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Tag Archive Sports

Responsible Athletics: PRIVIT

Ensuring Complete, Accurate, Student Athlete Health Information at The University of Cincinnati

Case Study:

The University of Cincinnati has a total enrollment of 46,244 students. The Bearcats’ athletics program feature over 500 student athletes on 19 varsity teams. Every year UC receives athletes from all over the country – and the world. In order to participate on any of the University’s sports teams, incoming athletes must complete a packet of health information forms each year. Returning athletes must update their packets to show accurate information regarding their physicals and insurance, among other required forms to meet compliance requirements.

The Problem

A few years ago, collecting all these required packets and information proved to be a difficult task. UC’s medical staff had to make an attempt to send packets out to players as they were coming in and hope they would fill it out before arriving on campus. This presented the challenge to the athletic staff to have to track down students who were missing forms, or other important information. Sometimes the student athletes would return their required paperwork and sometimes they would not. Having the athletic staff track down missing health information and incomplete packets was becoming an increasingly difficult and tedious process. “The process was cumbersome, but it was the best available at the time,” said Aaron Himmler (AT, MS), UC’s Assistant AD for Sports Medicine and Football Head Athletic Trainer. Then Aaron heard about PRIVIT, “PRIVIT was available right when we [the athletic staff] were about fed up with our current process.” He decided to contact Stanford University about how they were implementing PRIVIT at their school.

The Solution

PRIVIT offered a technology that completely eliminated paper as the method for collecting sensitive student athlete health information. The athletic department staff no longer had to chase down incomplete forms and information. UC recently finished its fourth year of utilizing PRIVIT’s secure technology.

“I can’t image going back to the paper route, all the steps included in that process and then getting incomplete information and not knowing that until they [student athletes] get here to campus. There are 100 to 150 brand new athletes coming in every year so going back to paper means being unsure of information you are getting and not sure you will get it. Not a good situation. Now the time it takes to remind athletes of any missing information is minimal. It eliminates having to individually call athletes to complete missing information.” – Aaron Himmler (AT, MS), Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine and Head Football Athletic Trainer, University of Cincinnati.

The decision to make the change was made and the athletic staff decided to go all in with the new method that PRIVIT provided. The learning curve was short, and they have now reached a point where using the platform is second nature.

Right after an incoming football player sends a letter of intent they receive an email to begin the process of completing their required health information through PRIVIT’s user-friendly advanced mobile technology. By the time the athletes arrive on campus for their incoming physicals the athletic staff has all their information and it has been accessible for some time. This process has become a necessity for the sports program administrators. The department says the quality of information they are receiving has improved significantly.

More Complete and Accurate Information and Reduced Workload for Staff

Aaron says continuing to implement PRIVIT technology is a no-brainer:

“Anything that can give us better, more accurate information on our student athletes I am on board with – because ultimately that is a factor in being able to provide better healthcare,” Himmler says. Being able to collect more accurate, complete and secure health information is critical to the mission of their sports department. “If we can make that process more efficient and less work for the department why wouldn’t you do that? If you can make your life easier and get even better information, then why not?” Since implementing PRIVIT technology the University of Cincinnati’s trainers and athletic staff can review athlete’s health information before they arrive on campus and have the best information available to them.

Another feature Himmler says is invaluable is provided to the students themselves. When students have completed their time at UC, they leave with an accurate medical snapshot available to them to take anywhere they need – whether that is transferring or moving on to the next level or the pros. “A lot of athletes don’t have a good grasp of their medical history. They get shots when they’re younger but don’t remember what for. PRIVIT’s ability to integrate with EMRs [Electronic Medical Records] is great. Transition from one platform to another and being able to share that information is pretty interesting and helpful. Ability to have athletes give information to us through PRIVIT and then we [UC] can transfer to EMR is amazing. Gives a highly detailed medical history and it’s unreal.”

A newer feature being utilized at UC is requiring insurance information for each student athlete to be put in the system. This information has proven to be extremely helpful for the athletic department’s staff. Aaron says the department’s experience with PRIVIT has been easy to use and adaptable to their changing needs. For example, the department is looking into utilizing the welcome video feature to create education pieces that student athletes are required to complete in order to be eligible to play. He calls PRIVIT a “one-stop shop for all pertinent information: physical, immunization, insurance card.”

Suburban Chicago VC Firm Raises $40M to Invest in Sports Tech

Chicago is undeniably a sports town. But it’s also a sports-tech town, as it’s home to major sports technology companies like STATS, Zebra Technologies and Vivid Seats. Chicago is also home to Sportvision, a graphics company best known for inventing the yellow first down marker in football broadcasts.

To invest in the burgeoning sports-tech scene in Chicago and around the country, VC fund KB Partners announced Monday that it raised a $40 million fund to invest in early-stage startups.

The Highland Park-based firm, calling its new fund the KB Partners Myriad Opportunity Fund, will invest in connected fitness, health and wellness tech, as well as e-sports, fantasy sports and sports betting, a sector that is expected to grow considerably now that sports betting is legal in Illinois. KB Partners said it plans to lead or co-lead Seed and Series A rounds for sports tech startups through the new fund.

The firm, founded in 1996, is led by Keith Bank, Steve Ahern and Lance Dietz. The Myriad Opportunity is the firm’s latest fund. Previously, KB Partners has invested in successfully exited startups, such as Club Champion, Buddy Media and Exacq.

