By TERRY LYONS
ST. LOUIS – Just as the NHL rank and file took their break and the hockey’s All-Stars headed to Missouri and the Gateway Arch along the Mississippi, the world’s tech stars were arriving this past Tuesday for Stadia Ventures’ Spring 2020 Finalist Pitch Day and World Demo Day.
Due to the fact this reporter was directly associated with one of the 10 Finalists – see www.SnapScreen.com – it’s not appropriate to comment in too much detail on the companies pitching the accelerator nor the intricacies of the event itself. But, suffice to say, for anyone seriously involved with the entrepreneurial side of Sports Tech, and the Sports Biz industry itself, witnessing and interacting with the Stadia Ventures execs, event organizers and event attendees was a dream come true.
The well-organized pitch and demo day were well attended by many of the industries’ experienced sports executives and mentors who made up a combination of the accelerator’s Judges Panel and Mentor group. The impressive gathering also saluted three of its 2019 cohorts in Clicktivated, Funder, LiveStyled – all three impressive start-ups now seeking funds.
Being the proper thing to do, this reporter will leave it at that for now, but it’s highly recommended to seek-out additional information on Stadia Ventures at: CLICK HERE. Looking forward to returning to St. Louis someday soon, especially during baseball season to take in a game at Busch Stadium.
Please join our friends at New York Venture Community Sports and WWE Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie McMahon and Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, for a private event to support Connor’s Cure. The event will feature tremendous networking, cocktails, light food, a raffle, and a special fireside chat with the WWE executives, moderated by Charly Caruso, of WWE and ESPN. … Note that due to space limitations, the venue will only accommodate the first 150 registrations.
As the event is focused on NYVC Sports’ collective commitment to giving back, all proceeds will go to support Connor’s Cure.
Stephanie and Paul personally created the charity in 2014 in honor of WWE fan Connor Michalek, who lost his battle to Medulloblastoma, a rare tumor that affects the brain and spinal cord, at age 8. Connor’s incredible personality and fighting spirit captured the hearts of many WWE Superstars and members of the WWE Universe, and ultimately made him a local celebrity in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
Originally created at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh UPMC and now in partnership with The V Foundation for Cancer Research, Connor’s Cure raises awareness and funds that support cutting-edge research at pediatric cancer facilities around the world. To date, Connor’s Cure has raised $3 million and has helped 500 families, but with more than 15,000 children diagnosed each year, so much more support is needed in this crucial fight.
Here Now, The Notes: Surely, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson would rather be preparing for the Super Bowl. But the talented 23-year-old has embraced this weekend despite his team’s disappointing playoff exit. He will be one of a league-high 12 Ravens who are expected to play in the Pro Bowl on Sunday afternoon in Orlando. … The game will mark Jackson’s first Pro Bowl appearance as he represents the AFC in its annual contest against the NFC. … “He’s just a special player, a special dude,” said Ravens running back Mark Ingram II, who also will play in the game. … “An elite athlete on the field, a great person off the field. Humble. Hard worker. Leadership. Everything you need in a franchise quarterback, he has it. I’m glad to be with him.” … The Ravens had a 13th player named to the Pro Bowl, but cornerback Marcus Peters declined to take part in the game because of an unspecified injury. The 13 selections overall matched the 2007 Dallas Cowboys for the all-time record, including kicker Justin Tucker and long snapper Morgan Cox who round out the Ravens who spent the week in Orlando. … “It’ll be fun, and it’ll be a chance for us to kind of maybe heal up a little bit in a great environment,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters. “I don’t know how many of these guys really like roller coasters, but I know for me and my family, we will be at the roller coasters at Universal (Studios) a lot.” … As the Ravens’ offense leads the AFC, the Minnesota Vikings’ defense will lead the NFC. The Vikings have eight players in the Pro Bowl, including five on defense. That group includes defensive linemen Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen up front, linebacker Eric Kendricks patrolling the middle, and safety Harrison Smith and cornerback Xavier Rhodes assisting the secondary. … Kendricks led the Vikings with 110 tackles during a career-best season. He added two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in the regular season and intercepted San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the playoffs, and he was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl selection. … “I’ve always known I can do it,” Kendricks told reporters after being named a first-team All-Pro. “There’s just more that I want and more that I’m after. It’s definitely nice to get the validation. At the same time, that’s not what I’m focused on.” … The game will not include any players from the 49ers or the Kansas City Chiefs as they get ready for the Super Bowl one week later. But plenty of star playmakers fill both the AFC and NFC rosters. … Besides Jackson, the AFC’s quarterback contingent includes Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans and Ryan Tannehill of the Tennessee Titans. Tannehill replaced the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes.The NFC’s signal-callers include Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Kirk Cousins of the Vikings. Cousins replaced injured rival Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. … The AFC has won the last three Pro Bowls since the format returned to a traditional conference matchup.
