09/14/17: Russell Westbrook signs 10-year extension with the Jordan Brand

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Thursday September 14, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

 
Russell Westbrook will remain the face of Nike’s Jordan Brand after signing a 10-year extension that ESPN says will make the NBA’s reigning MVP the highest-paid endorser in the brand’s history.

Westbrook, the Oklahoma City point guard who last season became the first NBA player since 1962 to average a triple-double, originally signed a five-year contract with the Jordan Brand in 2013. The new deal, which runs through the 2025-26 season, will include on- and off-course signature sneakers. Westbrook has been one of only two active NBA MVPs, along with Dirk Nowitzki, without his own signature shoe line.
 

ON THE AIR
 
ESPN added four “MLB Postseason Impact Game” telecasts to its September schedule, with more to be announced in the coming days. Among the matchups are a possible American League Wild Card game preview between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, Sept. 20. In the other added games, Cleveland visits the Los Angeles Angels (Sept. 19), the Milwaukee Brewers host the Chicago Cubs (Sept. 22) and the Houston Astros are in Texas to play the Rangers (Sept. 27).
 
NBC said its Sunday Night Football opener between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys drew 24.5 million viewers, a 5% increase over the 23.3 million total audience for last year’s SNF opener between the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals.

 

The IOC made history yesterday, electing two Summer Game host cities with Paris now officially hosting the 2024 Games while Los Angeles will welcome the event in 2028. “Congratulations to Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028! This historic double allocation is a ‘win-win-win’ situation for the city of Paris, the city of Los Angeles and the IOC,” said the IOC President, Thomas Bach. “It is hard to imagine something better. Ensuring the stability of the Olympic Games for the athletes of the world for the next 11 years is something extraordinary.” 


Golf Channel and NBC will combine for almost 25 hours of coverage at this week’s Evian Championship in France, the most ever for the LPGA Tour’s fifth and final major championship. Golf Channel will air live coverage all four rounds, starting today, while NBC will have a special 90-minute show on Sunday that recaps the final round.
 
Meanwhile, NBC Sports Group will provide more than 17 hours of NASCAR Cup and XFINITY Series coverage from Chicagoland Speedway this weekend, including the first race of the NASCAR Cup playoffs.
 
Fans eager to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after last week’s season-opening game was pushed back to this Sunday can tune into HBO2 tomorrow for a marathon showing of all five episodes of the recently completed series “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.” The five episodes air consecutively starting at 1:30p.
 
Mike Francesa still intends to leave New York sports talk radio station WFAN at the end of the year, but told Newsday that he could reconsider those plans in the wake of morning show co-host Craig Carton’s arrest last week. “I will not turn my back on the station,” Francesa told Newsday.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

DraftKings has launched an online store, the DK Shop, with custom gear, branded apparel and curated collections from top athletes. The fantasy sports platform’s first collaboration is with Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Mode line, which is available only at the DK Shop and features eight limited-edition pieces with Lynch’s “Ride with Me” slogan.
 
Alaska Airlines signed an agreement to become the official airline of the San Francisco Giants for the next seven years, extending a partnership Virgin America established with the Major League Baseball team in 2008. To celebrate the affiliation, the airline unveiled the design for an Airbus 321 featuring the Giants’ logo and team colors that will begin flying early next year.
 
Alex Ovechkin has endorsed Papa John’s in the U.S. since 2015 and now the Washington Capitals star will promote the pizza brand in his native Russia, according to the SportsBusiness Daily. There are approximately 120 Papa John’s restaurants in Russia and Ovechkin will appear in advertisements on Russian TV and websites.
 
The Oakland A’s will give fans free admission to an April 17 game next season as a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the franchise’s first game, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Season-ticket holders have priority and are guaranteed tickets, while online registration for remaining seats opens in January. MLB told the A’s that it’s the first known instance of a team providing free admission to all fans.
 
