09/12/18: Major League Fishing unveiled a big expansion in partnership with Bass Pro Shops

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CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Wednesday September 12, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Major League Fishing announced a significant expansion beginning in 2019 with the goal of dramatically growing visibility and participation for the sport of fishing. The expanded MLF program includes the addition of the Bass Pro Tour, a premier 80-angler, eight-event tour with a championship and increased payouts, made in partnership from Bass Pro Shops and Outdoor Sportsman Group. While MLF will continue its Cup events and World Championship, airing on Outdoor Channel and CBS, respectively, it will now also have its own new Bass Pro Tour competitions and championship, and eventually tour qualifiers, all of which will use the MLF format.
 
“MLF has delivered on its promised vision every step of the way since Day One,” Outdoor Sportsman Group Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Matt Hutchings said. “MLF has made fishing an even more popular spectator sport through televised events on Outdoor Channel and other networks, as well as Outdoor Sportsman Group’s diverse media platforms in publishing and online. The MLF model is a proven success and we are excited to continue the journey with all of our partners towards future prosperity.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

Monday Night Football’s doubleheader on ESPN to open the season continued primetime’s viewership trend, off-pace from last year but still averaging 10.1 million viewers across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen, helping ESPN win the night among all networks. Both games were blowouts, with the early game averaging 10.4 million viewers for the Jets’ win, while the late game averaged 9.7 million viewers as the Rams won.
 
ESPN reports that it housed the most-watched college football game among all networks last weekend with Clemson/Texas A&M on ESPN delivering a Nielsen total live audience of 4,486,000 viewers. That tally is up 33% from ESPN’s similar window last year. Meanwhile, Michigan State/Arizona State delivered a Nielsen total live audience of 2,297,000 viewers, while ESPN2 saw Arkansas State/Alabama reel in 1,663,000 viewers and TCU/SMU drew 1,076,000 viewers. College GameDay Built by The Home Depot averaged 1,792,000 viewers across ESPN and ESPNU for its show from College Station, up 13% from last year’s week 2 telecast from Columbus.
 
In related news, Notre Dame Football on NBC is off to its most-watched season in eight years, with a Total Audience Delivery average of 4.837 million viewers through its first two games, according to Nielsen and Adobe Analytics. Through two games, NBC Sports’ Notre Dame viewership on NBC is up 65% vs. the first two games of the 2017 season. The Fighting Irish’s win against Ball State on NBC last Saturday produced a Total Audience Delivery average of 2.473 million viewers, up 55% vs. last year’s comparable afternoon game on NBC.
 
Continuing the theme, ESPN’s presentation of the US Open was seen by an average of 1,036,000 viewers, up 9% from last year and the most for the event since 2015. The most-watched telecast this year was the Women’s Championship on Sept. 8 with a 1.9 rating and an average of 3,101,000 viewers, while the Men’s Championship on Sept. 9 posted a 1.3 rating with an average of 2,065,000 viewers. Overall, ESPN presented 156 hours of television from the US Open, 13% more than the scheduled 137.
 
PBR on CBS on Sunday topped 2 million viewers, as the 2018 PBR PFIWESTERN.COM Invitational 15-15 Bucking Battle on the network delivered 2.043M Total Viewers to rank as the most watched PBR telecast so far this season.
 
We are WEEKS away from the Esports Business Summit, get your tickets now and hear from the most prestigious lineup of speakers ever put together for a business event of this kind! Check out our speaker page and see for yourself!
 
Brett Favre is returning to the SiriusXM airwaves this season to host a weekly show on SiriusXM NFL Radio, hosting every Tuesday from 11a. Favre and co-host Bruce Murray will discuss the headline news happening around the NFL and his thoughts each week on the games, teams and players.
 
ESPN made a new MLB Postseason Impact Game selection, picking up the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves hosting the St. Louis Cardinals, currently battling for postseason position, on Sept. 18 at 7:30p.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Ruffles, the official chip of the NBA, is taking its activation to the new NBA 2K19 game, announcing plans to introduce The RIDGE on the live Game Mode. Starting Sept. 30, players will be able to shoot for a first-of-its-kind 4-point line. The activation marks one of the first brands to activate a game-changing element into a professional sports league video game. Fans can further enhance their NBA 2K experience by purchasing specially marked bags of Ruffles containing codes to unlock a virtual currency multiplier for the Ruffle Ridge Challenge and a chance to win prizes such as gaming consoles, TV and home-theater systems and copies of NBA 2K19.
 
Allegiant and the Vegas Golden Knights unlocked a multi-year partnership that makes the airline the Official Domestic Airline Partner of the NHL team. Allegiant will engage hockey fans at various touchpoints throughout T-Mobile Arena, through on-site activations on Toshiba Plaza and via digital and social media.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

MGM Resorts International and new professional football league, the Alliance of American Football, struck a transaction that includes an investment in The Alliance and a three-year sponsorship that makes MGM Resorts the official sports betting sponsor of The Alliance and exclusive gaming partner. “We are excited to team with The Alliance on this unprecedented partnership, which allows us to fully engage with fans and revolutionize the fan experience,” said MGM Resorts Chairman & CEO, Jim Murren. “We look forward to expanding our customer base into this exciting new league and sports betting opportunity.”
 
Shamrock Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, announced that it has led an investment round in Pixellot, an automated AI-based sports production technology company. Existing Pixellot investors joined Shamrock in the round. Pixellot revolutionizes traditional video capture, production, and distribution processes by enabling sports organizations to automatically produce and monetize athletic events “at an affordable price point.”
 
 
ESPORTS

H2K and Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly finalized a partnership agreement that will bring the two companies together as co-applicants for a franchise slot in the European League of Legends Championship Series, according to ESPN. The deal will see H2K act as the operating partner for the team. The duo mark one of about two dozen applicants in the second stage of the European League of Legends Championship Series franchising process, league sources told ESPN. The league is expected to select those teams in October.
 
Bud Light Canada is backing a new esports series featuring Bil Carter, Michele Morrow and content producer GiantWaffle. The series is titled Game Over and will debut on Thursday at 9p on the brand’s Twitch channel, offering “the best esports plays, fails, snipes, and clutches” from around the world of esports.
 
 
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ON THIS DAY in 1979: Carl Yastrzemski gets his 3,000th career hit.
 
In the Know: In which movie did Brett Favre portray Cameron Diaz’ ex-boyfriend? (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: Andre Agassi was first married to which actress?  Answer: Brooke Shields. Kudos: Rob Thompson/NY; Len Appel-TMZ/TMZ Sports/NY; Adam Holzer-Learfield Sports/NY; Ariana Briggins-Tennis Channel/NY; Chris Faulds-Eyereturn Marketing/Toronto; Marc Porter-Performance Research/Newport; Sonia Durr-Carat/Atlanta; John Douglas Miller- NBCUniversal Marketing Council/Stamford; Matt Fumagalli-NBC/Chicago; Aimee Clark-Tony Fay PR/Dallas; Kristin Staskowski-Spectrum Reach/Birmingham; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/KTXA/Dallas; David Hauptman/Denver; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/Santa Monica; Steve Morrow-Eclipse TV/Mill Valley; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Bruce Trotter-Cox/LA
 
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