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Is there a ‘Thursday Night Football’ game tonight? NFL schedule, TV channels for 2022 playoffs

Written By Jacob Camenker

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The NFL had a “Monday Night Football” game a few days ago to close the wild-card round of the 2022 NFL playoffs. While that was a new wrinkle in the postseason schedule, the NFL will not be adding a “Thursday Night Football” game to the schedule.

The NFL’s “TNF” schedule usually ends a couple of weeks before the end of the regular season, as the league wants to give teams adequate time to rest and prepare for their next opponent. As such, the league seems very unlikely to add a Thursday playoff game to the mix at any point, especially since there are only four games left to be played.

The divisional round games will take place on Saturday and Sunday, making this just the second week so far that has had NFL football on just two days of the week. The other came in Week 18.

Here’s everything you need to know about “TNF” for the 2022 playoffs and what you can watch with the program finished for the season.

MORE: Watch NFL divisional round games live with fuboTV (free trial)

Is there a ‘Thursday Night Football’ game tonight?

No, there is not a “Thursday Night Football” game on Thursday, Jan. 20. “Thursday Night Football” is over for this season and will not return until the 2022 NFL regular season begins.

The first Thursday game of the NFL season is usually the season opener. That said, that has usually, in the past, been broadcast by NBC, so it is technically a “Sunday Night Football” game. As such “TNF” won’t officially return until the second week of the regular season, though NFL viewers will be treated to a Thursday night game during the first week of the 2022 NFL season.

The last “TNF” game of the season aired on Dec. 23, when the Titans beat the 49ers 20-17 in a back-and-forth battle. The NFL doesn’t schedule Thursday games during the playoffs so that teams can have adequate time to rest, recover and prepare for their next opponent.

The NFL did host a “Monday Night Football” game for the first time during the 2022 NFL playoffs. The Rams crushed the Cardinals 34-11 in that contest and will now play the Buccaneers on Sunday. It will be interesting to see if having one fewer day of rest proves consequential in that matchup.

IYER: Kyler Murray’s clunky playoff debut should prompt Cardinals changes

Sports on TV today

“Thursday Night Football” is over not only for NFL fans, but for college fans as well. As such, football fans will have to look to other sports to keep them entertained. Basketball and hockey make up a majority of the programming on TV, but if you want some late-night tennis action, the Australian Open will be shown on ESPN2 starting at 9 p.m. ET.

Here’s a look at what you can watch during the time slot normally occupied by “Thursday Night Football.”

NBA: Mavericks vs. Suns (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT) and Warriors vs. Pacers (10 p.m. ET, TNT)
NHL: Kings vs. Avalanche (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
NCAAM: Memphis vs. SMU (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
NCAAW: NC State vs. Louisville (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Tennis: Australian Open (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

DIVISIONAL ROUND PICKS: Against the spread | Straight up

NFL playoff schedule 2022

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 22

Game
Time (ET)
Network
Stream
Titans vs. Bengals
4:30 p.m.
CBS
fuboTV
Packers vs. 49ers
8:15 p.m.
Fox
fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 23

Game
Time (ET)
Network
Stream
Buccaneers vs. Cardinals/Rams
3 p.m.
NBC
fuboTV
Chiefs vs. Bills
6:30 p.m.
CBS
fuboTV

Conference championships

Sunday, Jan. 30

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
AFC Championship Game
3:05 p.m. ET
CBS
Paramount+, fuboTV
NFC Championship Game
6:40 p.m. ET
Fox
Fox Sports app, fuboTV

Super Bowl 56

Sunday, Feb. 13

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
Super Bowl 56
6:30 p.m. ET
NBC
NBC Sports app, fuboTV

Originally found on Sporting News Read More




Kelly Slater could be latest denied entry into Australia due to COVID-19 vaccination status

Aquatics

Written By Joshua Mayne

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Surfing legend Kelly Slater could be the next major sportsperson to be denied access to Australia due to COVID-19 vaccination laws.

On the heels of the controversy that led to Novak Djokovic being denied entry into the country to defend his Australian Open title, Slater may not be able to participate in upcoming World Surf League championship events in Victoria and Western Australia.

Slater is yet to reveal his vaccination status, and Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck has cast further doubt over the American’s participation

“I reckon he knows the rules,” Colbeck said to Channel 9. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a surfer, or a tennis player, a tourist or anyone else, those are the rules – they apply to everyone.

“I hope he [Slater] gets vaccinated and I hope he competes. I don’t like the chances of him competing in Victoria, and I’d hate to think of what the chances were of him competing in Western Australia.”

Both championship events in Australia will take place in April, with Slater required to either reveal he is vaccinated or be approved for a medical exemption before then.

The 11-time world champion has made some controversial remarks regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, notably an Instagram comment last year where he claimed he knew “more about being healthy than 99% of doctors.”

Slater, who turns 50 next month, has also stated that he is not anti-vaccine, but rather against mandatory vaccination.

Current world surfing No.1 Gabriel Medina has also refused to disclose his vaccination status.

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Is there a ‘Monday Night Football’ game tonight? NFL schedule, TV channels for 2022 playoffs

Is it Monday yet? Indeed it is, but NFL fans that are hoping to watch “Monday Night Football” are going to be sorely disappointed.

The NFL’s regular season is officially over. Week 18 has come to an end and the playoff field is set. While fans have enjoyed 17 weeks of “Monday Night Football”, they’ll have to wait a week for the 18th.

There is no “Monday Night Football” in Week 18. The NFL never schedules a Monday game in the final week of the season so all of its action can wrap up by the end of “Sunday Night Football.” As a result, there will be no “MNF” this week, though those hoping to watch football will get a chance to check out Alabama vs. Georgia in the National Championship Game.

Here’s everything you need to know about “MNF” in Week 18 and what you can watch with the program on a one-week hiatus.

MORE: Watch NFL Week 18 games live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

Is there a ‘Monday Night Football’ game tonight?

There is not a “Monday Night Football” game on Monday, Jan. 10. ESPN doesn’t air “Monday Night Football” during the final week of the regular season, as the NFL likes to have its playoff participants solidified by Sunday night. That’s why the final “Sunday Night Football” game of the regular season is often a win-and-in contest.

