Baseball NFTs are coming from Topps

These trading cards don’t come with any bubble gum.

Baseball cards are going digital.

Each token will use the WAX blockchain to keep a record of the ownership of each card, which can also be sold or traded on a global marketplace. Those who want to start collecting will need to open a free WAX Cloud Wallet.

For those unfamiliar, NFTs are unique digital tokens tied with certain digital assets such as a highlight video, a tweet or a picture. What takes a bit of open-mindedness is understanding that the token acts as a certificate of authenticity for the digital asset, but it doesn’t mean that picture or video is yours as you won’t own the intellectual rights. However, NFTs can be worth big bucks, such as the first-ever tweet going for $2.9 million, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski trading cards going for $1.8 million and even one guy making $85 selling his farts.

Climbing at the Tokyo Olympics: Start times, finals schedule, how to watch

Next up for climbing: Men’s finals.

Adam Ondra is probably the best climber in the world right now.

Traditional climbing takes place outside without a predetermined route.

All the qualifiers have taken place. All that’s left is the finals. First up is the men’s finals, which starts at 4.30 a.m. August 5 EDT (1.30 a.m. PDT).

Full schedule:

The women’s finals follow a similar schedule on August 6.

In the US, NBC will broadcast events, with the BBC securing rights in England and Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two in Australia. All events will take place at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo.

The finalists for the men are…

Bassa Mawem is expected to withdraw as a result of bicep injury inflicted during qualification.

Finalists for the women are…

Sport climbing will be broken up into three separate disciplines: speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering. Not every country will be represented; only 20 athletes per gender (40 climbers total) will be allowed to compete at the Games, and only 2 athletes per gender per country will compete in any given event.

FYI, the International Olympic Committee currently recognizes only two genders — female and male. There are currently stipulations for athletes that identify as transgender, both female and male, to compete. But there aren’t any guidelines or rulings for athletes who don’t identify as female or male — including those who are nonbinary, agender and genderqueer.

The combined nature of climbing at the Olympics has been somewhat controversial. Speed climbing requires a completely different skillset compared to bouldering and lead climbing. In the next Olympics speed climbing is being broken out as a separate event, leaving bouldering and lead climbing as a combined event.

Two climbers, one wall.

Speed climbing is relatively simple: there are two climbers with safety ropes and one 15-meter wall set at a 95-degree angle. The climbers race against each other to get to the top, with the fastest one winning. The speed route is the exact same at all times: the same holds in the same position at the exact same angle. The addition of speed climbing has been somewhat controversial in the climbing community, because it requires a completely different skillset compared to other climbing disciplines.

Athletes use physical and mental precision to climb to the top of a bouldering route.

Bouldering takes place on an shorter wall, where climbers take turns attempting to scale as many routes on a four-meter-tall wall in 4 minutes. Each route (also called a bouldering problem) is laid out with hand and foot holds in a specific color, and they vary in difficulty based on the size of the holds and the way they are spaced out. A climber completes a problem by grabbing the top hold with both hands.

Bouldering has traditionally been about power and finger strength, but recently competition route setters have been creating problems that require delicate co-ordination and explosive gymnastic movements. This one will be fun to watch.

In Lead climbing, participants secure themselves with a rope as they climb higher.

Lead climbing is arguably the most recognizable of the three events. The climber has six minutes to climb as high on a wall that is taller than 15 meters. They use safety ropes that attach to quickdraws on their way up, allowing the rope to run freely while they stay anchored to the wall. If two athletes reach the same point on the wall, the person who got there first is the winner.

In both bouldering and lead climbing, climbers are not allowed to practice climbing on the routes before they compete or watch each other scale the wall, and they only have a couple of minutes to study the routes and decide their strategy before the timer begins.

The Olympic and Paralympic medals are made from recycled electronics. The Olympics won’t change the year on the medals, by the way.

If you thought the qualifying system was a bit complicated, take a deep breath. There’s only one set of medals awarded per gender, so all three events will go into determining which country gets the gold, silver and bronze.

