Football Across Europe: December 13-18 (Recapped)

English Premier League

Everton vs. Arsenal: Red-hot Arsenal have a chance to move (temporarily) into the top spot in the Premier League with a win at Everton on Tuesday. Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil will try to continue their fine form in front of net and extend the longest unbeaten streak of the season. Meanwhile, the Toffees can move into seventh with a victory and put a mediocre start to the season behind them.

Result: Everton 2 – 1 Arsenal: Though Alexis Sánchez continued his torrent form and put Arsenal ahead twenty minutes in, Everton got a goal just before half and an Ashley Williams header in the 86th minute to capture all three points at the Gunners’ expense. 

Sunderland vs. Chelsea: Speaking of streaks, Chelsea take a scintillating nine-match win streak into their mid-week trip to the Northeast to face Sunderland. Three points clear atop the table, Antonio Conte’s men could strengthen their grip on the title race if league-leading goal-scorer Diego Costa keeps burying his chances. In this first-against-worst clash, Sunderland would be lucky to hold on for a point against Eden Hazard and company.

Result: Sunderland 0 – 1 Chelsea: Cesc Fàbregas goal on 40 minutes was all table-leading Chelsea needed to continue their winning ways against relegation-risk Sunderland. 

Manchester City vs. Watford: It’s gut-check time for Manchester City, who have dropped their last two EPL fixtures and need three points at home against Watford to stay relevant in the title race. With Sergio Agüero suspended, Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling should be relied upon against Watford, who are surprisingly seventh in the table.

Result: Manchester City 2 – 0 Watford: A Pablo Zabaleta goal in the 33rd minute would have been enough at the Etihad, but David Silva added late insurance as City saw it through against Watford as they sought to keep pace in the title race. Manager Pep Guardiola was no doubt pleased to see City keep the clean sheet. 

Middlesbrough vs. Liverpool: Liverpool, coming off a 2-2 draw at Anfield over the weekend with West Ham, travel to newly promoted side Middlesbrough on Wednesday. Having dropped five points and conceded six goals their previous two fixtures, Liverpool will welcome Boro’s league-low scoring record and look to return to their winning ways as they try to keep pace with the table leaders. Reds striker Divock Origi, in the starting XI for injured Philippe Coutinho, has four goals in his last four matches.

Result: Middlesbrough 0 – 3 Liverpool: Liverpool, also looking to stay in the title race and put recent poor form behind them, took all three points from Riverside Stadium through a double from Adam Lallana and Divock Origi’s fifth goal in his last five matches. 

Bundesliga (Germany)

Darmstadt 98 vs. Bayern Munich: Thanks to a 1-0 RB Leipzig defeat on Saturday and a 5-0 trouncing of Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich are now back to their usual spot atop the Bundesliga table, though still level on points with RB Leipzig. On Sunday, they travel to take on last place Darmstadt 98 and will look to add a further three points to their league title defense campaign. Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Muller all found the net against Wolfsburg.

Result: Darmstadt 98 0 – 1 Bayern Munich: Enjoying nearly 80% possession, Bayern Munich defeated last-place Darmstadt on Sunday through a Douglas Costa goal in the 71st minute. A Red Bull Leipzig victory on Saturday, though, means the clubs remain level atop the Bundesliga table. 

Serie A (Italy)

Juventus vs. AS Roma: Saturday will see the top two teams in the Serie A table clash at Juventus stadium. Juve is fresh off a 3-1 victory in the Torino derby and Roma travels on the heels of a victory at home over AC Milan. New Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuaín doubled over the weekend, and looks to continue his fine form. Roma is unbeaten in their last five fixtures in all competitions and will be hungry to cut into Juve’s four-point table lead.

Result: Juventus 1 – 0 AS Roma: Though both teams saw chances, it was an early goal from in-form Gonzalo Higuain that saw Juventus victorious over the challengers  from Rome. Roma now finds themselves seven points back of table-leading Juve, with Napoli, Lazio, and AC Milan right on their heels. 

