01/22/19: Both CBS and FOX got boosts from OT NFL Conference Championship Games

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Tuesday January 22, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
 

Conference Championships paid off big for networks on Sunday. Nearly 54 million people tuned to in watch CBS Sports’ coverage of the Patriots/Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, clocking 53.9 million viewers to rank as the second-most watched AFC Championship Game in 42 years, according to Nielsen fast national ratings. The OT matchup drew an average household rating/share of 27.5/46, up 27% versus last year’s comparable Championship Game window. CBS reports that streaming coverage of the AFC Championship Game drove significant viewership growth from last year’s game, with the average minute audience up 77% and total minutes streamed up 64% year-over-year.
 
FOX, meanwhile, saw the NFC Championship rank as FOX’s highest-rated and most-watched broadcast since Super Bowl LI. Combined across FOX, FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports App, the Rams’ OT win produced 45,037,000 total viewers, up 5% over last year with FOX alone generating 44,075,000 million viewers.
 
 
PROGRAMMING
 
Meanwhile, Saints Owner Gayle Benson, issued a statement re: the non-call of a penalty that could have sent the Saints to the Super Bowl. “Yesterday’s result is still difficult to accept for all of us. I am thoroughly disappointed by the events that led to the outcome of yesterday’s game. Getting to the Super Bowl is incredibly difficult to do and takes such an unbelievable commitment from a team and support from its fans. No team should ever be denied the opportunity to reach the title game (or simply win a game) based on the actions, or inactions, of those charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field. As is clear to all who watched the game, it is undeniable that our team and fans were unfairly deprived of that opportunity yesterday. I have been in touch with the NFL regarding yesterday’s events and will aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies to ensure no team and fan base is ever put in a similar position again. It is a disservice to our coaches, players, employees and, most importantly, the fans who make our game possible. The NFL must always commit to providing the most basic of expectations – fairness and integrity.”
 
The debut of UFC Fight Night on ESPN+, which showcased13 fights live from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, led to a record-setting night with 568,000 new subscribers to the platform on Friday and Saturday to rank as the largest event and subscription catalyst for ESPN+ thus far. The UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ Prelims card ran on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and averaged a 1.4 metered market rating, making it the highest-rated UFC Fight Night Prelims on cable since at least 2013.
 
The results of the 2019 BBWAA Hall of Fame election will be announced exclusively on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 6p as part of a five-hour announcement show that starts at 3p. MLB Network’s coverage will exclusively feature National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson revealing the ballot results, as well as interviews with electees. Greg Amsinger and Brian Kenny anchor, with coverage also featuring Bob Costas, MLB Network analysts Harold Reynolds and Hall of Famer John Smoltz, plus Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi, and Hall of Fame voters and MLB Network insiders Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, Joel Sherman, Tom Verducci and Peter Gammons.
 
The National Football League formalized matchups for its five 2019 international regular-season games, slating four in the UK and one in Mexico. The Mexico matchup will feature the Chiefs/Chargers, while UK contests will serve up Panthers/Buccaneers, Bears/Raiders, Bengals/Rams and Texans/Jaguars.
 
Tennis Channel’s third season of multiplatform-series My Tennis Life puts the spotlight on feature American star Coco Vandeweghe and up-and-coming American Mackenzie McDonald. The first episode runs Jan,. 25 at 6p on the network, with a new editions every Friday throughout the season from each player.
 
The NBA, Turner Sports and Yahoo Sports debuted a new live nightly studio show last night titled The Bounce. The show will run five nights per week – Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – from 8-11p through the end of the 2018-19 NBA regular season, featuring rotating analysts such as Gary Payton, Swin Cash and Jason Terry, as well as Turner commentators Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Allie LaForce and Stephanie Ready as studio hosts.
 
NBC Sports Group opens the doors to The P.K. Project, a multi-episode NBC Sports Digital series chronicling the life of Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban starting tomorrow on NBCSports.com. New episodes will run each Wednesday across NBC Sports Digital platforms.
 
Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) President Jean Todt and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach signed an agreement to partner on motor sport and road safety content for the Olympic Channel. FIA becomes the 78th federation partner of the Olympic Channel. The agreement expands upon the existing collaboration between the FIA and the IOC, and provides an opportunity for motor sport and road safety content to be distributed on the Olympic Channel including original content through the activities of the FIA, motor sport athletes and road safety ambassadors from around the world.
 
A call to arms! (Well your eyes anyway). Cynopsis Sports is looking for a few more judges for this year’s Cynopsis Sports Awards! Sign up and help determine the industry’s champions, and join other experts in this time-honored role, all from the comfort of your computer. The judging process will take place from Feb 12 – 19 (click here to sign up). PS… Get your entries in now!
 
The NLL Vancouver Warriors locked in a deal with Rogers Sportsnet to create Warriors in 30, a new half hour on air and digital magazine show modeled after the popular Blue Jays in 30 series. It follows after the team, now owned by Canucks Sports and Entertainment, launched a deal with Sportsnet Radio to broadcast their games on Sportsnet 650 in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest of the US.
 
