08/16/18: ESPN+ picked up another gem, adding the FA Cup

Good morning. It’s Thursday August 16, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

ESPN+ continues to bolster its lineup, locking in an exclusive, multi-year rights agreement for the Emirates FA Cup in the US, the oldest and longest-running domestic cup competition in soccer. The agreement will now see 79 FA Cup matches – beginning with the First Round in November and running through the Final – exclusively to the platform. The FA Community Shield, the annual football match between FA Cup and Premier League titleholders to start the English football season, is also part of the deal.
Additional content will be featured across ESPN+ and other ESPN platforms, including FA Cup highlights shows following match days, FA Cup preview shows and live coverage of the FA Cup draws. Furthermore, the semifinals and final matches of the FA Youth Cup – contested by registered clubs featuring players under 18 years of age – will be carried live on ESPN+.
“Acquiring the FA Cup – the oldest national football competition in the world – further demonstrates our commitment to making ESPN+ a must-have for soccer fans in the U.S.,” said Burke Magnus, Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling, ESPN. “With its storied tradition and world-class players and teams, FA Cup will be a signature property in ESPN+’s ever-expanding soccer portfolio.”

CBS Sports Network unveiled announcer and studio teams for the 2018 college football season, with play set to kick off on Aug. 25 at 7:30p, featuring Hawaii/Colorado State. Talent will include the addition of game analysts Danny Kanell and Ross Tucker, while Kevin Carter will join CBS Sports Network as an in-studio analyst while Amanda Balionis joins the network as a sideline reporter for select games throughout the season. Meanwhile, Carter Blackburn and Aaron Taylorreturn as CBS Sports Network’s lead college football play-by-play and analyst team for their fifth consecutive season, with John Schriffen joining as lead sideline reporter for 2018.  Other pairings include Rich Waltz/Aaron Murray/Cassie McKinney or Amanda Balionis; Dave Ryan/Corey Chavous; John Sadak/Randy Cross/Sheehan Stanwick-Burch (Navy); Ben Holden/Jay Feely/Tina Cervasio (Army); Jason Horowitz/Danny Kanell or Ross Tucker.
FOX Sports lined up plans for the 118th US Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach. Today sees coverage on FS1 span 7-10p, followed by quarterfinals coverage on Friday, Aug. 17 in the same window on FS1. Weekend coverage airs on the FOX broadcast network, with semifinals on Saturday from noon-3p and Sunday from 4:30 to 7:30p. Coverage is led by Paul Azinger and Brad Faxon. Play-by-play announcer Shane Bacon is on the call for weekday action, while Joe Buck anchors the 18th Tower for the semifinals and championship match.
NHL Network cooks up a special “fan-produced” edition of NHL Tonight this evening at 7p that will incorporate fan feedback via social media in each segment throughout the show. Hosted by Jackie Redmond and Mike Johnson and simulcast on the NHL’s Facebook page, topics range from poll questions to fan-favorite moments from this past season, to suggestions for in-studio skills challenges during the show.
ESPN is tackling fall sports with exclusive national coverage of NCAA Division I women’s and men’s soccer and women’s volleyball. Overall, more than 150 games will be televised across ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and Longhorn Network with over 3,000 matches available via ESPN+, ESPN3, SEC Network + and ACC Network Extra. The 2018 slate of women and men’s soccer boasts more than 50 televised games across ESPNU, SEC Network and LHN with the women’s line-up kicking off on Aug. 23 at 7p on SEC Network. ESPN’s women’s volleyball schedule sees more than 120 regular season games across ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and LHN. The action begins Aug. 24 on SEC Network.
The film The Sandlot turns 25 this year, and FOX will mark the occasion with a special on Saturday at 10p on FS1. Legends Never Die: The Sandlot Story makes its network television with exclusive interviews with the film’s writer/director David Mickey Evans and members of the original cast as they discuss how the film came to be, reflect on memories from select scenes and
WOW Superheroes will battle in back-to-back matches at 7:30p on Oct. 10 and 11 as part of Los Angeles Comic Con. The company partnered with WOW Owner Jeanie Buss and WOW Founder David McLane for the events, which will see AXS TV carry the broadcast on their network, starting in early 2019.
Celebrating Media’s Emerging Talent
This unique awards program honors stand-out performers, innovators and emerging leaders in the TV Media industry. These young professionals’ experience spans research, sports, digital, content and marketing and this awards program is designed to encourage and reward their exceptional accomplishments.


