ESPN and Sportsbooks Tune in to Korea Baseball Organization

Following the announcement of a new media partnership between ESPN and the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), sports fans, oddsmakers, and sportsbooks around the world are shifting their focus to providing odds for South Korea’s international baseball league.

Korea Baseball Organization Logo

ESPN finalized a deal with Eclat Media Group to broadcast KBO games live throughout the regular season, postseason, and Korea Series. Starting on May 4, 2020, at 10:00 p.m. PST, the KBO season will air live on ESPN. The sports network’s first matchup features the NC Dinos visiting the Samsung Lions on opening night at their home park in Daegu, South Korea.

Un-Chan Chung, the Commissioner of the KBO, shared the following statement about the new partnership with ESPN.

“The KBO League is one of the greatest baseball leagues with world-class players and many exciting initiatives. During this unprecedented and difficult time, I hope the KBO League can bring consolation to the communities and provide guidelines to the world of sports. I am pleased that the KBO League can be introduced globally and hope this can be an opportunity for the development of our league and the sport.”

Check out the KBO’s opening day schedule below.

KBO Opening Day Schedule

  • Kiwoom Heroes @ Kia Tigers
    • Park
      • Gwangju-Kia Champions Field
    • Location
      • Gwangju, South Korea
  • Lotte Giants @ KT Wiz Suwon
    • Park
      • Suwon Baseball Stadium
    • Location
      • Suwon-si, South Korea
  • Doosan Bears @ LG Twins
    • Park
      • Jamsil Baseball Stadium
    • Location
      • Seoul, South Korea
  • NC Dinos @ Samsung Lions
    • Park
      • Daegu Samsung Lions Park
    • Location
      • Daegu, South Korea
  • Hanwa Eagles @ SK Wyverns
    • Park
      • Munhak Baseball Stadium
    • Location
      • Incheon, South Korea

KBO Games Air Live on ESPN This Week

ESPN plans to televise six KBO games live each week. Each game airing live on ESPN during the KBO’s opening week will also be rebroadcast two times after it initially airs. See the full schedule below for rebroadcast times.

KBO Games ESPN Schedule

Opening Odds on KBO’s 2020 Korea Series Winner

Although sportsbooks and casinos are currently closed in Las Vegas, some companies have continued booking action on international sporting events via their proprietary mobile apps. Circa Sports released odds on each team winning the Korea Series (a best-of-seven championship taking place in mid-November).

Below are the odds offered in Las Vegas, NV, on which team will win the 2020 Korean Series. Please note that odds may have changed since this post was first published.

2020 Korean Series Odds

Odds via Circa Sports Mobile Betting App

  • Doosan Bears
    • +260
  • Kiwoom Heroes
    • +260
  • SK Wyverns
    • +550
  • NC Dinos
    • +550
  • Kia Tigers
    • +800
  • LG Twins
    • +1000
  • KT Wiz
    • +1500
  • Samsung Lions
    • +2000
  • Lotte Giants
    • +2000
  • Hanwha Eagles
    • +3500

The KBO regular season consists of 144 games, so baseball fans and sports bettors alike will have plenty of time to get acquainted with the players from each of the league’s 10 teams.

Let us know which team you think will take home the championship in the comments section below. More importantly: Who has the coolest mascot? In my opinion, the season doesn’t officially begin until the first staged mascot fight.

UFC 249 Fighters Will Be Tested for Covid-19 Before Event

On Saturday, May 9th, the UFC will become the first major sports league in the US to resume its operations. MMA fans around the world are excited, yet many still have questions about the safety of everyone involved in this event. Fortunately, news has surfaced that all UFC 249 fighters will be tested for Covid-19 prior to stepping in the cage.

UFC 249 Poster

More details of this event continue to come out. It should be one of the most-watched mixed martial arts events of all time. Today, we’re going to look at how the UFC is ensuring that all the fighters competing will stay safe.

Let’s get into it!

The UFC’s Upcoming Event is Given the Green Light to Take Place

We’re now less than a week away from UFC 249 taking place. For the past few weeks, fans have held their breath, hoping this event would be approved to take place. It’s scheduled to take place in Florida where sports were recently deemed essential.

Fortunately, it appears the UFC has been given the green light to host this event by all necessary parties. Dana White claims Florida’s sports commission and Governor have approved UFC 249. He also claims ESPN is ready to broadcast the show.

