11/01/17: FOX Sports reports that its “Greatest” weekend made viewership history

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Good morning. It’s Wednesday November 1, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

FOX Sports’ self-described “Greatest Weekend Ever” branding proved potent for the company as the 2017 World Series, college football and Sunday’s NFL doubleheader generated more than 23.4 billion minutes of sports television consumed for the company from Oct. 27-29 on FOX. That marks the biggest non-Super Bowl weekend in history, according to Nielsen. Friday night’s World Series Game 3 recorded 3.7 billion minutes consumed, while Saturday’s Penn State/Ohio State battle drew 2.2 billion minutes consumed, followed by the World Series Game 6 with an additional 3.0 billion. Sunday’s Cowboys/Redskins matchup ranked as the weekend’s most-watched broadcast across all networks with 22,019,000 viewers and 4.2 billion minutes consumed while the earlier window generated 2.3 billion minutes consumed. Finally, World Series Game 5 drew 18,940,000 viewers and recorded 6.2 billion minutes consumed.
 
“This weekend was an incredible opportunity for FOX Sports, and recording more than 23 billion minutes watched on FOX exceeded our admittedly great expectations,” said FOX Sports President and Executive Producer Eric Shanks. “With an unmatched array of properties and compelling games, our impressive slate of events strengthens our position as the leader in live events. This weekend is a credit to both our production teams and our partners at the National Football League, Big Ten Conference and Major League Baseball.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

The Winter Games continue to beef up star power with Bode Miller is sliding over to NBC Olympics where the most decorated skier in US Olympic history will become a member of the company’s alpine skiing team for its Winter Games coverage in PyeongChang. Miller will debut as an analyst, joining alpine skiing voice Dan Hicks, former World Cup skier and on-course reporter Steve Porino, and reporter Heather Cox. “Anytime Bode Miller is on skis, you just have to watch,” Jim Bell, President, NBC Olympics Production & Programming. “Now, when he talks about skiing, you’ll want to hear to what he has to say. His opinions are as intuitive and fearless as his turns and, simply put, he will make us better.”
 
Combate Americas is now adding an English-language telecast of Copa Combate, inking a deal that will see the event run live on NBCSN from Cancun on Nov. 11 at 11:30p. The telecast will complement the live Spanish language broadcast of the historic event on Telemundo network and mark the first time ever that two NBCU platforms will simulcast live MMA action.
 
In ratings news, ESPN announced that ABC’s college football coverage saw Saturday Night Football featuring regional action average 3,550,000 viewers over the weekend, according to Nielsen, with the  prime-time telecast average 6,165,000 viewers through the first nine weeks of the season.
 
Meanwhile, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of NASCAR Cup Series racing from Talladega Superspeedway, Kansas Speedway and Martinsville Speedway the past three weeks averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 3.52 million viewers for a 9% markup versus the same three races in 2016. Sunday’s race from Martinsville averaged a TAD of 2.79 million viewers across NBCSN and NBC Sports Digital properties, up 4% vs. the 2016 equivalent.
 
On Univision, Saturday’s coverage of the America/Monterrey match on the channel delivered more than 1.24 million viewers with 666,000 among adults 18-49. Those numbers mark the second most-viewed Liga MX match of the current season, trailing only the SuperClasico. Saturday match.
 
Around the dial on NBA TV, the network reports that it is recording its most-watched live game telecasts since 2011 through the first two weeks of the season.  The network is averaging 434,000 viewers through its first seven games, up 54% over last year’s comparable coverage.  Meanwhile, pre-game coverage is delivering a 53% viewership rise, with its post-game coverage spiking 28% this season.
 
CBS Sports Network and Professional Bull Riders close out the 2017 season with all five rounds of the PBR World Finals live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on November 1-5. The action begins tonight at 10p and concluding Sunday at 4p with a three-man booth is led by Craig Hummer calling play-by-play with analysts Justin McBride and Ty Murray, complemented by sideline reporter Leah Garcia, on-the-dirt reporting from Matador bull fighter Shorty Gorham, and inside-the-chutes reporting from JW Hart.
 