So far, KB Partners has invested in the following sports-tech companies from around the country:

  • ANGLR: A Pittsburgh-based company that has developed a hardware- and-software powered fishing intelligence network to help avid anglers optimize their time on the water
  • Asensei: A San Francisco-based company focused on disrupting how people train and practice via a virtual AI- enabled “connected coaching” platform
  • Hammerhead: A New York City-based company focused on revolutionizing how cyclists navigate, train, and connect via a revolutionary hardware and software platform
  • StreamLayer: A Chicago-based software company that seeks to change how video content is consumed and monetized
  • Upcomer: An LA-based company that provides an e-sports community and content platform to keep fans and participants updated and engaged
  • Workforce Athletics: A San Francisco-based corporate wellness and culture company that is building a highly curated and centralized platform for team sports participation and engagement in the workplace
  • XY Gaming: A San Francisco-based e-sports infrastructure company utilizing its proprietary technology platform to redefine how gamers compete

SOURCE: AmericanINNO – Chicaco
LINK: https://www.americaninno.com/chicago/inno-news-chicago/suburban-vc-firm-raises-40m-to-invest-in-sports-tech/

New Client Intake

Athletic Venture Advisors will be accepting new startup and small business clients for consulting on many services including seeking investors and capital. We focus on sports, sporting goods, sports technology, fitness, nutrition, healthcare and injury prevention companies who are making a difference in their field.

AVA will be closing on some major projects very soon, as well as bringing on new advisors to expand our reach.

Because of this we will be bringing on new Startup and Small Business Clients who are preparing and seeking Funding or looking for assistance in Business Development and Strategic Partnerships. Have an interesting business in Sports, Sports-Tech, Healthcare, Fitness and Nutrition or related channels? Submit your business profile here:

GUARDLAB ANNOUNCES NEW HOCKEY AMBASSADOR, NHL FORWARD, JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK

NEW YORK, Feb 14, 2019 — GuardLab® a New York – based custom mouthguard company specializing in 3D technology and 3D printing announces today a new Hockey Brand Ambassador, NHL forward James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers. Van Riemsdyk joins a diverse and talented spec trum of passionate and dedicated athletes, who believe in the quality of GuardLab products and our modern technology to improve the way athletes protect their teeth.

GuardLab uses 3D technology, powered by 3Shape, to make the most accurate fitting mouth guards, coupled with a proprietary Alignment Repositioning Cushion (ARC™Technology) that can help to increase oxygenation, reduce TMJ tension and stabilize the head, neck and jaw muscles during training and competition.

The American – born hockey player, a lso known as JVR , grew up in Middletown, NJ and experienced an orofacial injury early in his career while playing minor hockey. Since that time, and for several years since, Van Riemsdyk has been wearing a lime green dentist – made custom mouthguard to prote ct his teeth, trying out different custom guards from his dentists. Custom fit mouthguards offer the best in protection, however, the styles and thicknesses can vary from dentist to dentist and traditional putty impressions are required for every new guard .

After getting 3D scanned for an ARC – PRO Guard in 2018, van Riemsdyk was surprised by the ease, comfort, and accuracy of 3Shape TRIOS and the soft, thinner protective mouthguard made by GuardLab.

“I first got scanned for my GuardLab mouthpiece this past summer and the process couldn’t have been easier. It only took about ten minutes to do the 3D scan, so you don’t have to deal with the messy putty, clearly the technology is way better. I feel like that [process] allowed for a better fit, and now I find that my mouthguard is in my mouth more often than hanging out of the side of it. Not only was the process way easier, but the product is way better than what I’ve had in the past” said NHL forward, James van Riemsdyk .

Without major changes to his teeth, the same digital impression can be used to make as many mouthguards as JVR needs, sent directly to the athlete or organization in a matter of days. What was once a common site to see van Riemsdyk chewing his lime green mouthguard, may now become a thing of the past with GuardLab.​

Van Riemsdyk’s career includes over 650 NHL games played with the Philadelphia Flyers (2009 – 2012 and 2018 – to present) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (2012 – 2017). JVR is an exciting Hockey Brand Ambassador for GuardLab, as an active goal scorer with over 216 goals and 205 assists to – date, and counting.

About GuardLab, Inc.

GuardLab is a sports technology company changing the way you protect your teeth. We use 3D technology and 3D printing to create premium products that are accurate and comfortable, while being the most scientifically advanced – all at a fraction of what you would pay at the dentist, and available from the comfort of your home. GuardLab has partners and clients across all major professional and collegiate sports leagues including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, UFC, MLL and NCAA – including the multi – time and current Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, the NCAA National Champion UNC Men’s Basketball, as well as the Vancouver Giants, Syracuse Crunch, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Argonauts, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, AFL League and many more.

To learn more about GuardLab’s Dental Network or to find a 3D Scan Location near you, visit guardlab.com

Follow GuardLab on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @guardlab

#guardlab #BrandAmbassador #JVR #vanRiemsdyk #NHL #hockey #PhiladelphiaFlyers

ESPN’s Ex-President Wants to Build the Netflix of Sports

After an abrupt departure, John Skipper is trying to beat his former employer at its own game. By: Ira Boudway

On a recent fall morning, John Skipper is backstage at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, a 5,600-seat space tucked beneath the famous New York City arena. He’s there to greet Canelo Alvarez, the red-headed Mexican boxer whose only loss in 53 professional fights was to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. Skipper, the executive chairman of sports media startup DAZN Group, has just signed Alvarez to the richest athlete contract in sports history, a $365 million agreement for the rights to broadcast his next 11 fights. In a few minutes the two will wind through hallways and stairwells to the stage, where Alvarez will pose chest-to-chest before the press with his upcoming opponent, Rocky Fielding of Liverpool.

In the meantime, Alvarez, in a dark vest and white button-up shirt, is autographing boxing gloves, pulling them from a pile of 300 and dropping each finished pair into a large cardboard box. When Skipper approaches, Alvarez pauses. “Thank you for being here. We are very excited about the deal,” Skipper says, shaking hands. “Muchas gracias.”

