10/24/17: Closing time for ESPN/Barstool; Timberlake to take back the Super Bowl

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Tuesday October 24, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
It appears to be closing time for ESPN and Barstool Sports. ESPN released a statement yesterday that it had pulled out of a 10-day-old partnership with Barstool Sports. The move comes after a single airing of the late night talk show Barstool Van Talk and criticism for the partnership, including from ESPN’s Sam Ponder, who tweeted screenshots of an article on the Barstool Sports site that screenshots of an article on the Barstool Sports website that included offensive comments about her. “Effective immediately, I am canceling Barstool Van Talk,” said ESPN President John Skipper in a statement. “While we had approval on the content of the show, I erred in assuming we could distance our efforts from the Barstool site and its content.”
 
 
ON THE AIR
The NFL locked in Justin Timberlake to headline the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show taking place on NBC at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota on Feb. 4, 2018. The booking will mark Timberlake’s third time performing on the Super Bowl Halftime stage, giving him the distinction of having the most appearances by an individual entertainer. He previously performed at Super Bowls XXXV and XXXVIII. The news was shared by NBC during half time of its Sunday Night Football game between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.
 
Speaking of SNF, Sunday’s game between the Falcons/Patriots posted a 12.6/21 in Nielsen overnight numbers to rank as the best for any NFL primetime game since Week 1. The 12.6/21 overnight score bested last year’s OT game in Week 7 by 9%. Top markets for Falcons-Patriots on NBC: Boston 38.2/56; Providence 31.2/48; New Orleans 20.8/29; Atlanta 20.6/33; Buffalo 17.1/25.
 
ESPN booked its plans for the 113th World Series, starting with Game 1 on Oct. 24 from Dodger Stadium in LA. Play-by-play voice Dan Shulman will be in the booth with analyst Aaron Boone for the duration of the Fall Classic on ESPN Radio presented by AutoZone with reports from Tim Kurkjian and Buster Olney. Marc Kestecher will be the voice of ESPN Radio’s pre and post-game coverage during the World Series with analyst Chris Singleton. Eduardo Ortega, Renato Bermudez, José F. Rivera and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez will provide World Series coverage onESPN Deportes Radio. Meanwhile, ESPN’s MLB studio show Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet will be on site with multiple daily episodes regularly throughout the World Series.
 
Around the dial, MLB Network takes on the World Series with a lineup of programming that will include interviews, analysis and highlights on High Heat with Christopher Russo, MLB Now, Intentional Talk and MLB Tonight before and after every game from both Dodger Stadium and Minute Maid Park. On-site coverage begins live at 3p on game days with at least 30 hours of live coverage throughout the World Series. On-air personalities are set to includehosts: Bob Costas, Greg Amsinger, Brian Kenny, Chris Rose and Christopher Russo with analysts Sean Casey, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds and World Series champions Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Mike Lowell and Kevin Millar.
 
MLS announced that Atlanta United home Mercedes-Benz Stadium will play host to the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. The date and opponent for next summer’s game — which will be broadcast live on ESPN and UniMás in the United States, TSN and TVA Sports in Canada, and in more than 170 countries across the globe — will be announced at a later date. “We’re proud to bring our 2018 All-Star Game to Atlanta, a city and Club that have taken Major League Soccer by storm,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a league statement. “Atlanta United’s success is one of the most compelling and impressive expansion team launches in the history of pro sports, and a testament to Arthur Blank’s vision and leadership, and the tremendous team that he has built both on and off the field.
 
Speaking of soccer, 2017 MLS postseason action gets underway tomorrow with the Fire/Red Bulls at 8:30p on FS1 and UniMas, followed by the Whitecaps/Earthquakes at 10:30p on UniMas. The next day will see the United/Crew square off on ESPN@ and UniMas at 7p, with the Dynamo/Sporting Kansas City at 9:30p.
 
CBS Sports locked in game selections for its SEC on CBS doubleheader on Nov. 4, with the first game set to feature South Carolina/Georgia at 3:30p. Carter Blackburn, analysts Aaron Taylor and Rick Neuheisel and reporter John Schriffen call the contest from Sanford Stadium. At 8p, the network will feature  LSU/Alabama.  Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce call the action from Bryant-Denny Stadium.
 
Stadium unveiled a lineup of 82 regular season college basketball games across five conference partners that will run on its national digital and over-the-air broadcast linear services. The lineup features games originating from the Atlantic 10, Conference USA, Mountain West, Patriot League, and West Coast Conference. In addition, Stadium will air conference tournament action from each of the five conferences for a total of 95 games in all. The action tips off with Florida A&M/UNLV at 10p on Nov. 11.      
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
StubHub announced a multi-year agreement with the National Football League that makes the company the “NFL Authorized Ticket Resale Marketplace” beginning with the 2018-2019 season. StubHub will be directly integrated with the primary ticketing systems of the League and its clubs, providing an official, safe and seamless way for fans to buy and sell NFL tickets on any digital device. “We are thrilled that the NFL has chosen StubHub’s massive, industry-leading marketplace to give its fans a seamless and reliable ticketing experience,” said Perkins Miller, GM North America of StubHub.  “We applaud the NFL for being among the first professional sports leagues to provide its fans more choices than ever when it comes to buying and selling tickets.”
 
