Sports

Illustration, NBA, basketball, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, szemui ho

SportsGrid Extends NBA Fantasy Agreement

SportsGrid, the nation’s first and only 24-hour sports, fantasy and wagering video network, has extended its agreement with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to continue providing NBA fantasy content across NBA.com, SportsGrid Network and the SportsGrid syndication publisher platform.
SportsGrid will continue to produce daily short and long-form fantasy video content for the following NBA programs and features: NBA Tip Drill, NBA Recap, NBA Primetime Picks, Weekly Season Long, NBA Weekly 6, and the NBA Fantasy Hour. The programming content will focus on serving the NBA’s gaming audience with the data, information and insightful analysis throughout the regular season and playoffs.

“The NBA is one of the world’s most popular sports leagues focused on the fan experience. We are excited to extend our agreement to create engaging and relevant programming for the millions of NBA fans,” said Lou Maione, Co-Founder & President of SportsGrid.

About SportsGrid Inc.

SportsGrid is the first 24-hour network streaming exclusive live original programming providing extensive fantasy sports and wagering coverage of all the major sports and events. The network’s 18 hours of live programming is available for streaming on the Pluto TV, Xumo, STIRR and combines insightful expert commentary with real-time delivery of news, data, statistics and betting intelligence.

Soloman Deksisa, Worknesh Degefa,Ethiopian, Dubai Marathon, sports, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, Dubai, marathon, runners, athletes

Dubai Marathon

Ethiopian duo Soloman Deksisa and Worknesh Degefa will spearhead a strong elite field featuring major city marathon winners and athletes with more than 35 international victories between them when the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is staged on Friday (January 24).
 
Deksisa and Degefa boast the best Personal Bests in the men and women’s fields respectively and will be among the big favourites when the elite side of the IAAF Gold Label event race gets underway at 6am.
 
For Deksisa – who set his PB of 2:04:40 when finishing third in Amsterdam in 2018 – it’s a debut appearance on the flat and fast roads of Dubai and the 25-year-old will be looking to add to the back-to-back city marathon wins he enjoyed in Hamburg and Mumbai in 2018.
 
Another Dubai debutant is Kenya’s Eric Kiptanui whose personal best of 58:42 makes him the fastest half marathon runner ever entered into the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and the 29-year-old can maintain Dubai’s reputation as being a perfect course for debutants.
 
It was only a year ago when Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla won the race on his debut in a course record time of 2:03:34 – and Kiptanui has the explosive potential to continue this tradition and possibly end Ethiopia’s eight-year dominance of the men’s race.
 
But while Deksisa and Kiptanui are Dubai “new boys”, for Worknesh Degefa it’s a welcome return to one of her favourite hunting grounds. The diminutive 29-year-old holds the distinction of being the fastest Ethiopian female marathon runner of all time thanks to a stunning personal best of 2:17:41 – the fifth fastest marathon time ever run by a woman – set in Dubai just twelve months ago.
 
As well as that personal best when finishing second last year, Degefa won in Dubai in 2017 and finished 4th in 2018. A superb victory at the Boston Marathon back in April 2019 shows she remains a serious world talent and will start as a hot favourite this weekend.
 
As always, however, she will have her challengers, most notably former Boston Marathon winner Bizunesh Deba (2:19:59) and the up-and-coming Bedatu Hirpa, who won the 2017 Athens Marathon at the age of just 18.
 
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has again brought together a field of elites with marathon victories to their names in cities such as Rome, Athens, Milan, Shanghai and Lisbon.
 
“We are pleased to be the title sponsor of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon for the 16th consecutive year,” said Rola Abu Manneh, CEO for Standard Chartered Bank, UAE. “This flagship event, now in its 21st year, has become one of the region’s most anticipated social and sporting platforms bringing together thousands of people from all over the world. For the few hours of the marathon, all participants are united on one single path – to the finish line.

“As well as the elite runners, the event will also attract athletes and participants who want to challenge themselves; some who want to be fitter and healthier; some who want to raise money for charity; and some who just want a fun day out with their friends and family. And just like every year, we will have over 600 people from Standard Chartered who will be volunteering or running at the event.”
 