Though there is no Monday night broadcast in Week 18, there actually will be one in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. ESPN will host the final game of Super Wild Card weekend as a stand-alone game on Jan. 17 at 8:15 p.m.

And though there isn’t a Monday game this week, there was two “Monday Night Football” broadcasts on Saturday in a doubleheader format. So, the “MNF” crew is staying sharp ahead of the postseason.

Sports on TV today

There may not be a “Monday Night Football” game on Jan. 10, but there is a pretty big game replacing it. The College Football Playoff National Championship will begin at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN2, so football fans will get to watch the All-SEC matchup between Alabama and Georgia.

Alabama beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game 41-24 and Nick Saban has never lost to Kirby Smart. Georgia boasts the top defense in the country, so they will look to slow down Bryce Young, Brian Robinson and Jameson Wiliams and get into a grind-it-out game.

NFL playoff schedule 2022

Wild-card round

Saturday, Jan. 15

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
Raiders vs. Bengals
4:35 p.m. ET
NBC
Peacock, fuboTV
Patriots vs. Bills
8:15 p.m. ET
CBS
Paramount+, fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 16

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
Eagles vs. Buccaneers
1:05 p.m. ET
Fox
fuboTV
49ers vs. Cowboys
4:40 p.m. ET
CBS, Nickelodeon
Paramount+, Amazon Prime, fuboTV
Steelers vs. Chiefs
8:15 p.m. ET
NBC
Peacock, fuboTV

Monday, Jan. 17

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
Cardinals vs. Rams
8:15 p.m. ET
ESPN
ESPN App, fuboTV

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 22

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
AFC Divisional Round
TBA
TBA
fuboTV
NFC Divisional Round
TBA
TBA
fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 23

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
AFC Divisional Round
TBA
TBA
fuboTV
NFC Divisional Round
TBA
TBA
fuboTV

Conference championships

Sunday, Jan. 30

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
AFC Championship Game
3:05 p.m. ET
CBS
Paramount+, fuboTV
NFC Championship Game
6:40 p.m. ET
Fox
Fox Sports app, fuboTV

Super Bowl 56

Sunday, Feb. 13

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
Super Bowl 56
6:30 p.m. ET
NBC
NBC Sports app, fuboTV

Originally found on Sporting News Read More




Who’s in the NFL playoffs 2022? Final standings, bracket, matchups for AFC & NFC

The final week of the NFL season has delivered on the hype.

Week 18 was filled with drama, with several games going to overtime and a number of stunning upsets shaking up the playoff field. The Colts needed only to beat the Jaguars to play for a Super Bowl, but were blown out on the road, opening the path for the Steelers, who beat the Ravens in overtime to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Patriots entered the week with a chance to win the AFC East, but were instead bested in the final game by the Dolphins.

Arizona also had a chance at claiming the NFC West title, but despite the Rams falling to the 49ers in overtime, the Cardinals lost to Seattle, keeping them in the wild card. Instead, the two NFC West foes will face off in a third matchup in the playoffs as No. 4 vs. No. 5 seeds.

There still remains the “Sunday Night Football” matchup to determine the final seeding in the AFC, but as things stand, here’s a look at how the playoff field is shaping up heading into the final game of the regular season. This post will be updated after the Chargers-Raiders’ game ends.

MORE NFL PLAYOFFS: TV schedule | Team-by-team matchup breakdown

NFL playoff bracket 2022

AFC

Tennessee Titans (bye)
Kansas City Chiefs vs. 7. Pittsburgh Steelers OR Las Vegas Raiders
Buffalo Bills vs. 6. Los Angeles Chargers OR Las Vegas Raiders
Cincinnati Bengals vs. 5. New England Patriots

NFC

Green Bay Packers (bye)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. 7. Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys vs. 6. San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams vs. 5. Arizona Cardinals

MORE: NFL playoff bracket, explained

Who’s in the NFL playoffs 2022?

The NFL playoff field was largely locked up in the NFC heading into Sunday’s slate of games with only one spot open. In the AFC, there were two open playoff spots remaining, but coming into the weekend, the seeding of the AFC side was almost totally wide open.

Below is the NFL playoff field for 2022:

AFC standings

Seed
Team
Record
1.
Tennessee Titans
12-5
2.
Kansas City Chiefs
12-5
3.
Buffalo Bills
11-6
4.
Cincinnati Bengals
10-7
5.
New England Patriots
10-7
6.
Los Angeles Chargers
9-7
7.
Las Vegas Raiders
9-7

Eliminated: Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars

NFC standings

Seed
Team
Record
1.
Green Bay Packers
13-4
2.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
13-4
3.
Dallas Cowboys
12-5
4.
Los Angeles Rams
12-5
5.
Arizona Cardinals
11-6
6.
San Francisco 49ers
10-7
7.
Philadelphia Eagles
9-8

Eliminated: New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Football Team, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, Detroit Lions

(Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/61/5d/ryan-tannehill-102120-getty-ftr_1fwji8930f6qq1vsby28eamc5f.jpg?t=1279280293&w=500&quality=80

AFC playoff matchups

1. Tennessee Titans (first-round bye)

The Titans received a scare against the Texans on Sunday as Houston scored 25 unanswered points, but Tennessee held on for the 28-25 win to maintain its hold on the No. 1 spot in the AFC. Now, the Titans get to rest a week and have the return of Derrick Henry to look forward to after the first-round bye.

2. Kansas City Chiefs vs. 7. Las Vegas Raiders OR Pittsburgh Steelers

Despite a tumultuous season, the Raiders are currently in the playoff picture pending the “Sunday Night Football” outcome. If it stands, it would be only the second time they’ve reached the playoffs since losing the Super Bowl in 2002. However, the Chiefs have owned Las Vegas this season, winning both contests by a combined 89-23.

A loss by the Raiders against the Chargers would mean the Steelers play the Chiefs instead.

3. Buffalo Bills vs. 6. Los Angeles Chargers OR Las Vegas Raiders

Buffalo has allowed the fewest passing yards this season and has been one of the league’s top overall defenses. The Chargers, led by Justin Herbert at quarterback, have the fourth-most passing yards in the league and have scored the seventh-most points this season.

A win by the Raiders would mean Las Vegas is headed to Buffalo while the Chargers are eliminated.