It’s a big moment for Alvarez, yet Skipper seems the more thrilled of the two. For him, the hoopla marks a big step forward in his comeback from a public stumble. “Today is a lot of adrenaline,” he says prior to heading onstage.

In October, Skipper signed Alvarez to an 11-fight, $365 million contract.PHOTOGRAPHER: AMANDA WESTCOTT/DAZN

A year earlier, Skipper was president of ESPN and one of the most powerful people in television. In his six years on the job and 20 at the network, he helped build it into a $10 billion juggernaut for Walt Disney Co., cutting massive checks to the NBA and NFL and running the machinery that helps turn professional athletes into household names.

Skipper had signed a contract that November to stay on for three more years. ESPN was starting to look vulnerable as consumers abandoned cable TV, and Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger wanted him at the helm as the network began the shift to a digital streaming economy. A month later, at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., Skipper sat in front of about 450 on-camera reporters, analysts, and anchors and told them his plans. “I want to lead an ESPN that strives purposely and confidently into a new world, which is not scary but exciting,” he said.

Less than a week later, he resigned. “I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction,” Skipper said in a statement announcing his departure. “I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.”

The sudden exit fueled speculation that the addiction story was cover for a sexual harassment scandal. The #MeToo movement had already ended the careers of Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, and other media stars. Fox Sports radio personality Clay Travis, an ESPN critic, tweeted a surreptitious photo of Skipper at a bar with a martini glass at his elbow less than two weeks after his resignation. “ESPN lied about John Skipper’s substance addiction to cover up the real reason he was being fired,” Travis wrote, suggesting that if Skipper had an issue, he wouldn’t be drinking in public. Skipper tried to set the record straight in a March 2018 interview with the Hollywood Reporter. “Someone from whom I bought cocaine attempted to extort me,” he said. When he met with Iger about it, they agreed he should resign.

Backstage at the Garden, Skipper makes clear that he’s not interested in rehashing the extortion plot—which, he says, was the sole reason he left. “What I told people was the truth,” he says in a slight drawl, a remnant of his North Carolina upbringing. “Why they don’t choose to believe it, I have no clue.”

What does interest him is an article about his ambitious second act, which is why he’s letting me hang around. Skipper, 63, spent his early career at Rolling Stone and Spinand helped start ESPN the Magazine. He knows a little scenery helps a story, so he’s chosen this dressing room chat as a table setter for two later interviews. The story he hopes to tell is about how “the old guy who ran ESPN” is now working at a startup that aims to take its place as the “worldwide leader in sports.” He wants to talk about DAZN (pronounced “da zone”), a subscription streaming service with an odd name and big plans to disrupt sports broadcasting. It’s a neat narrative—incumbent turned insurgent—but Skipper knows he’s entering a brutal contest with one of two outcomes: win by knockout or get knocked out.

Skipper won’t call DAZN a “Netflix for sports,” at least not publicly, but it’s useful shorthand. DAZN offers live sports on the internet for a monthly fee. It started in Germany and Japan in summer 2016 and now also operates in Canada, Italy, and the U.S. The German service (which is also available in Austria and Switzerland) offers four of the top European soccer leagues plus the NBA and NFL for about $10 per month. In Japan, subscribers get domestic soccer and baseball, plus MLB, the NFL, three European soccer leagues, and UEFA Champions League, for about $15. U.S. service began in September, offering boxing and mixed martial arts at $10 a month. There are plans to start up in Spain and Brazil later this year.

The goal is to become an indispensable part of sports fans’ entertainment budget. It’s a wildly expensive project. Rights packages for top leagues make the cost for a season of Game of Thrones look like pocket change. And DAZN is competing against many of the biggest media companies in the world, including Disney.

DAZN has a puncher’s chance because it’s backed by Len Blavatnik. The Ukrainian-born media tycoon built a fortune from oil and aluminum dealings in Russia and now oversees a $20 billion empire that includes Warner Music Group. Skipper joined the management team in May, six months after his ESPN exit. The departure was a stroke of good fortune for DAZN: The most plugged-in executive in the business was suddenly available right as the company was looking to crack the U.S. market. “Everybody better be taking them seriously,” says Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at research company BTIG LLC. “They’ve got large amounts of capital and a talented management team that understands all of the problems of the legacy ecosystem.”

DAZN began as part of Perform Group Ltd., a London-based company Blavatnik formed in 2007. Perform built a $450 million business as a middleman for sports content, buying rights to games and data from teams and leagues, then packaging them for broadcasters and bookmakers. In 2014, Perform decided to create its own direct-to-consumer product, setting aside several hundred million dollars to get it off the ground. Consumers were moving to online subscription services for movies, TV, and music. Sports seemed an obvious next step.

Perform picked the name DAZN because it stood out and was available as a trademark across dozens of markets, says Joseph Markowski, executive vice president for North America. And yes, the company is aware that people can’t pronounce it: DAZN’s Twitter feed includes a video of heavyweight fighter Anthony Joshua and other athletes struggling with the name, saying “duh-zin” and “day-zin.” That’s OK, Markowski says—it helps make the name memorable.

DAZN soon went on a multibillion-dollar spending spree. In Japan alone, it committed $3 billion to rights. The splurge didn’t go unnoticed at ESPN, where Skipper was figuring out the direct-to-consumer business. “We were studying the world of platforms that could deliver simultaneous live streams at scale,” he says at DAZN’s Lower Manhattan offices a few weeks after the Alvarez event. The two best in the business, he decided, were Perform Group and BAMTech LLC, a streaming provider that Major League Baseball began developing in 2000.

