10/06/17: Pac-12 and Alibaba are doubling down on their international partnership

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Friday October 6, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

 
The Pac-12 Conference locked in an extended and expanded partnership with Alibaba Group Holding Limited in a deal that includes for the first time distribution of Pac-12 Networks content across linear and digital channels by Alibaba through 2024 along with an extension of their sponsorship of the annual Pac-12 China Basketball Game through 2020. Starting this fall sports season, Alibaba Group will annually distribute 175 live Pac-12 Networks events and 100 hours of original programming throughout Mainland China. Distribution will run on Alibaba’s platforms, such as Youku Todou.
 
“Expanding global fan interest in our conference and member universities through sport, along with providing unique international opportunities for our student-athletes, are at the core of our Pac-12 Global initiative,” said Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference. “In Alibaba we have found the perfect partner to help us achieve these goals. Alibaba’s agreement to distribute Pac-12 college sports content across its channels demonstrates their confidence in the value of our content and brand, and aligned global vision that we have for college sports and the student-athlete experience.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

NBC Sports Group is going deeper with rugby, huddling with Six Nations Rugby on an exclusive multi-year US media rights agreement for the Six Nations Championship, the world’s oldest and most prestigious rugby championship. The deal kicks in with the 2018 Six Nations Championship, which will see NBC Sports present live coverage of all Six Nations matches across its digital and linear platforms. “Our multi-year partnership with Six Nations Rugby further establishes our commitment to the sport of rugby, one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports Group. “The Six Nations Championship is an iconic centerpiece of our robust rugby portfolio, which has featured the addition of exclusive U.S. media rights for the Rugby World Cup and Premiership Rugby in the past two years.”
 
Meanwhile, NBC Sports Group and IRONMAN announced a partnership to showcase coverage of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship live from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on Oct. 14 on NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins with the legendary IRONMAN World Championship swim course in Kailua Bay at 12:30p on NBCSN and includes live look-ins throughout race day on NBC and NBCSN, and more than nine hours of live streaming race coverage.
 
In other deal news, Combate Americas and Telemundo Deportes inked a partnership to produce the first-ever Telemundo broadcast of a live MMA event with “Copa Combate,” a one-night, eight-man tournament with the winner taking home a $100,000 grand prize. The event will take place on November 11 at 11:30p from Cancun. 
 
In ratings news, the 2017 WNBA Finals on ESPN, which saw the Minnesota Lynx crowned the WNBA Champions, ranked as the highest-rated since 2003. The five-game series averaged a 0.5 metered market rating, up 24% over last year, based on Nielsen metered market ratings. Wednesday’s Game 5 on ESPN was the highest-rated WNBA Finals game since 2003, delivering a 0.8 metered market rating, doubling last year’s Game 5 rating, snaring a 7.9 rating in the Minneapolis market.
 
TBS’s coverage of the NL Wild Card game helped the network win the night across all of cable television as the Rockies/Diamondbacks game averaged 4.4 million total viewers for a markup of 5% over the net’s 2016 Wild Card telecast. Meanwhile, live streaming across Turner’s TVE platforms generated a 44% increase in video streams vs. 2016
 
Around the dial, NHL opening night on NBCSN, pitting Blues/Penguins and Flyers/Sharks, scored a Total Audience Delivery of 701,000 viewers to mark the second best ever on the network. NHL Faceoff ‘17 on the channel averaged 395,000 viewers in the P18-49 demo, according to Nielsen, ranking as the most-watched regular-season NHL doubleheader ever in the demo on the channel.
 
ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot will make its week 6 stop at TCU on Saturday at 9a. The stop marks the first time since 2009 that the show will visit the campus and takes place ahead of the West Virginia/TCU matchup at 3:30p. GameDay will originate from the Campus Commons on TCU’s campus, with live SportsCenter segments beginning at 7:30a prior to Saturday’s show.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
DEADLINE ALERT
Submit your short form video content by 10/20!
 
