Claudia Di Gino, Novotel Miami Brickell Hotel, Miami Sports Travel

Rick is joined on “Tech of Sports” this week by the GM of the Novotel Miami Brickell Hotel, Claudia Di Gino.

Claudia is leading the charge as the Novotel Miami Brickell has reopened its doors—and heart—to guests and visitors with rooms starting at great rates. A Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice 2020 winner, the hotel is nestled in the heart of Miami’s bustling Brickell neighborhood, within walking distance of many of the city’s top dining and shopping attractions.

As Claudia tells Rick, the Novotel Miami Brickell’s location is perfect for not only business and leisure travelers, but also those in Miami for watching and playing sports. Venues for the Heat, Marlins and many of the other great sporting events in Miami are nearby.

But in this day, safety is priority and the Novotel leads the way.

“The hotel’s top priority remains the safety, care and wellbeing of our Novotel Miami Brickell family. Welcoming, safeguarding and taking care of others is at the very heart of what we do and who we are,” said Di Gino, Novotel Miami Brickell. “Today, this means keeping our guests and employees safe by preventing the spread of COVID-19 – partnering with top experts to implement new standards of safety and enhanced operational protocols and procedures which are among the most stringent in the hospitality industry.”

The new operational standards being implemented at Novotel Miami Brickell and at Accor properties across North & Central America were developed and vetted by a team of expert advisors to ensure maximum efficacy in preventing the spread of all viruses and pathogens, including COVID-19, with oversight by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspections and certification; Dr. Amesh Adalja, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security & fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and Ruth Petran, Ph.D., CFS, Senior Corporate Scientist, Food Safety and Public Health, for Ecolab, global leaders in cleaning and hygiene, and trusted advisors to the CDC. At each touchpoint along the guest journey through Novotel Miami Brickell, extensive measures are being taken to protect guests and employees, including physical distancing; mandatory screening for all guests and employees, which may include a temperature check; face coverings mandated for all employees and guests in all indoor public spaces; 48 hour “resting period” for soft goods (i.e. pillows & duvets) between guest stays; increased frequency of cleaning & disinfecting, with a focus on high-touch points; and continued use of EPA registered disinfecting chemicals, proven effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. Hands-on training for all employees, a dedicated on-property rollout committee and a formal audit program, validated under the global ALLSAFE Cleanliness label, ensure initial and continued compliance.

“As we welcome our friends, family and community back to Novotel Miami Brickell, please be assured that we are looking ahead, through and past the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure that our valued guests and employees will always be looked after with the highest degree of safety, care and comfort.”

Safety, a great property and sports travel. In a great Miami neighborhood. Fun talking with Claudia.


Rennie Curran, Former UGA, NFL Linebacker, Now Athlete 2 Athlete Series

Rick is joined this week by former NFL and University of Georgia linebacker, Rennie Curran. Curran is doing great work since football.

Game Changers Foundation, partnering with Sports Turf Company, is excited to announce the launch of its Athlete 2 Athlete program. This FREE, weekly video-based show was created to develop high school student-athletes into leaders that succeed in sports, business, philanthropy and life. The 10-week series will cover topics such as mental toughness, recruiting, nutrition, academics, preventing Injury, leadership, culture of a championship season, mental health, training and performance. Well-known speakers will vary each week to include athletes (NFL Hall of Famer Champ Bailey), coaches (former UGA Head Coach Mark Richt) and topic experts (author and speaker Jon Gordon).

Game Changers is a 501c3 nonprofit founded by former UGA Legend and NFLer Rennie Curran. The foundation’s mission is to lead athletes – from high school through retired professionals – to achieve their fullest potential in the game of life. Sports Turf Company is a sports facility construction company based in Whitesburg, Ga.

Each show will run approximately 60 minutes in length. Curran will serve as the host for a roundtable that will include current or former professional athletes and coaches, as well as a topic expert.

See Athlete 2 Athlete on Youtube here.

High school superintendents, athletic directors, coaches and, most importantly, athletes and their parents throughout the state are invited to attend this free event. A high school each week will receive a $500 scholarship provided by Sports Turf. Search “Athlete 2 Athlete” on to register.

“I have walked in the shoes of these student-athletes,” said Curran. “I understand and appreciate the impact that an individual can have on others, and my goal is to impart knowledge from those that have traveled before them. With COVID-19, they need our support and encouragement more than ever, and I want to leverage my network to make a difference in their lives.”

Sports Turf’s sponsorship of the Athlete 2 Athlete program is part of a larger partnership between the company and Game Changers Foundation.

“It was an easy decision for Sports Turf to support Rennie and the Game Changers Foundation in fulfilling their commitment to helping student-athletes reach their full potential,” said Todd Wiggins, President of Sports Turf. “Rennie has an excellent reputation in Georgia having played high school and college football in the state. His passion and excellence parallels Sports Turf’s commitment to developing long-standing relationships and building quality facilities throughout the state.”

