04/14/15: NBA serves up PepsiCo; MLS chooses Coca-Cola; Spieth continues media glow


Good morning. It’s Tuesday April 14, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

A fresh beverage for the NBA, which announced a multi-year deal with PepsiCo that makes the company an official marketing partner of the league as well as the Women’s National Basketball Association, NBA Development League, and USA Basketball starting next season. The deal will see PepsiCo leverage its Mountain Dew, Aquafina, Brisk, Doritos, and Ruffles brands as part of the deal to engage NBA fans through sports marketing and high-profile activation. The deal also builds upon the league’s relationship with Gatorade. Mountain Dew will serve as the lead brand of this partnership in North America while Aquafina, will support programs around the NBA’s youth, health, and wellness initiatives.
“Uniting the passionate fans of the NBA with the power of PepsiCo’s food and beverage brands is a slam dunk for the league and for our company,” said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi. “The NBA has established itself as one of the most exciting and innovative sports leagues in the world.  We look forward to working together to redefine the meaning of sports marketing partnership by taking the fan experience to new heights.”


Let’s start with marketing/sales today. While Pepsi added the NBA to its portfolio, Coca-Cola is going all-in on soccer. Major League Soccer announced a four-year sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola Co. that makes it the official non-alcoholic beverage of the league and US Soccer. The partnership launches this week with tomorrow’s sold out April 15 exhibition between Mexico/US with the deal providing in-stadium signage, MLS and U.S. Soccer marks and player appearances at hospitality events.

Nike opened the doors to its new global campaign today for women, dubbed #betterforit. The initiative will look to inspire “women to be active, take on new challenges and conquer personal goals” and will see the brand offer athletes collective inspiration. In addition, the campaign will be headlined by a series of short films debuting this week. Overall, Nike serves a global digital community of nearly 70 million women through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms. Nike recently launched the Nike+ Training Club 90-Day Better For It Challenge that saw U.S. Women’s National Team soccer stars Christen Press, Ali Krieger and Carli Lloyd each introduce an N+TC App workout.

A big pickup for Reebok, which added JJ Watt to its roster. The NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year inked a deal with the company to make his on-field shoe, which will go unbranded during games. They will also outfit him during his training. Watt announced the deal on social media yesterday morning.

The Cynopsis Sports Media Awards is sold out once again! Remember that the ceremonies take place Thursday from 8-10:30a at the NYAC. Pose with the Stanley Cup, network with Award winners and get some grub, click here for more info. Also a big thank you to our presenters this year, which include:

  • John Skipper: President of ESPN
  • James “JB” Brown: Host, The NFL Today/Thursday Night Football for CBS Sports
  • Maggie Gray: Host, Sports Illustrated’s SI NOW + Pro Football NOW & Co-host of CBS Sports Radio’s The Moose & Maggie Show
  • EJ Hradek: Analyst on NHL Network
  • Dana Jacobson: Sports Anchor for CBS Sports
  • Pierre McGuire: NBC Sports Hockey Analyst
  • Jane McManus: Reporter & Columnist  espnW
  • Paul Rabil: Multiple-time Lacrosse MVP/All-Star – Whistle Sports Athlete
  • Jimmy Roberts: Reporter, Golf Channel on NBC; Host, NBC Sports Update CBS Sports
  • Frank Shorter: Olympic Gold Medalist/Universal Sports Network Commentator
  • Keith Turner: President, Sales & Marketing for Univision Communications, Inc.

Ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NHL and NBC Sports Group will once again hit the brackets, this time sending out 32,768 Stanley Cup chocolate bars wrapped with different bracket combinations. The edible chocolate bracket serves as a part of this year’s “Every Game. Every Night. Don’t Miss a Moment” marketing campaign and offers a “Lord Stanley’s Cup Diddly-Umptious Bracket Bar” for each possible bracket combination. At the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final, one winner will possess the perfect bracket and win a trip to the 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend, and the opportunity to spend time with the Stanley Cup. Most bars will be given out to hockey fans in each of the 16 cities which have a team playing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

ESPN and ESPN Deportes unveiled plans for #YoDigoPresente (“I am In”), a multimedia marketing campaign to promote the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. The campaign showcases the stories of the athletes’ journey to Toronto 2015 and the music of urban alternative band Calle 13 with the anthem trailer developed by ESPN Deportes’ marketing team in partnership with creative agency Handle Like Eggs. The campaign will also feature promos, photography and social interaction, all running in with weekly Pan American  Vignettes leading up to July 8.


CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the 2015 Masters on Sunday, which put Jordan Spieth in the national spotlight, delivered ratings and viewership spikes of 26% for the channel. The round scored an average fast national household rating/share of 8.7/19, and an average viewership of 14.0 million viewers for upticks over year-ago numbers.

MLB Network saw its telecast of the nearly seven-hour, 19-inning Red Sox/ Yankees game on Friday average 460,000 viewers. Viewership peaked with 597,000 viewers from 10:30-11:00p. That marks MLB Network’s most-watched regular season day ever with an average of 196,000 viewers.

More data on Saturday’s PBC on NBC broadcast. The network it touting that the telecast drew 2.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen, to rank as the second most-watched professional boxing broadcast in 17 years, behind the channel’s debut PBC event last month, which drew 3.4 million. The company says that viewership increased every half hour throughout the telecast and peaked in the final half hour with more than 3.4 million viewers tuning in. Compared to the average afternoon boxing telecasts on NBC from 2012-14, Saturday’s event was up 162% among average viewers. In addition, more than 439,000 minutes of PBC on NBC coverage was live streamed via NBC Sports Live Extra.