During the same month that DAZN started in Germany and Japan, Disney paid $1 billion for a one-third share of BAMTech and announced that ESPN would soon operate its first standalone subscription streaming service using BAMTech technology. Then Disney paid an additional $1.6 billion to become BAMTech’s majority owner. Skipper now had the tools to make ESPN a streaming power.

It promised to be a heavy lift. The network couldn’t simply vacuum up rights to the most in-demand sports, put them on a slick online platform, and start charging customers. Although it owned the most valuable portfolio in the U.S.—Skipper himself assembled it, spending about $8 billion annually for Monday Night Football, the NBA, MLB, and many of the most-watched college football and basketball games—ESPN was already selling this programming to pay-TV providers for about $8 per month for every home that got the network. These carrier contracts prevented Skipper from selling the same games directly to consumers.

The number of homes getting ESPN, meanwhile, had fallen from 100 million in 2011 to 87 million in 2017, according to Nielsen Holdings Plc. Even if Skipper could offer the full firehose of ESPN programming via a streaming service, there was little chance of matching the revenue that had flowed through the fast-decaying cable business model. This was the predicament he’d been alluding to when, just before he resigned, he tried to reassure the network’s on-air talent about the “not scary” very scary new world.

PHOTOGRAPHER: BENEDICT EVANS FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK

In the Hollywood Reporter story, Skipper said that after he resigned, he checked himself into a facility where he got to “understand a bit more about substance use.” He told the interviewer, James Andrew Miller, co-author of the bestselling oral history of ESPN, Those Guys Have All the Fun: “I enjoy a martini, I enjoy a bottle of wine with friends for dinner. I’ve never had an issue with alcohol. You know, I’m an old hippie, and then an old New Yorker from the ’80s.” His addiction, he told Miller, had been cocaine.

Skipper’s first job after he finished a master’s in English literature at Columbia University was as a secretary at Rolling Stonein 1979. Over the next decade, he rose to become publisher of US magazine, which was under the same ownership. “He had a lot of friends,” Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner said in Those Guys Have All the Fun. “In those days it was quite the socially intertwined organization, and people had major parts of their social life totally interconnected with the place, you know, free-flowing cocaine, young people intensely involved with their work. And John fit right in with everybody.” Later, when Skipper became one of the most powerful people in sports, an industry full of former jocks and B-school squares, his Rolling Stone background became part of his persona. He was the charismatic Southerner with a countercultural streak.

At a diner on the Upper East Side, not far from where he lives, Skipper remains reluctant to say more about what led to his exit from ESPN. “I regret using the word ‘addiction,’ ” he says. “I had some inappropriate behavior.” As he sees it now, buying cocaine was a manifestation of a deeper set of problems: “I had some underlying matters I needed to deal with, which had created a health problem, which I feel that I’ve satisfactorily resolved.” Is the treatment over? “I’ve turned a new leaf. I feel quite confident in my ability to manage my life in a responsible manner.”

After leaving ESPN, Skipper laid low for a couple of months. He read Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry, the story of an alcoholic British diplomat in Mexico, and a Ulysses S. Grant biography. “Taking off is great,” he says, “but when you’re not taking off from anything, you’re not really taking off, you just don’t have anything to do.” When media friends began coming to him for advice, Skipper thought he could make a business of that, but he abandoned the idea after a few days. He didn’t want to tell other people what to do, he realized; he wanted to be the one doing.

In April he had breakfast at the Greenwich Hotel in Manhattan with Simon Denyer, Perform’s CEO and co-founder, who broached the idea of Skipper coming aboard to help run DAZN. “When I looked at what they’ve been able to do in Japan, Germany, and Canada, and thought about being able to try to replicate that around the world, I thought, this is kind of a unique beast,” Skipper says. “We may have the disruptor and the potential winner in this space.” His quick return to the industry was a deliberate statement that he wouldn’t cower. “I wanted to march right back in the room as a chairman of a company and say, ‘I’m fine,’ ” he says.

While he was negotiating his contract with Perform, ESPN introduced its long-awaited standalone streaming service. For $5 a month, subscribers to ESPN+ would get games from MLB, Major League Soccer, and the NHL, as well as some college sports and documentaries and other shows not found on the TV network. The grab bag of second-rate programming highlighted the difficulty ESPN faces as it tries to build a new business while protecting its old one. In September, Disney announced that ESPN+ had a million subscribers.

At DAZN, Skipper faces the flip side of ESPN’s problems. He has the freedom to sell sports directly to viewers but little to sell. ESPN and the other incumbents have locked up the most-watched leagues into the next decade. The NFL’s slate of Sunday games is next available in 2023. NBA games won’t hit the market until 2025. So two days after Skipper’s hire, Perform announced a $1 billion deal with British promoter Matchroom Boxing that would serve as the foundation of its U.S. service.

“I loved being the president of ESPN. But the change has been good to me”

The $365 million agreement with Alvarez and his representatives at Golden Boy Promotions Inc., which came five months later, is part of a larger deal that includes other top boxers in Golden Boy’s stable and could reach a half-billion dollars if the fights draw enough subscribers. “I didn’t know what DAZN was until John Skipper got a hold of me,” says Oscar De La Hoya, the former prizefighter and Golden Boy co-founder. HBO had announced recently that it was dropping boxing coverage from its network. “I have to admit we were pretty desperate at the time,” says De La Hoya. During negotiations in Los Angeles, he says, Skipper asked what the magic number was to get Alvarez: “I threw out a number, and he didn’t blink. What I see in John is ambition—and a little revenge. When he mentioned, ‘Look, we want to compete with ESPN,’ I said, ‘Of course. Bingo.’ ”

A former colleague of Skipper’s who’s spoken with him since he left ESPN (and also is no longer at the network) says Skipper was hurt by how Disney treated him at the end: “He felt like his long service might have suggested a different outcome than ‘goodbye and good luck.’ ” Disney declined to comment.

