10/15/18: ISC talks venue overhauls; ALCS opens hot; NBA tops impact list

Good morning. It’s Monday October 15, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.


With International Speedway Corporation in the midst of a multi-year $500 million capital reinvestment plan across its venues, the company is looking to redefine the audience experience at its facilities. The company recently completed a $7 million renovation at the historic Darlington Raceway, along with a $30 million infield redevelopment project at Richmond Raceway, is launching a $50 million infield redevelopment at Talladega Superspeedway, and has a $178 million modernization project at ISM Raceway in Phoenix set to debut next month during its November race weekend. In fact, the ISM Raceway Project Powered by DC Solarmarks the largest ISC redevelopment project following the completion of the $400 million Daytona International Speedway transformation in 2016.
Spearheading the charge is ISC Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood, who oversaw the Daytona Rising renovation project. Cynopsis asked Chitwood about the company, its strategy and lessons learned from Daytona.
Chitwood on working at ISC: For me, after leading the charge of the $400 million reimagining of the American icon of Daytona Speedway, I was promoted to Chief Operating Officer for ISC, where we have 13 motorsports properties that we manage across the country. They are all unique and different – small and big tracks; some new, some old and historic like Darlington. So it has been an exciting run for me personally. I count myself very lucky because every day in unique in motorsports.
On lessons from Daytona Rising: One key factor is the social aspect of going to events. The ability to build a venue that really engages the customer, going beyond wifi even, to the social zones within the stadium. It gets people to enjoy and share. You don’t see fans sitting for three hours shifting in their seat non-stop. They want to roam around and interact. The next generation of venue has to have a social aspect to it. From a Daytona perspective, if we had redone that property five years earlier, I don’t know if we would have clued in to that changing customer need. So when you complete Daytona, you realize that are great opportunities at our other venues.
On the overhaul of ISM Raceway, debuting next month: We had an older property in Phoenix and really wanted to be innovative and push the edge. We realized the front stretch grandstand was never going to be what we hoped it to be. So we, in essence, reversed the property, moving the start and finish line from the front stretch to the dogleg, which is in the backstretch and built a new grandstand over there. We then completely gutted the in-field, building a completely new garage, a brand new leader scoreboard, new video boards, a new pedestrian tunnel and more. Also, now, instead of sitting in the sun, you are sitting in the shade. With Phoenix, we wanted to push ourselves, and I’m really happy with how it is turning out. I think our fans will be as blown away as fans that showed up to Daytona for the first time.
On incorporating sponsors: Our sport is so different from other sports in the role that sponsors play. If you think about it, if you think about Jimmie Johnson being a champion in our sport, he doesn’t do that without Lowe’s on the side of his car. Sponsorship makes our world go round. So for us, when you design these properties and create new opportunities to engage the fan, our sponsors want the same thing. Not only from a brand perspective, from a lead generation perspective and from an activation perspective, but also from a corporate hospitality point of view. If you are going to bring your C-level executives to our event, you want to provide them with top notch entertainment and hospitality.


