02/22/18: Longtime ESPN staple Mike Patrick is leaving ESPN

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Good morning. It’s Thursday February 22, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

After a run that topped 35 years, Mike Patrick’s stay at ESPN is over. Patrick began his play-by-play role with the network in 1982, but the network announced yesterday that his last event with the company was the 2017 AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 30. During that span, Patrick’s role included serving as the voice of ESPN’s Sunday Night Football franchise from 1987 to 2005 in addition to covering college football and basketball.

“It’s wonderful to reflect on how I’ve done exactly what I wanted to do with my life,” Patrick said. “At the same time, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some of the very best people I’ve ever known, both on the air and behind the scenes. While I’m not sure exactly what’s next for me, I’m looking forward to continuing my journey with new life experiences.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

Lindsey Vonn’s bronze medal performance in her final Olympic downhill helped drive NBC Olympics’ primetime coverage of the Winter Games with a Total Audience Delivery average of 20.5 million viewers for Tuesday night, marking a rise of 8% over the second Tuesday of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to live plus same day fast national data released today by Nielsen, and digital data from Adobe Analytics.Last night’s NBC/NBCSN viewership peaked at 23.8 million viewers from 9:30-9:45p for women’s alpine skiing on NBC and women’s figure skating short program on NBCSN.
 
In Canada, after 10 days of Olympic competition, CBC/Radio-Canada’s coverage of the Games has seen 29 million Canadians (or 82% the population) tune in for part of PyeongChang 2018 across all English and French television network partners and digital streaming simulcasts. CBC’s English-language primetime coverage across all broadcast networks has garnered a 2+ average minute audience of more than 3 million viewers to date, with CBC alone delivering a 24% primetime audience share since the start of the Olympic Winter Games, according to the company.
 
Rounding out the ratings news, CBS Sports reports that its coverage of the PGA TOUR’S Farmers Insurance Open, Waste Management Phoenix Open, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Genesis Open scored the channel’s highest average rating and viewership in five years. The average rating/share hit a 2.1/5 for the events, up 11% over last year’s numbers with viewership hitting 3.2 million, up 10%.
 
ESPN will carry two FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifier games in February showcasing the USA Basketball men’s national team. Friday sees USA/Cuba at 11p on ESPNU, while Monday brings USA/Puerto Rico at 11p on ESPN2. Marc Kestecher will have the call for both games with analyst P.J. Carlesimo.
 
FOX Sports locked in UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier to join blow-by-blow announcer Jon Anik for FOX UFC Fight Night: Emmett vs. Stephens live from Orlando on Saturday at 8p. Victor Davila and Brandon Moreno have the call in Spanish on FOX Deportes. Meanwhile, Dominick Cruz and Michael Bisping work as desk analysts alongside FOX host Curt Menefee, and lead UFC host Karyn Bryant on FS1 and FS2. Reporter Megan Olivi reports from Orlando for Friday and Saturday’s coverage.
 
In baseball action, MLB Network launches the tenth season of its Spring Training series, 30 Clubs in 30 Days presented by Camping World  today from the Cincinnati Reds camp. The series features comprehensive coverage from camps across Arizona and Florida in daily installments on MLB Tonight and in content across MLB Network’s social platform. Analysts Eric Byrnes, Al Leiter, Kevin Millar, Carlos Peña, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds and Hall of Famer John Smoltz will join hosts Greg Amsinger, Scott Braun, Fran Charles, Robert Flores and Brian Kenny at each camp to conduct on-field demonstrations and interviews with players, managers and coaches, and provide previews and predictions for the 2018 season.
 
Elsewhere, SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel see its own MLB Spring Training Tour kick in on Feb. 24, hitting the road to broadcast from every Major League Spring Training complex. Each two-hour show will feature SiriusXM’s expert hosts providing an in-depth look at each MLB club as well as one-on-one conversations with managers, players and executives.
 