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This program is dedicated to celebrating the work of talented producers, hosts, sponsors and executives alike, and saluting the initiatives that drove audiences and turned sports viewers into fans this past year. With over 40 categories to choose from, you can be confident that your work will be evaluated in the best light. Industry leaders will be gathering on April 25th in NYC to watch as winners are announced, and the best of the best are celebrated in style, so save the date!
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
 
White Castle and USA Luge unlocked a two-year partnership extension that keeps White Castle’s position as the only fast-food organization to be named an official partner of the org. The partnership also continues White Castle’s position as title sponsor of the longstanding off-season recruitment program, the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search, which introduced the sport of luge to more than 1,200 youth across the U.S. over the past two off-seasons. White Castle’s sponsorship will support the USA Luge team and its summer and fall recruitment tours, which will host events in various cities across the country.
 
The NFL detailed activation plans surrounding the 2019 Pro Bowl, presented by Verizon out of Orlando this week. For the first time at Pro Bowl, the NFL will host Pro Bowl community Day on Saturday, as Pro Bowl players partner with youth, local, and national non-profit organizations in various activities supporting Community Service, Youth Football, Youth Health & Wellness, the Military Community, and Sustainability efforts. Additional activities will see the NFL PLAY 60 Character Camp, Special Olympics Unified Flag Football Game, Play Football Clinics, the NFL FLAG Championship and the NFL Green Project.
 
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Vegas Stats & Information Network is predicting that more than $300 million will be wagered within eight states when the Patriots and Rams collide in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. “The handle, or amount wagered on the Big Game, has grown pretty steadily over the past decade, breaking records in Nevada for each of the past three years,” said VSiN CEO, Brian Musburger. “Between that momentum and the addition of seven new states taking regulated bets, we’re expecting the amount wagered this year to dwarf everything we’ve seen in the past.”
 
 
ESPORTS

The Philadelphia Fusion announced a partnership with ARRIS, marking the brand’s first deal in the industry. In the announcement, the company stated that In many ways, this deal is the perfect match for us: First, it makes ARRIS much more visible to a key demographic of tech-savvy millennials. Second, it’s the perfect showcase for our residential and enterprise technology in delivering ultra-fast and reliable connectivity. Third, it’s an exciting opportunity to expand our business with both consumers and enterprise venues, in much the same way that we’ve done in sports marketing with NASCAR. Fourth, it supports our great relationship with Comcast, the owner of Philadelphia Fusion.”
 
Texas Esports, the majority owner of Dallas-based Infinite Esports & Entertainment, is looking to sell its stake in the company for at least $150 million starting early February, according to an Esports Insider report. Infinite Esports & Entertainment oversees and owns the likes of OpTic Gaming and Obey Alliance, LCS partner OpTic LoL, and Overwatch League franchise Houston Outlaws.
 
Esports retail and merchandise company We Are Nations acquired Sector Six Apparel, an esports apparel brand specializing in jerseys and custom team wear for all. “As Nations expands into working with global multi-channel projects, we wanted to make sure we stayed very good at supplying basic quality products to everyone at a good price and with ease of use and scale,” said We Are Nations CEO Patrick Mahoney.
 
 
INDUSTRY/ROSTER MOVES

World TeamTennis appointed sports media executive Carlos Silva to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining WTT, Silva served for four years as League President of the Professional Fighters League (PFL), and CEO of World Series of Fighting (WSOF). “Carlos has launched, operated and spearheaded the meteoric growth of sports and entertainment media properties for the past 25 years and is a well-respected sports media executive, proven digital leader, and recognized content innovator,” said Fred Luddy, who owns the World TeamTennis League along with Billie Jean King and Mark Ein. “We welcome him to our team as we look to continue to attract the best players in tennis, grow our sports league and our digital footprint.”
 
Drew DeHart was named GM for USC Sports Properties, a sales division under the FOX Sports College Properties umbrella. DeHart most recently worked with the Tampa Bay Rays where he served as Director, Corporate Partnerships. In that role, he drove business development and new partnerships.
 
Data-driven sports marketing agency Two Circles opened its second office in North America, adding Los Angeles. Two Circles’ North American business is headed by Los Angeles-based SVP Consulting Sam Yardley. The agency’s portfolio of clients includes the NFL, MLS, National Lacrosse League and New York Islanders, with several new client announcements to be made in Q1 of 2019.
 
 
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Mississippi State/Kentucky on ESPN at 7p.
 
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September 9-10, 2019
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ON THIS DAY in 1968: The NBA announces expansion franchise licenses for Milwaukee and Phoenix.
 
In the Know: who did the Phoenix Suns play the last time they appeared in the NBA Finals? (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: Which team’s mascot did Jim Carrey fight in the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective? Answer: Most popular answer (by far!) was the Miami Dolphins but the correct answer is actually the Philadelphia Eagles. Kudos: Traci Liner-Endeavor/NY; Danny Turk-Tough Mudder/NY; Mike Polvere-Optimum Soorts/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Matt Fumagalli – NBC/Chicago; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Tom Hurwitz-Palisades MediaGroup/LA
 
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