09.18.15 Good morning. It’s Friday September 18, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The NFL is reeling in Snapchat as its newest partner, aligning with the social platform to deliver “uniquely packaged NFL-centric video and photo content” using the company’s Live Story product for the app. The two entities created a weekly programming schedule that will feature all 32 NFL teams and will be available worldwide to all Snapchat users each week of the NFL’s regular and postseason. The most recent NFL Live Story went live last night for TNF and will be available on Snapchat for 24 hours. Content will see every NFL Live Story, curated by Snapchat, produce a blend of fan-submitted Snaps and official inside access content will be featured in each Live Story so that “each is told from both a fan and League perspective with many different points of view.” NFL and Snapchat will offer brands the opportunity to advertise within the Live Story.
“Partnering with a popular platform such as Snapchat is another important step in our plan to reach our fans wherever they are, whether on NFL.com, NFL Network, NFL Mobile or outside of those properties,” said Blake Stuchin, Director, Digital Media Business Development for the NFL. “The weekly programming schedule will provide another touch point for millions of fans to connect and share around their passion for the NFL while creating a unique vehicle to reach that audience for our trusted partners and sponsors.”
FOX Sports locked in multi-platform media rights for the CONCACAF Cup, a one match, winner-take-all playoff between the United States and Mexico that will determine which country represents the region in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. The US/Mexico matchup runs live in primetime on FS1 on Oct. 10 from the Rose Bowl while a special 90-minute pregame show on FS1 starts at 8p with Rob Stone hosting with Alexi Lalas and Eric Wynalda. Meanwhile, FOX Deportes will feature special segments live from the Rose Bowl on La Ultima Palabra.
The Big Ten revealed its assignments for men’s basketball conference games carried by CBS Sports/ESPN. Coverage launches with four games on Dec. 30, with three contests set to appear on ESPN2 (Michigan/Illinois, Penn State/Maryland and Indiana/Rutgers) while Northwestern/Nebraska will appear on ESPNU. CBS jumps in the fray on Jan. 10 with Ohio State/Indiana. CBS Sports will carry eight games on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the conference season, including wildcard selections on Feb. 20 or 21, Feb. 27 or 28 and March 5 or 6. The Big Ten will once again be featured on an ESPN network on Tuesdays at 7 or 9p as part of the network’s Super Tuesday lineup.
Universal Sports Network and NBC Sports Group place the spotlight on Rugby World Cup 2015 starting today and running through Oct. 31. The companies will offer more than 23 hours of broadcast coverage and more than 121 hours of live streaming for the tournament with Universal Sports and NBC Sports broadcasting nine out of 48 matches including live coverage of all of Team USA’s matches in pool play, the semi-finals and finals. Universal Sports shows the Opening Ceremony today at 2p, followed England/Fiji. NBC gets in the game with the Oct. 24 semi-final match one week before coverage of the World Cup Final. Calling all of the Rugby World Cup action will be Brian Hightower who will serve as primary match analyst alongside veteran rugby play-by-play announcer Bill Seward.
ESPN2’s Big Monday series of contests returns for its 10th season, serving up seven-weeks of women’s college basketball games starting Jan 18 with the series set to include four doubleheaders. According to an early espnW poll, the franchise will feature ranked programs in each of the 11 games with six conferences on the slate, beginning with Tennessee/Notre Dame on Jan. 18.
Bounce TV will see Dwayne Ballen take the reins as announcer of the network’s Premier Boxing Champions: The Next Round tonight at 9p. Ballen’s career includes The Golf Channel, PGA Tour, CBS Sports, NCAA Tournament, Fox Sports, ESPN, PAC-12 Network, and ACC Network by Raycom Sports. Meanwhile, Fran Charles calls blow-by-blow while Austin “No Doubt” Trout serves as analyst. The card will be anchored by Jamal James/Juan Carlos “Merengue” Abreu in the 10-round main event.
Speaking of boxing, Showtime serves up Floyd Mayweather’s final fight against Andre Berto tomorrow at 9p. The delayed telecast will also include the junior lightweight world championship rematch between Roman Martinez and Orlando Salido and will be immediately followed by the premiere of “ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Berto Epilogue.”
Around the dial, HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel returns on Sept. 22 at 10p with segments that include a look at Jerry Jones; Dutee Chand, India’s fastest woman and her battle with hyperandrogenism; and feature on wingsuiting.
FOX Sports tapped former ESPN producer Matt Ketaineck to serve as coordinating producer of The Herd with Colin Cowherd. Most recently, Ketaineck served as the coordinating producer for ESPN’s Olbermann.
Pac-12 Networks released an update on its talks for carriage on DIRECTV, noting: “As many of you are probably aware, the Pac-12 was recently presented with a proposal by AT&T, who acquired DirecTV over the summer, in an effort to add the Pac-12 Networks to the DirecTV lineup. As much as we all wanted this to happen, after careful consideration and a lot of discussion, the conference’s Presidents and Chancellors decided to decline the deal. There is a lot of information floating around, but basically the reason was there were legal concerns and demands for guarantees that just went too far for the league’s universities.”
