04/06/16: Twitter lands TNF; NCAA viewership numbers; NBC Sports firms up Olympic talent


Good morning. It’s Wednesday April 6, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Twitter nabbed rights to the NFL’s live digital stream of Thursday Night Football to global audiences. The stream will be offered for free during the 2016 season in what the league is calling a “Tri-Cast” distribution model of broadcast (NBC/CBS), cable (NFL Network), and digital (Twitter). According to Re/Code, the deal is worth under $10 million for the package, with CBS and NBC keeping their own digital rights and Twitter will be rebroadcasting the network feeds and will be able to sell “a small portion” of ads that accompany a game, according to the report. In addition, the deal includes in-game highlights from the games as well as pre-game Periscope broadcasts from players and teams.

“Twitter is where live events unfold and is the right partner for the NFL as we take the latest step in serving fans around the world live NFL football”, said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  “There is a massive amount of NFL-related conversation happening on Twitter during our games and tapping into that audience, in addition to our viewers on broadcast and cable, will ensure Thursday Night Football is seen on an unprecedented number of platforms this season. This agreement also provides additional reach for those brands advertising with our broadcast partners.”

"This is about transforming the fan experience with football. People watch NFL games with Twitter today," said Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO. "Now they’ll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights."


Monday night’s nail-biting NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship saw the Villanova win give the trio of TBS, TNT and truTV a 13.2 coverage rating, according to Nielsen, drawing 17.8 million viewers. That marks a 37% dip in viewership from last season’s Duke/Wisconsin showdown on CBS, which drew the largest audience in 18 years. Still, the classic ranked as the second most-viewed college basketball telecast in the history of cable television and was the highest-rated and most-viewed program of the night across all of television. According to CBS and Turner Sports, the National Championship collectively grossed 2.5 billion minutes of consumption across television and digital platforms. NCAA March Madness Live netted 3.4 million live video streams and 1.1 million live hours of video consumption, the latter a 16% increase over last year.

Top moments from the 2016 NCAA Final Four and Championship Game, according to TiVo:
1.      April 4 Villanova/North Carolina: Kris Jenkins hits a 3-pointer to win Villanova’s first National Championship since 1985.
2.      April 4 Villanova/North Carolina: Villanova’s Phil Booth hits a jumper cutting the Tar Heels lead to 5.
3.      April 2 Villanova/Oklahoma: With 11 seconds left in the first half Josh Hart nails a 3.
4.      April 2 Villanova/Oklahoma: Jenkins steals the ball from Oklahoma
5.      April 2 Villanova Oklahoma: Villanova celebrates the largest margin of victory in any Final Four game.

Meanwhile, FOX Sports reports that this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on FS1, nabbed 4,232,000 viewers according to Nielsen, up 4% over last year, to rank as the most-watched racing event and daytime telecast ever on FS1. Among Adults18-49, the race was up 7% over last year while FOX Sports GO saw the telecast reel in 46,930 streams, 25,322 unique streamers and 1,853,642 minutes streamed. Afterward, NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series delivered 1,292,000 viewers, making it the most-watched NHRA event since at least.

Spike TV saw Adrien Broner’s victory over Ashley Theophane delivered 1,013,000 viewers for the PBC event on Friday. That would rank as the most watched PBC fight in network history.  Overall, the card averaged 873,000 viewers, a record high for a PBC event on Spike.

Rounding out ratings for the day, beIN Sports coverage of “El Clasico” between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid on April 2 averaged more than 1.9 million total viewers across the network and its Spanish-language counterpart. That marks the top soccer telecast YTD across all cable networks regardless of language and saw 2.2%b growth in viewership from their previous encounter in November.

Mary Carillo and Jimmy Roberts are officially on-board with NBCUniversal’s coverage of this summer’s Olympic Games, serving as correspondents for the company. Carillo and Roberts will chronicle “the stories of the day, offer essays, and present feature stories from a wide variety of locales ranging from the rainforest to the beach, and stopping many places in between.” “With nearly three decades of Olympics experience, Mary and Jimmy are adept at getting to the heart of unknown Olympic stories that viewers look forward to over the course of our coverage,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics.

