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Secondary ticket demand soars for Stanley Cup Final Game 5 in Denver....Chet Holmgren lands deal with underwear brand Ethika....Toyota reviving ad campaign for NASCAR weekend

F1 renews with ESPN for U.S. media rights through 2025

By John Ourand and Adam Stern

F1 has agreed to renew its rights deal with ESPN through 2025, sources told SBJ. The three-year deal still doesn’t have a signed contract, but the racing series told Amazon and Comcast executives on Friday that neither company's bid was going to be accepted. Sources say that ESPN has agreed to pay around $75-90M per year for the rights. Currently, ESPN pays in the neighborhood of $5M per year for the rights, having signed a 3-year/$15M deal in 2019.

ESPN’s deal gives the media company flexibility to put a small, but undetermined number of races exclusively on its ESPN+ streaming service. Most races will be carried on linear television, either ABC or ESPN, sources said.

Sources said that Amazon put forth a higher bid -- said to be around $100M per year -- with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s monetarily, sources said. Comcast’s offered would have put several of its races on its Peacock streaming service -- in addition to linear coverage on NBC and USA Network. Through its Sky subsidiary, Comcast is a big F1 partner outside of the U.S. Netflix had discussions with F1 and actually made an offer, but its bid wasn’t close on money. F1 executives made it clear that they were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service yet.

F1 found a robust market for its media rights thanks largely to increasing television viewership that has resulted in around 1.0 million viewers per race. League and media executives both feel that F1 has a lot of room to grow that viewership, especially considering that it added several races in the U.S. and now counts six races that occur in U.S. time zones: Austin, Brazil, Las Vegas, Mexico City, Miami and Montreal.

Tix demand soars for Stanley Cup Final Game 5

The Avalanche host the Lightning in Stanley Cup Final Game 5 on Friday night at Ball Arena, with a chance to win the title in front of their home fans, driving mile-high ticket prices on the secondary market. At presstime Friday afternoon, the get-in price on SeatGeek.com was $1,185 for an upper deck corner seat (SBJ).

By late Thursday, the cheapest tickets available (not including service fees) were already "in the four-figure range." The get-in price on Ticketmaster was $1,296, StubHub $1,350 and Vivid Seats $1,188. StubHub spokesperson Michael Silveira said, “Demand in Denver has considerably outpaced Tampa during this series, and fan excitement keeps rising with the Avalanche now just one win away from claiming the Stanley Cup” (DENVER POST, 6/23). Also late Thursday, Vivid Seats reported Game 5 tickets were reselling for an average of $1,375, the "highest for any Avalanche playoff home game this postseason" (ESPN.com, 6/23).

Meanwhile, Denver Police are "asking that people who raise their adult beverages to stay away from steering wheels and for all revelers to keep their euphoria more celebratory, and less riotous." To drive the message home, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, analyst and former Avalanche player Mark Rycroft and others "released video statements encouraging people to celebrate responsibly." An official watch party is set for Denver's Tivoli Quad at the Auraria Campus (DENVER POST, 6/23).

ESPN's "Unrivaled" recounts Avs-Red Wings rivalry

A new ESPN E60 program, "Unrivaled," will debut Sunday at 1:00pm ET on the flagship network. It focuses on the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry that erupted in the late 1990s, and is hosted by Jeremy Schaap. After the initial airing, an extended version of "Unrivaled" will be available on-demand via ESPN+. The Red Wings are also hosting a free watch party on Saturday night from 6:00-8:30pm at Little Caesars Arena. ESPN producers will be on hand and take part in a Q&A afterward (SBJ).

The two-hour special is "enlightening, entertaining and at times, emotional, as it details the bloodiest, most bitter rivalry in sports more than two decades ago" (MLIVE.com, 6/24). There are "excellent interviews" with the likes of Darren McCarty, Caude Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, Brendan Shanahan and more (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/24). ESPN deserves "credit" for "expediently green-lighting such an obvious crowdpleaser in their first year of regaining NHL television rights" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 6/24).

Holmgren lands deal with underwear brand Ethika

Ethika.com

Thunder draftee Chet Holmgren, picked No. 2 overall, landed an underwear brand partnership with Ethika. He will be "working with the brand in creating exclusive products." Terms of the deal "remain confidential" (N.Y. POST, 6/24).

