09/24/15: Turner Sports & WME/IMG give eSports primetime play; NFL has clearance for drones; DraftKings bets on gaming


Good morning. It’s Thursday September 24, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Big news for eSports, which are getting ready to hit primetime. Turner Sports will announce today a deal with WME/IMG to launch a new eSports league that will see TBS carry 20 live events in 2016, with 10 rounds twice a year running on Fridays. The deal involves game publisher Valve and will feature its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive videogame during season one, and coverage will also include live fan experiences and extensive digital event coverage and content extensions. Turner Studios in Atlanta will serve as home base in the East Coast epicenter for eSports competitive gaming, serving as the headquarters for the new league and primary operations facility for the live gaming experience.

“eSports is one of the fastest growing entertainment genres among young adults around the world,” said Lenny Daniels, President of Turner Sports. “We’re looking forward to creating a tremendous live event atmosphere, leveraging the infrastructure and expertise within Turner Studios, and presenting the competitions in an innovative way throughout our portfolio of leading brands.”

“The eSports environment is purpose-built for a generation that consumes content across multiple platforms and seeks unique live experiences,” said Mark Shapiro, Chief Content Officer, WME/IMG. “We’re proud to be partnering with Turner to give competitive gaming a first-of-its-kind platform to meet the needs of the industry’s growing fan base and attract new audiences around the world.”


The Jets win over the Colts handed ESPN with another win for MNF for the night among all networks. The game averaged an 8.1 household score with 12,479,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. On the local front, the matchup generated a 9.3 rating in NY with a 4.3 on WPIX-CW, for a combined 13.5 rating in the market. In Indianapolis, the game delivered a 12.0 rating on ESPN and a 20.2 on WRTV-ABC, for a combined 32.2 rating in the market.

FOX Sports unveiled its plans for adjacent programming surrounding its single-header NFL broadcasts this season, lining up “Sunday Funday” content that spans supercross and Formula E racing, skateboarding championships, a college football playoff preview and a year-in-review special hosted by Colin Cowherd. The slate launches this Sunday with a preview of UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber. Oct. 11 will see the Street League Skateboarding Super Crown World Championship, the Monster Energy Supercross on Oct. 18, the FIA Formula E Championship on Nov. 8, as well as a special about Jordan Spieth’s win at the US Open on Nov. 26.

NBC Sports reports that, through two games this season, Notre Dame Football on the network has averaged 3.9 million viewers for the channel’s best two-game viewership average since 2012, per Nielsen national ratings. The Fighting Irish’s win over the Yellow Jackets on Sat. averaged 3.7 million viewers and drew a 2.39 HH rating, up 76% and 77% respectively vs. NBC’s first afternoon game broadcast a year ago.

Speaking of college football, ESPN/ABC reports continued upticks in week 3 action, claiming the week’s two most-watched games. ESPN’s Saturday night matchup featuring Ole Miss/Alabama drew 7,605,000 viewers, up 335% year-over-year, while the Northern Illinois/Ohio State and Nebraska/Miami regionalized action on ABC averaged 5,254,000 viewers with the window was up 63% from 2014’s comparable telecast. ESPN/ABC is up 39% in viewership from the first three weeks of last season.

Save the date! The Cynopsis Sports Engagement Summit will be ready to rumble on Dec. 2 in NY. In addition to killer keynotes and panels, we’ll also be hosting our second annual Leaderboard; revealing the best 2015 Social Media Campaigns in the Sports Industry. Make sure to 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.

MP & Silva was named the official media rights and sponsorship partner of The Premier 12, the new flagship pro baseball world championship that will pit the National Teams from the world’s twelve best baseball nations, and taking place in Tokyo and Taiwan from Nov. 8-21. The deal sees MP & Silva lock in exclusive worldwide rights to distribute the 2015 and 2019 editions of the tournament across all media platforms.

On the local front, Tuesday’s Yankees/Blue Jays game ranked as YES’ most-viewed and highest-rated telecast of the 2015 season. The telecast drew an average of 456,000 viewers with a 4.92 average TV Household rating in the New York DMA.

AXS TV nabbed rights to Magnolia Pictures’ documentary Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot. The program will debut on Oct. 29 at 11p on the network following its release in theaters on July 17 and showcases the story of the Mavericks player.

BTN hits the weekend by announcing that its series BTN Football Pregame will hit the road for the Wolverines/Terrapins game. Both the 10:30a and evening editions of the show will broadcast from just outside Capital One Field at College Park, with kickoff set for 8p. Kevin Kugler will handle the play-by-play duties for the game, with Matt Millen providing analysis and Lisa Byington reporting from the sideline.