Amid a busy Saturday for sports, TBS saw ALCS Game 1 take the day across all of TV, according to Nielsen metered market numbers. The Astros/Red Sox telecast on the channel averaged 5,821,000 viewers for the game, up 42%over the last time it carries the ALCS Game in 2016. TBS’s 2018 MLB Postseason viewership is up 41% over 2016, the last time the network televised the A.L., and 11% over last year. Meanwhile, Turner’sTV Everywhere platforms are up 53%in total streaming minutes per game during the 2018 MLB Postseasonwith Houston ranking as the No. 1 metered market, generating a 20.0 local rating, the highest-rated telecast ever for any program on TBS in the market. Boston saw a 19.8 HH rating, the best MLB Postseason telecast on TBS in the market since 2013.
In college football news, CBS Sports snagged the highest rated college football game of the day, with Georgia/LSU claiming a 3.7/9 Nielsen rating, up 68% over year ago numbers. Top markets were led by New Orleans with a 25.2/42, followed by Birmingham with a 22.9/35.
Meanwhile, ABC’s Saturday Night Football pitting Wisconsin/Michigan handed the channel with a 3.6 overnight rating, up 57% year-over-year rating. ESPN’s coverage of Missouri/Alabama delivered a 2.2 overnight and up 5% year-over-year. ESPN’s telecast of Florida/Vanderbilt delivered a 1.8 overnight, with the Gators’ come-from-behind victory generating a 6% ratings increase from last year’s same game window.
FOX Sports saw Ohio State’s win over Minnesota saw a 1.8 metered market number for FS1, that marks the best metered market numbers for the channel this season, and the best rating for a regular-season college football game since 2016.
Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light on Oct. 11, saw the Eagles blowout over the Giants deliver an average audience of 15.3 million viewers across all platforms, including FOX, NFL Network, FOX Deportes, and digital platforms. That is up 8%versus the 2017 10-game Thursday Night Football average and up2%versus last year’s Week 6 Thursday Night Football matchup. The Nielsen-measured audience hit 14.7 million viewers up1% versus the 2017 Week 6 TNF game.
Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN card produced a 1.6 metered market rating for the channel, making it the highest-rated boxing telecast in 2018 across all broadcast and cable networks with the main event averaging a 1.8 metered market, making it making it the year’s highest-rated Top Rank bout and main event on ESPN.
Asia’slargest global sports media property, ONE Championship, saw its Oct. 6 ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES event draw over 25 million viewers, according to the company, while setting a record-breaking peak TV ratings share of 58.5% in Thailand. To date, ONE Championship reports 30 billion impressions on social media as of September 2018.
Oct. 28 will see NFL GameDay Morning personalities Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci, Kurt Warner and Michael Irvin jump from NFL Network’s Los Angeles studios to the field at London’s Wembley Stadium to call the Week 8 matchup between the Eagles and Jaguars with kickoff at 9:30a and running exclusively on NFL Network nationally. Eisen will handle play-by-play duties on a NFL regular season game for the first time in his 24-year broadcasting career. Also joining the broadcast team are Melissa Starkand Peter Schrager, who will provide news from the sidelines.
The NBA G League announced experimental rules changes for the 2018-19 season. Plans include resetting the shot clock to 14 seconds in advance situations and introduction of the “transition take foul,” which occurs when a defender commits a take foul against an offensive player who has the ball or has just released a pass; a foul is committed during a transition scoring opportunity; and a foul does not meet the criteria for a clear path foul.  The fouled team may select any player in the game to shoot one free throw and retains the ball at the point of interruption. 
The YES Network announced plans to televise six games featuring the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s NBA G League affiliate, this season. YES’ first Long Island Nets regular season telecast takes place Nov. 8 at 7p.
RIP to Patrick Baumann, who died at the age of 51. An IOC member since 2007 and former secretary general for FIBA, he most recently led a coordination commission overseeing the 2028, Multiple sports organizations paid tribute to Baumann, with the IOC asking for the Olympic flag to be flown at half-mast at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne and at the IOC headquarters at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires for three days. The IOC will also hold a memorial in the Youth Olympic Village. “This is a great shock, which has hit us all very hard,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “We can hardly believe this terrible news. Particularly since, even today, we have seen him working hard, as we always knew him, for the sport he loved. We lose a young and sympathetic leader full of hope who was standing for the future of sport. Our thoughts are with his wife, his children and his family.”

The 2ndAnnual Cynopsis Short Form Video Festival
The Cynopsis Short Form Video Festival is searching for the most cutting-edge creatives from individuals and teams worldwide, including: production companies/studios, producers, networks, composers, lyricists, animators, video game developers/producers, website developers, mobile & app developers/producers, marketing companies, PR firms and more. Click here to check out our sizzle and be sure to submit before 10/17!



