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Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee still seeking volunteers for events leading up to the big game

Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee still seeking volunteers for events leading up to the big game

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Football is back! And while there’s a whole season of games to play before the Super Bowl next February in Glendale, the host committee is still seeking volunteers to help in various ways leading up to the big event.

Super Bowl LVII is set for Feb. 12, 2023, at State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale. Even though it’s still months away, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee has a lot of work ahead. That’s why last month, the committee launched a volunteer program called TEAM AZ, presented by Avnet and PetSmart.

The group’s goal is to get 5,000 volunteers signed up who will serve as ambassadors for events leading up to the Super Bowl. That could include welcoming guests at airports, hotels and other other locations. If you’re interested in volunteering as part of TEAM AZ, click or tap here to apply.

There are a couple of things to note: You have to be at least 18 years old and applying means you’ll go through a formal process including a background check. Volunteering also won’t get you into the actual Super Bowl. TEAM AZ support won’t be needed in the stadium on game day.

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Giants Now: Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka help lead first NFL events in Africa

Giants Now: Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka help lead first NFL events in Africa

Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka help lead first official NFL events in Africa

The NFL will host its first official events to take place in Africa beginning June 21 in Ghana. The week of activities – NFL Africa: The Touchdown – includes a talent identification camp, a fan event and a flag football clinic, and underscores the NFL’s commitment to develop more ways to serve its growing fan base across the continent.

With more than 100 players of African descent (born in Africa or first generation born in the U.S.), the League will highlight the contributions of its African players, introduce the sport to the next generation of fans and look to activate in other African countries in the future.

Current NFL players will take part on-site including Seattle Seahawks Uchenna Nwosu (Nigeria), Houston Texans Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Nigeria), Cleveland Browns Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Ghana), and Indianapolis Colts Kwity Paye (Liberia), as well as NFL Legends Mathias Kiwanuka (Uganda), Roman Oben (Cameroon), and Osi Umenyiora (Nigeria).

As the League looks to further identify and develop more talent in Africa, the NFL will host its first NFL Africa Camp, featuring 40 players from across Africa. The camp will take place on June 21 and 22 with players that were selected after participating in regional camps led by Osi Umenyiora, NFL Legend and two-time Super Bowl winning defensive end with the New York Giants.

“This is a truly remarkable initiative,” said Umenyiora. “This camp is not only giving opportunities to great African athletes, it is also highlighting the incredible African athletes already in the NFL. The positive impact of this cannot be overstated.”

Umenyiora established The Uprise, a football program in Nigeria that has held regional camps in Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa in recent months. Players that stood out were invited to the NFL’s upcoming camp, which will be held in Ghana.

“We look forward to hosting our first camp in Ghana and will look to activate in Nigeria and other African countries in the future,” said Damani Leech, NFL Chief Operating Officer of International. “We want to provide an opportunity for the next generation of African prospects to showcase and further develop their talent. As we continue to look for ways to strengthen the pipeline of international players, we hope this camp, and future camps, provide a path for aspiring players from across the continent. Top talent from the camp could be invited to participate in International Combines, the International Player Pathway program, and for those athletes ages 16 to 19, there’s the opportunity to attend the NFL Academy in London.”

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Why the NFL Draft is one of the few sports events where bettors have been beating sportsbooks

Why the NFL Draft is one of the few sports events where bettors have been beating sportsbooks

There’s a saying in gambling that the “house always wins,” meaning that in most cases casinos and betting operators have better odds to win than bettors.

That philosophy also applies to sports betting where sportsbooks typically make profits on events ranging from the Super Bowl to March Madness to the MLB playoffs. One major sports-related event, however, is different. It’s the one event where bettors may be able to outmaneuver the sportsbooks: the NFL Draft.

As ESPN has reported, gamblers have been getting the better of sportsbooks on the draft for years, but continue to offer the service in order to satisfy customer demand.

Over $20 million was bet on last year’s draft, with more likely to be wagered this year. Bettors can wager on who will be selected No. 1 overall, which player will be the first wide receiver taken, and which players will be selected in the top 10 — there are hundreds of available bets such as these on legal U.S. sportsbooks like DraftKings

and the Caesars

But why is the draft unique? It’s mainly because in most cases, sportsbooks have more information than bettors. They have enormous databases on every player of every team, team trends, and tendencies of coaches and referees, among other things. But the draft is not a live sports game, you’re betting on people making decisions in a draft room.

“For instance in the Super Bowl, we have so much data, there’s so much information, that we’re so confident that the Rams should be 4.5 point favorites over the Bengals,”Jay Croucher, Head of Trading at the PointsBet sportsbook, said during a Wednesday interview with NBC. But he added, about the NFL Draft: “This kind of market, I really can’t tell you with much confidence who should go number one, or who will go number one.”

