NFL Releasing First-Ever “Por La Cultura Mixtape,” Featuring Yandel Collaboration

Yandel is helping kick-off a special initiative with the National Football League

The NFL is set to release its first-ever Por La Cultura Mixtape in partnership with NEON16 that features music by the 45-year-old Puerto Rican singer and songwriter, the half member of the reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel.

Yandel, El Alfa, Will.i.AmThe mixtape, led by creative One Six and hitmaker Tainy, features Yandel’s collaboration with El Alfa and Will.i.Am, “Rómpela.”

The track is the backdrop of the “Por La Cultura” campaign kickoff spot titled “The Celebration.”

J Balvin Becomes First Latino Artist to Headline NFL Kickoff Concert

J Balvin has earned a place in NFL history…

The 37-year-old Colombian singer performed at Alamitos Beach in Long Beach, California, on Thursday, September 8 as part of the NFL Kickoff Experience to celebrate the beginning of the 2022 NFL season, becoming the first Latino artist to headline an NFL kickoff concert.

J BalvinJ Balvin performed ahead of the first game of the year, which saw the Buffalo Bills battle with reigning Super Bowl champs, the Los Angeles Rams.

Attendees defied the L.A. heat wave and made their way to the beach for a free day event that featured all sorts of activities and activations, including a beach football field.

Before Balvin took the stage, a local mariachi band serenaded the sweaty crowd before the Alabama State Marching Hornets took over for a riveting number.

Opening for Balvin was West Coast-based DJ and producer Tokimonsta, who was able to get the concertgoers out of the shade and closer to the main stage where they danced to her eclectic set.

Then, an inflatable giant hand appeared onstage holding up an equally large smiling face balloon — Balvin’s signature smiley face— which could only mean that the chart-topping artist was ready to take make his grand entrance. While his set was scheduled to begin at 4:00 pm, Balvin took the stage 10 minutes earlier to perform a nearly one-hour show.

He appeared in a two-piece, army-like outfit styled with a matching balaclava that only exposed his eyes.

“Cómo está la vibra esta tarde, how’s the vibe today?” he asked the crowd.

Balvin kicked off with the fan-favorite “Mi Gente” and went on to perform back-to-back hits like “Reggaeton,” “Nivel de Perreo,” “Con Altura,” “Loco Contigo,” “Blanco,” “Ritmo,” “Amarillo,” “Ginza,” “I Like It” and “In Da Getto.” He also brought out a special guest, Trueno, an emerging rapper from Argentina, to perform their collaboration “Un Paso.”

“My name is Jose but they call me J Balvin,” he added. “Where are all the warriors that fight for their dreams? I see my Latino gang representing here.”

Throughout the years, artists like Shawn MendesMeek MillMeghan Trainor and Ed Sheeran have performed at the NFL Kickoff Concert.

J Balvin to Headline This Year’s NFL Kickoff Concert

J Balvin is ready for the American football experience

The 37-year-old Colombian superstar will headline the 2022 NFL Kickoff Concert at the NFL Kickoff Experience ahead of the Buffalo Bills versus Los Angeles Rams game on Sept. 8.

J Balvin“I got a glimpse of the incredible NFL fandom during the Super Bowl Halftime performance in Miami in 2020,” Balvin said in a press statement. “That year we closed things out with a great game and a massive party. This season, to kick things off, we’re celebrating even harder and getting even louder.” 

The NFL Kickoff event will take place on Alamitos Beach in Long Beach. Doors to the free and open-to-the-public event will open at noon PT, and Balvin’s performance is slated for 4 p.m. PT.

The full performance will be streamed on NFL.com, the NFL app, and select NFL social media platforms. Parts of J Balvin’s performance will also be televised on NBC and NFL Network’s pregame show coverage.

Additionally, the NFL Kickoff Experience will offer the attendees interactive games, photo opportunities with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, all 56 Super Bowl rings, and more.

Registration for free tickets is required via the official website at nfl.com/2022kickoff.

The NFL Kickoff Concert will follow Balvin’s return to the 2022 VMA stage on August 28, where he will perform “Nivel de Perreo” with Colombian newcomer Ryan Castro. This will mark Balvin’s first VMA performance since his 2019 collaboration with Bad Bunny on “Qué Pretendes.”

If Balvin — who is a five-time nominee — wins, he’ll become the most-awarded Latin artist in VMA history; he’s currently tied for that distinction with Ricky Martin.

Seattle Mariners Acquire Luis Castillo in Trade with Cincinnati Reds

Luis Castillo is heading west…

The Seattle Mariners, looking to end a postseason drought that stretches to 2001, acquired the best arm on the trade market on Friday night in a deal for the 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher from the Cincinnati Reds.

