10.07.15 Good morning. It’s Wednesday October 7, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The NHL is handing global media rights to IMG. The multiyear deal will see IMG market and distribute rights outside the U.S., Canada and Nordic countries, beginning with the 2016-17 NHL season. In addition, IMG will work alongside the National Hockey League Players’ Association and the league to make the 2016 World Cup of Hockey available to the same territories worldwide.
"Our partnership will be based on a collaborative approach,” said Hillary Mandel, Senior Vice President & Head of Media, North America at IMG. “The reach and expertise of our global sales team allows us to act on a sales and consultancy basis, as this extensive knowledge of each regional market means we can work strategically with both organizations. As a result, this is an exciting opportunity to make the NHL far more accessible to both its existing global fan base and a new generation of hockey fans."
The Seahawks win over the Lions bolstered ESPN’s Monday Night Football to another win for the night among all networks in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. The game averaged a 9.0 household rating with 14,403,000 per Nielsen. This marks the highest-rated and most-viewed MNF game so far in 2015. In Detroit, the game delivered a 9.3 rating on ESPN and a 15.0 on WXYZ-ABC, for a combined 24.3 rating in the market. In Seattle, the game delivered a 20.3 rating on ESPN and a 26.0 on KONG-IND, for a combined 46.3 rating in the market.
NBC Sports saw, for the first time in the 10-season history of Sunday Night Football, viewership and household rating rise in each of the network’s first five games, according to national data from Nielsen, to mark the best start in more than two decades for the property. Through the opening four weeks of the NFL season (five telecasts), SNF is averaging 25.3 million viewers to hit the best viewership for the league’s broadcast primetime package at this point in the season in 22 years. NBC Sports Live Extra saw, through the five games, 106 million live minutes delivered with 1.5 million unique user, up 61% and 17%, respectively, from 2014.
MLB Network detailed plans for its telecast of Game Two of the ALDS between the Rangers/Blue Jays set for Friday at 12:30p, serving up with Bob Costas, Jim Kaat, Harold Reynolds and Ken Rosenthal on the call. Sunday’s Game Three will see Matt Vasgersian, John Smoltz and Jon Paul Morosi on microphone duties at 4p for the Royals contest against the Wild Card winner. In each game telecast, MLB Network will utilize Statcast powered by Amazon Web Services, MLB Advanced Media’s tracking technology, as well as the real-time defensive alignment graphic Shift Trax and PITCHf/x, to provide live and in-depth metrics about every play. MLB Network’s ALDS game telecasts will also feature enhanced audio at each base, plus Phantom and X-Mo camera technology to provide dramatically increased resolution and clarity to replays.
The approach of the CONCACAF Cup between the US and Mexico on Oct. 10 will see FS1 kick off coverage on Friday with Countdown to the CONCACAF Cup at 7:30p, previewing the two teams. Rob Stone hosts with analysis from Alexi Lalas and Eric Wynalda as well as Brad Friedel and Mariano Trujillo. The match itself runs in primetime at 9:30p on Saturday featuring John Strong calls the contest with analysis from Stu Holden. In addition, FS1 partnered with Fathom Events to give the battle the big screen treatment with over 200 movie theaters across the country set to showcase the game and the last 30 minutes of the extensive pregame show live.
Around the dial, Univision Deportes tackles the CONCACAF Cup, with El Gordo y la Flaca presenta Eternos Rivales as pregame, featuring co-hosts Lili Estefan and Raul de Molina and Carlos Calderon. Channel celebs Alejandra Espinoza, Cecilia Galiano, Laura Gonzalez, Omar Chaparro, Danilo Carrera, Fernando Colunga and Jorge Salinas, will also join the special show in LA.
beIN SPORTS locked in its English and Spanish-language live coverage of the first two rounds of the South American CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers taking place tomorrow and Oct. 13. The network offers pre-show coverage, match highlights and in-depth analysis on “The Express Preview,” “The Express Xtra” and “The Locker Room” the talent that includes Kay Murray, Ray Hudson, Phil Schoen, Gary Bailey, Ana Cobos, Miguel Serrano and Eduardo Biscayart.
