere, Sphere Entertainment Executive Chairman James Dolan found another suitor: Madison Square Garden Sports Executive Chairman James Dolan. As a result, the New York Knicks’ jerseys and warm-up shirts will bear Sphere branding.  Hopefully, I’ll be as excited to watch the Knicks as I am the animations on the outside of the Sphere – but I’m not holding my breath.
    • Taking cues from Universal Music Group, music streaming platform Spotify unveils a new royalty structure designed to address fraud that siphons royalties away from legitimate human artists. My dog’s recording career will have to be put on paws.    

Welcome back to the Spotlight! As Winston Churchill once said, “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Of course, Churchill predated the proliferation of social media that has enabled a lie to go even further in a fraction of the time.  Earlier this week, we witnessed how damaging the effects can be, as hasty journalists took a genocidal terror organization at its word and reported that an alleged Israeli airstrike on a Gazan hospital caused an explosion that allegedly killed 500 people.  Spoiler alert: the Israelis were not responsible for the blast, but rather the aforementioned terror organization was. Unfortunately, in the click-driven economy we live in, a premium is placed on speed rather than on truth.  By the time the truth came out, mass protests, riots and antisemitic violence (Including the destruction of synagogues) had already taken place.  Worse, because people are going to believe what they want to believe to fit their own narrative or agenda – even in the face of evidence to the contrary – the proverbial bell cannot be un-rung. No retractions, no mea culpas, no apologies.

A microcosm of this (clearly with not the same gravity, but humor me here) was when it was widely reported that now former Major League Baseball pitcher Trevor Bauer had committed heinous acts of sexual assault against an alleged victim. Bauer was dragged through the mud in the media and released by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a result. Just two weeks ago, we learned that after a two year court battle, it was evident that Bauer had been set-up and was the victim of blackmail.  Unfortunately for Bauer, the exoneration story does not get quite the level of interest as the one that implicated him in wrongdoing – and his baseball future in the US (he currently plays in Japan) remains uncertain at best.  The lesson from these parables? Perhaps we could all refrain from rushing to judgment or jumping to conclusions before casting a story in the spotlight. 

Some highlights from the week:

    • Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Ja’Marr Chase forges a convenient endorsement deal with convenience store chain 7-Eleven because they’re both “always open.”  A much better fit for a wide receiver than a deal with Butterfinger.

    • Milwaukee Bucks Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo sues luxury mattress company Maree for allegedly failing to deliver on quality and quantity while using Antetokounmpo’s name, image and likeness without his consent. Those allegations are enough to lose sleep over. 

    • Taylor Swift’s film chronicling her Eras Tour opened last weekend to millions of screaming and shrieking fans, grossing about $92.8 million in North America and $123.5 million internationally in the opening weekend—a new record for concert films. Fortunately, that should be just enough to cover the cost of repairing the resulting shattered glass mirrors and windows.

Welcome back to the Spotlight. I would have loved nothing more than to write about sports and entertainment with levity and dad jokes as per usual. But, in light of the unspeakable, antisemitic terrorist acts committed in Israel in which no one, not even babies, was spared this past week—let alone the callous, hateful “justifications” for them—I am in no mood. I wanted to skip this week altogether, but could not remain silent—and neither should you. So, no bulletpoints (G-d knows there have been enough of those). If you’re looking for ways to help, I encourage you to donate to legitimate organizations that will provide on-the-ground humanitarian aid to those affected. Thank you for reading and stay safe. Am Yisrael Chai.

First things first, I owe you an apology for having startled you all the other day. You see, I was piloting a new distribution method for taking the Spotlight to the masses, and (oops!) I ended up setting off alerts on everyone’s mobile phones across the country. I take full responsibility and I really should have known better, particularly after seeing how ticked off people were to have U2’s album automatically pushed to their phones years ago. Although, things seem to have worked out for Bono and Co., adding to their accolades the opening of their residency at the $2.3 billion MSG Sphere in Las Vegas…  There’s also the possibility of dating Taylor Swift to reach a new audience, but I don’t think my wife (let alone Taylor Swift) would appreciate that. So, I think I would prefer good ol’ fashioned word of mouth for increasing my reach – that’s where you come in.

And here I come in with this week’s spotlighted stories:

    • Wallets are out for content streaming companies Apple and Netflix in the sports and film industries. Apple is rumored to be looking into acquiring Formula One racing rights. Netflix is acquiring “His Three Daughters” – a sentence a lot more troubling to hear than it is to read.  
    • The sports sponsorship market is hot and growing by an expected $22.64 billion between 2022 and 2027.  Jimmy Donaldson’s (also known as Mr. Beast) food brand Feastables, strikes a jersey patch sponsorship deal with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets in an effort to get consumers buzzing.

    • Meanwhile, English Premier League Football Club Chelsea entered into a 40 million pound ($49 million) shirt sponsorship deal of its own with sports technology company Infinite Athlete. Chelsea players will need infinite athleticism to carry all that weight up and down the field.

    • The WNBA is expanding for the first time in its history, adding two teams: one in the San Francisco Bay Area and the other likely to be in Portland. Exciting news for sure, but not the first time that trailblazers have played in Portland. 

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