A report from sponsorship and digital marketing analytics company DataPOWA shows that the NBA tops that list of commercial impact of sponsorship rights-holders in its POWA Index and nabbing a score of 97,610. Coming in second and third are rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, with the NFL ranked #4 and the Premier League rounding out the top five, according to Express. The POWA Index is described as the world’s first real-time sponsorship evaluation engine, compiling trillions of data points across social media, online searches and on-field performances to generate a top 20.
Moonshine distillery Sugarlands Distilling Company is teaming up with NASCAR and Talladega Superspeedway. Friday saw the companies announced new partnerships that designate Sugarlands Shine as the “Official Moonshine of NASCAR” and as the title partner of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series fall race, the Sugarlands Shine 250. As a part of the five-year agreement with NASCAR, Sugarlands will gain rights to promote its moonshine at retail, on packaging and will host key customers and distributors at-track.
Liberty National Life Insurance Company extended its partnership with Richard Childress Racing and the No. 31 team for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Liberty National will remain a primary sponsor for select races with Daniel Hemric and the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, and will be an associate sponsor for select races on the No. 3 Chevrolet with driver Austin Dillon.


Mike Tirico and NBC Sports Radio announced the launch of The Mike Tirico Podcast, which is now available across all major podcast platforms as a weekly show with episodes debuting each Thursday morning. The program will feature Tirico’s takes on the biggest news across the sports landscape, including the NFL and college football, as well as interviews with sports commentators and athletes.
ESPN announced plans to launch espnW in Mexico. espnW Mexico will coincide with Semana de la Mujer this week, which serves as ESPN’s annual initiative in support of breast cancer awareness. espnW Mexico will serve as the brand umbrella and power content initiatives to engage and inspire women across ESPN’s linear, digital and social platforms.  The brand will empower female voices and perspectives in the world of sports, feature a mix of inspirational, lifestyle stories around sporting events that matter to women, and provide more coverage of female athletes and women’s sports.
Fox Sports partnered with NowThis Sports to incorporate social quizzes and sponsored editorial to drive tune-in for NFL & CFB throughout the entire season. NowThis Sports is producing custom trivia videos for Fox Sports that are posted on NowThis Sports’ social channels and are cross-promoted across NowThis News and NowThis Entertainment.


The Houston Rockets locked in a partnership with Bilibili, the leading online entertainment platform for younger audiences in China. The deal will look to expand their presence in esports, with Bilibili’s esports team, Bilibili Gaming and the Rockets’ esports squad Clutch Gaming taking part in a friendly game and Bilibili will become the official partner of CG. In addition, the CG team will broadcast their games in real time on the Bilibili platform and interact with their fans.
Swiss telecommunications company Swisscom is teaming with ESL to launch an esports league for the region. The new entity will showcase weekly play in League of Legends, Clash Royale, and Hearthstonewith a championship slated for Spring 2019. In addition to the league, Swisscom is beefing up its esports and gaming platforms, adding EsportsTV and Ginx TV to its lineup.


The Board of Directors of USA Gymnastics announced the appointment of Mary Bono as interim president and chief executive officer of USA Gymnastics effective immediately. Bono will serve in the role until the board identifies a permanent president and CEO. She was most recently a principal at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting in Washington, DC, working in the area of legislative strategies and policies.


Brewers/Dodgers at 7:30p on FS1.
Cynopsis is launching a new awards program celebrating female trailblazers in the sports industry. These are the women pushing the industry forward, from roles in all levels of production, technology, marketing and more. Top Women in Sports honorees are change agents who empower and inspire with their drive for innovation and inclusion.
ON THIS DAY in 1989: Wayne Gretzky passes Gordie Howe as the NHL’s all-time top scorer.
In the Know: Who MLB pitcher holds the record for most postseason wins? (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: Magic Johnson made an appearance in which Michael Jackson music video? Answer: Remember the Time. Kudos: Len Appel-TMZ/TMZ Sports/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY;Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY; Brianne Maciejowski-Miles/Sarasota; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW/Dallas; Sabree Walker-Comcast Spotlight/Houston; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/KTXA/Dallas; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria
Later – Chris
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