NBCUniversal surpasses Rio’s $1.2 Billion advertising haul for Tokyo Olympics, Skims Brand becomes official partner with Olympics Team USA, Chinese company’s advertising goes global at Euro 2020 and the unlikely journey of Israel’s baseball team to the Olympics. For these stories and more, check out the Red Phoenix Global Sports Update:

Israel’s Olympic Baseball Team Courts Comparisons to Jamaica’s 1988 “Cool Runnings” Bobsledders

Through a surprising combination of factors,Israel will compete in an Olympic team sport this summer for the first time since 1976, drawing parallels with Jamaica’s 1988 Olympic bobsled team. Through the efforts of two men, Peter Kurz and Eric Holtz, the current coach, the Israeli team is made of mostly former major and minor league American players who have committed to Israel by going through the arduous citizenship process. Israel’s team paradoxically came together at a qualifying tournament in Germany, a country where Jews were persecuted and executed during World War II, to go on and clinch the first berth at the Olympics (after Japan). Funding has been a problem for the team as their qualifying took some by surprise, but the team is on their way to Tokyo through crowdfunding. Full Story Japan Times (6/28)

Kim Kardashian Announces Skims Brand Partnership with Olympics Team USA

(Photo Credit: Skims)

Team USA female athletes will be supplied with undergarments, loungewear, and pajamas for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics by Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear brand Skims, Kardashian announced recently. The womenswear collection features sports bras, shirts, vests, cycle shorts, and high-waisted briefs printed with American flags, the five Olympic rings, and Team USA branding. Kardashian cited her close relationship with the Game because her former stepparent Caitlyn Jenner was a gold medal-winning decathlete. Full Story CNN (6/28)

Durant Leads USA Olympic Basketball Team Backed By Many First Timers

Three-time Olympian Durant and a whole host of first-timers will be looking to bring home the Olympic gold medal this summer. Looking for his third gold, Durant will lead the U.S. men’s basketball team into Tokyo with help from Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, and Damian Lillard. Lillard is coming off one of his best NBA seasons to date, averaging 28.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in 2020–21 with the Blazers. Other experienced players coming along to assist include Warriors forward Draymond Green and Cavaliers forward Kevin Love. Full Story SI (6/28)

Chinese companies sign up for Euro 2020 soccer sponsorships in a bid to go global

Football fans watch UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group A match between Wales and Switzerland at a pub on June 12, 2021 in Shanghai, China.
(Photo Credit: Chen Yuyu | Visual China Group | Getty Images)

After home appliance company Hisense became the first Chinese sponsor for the UEFA European soccer championship in 2016, three other Chinese businesses signed partnerships for this year’s Euro 2020. Alibaba-affiliated Alipay and ByteDance’s TikTok are among the other companies paying to have their names roll along the stadium perimeter behind soccer players in June and July this year. Another Euro 2020 sponsor, Chinese smartphone company Vivo, officially entered six European countries in October and claimed to have more than 400 million users in more than 50 countries. These companies are paying up to reach overseas markets while building global prestige for shoppers at home. Full Story CNBC (6/24)

NBCUniversal Surpasses Rio’s $1.2 Billion Advertising Haul for Tokyo Olympics

NBCUniversal’s Tokyo ad sales are on par with the record $1.25 billion revenue it had announced in March 2020, shortly before the Games were postponed. (Photo Credit: NBCUniversal)

NBCUniversal hasn’t released specific revenue numbers, but execs say the Tokyo Olympics has surpassed the $1.2 billion in ad revenue from the Rio Summer Olympics in 2016 and is on par with the record $1.25 billion in sales announced in March 2020. Currently, NBCUniversal has more than 120 advertisers lined up for Tokyo—roughly 20 more than the 100-plus it had in Rio—and more than 80 of those advertisers did not participate in the Rio Games. Full Story Adweek (6/23)

A New Era Dawns In College Sports, As The NCAA Scrambles To Keep Up

A new era in college sports begins this week. Following Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order allowing college athletes to be compensated for using their name, image, and likeness — known by its abbreviation “NIL” — at least seven states will put into effect NIL laws on Thursday. The laws allow athletes to make money for endorsement deals, signing autographs, and social media content. For now, with its temporary NIL plan, the NCAA is stepping back by allowing schools to create their policies. But the association also says schools and athletes should adhere to the plan’s guidance “until such time that either federal legislation or NCAA rules are adopted.” The NCAA Division 1 Board of Directors reportedly will meet Wednesday to make a final decision on the interim plan. If, as expected, the board approves it, the NIL policy would go into effect the next day. Full Story NPR (6/28)