04.26.16 Good morning. It’s Tuesday April 26, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
After a 25 year run, it appears that it is the end of the line for Mike Tirico’s stay at ESPN. News broke yesterday, courtesy of SBJ, that Tirico has signed on to jump to NBC Sports after his contract expires over the summer, where he is expected to call the company’s new Thursday Night Football package, among other sports. Multiple reports state that Chris Spielman would likely take over Tirico’s role on Monday Night Football, while SI writes that Ryan Ruocco could assume Tirico’s NBA role.
Elsewhere on the talent front, FOX Sports lined up its talent roster for the 2016 USGA championship season, which will include the addition of Curtis Strange as on-course reporter and analyst for the 116th U.S. Open Championship, the U.S. Senior Open, the U.S. Amateur and the Men’s Amateur Four-Ball. Bob Ford also joins the broadcast for the US Open as will Ken Brown and Golf World editor-in-chief Jaime Diaz. In addition, play-by-play announcers Joe Buck and Shane O’Donoghue, analysts Mark Brooks, Jay Delsing, Brad Faxon, David Fay, Steve Flesch, Natalie Gulbis, Gil Hanse, Juli Inkster, Buddy Marucci and Scott McCarron, studio host Holly Sonders and interviewer Shane Bacon return to FOX Sports’ USGA broadcast team in 2016. Azinger makes his FOX Sports debut on May 24 at the Men’s Amateur Four-Ball.
ABC’s broadcast of the Warriors’ victory over the Rockets in Game 4 of their first round NBA Playoffs on Sunday scored a 5.3 overnight rating, according to Nielsen, to match the highest overnight rating for any first round NBA Playoffs game, on any network in 12 years. The contest was up 6% over last year’s comparable game and scored a 20.7 rating in the San Francisco market, making it the highest-rated first round NBA Playoffs game in the market on record while Houston drew a 10.9 rating, making it the second-highest rated NBA Playoffs first round game in the market.
News that Tom Brady’s NFL suspension for Deflategate would mean that the Patriots star will miss two primetime games to open the season. Games are set to include a Sunday Night Football opener on NBC against the Cardinals on Sept. 11 as well as a Thursday Night Football contest on CBS/NFL Network on Sept. 22 against the Texans.
SiriusXM takes on the 2016 NFL Draft with four days of special programming as well as live coverage of every selection from every round on SiriusXM NFL Radio. The broadcast team is set to include Gil Brandt, Pat Kirwan, Jim Miller, Phil Savage, and Jason Horowitz,. Supplemental programming will include Jenny McCarthy hosting her SiriusXM show, Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy from Draft-Town in Grant Park on Thursday at 5p, while Wednesday sees Miller and Kirwan broadcast from NFL Play 60 in Grant Park at 11a. SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio will also be in Chicago, broadcasting live from Grant Park all three days of the Draft.
Fight Network announced today a multi-year deal with Mexico-based CMLL Wrestling to serve up a weekly series that will run on Thursday nights across Canada. CMLL Wrestling premieres on Cinco de Mayo, May 5 at 9p.
Yesterday’s breakout quote from MLB Network President Rob McClarry should have read “But the similarities are really more important, the NHL has been a great partner, just as MLB has been since the beginning.
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Wednesday will see a company-wide NBCUniversal celebration to mark 100 days from the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics across broadcast, cable, affiliate, regional, digital, social, radio, Spanish-language, and theme park assets. Bob Costas will be in Rio de Janeiro to join a slate of NBCU programs, including Today, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Access Hollywood, NBCSN’s The Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Morning Drive and Golf Central, CNBC’s Squawk Box, and MSNBC programming. NBC’s 239 nationwide affiliates and the NBC Sports Regional Networks will also be served with Costas-interview content. The company will again launch a primetime promotional “road block” across its 18 broadcast and cable networks within the 8p. NBC News’ Today celebrates the occasion tomorrow with Matt Lauer talking with 22-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps. In addition, the show will turn the Today plaza into a “festive beach party” featuring a live concert from The Band Perry and showcasing more than 40 Olympic athletes.
AEG announced that Amgen renewed its title sponsorship of California’s largest professional cycling event, the Amgen Tour of California. In addition, Coca-Cola and United Healthcare also extended their sponsorship with the event. Amgen’s deal will see the company expand its sponsorship with the tour to include the women’s race and Amgen’s support of the tour will also include a new public health campaign, aimed at encouraging Americans to take charge of their heart health by understanding their family’s history of heart disease and getting active through cycling.
