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Welcome back to the Spotlight! I really wanted to open this week talking about the football game. I wanted to talk about Usher’s performance at the halftime show. I wanted to talk about the commercials. I even wanted to be the lone voice among us to talk about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce (did you hear that they're dating?!). Instead of reflecting on the uniquely American sports and entertainment spectacle that is the Super Bowl, I find myself obliged to address the uniquely American experience of living in a country in which gun violence continues to be commonplace. A day that was supposed to be a celebration of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2nd Super Bowl victory in as many years has instead been marred by a mass shooting that killed a local radio DJ and left at least 20 others—many of whom being children—injured. In the wake of these tragedies there is always a curiosity about the motive, as if understanding why it happened brings comfort. While undoubtedly important for law enforcement and criminal justice, the reason for why a gunman acted is less important than the fact that it did happen and preventing it from happening again—just ask victims or their family members. As of Wednesday, there have been more mass shootings in the US in 2024 (49) than there have been days in 2024 (45). We can do (and should demand) better. 

    • This year’s Super Bowl was the most watched US broadcast since the 1969 moon landing. Great—more fodder for the tinfoil hatters. 

    • Speaking of moonwalks, the rights to Michael Jackson’s music catalog were purchased by Sony at a $1.2 valuation. 

    • NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo launches his endorsement relationship with Starry, the lemon-lime flavored official soft drink of the NBA, WNBA and G-League. A fitting partnership because I get parched every time I say “Giannis Antetokounmpo.”

    • Tiger Woods officially announces his apparel brand in conjunction with TaylorMade Golf. Its name is a homage to Woods’ decades-long tradition of wearing red for the final round of golf tournaments: “SUN DAY RED.” Of course, that’s not to be confused with my lifestyle brand for working parents with young children: “AL WAYS TI RED.”

Welcome back to the Spotlight! While many bask in the afterglow of last weekend’s history making Grammy Awards, the lights along the Las Vegas Strip and heat lamps along the Las Vegas buffets begin to burn brighter, as the NFL brings Super Bowl LVIII (58 for non-Romans and/or any children left behind). It is an exciting time of year, in which national attention, fanfare and financial expenditures are at their peak—paralleled only maybe by a Presidential election.

This year, the parallels are in greater relief as the Super Bowl contenders and presumptive Presidential candidates are the same as they were four years ago, both sides have been desperately vying for an endorsement from Taylor Swift and most Americans are deciding who they want to win based on who they least want to lose.

With this Super Bowl being the first to take place in Las Vegas since the Raiders relocated to the humble desert town and legal sports wagering in the mainstream, I suspect this year’s event will be filled with things that a few wish they could remember and many wish they could forget. (Hey that’s catchy – maybe I’ll adopt that as my new tagline here…)

    • Not the Super Bowl, but a type of football championship nonetheless – New York/New Jersey was awarded the distinction of hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup Final at MetLife Stadium. Meanwhile, Newark, New Jersey was awarded the distinction of hosting first-time visitors who think that they’re on their way to the 2026 FIFA World Cup Final.
    • Actress and entrepreneur Jessica Alba announced the launch of a media production company named, “Lady Spitfire” – which sounds like a hybrid of the titular nanny in a 1993 Robin Williams film and a character in “Bridgerton.” 
    • The NBA forges a multiyear sponsorship deal with global air carrier, Emirates. As part of the arrangement, NBA referees’ uniforms will be branded for the first time with an Emirates patch. Probably not going to see referees sporting BetMGM, FanDuel or DraftKings patches any time soon, though. 

Welcome back to the Spotlight! Proudly artificial intelligence and brain chip-free since 2021SM. Would ChatGPT or a Neuralink brain-computer interface make my weekly task here easier? Perhaps. But ChatGPT wouldn’t be authentically me and a thought-reading Neuralink chip would be maybe *too* authentically me. That being said, I don’t have a high bar of originality to prove otherwise with history repeating itself with the Super Bowl matchup from four years ago (Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers) matching the one on tap for February 11. Speaking of high bars of originality, TikTok creators woke up Thursday morning to learn that they may need to channel their inner Charlie Chaplain on account of Universal Music Group pulling its song library from TikTok due to a row over an unfair artist royalty structure and proliferation of artificial intelligence on the platform. It will be interesting to see whether other labels follow suit to ratchet up pressure on the music-driven platform—now that’s something for which users could tap into their boundless attention span. (Editor’s Note: it was at this moment that—between Charlie Chaplain references and sarcastic remarks about the younger generation--Josh realized he’s turning into an old curmudgeon). Now, let’s get the rest of this out of the way…

    • Tom Brady’s Brady and TB12 apparel and fitness brands merge into Mike Depole’s (of VitaminWater and BodyArmor) athletic performance wear brand, NOBULL. Brady and Depole elected to keep the NOBULL name, though as a Giants fan, i think NORINGS might have been more fitting. 

