10.21.15 Good morning. It’s Wednesday October 21, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
In the thick of scandal, the FIFA Executive Committee announced that it had approved a set of measures to strengthen its governance and “increase the transparency of Ethics Committee proceedings while reiterating its commitment to necessary reforms already underway” while confirming that the date for special session of its congress to name a new President will take place on Feb. 26. Rule changes, once approved, would include an amendment to allow the Ethics Committee to publish more information about its ongoing proceedings, a 12-year term limit for presidents and an age limit of 74 for the president and executives. The reform committee also recommended that the annual pay of the president and executives be made public. Any changes have to be approved by all 209 FIFA members.
With a little help from the Force, ESPN’s MNF once again took the night among all networks in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. The Giants/Eagles matchup averaged an 8.7 household rating with 13,901,000 viewers, The 10-10:15p quarter-hour which included halftime and the exclusive debut of Lucasfilm’s new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens averaged a 9.7 rating and 15,887,000 viewers. In New York, the game delivered a 9.4 rating on ESPN and a 4.6 on WPIX-CW, for a combined 14.0 rating in the market. In Philadelphia, the game delivered a 16.5 rating on ESPN and a 15.8 on WPHL-IND, for a combined 32.3 rating in the market.
PwC took a look at the future of sports revenues in its newest study At the Gate and Beyond: An Outlook for the Sports Market in North America Through 2019. The company projects that fees paid to show sporting events on multiple platforms are expected to hit $16.4 billion by the end of the year and projects media rights to increase at a compound annual rate of 7.2% hitting $20.6 billion in 2019, making media rights the industry’s largest segment by 2018, surpassing gate revenues, sponsorship or merchandising. Meanwhile, the report projects sponsorship to grow at a compound annual rate of 4.5%, from an estimated $14.7B in 2014 to a projected $15.3 in 2015 and $18.3B in 2019.
ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA Countdown returns tonight at 7:30p with preseason coverage. Sage Steele returns for her third season as NBA Countdown host, joining analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins and appear on pregame shows ahead of NBA on ESPN Friday doubleheaders, Saturday Night NBA on ABC and NBA Sunday Showcase on ABC. In addition, the network will see Chauncey Billups join the Wednesday edition of NBA Countdown as an analyst, alongside Jalen Rose and Doris Burke, who is in her second season on the show.
NBC Sports is reporting that Sunday Night Football has posted viewership increases for seven consecutive games to open the season, resulting in the best start in nearly two decades for the primetime package. Through the opening six weeks of the NFL season (seven telecasts), the franchise is now averaging 24.1 million viewers with a 14.1/24 household rating, marking the best start for the broadcast primetime package in 18 years.
ESPN announced that it 2015-16 women’s college basketball regular-season schedule will showcase 137 games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and Longhorn Network to mark an all-time high. ESPN2’s women’s basketball schedule opens with the annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon presented by Constant Contact on Nov. 16, showcasing three-time defending national champion UConn at No. 13 Ohio State at 5:30p. ESPN’s portion includes two early-season top-25 matchups, plus two February dates that include a Netflex option. ESPN plays host to 37 games, including all Big Monday contests and each Sunday, beginning January 10, throughout the conference season. ESPNU carries a 20-game slate. ESPN networks will continue to carry all 63 games of the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship presented by Capital One, culminating with the NCAA Women’s Final Four from Indianapolis, on April 3 and 5.
The Charlotte Sports Foundation unveiled plans for the University of South Carolina to play North Carolina State University in the 2017 Belk College Kickoff Game in Charlotte. “Belk is thrilled to host NC State and South Carolina in the 2017 Belk College Kickoff Game in Charlotte,” said Jon Pollack, Belk’s Executive Vice President of sales promotion, marketing and eCommerce. “What a tremendous way to start the 2017 college football season with two passionate fan bases and two talented teams in a border rivalry game.”
