05.02.16 Good morning. It’s Monday May 2, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Last week saw Telemundo and NBC Universo unveil their agenda for this summer’s trip to Rio, covering the 2016 Olympic Games and offering more than 200 hours of coverage on the two networks which will rank as the most in the history of US Spanish-language television. The action begins on Aug. 3 and runs through the 21 with a lineup of over 20 presenters, including Andres Cantor along with Jessica Carrillo and Miguel Gurwitz as hosts. With a spotlight on soccer and other primary targets that include swimming, track and field, boxing, diving, tennis and more, both networks will serve up stories and reports focusing on Olympic athletes from Latin America and the United States, including Mexican diver Paola Espinosa and Taekwondo practitioner María del Rosario Espinoza, Guatemalan race walker Erick Barrondo, Colombian cyclists Mariana Pajon and Nairo Quintana, US gymnast Danell Leyva and Costa Rican sprinter Nery Brenes,
Cynopsis Sports chatted with Eli Velazquez, Executive Vice President for Sports at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, about the coverage, the upfronts and the company’s overall sports strategy.
Velazquez on the state of sports: Our dedication to sports at our organization is strong. In the last year, we were able to execute, as part of our association with FIFA, the Women’s World Cup, we got a worldwide exclusive with Gianni Infantino of FIFA, we were nominated in multiple categories for Emmys, and we’ve upped the ante on our Premier League coverage. When you consider that we do not have a sports-only network, one of the things that we are very proud of is that we are very impactful in key moments and strategic in such a way that we are still a force to be reckoned with for our audience and our competitors.
On the evolution of audiences: Clearly, consumption not only in our space but in the general space as well has changed dramatically. Consumers, viewers and users have more choices and convenience when they are consuming their content. At the end of the day, we’ve evolved our coverage and our thinking to address the interactive nature of how consumers expect to experience their sports. Whether it is our work to innovate around Facebook Live where in our space we did a soccer pregame show for the first time on the platform during World Cup qualifying coverage in March, or whether it is on social media with technological enhancements that a lot of us enjoy like Tagboard, where you can curate content in real-time, not just on the digital side but also on the linear platforms. I think the evolution of our business is an exciting to create and fine ways to get to people in different ways and with different experiences. We are focused primarily on making sure we are addressing all of those desires for our consumers.
On this year’s upfront: I think the upfront is always an important opportunity to highlight what it is we are doing across the genres where we are producing content. I think part of the message will be that we are fully addressing as a company – NBC Universal and Telemundo Enterprises the evolution of choice and the fact that the consumer now has put us on notice that they would like us to push the envelope and raise the bar and we are up for the challenge.
On the Olympics: We are excited because for the first time ever, we will have coverage across two networks with NBC Universo. We are also excited be the fact that we will, for the first time as well, have event coverage in primetime on specific nights where the soccer discipline is in action. We also know that with the games being in Rio makes it a beautiful backdrop for the game. Our approach has always been to deliver the complete Olympic experience to the Hispanic audience. When I say that, it means that we will be covering the countries that resonate with our viewers and the stories they generate. Team USA, for example, we like to call them El Equipo de Todos, which means “everyone’s team,” and we have to have something to say about Michael Phelps, for example, and the big storylines that people will be following. Lastly, one of the promises we made in 2012, and it continues today, is that we will deliver in one form or another, every Hispanic Olympian’s story of their performance at the games. We have shot over 100 profiles already and we will believe that that will be a key as well.
On Rio: It is a very colorful backdrop for these Games. We will absolutely cover the ins and outs, not just of the games themselves, but also the experience of the Games in Rio the culture, the ambiance, and living through the eyes of the folks attending the Olympics in Rio, as well as the nightlife and history of the city.
The NFL Draft saw ESPN/ESPN2’s three-day presentation event, which included the first two nights in prime time, generated a 2.0 US household rating, along with 3,020,000 viewers, according to Nielsen fast nationals. That marks an uptick over last year’s 1.9 rating and 2,931,000 viewers. WatchESPN saw more than 3.1 million people tuning in across TV and WatchESPN to rank as the most-viewed NFL Draft ever on the platform. The top metered markets for ESPN were Cleveland (6.3), Columbus (6.2), New Orleans (4.0), Dayton (4.0). Saturday scored a 1.2 US rating and 1,705,000 viewers. Friday drew a 1.5 with 2,260,000 and the opening round on Thursday averaged 6,289,000 viewers and a 3.9 rating.
NFL Network, meanwhile, scored the channel’s second most watched Day 1 for the NFL Draft, averaging a 1.24 HH rating with 2 million viewers on Thursday, up 7% and 12% respectively over 2015. Saturday’s programming grew 16% in rating and 23% among viewers to rank as the highest0rated and most-watched day 2 ever for the channel. Finally, Saturday’s show averaged a 0.68 HH rating across metered markets, up 36%.
The Mountain West Conference unveiled the remainder of its football national television package for the 2016 season, locking in an additional 35 games on CBS Sports Network and ESPN networks on Saturdays. Overall, 45 football games will run this year on various platforms. The Saturday package opens with Northern Illinois/Wyoming on Sept. 3 at 10p on CBS Sports Network, while ESPN opens conference coverage on Sept. 10 with Washington State/Boise State.
FOX Sports announced that the next PBC on FOX event will take place in primetime on FOX at 8p on July 16.
