03/15/19: MLB announced rule changes for the upcoming season

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Good morning. It’s Friday March 15, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed upon a series of rule changes that will kick in over the next two seasons, subject to ratification by all 30 clubs. Changes set to begin this year will include (but are not limited to and subject to discussions with broadcast partners) inning breaks being reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national games. The All-Star Game will now see fan voting conducted in two rounds, a “primary round” that mirrors the All-Star voting of old, followed in late June or early July by an “Election Day” in which the top three vote-getters at each position will be voted on by fans. In addition, total player prize money for the Home Run Derby will be increased to $2.5 million with the inner receiving $1 million, while in typical games, maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five per game.
Changes for 2020 will include an opening day roster increasing from 25 to 26, while the 40-man active roster for September will be eliminated. In addition, starting pitchers and relief pitchers must pitch to either a minimum of three batters or to the end of a half-inning, with exceptions for incapacitating injury or illness.

ESPN’s Tournament Challenge Marathon presented by Boost Mobile will return for the third straight year, with 25 consecutive hours of men’s and women’s college basketball analysis, bracket advice and more on deck starting at 6p on Monday and presenting TCM-themed editions of popular ESPN shows across ESPN and ESPN2, culminating on Tuesday at 7p. The College GameDay crew – Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams – will be featured through the marathon, as well as Dan Dakich, LaPhonso Ellis, Chris Fallica, Sean Farnham, Andy Landers, Rebecca Lobo, and Maria Taylor. The Marathon’s overnight programming will include Mike Golic Jr., Jason Fitz, Sarah Spain and college basketball analyst Dalen Cuff.
ESPN wrapped up its regular season college basketball slate with year-over-year growth, with men’s basketball up 15%, averaging 1,199,000 viewers per game. Across all networks, men’s basketball finished up 6%, and women’s basketball was up 5%. Leading the way were ESPN’s Sonic Blockbuster (2,803,000 viewers) and Saturday Primetime Presented by H&R Block (2,776,000 viewers) games being up 64 percent and 42 percent, respectively.
Speaking of basketball, CBS Sports Network reports that it will offer in-depth coverage of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship with comprehensive live studio programming, including live on-site coverage at the Final Four in Minneapolis. Beginning on Sunday, and throughout the entire Tournament, NCAA March Madness Bracket Breakdown And NCAA March Madness 360 provide complete news, highlights and analysis of all 67 Tournament games and recap each day’s action. Studio programming throughout the tournament is anchored by Adam Zucker and Brent Stover, who are joined by analysts Wally Szczerbiak, Pete Gillen, Lappas, Khalid El-Amin, Haywood and Swin Cash, as well as insiders Seth Davis, Gary Parrish and Jon Rothstein.
The NHL announced that the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery will be held on Tuesday, April 9 in Toronto, carried as a one-hour show on NBCSN starting at 5p. The lottery will determine the order of selection for the first 15 picks in the first round of the draft, and all 15 clubs who don’t make the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be included. 
CBS Sports is adding two additional Alliance of American Football games to CBS Television Network. The broadcast channel will now carry one of the Conference Championship games on April 21 at noon in advance of the Network’s primetime broadcast of the inaugural Alliance Championship Game on April 27. In addition, on April 6, CBS will also televise the Memphis Express against the San Antonio Commanders at the Alamodome. CBS Sports Network will televise an encore of the game on Sunday at 4p.
