01.15.16 Good morning. It’s Friday January 15, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
NBCU is looking to best its Olympics high-mark set by the 2012 Summer Games, with Seth Winter, EVP of Sales and Sales Marketing at NBC Sports Group, stating that the company is on pace to break the $1 billion in ad revenue for this summer’s festivities. The company is reportedly asking for over $1 million for a :30 second spot in primetime. Winter stated that due to its location in Rio, coverage would feature more live hours than previous events with sponsors coming from a wide range of categories that include the automotive sector, insurance, quick-serve restaurants, motion pictures, technology, financial services, telecommunications, and packaged goods.
“I think part of reason why we see such an increase in sales is that we see a very, very strong, even stronger desire for live event programming, and I think all of you know that sports programming has really taken off lately,” said Winter. “Live programming has taken off, and people recognize the value of that. Our digital sales are going very, very well. We anticipate being up probably as much as 50% versus London, largely based on our capacity, the amount of sports that we have, the proliferation of digital devices. In the last four years, the increase in tablets and handsets is so much greater, and the appetite that advertisers have for that; the amount of social activity that we’ve seen and some of the conversations we’re having with some of the social companies, many of which we will be announcing in upcoming weeks.”
ESPN is doubling down on Michelle Beadle, inking the SportsNation co-host to a new multi-year deal, while announcing that her show will move to ESPN starting Feb. 8 at 4p. In addition, Beadle will join ESPN senior writer Ramona Shelburne for a new national radio show entitled Beadle & Shelburne which will debut on Feb. 14 at noon. "Michelle is truly one of the most authentic voices in sports and the connection fans have with her is something she has earned through the enthusiasm and insight she brings to her job every day,” said Connor Schell, senior vice president, ESPN Original Content. "Michelle is a tremendous talent within the ESPN family and will play an important role in the evolution of SportsNation going forward.”
CBS has its host for the upcoming NFL Honors on Feb. 6, tapping the talents of Conan O’Brien for the ceremony at 9p. O’Brien joins Alec Baldwin and Seth Meyers on the list of award-winning celebrities to host the NFL’s awards show.
More work for LeBron James, as CNBC announced a new series with the NBA star and Maverick Carter’s production company, SpringHill Entertainment, and Magical Elves. The unscripted program will be set in Cleveland and will debut in the Summer, offering local entrepreneurs the chance to “realize their own dreams while also helping to revitalize struggling neighborhoods in their city.”
International media rights company MP & Silva locked in a worldwide rights distribution deal for the Garanti Koza Sofia Open, an ATP World Tour 250 Series event. The first ever ATP World Tour event in Bulgaria will be played indoors on hard courts from Feb. 1-7 this year. “We are thrilled to be distributing the first ever tournament from the ATP World Tour 250 series in Sofia. This is a great addition to our tennis rights portfolio, and this new partnership is further evidence of MP & Silva’s commitment to develop tennis TV and online audiences around the world,” said Marco Auletta, CEO of MP & Silva.
iN DEMAND announced that the NBA League Pass out-of-market package will get a week-long free preview on digital cable from Jan. 18-24. Jan. 18 will also allow fans to purchase the package for the remaining half-season for $99.
NBC Sports Radio will serve up a new weekday lineup starting Feb. 8 that will include ProFootballTalk Live with Mike Florio moving into a new morning show timeslot, running weekdays from 6-9a. In addition, the live final hour will be simulcast on NBCSN and streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra for the next three months, through the 2016 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs moves to noon-3p and will be followed by the Chris Mannix Show from 3-7p. Under Center with Mark Malone moves shifts to 7-10p followed by Going Deep with Amani Toomer and Dan Schwartzman till 1a. The new Scott Seidenberg Show spans 1-3a. Meanwhile, Jon Stashower moves to the morning show as the network’s lead update anchor from 1-11a.
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ESPN and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association saw The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company ink a multiyear agreement renewing its title sponsorship of the Cotton Bowl. The deal will also highlight the Goodyear Blimp as the preferred aerial provider for College GameDay and key college football games on ESPN.
Vince Gill, Jennifer Nettles, Lee Brice, and Lennon & Maisy are all on board to lead the entertainment slate for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Jan. 31. Gill will perform the U.S. national anthem while Canadian-born duo, Lennon & Maisy, will perform the Canadian national anthem. Brice will give a pre-game performance, including during player introductions. Nettles will take the stage during the second intermission. In addition, starting Jan. 28, fans can experience performances by Big & Rich, Lee Brice, Chris Young, Dierks Bentley, Kelsea Ballerini, Aaron Lewis, Eli Young Band, John Hiatt, and Tara Thompson on the Honda Stage.
