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Sports & Entertainment Spotlight: Ye Is the Latest Musician to Forge a Collaboration With a Fast Food Restaurant, and Kim Kardashian Also Jumps Into the Food World Having Been Named Beyond Meat’s “Chief Taste Consultant”

I did not want to write this week. What more can I say other than what has already been said after yet another callous, atrocious, evil, and (perhaps worst of all) familiar mass shooting in this country? Since this is a Sports and Entertainment blog, it is convenient to highlight the pre-game press conference from the other day by Golden State Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr — though they have nothing to do with sports and everything to do with common sense and exasperation with the utter inaction that predictably sets the stage for more carnage. “When are we going to do something? I’m tired, I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough.” If you have not already, watch the full speech, hang onto every word and do something, anything not just to push for legislative action, but also to restore some light to this world. 

If you’re like me, you could probably use some levity. As long as you’re here we might as well get into this week’s "Spotlight:"

    • Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) is the latest musician to forge a collaboration with a fast-food restaurant, going from YEEZY to greasy as he teased a redesign of McDonald’s packaging. Seems like the perfect partnership for debuting the “Yappy Meal.”
    • In what is almost too seamless a transition from the Ye news, like her ex-husband, Kim Kardashian is also jumping into the food world having been named Beyond Meat’s “Chief Taste Consultant.” Seems like the perfect partnership for debuting the — oops, I already used that one. How about…because if there’s one thing Beverly Hills knows, it’s being fake.
    • As debate rages on about name, image and likeness deals as a recruiting tool, new deals continue to be struck, including one by collegiate-branded clothier, Reveal Suits for the Villanova University Football Team. Finally, a suit that the NCAA welcomes.     

Endorsement Deals, Sponsorships & Investments  
Villanova football players land sponsorship deal with custom clothier Reveal Suits
May 24, 2022 via Biz Journal
Reveal Suits, the custom clothier that puts college marks on the inside lining of blazers, has struck a name, image and likeness deal with five Villanova University football players.

Pepsi’s Super Bowl Halftime Show sponsorship ends after a decade
May 24, 2022 via Advertising Age
PepsiCo Pepsi is not renewing its title sponsorship of the NFL's Super Bowl Halftime Show, it announced, confirming months of speculation and officially ending its 10-year run.

Way cooler than standing in line’: Mariners fans get first taste of Amazon tech in new ballpark market
May 24, 2022 via GeekWire
The Seattle Mariners and their fans would certainly be happy to have a few more walk-off wins this season. Perhaps a new “Walk-Off Market,” complete with Amazon’s cashierless technology, will satisfy their appetites for now.

Mars Continues Final Year of Racing Celebrations With M&M's® Title Sponsorship at Pocono Raceway
May 24, 2022 via Markets Insider
M&M's® 'The Official Chocolate of NASCAR,' announced the iconic brand will be the title sponsor at this year's NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway.

Jake Gyllenhall & Serena Williams promote the superstar powers of Just Egg's plant-based eggs
May 23, 2022 via The Drum
As a growing number of stars go plant-based, tennis legend Serena Williams, Nightcrawler actor Jake Gyllenhaal and Curb Your Enthusiasm's JB Smoove team with Just Egg to let consumers in on a secret: they're so strong and sexy because they eat plant-based eggs.

Mario Lopez to Launch Signature Footwear
May 23, 2022 via Women's Wear Daily
Lifestyle branding is nothing new for “Access Hollywood” host Mario Lopez, but what will be a change of pace is the upcoming introduction of a signature footwear collection.

SEC spat: Fisher, Saban exchange accusations over NIL deals
May 20, 2022 via Laurinburg Exchange
The Southeastern Conference spring meetings will be held in person for the first time since 2019 in a little less than two weeks.

Nationals in awkward position with Terra crypto sponsorship amid coin's decline
May 20, 2022 via Sports Business Journal (subscription may be required)
The Terra Club behind home plate may be the "biggest embarrassment for the club right now" as the cryptocurrency has lost billions of dollars in value "after the platform's algorithmic stablecoin lost its peg to the dollar," according to Michael Regan of Bloomberg News.

