04/19/16: It’s a go for Undefeated; NASCAR’s Green flag; Chobani’s Olympic dish


Good morning. It’s Tuesday April 19, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

At last, ESPN has a date for The Undefeated, its new multimedia platform designed to explore the intersections of sports, race and culture. Debuting on May 17, according to Kevin Merida, Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of the site, content will include have four verticals: Sports, Culture, The Uplift and HBCUs, with platform writers and reporting expected to be featured on studio shows and ESPN.com.

The date, according to Merida, is meaningful on two fronts, noting “May 17th is the 62nd anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. It’s not one of the big anniversaries. But when I think of the Brown case, I think of Thurgood Marshall. Of his steadfast determination, and unbelievable courage, to dismantle segregation by any legal means necessary.” He also told ESPN that “May 17th also happens to be the date of ESPN’s presentation of new products at the Upfronts, and we’ll be in the heart of the NBA playoffs, a thrilling time for our audience. But on launch date, I will be remembering Thurgood Marshall. We’re not here without Thurgood Marshall.”


NFL Media is tapping Michael Mandt to serve as Executive Producer for Original Content where he will be charged with developing original content and programming for all NFL owned and operated media platforms including NFL Network, NFL Now, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and NFL.com. Mandt’s hiring comes as part of a new organizational structure for the company designed to “merge the division into one holistic organization, streamlining efficiency and promoting innovation at the intersection of television and digital media.”

FOX Sports will debut TUF Talk, a half-hour late-night companion show to The Ultimate Fighter tonight at midnight. The series, which originally debuted as a segment on FOX Sports Live, will be co-hosted by Karyn Bryant and Kenny Florian, who will recap the latest episode of TUF and offer cast interviews as well as outtakes. After the premiere week, TUF Talk shifts to 11p for the remainder of the season.

Golf Channel hits the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships with six weeks of coverage leading into the event, which spans May 20-June 1. Championships coverage will see more than 100 hours of news and tournament coverage dedicated to tournaments, as well as expanded coverage online via Golf Channel Digital and social media channels. Coverage of the women’s championships will begin on May 23 while Men’s coverage tees off on May 30. Amanda Blumenherst joins the broadcast team as a news analyst for the 2016 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships.

HBO Sports’ 24/7 reality series returns on Saturday at 12:15a with 24/7 Canelo/Khan, immediately following World Championship Boxing. The new edition of the franchise will go behind-the-scenes to follow the two fighters as they prepare for their middleweight mega-fight title showdown on May 7. Episode 2 will run April 30 at 11p.

We now only have 5 tickets left for the Cynopsis Sports Awards on Thursday, don’t let someone else claim your spot. Get your tickets here.

Yesterday’s interview with Glory Sports CEO Jon Franklin featured a type that should have read thatWe are now expanding into Latin America and have a deal we will be announcing soon in Africa.” We regret the error.


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NASCAR laid out plans for its fourth annual NASCAR Race to Green program, a week-long initiative dedicated to environmental stability. For the first time, the program will feature a week-long spotlight series on NASCAR.com/green that spotlights “the sustainability efforts of partners that work closely with NASCAR year-round to help protect the environment.” During the week, the color green will be displayed on the A-post of race cars across the NASCAR national series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with green flags displayed at all tracks hosting NASCAR events this weekend, including Richmond International Raceway, Stafford Motor Speedway and the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. Since 2008, NASCAR has planted enough trees to completely offset carbon emissions for all  racing for the past six years, plus the next 40 years.

Chobani is again teaming with Team USA ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games, offering an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at “what motivates and fuels U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes training to compete at the highest level.” Content will include recipes and workout routines to help consumers lead an active, healthy lifestyle. In addition, Chobani’s campaign sees a new tagline for the Games this year – “You can only be great if you’re full of goodness” with athletes set to include Alex Morgan, Melissa Stockwell, Marlen Esparza, Jordan Burroughs, Allyson Felix, Morgan Brian, Ashton Eaton, Allison Jones, and Luis Gil.

Action sports behemoth Nitro Circus it teaming with children’s entertainment company Tech 4 Kids via a multi-year licensing agreement that will see the launch of an all-new line of ride on toys that include scooters, drift bikes, skateboards, pogo sticks and wagons that will be available beginning spring 2017. The deal kicks off the first phase of Nitro Circus’ consumer products rollout, a diverse range inclusive of sporting goods, toys, apparel and headwear and video games.