Don’t miss out on our FREE webinar next week, “Beyond Viral Addiction: Building a Loyal Community for Your Products”, produced with Whistle Sports, on Wednesday, October 14. Speakers include: Whistle Sports EVP Brian Selander; Fit Men Cook’s Kevin Curry; Lacrosse Network’s Samir Chaudry & pro Lacrosse player Paul Rabill; as well as Mashable’s Eric Korsh. Make sure to sign up here.
TRACE locked in a new four-year partnership with Inverleigh Media Holdings, designed to deepen the sportainment genre. The deal will see Inverleigh produce over 100 hours of original content per year for telecast on the TRACE Sport Stars international channel. In addition to this production partnership, TRACE appointed DSI by Inverleigh as its exclusive worldwide distribution partner to represent TRACE Sport Stars’ extensive programming catalogue for broadcast acquisition over the next four years.
For the third consecutive year, ESPN will take part in Hispanic Heritage Month with a television special from One Nacion. The special will include a first-time joint production with FUSION and will be sponsored by Jack Daniels and Samsung Galaxy. The program will air live in a simulcast on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on Oct. 14 at 7p, showcasing the “Latino influence and pride in some of the most popular sports in the US.” This year’s special will see One Nacion will air live from FUSION’s studios in Miami, and feature segments from the Clevelander Hotel in South Beach, co-hosted by ESPN’s Max Bretos, Antonietta “Toni” Collins and Freddy Lomeli, alongside FUSION’s soccer expert Fernando Vila.
Universal Sports Network offers live coverage of the USA Eagles/South Africa Springboks tonight at the Rugby World Cup 2015 at 11a. Prior to kickoff, Universal Sports announcer Bill Seward and analyst Brian Hightower host pre-game coverage.
On the local front, Chicago’s Comcast SportsNet reports nice year-to-year ratings boosts for Cubs games across the city’s market households and in every key demographic category. Comcast SportsNet’s Cubs television ratings averaged a 3.32 household rating in 2015 for a 121% spike over 2014’s 1.50 final household season average and marking the highest Cubs final season average on Comcast SportsNet in six years. Among the demos, the channel scored gains among Adults 18-34 (up 132%), Adults 18-49 (169%), Adults 25-54 (153%), Men 18-34 (129%), Men 18-49 (159%)and Men 25-54 (172%).
FOX Sports Kansas City saw Royals score an all-time high 12.3 household rating in 2015, marking the best numbers for any MLB team on a regional sports network since 2002. Viewership grew 84% over last season, with similar upticks for the Hy-Vee Royals Live pregame (+105%) and Boulevard Royals Live postgame shows (+89%).
Editor’s Note: Please join the Cynopsis team and your industry peers for the half-day Programmatic TV Summit on Nov. 5. Register now.
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adidas continues to go deeper in hockey, announcing a multiyear partnership with the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby. The player will work with adidas to collaborate on apparel and equipment design and development as well as serve as a centerpiece of its marketing campaigns. "There’s no one like Sidney in the game," said adidas Group North America President Mark King. "His creativity on the ice and ability to score, particularly in clutch situations, is unmatched. He’s an iconic athlete who transcends his sport and will go down as one of the best ever to play. He’s a leader on the ice and a fan favorite. He also happens to be a really great guy. When athletes like that want to join your brand, it means something. Special things are happening at adidas and we’re proud to put Sidney in the center of it."
AdLarge Media renewed its deal with Yahoo! Sports Radio and its U.S. radio distributor, Gow Broadcasting. “National ad sales representation from AdLarge Media has been a major contributor to the record-setting yearly and quarterly growth that Yahoo! Sports Radio has realized in 2015. We have been pacing ahead of industry trends,” stated David Gow, Chief Executive Officer, Yahoo! Sports Radio. “We are excited about continuing to work with the AdLarge team to create and grow product integrations, customized programs, live reads, and more for national advertisers.”
Marmot signed on as the new title sponsor of the Boca Raton Bowl. The Marmot Boca Raton Bowl is set to kick off Dec. 22, on ESPN at 7p. “Marmot is constantly seeking out new ways to connect with outdoor enthusiast audiences who watch sports programming live, such as the college football crowd,” said Tom Fritz, Marmot VP of Marketing. “The Marmot Boca Raton Bowl fits perfectly into our strategy to introduce the brand to new consumers in a way that is most likely to be noticed.”