    • An upcoming documentary will examine on the recording of the philanthropic 1985 song “We Are The World” meant to foster global cooperation in support of Africa. Me thinks the world could use more songs…

    • Slim Jim snaps out of its decades-long sponsorship of World Wrestling Entertainment after disgraced former chairman Vince McMahon is the subject of sex trafficking allegations. A shocking move considering the bad taste and difficult-to-digest things are the core of Slim Jim’s business model.

Welcome back to the Spotlight! As we prepare for the NFL Conference Championships this upcoming weekend, the fan bases of the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills are still looking back to their losses last weekend, reflecting about what could have been.  In both teams’ losses, their field goal kickers missed a field goal at crucial moments in their respective games. As a lawyer frequently under similar pressure-packed circumstances, it’s hard not to empathize with them. Aside from the obvious similarities in being unparalleled Adonis-like physical specimens, when things are going as they should (kicks made, deals closed) you seldom hear about a kicker’s or lawyer’s performance. But when things go wide-left, wide-right, short or off the uprights, kickers (like lawyers) are the first ones to be blamed – even when there were other opportunities to prevent things from getting to that point. To err is human, so the best of the best and most dependable still make mistakes, but with the help of teammates and the occasional support of fans, are able to make adjustments and prepare themselves for the next time to grab a hint of glory or at least avoid the negative spotlight.

    • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s career comes full circle as the former WWE wrestler finds himself on the board of directors for WWE’s holding company, TKO Group. As part of the arrangement, Johnson is finally getting full IP rights to his nickname—provided all board proposals are to be introduced with “if you smell what The Rock is cooking…”

    • Country legend Dolly Parton rolls out a co-branded line of breakfast baking mixes. No fat-free or sugar-free options are offered so far so those looking to Jo—(err… go) lean need to look elsewhere. 

    • Based on trademark filings leading up to Tiger Woods’ and Nike’s agreement to part ways, golf equipment and apparel brand Taylor Made seems to be a likely partner – presumably in a joint venture -- for Woods’ next move. Woods’ golf bag is already filled with Taylor Made clubs, so the potential tie-up is…well…(too easy).  

If there’s one thing that the docuseries and (as of Monday night) winner of four Emmy Awards “Welcome to Wrexham” highlights, it is never to underestimate the power of storytelling through sports.  In the case of “Welcome to Wrexham,” authentic, compelling and feel-good storytelling about a humble Welsh town and its humble football club has vaulted both into the collective consciousness.  Other feel good storytelling came on successive days last week as both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles were eliminated from the NFL playoffs. Yes, my New York Giants did not make the playoffs, BUT they got a better draft pick a head start on their trip to Cancun – so you tell me who came out on top.
However, the stories that sports can tell are not always rosy. Last week, Israeli footballer Sagiv Jehezkel was suspended by Turkish football club Antalyaspor for a goal celebration in which he paid tribute to the people taken hostage in Israel 100 days earlier. He was, by the way, arrested and deported by Turkish authorities for the same act --  but that’s neither here nor there.  Just a few days before that, South Africa’s U-19 World Cup Cricket team stripped one of its top players, David Teeger (who is Jewish) of his captaincy out of fear that protests could be inflamed during the tournament. That said, in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, in which the Jews were banned from competition by Nazi Germany, Jesse Owens—a black man—took home four gold medals for the U.S., in what many viewed as an affront to the Nazi regime. So perhaps amongst the dearth of courage and surplus of antisemitism, perhaps there is still an inspiring story to come…

    • The NFL’s decision to put the AFC Wild Card matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins behind a paywall on NBC’s streaming service Peacock, ruffled some rainbow-colored feathers. But in the end, 23 million people tuned in to watch Taylor Swift watch a football game.

    • Recently convicted actor Jonathan Majors, who had already had his deal with Marvel Studios terminated, was also axed from playing the lead role in an upcoming film about NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman’s infamous trip to Las Vegas during the 1998 NBA Finals. You know you’re in a bad way when your conduct keeps you from playing Dennis Rodman.

