02/19/15: Under Armour gets in the ring with Ali; Kenny Albert has a new gig; Fanatics, Bruin Sports Capital tap key execs


Good morning. It’s Thursday February 19, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Mohammad Ali will now be punching for Team Under Armour. The brand announced that it has inked a deal, partnering with Authentic Brands Group, to launch an extensive line of Ali branded and inspired products. A graphic T-shirt is already up for sale on the site, with a lifestyle apparel line slated to roll out in the coming weeks.


Kenny Albert continues to broaden his repertoire, as NBC Sports announced that the broadcaster will take on blow-by-blow duties for the upcoming Premier Boxing Champions series on NBCSN. Albert will be joined by analyst “Sugar” Ray Leonard to call PBC on NBC fight shows. Albert, of course, serves as the only national play-by-play broadcaster who calls football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and now, boxing, and will join his father, Marv Albert (who will handle shows that run on NBC) in calling bouts. “I am extremely fortunate to call games in the four major professional sports, and look forward to adding boxing to my lineup!” Albert said. “I’m thrilled to share a ringside seat with one of the greatest boxers of all-time.”

Katie Nolan is officially locked in to host a new weekly show for FOX Sports 1, dubbed Garbage Time with Katie Nolan. The host of No Filter on FOXSports.com and former Crowd Goed Wild personality will debut the new show on March 15 at 9:30p on the network following the network’s Major League Soccer Match of the Week. The series will look at topical sports stories and feature a rotating group of guest commentators, celebrity guests and field segments.

Longtime NFL safety Ryan Clark is trading his cleats for a microphone, inking a deal to serve as an NFL analyst with ESPN. Clark is officially retiring from the NFL and will now begin his new role in March, appearing on NFL Live, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio shows and more as part of a multi-year agreement.

MLB Network laid out plans for Spring Training, bringing back 30 Clubs in 30 Days and slating more than 200 Spring Training games ahead of the upcoming season. The channel will showcase live baseball every day from Tuesday, March 3 through Saturday, April 4, with each club featured in at least one live game, beginning with the Pirates/Blue Jays on March 3 at 1p, with the first outing of this year’s 30 Clubs franchise set to run afterward at 7p with a look at the Diamondbacks. In addition, the network inked longtime Colorado Rockies General Manager Dan O’Dowd as a studio analyst.

How do you become future-proof? Which programs are most easily monetized? What is the right mix of interactions, engagement and commerce you need to succeed? Find out at the Social Media & Sports: Engagement and Tune In Strategies on Tuesday, February 24. Leading the discussion will be Nick Freeman, VP of Sales Integration for Fox Sports Digital; Jeramie McPeek, VP of Digital for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns; Nitro Circus’ Cody Cheshier and OneUp Sports’ Founder and CEO Daren Trousdel. To register for this webinar, click here.

Betfair’s TVG subsidiary and TheStronach Group that will see TVG take on operations of HRTV, which will be operated from the TVG Studio complex in LA. The unified television operations will feature races from Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, Pimlico, Laurel Park, and Golden Gate Fields over a seven-year period, as well as additional premium domestic and international racetracks and will offer 5000+ additional races from US tracks to be broadcast over the two networks.

Pac-12 Networks are offering a taste of March to fans with Dish network, Time Warner Cable and Cocast Bay Area Region offering customers a free previews of the channels from Feb. 27  March 17. That timeframe will include 10 live conference women’s basketball tournament games, eight live Pac-12 men’s tournament matchups, the conference wrestling championships and more.


Want to find out what shows are online and when?

Check out the Watcheroo Digital Programming Guide

Organized by show name, date, and platform, we have everything you’ll need to be caught up on digital premieres, ongoing programs, live-streamed events and integrated series.


Saturday’s 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series lined up a pre-game celebration that will feature performances by Bay Area native John Fogerty, as well as Melissa Etheridge, Kris Allen, and Symphony Silicon Valley. The game and performances will be broadcast on NBCSN at 7p with pre-game coverage set for 6:30p. 

NASCAR is on the hunt for a new title sponsor for its Canadian Tire Series. Canadian Tire announced that it would end its title sponsorship at the conclusion of the 2015 season. The company has been sponsoring since 2007. Canadian Tire said it would continue to sponsor Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario and back Canadian drivers and racing in the future as well.”

Canon Inc. has claimed the gold for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games where the company will serve as a Tokyo 2020 Gold Partner in the category of Still Cameras and Desktop Reprographic Hardware which include desktop printers. The deal will see Canon offer “behind-the-scenes support to members of the press covering the Games, including camera and lens maintenance services and product loans.

Derek Jeter’s new platform The Player’s Tribune nabbed its first major sponsor, lining up Porshe, according to Adweek. Porsche Cars North America spokeswoman Cristina Cheever confirmed to the publication that the brand will serve as an "event sponsor and advertiser."

