Sports & Entertainment Spotlight: Apple Inks a 10-Year Partnership With Major League Soccer

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Welcome back to the "Spotlight!" In the spotlight this past week in Washington, D.C. (and beyond) was the beginning of the House of Representatives’ Select Committee’s public hearings regarding the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. As the Committee laid bare their evidence and findings regarding the events leading up to and around January 6th, others on the Beltway sought to minimize or whitewash the reality of what took place — including Washington Commanders Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio. Indeed, Del Rio apparently took a break from the defensive to be downright offensive in his assessment of the January 6th insurrection as a mere “dust up” in comparison to the protests that took place in the wake of the George Floyd’s murder. Del Rio was subsequently reprimanded and fined $100,000 by Washington Commanders head coach, Ron Rivera on grounds that it constituted a distraction for the football team. For those bemoaning the fine for Del Rio exercising his First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, you don’t need to be a Constitutional Law scholar to know that nothing prohibits a private, non-state actor such as the Commanders from punishing the speech of another private individual. Indeed, this is done all the time in contracts through the inclusion of a so-called “morals clause” that allows a party to terminate the other party for bringing the terminating party into disrepute. In that regard, while Del Rio is certainly entitled to his opinion (however wrong it may be) or he may count himself fortunate not to have been sent up the rio. Of course, the Commanders have not exactly set the “public disrepute” bar high – on or off the field. In any event, let this be a reminder to pay attention to morals provisions in agreements for services, lest you find yourself in an unflattering spotlight. Speaking of…I will do my best to flatter your minds with this week’s "Spotlight." …

  • Betting that the success of "Ted Lasso" may fuel increased viewership of soccer, Apple inks a 10-year partnership with Major League Soccer. A savvy move reminiscent of when C-SPAN forged its partnership with the Competitive Sleeping League.
  • Diminutive Comedian Kevin Hart’s media company forges an administration/publishing deal with Warner-Chappell for the company’s musical compositions. Joke’s on Warner-Chappell, though – all the songs are super short.
  • Although the air has been quickly escaping the cryptocurrency and NFT market, unsettling many investors, that has not deterred celebrities such as Anthony Hopkins from jumping aboard the bandwagon. Maybe there’s no reason to panic. After all, who could think of a better person to put people’s minds at ease than the man who is famous for having played…(checks notes)…Hannibal Lecter (gulp).

Endorsement Deals, Sponsorships & Investments

Vitaminwater Taps Lil Nas X for its Biggest Campaign in Years
June 15, 2022 via Advertising Age
Lil Nas X has added Vitaminwater to his growing list of brand endorsements, with the Coca-Cola Co.-owned brand using him to back its largest campaign in several years.

How Ex-NFL Player Demetrious Johnson is Helping Source NIL Deals for One of the St. Louis Region's Top Athletes
June 9, 2022 via Biz Journal - Bankruptcy News
When Luther Burden Jr., the father of five-star East St. Louis football recruit Luther Burden III, contacted Demetrious Johnson about representing his son for name, image and likeness deals, Johnson was initially hesitant.

NHL, NHLPA Secure Partnership Extension With PepsiCo
June 15, 2022 via Sport Business (subscription may be required)
PepsiCo, the National Hockey League (NHL) and its players' association (NHLPA) have announced a multi-year extension of their North American partnership. The previous contract, which expires at the end of the 2022/23 season, was worth between US$10 million and US$15 million per year, according to SportBusiness.


Sports

Tiger Joins MJ, LeBron as Billionaires, per Forbes
June 10, 2022 via Simple News
Tiger Woods is already in rare air for his accomplishments on the golf course, and he has reached another impressive feat. Forbes is now estimating that Woods' net worth is at least $1 billion, which would make him one of only three athlete billionaires in the world

Chargers Legal Feud May Invoke Thorny NFL Family Trust Issues
June 14, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
Although the Los Angeles Chargers aren’t mentioned by name in a 47-page petition filed by Dea Spanos Berberian in a California court last Wednesday, the team’s ownership lies at the heart of the petition.

U.S. Open Showcases Golf’s Drive to Innovate in Sports Betting
June 14, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
After coming off the high of the 86th Masters, marked by the triumphant return of Tiger Woods to Augusta National — and followed by the dramatic finish at the PGA Championship — the sports betting industry is ready to channel that same energy at the U.S. Open.


Music Biz

Sex Pistols Singles Owned by John Peel Sell for £20,400 at Auction
June 15, 2022 via NME
A pair of test pressings of a Sex Pistols single that were owned by the late DJ and broadcaster John Peel have sold at auction for £20,400.

Kevin Hart’s HARTBEAT Enters Music Publishing Deal With Warner Chappell Music
June 10, 2022 via The Source
Kevin Hart’s worldwide multi-platform media company, HARTBEAT, and Warner Chappell Song (WCM) announced an exclusive music publishing partnership. WCM will handle all of HARTBEAT’s music composition copyrights, including future programming as well as prior compositions from shows including "Die Hart" and "Hart to Heart," under the terms of the arrangement, which is a first for the network.

Rapper Bryson Tiller Beats ‘Exchange’ Copyright Suit on Appeal
June 8, 2022 via Bloomberg Law (subscription may be required)
Rapper Bryson Tiller’s successful defense against claims that his platinum-selling song “Exchange” copied key beat and vocal patterns of another hip-hop song “Shawty So Cold” was upheld by the Ninth Circuit in a nonprecedential opinion.


Film & TV

MLS Announces 10-Year Media Rights Deal With Apple
June 14, 2022 via Los Angeles (LA) Daily News
Major League Soccer’s next TV deal is headed to Apple TV. The league announced it had joined with Apple for a 10-year deal, starting next season.

Apple TV+ and Nike Team in Multi-Year Sports Film Development Deal
June 10, 2022 via Mac Hash News
Apple Original Films has inked a first-look feature deal with Nike’s Waffle Iron Entertainment and Makeready, to develop and produce a series of sports films for Apple TV+.

NFL’s New Streaming Service Offers Leverage in Future Rights Talks
June 13, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
The NFL plans to introduce a stand-alone streaming service in July, called "NFL Plus," which will enable subscribers to watch live games, available within their designated broadcast area, on a mobile phone or tablet device.


Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Move Over, Bobbleheads: Seattle Mariners to Release NFT Digital Collectible at Upcoming Game
June 13, 2022 via GeekWire
Free posters, batting gloves and bobbleheads are great, but the Seattle Mariners are tapping into futuristic technology to celebrate baseball’s past with an NFT giveaway at an upcoming game.

Anthony Hopkins Shares Ethereum Name and Asks Snoop Dogg on NFTs
June 9, 2022 via Cryptopolitan
Actor Anthony Hopkins is among the first major Hollywood stars to venture into the world of NFTs. Hopkins shared his Ethereum Name Service (ENS) name on Twitter and went on to ask fellow celebrities for artwork suggestions.

Turner Sports, Committed to NFTs, Touts Immutable X Partnership
June 14, 2022 via Sportico (subscription may be required)
While cryptocurrency and NFT prices have suffered this spring, with some taking 75 percent plunges, Turner Sports has continued to invest in blockchain’s potential.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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