The Weeknd Breaks Spotify Monthly Streaming Record
The year has barely started, but The Weeknd is already setting records. Just days after “Blinding Lights” became the most-played song in Spotify history, the streaming service revealed that he set a new monthly streaming record for an artist. The Canadian star notched 94.7 million streams in December.
WNBA Heads to Vegas for 2023 All-Star Event
For the third time since 2019, Las Vegas will host the WNBA All-Star Game, with the upcoming season’s game planned for July 15. The game will be played at the home of the defending champion Aces at Michelob Ultra Arena. The weekend lineup will feature a 3-point shooting contest, skills competition, and two-day fan festival. “Las Vegas has showed up and showed out for the Aces and the WNBA since our first season, and we are looking forward to welcoming fans from around the world back to Michelob Ultra Arena for another incredible celebration of the best that women’s basketball has to offer,” Aces president Nikki Fargas said in a statement. It will also overlap with the tail end of the NBA’s Summer League, which is set to take place July 6-16.
Al Michaels Returns to the NBC Broadcast Booth for Jaguars-Chargers
Al Michaels is back like he never left — but only for one game. As part of his emeritus role with NBC, Michaels will make a return to the network’s booth on Saturday for Jaguars–Chargers, alongside Tony Dungy. Before joining Amazon’s Thursday Night Football, Michaels was the voice of NBC‘s Sunday Night Football from 2006 to 2021. He worked alongside the legendary John Madden and then Cris Collinsworth before leaving the network in advance of the 2022 season.
Angel City FC Lands Alyssa Thompson with First Pick in NWSL Draft
The NWSL offseason is heating up, and on Thursday, the league welcomed its new class of talent. Angel City FC selected high school phenom Alyssa Thompson. The club acquired the top pick in a three-way trade involving Gotham FC and the Portland Thorns. The team, which has a star-studded ownership group that includes Natalie Portman, Gabrielle Union, and Jennifer Garner is currently also raising funds at a $900 million valuation. Elsewhere, Gotham FC acquired Lynn Williams from the North Carolina Courage in exchange for the No. 2 pick.
Spike Lee Unveils HBCU Fellowship Program
Filmmaker Spike Lee, a proud Morehouse College alum, officially launched the Spike Fellows Program in support of students of the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC). In partnership with the Gersh Agency, Lee is aiming to create more opportunities for students at HBCUs. “From the jump, from the get-go, I knew when (not if) I opened a crack in the door, I was bringing as many Black and Brown folks with me in front and behind the camera,” Lee said in a statement. The Spike Fellows Program will provide five graduating students from AUCC academic debt relief, industry mentorship, post-graduate internships, and full-time employment
NFL Reveals New Lineup of Pro Bowl Games
The NFL Pro Bowl needed a massive overhaul after TV ratings hit a 15-year low in 2022. This week, the league announced what exactly those games will actually be: Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball, the Lightning Round, the Longest Drive, Precision Passing, Best Catch, Gridiron Gauntlet, Kick Tac Toe, and Move the Chains. The Pro Bowl Games’ skills competitions will take place on Thursday, Feb. 2 and Sunday, Feb. 5, the weekend before Super Bowl LVII.
Coco Gauff Heads Into Australian Open with New Partnership with Baker Tilly
Leading advisory CPA firm Baker Tilly announced Thursday that tennis star Coco Gauff will serve as the company’s new brand ambassador, right as she heads into next week’s 2023 Australian Open. “Coco Gauff is a trailblazer whose quiet confidence and steely courage are riveting to watch,” said Baker Tilly CEO Alan Whitman. “We are proud and honored to partner with Coco. She is a role model with a worldwide following who inspires us all to reach for what’s possible.” Heading into the 2023 season, Gauff, 18, is looking to continue the success she found in 2022. She began the new season with her third WTA singles title at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.