06.16.15 Good morning. It’s Tuesday June 16, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The NFL is testing uncharted waters, hiring Jordan Levin to serve as the league’s first Chief Content Officer and SVP. Levin will now be charged with developing and implementing “an innovative, league-wide content plan that advances the long-term growth objectives of the NFL across all of its owned and operated media assets, including NFL Network, NFL Digital Media, NFL Films, and external media partnerships, networks and platforms. He will also run current NFL event programming franchises, such as the Super Bowl Halftime Show and NFL Honors, developing new franchises, and licensing and building the NFL Films library. Levin joins the NFL from Microsoft where he served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Xbox Entertainment Studios and was, of course, previously CEO of The WB.
The Patriot League and CBS Sports Network struck a new multi-year TV deal that will see the channel air conference men’s and women’s basketball games, men’s lacrosse and more. The agreement calls for a minimum of 24 total live events each year with the channel showcasing the semifinals and championship of the Patriot League Men’s Basketball and Men’s Lacrosse Tournaments as well as the championship game of the Women’s Basketball Tournament. “We have had a long, successful partnership with the Patriot League and we are pleased to continue our relationship,” said Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports. “This deal provides us the opportunity to showcase an exciting slate of regular and post-season action across a variety of sports throughout the year and continue highlighting the accomplished student athletes that make up the conference.”
The 2015 NBA Finals continued its blistering pace, with the Warriors Game 5 win over the Cavaliers generating 20,511,000 viewers, up 15% from last year’s Game 5. The series continues to be the most-watched ever on ABC through five games, according to Fast Nationals from Nielsen, averaging 19,215,000 viewers. NBA Finals Game 5 also scored 741,600 unique viewers on WatchESPN, which is the second-highest ever for an NBA game on the platform.
American Sports Network announced plans to bring 30 Conference USA college football games to the channel this season, including 20 league matchups, four tripleheader and eight doubleheader Saturdays. The action kicks off Sept. 5 with Wagner/Rice at 3:30p, followed by Southern/Louisiana Tech at 7p.
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ONE World Sports announced that US Soccer granted the network exclusive rights to produce and televise the 4th Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match pitting the New York Cosmos/NYCFC on June 17. The company is also offering a free livestream on its website. "American sports enthusiasts want tough competition, high intensity and a great rivalry the exact climate fans will see when the iconic New York Cosmos host NYCFC," said Alexander "Sandy" Brown, Chairman & CEO, ONE World Sports. "In addition to New Yorksoccer bragging rights, this derby transcends the five boroughs of Manhattan as Spanish standouts Cosmos’ Raul and NYCFC’sDavid Villa square off. ONE World Sports looks forward to bringing soccer fans nationwide all the action on television and online."
Amid a continued battle with the city of Glendale and mere months after he became the majority owner of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, Andrew Barroway is taking a step back, according to FOX Sports Arizona. Barroway sold a chunk of his shares back to IceArizona. Barroway is expected to own more shares than any other member and retain his title as governor, but he will not have controlling interest.
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The Minnesota Vikings locked in a long-term title tenant for their new stadium. The team announced that US Bank inked a 20-year deal for naming rights to the venue, which will serve as the team’s new home starting in 2016 and will now be known as U.S. Bank Stadium. The company and team also announced a $1 million investment into locations across the state where Minnesota children will play through the “Places to Play” program. “The Minnesota Vikings are a treasure for all citizens of Minnesota and our surrounding states to embrace, enjoy and enthusiastically support,” said Richard Davis, chairman, president and CEO, U.S. Bank. “As Minnesota’s hometown bank, U.S. Bank has been investing in the financial futures of individuals, families, small businesses and large enterprises for more than 150 years. Today, it is our privilege to make this new investment in the Vikings and the entire state of Minnesota. We look forward to U.S. Bank Stadium being a place that will drive economic vitality in Minneapolis-St. Paul, as well as a place where friends and families will create lasting memories celebrating civic pride and the competitive accomplishments of the Minnesota Vikings.
The Collegiate Licensing Company, the licensing affiliate of IMG College, is being tapped by Michigan State to serve as the exclusive trademark licensing representative for the school. Michigan State was previously one of the nation’s largest remaining independent licensing programs. “CLC’s brand management strategy for Michigan State will hone in on long-term value through partnerships with “best-in-class licensees; utilizing CLC’s exclusive retail intelligence and extensive consumer insights to expand the presence of the school’s merchandise at retail; reaching consumers through mobile marketing platforms; and building the brand through CLC’s local, regional, and national marketing programs.”
Minor League Baseball unveiled a study showing that the sport is one of the best “economical forms of family entertainment available.” The average cost for a family of four to enjoy a Minor League Baseball game this season is $64.18, which includes parking, two adult tickets, two child tickets, four hot dogs, two sodas, two beers and a program or scorecard. “One of the biggest reasons Minor League Baseball attracted over 42 million fans last year, and over 41 million for 10 years in a row, is the affordability of an outing at our ballparks,” said Minor League Baseball President and CEO Pat O’Conner. “When you combine the entertaining promotions with the talent on the field in a safe, family-friendly environment for a reasonable price, you provide fans with a memorable experience.”
Coca-Cola is looking to support the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games via a “star-studded team” to record a unified song for the event, dubbed “Reach Up.” The new song debuted yesterday and will be performed during the World Games. Fans can support Special Olympics by sharing the song’s music video on social media using the hashtag #ReachUp, and Coca-Cola will donate one dollar up to $100,000 to Special Olympics for every “Reach Up” video share
UFC is stepping in to sponsor the 34th annual Race Across America for Team Intrepid Fallen Heroes. The cycling team will compete in this week’s 3,000-mile competitive endurance race. “UFC has long supported the men and women who have selflessly served and displayed the courage and dedication that embodies the best of our country,” said Lou Lauria, UFC Vice President of Federation Relationships and Corporate Social Responsibility. “Partnering with Team Intrepid Fallen Heroes, as they embark on another successful race across America, is a great way to raise awareness and funding for the critically needed work they do in supporting those who serve.”
The Players’ Tribune locked in the first close of its Series B financing, pulling in $9.5 million. The round for the Derek Jeter-founded media company was announced by New Enterprise Associates and allow the platform to continue delivering athlete-generated content across a variety of multimedia channels and allow for the expansion of The Players’ Tribune’s production and business staff.
Wipro Digital has been appointed by the Lawn Tennis Association as its official digital technology services partner for three years. LTA, the governing body for tennis in Great Britain, will use the company to develop an IT and digital roadmap to drive its strategy, designed to boost participation in the sport.
Fanatics, Inc. named Lauren Cooks Levitan as Chief Financial Officer of the company. Levitan will be responsible for overseeing accounting, financial planning, strategic analysis and investor relations to drive ongoing growth across all divisions of the company. Levitan was most recently the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Moxie Capital LLC where she provided capital and advisory services to consumer-facing businesses that operated in wholesale, retail, eCommerce and direct sales.
Can the Warriors take home the championship? Warriors/Cavaliers on ABC at 9p on ABC.
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