Sunday Column

News & Notes From The World Of Sports

February 3, 2020

Nike’s website sold out of all Kobe Bryant merchandise following the death of the basketball superstar, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The tragic death of LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant this weekend has united a global demographic in shared shock. Bryant was an icon and a trailblazer, whose legacy extends far beyond the basketball courts he dominated in one of the most enduring and glittering careers the NBA has ever seen.

Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa has now decided to make her personal Instagram account public. In doing so, she just posted a heartbreaking photo of Kobe and Gianna, the latter of whom passed away at the age of 13 in Saturday’s accident.

Legend Jerry West acquired Kobe Bryant in a draft-day trade and believed from the start that Bryant was going to become the best player in the NBA. West even shared that he actually stopped Kobe from signing with the rival Clippers.

Kobe Bryant may eventually have the two jersey numbers he wore during his career 8 and 24 retired by the NBA, and teams and players have already begun taking steps to make that happen. Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie announced that he is changing jersey numbers from No. 8 to No. 26. He won’t be the only player currently wearing No. 8 or No. 24 to change numbers.

Drew Brees has recently said that he’ll take a month or so to make the decision about retirment. However, a report from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests that regardless of Brees’ decision, the Saints plan to move on from him following the 2020 season.

The NFL announced less than a week before the Super Bowl that it was hit by targeted breaches of league and team social media accounts. Reports said the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts for 15 teams were compromised, including the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, who will vie for the championship on Sunday in Miami. The hacks occurred Sunday and Monday.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes’ limited-edition cereal is a huge hit with fans in the team’s home market, according to a report Friday. Grocery store chain Hy-Vee unveiled Mahomes Magic Crunch last August in collaboration with the Chiefs star, with sales proceeds directed to his charity, 15 and the Mahomies Foundation. The Midwest-based company initially expected to sell 50,000 boxes.

The San Francisco 49ers are utilizing big data at Levi’s Stadium in their efforts to modernize the fan experience.

A record 26 million Americans, or one in ten adults, are expected to wager on Super Bowl LIV, according to new data released by the American Gaming Association. That is three million more than last year’s Super Bowl.

Microsoft’s Super Bowl ad thanks the first woman to coach in the big game, Katie Sowers.

Atlanta Braves fans were 2.2x more likely to have an affinity for whiskey than the average MLB fan. Among other top fan bases are the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds.

The MLB season Opening Day is less than two months away, many teams are finalizing their partners for the 2020 season. To evaluate the beverage industry’s impact on brand awareness and fan affinity, Zoomph collected and analyzed social data from the 2019 MLB season.

Four members of the House of Representatives introduced a resolution Tuesday urging Major League Baseball not to follow through with its proposal to eliminate 42 current minor league teams.

Alex Ovechkin is ready to resume his pursuit of history, the quest for 700 goals. Washington Capitals teammates are ready for Ovechkin’s return against the Nashville Predators after suspension for missing All-Star Game.

Alexis Lafreniere, 18, who is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in June’s NHL draft, was suspended for three games Tuesday by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for delivering a shot to the head of Quebec Remparts forward Thomas Caron.

The World Golf Group events organization has unveiled plans for a new 18-event global tour featuring a $240 million total prize fund.

Caddies on the PGA Tour won the right to sponsorship money after about 80 caddies sued the tour in 2015 seeking $50 million a year in sponsorship dollars. Lawyers for the caddies argued that they were being unjustly exploited by being forced to wear bibs bearing the tournament’s sponsor without being compensated.

Omar Raja, The House of Highlights founder, who joined ESPN from Bleacher Report at the beginning of the year, has already had a significant uptick in ESPN’s Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and app numbers attributed to him. Personality-driven, interactivity-focused digital output is making an impact.

Spotify is developing daily sports programs in their podcast expansion. One show is said to be a short recap of the day’s big events. Spotify wants to lift revenue to cut dependence on music.

Video game company Atari has signed a licensing deal with a U.S. real estate developer to build eight video-game themed hotels across the U.S., according to Fortune.

Penn National Gaming Inc. has agreed to buy a stake in Barstool Sports Inc. for $163 million, according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that positions the casino operator to compete in the growing U.S. sports-betting market.

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