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Football Across Europe: December 9-11 (Recapped)

English Premier League

Leicester City vs. Manchester City: High-flying Man City travel to the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon to take on the slumping Foxes. Though Leicester advanced to the knockout stages of their surprise Champions League run, they sit 16th in the table,  17 points back of City, and nowhere near their magical form of last season. City’s Sergio Agüero is second in the Premier League in scoring thus far in 2016/17.

Result: Leicester City 4 – 2 Manchester City: Jamie Vardy scored in the third minute en route to a hat trick and Leicester dispatched Man City in a convincing manner, looking the most like the reigning Premier League champions they have perhaps all season. 

Manchester United vs. Tottenham: United welcome Spurs to Old Trafford on Sunday. Though the teams sit in fifth and sixth place respetively in the table, it will be a match United, six points behind Spurs, are desperate to win to stay within striking distance of the table leaders. A returned Harry Kane for Spurs will be looking to best the Red Devils’ star power of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and more.

Result: Manchester United 1 – 0 Tottenham: United, desperate for every point as they seek to stay in the title race, combined stout defending, the usual David de Gea soundness, and a 29th minute goal from Henrikh Mkhitaryan to beat Spurs on Sunday.

Chelsea vs. West Brom: Chelsea are back to looking like Chelsea, as they sit alone atop the EPL table entering Sunday’s affair with West Brom. The Blues haven’t lost in the league since Sept. 24, with goal-scoring maestro Diego Costa and majestic Eden Hazard shredding the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton in November. Continuing it through Sunday won’t be easy, as West Brom haven’t lost a match since October.

Result: Chelsea 1 – 0 West Brom: West Brom came into the match in great form and fought hard, but Chelsea proved too much for the Baggies as a 76th minute goal from Diego Costa, his fifth in his last six matches, gave Chelsea a late victory on Sunday and maintained their three point lead atop the table.

 Arsenal vs. Stoke City: The Gunners bring a 13-match unbeaten streak into this weekend’s league showdown against mid-table Stoke City. In-form Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez looks to add to his goal-scoring tally after a hat trick against West Ham last Saturday, while the Gunners can move level with Chelsea atop the EPL table with a win and a Blues loss over the weekend. Stoke can nab a third-straight league win if they pull off the upset at the Emirates Stadium.

Result: Arsenal 3 – 1 Stoke City: Stoke led 1-0 through a 29th minute goal, but Theo Walcott scored just before half and Mesut Özil scored minutes into the second half as Arsenal pulled off the come-from-behind victory to move, albeit briefly, atop the Premier League before Chelsea’s victory on Sunday.

Liverpool vs. West Ham United: Liverpool welcome the Hammers to Anfield on Sunday fresh off their first defeat in 16 matches, a calamitous meltdown away to Bournemouth last weekend. With Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge both ruled out due to injury, the Reds will hope West Ham’s poor recent form continues. Liverpool couldn’t beat West Ham least season in four tries, losing both league matches and managing a draw to force a second-leg matchup in the FA Cup, which saw the Reds dumped from the tournament.

Result: Liverpool 2 – 2 West Ham United: Liverpool led early through a fifth minute Adam Lallana goal, but a gorgeous Dimitri Payet free kick and a poorly conceded goal to Michail Antonio saw the Hammers up at halftime as Liverpool’s defensive fragility reared its head once again. A goal three minutes into the second half from in-form striker Divock Origi would save the Reds a point, but they drop another two behind both Chelsea and Arsenal.

La Liga (Spain)

Real Madrid vs. RC Deportivo: Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid hope to close out their league year on a high mark in a home showdown with Deportivo de la Coruña. Sergio Ramos’ late equalizer in El Clásico last weekend kept Los Blancos six points atop the La Liga table, but keeping that distance through the new year is critical with Lionel Messi and Neymar’s Barcelona nipping at their heels.