Luis Castillo“He’s one of the best pitchers in the game — he’s really established himself as a dominant starter,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve got a chance to do something really big here this year. You have to step out and take a chance once in a while if you ultimately want to get the reward, take a little risk. Dominant starting pitcher, and I’m anxious to meet him.”

Minor leaguers Noelvi Marte, Levi Stoudt, Edwin Arroyo and Andrew Moore are headed to Cincinnati, the teams announced.

Marte, a shortstop, is the highest rated of the group, with ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel ranking him the 12th-best prospect in baseball ahead of the season.

“We felt this was the best return we could get for Luis,” Reds general manager Nick Krall said.

The Mariners, led by star rookie Julio Rodriguez, are 54-47, 12 games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the AL West. They are in the second of three AL wild-card spots, a half-game in front of Tampa Bay (53-47) and two games ahead of Cleveland (51-48). Seattle won its final 14 games before the MLB All-Star break, one short of the longest winning streak in team history and the best run by any club heading into the break since 1933. But the Mariners are 3-5 since, following an 11-1 loss at Houston on Friday night.

Now, they’ve added the best available arm ahead of the Tuesday trade deadline, one who will join an already-solid rotation that includes Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert.

It’s a massive pickup for a Mariners organization that has not reached the postseason since 2001, the longest active drought among the four major North American pro sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL).

Castillo is 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts for the Reds this season, striking out 90 and walking 28 in 85 innings. His fastball averages 97 mph. He has a career 3.62 ERA in six seasons, all with Cincinnati.

“It has been a beautiful experience,” Castillo said through an interpreter. “To have my name in the fans’ mouth and having them cheer me on, it is something I will treasure forever.”

Castillo won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2023 season, so the Mariners would have him for at least the rest of this year and all of next.

Castillo has bounced back from a career-worst season in 2021, when he lost 16 games and walked a league-high 75 batters. His changeup has been his best pitch for most of his career, but this year, he is actually throwing his four-seam fastball more, and doing so with a lot of success. Opponents have whiffed on 39% of their swings against his four-seamer, the highest rate of Castillo’s career and the highest of any pitcher in the majors (minimum 300 four-seamers thrown).

Castillo has a 1.38 ERA in four starts against the AL this year, second to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (0.69) among qualified pitchers.

The Reds have been moving veteran players for prospects since the end of the lockout earlier this year. In March, they traded Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to the Mariners, and Thursday, they traded outfielder Tyler Naquin and reliever Phillip Diehl to the New York Mets.

They’re getting a haul from Seattle in this trade, with Marte and Arroyo ranked among the team’s top 10 prospects ahead of the season by ESPN’s McDaniel.

Marte, 20, has spent the year for High-A Everett, hitting .275 with 15 home runs and a team-best 62 runs scored and 55 RBIs to go along with 13 steals entering Friday.

McDaniel ranked Arroyo, also a shortstop, as Seattle’s eighth-best prospect entering the season. The 18-year-old has spent the season at Single-A Modesto, hitting .316 with 76 runs, 67 RBIs, 13 home runs and 21 steals.

Stoudt, a 24-year-old right-hander and a third-round draft pick in 2019, is 6-6 with a 5.28 ERA in 18 starts for Double-A Arkansas this season.

And Moore, 22, has a 1.95 ERA in 25 relief appearances at Modesto this season.

“Noelvi Marte has a chance to be an impact middle of the order bat who can play shortstop,” Krall said. “Edwin Arroyo same thing — he has power/speed combo, who can play shortstop. Levi Stoudt has a chance to be a major league starter. Andrew Moore just started to pitch. He was drafted last year. He has explosive, explosive stuff. His fastball is up to 102 with a plus slider.”

Cincinnati infielder Brandon Drury also could be moved before the Tuesday deadline, along with several Reds relievers.

Albert Pujols Named 2022 Recipient of Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award at ESPYS

Albert Pujols is celebrating a special honor…

The 42-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals has been named the 2022 recipient of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award.

Albert PujolsPujols received the award as part of the ESPYS on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, another accolade for the retiring slugger.

The award is given to an athlete whose “continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports. The candidate must embrace the core principles that Muhammad Ali embodied so well, including confidence, conviction, dedication, giving and respect.”

Pujols certainly embodies all of those characteristics.

He’s president of the Pujols Family Foundation, which has had a twofold cause since its inception in 2005: helping the impoverished in his native Dominican Republic and aiding those living with Down syndrome in the United States. The slugger’s daughter, Isabella, has Down syndrome, a genetic disorder.

“As great as my career has been, my passion is what I do when the season is over and that is to serve and to give back. That is how I want to be remembered,” Pujols said.

Pujols called Ali an “incredible man” whose legacy “will never be forgotten.” He called it an honor to win an award in his name.

The award was formerly called the Sports Humanitarian of the Year Award, but was renamed in 2017, a year after Ali’s death, to honor the legacy of the boxing great’s impact on society.