Specializing in all different types of sport surfaces, Sports Turf builds natural grass and artificial turf sports fields, as well as tennis courts and track surfaces. Sports Turf guides schools through the entire process of selecting the best options for a facility, expert installation and ongoing commitment through its lifetime, with a focus on safety, performance and durability.

For more information about Game Changers Foundation, please visit or to learn more about Sports Turf Company, please visit


Marc Becker, Sales and Marketing Director at Higgins Hotel, New Orleans

Sports travel is an important part of the economy in the great city of New Orleans. Rick talks about that and more with Marc Becker, Sales and Marketing Director at the Higgins Hotel and Conference Center in Downtown New Orleans.

The highly acclaimed Higgins Hotel New Orleans, Curio Collection by Hilton, rated #1 on TripAdvisor of 177 hotels in New Orleans, has announced its “Park and Stay” package for the fall travel season.

Ideally located in the heart of the city’s vibrant Arts & Warehouse District featuring more than 25 art galleries, a variety of museums, and visionary chefs, the hotel is conveniently situated across the street from The National WWII Museum, TripAdvisor’s top-rated tourist destination in New Orleans and #2 in the U.S. Recognized as the “Official Hotel of The National WWII Museum,” The Higgins opened in early 2020 with a conference center, exceptional dining options and a distinct 1940s theme.

The Higgins is a Curio branded hotel by Hilton that provides experiences for the curious traveler. Some are well known. Some are local legends. But each hotel in the Curio Collection is a masterpiece that reflects the best of its surroundings. Best of all, Hilton Honors points are awarded for each eligible stay.
With New Orleans moving into Phase III of its “open for business” protocol, travelers are again able to enjoy all that makes vacationing in this historic destination so appealing. Plus, the Higgins’ fall season “Park & Stay” travel offer provides guests with an easy to book room rate inclusive of parking at the hotel’s adjacent garage. The attractive rate makes a simple combo buy for those arriving by car and saves guests upwards of $39 in parking fees common to downtown hotels in the city.

To book the offer, visit, and in the reservation window use the booking code RPPSG1 or click on “Park & Stay” when making the reservation. Rates as low as $119 can be found through September.

The Higgins Hotel has remained open throughout the COVID pandemic, proudly welcoming guests and first responders alike with specific safety protocols for more intense sanitizing actions and the personalized services a Curio branded hotel is known for. From a nostalgic hotel experience sure to intrigue and delight, to dining and entertainment options at your fingertips, the Higgins Hotel represents home away from home, including guest rooms that offer striking 1940’s style décor.

The most popular dining option is the hotel’s Rosie’s on the Roof Restaurant, offering outside deck seating, with penthouse-style views out over the city skyline and of the new Canopy of Peace at the adjacent National WWII Museum. Service is also Covid centric, with no-touch ordering and socially spaced dining.
The Higgins recently instituted the Hilton “CleanStay” program, where guests are offered no-touch check in, no-visit hotel room stays, and a rigorous daily cleaning of all public areas and touchpoints within each guestroom. The Hilton CleanStay program provides a standard list of new cleaning protocols and products, anchored by brand leader Lysol.

Also for foodies, the Higgins is introducing a special dining opportunity with French Chef Virgile Brandel of Higgins Hotels Café Normandie and Rosie’s on the Roof. The Suite Dining with a French Chef experience will allow guests to enjoy a carefully curated gourmet meal in a Presidential Suite on the penthouse level of the Higgins Hotel featuring views of downtown New Orleans. Imagine taking in the amazing views of this historic destination while enjoying some of the finest cuisine found in the Big Easy.

Guests can also choose to enjoy the Higgins Hotel Fish & Dine option, where you can bring the fresh catch from your charter fishing excursions, and Chef Virgile Brandel will prepare it for your dining delight – broiled, sautéed, or fried, with added sides, salad and desert for up to 10 guests. Didn’t catch enough fish? No worries. Chef Brandel will supplement your catch while you savor cocktails at Rosie’s on the Roof, Higgins Hotel’s view bar. Then, enjoy your dinner with friends casually served in a semi-private socially distanced environment of Café Normandie.

With New Orleans moving into Phase III of its “open for business” protocol, travelers are again able to enjoy all that makes vacationing in this historic destination so appealing. To find out more about the Suite Dining or Fish & Dine options, visit

Scott Hansen, NFL RedZone

Rick joined in an NFL Network conference call with Scott Hansen back at the start of the football season.

Are you a fan of Red Zone on Sundays?

Scott brings you live football coverage for 7 hours straight, changing the way you watch football.

Every touchdown from every game, every Sunday afternoon during the NFL regular season.

When a team reaches the 20-yard line, (i.e. the “red zone”) NFL RedZone cuts to the local broadcast of that game. NFL RedZone also takes fans back to watch any turnovers, game-changing plays and scoring plays outside of the designated red zone, so they can see all the incredible action Sunday afternoon games have to offer.

