Pat McAfee Joining ESPN's College GameDay Full-Time

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According to the Stadiums Without Borders study from Oracle, 64% of fans think it would be amazing to engage with their favorite teams in the metaverse.

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Pat McAfee joining ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’ full-time

Pat McAfee will be a full-time member of ESPN’s “College GameDay.” The former punter turned multimedia performer will be on the show this Saturday from Austin, where No. 1 Alabama will face Texas.

What's the deal?

ESPN and Fox are in an emerging battle for college football supremacy. This Saturday, for example, Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” will also be on-site in Austin. McAfee has made appearances on “GameDay” in the past.

McAfee is in the midst of a deal with FanDuel, which is set to pay him in excess of $120 million over four years. He also recently agreed to do alternative broadcasts on select college football games on ESPN2, which is a partnership with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. He has held talks with Amazon about being a part of its “Thursday Night Football” coverage, but nothing has materialized yet.

The bottom line:

McAfee, 35, will continue to do his daily talk show that is on YouTube, as well as WWE’s “Friday Night SmackDown” show for Fox. McAfee recently ended his relationship with SiriusXM, which had simulcast his show for two years.

Read: NY Post


South Carolina partners with sports marketing agency to become first major college program with in-house NIL firm

South Carolina is becoming the first major college athletic department to partner with a sports marketing agency to establish an in-house name, image, and likeness firm, where Gamecocks athletes will have free access to deal facilitation, content generation, and branding services.

The school has hired Everett Sports Management (ESM) to launch Park Ave, an exclusive initiative that will provide NIL services for Gamecocks athletes. South Carolina's board of trustees on Tuesday afternoon approved the two-year, $2.2 million contract. Everett Sports Management, based in Greenville, S.C., represents NFL players such as Jalen Hurts, Mac Jones, and Jonathan Taylor, and handles NIL marketing for several college athletes, including Miami basketball players and social media stars Haley and Hanna Cavinder, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett and Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall.

Read: ESPN


UFC looks to connect with younger fans via deal with social app IRL

UFC has signed social network app IRL to a new sponsorship deal that will introduce the app to fight fans via a series of advertisements and activations. IRL -- short for "In Real Life" -- is a social media app that tries to connect people through groups and events, including ones that are in person, and it says it has 20 million active users, many of whom are from the Gen Z or Millennial generations.

The deal will be announced today with terms unreleased, but assets include IRL promoting UFC on its app and IRL getting exposure through UFC digital and social channels plus signage inside the Octagon at select PPV events. IRL is now the official group messaging and fan chat platform of the league, and it will start promoting the deal this weekend around the UFC 279 PPV event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. UFC will also now integrate IRL posts into its social tagboard, a feature where tweets about fights are shown on screen during ESPN’s broadcasts.”

Read: SBJ


Last chance to request a workshop invitation

In a moment of tumult and uncertainty around getting and keeping our best, diverse talent, it’s time to shift our paradigm of how we think of talent in the first place. Talent can no longer just be your employees. Talent must be your new fans.

We encourage senior business and people leaders to request an invitation to join Hashtag Sports and The Venn Collective as we rethink the employee-employer relationship and help Chief People Officers + Chief Business Officers work more collaboratively to attract, hire, and retain diverse talent.

This three-hour workshop on September 15 in Atlanta, GA will feature a panel of thought leaders, access to exclusive data & insights from Creators of Color, and an interactive exercise designed to help you engage employees as your new fans.

Email and to request an invitation for yourself and your People or Business partner. Seats are limited and inquiries do not guarantee entry. You will be notified if selected.


Ready or not, a sports parallel universe is around the virtual corner

In the not-too-distant future, you may spend a lot more time inside a VR world (or even check into an esports hotel). In fact, within months, Meta (formerly Facebook) will release its newest Quest headset. At least one league preparing for this “inflection point” is the NBA, where Meta Quest is a major sponsor. And in their esports league (NBA 2K), the NBA partners with Google Pixel. In this sense, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA governors are already moving quickly.

In the “nearer” future, fans will enter virtual stadiums able to mirror the actual game they’re watching on TV, phone, or tablet. One example used a Yankees fan in Los Angeles watching a physical game (say Yankees-Angels) on an Apple 16 device but simultaneously entering virtual Yankee stadium to sit in the dugout with Aaron Judge.

Read: Sportico


Triple H named WWE’s Chief Content Officer in wake of Vince McMahon exit

WWE exec and pro wrestler Paul “Triple H” Levesque has officially taken the title of chief content officer, and he’s also received a hike in compensation along with three other top company executives. In addition, the company said it promoted chief financial officer Frank Riddick to the position of president, continuing in his role as CFO

Levesque commented, “WWE is one of the most prolific producers of premium content in the world and I look forward to this amazing opportunity. Having spent my entire career in this business, I’m confident that we have the right pieces in place to continue to grow our audience and deliver for our fans around the world.”

Read: Variety

What Else Is Trending?
  • BRANDS: Nissan's long-running Heisman House program is featuring a college athlete for the first time as part of an NIL partnership.
  • FILM: LeBron James and Drake are being sued for $10 million over the “intellectual property rights” of a hockey documentary titled Black Ice.
  • CAMPAIGNS: The NFL's kickoff campaign is a star-studded pep rally featuring a mix of Olympians, rappers, TikTokers, mascots and more.
  • SOCIAL: Serena Williams is the most tweeted about female athlete ever on the social network.
  • ATHLETES: Steph Curry is releasing his first children's book through his company, Unanimous Media.


  • Athlete: Stefon Diggs
  • Campaign: Rookie Mistake
  • Brand: Snickers


WTA player Jessica Pegula becomes brand ambassador of sports nutrition brand Ready

The Details

The world No.7 Pegula has been using Ready® sports nutrition products for the past year in her workouts and training. As a brand ambassador, the WTA player will promote the company and its portfolio of scientifically formulated, performance products in her various online and non-digital platforms. The tennis star joins fellow Ready® team members NFL star and world champion Aaron Donald and NBA great and global basketball icon Giannis Antetokounmpo. Ready® was founded in 2012 by former University of Pittsburgh basketball team captain and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Hall of Fame member, Pat Cavanaugh. Ready® is a fast-growing sports nutrition company that specializes in supporting athletes achieving their goals.


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