Result: Real Madrid 3 – 2 RC Deportivo: Scoreless at halftime, an Álvaro Morata goal in the 50th minute gave Real Madrid a lead, but it was short-lived as Joselu scored twice in two minutes to give RC Deportivo a 2-1 lead through 66 minutes. An 84th minute Mariano equalizer would give Real Madrid a chance, and Sergio Ramos delivered in stoppage time to secure all three points for Real Madrid who remain six points clear atop La Liga. 

Osasuna vs. Barcelona: Barcelona travel to the north of Spain on Saturday to take on Osasuna. Though advancing with ease through the group stage of the Champions League, Barca comes into this match on the heels of three straight league draws, including their last match, El Clásico against Real Madrid, who now sit six points clear of Barca in the La Liga table.

Result: Osasuna 0 – 3 Barcelona: Barca returned to their winning ways at the expense of Osasuna, who surrendered over 80% possession to Barcelona and registered only one shot on goal. Usual suspects and superstars Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi (double), provided all the scoring. 

Serie A (Italy)

Torino vs. Juventus: Juventus and Torino meet on Sunday in the derby della Mole, or Turin Derby. Turin’s top two teams battle for bragging rights in one of Italy’s oldest derbies. This match will be at Torino’s home grounds, with the rematch moving to Juventus Stadium in May. Between league and Coppa Italia play, Juventus swept all three meetings with Torino last season.

Result: Torino 1 – 3 Juventus: Torino drew first blood in this fierce derby matchup, but new striker Gonzalo Higuain equalized in the 28th minute and put Juve ahead in the 82nd to ensure another victory for Juventus against their bitter rivals. 

Football Across Europe: November 18-20

English Premier League

Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Arsenal, who sit two points off the top, travel to Old Trafford to tangle with a new-look Manchester United. New signings Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will look to continue two trends that Mesut Özil and the Gunners are keen to buck. Arsene Wenger has never beaten Jose Mourinho in the Premier League, and Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford in 10 years.

Tottenham vs. West Ham: While Tottenham are the only unbeaten side in the EPL, they’re intent on avoiding their seventh draw of the season when they host fellow Londoners West Ham in Saturday’s night cap. The Hammers are flirting with the relegation zone, but have gotten points in three of their last five meetings with Spurs – who are hopeful that striker Harry Kane will return from injury.

Southampton vs. Liverpool: Returning from International Break, red-hot Liverpool travel to England’s south coast to take on Southampton on Saturday. Though the Reds are currently alone atop the Premier League and have twice the points, the Saints have proven tough opponents of late, drawing at Manchester City and beating Inter Milan at home in Europa League action in recent weeks. Jürgen Klopp’s squad built a 2-0 lead at St. Mary’s last season through Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, but lost 3-2. The main culprit? New Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane.

La Liga (Spain)

Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid: Atletico Madrid won the head-to-head battle with Real Madrid last season, but Los Blancos got the one win that counted most – the Champions League Final. Atleti have fallen to fourth in the La Liga table, and a second-straight defeat at home in El Derbi madrileno would cripple their hopes of keeping pace with a Real Madrid side that’s unbeaten in all competitions and boasts the electric attacking duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Barcelona vs. Malaga: FC Barcelona can reclaim the top spot in La Liga with a win and a Real Madrid defeat, but the former won’t be easy with a visit from Malaga. The tenth-placed side have lost just once in their last five outings, but none of those came against the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. The star-studded trio has combined for 20 league goals already this season.

Bundesliga (Germany)

Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich: The German powerhouse Bayern Munich travel to the Westfalenstadion to face their rivals Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. Bayern is in their usual place atop the Bundesliga, but find themselves neck and neck with the surprise Red Bull Leipzig squad. Dortmund is six points back and looking to keep pace in what is a tight table thus far.

Serie A (Italy)

AC Milan vs. Inter Milan: A.C. Milan and Internazionale will meet for the Derby della Madonnina at their famed San Siro in Milan on Sunday. A.C. Milan are only five points behind leader Juventus in the table, while Inter sit a further eight back. Form and records matter little in this heated rivalry, however. The teams split their two meetings last season.

