06/06/18: NBC Sports is seeing its best Stanley Cup Final in three years

Good morning. It’s Wednesday June 6, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Despite a Game 4 blowout by the Capitals, NBC Sports’ coverage of the Stanley Cup Final continues to show growth overall with the series now averaging a Total Audience Delivery of 4.443 million viewers through the first four games across NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, making it the most-watched Final in three years, according to Nielsen Fast National data and streaming data by Adobe Analytics. The series is up 5% over last year’s Nashville/Pittsburgh Stanley Cup Final and up 30% vs. the first four games of the 2016 SCF. Game 5 between the Capitals and Golden Knights is set for Thursday night from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at 8p on NBC. Through 82 games, the entire 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs are averaging a TAD of 1.374 million viewers across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, Golf Channel, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, and continue to be the most-watched NHL post-season in 21 years.

Telemundo Deportes unveiled its complete game broadcast schedule for the World Cup, which includes all 64 games airing live on either Telemundo or Universo, with same-day encore presentations of each game every night on Universo. Telemundo Deportes’ coverage starts June 13 with a two-hour World Cup preview at 7p on Telemundo while opening day on June 14 will see pregame coverage at 8a with kickoff at 11a. Daily game coverage during the opening round will begin most days at 7a from June 15- 24, and each weekday, Telemundo will air each of the day’s games beginning at 7:30a, 10:30a and 1:30p. During the last week of the group stage, both games will air live simultaneously on Telemundo and Universo. Live coverage will begin with the pre-game show at 9a.
The WNBA locked in on a new format for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2018, which will be played on July 28 in Minneapolis. The revamped format will now see two captains drafting the 2018 All-Star teams from the pool of players voted as All-Stars. The captains will be the two All-Stars, regardless of conference, who receive the highest vote totals. In addition, the WNBA will also implement a new voting process for selecting the 22 All-Stars. Rather than having to select an equal number of players from each conference, voters will now choose the All-Stars without regard for conference affiliation.
The NBA, FloSports and Eleven Sports today announced that seven Jr. NBA World Championship U.S. Regional competitions will be shown live and on-demand on FloHoops.com, with select games also running live on Eleven Sports. FloHoops will live-stream from six courts during each three-day event, totaling more than 800 regional games while and one of the six courts will also be broadcast on the Eleven Sports television network.
On the local front, YES Network reports an average TV Household rating of a 4.17 for its May 2018 Yankees games, marking a 12% rise from the ratings for its 2018 Yankees games prior to May 1 and up 13% from May 2017. YES is off to its best start through May 31 in six years.
NBC Sports Boston locked in on-air sports television personality Danielle Trotta to join the network. Trotta will play a role in all of the network’s multi-platform programming offerings including her primary role as a new co-host of the network’s nightly studio show  Boston Sports Tonight.
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Pepsi revealed their latest Pepsi Generations spot, bringing back Uncle Drew, played by NBA star Kyrie Irving. The new spot features Uncle Drew across different decades and celebrates the feature film Uncle Drew, which will hit the big screen for the first time on June 29. “Creating the Uncle Drew character with Pepsi and being a part of the creative process has been an incredible experience,” said Kyrie Irving. “It is very humbling to see what this character has turned into and I’m excited to share what is next.”
Under Armour is releasing its first-ever UA Pride collection, offering footwear and apparel driven by Under Armour teammates in the UA Unified Culture Club – an internal group whose mission is to promote, cultivate and empower the workplace for LGBTQ teammates and make a positive impact on the business. The merchandise will serve as the first drop of a larger UNITED WE WIN collection, devoted to our ongoing commitment to equality, justice, and opportunity for all athletes. Under Armour is also partnering with nonprofit organization Athlete Ally, with all proceeds from the UA Pride collection going to the org.