Saban calls out Texas A&M for using NIL deals to buy players
May 19, 2022 via Penn State Daily Collegian
Alabama coach Nick Saban called out Texas A&M on Wednesday night for “buying” players in its top-ranked recruiting class with name, image and likeness deals, saying Crimson Tide football players earned more than $3 million last year “the right way.”

Beyond Meat Adds Kim Kardashian to Its Celeb Stable as 'Chief Taste Consultant'
May 25, 2022 via AdWeek
Beyond Meat, like its rival Impossible Foods, has made good use of its celebrity fans and investors in recent years, drawing on the star power of Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg, Chris Paul, Nikki Bella, Octavia Spencer, Liza Koshy and others to boost its profile.

Next Week It’s the Fries: Kanye West Teases Working With McDonald’s in Instagram Return
May 25, 2022 via The Source
Is YE set to bring his talents to the Golden Arches? Kanye West returned to Instagram and let off a post of what appears to be a redesign of McDonald’s packaging.
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All NFL teams are footing the bill for St. Louis' controversial suit against Rams
May 24, 2022 via Los Angeles Times
The Rams and NFL paid $790 million last year to settle a lawsuit with St. Louis over the team’s relocation to Los Angeles. Now, the league is sorting out how to cover that bill and already has spread some of that staggering expense over all 32 teams.

NFL May Scrap Pro Bowl as Owners Consider Injuries, Ad Cash
May 24, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
The NFL is chewing over a number of ways to improve the Pro Bowl, and among the options that are on the table is the outright elimination of the 72-year-old curiosity.

Chargers help lead NFL's diversity program in sports medicine
May 24, 2022 via Los Angeles Times
Chargers head athletic trainer Damon Mitchell laughs today about how he basically fell into the only profession he has ever known. Now he is part of an NFL program trying to help others such as him discover the opportunities available beyond the traditional doctor’s office.

MLS Marketing Arm Extends Deal With Mexican National Team
May 23, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
Soccer United Marketing, the commercial arm of Major League Soccer, is extending its relationship with the Mexican national team.

U.S. soccer has equal gender pay. Will other sports follow?
May 20, 2022 via Moneywatch CBS
The push for equal gender pay in sports got a shot in the arm this week when the U.S. Soccer Federation announced that players for the men's and women's national teams would get equal compensation.

NBA owners under the microscope over billions tied to China: report
May 19, 2022 via Fox Business
NBA owners were scrutinized as a new report detailed just how much money some have tied up in Chinese investments.

Overtime Elite: Inside look at the basketball league changing path to NBA
May 19, 2022 via Los Angeles Times
The most interesting basketball game in Atlanta on a Friday night in March wasn’t the one played in the city’s downtown NBA arena.

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Music Biz  
Kanye West's Label Hits Back In Royalty Suit Over 'Power' Hit
May 24, 2022 via Law 360
Kanye West's record label has told a court that it is paying more than it should in royalties to King Crimson, hitting back at the progressive rock band's claims that it has been underpaid for a sample the U.

DJ Justin Blau’s crypto startup Royal wants to remix the music industry
May 20, 2022 via Co Exist
As an early adopter of crypto, DJ and producer Justin “3LAU” Blau immediately drew a line from blockchain technology to the music industry. In 2018, he launched a blockchain-powered music festival where attendees scanned QR codes to earn collectible assets.

The Chainsmokers' Partnership With Royal
May 18, 2022 via Global Legal Chronicle
Latham & Watkins and Roberts & Hafitz represented The Chainsmokers in the transaction. In a first-of-a-kind transaction for the music industry, The Chainsmokers have announced that they are partnering with Royal to make (or “mint”) 5,000 NFTs through Royal's platform.

Kendrick Lamar upends hip hop’s game of thrones with vulnerable, dense new album
May 18, 2022 via Sydney Morning Herald
“Stop tap-dancing around the conversation,” Kendrick Lamar’s fiancee Whitney tells him on the rapper’s long-awaited fifth album, "Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers."

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Film & TV  
Arizona Cardinals to be featured on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’
May 24, 2022 via Biz Journal
Fans will get a closer look at the Arizona Cardinals this season as the team will be featured on the award-winning docuseries “Hard Knocks.” The team, along with HBO and NFL Films, announced that the Cardinals will be the focus of the second season of the “Hard Knocks" in-season series.