Cubs Fans Celebrate a Win 108 Years in the Making

It’s Game 7 in the bottom of the 10th inning. Every Cubs fan in the world is waiting in anticipation with a one-run lead, one out away from a World Series victory. 

Chicago Cubs win World Series 2016

There have been generations of friends and families going to Cubs game and loyal fans of a team that had been shut out for 108 years. Parents taking their kids to their first game and friends gathered around radios and television sets building a bond based on baseball. Everyone wearing their favorite Cubs t-shirts, hats and official Cubs memorabilia in hopes of a win.

There have been highs and lows for each Cubs fan during every nail-biting moment, but the highs had never culminated with a championship.

Times were the Cubs were very close, and times where hope never flourished. However, the love for the Cubbies kept each fan with some hope that someday it would be their day. The infamous Billy Goat curse plagued the team for many years, and for some, it’s the reason why the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in so long. Baseball is partly a game of omen, jinxes and curses. But for Cubs fans, it’s bigger than that.

Cubs fans are not just celebrating a team they have watched their entire life, but the memories they have gained while watching them with loved ones. Many are gone and many have aged, but the love for the game and the team still roars young. This is more than just being a fan it becomes a family game for generations.

So with one out to go, Montgomery pitches. It’s hit for a ground ball, picked up by Kris Bryant and thrown to first for the final out. It’s the beginning of the “someday” grandparents, parents, friends and siblings have spoken about for decades.

Tonight, it’s more than just a win, but a family reunion.

Cubs fans, young and old, have waited their entire lives for this moment to celebrate their team as World Series champions. It took an epic comeback and a Game 7 for the ages to make that happen, and the priceless reactions from these Cubs fans truly encapsulate 108 long years of suffering done away by a special 2016 Chicago Cubs team.

The History of the Chicago Cubs W Flag over Wrigley Field

When the Chicago Cubs win, the main sight around Chicago is a storm of white flags bearing a plain blue “W” on them. But the casual fan may not know why.

The origin of the Cubs “W” Flag has simple roots, coming to fruition in the late 1930s. Beginning between 1937 and 1938, a flag bearing the “W” would be raised over the scoreboard following a Cubs win, while a flag with the letter “L” would fly if the Cubs lost.

Chicago Cubs W flag Wringley Field

(Source: Chicago Tribune historical photo 1938)

It began as a way for Wrigley Field staff to let Chicagoans know the result of that day’s Cubs game, whether they were passing by the stadium on foot or traveling on public transit. Before fans could check the Internet, social media or even a transistor radio, the raised flag was their way of finding out the Cubs’ fate that day. Right after a win by the Cubs at Wringley Field, the white flag with blue W is raised above the center field scoreboard. The next morning, the flag is taken down during the morning commute hours, which give all Cubs fans the chance to know if their favorite cubbies have won the game.

In the 80 years since, the “W” Flag has become a central symbol for Cubs fans, just as much as the brick and ivy outfield walls or the outfield bleachers. It’s still used in the traditional sense – flown above the scoreboard, on cars or front porches of Cubs fans after a win – but has transcended its intended meaning to become an insignia of Chicago Cubs fandom.

The “W” Flag is no longer just a symbol to signify whether the Cubs won. It’s a rallying cry, a signal of Cubs pride worn on t-shirts and hoodies and emblazoned anywhere that Cubs fans are.

Chicago Cubs W on Tshirt

(Source: Fanatics at Chicago Cubs Majestic Youth W Flag T-Shirt – Royal)

2016 has been a special year for the Cubs, who advanced to their first World Series since 1945, but also for the “W” flag. Chicago’s 103 regular-season wins were the franchise’s most since 1910, decades before the “W” ever came to existence.

The Cubs haven’t just pumped joy into one of sports’ most passionate and longest-suffering fan bases throughout this historic season by hoisting a National League pennant. They’ve also given the “W” its most use in the flag’s extensive history.