The search for Kraft Hockeyville USA 2016 is down to the final two communities, Marquette, Mich. And Rapid City, SD. The final round of public voting is now underway and Kraft Heinz will award the winner with $150,000 and the honor of hosting an NHL Pre-Season game televised live on NBCSN. The runner-up will receive $75,000 toward arena upgrades.
ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike at The Finals sweepstakes, presented by GoDaddy, is underway, encouraging listeners around the country to tune in for a daily “winning word or phrase” for an opportunity to receive a trip to an NBA Finals 2016 game along with a behind-the-scenes ESPN / NBA experience on-site. Through Friday, May 20, the “winning word” will be revealed live daily during Mike & Mike broadcasts with one winner chosen per week.
Taking the bull by the horns, Alex Morgan leveraged the Facebook Live API to broadcast her team’s home opener over the weekend, as Facebook worked with the National Women’s Soccer League to pull in their current digital feed, which they use to stream on YouTube. The first half scored a reach of 1,693,830 with a live broadcast audience of 489,999. Meanwhile, the second half drew a reach of 1,707,667 and a live broadcast audience of 411,322.
Pele launched his own Instagram account, posting his first picture from New York using the handle @Pele. The famed soccer star will share behind-the-scenes content for both his public agenda as well as he does when he is not in the spotlight.
Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencer on Team USA who was asked to remove her hijab to take a credential photo at SXSW, delivered a personal commentary in a new video posted on The Players’ Tribune. ““You have to shrug off those moments because they’re commonplace when they really shouldn’t be, but at the same time, I can’t allow them to affect me and hold me back,” she said.
Campus Insiders announced that Christine Williamson has been named the Big 12 Digital Network correspondent for the outlet. “We are thrilled to be able to bring Christine on board to tell the stories of the Big 12 Conference for Campus Insiders,” said Adam Anshell, Vice President, Networks and Live Events. “Her background as a student-athlete along with her energy, creativity and such an engaging personality, makes her a great fit for the network."
Neil Mandt and Gordon Whitener announced plans to launch MANDT VR, a new company dedicated to virtual reality with Oklahoma State University among its first clients. The company produced a 360-degree VR video highlighting the school’s football facilities to differentiate it from other elite programs via the video. “Recruiting top prospects is an extremely competitive business and VR is a tipping point in recruiting the nation’s best talent to our campus,” said Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. “The ability to have a recruiter visit an athlete’s home and perform a VR tour of our top-notch facilities allows us to bring our campus into their living rooms.”
Traditional sports sponsor Bud Light is now making waves in the world of eSports, announcing The Bud Light All-Stars to celebrate the best players in the space. The brand will unveil a list of top eSports athletes from across North America on May 7 at DreamHack Austin, representing the likes of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm. After fans vote for their favorite eSports athlete, the company will be named as the first-ever Bud Light All-Stars live as Twitch on June 14 in Los Angeles. "Bud Light has always been the beer that sports fans regardless of what they’re watching reach for and enjoy together," said Bud Light vice president Alex Lambrecht. "Esports is a new and exciting frontier for us and we’re looking forward to providing another opportunity to bring fans around the country together to cheer for their favorite athlete."
WWE named Jay Li as Vice President & General Manager, Greater China where he will lead WWE’s strategic business development initiatives and day-to-day operations in the country and work in conjunction with local government authorities and partners across all of WWE’s lines of the business including television, live events, marketing, sponsorship, new media, licensing and merchandising.
UFC tapped Kamini Sharma as VP of Marketing. Prior to joining UFC, Sharma served as Director of Marketing for ESPN’s EMEA division, based in London.
Celtics/Hawks on TNT at 8:30p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1995: The Colorado Rockies play their first game at Coors Field.
In The Know:Who was the last person to be drafted out of UCLA with the very first pick of the NFL Draft? (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: Who did the Denver Broncos trade in order to acquire Champ Bailey? Answer: Clinton Portis. Kudos: Chip Johnson-SPORTS at SMG/NY; Ralph Sorrentino-Spike Sports/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Mike Lee-BPN/NY; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Tony Ferranti-MMSI/Warwick; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Jason Morrow/Houston; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; Scott Sarra-NBC Sports Group/Denver; David Hauptman/Denver; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Rich Greene-FOX/LA.
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