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The NFL and Nike have signed a giant 10-year deal with online retailer Fanatics



The pact is aimed at revving up the league’s on-demand manufacturing capabilities.

The National Football League wants in on the instant gratification trend, so it’s turning to the online retailer and manufacturer Fanatics to make it happen.

The NFL, along with Nike, has inked a 10-year licensing deal that will make Fanatics the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of all Nike-branded NFL fan merchandise — except for kids’ clothes — starting in 2020.

That means that all adult NFL Nike gear — other than the jerseys and apparel worn by players and coaches on the field — will be produced by Fanatics.

The goal, according to NFL Senior Vice President for Consumer Products Michelle Micone, is to be able to get gear into the hands of fans as fast as possible when new storylines spur demand — like when an unheralded rookie becomes a star player, or a team that was expected to perform poorly ends up having a breakout season.

“We want to have the NFL Shop be the place where … anytime a fan wants to buy something, it’s there,” Micone said. “Just that instant gratification.”

The Nike gear made by Fanatics will be sold online through NFLShop.com and each team website — all of which Fanatics operates — as well as Fanatics.com. The goods will also be distributed to retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods for sale in brick-and-mortar stores.

The partnership comes as retail sectors from grocery to fashion are being upended by a new generation of consumers that expect to be able to purchase any goods from any device at any time — and have them delivered within a couple of days, if not sooner.

Over the last 18 months, Fanatics has invested heavily in its on-demand manufacturing capabilities in an attempt to make the missed revenue opportunities for leagues and teams caused by out-of-stock issues a thing of the past. Last year, Fanatics paid around $225 million to buy the sports apparel maker Majestic as part of this initiative.

Fanatics and Major League Baseball announced in late 2016 a similar deal to the new NFL one that also begins in 2020. Both the NFL and MLB own minority stakes in Fanatics.

Fanatics has raised about $1.7 billion from investors, and was valued at $4.5 billion when SoftBank pumped $1 billion into the company last summer. Its executive chairman, Michael Rubin, is a minority owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, and this year made an unsuccessful bid to buy a majority stake in the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

Here’s an interview from Recode’s 2017 Code Commerce conference where Rubin and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talk about a new partnership between the two businesses:

Recode Daily: Mark Zuckerberg cherry-picked the questions he answered for the EU Parliament



Facebook co-founder, chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg opens a water bottle as he testifies to the European Parliament next to President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani in Brussels, Belgium on May 22, 2018.

Plus, civil rights groups are not happy that Amazon is selling facial-recognition tech to police; Starbucks is way ahead in the mobile-payments race; and what’s inside a food truck?

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg faced a bunch of tough questions about Facebook’s data practices during his hour-long appearance before the European Parliament in Belgium. But he also got to cherry-pick the questions he answered, and issued broad talking points instead of direct answers. European regulators weren’t happy: ”In total, you apologized 15 or 16 times in the last decade,” said Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. “Every year you have one or another wrongdoing with your company. … Are you able to fix it?” You can watch Zuckerberg’s slightly contentious meeting here. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

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Amazon is selling facial-recognition technology to police, allowing them to analyze “millions of faces in real time.” Sold by the company’s fast-growing Amazon Web Services unit, the facial-recognition technology, called Rekognition, has been used by police in Oregon over the past year and reduced the identification time of reported suspects from two to three days down to minutes. In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the ACLU and other civil rights organizations called on Amazon to “stop powering a government surveillance infrastructure that poses a grave threat to customers and communities across the country.” [Jason Del Rey / Recode]

Tesla isn’t shipping that “affordable” $35,000 Model 3 electric vehicle— which is a problem if CEO Elon Musk wants the company to appeal to a mass market. Two years ago, Musk unveiled the entry-level Model 3, inspiring hundreds of thousands to deposit $1,000 to get on the waiting list. But over the weekend, he tweeted that Tesla will be shipping a more expensive version of its Model 3 — starting at $78,000 — and that the company would “lose money and die” if it stuck to the originally promised price. [Johana Bhuiyan / Recode]

Starbucks’s mobile payments system has more U.S. users than Apple Pay or Google Pay, its closest competitors. By the end of this year, a quarter of U.S. smartphone users — 55 million people — will make an in-store mobile payment, and nearly 24 million of them will have done so through the Starbucks app, whose popularity could be credited to early adoption, ease of use and a loyal customer base that has been incentivized by a robust rewards program. [Rani Molla / Recode]

Music industry legend Lyor Cohen used to complain about YouTube. Now he wants you to pay $10 a month for it. Cohen, who used to run big record labels, now works for YouTube, which just introduced a new ad-free subscription service in the hope of mollifying the labels. Cohen agreed to talk about YouTube Music — and Childish Gambino, and that famous/famous Kanye West photo — on an episode of the Recode Media podcast. [Peter Kafka / Recode]

Does Trump write his own tweets? Sometimes. And when he doesn’t, his ghostwriter aides make sure the president’s anything-but-random communications are as peppered with misspellings and grammatical glitches as the real-ish thing (!). Trump has also gone rogue on phone security — he uses at least two iPhones — one for making calls and the other equipped only with the Twitter app and preloaded with a handful of news sites. But the phones aren’t equipped with sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications. [Annie Linskey / The Boston Globe]

Top stories from Recode

A former “Shark Tank” contestant wants to use Amazon’s Alexa to make interactive children’s books.