Stadium announced a special Bracket Scouting Selection Show set to run on Sunday at 7p. The two-hour special will be hosted by Kristen Balboni and will feature in-depth insight from Stadium college basketball insider Jeff Goodman, along with college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb. Both Goodman and Gottlieb will break down every matchup from the opening round and offer expert advice on how to create the perfect bracket.
ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships returns this month, with the annual event’s three prime-time sessions airing on ESPN, its early sessions on ESPNU and every one of the 640 matches available on ESPN3 via the ESPN App. Programming includes nearly 20 hours of competition starting March 21. This year, ESPN3 will add a postgame show to its previously existing pregame show and complementary Championship night coverage.
On the ratings front, Univision Deportes Network’s exclusive presentation of America/Guadalajara on Wednesday as the Copa MX quarterfinal averaged 867K P2+ and 553K A18-49 to rank as the best Copa MX quarterfinal telecast ever, regardless of language. The quarterfinal was also the highest-rated soccer match on cable this year to-date, regardless of language.
Meanwhile, Combate Americas announced that its second live televised MMA event of 2019 – ‘Mexico vs. Spain’ –pulled in more than 537,000 viewers on Univision despite its midnight ET start time on march 8. “Our viewership proves Combate Americas to be a rising ratings magnet,” said Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren.  “Our momentum is building, and we see no ceiling for how high our numbers can go. The industry may not have seen this coming, but we have known all along that we will change the face of the sport one telecast at a time.”
Digital series Tactics Session debuted on NBC Sports’ YouTube channel this past weekend, joining the likes of Inside the Mind and  The Lowe Down as weekly content to provide fans with unique additional Premier League programming, exclusively on YouTube. On “Tactics Session,” Robbie Earle, Kyle Martino, and Robbie Mustoe offer a break down of a key goal, play or tactic seen in the Premier League each week.
Unanimous Media announced the second season of 5 Minutes From Home, the original series that pairs NBA star Stephen Curry with a special guest as they “take a Lyft to a post-game meal and share candid conversations about sports, music, food, family, and more.” The five-episode series premiered yesterday on Stephen Curry’s YouTube Channel.
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The 2019 NCAA March Madness Music Series will see singer and songwriter Katy Perry headline the Capital One JamFest on April 7 with DJ and producer Zedd tipping off the night. The three-day Music Series (April 5-7) will be held at The Armory in Minneapolis and open with the AT&T Block Party on April 5, followed by Coca-Cola Music on April 6.
The NFL announced the launch of “Tickets for 100 Years,” a first-of-its-kind contest offering a grand prize of a pair of season tickets to the winning fan’s preferred franchise for the next century. This grand prize marks the first of a series of fan experiences NFL fans will be able enter to win throughout the league’s 100th season, following the launch of the NFL100 campaign during Super Bowl LIII. “The NFL was built on multi-generational fandom that bonds people together,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Giving someone a century’s worth of NFL season tickets may be the single greatest sports prize ever offered to a fan. It represents 100 years filled with incredible memories to share with the people who matter most. This is the first of a fan-focused series that speaks to the spirit of the ‘Fantennial’ celebration at the heart of our centennial year.”
The Professional Fighters League announced a multi-year partnership with Anheuser Busch In-Bev in a deal that designated Estrella Jalisco as the first-ever “Official Beer Partner” of the PFL. As the Official Beer of the PFL, Estrella Jalisco has global rights to use PFL logos and “Official Partner” branding for advertising and promotional usage, including pass-through branding rights for promotions with on-premise and retail channel partners. ABI and the league will also collaborate on exclusive content across digital platforms.

