03/07/17: BT Sport named Champions; NBC continues racing run; ESPN’s March Marathon



A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM TENNIS CHANNEL


Tennis Channel returns to the French Open with subscribers on the rise!
        
Tennis Channel has
gained 8.6 million subscribers since January 2017

Tennis Channel boasts the highest concentration of upscale viewers vs. other cable networks

French Open – May 28 – June 11 – Over 315 Hours of Live Match Play – A Must Buy on Tennis Channel

Ownership Opportunities AvailableContact: Adsales@tennischannel.com.
*Source: Nielsen (NTI)


CYNOPSISSPORTS
03.07.17

Good morning. It’s Tuesday March 7, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

A big deal in international waters, as British media heavyweight BT Sport emerged as the winner for exclusive UK broadcast rights to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, paying a reported $1.4 billion for the package. The deal runs through the end of the 2020/21 season and will include highlights package. “UEFA is delighted to have extended the relationship with BT Sport for a further three seasons, taking our partnership to 2021,” said Guy Laurent Epstein, UEFA marketing director. “BT Sport has proved to be an innovative broadcast partner, pushing the boundaries and covering the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League in new ways. BT have delivered strong audiences in the UK and we are excited about their future plans for the use of social media which will engage a growing fanbase that consumes sport in different ways.”

ON THE AIR

NBC Sports Group continues to bolster their horse racing coverage, announcing Monday that the company is adding live coverage of international events  the Dubai World Cup on Sat., March 25 and the Epsom Derby on Sat., June 3 — to its 2017 horse racing schedule. NBC Sports will now feature live horse racing in 10 months this year. “We are excited to bring to the U.S. audience live coverage of international events that the millions of Americans who enjoy our Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup telecasts will be sure to enjoy,” said Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN.

March Madness will now see ESPN will serve up a 24-hour Tournament Challenge Marathon, with programming from the networks studios in Bristol, Conn. and LA Live, as well as a set presence from Las Vegas starting March 13. The initiative begins on ESPN with the NCAA Women’s Selection Special Presented by Capital One at 7p Monday and ends on ESPN2 with a special edition of Tournament Challenge from 4:30-7p on Tuesday. Tournament Challenge-themed editions of popular ESPN shows include Mike & Mike, First Take, Outside the Lines, Jalen & Jacoby, The Jump and SportsNation, plus live cut-ins from SportsCenter.

Meanwhile, ESPN saw its Duke/North Carolina coverage on Saturday score a 2.6 overnight Nielsen number to rank as the highest overnight for a college basketball game this season on any network. In addition, the network’s stream averaged 103,000 viewers with a total of 314,000 viewers watching 14,101,000 minutes. Later that evening, the Washington State/UCLA contest earned the best overnight and was ESPN’s highest streaming audience for a late-night, weekend Pac-12 game this season, with a 1.2.

Elsewhere in college basketball, BTN detailed plans for a full week of comprehensive coverage of the Big Ten Tournament from DC, including five games, pre- and post-game analysis, coach and player interviews, and a 90-minute B1G Basketball & Beyond: Selection Sunday Special.

NFL Network is adding two re-airs of NFL 360: The Conversation to its schedule for this Wednesday, March 8, at 10p ET as well as 10p PT. The program examines the sides and reactions to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest and features NFL Media columnist Jeffri Chadiha going coast to coast to interview fans, businessmen, police officers and members of the military, etc.

RPM Events Group and NBC Sports Group partnered on a media rights agreement for the inaugural Colorado Classic bike race that will see the four-day race (Aug. 10-13) run on NBCSN and live streamed on NBC Sports Gold. “NBC Sports is an international leader in coverage of cycling, and this partnership allows us to significantly expand our audience and share the excitement of the inaugural Colorado Classic with cycling fans throughout the state and across the globe,” said RPM Events Group CEO David Koff. “This partnership also allows us to showcase Colorado, our host cities and the Colorado Classic in ways that will help propel us toward our goal of producing sustainable, entertaining cycling events on an annual basis.”

Speaking of NBCSN, NASCAR America celebrates NASCAR’s legends with a special 90-minute episode to exclusively announce the 2018 nominees for enshrinement in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The program airs Wednesday at 5:30p, recognizing the 20 nominees for next year’s NASCAR Hall of Fame Class, as well as the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Carolyn Manno hosts.

Multiple reports on Monday state that ESPN expects a series of layoffs from its ranks. Among the expected cuts will be on-air TV correspondents, podcast and radio hosts, as well as news reporters, according to Variety. “We have long been about serving fans and innovating to create the best content for them.  Today’s fans consume content in many different ways and we are in a continuous process of adapting to change and improving what we do,” ESPN said in a statement. “Inevitably, that has consequences for how we utilize our talent.  We are confident that ESPN will continue to have a roster of talent that is unequaled in sports.”

