06/05/18: Discovery added worldwide rights to the PGA TOUR

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Good morning. It’s Tuesday June 5, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

 
Discovery and the PGA TOUR locked in a strategic alliance that will see the creation of a new international multi-platform home for golf. The new 12-year relationship will kick in in 2019 and run through 2030, would include global multi-platform live rights, outside the United States, to all PGA TOUR media properties totaling approximately 2000 hours of content per year, including the six Tours operating under the PGA TOUR umbrella and nearly 150 tournaments annually, including THE PLAYERS Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs, and the Presidents Cup. The company receives linear rights in 220 markets and territories and will include the creation of a dedicated, PGA TOUR-branded, OTT video streaming service. Overall, Discovery expects to invest more than $2 billion over the course of the alliance, including licensing of the PGA TOUR’s international media rights and building a global OTT platform available outside the United States, with a gradual increase of annual investment during the term.
 
“Today is a fantastic day for golf fans around the world as Discovery proudly partners with the PGA TOUR to create something that has never been done before.,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery. “The long-term partnership between the PGA TOUR and Discovery will create the new global Home of Golf, including delivering over 2000 hours of live content year-round and this prestigious sport’s greatest moments, stories and players across all of Discovery and Eurosport’s global distribution channels, including television, mobile and digital platforms.  Following our successful first Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Discovery will contribute its strong global distribution and promotional infrastructure, in-market relationships, global sports expertise with direct-to-consumer platforms and brands to create a valuable new long-term Home of Golf offering in every market outside the US.”
 
“This is an exciting next step for the PGA TOUR, which presents a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and expand our media business outside the United States, better service our international broadcast partners, and drive fan growth with a deeply experienced strategic global partner,” said Jay Monahan, Commissioner, PGA TOUR. “This partnership aligns very well with the opening of PGA TOUR offices in London, Tokyo and Beijing in recent years and will support our long-term objectives of growing the game of golf. It also will deliver more value to our sponsors as it presents a tremendous opportunity to engage new and diverse audiences around the world.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

ABC’s telecast of Game 2 of the NBA Finals marked generated the third-largest Game 2 audience since 2001, according to Fast Nationals from Nielsen. The Warriors win averaged 18,496,000 viewers and was up 7% from this year’s Game 1 audience, which drew 17,354,000 viewers last Thursday night.
 
Meanwhile, Game 3 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final between the Golden Knights and the Capitals on Saturday night saw Total Audience Delivery increases of 18% and 25%, respectively, vs. the 2017 and 2016 Stanley Cup Final Game 3s (hitting 3.576 million viewers) and ranked as the second-most streamed NHL game ever in addition to being the highest-rated NHL game on NBCSN for Washington, D.C.
 
ESPN reached a multi-year extension with NBA game analyst Doris Burke, who will continue to serve as a full-time NBA game analyst for ESPN, providing commentary throughout the regular season and during the NBA Playoffs each year. Burke will also continue to serve as reporter for several NBA games, including for ESPN and ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals and the NBA Conference Finals.
 
In other talent news, CBS Sports named Jamie Erdahl as lead reporter for its coverage of the SEC ON CBS. Erdahl joins Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson as the network’s top college football broadcast team to call the “SEC Game of the Week” beginning this season.
 
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Justify seeks to lay claim to the Triple Crown on Saturday on NBC Sports with the 150th Belmont Stakes at 4p on NBC. Coverage begins Friday on NBCSN with a one-hour show featuring two live races, including the Belmont Gold Cup, followed by a special look back at Justify’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes wins at 6p. Coverage features hosts Bob Costas and Mike Tirico; analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey.
 
Former Buffalo Bills quarterback and Hall of Famer Jim Kelly will be honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at The 2018 ESPYS. Kelly was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his jaw in 2013 and has since “embodied the definition of perseverance with his spirit and fearless attitude.” Kelly will accept the Jimmy V Perseverance Award sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb on July 18, at The 2018 ESPYS presented by Capital One on ABC.
 
Golf Channel will unveil several end-of-year college golf awards on Morning Drive and Golf Central on Wednesday. The WGCA and GCAA will announce their respective college coaches of the year on Morning Drive on Wednesday, with the winning coaches scheduled to be in-studio to accept their awards. At 6p, on Golf Central, the channel will reveal the winners of the ANNIKA Award presented by 3M and the Fred Haskins Award presented by Stifel, recognizing the most outstanding female and male Division I collegiate golfers for the 2017-18 season.
 
Dan Graca is expanding his role on 98.7 ESPN New York and will join the New York Jets game day radio team. Beginning August 10, with the Jets vs. Atlanta Falcons game, Graca joins Greg Buttle during the pregame, halftime and post-game radio shows. Graca will continue as regular contributor on ESPN Radio and SNY-TV, including Loudmouths, Daily News Live & Baseball Night in New York.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

FOX Sports locked in adidas as the presenting sponsor of the full company streaming effort across all digital platforms for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, running June 14 – July 15. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola is sponsoring the short-form 90 in 90 match highlights, one of the top-performing FOX Sports digital offerings, as well as joining adidas as a co-sponsor of Team Channels. The FIFA World Cup Hub, launches the week of June 4, offering live streams and full replays of all 64 matches, bonus feeds, commentary, rosters, stats and highlights and more. FOX Sports will produce a country-specific experience encompassing three live video feeds as well as real-time, team-vs-team stats.
 
