02/21/18: FOX Sports is launching a record number of hours of live World Cup programming for the broadcast channel

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Good morning. It’s Wednesday February 21, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

FOX Sports detailed broadcast plans for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, slating all 64 matches live, including a record 38 matches on broadcast television with 26 on FS1. From June 14-July 15, all matches will also be available to be live-streamed via FOX Sports GO and FOX Soccer Match Pass. Group stage action kicks off on FOX with host country Russia battling Saudi Arabia on June 14 at 11a and the FIFA World Cup Champion set to be crowned on FOX on July 15 at 11a. Meanwhile, FS1’s lineup includes 26 matches, highlighted by an opening weekend that features Germany, Brazil, France and Mexico.
 
In addition to match coverage, FOX Sports will offer extensive coverage studio programming for the month-long tournament originating from Russia’s iconic Red Square, including pregame, postgame and late night shows.
 
 
ON THE AIR

SiriusXM is adding CBS Sports Radio to the palette, adding the programming lineup today on satellite radios (Sirius channel 213, XM channel 201) and on the SiriusXM app. “We are thrilled to bring CBS Sports Radio to the millions of listeners that enjoy SiriusXM,” said Chris Oliviero, Executive Vice President, Programming, Entercom. “This move greatly expands our reach to sports fans in every part of the country, and marks the next step in our commitment to aggressively distribute our product, bringing more fans to the brand.”
 
ESPN announced that Cari Champion will make her SportsNation debut on March 12, joining co-hosts Marcellus Wiley and LZ Granderson and replacing host Michelle Beadle, who will move to New York to join Mike Greenberg and Jalen Rose on ESPN’s new morning show, Get Up. “SportsNation is a brand the company cares for deeply, and I’m excited to join a well-regarded show and also show another side of me,” said Champion. “As the only woman on the show, I’ve already let the guys know I’m going to bring the heat.”
 
The US men’s hockey team’s win over Slovakia last night on NBCSN averaged 1.62 million viewers for the network, to rank as the channel’s most-watched late-night (10p or later) hockey game in four years, and is the second-most watched hockey game in the late time slot in NBCSN history, according fast national live plus same day data from Nielsen. Meanwhile, Monday’s NBC Olympics’ primetime coverage delivered a TAD average of 18.6 million viewers, according to live plus same day fast national data from Nielsen, and digital data from Adobe Analytics.
 
In other ratings numbers, the FOX Regional Sports Networks group saw the first half of the NBA season propel the channels to a rise of 4% in household ratings compared to last year’s numbers. The FOX RSNs group was led by FOX Sports Ohio at the All-Star break, as the Cavaliers earned the top household rating in the Eastern Conference – and second highest rating in the NBA (8.21 HH rating, up 15%). 
 
In other basketball news, the NCAA stripped the University of Louisville of its 2013 national basketball title, declaring that the school must vacate 123 wins between 2011 and 2015, according to a decision issued by the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee. The appeals committee also upheld the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions penalty that requires the university to return to the NCAA money received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships.
 
DIRECTV is once again elevating the price of its NFL Sunday Ticket package, pricing the basic package at $293.94 for the upcoming season, up from $281.94 a year ago. The max package, which includes the Red Zone channel, will cost $395.94.
 
For the second consecutive year, Pac-12 Networks is set to provide live coverage of the Women’s and Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Programming starts today with live coverage of preliminaries via the Pac-12 Now app and Pac-12.com with the live telecast of the 2018 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming & Men’s and Women’s Diving Championships on Saturday at 6:30p on Pac-12 Network and across all six regional Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Championships.
 
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March 14, 2018| 8:30-10:30am | Espace, NYC

At a time when it is more important than ever to shine a light on the incredible accomplishments of women in every field, we are proud to honor excellence in digital, marketing, advertising, social media and online content. Support your colleague or friend and network with these digital innovators by registering now for our annual Awards Breakfast.

 
 
SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

NFL Network and Rich Eisen is revving up for this year’s edition of ‘Run Rich Run’ at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine by once again partnering with NFL Play 60 to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Since 2004, “The Rich Eisen Show” host has capped off his week at the NFL Scouting Combine by taking his talents from the broadcast booth to the field with a 40-yard dash, clad in a suit, tie and Under Armour cleats. NFL Network will donate $25,000 to the cause, while AT&T AUDIENCE Network, Courtyard by Marriott and Under Armour have also pledged $25,000 each to help support play therapy at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
 
March 1 will see Reebok officially unveil its newest footwear technology – Flexweave with a new campaign this month across social, before a full international marketing push next month. A center piece to the campaign will be a hero film featuring Reebok partner & speed training specialist Luis Badillo Jr. FAST Flexweave will also be supported in a number of static executions featuring professional football athletes Devonta Freeman and Brandin Cooks.
 