For once, sportsbooks and bettors are on a level playing field. Sportsbooks and bettors don’t have to forecast complex games with several dozen people involved, they simply need to learn the preferences of a General Manager, the person who makes a team’s draft pick. And one way to do that, is through information.

Here’s an example of how bettors can do well wagering on the NFL Draft. In the days leading up to last year’s draft, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that “most people” believe the Atlanta Falcons will select tight end Kyle Pitts at pick No. 4. Rapoport is one of the plugged-in analysts when it comes to NFL news, and has millions of followers on Twitter, so when he tweets information like that, the betting markets move.

Nine days before the draft, the odds that the Falcons would select a tight end was +160, but on the morning of the draft it was -250, representing a massive implied probability change from 38.% to 71.4% in a matter of days, according to odds from William Hill. If you were able to make that bet fast enough, you were able to cash in when the Falcons indeed chose Kyle Pitts a little over a week later. You can find a further explanation of how betting odds work here.

You didn’t need a giant database or tracking data to be able to bet on Kyle Pitts to be selected there, you just needed to be following Rapoport on Twitter.

Coucher conceded that sportsbooks basically rely on the same information as public bettors, indicating the draft is one big probabilistic guess.

“Alleged text messages from someone who might be a cousin of someone who might work at the Jags (the team selecting at No. 1 in 2022), this is the stuff that drives the market…its mock drafts, its sources, its things that get posted on Twitter,”

Coucher went on to say.

Last year was the third time that Americans could legally wager on the NFL Draft — the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, allowing individual states to legislate sports betting — and bookmakers readily admit that they don’t always make money accepting bets on the NFL Draft.

“From a bookmaker’s perspective, handicapping the NFL Draft is one of the most difficult things that we do,” Johnny Avello, the Director of Race & Sportsbook Operations at DraftKings, wrote to MarketWatch in an email. “In this particular instance, I would move the needle towards the bettor. It’s been tough for us to make money in the draft.”

See also: What time does the NFL Draft start? Here’s what you need to know about how to watch the 2022 NFL Draft

As mentioned above, quick reactions to breaking news from people who frequently talk with people who help run NFL teams can spread fast, but bettors who can take advantage of that information can get a leg up on the sportsbooks.

In sports competitions, chance and perhaps more accurately randomness can have a huge impact. Whether it’s a bad shooting night for the best shooter in an NBA game, or a weird bounce of a the prolate-spheroid-shaped football during a large scrum, randomness is everywhere. While some aspects of randomness exist in the NFL Draft, wagering on the latest news you saw on Twitter before the sportsbooks have time to change their betting lines can be your best opportunity to win, Croucher said.

“This is the nature of the draft, these markets, they are pretty vulnerable, and you can beat them.”

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NFL Draft in Las Vegas to Eclipse the Event’s $132 Million Spending Record

NFL Draft in Las Vegas to Eclipse the Event’s $132 Million Spending Record

Tracie Rodburg remembers looking out at the masses attending the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville. The NFL’s SVP for sponsor management, Rodburg stood alongside her counterparts from Caesars Entertainment, who were at the time preparing to host the 2020 draft.  

Nashville boasted over 600,000 attendees across three days, reporting over $132 million in direct spending—more than Dallas and Philadelphia had managed over the previous two years, combined. Putting on the most viewed NFL Draft to that point, Music City would be a tough act to follow.

But Las Vegas is not a town that often finds itself outdone, as the Caesars representatives made clear. “They were looking out on the crowd and saying, ‘Oh, we got this,’” Rodburg said.

Three years later, it’s finally Vegas’ turn to put on a show. While COVID-19 diverted the NFL Draft’s decades-long march from hotel conference room event to multi-day football festival, as many as 1 million attendees are expected this week. Rob Gronkowski will be one of them. 

On Friday, Gronkowksi will host Gronk Beach at the Encore Beach Club. Gronk held a similar event before the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami. He and organizers at Medium Rare believe there is a large market of football fans looking for extra entertainment around the draft. 

“Our partners were very receptive to the thought that draft weekend has a lot of opportunity for events,” Medium Rare co-founder Joe Silberzweig said. “[The NFL is] doing a good job with some of the free events and things going on around the strip, but I’m not sure that it’s enough, especially from an entertainment perspective.” Gronk Beach’s sponsors include Pepsi and 1800 Tequila. 

