Good morning! Let's sports.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Video games were once considered a distraction. Now, they are the soil upon which a thriving esports industry has been built.
Here's the crazy part: All of this — from the endless buzz, to the lucrative sponsorship deals, to the industry's first crossover star — has taken place within an ecosystem that has very little infrastructure.
Driving the news: That hole is being filled.
The big picture: If the NCAA eventually decides to include esports, it would change everything — from the infrastructure to the rules (Title IX, etc) to the mainstream appeal (would games be broadcast on conference networks?).
Jared Goff and Tom Brady. Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
"The Super Bowl LIII media night in Atlanta was your typical circus," writes Sports Illustrated's Kalyn Kahler.
More Super Bowl:
Yesterday, we told you that the NBA's 3-point craze was wrapping its tentacles around every level of basketball. Today, we have more evidence, writes Axios' Mike Sykes.
What's happening: The men's basketball team at Caltech, a school known more for science than sports, lost 365 of 366 conference games not too long ago. Now, the Beavers are suddenly a decent team. Why? The 3-point revolution has come to Caltech.
Between the lines: 3 years ago, the deep ball accounted for 30% of Caltech's field goals. Now it's 50%, one of the highest marks in all of Division III hoops.
How we got here: Every player on the team grew up watching Stephen Curry and James Harden launch moonshots, so naturally, they caught the 3-point bug.
The bottom line: "The 3-point revolution will go down as the formative event in the basketball lives of college students," writes Cohen. "It's about as hard to sell them on the virtues of shooting 3-pointers as it is to sell them free beer."
Bryson DeChambeau during this weekend's Dubai Desert Classic, which he won. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images
Bryson DeChambeau blew away the competition at the Emirates Golf Club over the weekend, finishing a ridiculous -24.
Why it matters: As I mentioned last week, DeChambeau is keeping the flagstick in during putts this year. But his peculiarities don't end there. From his unique swing, to his irons (which are all the same length), to his intense pre-shot calculations, the 25-year-old is just ... different.
The big picture: Now that DeChambeau is winning so consistently, it's clear that whatever he is doing is working — and could transform the sport.
🎥 Watch: Here's a tour of the course DeChambeau dominated this weekend.
"The average rate for a 30-second advertisement in the Super Bowl game increased by 96 percent during the past decade and reached $5.24 million in 2018," according to data from Kantar Media, a subsidiary of WPP.
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Answer at the bottom.
These soldiers in the Brazilian Army are running through a pentathlon course that looks like it came straight out of a video game. Watch the whole thing.
What's happening: This is something called a "military pentathlon," not to be confused with the "modern pentathlon" you see during the Olympics.
That socks/knee brace combo is so 80s it hurts. Photo: Bettman/Getty Images
35 years ago today, Isiah Thomas and the Eastern Conference All-Stars beat Magic Johnson and the Western Conference All-Stars 154-145 in overtime at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver.
P.S. One night earlier, Larry Nance won the very first slam dunk contest, besting Julius Erving in the final. Best dunk: "The Cradle"
Julius Campbell (real life and as portrayed in film). Source: Facebook/YouTube
Kendall "Left side..." Baker
Trivia answer: Winners: UNC ('09, '17), Duke ('10, '15), UConn ('11, '14), Villanova ('16, '18) ... Losers: Butler ('10, '11), Michigan ('13, '18)