It seems very unlikely that this event will be postponed like the event back in April was. Officials within the UFC have worked hard to ensure they abide by state and federal laws. UFC 249 fighters are likely to travel to Florida in the next day or two to prepare for their bouts.

This won’t be the only major MMA event to take place this month. Dana White claims that multiple events will be held over the next two weeks. After that, the company will get back to its normal schedule.

It’s a good time to be an MMA fan. Several major fight cards are scheduled to take place over the next few weeks. The UFC’s “Fight Island” is expected to be up and running soon, as well.

Recently, news broke that the UFC plans to test all of its fighters for the new coronavirus.

All UFC 249 Fighters Are Going to be Tested for Covid-19

Holding a major sporting event right now was always going to generate controversy. Many have condemned the UFC’s decision to resume operations, claiming it puts many at unnecessary risk. Officials within the UFC have countered that argument, claiming they will ensure that the event is held in as safe a way as possible.

Several journalists have asked Dana White whether or not the fighters competing will be tested for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus spreading around the country. For weeks, Dana White refused to answer this question. We’ve finally gotten an answer today.

A new report by ESPN confirms that all UFC 249 fighters will be tested for Covid-19. Brian Hughes, chief administrative officer of Jacksonville, discussed some of the UFC’s safety measures with the media recently.

“Part of what gave us comfort was a plan they (UFC) outlined related to testing those they’re bringing to Jacksonville related to COVID-19,” Hughes said. “Based on what we’ve been briefed, it is clear that they’re going to test for COVID and they’ll have a couple of different segments of testing throughout the week.”

This is what everyone wanted to hear. It’s great to see live sports back up and running, but not if it compromises the athletes. Based on what’s being said, this event will be held as safely as possible.

We’re now beginning to hear about the other major fights scheduled to take place this week.

Here’s Who’s Fighting Later This Month

The event scheduled to take place on Saturday is one of the biggest in UFC history. Every single fight on the card has fans interested. Recently, UFC officials started to reveal some of the other fighters scheduled to headline events this month.

On Wednesday, May 13th, light-heavyweight contenders Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira will look to take on step closer to the title. In the co-main event of this card, Ben Rothwell will welcome Ovince St. Preux to the heavyweight division. There are several important undercard bouts scheduled to take place, as well.

Another fight card will take place on May 16th. Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris are headlining this show. In the co-main event, Claudia Gadelha will try to halt the momentum of Angela Hill. Dana White also claimed that Tyron Woodley may headline a show on May 23rd.

UFC 249 fighters are set to be tested for Covid-19. It’s safe to assume that all the other fighters competing this month will receive these tests, as well. It’s clear that the UFC is doing everything it can to protect the athletes and staff working at this event.

The next few fight cards will be held in Jacksonville, Florida. In time, fight cards may be held at the UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, no one expects any major combat sporting events to be held inside a Las Vegas casino anytime soon.

What UFC 249 fighters are you most excited to watch? Do you think it’s smart for the promotion to host events right now? Let us know in the comments section below.

Should a Fan-less NBA Season Resume, Las Vegas Event Could Serve as the Example

Basketball Player Shooting a Basket in GymWhile the NBA season is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the league has been in talks of possibly resuming the season in Las Vegas, minus the packed arenas.

Should the NBA find the way to go through with it, an annually held Las Vegas fan-less event could serve as the blueprint.

The event? The NBA’s annual G League Winter Showcase held December 2018 and December 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The event, which serves as a scouting showcase for league executives, holds various games daily over a four-day period without fans present.

The G League Winter Showcase, which displays the talents of dozens of hopeful players, is held a month prior to January’s 10-day signing period.

These games were closed off to the public and only kept open for team and league staff members, agents, media personnel, and close family and friends of the players.

A Seemingly ‘Seamless’ System

While players typically get revved up from the energy of live crowds, players at the G League Winter Showcase had to look inward to pep up their own performance.

But while it was a challenge at first, players said that after the first couple of possessions, the games started to feel like normal games.

Aaron Magner, who works with Eventuris, a company that provides staffing for the G League Showcase, the games, although different, didn’t feel awkward. Magner said that’s because the games were produced so well, especially for it being such a unique playing experience.

