09/04/18: Nike is making Colin Kaepernick the face of its Just Do It anniversary campaign

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Good morning. It’s Tuesday September 4, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Nike named Colin Kaepernick as the face of the company’s 30th anniversary of the famed “Just Do It” campaign. The new ad featuring Kaepernick was shared on social media Monday afternoon with the message: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” and comes after Kaepernick, who has been without a team since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March 2017, filed a grievance against NFL team owners. Nike first signed Kaepernick in 2011. Other athletes in the campaign include Odell Beckham Jr., Shaquem Griffin, Lacey Baker, Serena Williams and LeBron James.
 
“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s VP of brand for North America, told ESPN, adding “”We wanted to energize its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes.”
 
Yahoo Sports reports that Kaepernick and Nike agreed to a new contract that will serve as a “wide endorsement” where Kaepernick will have his own branded line including shoes, shirts, jerseys and more. According to Charles Robinson, Kaepernick signed a “star” contract that puts him with “top-end NFL players.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

NBC Sports saw its coverage of Notre Dame’s win over Michigan launch its college football coverage this season on a high note, notching a 4.51 overnight rating to tie the best Notre Dame overnight rating on NBC in 12 years, according to Nielsen. That score is up 60% over last year’s first primetime game vs. Georgia on NBC. Locally, Columbus, Ohio, led all markets with a 16.2 rating.
 
Around the dial, ABC reports that Sunday’s coverage of Miami/LSU drew a 4.1 in Nielsen overnight numbers. That is good enough for a 41% uptick over last season’s Kickoff Week ABC Sunday night primetime game. The matchup drew an average of more than 6.5 million viewers.
 
ESPN also reports that Friday night’s US Open telecast on ESPN – featuring Serena Williams defeating older sister Venus – earned an impressive 1.8 overnight rating for the match and 1.5 for the two-hour telecast in the metered markets, according to Nielsen.  That is the highest rating in the first three rounds at the US Open that ESPN/ESPN2 has ever earned in history, 123 telecasts starting in 2009. The two-hour telecast was up 114% over last year’s equivalent telecast on ESPN2.
 
NFL Network locked in its weekday programming schedule for the 2018 NFL season, which will feature new shows The Kyle Brandt Football Experience, NFL GameDay Pick’em and NFL Mic’d Up; as well as the return of shows The Aftermath, NFL Fantasy Live, NFL Power Rankings, 21st and Prime and NFL Playbook. Among new series, The Kyle Brandt Football Experience will run on Fridays at 6p, NFL GameDay Pick’em on Friday at 6:30p, and NFL Mic’d Up runs Wednesdays at 6p.
 
ESPN landed rights to The Guinness PRO14, professional club rugby union competitions featuring top professional teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. Programming is now available to fans across the US, exclusively on ESPN+ and the ESPN television networks as part of a multi-year agreement. RDA, the international media rights agency, secured the landmark agreement for the Guinness PRO14, which will see every one of the 152 games per season available in the US with over 140 games shown on ESPN+ and 10 showcase games lined up to appear in HD on ESPN networks.
 
Don’t miss the biggest esports business event of the year from Oct. 1-3. 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. Workshop spotlight: Collegiate Esports: Transforming the University Landscape. Learn how esports is impacting universities at both a national and local level with a groundbreaking lineup that includes: Bob Whitehouse, COO, Fiesta Bowl; Vince Nicastro, Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, Big East Conference; Erin Harvego, VP of Marketing, Big Ten Network; Kurt Melcher, Executive Director, Esports, Intersport; Adam Rosen, Senior Business Operations Manager, Blizzard Entertainment; Tyler Rosen, Senior Business Operations Manager, Blizzard Entertainment; Michael Sherman, Collegiate Esports Director, Riot Games; John Pierce, Partner, Player 2 Studios; Michael Brooks, Executive Director, National Association of Collegiate Esports and  A.J. Dimick, Esports Director of Operations, University of Utah. Click here for tickets now!
 
ESPN also announced that reporter Jen Lada has signed a new multi-year deal. In addition to her role as a rotating host on College Football Live and a reporter on College GameDay, Lada will be contributing to Get Up and will be an occasional host on SportsCenter. Lada made her GetUp debut morning and will host SportsCenter on Saturday and Sunday morning.
 
Major champion and six-time PGA TOUR winner Jimmy Walker joins David Feherty on the season eight finale of Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance, Monday at 9p on Golf Channel. Filmed at Walker’s home in Boerne, Texas earlier this month, the episode will focus on Walker talking about getting diagnosed, and living with Lyme disease; tecalling the 2016 PGA Championship, and enduring a 36-hole Sunday finish to win and reflecting on the impact swing instructor Butch Harmon has made on his career.
 
