09/22/15: NFLPA draws an Ace; Sinclair hits the market; FanDuel has a new GM



CYNOPSISSPORTS
09.22.15

Good morning. It’s Tuesday September 22, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NFL Players Association is making a move into the content game, announcing the launch of Athlete Content & Entertainment, aka ACE Media. The company will serve as an original content business that will “identify and create programming opportunities for athletes around the world” and come out of the gate by leveraging the NFLPA’s exclusive group player rights and access to more than 1,800 active players to create sports-lifestyle content focused on athletes. The NFLPA will be the majority shareholder in ACE Media, working in collaboration with strategic media and sports partners.

“Like all athletes, NFL players are an extraordinary group of people with an incredible range of talents, passions, perspectives and backstories. Many of those stories have flown under the public radar,” said Ahmad Nassar, a member of ACE Media’s Board of Directors and President of NFL Players Inc. “ACE Media will aim to unlock those stories for diehard and casual fans alike and will reach new audiences as well by casting athletes in a light that allows their off-the-field attributes to amplify and complement their on-field accomplishments.”

ON THE AIR

Big day for Sinclair on the sports front. First of all, the company’s American Sports Network pinned down a pair of deals to beef up content for the platform. ASN inked a sublicense agreement with ESPN to carry men’s basketball games from the AAC beginning with the new season, with up to 10 games showcased on Sinclair broadcast stations as well as on other syndicated platforms, both broadcast and cable. The platform also added Hockey East games to its lineup via a two-year deal that will see 14 contests, including nine conference match ups, the Women’s Hockey East championship game and one men’s playoff game get the spotlight.

Meanwhile, sources confirm a WSJ report that Sinclair has been in talks to pick up Tennis Channel. The report states that the ownership group was looking for $500 million to take the channel, which is now serving up over 90% of tennis content throughout the country via a battery of rights deals.

Lining up against the Emmys, NBC’s Seahawks/Packers SNF telecast handed the channel with a 16.3/27 score in Nielsen overnights. That marks the network’s second-best numbers ever for Week 2 and grew 16% over last year’s score. In addition, the network states that the 16.3/27 marks the first time in NBC’s 10 years of SNF that the channel opened with 16 overnight for each of first three games. Top markets: Milwaukee 52.5/73; Seattle 50.6/75; Portland 25.8/46; Las Vegas 24.9/49; Denver 22.9/40

ESPN Radio locked in a new lineup starting Sept. 28, slating the new program Jalen & Jacoby in the 7-9p primetime slot. The show will be hosted by ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose and Grantland writer, podcaster and senior producer David Jacoby nationally out of Los Angeles, breaking down news in sports and pop culture. Meanwhile, ESPN Radio will also shift The Right Time with Bomani Jones from its 9p slot and will start running 4-7p on that day,

Former college basketball coach Steve Lavin added another gig to his resume. The former St. John’s and UCLA head coach will join FOX Sports starting this season for the network’s college basketball coverage, serving as a studio analyst for the sport on FOX broadcast network and FS1, appearing on pregame, halftime and postgame shows plus the weekly FS1 program Inside the Big East. Pac-12 Networks also recently announced that it had acquired Lavin’s services.

CBS Sports selected Alabama/Georgia for its SEC on CBS football game on Oct. 3 at 3:30p. Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce call the contest from Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. 

BTN also made its call for Oct. 3 football telecasts beginning at noon with Minnesota/Northwestern, followed at 3:30p by Nebraska/Illinois. Coverage wraps up at 8p with Michigan/Maryland. Meanwhile, the channel debuts season two of Big Ten Treasure Hunter tonight at 8pfeaturing sports memorabilia expert John Arcand examining unique collections and the fans who compile them.

NBC Sports is lining up coverage of the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville USA NHL preseason game on Sept. 29 from the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, PA. The Lightning/Penguins matchup will see Bob Costas, who began his professional broadcasting career at the venue, join host Liam McHugh and analyst Mike Milbury. Pre-game coverage launched at 7p with a special edition of NHL Live.


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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The WNBA launches a new promo for the league’s playoffs and Finals with “Watch Me” tonight. The spot showcases the “passion, determination and competitive spirit” of playoff teams, while highlighting talent, stories and leadership on and off the court. The spot bows tonight during game three of Mystics/Liberty on ESPN2 and will spotlight players such as Phoenix’s Brittney Griner (2015 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year), Los Angeles’s Candace Parker, Chicago’s Elena Delle Donne (2015 WNBA Most Valuable Player), Minnesota’s Maya Moore, New York’s Swin Cash and Tina Charles, and WNBA staple Becky Hammon, among others.

WWE and its Total Divas show are teaming with Prestige Cosmetics Group to promote the company’s Total Intensity Brand. The partnership includes linking Total Intensity and E!’s Total Divas with product collections that include: Go To The Matte Collection, Stand Out In The Ring Set, and the Ring the Bell Makeup Set, which will be available starting in early 2016 at cosmetic retailers including: Ulta Beauty, Rite Aid, Walmart, Kmart, Fred Meyer, and various divisions of Walgreen and CVS drugstore chains.

DIGITAL & STREAMING

Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Group locked in a deal with San Francisco-based Chat Sports, Inc. The alliance is designed to deepen the Group’s editorial coverage, sales inventory and marketing support while pushing the group further into the mobile space. The deal allows for the cross-pollination of content via both companies’ digital networks with Chat Sports now able to be folded into SI advertising sales offerings, and Chat Sports’ monthly comScore traffic will also be accrued within the SI Digital network.

The PGA of America is offering a limited amount of tickets for the 2016 PGA Championship on its site, PGAChampionship.com. The tournament will be played at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey from July 25-31, 2016. “With limited inventory remaining, we encourage everyone to secure tickets now to see the best players in the world return to one of golf’s most iconic major Championship venues next July,” said Ryan Cannon, 2016 PGA Championship Director. “With tremendous enthusiasm for golf in the Metropolitan area, we anticipate an incredible turnout next year at Baltusrol. As we saw at Whistling Straits, we anticipate the most coveted tickets to sell out well in advance of Championship week.”
 

FANTASY/GAMING/ESPORTS

Big news at FanDuel, which picked Jim Ross as General Manager, League and Team Marketing for the fantasy sports company. Ross will be charged with managing and maximizing value for all of FanDuel’s team and league partnerships and will work closely with its media partners and products, sales and marketing group. He most recently served as Palace Sports & Entertainment/Detroit Pistons Executive Vice President of Business Operations & Strategy where he oversaw Corporate Partnerships, Premium Sales, Business Development and the Data & Analytics departments.

THE MAIN EVENT

Yankees/Blue Jays on ESPN at 7p.



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ON THIS DAY in 1993: Nolan Ryan pitches his final game.

In The Know: Which famed WWE former champ/heel managed both Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels during her run at the company? (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: Who coached the 1992 Dream Team? Answer: Chuck Daly. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Impact Communications/Israel; Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY;; Nigel Wright-Turner Sports/NY; Brian Traynor-Home Team Sports/NY; Keith Wan-WWE/Stamford; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; Juan Delgado-Delgado Mediaworks/Coconut Grove; Michael G. Hawkins-Francis Marion University/Florence; Karl Hoium-Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks/Fargo; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/Dallas; Steve Hebel-Katz Television Group/Chicago; Michael Jaquet-U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association/Park City; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Rich Greene-FOX/LA; Keith Dobkowski-FOX Sports/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine
09.22.15

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