The Florida Panthers will host the 2021 NHL All-Star Game, commissioner Gary Bettman announced Friday in his press availability session before All-Star weekend festivities in St. Louis, hinting at some future USA/Canada/The World type competition … Florida hosted once previously, in 2003. That was the first time a shootout decided an NHL outcome, won by the Western Conference 6-5. The league adopted the shootout as the regular-season tiebreaking procedure at the start of 2005-06. … “We are in discussions with the Players Association about giving a distinct international flavor to next year’s All-Star Game, but more detail will come at a later date,” Bettman said. … NHL All-Star Weekend at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, will include the NHL All-Star Skills on Jan. 29, 2021, and the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 30, 2021. … This year’s All-Star Game is in St. Louis. … Since 2016, the NHL All-Star Game has consisted of each division having its own team, with the four sides squaring off in a three-on-three tournament.
Just prior to the NHL All-Star break, Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers’ fuzzy, orange mascot, was found to be under investigation for an alleged physical assault of a 13-year-old boy during a photo shoot at the team’s stadium back in November, multiple outlets reported. … Chris Greenwell, the boy’s father and a longtime season ticket holder, wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday that his son, Brandon, was “punched and injured” by Gritty, and that the organization “tried to bribe me not to speak about it.” … Greenwell gave more detail in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, describing the Nov. 19 incident, which happened at Wells Fargo Center during an event for season ticket holders. … He told the Inquirer that after the photo was taken, his son patted Gritty on the head and then walked away. The mascot got up, “took a running start,” and “punched my son as hard as he could,” Greenwell said, per the Inquirer. … The South Detectives Division of the police department is conducting an “active and on-going” investigation.
Diamond Dust: Multiple reports Saturday had the Colorado Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story agreeing to terms on a two-year deal that would cover the remaining two years of arbitration eligibility for Story, making him a free agent for the 2022 season. … According to the reports, the deal will pay the two-time All-Star $27.5 million. … Story, 27, had sought $11.5 million in arbitration for next season, with the club countering at $10.75 million. … Drafted out of high school by the Rockies in 2011, Story is coming off his fourth season in the majors. … Story hit .294 with 35 home runs and 85 RBIs in 145 games with the Rockies in 2019. For his career, he’s batted .276 with 123 home runs and 347 RBIs in 544 games. … The Washington Nationals are re-signing free agent first baseman Ryan Zimmerman to a one-year, $2 million deal that includes up to $3 million in incentives, multiple outlets reported. … The 35-year-old Zimmerman is the longest-tenured player for the reigning World Series champions and is the franchise’s all-time leader in hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs. … Zimmerman, the first player ever drafted by the Nationals in 2005, had said he would retire if he could not work out a deal with Washington for 2020. … The New York Mets named quality control coach Luis Rojas their new manager, the team announced this week. … Rojas, 38, is the son of former major league player and manager Felipe Alou and the brother of six-time All-Star Moises Alou. … Rojas replaces Carlos Beltran, who lost his job last week in the wake of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. … Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen told reporters Wednesday the team was finalizing a multiyear deal with Rojas. … Rojas has been coaching and managing in the Mets organization since 2006. He interviewed for New York’s managerial vacancy after the team fired Mickey Callaway in October, but Beltran got the job. … The robots are coming — to spring training. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced that a computerized camera system will be used to call balls and strikes this spring. … It will be “more accurate than a human being standing there,” he said in an interview with Fox Business Network. … MLB began experimenting with the computerized strike zone last season in the independent Atlantic League and the Arizona Fall League. … Plate umpires, equipped with earpieces, crouched behind home plate and signaled the ball or strike calls as determined by a camera system. … Manfred said the so-called “robot umpires” also will be used in some minor leagues this season. … “We believe over the long haul it’s going to be more accurate,” Manfred said, per ESPN. “It will reduce controversy in the game and be good for the game.” … Spring training games in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues get underway in late February. … In preparation of the 2020 Baseball season, all MLB “Official Scorers” convened in Secaucus, New Jersey this past weekend.
Digital Sports Desk posts a once-a-week Sunday Notes column, entitled: “While We’re Young Ideas.” It’s a throwback of sorts to the days when sportswriting and the baseball beat were the best jobs in the entire sports industry, maybe the entire world. One of those sportswriters was named Dick Young and he wrote “Young Ideas” with a “Diamond Dust” section for notes and quotes. … We welcome feedback and suggestions (psst, they call ’em pitches) for mentions within “While We’re Young Ideas” or Digital Sports Desk. Please follow and encourage (at least) another person or two to plug into (@DigSportsDesk) (@WhileYoungIdeas) and (@terrylyons).