    • Former Heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson brings his cannabis brand back to his roots in New York state – even in retirement, he keeps adding to his list of knockouts.

    • NCAA president Charlie Baker testifies before Congress on the state of college athletics and name, image and likeness regulations—which would be the clearest sign that federal legislation is on the horizon—if not for the fact that, you know—it’s Congress.

Welcome back to the Spotlight!  We’re barely into the New Year and it has been an eventful one already. First, (and you would be forgiven for not knowing this, but…) the Golden Globes took place this past Sunday.  The theme of the night seemed to be “bombs” and not much else, as Christopher Nolan’s biopic thriller Oppenheimer swept the major film categories, meanwhile the evening’s host, comedian Jo Koy had a rough go of it with his jokes. The next night a quarterback took a beating--not in the College Football National Championship (my sympathies to my Washington Huskies colleagues)—but rather at the hands of a more skilled J.K. comedian, as (J)immy (K)immel addressed the war of words between he and Aaron Rodgers arising from Rodgers’ implying that Kimmel’s name would appear on the list of Jeffrey Epstein’s associates. Of course, that turned out to be false (paging defamation litigators…) but that’s neither here nor there. Meanwhile four prominent sports fixtures (3 of whom being football coaches, and 1 of whom being Tiger Woods) have turned pages on respective decades of history. University of Alabama coach Nick Saban, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick have each retired or simply moved on from their respective teams’ sidelines after remarkable careers, while Tiger Woods has ended his 27 year relationship with NIKE Golf.  What awaits them this year and beyond is anyone’s guess. What awaits you is even more Spotlight.

    • An AI-generated, deepfake ad of Taylor Swift purportedly endorsing French cookware brand Le Creuset (which is French for “The Creuset”) highlights the need of brands and celebrities alike to be vigilant, place more of a premium on authenticity—in real ads. It’s little wonder that Congress is setting its sights on the issue.

    • The trend of original sports content marches on, with LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler and other NBA stars signing on to participate in a Netflix docuseries (produced by James’ SpringHill Company, Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Productions) similar to Netflix and Omaha Productions’ “Quarterback” series. Unfortunately, the market for original sports lawyer content does not seem as robust.

    • KETO-friendly snack and cereal company, Catalina Crunch unveils its endorsement relationship with New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson. As a lifelong Knicks fan, this seems like a great fit – both Catalina Crunch and the Knicks can help you lose parts of yourself.

Happy New Year, and welcome back to the Spotlight! If your New Year’s resolution is to get up to speed on the latest in the sports and entertainment business, while also getting the occasional chuckle, you have come to the right place. Skeptical? You have nothing to lose—and I’m far less expensive than that impossible-to-cancel gym membership that you’re never going to use anyway. That being said, if you're trying to cut back on the amount of cheese you consume, then you're out of luck. As we roll into 2024, maybe you’re energized by a clean slate for the year ahead or (like me) propelled forward with a fantasy football championship

    • At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2024, the copyrights in the original "Steamboat Willie" character on which Mickey Mouse was based fell into the public domain and opened up the door to no shortage of gory horror films (“we’ve got fears, say ”’cheers!’”) featuring the aforementioned mouse. This is great news to those of us who thought parenting wasn't hard enough these days.

    • New York Jets Quarterback Aaron Rodgers strongly implied that late night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s name would appear on a list of associates of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.  With good reason, Kimmel took exception to the jab (apparently motivated by Rodgers’ animus towards Kimmel’s jokes about him), threatening legal action against Rodgers. You might call Rodgers’ grudges his Achilles.

    • In an effort to bring in a new audience for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, NBCUniversal is enlisting the services of Snoop Dogg, who may be utterly disappointed to find out what it means to pass the torch.

For the very last time in 2023, welcome back to the Spotlight! I know there’s still 2 weeks left in the year but I figure my readers are either going to be checked-out or buried in work to complete before end of the year. If you can’t wait for more puns and dad jokes until 2024 (like a shoe store for Shaquille O’Neal, that’s no small feat) you can email me at and/or add me on LinkedIn. But if Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani can wait 10 years to start receiving the $680 million deferred compensation balance of his recently signed 10 year, $700 million contract, I think you will manage. From mega contracts to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, to Messi’s move to Miami, to Taylor Swift’s global domination, to artificial intelligence’s emergence to the mainstream, to the continued growth of women’s sports, to pickleball and the expansion of athletes’ investment portfolios, the year has been packed with huge stories and developments in the sports and entertainment industries occurrences and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for the next pages of the calendar. Until then, I leave you with best wishes for Happy Holidays and of course the following:

    • The Washington Commanders are moving business operations off-site from their home stadium, FedEx Field. No word on whether there are plans to move winning operations in. 

