01/15/19: Endeavor is launching Endeavor Streaming, landing WWE as a new client

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Tuesday January 15, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
 

Endeavor announced the formation of Endeavor Streaming, designed to showcase the company’s video streaming products and services, with OTT leader NeuLion, acquired by Endeavor in 2018, absorbed within the new group alongside Endeavor’s internally developed video platform technology, and now operate exclusively under the Endeavor Streaming moniker. Endeavor Streaming will continue servicing properties that include the NFL, NBA, UFC, and Euroleague, and announced new clients that include WWE and their WWE Network, UK-based BT and their new service, BT Sport Box Office; and OSN, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading entertainment network.
 
The business will be co-led by Endeavor Chief Technology Officer Nick Wilson and Endeavor Streaming President of Business Operations Will Staeger. “There is no better home for content owners – whether an established sports league or a rising new content creator – than Endeavor Streaming,” remarked Wilson and Staeger. “We’ve integrated Endeavor’s scalable platform with NeuLion’s industry leading technology and feature set to provide clients with the best tools and services in video streaming, removing technology as a barrier in reaching their consumers.”
 
 
PROGRAMMING

ESPN locked in US rights to more than 65 CFL games that will run on ESPN+ direct-to-consumer streaming service with 20 CFL games set to run on ESPN networks, in addition to one Division Final and the Grey Cup. “It’s exciting for the CFL to continue its relationship with ESPN and expand onto ESPN+,” said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “We have seen increases in interest in the U.S. market for Canadian football and we look forward to building on the momentum and captivating American audiences for seasons to come.” The 2019 CFL season will open in June and continue for over five months, with the 107th Grey Cup presented by Shaw set for Nov. 24 in Calgary.
 
Steve Harvey has been tapped as this year’s host of NFL Honors, taking place on Feb. 2 at FOX Theatre in Atlanta. The two-hour primetime awards special recognizing the NFL’s best players, performances and plays from the 2018 season will air nationally at 9p on CBS. Music for the show will once again be performed by vocalist-instrumentalist Spencer Ludwig.
 
The NBA on TNT gears up for a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tripleheader on Monday, with games that include the Warriors/Lakers at 10:30p, with Marv Albert and Chris Webber joined by reporter Kristen Ledlow on the game call. The action begins with the Pelicans/Grizzlies with Anderson calling the action with analyst Grant Hill and reporter Ros Gold-Onwude. The Rockets/76ers round out the events, as Kevin Harlan provides play-by-play for Rockets/76ers with analyst Reggie Miller and reporter Allie LaForce. TNT’s MLK Day coverage will begin at 5p with a 30-minute Autotrader Pregame Show that will highlight how NBA players celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
With coverage of the Australian Open underway, Tennis Channel announced that the network is now carried in 61 million homes, to rank as the fastest growing network in television, according to the company, and taking on more than five million subscribers in December. Since it first subscribed to NTI Nielsen ratings in January 2017, Tennis Channel has added 17.7 million traditional pay-TV and streaming homes, growing to 61.2 million today. The network’s Tennis Channel Plus digital streaming service also saw gains overall and throughout the past year, with subscriptions growing 25% from the last day of 2017 to the end of 2018.
 
FloSports announced a multiyear partnership with Peak Events to provide live and on-demand coverage of the Frisco College Baseball Classic and other Peak Events exclusively on FloLive.tv. The partnership runs through the 2020 Frisco College Baseball Classic set for Feb. 28 – March 1, 2020. FloSports will broadcast three days and six total games of Frisco College Baseball Classic and additional Peak Events.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Volkswagen of America scored a deal with the US Soccer Federation, announcing a multiyear presenting partnership that makes the brand the first automotive presenting sponsor in US Soccer History. The eight-figure deal is also the second largest partnership/sponsorship in the org’s history after Nike, and extends through 2022. The agreement was facilitated by Soccer United Marketing.
 
UFC booked a new integrated marketing partnership with Motel 6, that makes the chain UFC’s first-ever “Official Economy Lodging Partner,” creating a new sponsorship category for the MMA promotion. In return, Motel 6 will have a branded presence inside UFC’s Octagon for select UFC events, including several Pay-Per-Views and a variety of ESPN and ESPN+ telecasts. Additional partnership activations will include in-venue commercials, branded integrations in select UFC Pay-Per-Views and collaborations on digital and social media campaigns. Motel 6 will also have a branded presence at several UFC Fan Experience activations in the U.S.
 
The NBA will unveil “Banners,” a new spot for MLK Day that pays tribute to the many ways NBA players past and present honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and “bring the values of the game like teamwork, dedication, respect and equality, off the court and into our communities.” The spot features NBA legends: Bernard King, Dikembe Mutombo, Dominique Wilkins and Vince Carter, as they raise banners into the rafters for today’s NBA players who work year-round to bring people together and bridge divides in our communities.
 
Bud Light announced that they’ll be bringing enough beer for the whole city of whichever team wins this year’s Super Bowl, echoing last year’s run with the Eagles last year. “Bud Light made history with the Eagles last year with the biggest Super Bowl celebration ever,” the brand said in the news release. “As the Official Beer of the NFL, they’re making a promise to again be right there alongside fans when their team wins the Super Bowl this year.”
 
