02/13/18: NBC and NBCSN scored 26 million viewers in Sunday’s coverage the Olympics

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Good morning. It’s Tuesday February 13, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Sunday proved historic for NBC/NBCSN’s coverage of the PyeongChang Olympics, recording a TAD average of 26.0 million viewers in primetime, according to live plus same day fast national data released today by Nielsen, and digital data from Adobe Analytics. That tally is down from the 26.3 million who tuned into the first Sunday in Sochi 2014, although the NBC-only portion alone still brought in 22.8 million viewers in the 7-11p primetime window while NBCSN saw the largest evening viewership in nearly three years with an additional 3 million. On the digital front, five days into the PyeongChang Olympics, NBC Sports Digital has established a Winter Games record with 445 million live streaming minutes through Monday afternoon – topping the 420 million live streaming minutes for the full 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Meanwhile, NBC Sports executives are disputing reports that Korea analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo was fired following controversial comments he made that led to a network apology to Korea. According to reports, Cooper was only contracted for the Opening Ceremony and his assignment was over.

Tennis Channel is renewing vows with the ATP World Tour, announcing an extension to continue carrying to-level men’s tennis that will include 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and 500 events, along with the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals. For the first time in the media partnership, Tennis Channel will now have live, over-the-top streaming rights to Masters 1000 and 500 events, which the network will offer on its digital subscription service Tennis Channel Plus, beginning today. Also new are expanded video-on-demand rights and increased network access to classic matches and clips from ATP Media’s extensive archive.
In other ratings news, ABC saw Sunday’s battle between the Cavaliers and Celtics propel the network to its highest-rated NBA Sunday Showcase broadcast since 2015, according to Nielsen metered market ratings. The broadcast drummed up a 3.6 metered market rating, up 57% over last year’s game and ranks as the fourth-highest rated NBA broadcast of the 2017-18 season, across all networks. Through two games, ABC’s NBA Sunday Showcase series is averaging a 2.7 metered market rating this season, up 27%.
Asia’s largest global sports media property, ONE Championship is spreading its wings, announcing plans to launch a professional kickboxing league. ONE Championship Kickboxing “aims to provide the world’s best martial artists a prestigious global platform to showcase the beauty of Asia’s striking arts such as Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Wushu, Sanda, Silat, Lethwei, and more,” launching in Manila, Philippines at ONE: Heroes of Honor on April 20 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Charlize Theron takes on a new fury road on Feb. 18, when she will serve as the honorary starter for the 60th annual Daytona 500. Theron will wave the green flag for the season-opening race, which starts at 2:30p on FOX, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Speaking of which, SiriusXM detailed its Daytona plans, offering 15 hours of live programming from the speedway on Feb. 18 starting at 7a on the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel in addition to the Can-Am Duel, the NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and the Power Shares QQQ 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race. In addition, on Thursday, at 3p, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will present a three-hour special live from the Smithfield Foods Stage outside the track that will take a look back at the history of the channel. 
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FOX Sports Films announced the premiere of “Shot in the Dark,” a documentary running on Feb. 24 at FOX that will serve as the second film in the MAGNIFY documentary series. Produced by Los Angeles Media Fund, executive produced by Dwyane Wade and Chance the Rapper, the film airs at 4:30p and follows Orr Academy’s high school basketball team and its stars Tyquone Greer and Marquise Pryor as they aspire for greatness under inspirational head coach Lou Adams.
Around the dial, this weekend will see the World of X Games content series on ABC feature Unbroken: The Snowboard Life of Mark McMorris, showcasing the 2018 Olympic and X Games Aspen Snowboard Slopestyle bronze medalist McMorris’ journey back from a life-threatening backcountry injury that made him “question his love for the sport that gave him everything.” The special runs on Saturday at 4p ET and 3p PT.
FIGHT SPORTS’ parent company CSI Sports nabbed rights to the Deontay Wilder/Luis Ortiz WBC Heavyweight World Championship Live event on March 3, with the deal covering rights in over 50 countries, including in Japan, Spain, Germany, Belgium, India, Singapore, and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. FIGHT SPORTS will broadcast this event live as part of a doubleheader, airing alongside HBO’s Championship Boxing’s Sergey Kovalev/Igor Mikhalkin bout.
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NASCAR is bringing back the Hashtag 500, where fans race on social media for a chance to win memorabilia from the 60th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18.  Fans who watch the race and follow @NASCAR on Twitter will have access to custom hashtags that give fans a chance to win race items including a driver firesuit, helmet, steering wheel, set of Goodyear tires and more. NASCAR will share a new hashtag every 20 laps of the race. The first 500 @NASCAR followers that tweet the hashtag and #DAYTONA500 will be entered in a random drawing for each prize. Beginning today through Saturday, Feb. 17, fans can practice for the Hashtag 500 by competing in daily races on Instagram for a chance to win unique, personal items from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers.
Turner SportsNBA on TNT American Express Road Show will originate from LA LIVE in Los Angeles for NBA All-Star 2018, highlighted by live telecasts of TNT’s Inside the NBA and performances by Kendrick Lamar on Feb. 16, and The Killers on Feb. 17. The multi-day event will tip off with a performance by Grammy-nominated Lil Uzi Vert on Feb. 15. The 30,000-square-foot fan fest located just outside STAPLES Center will feature interactive experiences, basketball clinics, a food truck and more over a four-day span with activations that include: Inside the NBA themed activities; the Tissot 24-Second Shot Clock Challenge; an on-court hoops experience; as well as the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey’s “Jack ‘N for Beats,” featuring performances from NBA DJs throughout the weekend.
Gaming gear company HyperX locked in a deal with 76ers center Joel Embiid to serve as brand ambassador for the company’s headset brand. With the signing of Embiid to the HyperX family, HyperX becomes the first brand connected to Team Dignitas, the Philadelphia 76ers and a team player. “Skilled as a pro basketball player and recognized as an esports social media star, HyperX welcomes Joel to the HyperX family as a brand ambassador for gaming,” said Daniel Kelley, HyperX director of corporate marketing. “We’re looking forward to including Joel in our activities in 2018.”
Minor League Baseball is launching “Copa de la Diversion,” a season-long event series specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate with participating teams’ local Hispanic/Latino communities. Participating teams will bolster their marketing and customer service efforts this season to create a “culturally relevant gameday experience through music, concessions and promotions.” The 160-game event series begins on April 8, in Round Rock, Texas and will see a 3-foot tall “Copa de la Diversión” trophy embark on a tour of the participating cities.