The speed climbing discipline will be done in a bracket format, with athletes competing head to head, while bouldering is in a leaderboard format. Lead climbing will have a point system in which each hold on the wall counts as one point and the athlete who climbs the highest will obtain the highest score.

Once all the athletes are ordered by placement per event, their placement numbers will be multiplied, and the climbers with the lowest scores will win medals. Because of the scoring format, each climber will compete in each event. For example, if an athlete gets second place in speed climbing, third in bouldering and first in lead climbing their overall score would be six (2 times 3 times 1 equals 6).

In the men’s event the favourite is almost certainly Tomoa Narasaki. Some of the other climbers like Adam Ondra and Alex Megos are considered stronger climbers in terms of their performance on real rock, but this is competition climbing and it’s very different beast. Narasaki was born in the darkness of comp climbing. He’s the Bane of bouldering and, of all the strong climbers, he’s evolved to the weirdness of speed climbing the best. This gives him a great shot at claiming gold.

In the women’s event you’d have to pick Janja Garnbret. She’s been literally unbeatable in the competition scene, particularly in bouldering. There are plenty of others worth watching. From Japan both Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka have a great shot. Noguchi is probably the most decorated female comp climber of all time and Nonaka is a great all-rounder who competes well in speed — the boogie event most top climbers are nervous about.  

Can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

NBA Opening Night: How to watch Nets vs. Bucks, Warriors vs. Lakers on TNT

Giannis, Durant, Harden, Curry and LeBron are all in action to tip off the 2021-22 NBA season. And you don’t need cable to watch.

Keep reading to see how you can watch both games without cable. And to plan out your pro basketball viewing for the entire regular season, check out our guide for watching the 2021-22 NBA basketball season without cable.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks begin their title defense on Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets on TNT.

Four of the five major live TV streaming services offer TNT (all but FuboTV). Sling TV has the cheapest plan with TNT, and DirecTV Stream is the priciest.

Sling TV’s Orange plan and Blue plan both cost $35 and include TNT.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes TNT.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes TNT.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

Formerly AT&T TV, DirecTV Stream’s basic $70-a-month package includes TNT.

Read our DirecTV Stream review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

Eddie Huang’s Boogie is the ‘Taiwanese-Chinese NY Rocky’

On CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast, the talented Huang opens up about making his feature film directorial debut and his love for writing.

Eddie Huang (center) sits between two of the actors in his debut film Boogie: the late rapper and songwriter Pop Smoke (left), who plays Monk, and Taylor Takahashi (right), who plays Alfred “Boogie” Chin.

“It’s not about basketball, right? He [Boogie] plays basketball. But it’s the Taiwanese-Chinese New York Rocky. Rocky is not about boxing, it’s an Italian American coming-of-age story,” said an energized Huang. “That’s what Boogie does with the Asian American immigrant experience. And then it also intersects with the Black experience.”

Boogie stars Taylor Takahashi in the titular role and the late rapper and songwriter Pop Smoke as rival Monk. In February 2020, Pop Smoke was killed when four men broke into and robbed a house he was renting. Along with Boogie being the only movie he was in, Pop Smoke has original music on the film’s soundtrack.

When I watched Boogie, I was taken aback by its smart and raw storytelling. This is an independent film that is both contemporary and old-school. Huang is incredibly gifted when it comes to dialogue, and Boogie reminds me of the satisfaction I get from the dialogue in a film penned by Quentin Tarantino or Diablo Cody.

During our conversation, Huang discussed the challenges of directing his first feature film, how he absolutely loves writing and how Chinese Americans to this day are still hurt by the myth that MSG is harmful.

You can listen to my entire conversation with Huang on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. You can currently see his film Boogie in theaters. Also, you can subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo and I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.

Conor McGregor’s staggering loss to Dustin Poirier: How much money did each make at UFC 264?

A major upset at UFC 264 turns the tables on the highest paid UFC fighter on the planet. What does that mean for the size of the purse?

Conor McGregor of Ireland punches Dustin Poirier in a lightweight fight during the UFC 257 event in January. The two met for a rematch July 10.