Ahead of tonight’s launch of the NHL season, the Arizona Coyotes unveiled a new brand campaign designed to spotlight “the unique DNA of hockey in Arizona.” The multi-channel campaign will consist of outdoor, digital, broadcast, theatrical, social and event experiences targeting the team’s hockey culture and will back #WeAreCoyotes with a series of online and offline activities. Elements include: a long-form brand film will run during previews in all Phoenix-area movie theaters between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays; a :30 spot; and digital video series such as Coyotes Tracks and 3 O’Clock Feeding. Activations also includes a new “Part of the Pack” program and mobile tour.
Following the rains in flooding in South Carolina, four Minor League Baseball teams in that state are joining forces to support and raise money for flood victims in the state. The Charleston RiverDogs, Columbia Fireflies, Greenville Drive and Myrtle Beach Pelicans announced today they have created a joint GoFundMe page, raising funds for the American Red Cross of the Palmetto SC Region, anchored by the hashtag #PalmettoStrong. Those wishing to contribute should click here.
Big new features in social media. Facebook introduced a new set of tools designed “to help television producers more deeply engage fans around the programming that matters most to them and the content they love to share with friends.” Upgrades for producers include hashtag voting and native polling along with Facebook photo and video submissions, a Facebook Video Gallery; and custom icons. The Pac-12 Conference became the first organization to sign on to use the Native Polling tool.
Twitter unveiled a new feature dubbed Moments that lets users follow editor-curated events from start to finish in the form of tweets, photos and videos. Most moments are assembled by the company’s curation team, with contributions from partners that include Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue and the Washington Post. From the sports perspective, early Moments that were live yesterday included: MLB regular season leaders; MLB plays of the week; Catching up with the NBA champs; Monday Night Football recap; and UF vs. Ole Miss.
Mediarex Sports & Entertainment, the parent company behind the Global Poker Index, is launching the first ever professional team poker initiative when the Global Poker League makes its debut in 2016 in a move to ‘sportify’ the sport. Live events will feature a signature arena dubbed “The Cube, a portable 20ft one way sound proofed cube that will offer spectators the first ever immersive poker event in the world. The Global Poker League will debut in Q1 of 2016, with 12 initial franchise teams, in two conferences: Americas and Eurasia. Expected teams for the Americas are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Toronto and Sao Paolo, whilst Eurasia teams are likely to include London, Paris, Prague, Barcelona, Moscow and Hong Kong. All matches in the Global Poker League season will be livestreamed online, with a number also due to air on TV, in real time, with exclusive pre-match analysis featuring a panel of experts.
Following the headline-grabbing news that a DraftKings employee used company information to win $350,000 on FanDuel, ESPN announced on Tuesday that it would be removing sponsored content for DraftKings from its programs. The situation will be reevaluated on a day-to-day basis, according to multiple reports. DraftKings issued a statement following the report: "Nothing is more important to DraftKings and FanDuel than the integrity of the games we offer to our customers. Both companies have strong policies in place to ensure that employees do not misuse any information at their disposal and strictly limit access to company data to only those employees who require it to do their jobs. Employees with access to this data are rigorously monitored by internal fraud control teams, and we have no evidence that anyone has misused it. However, we continue to review our internal controls to ensure they are as strong as they can be. We also plan to work with the entire fantasy sports industry on this specific issue so that fans everywhere can continue to enjoy and trust the games they love."
MSG Networks promoted two content distribution executives, naming Peter Tulloch as Senior Vice President of Digital Products and Distribution and Armando Polanco as Vice President of Content Distribution. Tulloch will oversee MSG Networks’ digital product operations and strategy, including the development of new digital products, the expansion of MSG Networks’ TV Everywhere streaming platform, MSG GO, and company websites. Polanco is responsible for affiliate sales, affiliate sales operations and affiliate communications for all MSG Network affiliates and charged with increasing content licensing revenue, as well as, securing greater distribution of MSG Networks’ programming.
Cubs/Pirates hit the mound at 8p on TBS. Meanwhile, the NHL season is officially underway on NBCSN with a doubleheader starting at 8p with Rangers/Blackhawks, followed by Sharks/Kings at 10:30p.
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