05.26.15 Good morning. It’s Tuesday May 26, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Where does a brand go when it is looking to reinvent its consumer perception? In the case of Timex, company executives went to some of YouTube’s biggest stars turning to Frisbee trick-shot artist Brodie Smith and extreme sport videographer Devin Graham, aka Devin Supertramp. Launching the company’s new large-scale social media campaign, called the #MyExpedition Project, to promote the company’s Expedition watch, the one-two punch paid off, as the video quickly broke a million views and made Brodie #1 on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10. The video can be found here.
The #MyExpedition Project was launched to “spark conversation and to encourage moments of personal exploration and discovery, Timex is inviting outdoor enthusiasts to create and share original and engaging content on Instagram” while collaborating with Outside Magazine by offering a grand prize trip for the winner and a guest to select from Machu Picchu, British Columbia, Costa Rica, Alaska, and others for their ultimate trip.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with Timex Brand Director Sam Martin about the company’s sports marketing strategy, the campaign and how the brand is evolving.
Martin on marketing through sports: We have had the opportunity to develop a few new programs that bring the product to life and appeal to a new generation of consumers. Timex has a long, extraordinary history – 160 years – of watch-selling experience, but we are really excited to bring new products to life, particularly a new consumer, the 18-45 year old. On the Ironman side, we recently changed strategy. We were historically sponsoring the big tentpole events, the New York Marathon for example. They were amazing partners and terrific to work with, but we recognized that we were really a small fish in a big pond of sponsors. So we reset our strategy about a year and a half ago to focus on more local events, smaller, grassroots races where we could get a much bigger group of runners overall who were geographically dispersed.
On the Expedition brand: We actually haven’t spent a ton of money in several years on the Expedition brand and yet we’ve got a product to really appeals to that outdoor-minded consumer. We tested a little bit on social media last year, kind of a beta version of the #MyExpedition program, where we asked people to share their content and outdoor adventures for a chance to win a watch. Based on the result we came from that, and Instagram in particular, it gave us the idea that we should expand this and find a publication partner that can help us bring this to life and that’s where Outside came into the mix.
On content: We sat down with Catalyst, which has a great creative department with new ideas we could use, and then with Outside, which is so right for that consumer we are trying to appeal to. We pulled those partners together to do some brainstorming. We didn’t want to put a lot of shackles on the consumer base because they are creating so much beautiful content on their own, so we really just wanted to help them develop that content to be able to share on their own and also to win a trip as an incentive. That’s where the whole program started. It was about turning the camera around and letting the customer base drive it. We also wanted to seed it in a big way, by taking somebody who already had a big following with the younger demographic. We landed on naturally on Devin Supertramp and got Brodie Smith through them, who has his own following. It was a really natural partnership and ended up being a version of what their Expedition would be.
On results: We are up to around 1.3 million people who probably haven’t had a lot of interaction with Timex, so it was a really nice bridge of getting in front of this consumer who we had been inspiring to have, but not necessarily connecting with, at least on their terms with something that was cool and compelling.
Basketball continued to roll over the weekend. TNT’s coverage of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 on Sunday averaged 7.8 million total viewers and 4.7 U.S. HH rating in Nielsen Fast Nationals. That marked the most-viewed and highest-rated program of the day across all of television (cable and broadcast), based on metered market ratings. The telecast was up 21% in U.S. HH rating and 16% among total viewers over the network’s comparable Conference Finals coverage last year. On the local front, Cavaliers/Hawks contest earned a 32.0 in Cleveland – TNT’s highest rating on record for a Cavaliers game in the metered market – and a 10.1 in Atlanta. Through three games, TNT’s NBA Eastern Conference Finals coverage is averaging 6.9 million total viewers and a 4.3 U.S. HH rating, up 11% and 10% respectively over the network’s comparable live game telecasts a year ago.
ESPN reports that Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals delivered an average audience of 6,866,000 viewers on Thursday night, according to Nielsen, for a 49% spike over the last time ESPN televised the equitable game two years ago. The matchup saw a 4.4 household rating (up 42%) and propelled the channel to win the night across all of television (broadcast and cable) across key demos, including M18-34, M18-49, M25-54, P18-34, P18-49 and P25-54. In both the San Francisco and Houston markets, the telecast generated a 15.9 rating. In San Francisco, this is the second-highest rated NBA game (non-Finals) ever in the market. In Houston, it ranks fifth all-time among highest-rated NBA games (non-Finals) in the market.
