09/16/15: NHL adds adidas to the line; David Feherty’s Universal shot; MLB makes the honor roll


Good morning. It’s Wednesday September 16, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NHL will play with adidas in the foreseeable future, officially announcing a seven-year partnership that will see the brand become the authentic outfitter of on-ice uniforms as well as an official supplier of licensed apparel and headwear for the League starting with the 2017-18 season. The deal also includes a partnership for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey that will see adidas become the exclusive outfitter of both authentic and replica jerseys for the eight-team tournament next September.
"Teaming up with adidas continues our strategy of aligning with major partners who share our vision for growing the game and putting innovation at the forefront of everything we do for our players and fans," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "As an iconic performance brand with global reach, adidas is the perfect partner for us. With the World Cup of Hockey next year and the launch of our new partnership coinciding with our Centennial Celebration in 2017, there could not be a more appropriate time for us take our longstanding relationship to new heights."
“This partnership with the NHL is evidence of our comprehensive commitment to the athlete,” said adidas Group North America President Mark King. “Adding the league to our growing icon portfolio – which includes premier athletes and U.S. league partnerships across football, basketball and baseball – is just the start for us.  Everything we do at adidas focuses on making athletes faster and we’re ready to bring that attitude to the ice. This is an incredible opportunity to get our most innovative performance products on the world’s best hockey players, on and off the ice, and take the game to the next level.”


Another big sports personality is off the market. NBC Sports locked in David Feherty to make NBCUniversal his exclusive media home. The deal will include adding Feherty to NBC’s golf tournament coverage team, including the Olympics; an extension of his series Feherty on Golf Channel; as well as a slate of new ventures that include a Universal Television development deal. His role on NBC Sports will see the golfer serve as a walking and tower analyst on NBC and Golf Channel, primarily for their slate of marquee PGA TOUR events, including the “Florida Swing,” THE PLAYERS, and FedExCup Playoffs.
In other talent news, Dusty Baker is joining Turner Sports to serve as a studio analyst for MLB on TBS coverage heading into and throughout the 2015 MLB Postseason. Baker will join Pedro Martinez and Gary Sheffield as studio analysts along with host Casey Stern for pre- and post-game shows during TBS’ National League postseason coverage.
Speaking of baseball, MLB is launching a new baseball awards platform, dubbed The 2015 Esurance MLB Awards. The program features online voting at MLB.com and at official club sites looking to honor players, baseball fans and memorable moments from the season across 24 categories. The 2015 Esurance MLB Awards Show will air on Nov. 20 at 7p MLB Network and MLB.com.
In ratings news, ESPN’s double dose of MNF pushed the network to win the night among households, viewers and key male and adult demos. The two games combined to average an 8.6 household score with 13,915,000 viewers, according to Nielsen fast nationals, to mark the second highest-rated and second most-viewed season-opening doubleheader since 2006. For the first time in ESPN’s history of the season-opening MNF doubleheader, the West Coast game out-delivered the early game, with the 49ers win drawing an 8.8 rating and 14,330,000 viewers.
FOX Sports announced that its week 1 games on Sunday ranked as its most-watched NFL Week 1 singleheader on record, extending back to 1988, according to Nielsen fast nationals. The network’s coverage delivered an 11.6 household rating with a 26 share, averaging 20.1 million viewers. Those numbers tie 2000 as the highest-rated Week 1 NFL singleheader on any network since 1994.
With national numbers in, NBC Sports reports that an average of 27.1 million viewers tuned in for its two NFL Kickoff Weekend games to set an all-time record. That is up 6% from last year and bested the prior record, set in 2011, by 700,000 viewers.
Speaking of NBC Sports, the fifth season of NFL Turning Point begins tonight at 11p on NBCSN and will spotlight Tony Romo and the Cowboys’ game-winning drive against the Giants; as well as the head-to-head matchup between rookie QBs Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston; Rex Ryan and Todd Bowles in-game audio; and Clay Matthews’ interception in the final moments of Packers-Bears.
In other ratings news, ESPN reports that its first exclusive US Open handed the company with the tournament’s biggest TV audience in four years. Coverage was capped by a Men’s Championship seen by 43% more people than last year. The audience across the two weeks on ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 1,265,000 viewers (P2+), up 20% over year ago stats. The Men’s Championship on Sunday was seen by an average of 3,153,000 viewers and drew a 1.8 rating, up 13% over 2014’s 1.6. 
NBA TV announced plans to carry up to six WNBA Playoffs 2015 presented by Boost Mobile games, beginning Friday with a Conference Semifinal doubleheader starting with the Mystics/Liberty at 7p and followed by Sparks/Lynx at 9p. Rick Kamla will host the network’s pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage along with LaChina Robinson and Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike, who will serve as a guest analyst.
BTN unveiled its 2015-16 men’s basketball schedule, lining up more than 75 conference matchups. The slate includes five Big Ten Tournament games and nine straight weeks of “Super Wednesday” doubleheaders, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings. Big Ten Conference play on BTN tips off on Dec. 29 with Purdue/Wisconsin and Michigan State/Iowa. Additionally, the network’s season-long coverage will include Tuesday and Thursday games presented by Quicken Loans and frequent doubleheaders on Saturdays and Sundays. Meanwhile, The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2016 and Big Ten Basketball & Beyond will return in January.
SiriusXM and the Pro Football Hall of Fame are teamed up to launch a new exclusive weekly show that will air nationwide on the SiriusXM NFL Radio channel. Pro Football Hall of Fame Radio on SiriusXM will air live every Saturday at 2p with Pro Football Hall of Fame Executive Vice President Joe Horrigan and SiriusXM’s Howard Balzer hosting each week and joining a different Hall of Famer each week who will co-host the show.
Just ahead of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Universal Sports Network offers a new episode of Beyond the Medals – The Business of Sport tonight at 7:30p. The episode will look at the sport, from doping to Team USA’s chances at the 2016 Rio Olympics, with host Rick Horrow.
Anthem Sports & Entertainment announced that Fantasy Sports Network (FNTSY) and Fight Network have now launched on Buckeye CableSystem in the US and is available to subscribers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Both channels will be available in high-definition (HD) on HD Plus Pak, channels 696 and 703, respectively.