The deadline for the  Cynopsis Short Form Video Festival  is just  2 weeks away and we could not be more impressed by these short form innovators who are continuing to shape the landscape and push boundaries in the space.Winning videos be screened at our one-of-a-kind festival on March 7 in NYC ( details here )
 
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Hisense USA signed on as a comprehensive partnership to become the Official TV and Appliance Manufacturer of the US National Soccer Teams with the deal running the 2018 World Cup, 2019 Women’s World Cup, U.S. Soccer Development Academy, and U.S. Men’s and Women’s Youth National Soccer Teams. “In addition to our global FIFA partnership, our U.S. Soccer partnership offers an amazing opportunity to bring families and soccer fans together throughout the year and cheer on our country during some of the biggest sporting events in the world,” said Mark Viken, Vice President of Marketing at Hisense USA. “Soccer is a global sport with incredibly passionate fans. We’re excited to introduce that passionate market to our industry-leading TV lineup to deliver the ultimate viewing experience.”
 
The New Jersey Devils, via parent company Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, has become the first NHL franchise to form a strategic partnership with a National Women’s Hockey League team, the Riveters. The goal of the new strategic alliance will be to support the growth of the NWHL and increase the development and visibility of girls’ and women’s hockey in New Jersey and across the metropolitan area. In addition, the Devils and Prudential Center will share resources in order to enhance the Riveters’ operations – including marketing, sales, events, game presentation and facilities. As part of the alliance, the Devils and Riveters will have a unique NWHL-NHL doubleheader on Oct. 28.
 
UFC unveiled a multi-year partnership with BODYARMOR Sports Drink in a move that makes the brand the first-ever “Official Sports Drink” of UFC. The deal begins in 2018 and will see BODYARMOR will supply its line of sports hydration products: BODYARMOR sports drink and BODYARMOR LYTE, to the UFC Performance Institute’s two “BODYARMOR Hydration Stations”. The brand will also serve as the presenting sponsor of select UFC weigh-in events, along with providing corner branding of stools, towels and buckets inside UFC’s Octagon during all U.S.-based events.
 
Clemson University, Founders Federal Credit Union and JMI Sports announced a comprehensive seven-year partnership that expands Founders’ commitment to Clemson Athletics and Clemson University. Founders is now the Official Credit Union Partner of the Clemson Tigers and Clemson University, and will have an enhanced presence in the Clemson community with expanded visibility in athletics and greater integration into campus life and student events. In addition, Founders will now be offering its members a Clemson cobranded Debit Card this fall.
 
Sports nutrition brand MET-Rx penned a multi-year partnership with professional baseball player Cody Bellinger. Through this partnership, MET-Rx becomes Bellinger’s official sports nutrition partner with the brand’s comprehensive product lineup that includes BIG 100 Meal Replacement Bars, High Protein Milk Shakes and Super Hydration Sports Drinks.
 
The United Soccer Leagues named Act Global as the Official Synthetic Turf Supplier in a three-year deal. Act Global will be an official supplier for all related properties, including the United Soccer League, USL’s Division III, the Premier Development League and the Super Y League. In addition, Act Global will have a presence at the USL’s annual Winter Summit in December.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

The NFL and NextVR are bringing their partnership back for a second season for an immersive post-game experience in virtual reality featuring highlights from five 2017 regular season games. The NFL VR Experiences will be hosted by Reggie Bush and Elika Sadeghi and showcase the best VR moments from the game and be available to fans on-demand in the NextVR app. Coverage will include the Packers/Vikings on Oct. 15, Chargers/Patriots on Oct. 29; Cowboys/Falcons on Nov. 12; Broncos/Raiders on Nov. 26 Cowboys/Giants on Dec. 10.
 
Speaking of VR, Raycom Sports and the Atlantic Coast Conference announced the launch of football content to ACC Virtual Reality presented by Havoline. The mobile application, developed in partnership between Raycom Sports, the ACC, and EON Sports and will offer unique football 360 content from each ACC school that includes behind the scenes footage, on field and sideline perspectives, locker room tours, and more.
 