A highly anticipated rematch like this was expected to make millions of dollars for the winner — and even the loser. In 2021, McGregor made a disclosed $5 million for losing against Poirier. The Ultimate Fighting Championship company is at the center of a billion-dollar industry, so you’d expect the athletes to make a large sum of the money. But when it comes to fighters’ take-home pay, the situation gets complicated fast. Here’s what we know about the size of the purse and how much athletes actually get to keep.

A UFC spokesperson didn’t follow up on a request for information after initially responding to a CNET inquiry.

Similar to the UFC, the Nevada State Athletic commission doesn’t officially release fighter purse information. However, The Sports Daily reported McGregor made $5,011,000 from the bout — $5 million to show up and $11,000 as fight week incentive pay. Poirier, the winner by technical knockout, made $1,021,000 — $1 million to show up and $21,000 fight week incentive pay, says The Sports Daily.

In the McGregor vs. Poirier fight at UFC 257 earlier this year, McGregor made a disclosed $5 million, despite losing. In the same fight, Poirier made $1 million. This doesn’t include revenue from McGregor’s share of pay-per-view earnings.

Forbes, which in May named McGregor the world’s highest paid athlete over the past 12 months, estimated McGregor took home an additional $20 million in UFC 257.

Similar to boxing, the higher you are on the food chain, the more money you earn per fight, even if you lose. UFC’s more popular fighters make more money depending on the revenue and audience they generate. McGregor is — by leaps and bounds — the UFC’s greatest draw. The UFC’s top five most-viewed PPV fights all featured McGregor in the main event. That’s why, in McGregor’s second fight with Poirier, McGregor made more money than his opponent, despite losing.

Likewise, in raising his profile, Poirier increased his earnings potential by defeating McGregor in a high-profile bout.

UFC fighters can also earn supplemental income from incentives throughout the night. Fight of the Night bonuses, Knockout of the Night, or Submission of the Night can all add to the athlete’s total payout.

Though the popularity of the UFC has been steadily increasing, the athletes aren’t taking home a bigger percentage of the fight’s total revenue. Former UFC athlete Cung Le, as well as other former UFC athletes, have sued the UFC, accusing it of operating as a monopoly.

According to several reports and an ongoing lawsuit, it was found that the athletes typically receive only 20% of the gross revenue the UFC brings in. This number is low compared with other professional sports. Major leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL reportedly pay athletes closer to 50% of gross revenue.

McGregor is a special exception and earns considerably more than other UFC athletes. When Ronda Rosey earned her highest disclosed purse, it tied with McGregor’s highest at the time, which was then $3 million. Since then, he’s blown that number out of the water, and no other UFC fighter has seen close to the amount of money he has. To date, his biggest payout wasn’t a UFC match but the boxing match in which he fought Floyd Mayweather. McGregor was guaranteed $30 million prior to the fight but ended up walking away with a reported $85 million, Forbes said. (Mayweather won on a technical knockout and bagged $275 million, Forbes reported.)

The money that funds the UFC comes from multiple sources. A large majority of these athletes are on contract with the UFC. Each time they fight, they’re guaranteed to earn a specified sum. Even on contract, athletes can earn money from pay-per-view purchases, ticket sales, closed circuit, commercial, other “PPV Event” revenue, merchandising, licensing and sponsorships.

The UFC also holds TV contracts that at one time were worth an estimated $1 billion. When it comes to athletes disclosing their earnings from a fight, there isn’t a specific distinction between what the UFC gives the athlete versus what the fighters earn from endorsements.

To the UFC and mixed martial arts fighters, Las Vegas is considered to be the “fight capital of the world.” Thanks to Victory in Vegas, a 2001 UFC event, standout names have steadily returned to Vegas for sellout events. It helps that the UFC’s headquarters is also located in Las Vegas.

“We’re going to build our own hotel. We’ll be completely self-sufficient,” UFC President Dana White said in an interview with reporters in August about a 10-acre land purchase. The UFC purchased the land near its current headquarters to build a hotel for fighters and their teammates to host events.

Baseball and softball at the Tokyo Olympics: Everything you need to know

Baseball and softball are back. Here’s what you need to know…

America’s favorite pastime returns to the Olympics.

