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Archive for January, 2020

Fan favorite Tony Kanaan to retire from NTT IndyCar Series after 2020 Season

 

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 30, 2020) – Tony Kanaan’s most emotional moment in his illustrious INDYCAR career came at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2013 when he finally captured the prestigious but elusive Indianapolis 500 crown.

On Thursday at the world-renowned motorsports facility with the Borg-Warner Trophy by his side, yet another emotional scene transpired for the ever-popular 45-year-old Brazilian entering his 23rd season of competition. Kanaan, an Indy 500 winner and 2004 series champion, announced that the upcoming 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will be his final as a primary driver.

Kanaan is set to compete in the five oval races of the NTT INDYCAR Series season driving the No. 14 Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing. He is scheduled to begin his final campaign, which will be called the “TK Last Lap,” with the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24. Kanaan will then run Saturday night races at Texas Motor Speedway (June 6), Richmond Raceway (June 27), Iowa Speedway (July 18) and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Aug. 22) to close out his final season.

He did leave open the possibility of returning for a future Indianapolis 500, but not for another partial or full NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

“I look back at all these years racing in INDYCAR and the first thing that comes to my mind is how fortunate I’ve been to be in the top level of the sport for this long. I walked into this sport as a 23-year-old with lots of hopes and dreams and I can say, without a doubt, that I accomplished everything I wanted,” Kanaan said. “I’m 45 now; I have fans, wins, podiums, records, a championship and an Indy 500. I feel and know I can still do this for a long time, but like everything else in life there is also a cycle in racing. For a long time, I’ve been asked when I would retire, and my answer was always the same: The day I wake up in the morning and feel like I can’t do this anymore, that’s when I’m going to retire.

“Unfortunately, there are other things one should take into consideration when planning the future, and probably the most important one is what are the options that are available. For 2020, my best option was to race the five ovals of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, the sport that gave me so much and that I will always love. I’m not done with racing, that’s for sure. I decided that this year I would step back a bit and enjoy these five races, have time for my family (wife Lauren, sons Leonardo, Max and Deco, and daughter Nina) and my fans, and also give back to the sponsors that always stood by me.”

Kanaan has amassed 17 wins, 15 pole positions and 78 podium finishes in his 377 career starts, which rank second all-time only to the 407 starts made by the legendary Mario Andretti. He also is the “Ironman” of the sport, holding the active record for most consecutive starts at 317 that began at Portland International Raceway in 2001.

His INDYCAR career began in 1998 with Tasman Motorsports after capturing the Indy Lights championship for the organization the previous year. He achieved success quickly at the top rung of the sport, winning CART Rookie-of-the-Year honors with Tasman that year. In his second season, he earned his first pole position at Long Beach in April and then his inaugural win at Michigan International Speedway in July.

One of his major career accomplishments came with Andretti Green Racing in 2004 when he captured the IRL IndyCar Series championship. He won three races, recorded top-five finishes in 15 of the 16 races and completed every lap on the season en route to the title.

The most significant moment came in 2013 with KV Racing Technology when he won the Indy 500 in his 12th attempt. The average speed of the race – 187.433 mph – remains the fastest Indianapolis 500 in history, and the 68 lead changes also remains a standing record. Kanaan has made 18 Indy 500 starts, with a win, pole position (2005), eight top-five finishes and having led 361 laps.

Kanaan has driven for seven teams in his career, beginning with Tasman Motorsports his rookie season. He followed with Forsythe Racing (1999 when Tasman was sold to Gerald Forsythe), Mo Nunn Racing (2000-02), Andretti Green Racing (2003-10), KV Racing Technology (2011-13), Chip Ganassi Racing (2014-17) and AJ Foyt Racing (2018-present).

In addition to his INDYCAR accomplishments, he added two prestigious sports car championships to his resume. He won the LMP2 division of the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2007 and then captured the overall race victory of the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2015.

So, what does the future hold for Kanaan?

“For the future, who knows?” he said. “I’d love to still be involved with INDYCAR to some degree. I’ve also had offers to race in a number of different series, but that’s not my priority at the moment.”

Kanaan will be promoting the hashtag “TKLastLap” during the course of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, which opens Sunday, March 15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. For announcements and updates on Kanaan’s next steps, be sure to follow his social media channels – @tkanaan on Instagram and @tonykanaan on Twitter and Facebook.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Benito Santos; COURTESY KANAAN RACING INC.

 

Stats Perform selected by MLS and U.S. Soccer as exclusive Global Partner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stats Perform, the leader in sports AI, to exclusively collect and distribute official MLS data for global betting, broadcast, and media.

Comprehensive partnership will elevate the data available from MLS and U.S. Soccer matches through ultrafast data direct from stadium and live, granular player performance statistics and integrity services.

 

New York, N.Y. (Thursday, Jan. 30) – Major League Soccer (MLS) and U.S. Soccer today announced an exclusive official data deal with Stats Perform, the revolutionary leader in sports AI and data.

