02/08/19: Turner Sports is beefing up its gaming content with a deal with Caesars

Alliance of American Football
San Diego Fleet at San Antonio Commanders   
Atlanta Legends at Orlando Apollos
Tomorrow 8 PM ET
Memphis Express at Birmingham Iron
Sunday 4 PM ET
Good morning. It’s Friday February 8, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Turner Sports is booking a whole new era of sports programming, announcing a first-of-its-kind agreement with Caesars Entertainment to develop gaming-related content for sports fans around the world. Caesars Palace Las Vegas will also be home to a Bleacher Report branded studio originating from inside its sports book that will serve as the central hub for the creation of gaming-related programming and editorial content to be regularly distributed through Bleacher Report and the B/R App. Caesars will be featured as a Bleacher Report gaming partner including sponsorship integration across a wide array of content offerings and distribution platforms and be a presenting sponsor of select programming airing across Turner’s linear networks, in addition to opportunities for co-produced programing and events.
“The sports gaming industry is rapidly growing and Turner is poised to be an industry leader in the development of gaming-related content experiences,” said Lenny Daniels, President of Turner Sports.  “Gaming content will be a key driver for increasing fan engagement across all platforms, including time spent watching live sporting events and other criteria that impact television viewership.  We’re excited to form this groundbreaking relationship with Caesars, a proven leader in sports gaming, as we collaborate to deliver the best gaming-related content experiences for our fans.”
“Caesars Entertainment continues to redefine its role as a sports authority in the gaming-hospitality industry,” said Mark Frissora, President and Chief Executive Officer for Caesars Entertainment. “Aligning with one of the most influential brands in all of sports media allows Caesars Entertainment to amplify its sports-gaming experience for guests across our global empire and also reach millions of fans who engage with Bleacher Report for premier content every day.”

