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“We’re such a proud and strong and defiant group of women”

Megan Rapinoe, forward, as the U.S. Women's Soccer Team captures the title of best in the world.
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The victory marks a back-to-back win for the team at the Women's World Cup - a month-long tournament held every 4 years. The U.S. Women's Team has won 4 championships, more than any other country.

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FOOTBALL’S BIGGEST DAY OF THE YEAR

 

Everything you need to know before Super Bowl Sunday & three things you might be surprised to learn.

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Super Bowl 53 Basics

  • WHO:A New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams.
  • WHEN:A Sunday, February 3rd. Kickoff at 6:30pm ET on CBS.
  • WHERE:A Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.
  • WHY: To crown NFL’s champion.
  • BONUS: Gladys Knight sings nat’l anthem & Maroon 5 is headlining the halftime show with Travis Scott & Big Boi as guests.
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How Much to Go?

$3,800 – $18,100 overall

  • Ticket prices will be the majority of your expense, ranging from $3,300 – $15,925/seat.
  • Atlanta-area hotel prices surged 146%, according to reports.
  • BUTA Mercedes-Benz stadium is known for its inexpensive food withA $2 hot dogs, refillable soda, $3 pizza, & $5 draft beers.A
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Age: Just a Number

  • If Rams win: Sean McVay (33) will be the youngestA coach to win a Super Bowl.
  • If Patriots win:A A Head coach Bill Belichick (66) will be the oldest coach & Tom Brady (41) would be the oldest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Brady would also win his 6th championship ring – the most in NFL history.

 

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Super Bowl “Fever”

1 in 4 employed Americans impacted by the Big Game on Monday.

  • 17.2M Americans may miss work.
  • Another 22M may come in late, leave early or work from home.
  • Survey: 1 in 3 American workers believe the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday.
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Following tradition, an interview with the President will air around 3:30pm est. Not into the game? There's always the commercials! CBS is reportedly charging a record-setting $5.25M for a 30-sec spot - $175K/sec.

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BASEBALL’S BIG PRIZE

The World Series kicks off tonight as the Los Angeles Dodgers face the Boston Red Sox.

It’s only theA second time the two storied franchises faced off in the championship series. The last wasA 102 years ago when Babe Ruth was playing.

 

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Quick Pitch Refresher

  • Boston Red Sox: LasA Vegas favorite after winning an impressive 108 regular season games. Spent a league-high $240M payroll. Eight World Series titles, most recently in 2013.
  • L.A. Dodgers:A Haven’t won a Championship in 30 years, losing last year to Houston. Third-highest payroll in the league at $196M. Six championship titles.

 

 

 

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Why The Series Matters

  • Money Ball: MLB does not have a spending cap. The Red Sox’s & Dodgers’ hefty payrolls highlight divide between the haves & have-nots.
  • Will It Help The League?: In 2018,A MLB’s average attendance fell to the lowest levels since 2003. For Red Sox & Dodgers, attendance is 2nd & 7th best in the league.
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It will be the only World Series matchup in which both managers, Alex Cora for the Red Sox (in his first season) & Dave Roberts for the Dodgers, played for both teams. Game 1 of the best of 7 game series starts tonight at Fenway in Boston at 8:09pm ET.

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“Superman” Takes Down An Olympian

 

 

A 10-year-old named “Clark Kent” breaks Michael Phelps’ record in the pool.

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What Happened?

  • Who: Clark Kent Apuada (nickname: Superman).
  • What: 100M Butterfly
  • When: Sunday, July 29, 2018
  • Where: Central California,A Far West International Championship.
  • How: Beat Michael Phelps’ longest standing record by nearly a full second. Phelps set that record more than 20 yrs ago, nearly the same age as Clark.
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“Always have fun and never give up on your dreams, no matter what anyone says. And that was one of my dreams to break Michael Phelps’ record.”

Clark Kent Apuada, swimming phenom who only recently started swimming competitively, hoping to become an Olympian.
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Michael Phelps has more Olympic medals (28) than anyone in history. The 10-year-old who beat his record says he believes the balance in his life sets him up for success. Read more: SmartHERNews.com

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WORLD CUP FINAL

France vs. Croatia

Attention casual soccer fans, it’s time to tune in (and have a mimosa)…soccer’s biggestA stage is set for Sunday brunch.

