WNBA and Mielle Organics Team up for Multiyear Deal
Talk about knowing your audience. On the precipice of the 19th Annual All-Star Game, the WNBA and Mielle Organics confirmed a multi-year deal on Thursday, making them the first haircare brand for the women’s pro league dedicated to textured hair. Capitalizing on the timing, Mielle and the W will officially debut their partnership this weekend in Las Vegas, with activations centered on haircare and athletics. LSU women’s basketball star Angel Reese is already a brand ambassador with Mielle Organics, having inked a deal with them in May.
Russell Westbrook Joins Ownership Group Taking Over Leeds United
Russell Westbrook, Football club owner? Sportico’s Eben Novy-Williams reports that the Clippers star will join a group of investors led by the San Francisco 49ers that won the bid for Leeds United. The deal was announced last month, but details of the ownership group were released on Thursday. He is not the only hoopers in the ownership mix, as he joins Larry Nance Jr. and T.J. McConnell who were earlier reported as minority investors. The team went up for sale following its relegation from the Premier League which deeply impacted its valuation.
Fanatics Aims to Expand With Launch of Fanatics Events
From here on out, don’t just think of Fanatics as the No. 1 spot to purchase team gear and other sports memorabilia. On Thursday, the company announced the launch of a new live events venture that seeks to emulate the Comic-Con experience but for sports hobbyists. Aptly titled Fanatics Events, CNBC reports this will be a partnership with IMG, another large-scale company within the events and talent management space. Expect Fanatics Events to begin organizing activations starting next year, prioritizing the collectibles division before more expansive opportunities.
ChatGPT Investigated by FTC
OpenAI is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for possible violations of consumer protection law, probing into extensive records from the ChatGPT developer about its use of personal data, its potential to give users inaccurate information, and its “risks of harm to consumers, including reputational harm.” The FTC dive is arguably the most apparent operation of the US government’s attempt of regulating artificial intelligence, as lawmakers look to familiarize themselves with a rapidly evolving commerce while simultaneously drafting new legislation that will affect future AI enterprises.
Victor Wembanyama Tapped as Newest Ambassador for Kyle Kuzma's Barcode
San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama has been named the face of Barcode, a new health drink co-created by Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma. “As co-founder of Barcode, I would like to formally welcome my little BIG brother Wemby as the face of Barcode!!! Excited for you fam! Let’s disrupt the game,” Kuzma said via social media. The plant-based beverage is described as “next-generation hydration” for everyday performance. Barcode also helps with mood, immunity, recovery, and performance, according to the company’s site.
Screen Actors Guild Votes To Strike, Shutting Down Hollywood Productions
After negotiations failed to materialize, 160,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) will officially join more than 11,000 already striking writers starting at midnight Friday. Similar to demands from the Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike since May 2, actors are seeking pay increases, increased residual royalties from streaming services, and safeguards to ensure artificial intelligence doesn’t replace their work, among other requests. “The companies have refused to meaningfully engage on some topics and on others completely stonewalled us,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said.”Until they do negotiate in good faith, we cannot begin to reach a deal.” It is the first time in decades that both actors and screenwriters have concurrently taken part in an industrywide protest.
Bob Iger Extends Contract with Disney Through 2026
The Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger will remain in his role through the end of 2026, agreeing to a two-year contract extension that will give the entertainment and theme park company more time to name a successor. Iger had previously served as Disney’s CEO and chairman from 2005 to 2020 and then as executive chairman until his retirement in 2021. On Wednesday, the 72-year-old said that he’d consider offloading the corporation’s linear TV assets to offset its recent business struggles. Regarding ESPN, Iger added said Disney could leverage offers on a strategic partner, which could mean either a joint venture or selling its stake in ownership.
Seoul, Mexico City Top MLB’s International Agenda for 2024 Season
Major League Baseball will begin the 2024 campaign overseas. According to a release from the league, the Seoul Series will open the regular season, making history as the first MLB regular season game ever played in Korea. There will also be a Mexico City Series between the Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies from April 27-28, and another installment of the London Series between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies on June 8-9. Finally, the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox will play a spring training series in the Dominican Republic. This will mark the ninth time an MLB regular season has opened internationally. The last time was in 2019 when the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A‘s began that regular season in Tokyo.