Skipper says he bears no ill will toward his former employer. His focus is expanding DAZN. “If I have gained some perspective from years of working in sports and years of living,” he says, “it is that you better do things that you enjoy, and you better do them for positive reasons.”

For now the battle for streaming supremacy is happening at the margins of the U.S. market. ESPN has deep cuts from its vast portfolio. NBC Sports has a variety of “gold” packages for fans who can’t get enough English Premier League soccer, PGA Tour golf, or figure skating. AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia offers UEFA Champions League and Europa League soccer on B/R Live for $10 per month. Then again, ESPN got its start on the margins. In 1979 it had bowling, billiards, slow-pitch softball—and plenty of doubters who said a 24-hour sports cable network would never work.

Skipper says DAZN is ready to bid on anything and everything that becomes available in the U.S., including the NFL. He expects that leagues will eventually start carving out exclusive rights packages for online-only bidders. In November, DAZN signed a three-year, $300 million agreementwith MLB for a nightly show that will feature live look-ins at games starting this coming season. Between boxing and baseball, DAZN has committed about $2 billion in the U.S., and it’s prepared to spend billions more. To help pay for it, Perform reorganized, changing the company name to DAZN Group and splitting it into the streaming service and the digital sports agency. It’s hired a banker to explore a sale of the latter.

In the long run, success depends on whether DAZN can make more money in subscriber fees than it spends on rights. Regulatory statements filed in the U.K. show that Perform had operating losses of almost $275 million in 2017, mainly because of spending on DAZN, and that was before costs associated with the U.S. introduction. The company doesn’t release subscriber numbers, but Japan, Skipper says, already counts more than a million payers. At the dollar equivalent of about $15 per month per subscription, that’s about $180 million in annual revenue. The global subscriber tally, he says, is past a million by “some multiples.” The goal is to reach profitability in new markets in four or five years, he says.

The closest thing DAZN has to a global rival at the moment is Eleven Sports Network Ltd., a subscription-streaming service in London that operates in 11 markets including the U.K. and the U.S., offering mostly soccer, motor sports, and fights. Eleven, however, lacks Blavatnik’s deep pockets. In December, after reports that it might have to close in the U.K.because of low demand, the company said it was trying to renegotiate its deals with Spanish and Italian soccer leagues.

The real worry for DAZN comes from bigger competitors. Disney’s $71 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox Inc. includes sports channels in India, Latin America, and Asia. “I don’t think it will be very long before ESPN+ becomes a global, standalone sports offering,” says Daniel Cohen, a media rights consultant at the Octagon Inc. sports agency. There’s also the threat that a tech giant will go all-in on sports. If Amazon.com or Facebook Inc. decides to swing for the fences, even Blavatnik’s billions might not be enough to win the day.

On Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden, one year to the night after the cocaine buy that cost Skipper his ESPN job, Alvarez pounds Fielding into submission in three rounds. The capacity crowd includes Bruce Willis and John McEnroe but not Skipper. A bad back keeps him home for DAZN’s big night. The choice not to push it is part of his new approach to work.

At ESPN, Skipper says, his response to every challenge was the same: “I just worked harder, worked more, worked all the time.” And if he hadn’t slipped up, he probably would have kept at it. “I don’t think I was wise enough to stop,” he says. “I loved being the president of ESPN. But the change has been good to me. Not working for a little while was good to me.”

He exercises more now, he says, and eats better. He’s lost 30 pounds. And even though he’s thrown himself into his job, traveling the world in search of rights, he no longer immerses himself in every detail. “I’ll decide that I’m going to put a little hole in my day and go ride my bike around the park,” he says. “One thing they talk a lot about in therapy is mindfulness. Just be aware of what you’re doing. I was barely aware of what I was doing.”

A friend at ESPN says that after Skipper left the network, he confided that his life there had been lonely; his exit, as embarrassing as it might have been, was a blessing. “He’s happier than I’ve ever seen him,” the friend says. Skipper’s departure led to introspection about his home life, too. In November he and his wife of 39 years divorced. “He’s broken free from both his personal and professional past,” the friend says.

“It’s not anything you would wish on anybody,” Skipper says of the ordeal. He didn’t need the pain it caused his ex-wife and two grown sons, the disruption he caused at ESPN, or the public exposure. Still, he’s comfortable with where he is now. “If I’m in the great gyroscope in the sky somewhere and someone asks, ‘Would you like to turn back and something different happens that day, but you haven’t gotten any smarter?’ … I’d say, ‘Nah.’ I wouldn’t do it. It worked out OK.”

SOURCE: Bloomberg Businessweek https://www.bloomberg.com/

URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-01-16/espn-s-ex-president-wants-to-build-the-netflix-of-sports

VF Reports Third Quarter Fiscal 2019 Results; Raises Full Year Fiscal 2019 Outlook