BTN revealed its 2015 primetime football lineup, with games that will feature Wisconsin, Michigan State and Michigan in contests. Overall, 12 of the 14 Big Ten schools will play in primetime on BTN. The action starts Sept. 12 with S. Alabama/Nebraska, while the first of BTN’s conference matchups in primetime features Rutgers/Penn State on Sept. 19. Other action will see Hawaii/Wisconsin on Sept. 26, Michigan/Maryland on Oct. 3, Michigan State/Rutgers on Oct. 10 and Minnesota/Iowa on Nov. 14.

Just six days until the 119th running of the Boston Marathon, Universal Sports Network will carry Beyond the Medals  The Business of Sport with a focus onthe business of marathons on Wednesday, at 7:30p. Rick Horrow hosts with guest co-host Frank Shorter.

CBS Sports runs PGA TOUR 2015: Making Cancer History presented by MD Anderson on Sunday, an hour-long special that will share how cancer has impacted the PGA TOUR, and what the players and the TOUR are doing to help combat the disease. Stories will include looks at five-time major champion Phil Mickelson; Jack Nicklaus and his father Charlie; the life and death of Gerry Watson and more. The special is produced by PGA TOUR Entertainment.

Lou Holtz is off the field for ESPN, with SI breaking the news of his departure from his long-time employer. Holtz worked as an ESPN analyst since 2004,.


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Talk about an ace. Twitter reports that Master’s champion Jordan Spieth saw his Twitter account gain over 126,000 followers since April 8 and more than 76,000 new followers since his victory at the Masters.


Speaking of aces, CBS Sports’ Masters Live, which offered live full-day video coverage from the Augusta National Golf Club, reached a record audience on CBSSports.com for the 2015 Masters Tournament. The platform drew more than 2.1 million total unique viewers for live and on-demand video over the four days of the tournament, with total minutes streamed topping 160 million, and the average time spent per unique viewer also surpassed 2 hours, according to Omniture.

The World Surf League is going OTT, announcing a deal with NeuLion to distribute its live and on-demand content. The pair will deliver surfing footage coupled with interactive touch-points including super slo-mo viewing, real-time highlights and the ability to stream in 1080p HD and Ultra HD.

CineSport announced plans to launch a digital studio, designed to “use the insights CineSport has learned from serving over 400 websites, portals and platforms to help sports properties, news publishers, brands, and marketers create, target and deliver digital video that will extend their brands and reach their consumers everywhere they go in the digital ecosystem.” “Most properties do not have the internal resources to support the digital media needs and expectations to service today’s consumer,”   says CineSport CEO Gregg Winik, “Our Studio division will provide a turnkey solution to develop, produce, and manage this growing demand for digital video from today’s consumers and advertisers. “



Keep an eye out for VR. Mandalay Entertainment Chairman and CEO Peter Guber called on attendees at the National Assn. of Broadcasters show to embrace virtual reality and next-gen TV standards, noting that those technologies were the key to their future and noted that that the linear direction of storytelling is evolving quickly. "The gatekeepers, the incumbents controlling these chokepoints (of distribution between creators and audiences) have great self interest in keeping everyone in their box in a nice tidy way with a nice evolution. But what we have in our hands today is a revolution," he said.

Elemental Technologies will utilize its new video processing solutions plus THX certification with Red Bull Media House. The company will use the technology to live stream premium 4K HEVC content at NAB from a single RU encoder. “At Red Bull Media House, we innovate, surprise and push the limits of technology so we can give wings to creative people. For example, at NAB 2015, we will prove that 4K content can be sourced and delivered live — even when it’s originated halfway across the world,” said Andreas Gall, CTO of Red Bull Media House. “We look for the best tools to create the best content. We entrust our stories to Akamai and Elemental.”

NAB also saw Sony launch its HDC-4300, a three 2/3-inch sensor 4K camera, with an eye for sports and live events. The camera is the world’s first camera to use three 2/3-inch 4K image sensors, according to the company, supporting the same B4-mount lenses as well as the same control surfaces as Sony’s HDC-2000 series cameras. The existing HDLA-1500 series, control and shading systems, viewfinders and master set-up units are interchangeable between the HD and 4K systems. “This camera provides 4K capabilities and a workflow that content producers are instantly familiar and comfortable with,” said Rob Willox, marketing manager for content creation systems, Sony’s Professional Solutions Americas. “We’ve developed an approach that allows the large existing HDC series user base to employ 4K advantages such as 8x high frame rate and 4K cut-out and zoom while using a familiar infrastructure and signal path.”

Meanwhile, Panasonic announced a range of new 4K production products, with new equipment that include the AG-DVX200 4K large-sensor, 4/3” handheld camcorder; AK-UB300 4K multi-purpose camera, and the AK-UC3000 4K-ready studio system. The company is also giving a peek at its AK-UB300 4K multi-purpose camera for remote studio, weather and traffic reporting, image magnification and sports implementations.


UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match between Real Madrid/Atletico Madrid at 2p on FS1.

ON THIS DAY in 2009: Oscar De La Hoya retires.

In The Know: Which is the only NBA team to retire #50? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What is the only MLB team to retire #22? (Hint: The honored athlete is the only pitcher in big-league history to win World Series games in three different decades.)  Answer: The Orioles retired Jim Palmer’s #22. Kudos: Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc./NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Brad Brown-B2 Consulting/NY; Michael Dittelman/NY; Jon Miller-NBC Sports/Stamford; Matt Marini-MLB Network/New Jersey; Tony Ferranti-MMSI/Warwick; Tim Riviere-WPVI-TV/Philadelphia; Jeff Cederbaum-Arizona Diamondbacks/Phoenix; Steve Hirsen/Director/Sherman Oaks; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Robb Rothfarb-AdMore/Temecula.

Later — Chris
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