01/23/18: CBS’s coverage of the AFC Championship drew the season’s best NFL numbers

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Tuesday January 23, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

A dramatic comeback by the Patriots pushed CBS Sports’ coverage of the AFC Championship to season highs, as the game ranked as the highest-rated game of the 2017 NFL season, drawing an average overnight household rating/share of 27.3/50 in the metered markets, according to Nielsen. That number is also high enough to rate as the highest-rated program on television since Super Bowl LI programming last year, peaking with a 31.8/54 from 5:30-6p.
 
 
ON THE AIR

Around the dial, FOX Sports’ final NFL broadcast of the season, saw a blowout win by the Eagles for the NFC Championship register as FOX’s highest-rated and most-watched broadcast on the network since the Super Bowl, pulling a 21.7/35 household rating/share with 42.303 million viewers on the FOX broadcast network, according to Nielsen Media Research. Combined with FOX Deportes and FOX Sports GO, Sunday evening’s NFC Championship Game produced 42,849,086 total viewers. Philadelphia scored with a 50.3/69 while Minneapolis led all markets with an impressive 54.4/76. 
 
So with the Patriots and Eagles locked in to the Super Bowl, NBC cemented its own names, announcing the broadcast team for the Feb. 4 battle on the network. Al Michaels handles play-by-play with Cris Collinsworth  and analyst while Michele Tafoya reports from the sidelines. Dan Patrick will host the Super Bowl LII pre-game show alongside co-host Liam McHugh, who will be joined by NBC Football Night in America teammates Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Mike Florio and Chris Simms. Paul Burmeister, Kathryn Tappen and Randy Moss also will appear on the pre-game coverage.
 
Speaking of NBC, NBCUniversal’s coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games from PyeongChang, South Korea, will officially include the availability of 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) to cable, satellite, telco providers, and other partners. The 4K HDR offering will be the first time coverage of the Winter Olympics or any Olympic Games competition sessions have been presented in the format in the US and the second consecutive time NBC has delivered coverage of the Olympic Games in 4K. Xfinity is the presenting sponsor of NBC Olympics’ 4K HDR coverage of the PyeongChang Games.
 
FOX Sports and IMSA hit this weekend’s 56th running of the iconic Rolex 24 at Daytona with a lineup that will see Brian Till as lead play-by-play, teaming with Greg Creamer to host the multi-platform production. The action starts Jan,. 27 at 2p on FOX with Calvin Fish and Tommy Kendall joining the booth as analysts, while Jamie Howe, Jamie Little, Justin Bell and Matt Yocum report from the pits. Jeff Gordon joins the pre-race program and is scheduled to interview Formula One champion Fernando Alonso, who is competing in his first Rolex 24 at Daytona. Alonso.
 
Epix is taking a shot at The Contender. The reality series sees Mark Burnett, MGM TV and Paramount TV take on the newest version of the boxing competition, according to Variety, with 12 episodes on order at the channel.
 
NBC Sports is revving up for the 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa this weekend with the game taking place on Sunday at 3:30p on the broadcast channel. Coverage begins Saturday with the GEICO NHL All-Star Skills Competition from Amalie Arena at 7:30p on NBCSN. Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick handles play-by-play with Mike Milbury as analyst, and Brian Boucher and Inside-the-Glass’ analyst. Kathryn Tappen anchors studio coverage with analysts Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones, as well as Milbury. Kenny Albert, Roenick and Boucher will provide commentary for the All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday.
 
CSI Sports, parent company of the 24/7 FIGHT SPORTS linear network, locked in an agreement with the World Karate Federation for their 2018 schedule of Karate 1 Premiere League Events.  This schedule will begin with the Jan. 28 Live Event taking place in Paris. FIGHT SPORTS holds rights to these Live Events in over 100 countries, including in the United States and Canada, Germany, Spain, the Nordic Region, throughout Africa and Southeast Asia.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The LPGA launched its 2018 advertising campaign on Golf Channel ahead of this week’s season-opening tournament, the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. With a push of ‘A Global Tour Like No Other,’ the 2018 edition of the campaign was created by Austin-based ad agency Divot Group and the spots will be rolled out during telecasts on Golf Channel over the first several tournaments of the 2018 LPGA Tour season, starting with this week’s event at the Ocean Club Golf Course in Paradise Island, BahamasThe 2018 ad spots will also be featured through the LPGA’s international television partners, on LPGA.com, and via the LPGA’s social media channels, including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook beginning Thursday.
 