Noah Basketball and the Pac-12 Conference opened a partnership for the Conference to leverage the Noah Shooting System and Noahlytics data service in both of its 2019 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. Having already tracked every shot of the women’s basketball tournament this past week from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, every shot at the men’s basketball tournament from T-Mobile Arena this week will also be tracked. The Pac-12 Conference is the first NCAA conference to partner with Noah, and the first conference to use the technology for broadcast television as the data will be featured across Pac-12 Networks coverage.
The 22nd edition of ESPN’s Tournament Challenge game will once again open its doors with fans able to submit up to 25 brackets and join up to 10 groups each for the men’s and women’s tournaments. New features in the ESPN Tournament Challenge App include redesigned bracket cards that allow fans to easily navigate between brackets and sort them by total points, maximum points or alphabetically. The TC App also gives fans advanced live scoring and bracket results through Bracketcast, expert analysis and matchup previews, opt-in push notifications for up-to-the-second scores, news and video updates, and the ability to pre-fill brackets before Selection Sunday.

FIFA formalized the full line-up of participating countries who will take part at the first-ever FIFA eNations Cup. Meanwhile, London was tapped as the host city for the event, which serves as one of the major events in the EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series with 20 national teams from all six confederations (Concacaf, CONMEBOL, CAF, OFC, AFC and UEFA) set to take part. The 20 countries confirmed to participate in the FIFA eNations Cup 2019 are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China PR, Denmark, England (host country), Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands., New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Russia, and USA. In addition to international glory and a prize pool of $100,000 at stake for the teams, players selected by their member association for the FIFA eNations Cup 2019 will also have the chance to win up to 1,500 EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series points.
Stockholm-based esports company G-Loot, with its Battle Royale brand GLL, is partnering with PUBG Corporation to host a new PUBG Classic event, GLL GRAND SLAM: PUBG Classic. The multi-regional tournament for PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS will be held in Stockholm from July 19-21. “When we started the GLL brand a little more than one year ago the strategy was clear. We wanted to create the largest tournament in the world with the world’s most played game – PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. We are immensely proud to announce GLL GRAND SLAM: PUBG Classic. It will be the largest tournament by us to date and we are very happy to welcome fans worldwide to follow the tournament on site in Stockholm or online,” said Simon Sundén, Vice President and Head of Esports and GLL at G-Loot.
Scuf Gaming announced plans to release new special editions of its SCUF Vantage and SCUF IMPACT to honor OpTic Gaming. As OpTic’s longest running sponsor, Scuf Gaming’s new items mark the seventh OpTic Gaming-inspired collaboration between the organization and Scuf Gaming, its official controller partner.

New pro sports league World Physique Championship unlocked its plans for that competition circuit that will “focus heavily on promoting competitors and the industry to a mainstream audience.” The WPC is set to launch in Miami on June 15, with their inaugural event taking place at the James L. Knight Center. Additional markets that WPC will visit before the end of the year include New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The Las Vegas-based WPC will be overseen by CEO Darren Owen.
ONE Championship announced an exclusive partnership with Japanese martial arts organization Pancrase. The deal will see ONE Championship work with the org to provide Pancrase athletes the opportunity to showcase their martial arts talents and further develop their skills on a global platform. All Professional Pancrase World Champions will receive the opportunity to compete in ONE Championship.
The Premier Lacrosse League announced that it will host its slate of Week 5 games at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta, GA, on Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29. Atlanta joins Boston, New York, Chicago, and Baltimore has PLL host cities that have been announced. “We’re delighted to bring an amazing weekend of Premier Lacrosse League action to the Atlanta area,” says Paul Rabil, PLL Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “Led by PLL superstars Myles Jones and Scott Ratliff, the region has seen lacrosse grow exponentially in both participation and popularity. We look forward to bringing the PLL to the fans in the great state of Georgia.”
The NCAA, USA Basketball and the NBA will bring top male and female high school-age players from around the nation and world to the 2019 Men’s and Women’s Final Fours. The players will travel to Minneapolis and Tampa, respectively, for a weekend of player development and educational programming as part of Next Generation Sunday and, for the first time, Women’s Next Generation Saturday.

2019 NCAA March Madness Selection Show on CBS on Sunday at 6p.
Esports Business Summit

September 10-12, 2019 | MGM Grand Las Vegas

Join us this September in Las Vegas for the Esports Business Summit. The summit brings together all sectors of the Esports ecosystem for three days of networking, education and inspiration. Attend EBS and you’ll meet and learn from key executives from brand marketing, television, sports and technology who are growing their businesses by leveraging the passionate global audience that Esports delivers.


ON THIS DAY in 1988: The NFL’s St Louis Cardinals officially move to Phoenix.
In the Know: Easy one. American golf caddie and golf commentator Jim Mackay is known by what nickname? (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: Which school won both the men’s NCAA National Championship and the women’s basketball title in the same season? Answer: UCONN. Kudos: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Jake Goldklang-NBC Sports/NY; Aymon DeMauro-ADM Media & Marketing/NY; Wayne “World B.” Otto-Pro-Am Sports/Boone; James J. Pepe-American Cancer Society/Bethlehem; Ron Cioffi-USTA Southern/Peachtree Corners; Michael Narracci-NESN/Watertown; Lucie Prann-The Richards Group/Dallas; Ryan Rabe-Comcast Spotlight/Chicago; John Tingue-Hulu/Chicago; Bill Robertson-WCHA/Bloomington; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary Dinos 5th Quarter Alumni Development/Calgary; David Hauptman/Denver; Tony Reyes-ShadowMachine/Hollywood; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Patrick Jackman-Media Storm/LA
Later — Chris
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AD SALES ASSISTANT/Crown Media Family Networks/NY: Provide support to Ad Sales by working W/ Acct Execs to service clients. Including sales orders, move requests and media schedules. Detail oriented w/orgnzt’l skills to keep manage fast paced, time sensitive environment. BA/BS req. Full info/apply HERE (3/29)

