This week’s highlights from the sports business world:

Cristiano Ronaldo App Takes Soccer and Social Media Superstar Mobile – As apps continue to dominate the new media landscape, it makes sense the world’s most followed athlete will now have his own.  Ronaldo who plays for Real Madrid has over 40.4 million Facebook fans and 7.3 million followers on Twitter. The next two athletes on the list are Lionel Messi and David Beckham at 32 million and 16 million Facebook fans respectively (neither are on Twitter yet).  As athletes and other celebrities try to control and monetize their brand, we should expect many more of these types of apps to come.  Sports teams are doing their best to keep up and launching mobile apps of their own.  The LA Kings and the NY Knicks are two of the most recent examples.  This mad dash will continue while sports properties attempt to deepen engagement with their fans, provide value and ultimately drive revenue.

Sites like WhoSay, which a division of CAA developed are also making a splash on-line by providing celebrities with a controlled environment for fans to follow an aggregate of their Facebook and Twitter streams along with photos, videos and fan comments.  We’ll see if this becomes the next big thing, but for now the race continues.

NBA’s Sprite Slam Dunk Contest – For the first time, fans will be able to vote via Twitter to determine the winner of this year’s slam dunk contest.  The format will consist of only one round and each competitor will execute three dunks.  Fan voting will open after all four players have completed their first dunk. Previously, the Sprite Slam Dunk contest consisted of two rounds, with the first round scored by a panel of judges which determined two finalists.  Fans will still be able to vote via text and on-line as well.  This is a great way to engage the fans with social media and bring new life to this event.  It’s still a shame we won’t see Blake Griffin, Lebron James or Dwight Howard participate, but this is a great move by the NBA.  Other All-Star social media activation plans include an AMEX Foursquare check-in program to receive discounts on merchandise and Footlocker’s 3 point shootout sweepstakes on Facebook where fans enter to win a trip to next year’s event in Houston.

Pro sports solve social media puzzle
– This is an interesting read on how sports properties are addressing social media and the new challenges surrounding it.