Heineken inked a four-year partnership with European Professional Club Rugby to return as title sponsors for the European Champions Cup, according to Reuters, starting with the 2018/19 season.
 
Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment inked a media and sponsorship sales representation agreement with the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 and the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Under the new partnership, VWSE will represent a variety of brand categories for multiplatform sponsorship assets around the 2018 WEG, set for Sept. 11-23, 2018, at the TIEC, located less than 90 miles west of Charlotte, North Carolina.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

The United Soccer League locked in a partnership with WSC Sports to harness WSC’s technology platform to automate and simplify USL’s video creation capabilities. Via WSC’s machine learning technology, USL can create automated video highlights for more than 500 games of the regular USL season and playoff games, allowing for customizable highlights packages and individual player highlight reels.
 
InstaVR Inc closed a Series B funding round, which will help further its mission of empowering enterprise businesses to create VR applications. The company received $5 million in additional capital, bringing its total funding to date to $7.2 million. New participants in the funding round are YJ Capital, ITOCHU Technology Ventures, and Mizuho Capital Partners, who join follow-on investors GREE Ventures, COLOPL NEXT, and The Venture Reality Fund (The VR Fund).

FanDuel announced the launch of World Soccer Pick’em, presented by GameCredits, marking the company’s first fully integrated fantasy US product for a global sporting event. Soccer fans will have access to a wide range of fantasy contests for the World Cup, including a free-to-enter game and paid daily fantasy contests. FanDuel’s World Soccer Pick’em will be available by Thursday, June 7th on FanDuel.com and on the FanDuel app. 
 
 
ESPORTS

ESL locked in a deal with AT&T to sponsor a slate of mobile game tournaments in North America. USA Today writes that AT&T will have a 5G demo at the ESL Arena at E3 and score a presence at upcoming events that include the Arena of Valor Pro League, ESL One New York in September, and IEM North America in November.
 
ESL also announced that the CS:GO Pro League wrapped up its seventh season with almost 118 million video views, marking a 42.4% growth compared to Season Six and a new all-time record for Pro League with the languages Chinese (49M), English (36M), and Russian (17M) leading views. More than 18 million hours of content, made up of 44 live streams in 22 languages across seven digital platforms including Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, Znipe, Caffeine and Huomao, were consumed in Season Seven.
 
Finally, ESL and WESA announced that Season Eight of the CS:GO Pro League will return to Odense, Denmark. The sixteen best CS:GO teams from Europe, North America, South America and the Asia-Pacific region will battle it out for a lion’s share of the US $1 million prize pool at the Sparekassen Fyn Arena from Dec. 7-9, while the group stages of the CS:GO Pro League Finals will be played out in front of a live audience for the first time, running Dec. 4-6.
 
Splyce locked in a deal with Foot Locker Europe, which will support the team’s EU LCS roster for “both lifestyle and performance as they pursue the Summer Split championship.”
 
High school esports league PlayVS locked in $15 million in a Series A funding round that includes the San Francisco 49ers, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and professional athletes Russell Okung, Baron Davis and Kelvin Beachum, according to ESPN. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates with the total valuation for PlayVS hitting $50 million.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

James M. Danko, President of Butler University, was elected to a two-year term as Chair of the BIG EAST Conference Board of Directors.  Danko replaces Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., President of Providence College, who served on the BIG EAST Executive Committee since 2013 and as BIG EAST Board Chair since 2016. Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, President of Villanova University, will serve as new Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors.  Fr.  Michael J. Graham, S.J., President of Xavier University, was elected to fill the third Executive Committee position.
 
Combate Americas named former NBCUniversal executive, Jacqueline Hernandez, as Combate Americas President. She will be based in New York and will report to Campbell McLaren, CEO and Founder of Combate Americas, overseeing the entire business apparatus and P&L of Combate Americas.
 
VSiN announced a partnership with former CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason, who will join VSiN as Strategic Advisor and Investor participating in all aspects of the company’s operations. VSiN Founder and Chairman Brian Musburger said, “With decades of experience in the media industry, Dan brings a wealth of knowledge to our team. We are excited to leverage his expertise to drive continued growth at VSiN, capitalizing on the incredible opportunity presented by the burgeoning sports gambling industry. His overall enthusiasm for our product brings an energy level to the room that is contagious.”
 
FloSports brought in Lindsey Ross as Director of Rights Acquisition. Ross joins FloSports with more than 16 years of experience in college conferences and sports media, and most recently worked for ESPN as Manager of Programming and Acquisitions.
 
 
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