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NLFPA Acquires Minority Stake In Sportscastr To Power Live Interactive Video Contest For Fans

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NFLPA ACQUIRES MINORITY STAKE IN SPORTSCASTR TO POWER LIVE INTERACTIVE VIDEO CONTENT FOR FANS 

Fans can access exclusive content from NFL players and more with SportsCastr’s FanChain token

SportsCastr, a live-streaming platform that allows anyone to become a color commentator, announced today that the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), via its athlete-driven accelerator the OneTeam Collective, has acquired a minority stake in the company to power live, interactive video content for fans.

Through this partnership, active and former NFL players will use SportsCastr to provide live commentary across a wide range of professional and collegiate sports, share personal insights, and more. ACE Media, the NFLPA’s content and production arm, will collaborate with SportsCastr to produce NFL player and other athlete-driven content featured on the SportsCastr platform.

In June, SportsCastr announced FanChain, a cryptocurrency developed for the multi-billion-dollar global sports market. FanChain allows SportsCastr users to earn tokens for participating on the platform, and those tokens can then be used to unlock premium NFL player content (such as back-stage access), purchase sports tickets or merchandise, and send virtual gifts to NFL players. Although SportsCastr is the first platform to support FanChain, the Company is working with teams, media publishers and leagues to add FanChain support, with the aim of making it the ubiquitous token within the sports industry.

“SportsCastr enables fans to get authentic, real-time reactions and commentary from all sports fans and now, for the first time at scale, professional athletes,” said Andrew Schupak, CFO and Head of Strategy at SportsCastr. “We’re excited to partner with the NFLPA to accelerate adoption and work together to enhance the fan experience.”

As part of this agreement, SportsCastr becomes an official licensee of the NFLPA in the categories of mobile apps and web-based platforms that allow users to discuss a variety of sports topics, including through video streams and chats. SportsCastr is the eighth active NFLPA partner secured through the OneTeam Collective, which is designed to give innovative early stage companies the opportunity to leverage the NFLPA’s exclusive group player rights, in exchange for equity. “Fans are looking for new ways to engage with the game of football and us, the athletes. SportsCastr’s live streaming platform is a cool and fun way for fans to add their own voice to games while engaging with players in a different way,” said Vernon Davis of the Washington Redskins, a SportsCastr investor and advisor. “As players we see the value in sharing more of our personalities and unique content with fans and we’re excited about where this live stream tech is headed.” “Athletes constantly explore ways to build their personal brands and creatively connect with their fans, and SportsCastr’s live-stream capabilities align perfectly with these goals,” said Ricky Medina, Senior Manager of Business Development for NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFLPA. “We look forward to working with the team at SportsCastr to deliver an exciting new way for fans to engage with their favorite athletes while watching the sports they love.”

“In addition to viewing unfiltered live-video straight from their favorite NFL players, fans will be able to interact with them via chat and show their appreciation with sports-themed virtual gifts,” said Kevin April, SportsCastr CEO. “SportsCastr’s partnership with the NFLPA through the OneTeam Collective is a powerful opportunity for fans to connect with athletes in a direct and meaningful way.” The first NFL players will begin using the platform in the third quarter of 2018.

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart 1

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Tuesday, underpinned by the likely easing of COVID-19 lockdowns around the world, positive economic forecasts and lower output as U.S. supplies were slow to return after a deep freeze in Texas shut down crude production.

Brent crude was up 36 cents, or 0.5%, at $65.60 a barrel by 1212 GMT, and U.S. crude rose 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $62.09 a barrel.

Both contracts rose more than $1 earlier in the session.

“Vaccine news is helping oil, as the likely removal of mobility restrictions over the coming months on the back of vaccine rollouts should further boost the oil demand and price recovery,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said optimistic oil price forecasts issued by leading U.S. brokers had also contributed to the latest upswing in prices.

Goldman Sachs expects Brent prices to reach $70 per barrel in the second quarter from the $60 it predicted previously, and $75 in the third quarter from $65 forecast earlier.

Morgan Stanley expects Brent crude to climb to $70 in the third quarter.

“New COVID-19 cases are falling fast globally, mobility statistics are bottoming out and are starting to improve, and in non-OECD countries, refineries are already running as hard as before COVID-19,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Bank of America said Brent prices could temporarily spike to $70 per barrel in the second quarter.

Disruptions in Texas caused by last week’s winter storm also supported oil prices. Some U.S. shale producers forecast lower oil output in the first quarter.

Stockpiles of U.S. crude oil and refined products likely declined last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

A weaker dollar also provided some support to oil as crude prices tend to move inversely to the U.S. currency.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; editing by David Evans and John Stonestreet)

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s trade deal with Japan settled the nerves of a lot of Japanese businesses in the United Kingdom and gives them confidence about their future prospects there, a senior Honda executive said on Tuesday.

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, has since the 1980s made the United Kingdom its favoured European destination for investment, with the likes of Nissan, Toyota and Honda using the country as a launchpad into Europe.

But Britain’s shock 2016 decision to leave the European Union had prompted Japan to express unusually strong public concerns. Their companies and investors warned that a disorderly exit from the EU would force them to rethink their four-decade bet on Britain.

“We welcome very much the Japanese trade agreement which as a Japanese businesses was very welcomed,” Ian Howells, senior vice president at Honda Motor Europe, told a parliamentary committee.

“On the point around confidence, that certainly amongst my peers in Japanese companies was very much welcomed, and probably settled a lot of nerves in terms of their trading prospects in the UK going forward.”

Britain and Japan formally signed a trade agreement in October, marking Britain’s first big post-Brexit deal on trade. It has also made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Japan is also a member.

(Reporting by Kate Holton)

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UK retailers see sharp fall in sales and mounting job losses, CBI says

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UK retailers see sharp fall in sales and mounting job losses, CBI says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – British retail sales fell in the year to February as stores cut jobs at a rapid rate, with only supermarkets reporting any growth during the latest COVID-19 lockdown, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Confederation of British Industry’s gauge of retail sales stood at -45, up only slightly from January’s eight-month low of -50. The measure points to falling sales and is below the consensus forecast of -38 in a Reuters poll of economists.

Retailers’ expectations for March – when non-essential shops will remain closed to the public as part of lockdown measures – fell to -62, the lowest since the series began in 1983.

In another sign of a changing consumer habits during lockdown, the survey’s gauge of internet retail sales hit a new record high.

“With lockdown measures still in place, trading conditions remain extremely difficult for retailers,” said Ben Jones, principal economist at the CBI.

“Record growth in internet shopping suggests that retailers’ investments in on-line platforms and click-and-collect services may be paying off, but the re-opening of the sector can’t come soon enough to protect jobs and breathe life back into the sector.”

Job losses among retailers accelerated according to a quarterly question in the survey. For the distribution sector as a whole, which includes wholesalers and car dealers, employment fell at a record rate, the CBI survey showed.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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