DIRECTOR, LEGAL & BUSINESS AFFAIRS/TV One/NYC: As secondary mgr, you are responsible for providing business and legal support to all departments of TV On. Structure, negotiate and draft a variety of content acquisition agreements minimum of 7 years of television industry experience pref’d. Full info HERE (3/29)

PRODUCER, DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA/TV One/Silver Spring MD: Build promotional & original digital content to build the TV One digital brand.Dvlp/prod promotional content (incl articles, videos & any other media) to support our orig. 3+ yrs exp in building, managing, and growing a website for a medium/​large size org. Full info HERE (3/29)

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, MEDIA BUYING & PLANNING/Spero Media/NYC: Organized, detail-oriented team player w/min 1yr of media buying/plan’g exp, interested in actively participating in media buying & plan’g/promotion for variety of sports/ent clients incl: US Open Tennis, NY Jets, Blue Man Group, NY Mets + Full info HERE (3/29)

/NBC/TELEMUNDO/PHILADELPHIA: Self-motivated well organized team player to identify, target, develop and secure new business for NBC10 and Telemundo62 through a variety of platforms including on-air, on-line, mobile and out-of-home. Min of 3 yrs exp in media sales. Full info HERE (3/28)

/A+E Networks/NY: Serve as digital/social marketing resource and thought leader in the sales department, managing latest digital/social marketing products & tools, effectively demonstrating how they can be leveraged in strategic 360 campaigns. Full info HERE (3/27)

DIRECTOR of MEDIA, SOCIAL & EMERGING/Ad Council/San Francisco: Manage daily responsibilities with existing social & digital media partners. 5+ yrs digital & traditional media/cross-platform sales experience with a track record of developing and executing successful strategic partnerships. Full info HERE (3/27)

DIGITAL ACCOUNT SPECIALIST /Discovery/NYC: Resp for all aspects of digital media plan’g & acts as key point of contact with ad agency and internal constituents Min 1+ yr professional exp/or equivalent internship exp preferably within the digital media, advertising sales/agency fields. Full info HERE (3/26)
DIGITAL PRODUCER /Spectrum News/NYC: Produce new & innovative content series for non-linear platforms. Proficiency at multi-tasking and must have the ability to prioritize, work independently and meet strict deadlines. 3+ yr TV new exp. Full info HERE (3/26)

DIRECTOR, BUSINESS & LEGAL AFFAIRS/GSN/Santa Monica: 2-4 yrs. w/law firm or TV exp. Member of CA bar or eligible for registration. Structuring, negotiating & closing a heavy volume of acquisition deals. Day-to-day legal support. Drafting & negotiating documents & agreements. Reviewing & approving advertising/marketing materials. Full info HERE (3/23)

ACCOUNT EXEC/SR ACCOUNT EXEC/starpower LLC/NYC: Provide support to the SVP, incl drafting/managing correspondence/communications, project mngmnt & coordinating special events. Strong passion for pop-culture/ent. Exp interacting w/brands & agencies. Strong orgnz’l skills. Dig & SM savvy. Full info HERE (3/23)

DIRECTOR, TALENT PARTNERSHIPS & INFLUENCER STRATEGY/starpower LLC/NYC: Acct Management Attend (and lead) regularly scheduled client conference calls, in person meetings. Mng relationships, timelines, budgets. 7-10 yrs in digital space w/proven exp delivering successful programs across channels. Full info HERE (3/23)

ANALYST, INFLUENCER MKTG GROUP/starpower LLC/LA: Identify potential social influencers (incl global) for a campaign based on client brief incl rsrch, leveraging tools & ntwrk. 1-2 yrs of social influencer & digital exp. Exp interacting w/brands, social influencer representation agencies, Full info HERE (3/23)