While the elite fields will take to the roads at 6am on Friday with the masses off an hour later at 7am, the honour of getting the day’s action underway falls to a stellar international field of wheelchair athletes.
Among those starting a battle royale at 5.55am will be the defending champions Marcel Hug and Sandra Graf of Switzerland
 
“Last year we witnessed two new course records and some fantastic Marathon times,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “This week, the course is the same for the 21st running of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon so we are looking forward to yet another high-quality race from a talented group of elite athletes.
 
“Our thanks go out to our sponsors as well as the Dubai Sports Council and all the Government bodies who come together to provide the framework for this event. Without their assistance and invaluable support, a race of this scale on the streets of the city would not be possible.”
 
Runners looking to take part in the Marathon, the 10km Road Race (8.15am) or the 4km Fun Run (11am) can register online until Thursday (Jan 23) either at dubaimarathon.org or at Run Number collection at Jumeirah Beach Hotel Conference Centre. UAE Nationals in particular are encouraged to take part in the event thanks to the ‘#My City_My Race’ campaign, launched by Dubai Holding.
 
Khalid Al Malik, Managing Director of Dubai Holding said: “We introduced the UAE National Winners Category for the Dubai Marathon as part of our ongoing commitment to community wellness and fostering Emirati pride. We are delighted to see that the number of Emirati participants has grown by 325% with more than ever before set to take part in the 2020 edition of the city’s signature fitness event.  I am also pleased to say that more Emirati women are participating in the Marathon. Last year, we saw almost 200 Emirati women running across the different race categories, which is 21% more than in 2018.“
 
He added: “This year, with our ‘#MyCity_MyRace’ campaign, we have put even more emphasis behind actively encouraging UAE Nationals of all fitness levels to take part in the 10km, 42km and Wheel Chair categories with early figures showing that 30% more will participate versus last year. We look forward to seeing record numbers of Emirati’s on the start line on Friday and hope that one day, the winner of the full marathon will be a UAE National.”
 
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Holding, Masafi, Channel 4 Radio Network, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police and the RTA. Live TV streaming of the race will be available at http://bit.ly/DubaiMarathon2020.

Natural Light, Rick Ross, 360 MAGAZINE, spirits

Natural Light Seltzer × Rick Ross

Natural Light Seltzer is launching their new flavor, House Rules, a delicious strawberry-kiwi blend, and will host the most epic big game House Party alongside special guest Rick Ross on Star Island in Miami, FL on February 2. The best part is…you can get on the guest list.

Every house party must abide by a particular set of house rules. Natty Light Seltzer is asking house party legends across the country to share the one house rule they live by – and if it’s cool enough, you and three friends can win invites to Natty Seltzer’s SB bash.

Share using #nattyseltzerparty and #contest on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, and make sure to sign up HERE. Natty Light will select 25 fans, who can each bring three friends, to attend the House Party, celebrate the SB and experience the game on a floating big screen TV. See official rules HERE.

House Rules is an irresistible blend of strawberry kiwi flavor, with 6% ABV. It’s rolling into markets this February to join its Natty Seltzer siblings, Catalina Lime Mixer and Aloha Beaches.

NFL, new era, football, 360 MAGAZINE

New Era Official Super Bowl LIV Sideline Collection

New Era Cap Co., Inc., announces the release of the New Era Official Super Bowl LIV Sideline Collection and three additional cap drops happening during the lead-up to the Super Bowl.

The New Era Official Super Bowl LIV Sideline Collection, available now, features a 9FORTY® and a knit. The 9FORTY® is a stretch snapback with a large embroidered team logo on the front of the cap with a Super Bowl LIV logo on the left side. The knit includes a woven team logo patch on the front and a Super Bowl LIV logo on the left side. These hats will be worn on the field by the players and coaches of the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers as they face off in the NFL’s biggest game. Fans can purchase these caps now on www.neweracap.com for a retail price of $33.99 USD.