The setup went like this: Four courts were built inside of Mandalay Bay’s Convention Center divided by a partition to allow play on either side to allow games to go on simultaneously.

League members, media staff, and close friends and family were even given assigned seating along the sideline, or on the risers along the baseline, both seating arrangements on the opposite side of players’ benches.

Music was played during timeouts or long stoppages during play, but outside of that, the only noises throughout the games were organic basketball sounds, like dribbling, players communicating to one another during the game, or shoes squeaking on the court.

NBA Season Suspended in March

When Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, it caused the NBA season to come to a screeching halt on March 11.

Initially, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league would be on a 30-day hiatus at the time he announced the shutdown, but it’s gone on longer than that and it’s still uncertain if it will be able to return in 2020.

The NBA was the first major professional sports’ league that suspended its season and ushered in the remaining leagues to suspend their seasons too, including NHL and MLB.

Sports’ suspensions came at an interesting time outside of the coronavirus outbreak, as many more states were just expanding their legalized options for sports betting.

League ‘Not in a Position to Make Any Decisions’

According to a comment Silver made during the NBA Board of Governors meeting held April 17, the league isn’t in any position to make any decisions at the present time, and there’s no telling when they will be.

When it comes to “bubble-like concepts,” like holding NBA games without fans present, Silver says the league isn’t seriously engaged to that particular kind of environment, given the fluidity and uncertainty of the outbreak’s nature.

The league is prioritizing human life over anything else, and that’s where the conversation began and ended during the board meeting.

Fanless Sports; Viable Solution in Bringing Resuming Sports

According to the testimony of some players at the G League Winter Showcase, a fan-less event setup would be a good solution in slowly reintroducing sports amid this pandemic. No fans? No issue.

The transition would be a seamless one because the schedule could work efficiently.

The games would start as scheduled, and players would leave the facility promptly once their games finish up. The absence of fans means the avoidance of unnecessary contact with more people than what’s required to get these games played and filmed.

Important April NBA Updates

April 17: According to sources close to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA and NBPA are working on closing a plan that will withhold 25 percent of every player’s paycheck in the league, starting May 15.

April 14: The Chinese Basketball Association is reportedly looking to postpone their calendar again until July. The association has been on hold since January 24.

April 13: Potential protocols that would get players ready for games are being discussed by league executive and team medical staff. A proposed plan under the new protocols would possibly include a 25-day program that players would undergo before they’re allowed game-play.

April 10: NBA teams come together in a play to encourage the league’s office to push the NBA draft date back from June 25 to no sooner than Aug. 1.

April 9: While no games have been played for a month at this point, NBA players receive their full check. For most players, that pay date was April 15.

April 6: For weeks, NBA and NBPA officials have been collaborating in checking the accuracy of multiple blood-testing devices for COVID-19 that would allow the league to track the virus in players. This is being considered the first step is allowing play to resume.

April 6: NBA lets teams know that organizations will not be allowed to conduct in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice. Teams are, however, allowed to hold virtual interviews with draft prospects, but lasting no longer than four hours for any single player.

April 1: 15 days after Brooklyn Nets announced that four of their players had tested positive for coronavirus, the team’s general manager, Sean Marks, announced that the team’s roster is now completely free from COVID-19-related symptoms.

Stay Tuned

We’re sure most of the world is missing professional basketball during this time of quarantine, but we’re not sure what the league will do next when it comes to coming up with a possible solution to resume play.

Whether that be holding games in a fan-less facility and location like Las Vegas, or waiting until the storm of the outbreak completely blows over, we will just have to wait on the official word from the league.

Weigh-in: Do you think fan-less sports be the best solution for bringing back sports, slowly but surely? Let us know what you think about the idea in the comments below!

Raiders Sell Headquarters and Practice Facility for 30 Times What They Paid for It

Raiders Fans in Stadium, NFL Raiders Game
The Raiders Henderson, Nev. Headquarters and practice facility, which is still in the process of being completed, was purchased for $6 million two years ago. They purchased the 55.6 acres of land on a sweet deal, at a cut rate of half of what the property was worth at the time.

Fast forward two years, and the Raiders are making out with an even bigger deal. They just sold their unfinished facility for 30 times the amount they originally paid for it, for $191 million, turning an astonishing $185 million profit.