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Topgolf Entertainment Group and NBC Sports Group entered a new strategic technology partnership designed to offer enhanced PGA TOUR tournament coverage and modernizing experiences at local golf facilities through the technology of Toptracer. Topgolf and NBC Sports’ new multi-year agreement includes the expansion of Toptracer as the exclusive ball-tracking technology for NBC Sports’ PGA TOUR telecasts on GOLF Channel and NBC, as well as Golf Central wraparound news coverage. In addition, Topgolf and NBC Sports will collaborate on future programming and content development initiatives.
 
Discovery purchased a 71% controlling stake in Play Sports Group, which offers Global Cycling Network, Global Mountain Bike Network, and Global Triathlon Network. The deal, according to reports, will see Discovery create the “first global ecosystem combining the best of community, content, lifestyle, and events for the large and growing number of cycling enthusiasts.”
 
 
ESPORTS

Cloud9 locked in a deal with Puma, to mark the brand’s largest esports deal to date. The deal involves Cloud9’s North American League of Legends Championship Series team for Spring Split with PUMA becoming the Official Apparel and the Official game-day Pants and Shoes provider of the Cloud9 LCS team. “Esports are becoming increasingly popular with our consumers, so this is a very exciting deal for us,” said Adam Petrick, PUMA’s Global Director of Marketing. “Cloud9 is poised to have a great LCS season, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. We look forward to working with the Cloud9 team to make sure their players look as stylish off-stage as they do on-stage.”
 
GameWorks announced the rollout of “eSports Lounges” in four additional sites nationwide lining up  new sites that will join current locations in Las Vegas, Denver and Seattle. The company’s new venues will open in the first quarter of the year, with locations in:
  • Chesapeake, Va. (Norfolk/Virginia Beach) – February 28, 2019
  • Schaumburg, Ill. (Chicago) – March 7, 2019
  • Minneapolis, Minn./Mall of America – March 14, 2019
  • Newport, Ky. (Cincinnati) – March 20, 2019
 
Targeting gamers around the country, MTN DEW AMP Game Fuel has gone national with new partnerships, following its beta test launch in December. The brand announced a slate of deals to coincide with its rollout, including ESL and Ubisoft, in addition to its roster of teams. With Ubisoft, the brand will deliver “valuable assets” within games, including the upcoming Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. Meanwhile, the beverage is also now the official global beverage partner of major global events within the ESL ecosystem, activating with “unique, interactive onsite experiences” at ESL’s premier competitions, ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters and ESL Pro League. Finally, the company is also expanding its professional gaming roster to include leading esports organization, Counter Logic Gaming. CLG joins the brand’s current roster of Team Dignitas, Immortals, SK Gaming – and most recently, Team OpTic.
 
Collectables and trading card company Panini locked in a new deal with esports outfit compLexity Gaming in a move that will see the two companies develop projects in the near future, including the launch of a Panini Twitch channel on Jan. 17. The companies will work to engage fans from both esports and traditional sports through original content collaborations, onsite activations, and collectible memorabilia. Complexity influencers and streamers from Madden, Fortnite, card games, and other gaming communities, will stream on the official Panini Twitch channel, alongside a dedicated monthly YouTube video, and social media posts.
 
OverActive Media locked in more than $22 million in its latest funding round. The capital will be used to fund its Overwatch League team, Toronto Defiant, and its League of Legends European Championship team, Splyce in addition to using funds to complete its acquisition of Splyce. The funding came from both new and existing shareholders, with a mix of corporate, private, and institutional investors.

Beasley Media Group, LLC; a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. named Jennifer Sulik to the newly created position of Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Beasley XP, the company’s recently announced esports division. Sulik most recently served as the founder and chief executive officer of Go Media Detroit.
 
 
INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

Peter Laatz, has been named Global Managing Director for IEG, where he will now lead the company with a focus on driving product and services innovation and growth across its three primary verticals of business: valuation services, measurement and business insights and data, intelligence and thought leadership. 
 
Combate Americas announced key appointments to its leadership team. Billy Sanez joins Combate Americas as Senior Vice President of Marketing, and Rosa Gomez is named Director, Digital and Social Media. Sanez will oversee brand development and integrated marketing communications. He will be based in Dallas, Texas. Gomez will oversee digital content and advertising and will lead the overall athlete social media influencer strategy. She will be based in Los Angeles. Both will report into Jacqueline Hernandez, President of Combate Americas.
 
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced that college athletics communications veteran Todd Bell has been named the WCHA’s Marketing & Communications Manager. Bell joins the WCHA from the athletics communications office at the University of Alabama.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Virginia Tech/Virginia square off at 8p on WatchESPN.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
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 February 6 | 11:45AM – 2PM | NYC
 
Grab a drink & join the party as tv’s most talented execs compete for the win. TV Awards finalists will be honored, and winners announced, along with our impressive 2019 Rising Stars during an awards event hosted by comedian/hypnotist Chris Jones. Click  here  to view all finalists & honorees.
 
 

ON THIS DAY in 1892: The rules of basketball are published for the first time, running in Triangle Magazine.
 
In the Know: Which CFL team has won the most Grey Cup championships? (Email chris-sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who is the all-time RBI leader for the Atlanta Braves? Answer: I’m back one day and already deservedly getting called out. For the Braves franchise overall, the answer is Hank Aaron. For the Atlanta Braves, it is Chipper Jones. Kudos: Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Greg Conner-Tennis Media/NY; Andrew Feingold-Fox News/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Charles Boehmig- SRi/MKTG/Westport; Bill Graff-beIN SPORTS/Miami; Mark Lehman-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego
 
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