If the “W” is raised four more times above the Wrigley Field scoreboard, it will mean a 108-year drought has ended and Wrigleyville will be rocking like never before.

Cubs fans can shop at Fanatics.com for their W Flags, Cubs T-Shirts, Jerseys and Hats along with Cubs World Series Gear as the Cubbies go for their third World Series crown.

No time is being wasted at Fanatics: Printing Cavs Shirts On Demand

No time is being wasted at Fanatics in the wake of the Cleveland Cavaliers winning their first-ever NBA Championship.

Cavaliers Championship T-Shirts are already being printed at Fanatics fulfillment centers following LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and company finishing off the Golden State Warriors to wrap up the greatest NBA Finals comeback in history. Take a look below, as we detail the printing process for the Cavs’ champs T-Shirts.

The Cavaliers brought the first major professional sports championship to Cleveland since 1964 with a 93-89 triumph in a road Game 7 against the Warriors. In doing so, the Cavs became the first team in NBA Finals history to battle back from a 3-1 series deficit to win the championship.

A championship that Cavs fans have been waiting decades for, and envisioned since James was drafted by his hometown team in 2003, is undeniably sweet for the loyal Cleveland sports faithful. How it came about, though – James reclaiming his throne averaging  36 points in three must-win games, Irving showing his clutch gene and the team redeeming last year’s Finals loss to Golden State – has to make the champagne taste even sweeter.

Warriors, Sharks Championship Fever Extends Beyond the Bay Area

The Bay Area is currently the hottest place to be for sports fans, with the two championship hopefuls – the Golden State Warriors and the San Jose Sharks – within a 50-mile radius of one another. In fact, the Bay Area is now the top-selling market in the country for licensed merchandise for Fanatics, recently surpassing Los Angeles. While there’s been a 75 percent jump in Bay Area merchandise sales on Fanatics.com over the last two weeks, championship fever is spreading well beyond the reaches of Bay and to all edges of the Golden State.

Warriors-SharksCaliforniaCountyMap-7

Golden State has unsurprisingly painted a majority of the state gold, but the Sharks are well represented. San Jose is the top-seller for the Sacramento area along with most of Northern California, while the Warriors are holding down most of the Bay Area.

Warriors fans across the nation are rocking the same Strength in Numbers Playoff T-Shirt as the fans and players at Oracle Arena, making it their top-selling product. Meanwhile, Sharks fans are celebrating their first-ever conference title by making the Western Conference Champions T-Shirt the team’s most popular product.

Warriors-SharksCalifornia-SideBar3 (2)

The Warriors’ numerous star players like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have made Warriors jerseys a hot item from men to women and kids. As for the Sharks, their fans are loading up on Custom Sharks Jerseys and Hats while they make a title run.

The Sharks rank second in NHL sales just behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final awaiting Thursday’s Game 5. San Jose looks to follow the Warriors’ recent magic, as Golden State dug out of a similar 3-1 deficit to win the Western Conference Finals.

Whether you’re in the Bay Area or anywhere else, Fanatics.com is the #1 stop for Warriors gear, Sharks merchandise and any NBA Finals gear or Stanley Cup apparel you need as your teams vie for championships on the ice and the hard court.

Stephen Curry Tops NBA Player Sales in 48 of 50 U.S. States Entering NBA Finals

Despite a record-breaking 73-9 season, the Golden State Warriors had to make more history en route to the NBA Finals by becoming the fourth team ever to erase a 3-1 series deficit to win a conference title. But that did nothing to slow down one of the most rabid fan bases in sports.

Stephen Curry fever is taking over not just the Bay Area following his part in an epic comeback against the Oklahoma City Thunder to win the Western Conference Finals, but the entire nation. For the month of May, Curry was the top-selling jersey in the NBA and best-selling NBA player in 48 of the 50 U.S. states on Fanatics.com.