After partnering with the NFL, Hyundai is deepening its ties with the league via a new sponsorship deal with the Miami Dolphins. The team now joins the Cardinals, Texans, Vikings and Steeler to feature the auto brand as a sponsor. For the 2016 season, Hyundai will have three vehicles on display at all Dolphins home games, and will have entitlement to the exclusive "Hyundai Club.” Hyundai also will have digital LED signage running on all team-related announcements at the stadium and be the official sponsor of the Coach’s Show.


Yahoo Sports’ basketball platform The Vertical launched its newest mini-documentary, spotlighting Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka and his story of raising his daughter as a single dad. The video includes interviews with Ibaka and teammate Kevin Durant and sheds further light on how Ibaka found out that he had a daughter, the process by which he brought her to the U.S. and their day-to-day dynamic and relationship.
ViewLift, an OTT content distribution and monetization platform, announced that it has launched 32 digital properties for its clients Monumental Sports Network and Major League Lacrosse. Monumental Sports Network’s new digital platform, powered by ViewLift, includes 22 separate properties associated with its parent company’s four professional sports teams. Meanwhile, Major League Lacrosse unveiled its League website, together with those of its nine professional teams, in advance of the League’s April 23 opening weekend for its new season.  The new look offers more video, together with the key MLL activities on the outdoor field, and in the teams’ communities. 


OpTic Gaming landed another sponsorship deal, lining up Turtle Wax for a new partnership that marks the first in its category to enter the realm of eSports. The partnership will focus on a” content-driven narrative that weaves Turtle Wax naturally into OpTic Gaming’s busy lifestyle in their home, on the stage and on the road.” Brands will leverage the connection between gaming and the car community to introduce Turtle Wax to the growing demographic of the next generation of car care enthusiasts  Millennials. “Professional gaming is a rapidly growing sport, and authenticity is a priority as more sponsors enter the space,” said Hector Rodriguez, CEO and co-founder of OpTic Gaming. “Our fans are highly engaged and aren’t just invested in our competitions, but also in our lifestyle. Passion for gaming and cars go hand-in-hand. Our cars are a major fixture and natural extension of our lifestyle, so Turtle Wax is a perfect fit as a sponsor for OpTic Gaming.”

GameStop is shifting into the publishing space with a new GameTrust label that will serve up games in the $15 to $40 price range, aka Triple-A titles. GameStop’s move shows that everybody competes with everybody. GameTrust has already partnered with developers such as Insomnic for the label. “We think we can address a hole in the market,” said Mark Stanley, vice president of internal development and diversification at GameStop, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We continue to hear from our core gamer base that there is a need for more independent games. Its sole focus is to bring great independent titles to our stores and the world through physical distribution.”

Ahead of the release of Star Fox Zero on April 21, Nintendo is launching an animated show featuring game characters on April 20. The cartoon comes from game director Shigeru Miyamoto, WIT Studio and Production I.G and debuts on the official Nintendo website.


Turner Sports promoted Will Funk to Executive Vice President, Sales & Property Partnerships, where he will develop and manage long-term marketing partnerships around Turner Sports’ portfolio of properties. The move will see Funk oversee the expansion of new and returning partnerships, moving beyond just linear and television media plans by unlocking the power of multi-platform properties such as the NCAA, Bleacher Report, and the launch of eSports on TBS.

The New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center announced five additions to the organization’s senior leadership, corporate partnership and human resources teams, naming Donna Daniels as Senior Vice President, Business Services; Adam Cross as Vice President, Corporate Partnerships; Fatima Saliu as Vice President, Marketing Partnerships; Joyce Jelks as Vice President of Human Resources; and Leonard Edwards as Senior Director, Corporate Partnerships.


Celtics/Hawks on TNT at 7p.


View the impressive list of finalists that will be honored
THURSDAY at the Yale Club in NYC!

LEGACY AWARD — Eric Shanks, President, COO & EP – Fox Sports
VISION AWARD — Don Garber, Commissioner – MLS
NAVIGATOR AWARD — Rob McGlarry, President – MLB Network
GEM AWARD — Mike O’Brien, VP, Corp. & Prod. Planning  Hyundai
************ Reserve one of the last tickets today! *************

ON THIS DAY in 1997: Orlando Pace is selected with the first pick in the NFL Draft by the Rams.

In The Know: Who is credited for first breaking the four-minute mile? (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: In which sport would you want to avoid a Barney? Answer: Surfing. Kudos: Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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