04/25/18: SI TV is increasing distribution via a direct-to-consumer app

Good morning. It’s Wednesday April 25, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Sports Illustrated’s subscription-video-on-demand streaming media network, Sports Illustrated TV is gearing up to expand its distribution with the launch of a direct-to-consumer app. SI TV, which launched in November 2017 on Amazon Channels, is now available on web browsers, rolling out on Roku, iOS and Android devices within the next week for $4.99/month or $49.99/year across all platforms. SI TV’s direct-to-consumer launch coincides with tomorrow’s opening of the NFL Draft and SI’s NFL Draft Preview issue, and programming will reflect the sports moment. SI TV partnered with uCast, a leading global internet TV network and content monetization platform, to create and maintain the direct-to-consumer apps.
“Launching this app provides sports lovers with even more opportunities to access SI TV’s programming, so whether they go direct or though pay TV providers like fuboTV we offer consumers even more ways to tap into the vast options of SI TV’s original and acquired documentaries, shows and movies that have broad appeal,” said Josh Oshinsky, head of programming for SI TV at Meredith Corporation. “Our strategy is to keep finding ways to bring SI TV to consumers however and wherever they want to watch.”

The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue to deliver for NBC Sports, which reports an average Total Audience Delivery of 751,000 viewers through Sunday to mark the best tally in four years through the first 12 days of the playoffs. Coverage on NBC is the best since 2015, while cable coverage on NBCSN is the best in six years. Live streaming of the first 12 days of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has set records in all key metrics. That average is up 1% from last year and up 6% vs. 2016. Through the first 13 days of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (41 games), including last night’s two Game 6 matchups, live streaming coverage has set records for uniques (1.2 million; up 56%), total live minutes (165 million; up 23%), and Average Minute Audience (22,800 viewers; up 35%).


Meanwhile, Formula E continues to see a viewership spike with FOX Sports reporting average viewership up 53% over 2917 numbers to hit 89k. The next race runs on Sunday at 1:30p on FS1.

Golf Channel detailed its plans to showcase the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships in May at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater with coverage spanning six weeks. The year will see the channel feature expanded coverage of the final day of the NCAA women’s and men’s regional championships, May 9 and May 16, respectively, beginning with Morning Drive and continuing hourly throughout the day via live Golf Central news updates. Meanwhile, the network will then feature nearly 30 combined hours of live tournament coverage for the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championship starting May 18.
Showtime Sports lined up two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and unified women’s super middleweight Champion Claressa Shields to face Hanna Gabriels to become a two-division world champion on June 22 live on Showtime. The Showtime Boxing: Special Edition telecast begins at 10p.
WWE reports that the first-ever Greatest Royal Rumble is officially sold-out, for Friday’s event from the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The event will stream live on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view outside of the Middle East. The event will air live in the Middle East on MBC Action, KSA Sports 1, Abu Dhabi Sports 1 and Abu Dhabi Sports 6, as well as stream live on Dawri Plus.
Congrats to Jenny Cavnar, who did play-by-play for the Rockies game on AT&T SportsNet and became the first woman to do MLB play-by-play while part of a Rockies telecast, marking the first women to take the spot since Gayle Gardner became the first female play-by-play announcer for a Major League team when she called a Rockies-Reds game in 1993.
MSG Networks tackles the NFL Draft with an increased lineup of original New York Giants programing, live Giants draft analysis and exclusive player interviews for fans looking to stay close to the action this week. Coverage will include an all-day Giants takeover on Thursday with 22 straight hours of coverage, starting at 6a, highlighted by the debut of “Beginnings – Landon Collins,” which will first air at 6p.
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Nationwide is set to serve up a new TV commercial designed to raise awareness for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. The spot, “Goals,” will make its television debut today during first-round coverage of the 2018 National Football League (NFL) Draft on NFL Network, Fox and ESPN. The spot depicts a “young NFL fan who has aspirations of playing in the league. While he dreams of becoming a great football player, he also expresses his desire to do good in his community and one day be named NFL Man of the Year.” “Goals” is the first commercial developed by an NFL corporate partner dedicated to promoting the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
Oakley is turning to the roster of athletes that includes Chloe Kim, Mikaela Shiffrin, Bubba Watson, Mark Cavendish and Stale Sandbech for its new One Obession campaign, “It’s Ok.” The new campaign encourages athletes across the globe to pursue their sporting passions and athletic goals. The multi-channel global brand campaign, developed in partnership with award-winning creative agency, AKQA Paris, includes digital, social, outdoor, retail activations, live events and an enhanced digital experience on oakley.com/one-obsession.
Eurosport teamed up with leading technical sportswear manufacturer Tenn Outdoors to launch a range of high-spec technical cycling clothing in the UK. The ‘Eurosport GC Collection’ is designed for ultimate performance, available in both male and female styles and aimed at all levels of cyclists and marks the first time Eurosport has produced a branded clothing range for the consumer market in the UK.

