10/18/17: The NBA and Kia renewed their partnership ahead of the new season

Good morning. It’s Wednesday October 18, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

With the NBA season officially underway, the league unveiled a slate of activations as well as new deals including a multiyear marketing partnership extension with Kia Motors America that runs across the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League.  In addition to continuing to serve as the Official Automotive Partner across all three leagues, Kia will become more involved with the NBA Draft as an associate partner and will remain the title partner of key on-court platforms, including Kia NBA Tip-Off, Kia NBA All-Star MVP and the Kia NBA Performance Awards. In addition, the brand will enhance its Top Plays platform and continue as the title partner of the monthly Performance Awards, recognizing the top player and rookie from each conference.
“The partnership between the NBA and Kia has been pivotal in increasing brand and consumer awareness and an uptick in consideration of the Kia brand, and we are excited to extend our partnership and continue connecting with the league and its passionate fans,” said Saad Chehab, Vice President of Marketing Communications, Kia Motors America.  “Both Kia and the NBA have a broad appeal across a large segment of the consumer public and through this partnership we hope to keep Kia top-of-mind among the confident, independent NBA fans and drive them, literally to Kia’s showrooms.”

USA Hockey and NHL Network locked in a deal that gives NHL Network the exclusive US rights to televise the IIHF World Junior Championship, IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship and the IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship through 2021. NHL Network will provide complete coverage of each tournament, including game telecasts and comprehensive previews, highlights and analysis within its studio programming. The deal also includes NHL Network’s live coverage of four US Women’s National Team exhibition games against Canada beginning this Sunday at 2p.
FOX Sports reports that the 2017 American League Championship Series between the Yankees/Astros is averaging 5,815,000 through three games on FOX & FS1, according to Nielsen. That is up 57% over the 2016 ALCS and marks the best start since 2013. Game 3 in the Bronx delivered 5,393,000 viewers across FS1 (5,108,000), FOX Deportes (200,000) and FOX Sports GO (85,000).
In addition, FOX’s presentation of Saturday’s Premier Boxing Champions saw the full card average a 1.2/2 rating, with 1,483,000 million viewers. Viewership was up +67% over FOX’s last PBC event in July. Among Adults 18-49, Saturday’s fight card was 85% better than last July’s PBC event on FOX (494,000 vs. 267,000).On FOX Deportes, the fight brought in 68,000 viewers, making it the fourth-most watched PBC event to date on the network.
CBS Sports Network is bringing Jim Rome and his CBS Sports Radio program, The Jim Rome Show to the Network’s weekday programming lineup. Starting Jan. 2, the channel will simulcast the nationally syndicated radio show on weekdays from noon-3p.
ESPN announced plans to premiere the first episode of Chris Paul’s Chapter 3, a docuseries from ESPN Films that chronicles Paul’s offseason journey of joining the Houston Rockets tomorrow night at 7p on the network. Oct. 24 will then see all three episodes running from 8-9:30p on ESPN.
NBCSN will present Kyle & Rut’s Racing Roots: Daniel Suarez, a 30-minute special chronicling 2016 XFINITY Series Champion Daniel Suarez’s road to professional racing on Sunday at 8p. The special is hosted Kyle Petty and Rutledge Wood. The NBC Sports original program provides an in-depth look at how Suarez became the first Latin American driver to win a NASCAR national series championship.
The WNBA and NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the relocation of the San Antonio Stars to Las Vegas. MGM Resorts International will own and operate the team, which will begin play in Las Vegas in the 2018 season at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. In addition, MGM Resorts International has named Bill Laimbeer as the team’s President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach. 
Speaking of relocation, the owner of Columbus Crew SC says the club may leave Columbus. Precourt Sports Ventures noted that the company was exploring options that included a potential relocation to Austin. “Despite our investments and efforts, the current course is not sustainable,” said Anthony Precourt, CEO of Precourt Sports Ventures and chairman of Columbus Crew SC. “This Club has ambition to be a standard bearer in MLS, therefore we have no choice but to expand and explore all of our options. This includes a possible move to Austin, which is the largest metropolitan area in North America without a major league sports franchise. Soccer is the world’s game, and with Austin’s growing presence as an international city, combined with its strong multicultural foundation, MLS in Austin could be an ideal fit.”
