07/09/18: MiLB’s CMO talks about the org’s return trip for partners

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Monday July 9, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

This week sees Minor League Baseball open the doors to the second MiLB Partner Summit, running July 9-11 in Columbus, Ohio during Triple-A All-Star Week. Reps from 20 brands and organizations will gather to discuss MiLB’s marketing and digital strategies and the future growth of the brand (and sign a One-Day Contract with Minor League Baseball to boot). Cynopsis asked MiLB CMO David Wright about the event and its impact.
 
Wright on lessons learned from year one: The need to plan ahead! 2017 served as the first-ever Partner Summit for Minor League Baseball and its partners. As a result, we were catching up a bit as we began planning the event. This year, we started preparation well ahead of schedule and the end result will be a tremendous showcase for MiLB and a true credit to our League office staff and the host club, the Columbus Clippers.
 
On changes: We are constantly looking to innovate and I think attendees will walk away seeing the creativity that makes MiLB so special. In addition to continued growing attendance (over 70 confirmed RSVPs and 20-plus brands represented for this year’s event), I am really impressed with the level of attendee and overall executive presence. We are keenly aware that most of the attendees have been to other prominent property events, so to get their attention and share of mind, we need to make it worth their time. It is clear to me that we are becoming more relevant and top of mind amongst decision-makers and industry influencers.
 
On goals: A number of priorities have guided our MiLB Partner Summit preparation. First, we want every attendee to have a better understanding and deeper appreciation for the Vision of Minor League Baseball (to be a dynamic leader in sport and entertainment). We will also share a lot of great content centered around short, medium and long-term priorities that are very pertinent to our partners. In addition, the event will serve as an incredible opportunity to drive B2B opportunities between partners, clubs, etc. Finally, and in true spirit of MiLB, we want people to have a ton of FUN!
 
On lessons from the launch of Copa de la Diversion: Oh man, there are many! Most notably, our clubs are incredibly committed to being inclusive and representative of their individual markets. We’ve succeeded in making “Copa de la Diversión” a significant part of participating teams’ identities, and not a one-game promotion or promotional night. If the early metrics are any indication, we are only starting to scratch the surface with “Copa de la Diversión,” and we are already looking ahead to future expansion of the program.
 
On the future of MiLB and its partners: I see in the not too distant future the MiLB Partner Summit becoming a staple, must attend showcase for current and prospective partners, as well as other key industry executives. While premature, I do think there are opportunities for us to create other showcase events for MiLB in future years. As the business continues to evolve, we will stay committed to finding ways to exceed the needs of our partners, fans, media and other constituents.
 
 
ON THE AIR

Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal matches handed FOX with an average of 5,664,000 viewers on the broadcast network, making it the most-watched day of Quarterfinal action since at least 1990, according to Nielsen. Viewership numbers are were up 15% over the second day of the 2014 Quarterfinals with the Croatia/Russia battle thriller averaging 6,317,000 viewers on the channel, while England’s win over Sweden averaged 4,763,000 viewers. Twitter had its best day ever across FOX Sports accounts, with 13.7 million views, up 34% from the previous day’s record.
 
Around the dial, Telemundo Deportes’ Spanish-language presentation of the World Cup, has now drawn daytime viewership records for the network for 14 of the 20 match days of the tournament. Friday’s quarter-final matches, featuring France/Uruguay and Brazil/Belgium, posted its best-ever Friday daytime audience in the history of the channel with 1.8 million viewers, up 38% up from prior record. Telemundo Deportes’ World Cup coverage also posted the best Total Audience Delivery for a Friday in the tournament to date, averaging 2.65 million viewers.
 
The US has been named host of the next three editions of the Men’s Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Finals by FIVB, with play from 2019-2021. The announcement was made during the 2018 VNL Finals in Lille. FIVB President Ary S. Graça F said “I am delighted that the USA will host one of our biggest and most talked about events. The USA is the biggest sports market in the world and presents significant commercial opportunities for our sport to grow and develop around the world. There are few countries which do sports presentation better than the USA, so I have no doubt they will be excellent partners for us. The FIVB has also partnered with Microsoft to launch the Volleyball App, which brings fans together from around the world, to watch highlights, read the latest news and discuss all the developments from each week in the VNL.
 
Phil Mickelson confirmed reports of a potential $10 million winner-take-all match against Tiger Woods. “The report was accurate, but I don’t know what else to say,” Mickelson told the Golf Channel. “I’m sure as soon as we know more, we’ll fill you in. But right now, I don’t have much more to add to itGolf.com reports that the match nearly came to fruition on July 3 in Las Vegas but TV network and corporate negotiations could not completed in time.
 
HBO serves up another serving of Fists of Freedom: The Story of the ’68 Summer Games on Friday at 5p on HBO2 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Black Power demonstration of American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the victory stand at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City. Among the interviewees are 1968 U.S. Olympic athletes Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, Ralph Boston, Bob Beamon, Bill Toomey, Bob Seagren and George Foreman, as well as Harry Edwards and Bud Greenspan.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
 August 2nd | 9AM | NYC
 
Join the industry’s top measurement experts (view speakers) as we explore new strategies for quantifying and crediting consumption of content and ads across devices. You’ll also have the opportunity to network and share insights with attendees from GroupM, Coca-Cola, Starcom, Del Monte, Marvel, Google, Hulu and MANY more. Seating is limited and last year’s event sold out quickly so register today.
 