Chicago-based company, Mesirow Financial, reportedly purchased the headquarters last Friday. The team signed a 29-year contract to lease the space, with the possibility of seven 10-year extensions. With the extensions available, it could potentially become a 99-year ground lease agreement.

As of now, it’s unknown the amount of rent the Raiders will pay Mesirow Financial for leasing the space.

Business is booming in the valley for the Las Vegas Raiders, who have the new $2 billion Allegiant Stadium to call home, and this is all before even playing their first game. On the other hand, however, some Nevadans are arguing that it’s at the expense of Las Vegas residents, saying that taxpayers are the ones officially losing out in the Raiders latest deal.

Can the Raiders Boost an Economy Centered Around Tourism?

For a long time, the Las Vegas economy was purely built on gambling and tourism. There’s been a recent shift in more family-focused tourism however, and more surprisingly, tourism centered around professional sports.

Prior to the Raiders, the unalloyed success of the Vegas Golden Knights stood on its own as a magnet for sports tourism, as well as its heavy hard in building a sizable revenue from a loyal, local fan base.

But, with the popularity of the NFL, the Raiders are gearing up to be the city’s biggest catch yet.

Local businesses, like Maverick Helicopters, say the team will be great for bringing in new out-of-town business.

“That’s where the N.F.L. is great for us because it’s going to bring Packers fans, Patriots fans, Steelers fans,” said Bryan Kroten, the vice president of marketing of Maverick Helicopters. “Whatever it takes to get new people to Vegas.”

The M Resorts, which lie adjacent to the Raiders headquarter and practice facility, are reporting increased bookings since becoming the team’s official hotel. The jump in business is only expected to grow once the team starts this season.

For home games, the Raiders will rent out a block of around 300 rooms at M Resort for the nights before they play.

The resort will also be launching a Raiders Bar & Grill and include a team-themed retail shop on-site.

About the Raiders Headquarters

The Raiders reached an agreement with Intermountain Healthcare in December that allowed them to become the naming rights partner for the Performance Center and Corporate Headquarters. The facility is three-stories high, includes 135,000 square footage of office space, and features one-and-a-half indoor football fields.

The partnership is expected to generate around 250 jobs in order to run team operations, according to the press release.

The Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center and Raiders Headquarters is expected to open its doors this summer.

Henderson Will Host Community Meeting on Proposed AHL Arena

People on Hockey Arena Playing Hockey
Next month, the city of Henderson plans to host a community meeting to discuss residents’ concerns and questions regarding the proposal of a minor league hockey arena in the city.

Plans for a 6,000-seat arena were announced earlier this month by city officials. They advised that the current Henderson Pavilion will serve as the building site for the new arena. The Henderson Pavilion, located on 200 S. Green Valley Pkwy, is the largest open-air amphitheater in Nevada and has been used primarily for music performances.

The Pavilion is known for its 40,000-square-foot canopy style roof, which has been severely damaged in weather-related incidents in recent years, naming wind damage. Due to the damage, city officials already began evaluating how to repair and modernize the facility to optimize even greater entertainment opportunities, while preventing further damage to the useable infrastructure.

The City had talks of turning the Pavilion into an enclosed venue, so that events could be held yearlong and not be restricted to months with milder temperatures. However, the announcement of the Vegas Golden Knight’s acquisition of an American Hockey League (AHL) presented an exciting new opportunity during the Pavilion’s phase of reimaging its future use.

According to the City of Henderson website:

“While the City was envisioning the future of the Pavilion as an enclosed venue, the February 6, 2020 announcement by the Vegas Golden Knights (VGK) of their acquisition of an American Hockey League (AHL) team and intention to relocate it to southern Nevada made it clear that there was an opportunity to build upon the successful public-private partnership the City had established with the VGK.

This expanded partnership presents an exciting new opportunity to enhance the current Henderson Pavilion site by creating a 6000-seat family-friendly entertainment venue where the City can host concerts, cultural arts performances, high school and college graduations, youth and club hockey activities, meetings, and other community events in addition to hosting Henderson’s hometown professional hockey team.”

Community Meeting Details

Henderson residents are being encouraged to send over any questions and comments they want addressed to the city through an online submission form.

