ENTERING ITS THIRD SEASON, ATLANTA UNITED IS ALREADY THE ENVY OF MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
DC UNITED VS. ATLANTA UNITED
March 3, 6 p.m. ET on ESPN
Atlanta United has played only two seasons, but it's already setting a new standard for Major League Soccer. Last year, the club won MLS Cup and turned the capital of the South into a soccer-mad city, drawing more than 70,000 fans eight times and averaging more than 53,000. Fueled by the ambition of owner Arthur Blank (who also owns the Falcons) and shrewd front-office maneuvering, Atlanta has become a model MLS franchise.
While some clubs continue to spend big on aging household names, like DC United's Wayne Rooney—who will face the defending champs in Week 1—Atlanta has focused on youth, investing in its academy and purchasing rising South American stars like reigning league MVP Josef Martínez (above). In January the club doubled down on its ethos by selling midfielder Miguel Almirón to Newcastle for around $26 million, a record haul for an MLS player, and replacing him for a smaller sum with 25-year-old Argentine midfielder Pity Martínez, the 2018 South American Footballer of the Year. So while Atlanta won it all last season, its encore might be just as impressive.
ESPN+, first two episodes available now
Executive-produced by Kevin Durant and hosted by ESPN's Jay Williams, this six-part series highlights the intersection of sports and business, from team ownership to sneakers.
IN THE DUGOUT WITH JACKIE ROBINSON
Museum of the City of New York, through Sept. 15
A new exhibit honors Jackie Robinson's centennial with rare photographs and videos, offering an intimate view of a trailblazer.
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
by Tommy Tomlinson, out now
The longtime sports scribe's candid and poignant memoir details his love of food—especially of the American South—and his struggle with obesity.