Details on the hat drops leading up to Super Bowl Sunday are listed below:

  • New Era Super Bowl LIV Tarmac Collection:  Available in a 9FIFTY® silhouette and a fedora, these hats will be given to players and coaches upon their arrival in Miami. The 9FIFTY® cap features a multi-colored floral satin crown, a black Super Bowl LIV logo on the front and a black and white NFL100 logo on the back. The fedora includes a multi-colored satin floral fabric band around the crown. A black Super Bowl LIV logo is on the front of the fedora. The Tarmac collection will be available exclusively at the NFL SHOP in the Super Bowl Experience for a retail price of $54 USD starting on Saturday, January 25th.
  • New Era x Jason Taylor NFL Shield 9FIFTY®: This custom 9FIFTY® cap was designed by former Miami Dolphin linebacker Jason Taylor and features a teal colored satin with an orange and teal tonal NFL Shield on the front, and an embroidered “99” on the cap’s right-side panel. Taylor’s autograph is inscribed on the visor and an orange satin lining features Dolphins themed graphics. Retailing for $99.99 USD, this cap will be available January 29th on neweracap.com and at the NFL SHOP in the Super Bowl Experience. Fans who purchase the cap on the 29th will be given priority access to meet Taylor while he is on-site at the NFL SHOP in the Super Bowl Experience for fan autographs and photos on Wednesday, January 29th from 4:00-5:00pm.
  • New Era x Wilson NFL 100 9FIFTY®This limited edition cap celebrates NFL’s 100th Season featuring a metallic NFL100 badge across the front crown. The cap’s visor is wrapped in genuine Wilson leather from an official NFL football and is embossed with official NFL football marks across the top. A metallic Wilson logo badge is on the right side of the cap while a metallic New Era flag is on the left side. This cap will be available at the NFL SHOP in the Super Bowl Experience for a retail price of $99.99 USD. 

Complete information on Super Bowl Experience, NFL SHOP, schedule of events, attractions, player appearances and more can be found at www.nfl.com/superbowl. Tickets for Super Bowl Experience can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.  Tickets are $35.00 for adults and $25.00 for children 12 and under, and permit entry for a particular day and time. A NFLXtra Fast Pass may be purchased for $55.00.  

NFL, szemui ho, 360 MAGAZINE

Taste of the NFL

Super Bowl LIV Kicks Off!
The Nation’s Top Chefs and NFL Players Gather in South Florida for
Taste of the NFL’s Party with a Purpose®
 
Super Bowl LIV has finally arrived in South Florida and San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are gearing up for the big game. The iconic Party with a Purpose® by Taste of the NFL traditionally takes place on the eve of the Super Bowl and for its 29th year it will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida.
 
The Taste of the NFL’s annual star-studded strolling wine and food event brings together exceptional cuisine, over 40 prominent chefs from around the country, NFL players, coaches, legends, celebrities, and more, all to support the fight against hunger. The nationwide fundraising campaign’s net proceeds directly support food banks nationwide. The event will feature a chef from each NFL city serving their signature dish alongside a current or alumni NFL player.
 
This year Chef Parke Ulrich from Waterbar in San Francisco, California and former 49ers linebacker and NFL 2000 Hall of Fame star Dave Wilcox are teamed up to represent the San Francisco 49ers. Together the duo will be serving up Dungeness Crab Fried Rice with uni mayo and bacon.

Representing the Kansas City Chiefs is Chef Michael Smith of Michael Smith Restaurant in Kansas City and former Kansas City Chief Eddie Kennison. Chef Smith is the city’s first James Beard Award-winning chef and will be serving Moroccan Lamb Harira & Cous Cous.

The team of national guest hosts for 2020 includes the legendary Coach Don Shula serving as the National Honorary Chair; Chef Andrew Zimmern – National Culinary Host; Chef Adam Richman – Florida Culinary Host; and Ben Leber as the National Player Host.
 