4. Cincinnati Bengals vs. 5. New England Patriots

The Bengals are in the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The Patriots are back for the first time since 2019. Bill Belichick has led New England’s defense to allowing the third-fewest yards and fewest points among NFL teams, but he’ll have to contend with Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and a high-scoring Bengals’ offense that scored the fifth-most points in the NFL this season.

(Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/5b/77/aaron-rodgers-01052022-getty-ftr_1lw476x4wsq6e1llcdunshw6ce.png?t=741322166&w=500&quality=80

NFC playoff matchups

1. Green Bay Packers (first-round bye)

The Packers locked up the No. 1 seed in Week 17 after they beat the Vikings to move to 13-3, leaving their Week 18 matchup against the Lions as a week for resting and tuning up in what was ultimately a losing effort. They’ll now wait to see who they face in the divisional round at Lambeau Field two weeks from now.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. 7. Philadelphia Eagles

The last time Tom Brady faced the Eagles in the playoffs, Nick Foles led Philadelphia to a miraculous 41-33 win against the Patriots for the first Super Bowl win in franchise history. Now with the Buccaneers, Brady will hope to lead Tampa Bay past Philadelphia and Jalen Hurts in the first round of the playoffs. No team rushed for more yards than Philadelphia in 2021, while the Buccaneers led the league in passing yards.

3. Dallas Cowboys vs. 6. San Francisco 49ers

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense dropped 51 points on the Eagles in the season finale as they ended the season as the league’s highest scoring team. But the 49ers are flying high after a dramatic overtime win against the Rams as Jimmy Garoppolo and San Francisco outscored Los Angeles 24-7 in the final two quarters and overtime.

4. Los Angeles Rams vs. 5. Arizona Cardinals

The Rams and Cardinals fought until the final week of the season to determine the NFC West champion, and it was the Rams that held on at the end. Arizona won the first meeting between the two teams, blowing out Los Angeles 37-20 in L.A. in Week 4, but the Rams avenged the loss with a 30-23 win in Glendale, Arizona, in Week 14.

Originally found on Sporting News Read More




Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects Stumble Despite White House’s Support

Quick bit: The White House says that the United States is “all-in” on nuclear energy because of its carbon-free content. But funding for a critical advanced nuclear projects has stalled.

Full Story:
(Original Caption) Palo Verde, AZ- Every switch, indicator light and instrument in the control room … [+] simulator here is identical to the control room in each of the Palo Verde’s three plants. The computer can duplicate 214 possible malfunctions that operators might encounter. The Nuclear Operator Qualification Program, which all operators must pass, includes security screening, psychological profile testing as well as yearly physical exams. Undated color slide.
Bettmann Archive

During the COP26 climate conference, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that the United States is “all-in” on nuclear energy — that it provides 20% of the country’s electricity and more than half of its carbon-free power. She said that the Biden Administration would concentrate its limited resources on preserving the existing nuclear fleet and on developing small modular reactors.

The White House supports an expansion for all next-generation nuclear reactors — plants that are safer and more efficient than current designs. It also wants to build a “test reactor” that could speed up the commercialization of those cutting-edge technologies, but thus far, lawmakers are skittish.

“One of the key advantages of advanced nuclear energy is that we think it can have lower costs,” says Judi Greenwald, executive director of The Nuclear Innovation Alliance, at a conference held last week by the Global America Business Institute. “It can also be built in smaller increments and matched with the growth in electricity demand. That makes it easier to finance.”

According to the Third Way, the total electricity consumption could double over 30 years. It will escalate to 50,000 terra-watts an hour annually — the equivalent of adding five United States during this time. And much of that demand will come from emerging countries. The think tank says that advanced, futuristic nuclear power could make up 16% of the electricity demand by 2050.

At present, 32 countries operate nuclear plants, and the fuel source makes up 10% of the global pie, says the International Atomic Energy Agency. It adds that the use of nuclear energy would need to double by 2050 to meet the goals of prior climate conferences — to keep temperature increases to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

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All this is in the context of the U.S. House and Senate actions, where lawmakers “zeroed-out” funding for the so-called Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) at the Idaho National Laboratories. That testing site can fast-track improvements, such as shutting down potentially troubled reactors while limiting the amount of radioactive waste created by those units. Such research and development, for example, has been able to increase capacity rates from 60% 50 years ago to 90% today.

“Utilities can eschew 1,000-megawatt nuclear facilities,” says Jackie Toth, senior advisor to the Good Energy Collective, at the conference. “But with a new set of advanced reactors, they are taking a second look. They can reduce costs, increase safety benefits, and make more efficient use of the fuel … VTR has propitious funding support. But we need to beat the drum. We will recoup our investment. Things are moving forward concerning engineering and design.”

Messy Politics

(Original Caption) Palo Verde, AZ- A cooling tower under construction at the Palo Verde Nuclear … [+] Generating Station, where work began in June 1976. The first of three units is scheduled for commercial operation in 1984. The cooling towers cool water which has passed through the plant’s condension, which condenses the steam as it leaves the turbine. Slide shows the foundation of the cooling tower laid in the dirt. Undated color slide.
Bettmann Archive

Small modular reactors — 50 megawatts to 300 megawatts — can also use those advanced nuclear designs. Today’s larger nuclear reactors use second-generation light-water facilities that are operating near capacity. But third-generation light-water reactors are coming while fourth-generation reactors will follow.

Third-generation nuclear units are improving safety protocols while using water as a coolant and uranium as a fuel. Fourth-generation, known as very high-temperature reactors, can use molten salt as a coolant while varying the fuel type. They achieve superior thermal efficiency with more potential for industrial applications such as steel-making and hydrogen production.

For now, Russia is the only country with a test reactor similar to VTR — one that can simulate conditions at commercial sites to improve the operations of future plants. Given the current geopolitical differences between the United States and Russia, there is little reason to believe that the two countries would have a formal cooperative agreement. Even then, it’s in the United States’ interest to lead the effort and export its cutting-edge nuclear technologies.

The cost of VTR could be as much as $6 billion over six years — noteworthy, considering the Department of Energy’s budget this year is nearly $40 billion, says Jennifer Gordon, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. She adds that Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy industry gives it a guaranteed source of funding. In contrast, the United States’ private model requires investors to buy-in — not to mention the elected policymakers in a democratic system.

