04/23/18: Outsports sees an increasing need for Pride Summit

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Good morning. It’s Monday April 23, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

 
SB Nation’s Outsports is gearing up for its third annual gathering with the announcement of the first wave of confirmed speakers for the Outsports Pride Summit, set to take place during New York City Pride from June 21- 24. San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers and former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan will speak at the event, joining names such as Villanova basketball player Will Sheridan, High School track coach Jarrin Williams, ATP Tennis radio host and reporter Nick McCarvel, Univ. of Nebraska athlete Jace Anderson, journalist Dawn Ennis, with additional speakers to be announced in coming weeks.
 
Cynopsis Sports asked Cyd Zeigler, co-founder SB Nation’s Outsports, about the lessons learned this past few years and what the event hopes to accomplish this time around.
 
Zeigler on growing Outsports: Outsports is all about people inspiring one another with their courage. The community that has organically grown around Outsports is remarkable, and the success of this event is seen in the lives of the people after they leave it. Some of them find the courage to come out to their team, family or friends. Others build lifelong friendships. The bonds that are built, and the support that gets shared, at Outsports Pride is the power of the event.
 
On goals: The top goals for every year are to educate people on how they can support LGBTQ people in sports, and to inspire attendees to be their true selves in their own lives, no matter who they are. We take our tagline – Courage Is Contagious – seriously. It’s the motto we live by. In addition to that, we have more attendees and speakers from professional sports this year. Pro sports touch all of our lives in huge ways. It’s been great to see all of the big pro sports leagues embrace LGBTQ inclusion in some way in recent years. Continuing to build that message, and help educate people in pro sports, is so critical in advancing the inclusive profile of sports.
 
On this year’s importance: Of course I’m going to tell you this is the most important year. Ha. But it is. We’ve been doing this for a few years now, and we knew that bringing the event to New York City was going to elevate the profile of the event. We’re ready for it. New York makes a ton of things possible, like participation from the professional sports leagues that simply aren’t possible in most other cities. We also tie our event into an existing Pride celebration every year. New York Pride is the biggest, most diverse, most robust Pride celebration in the country. We are incredibly excited to be contributing to that celebration.
 
On highlights: If I can just fanboy out here for a minute, I can’t wait to meet 49ers coach Katie Sowers. She’s the first full-time female coach, and the first out LGBTQ coach, in the NFL. I am really looking forward to meeting her and hearing about her incredible journey. Plus, after the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, I’m now a 49ers fan, so I’m even more invested in what she has to say. In addition to Katie, I’m most interested in talking to people who have divergent experiences from me, whether they are a woman, a person of color, transgender. We are going to have attendees and speakers that represent every corner of the LGBTQ sports community, but it’s those people with very different backgrounds from mine I’m most interested in learning from.  
 
On the community: Many people in the LGBTQ community are afraid right now. I see it every day in messages from community leaders and people across social media. One of the things I hear is that people appreciate the positivity Outsports creates in the community. Sports have become far more inclusive of LGBTQ people than most anyone realizes. Even I’m surprised by it sometimes. The days of assuming your teammates or coach will hate you for being gay are over. Outsports Pride creates a space where people are able to hear that message and see the change around them, see the change in the lives of the people they hear from at the event. There is so much for LGBTQ people in sports to be excited about and to learn about, and I hear over and over that Outsports is bringing that message to them like no one else.
 
 
ON THE AIR

ESPN detailed its NFL Draft plans for this week’s festivities in Dallas, with dual-network coverage of Round 1 set for Thursday at 8p. On ESPN, NFL Draft host Trey Wingo anchors all of the action from picks 1-32 with NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., Front Office Insider Louis Riddick and college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who will make his draft debut. On ESPN2, Rece Davis will host College Football Primetime at The NFL Draft presented by Courtyard, a college-themed presentation of Round 1, which will include reactions and analysis. GameDay’s Desmond Howard and David Pollack, as well as college football analysts Joey Galloway and Booger McFarland will join Davis. Production highlights will include 500+ player highlight packages, 50 player personality bump, 40 cameras in Arlington, and 30 player live shots.
 
In other NFL news, Cablefax reports that NFL Network will move out of the Comcast’s Digital Starter package, the MSO’s most widely distributed digital package and will now live at in Digital Preferred and the Sports Entertainment package starting on July 1.
 
The United States Polo Association (USPA), and its official apparel brand U.S. Polo Assn. announced that CBS Sports will return as the broadcast partner for the 2018 U.S. Open Polo Championship for the second straight year, with coverage running April 29 at 2p. Last year saw the U.S. Open experience its largest ever measured broadcast viewership for the tournament.
 
