05/06/15: College Football Playoff, ESPN map out Phoenix; NBC Sports Derby bet is a winner; CBS Sports has an Apple fantasy


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Good morning. It’s Wednesday May 6, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The College Football Playoff National Championship continues to spice up the fan experience, as the Arizona Organizing Committee and CFP announced yesterday that its signature fan events will take place in downtown Phoenix in the days leading up to the big game on Jan. 11, 2016. Events include: fan fest Playoff Fan Central at the Phoenix Convention Center; outdoor concert series AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!; culinary event Taste of the Championship; and CFP Extra Yard for Teachers Summit, an initiative of the College Football Playoff Foundation. ESPN will broadcast live throughout the weekend within the Playoff Playlist Live! Footprint, according to the organizations and locate its base downtown for the game.


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We’ll tackle the Sports Emmys in tomorrow’s edition…

With final Nielsen numbers in, NBC Sports reports that its coverage of American Pharoah’s down-to-the-wire victory in Saturday’s 141st Kentucky Derby averaged 16.0 million viewers. That is good enough for a 4% markup over last year, when 15.3 million tuned in for California Chrome’s win. The race also posted a 9.6/23 national rating  up 2% over last year. On the digital front, NBC Sports Live Extra’s live stream of the race – which mandated authentication for the first time  delivered 221,000 unique visitors, up 12% from last year. Meanwhile, the World Golf Championships Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco posted the best rating for Saturday’s quarterfinal matches since 2008 for a 1.66 ratings and 2.525 million viewers. Viewership was up 44% over 2014.

For the fifth straight year, NFL Network counts down The Top 100 Players, launching the weekly series tonight at 9p and running through July. Following each episode, The Top 100 Players of 2015 Reactions show airs live from the NFL Network studios at 10p and will be hosted by Lindsay Rhodes and will feature a rotation of NFL Network analysts.

ESPN serves up the 2015 College Softball Conference Tournaments, with more than 50 games on deck starting tonight. The company will spotlight 11 college softball conference championship games leading into the NCAA Softball Championship Selection Show Presented by Capital One on May 0 at 10p on ESPNU. Championship games for the ACC and AAC will run on ESPN and ESPN2 respectively on Saturday at 1, followed by the SEC at 8p. the selection show will see host Beth Mowins and analysts Michele Smith and Jessica Mendoza  unveil the 64-team NCAA Division I Softball Championship bracket.

FC Bayern Munich announced a media partnership with Univision Deportes to broadcast FC Bayern Munich Magazine, the soccer club’s weekly highlight show during the season in Spanish. The show consists of 90-minutes of replays of full-length games from across the Bundesliga, Champions League and German Cup, as well as 90-minutes of exclusive player interviews, behind-the-scenes segments, pre-and-post-game press conferences and friendly matches. Univision Deportes will air the full program every week while Univision Deportes Network will air a weekly segment on the network’s flagship Sunday sports show, Republica Deportiva.

truTV and Top Rank are back with round two of the MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout on truTV on Friday at 10p. The series, produced in association with Turner Sports and HBO Sports, will feature two title fights this week headlined by Top 10 contenders Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia/“Irish” Seanie Monaghan along with Michel Soro/Cleiton Conceicao. Commentators include Kevin Kugler offering play-by-play with analyst Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and reporter Crystina Poncher.

Asylum Entertainment and Pilgrim Studios are set to produce an event sports documentary series that “explores sports on a global scale,” according to Deadline. The project is currently titled Planet Sport and will showcase how sports shape and reflect cultures, societies, identities and communities throughout the world, according to the report. 


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Featured Sessions: State of the Sports Industry, Using Video to Build Your Brand, Marketing to Women (sponsored by espnW), How Technology is Launching Yet Another Evolution of Sports and more.


FOX Sports’ new deal with the United States Golf Association will cause a ripple effect across company platforms, where golf ads will begin running on other networks owned by FOX. Ad Age writes that the USGA nabbed ad inventory across 21st Century Fox networks as part of the deal with spots set to launch this month. Leading up to the U.S. Open in June, six new ads from the organization’s “A Lot to Love” campaign will now run across Fox, FS1, FS2, FX, FXX, Fox Business, MundoFox and National Geographic Channel, according to the USGA.

