05/05/16: ESPN’s bowling plans; Showtime’s heavyweight deal; Budweiser puts VR in Cavalier


Good morning. It’s Thursday May 5, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

ESPN has its card of bowl games for the 2016-17 college football season, lining up 38 games overall, including 13 owned-and-operated games by ESPN Events. The slate launched Dec. 17 with a tripleheader on ESPN and a doubleheader on ABC, and runs through Jan. 2 before concluding with the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Jan. 9 on ESPN. The slate opens with the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl on Dec. 17 at noon on ABC, followed by the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on ESPN at 2p, the Las Vegas Bowl on ABC at 3:30p, the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl on ESPN at 5:30p and the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on ESPN at 9p. The New Year’s Six launched on Dec. 30, with the Capital One Orange Bowl  at 8p and continues on New Year’s Eve with the College Football Playoff Semifinals: the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (3p or 7p) and the Fiesta Bowl (3p or 7p). A tripleheader Monday, Jan. 2, will conclude the third year of the premier bowl series: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at 1p, the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual at 5p and the Allstate Sugar Bowl at 8:30p on ESPN.


Showtime Sports locked in a deal with Matchroom Boxing and undefeated heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua for a multi-fight licensing agreement that kicks-off on June 25 against Dominic Breazeale. The bout runs live on Showtime Networks, and marks the fifth heavyweight title fight to air live on Showtime in the first six months of 2016.

Abby Wambach agreed to a multiyear contract with ESPN to serve as an analyst and contributor to the company across various shows and platforms. Wambach will cover international sporting events for the network later this summer at the UEFA European Football Championship 2016 in France and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and will contribute to ESPN Films projects and feature reports, as well as programs E:60 and Outside the Lines. Later this month, Wambach will launch a bi-weekly ESPN Audio podcast, Fearless Conversation with Abby Wambach.

Saturday night saw PBC on FOX, which saw Andre Berto serve up a fourth-round TKO over Victor Ortiz, average 2.0 million viewers. Overall, the telecast scored a 1.1 / 2 rating and averaged 1.6 million viewers.

Prudential Center hosts the inaugural Never Forget Tribute Classic, an annual NCAA men’s basketball doubleheader on Dec. 10 with a lineup that includes Villanova/Notre Dame, followed by Pitt/Penn State. The event will partner with the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which helps support the education of children of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. CBS Sports telecasts doubleheader, with Game 1 on CBS at noon, prior to the annual Army-Navy football game, and Game 2 on CBS Sports Network.

With ESPN’s coverage of the Invictus Games 2016 set to start on Sunday at 8p, the company announced that Morgan Freeman and a slate of musical acts will participate in the event including Laura Wright and James Blunt performing during the Parade of Athletes ceremony. ESPN2 carries the Closing Ceremony at 7p with musical performances by Rachel Platten, Rascal Flatts, Phillip Phillips, and Flo Rida.

Turner Sports’ live coverage of the inaugural NCAA National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship is set to begin tomorrow on TruTV at 3p and run through Sunday at 2p on TBS. Anne Marie Anderson will provide play-by-play commentary for all televised matches alongside analyst Holly McPeak and reporters Kelli Tennant, Michelle McMahon and Nicole Branagh. 


The competition for best kids’ programming and marketing initiatives

Entry Deadline: May 18, 2016
Late Submissions: May 25, 2016
Awards Event: September 27, 2016 (NYC)
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The Cleveland Cavaliers are partnering up with Budweiser for a VR experience for fans via the official Cavs mobile app presented by BBVA, marking the first NBA team to have VR natively built into their official mobile app. The Cavs gave away a limited number of specially designed Budweiser-cardboard viewing headsets to fans attending last night’s game against the Hawks. “As a company we are always looking for new ways to bring fans closer to the teams they love, and virtual reality is a big part of that,” said Lucas Herscovici, VP of Consumer Connections at Anheuser Busch. “The Cavs have been great partners in helping us activate this technology in the NBA and we look forward to continuing to evolve this activation.”

North American Sports Group signed on Odor Eaters and Horizon Organic as sponsors for the 26th annual Kick It 3v3 Youth Soccer Tour, which hits 60+ markets. "We are thrilled to have two more great brands join us as we crisscross the country providing our weekend soccer festivals to thousands of families for a fun enjoyable experience," said Rob Thompson Managing Partner of NASG. "With the growth of soccer in the States and NASG hosting the Kick It 3v3 World Championships in Vail this August, this is going to be an amazing summer."

Cumberland University inked a deal with Learfield Licensing Partners to manage trademarks for the University with outside vendors for sundry products, promotions, sponsorships and advertising for the next five years.


ESPN Digital Media reached 110.3 million global unique visitors in March, anchored by College Basketball’s Championship Week and the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournament, as well as the NBA, cricket’s ICC World Twenty20, and the UEFA Champions League.  Overall, there were 1.1 billion visits and 7.0 billion minutes of usage.

FuboTV is bringing on ONE World Sports as part of its channel line-up. “The addition of ONE World Sports to our line-up emphasizes our continued commitment to bringing access to premium sports programming from around the world to our subscribers,” said David Gandler, fuboTV CEO and co-founder. “ONE World Sports adds even more great soccer content to fuboTV, along with a growing offering that includes a wide range of international sports.”


Here are some highlights from the latest weekly eSports and Gaming edition, out today…
·       Sportradar explains the need for an API for eSports
·       New data from ESA
·       ESL locks in Barclays for the fall
·       Get ready for a .games domain extension
·       Our trailer of the week


Heat/Raptors on ESPN at 8p



Join Cynopsis on Tuesday, May 24 for an Out-of-Home Marketing webinar to learn how to craft cross-platform marketing campaigns that combine OOH and digital to drive awareness, tune-in, and social amplification.

Featured speakers include Dawn Callahan, CMO for Boingo Wireless; Alison Hoffman, EVP of Marketing for Starz Entertainment; David Krupp, CEO of Kinetic North America; and Rick Robinson, COO for Billups.

ON THIS DAY in 1973: Secretariat wins the Kentucky Derby.

In The Know: What is the name of the Atlanta Hawks’ mascot? (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: What was the name of the board game played on the Millennium Falcon in which it is better to “let the Wookie win”? Answer: Dejarik. Kudos: Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Staci Gonzalez-441 Productions/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Brad Brown-Nevco/St. Louis; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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