Jazz bring back purple mountain jerseys in newly unveiled rebrand....OneTeam Partners founding CEO Ahmad Nassar leaving company....Camping World's future as NASCAR sponsor uncertain

Jazz bring back purple in new batch of jerseys

The Jazz revealed their "long-awaited" new jerseys and branding on Friday. After "months of speculation" and leaks, the release of four new jerseys was done "rather unceremoniously" via social media. Three jerseys with black, white and yellow "were leaked in February," along with a "corresponding new court design for Vivint Arena -- but there was one twist." Friday’s reveal showed that the Jazz will wear the purple "mountain jerseys they wore from 1996-2004 and as a throwback during the 2019-20 season." That look will be in effect for '22-23, "and then a more modern version of the jersey in future seasons." Jazz President Jim Olson in a release said, “Purple is back and here to stay” (DESERET NEWS, 6/17).

OneTeam Partners CEO Nassar leaving company

By Ben Fischer

OneTeam Partners founding CEO Ahmad Nassar is leaving the company, he told staffers in an email sent Friday. The board has tapped Senior VP Malaika Underwood, a '21 SBJ “Forty Under 40” honoree, as interim CEO. The news comes as RedBird Capital Partners looks to finalize the sale of its roughly 40% stake in the NIL juggernaut, formed in '19 in conjunction with the NFLPA and MLBPA. The ultimate buyer of RedBird’s interest remains unknown, but the company is known to be valued at roughly $2B in the deal, up from $320M at launch.

The change at the CEO position is effective Friday, but Nassar said he will “remain connected” to the board and the company to ensure a strong transition. “I’m immensely proud of the team we have built, the service we have provided to our brother and sister sports unions, and the growth we have achieved,” Nassar wrote. “We did it faster than I ever imagined, in the face of plenty of adversity and we should all be proud.” Reached by phone, Nassar, a '14 “Forty Under 40” winner, declined to elaborate beyond the email.

RedBird is the single largest equity holder in the company. The NFLPA owns about 40%, the MLBPA has 20%, and several other together own under 3%. With Nassar playing a key strategic role in its formation, OneTeam was founded to give unions more capital and flexibility to pursue rights and licensing deals independently of the leagues and teams that employ the union members. It emphasizes video games, collectibles and content. One major, early victory was the '20 “Madden” extension with EA Sports, which will generate nearly three times the revenue for the NFLPA compared to the prior deal. Nassar also oversaw several acquisitions.

Prior to OneTeam, Nassar spent more than a decade at NFL Players Inc., the for-profit arm of the NFLPA, first as executive VP/General Counsel and later as president. Underwood has been with OneTeam since September '20, when she joined as senior VP/licensing.

Future uncertain for NASCAR-Camping World deal

By Adam Stern

Camping World’s longtime title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series expires after this year, and the future of the deal is uncertain, according to people familiar with the matter. The company has been with NASCAR for more than a decade dating back to ’09 with a deal worth around $5M annually. Camping World last renewed with NASCAR for entitlement of the series in a seven-year deal that started in ’16 and lasts through this year. During that time, Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis has promoted several different brands in NASCAR and had a multiyear stint where he changed the lead partner for the Truck Series entitlement to Gander Outdoors. He eventually changed it back to Camping World.

However, Lemonis recently hinted that change could be coming in a tweet that was in response to an article about M&M’s leaving NASCAR after this year. In the tweet, Lemonis wrote: “Lots of change happening and I’m sure more coming.” Lemonis did not respond to further requests for comment this week from SBJ, but a person familiar with the matter confirmed that there has been no extension reached between NASCAR and Camping World. The lack of an announcement yet has led to industry chatter in recent weeks that Lemonis may not renew the deal for '23 and that NASCAR would need to find a new partner for the Truck Series if it wants to continue having a title sponsor. The Cup Series stopped having a title sponsor in '20 as it moved to a new system akin to the NCAA, which has multiple top-tier sponsors.

Frito-Lay joins FIFA as sponsor of '22 World Cup

Frito Lay has signed a new sponsorship agreement with FIFA and will come on board as a "Regional Supporter" for the '22 edition of the tournament, which begins later this year in Qatar. Frito-Lay gets the first salty snack designation in FIFA's history, with the deal also including Lay's, Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, Ruffles and Sabritas, along with various Quaker products. Frito-Lay is FIFA's third North American "Regional Supporter" for the '22 event. Frito-Lay will have exposure at the event, including digital and in-person activations. The World Cup runs from Nov. 21-Dec. 18 (FIFA).

