Major League Baseball and ESPN are teaming up for the bullying prevention initiative called Shred Hate. No Bully, a nonprofit that trains schools how to activate student compassion to eradicate bullying and cyberbullying, will work directly with local school districts through this program with the program active during the 2017-2018 academic year in schools within three MLB markets – Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis. MLB and ESPN will collaborate with No Bully on its curriculum and will support the initiative through various multimedia platforms and other promotional activities.
NetJets extended its contract as the Official Private Jet Provider of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions in a deal that runs through 2022, providing flights, marketing support and charitable contributions to assist the PGA TOUR, tournaments and players around the world. “We launched our initial partnership with the PGA TOUR in 2014 and it has been a mutually beneficial arrangement that delivers incredible exposure to our brand and value to the audiences we serve,” said Pat Gallagher, NetJets Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Currently, more than 30 top-ranked PGA TOUR players rely on NetJets to give them a competitive advantage by maximizing their time. We are excited to work together with the PGA TOUR on tournament activations and media opportunities, as well as extending valuable opportunities to our Owners.”
ESPN named Droga5 New York as the agency to handle its integrated strategic and creative duties for the overarching ESPN brand as well as the flagship property, SportsCenter. Collaboration between the pair will begin immediately with a new campaign anticipated to debut in the coming months. “We were struck by Droga5’s keen understanding of the ESPN brand as well as their strategic thinking and long-term vision,” said Ed Erhardt, president global sales and marketing. “We look forward to working with them to connect with our fans in new ways.”
Meanwhile, ESPN launched a new Monday Night Football campaign, depicting “the challenges fans go through on Mondays before they can settle in and enjoy Monday Night Football.” The first spot focuses on an office worker attempting to get through his 9-5 job, while future spots include depictions of a doctor, a student/barista and a construction worker as they gain yardage toward Monday night. The campaign was created by ESPN’s CreativeWorks group
Samford University launched what it describes as the first Center for Sports Analytics in the US with a mission to promote the rational inquiry into issues at the intersection of big data, analytics and sports. “Samford University, located in Birmingham, Alabama, is the ideal place for a center dedicated to advancing analytic decision making in the sports industry,” said Darin W. White, executive director of the center. “Birmingham is home to the Southeastern Conference headquarters, Hibbett Sports, Birmingham Barons, Knight Eady, Bruno Event Team, Colonnade Group and many other sports related entities. In addition, Birmingham has consistently ranked as the top television market in the United States for college football viewing. Birmingham has a long history of being at the forefront of shaping the sports industry in our country.”
The Olympic Channel celebrates its one-year anniversary with content that includes more than 6,000 videos representing all Olympic sport disciplines and 206 countries, 30 original series, partnerships with 54 international sport federations and organizations and availability in 11 languages. “The launch of the Olympic Channel was a significant milestone for the entire Olympic Family creating a legacy for years to come,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “It provides us with a new way to engage younger generations and fans with the Olympic Movement, and to get the couch potatoes off the couch. The Olympic Channel’s impact is key to reaching our target audiences through compelling and entertaining content 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Rotoworld will hold its first-ever Beat The Experts Mock Draft streamed live on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, and via Facebook Live on the Rotoworld Facebook Page. “Mr. Matchups” Evan Silva, “Statistical Guru” Rich Hribar, “Rankings Expert” Patrick Daugherty as well as “Podcast Pooh Bah” Josh Norris will broadcast live from the NBC Sports studios while they draft against eight Draft Guide users. Once the Mock Draft is completed, another of the Rotoworld writers will grade the mock draft in a column that will be featured on Rotoworld.com.
Electronic Arts and the NFL detailed plans for the launch of the Madden NFL Club Championship, a competitive gaming and esports event within the Madden NFL Championship Series that will involve all 32 NFL clubs to mark the largest competitive gaming commitment ever by a US professional sports league. Competition kicks off with the launch of EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18 G.O.A.T Edition for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 today with players able to qualify first through online competition with high-performers advancing to tournaments at select NFL stadiums, popular cultural landmarks and more. Once the final 32 players are identified, one per NFL team, they will compete in the Madden NFL Club Championship Live Finals which starts with the Pro Bowl Experience in Orlando and concludes at the Super Bowl Experience.
Meanwhile, Formula 1 is taking on esports with the launch of the Formula 1 Esports Series. Play begins next month and will see fans and gamers from around the world race to be crowned the Formula 1 Esports Series World Champion. The series is a partnership between Formula 1, Codemasters, and Gfinity. The launch of the competition coincides with the release of the official F1 2017 game with competitors racing through three different stages and the first Formula 1 Esports World Champion crowned on the same weekend as the final 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix. “This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans. First, it’s a growing category with tremendous fan engagement that we’re entering in a big way; and we are proud to have Codemasters and Gfinity joining us on this ride.”
Finally, Mercedes Benz locked in a deal to partner with ESL with the alliance set to include tournament sponsorships across several global markets beginning with ESL One Hamburg 2017. “Our wide-ranging international commitment to sport allows us to accommodate the interests of our diverse target groups,” said Dr. Jens Thiemer, VP Marketing Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars. “As a brand, we maintain close contact with our customers, are able to build up empathy and to become an accepted part of their world. We have been following the extremely fast-growing esports segment for some time now and are firmly of the opinion that this new involvement will complement our existing sports sponsoring activities with an eye on the future and allow us to make contact with a very interesting, new target group.“
Rangers/Angels on ESPN at 10p.