Under Armour signed on as a partner for TPG Sports Group’s fourth annual Sports Tank event on March 10. Through the partnership, Under Armour will select one company participating in the Sports Tank competition to receive the first-ever “Under Armour Innovation Award” which will be presented live on stage during the Sports Tank event on May 1 in New York City. The award recipient will be invited to pitch their start-up to a group of Under Armour teammates and participate in a tour of the Under Armour Global Headquarters and Lighthouse Facility.
 
ONE Championship announced a partnership with telecommunications giant, Telenor Myanmar. The partnership will commence at ONE: Quest for Gold on Feb. 23 at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium. Jack Lim, Chief Commercial Officer of ONE Championship, stated: “Technology plays a major role in the success of ONE Championship as a company, and we always strive to provide fans with a unique, world-class digital experience that they cannot find elsewhere. The showcase of Asia’s authentic and rich martial arts history is made possible through the technological advancement in today’s society. This partnership with Telenor Myanmar is but another step in the right direction towards making world-class martial arts accessible to everyone in Asia, especially in Myanmar where martial arts has completely taken off in popularity over recent years.”
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

Veteran golf travel, history and architecture journalist Bradley S. Klein signed on to join Golf Channel’s editorial team as senior writer for Golf Advisor. Klein’s first column is now up and provides eight simple tips for “becoming a golf course architecture junkie.” Klein most recently served as the long-time architecture editor for Golfweek magazine and the founding editor of Superintendent News.
 
 
ESPORTS

Esports apparel and gear company Moniker, Inc. launched “the first esports lifestyle brand H4X.gg” (pronounced “hacks”) with high quality performance wear and casual streetwear for esports athletes and fans. For the launch, H4X.gg has partnered with ESL and DreamHack to become the official apparel supplier of several ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters, DreamHack Open, DreamHack Masters and DreamLeague 2018, kicking off with ESL One in Katowice on Feb. 24-25. The H4X.gg line was developed by passionate gamers and esports industry veterans at BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, led by ESL founder Jens Hilgers, and Jon Wayne Gurman, an apparel and manufacturing expert with more than 35 years experience in the fashion and licensing industry.
 
ESL and WESA are heading to Dallas for the season seven CS:GO Pro League Finals from May 18-20. Teams will vie for their share of the $1 million in prizes at the Verizon Theatre. “We are looking forward to bringing the Pro League Finals back to Dallas after such a successful Season Six Finals in Odense,” said Ken Hershman, Commissioner and Executive Chairman, WESA. “This year we will expand the opportunity for Pro League competition to even more talented teams around the globe, and we look forward to an exciting year and eagerly await the Finals.”
 
Enjin Coin, a “customizable cryptocurrency and virtual goods platform for gaming,” announced their partnership with NRG eSports. The deal marks Enjin Coin’s first official partnership with an esports organization and NRG eSports will help evangelize Enjin Coin to millions of their fans, spreading brand awareness, educating them about the gaming cryptocurrency, and introducing them to the Enjin Wallet.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

US/Canada in the Women’s Gold Medal hockey game on NBCSN at 10:45p.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
March 7, 2018 | SVA Theatre – NYC
Incredible screenings, interesting panels & networking all in one afternoon…
AGENDA:
1:45 – 2pm (Registration)
2 –  3:40pm (Panels)
3:40 –  4pm (Networking)
4pm – 5:45 pm (Awards Program/Video Screening)
4:45 – 7pm (Networking Reception)
 
 

ON THIS DAY in 1948: NASCAR is born.
 
In the Know: Other than Canada and the US, what other country had appeared in the gold medal game for women’s ice hockey at the Olympics? (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: What is the name of Charlie Sheen’s character in Major League? Answer: Ricky Vaughn, aka Wild Thing. Kudos: David Kopelman-NYXL/NY; Traci Liner-Endeavor/NY; Will Blake-Minute Media/NY; Brian Schweibert-Publicis Media/NY; Mark Lehman-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; James J. Pepe-American Cancer Society/Bethlehem; Mike Furman-GMMB/DC; Larry Kahn-Golf Channel/Orlando; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-SOS Global/Dallas; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Lisa Fikeys-Zimmerman/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; James Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria

Later – Chris
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