CBS Sports Network detailed coverage plans for this week’s PBR World Finals, with programming beginning today and running through Sunday with more than 17 hours of programming slotted over the five day span. Throughout the week, CBS Sports Network also offers Inside the PBR World Finals, a live show airing Wednesday-Saturday at 8:30p and Sunday at 3:30p. Craig Hummer, Ty Murray, Justin McBride, JW Hart and reporter Leah Garcia announce, along with bullfighter Shorty Gorham.
Nicktoons is tapping Whistle Sports to air Top Ten Trick Shots as the newest edition to the NickSports programming block. The series debuts tonight at 9p and include twelve 3-5 minute episodes. The weekly countdown show covers the craziest trick shot and stunt videos from across the web with host Mike Lockyer and ranks them in a top-ten countdown. The weekly block showcases long- and short- form content including the NFL Rush Zone, NFL Rush, NASCAR’s Hammer Down, WWE Slam City, EA SPORTS Game Changers, animated series Wild Grinders NFL Flag Championship at the Super Bowl and Little Ballers.
BTN announced plans for its 2015-16 wrestling coverage, presented by returning sponsor Cliff Keen Athletic with a schedule that includes the Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern; a matchup between Ohio State and Penn State; the NWCA National Duals; and coverage of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Iowa City. The championships’ final session will be carries live at 4p on March 6. BTN will also offer fans the new wrestling series B1G Mat Attack starting Jan 11, compiling conference dual matches from the previous weekend to be showcased on Monday nights.
Film/TV distributor and multi-channel network The Orchard inked a distribution deal with Nitro Circus giving the company worldwide distribution rights to Nitro Circus’ eight-film back catalog and three upcoming releases. The deal marks the sixth extreme sports catalog licensing agreement for The Orchard, following deals with Red Bull Media House, Brain Farm, Fanclub Media and others. “Nitro Circus is excited to launch our relationship with The Orchard with an epic first release: Action Figures,” says Michael Porra, Nitro Circus’ CEO and Creative Director. “This is Travis’ directorial debut and a one-of-a-kind film that is sure to take the world of action sports by storm. Nitro Circus produces the most engaging action sports media in the world and this partnership will ensure the next evolution of Nitro Circus content is made available to consumers globally.”
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Sheraton Hotels & Resorts and Starwood Preferred Guest signed on for a new partnership with Major League Baseball that makes Sheraton the “Official Hotel of Major League Baseball” and SPG as the “Official Hotel Loyalty Program of Major League Baseball.” The new partnership offers guests access to games while on the road, as well as the opportunity to bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Sheraton will celebrate the partnership this fall by hosting special screenings of MLB Postseason games at select hotels across North America. “We are thrilled to become the ‘Official Hotel of Major League Baseball,’ a sport we know is a true passion for a lot of our Sheraton guests,” said Dave Marr, Global Brand Leader for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. “The partnership provides Starwood with the ability to connect with the MLB fan base, a large and highly engaged audience that will help support the brand’s repositioning and further drive loyalty.”
Dentsu Aegis Network unveiled the formation of a ninth global network brand, MKTG, the lifestyle marketing agency it acquired a year ago. The global network will now be able to utilize the resources of MKTG with leading sports and entertainment consultancy agency Team Epic. The realigned agency will now offer clients an “integrated through-the-line service offering including sports and entertainment consulting, experiential marketing, sponsorship identification, negotiation and activation, hospitality, strategy, research and insights, custom measurement, digital and creative capabilities, content development, design and retail marketing.” As the agencies transition towards operating as one global brand over the next 12 months, MKTG along with Team Epic will grow from 600 full time employees and 7,000 brand ambassadors in the United States, to nearly 1,000 full time employees in 14 countries.
The Seattle Seahawks are booking a multi-year partnership extension with Delta Air Lines to continue serving as the Official Airline of the team. The Seahawks will continue to charter Delta for every road game and continue to title the Delta Sky360 Club at CenturyLink Field. The extension will also see the Seahawks rebrand their five-state, 48 station radio network as the Delta Air Lines Radio Network. Steve Raible and Warren Moon call the action with Jen Mueller as sideline reporter every game during the preseason and regular season. “From enhancing the fan experience at the Delta Sky360 Club, to flying the Seahawks to away games, and everything in between, three years of partnership has flown by,” said Mike Medeiros, Delta’s Vice President – Seattle. “As the Official Airline of the Seahawks, we look forward to supporting our Hawks and the 12s both at the airport and on the field for many years to come.”