Meanwhile, Pac-12 Networks announced that former UCLA head coach Steve Lavin will join the outlet to serve as a men’s hoops analyst. Lavin will contribute to the Networks’ fourth season of men’s basketball coverage as both a studio and game analyst.
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After a 15-year run sponsoring Michael Waltrip NASCAR race teams, Aaron’s is bowing out before hitting sweet 16. The brand is now in the final year of its deal as primary sponsor for David Ragan’s No. 55 car but with MWR shuttering after this season, the company opted to move in a different direction. "We have decided to take some time off from a team sponsorship for the 2016 season," the company said in a statement. "The NASCAR fan base is an important audience for us, and we have built substantial equity over the past 15 years.
Former NFL Network President Steve Bornstein and ex-NBA Commissioner David Stern are teaming up on a new venture, dubbed Rhone Apparel. Bloomberg reports that the company is raising $5 million by teaming up with M3 Ventures, along with Bornstein, Stern, former NBA player Shane Battier and ESPN broadcaster Ryen Russillo. The apparel brand targets the premium buyer and sells a Sentry Short Sleeve shirt for $68 and a Monk Featherweight Hoodie for $98. This fall, Rhone products will be available in 20 Bloomingdale’s locations, 24 Equinox outlets and two Nordstrom stores.
Data services company EchoStor Technologies locked in a deal with NESN and will become the presenting sponsor of Bruins Face-Off LIVE. The deal will see company branding featured several times throughout the show with in-studio logo presence, customized features, and integration into NESN’s Bruins game coverage. As part of the partnership, NESN will also produce EchoStor Technologies’ first ever television commercial.
Sky Sports and Whistle Sports are launching a new social media channel dedicated to producing original football content for fans around the world. The platform will tap Sky’s Soccer AM brand and goes live today with its own YouTube channel and a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Vine. Content and stars will include England Women’s footballer, Alex Scott as well as Sky Sports on-screen talent Adam Smith from Soccer AM and Laura Woods and include original programming, entertaining videos and posts covering football topics.
MLBAM’s MLB.com At Bat for iPhone and iPad, is now offering Picture-in-Picture streaming for iPad. This marks the first time this functionality has been made available on a mobile device according to the company. According to comScore, At Bat has ranked first in total minutes consumed among all sports mobile apps each month since April.
New York-based digital consulting firm Omnigon unveiled the third and final phase of the official 2015 Rugby World Cup mobile app. The phase will allow fans to immerse themselves in the RWC2015 experience, and share the tournament buzz in addition to viewing live and post-match stats for all matches. Other features include: live match audio streaming; expert blogging; pre-match stats; video highlights and more.
Campus Insiders inked a deal with Urban Sports & Entertainment to produce and distribute live college sports and entertainment events, as well as creating multicultural-focused video content. The deal will see USEG provide Campus Insiders with the exclusive right to stream certain football, men’s basketball and Olympic sports from the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the oldest African-American conference in the United States. Campus Insiders will also become the exclusive media partner for the Honda Battle of the Bands.
Bellator MMA heads to Saturday’s Dynamite 1 card, and the promotion is boosting its digital game, announcing that signature digital feature, “In Focus” returns with the release of two new eps highlighting Light Heavyweight challenger Tito Ortiz and Bellator President, Scott Coker. The company also launched Rolling with Jimmy, featuring 1 on 1 discussion with series host and Spike TV analyst Jimmy Smith as he drives his ’69 Baracuda and grapples with Phil Davis who makes his promotional debut on the Saturday card. Overall, the Bellator MMA digital team produced 15 pieces of original content that can be found across their social and digital platforms including their official YouTube page.
A new daily fantasy sports company is up and running with PickChamps now entering the fray by offering a twist for fantasy players. The company allows fans to put their sports knowledge to the test on gameday and win cash prizes by allowing players to completely customize their picks and predict specific athlete performances “against a huge range of real-game statistics, as well making head-to-head match-ups between athletes,” without salary caps or pre-determined draft rules. “The Daily Fantasy market is dominated by the salary cap format,” said Leighton Webb, CEO of PickChamps. “PickChamps is focused on going beyond that and making DFS more engaging and exciting at every step of the player experience.”
NBCSN enters NASCAR’s Chase on Sunday at 3p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1990: Atlanta is selected to host the 1996 Summer Olympics.
In The Know:Which NFL player holds the record for most career rushing touchdowns? (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 NBA players played for Nick Nolte in the movie Blue Chips? Answer: Anfernee Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal. Kudos: Joseph Tafuri-Haversack Consulting/NY; Keith Marder-Halstead Property/NY; Matt Denerstein-Mindshare/NY; Chris Bombard-CBS/NY; Jonathan Norman-Bespoke Sports & Entertainment/Charlotte; James Taguchi-WTVR/Richmond; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Derrick Tarver-The Weather Company/Atlanta; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions/Dallas; Les Stipp-GSD&M/Chicago; Carly Dasso-SAATCHI & SAATCHI CHICAGO/Oakbrook Terrace; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Adam Shuler-Nielsen/San Francisco; Glen Ross-Beverly Hills; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; Rich Greene-FOX/LA.
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