Novel Effect won funding from the TV show, but raised $3 million from Amazon and other investors instead.

Slack’s new tool for developers lets people do more work without leaving Slack.

The messaging company is allowing deeper integrations with tools like Asana, Zendesk and HubSpot.

“Live Work Work Work Die” author Corey Pein shares the secrets of tech success — be lucky and ruthless.

On the latest episode of Recode Decode, Pein says, “I want to take this industry down a couple notches.”

This is cool

What’s inside a food truck?

Is your state ready to write Amazon a blank check? Slow down, Georgia politician Stacey Abrams says.



Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams

Tax incentives that bring in jobs are a good idea, Abrams says, unless they cripple the surrounding economy.

Editor’s note: Stacey Abrams won the Democratic nomination yesterday for the Georgia governor’s race, making her the first black woman to run for governor under a major party. Her win marks a bigger change in U.S. politics as liberal-leaning Democrats have started to capture wider support from voters.

By publicly announcing that it’s looking for a second headquarters, Amazon has the politicians of cities and towns all over America salivating. But a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georiga, Stacey Abrams, says they need to think carefully about how an influx of jobs from Amazon, or any other company, will affect the people they represent.

“In the last 50 years, there’s been a sort of race to sell your community,” Abrams said on the latest episode of Recode Decode. “It is not a bad thing to try to attract business. It is not a problem to use tax incentives as a means to attract those businesses. But those tax incentives cannot cripple the very community they’re intended to help.”

“When we [in Georgia] say ‘tax incentives,’ what we usually means are tax abatements, which means the company that comes is not paying property taxes,” she added. “That means you’re not investing in schools, you’re not investing in infrastructure, you’re not investing in safety. That comes at a cost, because you’re usually bringing new people to the community who use all these services.”

Speaking with Recode’s Kara Swisher and SKDKnickerbocker’s Hilary Rosen, a Democratic political strategist, Abrams said states like the one she hopes to run should be thinking about the long-term economic future, not temporary economic gains.

“In the tech space, Georgia’s opportunity is to make sure that we’re growing the type of workers to sustain a tech economy,” she said. “If you are incentivizing a company to come by destabilizing the educational system, you are not going to have people who stay for very long.”

You can listen to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

On the new podcast, Abrams also talked about the early stages of her campaign for governor of Georgia. If she wins the Democratic primary and the general election in 2018, she’d be the first black woman ever to be elected governor in any U.S. state.

She criticized Democrats who only pay lip service to communities of color, saying her mission is to start talking to voters now. One of the challenges, she explained, is convincing Georgia’s increasingly diverse population that their votes can make a difference if they show up.

“We learned the wrong lesson from Obama’s campaign,” Abrams said. “He did not win because of technology. He did not win because of money. He won because he talked to people on the ground and organized them. He used technology as a tool to accomplish that. But he never forgot that the fundamental was talking to folks.”

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, answers the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara.


‘Live Work Work Work Die’ author Corey Pein shares the secrets of tech success: Be lucky and ruthless



“Live Work Work Work Die” author Corey Pein

“I want to take this industry down a couple notches,” Pein says of Silicon Valley.

Corey Pein moved to Silicon Valley in 2015, hoping to sell a company and get rich — and, along the way, he would write a book about the subject.

“Honestly, I was expecting to walk into some easy money,” Pein said the on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “I have an Ivy League degree, I’m a white man, I was wearing a hoodie, I thought I had everything that I needed to have. There were stories coming out all the time about these ridiculous startups which were getting funded, and I thought, ‘How hard could it actually be?’ It was harder than I thought.”

The riches may not have materialized, but with his new book, “Live Work Work Work Die,” Pein says he wants to “take this industry down a couple notches.” In it, he punctures Silicon Valley culture, corporate negligence and the myths of becoming a success story in the tech sector.

“As Americans, we’re raised to believe that hard work and a good idea will lead to success and riches, and that’s simply not true,” Pein said. “The main factor is probably who you know, and then, on top of that, luck. And who you know is a byproduct of luck, so you can really just boil it down to that.”

He was surprised to discover that even startup hustlers who seemed to be on the up-and-up were extremely unhappy. And the “stress and misery” of being an entrepreneur, in turn, informs the behavior of the companies that succeed.

“I don’t see a lot of startups that are even pretending to do good anymore, like they did a few years ago,” he said. “Now it’s, ‘Whose throat can we slit to pick their pocket?’ It’s really ruthless and mercenary about extracting value from users and labor and all the usual suspects.”

