04/24/18: NBC Sports and US Figure Skating locked arms for a long-term partnerships

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Good morning. It’s Tuesday April 24, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

 
U.S. Figure Skating and NBC Sports Group locked in a media rights agreement that hands the media group exclusive media rights to premier domestic and international figure skating events through 2026. Each season during the partnership, NBC Sports Group will present an unprecedented 80+ hours of coverage, including 30+ hours of figure skating coverage on NBC, with an additional 50+ hours airing on NBCSN. In addition, original programming plus encores of NBC and NBCSN figure skating coverage will be presented on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. Coverage will showcase the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, including Skate America, ISU World Championships, ISU Four Continents Championships, the European Championships and the World Team Trophy.
 
“This is an exciting day for U.S. Figure Skating,” Sam Auxier, U.S. Figure Skating President said. “The opportunity for us to not only continue, but to expand upon our strong relationship with NBCUniversal, the U.S. media home of the Olympic Games, is one that makes complete sense for our organization. Ensuring that domestic and international figure skating events have maximum exposure is a priority to us and this new agreement will have a lasting positive impact on our ability to develop figure skating at every level in the United States.”
 
Meanwhile, Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment announced the extension of its exclusive marketing and media sales representation agreement with longtime client U.S. Figure Skating. The agreement runs through the 2025-26 season, extending the partnership through two Olympic quadrennials. For the first time, VWSE and U.S. Figure Skating will together control all commercial media inventory on NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network and will continue to offer a full suite of multiplatform sponsorship assets including event entitlements, television-visible rinkboard signage, content integration, in-arena fan engagement opportunities, digital and social media extensions, grassroots programming and more.
 
 
ON THE AIR

Meanwhile, the NBA and FOX Sports are partnering up on a multi-year relationship that will see FOX and FS1 televise the Jr. NBA World Championship, a “first-of-its kind global youth basketball tournament for elite 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams from around the world.” The inaugural event will take place at the state-of-the-art ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort from Aug. 7-12 and will see FOX Sports showcase 16 games totaling 20 hours of programming. As part of the event, outside of competition, boys and girls from dozens of countries around the world will participate in activities – often alongside current and former NBA and WNBA players – including life skills education, physical and mental wellness programming and NBA Cares community service projects.
 
CBS Sports reports that its coverage of the Valero Texas Open on Sunday drew a 1.7/4, up 13% over 2017 numbers in Nielsen Metered Market ratings. In fact, 2018’s 1.7/4 was the highest-rated final round for this event since a 2.0/4 in 2014.
 
Speaking of golf, Golf Channel’s Morning Drive puts the spotlight on junior golf this week with featured orgs that will include: Drive, Chip & Putt; Evans Scholars Foundation; LPGA-USGA Girls Golf; National Alliance for Youth Sports; PGA Junior League; The First Tee; World Golf Foundation. Topics will include junior golf fashion, equipment, mental coaching, swing instruction, fitness and practice tips, as well as advice on how to secure college golf scholarships.
 
Beginning this week, Pac-12 Networks serves up its slate of spring championships.  Live coverage this week will include three days of Beach Volleyball as well as all three rounds of the first ever Pac-12 Women’s Lacrosse Tournament, the semifinals and finals for Men’s Tennis Championships and the finals for Women’s Tennis Championships. Also, for the first time Pac-12 Networks will provide live coverage of the final weekend of the Pac-12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships from May 12-13. In addition to coverage on Pac-12 Network, several championship events will have a designated home for all live coverage on one of Pac-12 Networks regional channels, including Beach Volleyball at Stanford on Pac-12 Bay Area, Women’s Lacrosse at Colorado on Pac-12 Mountain and Men’s and Women’s Tennis from Southern California on Pac-12 Los Angeles.
 
The 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships selections announcement will take place tomorrow at 5:30p on Golf Channel’s Golf Central and streamed live on the Golf Channel website. Seventy-two teams and 24 individuals will be selected to compete at one of four regional championships, each featuring 18 teams and six individuals, May 7-9.
 
In NFL Draft news, Saturday will see teams announce their Day 3 selections for Rounds 4 to 6 of the 2018 NFL Draft from special locations of their choosing. Among the locales will be the Ravens from the USS Constellation, the Bills from Niagara Falls, the Browns from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Chiefs from Fort Riley Military Base, the Chargers & Rams from the construction site for the LA Stadium and entertainment District at Hollywood Park, the Jets from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the Raiders from Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and the Titans from the Grand Ole Opry music stage.
 
SiriusXM’s NFL Draft coverage will feature live coverage of every selection from every round, as well as four days of special programming, live from Arlington. SiriusXM NFL Radio’s on-site broadcast team at the NFL Draft will feature  Gil Brandt, Pat Kirwan, Jim Miller, Phil Savage, Mark Dominik, Jason Horowitz, and  Alex Marvez.
 
