09.15.15 Good morning. It’s Tuesday September 15, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Bellator MMA has added another home, announcing a deal with ESPN Deportes to serve as the exclusive Spanish-language destination for the promotion. The multiyear, multiplatform agreement hits screens on Sept. 19 with Dynamite 1, featuring Tito Ortiz/Liam McGeary for the Light Heavyweight Championship. ESPN will be streaming preliminary matches in Spanish starting at 7p on ESPN3 and ESPNDeportes+. As part of the package, archival fights will also be made available to ESPN Deportes. Coverage will be led by George X and Manny Rodríguez who will be calling all the action available across ESPN Deportes TV, ESPN Deportes+ and WatchESPN.
Sunday Night Football continued to deliver for NBC Sports, which saw the Cowboys comeback win over the Giants score a 16.7/28 in Nielsen overnights. That marks the best Sunday opener since 2012 and is up 14% over last season’s 15.1/25 for the game. Combined with the 17.7 rating from Thursday’s Steelers/Patriots game, the channel’s two-game NFL Kickoff Weekend notched an average overnight of 17.2, for the second best ever for the network. Top markets for SNF were led by Dallas’ 35.9/55; followed by San Antonio 28.5/45; Albuquerque 24.5/37; Richmond 24.4/37; and Austin 23.3/40.
Sunday’s national doubleheader of games for the NFL on CBS also saw year-to-year gains, marking an average overnight household rating/share of 14.7/28, up 1% over last year’s first doubleheader window. The company’s early regional coverage hit an average overnight HH rating/share of 10.6/23, up 7% from last year’s 9.9/21.
In advance of the Rugby World Cup 2015, Universal Sports Network announced deals with DIRECTV, DISH, iN DEMAND and VUBIQUITY to make all matches from the tournament available on PPV. In addition to the nine televised matches on Universal Sports and NBC, all 48 Rugby World Cup matches will be available via TV and digital PPV with individual contests starting at $27.95 per game while package deals vary per provider. In addition, live streaming and on-demand access to all of the six-week tournament’s 48 matches will be available exclusively through the previously announced WatchRWC2015 over-the-top platform in the U.S. and U.S. territories.
ESPN named Molly Qerim, who rejoined ESPN in July 2015 as interim host of First Take, as the full-time moderator of the show. In addition, she will become a contributor to ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike weekday morning program during the final two hours of the four-hour show.
Rumors are again swirling that the NFL could soon chop the preseason game count. NBC Sports’ Mike Florio reports that the league is currently considering mulling cutting the exhibition season by as many as two games and would compensate by either expanding the regular season or the playoffs.
CBS Sports made its picked for the Sept. 26 SEC on CBS game. The company is picking up the Tennessee/Florida matchup with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce calling the contest.
On the talk show front, Golf Channel reairs an episode of Feherty today featuring an interview with Donald Trump. The 2012 ep runs at 10p and features a discussion on Trump’s “love of the limelight, how best to deal with the media, and Trump’s view (at the time) on running for president.”
Meanwhile, Ronda Rousey became the first UFC athlete to be interviewed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in yesterday’s episode. DeGeneres subsequently volunteered one of her producers to be judo thrown across the set. A tweet/vine from the ep can be found here. https://twitter.com/TheEllenShow/status/643128107117899777
Forbes unveiled its annual rankings of the most valuable teams in the NFL. Once again the Dallas Cowboys took the gold, scoring revenue of $620 million in 2014 and are now valued at $4 billion, according to the reports. The Cowboys were followed by the New England Patriots ($3.2 billion), Washington Redskins ($2.85 billion), New York Giants ($2.8 billion) and San Francisco 49ers ($2.7 billion).
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Jimmie Johnson will continue his Lowe’s run, with Hendrick Motorsports locking in a two-year contract extension through 2017. "Lowe’s has a longstanding history with NASCAR and knows its fans are some of the most loyal in all of sports," said Tom Lamb, chief marketing officer of Lowe’s. "Our partnership with Jimmie and Hendrick Motorsports has been an amazing ride as we chase history, and more than 265,000 Lowe’s employees are proud to be part of such a legacy."