Sports data provider Opta reached an agreement with US Soccer to become the Federation’s Official Live Match Data Provider. The three-year deal will support the development and identification of youth players in the United States, the performance analysis of Men’s and Women’s National Teams, and the integration of data-driven digital content to further engage US Soccer fans. The agreement also includes data collection and management for all Men’s and Women’s National Team games, and data and video analysis tools to further each team’s performance analysis.
 
The NBA is launching a series of new fantasy basketball initiatives for the 2017-18 season with its Official NBA Fantasy Scoring, which will be embedded within NBA.com and serve as the standard across all Official NBA Games on Yahoo!, FanDuel, NBA InPlay, PlayON and Dream11. The new scoring system, which was created through data analysis and feedback from NBA partners and fans, will be: Points: 1; Steals: 3; Rebounds: 1.2; Blocks: 3; Assists: 1.5; Turnovers: -1. To celebrate the start of the NBA regular season, FanDuel will introduce “NBA Passport to London,” where fans can enter daily contests during the season’s opening week for a chance to win a VIP trip to NBA London Game 2018 between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics on Jan. 11.
 
 
ESPORTS

ELEAGUE is poised to hold its second Major Championship in two years featuring Valve’s CS:GO. The ELEAGUE Major: Boston will showcase live competition originating from Boston University’s Agganis Arena – including the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Championship from Jan. 26-28. Early round competition will come from ELEAGUE’s home in Atlanta at ELEAGUE Arena at Turner Studios in Atlanta. “We’re looking forward to hosting our second ELEAGUE Major in back-to-back years and bringing a CS:GO championship to Boston for the first time,” said Craig Barry, Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports. “Following the record-setting engagement during last year’s ELEAGUE Major, we appreciate Valve’s ongoing trust in us and all of the continued support from the esports community.”
 
Overwatch League unveiled its second team name and first in the US with the introduction of the Dallas Fuel. The Texas-based squad, from Team Envy, will continue the Boys in Blue tradition with colors that include blue, gray, and black with a logo that features an iconic blue flame set against a bold typeface announcing the team name. “We’re thrilled to bring a championship-caliber franchise to the area with the Dallas Fuel,” said Mike Rufail, the Texas-born owner and CEO of Team Envy. “In choosing a name, we wanted to speak to our Texas roots, connect with the legacy of our partners Ken Hersh and the Hersh Interactive Group, and provide a rallying cry for local fans as esports continues to grow. Fuel accomplishes that, and the Dallas Fuel is a team we’re proud to permanently plant in Texas.”
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

UFC named Paul Asencio as Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships. Asencio joins UFC after spending the past two years with Fanatics, where he served as Vice President of Venue Business Development.
 
Outdoor Sportsman Group named Mike Carney as Chief Operating Officer of Outdoor Sportsman Group Publishing and Branded Media. Previously, Carney was Executive Vice President and Group Publisher for Outdoor Sportsman Group.

 
THE MAIN EVENT

Yankees/Indians open play today at 5p on MLB Network.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Digital Awards Finalists and “It List” Honorees Announced!
 
The Cynopsis Model D Awards and The Digital “It List” brings together innovators and creator at the forefront of online video, elevating the industry with their contributions to branded content, technology, ad campaigns and original content.
 
We hope you’ll join us on Thursday, November 10 for our 5 th Annual Digital Awards!
 
 

ON THIS DAY in 1991: The Baltimore Orioles played their last game at Memorial Stadium.
 
In the Know: Which NCAA Division I football team boasts the nation’s longest current winning streak? (Major hint: they didn’t play in a bowl game last year.) (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 was the last Fresno State player to be drafted by the NBA? Answer: Paul George. Kudos: Nate Hammond-JCC/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Wayne “World B.” Otto-Pro-Am Sports/Boone; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
 
Later — Chris
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