January 18, 2019

  • Revenue from continuing operations increased 8 percent (up 10 percent in constant dollars) to $3.9 billion; excluding acquisitions net of divestitures, revenue increased 7 percent (up 9 percent in constant dollars);
  • Active segment revenue increased 16 percent (up 18 percent in constant dollars) including a 25 percent (27 percent in constant dollars) increase in Vans® brand revenue; Outdoor segment revenue increased 11 percent (up 12 percent in constant dollars) including a 14 percent (16 percent in constant dollars) increase in The North Face® brand revenue and a 4-percentage point revenue growth contribution from acquisitions;
  • International revenue increased 5 percent (up 9 percent in constant dollars) including a 1-percentage point revenue growth contribution from acquisitions net of divestitures; China revenue increased 18 percent (up 23 percent in constant dollars);
  • Direct-to-consumer revenue increased 10 percent (up 12 percent in constant dollars) including a 1-percentage point revenue growth contribution from acquisitions net of divestitures; Digital revenue increased 24 percent (up 26 percent in constant dollars);
  • Gross margin from continuing operations increased 40 basis points to 51.9 percent; on an adjusted basis, gross margin increased 60 basis points to 52.2 percent;
  • Earnings per share from continuing operations was $1.16. Adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations increased 30 percent (up 31 percent in constant dollars) to $1.31, including a 1-percentage point earnings growth contribution from acquisitions net of divestitures;
  • Full year fiscal 2019 revenue is now expected to increase approximately 12 percent (up 13 percent in constant dollars) to at least $13.8 billion; and,
  • Full year fiscal 2019 adjusted earnings per share is now expected to be $3.73, including an additional $45 million, or $0.09 per share, of incremental investment, reflecting an increase of 19 percent (up 20 percent in constant dollars).

GREENSBORO, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) today reported financial results for its third quarter ended December 29, 2018. All per share amounts are presented on a diluted basis. This release refers to “reported” and “constant dollar” amounts, terms that are described under the heading “Constant Currency – Excluding the Impact of Foreign Currency.” Unless otherwise noted, “reported” and “constant dollar” amounts are the same. This release also refers to “continuing” and “discontinued” operations amounts, which are concepts described under the heading “Discontinued Operations – Nautica®Brand Business and Licensing Business.” Unless otherwise noted, results presented are based on continuing operations. This release also refers to “adjusted” amounts, terms that are described under the heading “Adjusted Amounts – Excluding Williamson-Dickie, Icebreaker®Altra®Reef®, and Jeans Spin-Off Transaction and Deal Related Expenses, Costs Related to Office Relocations and the Provisional Impact of U.S. Tax Legislation.” Unless otherwise noted, “reported” and “adjusted” amounts are the same.

“VF’s third quarter results were fueled by strong growth in our largest brands and balanced growth across the core dimensions of our portfolio,” said Steve Rendle, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Based on the strength of our third quarter performance and the growth trajectory we see for the remainder of fiscal 2019, we are again increasing our full year outlook, including an additional $45 million of growth-focused investments aimed at accelerating growth and value creation into fiscal year 2020. We remain sharply focused on executing our integrated growth strategy and transforming VF into a purpose-led, performance-driven enterprise committed to delivering superior returns to shareholders.”

Constant Currency – Excluding the Impact of Foreign Currency

This release refers to “reported” amounts in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), which include translation impacts from foreign currency exchange rates. This release also refers to “constant dollar” amounts, which exclude the impact of translating foreign currencies into U.S. dollars. Reconciliations of GAAP measures to constant currency amounts are presented in the supplemental financial information included with this release, which identifies and quantifies all excluded items, and provides management’s view of why this information is useful to investors.

Discontinued Operations – Nautica® Brand Business and Licensing Business

On April 30, 2018, the company completed the sale of its Nautica® brand business. On April 28, 2017, the company completed the sale of its Licensed Sports Group (“LSG”) business, including the Majestic® brand. In conjunction with the LSG divestiture, VF executed its plan to entirely exit the licensing business and completed the sale of the assets of the JanSport® brand collegiate business in the fourth quarter of 2017. Accordingly, the company has included the operating results of these businesses in discontinued operations through their respective dates of sale.

Adjusted Amounts – Excluding Williamson-Dickie, Icebreaker®, Altra®, Reef®, and Jeans Spin-Off Transaction and Deal Related Expenses, Costs Related to Office Relocations and the Provisional Impact of U.S. Tax Legislation

This release refers to adjusted amounts that exclude transaction and deal related expenses associated with the acquisitions and integration of Williamson-Dickie, Icebreaker® and Altra®, and expenses and losses on sale related to the divestitures of the Reef®brand and the Van Moer business, which was acquired in connection with the Williamson-Dickie acquisition. The release also refers to transaction expenses associated with the planned spin-off of the Jeans business. Total transaction and deal related expenses, including the losses on sale, were approximately $63 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 and $135 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2019.

This release also refers to adjusted amounts that exclude costs primarily associated with the previously announced relocations of VF’s global headquarters and certain brands to Denver, Colorado. Total costs were approximately $6 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 and $17 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2019.

Adjusted amounts in this release also exclude the provisional amounts recorded due to recent U.S. tax legislation. On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted comprehensive tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Measurement period adjustments related to the provisional net charge resulted in a net expense of approximately $10 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 and $23 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2019.

Combined, the above net charges negatively impacted earnings per share by $0.16 during the third quarter of fiscal 2019 and $0.36 during the first nine months of fiscal 2019. All adjusted amounts referenced herein exclude the effects of these amounts.

Reconciliations of measures calculated in accordance with GAAP to adjusted amounts are presented in the supplemental financial information included with this release, which identifies and quantifies all excluded items, and provides management’s view of why this information is useful to investors.

Third Quarter Fiscal 2019 Income Statement Review

  • Revenue increased 8 percent (up 10 percent in constant dollars) to $3.9 billion. Excluding acquisitions net of divestitures, revenue increased 7 percent (up 9 percent in constant dollars), driven by VF’s largest brands, international and direct-to-consumer platforms, as well as strength from the Active, Outdoor and Work segments.
  • Gross margin increased 40 basis points to 51.9 percent, driven by a mix-shift toward higher margin businesses. On an adjusted basis, gross margin increased 60 basis points to 52.2 percent.
  • Operating income on a reported basis was $592 million. On an adjusted basis, operating income increased 30 percent to $656 million, including a $7 million contribution from acquisitions net of divestitures. Operating margin on a reported basis increased 170 basis points to 15.0 percent. Adjusted operating margin increased 270 basis points to 16.6 percent. Adjusted operating margin, excluding acquisitions net of divestitures, increased 280 basis points to 16.8 percent.
  • Earnings per share was $1.16 on a reported basis. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share increased 30 percent (up 31 percent in constant dollars) to $1.31, including a 1-percentage point growth contribution from acquisitions net of divestitures.

