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January 4, 2024

Michigan-Alabama Rose Bowl Draws Biggest Non-NFL Audience Since 2018

Monday’s Rose Bowl game between Michigan and Alabama proved to be a massive ratings success for ESPN. The Wolverines’ win over the Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl clocked an average of 22.6 million viewers, peaking at 32.8 million, the network announced on Tuesday. It was the most-watched playoff semifinal since the CFP’s inaugural campaign and the biggest non-NFL sporting event audience since 2018. For the other semifinal showdown between the Texas Longhorns and Washington Huskies, ESPN reported roughly 18.4 million people tuned in, making it the fourth-highest Sugar Bowl audience in 20 years and the third-highest non-NFL sporting event in the past year. Michigan plays Washington in the College Football Playoff championship game Monday from NRG Stadium in Houston.


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Portland Thorns Set NWSL Record-setting Figure with $63M Sale

Portland Thorns FC has been acquired by Bhathal family-owned RAJ Sports, the NWSL team confirmed Wednesday. Although financial terms were not disclosed in the official announcement, a person familiar with the deal tells The Athletic that the acquisition totaled $63 million, making it the largest in the league’s history. The Bhathal family plans to keep Thorns FC in Portland, where they will continue to play at Providence Park, the downtown stadium that also hosts the MLS’ Portland Timbers. The family will take over soccer operations, effective immediately.

Read more on the sale from Boardroom’s Vinciane Ngomsi. 

Amanda Seyfried, Will Ferrell, 'Suits' Stars Among Golden Globe Presenters

Rory McIlroy 'Can't Judge' Golfers Over LIV Golf, PGA Tour Decisions

One of LIV Golf‘s most ardent critics is softening his stance with the Saudi-backed golf league. On the “Stick to Football” podcast, Rory McIlroy said he was too quick to judge athletes who jumped to LIV Golf and now recognizes the tour as part of the sport. In the past, McIlroy said he’d rather retire than join LIV Golf. Still, he said in his recent appearance on the show that it was a misstep to air those grievances without understanding the context and that all players have unique financial circumstances. “We all turn professional to make a living playing the sports that we do, and I think that’s what I realized over the last two years. I can’t judge people for making that decision.” McIlroy returns to the PGA Tour next week at the DP World Tour’s Dubai Invitational.

Future Announces What Lies Ahead with New Management Company

Expect to see more of Future, The Businessman, in 2024. The rapper is starting a management company, he announced on X, and while he didn’t elaborate on his “new venture,” Future welcomed the new year with a note of gratitude to his 7.7 million followers. “Very grateful for everyone who played some type of role in my career up to this point…more to come,” teased the Grammy winner.

New Samsung Phones to be Powered by AI

Samsung is launching its next line of mobile devices on Jan. 17, the company confirmed Tuesday. In the first major smartphone launches of the new year, Samsung added that its devices could include AI-powered capabilities in addition to standard software and camera upgrades. The unveiling will take place at the SAP Center in San Jose at 10 a.m. PT. Samsung is also offering a promotion for those who want to reserve new Galaxy models early: Now through Jan. 16, customers who reserve a device through Samsung’s website or app will get a $50 credit.