Homgren hopes future college athletes benefit from a more mature NIL landscape that includes a set of national regulations. Holmgren who played one season at Gonzaga, told SportTechie earlier this week, “It would definitely be helpful for there to be universal rules. It was kind of implemented on the fly based on circumstances and there wasn't really time to put together a universal rule book. But over time I think they will, I think that they can make it even fairer and the same for everybody.” Holmgren’s NIL portfolio includes deals with brands such as Topps, Bose and Yahoo Sports. He attended a Tuesday event for Philips Norelco, one of his NIL partners, in Brooklyn alongside No. 1 pick overall pick Paolo Banchero (Andrew Cohen, SportTechie).

See more on SportTechie.com, and check out some of their other Friday headlines:

Toyota debuting spots around NASCAR-Nashville

By Adam Stern

Toyota this weekend will reincarnate an old hit ad campaign called "Sponsafier," with multiple new national TV spots set to debut during NBC Sports’ first weekend of its 2022 NASCAR Cup coverage. Back in 2010, the Toyota Racing program debuted a website activation that let fans design their own paint schemes for fun and ran some comedic ads to promote it, like a skit with Kyle Busch racing in a multicolored car with a puppy and pony on the paint scheme. Toyota has decided to bring that activation back, and this time it worked with N.C.-based WhatNotFilms on three new spots.

One of them features Busch and his brother, Kurt; a second features Denny Hamlin, who was also involved in the original skits back in 2010; the final is with NHRA driver J.R. Todd. Toyota will also run these ads on Fox Sports’ NHRA coverage starting this weekend. Fans will be able to enter for a chance to design a scheme on a NASCAR Cup Series car or NHRA Funny Car, with the actual scheme to be unveiled in person at a race later this season. The winning scheme won’t be used in a race, but rather will be on display at Toyota’s midway display area at the given track where it’s unveiled. NBC Sports’ NASCAR slate gets under way this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway.

WNBA players react to Roe v. Wade vote

The WNBPA on Friday "reacted to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn a woman's constitutional right to an abortion by focusing on voting rights and urging people to 'vote like our lives depend on it. Because they do.'" The statement further encouraged voting in a thoughtful way: "We must recognize that when we cast a ballot it is to elect officials and to connect the dots to policies and legislation that align with our values" (ESPN.com, 6/24). The union was also "critical of the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday that made it easier for gun owners to publicly carry weapons in states such as New York, New Jersey and California" (USA TODAY, 6/24).

USA Track & Field Championships return to Oregon

The USA Track and Field Championships are ongoing in Eugene through Sunday, and they are taking place at a revamped Hayward Field as World Athletics has set an "ambitious goal of making track and field one of the U.S.’s five most-followed sports" by the '28 L.A. Games. The effort this summer will "get a squirt of lighter fluid" with the championships this weekend, followed in July by the first-ever track and field world championships held on U.S. soil. Those will also be at Hayward Field. Next summer, USA Track & Field will "launch a five-city series of international competitions" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/23).

Speed Reads....

The Big Ten will hold its inaugural Volleyball Media Days Aug. 1-2 at Big Ten Network studios in Chicago, becoming the first collegiate conference to host an in-person preseason volleyball media event. The conference announced the move at its inaugural Big Ten Women’s Leadership Summit (Big Ten).

Former Washington State F Efe Abogidi has signed with NBA G League Ignite. Abogidi, a native of Nigeria, is the first NBA Academy Africa alum to sign with Ignite and the third NBA Academy graduate overall (NBA G League Ignite).

MLS NEXT Pro club St. Louis CITY2 is hosting the team’s first-ever Pride Night on Saturday. Features of the themed night will include an exclusive Pride T-shirt available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds going to official MLS partner You Can Play Project (St. Louis CITY2).

Twitter Me This....

Daily Download....

The NHL offers some quick highlights from its recent '22 Awards Show.

Daily Digit....

14 -- Number of Yankees game telecasts on YES Network this season to average 400,000 or more total viewers, compared to nine such telecasts all of last season. Thursday night's game against the Astros averaged 456,000 viewers despite going up against the NBA Draft (TWITTER.com, 6/24).

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