Tough Mudder and Invictus Events and Entertainment Pty Ltd locked in a new partnership to bring the obstacle course challenge to South Africa in 2018. The multi-year partnership with IEE in South Africa marks the first time Tough Mudder has licensed its signature challenges in the country and its first on the African continent. 
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Back to the NBA, the league laid out a plethora of activations for the new season, including Express, Inc. announcing an Express’ NBA-themed “Game Changers” campaign centered around Brandon Ingram, Denzel Valentine, Jamal Murray and John Collins. Express will tip-off the partnership with a series of lifestyle videos, which will reveal the brand ambassadors’ performance, style, determination and the will to win both on and off the court.
Meanwhile, other new NBA activations include (but are not limited to):
  • American Express and the NBA will launch their league-wide benefit program, as part of the multiyear renewal, which includes themed offers and experiences for Card Members and serve as the presenting partner of the Road Show on TNT.
  • Mobil 1 will continue to activate around the protection platform this season with endorser and NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo
  • Jack Daniel‘s will conduct an online digital sweepstakes giving two lucky fans the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to NBA All-Star 2018 in Los Angeles
  • Nike is now the Official Outfitter of the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, and USA Basketball and will serve as an Official Partner of NBA Global Games, NBA All-Star, NBA Draft, and Basketball Without Borders
  • The State Farm Assist Tracker on NBA.com will again track assists around the NBA. Every assist on the court will trigger an assist off the court through a corresponding donation from State Farm and NBA, driving local assists in communities around the country
  • Under Armour will be launching its new NBA Draft Combine product line around Kia NBA Tip-Off
The NBA on TNT launched a special initiative to raise funding and awareness to benefit ongoing recovery efforts in areas most affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. As part of this initiative, Turner Sports and the NBA are teaming up to support an auction of official game worn jerseys for Opening Night teams with all proceeds donated to the One America Appeal. Details for the auction are available via Bleacher Report at http://bleacherreport.com/hurricanerelief.
United World Sports announced that The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company signed on as a sponsor of the Silicon Valley 7’s and title Sponsor of the Collegiate Fall Rugby Classic, both of which will be part of Silicon Valley International 7’s rugby weekend at San Jose’s Avaya Stadium on Nov. 4-5. “Penn Mutual has seen great return in our business goals through the support of rugby, especially at the collegiate level, and we are very pleased to be part of Silicon Valley International 7’s rugby weekend,”said Tom Harris, Executive Vice President, Distribution, at Penn Mutual. “The growth the sport is seeing in this country is tremendous and we are looking forward to a great weekend in November.”
Buffalo Agency and former PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka are expanding their strategy consultation offerings with the formation of Steranka Sports + Strategy. SS+S will look to offer insights and counsel on media, technology, sustainability, event management and consumer-behavior trends to companies and organizations involved in the sports lifestyle.
The Madison Square Garden Company and MSG Networks announced a renewed and expanded 10-year marketing partnership with Delta Air Lines. Delta will remain the Official Airline and Private Jet Carrier of Madison Square Garden, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theatre, New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Liberty, the Concert Series at Madison Square Garden, the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes and the Boston Calling Music Festival. As part of the renewed partnership, MSG and Delta will work together on a digital content platform with pieces customized around the Knicks, Rangers, Christmas Spectacular and the Concert Series at Madison Square Garden to amplify key activations and extend the partnership’s reach beyond events at MSG venues.

