08/01/18: MGM and the NBA locked in a deal to leverage league resources for nationwide betting

Good morning. It’s Wednesday August 1, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

History was made as the NBA and MGM Resorts International locked in a new multi-year partnership that designates MGM Resorts as the official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA. This partnership will see an “innovative collaboration that will open new and exciting opportunities to engage with each other’s world-class brands and products” and marks the NBA’s first with a sports betting operator in the US in addition to being the first of its kind between MGM Resorts and a major professional sports league.
As part of the partnership, MGM Resorts will use official NBA and WNBA data and branding, on a non-exclusive basis, across MGM Resorts’ land-based and digital sports betting offerings throughout the United States. The two orgs will also partner on best-in-class practices to protect the integrity of NBA and WNBA games, including anonymized real-time data sharing and create a series of integrations across NBA platforms, including a special digital content series. MGM Resorts will be promoted across the NBA’s digital assets including NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA social media platforms while the NBA will be promoted across MGM Resorts’ sports betting platforms.
“As the landscape for sports betting in the U.S. continues to evolve at a rapid pace, MGM Resorts is a proven gaming leader for us to work with on this groundbreaking partnership,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Our collaboration will result in the best possible gaming and entertainment experience for consumers through the use of accurate, real-time NBA and WNBA data, and our collective efforts to maintain and enhance the integrity of our games.”

Turner Sports detailed plans for its upcoming coverage of the UEFA Champions League, unveiling the programming strategy for the slate. On TV, Turner will televise 47 UEFA matches on TNT throughout the season. Meanwhile, B/R Live, Turner’s new premium live sports streaming service will offer fans live UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League action, with content branded B/R Football across all platforms – television, digital and social and providing access to more than 340 matches. Pre-match, halftime and post-match studio shows will be available on both B/R Live and TNT, with the lineup consisting of: B/R Football Matchday; B/R Football Halftime; B/R Football Extra Time; and B/R Football Postmatch.
The PGA of America and SiriusXM locked in a five-year extension to their long-term broadcasting agreement. SiriusXM will continue to deliver live audio broadcasts of PGA of America events, including the PGA Championship and the 2020 Ryder Cup, to subscribers nationwide. In addition, SiriusXM and the PGA of America will also launch a new weekly talk show – PGA of America Radio – on Aug. 8. Airing each Wednesday at 4p, PGA of America Radio will focus on: Expert PGA Member instruction and analysis; major PGA of America golf events; featured programs designed to grow the game; and a unique insider’s perspective on golf from special guests across the industry.
ESPN saw the Verizon WNBA All-Star Game (airing on Saturday) average 709,000 viewers, up 17% year over year to rank as the most-viewed all-star game since 2015, which aired on ABC and ESPN. Host city Minneapolis and Hartford/New Haven topped the charts with a 1.6 local market rating, followed by Oklahoma City (1.5), Norfolk and San Antonio (1.4) and Charlotte (1.2).
NBC Sports Group’s Premier League production team will open the season on the road, as the entire announce crew will go on-location in the U.K. for kickoff of the 2018-19 Premier League season, from Aug. 9-12. Coverage will be presented on-site across three days from four different grounds, featuring on-site studios for pre-match, halftime and post-game shows as well as pitch-side locations just a few feet from the playing field. Rebecca Lowe will return to host the Premier League Live pre- and post-match show on-site at each match, joined by a revolving combination of analysts, including the U.S.-based team of Robbie Earle, Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe. Arlo White will call the matches.
NBC Sports showcases Racing Roots: featuring Martin Truex Jr., a 30-minute special chronicling 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Martin Truex Jr.’s road to professional racing on Saturday at 5:30p on the broadcast channel. Rutledge Wood hosts.
Around the dial, CBS will offer the World Golf Championships – Bridgestone Invitational this weekend, featuring Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo in the 18th tower. Meanwhile, congrats to Nantz, who is the recipient of the 2018 Ambassador of Golf Award at Firestone Country Club, where the tournament is being held.
CBS Sports will also showcase the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games this weekend out of Madison and featuring coverage across broadcast, cable and digital platforms highlighted by live broadcasts on CBS  on Saturday at 2p and Sunday at noon. Coverage begins on Thursday at 10p on CBS Sports Network.
BTN released programming plans for Gold and Black Days: Inside Purdue Training Camp, going behind the scenes with Purdue Coach Jeff Brohm and the Boilermakers. The series will debut on Aug. 14, at 7p. Following training camp shows with Ohio State and Michigan State, Gold and Black Days will be the first to allow BTN’s cameras stay with the team through week one of the regular season.
Univision’s exclusive Saturday night Liga MX doubleheader averaged 769,000 Total Viewers P2+ and 413,000 A18-49 during its Sabado Futbolero programming block. Both figures are up 2% from the comparable Week 2 matches in 2017. A primetime match between Chivas and Cruz Azul led the way with 823,000 Total Viewers P2+ and 451,000 A18-49.
Spotlighting the Best in Esports…
The Tempest Awards | Entries Due Thursday, AUG 2 – No Extensions
Presented by Cynopsis, Chief Marketer and Event Marketer, The Tempest Awards celebrate the esports industry’s most innovative companies and executives, with categories that span production, marketing, talent and technology. Finalists will be announced in August and winners will be celebrated live on-stage at the Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas during day 2 of the inaugural Esports Business Summit.