You can listen to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

On the new podcast, Pein also talked about the broader backlash against tech companies that has been brewing in recent years and criticized the way business like Facebook have made their fortunes.

“Our lives are turned into a profit source through data mining,” he said. “If we are an employee or a contractor or even a user of these companies — users are part of labor force for the big platforms now. The vision is, they have no obligations to us as labor, and we have no or few options but to do what they say, to abide the terms of service.”

Pein pointed out that when they have been in power, Democrats have historically been cozy with the tech giants. Based on what he heard at a recent book reading in Washington, D.C., he offered an explanation for why, now, liberal lawmakers are pushing back on issues like privacy and data collection.

“The word around the Hill was — I’m paraphrasing, I’m putting this in the simplest and most cynical terms that I can — ‘We don’t care if you disrupt newspapers or schools or the trucking industry and put all these people out of work, but you mess with the elections, that’s where we eat,” he said. “So that’s why they’re mad, and that’s why I think you’ll see more mainstream media coverage be more critical of the tech platforms, because the Democratic Party is maybe not as friendly as it was.”

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • On Too Embarrassed to Ask, also hosted by Kara Swisher, we answer the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara.

Mark Zuckerberg faced a bunch of tough questions in Europe today. He didn’t really answer any of them.



Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani

The Facebook CEO issued broad talking points instead of specific answers, and regulators weren’t happy.

For an hour on Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced some tough questions from Europe’s political leaders. They have concerns about his company’s data policies, its role in elections worldwide and whether the mammoth social network should be considered a monopoly and broken up.

The hearing was more aggressive, and some of the questions more pointed, than the queries Zuckerberg faced from U.S. politicians last month.

“You have to ask yourself how you will be remembered,” said Guy Verhofstadt, one of the regulators from Belgium. “As one of the three big internet giants together with Steve jobs and Bill Gates, who have enriched our worlds and our societies? Or on the other hand, the genius who created a digital monster that is destroying our democracies and our societies?”

We didn’t hear Zuckerberg’s answer to that question, or to any question, really. That’s because the meeting’s format — in which Zuckerberg took questions from European regulators nonstop for almost an hour, then tried to answer them in about 20 minutes — allowed Zuckerberg to summarize the questions into categories he could then answer with prepared talking points.

One of the regulators could be heard on video claiming Facebook requested the format, but in a post-meeting press conference, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said the arrangement was his proposal. Tajani would still like to hold a more formal hearing with someone from Facebook down the line.

Watch the full meeting below.

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Live now: Watch Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meet with EU regulators about the company’s data privacy practices.

Posted by Recode on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The result left Europe’s regulators with little additional insight beyond what we’d already learned from Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony.

The questions from European Parliament were mostly thoughtful and probing — a perfect follow-up to Zuckerberg’s trip to Washington, D.C. We just didn’t get new answers. For example, we never heard a direct answer to the question, “Do you consider your company a monopoly?”

Instead we got this, almost 40 minutes later:

“There were a couple of questions around competition and how we view our role and our position as a platform here. … We exist in a very competitive space where people use a lot of different tools for communication. The average person uses about eight different tools for communication. … So from where I sit it feels like there are new competitors coming up every day. There are competitors that reach tens and hundreds of millions of people. And we are constantly needing to evolve our service in order to stay relevant and serve people well. So that feels like it’s a competitive environment where there are many choices that people have.”

When asked about “shadow profiles,” a term used to describe the information Facebook collects about people who don’t actually have Facebook accounts, Zuckerberg didn’t say anything new, even though that was one of the lingering topics of interest following the U.S. hearings. Remarkably, Zuckerberg never addressed the “shadow profile” question during his 20 minutes of replies. After someone reminded him of the question, Zuckerberg replied that Facebook stores that data to “protect people in our community.” He then quickly changed tack by asking, “Were there any other themes that we want to get through?”

Regulators weren’t pleased with his answers. After Zuckerberg attempted to end the meeting, citing how they had stayed past the designated time, numerous members of the EU Parliament pushed back.

“I asked you six yes and no questions and I got not a single answer,” said one of the regulators, who couldn’t be identified as he was off camera. “And of course, you asked for this format for a reason.” (Again, Tajani said later that it was his idea.)

Verhofstadt pushed Zuckerberg for written responses to all questions asked. “There are a number of questions put [forward] by other colleagues that I want an answer to,” he said. “On competition, for example, the European antitrust thing. That is important. I think we’re going to push our European Antitrust agency to go into this if there is not a good answer.”

When Tajani tried to calm his colleagues, he asked Zuckerberg whether or not he would answer all of the specific questions he’d been asked in writing in the next few days. Facebook VP of Global Policy Joel Kaplan chimed in: “The questions that weren’t answered today,” he said.

It could be a long list.