NBA star Stephen Curry is joining team Sony Pictures Entertainment courtesy of a new deal to produce television, film and possibly gaming projects, according to the AP. Curry and the company he has co-founded, Unanimous Media, will have their production headquarters on the Sony backlot in Culver City, California.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Pizza Hut takes on its first NFL Draft as the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL with a sponsorship activation plan that includes dancing, prizes, fan activities, and more. The brand is bringing in NFL wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster as ambassador of the Pizza Hut “Doorbell Dance” campaign, as well as appearing as a social media correspondent on the Red Carpet. In addition, Pizza Hut will also recognize the 78th pick in the Draft – the 14th pick in the third round or “Pi Pick” – with free pizza for one year and an invitation to a pizza party in his honor in the new hometown that selects him. The Pi Pick will receive other additional perks from Pizza Hut, including retro brand swag, gift cards for teammates, and more. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut will offer a special “NFL Draft Box” promotion featuring two medium pizzas, wings and breadsticks starting at $19.99 throughout the 2018 NFL Draft.
 
Charles Schwab & Co. will expand its golf presence next year by assuming title sponsorship of the PGA TOUR’s Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club. The four-year agreement spans 2019-2022 and the new tournament name and logo will be announced at a later date, as will the 2019 dates.
 
Tough Mudder and Jack Link’s are teaming up in a move that will see Jack Link’s Beef Steak Strips serve as Tough Mudder’s Official Performance Protein and Recovery Fuel partner. As part of the rollout, Jack Link’s and Tough Mudder are launching the #RaisetheSteaks campaign where Mudders will be able to “Raise the Steaks” at select Tough Mudder events by tackling Jack Link’s course enhancements including a start line challenge that will dare participants to wear a weighted backpack along the course. Jack Link’s also will sponsor a Pop ‘N’ Lock obstacle in Mudder Village at nearly 20 events.
 
Doosan unveiled a multi-year partnership with the New York Yankees in a move that will provide Doosan with branding and marketing benefits including permanent branding at the visiting team’s on-deck location, exclusive VIP hospitality experiences throughout the season, and other experiences with players at Yankee Stadium.
 
In other team news, Califia Farms, a local plant-based beverage company – inked its first sports-marketing partnership with the LAFC, making Califia Farms the Preferred Coffee of the Los Angeles Football Club and provide soccer fans at the new Banc of California Stadium with a selection of dairy-free coffee beverages. In addition to retail, Califia Farms branding will be featured throughout the new stadium via LED signage.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

STATS entered a two-year contract to become the official data provider for the BIG3. STATS will collect and distribute BIG3 data throughout the 10-week season from June 22-Aug. 24. “We look forward to working with STATS during the 2018 BIG3 season,” said BIG3 Co-Founder and Co-CEO Jeff Kwatinetz. “The league is built of elite basketball superstars with record-breaking careers, and STATS will produce high-quality data enabling our fans to track those players as they continue to evolve their game and excel in this new professional three-on-three format.”
 
Sports news streamer CBS Sports HQ dives into the 2018 NFL Draft with live reports from Dallas, as well as real-time reactions and commentary from a team of pro football insiders, grades for every pick, and fantasy football projections. Anchor Nick Kostos will be joined by analysts Danny Kanell and Bryant McFadden in the Sports HQ studio in Fort Lauderdale, FL. CBS Sports Digital writers Pete Prisco and Chris Trapasso will join the coverage from Dallas, and anchor Hakem Dermish and analyst Brady Quinn will join from Cleveland.
 
 
ESPORTS

PUBG Corporation announced the PUBG Global Invitational 2018, a new esports tournament with the game where 20 top professional PUBG teams – selected via regional qualifying tournaments hosted in North America, Europe and Asia through the beginning of July – who will face off for a total of $2 million prize pool. The event will take place in Berlin from July 25-29 and marks the first major PUBG esports tournament officially hosted by PUBG Corp. “The PUBG Global Invitational 2018 is a landmark moment for PUBG Corp. as a showcase of the potential of PUBG esports,” said Changhan Kim, CEO, PUBG Corp. “The team at PUBG Corp. is working tirelessly to ensure that the PGI 2018 exemplifies the pinnacle of PUBG competition and brings to life all of the excitement, tension and exhilaration of the highest level of PUBG play, not only to the fans attending the PGI 2018, but also those watching at home.”
 
The 2018 Call of Duty World League Championship, Presented by PlayStation4, is now slated to hit Columbus, Ohio, on Aug. 15-19, with the Nationwide Arena playing host from Aug. 17-19 and $4.2 million in total prizing. The first two days of competition will be streamed live from the MLG Arena.
 
Don’t forget that today is the first-ever Esports Upfront! Breakfast starts at 8:30am at Yale Club, with presentations at 9a. See you then.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

Derek Chang has been appointed CEO of NBA China. Chang, who begins with the NBA on June 1, will be based in the league’s Beijing office and oversee the league’s basketball and business development in China. He was most recently the Head of International Lifestyle Channels at Scripps Networks Interactive.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Bucks/Celtics battle for the series lead on NBA TV at 7p.
 
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