11/01/18: FIFA is exploring growing to 48 teams as soon as the 2022 World Cup

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Thursday November 1, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

 
The World Cup could overflow sooner rather than later, as FIFA President Gianni Infantino told the BBC that expansion of the World Cup field from 32 to 48 teams could come as soon as the next go-around in Qatar in 2022. Initially, it was believed that the 2026 tournament – hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico – had been flagged for the additions. “We have to see if it is possible, if it is feasible. We are discussing with our Qatari friends, we are discussing with our many other friends in the region and we hope that this can happen,” said Infantino. “And, if not, we will have tried. We will have tried because we always have to try to do things in a better way.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

Eurosport locked in a multi-year deal to carry 37 ATP World Tour tournaments a year starting with the New Year. In addition to the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals and the Next Gen ATP Finals, the five-year agreement incorporates all nine ATP Masters 1000 events as well as all 13 ATP 500 tournaments and another 13 ATP 250 tournaments, meaning that Eurosport will have 31 weeks of world-class tennis from the ATP World Tour calendar each year until 2023. 
 
FOX’s coverage of the five-game World Series wrapped up with an average of 14,125,000 viewers for the network. That marks a 25% dip from the 2017 numbers, and ranks as the fourth-lowest ever, according to the AP, despite the big market teams in contention. The Series averaged an 8.3 rating and 17 share, down from a 10.7 rating, 20 share and 18,909,000 average viewers for the Houston Astros’ seven-game win over the Dodgers last year.
 
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown hits the road for just the third time in the program’s 33-year history, announcing that Sunday will see the pregame show originate from outside Manning’s Sports Bar and Grill in New Orleans for the Rams/Saints matchup. In addition to Countdown in New Orleans, ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot will be on the road in Louisiana this weekend for Saturday’s SEC matchup of Alabama/LSU.
 
FOX Sports Films revealed that the television premiere of the documentary film, They Fight, will take place on Nov. 11 on FOX in addition to select New York City and Los Angeles theaters on Nov. 9. This will mark the fourth film in the MAGNIFY documentary film series, and follows young boxers Ragahleak “Peanut” Bartee and Quincey Williams’ journeys as part of the Lyfe Style Boxing training program.
 
Professional Bull Riders “Iron Cowboy” will make its debut in LA at STAPLES Center on Feb. 22-23, 2019 as the second Major of the PBR season. The announcement means that PBR’s elite series will visit the country’s largest markets in 2019: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The Iron Cowboy was previously held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas from 2010 to 2018.
 
X Games Aspen 2019 revealed its roster of athletes and programming plans for the Jan. 24-27 event. The first wave of athlete invites include 82 invitations to compete with all 2018 medalists with sport disciplines returning in 2019 received an automatic invite to compete in the 2019 event. Overall, more than 75 Olympians return to the biggest stage in action sports, competing in 17 disciplines televised live across the globe on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC and international syndication partners.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

MGM Resorts locked in another gaming partnership, this time with the New York Jets, marking the first NFL deal that goes beyond a straight casino sponsorship. The deal includes a game named “I Called It,” in which fans can answer questions about what will happen in the Jets game’s future and will live in the Jets app. Of course, the deal also includes in-stadium signage and the sponsorship of the Jets studio.
 
ISM Raceway and longtime sponsor O’Reilly Auto Parts announced an expanded partnership that will give O’Reilly sponsorship of the track’s crescent near the new start/finish line. At 466 ft. x 210 ft., the logo will be nearly one and half times as long as a football field in the most prominent area of the track. O’Reilly will debut its sponsored branding of the area as part of the track’s Opening Weekend on Nov. 9, 10 and 11. As part of the agreement, O’Reilly will host the O’Reilly Auto Parts Pre-Race Party in the crescent on Sunday, Nov. 11 ahead of the Can-Am 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series semifinal playoff race.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

The International Ski Federation is relaunching its official website www.fis-ski.com. The revamped site will look of provide a user-friendly, one-stop-shopping experience for anyone interested in skiing and snowboarding, offering simplified navigation and a focus on competitions and live timing. The site was developed in partnership with Omnigon,
 
ROAD Fighting Championship announced a live broadcast partnership in the US with DAZN that will kick in with ROAD FC 050 on Saturday out of Daejeon, South Korea.
 
The Athletic closed a round of Series C funding, raising $40 million to bring the outlets’ overall investment tally to $70 million since launching in 2016. Axios first reported the deal.
 
Speaking of deals, Front Office Sports announced an investment led by Stein’s, an investment management and holding company led by Jason Stein and Alyson Warshaw, who both led the charge at Laundry Service/Cycle.
 
 
ESPORTS

In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports
  • Dignitas gets a makeover
  • EVO’s Vegas date
  • BLAST Pro Series goes wide
  • PUBG Europe League names contenders
  • Breaking down Dorito’s Duty promotion
  • Fnatic’s high bar
  • Red Dead’s massive heist
 
ROSTER MOVES

ESPN’s Russell Wolff was named executive vice president and general manager of ESPN+, In his new role, Wolff will be responsible for managing ESPN+ and will collaborate on the overall management and commercialization of ESPN-branded digital products. “I am deeply honored to take on this role and look forward to working and collaborating with the extraordinary people across DTCI’s Disney Streaming Services and ESPN to realize the enormous promise ahead of us,” said Wolff.  “ESPN+ is in the first inning of a very long game. There is a tremendous opportunity to grow the service and expand our position as the leading streaming service and provider of digital products for sports fans.”
 
Independent Sports & Entertainment announced today that the company is building on its leading sports agency business with the launch of a new property sales group. ISE hired Jake Stone as vice president of property sales to help lead the new venture which will initially focus on securing global partnerships and sponsorships as well as naming rights for sports leagues, teams, venues and events.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

DC United/Columbus Crew SC on FS1 and UniMas at 8p, with Los Angeles FC/Real Salt Lake at 10:30p on ESPN2 and UniMas.
 
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ON THIS DAY in 1924: The Boston Bruins join the NHL.
 
In the Know: Which athlete played the most games as a Boston Bruin? (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: For which school did Dr. J play college basketball?  Answer: UMass. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Michael Dittelman-Dedicated Sports Marketing, LLC/NY; Rose Anderson-New York Festivals/NY; Brad J. Fuss-BRIGHTON Entertainment/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; Derek Houston-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; James Stuart- NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Rich Dubroff-BaltimoreBaseball.com/Baltimore; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; David Hauptman/Denver; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Cameron Legge-FOX Sports/Phoenix; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Rich Greene-Casa Del Verde Entertainment/LA; Howie Schwab-FOX Sports/LA; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria.
 
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