Sponsored by: GroupM, Discovery, Data + Math, 605 and TV Time
 
 
SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

NBC Sports launched initial promotional efforts the season 13 of Sunday Night Football on Saturday during the NASCAR Coke Zero Sugar 400. The marketing endeavor opened with a spot featuring the likes of Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger as the push teammates to put on a show for TV’s biggest primetime audience. The campaign, according to Ad Age, will alter see subsequent spots tied to various storylines and intrigues surrounding upcoming SNF matchups.
 
Kentucky Speedway and the makers of Quaker State motor oil announced that Walmart will serve as the presenting sponsor of the 2018 Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. “Over the past six years of our relationship with Kentucky Speedway, the Quaker State 400 has continued to deliver incredible experiences to our customers and race fans as well as driving tremendous visibility for the brand,” said Patty Lanning, Vice President Marketing, North America, Shell Lubricants. “We are very proud to announce a marketing relationship through the Quaker State 400 with Walmart to promote our full line of Quaker State products in-store, at the Walmart Auto Care Centers and on Walmart.com.”
 
Meanwhile, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! signed on for a two-year touring, digital content and publishing partnership with Nitro Circus. The brand will be featured throughout Nitro Circus’ live shows and the Nitro World Games. The two orgs will also offer original digital content and engaging experiences. As part of this agreement, Ripley Publishing also becomes the exclusive publisher for Nitro Circus, releasing its first title in Spring 2019.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

ESPN launched new alternative viewing experiences with the NBA on ESPN3 and the ESPN App for select games during its 82-game coverage of 2018 MGM Resorts NBA Summer League from Las Vegas. Among the experiences underway are: “Summer League Live” a full in-arena experience with continuous coverage throughout the game, including live in-venue entertainment, and updates on fashion and lifestyle;  “Dueling Analysts” an approach that will gamify a broadcast by pitting analysts against each other in fun and competitive fashion;  “SkyCam View”; and “Hometown Live Call.”
 
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s showdown with Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse will stream live and exclusively in the US on July 14 at 9p on ESPN+. The battle will cap a full day of boxing on the ESPN family of networks, as Regis “Rougarou” Prograis will defend the WBC Diamond super lightweight title against Juan Jose Velasco, and lightweight sensation Teofimo Lopez will face William Silva, live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 7p.  
 
Facebook locked in a deal to exclusively broadcast Premier League matches in four Asian countries. The deal kicks in with the 2019-20 season and runs through 2022 with Facebook livestreaming all 380 fixtures in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
 
The US Soccer Federation will host North America’s first-ever soccer-specific hackathon in Chicago on July 14-15. The 24-hour hackathon will see attendees have exclusive access to data used by federations and professional clubs, develop solutions for soccer industry problems, and share ideas to push the sport forward from commercial and soccer standpoints. A panel of judges will evaluate the team submissions and select two winners.
 
 
ESPORTS

EVO is returning to Japan for its second event in the country, lining up the next event in Fukuoka from Feb. 15-17. The first event took place in January in Tokyo and featured the likes of ARMS, King of Fighters XIV, and BlazBlue: Central Fiction.
 
Speaking of Japan, now that that country has launched the Japan Esports Union pro player license, Capcom announced that the Street Fighter V tournament held at this years Tokyo Game Show will be a Pro Tour premier event. The tournament will offer Japanese players who place in the Top 8 to have the opportunity to receive a Japan eSports Union pro player license.
 
Thunder Gaming announced a partnership with gaming hardware maker TechniSport. The deal will see TechniSport offer high-performance gaming chairs exclusively designed for Thunder Gaming Esports Center in Long Beach. “We are pleased to partner with TechniSport since they share our passion for delivering comfort and performance to amateur and pro players alike,​” says Christian Bishop, CEO of Thunder Gaming. “Moreover, the chair is a high quality product that’s specially tailored to fit gamers’ specific needs — much like our Thunder Gaming Esports Center.”
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Wimbledon action on ESPN and ESPN2 at 7a.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
The Cynopsis Digital Awards – Enter by August 1 to save $175/entry!
 
The Cynopsis Model D Awards & Digital “It List” is accepting entries for: Innovators. Inspirers. Creators of all kinds. We celebrate those in online video content and advertising who are at the forefront of the industry, elevating it with their state-of-the-art contributions to branded content, technology, ad campaigns, and original content. Winners will be announced at the 6th Annual Cynopsis Digital Awards reception in early November in NYC.
 
 

ON THIS DAY in 1968: Wilt Chamberlain is traded to the Lakers.
 
In the Know: One last sausage question… Heading into this year, what five kinds of sausage traditionally made up the Famous Racing Sausages for the Milwaukee Brewers? (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: What is the name of the belt awarded to the winner of the annual Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest? Answer: The Mustard Belt. Kudos: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Art Salisch-Hearst Television/NY; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria
 
Later – Chris
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