“You don’t want to be the company that deploys beta max that is the first thing out but then becomes out-innovated,” says Gordon, during the discussion and a reference to the need for a nuclear testing facility, or VTR. “There is a need for nuclear innovation” — a result of global leadership and a passion for solving the climate crisis.

Better Mousetrap

A general view taken on May 18, 2018 shows the Russian northern port city of Murmansk. – Akademik … [+] Lomonosov, the world’s, so far, only nuclear floating power unit (FPU), has arrived at the roadstead of the port of Murmansk where it is waiting to enter the port area on May 19, 2018, for being loaded with nuclear fuel before heading to eastern Siberia. Constructed by the state nuclear power firm Rosatom, the 144 by 30 metre (472 by 98 foot) ship holds two reactors with two 35 megawatt nuclear reactors that are similar to those used to power icebreaker ships. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
AFP via Getty Images

To be clear, a demonstration project and a testing facility are different animals. TerraPower and PacifiCorp, for example, said in June that they would place a right-sized nuclear reactor in Wyoming where a coal plant once stood. Its Natrium facility, which Microsoft
MSFT
Bill Gates founded, is an electricity-generating reactor that is getting Energy Department support: $80 million, a small part of the overall cost. The goal is to have it up and running by 2030.

VTR will not produce power for consumers. It is a test facility that can, for example, predict the long-term wear-and-tear on reactors through modeling. The process can take a matter of weeks. Designers can therefore build a better mousetrap.

But some experts say that VTR is too costly and that advanced nuclear reactors are unproven. The Union of Concerned Scientists says that the jury is still out as to whether those units can reduce costs, limit nuclear waste, burn uranium more efficiently, and strengthen safety.

“Despite the hype surrounding them, none of the non-light-water reactors on the drawing board that we reviewed meet all of those requirements, says Dr. Edwin Lyman, a physicist and the director of nuclear power safety, in a report. “High-temperature, gas-cooled reactors may have the potential to be safer, but that remains unproven, and problems have come up during recent fuel safety tests.”

Those points, however, are refuted by Ted Nordhaus, executive director of the Breakthrough Institute. In a column penned for The Hill, he writes that peer reviews have contradicted Dr. Lyman’s analysis. Moreover, Nordhaus draws a distinction between VTR that is publicly funded and fosters innovation, and the Natrium project, a private facility that will generate electricity.

“Both the VTR and the Natrium reactor are wise investments in a critical technology that we are likely going to need.”

The Biden Administration understands that global climate goals will be hard to reach without carbon-free nuclear power that can run 24-7 — especially to feed the expected energy appetite from emerging nations. The United States has an opportunity to not only lead but to also export those next-generation technologies — a reason it should resume funding current projects.

Originally found on Forbes Read More




Nascar’s Blue Collar Connection: A Part Time Racer Lives His Dream

Quick bit: NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis races part time and works a full time job away from racing during the week. He’s learned to balance both and recently added being a new father into the mix. He’s a now rare breed in NASCAR, a blue-collar connection that used to be the norm.

Full Story:
KANSAS CITY, KS – MAY 8: Ryan Ellis, driver of the #0 Grimes Irrigation & Construction, Chevrolet … [+] talks to a fan in the garage area before the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice for the SFP “250” at Kansas Speedway on May 8, 2014 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/NASCAR via Getty Images)
NASCAR via Getty Images

In the early days of NASCAR many drivers couldn’t depend solely on racing to make a living, instead working fulltime jobs away from the track during the week and racing on the weekends. Most famously perhaps was NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson who still ran moonshine after he started racing and even spent time in prison when he was caught with a still.

Men like Johnson, Cale Yarbrough, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. gave fans a connection to the drivers; most, after all, were blue collar men who worked in cotton fields, factories, or in Johnson’s case ran moonshine, before eventually working their way into NASCAR fulltime.

Today most NASCAR drivers enjoy multi-million-dollar salaries, spend their weekends at the track in huge, expensive, motorhomes and live in mansions during the week. NASCAR is a massive industry all its own and that blue collar connection has seemingly disappeared.

There is one driver however who still clings to the early days of the sport, racing on the weekends and working a fulltime job away from racing during the week. Though, admittedly, it’s not by choice.

All Ryan Ellis ever wanted to do was race. It seemed natural for a third-generation racer to carry on the racing legacy his paternal and maternal grandfathers started and that was carried on by his father Jim.

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Ellis began racing when he was just four years old starting in quarter midgets working his way up the ladder eventually catching the attention of Volkswagen who selected him as one of 15 drivers to race in the Jetta TDI Cup series starting in 2009. When not racing in that series, Ellis competed in races in the National Auto Sport Association, Sports Car Club of America, and Grand Am.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson once made a living making and running moonshine. (Photo by … [+] Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
Getty Images

He was living the dream he had growing up; racing and winning.

“I wanted to win the Indy 500, I wanted to win the Daytona 500,” Ellis said. “I wanted to be an Indy car driver. I wanted to be a World of Outlaws driver. I just wanted to drive race cars. I wanted to win the Dakar rally. I just want to go race everything.”

Like any competitive person, Ellis wanted to race and win at the highest levels. NASCAR however wasn’t exactly on his radar since it can be a very difficult sport to get into.

“I definitely stumbled into it,” he said. “It’s like nearly impossible honestly. You can do the right things a thousand times in a row and have nothing come out of it.”

His chance however came in 2012 while racing at Road America. He was racing in the Grand Am series when he was introduced to Jimmy Means a NASCAR team owner who had a Xfinity Series car entered in a race there that same weekend.

“Jimmy needed somebody to start and park and try to make the race,” Ellis said. “I was like, sure, driving a NASCAR race car sounds fun and signed up; just walked over to their garage, got fitted and did a couple laps. And ever since then I just been trying to make it in NASCAR. Yeah, it was kind of weird.”

Ellis only completed four laps in that first outing, but the point wasn’t to finish. A start and park entry is a car that enters the race with the full intention of never finishing and taking home the money earned for simply starting. It’s a once common practice for smaller teams that is now frowned on by NASCAR.

That first race however motivated Ellis to try and forge a fulltime career in NASCAR, something that has proven elusive.

