1.11.19: Rick Horrow talks with Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

1) The NHL wraps another big Winter Classic and prepares for its All-Star Game in San

Jose later this month. NBC Sports’ presentation of the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter

Classic across all platforms averaged a Total Audience Delivery of nearly three million

viewers, making it the most-watched Winter Classic in four years and up 20% compared

to last year’s game, according to Nielsen and Adobe Analytics. Additionally, nominations

are officially open for the fifth year of Kraft Hockeyville USA, as hockey communities

look for an opportunity to host an NHL Pre-Season Game, receive up to $150,000 in rink

upgrades from Kraft Heinz, and $10,000 worth of hockey equipment through the NHLPA

Goals amp; Dreams program. And the league has unveiled its touchstone events for the

2019-2020 season, including the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic October 26 in

Saskatchewan; 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, and

the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis. Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks ready

their SAP Center for the second time, after a successful All-Star event in 1997.

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2) NTT Corp. could soon take over as IndyCar title sponsor. According to SportsBusiness

Journal, IndyCar has been in advanced talks with NTT Corp., the Japanese parent

company of NTT Data, about taking over as title sponsor. IndyCar has been searching

for a replacement for previous title sponsor Verizon for more than a year, and the

hunt is coming down to the wire as the 2019 IndyCar season begins in St. Petersburg

on March 10 and features 17 events in the circuit’s first full season with NBC Sports

Group. IndyCar CEO Mark Miles has said to expect an announcement this month.

NTT Data, a longtime sponsor of Chip Ganassi Racing’s IndyCar program, is one of the

largest IT services companies in the world with more than $16 billion in annual

revenue. Having a global tech conglomerate as a title sponsor would only benefit

IndyCar drivers like Zach Veach, who is sponsored by Group1001 and recently

launched a STEM education program with online education leader EVERFI.

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3) IMG College and Learfield finalize merger. The merger of Learfield and IMG College is

now complete, according to multiple sources. The two sports marketing giants begin the

New Year as one fully merged company, signaling a new era in collegiate marketing and

media. Learfield President and CEO Greg Brown will oversee Learfield-IMG College going

forward. The company will be based in Plano, Texas, where Learfield is headquartered.

The merger is a 50-50 deal between Learfield, which is owned by Atairos Group, and

IMG College. Combined, Learfield-IMG College owns multimedia rights to 55 of 65

schools in the Power Five conferences and more than 200 schools in all, giving one

company an unprecedented bundle of rights to sell in the college space. The closely

watched blockbuster deal originally was signed in October 2017, but a longer-than-expected 

merger review by the Department of Justice left both businesses operating

separately until now. Brown will run the merged business and sit on a board that will

have representation from Atairos and Endeavor. The merged company is believed to be

valued at more than $2 billion, and will wield an outsized influence in collegiate sports

media rights deals for many years to come

Listen to the full podcast here.

Article source: https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/other-sports/11119-rick-horrow-talks-hall-fame-running-back-curtis-martin

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