Here is this week's dose of “5-Point Friday”. A weekly round-up of the sports news and stories that I find most interesting and enjoyable.
Baseball news that has been a long time coming -
The Cleveland Indians announced plans to change their name after decades of criticism. Having been in use since 1915, opponents have long said the name is racist and offensive to Native Americans.
"We believe our organization is at its best when we can unify our community," a team statement said.
The team had announced a review of their name in July as racial justice protests convulsed the U.S. The review included discussions with civic leaders and Native American people, said team owner Paul Dolan in a statement. "While Indians will always be a part of our history, it is time to move forward." The talks provided "a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them," he added.
Lacrosse news I am following -
PLL and MLL announced that they will be merging. The move consolidates outdoor lacrosse into a single entity that will operate under the banner. After the 2020 COVID-19 disruptions for both leagues, it appears that a merger would benefit both sides.
"When we got back to the table for conversations this offseason, it just felt more likely that a merger could get done," PLL founder Paul Rabil said. "I think overall for lacrosse, unifying this could be akin to basketball and football, historically."
“Over the past two years the PLL has punched through expectations and garnered commercial viability that the sport has never seen,” Rabil added.“Today, as the PLL embarks on season three, we do so armed with 20 years of MLL history.”
As part of the merger, the PLL will expand to include the MLL’s Boston Cannons as the league’s eighth club. The team will rebrand to Cannons Lacrosse Club, bringing it into alignment with the nomenclature of the PLL’s other teams.
Furthermore, the PLL will retain the rights to the MLL’s other five teams for future expansion considerations.
Hockey news I am learning about -
The Canadian NHL teams being in one division during the upcoming season is a "gift from the gods of marketing," according to The Globe and Mail's Cathal Kelly.
The NHL Board of Governors is also set to approve helmet advertisements which together could be a major boost for the league's revenue.
If approved, the sponsors would be located on both sides of a player’s helmet and only one brand would be allowed at a time on the helmet. The size of the advertisements is still unclear at this point in time.
Sponsorship story I have been enjoying -
Burger King is to sponsor Stevenage FC Women on the same terms as the club's men's team, but with an added twist. The amateur team plays in the women's fourth division and will have "Burger Queen" on their shirts, with the Stevenage branch of the fast-food outlet also adapting its name.
Stevenage's men's side became popular on last season's Fifa computer game because of a campaign by the sponsors. "It's crazy for all the right reasons," said Stevenage CEO Joe Goude. "It gives us the opportunity to really show young female players that they are as entitled to play this game with the same support, to the same level, and the same infrastructure as the men and boys."
While Stevenage's men team, started their sponsorship with the company last season, the women's side had gone without a shirt sponsor.
"Seeing their UK and worldwide social media channels change all their logos to Burger Queen, they have a reach of 12 million people worldwide," Goude said. "The club has 2,000 followers on Twitter so it's incredible - everyone's still in a state of shock that it's actually happened."
NFL game I am interested to see -
In an effort to draw a crowd of younger viewers to its bonus Wild Card game, CBS Sports is working with corporate sibling Nickelodeon to develop a kid-centric simulcast of its opening-round NFL broadcast.
Set to air on Sunday, January 10th, the playoff presentation will get the full pineapple-under-the-sea treatment, one that will include special graphics overlays and a one-of-a-kind halftime performance.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!