The IOC and Visa are extending their global partnership through 2032. In renewing its sponsorship, Visa will work with the local Organizing Committees to ensure a legacy of digital payment advancement in the host country during and beyond the Olympics Games, and continues its support of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Paralympic Games through the IOC-IPC long-term collaboration agreement. 
Speaking of extensions, Major League Soccer and Audi of America announced a multi-year extension of their partnership. As part of the agreement, Audi will remain the League’s Official Automotive Partner and the title sponsor of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Throughout the MLS season, Audi will air MLS-themed commercials during nationally-televised games on ESPN, FOX and Univision, including the MLS All-Star Game, MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup. “MLS takes great pride in our collaborative relationship with Audi, and we’re excited to finalize an extension of our partnership,” said Gary Stevenson, President and Managing Director of MLS Business Ventures. “Audi is a game-changer in the automotive industry and a forward-thinking, incredible supporter of MLS, recognizing the value of soccer and our efforts to further advance the game across North America.”
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club and AT&T inked a multi-year sponsorship agreement that will include brand integration across broadcast, digital, video, content, in-stadium exposure, and on-site activation at Chicago Fire-related events. AT&T will also become the official presenter of the Starting XI across all Chicago Fire platforms. This feature integrates AT&T into the starting lineup announcement each matchday in addition to presenting exclusive content and experiences to Fire fans, including a behind-the-scenes content series, and activations tied to competitive gaming.
Allstate Insurance Company announced the launch of its first-ever Allstate All-America Soccer platform to honor the country’s rising high school soccer stars. In collaboration with MaxPreps, Allstate will identify the nation’s top high school soccer players in their junior year and award the “Allstate All-American” title to an elite group of 125 male and 125 female players. From the total 250 high school players, 40 males and 40 females will then be selected for the unique opportunity to compete in the inaugural Allstate All-America Cup that that will take place in summer 2019 in the city that hosts the Major League Soccer All-Star Game presented by Target.
Buffalo Wild Wings is launching food and beer promotions (including five new, first-to-market regional craft brews) to help fans host Fantasy Football Draft parties. For the first time, Buffalo Wild Wings has partnered with five regional craft breweries around the nation to create new beers that pair with Fantasy Football Draft parties. Now through September 5, fantasy football leagues drafting at Buffalo Wild Wings can order a wing special or a food bundle. Leagues drafting at Buffalo Wild Wings will receive a free, one-of-a-kind 2018 Pepsi NFL Commissioner Draft Kit that includes: a draft board and stickers for every NFL player, coupons to use at Buffalo Wild Wings (10 x 15% off) and NFLShop.com (10 x 15% off) and a G.O.A.T brag flag for the league champion.