Baseball and softball will both run in a modified tournament format. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the international governing body established in 2013 to merge the International Softball Federation and the International Baseball Federation, will run the competitions.

Each tournament — one for baseball and one for softball — features six teams. The softball tournament will consist of a single round-robin among the six teams, followed by a bronze medal game and a gold medal game for a total of 17 games.

The baseball tournament opens with a group round-robin with two pools of three teams. Each team will play the other two teams in the pool once, with a total of six games played in the group round-robin.

The group round-robin is followed by a knockout round of 10 total games, wherein the first three games feature teams that finished in the same position within their pools (A1 vs. B1, A2 vs. B2, A3 vs. B3). The loser of the A3 vs. B3 game is eliminated, and the rest of the competition ensues in a double-elimination format until there is one team left in each of the winners and losers brackets. Those two teams play the gold medal game.

Baseball’s sister sport, softball, also returns to the Olympics.

The MLB has never halted or interrupted its season for the Olympics, and MLB officials still seem reluctant to do so.

Shortly after the announcement was made that baseball would appear in the Olympics, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said it was unlikely that MLB athletes would play, as it would mean that some MLB teams would play short-handed or the league would shut down for two weeks during the Olympics. The latter half of MLB’s season is the most crucial, as it sets up which teams will make it to the playoffs and ultimately the World Series, so it’s even harder to justify players taking time away from their teams.

In 2008, the last year baseball was seen at the Olympics, the US roster was filled by minor league players and one college player.

So far, it seems unlikely that any big leaguers will travel to Japan.

Both tournaments will begin at the Azuma Stadium in Fukushima, with softball on July 21, 2021, and baseball on July 28, 2021. The finals will continue at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, with the softball final on July 27 and the baseball final on Aug. 7.

Check out the schedule of events here.

The Olympics are back on NBC, with a 24/7 stream online if you verify you’re a cable subscriber. NBCSports Gold will have a dedicated Olympics package — pay an upfront fee and you’ll be able to watch anywhere, uninterrupted by ads.

Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of the West Coast, so watching live should get a good spread of events. It’s a little trickier on the East Coast, where you may have to rely on highlights.

The BBC will cover the games on TV, radio and online in the UK, with more on Eurosport, a pay-TV channel. The time difference there is 8 hours, so you’ll have to get up very early in the morning to watch live.

In Australia, the Seven Network will spread free-to-air coverage over Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two. It’s a good year for watching Down Under, with Sydney only an hour ahead of Tokyo.

Tokyo Olympics to be held under state of emergency, won’t allow spectators

Rising COVID-19 cases in Japan’s capital have led to a third state of emergency for the city, one that will last throughout the Olympic Games.

The Olympics were postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“New cases in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area have been rising since June,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was reported as saying in the Japan Times. “Stronger measures have become necessary in those areas, but could be lifted early if we see evidence of the positive impact of the vaccine rollout.”

Tokyo’s COVID-19 cases peaked with the new year, with over 2,392 new cases on Jan. 8. Numbers have fallen since, but they’ve been rising since the middle of June. Tokyo recorded 337 new COVID-19 cases on June 15, but July has seen new cases fluctuate between 500 and 920. It’s the third state of emergency the city has endured since the pandemic’s onset, following similar precautions in April and January.

Around 15% of Japan’s 126 million citizens have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A worldwide death toll from the virus had risen to more than 4 million as of Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. In Japan, nearly 15,000 people have died of the virus.

After being postponed more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Olympics are scheduled to begin July 23 in Tokyo. They’ll run through to Aug. 8. Though many experts cautioned against holding the games, Japan’s government has pressed on — albeit with increasing restrictions as the games approached.

Officials last month said local fans would be allowed to physically attend the games, but with venues limited to 50% capacity or up to 10,000 spectators max. In March, officials banned overseas spectators from the Olympics.

Olympics opening ceremony memes: Tonga still doesn’t give a shirt

But this year the shirtless, glossy Tongan taekwondo athlete has competition from Vanuatu. Plus: What’s with the team entrance order?