Balance Sheet Highlights

Inventories were up 9 percent compared with the same period last year. Excluding the impact of acquisitions net of divestitures, inventories increased 7 percent. The company also returned approximately $700 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. The company has $3.8 billion remaining under its current share repurchase authorization.

Adjusted Full Year Fiscal 2019 Outlook

The following outlook for fiscal year 2019 is on an adjusted basis and has been updated to include the following:

  • Revenue is now expected to be at least $13.8 billion, reflecting an increase of approximately 12 percent (up 13 percent in constant dollars). This compares to the previous expectation of at least $13.7 billion, which reflected an 11 percent increase. By segment, revenue for Outdoor is now expected to increase 8 percent versus the previous expectation of a 7 percent to 8 percent increase; revenue for Active is now expected to increase 16 percent versus the previous expectation of a 14 percent to 15 percent increase; revenue for Work is now expected to increase 39 percent versus the previous expectation of a more than 35 percent increase; and, revenue for Jeans is now expected to decline 3 percent versus the previous expectation of a 1 percent to 2 percent decline.
  • International revenue is now expected to increase 10 percent to 11 percent (up about 13 percent in constant dollars) versus the previous expectation of a 12 percent to 13 percent increase.
  • Direct-to-consumer revenue is now expected to increase 13 percent (up 14 percent in constant dollars) versus the previous expectation of a 12 percent to 14 percent increase. Digital revenue is still expected to increase more than 30 percent.
  • Adjusted gross margin is expected to be at least 51 percent.
  • Adjusted operating margin is expected to increase 90 basis points to 13.6 percent.
  • Adjusted earnings per share is now expected to be $3.73, including an additional $45 million, or $0.09 per share, of incremental investment, reflecting an increase of 19 percent (up 20 percent in constant dollars). This compares to the previous expectation of $3.65.
  • Cash flow from operations is still expected to approximate $1.8 billion.
  • Other full year assumptions include an effective tax rate of about 16 percent and capital expenditures of approximately $275 million.

Dividend Declared

VF’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.51 per share, payable on March 18, 2019, to shareholders of record on March 8, 2019.

Webcast Information

VF will host its third quarter fiscal 2019 conference call beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time today. The conference call will be broadcast live via the Internet, accessible at ir.vfc.com. For those unable to listen to the live broadcast, an archived version will be available at the same location.

Presentation

A presentation on third quarter fiscal 2019 results will be available at ir.vfc.com beginning at approximately 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time today and will be archived at the same location.

About VF

VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) outfits consumers around the world with its diverse portfolio of iconic lifestyle brands, including Vans®, The North Face®Timberland®, Wrangler®and Lee®. Founded in 1899, VF is one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies with socially and environmentally responsible operations spanning numerous geographies, product categories and distribution channels. VF is committed to delivering innovative products to consumers and creating long-term value for its customers and shareholders. For more information, visit www.vfc.com.

Forward-looking Statements

Certain statements included in this release and attachments are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are made based on our expectations and beliefs concerning future events impacting VF and therefore involve several risks and uncertainties. You can identify these statements by the fact that they use words such as “will,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “should,” and “may” and other words and terms of similar meaning or use of future dates. We caution that forward-looking statements are not guarantees and that actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Potential risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results of operations or financial condition of VF to differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements in this release include, but are not limited to: risks associated with the proposed spin-off of our Jeanswear business, including the risk that the spin-off will not be consummated within the anticipated time period or at all; the risk of disruption to our business in connection with the proposed spin-off and that we could lose revenue as a result of such disruption; the risk that the companies resulting from the spin-off do not realize all of the expected benefits of the spin-off; the risk that the spin-off will not be tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes; the risk that there will be a loss of synergies from separating the businesses that could negatively impact the balance sheet, profit margins or earnings of both businesses; and the risk that the combined value of the common stock of the two publicly-traded companies will not be equal to or greater than the value of VF Corporation common stock had the spin-off not occurred. There are also risks associated with the relocation of our global headquarters and a number of brands to the metro Denver area, including the risk of significant disruption to our operations, the temporary diversion of management resources and loss of key employees who have substantial experience and expertise in our business, the risk that we may encounter difficulties retaining employees who elect to transfer and attracting new talent in the Denver area to replace our employees who are unwilling to relocate, the risk that the relocation may involve significant additional costs to us and that the expected benefits of the move may not be fully realized. Other risks include foreign currency fluctuations; the level of consumer demand for apparel, footwear and accessories; disruption to VF’s distribution system; VF’s reliance on a small number of large customers; the financial strength of VF’s customers; fluctuations in the price, availability and quality of raw materials and contracted products; disruption and volatility in the global capital and credit markets; VF’s response to changing fashion trends, evolving consumer preferences and changing patterns of consumer behavior, intense competition from online retailers, manufacturing and product innovation; increasing pressure on margins; VF’s ability to implement its business strategy; VF’s ability to grow its international and direct-to-consumer businesses; VF’s and its vendors’ ability to maintain the strength and security of information technology systems; the risk that VF’s facilities and systems and those of our third-party service providers may be vulnerable to and unable to anticipate or detect data security breaches and data or financial loss; VF’s ability to properly collect, use, manage and secure consumer and employee data; stability of VF’s manufacturing facilities and foreign suppliers; continued use by VF’s suppliers of ethical business practices; VF’s ability to accurately forecast demand for products; continuity of members of VF’s management; VF’s ability to protect trademarks and other intellectual property rights; possible goodwill and other asset impairment; maintenance by VF’s licensees and distributors of the value of VF’s brands; VF’s ability to execute and integrate acquisitions; changes in tax laws and liabilities; legal, regulatory, political and economic risks; the risk of economic uncertainty associated with the pending exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (“Brexit”) or any other similar referendums that may be held; and adverse or unexpected weather conditions. More information on potential factors that could affect VF’s financial results is included from time to time in VF’s public reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including VF’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190118005061/en/