Zee re-enters sports broadcasting, picks up media rights for UAE T20 League
May 24, 2022 via Business Standard Key Stories
The UAE T20 League said it had signed a long-term global media rights contract with entertainment major Zee, paving the way for the latter's re-entry into sports broadcasting.

Philadelphia Eagles to become first NFL team with commercial rights in Africa
May 24, 2022 via Biz Journal
The Philadelphia Eagles will become the first NFL team with commercial rights in Africa under an expansion to the NFL’s international marketing program, a source close to the process said.

Driving Change: Denny Hamlin plows ahead with calls to reinvigorate NASCAR
May 23, 2022 via Sports Business Journal (subscription may be required)
Over a conversation at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, the 41-year-old Hamlin told Jim France, the 77-year-old chairman and C.E.O. of NASCAR, that until he and his business partners see a change in NASCAR’s business model, all further major investments in the team are on hold.

Who needs LeBron? Luka Doncic, Ja Morant, playoff ratings put NBA in a strong position for next media rights cycle
May 21, 2022 via CNBC
Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies drives to the basket to shoot against the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs at Chase Center in San Francisco, California.

How Peyton Manning, Joe Buck Teamed Up for a New Swing at Golf for ESPN
May 20, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
This wasn’t supposed to be Joe Buck’s first assignment for ESPN. The veteran sports announcer raised eyebrows earlier this year by jumping from his longtime roost at Fox Sports to the Disney sports giant, where he and colleague Troy Aikman are set to host "Monday Night Football."

NBA 'Quietly' Returns to Chinese State Television After Three-Year Hiatus
May 20, 2022 via Breitbart News
The NBA continued its ongoing relationship with China this week when it returned to the authoritarian regime’s state-run television after a nearly three-year hiatus.

Oklahoma’s ESPN+ Deal Reflects New Thinking About Distribution
May 20, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
The University of Oklahoma recently signed a multi-year pact with ESPN+ that will result in the creation of an OU specific network — SoonerVision — inside of the subscription streaming service.

NBA Playoff Ratings Soar Thanks to Revived Warriors, Hungry Celtics
May 18, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
In spite of a stretch of blowouts and the ongoing erosion of TV usage, the 2022 NBA playoffs are putting on a heck of a show, and the highest ratings in five years.

Disney Nabs XFL Media Rights in Exclusive Four-Year Deal
May 18, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
The Walt Disney Co. has hammered out an exclusive four-year deal to carry the revived XFL’s regular-season and playoff games, with the bulk of the contests expected to air on ESPN, ABC and FX.

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Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)  
Actor Seth Green is on Twitter trying to reclaim a stolen Bored Ape
May 24, 2022 via The Block
Actor Seth Green's Bored Ape was stolen just weeks before the launch of his new show featuring the Ape. Green, who may have lost commercial rights to the Ape, is now attempting to get it back.

High-profile NFT auctions from Beeple, Madonna flop amid crypto crash
May 24, 2022 via New York Post
The once-sizzling market for NFTs has become a spectacular bust, as high-profile auctions increasingly flop and investors who plunked down millions for bizarre digital artworks now struggle to unload them at a tiny fraction of what they paid.

Ringo Starr's NFT collection to be sold at auction as drummer becomes first Beatle to enter MetaVerse
May 24, 2022 via The Olympian
Ringo Starr is drumming up a new virtual venture. Digital artwork created by the Beatles drummer will be sold next month at an online auction titled the “Ringo Starr NFT Collection — The Creative Mind of a Beatle.”

Florida Man Horrified When NFTs He Bought Because Floyd Mayweather Told Him to Crater in Value
May 23, 2022 via Futurism
After spending $12,000 on Floyd Mayweather-endorsed NFTs that are now worthless, one Florida man is having major buyer’s remorse. Tyler, a 35-year-old Miami man, told NBC News that he’s now struggling to afford gas and food amid rising inflation after purchasing the “Bored Bunny” NFT.

GameStop Launches Digital Wallet for NFTs, Cryptocurrencies
May 23, 2022 via Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required)
GameStop Corp. launched a digital wallet for cryptocurrencies and NFTs, pushing further into a buzzy area as it looks to turn around its core videogame business.

Former Georgia, NFL Players Bank on NFTs and NIL Hitting Big
May 19, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
What started as an NIL-inspired side project for four former University of Georgia football players has turned into a full-fledged business.

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