Local Miami Dolphin alumni and chefs who are absolute must-see’s at the event are former Dolphins linebacker John Offerdahl and James Beard Award winning Chef Allen Susser, who will be representing the Miami Dolphins; Chef Demetrio Zavala from Shula’s Restaurant Group and former Dolphins safety Dick Anderson are representing Shula’s American Steakhouse and the Dolphins’ Perfect Season; last season’s host committee chef representative Executive Chef Paula DaSilva from The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale and Burlock Coast; 2019 Grid Iron Grill Off Battle winner Chef Brad Phillips from Even Keel Fish & Oyster and this year’s Kick Hunger Challenge winner Chef Jorge Gutierrez from Lona on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
 
In addition, The Diplomat Restaurant Group (DRG) has joined the team with its collection of notable chefs and will host a pop-up tailgate party at this year’s Party with a Purpose® – Michael Schulson/Taek Lee (Monkitail); Daniel Siegelman (Point Royal/Counter Point); and Rashaad Abdool (Diplomat Prime). Photo ops, lite bites, the DRG Kick Hunger Signature Cocktail, Apple Cider Mule, and desserts will be offered as a “Taste of The Diplomat” VIP welcome reception experience.
 
For a full event menu please visit https://www.tasteofthenfl.com/event-menu.
 
The roster of celebrity guests at this year’s After Party will be one of the hottest in TNFL’s 29-year history. Leading the entertainers is Derrick Wright – a top musical director and drummer in the entertainment industry who has worked with some of the world’s most notable singer/songwriters such as Janet Jackson, Adele, Alicia Keys, Toni Braxton, and Marc Anthony, among others. Joining Wright is a group of the best, most in-demand recording and touring musicians and vocalists in the biz including: Amanda Brown; Ali Caldwell; Cheryl Pepsii Riley; Guy Lockard; Al “Boogie” Carty; Miles Robertson; Ricardo Ramos; and Peter Wise. To make it extra sweet, Celebrity Chef and Cake Boss Buddy Valastro’s team will be offering an array of desserts to wrap up the evening.
 
Tickets for the not-to-be-missed fundraiser, Party with a Purpose® on Saturday, February 1, 2020 can be purchased at tasteofthenfl.com/tickets. Tickets include food, beverage, auction access, merchandise opportunities for autographs and photos, and access to the After Party with live celebrity entertainment. 100% of the net proceeds will benefit food banks in each NFL city, including Feeding South Florida locally. The Diplomat Beach Resort is located at 3555 South Ocean Drive in Hollywood, Florida. Sponsorship opportunities are still available including a special top-tier level, Hunger Heroes Partners. This limited designation features an elevated experience with exclusive perks including early admittance to the event, complimentary parking, table seating in the VIP section, tickets to the invitation-only Friday Night Huddle event (a thank you party for chefs, players and sponsors) and more. For more ticket and sponsor information, please visit: http://tasteofthenfl.com.

About Taste of The NFL

Since 1992, Taste of the NFL (a 501c3 organization) has rallied the country’s top chefs and the NFL’s greatest players to raise money in support of food banks throughout the United States. To-date, Taste of the NFL’s programs and events have raised and donated in excess of $26 million to food banks and nonprofit organizations in the 32 NFL cities, resulting in more than 220 million meals for Americans in need (many of them children and seniors), who have turned to their local food banks for assistance. The season-long efforts culminate each year with the Taste of the NFL’s Party with a Purpose®. Held on the eve of the Super Bowl. The star-studded fundraising event brings together exceptional cuisine, prominent chefs from around the country, NFL players, coaches, legends and more, all to support the fight against hunger. Learn more about Taste of the NFL at www.TasteoftheNFL.com.

About Kick Hunger Challenge

The Kick Hunger Challenge is an online-only fundraising campaign spearheaded by Taste of the NFL. This friendly “competition” pits fans from all 32 NFL teams against each other to raise money for food banks in NFL communities nationwide. Throughout the official NFL football season, and through Super Bowl Weekend, fans have the opportunity to support one of the 32 NFL teams and directly impact the donation of thousands of meals to food banks in their team’s community. Learn more about the Kick Hunger Challenge at www.kickhungerchallenge.com.