“Once I kind of learned how the landscape worked with, you know, needing to have money or find money, I didn’t know how far I was gonna be able to make it,” he said. Adding with a laugh: “I was just stupid enough to keep trying.”

Since that first race, Ellis has made 88 starts across all three of NASCAR’s top touring series. However, he’s never been able to find a fulltime deal. That’s forced him to work at jobs outside the sport when not racing. Ellis earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from George Mason University in 2013 and a bachelor’s in advertising from Appalachian State University this past year. He currently works for Lead Coverage, a marketing and advertising firm while at the same time picking up races when and where he can.

Race car driver Ryan Ellis Takes his VW GTI race car on a practice run with his APR Racing team at … [+] the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville NJ , JULY 22, 2012. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Working more than one job is nothing new to the 32-year-old.

“Pretty much my whole life I’ve had two jobs,” he said. “When I was racing in Grand Am, I was working at Potbelly
PBPB
(a restaurant chain) making sandwiches during the mornings and early afternoon then I’d go manage a kart track till 10 o’clock at night…I like that.

“If I could work 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, I will. That’s worn down on me a little bit but like up until a couple months ago, I was still doing some contract work for CBD MD and doing this job as at Lead Coverage.

“You know, when you work 40, 45, 50 hours some weeks, I guess, closer to 45, to do that and then go race on the weekend and not only just show up and do it but put the work in to actually be able to do it. It’s definitely tough.”

Ellis, however, has learned to find balance with his work life and his racing life.

“It really gives you something to strive for,” he said.” Racing’s always been my sanity and the same reason I’m insane at the same time.”

One thing that he has done to keep racing is getting outside help.

“It’s just so hard to put these deals together,” he said. “I’m just lucky to have a lot of people that are helping me. I set up like an internship program that I kind of manage that helps me find these sponsors and they’ve been very successful. And without them, I don’t think I’d have the time anymore.”

Ellis ran 16 races in NASCAR’s Xfinity series in 2016, the most he’s entered in a single season to … [+] date. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
NASCAR via Getty Images

Though he did spend time working as the public relations rep for Go Fas Racing before it closed, Ellis now tries to keep his work life separate from the racing which means that working for a sponsor, or a potential sponsor during the week might not be a good idea.

All of that can make it very challenging when trying to find a team to race for, sponsorship, and an understanding employer.

“I don’t want to go and have a bad workday on Monday and lose my biggest sponsor,” he said laughing. “I like the separation because it’s kind of like working with your girlfriend. You don’t bring your work home. You don’t get in trouble for something on track or at work that hurts you on the other end. But at the same time, I need the flexibility. Obviously if I miss a workday, because we have a rain out and I get fired that that won’t fly either.”

Working in marketing and advertising, however, does have its advantages. Like seizing an opportunity when he sees one. In 2016 NHL player Ryan Ellis was traded in a marquee deal. The hockey player doesn’t have a Twitter account; Ryan Ellis the NASCAR racer however does, and Ellis began tweeting in response to the news. Those tweets went viral and grabbed Ellis (the racer) a lot of positive attention and even led to the two meeting in person at a game later that year. It also got the attention of many inside NASCAR and outside as well and he was able to ink a one race sponsorship deal with an NHL focused media outlet. As a smart marketer, that NHL story is something he still uses to this day.

“As a driver, you’re pretty much a product,” Ellis said. “So you’re trying to think; what makes me unique? What is my story? What differentiates me from any other driver that you go sponsor and obviously price point because we’re working with some and smaller teams, but at the same time, like if I can’t use that to my advantage and say, ‘hey, we can create separation, we can create some more media, some PR a little bit of everything’ then I’m not doing my job. Right?

“I really do use that in pitches for initial outreach and for B2B opportunities, a little bit of everything. Because like a small sponsor, like Keen Parts, you know, for us to go get that much media attention just at a random race, was huge and I think a big reason of why they signed back with me this year.”

At 32 the chances of Ellis getting a fulltime ride are growing dimmer. Add a new daughter born to him and wife Allison just three months ago, and Ryan Ellis says his values are changing. Racing is still important, but so is the chance to work from home.

“If somebody came up and said, ‘hey, I have a million-dollar desk job. Would you take this and not race?'” he said. “I don’t know what my answer would be. Cause I’m still stupid enough to say that I’m gonna race till I’m 60 or 70 and just continue working on the side unless I can make enough money from racing to ever not have that.”

For now at least, Ryan Ellis will continue to chase his racing dreams and give NASCAR the blue collar connection it hasn’t seen since the early days of the sport.

Originally found on Forbes Read More




Coaching, commentary and video-game consoles: How John Madden made NFL fun for every generation

There are NFL legends. Then, there’s John Madden.

It’s almost impossible to quantify the impact Madden left on the National Football League as a coach, broadcaster and video-game innovator. Well, perhaps one word works.

“Boom!”

It didn’t matter if you heard that on the sideline, television, PlayStation or Xbox. That’s Madden, and football fans across multiple generations knew that voice.

Madden died unexpectedly on Tuesday morning at the age of 85, and the testimonials to his multi-layered impact will pour in from now through Super Bowl LVI, which is set to take place on Feb. 13, 2022, at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

MORE: Sports world reacts to death of John Madden

That is fitting knowing Madden’s coaching career began in 1960 at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif. Less than a decade later, Madden was, somehow, the coach of the Oakland Raiders in the AFL. Oakland owner Al Davis took a chance on Madden, who was just 32 years old, and the rest is an underappreciated coaching history.

Did you know that, of NFL coaches with at least 100 victories, Madden has the highest winning percentage at .759? Madden had a 103-32-7 record from 1969-1978 while leading the Raiders from the AFL to the NFL. Madden was on the sideline for unforgettable moments such as the “Immaculate Reception,” “Ghost to the Post” and “Holy Roller.” He led the Raiders to a victory in Super Bowl XI.

That is the Madden the Baby Boomer football fans remember. Most NFL legends would take that career to the Hall of Fame and live off the royalties. That was somehow Madden’s opening act.

He built a second Hall of Fame career as a broadcaster, jumping to the booth in 1979. Madden was a color commentator for CBS, FOX, ABC and NBC. He called at least one Super Bowl at each network and 11 total Super Bowls in his broadcasting career.

