07/11/18: The PGA TOUR announced multiple changes to its upcoming schedule

Good morning. It’s Wednesday July 11, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The PGA TOUR is giving its schedule an overhaul next season, unveiling a revamped tournament schedule. Highlights from the new 46-tournament slate include:
  • The FedExCup Playoffs will feature three events, instead of four: THE NORTHERN TRUST, August 5-11 (125-player field); the BMW Championship, August 12-18 (70 players); and the TOUR Championship August 19-25 (30 players). TPC Boston will continue as a Playoffs site every other year, rotating with the New York City area as host of THE NORTHERN TRUST starting in 2020.
  • As previously announced, two new tournaments have been added, though now the dates have been confirmed: the Rocket Mortgage Classic June 24-30, the first PGA TOUR tournament to be held in the city of Detroit; and the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities July 1-7, which becomes the first PGA TOUR Champions tournament to transition to the PGA TOUR.
  • The RBC Canadian Open is moving from its traditional spot in late July to June 3-9, leading into the U.S. Open. Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Hamilton, Ontario, will host the event for the first time since 2012.
  • The Puerto Rico Open returns to the schedule following its cancellation this year due to the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico is slotted for February 18-24, the same week as the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
  • As previously announced, THE PLAYERS Championship moves from May to March (11-17) and the PGA Championship moves from August to May (13-19).
  • Also announced previously is the final World Golf Championships event of the season, until now staged in Akron, Ohio, will be held July 22-28 at TPC Southwind in Memphis as the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (replacing the FedEx St. Jude Classic).
  • The Houston Open and A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier are moving to the fall and will be played next as part of the 2019-20 schedule.
  “We are extremely pleased with the way the schedule has come together, particularly with the number of changes that were involved and the strength of the partnerships required to achieve this new look,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “It’s been our stated objective for several years to create better sequencing of our tournaments that golf fans around the world can engage in from start to finish.  And by concluding at the end of August, the FedExCup Playoffs no longer have the challenge of sharing the stage with college and professional football. This will enhance the visibility of the FedExCup Playoffs and overall fan engagement with the PGA TOUR and the game as a whole.”

Kerri Walsh Jennings’ event series p1440 locked in a deal with ESPN to carry all p1440 professional beach volleyball finals on ESPN2 or ABC in 2018. The inaugural p1440 season will travel to San Jose, Calif., Las Vegas, San Diego and Huntington Beach in 2018 and four additional cities in 2019. The men’s and women’s finals at each event will be televised on ESPN2 or ABC. “We are incredibly honored and humbled to work with ESPN and allow sports fans to experience the tip of the sphere with regard to the best beach volleyball athletes from around the world,” said Walsh Jennings, co-founder of p1440. “Volleyball is one of the most watched sports during the Olympics, so we know there’s a world-wide audience out there that wants to experience everything the sport of beach volleyball has to offer. p1440 will provide a dynamic platform through which the world can experience the grace and power of our sport as well as witness the captivating stories of our athletes on and off the sand.”
ESPN delivers exclusive, cross-platform coverage of the 2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday at 8p, with participants and brackets announced on a special ESPN telecast, the 2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby Bracket Show immediately following Wednesday Night Baseball tonight around 10p. Karl Ravech returns as the voice of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, alongside Mark Teixeira while Jessica Mendoza serves as the roaming analyst on the field. Production will include 4D replay technology that will provide viewers with 360-degree replays of the participants and their swings;new 3D spray charts that will show paths and arcs of home runs; and an on-screen scoreboard will feature a new “pace tracker.” Meanwhile, ESPNEWS will televise a first-of-its-kind alternative viewing experience for this event, driven largely by on-screen graphics, data and information from Statcast. This telecast will include its own commentator team, including play-by-play voice Jason Benetti and analyst Eduardo Perez.
Around the dial, MLB Network lined up its “most extensive” coverage of the 2018 MLB All-Star Game the winners of the2018 Camping World All-Star Final Vote on MLB Tonight this evening at 8p. Overall, the network serves up more than 14 hours of on-site programming, including h the exclusive telecast of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at 4p. Leading up to the T-Mobile Home Run Derby and the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, MLB Network will produce unparalleled coverage in and around Nationals Park, featuring on-field interviews and demos with All-Star players and managers live during batting practice.
FOX Sports announced its talent for today’s Croatia/England World Cup matchup at 2p. Lead play-by-play announcer John Strong and lead analyst Stu Holden will again call the semifinal contest, before closing out the tournament with the championship match on Sunday, at 11a on FOX. Live pregame coverage begins one hour before each respective match. Strong and Holden are joined by sideline reporter Geoff Shreeves for Croatia/England.
Speaking of which, NBCSN will simulcast in Spanish today’s Croatia/England matchup with Telemundo, with live coverage beginning at 1:30p. Sammy Sadovnik calls the game, joined by Eduardo Biscayart, Juan Pablo Angel, and Claudio Borghi.
We are under three months until the Esports Business Summit in Las Vegas! Join the three-day gathering of executives dedicated to the esports space, with content dedicated to competition, media, sponsorship, venues and investment, along with our Awards, deep-dive workshops and killer networking field trips. Get your tickets now by clicking here!
The ESPN “My Wish” Series returns for a 13th season on Sunday, this year featuring stars from the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and the PGA TOUR. Since its beginning in 2006, the series has partnered with Make-A-Wish® to fulfill 63 sports-themed wishes for children with critical illnesses. This year’s assists will come from Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, the New York Yankees, PGA TOUR star Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Butler. New features debut on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and Thursday next week, reairing multiple times on other editions of SportsCenter, completing on Friday, July 20.
HISTORY’s Evel Live special saw 3.5 million Total Viewers on Sunday night as Travis Pastrana successfully paid tribute to Evel Knievel with three stunts in Vegas. Additionally, 1.2 million Adults 18-49 tuned into the three-hour live event, making it HISTORY’s best premiere special among key demos since “Gettysburg” in May 2011.
FOX Sports announced that lightweight contender Kevin Lee will make his FOX Sports desk analyst debut alongside UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, Kenny Florian, and lead UFC host Karyn Bryant for FS1 UFC Fight Night: Dos Santos vs. Ovanov on Saturday. Brendan Fitzgerald and Jimmy Smith call the show on FS1.
The latest chapter in ESPN Films’ SEC Storied series is locked and loaded. “Rowdy,” will premiere on Monday at 7p on SEC Network, chronicling Rowdy Gaines’ career in and out of the pool, including overcoming the adversity of the 1980 Olympic boycott and his battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. “Rowdy” is presented by Chick-fil-A. The film is directed by SportsCenter anchor and “Shaq & Dale” director Hannah Storm.
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UFC locked in a partnership with Parimatch for a new, multi-year partnership that designates Parimatch as the “Official Betting and Wagering Partner of UFC” across the entire EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region, excluding the United Kingdom and Ireland. The deal also sees Parimatch serve as UFC’s first-ever marketing partner from the Commonwealth of Independent States region.
Minor League Baseball is looking to break the Guiness World Record title for the Most people blowing a chewing gum bubble simultaneously. In partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim’s Breathless campaign, the league will look to raises awareness for the lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The world record title attempt will take place on July 11, at the 2018 Eastern League All-Star Game in Trenton, Throughout the 2018 season, 75 “Breathless™ Blowout” gamedays are taking place at 15 MiLB ballparks.