Malia and Pita lead Team Tonga during the opening ceremony. Um, yes, some viewers did in fact notice Pita’s shiny torso.

Things were a little different this year: Taufatofua wore a face mask, and he was joined by Malia Paseka, Tonga’s first female Olympian to compete in taekwondo. He congratulated his teammate and fellow flag bearer.

“A special congratulations to our Flag Bearer, Malia Paseka,” Taufatofua tweeted. “She did an amazing job leading the way for more participation of females and youth in sport in Tonga. So proud to walk along side our first ever female taekwondo Olympian!”

Fans were drawn to the Tonga team.

“Clearly the best pair of flag bearers in the Parade of Nations,” wrote one Twitter user. “You both are amazing!”

Wrote another, “**BREAKING** TONGA HAS WON THE OLYMPICS. We can all go home now.”

This year, Tonga wasn’t alone in the oiled-up athlete arena. Rower Riilio Rii from Vanuatu also pulled off the shirtless and glossy look.

“Pita, we see you and we raise you,” the official Olympics Twitter account wrote.

The countries usually file into the stadium in alphabetical order. But when you watch this year, you may wonder if you even know the alphabet. That’s because it’s in the order used in Japan.

There are also some other variations. Greece, home of the original Olympics, leads the pack, followed by the Refugee Team, athletes from troubled countries who’ve mostly been training in Kenya. The USA marches in near the end, followed by France and then Japan, the host country. (If you want to follow along, Wikipedia has the order.)

Many who were expecting the teams to march in ABC order were thrown.

“This order is bonkers,” wrote one Twitter user. “I clearly need to revisit the alphabet.”

The various sports were also displayed by performers dressed in white and blue and dubbed “human pictograms,” who re-create the icons used to depict each sport.

Wrote one Twitter user, “This live action Wii sports menu was unexpected but very much appreciated.”

Said another, “Give the pictogram team a GOLD.”

The opening ceremonies will be rebroadcast in the US on NBC at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT. The Olympics run through Aug. 8.

Jake Paul grabs Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s hat, and the memes break loose

Stupid thing to do to the former boxing champ, but the memes and jokes are cap-tivating.

That’s Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Logan Paul, but it was the other Paul brother, Jake, that stole the hat.

A planned stunt? Just another Jake Paul stupid decision? Sure seems scripted, since Paul was quick to try and capitalize by selling black baseball caps that read, “gotcha hat.” No one buy them, please?

“You guys think wrasslin is real, too,” wrote one Twitter user.

Said another, “All planned to build the hype.”

Social-media users had fun with it regardless.

We’re likely to see plenty more stuntage before the June 6 fight. Stay tuned.

Jake Paul announces he’ll fight former UFC champ Tyron Woodley

The two clashed at Jake Paul’s last fight. Now Woodley says he’ll “take out the trash.”

Jake Paul will fight Tyron Woodley on Aug. 28.

Woodley gave as good as he got, making fun of Jake Paul’s bragging about snatching Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s hat at a press event for the upcoming June 6 fight between Mayweather and Paul’s brother, Logan Paul.

“Dear Jake Paul, keep the hat,” Woodley wrote. “I’m taking your head clean off your neck!”

Jake and Logan Paul first became famous for their internet videos. Jake Paul also played Dirk Mann in the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark. Both Paul brothers have pursued boxing, with Jake Paul boasting a 3-0 professional boxing record. He has fought former NBA point guard Nate Robinson, social media influencer AnEsonGib and former MMA champion Ben Askren.

Tyron Woodley, a former UFC champion, was in Askren’s corner for Paul’s recent victory and clashed verbally with Paul before the fight.

“Easiest fight of my career and biggest purse of my career all in one night,” Woodley said of the Paul match, according to ESPN. “Basically, they brought me in to take out the trash. I can’t wait to shut this b—- up. This is getting done for the culture, the whole MMA community and boxing community, to rid this guy of combat sports.”

The fighters will fight at 190 pounds, wear 10-ounce gloves and fight in a 20×20 ring, ESPN reports. The fight will be distributed by Showtime and air on pay-per-view, with fans expected to be in attendance. No location has been announced.