Ticketmaster and the NFL unlocked a multi-year extension of their partnership that will see Ticketmaster provide the league with the first open architecture, fully digital ticketing system in sports. Ticketmaster will continue to power the official NFL resale marketplace, the NFL Ticket Exchange, which will be migrated into the fully integrated primary and resale platform on Ticketmaster.com. Ticketmaster will utilize its next generation venue software, Presence, to enable the new digital ticketing system throughout the NFL.  By moving to digital ticketing, which can include physical and mobile options, teams will gain access to a range of real-time insights about where tickets are traded and who is attending the event to help them better serve their customers and deliver a more secure in-venue environment.  

released new data and unveiled new activations for NBA fans for the new season, with featured that will include 30 team hashtag-triggered emojis + special league hashtag emojis using #NBA and #NBATwitter; live programs “The Starters Twitter Show” and “The Warmup”; as well as data on the most-mentioned NBA teams and players entering the 2017-18 season plus the top followed NBA teams and players on Twitter.

Outside TV will debut A Life in Proximity to their streaming platform Outside TV Features. The original series, produced by Teton Gravity Research, in association with Taylor Steele and commissioned by Outside TV, follows eight of the world’s best surfers around the globe in search of the ideal wave. The series debuts tomorrow on the platform.

The franchise base for the North American League of Legends Championship Series continues to grow. ESPN reports that the franchise applications of Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, Team Liquid and Cloud9 have been accepted, and they would join the previously reported groups from OpTic Gaming and Golden State Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob to represent six teams in the league.
Ryan Howard’s venture capital firm, SeventySix Capital, is investing in esports event producers N3rd Street Gamers. The deal will help the company orchestrate a nationwide expansion, courtest of the venture capital firm, managed by Wayne Kimmel, Jon Powell and Howard. NSG empowers esports communities with arena facilities, production studios, gaming equipment, administration and broadcast services. “There’s no denying that esports are rapidly growing in popularity,” said Howard. “Events and leagues are now broadcast to tens of millions of viewers online and on traditional television.”
Buffalo Wild Wings locked in a partnership with Team Dignitas to become the “Official Hangout for Team Dignitas” and will receive “prominent” logo placement on the sleeve of Team Dignitas jerseys, player appearances at restaurants, exclusive content featuring players, and branding on monthly Team Dignitas live streams on Twitch and Facebook.The partnership will officially kick off with the first “Buffalo Wild Wings Stream of the Month” when Elle “Ellektrikk” Lockyer conducts an all-day live stream on Twitch today at 10:30a. Buffalo Wild Wings and Team Dignitas will also present a 1v1 amateur League of Legends tournament at TwitchCon this weekend and host an online amateur tournament in the coming months.
Adidas filed an opposition to ELEAGUE’s trademark application. Dot Esports reports that the opposition relates to ELEAGUE’s “E” logo, which consists of three lines, which Adidas believes is too similar to its own logo of three lines and would lead – according to the sports brand – to confusion and dilution.
Fnatic unveiled the team’s first-ever music partner in Deezer. “We’re extremely excited to enter into a partnership with Deezer, a leading and innovative music streaming service. Music makes an important part of everyone’s life and so is gaming for our massive fanbase. Deezer’s passion for music makes it a perfect fit for Fnatic. Our partnership enables us to enhance the experience of Fnatic and esports fans alike and will see us breaking new grounds in esports partnerships,” said Wouter Sleijffers, CEO of Fnatic.

Global brand engagement network Havas Sports & Entertainment USA appointed Daniel Dao as its new EVP, Managing Director. In his new role, Dao will deliver innovative insights to the agency’s portfolio of clients, including The Coca-Cola Company, LVMH, Harley-Davidson, and Delta, among others.
DraftKings named R. Stanton Dodge as its new Chief Legal Officer, effective Nov. 6. Dodge will oversee the Legal and Government Affairs teams based in the Boston headquarters and report into DraftKings CEO and co-founder, Jason Robins. “

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