08/21/18: Mike Tirico will replace Dan Patrick as studio host of Football Night in America

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Tuesday August 21, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

NBC Sports named Mike Tirico as the new studio host for Football Night in America, where he will work alongside analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, and NFL Insider Mike Florio, from Studio 1 at NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford. The role had been held by Dan Patrick from 2008-2017. Tirico previously co-hosted FNIA from the game site, with that role now filled by Liam McHugh, who will be joined on site most weeks by Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Michele Tafoya. In addition, Rob Hyland joins Football Night as the show’s new coordinating producer.
 
 
ON THE AIR

ESPN2 tips off coverage of the 2018 WNBA Playoffs tonight with a pair of single-elimination, first-round games beginning with Dallas/Phoenix at 8:30p, and then Minnesota/Los Angeles at 10:30p. The second round then gets underway on Thursday on the network. Meanwhile, the WNBA Draft Lottery will take place on Aug. 28 at halftime of Atlanta’s semifinal Game 2.
 
Tennis Channel serves up an extra week of coverage for its tenth year of US Open coverage, announcing plans to add all five broadcast courts during the US Open Qualifying Tournament starting today. The daylong match blocks are expected to add 38 hours of live tennis before the main draw gets underway on Aug. 27, The network will also have access to the qualifiers’ world feed and will show another 76 hours of encore replays each night and leading up to the US Open main draw. Brett Haber anchors Tennis Channel’s desk at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the qualifiers, joined by Shelby Rogers. Announcers Steve Weissman and Alex Faust will handle US Open Qualifying Tournament play-by-play, alongside Tracy Austin and Mark Knowles and Chanda Rubin.
 
Golf Channel announced the 14 finalists who will present their innovative driver concepts on Driver vs. Driver 2 presented by Wilson, running on Oct. 2 at 9p, with the seven-episode series airing weekly and concluding Nov. 13. The series will follow the trials and tribulations of these aspiring golf equipment designers in an elimination-style television series where they will compete for the opportunity have their concepts transformed into prototypes, field tested, critiqued and refined. Ultimately, one driver concept will be left standing, with the designer winning $250,000 and the final driver hitting retail stores worldwide.
 
Don’t miss the biggest esports business event of the year. Get your tickets to the Esports Business Summit now, with five tracks of programming: teams/competition; media/content; sponsorship/activation; venues and investment. Plus The Tempest Awards, killer field trips and deep-dive workshops. Hear from VCs, celebrities, world-class streamers, global brands and more! Everything you need! Click here for tickets.
 
North of the border, season four of PBR Canada’s Monster Energy Tour will hit eight provinces in 2019, showcasing the most events in the series’ history. After holding five events in 2017, this year’s tour will get underway on Jan. 26 in Winnipeg. The season will culminate in Saskatoon for the PBR Canada Finals on Nov.  22-23 where the 2019 PBR Canada Champion will be crowned.
 
South of the border, IMPACT Wrestling announced that television tapings will take place on Sept. 13-14 from Fronton Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico, marking the first time the flagship weekly show IMPACT! will come from the country.
 
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The Tempest Awards acknowledge the esports industry’s most innovative companies and executives, with categories that span production, marketing, talent and technology. This awards reception will take place during day 2 of the inaugural Esports Business Summit (click here for more info).
 
Finalists will be announced next week!
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Dr Pepper unveiled its new marketing campaign for the 2018-2019 season, titled Fansville. The promotion  is a parody TV show drama that” captures the emotional rollercoaster of college football fandom.” The episodic-like campaign, created by Deutsch showcases characters such as Brian Bosworth, Eddie George and Les Miles with the first of its six 30-second campaign spots premiering on Aug. 27, and others airing throughout the college football season on ESPN, CBS and FOX.  The launch of the marketing and advertising campaign complements other key activations for Dr Pepper, including this year’s 10th anniversary of the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway, which has awarded over $10 million to college students, as well as the extension of its official sponsorship of the College Football Playoff and Presenting Sponsorship of the National Championship Trophy through 2026.
 