The men’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association penned an exclusive deal with FOX Sports North to telecast the 2016 WCHA Final Five. Commissioner Bill Robertson announced the agreement which will offer live telecasts for all three games of the 2016 WCHA Final Five: Two semifinal contests on Friday, March 18 and the Broadmoor Trophy championship game on March 19.
As part of the package, an additional five games  with the possibility of a sixth  involving WCHA teams will also be aired on the network.

In international waters, beIN Media Group acquired the remaining 50% of the shares held by MP & Silva from its beIN SPORTS channels in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines and now assumes full control of all of its channels in the Asian market. According to the company, “full control of these channels will allow beIN MEDIA GROUP to fully implement its market strategy in the region in terms of both production, expanded programming and content.”

CNN International added Kate Riley to its anchor roster, where she will join CNN World Sport team as a full-time anchor. The CSE client launched her career as an anchor for both Sky News and the BBC covering international sports across Europe, the Middle East and now North America.



this prestigious award!

Question? Contact Sarah Martinez.


NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going long with TaxSlayer.com, inking a partnership extension that will see the brand add a primary placement on his No. 88 Chevrolet SS for one 2016 Sprint Cup series race and an associated brand placement with Hendrick Motorsports for the remainder of the year

The ACC and Raycom Sports announced that Bojangles’ is joining the conference’s Official Corporate Champion program as the exclusive chicken, biscuits, and iced tea of the league. The multi-platform deal places Bojangles’ within ACC Network Broadcasts, as well as Conference Digital offerings, with activations that include television and marketing tie-ins with ACC Basketball and Football, as well as all the Conference’s Championship events. Assets include on-site marketing, promotional opportunities, brand exposure, licensing rights, tickets, and integration on the official ACC website.

FOX Sports University added five more schools to its portfolio, to hit lucky 13 this school year. Newcomers include Rutgers University, the University of Pittsburgh, Xavier University, St. John’s University and the University of Arizona with the program offering a partnership with journalism and business schools, public relations and sports management programs to produce “creative thinking and collaboration amongst students to develop real-world solutions, products and campaigns that are then executed across FOX businesses.”


Golf Channel’s GolfNow platform is partnering with Uber starting Friday that will offer riders in 11 designated markets a discount on their next round of golf and automatically register them for a chance to win free golf for a year when using the Uber app. Cities include Charlotte, N.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; San Diego, Calif.; Tampa, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; and the cities incorporating Orange County, Calif.

Topps Baseball is launching a vote to see who will be featured on card No. 1 in the 2016 set, with voting taking place at Topps.com. Collectors and fans will get to choose from more than 30 players in the first round of voting, and at least one player from each team will be represented. First round wraps up on Oct. 4 with the final five spanning Oct. 5-11.


DraftKings is entering the eSports arena. The daily fantasy sports company is launching DraftKings’ eSports games which will center on the League of Legends World Championship via a partnership with six leading eSports organizations contests set to begin on Oct. 1. Partnerships include: compLexity Gaming, SK Gaming, CLOUD9, Counter Logic Gaming, Team SoloMid and Mousesports. Leading into the first tournament, the company will help new fantasy eSports players learn how to approach fantasy gaming with content that includes video tutorials, helpful articles and integrated content from the teams on http://playbook.draftkings.com. “eSports is one of the world’s most popular spectator sports, and we are excited to introduce League of Legends to our industry-leading fantasy platform as a way to bring fans worldwide closer to the game,” said Matt Kalish, CRO and Co-Founder of DraftKings.


The NFL is now the first major sports league to be granted permission from the FAA to use drones to shoot films, documentaries and broadcast segments. The FAA site stated that the exemption doesn’t include filming games, with other conditions that include: drones must weigh less than 55 pounds including payload; fly no more than 400 feet above the ground and travel no faster than 100 miles per hour.


Redskins/Giants on CBS/NFL Network at 8:25p.



A showcase of the best 2015 SOCIAL MEDIA campaigns in the

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.
Deadline to enter:

ON THIS DAY in 1982: Bjorn Borg retires from tennis at 26.

In The Know: RIP to the great Yogi Berra. While forever associated with the Yankees and Mets, Berra actually finished his coaching/managing career with what club? (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: In the movie The Sandlot, what name do the kids give the dog in the adjacent yard? Answer: Beast. Kudos: Ranfi Rivera-Viacom/NY; Marissa Sunio- Columbia University Sports Management Candidate/NY; Todd Hinckley-Major League Soccer/NY; Joe Brucia-NBC Universal/NY; Liz Eng-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; James Stuart-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Derek Crownover-Dickinson Wright – Music Row/Nashville; Alicia Smits-Potawatomi Hotel & Casino/Milwaukee; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Steve Scheer-Fox Sports/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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