About The Diplomat Beach Resort

As ‘The Centerpiece of South Florida,’ The Diplomat Beach Resort, Hollywood, Florida’s most iconic property, boasts 1,000 guestrooms and suites, 8 different culinary destinations, two sun-drenched pools, 26 poolside cabanas – including four designed by the iconic fashion brand, Trina Turk, a deluxe spa and fitness center, and 209,000 square feet of meetings and event space. Additionally, The Diplomat is the largest in hotel convention space in South Florida with the most expansive ballroom south of Orlando. Each dining destination is rooted in strong culinary sensibilities and exudes brand individuality, creating distinct spaces and experiences, from famed Restaurateur and Chef Michael Schulson’s award-winning Monkitail, to Celebrity Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s Point Royal. Located at 3555 South Ocean Drive in Hollywood, Florida, the resort is spread across the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean, and within a 10-minute drive from the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. For reservations please call 1-954-602-6000 or visit www.diplomatresort.com

About Curio Collection by Hilton

Curio Collection by Hilton is an upper-upscale, global portfolio of nearly 80 one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts. Curio Collection properties provide travelers authentic, curated experiences through distinctly local offerings and unexpected amenities, while providing the benefits of Hilton and its award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors. Read the latest brand and hotel stories at newsroom.hilton.com/curio, and connect with Curio Collection on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

NEW ERA – NFL, MLB, NBA

NEW ERA CAP CELEBRATES A CENTURY OF AUTHENTICITY IN SPORTS AND CULTURE

 Special Product Launches Will Celebrate The People And Moments

That Have Made New Era The Cultural Icon It Is Today

Today, international sports and lifestyle brand, New Era Cap Co., Inc. commemorates 100 years of being the true authentic cap on and off the field. From creating fashionable Gatsby-style hats in the 1920’s to the invention of the New Era 59FIFTY fitted cap in the 1950’s to the crowning of our next generation of professional athletes in the 1990’s – many of those who have achieved greatness and changed history have worn New Era. The New Era centennial will celebrate these moments in history, as well as shine light on the future of the brand through special product, marketing, retail displays and digital content.

“As the fourth-generation owner, it’s a great honor to celebrate 100 years of New Era Cap and the legacy started by my great grandfather Ehrhardt Koch. With humble beginnings in Buffalo, NY, where we still proudly call home to our global headquarters, the company has evolved from a small headwear company into a premier international lifestyle brand that includes apparel and accessories,” said Chris Koch, President and CEO of New Era Cap. “We are extremely proud of our heritage and excited about the momentum we have as we embark on our next 100 years.”

In honor of the anniversary, New Era will launch special collections featuring new designs, product collaborations and re-issues of classic caps and apparel throughout the year. The collections will also celebrate the future of New Era through global partnerships with legendary fashion brands Helmut LangYohji YamamotoLevi’s and Havaianas; visual artist Daniel Arsham; contemporary furniture brand Modernica; watch brand Casio G-SHOCK; and the brand’s first-ever circular economy product with Pentatonic.

As part of the centennial year, New Era will also partner with the Buffalo History Museum to present the first comprehensive exhibit for the brand. Opening in Buffalo, NY late Fall 2020the exhibit will feature never-before-seen artifacts from the brand’s archives – showcasing over 150 pieces from its 100-year history tracing back to the first Gatsby-style hat to the first baseball hat worn on the field to the first international apparel collection.

ABOUT NEW ERA CAP: 

In 2020, New Era Cap Co., Inc. celebrates its centennial as the most iconic headwear company in the world. The brand’s 100-year legacy is steeped in sports heritage and pop culture through partnerships and collections with some of the top leagues, athletes, designers, artists, and icons around the globe. The brand continues to innovate and keep pace with trends to deliver headwear, apparel, and accessories as unique and inspiring as the individuals who wear them. New Era Cap encourages people to truly express their personal style and individuality through its products. The fourth generation, family-owned company is headquartered in Buffalo, NY and is marketed and distributed in over 125 countries through its affiliate offices in London, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Cologne, Shanghai, Barcelona, Seoul, Melbourne, Toronto, and Bologna.  For more information, visit www.neweracap.com.

Tiger woods, golf, TaylorMade, 360 MAGAZINE

TaylorMade Golf

TaylorMade Unveils the New Shape of Performance with the Introduction of SIM Metalwoods
 
SHAPE IN MOTION
The SIM family of drivers – SIM, SIM Max and SIM Max•D – all feature the revolutionary new clubhead shape with an Aerodynamic Asymmetric Sole and Inertia Generator. These shape-inspired innovations work together to improve forgiveness while also increasing aerodynamics and clubhead speed at the most critical stage of the swing: the last three feet right before impact.
 