Apart from the obvious – LeBron James owning Ohio and Kevin Durant taking Oklahoma – Curry was the most popular jersey in every other state through the first full month of the NBA Playoffs.

Stephen Curry is the top-selling NBA athlete for May 2016 in 48 out of 50 states, with LeBron James and Kevin Durant each assuming one state.
Stephen Curry is the top-selling NBA athlete for May 2016 in 48 out of 50 states, with LeBron James and Kevin Durant each assuming one state.

Klay Thompson: Much More than a Sidekick

Curry may dominate the league’s jersey sales, but it isn’t taking away from his fellow Splash Brother’s explosion in merchandise sales – not one bit, actually.

Warriors guard Klay Thompson is booming in popularity with a more than 350% increase in sales compared to the same time last year. Often forgotten in the wake of Curry’s greatness, Thompson has completely stepped out of the shadows in this postseason.

Without Thompson, it’s safe to say the Warriors wouldn’t even be here. Thompson canned 11 three-pointers for 41 points in a must-win Game 6 on the road in Oklahoma City, including 19 fourth-quarter points to complete the comeback and save the Warriors’ season.

Golden State and NBA fans certainly took notice.

Strength in Numbers

When winning consecutive conference titles, most fan bases sell more merchandise for the initial title than the second one. But the Warriors don’t have most fan bases.

Compared to last year’s West title, Warriors merchandise sales are up more than 180% on Fanatics.com. While repeat champions don’t typically see an increase in sales from the first title, Golden State is a rare exception as they continue to make NBA history while captivating the casual sports fan.

While Golden State’s reign on the NBA strengthens, so does the breadth of their fans. As shown by Fanatics research on Warriors fandom in the Bay Area and Warriors fandom outside the Bay Area, the team’s ascension into the NBA’s elite is reflected by their fan base growing virally across the nation.

After ending a 40-year NBA title drought with a championship in 2015, the Warriors’ thirst for rings has been far from quenched. And with a full-strength Cleveland Cavaliers side coming to town this time around, you can bet a Finals repeat would be even sweeter than the first for Golden State Warriors players and fans that can’t wait to stock up on more jerseys, shirts and hats to potentially celebrate a back-to-back championship.

Sources

http://www.nba.com/2016/news/05/25/teams-to-overcome-3-1-series-deficits-in-playoffs-boston-celtics-los-angeles-lakers-washington-wizards-houston-rockets-miami-heat-detroit-pistons-phoenix-suns/

http://www.nba.com/games/20160528/GSWOKC/gameinfo.html

Methodology

We looked at Fanatics merchandise sales data across the United States throughout the month of May 2016, comparing when necessary to the same time period as the Warriors’ Western Conference Finals clinch over the Houston Rockets in 2015 to garner year-over-year sales increases.

Kobe vs. Curry: A Race Around the World

Kobe Bryant has long ruled the NBA’s booming global market, which is being felt more than ever throughout his legendary retirement. Spending much of his childhood in Italy and making trips to China every offseason, Bryant’s worldwide pull is no surprise – but the numbers will still shock you.

A whopping 20 percent of Bryant’s total sales throughout April on Fanatics.com have come from outside the United States. Nearly half of that is from China and Hong Kong, the latter of which is Kobe’s second-most popular market behind Los Angeles.

Check out all the countries Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry have sold to in April 2016.
Countries Kobe Bryant (purple) and Stephen Curry (blue) have sold to in April 2016 on Fanatics.com.

April provides the perfect opportunity to compare the Black Mamba’s global reach with Stephen Curry, basketball’s new dominant force whose Golden State Warriors just broke 73 wins. In April sales, the Los Angeles Lakers star sold products in 87 different countries, just barely edging out Curry’s 86. The Black Mamba holds a decided edge in Asia and Europe, but Curry has a slightly larger reach in South America and Africa.

While their global maps cover much of the same territory, Kobe made sales in Thailand, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, Curry beat out Kobe by selling products in Peru, Guyana, Kenya, Greece and Cambodia. Global reach, indeed.