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CROATIA

  • 1st World Cup final in history.
  • 1st team to avoid defeat after trailing in three knockout matches.
  • 2nd smallest nation in World Cup history to make the final (afterA Uruguay.)
  • Team will finally get to wearA famed (& favored) red & white shirts for the first time in a month (because they clashed with opponents).
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FRANCE

  • One of the tournament favorites since the start.
  • Only won the World Cup once, 20 years ago (after beating Croatia semifinals.)
  • OneA CBS analyst described the team as a “terrific blend ofA youth, experience, speed & strength.”
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The US men's team failed to qualify for this year's tournament for the first time since 1986 which has been trouble for TV ratings; Fox is expecting to lose money on this year's World Cup. Read more here & see complete list of World Cup winners.

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

(…Actually, Nevermind.)

MLB worries as fanA attendance shrinks 10%, the lowest level in 15 years – and it’s not just the unseasonably cold weather at the start of the season.

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WHAT’S TO BLAME?
MLB is Trying to Find Out

  • Cost? Avg ticket price in MLB is $32, but on the re-sale market (i.e. StubHub) it’s $76. Add food & drinks, that’s approx $100 for 1 fan.
  • Less Competition?A Handful of really good teams & really bad teams makes for less thrill. Strikeouts topped hits in April.
  • No incentive? Fans can watch anywhere – phone, tablet, TV.
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WHY THIS MATTERS

  • MLB attendance is pretty consistent, swinging no more than 2% in either direction.
  • Baseball hasn’t seen a drop like this since 1995 following a player strike which canceled the World Series.
  • Empty stadiums may give you a better shot at catching a foul ball, but not an ideal setting to watch a game.
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MLB WANTS TO FIX IT

aI think that a lot of us in the game are watching the way weare playing very, very closely, everything from fewer hits, more strikeouts, more times between balls in play.”

Rob Manfred, MLB Commissioner
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So which teams are seeing the biggest drops in attendance? And which 4 teams are still filling the stands? Click to find out.

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WORLD CUP 2018

Every 4 years, 32 countries face off in soccer’s biggest show. It starts Thursday in Russia.A

What to know, how to cheer, & why Iran may be playing shoeless.

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WHAT TO KNOW:

  • With 64 matches to play, World Cup lasts a monthA until July 15th.
  • First time ever held in Russia.
  • U.S. men’s team didn’t make the cut – a first since 1986.
  • Underdogs Egypt, Peru & Senegal made cut for the 1st time in years.
  • Soccer superstars Argentina’s Lionel Messi & Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo have never won a World Cup.
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HOW TO CHEER:
“Spoons of Victory”

Yes, that’s right. Spoons are the World Cup’s official instrument.

Russian Lozhka (losh-KA) = 2 wooden spoons fans click together to make noise.

Quieter than 2010’s vuvuzela (long plastic horn) that’s now banned.

Watch Now
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WHAT TO SAY:
Go Ahead, Call it Soccer.

Soccer is called footballA except in U.S., Canada, Australia & few others.

World calls it football simply because ball is kicked with the foot.

So why do we call it soccer? First version played in the U.S. was called “association football” – “soc” was derived from “association.”

 

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Before the matches even begin, Iran's team is struggling to find its footing. Why Nike says it will no longer provide the team's "boots" (that's soccer lingo for cleats). Read more here:

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TRIPLE CROWN HOPES

 

After winning the Kentucky Derby & Preakness, undefeated Justify looks to add a third jewel to his crown by winning Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

 

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TRIPLE CROWN HISTORY

  • Only 12 horses have achieved the Triple Crown.
  • One of the most difficult accomplishments in horse racing due to grueling schedule with 3 races in 2 months – ending with Belmont Stakes in NY.
  • Most recently, AmericanA Pharaoh won the Triple Crown in 2015 – ending a 37-year Triple Crown drought.
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Horse to Know: Justify

  • Curse Breaker: Won Kentucky Derby without competing as a 2-yr-old, a first in 136 years.
  • Tough guy: Overcame a hoof bruiseA toA win Preakness Stakes.
  • But will he be tired? It’s his 6th race since mid-February.
  • Justify is favored with 4/5 odds.
  • Biggest challengers?A Bravado, Vino Rosso, & Hofburg
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Watch Saturday at 4pm ET on NBC. Fun Fact: an equal percentage of men & women tend to watch the Belmont Stakes/Triple Crown, which is pretty rare for a sporting event, according to NBC. Click to see what other two sporting events can boast that viewing ratio.

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THE NBA FINALS

LeBron vs. The Warriors

The Cleveland Cavaliers‘ one-man army will face the defending champs theA Golden StateA Warriors – for the 4th straight year.