If this level of festivity had surrounded his 2010 draft day, Gronkowski said, “I probably wouldn’t have even played a single down in the NFL.”

Medium Rare is planning for a different crowd than the ones it entertains at Super Bowls, charging $75 for tickets this week rather than upwards of $400. 

“This is a little bit more for the people, and a little bit more accessible than the Super Bowl,” Medium Rare co-founder Adam Richman said.

Elsewhere on the strip, there will be plenty of opportunities for celebrity sightings. Rich Paul has reportedly booked Tao Nightclub for a Klutch Sports Group event, and Tao Group co-CEO Jason Strauss told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that VIP service demand has been so high the company is struggling to source the high-end tables needed to host them. “In 16 years in this business, I have never had that concern,” he saidWeezer, Ice Cube, and Marshmello, meanwhile, are among the musical performers the NFL has lined up.

The draft’s April date has contributed to its growth. “Q1 is just atrociously packed,” Wasserman president, brands and properties Elizabeth Lindsey said, citing everything from the Daytona 500 to the Oscars. “I think [the Draft] actually happens in a good part of the calendar.”

A mid-spring slot also opens up more location possibilities. Each time the draft visits a new town, Lindsey said there’s a bump in interest among brands looking to reach different markets. After Vegas, the NFL will head to Kansas City in 2023 and Detroit in 2024. 

This will be the first NFL Draft to take place in the Pacific time zone, meaning that the actual business of selecting players will be over in time for locals to enjoy themselves in the evening, while the NFL proves that its fans will use just about any excuse to celebrate. 

“That’s what Vegas is—it’s a show,” Rodburg said. “And the draft will fit perfectly in that.”

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Why is the National Anthem Played at Sporting Events?

Why is the National Anthem Played at Sporting Events?

Every American athlete and sports connoisseur recognizes the significance of a single song when it comes to sporting events – whether that game be on ice, on a field, or on a court. 

The Star-Spangled Banner, otherwise known as the national anthem, is an ode to history and a tradition carried out across the entire country.

The national anthem is either played or sung prior to any athletic event in the U.S. – ranging from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA, all other professional leagues and usually including most high school-level sports as well. The song is a preface to the athleticism about to take place, but also a way in which we honor our country and those who framed our nation. 

But who decided that the Star-Spangled banner would be the nation’s song? And why is it prevalent in sporting events in particular?

Here’s everything you need to know about the history of the national anthem:

What is the history of the national anthem?

The Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem for the United States and it was formally written by Thomas Carr

The lyrics derive from the “Defence of Fort McHenry” poem, which dates back to 1814. 

The prose was written by poet Francis Scott Key after he watched the tragedy at Fort McHenry by British ships in Baltimore Harbor in the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. The inspiration drew from the U.S. flag waving high and mighty upon victory with its 15 stars and 15 stripes. The flag was known as the Star-Spangled Banner.

When was the Star-Spangled Banner recognized as the national anthem?

The Star-Spangled Banner was recognized for its official use in the U.S. Navy by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. The song was deemed the American national anthem through a congressional resolution that President Herbet Hoover signed in 1931.

What was the US national anthem before 1931?

Before the Star-Spangled Banner became the American national anthem in 1931, other songs including “America the Beautiful,” “Hail, Columbia,” and “My Country, Tis of Thee,” were used to honor the nation.

Why is the national anthem sung at sporting events?

The Star-Spangled Banner is played or performed for thousands of sporting events each year, ranging from high school soccer games, to college basketball games, and of course in professional leagues like the NFL. The Super Bowl has been entertaining the song since its first game in 1967, and will do so for all of the coming years.

But why is this song so monumentally necessary to be heard before kick-off, face-off, or tip-off?

The song was published country-wide in the 1800s and became a “wartime anthem.” It was played during patriotic celebrations and parades, much like those held on Independence Day. And soon after, Benjamin J. Tracy, the Secretary of the Navy, signed General Order #374 in 1889, which declared the Star-Spangled Banner to be the song played whenever the U.S. flag was raised.

The anthem was not required to be played in athletic atmospheres until later, but the song became popular in the 1800s and began being presented before games.

Once victory was evident during World War I for the U.S. and its allies, patriotism soared. Sporting events became the perfect place for the song to reach audiences and promote U.S. allegiance and loyalty. 

When did the national anthem start in sports?

The song made headway during the 1918 World Series when the Chicago Cubs faced the Boston Red Sox (and yes, Babe Ruth was present). When the Star-Spangled Banner played during the seventh inning stretch, a sports tradition was born. 
The national pride demonstrated in the 2-3 minutes of the song was uncanny, and from then on, sports and country became intertwined into American culture.