Also known as the speed generation zone, this is where the most meaningful increase in clubhead speed occurs. SIM drivers are engineered to improve aerodynamics and clubhead speed during this critical phase of the downswing.
 
To reduce drag and improve airflow throughout the swing, the drivers feature a raised crown and sole. Typically, when a crown and sole are raised to improve aerodynamics, it can come with a tradeoff of a higher center of gravity (CG). However, SIM drivers counteract this with the Inertia Generator, positioned low and back with a heavy steel weight at the rear of the clubhead. This design moves the CG projection very low, optimizing launch conditions and increasing moment of inertia (MOI) – and also providing additional forgiveness.
 
Simply put, TaylorMade has designed a driver with no tradeoffs. SIM is fast, forgiving, promotes favorable launch conditions and has one of the hottest faces in golf.
 
During aerodynamic testing, TaylorMade discovered the need to rotate the Inertia Generator to match the direction of airflow within the speed generation zone. The result is air that moves smoothly across the sole on the downswing and enhanced clubhead speed.

Dubai marathon office, 360 MAGAZINE

POWERFUL ELITE FIELD GROWS

FOR STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON

Fastest-Ever Ethiopian Woman Worknesh Degefa Confirmed in Line-up

A powerful field of elite athletes from the hotbeds of African distance running will come together for the first major international marathon of the new year when the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is staged on January 24.

Soloman Deksisa (2:04:40) and Seifu Tura (2:04:44) of Ethiopia lead the men’s field, while former winner Worknesh Degefa (2:17:41) and Alemu Megertu (2:21:10) – also from Ethiopia – will head up the women’s elite division when Dubai hosts many of the best marathon runners in the world for the 21st time.

With a world-class personal best of 2:04:40, 25-year-old Deksisa is the fastest athlete in the start list. Despite his relatively young age the talented Ethiopian has built up plenty of experience at the marathon distance after a brief track career.

At the age of just 20, he won the San Diego Half Marathon with a personal best of 60:12, while less than two years later he moved up to the marathon and ran an impressive debut in Rotterdam where he finished second in 2:06:22. Since then he has fully focussed on the 42.195km distance and claimed his first marathon victory in Mumbai in 2018 before winning again in Hamburg a few months later. He capped his best year so far in Amsterdam with a marathon personal best of 2:04:40 that is just one minute outside the Dubai course record set in 2019 by Getaneh Molla.

Deksisa’s compatriot Tura is another of Ethiopia’s crop of rising stars who made an impressive marathon debut with a solid second place in 2:09:26 in Seoul in 2017. Still just 22, Tura enjoyed his best day at the 2018 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon when he took full advantage of the renowned fast course to carve a big slice off his personal best, improving by over four minutes to run 2:04:44 for seventh. The young Ethiopian has also sealed marathon wins in Milan and Shanghai, while setting a Half Marathon personal best of 59:17 in Buenos Aires in August.

In the women’s field, Worknesh Degefa – Ethiopia’s fastest female marathon runner of all time – will start as red-hot favourite thanks to an enviable record running the flat and fast streets of Dubai.

In 2017, the diminutive 29-year-old stunned an experienced field by winning in Dubai on what was her marathon debut. A year later, she broke the 2:20 mark for the first time but had to settle for fourth, while last year saw her finish second in Dubai in a remarkable time of 2:17:41. Not only did Degefa smash the Ethiopian record by 15 seconds, she also set what is now the fifth fastest time in women’s marathon history.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will be the first major sporting event in what is a historic year for the city with some 30,000 runners expected across three races.

As well as the classic marathon distance, runners of all abilities can still register for the associated 10km Road Race and 4km Fun Run at the official website for the Middle East’s first and only IAAF Gold Label Marathon at www.dubaimarathon.org.

In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Holding, Masafi, Channel 4 Radio Network, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police and the RTA.

Szemui ho, 360 MAGAZINE, illustration, tennis

Is Serena Williams the most influential sportswoman ever? 