The heat was also on the ice, with NBC Sports reporting that Saturday night’s 2OT Game 4 between Anaheim and Chicago in the Stanley Cup Playoffs handed the channel with a 2.24 on NBC. That marked it the best overnight score of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the highest overnight for a Conference Final since 6/8/13. In addition, Sunday night’s Game 5 between Tampa Bay and New York Rangers delivered a 1.29 overnight rating on NBCSN, up 8% vs. the comparable game a year ago. The company also saw Sunday’s F1 Monaco Grand Prix notch a 1.13 overnight rating on NBC, up 10% over 2014 numbers for the race.
The 2015 ESPYS has a host, as ESPN announced that comedian, actor and television host Joel McHale will be on deck for the annual show. The ESPYS will be broadcast live on ABC Wednesday, July 15, at 8p from Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. “Joel is an extremely talented performer, a unique voice and a huge sports fan,” said Connor Schell, Senior Vice President, ESPN Films and Original Content, who oversees The ESPYS. “His experience as a comedian and love of sports make Joel the perfect host for The ESPYS inaugural broadcast on ABC.”
Three weeks from today! Don’t miss the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit on June 16 in NY, and hear keynotes and Q&As from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles, Bruin Sports Capital Founder & CEO George Pyne and Peko Hosoi, Founder & Director of STE@M, Sports Technology and Education at MIT. Tackling all sides of sports business, tickets are going fast so do not miss out on the event! Register here.
Tomorrow will see NBC Sports Group and the Association of Volleyball Professionals Pro Beach Volleyball Tour offer the first AVP Tour telecast of the season. NBCSN will offer the AVP New Orleans Open at midnight. Coverage of the AVP New Orleans Open will mark the first two hours of more than 17 hours of AVP Tour coverage airing on NBC and NBCSN in 2015, and the first event as part of the AVP’s and NBC Sports Group’s new multi-year media rights agreement. Paul Sunderland handles play-by-play, with Olympic gold medalist Dain Blanton and beach volleyball Olympian and three-time All-American Kevin Wong on board as analysts. Blanton, Wong and Chris Marlowe (play-by-play) will manage duties for all other AVP telecasts on NBC and NBCSN this season.
Bellator MMA is now part of American Forces Network, announcing a deal to broadcast events on its global networks to American servicemen and women, as well as U.S. Navy ships at sea beginning in June. “We at Bellator are always looking for ways to give back to our troops,” said Bellator MMA President Scott Coker. “We’re all extremely grateful for all that they do abroad to keep us safe, and we hope that they will enjoy some Bellator fights during any downtime they may have.”
ESPN International struck a broad multimedia rights agreement with FOX Sports Latin America to continue broadcasting the German Football League’s Bundesliga throughout Latin America and select countries and territories across the Caribbean from 2015/16 through 2017/18. The deal will see FOX Sports offer ESPN exclusive rights to half of the Bundesliga matches per season, some Relegation matches played at the end of each season, and non-exclusive rights to the German Super Cup in 2016 and 2017. In addition, ESPN will have non-exclusive rights to the weekly preview show Bundesliga Weekly.
Matt Millen is heading back to FOX Sports. SBJ reports that Millen will depart ESPN to become lead football analyst for the Big Ten Network, where he will team with Kevin Kugler and participate on Fox Sports 1 studio shows around college football and the NFL.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
David F. Poltrack I Chief Research Officer I CBS Corp.
Kevin Rini I Director, Product Leadership of Total Audience Measurement I Nielsen
Brad Adgate I SVP/Director, Research I Horizon Media I Kern Schireson I EVP, Data Strategy and Consumer Intelligence I Viacom I Carol Hinnant I SVP, National Television Sales I Rentrak
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football and its commercial partnership agency, Traffic Sports, are now flying with Delta Air Lines, which will sponsor this year’s edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The deal makes Delta as the Official Airline of the 2015 Gold Cup for the U.S., Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. “We are pleased to welcome Delta as the official airline partner of this year’s Gold Cup,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. “Delta’s vast presence throughout the CONCACAF region makes this a natural alliance between both institutions. At CONCACAF we look forward to ensuring a long-term partnership of collaboration.”