Other finalists this year included Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, NFL veteran Anthony Barr and Austin FC goalie Brad Stuver.

Tony Gonzalez Among On-Air Talent for Prime Video’s NFL “Thursday Night Football” Programming

Tony Gonzalez is primed for his next broadcasting gig…

The 46-year-old part-Mexican American former American football tight end, who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 17 seasons, will be part of Prime Video’s NFL pregame, halftime and postgame coverage this fall when the service presents its exclusive Thursday Night Football package.

Tony GonzalezGonzalez will work along side former NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who retired in the offseason, and Richard Sherman for each TNF game.

The expanding roster of Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football on-air talent also includes legendary play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and five-time Sports Emmy-winning analyst Kirk Herbstreit.

Fred Gaudelli, producer of seven Super Bowls and a recent inductee into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, will serve as the executive producer of Thursday Night Football’s game coverage.

Multiple Sports Emmy winners Mike Muriano and Spoon Daftary are the executive and senior coordinating producers of Thursday Night Football’s pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage.

Kicking off September 15, Prime Video will be the first streaming service to air a season-long exclusive national broadcast package with the NFL. The 11-year deal includes 15 regular-season games and one preseason game per year, with Prime Video also delivering new pregame, halftime, and postgame shows as well as interactive features like X-Ray and Next Gen Stats powered by AWS. Viewers can stream from the web at amazon.com/TNF or by using the Prime Video app.

Since retiring in 2013, Gonzalez – a 14-time Pro-Bowler – served as an analyst for Fox Sports.

He previously played for the Kansas City Chiefs, before ending his career with the Atlanta Falcons.

Edwin Castro Signs with Creative Artists Agency (CAA)

Edwin Castro has new representation…

The 30-year-old Mexican American Twitch streamer has signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for representation in all areas.

Edwin CastroCastro is best known for his soccer-themed content including FIFA.

He averages 30,000 concurrent live viewers on the Amazon-owned platform and has over 3.5 million followers.

Castro is also active on YouTube and social media channels.

A sports enthusiast, Castro attends major sporting events annually such as WWE, F1, NFL, NBA and MLB.

Among his work with brands, Castro has collaborated with 7-Eleven, Gillette, Electronic Arts and Turtle Beach. Earlier this year, he was seen in a McDonald’s Super Bowl commercial.

Ally Brooke to Help Recognize Student Athletes During NFL’s Sports & Fitness Youth Awards

Ally Brooke will help celebrate some stellar student athletes…

In celebration of Super Bowl LVI Week, the 28-year-old Mexican American singer and former Fifth Harmony band member will serve as a special guest at the NFL’s Sports & Fitness Youth Awards, presented by the NFL and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

Ally BrookeAlly Brooke will form part of the event to recognize 10 student-athlete leaders, who’ve been selected among a pool of nearly 30,000 applicants.

Last week, Ally Brooke returned with her second single in Spanish, carrying a message about the strength of love in “Por Ti.” The song has reached No. 21 on the iTunes Latin chart and no. 1 on iTunes Ecuador.

The NFL’s Sports & Fitness Youth Awards will take place on February 8 at the LA Convention Center.

Tony Romo Developing Football Drama Series for Showtime

Tony Romo is bringin’ the drama to the small screen…

The 41-year-old former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current NFL analyst is teaming up with star Chace Crawford, executive producer and Showtime to develop a football drama.

Tony RomoThe series, currently in the early stages of development at the ViacomCBS-owned network, follows a fictitious first family of football and the players, coaches, and power brokers behind the high stakes world of America’s biggest professional sport.

The network is searching for a writer for the untitled project, which comes from eOne, where Comins and his Creative Engine Entertainment is based.

Romo and Crawford are brothers in law. Romo, who is currently an announcer for CBS after spending 14 seasons with the Cowboys, is married to Crawford’s sister Candice.

The project has been described as a cross between Succession and Friday Night Lights.

Jhené Aiko to Perform “America the Beautiful” at Super Bowl LVI

Jhené Aiko is preparing for a beautiful moment…

The 33-year-old part-Spanish and Dominican American Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter will perform “America the Beautiful” before the start of the game at Super Bowl LVI on February 13.

Jhené Aiko

Country star Mickey Guyton will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the game, while Sandra Mae Frank, who plays Dr. Wilder on NBC’s New Amsterdamis set to perform both songs in American Sign Language on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf.

Also set to take the pregame stage is veteran gospel duo Mary Mary, who will accompanied by the LA Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles on “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Zedd will serve as the pregame DJ.

NBC will telecast the Big Game from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The NFL championship will pit the hometown Los Angeles Rams against the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.

The game will also air on Telemundo and stream live on Peacock.

Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar will headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show. The quintet, which never have appeared together onstage, have 43 Grammys and 22 No. 1 albums among them.