Meanwhile, Alison Bender expanded her role at ESPN FC as its UK-based football presenter and reporter, contributing daily content, analysis and breaking news on Premier League, European and world football. She will appear regularly on ESPN FC’s daily program, as well as contributing video reports and interviews for ESPNFC.com and serve in various hosting and reporting duties surrounding ESPN’s EURO 2016 coverage.

The International Surfing Association announced that the 2016 ISA World Surfing Games will take place in Jaco, Costa Rica from August 6-14. Team Costa Rica, the champion of the 2015 ISA World Surfing Games in Nicaragua, will be able to defend their title on local waves, and attempt to win consecutive titles for the first time since Team Australia did it in 2008.
Stan Kroenke’s sports and entertainment business is set to launch a slate of sports programming on one of its new stations, according to the Denver Business Journal. KSE Radio Ventures, a division of Kroenke Media Ventures, will launch Altitude Radio on KRWZ (AM 950) on Friday, using the call letters KKSE with former KCNC-CBS4 sports anchor Vic Lombardi and Altitude TV host Kyle Keefe in the 1-4 p.m. weekday timeslot.


5th Annual Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast
Thursday, April 21 | 8:15-10:30am | NY Athletic Club

Don’t miss the event, it’s sure to impress!

Finalists | Luminary Honorees | Event Details + Registration.


Sketchers Performance locked in a multi-year contract extension with professional golfer Matt Kuchar to represent that brand Skechers Go Golf on the PGA TOUR and in Skechers GO GOLF global marketing campaigns. He will also continue working closely with the company developing new golf footwear.


MLB’s sport’s playing rules committee approved two devices to be used by players during games this season, according to the AP. The devices include the Motus Baseball Sleeve, which measures stress on elbows, and the Zephyr Bioharness, which monitors heart and breathing rates. In addition, the committee approved a pair of bat sensors for use on field during workouts, one from Blast Motion and the other from Diamond Kinetics. According to the report, data from the devices cannot be transmitted during games and must been downloaded afterward.

PodcastOne added Vince Russo to its lineup of podcasts hosted by WWE alumn. The former writer for WWE, World Championship Wrestling and Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling, will debut The Brand five days a week with the new podcast by the same name. New episodes will be available every Monday through Friday, effective immediately, on PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app and iTunes.
ESPN notched 97.1 million global unique visitors in February, ranking as the most-trafficked sports property in the world for the month. Overall, the company drew 853 million visits and 5.6 billion minutes of usage.


Developer Piranha Games is getting into the eSports game with a world championship tournament for its MechWarrior Online with a $100k prize pool. The company will also boost this year’s MechWarrior Online World Championships pot with 50% of the proceeds from sales of $10 Tournament Supporter Packs, which are set to be offered later this month.

GAMEVIL unveiled the next installment of the MLB Perfect Inning series, MLB Perfect Inning 16, now available. The game will see Bryce Harper as its cover athlete and offer 270 motion captured players and depictions of 30 real world major league stadiums. The latest installment of the series will include “brand new features such as Black Edition players, a new coach and manager system, a greater variety of in-game items, and missions to offer players a genuine baseball experience not available anywhere else on mobile.”

Endemol Shine Group announced the forthcoming launch of the KSI Unleashed mobile game, which will be available globally on iOS and Android this Summer. The game features YouTube star KSI and marks the first official game app from KSI as he fights the Illuminati. “We are delighted to be working with KSI to launch his first official game app, said Wim Ponnet, Group Director of Commercial and Strategy, Endemol Shine Group. “Themed around the biggest YouTube star in the UK KSI Unleashed is a great example of how we are able to work with leading digital talent to grow their brand and extend their reach across a number of platforms.”


Flyers/Red Wings on NBCSN at 8p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1991: Diego Maradona is suspended by professional soccer for 15 months after testing positive for cocaine.

In The Know: Which active MLB stadium is the oldest? (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: Name two 2015 feature films that WWE’s John Cena appeared in. Answer: Trainwreck, Daddy’s Home, Sisters. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Matthew Willence-ITN Networks/NY; Zach Linder-Fuzz Productions/NY; Barbara Eskin-Time Warner Cable/NY; Tim Buckman-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Steve Hebel-Milestone Internet Marketing/Chicago; Joey Olson/Manhattan Beach; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Alan Perris/Beverly Hills; Scott Brofman-Renegade83/LA.

Later — Chris
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