Golf Advisor is adding a new Golf Channel travel series to its portfolio, along with premium travel experiences at resorts and clubs. Premiering May 2 at 8p, Golf Advisor Round Trip will serve as a 30-minute series taking viewers around the world to showcase top golfing destinations. Matt Ginella will serve as series host and become Golf Advisor’s Editor-at-Large.
United Fight Alliance announced that audiences will now be able to directly interact with fighters during a fight in real-time, as fans watching today’s Legend’s live stream around the world can purchase tokens that will authorize the holder to contribute toward fight goals and help determine larger cash bonuses. Jordan “Jay” Adams, has the call with UFC featherweight Charles “Boston Strong” Rosa with the event also set to be simulcast in 4K virtual reality.

We saw a packed house, breaking news and new opportunities for brands at yesterday’s Esports Upfront. Thanks to everyone who attended for making it such as success. We’ll dive deeper in upcoming issues…
Esports marketing and talent representation company Press X announced at the Esports Upfront that it would be teaming with digital media company Bent Pixels in a move designed to create “the first ever YouTube Community focused on helping Twitch content creators and esports professional players grow their YouTube business and scale ancillary revenue streams.” Press X will help brands and agencies understand and connect to the world of live gaming & Twitch content creators across multiple platforms.
German sports staple FC Bayern Munich is launching a gaming division by forming an NBA 2K esports team. SportssProMedia writes that the venture will be called Bayern Ballers Gaming and the organization will host tryouts to draft a eight players to play NBA 2K for FC Bayern Munich, who will compete in Take-Two Interactive’s NBA2K simulation on Playstation 4.
Sony Crackle announced that it is partnering with production company Embassy Row on two new unscripted projects with one developed with NRG in a move to create content for the Sony Crackle console-first audience. The untitled esports competition series, anticipated to be produced by Embassy Row, will use the team’s professional esports athletes and celebrity advisors to support the contenders.
Esports entertainment platform SLIVER.tv is teaming up with Twitch to showcase a new Twitch Bits in Extension. The Tilted Trivia extension enables streamers to “deepen engagement with viewers and enhance interactivity, while ultimately driving new revenue streams and rewards opportunities for streamers and viewers alike” with the game now available to all Twitch streamers and will run 24/7 throughout Twitch as an overlay to streams.
The Overwatch Contenders finals for North America and Europe will take place in Poland this year where the top four teams in both territories will hit Alwernia from May 12-13.

The International Surfing Association announced today the formation of a new Athletes’ Commission to ensure that athletes’ opinions are heard at the highest level of governance in Surfing, StandUp Paddle (SUP), and all surf-related disciplines. France’s Justine Dupont has been appointed the Chair of the commission.

Game 7 of Maple Leafs/Bruins at 7:30p on NBCSN.
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ON THIS DAY in 1978: The Phillie Phanatic makes his first ever appearance as the official mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies.
In the Know: Only one tight end since the merger has been picked with a top five selection in the NFL Draft. Who was he? (Hint: he was selected by the Broncos) (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 1976, the Bucs selected this Hall of Famer with its very first NFL Draft pick. Who was he?  Answer: Lee Roy Selmon. Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Aymon DeMauro-ADM Media & Marketing/NY; Rick Ramage-United Talent Agency/NY; Larry Kahn-Golf Channel/Orlando; Chris Schwartz-ISC/Charlotte; Mark Lehman-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; Nichole Hemker-Kelley and Kelley Marketing/Kansas City; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego

Later – Chris
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