    • The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team is due to be featured in a docuseries on streaming platform Peacock, virtually guaranteeing a Sean Astin cameo appearance. 

    • On the heels of the Netflix Cup golf tournament, the streaming service is continuing a push into live sporting events with a tennis match between two Grand Slam champions Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. A perfect event for viewers seeking to get their net fix.

Sports & Entertainment SpotlightWelcome back to the Spotlight! This past Tuesday, I was fortunate to attend sports business publication Sportico’s Influence live event in New York City. Besides having the pleasure of meeting a number of interesting (dare I say “influential”) attendees involved in various facets of the sports, entertainment and media business, I got to hear firsthand accounts and advice from sports executives who have adapted to the current landscape and expanded their influence through a singular attribute: authenticity.  That common denominator pervaded every panel discussion, from Barstool Sports’ growth through its creation of original content, to the origin story of the management group behind Travis Kelce and his banner year, to the unparalleled rise of Wrexham A.F.C. in the public’s consciousness to an NBA owner’s genuine love for his organization (and a tequila co-founded with other NBA owners including some guy named Michael Jordan).  In this age of disinformation and misinformation, authenticity reigns supreme. In many ways, it underpins this blog, as I strive to package authentic news and insights with authentically cringe-worthy dad jokes.  Now if you’d excuse me, I am going to celebrate the New York Yankees acquiring Juan Soto with a glass of a new favorite tequila (talk about being under influence!), but not without some parting gifts below.

    • Perhaps unsurprisingly, Taylor Swift was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2023. The news left many of her ardent supporters jubilant over the news, yet flummoxed about what a “magazine” is.
    • NASCAR and the English Premier League each strike media rights deals valued at approximately $8 billion, marking just the second thing the two have in common besides flag signals.
    • NCAA president Charlie Baker circulated a letter to Division I member colleges and universities, proposing the creation of “enhanced educational trust funds” that would enable athletic departments to pay athletes directly (rather than athletes needing to be approached with the nudge/wink deals that have emerged in the NIL era). It’s a concept so logical and reasonable that the NCAA is almost certainly going to mess it up.

Welcome back to the Spotlight! If you’re reading this week, it means that you managed to pull yourself away from your Spotify Wrapped year-end summary. As for your Spotlight Wrapped, I would like to think that your laughs over the past year have been immeasurable (or at the very least, existent) as you’ve joined me for nearly forty installments. Amongst those mentioned most frequently are Lionel Messi and Taylor Swift – the latter being, to no one’s surprise, also the most popular recording artist on Spotify.  Someone whose name has not appeared in the Spotlight this year (until now, that is) is billionaire entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of “Shark Tank,” Mark Cuban. After the news of this past week, his introduction is going to change yet again, as Cuban not only announced that the upcoming sixteenth season of “Shark Tank” would be his last, but also that he is selling a majority ownership stake in the Mavericks to the Adelson family’s Las Vegas Sands Corp for a cool $2 billion.  What’s more is that Cuban is going to be retaining full control over basketball operations, all the while presumably lobbying Texas legislators to legalize gambling so as to allow him to fulfill his dream of building a new Dallas stadium complex wrapped within a hotel and casino. I do hope we get to see that someday, too. For now, let’s build upon your 2023 Spotlight Wrapped stats:

    • Famed Rock & Roll duo Daryl Hall & John Oates find themselves on opposing ends of a “v.” rather than an ampersand, as Hall is suing Oates alleging that the latter sought to sell his interest in the duo’s joint venture that administers the duo’s intellectual property assets without the former’s permission. Given their history together, this battle is sure to heat up--like a flame that burns the candle and the candle feeds the flame.
    • A not-so-subtle reminder to hospitality industry to secure music licenses for its establishments, as a Universal Music Group affiliate is seeking $264 million from a Las Vegas karaoke bar for the unlicensed use of instrumental tracks. The final straw, I’m told, is when a patron attempted to perform “Stairway to Heaven.”
    • University of Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule made a bold assessment when asked about the merits of attracting talent with name, image and likeness (NIL) dollars through the NCAA transfer portal – that a quarterback costs $1 to 2 million. Happily he’s a football coach and not an accountant, or we’d all be out between $999,999.75 and $1,999,999.75.  

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