Stats Perform will leverage its unique combination of the most trusted and granular sports data and advanced AI capabilities to create superior fan, spectator and bettor experiences for men’s and women’s soccer competitions in the United States through Stats Perform’s RunningBall, Opta and Integrity services.

“We’re delighted to announce we have been chosen as the exclusive global data partner for MLS and U.S. Soccer,” said Alex Rice, Chief Rights Officer at Stats Perform. “As a trusted partner of MLS for over 10 years and U.S. Soccer for three years, we look forward to delivering the highest quality data to create the best experiences for fans and bettors, while continuing to support the growth of soccer in North America.”

The agreement facilitated by Soccer United Marketing (SUM), U.S. Soccer’s partner for more than 15 years, grants Stats Perform the right to exclusively collect, analyze and distribute official ultrafast data and player data to global broadcast, media, betting and professional teams for all MLS, U.S. Open Cup and Men’s and Women’s National Team matches. For the first time, MLS and U.S. Soccer will also offer an official ultrafast data feed optimized for sports betting operators from all MLS, and select U.S. National Team and U.S. Open Cup matches.

The introduction of data and AI capabilities will help raise the profile of soccer in the United States and increase fan engagement, bringing fans closer to games, teams and players across MLS, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT), U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT), and the U.S. Open Cup.

For the first time MLS and U.S. Soccer will also offer an official ultrafast data feed optimized for sports betting operators.

“Soccer United Marketing is proud to facilitate the execution of this expansive, long-term partnership between Stats Perform, MLS and U.S. Soccer,” said Chris Schlosser, SVP, Media. “We are excited to partner with Stats Perform to create MLS and U.S. Soccer’s first official data feed optimized for Sports Betting. As the betting landscape continues to evolve, it is important that quality and accurate data are available to power sports betting experiences and Stats Peform is a proven global leader in the creation of soccer betting data feeds.”

The partnership also increases data coverage to over 3,000 U.S. Soccer Development Academy matches, which unlocks data-driven talent identification processes for the Federation and clubs, furthering U.S. Soccer’s strategic approach to improving player development.

“The partnership with Stats Perform further represents U.S. Soccer’s commitment to using data and technology to grow the game domestically,” said U.S. Soccer Director of Analytics and Research Ross Moses. “Data quality and coverage are central to our objectives to win and grow the fanbase, and Stats Perform has shown to be a leader in the space. With coverage of not only the senior national teams but also youth and club competitions like the U.S. Open Cup, we continue to push ourselves to find competitive advantages on the field and build our connection with fans off it.”

The Stats Perform Integrity Unit, which works with rights holders and the industry to protect competitions from corruption, will support MLS and U.S. Soccer in their innovative approach to preventing match manipulation and betting fraud through education, 24/7 global monitoring and intelligence, and performance analysis.

Stats Perform’s work with leagues around the world has proven consistent and accurate data plays an essential role in developing players and teams, driving new levels of attention and interest from media, brands, fans, fantasy and betting.

MLS and U.S. Soccer selecting Stats Perform demonstrates a desire to bring consistency across all levels of its competitions and provide both teams and fans with the best quality data and data-powered content.

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About Stats Perform:
Stats Perform collects the richest sports data in the world and transforms it through revolutionary artificial intelligence (AI) to unlock the most in-depth insights for media and technology, betting and team performance. With company roots dating back almost 40 years, Stats Perform embraces and solves the dynamic nature of sport – be that for digital and broadcast media with differentiated storytelling, tech companies with reliable and fast data to power their innovations, sportsbooks with in-play betting and integrity services, or teams with first-of-its-kind AI analysis software. As the leading sports data and AI company, Stats Perform works with the top global sports media, tech companies, sportsbooks, teams and leagues. For more information, visit StatsPerform.com.

About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer – celebrating its 25th Season in 2020 – features 26 clubs throughout the United States and Canada, in addition to future expansion teams in Austin, St. Louis, Sacramento, and Charlotte. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com .

About U.S. Soccer:
Founded in 1913, the U.S. Soccer Federation has been the official governing body of the sport in the United States for more than 100 years. During that time, the growth of the sport has grown tremendously at all levels. As U.S. Soccer looks towards the future, its mission is to make soccer the preeminent sport in the United States.  With a long-term and strategic approach, U.S. Soccer aims to accomplish its mission by supporting its members to increase participation at the youth and adult levels, develop world class players, coaches and referees to consistently win at the highest levels on the international stage and serve the fans by engaging with them in deeper and more meaningful ways. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.

About SUM
Soccer United Marketing (SUM), the commercial arm of MLS, is the preeminent commercial soccer enterprise in North America, overseeing the commercialization and marketing execution of the region’s soccer entities. SUM holds the exclusive rights to MLS, the U.S. Soccer Federation, the Mexican National Team (U.S. market), and Concacaf Properties (Gold Cup).