FloSports locked in a multiyear rights partnership with the Professional Bowlers Association that will see the company launch FloBowling.com, a new site where fans can access PBA’s Xtra Frame for live and on-demand PBA coverage and more. The site will offer fans access to professional competition, breaking news, highlights, original documentaries, and more. The deal hands FloSports with live and on-demand coverage for more than 40 professional events each year starting June 30. Meanwhile, Xtra Frame subscribers will have their monthly or yearly subscriptions automatically transferred to a FloSports PRO subscription at no cost. FloBowling will also serve as title sponsor of the FloBowling PBA Fall Swing Oct. 14-20 at The Lanes at Coffee Creek in suburban Tulsa, Okla. 
Twitter released a blog post featuring new data ahead of the start of the World Cup in addition to offering new data ahead about the most mentioned teams around the globe over the past month: 1) Argentina, 2) Japan, 3) France, 4) England and 5) Spain.

Valve is giving its competitive format for Dota 2 an overhaul. The company announced in a blog post changes to the Dota Pro Circuit for the 2018-2019 season with an eye to introduce a bit more structure to the year, increase team roster flexibility, and improve the spacing and importance of each event.”. Modifications to the scene will include no longer disqualifying a team for changing players mid-season although removing a team member will slash point totals by 20% and of a team plays in a Pro Circuit event without their official five-man roster they’ve designated, their points are reduced by 40%. If an organisation owns multiple teams, only one of those can compete in the International 2019, regardless of points, but all teams can participate in Majors and Minors. Valve also provided the full schedule for next season, with play beginning Sept. 17.
Meanwhile, Ubisoft detailed changes to the competitive scene for Rainbow Six: Siege that includes a new format for the Pro League, splitting each year into two six-month seasons with a “Major” in between each season along with more LAN events with confirmation for the next two years of Pro League until May 2020. In addition, the league is bringing in a revenue share-based Pilot Program, with teams that will PENTA Sports, Vitality, Evil Geniuses, Rogue, SK Gaming, Mousesports, FaZe Clan, Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Immortals and FNATIC.
Tencent Games is hitting E3 for the first time, partnering with ESL to bring an Arena of Valor competition to the show. ESL will now host the Valor Series’ North American and European playoffs at the E3 ESL Arena in LA on June 12 and 13.
Global esports organization Gen.G announced the appointment of Jordan Sherman as Head of Sponsorships and Revenue. Sherman got his start in the sports business with Major League Baseball Advanced Media and the Los Angeles Clippers, where he served as Director of New Business, generating annual revenue for the team via digital, social, point of sale and in-arena activations.

The XFL named former NFL and NCAA executive Oliver Luck as the league’s Commissioner & CEO. The new XFL kicks off in early 2020. Earlier in his career, Luck served as President of NFL Europe and General Manager of the league’s Frankfurt Galaxy and Rhein Fire. Most recently Luck was the NCAA’s Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Strategic Partnerships where he oversaw all NCAA regulatory functions including enforcement, academic and membership affairs, and the Eligibility Center. Prior to the NCAA, Luck spent four years as the Director of Athletics at his alma mater, West Virginia University.

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ON THIS DAY in 1946: The Basketball Association of America, later to become the NBA, is born.
In the Know: What is the name of the sport that dominated the universe of Battlestar Galactica? (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: Which former Astro holds the modern MLB all-time record for being hit by pitches, registering 285?  Answer: Craig Biggio. Kudos: Luke Tarby-A+E Networks/NY; Mark McDonald-ESPN/NY; Mike Polvere-Optimum Sports/NY; Joe Santamaria-NBC/NY; Rick Wiener-Allebach Communications/Philadelphia; Tony Ferranti-MMSI/Warwick; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Jacob Newton-Turner Sports/Atlanta; Matt Fumagalli-Levy/Chicago; John Ward-Tennis Channel/Chicago; Mark Stulberger-Stully’s Broadcasting School/Houston; John Tingue-CBS/Chicago; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Anne Wettig-Fox Cable Networks S&P/LA
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