ESPN unveiled the sponsors for X Games Aspen 2018, running Jan. 25-28, with live coverage on ESPN and ABC. SoFi joins the list of official sponsors this year with returning brands Harley-Davidson, the Jeep brand, LifeProof, Monster Energy and The Real Cost (FDA). GEICO also returns as the official music sponsor. The event is also supported by new sponsors Botanicare,
 
The global leg of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola kicked off with an official launch ceremony in London and plans to hit 91 cities, across 51 countries and six continents, inviting fans around the world to get #ReadyFor the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The event marks the fourth time in history that Coca-Cola and FIFA have partnered to bring the Trophy Tour to the world. “As football fans around the world gear up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, we want to make sure they are ready for all of the emotions that this summer’s tournament will bring,” said Ricardo Fort, Vice President of Global Sports Partnerships, The Coca-Cola Company. “The Trophy Tour will give fans everywhere a taste of the excitement that’s to come, not to mention the incredible opportunity to see the Trophy for themselves.”
 
American Express and Fanatics are teaming up to launched American Express Jersey Assurance for both American Express Card Members and all NBA fans. The program builds upon Fanatics’ existing Jersey Assurance program for the NBA, which allows fans to exchange jerseys purchased across the Fanatics network for eligible players who change teams due to trade or free agency for up to 90 days post-purchase. Under this new partnership, American Express is both backing the current 90-day protection and extending the exchange window for up to one year after the purchase date for fans who purchase their jersey using an American Express Card.
 
The NFL, in partnership with PepsiCo, Aramark, US Bank Stadium and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, announced Rush2Recycle, a game plan designed to recover more than 90% – more than 40 tons – of stadium waste at Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4. “The NFL is a responsible steward of the environment in all areas of our business,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “For 25 years, the NFL has strived to reduce the environmental impact of its events and leave a positive green legacy in host communities. Through this project, the League and its partners hope to set a new standard of environmental sustainability at the Super Bowl.”
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

The NFL is partnering with Rovio to release a Super Bowl-themed take of Angry Birds. Games involved reportedly include both Angry Birds 2 and Angry Birds Evolution with the jersey and kits of 32 NFL teams available in-game. Meanwhile, a new bird type titled ‘Quarterback’ is being added to the siege game.
 
The PGA TOUR and the Waste Management Phoenix Open announced a live 360 and VR experience during all four rounds of competition at the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale from Feb. 1-4. The live VR experience can be viewed on Samsung Gear VR headsets on a global basis through the “PGA TOUR VR Live” app available on the Oculus store.
 
Sportsman Channel launched on DIRECTV NOW’s “Go Big” streaming platform package. “We are excited to continue to add growth in all areas of our programming and content distribution,” Outdoor Sportsman Group President and CEO, Jim Liberatore said. “This is another example of how Outdoor Sportsman Group – and its networks including Sportsman Channel – continue to adapt and grow within the ever-changing media landscape. Distributors understand our programming has a distinct appeal and are not only adding our networks in high-definition (HD) but also including them in their emerging technology platforms.”
 
 
ESPORTS

Raycom Sports is getting into esports courtesy of a partnership with Tespa, Blizzard Entertainment’s college esports network, for “Heroes of the Dorm.” The broadcast partnership will get a dedicated national-syndication run during a five-week period of competition from Feb. 17-March 15. Raycom will produce the weekly, one-hour Heroes of the Dorm programs, featuring schools competing in the tournament’s Atlantic Coast Region. The original series, which will cover competition as well as spotlight player and team stories, and be broadcast across Raycom Sports’ syndicated network of affiliates. Distribution has already been secured to over 50 markets nationwide.
 
Meanwhile, Blizzard and Tespa also revealed the rest of their collegiate plans as well, awarding more than $1 million in scholarships and prized by the end of the 2017–18 academic year. In addition to Heroes of the Dorm on Twitch and MLG for more than $500,000, the Hearthstone Collegiate Championship will offer $150,000 in scholarship prizing with matches set to start on Feb. 19. Meanwhile, the first ever Tespa Collegiate Series—StarCraft will award $35,000 in total scholarship prizing to the top performers in the 16-team league with play beginning Feb. 17.
 
Rivalcade is cementing plans for its Esports Battle League, locking in three franchise spots, each at a $1 million buy-in price, according to ESPN. Host cities will include Elevate in Denver, Circa in Miami and Simplicity out of Las Vegas. The report states that the league hopes to obtain three to five more buyers for its league by its targeted launch in summer of 2018.” The league will reportedly host three titles.
 
 
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ON THIS DAY in 1979: Willie Mays is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
 
In the Know: Which USFL team did Jim Kelly play for? (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: Bill Walsh twice served as head coach at which university? Answer: Stanford. Kudos: Keith Marder-Halstead Real Estate/NY; Rick Ramage-United Talent Agency/NY: David Tratner-DKMS/NY; Art Salisch-Hearst Television/NY; Justin Karp-NBC Sports/Stamford; Howie Schwab-FOX Sports/Lakewood Ranch; Mark Lehman-Braves/Atlanta/Dave Lucas-Newschannel 8/Arlington; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas-Fort Worth; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago;  Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Michael Jaquet-MJE/Park City; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Don Surath-KPIX-TV/KBCW-TV/San Francisco; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; Steve Morrow-Eclipse TV/Mill Valley
 

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