The Association of Volleyball Professionals is broadening its volleyball developmental model, launching “AVP First as the tour’s signature non-profit youth program in an effort to further the development and participation of the sport among young athletes and families.” The initiative will serve as the primary youth programming arm under the AVP umbrella and offer a slate of programs geared toward both community outreach and high-level development.
The Big East Digital Network on FOX Sports GO revealed its 2015-16 broadcast plan to expand to 225 live events for the upcoming season. Programming will include all regular season BIG EAST league women’s basketball games, 36 Championship events as well as expanded coverage of the men’s and women’s soccer league games. In addition to live streaming, content will include highlights, selected news coverage and shoulder programming. The conference will oversee all production on the Digital Network and also renewed its contract with Rush Media Company, which will serve as the conference’s third-party production services supplier. Programming includes 73 women’s basketball, 35 men’s soccer, 35 women’s soccer, 15 volleyball, 10 baseball, 10 softball and six lacrosse games. As was the case with 2014-15, BEDN will cover all BIG EAST Championships, with 36 events in the upcoming year. Five additional programming slots have been reserved to add as sport specific schedules are announced.
The International Federation for Equestrian Sports named IMG as its production partner. The five-year deal launches July 1 and covers post production services for the FEI’s entire portfolio of broadcast products across the FEI-named series and championships. The partnership also includes “a wide range of programming for the FEI’s global broadcast partners as well as for the FEI’s digital platforms such as FEI TV, FEI TV On The Go and the FEI YouTube channel.” IMG will be in charge of the overall coordination and liaison with the FEI’s host broadcasters on the production of live broadcast signals as well as providing the FEI with strategic consultancy in the broadcast production area.
ABC’s telecast of Sunday’s 99th Indianapolis 500 introduced biotelemetry to the scene. The tech serves as a sensing system that, in real time, gives viewers the heart and respiration rate as well as calorie burn rate of drivers James Jakes and Sage Karam who competed in the race. Both wore a special sensor on the left side of their chest, near the base of the heart, with ESPN’s television production capturing the data for use during the telecast.
FanDuel picked up the crew from Zynga Sports 365, which were recently laid off in a cost-cutting measure. VentureBeat writes that 38 former game-development employees relocated across town in in Orlando, creating a new department within FanDuel under Mike Taramykin, EVP of Products. FanDuel started the month at 80 employees and will end the year at more than 160, according to executives.
Infant live-streaming service DingIt is reportedly getting ready to launch a 24/7 eSports streaming channel. CraveOnline writes that the channel would continue to boost the company’s rivalry with Twitch. “We have about 250,000 broadcasters on board and had about 60 eSports events in April,” boasted founder and CEO Mark Hain. “We expect to double that in the next few months. We’ll soon have a 24/7 eSports channel, which doesn’t exist anywhere else currently… Our focus is eSports events, with broadcasters being a secondary focus. We want to get to the point where we have a 24/7 channel of eSports content. That’s how we’ll differentiate ourselves.”
Can Cleveland close it out? Hawks/Cavs on TNT tonight at 8:30p.
ON THIS DAY in 1988: The Oilers defeat the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup.
In The Know:The retirements of John Elway, Joe DiMaggio, Dominik Hasek and David Robinson were notable for what common reason? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: (Trivia question got a bad edit, my apologies, should have read…) Of the top nine rushers in Lions history, Barry Sanders has made the list eight times, only one other Lion makes the list, who was he? Answer: Billy Sims. Kudos: Dave Ridpath-Ohio University/Bayreuth; Andrew Feingold-Nielsen/NY; David Weinberg-The Paley Center For Media/NY; Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Dan Zaretsky-ION Media Networks/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Greg Hughes-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Allison Wright-Viacom Media Networks/Detroit; Patrick Erickson-Valassis Digital/Livonia; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Don Surath-KPIX-TV KBCW-TV/San Francisco; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA.
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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