Community Meeting Details:

Date: Monday, March 9

Start Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Sun City MacDonald Ranch Clubhouse

2020 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy, Henderson, NV 89012

Additional presentations are also set to take place at 5 and 6 p.m.

Vegas New Professional Hockey Team

The Golden Knights announced in the beginning of this month their purchase of the San Antonio Rampage, an AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues, and revealed their plans to relocate the team to the Henderson/Las Vegas area.

Pending approval from the AHL Board of Governors, the San Antonio Rampage will begin their first season at the Orleans Arena before moving to their new home arena.

What is the American Hockey League?

Outside of the National Hockey League, the American Hockey League is the top-level of professional hockey in the US.

One of the big drawing points to having an AHL franchise in the Vegas valley is the chance for fans to see Golden Knights’ top prospects up close.

Prior to the San Antonio Rampage, Las Vegas had two other minor league hockey teams: the Las Vegas Thunder, which played six seasons from 1993 to 1999, and the Las Vegas Wranglers, who played at the Orleans Arena between 2003 o 2014.

Vegas Golden Knights Announce Purchase of AHL Franchise

Golden Knights Logo and AHL Logo
In an official announcement made on Thursday, the Las Vegas Golden Knights have purchased an American Hockey League (AHL) franchise membership from Spurs Sports & Entertainment. Since Spurs Sports & Entertainment currently operates the San Antonio Rampage in San Antonio, TX, the Knights have applied to relocate the franchise in its entirety to the Henderson/Las Vegas area.

“Since our initial season ticket drive began five years ago in February 2015, we have witnessed first-hand the incredible passion and enthusiasm our community has for hockey,” said Vegas Golden Knights Chairman and CEO Bill Foley. By every relevant metric, the growth of the game here the last few years at all levels has been remarkable. We could not be more proud to bring a second professional hockey club to the Valley to accelerate this growth even further.”

George McPhee, Vegas Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations, says having an AHL located in our market has been a long-time goal of the Vegas Golden Knights since their inception.

Dependent upon the AHL Board of Governors approval, the Rampage will finish out their 2019-20 regular season and playoffs in San Antonio and relocate to the Henderson/Las Vegas area to kick off the 2020-21 AHL season.

Purchase Will Help Streamline Hockey Operations in Vegas

According to McPhee, 87% of all NHL players were graduates of the AHL. This will effectively help enable local Las Vegas fans to track Golden Knights prospects as they progress through the system. Prospects’ advancement to the AHL, which signals NHL playing potential, will be easier to follow with the franchise moving to Las Vegas.

“This move will effectively centralize our hockey operations and streamline our processes in terms of player development, scouting, transfers and staffing.” says McPhee.

“By bringing an AHL franchise to the desert, our fans will have more opportunities to experience the sport they love in the place we call home,” said Vegas Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz. “With our new community ice center under construction at Lifeguard Arena in Henderson, the club will have a world class practice facility as their team headquarters. We would like to especially thank our colleagues at Spurs Sports & Entertainment and the American Hockey League Board of Governors for their consideration and effort in continuing this process.”

Additional Details to Be Confirmed at Later Date

Pending purchase and relocation approval from the AHL Board of Governors, additional details will be confirmed at a later date, including team name, logo, ticket pricing, home arena etc.

Currently, Golden Knights Fans can place a $50 per seat season ticket deposit at http://vgk.io/ahl-vegas. VGK Members who put down a deposit will be granted priority access once seat selections start. Note: Season ticket deposits are refundable.

About the AHL

AHL Logo
The American Hockey League (AHL) is a US and Canadian based professional ice hockey league that serves as the primary developmental league for the National Hockey League (NHL). It’s also considered the “farm league” of the NFL. The minor professional hockey league has been in operation since 1936.

Currently, the oldest team in the AHL are Pennsylvania’s Hershey Bears, who first started playing in 1938.

The AHL major championship involves the two winning teams from their conferences that play for a chance to win the Calder Cup.

About Spurs Sports & Entertainment

Spurs Sports & Entertainment is an American sports and entertainment organization that’s based in San Antonio, Texas. Several sporting franchises are owned and operated by the organization, including the 5-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champions, the San Antonio Spurs, the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, NBA G League’s Austin Spurs, and the USL Championship club San Antonio FC.

The organization also operates Bexar County’s multi-purpose indoor arena, the AT&T Center.