VF Corporation
Joe Alkire, 336-424-7711
Vice President, Corporate Development, Investor Relations and
Financial Planning & Analysis
or
Craig Hodges, 336-424-5636
Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Source: VF Corporation

Released January 18, 2019

Instant Sponsor’s New Business Model Will Revolutionize the $66 Billion Sponsorship Industry

Instant Sponsor is set to democratize the sponsorship industry by creating a marketplace connecting sponsors and rights holders

LOS ANGELES, July 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Instant Sponsor‘s business model is about to receive a facelift. The once independent sports sponsorship agency is set to disrupt the $66-billion sponsorship industry with a revolutionary blockchain-powered platform that connects brands with rights holders across sports, esports, and entertainment.

Between 5-50 percent of a professional sports team’s sponsorship inventory goes unsold each season, resulting in billions of dollars of lost revenue across the industry. At the same time, player costs continue to rise, forcing teams to put an emphasis on selling sponsorship inventory. Instant Sponsor lowers the barrier of entry for brands to buy that unsold inventory on short-term contracts, while rights holders reap the benefit of additional income that would typically be lost.

Traditionally, the process for brands to secure a sponsorship deal with just one team can take up to five months including due diligence and contract negotiations. Instant Sponsor automates and standardizes the acquisition process with the help of smart contracts, reducing it to just under five hours.

Additionally, the platform allows brands to access sponsorship opportunities in real time. Instant Sponsor has previously delivered short-term sponsorship deals to teams and athletes just hours before a tournament or game commences. This process will now be expedited on a blockchain-powered peer-to-peer network.

Instant Sponsor’s first-of-its-kind global sponsorship marketplace is set to democratize the sponsorship industry by providing access, value, and efficiency. A proprietary algorithm calculates a brand’s target market, demographics, and budget to create a customized advertising campaign made up of diverse assets across multiple sports. The algorithm used to generate these results is guaranteed to deliver maximum ROI for the sponsor.

Sponsors can transact on the platform both in fiat or native Instant Sponsor cryptocurrency. A blockchain management platform allows smart contracting, reduced transaction fees, escrow and secure international payments.

Previously, Instant Sponsor has sourced sponsors for teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the Australian Rules Football league, Australian Football League (AFL), and multiple athletes from the PGA and European Golf Tours as well as the ATP and WTA Tennis Tours. 

Media Contact:

Mike Murphy
Phone: 484.784.8172
Email: Mike@instantsponsor.com

SOURCE: Yahoo! Finance

URL: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/instant-sponsors-business-model-revolutionize-154900923.html

OVERACTIVE MEDIA GROUP Raises over $22 Million in New Round of Funding

Toronto-based esports organization expects to close Splyce acquisition; adds more investors to their roster

January 14, 2019 (TORONTO, CANADA) — OverActive Media (“OAM”), announced today it has closed its latest round of equity funding, raising over $22 million. The announcement follows OAM’s $21.5M initial round of equity funding closed in October, 2018. The proceeds from the funding will be used to fund the operations of OAM’s Toronto Defiant Overwatch League franchise; to fund OAM’s Splyce-branded franchise in the League of Legends European Championship (“LEC”);  to finalize OAM’s acquisition of Splyce Inc.;  and for general working capital and business development purposes.

This new round of funding was completed by current and new shareholders, including institutional, corporate and private investors. It was completed on a non-brokered basis.

“This is another key milestone in the evolution of OverActive Media into a premier global esports ownership platform,” said Chris Overholt, President and CEO of OverActive Media. “We are humbled by the enthusiastic response from investors and partners around the world. We look forward to pushing ahead with our core franchise strategy, and to building out our already-strong fan communities with our players, sponsors and partners.”

In November, OAM announced it had entered into an Agreement in Principle to acquire global esports stalwart, Splyce Inc. (“Splyce”). The deal saw OAM take ownership of multiple international esports teams including the newly-awarded Splyce franchise in the LEC. The acquisition is expected to close in the next thirty days.

OverActive owns the Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League and a franchise in the European League of Legends. In addition, OverActive has competitive teams that participate in a number of different titles, including: Call of DutySmite, Rocket League and Starcraft II.

Paulo SenraVice President, Content and Communications, OverActive Media

ABOUT OVERACTIVE MEDIA GROUP

OverActive Media Group (“OAM”) is an integrated company delivering esports and video game entertainment. We’re combining team ownership with audience engagement to better connect with our fans, franchise partners and corporate sponsors around the world. OAM is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. OAM owns the Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League, a League of Legends European Championship series franchise and Splyce Inc.

ABOUT SPLYCE:

Splyce, founded in 2015, is home to top level teams across multiple esports titles around the globe. Since its inception, the organization has grown to include teams in League of LegendsCall of DutyRocket LeagueStarcraft IIHaloSmite and Paladins.

Splyce is headquartered in Rochester, NY with a global reach, with players and staff based out of Europe, North America and Asia. By investing in quality resources, infrastructure and support for our teams, we create a solid platform for players to devote themselves to competition and also set the standard for the rest of the industry. We seek to foster talent and build the best teams possible through hard work and innovation.

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