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Recognizing Short Form Video Awards Finalists…
Wednesday, March 7th | 4:45pm – 8pm | SVA Theatre, NYC
 
In addition to the awards program and winner screenings, hear from Attn:, CDW, Crowd Tangle, The Dodo, eshapTV, Facebook, Limbik, Lyft, NBCUniversal, State Farm, Time, Viacom Velocity and Volvo in these thought-provoking panels:
The Brands Speak
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Short Form Behind the Scenes
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Major League Soccer unveiled the launch of its 2018 brand campaign, titled “Our Soccer.” The initiative was created in collaboration with Cornerstone Agency and The FADER and is designed to “tell the story of the U.S. and Canada’s most ascendant, progressive and diverse sports league” by capturing the culture of soccer in North America and amplifying the energy of fans and players to invite new and current supporters to watch, participate and join the movement. The league debuted a 30-second “Our Soccer” brand anthem that features 2017 MLS Cup champion and game MVP Jozy Altidore and Atlanta-based rapper 2 Chainz. The campaign will be supported by MLS national broadcast partners ESPN, FOX Sports, Univision, TSN and TVA Sports, as well as international and regional MLS broadcast partners.
 
iQ Media delivered its sponsor scores from Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, noting that five brands—Kia, Statefarm, Spalding, Verizon, and Jordan Jumpman —competed for the most air time during the evening’s events. The company used its real-time TV logo-recognition technology to track all five sponsors throughout the live airing. Results included:
  • Total Number of Sponsor Appearances: Kia (264), Statefarm (172), Verizon (158), Spalding (60) and Jordon Jumpman (29)
  • Total Air Time, by Sponsor (in seconds): Kia (677), Statefarm (544), Verizon (527), Spalding (128), Jordon Jumpman (61)
  • Percent of Appearances in Optimal View (center of screen): Kia (45%), Statefarm (8%), Verizon (91%), Spalding (3%), Jordan Jumpman (100%)
The West Coast Conference announced that Gorilla Glue will be title sponsor of the Conference’s 2018 men’s and women’s basketball championships. The 2018 Gorilla Glue West Coast Conference Basketball Championships will run March 1-6 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas with the deal secured by Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment. As title sponsor, Gorilla Glue will receive a marketing presence at the basketball championship as the WCC celebrates the tenth anniversary of moving its tournament to Las Vegas.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

The runner-up finish in the 2018 Daytona 500 by the first full-time African-American driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since 1971 will be showcased in the final two episodes of “Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace” on Facebook Watch. The final episodes in the original series will post today a noon. “The whole experience of my first DAYTONA 500 was amazing,” said Wallace. “Through Facebook Watch, fans are going to be able to see what I went through leading into Sunday’s race and after it. It’s really cool to be able to share those moments and emotion with all our fans. Everyone needs to check it out.”
 
 
ESPORTS

In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports & Gaming…   
  • Misfits and Heat welcome Alien settlement
  • FACEIT is GO for London
  • MLS fields eMLS Cup plans
  • Super League Gaming adds four to the team
  • IEM Katowice gets an Omen
  • Psyonix is feeling Super
  • Overwatch League/Twitch has engagement in their sights
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Wizards/Cavaliers on TNT at 8p.

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ON THIS DAY in 1980: The Miracle on Ice sees the US Men’s Olympic hockey team shock the world by beating the Soviet team.
 
In the Know: While the Miracle on Ice in 1980 resonates in Olympic and pop culture history, the US team actually beat which country to win the gold? (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: Other than Canada and the US, what other country had appeared in the gold medal game for women’s ice hockey at the Olympics? Answer: Sweden. Kudos: James Stuart-NBC Sports/PyeongChang; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Brian Schweibert-Publicis Media/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; John Langermann-WINK-TV/WXCW-TV/Fort Myers; Rick Wiener-Allebach Communications/Philadelphia; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tony Wilkins-KGAN-KFXA/Cedar Rapids; Steve Bradbury-Deep Sports/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
 
 
Later – Chris
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