Extreme sports channel PX TV is getting a facelift, lining up an updated logo and renewed content. The changes reflect the Hispanic network’s commitment “to serve the evolving interests of its viewers while continuing to keep them connected to the most relevant extreme sports events, athletes, competition results and news.” “We have learned from our viewers what topics interest them the most their feedback vital in helping us to create a strong identity for the network, from its overall vibe to its programming lineup and everything in between,” said Alejandro Mercado, President of PX TV. “Our fresh look and reinvigorated content focus are just a hint of what’s to come.”
Ahead of MLS’ Decision Day, which will see all Eastern Conference teams kick off at 5p, while Western Conference teams begin at 7p on Sunday, the league is expanding its Twitter ties, which will see the platform send Twitter mirrors to all teams, share vines of goals and big plays, utilize user-generated content and give away a trip to the MLS Cup. Social media staffers will be present at every MLS stadium. "There a bunch of content initiatives we’re doing at venues,” said Twitter’s head of North American sports partnerships, Danny Keens, to SI.com. "For fans, we’re able to drop them into multiple MLS Decision Day games at once. So fans can connect with all the action that’s taking place on the day and bring them closer to the action than ever before, with Twitter being the center of that universe.”
Editor’s Note: Please join the Cynopsis team and your industry peers for the half-day Programmatic TV Summit on Nov. 5. Register now.
WWE’s upcoming original series Breaking Ground will make its debut on the WWE Facebook page and the WWE YouTube channel at noon on Sunday before shifting to its regular WWE Network timeslot on Oct. 26 following Monday Night Raw. William Shatner narrates with the show offering viewers access to the WWE Performance Center, chronicling what it takes to become a WWE Superstar. “We remain committed to developing premium, original content on WWE Network,” said Michelle Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. “Breaking Ground will give our fans unprecedented access and a look into what it takes to make it in WWE.”
ESPN Digital scored a record-setting 94.4 million unique visitors in the U.S. in September, to set a new high for the sports category previously set by ESPN in January. Fans spent 10.3 billion minutes using ESPN digital properties and drew 1.0 billion total visits, according to the company.
Hispanic OTT provider VIVOplay locked in a deal with Alterna’TV to boost its sports slate, and will now carry PX TV, Latin American Sports and AYM Sports channels, which are represented by Alterna’TV.
Mets/Cubs on TBS at 8p.
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Social media influencers have never been more important to marketers, but how do you find, and nurture, these crucial opinion shapers? The latest Cynopsis webinar, Finding Social Media Influencers to Boost Ratings & Brands, on Thursday, October 29, will show you how to identify and reach the tastemakers who can raise awareness and drive engagement.
ON THIS DAY in 1980: The Phillies win the World Series.
In The Know:Who was the number one pick in the 2004 MLS soccer draft at the age of 14? (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: From what school was Drew Brees drafted? Answer: Purdue. Kudos: Russell Sargeant-NBC Sports/NY; Mark McDonald-ESPN/NY; Rich Allport-adMarketplace/NY; Frank Costa-CBS Sports/NY; Rob Biertempfel-Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh; Chris Kiernan-MVPindex/Southport; Guy Schuman-Myrtle Beach Pelicans/Myrtle Beach; Aaron Mansfield-SportsMEDIA Technology/Raleigh; Holly Goode-KFC NCAC/Louisville; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Dory Petsrillo-HRP/Dallas; John Campbell-KCRG-TV/Cedar Rapids; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Daniel Hanson/Vail; Scott Sarra-Universal Sports Network/Denver; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary Dinos 5th Quarter Alumni Development/Calgary; Steve Hirsen-Producer/Director/Sherman Oaks; Curtis Nettles-CBS TV Stations/LA; Rich Greene-FOX/LA; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego.
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