That’s what Generation X and Y remember. Madden set an incredibly high bar for the color commentators that followed him. The golden years, of course, were with odd-couple partner Pat Summerall. They formed arguably the best tag team in sports broadcasting history.

It was beyond the “Boom!” and the soliloquies on “Turducken.” Madden could use a telestrator to draw out the Gatorade bucket family tree during the biggest games of the week. Forget the game. Tell me more about that bucket, John.

Madden spent his final years calling games alongside Al Michaels, an announcing dream team that made “Sunday Night Football” the must-see broadcast of the week. Madden’s last broadcast was Super Bowl XLIII between Arizona and Pittsburgh on Feb. 1, 2009.

It’s been more than a decade since he broke down blocking schemes and bucket history, yet the Madden name has hardly lost its luster. That’s because of the lasting legacy of the “Madden NFL” video-game franchise that started back in 1988. The latest version, “Madden 22,” remains one of the highest-selling games on the market.

MORE: How John Madden started NFL’s Turkey Leg tradition

Madden’s name still pops up every Sunday. When a coach is guided by analytics and goes for it on fourth down, you’ll end up hearing a broadcaster say, “That guy is acting like he’s playing ‘Madden.'” It’s the ultimate homage of sorts and a testament to Madden’s all-around impact. But it’s somehow not the best part.

The stories about the man turned him into a legend. Madden was the guy who feared flying and traveled to games on the bus called the “Madden Cruiser.” Madden was the guy who could talk about the complexities of football with the casualness of someone who just cracked open a can of Miller Lite. Madden is arguably the most colorful character in NFL history, the one who brought the game to life for everyone. Comedian Frank Caliendo launched a career impersonating Madden.

That won’t fade either. When “The Autumn Wind” plays at Raiders games, that sound will conjure up memories of the Madden era. When an announcer breaks out a telestrator to diagram a play, you’ll think about Madden. When an NFL player shows up on next year’s cover of “Madden 23,” there will be talk about curses. That’s Madden, too. Perhaps nobody made football more fun for everyone.

That’s more than a legend. That’s a football legacy that will last for generations to come.

Originally found on Sporting News Read More




How The Pandemic’s Doctor Burnout Plays Into CVS, Walgreens Provider Buyout Strategies

Quick bit: The pandemic and physician burnout may help CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance attract more doctors and other medical care providers to their expanding primary care operations.

Full Story:
The pandemic and physician burnout may help CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance attract more doctors and other medical care providers to their expanding primary care operations.

Walgreens is already spending another $5.2 billion on VillageMD, an owner of doctor practices and developer of physician-staffed clinics, while CVS last week said it will be acquiring more physician practices as it expands its diversified strategy to grow its primary care business.

The drugstore giants have huge amounts of cash for acquisitions and access to capital should they need it at a time physicians and other medical care providers are looking to larger organizations for support in adapting to the digital age, contracting with health insurers and help hiring staff to smaller practices amid a labor shortage.

MORE FROM FORBES2021 Forbes Healthcare Summit: Accelerating Consumer-Centric Care

CVS last week said the drugstore chain will strive to become the employer of choice for physicians, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. Such primary care professionals are already part of a major buyout wave among doctor practices and the healthcare staffing industry.

And industry analysts and investment banks see an escalating wave of buyouts as practices cope with labor shortages and the stress Covid-19 and the pandemic have had on healthcare professionals.

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“The resurgence of COVD-19 and Delta variant cases have stressed healthcare systems, creating substantial demand for outsourced staffing providers,” a new report from the investment banking firm Capstone Partners said. “Merger and acquisition activity has proliferated as strategic players consolidate to bolster service offerings and private equity continues to build and enhance sector portfolios.”

VillageMD is regularly scouting the U.S. for potential doctor practice acquisitions. And CVS, which is already known for its MinuteClinics staffed by nurse practitioners, said it will be broadening its strategy into a “nationally-scaled next generation primary care model.”

This will include more “physician-led primary care centers with integrated virtual and home assets,” Dr. Alan Lotvin, CVS Health’s Executive Vice President & President, Pharmacy Services, said during the company’s investor day event.

A MinuteClinic sign is displayed outside a CVS store in Wyckoff, New Jersey, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. … [+] 1, 2009. Photographer: Steve Hockstein/Bloomberg
(C) 2009 Bloomberg Finance LP

Originally found on Forbes Read More




When do the NFL playoffs start in 2022? Date, TV schedule & updated AFC, NFC playoff brackets

The 2021 NFL season has been anything but predictable. The AFC features a mess of teams jockeying for position atop the conference and several six- and seven-win teams battling for Wild Card spots. The NFC has a more defined power structure, but the final two Wild Card spots are anybody’s game.

That is going to make the chase for 2022 playoff spots exciting as the NFL’s regular season winds down.

The NFL playoffs switched to a 14-team format last season, so there are a couple more playoff spots up for grabs than usual. That will give more teams a shot at making the postseason, especially with the league playing its first 17-game season.

Below is everything you need to know about the NFL playoffs for 2022, including dates and a TV schedule for each round, how all the tiebreakers work and how the playoff picture currently shakes out.

MORE: Explaining the NFL’s expanded playoffs

When do the NFL playoffs start in 2022?

Wild-card round: Jan. 15-17
Divisional round: Jan. 22-23
Conference championships: Jan. 30
Super Bowl 56: Feb. 13

The NFL postseason will feature seven teams from each conference in 2022. It marks the second year since the NFL expanded to a 14-team postseason in which the No. 1 seed in each conference is the only one to receive a bye week.

This year, the entire NFL postseason has shifted back by a week, as the NFL has added an extra week to its regular season. That means that the playoffs will start in mid-January instead of early in the month and the Super Bowl will be on the second Sunday in February instead of the first.

