Basketball

Toronto Raptors in first ever hijab launch

Reigning NBA Champions the Toronto Raptors have become the first major league sports team to sell a branded hijab, in a move aimed at celebrating their diverse fanbase.

The Raptors, the first Canadian team to win an NBA Championship, unveiled the Nike Pro Hijab and immediately placed it on sale in its on-site megastore. The hijab features the team’s iconic claw logo on one side, with a Nike swoosh adorning the other.

The item was launched alongside a shortform social video featuring the Hijabi Ballers, a Toronto-based basketball club for Muslim women and girls.

NBA considers investment programme to buy shares in teams

The NBA is considering the creation of an investment programme to allow the league to buy passive, minority shares in its teams.

As the valuation of NBA franchises rises - the Brooklyn Nets were bought by Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai for a record $2.3bn last month - the league is looking into the creation of “a new capital vehicle that could purchase passive, minority ownership interests across multiple NBA teams.”

Dallas Mavericks to accept bitcoin payments for ticket sales

NBA side the Dallas Mavericks will accept bitcoin for fans purchasing tickets and merchandise online.

The Mavs will become the second NBA team to accept cryptocurrency as a method of payment after the Sacramento Kings launched a similar scheme last year. The Kings partnered with MiningStore.com to launch their initiative just over a year ago, while the Mavericks have partnered with blockchain payment service provider BitPay.

NBA announces scheduling times with UK and European fans in mind

The NBA has announced fixtures for the 2019/20 regular season, which will feature a record 48 prime time games in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as part of the league’s ‘NBA Saturdays’ and ‘NBA Sundays’ primetime initiative.  

A prime time game scheduled for 8pm CET will be available to fans on both Saturdays and Sundays from the start of the season in a drive to ensure that UK and European fans of the sport can see more of action during the evenings at weekends.

INDUSTRY SHORTS: Southampton, Newcastle, FIFA, NBA...

Cryptocurrency platform StormGain has become the new official sleeve partner of Premier League club Newcastle United.

The deal covers Newcastle’s first-team shirts until the end of the 2019/20 season. StormGain, which recently launched a new trading and investing mobile application, will also have branding exposure around the club’s St James’ Park stadium and training centre.

StormGain will provide Newcastle fans with various offers and engagement opportunities, such as competitions to win match tickets and signed merchandise, as well as meet-and-greets with players.

Industry Shorts: NBA, La Liga, adidas, Unilever

The NBA, together with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and gaming supplier Highlight Games Limited, has launched an exclusive virtual sports betting game that will utilise actual NBA highlights and footage.

‘NBA Last 90’ will debut in US and European gaming and lottery markets during the 2019/20 NBA season. The game will feature an archive of NBA highlights and footage from recent seasons and will offer players a unique virtual sports gaming experience.

Industry shorts: Mbappé, DAZN, AoC Sport, Basketball England

French football star Kylian Mbappé has been unveiled as a global ambassador for organic baby and children’s food brand Good Goût.

Mbappé, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, will represent the Good Goût Kidz range, which will be in stores across Europe from the middle of June.

The partnership will initially run for two years. Mbappé and Good Goût will work on joint activities surrounding the launch of the 20-year-old’s upcoming foundation.

Beats by Dre’s Powerbeats Pro ‘Unleashed’

Beats by Dre has marked the launch of its new Powerbeats Pro wireless fitness headphones range with a new campaign spot directed by Hollywood filmmaker Hiro Murai.

British boxer Anthony Joshua, Chelsea footballer Eden Hazard, US women's football star Alex Morgan, basketball legend LeBron James, tennis ace Serena Williams and gymnast Simone Biles are just some of the superstars who feature in ‘Unleashed'.

Nike shoe fail sees share price drop

Nike has experienced a 1.7% drop in its share price - equivalent to $1.1bn - following an incident that saw NCAA star Zion Williamson injured by the collapse of his shoe during a live TV game.

The Duke Blue Devils freshman, expected to be the top draft pick in the NBA this year, sprained his knee and was forced to sit out the rest of a game attended by the likes of Jay-Z and Barack Obama.

The former US President later wished Williamson, a huge rising star in the US, a “speedy recovery” on Twitter.

NBA TAPS BYTEDANCE OPPORTUNITY

The NBA has become the first western rightsholder to partner with ByteDance, the Chinese start-up whose AI-powered content platforms are driving rapid worldwide growth.

The multi-year agreement will see NBA videos ranging from game highlights, behind-the-scene clips and news delivered across ByteDance’s social media platforms, which include Douyin, Toutiao and Xigua Video.

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