Telemundo Deportes is adding new audio offerings for Amazon Alexa and Google for the final stages of the World Cup. Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, will see fans able to access World Cup content with Alexa, by adding the Telemundo Deportes to their Flash Briefing in the Alexa app. In addition, fans can access Telemundo Deportes’ “Dia de Gallos” podcast daily and the official theme music for Telemundo Deportes, “Sueño de Campeones.” Google, meanwhile,  has made Telemundo Deportes’ sports briefings available in Spanish. Each match, a briefing will be available recapping of the best action of the day during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, including who won the matches and how, as well as which teams are advancing the next rounds.
Sony Crackle will debut upcoming original comedy series Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy on August 23, with a special advance debut on Amazon Fire TV through the Sony Crackle app starting Aug. 13. In addition, the free streaming network unveiled additional guest stars joining the series, includingDermot Mulroney (“My Best Friend’s Wedding”), Christopher McDonald (“Happy Gilmore”), Noël Wells (“Master of None”), David Arquette (“Amanda & Jack Go Glamping,” “Cleaners”), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (“The Sopranos”), Jamie Chung (“Big Hero 6”), Haley Joel Osment (“Future Man,” “Silicon Valley”) and more.
Yahoo Sports’ Mike Oz, Jeff Passan and Tim Brown hit to host the first-ever live taping of the Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast. The team will kick off All-Star Game Day by discussing the 2018 season and will be joined by special guests at a studio right outside the ballpark. The event takes place on July 17 at noon.

ESP Gaming is now dealing the World Showdown of Esports, a new multi-genre esports tournament series that will showcase fight card-style matches that showcase the best games, players and teams across the globe. In addition, the company announced that veteran esports journalist, former ELEAGUE host and esports analyst Richard Lewis has joined ESP Gaming as the Director of Talent. The first event in the series, WSOE 1, will take place this fall at the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas where the first ever WSOE Champion will be crowned. To celebrate the announcement, the WSOE in partnership with Auzom will present a special live event, The PUBG Pan-Continental, live on Twitch this weekend with special guests and players from Team Vitality, Team Envy, OpTic Gaming, Tempo Storm and more competing in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS.
In an interview with ESPN, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman detailed his plans for esports, noting that he wants to leverage esports in order to beef up interest in hockey. Meanwhile, the article noted that the league was looking to expand its esports program next year to include all 31 teams and that next year, the league would stage a one-on-one tournament series to test the potential of hockey esports.
EVO, set to take place in Las Vegas from Aug. 3-5, locked in a sponsorship deal with Nissin Cup Noodles that will see the brand offer a contest for an EVO Event Pass and BYOC Tournament Access Giveaway. The giveaway e July 16 at 11:59p.

David Schwarz was named to the newly created position of Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications for Viacom’s Bellator. Schwarz will oversee five critical areas of Bellator’s development including consumer marketing, communications, social media, ticket sales, and digital. Schwarz most recently served as Senior Vice President, Communications Paramount Network.
Karate Combat hired Mark Labbe to serve as CTO of the organization. Labbe will lead tech, development and engineering for the new martial arts league and sports media company. He previously served as CTO at Jupiter Media.

Croatia/England on FOX, Telemundo & NBCSN at 2p.
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