DICK’S Sporting Goods has committed $5.5 million to support communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina. The sporting goods company is donating $3.5 million worth of clothing and footwear to those in need through its partnership with the American Red Cross and is also giving $2 million to help rebuild and refurbish youth sports programs and facilities across the Gulf Coast, Florida and other states impacted by the hurricanes.
 
Major League Baseball will commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month with special events throughout September, including in-stadium team celebrations around the league, and social and digital content across MLB’s bilingual platforms. Other initiatives include a “PLAY BALL: Stickball” tournament in the Bronx, New York, the debut of a new commercial highlighting the way Latino player inspire youth, and MLB Network produced vignettes spotlighting active Latino stars. Almost 30% of MLB players on Opening Day rosters were of Latino descent.
 
Gracenote, the leading entertainment data provider, has launched APIs and Widgets for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea designed to transform any website, mobile app or TV program interface into a go-to source for Winter Games information. Gracenote’s APIs and Widgets are responsive, white-label solutions that enable broadcasters, media publishers and pay TV operators to present content such as event schedules, live results, medal tables, athlete information and historical data for the Winter Games.
 
Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment and Towson University in Maryland announced a long-term partnership that makes VWSE the exclusive multimedia rights partner for the school’s athletic department and sales agent for Towson’s corporate sponsorship program. VWSE will exclusively manage and sell local broadcast and digital media assets, signage in all athletic venues and on-site marketing and promotions.
 
JibJab released a new camera app in conjunction with a promotional campaign for NFL Thursday Night Football and other NFL Network games. The new app allows users to personalize their photos and videos on Snapchat or Instagram with more than 1,500 JibJab stickers. It also allows football fans to create personalized NFL avatars and choose from a library of custom content to express their fandom.
 

DIGITAL & STREAMING
 
Motor Racing Network has launched an original podcast series called “JR’s Journey” that documents Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s racing career through the network’s audio archives. The 10-episode series chronicles Earnhardt’s childhood, his relationship with his father, Dale Earnhardt, his racing career, and evolution on and off the track.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES
 
After playing a key role in almost every major business decision at ESPN over the past three decades, Ed Durso plans to retire at the end of the year. Durso joined the network 28 years ago this week following a career with Major League Baseball and is one of the company’s longest-serving board members. He helped secure many of ESPN’s major rights and distribution deals, launched its first business development unit (which gave birth to both The Magazine and ESPN.com), and represented the network with members of Congress, FCC commissioners, governors and Presidents.
 
The NFL has added a new consumer products chief, hiring Michelle Micone, who served in a variety of marketing roles at Hasbro since 2001, SportsBusiness Daily reports. Micone most recently was Hasbro’s vice president of licensing and oversaw brands such as Nerf, Transformers, Monopoly and My Little Pony. She assumes the title of senior VP of consumer products for the NFL, a job that opened in April when Leo Kane left the league after 23 years, and will start her new position by mid-October.

 

ESPORTS

In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports & Gaming
  • Blizzard talks Burbank venue
  • League of Legends Worlds lineup
  • NRG sees Estarz
  • Boomeo goes bust
  • BlizzCon upgrades Ticket
  • Astralis hits the fashion world

THE MAIN EVENT
 
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals, at 8:25p on NFL Network.

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ON THIS DAY
in 1994: All 28 Major League Baseball owners voted to cancel the rest of the 1994 season.

In the Know: Who was the last major-league pitcher to record 30 wins in a season? (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 player had an American League-leading 32 home runs for the New York Yankees in 1976? Answer: Graig Nettles. Kudos: Barry Katz-NEP/New York; Denis Barry-CBS/New York; Andrew Feingold-Fox News/New York; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/New York; Joseph Brucia-AMC Networks/New York; Rich Dubroff-PressBoxonline/Baltimore; Mark Lehman-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington, FL; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-SOS/Dallas; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Ryan Rabe-Comcast/Chicago; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/ Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG AFTRA/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/Los Angeles


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