Weather delays have pushed the conclusion of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans to today, where is will run on Golf Channel at 8a. The event will now be shortened to 54 holes
Golf Channel will feature selections for the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships on Morning Drive on online on the Golf Channel website on May 5. Selections begin at 9:30a.
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Kellogg’s launched its Olympic campaign, dubbed "What Gets You Started?” designed to discover “what drives people everyone from parents to elite athletes to get up in the morning and uncover the possibilities of each new day.” The campaign will enlist Team Kellogg’s, a group of first-time Team USA Olympic and Paralympic hopeful athletes that includes: Simone Biles (gymnastics), Julie Johnston (soccer), Tom Shields (swimming), Ajee Wilson (800 meters) and Natalie Bieule (Paralympics discus) with Dara Torres serving as team captain. Activations include a VR experience and limited-edition cereal boxes featuring Team Kellogg’s arrive at grocery retailers nationwide in June. "Whether you are a working mom raising kids or an elite Olympic or Paralympic athlete, Kellogg’s understands that everyone faces ups and downs as they work to reach their full potential each day. That’s why this year, Kellogg’s is making unprecedented connections between the starts of everyday people and and those of first-time Team USA Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls," said Noel Geoffroy, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Innovation for Kellogg’s U.S. Morning Foods.
Little Caesars officially signed on for naming rights to the Detroit Events Center and new home of the Red Wings. The 20-year deal, which renames the venue as Little Caesars Arena, averages more than $6.25 million per year.
Ahead of the 2016 Street Soccer USA Cup Series, Street Soccer USA inked partnerships with the likes of Uniqlo, ESPN, Tag Heuer and Comcast in a move that “will help the social enterprise continue to build life-changing community based programs that reach the least-served neighborhoods across the United States and beyond.” The tournament will kick off at The Art Museum in Philadelphia on May 27-28, followed by events in Times Square, New York and Union Square, San Francisco on July 9 and July 16-17, respectively. “Our program creates safe places to play, and our curriculum has been proven to enhance the personal capacity of our participants to achieve bigger goals in terms of education and employment. We are delighted to have like-minded corporations help us in our efforts to make a meaningful social impact through sport,” said Lawrence Cann, President and Founder, Street Soccer USA.
Marquette, Mich. was named Kraft Hockeyville USA 2016, aka the most passionate hockey community in America. In partnership with the NHL and the NHLPA, the city will now receive $150,000 in upgrades to Lakeview Arena, which will also host the Oct. 4 NHL Pre-Season game broadcast on NBCSN between the Sabres and Hurricanes.
NBC Olympics is partnering with Snapchat for this summer’s 2016 Rio Olympics, in a move to offer “unique perspectives” that include Snapchat “Live Stories” and an NBC Rio Olympic Discover channel. NBC Olympics will co-produce the NBC Rio Olympic Discover channel with Buzzfeed. Meanwhile, the Live Stories will allow Snapchatters attending select U.S. Olympic Team Trial competitions and the Rio Games to contribute through photo and video Snaps to one collective, Snapchat-curated story. NBC Olympics will lead the sales efforts across both Live Stories and Discover channel, working closely with the Snapchat sales team. “Through this partnership with NBC Olympics, we’re able give our Snapchat community the opportunity to dive in and experience the world’s largest sporting event right on their phones,” said Ben Schwerin, Director of Partnerships at Snapchat. “We know Snapchatters will love being a part of the Live Story action and learning more about the Games while browsing the Discover channel.”
Gfinity announced open beta for Gfinity TV, with a general launch slated later this year and designed to offer the gaming community with its “first truly personalized media player.” The platform will offer over eight camera feeds, fifteen audio feeds, multiple languages, HD resolution, statistics, player profiles and chat.
eSports company Ultimate Media Ventures will offer fans a new line of eSports apparel at E3 next month and is launching a lifestyle eSports site, Fragd.com, the first week of July, according to Fortune. The site will examine the behind-the-scenes activities of players and teams with a “TMZ for eSports” flavor, according to the report. “We see a lot of the same types of eSports media around us constantly, which are all variants of facts and stats,” said Nate Eckman, founding partner of the company. “Honestly, facts and stats get boring and feel clinical. We are focused on the lifestyle.”
The upcoming MLG Anaheim saw team passes sell out in under two hours, according to MLG’s Adam Apicella, with over 200 teams now on the waiting list. Only 96 amateur team spots are available for the tournament, which takes place from June 10-12 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Thunder/Spurs on TNT at 9:30p.
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ON THIS DAY in 2015: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao finally battle.
In The Know:Who is known as “Mr. Cub”? (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: From what school was Deion Sanders drafted? Answer: Florida State. Kudos: Keith Marder-Halstead Property/NY; Jay Goldstein-Admore/NY; Chris Long-FloSports/NY; Rob Thompson-North American Sports Group/NY; Dan Parisi-Rowland Publishing/Tallahassee; Juan P. Delgado-Delgado Mediaworks/Coconut Grove; Robert Twilley-Jupiter Entertainment/Knoxville; Michelle Berg-Team Epic/Westport; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/Dallas; Steve Hebel-Milestone Internet Marketing/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Michael Jaquet-US Ski and Snowboard Association/Park City; Steve Scheer-Fox Sports/LA; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA.
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