Entering the 25th year of its partnership with the USTA, American Express unveiled its slate of activations for Card Members and fans attending the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships. American Express will launch new services such as the Amex Band, a contactless payment wristband, and create an interactive tennis experience called Super Rally and will also open a Centurion Suite at the new Louis Armstrong Stadium. The brand is also continuing its long-standing relationship with four-time US Open champion Venus Williams as part of the brand’s 2018 US Open advertising campaign.
Major League Baseball, ESPN and X Games announced the addition of five MLB Clubs to the Shred Hate initiative, an joint program striving that seeks to end bullying in schools by encouraging youth to choose kindness. The Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers and join an original list that includes the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins and Washington Nationals. The nonprofit trains schools how to activate student compassion to eradicate bullying and cyberbullying, and will work directly with local school districts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Dallas. Additionally, MLB will host a social media-driven, Shred Hate activation at the upcoming MLB Little League Classic presented by GEICO.

UEFA awarded certain media rights to Facebook in Latin America, which will see Facebook become the exclusive free-to-air home for designated UEFA Champions League live matches across Spanish-speaking territories during the 2018-21 cycle. The platform picks up rights to 32 live matches each season, including the final and UEFA Super Cup. 
After 29 straight hours of fantasy football programming during ESPN’s Fantasy Football Marathon, the company reports that fans drafted nearly 2 million teams on ESPN Fantasy Football, hitting 1,970,742. The ESPN Fantasy Football Marathon is part of ESPN’s industry-leading Fantasy Football content presented to fans across television, app, web, audio, and more. ESPN Fantasy Football has begun its 23rd season with enhanced game play and expanded content on the ESPN Fantasy App and ESPN.com, along with the most comprehensive collection of expert analysis, news, statistical data, and easy-to-use tools.

In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports…  
  • NBA 2K League picks up a quartet
  • Twitch Rivals books Fortnite
  • Call of Duty’s grand finale
  • PUBG and FACEIT play duos
  • Dr DisRespect eyes tourney trade
  • The International clamps down
  • Crafting content with Mike LaBelle
  • OpTic’s VR nerve center

Ross Bernard joined the NHL as Vice President of Programming and Development. He will be responsible for programming and development of original content and helping to shape the NHL’s overall strategic content direction and work directly with internal and external production companies creatively. Prior to joining the NHL, Bernard was a Senior Vice President in Original Programming for EPIX.
Legends and JMI Sports announced the appointment of Theodore Loehrke as President of their recently established Joint Venture Business, which will collaborate with the University of Notre Dame in the promotion of its athletics programs. Loehrke will be responsible for oversight and day-to-day support for the property and all JV employee functions. Most recently, Loehrke served as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Development at the Milwaukee Bucks.

Cubs/Pirates on MLB Network at 7p.
Call for Entries Opening in August
Deadline: October 17
Event: March 2019 (NYC)

ON THIS DAY in 1998: Jeff Gordon wins the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway, becoming the seventh driver in NASCAR history to win four straight races in a season.
In the Know: This season saw two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup contending drivers each win three races in a row. Who are they? (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: Which NFL quarterback once recorded a punt of 91 yards, still one of the longest in league history? Answer: Randall Cunningham. Kudos: Len Appel-TMZ/TMZ Sports/NY; Noah Coslov-Paper Mill Pillars/NY; Marianne O’Leary-CBS/NY; Art Salisch-Hearst Television/NY; John Hein-Baltimore Golfing/Ellicott City; Mike Furman-GMMB/DC; Patrick McOwen-Comcast Spotlight/North Wales; Chris Hall-Valpak/St. Petersburg; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Lalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria; Damon Parry-NCC Media/LA
Later – Chris
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