UFC revealed that, for the first time in the 12-year history of the UFC Hall of Fame, an entire class of fighters and contributors will be inducted into distinct categories at a special induction event, slated to take place on July 11 at UFC Fan Expo 2015. The new four-category system will be broken down via a modern era wing, pioneers era wing, contributors wing and a fight wing. UFC President Dana White said: “The UFC Hall of Fame has an important job  it not only celebrates greatness but it helps pass stories of the greatest athletes and fights in UFC history on to the next generation of fight fans. We’re looking forward to announcing the class of 2015 and what is going to be a great induction event on July 11.” UFC chief Dana White said that there are also preliminary plans for a physical UFC Hall of Fame to be constructed in the promotion’s home city of Las Vegas.

Jeep is signing on with the World Surf League that makes the brand the official and exclusive global automotive partner of the WSL and the naming rights partner to the WSL Jeep Leaders Tour Rankings for men and women. “As the first-ever exclusive automotive partner of the WSL, this unique collaboration allows us to engage with a culture that embraces the very same philosophy, beliefs and attitude of the Jeep brand on a global platform,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, FCA  Global. “Together with the WSL, we are able to connect with an adventurous, athletic, influential and increasingly digital fan base of over 120 million through on-site beach activations and live online streaming of worldwide surfing events across countries including Brazil, Australia, France, China, Japan and the US., making this the Jeep brand’s first truly authentic global partnership.”


Thuuz Sports is launching Thuuz Highlights in September, leveraging “the company’s technology platform that combines user profiles, algorithms that determine every moment’s excitement level, and deep analysis of exactly when each play happens within broadcasts.” The upgrade looks to offer personalist sports entertainment via customizable, automated highlight reels; single game and across multiple games from rights owners, rights holders, and multichannel video programming distributors. Elements include: condensed playback that presents all of the game action without stoppages of play; the most exciting footage from a particular game, orchestrated to fit within any selected running time; highlights specific to particular players; highlights specific to particular types of plays; and fantasy team highlights.

STATS LLC acquired Prozone, which specializes in athlete tracking and sports performance analytics, allowing the company to expand its “geographic reach and sports coverage while adding advanced and complementary technologies to its suite of tracking and analytics products.” Spanning four continents, Prozone tracks and analyzes athlete performance to deliver insights with a database of over 100,000 players, and its technology captures proprietary data from over 12,000 sporting events a year. “We are excited to combine Prozone’s best-in-market analytics products for football (soccer) and rugby with STATS’ media expertise and unrivaled real-time data,” said Gary Walrath, CEO of STATS. “We look forward to bringing Prozone’s strong product suite to all corners of the globe.”


CBS Sports Digital launched a new channel on Apple TV, bringing its content for every major sport to users. Focusing fantasy players, the CBS Sports channel offers free access to in-depth fantasy analysis from the popular shows Fantasy Baseball Today and Fantasy Football Today. And, for the first time on Apple TV, fantasy players will be able to get CBS Sports’ daily quick-hitting analysis of top trending players. In addition, sports fans will have access to exclusive, on-demand video content from CBS Sports Digital for all major sports.


Bulls/Cavaliers on TNT at 7p.



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ON THIS DAY in 2010: The Oakland Raiders release former top pick QB JaMarcus Russell.

In The Know: What pitcher has the most wins for the Toronto Blue Jays? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. )

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What team did Gary Williams and the Terrapins beat to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament? Answer: Indiana. Kudos: Todd Hinckley-Major League Soccer/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Mike Donato-ABC/NY; Matthew Luisi-NBC/NY; Jonny Codalata-JMI Part of CSM Sport & Entertainment/Zionsville; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; Ken Nice-Yoh/Silver Spring; Jerehmy White-Busybuddy Books/Glen Rock; Bonnie Bernstein-Campus Insiders/Chicago; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Jason Brist-Outdoor Sportsman Group/Chicago; Lance Brothers-Nielsen/Chicago; David S. Hauptman/Denver; David Katz-ThePostGame.com/LA; Dani Beaulieu-FanServ/LA; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco; Jeff Mirkin-The Game Plane/Hollywood.

Later — Chris
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