Sources: MLS All-Star coming to DC's Audi Field

MLS is planning to award the '23 All-Star Game to DC United's Audi Field, according to sources, "bringing the summer exhibition to Washington for the first time" since '04. An announcement "seems likely next week." DC United and league officials "did not want to comment." MLS held the All-Star Game at RFK Stadium in '02 and '04. Since canceling the '20 game because of the pandemic, the All-Star format "has turned to a clash" between MLS and Liga MX, but it is "unclear whether that MLS-Liga MX pairing will continue next season." MLS has made a "concerted effort to award the All-Star Game to clubs that are new to the league or have built new stadiums" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/17).

NFL could seek "significant" Watson suspension

The NFL will argue that Browns QB Deshaun Watson "should receive a 'significant' suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy" in the wake of multiple sexual assault allegations, sources said. One source indicated that the "league 'probably' will seek a suspension of one full season." Another person close to the case "cautioned to be 'careful' about specifying a precise length at this point for the suspension." The league reportedly "hopes the entire disciplinary process, including the resolution of any potential appeal to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or a person designated by him, is completed by the start of training camp." The Browns are scheduled to open camp on July 27 (WASHINGTON POST, 6/17).

SRX primed for sophomore racing season

The Superstar Racing Experience kicks off its '22 season on Saturday at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, and it is "looking to avoid a sophomore slump." SRX debuted last year with six short-track races in consecutive weeks "all on CBS, with an average of 1.3 million viewers per event." Backers said that the viewership average was "satisfactory for the inaugural campaign." But with F1 having a bigger presence in the U.S., SRX will "have to show in 2022 that it’s still capable of generating strong viewership as backers look to figure out the long-term potential of the property." SRX has "added some new drivers this year and brought back some fan favorites from last year," and CEO Don Hawk "says the property and CBS have created some format changes that will be revealed soon." Hawk said that ticket sales are "brisk at every event, a critical component to the series not only for revenue, but also to make the TV viewing experience feel special" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/13 issue).

MLB helps produce "After Jackie" for History

By Erik Bacharach

MLB is continuing its push to highlight the legacy of Jackie Robinson with the premiere of “After Jackie,” a two-hour documentary that debuts Saturday at 8:00pm ET on the History Channel. The doc, produced in association with the league, tells the story of the second wave of talented Black baseball players after Robinson -- including Bill White, Curt Flood and Bob Gibson -- who fought to demand a fairer and more inclusive America for African-Americans and athletes around the world. The film features new interviews with White and Gibson, as well as former and current baseball players such as CC Sabathia, Mookie Betts, Ken Griffey Jr., Joe Torre, Dave Roberts, Al Downing and Tim McCarver.

White initially brought the idea to MLB. The league’s media group, led by VP/Global Media Programming Nick Trotta, helped package the concept and bring it to production companies and platforms. MLB gave unfiltered access to archival footage, offered feedback and review to ensure the background and stories were factually told, and it helped with outreach for interview subjects. LeBron James and Maverick Carter were executive producers on “After Jackie,” in addition to Emmy winner Stanley Nelson. Andre Gaines directed.

This is the latest project for the MLB studio team, whose recent work includes ESPN’s “Once Upon a Time in Queens” and “The Captain,” as well as HBO’s Willie Mays doc. The latter two are are set to premiere in the coming months. Several other MLB-associated projects will be announced later this year.

MLS NEXT Pro clubs recognize Juneteenth


MLS NEXT Pro club St. Louis CITY2 is recognizing the Juneteenth holiday -- which takes place Monday -- for their road match Friday night against Sporting KC II. Players on Friday night will wear warmup shirts that read "Support Black Dreams," and the club will eventually deliver the shirts to select organizations, individuals and businesses in the St. Louis area.

The club will also post videos of players speaking about their dreams, and Sporting KC II will play the Black National Anthem ahead of the match. MLS NEXT Pro has designated the match as its "Game of the Week" (SBJ).

Speed Reads....

The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday "rejected a final appeal" from former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to decades in prison for "sexually assaulting gymnasts, including Olympic medalists." Attorneys for Nassar had argued that he was "treated unfairly" in '18 and "deserved a new hearing" (AP, 6/17).

Former Bills and CFL Montreal Alouettes coach Marv Levy on Friday night "will be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame." He will become "just the third person to be in both" the Canadian and Pro Football HOF joining Bud Grant and Warren Moon (AP, 6/16).

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The always entertaining Savannah Bananas' latest stunt involved breaking a world record by having much of the crowd wear banana costumes.