Angeles, CA – March 2017 / Newsmaker Alert / Each monthly issue of
contains information from the Press Box. SportsTravel is
the sports world’s event magazine.
Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, will receive a three-year extension on his contract. Hancock, the first executive director of the CFP, also served as the first full-time director of the NCAA Final Four and the first executive director of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).
Major League Baseball has promoted Billy Bean to vice-president and special assistant to the commissioner, a newly created position. Bean will be a senior advisor to Commissioner Rob Manfred on human rights issues, with a focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. Bean started at MLB in 2014 as its first ambassador for inclusion. In other MLB news, the league has named Olympic champion Jennie Finch as its youth softball ambassador. The Women’s College World Series champion and former pro softball pitcher will work to grow softball at the amateur and youth levels and will support an effort to promote girl’s baseball.
A new professional football league, Pacific Pro Football, has recently been formed. The four-team league, based in Southern California, will hire players who have graduated from high school but are not eligible for other professional leagues. Teams will be coached by former professional and college coaches. The first games will be played in summer 2018.
Ironman and the International Triathlon Union have agreed to a cooperation framework. The deal includes ITU sanctioning for select Ironman events, establishing competition rules with specific distances, and recognition of ITU as the sport’s international federation.
Hosts & Suppliers
The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced several promotions including Dave Beachnau to senior vice-president of sales, marketing and sports, and Kris Smith to director of the Detroit Sports Commission. Beachnau has worked at the DMCVB in several different capacities for the past 24 years and has served as the executive director for the DSC since 2001. Smith, formerly the DSC’s national sports sales manager, joined the sports commission in 2012. He previously worked at the Hampton (Virginia) Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Visit Phoenix has promoted Lorne Edwards to vice-president of sales and services. Edwards joined the organization five years ago as director of sales after having worked for 16 years with the Hyatt Hotels Corp.
The Frisco (Texas) Convention & Visitors Bureau has named Josh Dill as director of sports and events, a newly created position. With more than 10 years of experience in the sports-event industry, Dill most recently served as the Frisco CVB’s director of sports marketing.
Susan Koczka has been appointed director of national accounts at the Hartford-based Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau. With nearly three decades of experience in the conventions, meetings and hospitality industries, Koczka most recently served as director of corporate relations and meetings at Association Resources Inc., an association management firm. She previously served as sales manager at the bureau when it was the Greater Hartford CVB.
Libby Craig has been named sport sales manager at the Monroe County Sports Commission, the athletic business development arm of Visit Rochester (New York) and Monroe County. Craig most recently served as group sales manager of the Hyatt at The Bellevue in Philadelphia.
Sites & Venues
The 2017 Major League Soccer All-Star Game will be held at Soldier Field in Chicago on August 2. The city also will host nearly a week of related events. The game will be broadcast live on FS1, UDN and UniMás in the United States, TSN and TVA Sports in Canada, and in more than 170 countries.
The U.S. Soccer She Believes Cup will be held March 1–7 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania; Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey; and RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The international tournament will feature four of the world’s top-ranked women’s national teams (Germany, France, England and the United States) competing in three doubleheaders.
Major League Triathlon, the first and only professional triathlon league in the United States, will host an event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on June 3. The triathlon will feature 32 professional triathletes swimming 300 meters in the Atlantic Ocean, biking 4 miles and running 1 mile on the city’s historic boardwalk.
The Professional Darts Corporation’s U.S. Masters, part of the 2017 World Series of Darts, will be held at the Tropicana Las Vegas, July 13–15. The tournament marks the first time a World Series of Darts event has been hosted in the United States.
The Pro Watercross Tour’s Liberty Cup will be staged at Lewisville Lake, Texas, June 10–11. The annual tour for personal watercraft racing will feature both professional and amateur athletes.
The 2017 Powerade State Games of North Carolina, the state’s largest multisport amateur athletic event, will be held in the Piedmont Triad region, with events in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Burlington and High Point, June 3–June 25.
Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, is scheduled to undergo a $178 million modernization project. Highlights include a redesigned infield featuring a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Garage Fan Zone; a repositioned start/finish line; and a new pedestrian tunnel connecting the infield to new seating areas.
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America recently celebrated its grand opening at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. The MSHFA relocated from Novi, Michigan, last year.
Sponsors & Licensing
The NBA has partnered with Jack Daniel’s, making the distillery an official marketing partner of the NBA, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA Development League and USA Basketball. The brand is currently a partner of five NBA teams: the Atlanta Hawks, the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs.
The NBA’s Boston Celtics and GE have announced a multiyear partnership in which GE will become the team’s exclusive data and analytics partner. Headquartered in Boston as of 2016, GE will receive a number of marketing assets, including the team’s first jersey patch partnership.
Major League Soccer and Target have announced a multi-year partnership. Target also will become the official partner of Minnesota United FC and the team’s official jersey sponsor. The deal also includes on-field branding and in-stadium activation rights.
The NFL and Special Olympics have announced a partnership that will expand Special Olympics Unified Flag Football. The deal will provide opportunities for athletes of all abilities to participate in “Play 60,” the NFL’s youth health and wellness platform that helps kids get active for 60 minutes a day.
The United States Tennis Association and Deloitte have announced a long-term partnership. Deloitte will sponsor the U.S. Davis Cup and U.S. Fed Cup teams, as well as the U.S. Open. Deloitte also will become the first sponsor of the U.S. Open Wheelchair Competition.
Delta Air Lines and its partner Aeromexico have been named the official airline partners of the Los Angeles Football Club, an MLS team expected to make its debut in 2018. The deal includes transportation, category exclusivity, community outreach, fan engagement, and interior and exterior digital signage.
The Chicago Cubs and Jim Beam Bourbon have announced a multiyear partnership. Chicago-based Beam Suntory—producer of brands that include Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Effen Vodka and Hornitos Premium Tequila—will serve as the official spirits partners of the Cubs and Wrigley Field. Additionally, Jim Beam will have long-term naming rights to a new first-base club at Wrigley Field and a new left field bar at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona.
Uber has become the first official rideshare partner of the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center. Uber has established a designated pickup and drop-off area outside of Investors Bank Tower.
The International Olympic Committee and Alibaba Group have announced a long-term partnership through 2028. Alibaba will become the IOC’s official cloud services and e-commerce platform services partner, as well as a founding partner of the Olympic Channel.
USA Wrestling and FloSports, a sports media company, have announced an extension of their partnership, which began in 2013 and will now last through 2024. The agreement includes the airing of some of the sport’s premier events exclusively on FloWrestling.com as well as use of FloArena meet-management software for select USA Wrestling events.
The PGA of America has named John Deere as its official turf-equipment provider. Under the terms of the five-year agreement, John Deere—a provider of products and services for agriculture, construction, forestry and turf—will also offer equipment programs to PGA-owned facilities and championship sites as well as discounts on home lawn maintenance equipment for PGA professionals.
The British Virgin Islands Tourism Board will serve as the exclusive Caribbean destination sponsor for the 2017 Miami Open tennis tournament, which will be played at the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Miami, March 20–April 2. More than 300,000 ticket holders attend the annual tournament.
The National Hockey League has announced a multiyear, corporate marketing partnership with PPG, a global supplier of paints, coatings, fiberglass and other specialty materials. The Pittsburgh-based company will serve as the official paint of the NHL in the United States and Canada. In addition to supplying paint for the Stadium Series, PPG will be featured at future Stadium Series games and the NHL Winter Classic.
Donna de Varona is the recipient of the 2016 Theodore Roosevelt Meritorious Achievement Award. Presented by the United States Sports Academy, the award is given to an individual in any sport who has excelled as a contributor to both sport and society over at least a decade. An advocate for women in sports, de Varona served as the first president of the Women’s Sports Foundation and was one of the first female sportscasters for a national network when she signed a contract with ABC at age 18. By the time she was 17, de Varona had broken 18 swimming world records and had won two gold medals at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. She currently serves on the executive board of Special Olympics International.
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