LeBron James – possibly the greatest basketball player of all time – is actually anA UNDERDOG.

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Golden State Warriors

  • Won 2 of the last 3 NBA Finals.
  • Deep bench with sharp-shooters.

“Every game in the series takes on a different shape, but Game 7s are 10 times that because you throw everything you have out there on the floor. Just one last effort to get a win.a

Warriors' Steph Curry before rallying his team to a Game 7 win to make Finals.
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Cleveland Cavaliers

  • LeBron James has gone to the Finals every season since 2010 – longest streak since 1960s.
  • With a weak roster, he played all 48 mins of Game 7 vs. Boston Celtics getting them to the Finals.

“It’s ridiculous, and he doesA it at this level and with the pressure, with the scrutiny – doesn’t matter.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens on LeBron.
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The twist in all this? LeBron is free to join a different team next season and there's been speculation that the Golden State Warriors are one of those teams. The best of 7 series starts Thursday. Who ya got? Click for the full schedule.

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NFL: Players Must Stand

 

 

 

Days ahead of Memorial Day, NFL announces new policy on national anthem. Turns out the *new* policy isn’t really *new*A at all.

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Important Context:

  • NFL players didn’t always come on the field for the national anthem – only since 2009.
  • “New policy” allows players to choose to yet again NOT go on the field for the national anthem.
  • *If* on the field, players must “stand and show respect” during the anthem or face a league fine & possibly a fine from the team.
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Why Now?

NFL:A “It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case.”
Something To Consider: Americans are watching less TV overall & NFL viewership has declined by millions since 2015. Some viewers say they boycotted the NFL because of the players on-field protests.

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“This is fear of a diminished bottom line. It’s also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation. This is not patriotism. Don’t get it confused.”

Chris Long, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end, responding to the "new policy" via Twitter. Long supports players on-field protests and is an outspoken critic of President Trump.
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Different sports have different policies for player etiquette during the national anthem. The NBA has a strict one - and Nascar - none at all.

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NHL’S STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONSHIP

Underdog vs. Underdog

TheA Las Vegas Knights,A a team that didn’t even exist last year, faces off against the Washington Capitals, a team tortured by playoff losses.

 

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Vegas Golden Knights

  • New franchise:A At one point, 500-1 odds to win championship.

aEverybody on this team has something to prove. We call ourselves aThe Golden Misfits’ for a reason. We’re doing a good job of proving everybody wrong.a

Ryan Reaves, Golden Knights, helped score winning goal that sent team to the Final.
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Washington Capitals

  • Tortured Past:A First Stanley Cup appearance in 20 yrs, never won.

“It’s unbelievable… I can’t explain my emotions. I’m just happy for my boys, for our organization, our fans — finally!”

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals,A regarded as this generation's great goalscorer. This is his 1st Stanley Cup final.
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The best of 7 series starts Monday. Who ya got? Click for the full schedule for when to watch.

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RUN FOR THE ROSES

Kentucky Derby Weekend

It’s “the most exciting two minutes in sports” and even if you’re just in it forA hats & mint juleps here’s the scoop on the oldest sporting event in American history.

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THE TRADITIONS

“Run for the roses”: Winning horse receives a blanket of 500 blossoms.

Fancy hats: Not required, but a staple since 1875. Women wore best fashions for the formal event.

Mint juleps:A Derby’s signature drink made with Kentucky bourbon.

Rain or shine: No Derby has ever been postponed.

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20 Thoroughbreds Race 1.25 Miles

HORSES TO WATCH:

  • Justify:A Current favorite to win.
  • Mendelssohn: No European horseA has ever won the Derby.
  • Magnum Moon:A Undefeated in 4 starts this year.
  • Fun fact: 19 Derby winners’ names began with “S” – only one this year is long-shotA Solomoni.A
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Why the Crazy Names?

Name must be:A 18 characters. Spaces & punctuation count.

Name can’t be: used previously, lewd, vulgar, or named after famous person w/o permission.

Each year, one-third of 60K names submitted are rejected.

Got a name? Check if it's been used here.
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DERBY DETAILS

  • When:A Saturday, 6:34pm EST
  • Where: Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY
  • Why:A $2M prize & chance to be a Triple Crown winner (must also win Preakness & Belmont Stakes, only 12 horses have ever done it.)
  • How to watch: NBC
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Each year at the Kentucky Derby, almost 120,000 Mint Juleps are served. Get inspired & make them at home with the Derby's official recipe here:

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