Fidelity Investments is teaming with ESPN on a new initiative based on trades, dubbed #TradeTalk. The project is being activated around the NBA trade deadline and marks the first time that ESPN has partnered with a major financial services organization (outside of traditional advertising space online and on its networks), according to Forbes. The alliance will push co-branded landing zones on ESPN.com with branding on ESPN broadcasts, digital, mobile, desktop and in its print publications.

The Legacy Agency revealed that Baseball City – the interactive Spring Training event – will see the City of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau serve as official presenting sponsors for the second annual event, which will be held in Scottsdale on March 7 and 8. Over 20,000 fans are expected to join in on the free event. In addition, the Legacy Agency added Baseball America as the event’s anchor sponsor and Univision as the events Media Partner. Brands that have come on board for the event include: Steiner Sports, LIDS, KIND Snacks, Schutt Sports, Uber, Saguaro Scottsdale Hotel, Ferguson Jenkins Foundation, Scottsdale Food Truck Caravan, Rock N Roll High School, YELP, the Arizona Baseball Network and Triple Crown Sports.


Performance Research is launching EVsdrop, a geo-location based social media analysis platform, to collect and monitor all public posts originating from the Daytona 500. The platform will look to be derived from posts specifically originating from those within the confines of Daytona International Speedway for this weekend’s race, collecting posts, geographically located within the grounds, in real-time, and will include all social media activity across multiple platforms  regardless of hashtags or language used. The goal, according to the company, will be to “understand which sponsors are dominating the conversations and which are being ignored” and gain “insights into fans’, teams’, and analysts’ immediate reactions to all of the on-site activations and operational issues in addition to all of the race action surrounding the events of the weekend.”


Speaking of Daytona, SessionM is teaming with NASCAR Digital Media in a move to power a fan loyalty and rewards experience for the NASCAR Mobile app. The deal will let users collect rewards for visiting the app and engaging with content and features that can be used for NASCAR gear, gift cards at participating retailers, and more. “We are constantly seeking ways to satisfy our fans’ appetite for premium content while enhancing the user experience and increasing engagement on the NASCAR MOBILE app,” said Colin Smith, Vice President of NASCAR Digital Media. “SessionM’s loyalty platform will fulfill those objectives while introducing a whole new way to give back to our fans; they are the heart of what we do and we’re excited to recognize and reward their efforts.”


Fresh off of launching international sports, media, marketing, branded lifestyle company Bruin Sports Capital, George Pyne has now named Tony Crispino as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer. Crispino left IMG in December and began working at the firm just after the start of 2015 where he will be charged with the overall business and its operations, including business development and financial management.

Fanatics, Inc. reeled in Nick Eshkenazi to serve as the company’s Chief Information Officer. Eshkenazi will be responsible for a broad range of internal and external technology capabilities across Fanatics’ extensive platform of consumer and partner eCommerce businesses, including customer care and fulfillment operations as well as infrastructure, enterprise and information security solutions.

Tennis Channel promoted longtime media-advertising executive Allison Bodenmann to Vice President Head of Advertising Sales. She will oversee executive accounts, manage the staff in New York and act as a liaison between the ad sales team and the independent network’s corporate headquarters in Los Angeles as well as continue to expand the channel’s sponsor efforts.


Mavericks/Thunder on TNT at 8p.


Social Good Awards Breakfast
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 – 8:00-10:00 a.m.
Join us at the Cynopsis Social Good Awards Breakfast to celebrate social responsibility in the TV and entertainment industry. We will be honoring everything from sustainability partnerships and PSA’s to diversity campaigns, environmental initiatives, and more. This is the moment to shine a light on good works by brands, networks and digital entities, regardless of platform.
View the Finalists | Purchase Tickets
Industry Partner: The Cable Center

ON THIS DAY in 2010: Tiger Woods apologizes for extramarital affairs.

In The Know: Who holds the 72-hole scoring record at the PGA Championship? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What was Dale Earnhardt’s nickname? Answer: The Intimidator. Kudos: Mike Lee-BPN/NY; Cindy O’Connor-HRP-Cox Reps/NY; Brad Stern-Bellavia Blatt/NY; Don Gorski-WestwoodOne/NY; Russell Burton-Bespoke Sports & Entertainment/Charlotte; Adam Zimmerman-CSE/Atlanta; Tim Buckman-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Bob Scanlon-Velocity/Silver Spring; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Carly Dasso-SAATCHI & SAATCHI CHICAGO/Oakbrook Terrace; Andy Nelson, Heartland Industries/Fairfield; Chris Hartweg-Wunderman/Chicago; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside.

Later — Chris
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