In other talent news, FOX Sports announced its broadcast team for UFC 217: Bisping vs. GSP on FS1 and FOX Deportes this Friday and Saturday. Current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley joins Chris Weidman and Kenny Florian to serve as FOX Sports desk analysts with host Karyn Bryant. Meanwhile, Daniel Cormier joins analyst Joe Rogan and blow-by-blow announcer Jon Anik to call the event on Saturday live from Madison Square Garden.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The University of Southern Mississippi tied up a long-term deal with adidas to be the official athletic footwear, apparel and accessory brand of the Golden Eagles through the 2024-2025 season. “Our Department Leadership Team was focused and deliberate in our assessment and evaluation of potential vendors. We interviewed an array of companies to find the best fit for the University of Southern Mississippi. In the end, we found adidas to be the best partner for our Department. Our comprehensive agreement will provide the highest quality look and feel – for the highest levels of athletic competition. We are excited to make adidas products available to our Student-Athletes and have their iconic brand across our Department,” said Jon Gilbert, Director of Athletics, University of Southern Mississippi.
 
The September Turnkey Sports Poll asked more than 2000 senior-level sports executives about the hottest property for sponsors. The results saw the NBA land on top with 35% of respondents identifying the league, that was followed by the NFL at 28%, MLS at 11%, MLB at 10%, NASCAR at 6%, NHL at 4% and the PGA Tour at 1%, with 5% not answering the question.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

The Players’ Tribune announced today the return of First Step, presented by American Family Insurance. The six-episode video series will be hosted by Jerry Stackhouse, and follow him as he travels across the country to meet athletes focused on “important issues facing communities today — from education and healthcare, to mental health and gender equality.” In each episode, Stackhouse and an athlete will embed in a community to learn about the issue that it’s facing, and to meet the people who are most affected by it with athletes set to include Charles Tillman (NFL/retired), Becky Hammon (NBA/assistant coach, San Antonio Spurs), Brandon Marshall (NFL/New York Giants), Maya Moore (WNBA/Minnesota Lynx), Brandon Ingram (NBA/Los Angeles Lakers), and Caleb Swanigan (NBA/Portland Trail Blazers).
 
Media R3alm, a newly-formed company delivering premium digital streaming experiences, is prepping to launch OTT platforms dedicated to the East Coast Athletic Conference and outdoor enthusiasts in the ECAC Network and WILD TV. “We’ve brought together an all-star team of executives and dynamic content partners to bring fans a premium streaming and social experience in several verticals that haven’t seen this kind of platform before,” said Jim Bates, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Media R3ealm. “There are passionate fans seeking this type of content and we believe this is the most efficient delivery mechanism.”
 
Sports Crate launched NBA Sports Crate, the Officially Licensed Subscription Box of the NBA. The bi-monthly subscription line will feature exclusive team-focused products, merchandise and experiences to fans with 13 teams on-board initially, including the Celtics, Bulls, Cavaliers, Warriors, Rockets, Clippers, Lakers, Heat, Timberwolves, Knicks, Thunder, 76ers and Spurs.
 
Secret Golf announced that Chris Stroud, who won his first professional event on the PGA Tour at the 2017 Barracuda Championship, will soon have his own Player Channel on their platform, providing his insight into the game and allowing fans to have a direct connection. He becomes the 18th Tour professional to join Secret Golf.
 
ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 podcasts will return for a second season this month with five all-new audio documentaries. The first episode will debut on Nov. 14, with the other four premiering every Tuesday through December 12.
 
 
ESPORTS

Another Overwatch League team locked in its branding materials ahead of the first season of play. Parent org OpTic Gaming formally debuted the Houston Outlaws as the name of its franchise, with the name referring to the region’s “hardy, self-reliant cowboy culture, where people live by their own rules” and featuring a logo sporting the star, longhorn skull and twin revolvers. Meanwhile, the green in the team’s colors reflects the signature colors of the Green Wall made famous by Optic Gaming.  
 
 
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Game 7 of the Astros/Dodgers on FOX at 8p? (Too early to tell at press time).
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