The Global Association of International Sports Federations and the Association of National Olympic Committees signed a partnership for the World Beach Games after 2019. The deal recognizes ANOC’s efforts in launching the World Beach Games and GAISF’s role in Multi-Sport Games. The two orgs will form a 50-50 partnership to run the World Beach Games through a jointly held event company registered in Switzerland.
 
For the first time in SEC Network history, Southeastern Conference championships in women’s and men’s golf, women’s and men’s tennis and women’s and men’s outdoor track & field will be carried live on TV with additional live coverage on SEC Network+ and the ESPN App to total nearly 30 hours of championship action. The action continues this weekend with the SEC Men’s Golf Championship starting April 28, Carl Paulson joins Taylor Zarzour and Peter Burns on the call on SEC Network and SEC Network+ from Sea Island’s Seaside Course.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Hyundai is taking on the NFL Draft with a second season of Rolling with the Rookies, presented by Hyundai. The four-episode series bring athletes back home to visit the people, places and moments that defined their journeys. This year saw the auto brand team up with four prospects projected to be taken in the first round, including Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, Texas offensive lineman Connor Williams and LSU running back Derrius Guice, to profile their road to the NFL and their personal stories of triumph and perseverance.
 
ESPN is once again teaming up with recording artist and Grammy Award-nominee J. Cole in a new NBA Playoffs campaign that features the exclusive broadcast debut of J. Cole’s song “ATM.” Entering its second weekend of NBA Playoffs coverage, ESPN and ABC’s viewership is off to its best start in seven years with the two networks combining to generate an average of 4,045,000 viewers during opening weekend, up five percent year over year.
 
Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire locked in a stadium naming rights deal with SeatGeek. The accord will see the club’s 28,000-seater home renamed SeatGeek Stadium after the conclusion of the current season. Bloomberg reports that the contract is likely to be worth between $2.5-$4 million per year.
 
Nathan’s Famous detailed activations plans for the current MLB season, continuing its partnership as the Official Hot Dog of MLB. Nathan’s Famous will once again be a supporter of the league’s “PLAY BALL” initiative and has launched a national sweepstakes through which fans can enter for a chance to win an All-Star experience. “Last year, our partnership with MLB helped us share Nathan’s Famous premium, all-beef franks with baseball fans across the country,” said Michael Paribello, Smithfield Foods senior director of marketing. “The energy and enthusiasm that fans have for the game is incredible! By returning as the Official Hot Dog of MLB and working with the league on our national sweepstakes this year, we’re thrilled to bring the signature flavor of Coney Island to fans nationwide and celebrating this exciting sport in an even bigger way.”
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

Meanwhile, ESPN reports that Major League Baseball and the NBA are in talks to drop their stakes in DraftKings and FanDuel. DraftKings first saw MLB as an investor in 2013 while the NBA picked up an ownership stake in FanDuel in 2014. Both leagues, however, report that they will continue to work with the companies. In a statement, MLB said: “While we have initiated discussions regarding potential changes to the structure of our relationship, we look forward to continuing our valued partnership with DraftKings,” adding that “MLB and DraftKings will continue to collaborate on innovative approaches to enhance the fan experience.”
 
 
ESPORTS

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins broke his own record at his Fortnite event at Esports Arena in Las Vegas where – at its peak – his stream drew over 660,000 concurrent viewers, topping the recent record on Twitch previously set when he played with the rapper Drake. Overall, $50,000 was awarded at the event.
 
76ers Gaming Club, the NBA 2K League team of the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment portfolio, named Raynor Group as its Official Gaming Chair Provider of the team. The company will equip 76ers GC players and front office executives with 76ers GC-branded gaming chairs.
 
Meanwhile, Knicks Gaming inked a partnership with Turtle Beach for the NBA 2k League. The deal sees Knicks Gaming utilize the audio brand at the team’s gaming facility, and the two companies will look to produce a slate of content together during the inaugural season.
 
Intel Extreme Masters announced that it will once again team with HyperX for the next season. The partnership marks the sixth year in a tow the two companies will join forces, with HyperX serving as the exclusive peripheral and memory partner for season 13. HyperX products, including headsets, keyboards, mice, mouse pads, and PC memory, will be used to support IEM, and to provide competing players with equipment of the highest quality, ensuring the best competitive experience possible.
 
 
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Bruins/Maple Leafs on NBCSN at 7p.
 
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