NFL playoff bracket

Here’s a look at the complete NFL playoff bracket for 2022:

AFC

1. Kansas City Chiefs (bye)
2. Tennessee Titans vs. 7. Miami Dolphins
3. Cincinnati Bengals vs. 6. New England Patriots
4. Buffalo Bills vs. 5. Indianapolis Colts

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers (bye)
2. Dallas Cowboys vs. 7. Washington Football Team
3. Los Angeles Rams vs. 6. San Francisco 49ers
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. 5. Arizona Cardinals

NFL playoff schedule 2022

Wild-card round

Saturday, Jan. 15

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round
4:35 p.m. ET
TBD
fuboTV
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round
8:15 p.m. ET
TBD
fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 16

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round
1:05 p.m. ET
TBD
fuboTV
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round
4:40 p.m. ET
TBD
fuboTV
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round
8:15 p.m. ET
TBD
fuboTV

Monday, Jan. 17

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round
8:15 p.m. ET
ESPN
ESPN App, fuboTV

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 22

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
AFC Divisional Round
TBA
TBA
fuboTV
NFC Divisional Round
TBA
TBA
fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 23

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
AFC Divisional Round
TBA
TBA
fuboTV
NFC Divisional Round
TBA
TBA
fuboTV

Conference championships

Sunday, Jan. 30

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
AFC Championship Game
3:05 p.m. ET
CBS
Paramount+, fuboTV
NFC Championship Game
6:40 p.m. ET
Fox
Fox Sports app, fuboTV

Super Bowl 56

Sunday, Feb. 13

Matchup
Start time
TV channel
Live stream
Super Bowl 56
6:30 p.m. ET
NBC
NBC Sports app, fuboTV

MORE: Watch NFL playoff games live on fuboTV (7-day free trial)

How do the NFL playoffs work?

The NFL postseason will take place in 2022, though the teams that qualify will be based on the results from the 2021 NFL season. This will mark the second postseason during which the NFL will feature 14 total playoff teams, seven in each conference. That means there will be only one team in each conference that gets a bye week.

The seeding for the postseason works as follows. The No. 1 seed will be the division champion with the best record. The Nos. 2 through 4 seeds will be the other division winners ranked from the best record to the worst. The final three seeds will be the best remaining non-divisional winners. The best wild-card team will take the No. 5 seed while the second-best team will get the No. 6 seed. The No. 7 seed will go to the third-best wild card team.

The team with the higher seed gets home-field advantage in each playoff game from the wild-card round through the AFC and NFC championship games.

Below are the NFL’s tiebreaking procedures for the NFL playoff field.

To break a tie in division standings:

(Between two teams)

Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.
Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best net points in common games.
Best net points in all games.
Best net touchdowns in all games.
Coin toss

(Between three or more teams)

Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.
Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best net points in common games.
Best net points in all games.
Best net touchdowns in all games.
Coin toss

To break a tie in wild-card standings:

(Between two teams)

Head-to-head, if applicable.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.
Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best net points in conference games.
Best net points in all games.
Best net touchdowns in all games.
Coin toss.

(Between three or more teams)

Apply division tie breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tie breaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two wild-card participants.
Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.
Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best net points in conference games.
Best net points in all games.
Best net touchdowns in all games.
Coin toss

Current NFL playoff picture

Here’s how the standings in both conferences break down following Week 16, along with the other teams that are still in the playoff hunt.

Seed
Team
Record
Clinched
1.
Kansas City Chiefs
11-4
AFC West
2.
Tennessee Titans
10-5
N/a
3.
Cincinnati Bengals
9-6
N/a
4.
Buffalo Bills
9-6
N/a
5.
Indianapolis Colts
9-6
N/a
6.
New England Patriots
9-6
N/a
7.
Miami Dolphins
8-7
N/a

In the hunt: Los Angeles Chargers (8-7), Baltimore Ravens (8-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1), Las Vegas Raiders (8-7), Cleveland Browns (7-8), Denver Broncos (7-8)

Seed
Team
Record
Clinched
1.
Green Bay Packers
12-3
NFC North
2.
Dallas Cowboys
11-4
NFC East
3.
Las Angeles Rams
11-4
Playoff berth
4.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11-4
NFC South
5.
Arizona Cardinals
10-5
Playoff berth
6.
San Francisco 49ers
8-7
N/a
7.
Philadelphia Eagles
8-7
N/a

In the hunt: Minnesota Vikings (7-8), New Orleans Saints (7-8), Washington Football Team (6-9), Atlanta Falcons (7-8)

Originally found on Sporting News Read More




Law In The Metaverse

Quick bit: Many of the legal issues that arise (or will arise) in connection with the metaverse are tried and true intellectual property issues that are not unique to the metaverse, but many have a unique spin given the unexplored U.S. legal terrain of the technology.

Full Story:

The metaverse is the future; it involves wearing a headset that transports you to anywhere you want to go. You can do it on your own time and in your own home. So not only will you be able to watch something “when and where you want to” (the mantra of VOD), but now you will be able to be when and where you want to. Want to be on Mars? Want to race at the Indianapolis 500? Want to be at the battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC? No problem; you will think you are actually there – and all your friends can be there too, all from the comfort of your home. Many of the legal issues that arise (or will arise) in connection with the metaverse are tried and true intellectual property issues that are not unique to the metaverse, but many have a unique spin given the unexplored U.S. legal terrain of the technology.

ISSUES RELATING TO DISPUTES OVER OWNERSHIP OF THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Disputes over ownership of the underlying intellectual property are going to be frequent and hotly litigated, as billions of dollars can ride on the outcome. Set out below is a summary of the various theories that will be litigated.

Patents: Under U.S. patent law, the first person to apply for a patent that is subsequently granted for a novel, non-obvious invention has a monopoly on that invention for twenty years. Unlike copyright law (discussed below), it does not matter if the later infringing invention is independently created. There will be endless disputes over whether a particular metaverse patent is being infringed by other technology, particularly given how fast the technology is evolving, since it will be difficult to tell a “novel” invention from a mere modification of an existing one. To add to the fun, in 2014 the Supreme Court in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International held that software implementation of an escrow arrangement was not patentable because it was an implementation of an “abstract idea.” You can bet that whoever is being accused of infringement of a metaverse patent will claim that the patented invention is a non-patentable implementation of an “abstract idea.”

Copyright: As with all other software disputes (think Google vs. Oracle), there will be mountains of litigation over whether copyrighted software operating the metaverse has been infringed by other software.