There are few things that magazines, websites and blogs like better than a good “who or what is the greatest” article. It gives writers the chance to inflict their opinions on others and inevitably provokes controversy and debate as readers chip in as to how the Ferrari Testarossa is a better supercar than the Lamborghini Diablo or why Daniel Craig will never be as good a James Bond as Sean Connery. 


When it comes to sport, the debate ratchets up a notch. Comparing the top achievers from different sports is difficult enough, but when you are also talking about different eras, it becomes an exercise in the futile. Still, even in a top ten in no particular order, there are certain names you are certain to see. These might include Joe Montana, Pele, Usain Bolt, Michael Schumacher, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Mohammed Ali and Michael Jordan to name just a few. 

Different people from different eras with very little in common, right? Well, not exactly. Look at that list again and there is one fundamental thing they all share. In short, there’s a complete absence of female representation. In some ways, that is not surprising, not because women are any less talented in sport but because, for so many years, women’s sport has lagged behind the men in terms of spectator support, media coverage and funding. You need only look at the pay gaps between the top male and female players to see it. In soccer, for example, the top male player earns around 100 times more than his female counterpart, while in boxing, the difference between Saul Alvarez and Katie Taylor’s top pay days is a factor of almost 1000.

Yet there is one sport in which the divide, while still present, is far less pronounced. Over recent years, women’s tennis has attracted higher viewing figures than the men’s game. In part, that’s due to the nature of the serve producing fewer aces, more rallies and therefore a better spectacle. But it is also due to the pioneering and inspirational nature of one woman who has been at the top of the game for two decades and fully deserves a place on any all time list you can think of. 

A legend of the game

Before we even consider anything else, let’s look at Serena Williams in purely sporting terms. Having turned pro at the age of 15, she has been on the professional tour since October 1995, almost a quarter of a century. Tennis players of either sex typically peak in their mid to late 20s and are past their best at 30, yet at age 38, Serena is still ranked in the top 10. 

To put it bluntly, Serena has owned women’s tennis for two decades, and you have to feel a little sorry for other pros who have been unfortunate enough to be on the circuit in the Serena era. There are only two other players that have managed to grasp the number one spot more than twice during Serena’s dominance. One is Kim Clijsters and the other Maria Sharapova. 

The latter seemed set to embark on a period of her own domination, yet over a 16 year period, Sharapova has won only three of her 23 professional encounters with Williams. Indeed, aside from one walkover last year when Williams had to pull out of the French Open, it’s been an incredible 15 years since Sharapova last beat Williams at the JP Morgan Chase Open in 2004 – that’s a run of 19 defeats for the Russian.

As for out and out victories, Serena is also comfortably at the top of the pile. By winning the Australian Open in 2017, she took her grand slam tally to 23 to go one ahead of Steffi Graf. Not only was she 35 years of age, but it later emerged that she was eight to nine weeks pregnant at the time. Her record also puts her comfortably ahead of the most successful male tennis star, Roger Federer, who has 20 grand slam titles to his name. 

Overcoming adversity

Achieving greatness in sport, or in any discipline, often takes more than skill and talent, however. It is this extra factor that catapults Serena to more than just a sporting legend and makes her an inspiration to girls and women across the globe. 

Beating the opposition is one thing, but when your fiercest rival also happens to be your big sister, it adds a whole new dimension. Yet Serena and Venus’ dominance did not go down well in all circles. Until they arrived on the scene there was an embarrassing lack of non-white pros on the circuit, male or female, and both faced both casual and sometimes overt racial abuse on their journey to the top. 

This culminated in the India Wells fiasco in 2001, when Venus withdrew from the semi final at short notice, citing a knee injury, to effectively allow her sister a free pass to the final. Media speculation that this had been orchestrated by Venus and Serena’s father Richard Williams led to booing from the crowd that took on ugly racist overtones. As recently as this year, the racial slurs have continued, including some outrageously obnoxious comments from a Romanian TV presenter.

Both sisters’ determination to inject their own style into their tennis has also attracted criticism. Their choice of clothing and accessories that added expression to the somewhat staid world of tennis whites resulted in frequent and very personal attacks from media commentators. 

21st century influencer

As well as coming through this adversity with a world leading record and her head held high, Serena’s determination to do things her way has also earned her place as one of the biggest style icons to emerge from the world of sport. 

