Americas Bulletin: #ForçaChapecoense; Yormark’s name game; Nascar cuts Turner ties and more

SportsPro’s Americas Bulletin, dishing up a regular diet of news, views and insight from across the business of sport in the Western Hemisphere.

Americas Bulletin: #ForçaChapecoense; Yormark’s name game; Nascar cuts Turner ties and more

Tributes and messages of support have been pouring in from across the world of sport after Monday night’s plane crash in Colombia which killed 71 people, including members of the Brazilian top-flight soccer team Chapecoense and 21 South American journalists. Chapecoense, a small-town team from Chapecó in the state of Santa Carina who have risen through the Brazilian leagues in recent years, had been travelling on a chartered jet to Medellin to face Atlético Nacional in the first leg of this year’s Copa Sudamericana final.

"This is a tragic day for soccer,” said Alejandro Domínguez, the president of Conmebol, who flew to Medellin in the immediate aftermath of the crash. “We extend our most heartfelt solidarity to the Chapecoense community, to the journalistic community and to the people of Brazil.” Pele, meanwhile, offered his 'sincere condolences to the families of the deceased' while Neymar said: 'Today the world cries, but heaven rejoices in receiving Champions'. 

Following Monday’s disaster, Brazilian president Michel Temer declared three days of national mourning while Conmebol immediately suspended the Copa Sudamericana and Atlético Nacional requested that the title be awarded to their Brazilian counterparts. In a further show of solidarity, top-tier clubs in Brazil have offered to loan players to Chapecoense for free next season and reportedly requested that the stricken club be protected against relegation for three years.

From the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to the Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk and the Nassau Coliseum presented by New York Community Bank, Brett Yormark’s name is all over the Big Apple sports and entertainment scene. The Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (BSE) chief executive (below) is best known for hawking venue naming rights to big business for big bucks, and now intends to bring his talents to bear elsewhere as well as New York.

On Monday, Yormark’s BSE announced it is teaming up with Atlanta-based Cooper Holdings Inc to launch ENTITLE, a new joint venture that will focus solely on brokering naming rights agreements for both domestic and international venue clients. Mike Zavodsky, currently BSE’s executive vice president of global partnerships, will expand his current remit to serve as president of sales for ENTITLE, whose creation further strengthens Yormark’s working relationship with long-time collaborator Lonnie Cooper, the chief executive of Cooper Holdings.

“I’m passionate about creating opportunities for brands and venues to come together in naming rights partnerships, which is reflective in our successful activity over the years in the Tri-State area,” Yormark said in a statement. “Now I’m thrilled to team with Lonnie and Mike on this new venture and to take our best practices and skill-sets nationally.”

Yormark and Cooper will also remain in charge of BSE and Cooper Holdings respectively, with each of their teams remaining intact.

Meanwhile, Nascar has announced it is to establish its own in-house advertising sales division under its Nascar Digital Media subsidiary, ending its 17-year relationship with Turner Sports. The division will be headed by Jon Tuck, the chief revenue officer of Nascar Digital Media, and will allow Nascar closer control of its client relationships. Nascar Digital Media was established in 2012, when it began working alongside Turner Sports on running both ad sales and digital content operations. Nascar paid an eight-figure sum to bring its digital rights fully in-house in 2013, and will finally cut business ties with Turner from the start of next year.

“The digital front-end sales, the relationships with the buying community will come over into our court. as well as the ad revenue operations to support that,” said Colin Smith, vice president of Nascar Digital Media. “By bringing these rights back in-house, not only are we a part of the conversation, but we are actually originating the conversation with the buyers and working to promote things we want to promote.”

Elsewhere NBC, the US free-to-air network, will broadcast the centennial edition of the National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star Game from the Staples Center in Los Angeles in January, after the broadcaster confirmed it will transfer coverage from its digital sports channel NBCSN. The move represents the first time the annual exhibition showpiece will be shown for free since 2004, when ABC carried the game.

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