To quote Ari Chambers, “the WNBA is so important.” Following the celebration of its 25th year, the league announced on Thursday that it has raised $75M in its first-ever fundraising campaign that will support its plans for continued growth. The fundraising effort attracted support from over two dozen investors, including Nike, Condoleeza Rice, and Pau Gasol, the New York Times reports. The funds will be used to enhance the league’s marketing efforts and to work with the players’ union to support improved conditions for its athletes.
Spike Lee to Direct Multi-part Doc on Colin Kaepernick
The golden era of the sports doc continues. On Wednesday, ESPN announced that legendary director Spike Lee will team up with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to make a multi-part documentary on his life and legacy. It will be the first time that Kaepernick grants a first-person account of his experience as he was pushed out of the league and his subsequent social justice work. The documentary will be made as part of Disney’s first-look deal with Kaepernick’s production company Ra Vision Media.
Jimmy Butler Links up with Binance
NBA players are all in on crypto. From KD to LeBron, Klay Thompson to Spencer Dinwiddie, a number of basketball’s best have committed to crypto. Joining that esteemed group, Jimmy Butler announced a new deal with Binance. Butler and Binance teamed up to tell the crypto curious to do their own research. Unlike crypto.com and FTX, Binance has a limited set of sports partnerships, which Butler is now a part of, that includes soccer player Andrés Iniesta and served as a sponsor for the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament.
Trinity Rodman Signs Richest Deal in NWSL History
The reigning Rookie of the Year has signed the richest deal in NWSL history. Nineteen-year-old Trinity Rodman, who led the Washington Spirit to the franchise’s first championship in November, inked a four-year, $1.1 million guaranteed in her contract. The news comes in the same week that the NWSL and its players association agreed to a historic CBA, which paved the way for the momentous signing.
Bronny James Teases Moves into NFTs, Gaming, and Fashion
Bronny James is not your average teenager. In addition to being the son of LeBron James, his own game has attracted attention for years. He even found time to become an official member of FaZe Clan, one of the world’s foremost esports organizations. Now, Bronny is preparing to make his own moves. Trademark filings suggest that the Sierra Canyon star filed trademarks for “BJ JR,” “BRONNY,” and “BRONALD” with an eye toward entering the worlds of NFTs, video games, and apparel. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
Deion and Shedeur Sanders Face Off in New Super Bowl Ad
Super Bowl Sunday is nearly here, and whether you’re excited for the game or just the commercials, the lineup is looking stacked. A week after becoming the first college football player to sign an NIL deal with Gatorade, Jackson State’s Shedeur Sanders will star in his first Super Bowl campaign with his Pro Football Hall of Famer dad and current head coach, Deion Sanders. In the spot, the two compete to see who’s the strongest Sanders in Greek yogurt brand Oikos’ new campaign.
Surfing, Skateboarding, Sport Climbing Added to 2028 Olympics
The Winter Olympics are officially underway, but it’s never too early to start getting excited about future events. The Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games received approval to officially add surfing, skateboarding, and sport climbing— three quintessential West Coast sports— to its initial sports program, the organization announced Wednesday. In celebration of the sports’ official inclusion, LA28 unveiled three emblems — takes on the LA28 logo — designed by Olympians Carissa Moore, Sky Brown, and Nathaniel Coleman. The official sports program, in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee, is slated to be finalized by the end of 2023.
Jon Anik, Modelo, & UFC Set the “Gold Standard” for Fan Giveaways
Jon Anik, the voice of UFC across ESPN properties, is teaming up with Modelo to bring fight fans a true insider experience. By entering free contests on sports betting platform DraftKings, fans will compete for a chance at the “gold standard of fan experiences,” including floor seats and travel to 10 of the year’s biggest pay-per-view events throughout the year. The contest opened on Feb. 1 and runs through April 9. The grand prize winner will also get to meet Anik at the UFC Apex facility for a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be an MMA commentator.
Fanatics and OneTeam Ink NIL Group Licensing Initiative for College Football Players
Fanatics and OneTeam Partners, a partnership between the NFLPA, MLBPA and Redbird Capital, have announced a groundbreaking NIL initiative that would provide college football players with the chance to get paid for inclusion in a jersey customization program prior to the kickoff of the 2022 season. Expected to be done by the start of next season, players will be able to opt-in to this program that will allow fans to buy custom player jerseys for college athletes. It will start in football and is expected to extend to other men’s and women’s sports as well.
Athletes Unlimited and Sportradar Join Forces
A week after Athletes Unlimited’s first-ever basketball season tipped off, the women’s sports league network announced a partnership with sports integrity giant Sportradar, the companies announced Thursday. Sportradar will work with AU to prevent match-fixing and betting-related corruption in the organization. Sportradar will provide support through its various services, including its universal fraud detection system, education, and prevention services, conducting an audit of AU’s current match integrity policies, and assisting the company in investigations should threats to match integrity arise.