DIRECTOR, ENTERTAINMENT MARKETING, LIFESTYLE GROUP/starpower LLC/NYC: Lead the talent procurement process for public relations, advertising, digital and influencer seeding campaigns. 5+ yrs. of talent procurement/buying exp. Full info HERE (3/23)  
SR DIRECTOR, INFLUENCER MARKETING/starpower LLC/NYC: Thought-leader for clients and agency; strategist and trusted adviser for clients. 7-10 years in the digital space with proven experience delivering successful programs across channels. Full info HERE (3/23)

CAMPAIGN MGR, INFLUENCER MKTG GROUP/starpower LLC/LA: Identify potential social influencers (including global) for a campaign based on client brief incl rsrch, leveraging tools & network. 3+ yrs in digital & influencer mktg space with proven exp delivering successful digital/social programs across channels. Full info HERE (3/23)

DIR, LEGAL AFF/GSN/Santa Monica: 2-4 yrs. w/law firm or TV exp. Member of CA bar or eligible for registration. Structuring, negotiating & closing a heavy volume of acquisition deals. Day-to-day legal support. Drafting & negotiating documents & agreements. Reviewing & approving advertising/marketing materials. Full info HERE (3/23)

9 Story Media/NYC: Seeking 2 exp’d producers for iconic, high profile children’s series utilizing 2D, 3D and live action. Will be coordinating work of teams in mult int’l locations. Candidates must have a strong knwldg of animation prod w/min of 5 yrs prod exp. Full info HERE (3/21)

SALES PLANNER/TENNIS CHANNEL TV/NYC: Work closely with acct exec & pricing/planning team to maximize revenue. Handle daily acct maintenance for numerous advertisers. 2-4+ yrs brdcst cable exp. & ability to interact professionally w/all levels of personnel. Full info HERE (3/21)

DIGITAL MEDIA DIRECTOR/Discovery Inc/NYC: Lead dvlment/execution/analysis of Motor Trend, GOLFTV & TV Everywhere paid acquisition campaigns that primarily run across SEM, paid social & programmatic. 6+ yrs exp relevant field (dig media buying, performance media/mkt, DR). Digital media agency exp strongly pref’d. Full info HERE (3/21)

MEDIA STRATEGIST, PAID DIGITAL/Discovery Inc/NYC: Asst in dvlpmt of digital media plans that are strategic & data-driven, with the goal of efficiently acquiring subscribers/users to GOLFTV, Motor Trend, and Discovery’s TV Everywhere platforms. 2+ yrs of paid digital media exp; media agency exp strongly pref’d. Full info HERE (3/21)

ANALYST, PROGRAM RESEARCH/CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ: Resp for reg reporting of TV aud metrics to internal stakeholders including Prgrmng/Scheduling, Mktg, Public Relations & Finance. 2+ yrs exp (includes internships) in audience research for a media company or advertising agency. Full info HERE (3/21)

/Spectrum Networks/NYC: Resp for the dvlpmnt of application &/or reporting solutions to address business needs. Knowledge of SQL Server, Python, Tableau, Qlikview, VBA, Business Objects. 4-6 yrs of Data analysis and reporting or related exp. Full info HERE (3/20)

MGR, MEDIA RESEARCH & STRATEGY/Spectrum Networks/NYC: Resp for providing support with Media Rsrch, Plan’g & Strategy functions within the Audience Insights Dept across traditional and digital media. 3-5 yrs of Media rsrch exp, agency, publisher and/or client side. Full info HERE (3/20)

/Crown Media Family Networks/LA: Sell Nat’l advertising time to established and prospective clients. Strong negotiation skills and presentation skills. Strong knowledge of Los Angeles mktplace. Established relationships with automotive and tech clients. BA/BS req & Min 2 yrs exp. Apply HERE (3/19)
DIRECTOR, DEVELOPMENT/MY Entertainment/NYC: Create unscripted content for broadcast, cable and OTT. 8 years of development and/or production of factual series, specials formats and documentaries. Full info HERE (3/19)

VP SYNDICATED SALES, Northeastern Region
/Sony Pictures/NYC: Focus on selling programing to TV stations, building/maintaining strong customer relationships while also creating dvlpmnt strategy. Exc comm/interpersonal/negotiation skills are critical to achieving success in this role. 4+ yrs VP role or similar in ent; 5+ yrs of ent exp and knwldg in TV ind. Full info HERE (3/19)
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