Majestic Athletic and the NFL locked in a multi-year contract extension, that will see Majestic retain the rights to design, produce and distribute an array of men’s and women’s fan wear apparel across multiple channels of distribution. "We’re thrilled to announce the extension of this premier sports license and believe it illustrates the long-standing trust and partnership we’ve enjoyed for decades with the National Football League," said Jim Pisani, President of Majestic Athletic. "We’ve achieved robust success due to the tremendous passion and commitment of our associates. Their efforts have elevated the NFL business and brand across all the retail channels we supply product in."
Speaking of the NFL, Super Bowl 50 will see PepsiCo serve up student chefs as part of PepsiCo’s Game Day Grub Match, a “one-of-a-kind cooking competition featuring students from The Culinary Institute of America competing to create the ultimate football food.” Content will also be featured on the Tastemakers’ YouTube channels and promoted on Tastemade’s social platforms including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.
The Players’ Tribune is launching a new digital series, Real Fan Life with Ben Lyons, showcasing athletes’ lives off the field. Co-produced by AOL, the show will be hosted by TPT chief correspondent, Ben Lyons, the series premieres on Jan. 28 on the two platforms. Players starring in episodes include Paul Pierce, Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Michael Strahan, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Evan Longoria. “As sports fans, we love to watch the top athletes in the world compete at the highest level, however we’re able to truly connect with these athletes when we learn that they are real human beings just like we are,” says Lyons. “I’m really proud that Real Fan Life helps fans make that connection, and introduces them to a different side of these insanely talented people.”
ESPN.com is going full throttle into esports, announcing a new vertical dedicated to the industry that will “deliver comprehensive coverage surrounding the world of competitive gaming.” The platform is sponsored at launch by T-Mobile, with content that will include video, news on the current and future state of esports, offseason grades that look back on the past season of multiple league championships from around the world and profiles on gamers. “Today’s launch anchored by the influential voices of Darin Kwilinski, Rod Breslau and Tyler Erzberger is our latest push to reach and connect with this growing and passionate audience,” said Chad Millman, editor-in-chief, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. “Fans will find the same level of quality content and journalism that users of ESPN.com have come to expect, including in-depth looks at the competitive gaming world and on-site reporting from the major tournaments.”
Speaking of ESPN and videogames, X Games and Xbox and teaming to bring Halo 5: Guardians to X Games Aspen 2016 as part of the Halo World Championship Tour. For the first time-ever, segments and highlights of the esports competition will be integrated into the X Games Aspen telecasts on ESPN. The three-day competition will also be streamed live on WatchESPN, Twitch and mlg.tv.
Pokemon is coming to the Super Bowl, with Nintendo announcing that as part of a year-long celebration of the 20 year-old brand the company will air a new ad during the game to encourage fans to “Train On” and share their favorite Pokémon memories on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube using the hashtag #Pokemon20.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem was named World Golf Foundation Chairman for 2016 by the Board of Directors, succeeding Pete Bevacqua, CEO of the PGA of America. “As a caretaker and ambassador of the game, I look forward to leading the World Golf Foundation’s Board as we take the game to new heights in 2016,” said Finchem. “With the Olympics on the horizon, it is an exciting time for the industry as we introduce golf to new audiences around the world."
PHIT America named Colleen Courtney as Manager of Sponsor Relations, Research, and Social Media for the organization. She will be based in the PHIT America office in Silver Spring, MD which it shares with the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Seahawks/Panthers square off this Sunday at 1p on FOX.
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Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which NHL team sports an official logo that shows a specific part of the state in which they play? (Generic scenery doesn’t count.) Answer: The New York Islanders. Kudos: Ethan J. Tyer-CBS Sports Network/NY; Traci Liner-WME|IMG/NY; Adam Blauzvern-SIRIUSXM/NY; Steve Higgins-Paragon Marketing Group/NY; Christian Matthews-Washington Redskins/DC; Ondrea Brussee-Spectrum Reach/Portage; Chris Schwartz-International Speedway Corporation/Charlotte; Tim McGhee-MSP Sports/Summit; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Carly Dasso-Saatchi & Saatchi/Oakbrook Terrace; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.
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