Contract: A key fight that will be fought in the contract arena is who owns metaverse rights under existing contracts that were drafted before the metaverse was even contemplated. This issue will be similar to the battles over who owns VOD rights under contracts that were drafted before those rights existed. For example, if a studio granted video game rights to a gaming company, the gaming company may be able to claim ownership of the metaverse rights depending on how the contract is drafted. Going forward, it will be critical to draft contracts with scalpel-like precision to allocate exactly who owns what metaverse rights.

ISSUES RELATING TO THE CONTENT OF THE METAVERSE

The next set of legal issues are claims relating to the content in the metaverse. What can and can’t be included in metaverse content? Most of the claims will fall into three categories – copyright, trademark, and right of publicity.

Copyright: The Copyright Act protects the owner of an original work from third parties copying that work. Critically, there is a defense called “fair use” that in theory protects some copying based on weighing certain factors set out in the statute, but in practice it all comes down to what a particular judge or jury thinks is “fair,” so there is usually little comfort in relying on the fair use defense. Importantly for any metaverse that incorporates cityscapes, owners of the buildings that appear in the metaverse cannot make copyright claims for such use.

If an individual user inserts unauthorized copyrighted material into the metaverse, only that user should be liable for infringement and not the metaverse company, as the company should be protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and third parties can use the takedown notice provisions of the DMCA to have the copyrighted material removed.

Trademark: Trademark law protects against the unauthorized use of a trademark in a manner that causes a reasonable consumer to believe that the trademark owner either (i) was the source of the goods or (ii) endorsed or sponsored such goods. What if the metaverse lets you drive a Ferrari or wear a Bijan suit, as will surely happen? Will you think that Ferrari or Bijan either created the metaverse (unlikely) or sponsored it (maybe)? This is a far cry from seeing a Ferrari drive across the screen in a film, and while several brands have sued for such use in films, they have all lost because the audience does not think that Ferrari produced or endorsed the film. The brands should find much better traction if the metaverse allows users to interact with the product, particularly if the user must pay virtual or actual cash to use that product. The outcome, in that case, should be no different than the sale of toy Ferraris, which requires a license from Ferrari.

What if an individual user imports the trademarked item into the metaverse where other users can see it? Indeed, what if the user can sell the trademarked item they imported for virtual or actual cash? The safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA do not protect metaverse companies from trademark claims, but by analogy to general trademark infringement cases (such as Tiffany v. eBay), the companies should be protected from contributory infringement claims if they either are not aware of the conduct or take actions to remove the infringing content if they become aware of it. The difficulty here is that once a metaverse company becomes aware of use of a trademarked item that is imported by a user, the company will have to decide whether the user’s use of the item in the metaverse is itself trademark infringement, which as discussed above is not a simple question.

Federal Trademark Anti-Dilution Act: Under the Federal Trademark Anti-Dilution Act, nationally known brands can sue if the use of their trademark by others in advertising or branding a product “tarnishes” or “blurs” the trademark. This Act applies whether or not consumers are confused as to the source of the goods, so it is more analogous to a copyright claim than a trademark claim. Thus, metaverse companies would be wise to not include any images of nationally known brands in their advertisements, such as on-line trailers, teasers, or opening web pages.

Right of Publicity: The simplest way to conceptualize the right of publicity is to assume that, putting aside defenses, there is a prima facie case anytime anybody uses anyone else’s name, likeness, or voice (referred to herein as “persona”) for any reason. Note the breadth of the action: Anyone can be a plaintiff, not just celebrities. Also, the right applies to any use, not just a commercial use. It does not even require the use of the plaintiff’s actual persona; liability can be based on the use of the plaintiff’s nickname or a “look-alike” or voice imitation. The case law is hopelessly muddled on defenses, which vary from state to state, so whether a metaverse company can use a celebrity’s persona in the experience may depend on the state where the lawsuit is brought. At a minimum, the persona should be made to be “transformative,” since it will then meet the protection given by states that give complete protection for expressive works and states that give protection only for transformative works.

As with the other causes of action, the issue will arise as to the potential liability of the metaverse company if the individual user imports a third-party’s persona into the metaverse. As with trademark claims, the safe-harbor provision of the DMCA does not apply to protect on-line hosting companies against right of publicity claims, and there is a split of authority on whether the Communications Decency Act protects on-line hosting companies from such claims. Thus, the safe assumption is to assume that the metaverse company may be subject to such claims, in which case the best course of action is for the company to stop any obvious use of third-party personas, such as celebrities, by users.

CLAIMS BY USERS AGAINST METAVERSE COMPANIES

There are going to be numerous claims by users against metaverse companies, particularly for personal injuries. The metaverse requires the use of a head mounted device (“HMD”), so the user cannot see the actual environment they are in. If they attempt to walk around at home, they could trip and possibly fall down stairs or through a window. The metaverse can be so real and scary that 30% of participants could not make it across a room with a simulated tightrope walk between the twin towers, so there may even be a few heart attacks. The metaverse can also cause significant nausea to the point of vomiting when the visuals do not align with body movement. Some people may become addicted to the metaverse, and some may be traumatized by events that occur in the metaverse. Without question, there are going to be suits for negligence and product liability against metaverse companies and the suppliers of any hardware, software, and content.

Even beyond physical injuries, there will be the standard boatload of class actions for violating privacy or data mining laws or for damages after the inevitable hacking of personal or credit card information. The privacy claims will be particularly acute since some metaverse companies will scan the user’s face and body dimensions, know what they like to look at with eye tracking, and sell that information to advertisers.

To limit potential liability for claims by users, it will be important for metaverse companies to have thorough binding terms of service for users that cover all these issues, including mandatory arbitration and class action waivers. Under the case law applicable to on-line contracts, the user must be required to open and click-through acceptance of the terms of service in order for those terms to be binding.

CLAIMS BY USERS AGAINST USERS

My favorite category, and thus saved for last, will be claims by users against other users for various nefarious misdeeds done in the metaverse. Every imaginable crime and tort that can be committed in the real world can be committed in the metaverse, particularly with multiple participants. There are already reported cases of theft of virtual items that can be traded for virtual or actual cash and of sexual groping by one avatar of another, which caused genuine emotional harm to the person who was playing the groped avatar. What would be the outcome if one avatar raped another, and a user suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result? What if it was a repeat offender and the metaverse company knew it? Such questions are not far off in our brave new metaverse world.

Originally found on Forbes Read More