Even with MLB’s Opening Day this month, Bryant absolutely dominated China’s overall sales. Kobe Bryant products alone have accounted for more than 38 percent of China’s total sales on Fanatics.com throughout April.

As LeBron James once said during Team USA’s 2008 trip to the Beijing Olympics, “I thought I was famous until I got here with Kobe.”

Thank you Guangzhou #rise #muse

A photo posted by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on

Curry’s international breadth is growing along with his game. His sales in April have accounted for 12 percent of overall Stephen Curry merchandise sold on Fanatics.com, with our neighbors up north in Canada (where Curry spent three years as a teenager while father Dell Curry played for the Toronto Raptors) and friends down under in Australia as his top-selling countries outside the USA.

For an American player whose total merchandise sales on Fanatics.com are up more than 300 percent this season compared to last year’s MVP run, such a large chunk of sales outside the U.S. just might put him in line to be basketball’s next premier global icon.

Nobody will replace the global footprint that Kobe Bryant left on the game of basketball. And like many legends, his merchandise will continue to sell long after he hangs his sneakers up for good. But novelty breeds excitement, and the euphoria surrounding Curry has reached far beyond America’s borders.

Given the NBA’s continued investment in their global brand, Curry’s growing popularity abroad should only continue as he keeps breaking records.

#RoarBacon Because Everything is Better with Bacon

From an innocent social media typo to Roar Bacon T-shirts, you really can’t make up the story of how the St. Louis Blues’ new motto has galvanized a “hungry” fan base.

Back on November 4, the St. Louis Blues mounted a furious 6-5 road comeback in overtime over the Chicago Blackhawks in the rivals’ first meeting of the season. The Blues’ Instagram account wanted to alert their followers that the team had “roared back.” Their phone’s autocorrect feature had other ideas, and the hashtag began nationally trending – Roar Bacon was born.

Well that was something. #OurBlues roar bacon with three second-period goals to tie the game 5-5. #STLvsCHI

A photo posted by St. Louis Blues (@stlouisblues) on

So Blues fans would have their fun, make some memes and move on, right? Not quite.

From a pig’s visit to the Blues locker room to Roar Bacon-themed menu items at home games, the Blues kept riding the wave of #RoarBacon – and the team kept responding. When the Blues battled back in Chicago on Sunday in a 3-2 win to take a 2-1 series lead in their first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup, it marked the Blues’ third road comeback over the Blackhawks this season – the third chapter in the Roar Bacon saga.

So Roar Bacon is more than just a funny motto – it’s a rallying cry that defines the composure these Blues need to eliminate the Stanley Cup champions and make a run at the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. And if we know anything about St. Louis-Chicago rivalries, there’s no other team that the Notes would rather beat on their way to it.

After going viral early in the season, #RoarBacon has been channeled more and more by Blues fans during the playoffs. The postseason’s first week saw more than 900K impressions on Twitter for the delicious hashtag and around 640K alone during Sunday’s Game 3 comeback.

Roar Bacon tweets

Source: Sample data from Keyhole.co

Social media celebrities are taking notice, with ESPN’s Darren Rovell showing off the new Roar Bacon T-Shirt on Fanatics:

After it tapered off following November, it’s no surprise to see the uptick in search popularity for the term Roar Bacon as the Blues show their grit again in these playoffs.

Roar Bacon isn’t completely precluded to the land of The Gateway Arch. Among the 13.5K Google searches made for the motto in November, well over half came from outside the St. Louis area. So the #RoarBacon fever is spreading, and folks across the nation want to know its origin.

Call it sports’ most successful Internet typo if you want, or a quirky motto that induces stomach growling. But for the St. Louis Blues and their fans, Roar Bacon has evolved from an early season Internet trend into a motto that is defining their Stanley Cup run.

Roar Bacon t-shirts are for sale on Fanatics.com in LadiesMen & Kids sizes