Tough Mudder, Inc. unveiled global expansion deals with ESPN Media Distribution and Sports Media and Entertainment 360. ESPN Media Distribution will now represent Tough Mudder’s global video rights for the brand’s collection of competitive events for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, while SME360 has become the official licensee of Tough Mudder events in New Zealand.
 
With the World Baseball Classic underway, MLB Network will see free previews this week. In addition to its existing carriage with a slate of video providers in the US, a free preview of MLB Network is now being offered to video customers of Comcast, Cox and Frontier throughout the duration of the World Baseball Classic, increasing MLB Network’s distribution to approximately 80 million homes across the country.

Golf Channel is lining up Seve the Movie tonight at 8p, examining the life and career of World Golf Hall of Famer Seve Ballesteros. The movie blends archival footage with dramatic recreations, as he became one of the sport’s leading figures from the mid-1970’s to the 1990s.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Major League Soccer announced a multi-year renewal of its partnership with Etihad Airways that continues the airlines role as the official airline partner of MLS. The deal will see Etihad and MLS collaborate through the “MLS Flight Path” campaign, bringing competitions for fans, VIP experiences at the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target and MLS Cup, as well as flights and holidays with the Skytrax-Certified 5-Star Airline to experience its home of Abu Dhabi.

NBA lined up the second installment of its March Madness/Road to the Playoffs-themed campaign, “The Dance Never Ends,” which serve as part of the “This Is Why We Play” platform. Taking part in the promotion will be Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker featured in 15-second videos that highlight their former colleges’ signature mascot, colors, and fan celebrations.

Marriott is set to become an Official NCAA Corporate Partner across all 90 NCAA championships in a new deal that makes the brand the “Official Hotel Partner of the NCAA,” In partnership with the NCAA, Turner Sports and CBS Sports, Marriott will continue to support college student-athletes and communities across the country in the multu-year agreement, spanning to include the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four and all of the association’s championships, granting Marriott International marketing, media, and activation rights.

DIGITAL & STREAMING

NBA China and China’ social media staple Weibo announced a new multi-year partnership on Monday to bring game highlights and original programming to the platform. Weibo will now become NBA China’s official social media platform and will deliver content, including daily NBA game highlights, photos and statistics and livestreamed NBA events in China and behind-the-scenes access from regular-season games.

The Topps Company, which serves as the exclusive trading card partner of Major League Baseball as well as the World Baseball Classic, is launching Topps Now cards. For the first time, Topps Now will be offered in Spanish for cards that highlight players from predominantly Spanish-speaking countries. “We’re excited for the progression of the Topps Now program and bringing these cards to a wider audience of baseball fans,” said David Leiner, General Manager and Vice President of North American Sports and Entertainment Division at Topps. “This program has been a lot of fun since its inception to see what great moments and milestones we can capture on cards. The World Baseball Classic is a natural fit because it offers great plays from international stars, and there are also players whose cards you might not be able to get anywhere else.”

ESPORTS

Gfinity announced their Challenger Series will kick off with CS:GO as the first stage of the trifecta that will make up its Gfinity Elite Series. Registration was now open for gamers to participate in the Challenger Series tournament, with the tournament serving as an open ladder in which players collect G-Points for wins.

Riot Games emerged triumphant in its lawsuit against the makers of LeagueSharp, a service that the court ruled violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by getting around Riot Games’ anti-cheating software to allow users to execute code scripts to alter the game. As a result, Riot will be paid $10 million with the court issuing a ban on LeagueSharp that prevents them from engaging with League of Legends and any other future Riot games as well hand over their LeagueSharp-affiliated websites to Riot.

Franchise fees for the upcoming Overwatch League are being dangled for $2-5 million, according to SBJ, for the majority of potential markets. However, the report stated that a team based in LA will set owners back by as much as $15 million.

THE MAIN EVENT

WCC Championship on ESPN at 9p.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


Programmatic Data & Measurement Webinar
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Projections from Zenith Media state that programmatic advertising will rise by 31% in 2017 – faster growth than any other digital channel, including social media & online video. And you can throw programmatic TV into that mix as well: According to eMarketer, it’ll be a $4.43 billion industry by 2018.

 
Are you up to speed? Register today to hear from AOL, Assembly and the The Weather Company during the latest webinar on March 15.



ON THIS DAY in 1995: Dominique Wilkins scores hits NBA point #25,000.

In The Know: Although he was best known for his play with the Atlanta Hawks, Dominique Wilkins was actually drafted by which NBA franchise? (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 holds the record for most championships in the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament? Answer: Temple. Kudos: John Ferlazzo-Media Consultant/London; Aymon DeMauro-Discovery Communications/NY; Bob Dudelson-Leverage Agency/NY; Mike Polvere-Optimum Sports/NY; Bart Dinardo-HTS/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Matt Deprey-Discovery Communications/Silver Spring; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Jeff Mirkin-Phoneatics/Santa Monica; Jack Simmons-US Army Reserve/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine
03.07.17

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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