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FOX Sports is taking an ad sales approach to tech partnerships and is exploring alliances through FOX Lab designed to “give viewers a fresh perspective and ad sales teams more targeted sports integrations.” With new opportunities for ad sales, the company is now locking in deals across more sports properties. “FOX LAB puts the emphasis on expanding our relationship with clients beyond technology sponsorships and more into the realm of technology partnerships,” said Sarah Tourville, FOX Sports SVP Sports Brand Activation. “The essence becomes the utility of the tech and partnering to transform how our viewers watch live sports.”
The new LA-based MLS team unveiled its official name, and will be appropriately dubbed the Los Angeles Football Club. The LAFC begin play in 2018.
WWE is partnering with JAKKS via a global licensing agreement to manufacture, distribute and market a line of consumer products based on WWE’s Superstars and Divas, and its television shows Monday Night Raw and SmackDown. The deal includes rights for “everyday dress up, role-play, radio control vehicles, seasonal costumes, and JAKKS’ 3D IT Character Creator brand, in addition to action figures across the APAC region.” JAKKS is slated to launch its first wave of WWE products in fall 2016.
The NFL Players Association is teaming with Got Your 6, a collaborative campaign promoting veterans are leaders, team builders, and problem solvers “who have the unique potential to strengthen communities across the country.” “The NFLPA is proud of this partnership with Got Your 6,” said Eric Winston, NFLPA President. “Simply saying ‘thank you’ is not enough to recognize the sacrifices our country’s veterans have made through their service. This partnership with Got Your 6 gives the players of the NFL the platform to help change the dialogue and truly helping those who have protected our freedoms in the Armed Services.”

DIRECTV is continuing its campaign for DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket with a repeat appearance by Peyton Manning. Having already appeared as high-voiced Peyton, the new ad features “Skinny Legs” Peyton. The spot can be found here.


Crackle serves up The Sports Jeopardy! Championship finale today, concluding a two-episode featuring the top players from the show’s first season. The winner takes home the grand prize of $50,000; the second-place finisher wins $25,000 and third place claims $10,000. The second season of Sports Jeopardy! will begin streaming all-new episodes on Sept. 23. 


DraftKings locked in sponsorships with 12 NFL teams for the 2015-16 season. Teams The company’s new partners include the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans. In addition, the fantasy company renewed a deal with the New England Patriots. Through the NFL team sponsorships, DraftKings is opening fantasy sports lounges that will give the company a permanent presence at three NFL stadiums. AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys; Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots; and Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs now feature DraftKings lounges.


Mandalay Sports Media is tapping Dick Glover to serve as CEO. Glover had served as CEO of Funny or Die and previously held positions at NASCAR, ESPN and WWE.


Cubs/Pirates on ESPN at 7p.



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ON THIS DAY in 2004: A labor dispute kills the NHL season.

In The Know: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson once played for which team in the Canadian Football League? (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 NHL team boasted the highest average attendance last season? Answer: Chicago Blackhawks. Kudos: Chris Long-FloSports/NY; Marissa Sunio-Columbia University Sports Management /NY; Rich Dubroff-CSNmidatlantic.com/Baltimore; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Robert Teinowitz-Live Action Media/Chicago; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Lance Brothers-Nielsen/Chicago; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco.

Later — Chris
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