Speaking of college football, Kellogg’s Cheez-It brand was named as the title sponsor of the Cactus Bowl, which will now be known as the Cheez-It Bowl. The multi-year partnership features a match-up between members of the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. The fully-integrated partnership includes digital and social media, content, in-stadium exposure, product sampling and on-site activation at the game and other Fiesta Bowl organization events. Cheez-It will also appear in the Fiesta Bowl Parade with a float and custom balloon.
 
Meanwhile, Right Guard is set to launch a national college football campaign later this month, marking the brand’s largest sponsorship commitment in recent years. As part of the program, Right Guard is conducting a nationwide search for the country’s top “Designated Dancer.” This honorary title will be bestowed upon the fan that shares their best touchdown dance. Prize packages for submissions include official team merchandise, VIP tickets to the biggest games and Right Guard product for a year. Relevent, an RSE Ventures company, designed the program and will lead the development, activation and overall program fulfillment. Right Guard will officially launch its college program this fall through partnerships with the University of Tennessee, the University of Texas, the University of Michigan, the University of Florida, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Notre Dame.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

The International Tennis Hall of Fame will, for the first time in its 64-year history, give fans the opportunity to vote for the incoming class of Hall of Famers. Fans will be able to cast their votes for the nominees Aug. 27-Oct. 7 via vote.tennisfame.com with eight candidates on the ballot for the Class of 2019. “We’re thrilled to add this new Fan Voting component to the Hall of Fame voting process,” said International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin. “Creating an authentic connection between tennis fans and the greatest champions of our sport will be an engaging execution of our mission to promote and celebrate tennis history. Tennis is such a global sport and the fans of our inductees come from every corner of the globe. We know they might not all be able to get to Newport to see an induction, but hopefully this voting program will offer an opportunity for them to enjoy being part of the process.”
 
CBS SPORTS HQ debuted new morning segment with Danny Kanell and Raja Bell discussing the top stories in the sports world from their unique perspectives as former pro athletes. Sports fans will be able to stream the discussions every day at 7a on the platform. :
 
 
ESPORTS

The Dota 2 community continues to back its crown jewel as The International once again broke its own prize pool record, commanding nearly $25 million for the event. Last year’s mark of $24,787,916 has now officially been topped, courtesy of the 2018 Battle Pass campaign, which crowdfunds the prize money by offering players cosmetic items, exclusive features, equipment, and other content. This will mark the fourth consecutive year that the all-time record has been set.The International 8 runs through Aug. 25, this year coming from Rogers Arena in Vancouver and marking the first time that it’ll be held outside of the United States.
 
PAX West will be the home of Fortnite’s newest tournament, as Epic Games unveiled a $1.5 million tournament in downtown Seattle set to take place at the annual gathering. Running Aug. 31-Sept.3, the tournament will take place inside the Washington State convention center and serve as the conclusion of the Summer Skirmish tournament series. The tournament will offer $1.5 million, with play open to all PAX West attendees with the first three days PAX West serving up three rounds of qualifiers, followed by final qualifiers each night. Final qualifiers will then be broadcast across all Fortnite channels from 6-9p PT.
 
College gaming network Tespa unveiled its plans for the new school year, revealing new competitive leagues, membership benefits and chapter programs for students and leaders across the US and Canada.  The company announced fall programs for Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft II, with Fall programs designed to allow teams to play at a more casual pace playing weekly matches against similarly ranked teams. This year’s Fall Tespa programs will include:Overwatch Collegiate Championship: Preseason;  Hearthstone Collegiate Championship; Tespa Collegiate Series: Heroes of the Storm Preseason; and StarCraft II Collegiate 1v1 & Team Brawl.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

The 2018 WNBA playoffs begin with Dallas/Phoenix at 8:30p, and then Minnesota/Los Angeles at 10:30p on ESPN2.

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ON THIS DAY in 1986: Red Sox player Spike Owens scores six runs.
 
In the Know: According to NBA rules, how long does a player have to make a free throw after receiving the ball? (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 penalty for using your cap to catch a baseball?  Answer: The batter and on-base runners advance three bases. Kudos: Ralph Sorrentino/NY; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Ward-Tennis.com/Chicago; Rich Wolfe-RichCraft/Scottsdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank
 
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