The PGA TOUR and NBC Sports Group are jumping into a new, innovative, multi-year digital partnership. Starting in 2019, NBC Sports Gold will serve as the United States’ home of PGA TOUR LIVE, the PGA TOUR’s over-the-top subscription video service. The partnership includes rights to all of PGA TOUR LIVE’s Thursday and Friday morning coverage from 28 events, starting with the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, featuring THE PLAYERS in March, and running through the FedExCup Playoffs in August.  In 2019, PGA TOUR LIVE plans to stream more than 360 hours of exclusive subscription coverage, as well as hundreds of hours of free Featured Holes coverage, complementing televised coverage from 28 PGA TOUR events next year.
90min announced a deal with Sina Sport to provide fan-driven international football content to the Chinese market and help Sina Sports attract and engage with “the next generation football fan.” Content is being published within a dedicated 90min/Sina Sport section. In addition, with assistance from Sina Sports, 90min is one of the first foreign sports media to open and operate an official Weibo account. In order to service Sina Sport in its localized language, 90min has created a dedicated community team which curates and publishes all content in Chinese.
The NFL Players Association locked in an investment in SportsCastr, the live-streaming platform that allows anyone to become a color commentator. The deal comes through the NFLPA’s athlete-driven accelerator the OneTeam Collective. Through this partnership, active and former NFL players will use SportsCastr to provide live commentary across a wide range of professional and collegiate sports, share personal insights, and more. ACE Media, the NFLPA’s content and production arm, will collaborate with SportsCastr to produce NFL player and other athlete-driven content featured on the SportsCastr platform.
FloSports announced a multiyear partnership with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to exclusively stream more than 50 football and basketball conference games on FloFootball.com and FloHoops.com, respectively. As part of the agreement, FloSports will provide live and on-demand coverage of 20 college football games on FloFootball.com, as well as 10 regular season men’s basketball games, and 12 men’s and 12 women’s conference basketball tournaments on FloHoops.com.

Blizzard reports that the Overwatch League Grand Finals, running July 27-28, saw an estimated global average minute audience across both days of 861,205, with coverage spanning Twitch, MLG; in China on ZhanQi TV, NetEase CC, and Panda TV; and broadcast to domestic audiences on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and Disney XD, along with a highlights show on Sunday, July 29, on ABC. Diving deeper, the US average minute audience hit 289,175, with an estimated 45% of that total, or 129,792, falling into the 18–34 demographic. Worldwide, the 18–34 average minute audience was 605,013.
FACEIT unveiled viewing figures for the Minors throughout July, as teams from Asia, CIS, Americas and EU competed for a spot at the Major this September. The company reports that total hours watched across the four regions amounted to over 6.4m excluding Chinese viewership which marks growth of more than three times over the number of hours watched for the last Minors. The Europe Minors alone saw 4.3 million hours watched, peaking at 147k concurrent views and 82k average viewers, excluding Chinese viewership. Average viewers and hours watched were more than triple that of the last two EU Minors.

NFL Media appointed Greg Polcsa to the new role of Vice President, NFL Franchise and Network Marketing where he will be charged with overseeing the marketing efforts for Thursday Night Football and NFL Network shows, including Good Morning Football, NFL Total Access, the NFL’s entire Sunday NFL GameDay lineup and more. He will also lead NFL Network’s marketing efforts around Preseason, Combine, Draft and Postseason.

MLS All-Star Game at 7:30p on ESPN.
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ON THIS DAY in 1994: Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. appears in his 2,000th consecutive MLB game.
In the Know: Since Cal Ripken Jr. completed the legendary MLB consecutive games streak, which player had the longest consecutive run since Ripken’s accomplished the feat? (Hint: He accomplished it from 2000-2007). (Email chris-sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
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