Big changes are afoot for NASCAR America, which returns for its sixth season on Monday at 5p, sporting an all-new look, theme, studio and weekly schedule. Airing weeknights at 5p. The series will now originate directly from NBC Sports Group’s updated studio in Charlotte and – as part of the show’s rebranding – each weeknight will showcase a different theme focused on the sport of NASCAR, its drivers, teams, fans and the motorsports industry at large. In addition, select episodes will include opportunities for fans to call in live and speak with NASCAR America hosts, analysts, drivers and other guests. NASCAR America’s Fan Fridays will return to NBCSN in July, live from the site of select NASCAR on NBC races, and will be broadcast from NBC Sports’ Peacock Pit box set located on pit road.
Meanwhile, Turner Sports has all sights on Charlotte for NBA All-Star 2019, detailing more than 24 hours of NBA All-Star programming that will culminate with the 68th NBA All-Star game presented by Kia on Feb. 17 at 8:20p with Marv Albert on the call with analysts Reggie Miller and Chris Webber and reporter Kristen Ledlow. Meanwhile, this year will see TBS serve up an alternative viewing experience with additional camera angles and access to go along with a Players Only presentation featuring Turner basketball analysts and special guests. Also on the docket will be the 2019 MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars on Friday, Feb. 15, at 9p and the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, Feb. 16, at 8p. Meanwhile The NBA on TNT American Express Road Show will originate from the Fillmore at Charlotte’s Music Factory district, highlighted by live telecasts of TNT’s Inside the NBA while Bleacher Report hosts the B/R x NC outdoor fan fest.
Around the dial, NBA TV takes on NBA All-Star 2019 starting Thursday, Feb. 14, at 6p with the network’s signature studio show NBA GameTime on site in Charlotte and more than 20 hours of live programming overall, including an Open Court: Rookies roundtable conversation on Monday at 8p, followed by an hour-long Players Only conversation between Dwyane Wade and Kevin Garnett at 9p. The network’s live programming will include an expanded Saturday schedule highlighted by NBA All-Star Media Day presented by AT&T coverage at 9:30a and exclusive coverage of Team Giannis and Team LeBronwith NBA All-Star Practice presented by AT&T sessions starting at noon.
Mike Tirico will add another yet bullet point to his resume, and will – for the first time in his career, call play-by-play for an NHL game, when the Red Wings host the Blackhawks on Wednesday Night Hockey on Feb. 20 at 7:30p on NBCSN. Tirico will be joined in the booth by U Eddie Olczyk, and ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Brian Boucher. “I’m thrilled to be calling my first NHL game,” said Tirico. “Growing up in New York, and now living in Metro Detroit, I’ve always loved the sport of hockey as a fan, attending as many games as possible each season. So the chance to call a game is a bucket list item for me. Covering the Stanley Cup Final, Winter Classic, and NHL All-Star Game has given me the chance to work with our great NHL on NBC team, and I know I’m in good hands working with Edzo and Brian in Detroit.”
Tennis Channel serves up live coverage of the U.S. Fed Cup team’s first-round competition against Australia in Asheville this weekend, with telecasts beginning at 1p each day. In the booth will be Tracy Austin and Lindsay Davenport while Leif Shiras will announce the matches.
SiriusXM will offer subscribers coverage of the inaugural Alliance of American Football season, featuring live play-by-play broadcasts of The Alliance Game of the Week. AAF action kicks off on Saturday at 8p with the San Diego Fleet visiting the San Antonio Commanders on  XM channel 388 and on the SiriusXM app, while the Orlando Apollos host the Atlanta Legends on Sirius channel 206, XM channel 207, and on the SiriusXM app. Following Week 1 action, SiriusXM will air the Saturday night Alliance Game of the Week.
The Olympic Channel global digital platform lined up live streaming coverage of the 2019 Indoor Archery World Series Final and The Vegas Shoot out of Las Vegas starting Saturday on the site and its mobile apps.
MSG Network put the spotlight on the 334 Club last night, running a documentary about the 334 fans who made the Devils game in 1987 during a blizzard. The content is running on the platform’s YouTube page and features interviews with players and fans who participated.
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Visa is extending its run with U.S. Ski & Snowboard, signing an eight-year sponsorship deal that runs 2026, marking Visa’s only NGB sponsorship. Visa is the title sponsor and preferred way to pay at both the online U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team Shop and the on-site merchandise experiences.“We’re thrilled to renew our sponsorship deal with Visa,” said Dan Barnett, chief marketing officer, U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “Having a prestigious, global brand like Visa support our organization makes it possible for our athletes to achieve excellence in their sports and continue to fight to be Best In The World. Visa continues to be a champion of the global Olympic movement and we are excited that their commitment for the next eight years will have such a positive, direct impact on our athletes.”
U.S. Soccer and Deloitte locked in a multi-year agreement for Deloitte to serve as the Official Professional Services Provider of the U.S. Soccer Federation and Foundational Sponsor of SheBelieves, beginning with the 2019 season, and running through 2021. As part of the agreement, Deloitte will be the title sponsor of the second annual U.S. Soccer SheBelieves Summit. “Inspiring young women and girls to reach their dreams is key to moving the needle and getting more women in the workforce to have confidence and position themselves for leadership positions,” said Cathy Engelbert, chief executive officer of Deloitte. “Deloitte is dedicated to fostering an inclusive culture in the workplace and more broadly in communities, and is thrilled to see SheBelieves move that mission forward. We look forward to supporting not only the upcoming SheBelieves Cup, but also the SheBelieves Summit—helping to elevate the conversation around female leadership and empowerment.”