On top of her many sponsorship and endorsement deals, both Puma and Nike have released special product lines bearing her name. In 2004, Serena released her own jewelry brand, Aneres, and last year, she launched the Serena clothing line. 

Yet her influence goes way beyond fashion. Serena has proved that anything is possible. Even now, in the twilight of her career, she shows that same determination that has been core to her success, and this is what makes her one of the most influential women of our generation. 

Houston Astros – Apology

Nonpologies and Missed Opportunities: The Damaging Responses to a Crisis

By Sean O’Meara

When Houston Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman put the final period on the final sentence of his apology statement for remarks he made toward three sports journalists in October 2019, he probably thought he’d done a good job.

Taubman probably read the statement back to himself and checked off in his head all the points he wanted to make; including what a great guy Brandon Taubman is (“Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father”) and how the Sports Illustrated report about his behaviour doesn’t reflect that (“the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values”.

Now that the dust has settled on the Houston Astros Brandon Taubman controversy, we’re able to reflect on what team leadership could have done better.

Astros management had already tried to deny the accusations on behalf of Taubman and did what a lot of organizations under fire do; they attempted to muddy the waters with a half-baked public statement, accusing the reporters of ‘fabrication’ in the process. And Taubman’s subsequent ‘apology’ was only necessary because other journalists had corroborated the allegations against him.

That Taubman or indeed the Astros put out a statement with such audacious levels of equivocation is a very bad reflection on their crisis planning. The fact that Taubman ended up getting fired and the Astros ended up apologising for how they handled the scandal, is a bad reflection on the organization’s leadership.

Here’s Taubman’s apology in full.

“This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed. In retrospect, I realized that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate,”

“My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue. Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”

Taubman’s nonpology did more damage than not saying anything would have done. There’s equivocating, weasly, nonpologies, and there’s whatever this is. Taubman actually manages to weaponise the language of contrition in attack against the journalists, while simultaneously giving himself a glowing character reference; “I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father.”

It was no real surprise that it didn’t wash. By apologizing in this manner, Taubman effectively questioned the integrity of the journalists who reported his remarks. Any communications advisor would caution against that course of action. It’s dangerous for a number of reasons, not least because it adds an extra layer of complexity to the situation and provides another thing to apologize for when you’re found out to be wrong. But then, this is exactly what Astros did as an organization when they implied that the journalists were mischief-making with their accusations.

The Astros were the next to find themselves apologizing. But not before they’d fired Taubman. Owner Jim Crane wrote a personal letter to Stephanie Apstein copping to a momentous lapse of judgement.

“On behalf of the entire Astros organization, I want to personally apologize for the statement we issued on Monday October 21st.

“We were wrong and I am sorry that we initially questioned your professionalism. We retract that statement, and I assure you that the Houston Astros will learn from this experience.”

The really frustrating thing here is that the above is an example of a good apology. In The Apology Impulse, a book I co-authored with renowned psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper, we examined what makes a good apology and what makes a bad one.

There were abundant examples of the latter of scant examples of the former. Had this apology, with its frank concession of fault, assurances that they will do better and the notable lack of equivocation, been given as we were writing the book, and had it not been given as the humiliating culmination of evasive accountability avoiding behaviour and victim smearing, it would have been a case study for how to say sorry. In other words, had the Astros’ first apology been this frank and direct, they wouldn’t have needed to make multiples, and Taubman may still have had his job.

The Taubman affair is best characterised as a litany of missed opportunities. Taubman had the opportunity to apologize properly for his outburst. He missed it. The Astros had the opportunity to apologize on his behalf. They had the opportunity to retain his services had they managed to contain the fall-out from his original remarks. The only opportunities he grasped with both hands were the opportunities to sack Taubman and the opportunity to withdraw their accusations against the journalists. Neither reflect particularly well on the organization.

Sean O’Meara, co-author of The Apology Impulse: How the Business World Ruined Sorry and Why We Can’t Stop Saying It, is the founder and director of Essential Content, a communications and public relations consultancy. With more than 15 years of professional experience in corporate communications, O’Meara has worked with organizations including the BBC, Convergys (now Concentrix), and Co-op Bank.