NFL RedZone can show up to 8 games at a time, using the NFL RedZone Octobox screen, making it the perfect Fantasy football companion – NFL fans can follow all the action and improve their fantasy football roster. Join host Scott Hanson for live coverage of all the best NFL action from across the country.

NFL RedZone’s host, Scott Hanson

Scott Hanson is the host of NFL RedZone. In addition to his responsibilities for NFL RedZone, Hanson is also a host for NFL Network’s on-location coverage of NFL events such as Super Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine, NFL Draft, free agency and more.

Hanson joined NFL Media in 2006 as a national reporter covering all 32 teams. He transitioned into studio hosting in 2008, and was named the host of NFL RedZone during its inaugural season in 2009. Produced by NFL Network, NFL RedZone whips around every NFL game on Sunday afternoons delivering the touchdowns and most exciting moments live and in high definition. NFL RedZone and Hanson are widely praised by the fans and media.

Tony Horton, Fitness Innovator, Founder of Power Life

Rick is joined by Tony Horton this week on “Tech of Sports.”

Fitness Icon and Expert Personal Trainer to Tom Petty, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Nicks, Tony Horton, believes that real and lasting change can happen when we commit to health as a lifestyle. Exercise, whole foods, and the right mindset is the formula that leads to a vibrant, productive and full life for anyone who focuses on being the best they can be—and even in his 60s, Horton is proving it’s possible to maintain maximum health at any age. Now, Tony after making a remarkable comeback from an autoimmune disease, Tony is bringing his mission to the world in a new way, with the release of Power Life: workout supplements designed for people who are looking to maintain their health as they get older. With a focus on whole-body health, Power Life tackles digestion from multiple angles, giving muscles well-deserved relief, and supporting whole-body health with every scoop. Featuring a 3-part approach that focuses on a healthy base line, protein and recovery, these products provide the nutrition that 90% of Americans are not getting in their diet. As founder and developer of Power Life, Tony Horton has dedicated his career to helping others reach their full potential, in fitness, and in life.

Now, at 61 years old, he embodies the idea of active aging, and his mission is to shatter the concept that people have to slow down because of their age. Tony Horton is also the creator of P90X2®, P90X3®, and Ten Minute Trainer®, and most recently his 22-Minute military inspired workout, 22 Minute Hard Corps®.

His Foundation Four was created for anyone who wants to be more focused, energized, and present every day. This formula can be especially helpful for those who regularly struggle with digestive discomfort and low energy, since it’s full of digestive-supporters and revitalizing minerals. Simply mix one scoop of Foundation Four into a 4-6 oz glass of water or add it to a morning smoothie. To maximize benefits, you can drink Foundation Four in the morning to take on the day with fewer digestive issues, and more energy.

Rick has a great talk with Tony about all he has going on and as a former trainer of Sean Connery, he might even give us his best Connery impersonation.

Mark Quiroz, Vice President of Marketing, Display Division, Samsung Electronics America

A new stadium for the Los Angeles NFL teams brings a bunch of new technology to sports fans.

Rick talks to Mark Quiroz, Samsung’s Vice President of Marketing, Display Division this week on “Tech of Sports.”

Samsung’s outdoor LED products were exclusively used to build SoFi Stadium’s 70,000 square-foot dual-sided, center-hung videoboard – the first and only 4K end-to-end video production in a stadium. The agreement showcases Samsung’s commitment to enhancing the fan experience at live events through technology.

Beyond SoFi Stadium, Samsung’s LED display technology will be represented throughout Hollywood Park, reaching fans across the development’s residential, office and retail areas and through the Hollywood Park connected mobile app. Samsung mobile users will experience exclusive in-app features, including a dedicated Samsung Members section with benefits including exclusive content, offers and in-stadium discounts.

Samsung was named the Official Mobile, TV and Display partner of Hollywood Park, a 298-acre sports and entertainment destination, inclusive of SoFi Stadium and a 6,000-seat performance venue. Samsung’s outdoor LED products were exclusively used to build SoFi Stadium’s 70,000 square-foot dual-sided, center-hung videoboard. Moreover, the videoboard is the first and only 4K end-to-end video production in a stadium. The agreement showcases Samsung’s commitment to enhancing the fan experience at live events through technology.

To offer fans and guests a consistently dynamic experience, Samsung was excited to work with Hollywood Park to enhance, improve and develop display technology to innovate and improve the guest experience for years to come. This cutting-edge technology will set a new standard for the fan experience, with SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park representing the future of sports and live entertainment.

“At Samsung, we are so proud of our partnership with Hollywood Park and excited to be a part of what will soon be a crown jewel for the city of Los Angeles,” says Quiroz, Samsung Electronics America. “From the unique use of display technology in the videoboard to the use of outdoor LED displays in the American Airlines Plaza, Samsung technology is changing the way fans experience game day.”

Thanks to Mark for coming on and sharing his insights.