Ahead of NBA All-Star, Turner Sports and Intel have announced the launch of the NBA on TNT VR app, taking fans directly inside NBA on TNT’s Studio J, which was re-created in VR and serves as the portal into all the available programming. Fans can watch game highlights and game recaps and gain access to select live NBA on TNT games and full game replays in VR, featuring in-game broadcast stats. NBA All-Star’s signature events will be the first to stream live on the NBA on TNT VR app.
CBS Interactive Advanced Media and Learfield’s SIDEARM Sports announced a new partnership to jointly produce and operate more than 1,100 college and high school athletic websites and stream more than 14,000 live events each year. SIDEARM Sports will manage the website and mobile platforms while providing the hosting and infrastructure for all of the school while CBS Interactive Advanced Media will manage video infrastructure and distribution as well as end-to-end advertising operations for all of the schools.
Professional Bull Riders launched RidePass, a new 24/7 over-the-top digital streaming service offering PBR and western sports content, with over 500 hours on deck annually. The service will significantly expand fan access to more than 150 live PBR and western sports events which include additional coverage of PBR’s premier and non-televised tours, international coverage of the sport’s top tours in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico, and live rodeo events. Additionally, RidePass will debut several original series at its launch, including “Keepin’ It 90,” a RidePass original series featuring two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney and popular western personality Dale Brisby, and “In Color,” a series offering in-depth, intimate conversations with current and past PBR stars. Meanwhile, PBR and National High School Rodeo Association announced a partnership to grow high school rodeo through media, marketing, and programs for youth.

The Mountain West Conference is adding more heat to its Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships this March in Las Vegas, announcing the first-ever MW eSports Showdown. The event will feature esports teams from Boise State and UNLV competing in three highly-popular eSports games: League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch on March 8 and 9 in the Strip View Pavilion inside the Thomas and Mack Center, followed by the MW eSports Showdown Main Event on March 10 inside Cox Pavilion. The Show Matches and Main Event will also be broadcast live via the Mountain West eSports Twitch page.
The Pokemon World Championships are set to take place this year on Aug. 24 from Nashville with $500000 on the line. Fans will need to take part in a series of qualifying events to take part, earning Championship Points. This year will see the competitive debut of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon as the main game. In addition, The Pokemon Company revealed that the North America International Championships will take place on July 6-8 in Columbus at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

JP Sports + Entertainment promoted Dyan Bulyar to Chief of Staff. Bulyar joined JPSE in 2015 and supports the agency’s efforts to provide its unique services to companies that aim to increase their profitability through measurable investments in the sports and entertainment industries.

Alpine Skiing on NBC at 8p.
The 2018 Cynopsis Top Women in Digital
Wednesday, March 14 th | Espace, NYC
Join us next month as we celebrate these incredible women in digital whose accomplishments have elevated the industry and inspired others to follow in their footsteps. Recognizing women whose roles span from Rising Stars to Game-Changers to Mentors to Directors who do it all to Industry Leaders and Corporate Visionaries, this event is not to be missed. Register your team today and check out 2018’s Top 100 Women in Digital!

ON THIS DAY in 1976: American Dorothy Hamill wins figure-skating gold at the Olympics in Austria.
In the Know: Name one of the two players who have earned four NBA All-Star MVP honors. (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 was the last American male to win a gold medal for men’s singles in ice skating? Answer: Evan Lysacek. Kudos: Marissa Sunio-Columbia University/NY; Faye Kulik-Fox Networks Group/NY; Troy Perlowitz-ESPN/Charlotte; Heidi Mallin-Lucas Oil Stadium/Indianapolis; Kimberly Barret-PGA TOUR/Ponte Vedra Beach; Stephanie Ann-Inside Lacrosse/Baltimore; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-SOS Global/Dallas; Kristin Staskowski-Spectrum Reach/Birmingham; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank

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