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Sarah Butler, Stats Perform; Angela Alfano, Major League Soccer / Soccer United Marketing; Neil Buethe, U.S. Soccer; COURTESY MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Blue Jackets recall goalie Matiss Kivlenieks from Cleveland

 

JANUARY 30, 2020

 

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks from the Cleveland Monsters, Columbus’ American Hockey League affiliate, Blue Jackets General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced on Thursday.

 

Kivlenieks, 23, turned aside 31 shots in a 2-1 victory at the NY Rangers on January 19, becoming the second player in Blue Jackets history to win his NHL debut (Steve Mason).  He is 9-7-2 with a 2.91 goals-against average, .903 save percentage and one shutout in 18 games with the Monsters in 2019-20.

Matiss Kivlenieks

 

The Riga, Latvia native has posted a 27-32-7 record, 3.22 GAA, .891 SV% and three shutouts in 75 career AHL appearances with Cleveland since making his professional debut in 2017-18.  He was signed by Columbus to an entry level contract on May 25, 2017.

 

The Blue Jackets return to action on Saturday, February 1 when they visit the Buffalo Sabres.  Game time from KeyBank Center is 1 p.m. ET.  Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show starting at 12:30 p.m.  All Blue Jackets games televised on FOX Sports Ohio will also be streamed live via the FOX Sports app.  The game can also be heard on the Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Blue Jackets Radio Network, including WWCD 102.5 FM in Columbus, and online at BlueJackets.com.

 

Single game tickets for all home games played at Nationwide Arena during the 2019-20 regular season are on sale now.  Information on all ticketing options can be obtained by calling (800) NHL‐COLS or by visiting BlueJackets.com.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF BLUE JACKETS COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

Big East Conference Men’s Basketball Standings

 

CONFERENCE                                                   OVERALL
SCHOOL W-L PCT. W-L PCT.
SETON HALL 8-0 1.000 16-4 0.800
VILLANOVA 7-1 0.875 17-3 0.850
BUTLER 5-3 0.625 17-4 0.810
CREIGHTON 5-3 0.625 16-5 0.762
MARQUETTE 5-4 0.556 15-6 0.714
PROVIDENCE 4-4 0.500 11-10 0.524
XAVIER 2-6 0.250 13-8 0.619
GEORGETOWN 2-6 0.250 12-9 0.571
ST. JOHN’S 2-7 0.222 13-9 0.591
DEPAUL 1-7 0.125 13-8 0.619

 

STANDINGS COMPILED BY & COURTESY OF BIG EAST CONFERENCE

Big East Conference Men’s Basketball Weekly Honors

 

Kamar Baldwin, Butler

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova

 

NEW YORK – Butler guard Kamar Baldwin has been named BIG EAST Player of the Week and Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has been chosen BIG EAST Freshman of the Week.  Baldwin led the Bulldogs to a dramatic come-from-behind win against Marquette.  Robinson-Earl made impressive contributions in a 2-0 week for the Wildcats.

BIG EAST Player of the Week
Kamar Baldwin, Butler, G, Sr. – Baldwin helped rally the Bulldogs past Marquette 89-85 in overtime by scoring 29 of his 31 points after halftime, including 10 points in the extra period.  The senior also grabbed eight rebounds and dealt five assists.  Baldwin scored a team-high 21 points in a 76-61 loss at Villanova.  For the week, he played 77 minutes and had only two turnovers.  In BIG EAST games, he ranks third in scoring with a 20.4 average.

BIG EAST Freshman of the Week
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova, F, Fr. – Robinson-Earl takes Freshman of the Week honors for the third straight week and fourth time this season.  He began the week with 12 points and 14 rebounds in a 76-61 win over Butler.  The freshman followed with 17 points, three rebounds and three steals in a 64-60 victory at Providence.  Robinson-Earl leads the BIG EAST in free throw shooting, making 86.4 percent.

BIG EAST Honor Roll
Mitch Ballock, Creighton, G, Jr.
In a 2-0 week, averaged 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and shot 47.4 percent from 3-point range.  Had 19 points and six rebounds in a win at DePaul (83-68).
Markus Howard, Marquette, G, Sr.
Averaged 29.0 points and 5.0 assists in a 1-1 week.  Scored 32 points in a win against St. John’s (87-68).  Moved into fifth place on the BIG EAST career scoring list with 1,318 points.
L.J. Figueroa, St. John’s, F, Jr.
Scored a career-high 28 points, which included seven 3-pointers, in a win at DePaul (79-66) and averaged 20.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in a 1-1 week.
Romaro Gill, Seton Hall, C, Jr.
Posted 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, grabbed six rebounds and blocked eight shots in a 73-64 win against Providence.
Collin Gillespie, Villanova, G, Jr.
In a 2-0 week, averaged 16.0 points and 6.0 assists.  In a win at Providence (64-60), had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF BIG EAST CONFERENCE

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