Intel, in partnership with Arsenal FC, Liverpool FC and Manchester City, announced plans to deliver immersive experiences via Intel® True View at Emirates Stadium, Anfield and the Etihad Stadium. The trio will leverage Intel True View to capture every match element from every angle re-creating the action on the pitch and presents that from an ideal vantage point or player’s perspective, using Intel’s unmatched data-processing capability to deliver the experience to fans. with features that include multi-angle views of a play, a laser wall and “be the player” capabilities:
The Olympic Channel announced that it is now available on Amazon Fire TV “The launch of the Olympic Channel on Amazon Fire TV demonstrates our commitment to expanding our distribution to wherever our viewers are watching content,” said Mark Parkman, General Manager of the IOC’s global Olympic Channel. “Through distribution on connected TV devices and streaming media players, fans have even more options to discover, engage and be inspired by their favourite sports and athletes.”
NBC Sports Gold launched INDYCAR Pass, providing fans in the US with one location to watch live coverage of all NTT IndyCar Series qualifying and practice sessions, and Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires races, plus full-event replays of all NTT IndyCar Series races, and 15-30 minute race cutdowns of both series. Overall, the platform will provide 200+ hours of programming, including 50+ hours of coverage surrounding the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Bleacher Report reports that the platform ranked as the top sports brand for engagement across all social media Super Bowl Sunday with more than 7 million social engagements and 21 million video views. According to company data, Bleacher Report performance of NFL content ranked first across all platforms with 5.4 million engagements and 16.1 million video views while generating 1.3 million Twitter engagements, ranking as the #2 account on the platform trailing only behind Korean pop sensation BTS.
Production company Iconic Saga, from Cam Newton and David Ricks, and digital production house Liquid Light announced the launch of The Cam Newton YouTube channel, which provides a never-before-seen look into the life and career of athletes and football stars. The channel will host a Vlog Series on Newton’s life during the offseason, as well as during season. Other formats on the channel will focus on Newton’s 7-on-7 league with his father, training process with other pro athletes, and fashion/lifestyle content.
Physical activity app Zift announced its partnership with PHIT America, in a move to improve overall health and improve academic performance for children in the United States. “Screen time is one of the main reasons why our children have become less active, affecting their overall health and even academic performance,” said David Savage, Co-founder of Zift. “That’s why we’re so excited to be teaming up with PHIT America to reverse the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ and offer parents resources, in addition to, solutions to these issues. With Zift, parents can gain transparency into their child’s digital life and even take action by pausing activity on the device to better promote physical activity and healthy digital habits.”

ELEAGUE is partnering with 2K and the National Basketball Players Association to stage an NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 tournament at NBA All-Star 2019, in which rising stars and former legends will compete at Saber Interactive’s two-on-two arcade basketball game.  The event will be hosted by Turner’s Casey Stern with analyst Dennis Scott, with live streaming coverage available via Twitch, B/R Live and ELEAGUE.com beginning Feb. 15 at 2p. The event’s best moments will be captured for a special airing on TBS at 11:30p.
A week from launching season two of Overwatch League, the org detailed its carriage plans with partner ESPN, announcing select matches that will run on ESPN, Disney XD and ABC throughout the 2019 season, while all 2019 regular season Overwatch League matches will be available to watch on the ESPN App. On the broadcast front, three matches per week will air on Disney XD: the final match of the day each Thursday, which begins at 11:30p ET, as well as the first two matches each Sunday, which begin at 3p and 4:30p. Select matches will also air on ABC and ESPN2 with the semifinals and finals for Stages 1 and 2 as well as the All-Star Game slated for ABC while ESPN2 will carry the Stage 3 finals. Overwatch League also announced plans to collaborate with Overwatch streamers and host a Community Countdown. Overwatch League players, broadcast talent and community streamers will compete in a series of rivalry-building scrims and custom matches, starting Saturday.
Super League Gaming is partnering with Logitech G and Best Buy to launch the inaugural Logitech G Challenge, running through April. Contestants will be invited at the beginning of each month to align with one of four League of Legends themed alliances. For the remainder of the month, players will compete weekly in 5v5 League of Legends matches, with their individual performance and the success of their alliance tracked and published in real time. Competition will be carried every week on SuperLeagueTV via Twitch, with shoutcasters calling the action from the SuperLeagueTV esports desk.

The unified global governing body for MMA, IMMAF – WMMAA, announced that referee Marc Goddard will be joining its administrative team in a full-time position as Director of Regulatory Affairs. Marc Goddard has served in a voluntary capacity on IMMAF’s Regulatory Affairs Committee since 2012 and already acts as lead on officials’ education and licensing, and as Head Official across IMMAF – WMMAA Championship events.
US Lacrosse announced a strategic partnership with the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) and Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL) to support its U.S. National Team Development Program (NTDP). Lacrosse will work with the PLL and the WPLL on the first phase of a multi-stage trials system that will ultimately support “USA Select” teams for high school-aged boys and girls.

Duke/Virginia on Saturday at 6p on ESPN.

 Deadline: Today (February 8th) by 11:59PM ET
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