07/27/17: ESPN’s Sunday morning switch; Ray Lewis is an Inside man; Pistons gets patched up

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Thursday July 27, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

ESPN is tackling Sunday mornings, announcing a new fall programming lineup for the block starting Sept. 10. The programming tweak will now see Sunday NFL Countdown presented by Snickers run from 10a-1p on ESPN while Fantasy Football Now will air simultaneously during the same three-hour block on ESPN2. Sunday mornings will also feature six hours of live SportsCenter starting at 7a on ESPN and continuing with another three-hour edition on ESPNEWS from 10a-1p. Changes to the shows will see Sunday NFl Countdown feature a new main set with Samantha Pondor replacing Chris Berman as host, where she will be joined by analysts Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss, Charles Woodson and Rex Ryan.

 
 
 
ON THE AIR
 
Ray Lewis is on deck to join Showtime’s Inside the NFL, which will begin its tenth season on the network and 40th overall on television. Lewis will join analysts Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason, along with host James Brown starting Sept. 5 at 9p. “Going into its 40th season, Inside the NFL is still the only program that features the iconic NFL Films highlights of every NFL game every week,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Showtime Sports. “The series also delivers incisive analysis and timely, thoughtful debate on the league’s most provocative topics, making Inside the NFL must-see TV for sports fans.  We are excited to welcome future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis to our team.  Ray is experienced, knowledgeable and opinionated, and he will be a great fit on the set with JB, Phil and Boomer.” 
 
The Pac-12 revealed at its media days that the conference will shorten its halftime and reduce the number of commercial breaks during its non-conference schedule this season, according to the AP, as part of a trial program to reduce the length of its football games. Halftime will now be 15 minutes long, said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, also noting that the league will operate a centralized replay center this season and that the Pac-12 title game will stay at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara through 2019.
 
Turner Sports and CNN signed on to take part in Nielsen’s out-of-home viewership service, according to Variety. Under terms of the agreement, the Turner units will get viewership credit for both program and commercial ratings for up to seven days of viewing of various pieces of content. Turner Sports now joins ESPN and Fox Sports in subscribing to the service.
 
ESPN Events unveiled the matchups for several of its owned and operated early-season basketball tournaments, running Nov. 16 through Christmas weekend, The six multi-day, bracket-format, destination events include the Gildan Charleston Classic (Nov. 16, 17 & 19), Puerto Rico Tip-off (Nov. 16, 17 & 19), AdvoCare Invitational (Nov. 23, 24 & 26), NIT Season Tip-Off (Nov. 23-24) and Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Dec. 22-25).
 
Speaking of ESPN, the Drone Racing League announced the premiere of the 2017 Allianz Circuit Season Finale, the Drone Racing World Championship, which will run on the network on July 28 at 9p. “The 2017 DRL Allianz season has been incredible, featuring the world’s best drone pilots and the craziest, three dimensional race courses ever created,” said DRL Founder and CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski, “The talent of the pilots and competition continues to improve every race, and we can’t wait to deliver the London Championship to our growing fan base around the world.”
 
Now is the time to catch up! We are proud to be partnering with ESL for the Cynopsis Esports Master Class, a unique opportunity to pull back the curtain and experience for yourself what the competitive gaming industry is made of. Featuring not only lectures from some of the most successful executives in the space today, who will break down the ABCs of the business and its players, attendees will also go behind-the-scenes of ESL One New York at Barclays, and receive tickets to the weekend’s festivities for the largest esports tournament on the east coast (if you register early)! Get ahead of the learning curve and register today.
 
ONE Championship locked in a broadcast partnership with Claro Sports, a multimedia sports information platform that serves Latin America, excluding Brazil. The deal hands Claro Sports access to ONE Championship content, as well as deliver live events held across Asia through its Latin American channels.
 
Speaking of MMA, Spike will offer Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva on the network on Friday at 9p. The PPV telecast originally ran on June 24.
 
CBS Sports Network serves up a new documentary series starting July 31 at 7p, titled Four Sides of the Story. The series explores “iconic sports moments through multiple narrators, perspectives and first-person accounts,” including Kris Jenkins NCAA National Championship winning buzzer beater in 2016; Tiger Woods first PGA Tournament as a 16-year- old in 1992; the role, evolution and impact of kickers in football; and more.
 
An edition of Cynopsis earlier this week should have referred to Univision’s Gold Cup numbers as showing upticks. We apologize for the mistake.
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Companies represented last year included Tivo, MTV, Octagon, BET Networks, Horizon Media, NBCUniversal, E! News, Games for Change, Yahoo!, Crackle and many more.
 
 
SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
The Detroit Pistons landed a jersey ad sponsor, announcing an agreement with Flagstar Bank to take on the patch that will adorn uniforms this season. Detroit now becomes the tenth NBA team to announce a jersey partner. “This is a dynamic partnership between two organizations committed to building a better Detroit,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores. “Beyond putting the Flagstar name on our Pistons jerseys, we will be partnering on an education initiative that will benefit schoolchildren in Detroit. I’m really proud that this is more than just a business and marketing initiative. It’s about working together to support the revitalization of our city.”

Realtor.com is tapping the services of the wives of some MLB players to a new series titled Finding the Home Run Home. The series features wives such as Julianna Zobrist, Leslee Holliday, and Jennifer Utley discussing the art of moving in a very short time and what home means to them. The series will include broadcast and digital video series with social integrations.

 

DIGITAL & STREAMING

This weekend will see Sling TV offer its first-ever PPV event with the live stream of UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2 in Saturday. “Since we launched in 2015, we have focused on putting customers first, while pushing boundaries no other live OTT service has gone near,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV. “Integrating UFC 214 directly into the Sling TV experience is the next step in Sling TV becoming a true cable replacement.”

 

ESPORTS

In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports & Gaming

  • Overwatch League plots player payloads
  • Machinima’s next round
  • ELeague locks in contenders for CS:Go Premier
  • NBC Sports’ Universal Open Rocket League finals finds a home
  • Gamescom prepares for Gwent
  • FNATIC/Battlefy prepare to Clash
  • Ubisoft’s new agency

 

ROSTER MOVES

Outdoor Sportsman Group named Jim Liberatore as President and CEO of the company, adding the responsibility of overseeing OSG’s integrated media business with 15 outdoor lifestyle magazine brands. Before joining Outdoor Channel as its President and CEO in 2013, Liberatore served as President of SportsTime Ohio from 2006 to 2013. In addition, Outdoor Sportsman Group – Integrated Media President and CEO Jeff Paro will resign after 10 years from his position effective Friday.

 

THE MAIN EVENT

Rays/Yankees on MLB Network at 7p.

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ON THIS DAY in 1993: Celtics forward Reggie Lewis collapses and dies at the team’s practice facility at Brandeis University.
 
In the Know: From what school did the Celtics draft Reggie Lewis? (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: Both the Braves and Cubs retired what number in honor of Greg Maddux… Answer: #31. Kudos: Bob Dudelson-Leverage Agency/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Joseph Bauer-MullenLowe Mediahub/Boston; Tom Lopez-UPS/Atlanta; Willy Gibson-WTG Consulting/Columbus; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Brad Brown-Nevco Sports/St. Louis; Matt Fumagalli-Levy Restaurants/Chicago; Mark Stulberger-Stully’s Broadcasting School/Houston; Shirley Egner-UW-Stevens Point; Steve Bradbury- Deep Sports/Marina Del Rey; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica
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