The United Soccer Leagues named Odell as the Preferred Stadium Design Provider for the league. The two-year partnership includes all related properties, including the United Soccer League, USL’s Division III, the Premier Development League (PDL) and the Super Y League. “We are thrilled to have Odell as our Preferred Stadium Design Supplier. There are many USL clubs that are exploring a potential new stadium development, or have already started down that path,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “These venues have the potential to become beacons within their respective markets. Odell brings decades of sports-specific experience to help our clubs design facilities that properly represent their community, while serving the needs of soccer fans.”
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING
FloSports locked in an exclusive deal with bd Global to air four NCAA Division I tournaments, as well as an extension with Basketball Travelers to broadcast the 2017 GCI Great Alaska Shootout tournament, as well as a partnership with Rice Athletics to air five men’s and women’s basketball games during the 2017-18 season. FloSports’ expanded agreement with BTI also includes the addition of Andy Katz, who will serve as an on-air analyst and sideline reporter for the men’s 2017 Paradise Jam on Nov. 17-19, as well as contribute interviews and analysis to FloHoops.com.
 
SAP and the Women’s Tennis Association announced a new online portal that will offer data and insights to media in real time during WTA tournaments – SAP Tennis Analytics. The software uses innovative technologies and analytics to enhance the sport for tennis for players, coaches, tournament organizers, media and fans and includes instant side-by-side player, tournament and career comparisons during live matches.
 
The Olympic Channel will showcase the Olympic Flame Lighting ceremony with online coverage from Olympia today at 5a. on olympicchannel.com and its mobile apps. Following the flame lighting ceremony, the Olympic Channel will be on the ground in Greece and in the Korean city of Incheon on Nov. 1 to mark “100 days to go” as the torch makes its way to PyeongChang for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games on Feb. 9.
 
Twitter reports that – since the MLB #Postseason began on Oct. 3 – there have been nearly 13.5 million playoff related Tweets. Factoids include that Jose Altuve ranks as the most mentioned World Series player on Twitter, with 210k mentions since the playoffs began. Meanwhile, Justin Turner (@redturn2) was the most mentioned Dodger on Twitter during the postseason with 183k mentions this October.
 
ESPORTS
Cloud9 raised $25 million in Series A financing from some familiar faces, announcing new investment from company that include the WWE, Monumental Sports & Entertainment co-owner Raul Fernandez, the Beverly Hills Sports Council, CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz, venture capital firm Founders Fund and a joint investment from tech investors David Sacks and Bill Lee. “We just looked around the space, looked at all the players and did our own evaluation of who we thought would be successful in the long term,” WWE chief strategy and financial officer George Barrios told ESPN.
 
One of the teams representing Los Angeles in the upcoming Overwatch League locked in its moniker, with the team – owned by the Immortals – becoming known as the Los Angeles Valiant. The logo sports a gold-winged helmet representing “both aggressiveness and protectiveness, values which resonate for Overwatch players working together in-game and Valiant parent organization Immortals as it starts a new adventure in the league.”
 
Speaking of Blizzard, the publisher announced that the Heroes Global Championship in 2018 will see a refreshed league structure and enhanced viewing experience next year. All HGC matches will be livestreamed at 1080p and 60 frames per second in 2018 and streamed in languages beyond English on Blizzard-owned channels all year long with the new season starting on Jan. 26. The eight teams in each region will battle for ten weeks in the run-up to the Mid-Season Brawl, pausing after five weeks for the Eastern Clash (Korea and China plus a team from Taiwan) or the Western Clash (Europe and North America). The same sequence repeats over the second half of the year, except teams will be striving for the championship at the HGC Finals. In a twist for 2018, Clash winners will open up an additional spot for another team from their home region at the Mid-Season Brawl or HGC Finals, depending on which half of the year the Clash in question occurs in.
 
Lagardere Sports inked an exclusive worldwide deal with RFRSH Entertainment that will see the agency represent the media rights for the Counter-Strike (CS:GO) BLAST Pro Series. Six of the world’s best Counter-Strike:Global Offensive teams will come together in Copenhagen’s Royal Arena for the new esports tournament, before continuing in major cities across the globe. The deal marks Lagardere Sports’ first step in to esports media rights.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES
STATS announced that it has named Casey Wasserman as its newest Board Director. “Casey is one of the most admired and respected executives across sports, entertainment, marketing and media and he and Wasserman will serve as exceptional counsel for STATS,” said STATS CEO Ken Fuchs. “We share a common drive to find new ways for fans to get closer to the game, to help athletes and teams excel, and to support brands in telling their stories around the culture of sports.”
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT
Astros/Dodgers on FOX at 8p.
 
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ON THIS DAY in 1982: Steffi Graf plays her first professional tennis match.
 
In the Know: Who did the Astros face the last time they were in the World Series? (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: What is the name of University of Michigan’s fight song? Answer: (Hail to) The Victors. Kudos: Keith Marder-Halstead Property/NY; Nate Hammond-NY/JCC; Michael Dittelman/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Chris Schwartz-ISC/Charlotte; Cait Cohn/Springfield; Mark Lehman-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; John Tingue-CBS/Chicago; Dory Petsrillo-CoxReps/Dallas; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; David Hauptman/Denver; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; John Sutton-Charter Digital Media/LA; Don Surath-KPIX-TV/KBCW-TV/San Francisco; Bob Ramsey/Palm Springs
 
Later — Chris
 
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