Pac-12 Networks announced plans for its 12-week tour of The Pregame, presented by 76. For the first time ever, its signature Saturday show hits the road all season long and will make stops at all 12 universities as part of its 12-week tour set to start Sept. 8 Stanford. On-air for “The Pregame” will feature a combination of hosts Ashley Adamson or Mike Yam along with analysts Evan Moore, Nigel Burton, Yogi Roth and others.
 
CSI Sports’ FIGHT SPORTS extended its media rights to Zhang Zhilei. The long term agreement was reached between CSI Sports and Jaz’s Roc Nation.
 
MLB Network analyst and former Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster will be featured on Tuesday’s  Food Paradise program on the Travel Channel at 10p. Dempster helps highlight Wrigley Field as a “must-eat” destination in Chicago, going into the kitchen to learn how to make his own Chicago Dog, as well as the Cubs’ newest menu addition, the “Chick-Ago Sandwich.”
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The NFL poised to list its ban on gambling advertising and will allow land-based casinos the opportunity to sponsor teams, according to The Drum. The decision was made by the NFL’s Business Ventures Committee, although there are likely to be a number of rules and stipulations left in place. While casinos will be allowed to use NFL team logos on advertising and promotional material they will still be prevented from “explicitly advertising sportsbooks using the teams that are sponsored by them” In addition, according to reports, NFL franchises will not be allowed to take revenue shares from business driven to gambling sites or casinos.
 
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. locked in an exclusive marketing and retail collaboration today with ESPN to showcase Samsung’s premium QLED TVs as “the best way to watch college football at home.” Samsung will highlight the capabilities of its super big screen QLED lineup at select tailgating events across the country, including the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and the College Football Playoff National Championship. First stop will be for Georgia/South Carolina on Saturday.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

Speaking of college football partnerships, ESPN and Twitter launched the season with a new weekly show and social campaign. The Tweet Cam will serve as a social campaign designed for both fans on-site and around the world and is powered by the hashtag #GameDayCam.
 
CBS SPORTS HQ debuted its new Friday night segment previewing the biggest high school football games around the country. MaxPreps Top 25 High School Scoreboard streams live each Friday at 7p and features region-by-region breakdowns of all the best matchups happening that night, hosted by Tommy Tran.
 
 
ESPORTS

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympics Committee, reiterated that the IOC would not welcome “violent” video games in any move the organization would make toward esports. In an interview with the AP, Bach addressed the IOC’s interest in adding esports to its lineup of events, noting “We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination,” Bach said. “So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted.” Meanwhile, Alisports CEO Zhang Dazhong told Reuters that the event’s future esports portions will move towards a focus on sports simulations, rather than video games deemed “too violent” for Olympic inclusion.
 
Mobile Esports Games and Fantasy Sports platform MEGAFANS announced its first esports tournament prototype for mobile games, where players can compete for tokenized prizes from their mobile devices anywhere in the world. The platform offers mobile tournaments for prizes and will also hold streaming and destination location events, combining multiple forms of digital gaming.  Megafans is the first mobile esports platform, according to the company, to integrate daily fantasy sports into their business model.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

ISM Raceway named Rodney Scearce as its new Director of Communications. Scearce, who previously served as Manager of Community Relations for the Phoenix Suns, will oversee all communications and media relations for ISM Raceway, including its Opening Weekend featuring the Can-Am 500.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

US Open Men’s and Women’s Quarterfinals on ESPN at 7p.
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Cheers to the Tempest Finalists & “The Watch List” Honorees!
 
Winners to be announced at the Tempest Esports Business Awards Gala:
OCT 2 | 7PM – 9:45PM | The Luxor Esports Arena, Las Vegas
 
In addition to our talented category finalists, the event will spotlight “The Watch List” honorees. These are the esports executives whose creativity and innovation have put them at the forefront of the industry. Don’t take your eyes off these esports game-changers (click here to view “The Watch List”).
 
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ON THIS DAY in 1993: The Yankees’ Jim Abbott no-hits the Indians.
 
In the Know: Who is the Raiders’ all-time career sack leader? (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: Besides the Fighting Irish, which two schools in the ACC don’t have a team nickname that ends with the letter ‘S’? Answer: Syracuse and NC State. Kudos: Ben Sturner-Leverage Agency/NY; Danny Turk-Tough Mudder/NY; Tim Gardner-Endeavor/NY; Seth Goldberg-ESPN/NY; Jon Miller-NBC Sports/Stamford; Michael G. Hawkins-Francis Marion University/Florence; Russ DelCore-a4media/New Jersey; Emily Ecclestone-Wake Forest University/Winston-Salem; Robert Teinowitz-Live Action Media/Chicago; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas’ John Tingue-CBS/Chicago; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Jack Simmons-US Army Reserve/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federalk Credit Union/Burbank; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria
 
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