Speaking of NASCAR, NBC Sports announced plans for the Quicken Loans $16 Million Perfect Grid Challenge and the Weekly Playoff Grid Challenge head of the NASCAR Chase. Fans can compete be predicting how the 16 drivers will advance through each round of the Chase at NBCSports.com/GridChallenge. The entry that offers a a perfect grid at the conclusion of NASCAR’s Championship event on Nov. 22 will claim a $16 million dollar prize. Fans are able to make their picks until 2:45p on Sunday, September 20.
The NFL and Marriott International are teaming up for a season long Super Bowl 50 campaign showcasing the company’s Courtyard brand. The company will offer up the world’s first Super Bowl “Suite Stadium Contest” sleepover in Levi’s Stadium. The “50 to 50” campaign includes a sweepstakes which gives members in three countries a shot to take a group of 50 of their friends and family to attend the game and enjoy an exclusive VIP Super Bowl 50 weekend in the San Francisco Bay area. Courtyard will also launch a “Journey to Super Bowl 50” road trip that travels through NFL markets across the country before reaching San Francisco offering a fan fest with NFL-themed games, NFL legend appearances, samples from the brand’s Bistro and special connections to brand contests and Marriott Rewards gifts.
Dunkin’ Donuts announced a multi-season sponsorship extension backing ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown. The brand gets rights to Field Pass segments that air during each telecast of the show and will beef up its involvement with #DDFieldPass on-air, digital and social marketing to engage fans that will include videos created by “viral sensation” BdotAdot5, and weekly opportunities to engage with ESPN analysts.
Meanwhile, College Gameday’s Rece Davis is reportedly changing his name to Reese Davis as part of a partnership with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. He told FTW that “One thing I thought when I was presented with this opportunity is why can’t they change their name to my spelling, but it turns out they’re a little bit bigger deal than me.”
ESPN is debuting SC@Night, an integrated campaign that spotlights the late night runs of SportsCenter, and features the tagline “End Your Day on a Highlight.” The campaign kicks off with a 30-second spots dubbed “Presidents,” that features Nationals’ mascots – George, Abe, Tom, Teddy and Bill – post-game at an empty Nationals Park, and watching SportsCenter on the giant video board. SC@Night was developed in collaboration with creative agency 72andSunny.
Cynopsis Sports is pleased to host its second annual Leaderboard; a showcase of the best 2015 Social Media Campaigns in the Sports Industry. Enter the LEADERBOARD today and don’t miss this chance to have your team rank among the marketing elite as we recognize the best of the best from a historic year.
US Club Soccer locked in World Football Academy USA as its newest partner in the Players First platform to improve coaching education and development in American youth soccer. The alliance will focus on soccer periodisation and kick off with an introductory webinar on Sept. 30.
NeuLion announced that it has been tapped by Euroleague Basketball to drive its new Euroleague TV digital service worldwide. The NeuLion Digital Platform will now “offer fans a more user-friendly, personalized and reliable online destination for all live and on-demand basketball action throughout the Turkish Airlines Euroleague season that starts on October 15, 2015.” "We are excited to partner with NeuLion to offer our dedicated fan base a brand-new, live and on-demand game experience unlike any other," said Euroleague Basketball President and CEO Mr. Jordi Bertomeu. "With NeuLion’s extensive experience in live sports delivery and their global footprint, we couldn’t think of a better partner as we strive to provide our fans with the best possible viewing experience."
American International Group, a global sponsor of the famed rugby club the All Blacks, is launching its innovative virtual reality (VR) Haka 360º Experience with the team. The Haka 360 Experience is an app that offers 360 degree video technology to give the viewer the feeling of being on the field with the All Blacks and is now available to download via the App Store or Google Play. Users can view the video on their handset or immerse themselves in the VR experience via a custom made Haka 360 headset.
Astros/Rangers on ESPN at 8p.
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ON THIS DAY in 2000: Opening ceremonies take place for the XXVII Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
In The Know:Which NHL team boasted the highest average attendance last 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: RIP to NBA great Moses Malone. Which team retired his number? Answer: Most popular answer: 76ers. Correct answer: Rockets. Kudos: Michael O. Brown-Lagardere Unlimited/NY; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Digital/Toronto; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; David Hauptman/Denver; Steve Hirsen/Sherman Oaks; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.
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