11/03/17: Game 7 of the World Series averaged over 29.3 million viewers for Fox

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Good morning. It’s Friday November 3, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

A whopping 106 million viewers watched all of part of the 2017 World Series on Fox. Game 7 of the series averaged over 29.3 million viewers across Fox (28.3 million), Fox Deportes (778,000) and streaming live on FOX Sports GO (293,918), according to Nielsen. Among teens, the series had its second-best rating since 2009 (2.4), outperforming every entertainment program on TV. The complete World Series averaged 18.9 million viewers across all 7 games, the second-best audience for a World Series since 2009. That’s 19% below last year’s Chicago Cubs’ seven-game victory over the Cleveland Indians, but topped 2015 by 29% and 2014 by 37%.
 
Facebook checked in on the conversation and reaction from the fans on the platform, reporting that the top five countries talking about the World Series on Facebook were led by the US, followed by Mexico, Canada, Brazil and Puerto Rico. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish was the most talked-about player on Facebook, followed by George Springer, Justin Verlander, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.
 
Meanwhile, Twitter reports that the Astros’ first-ever World Series win saw the top Tweeted moment of the World Series – when the final out was recorded in Game 7 – generate 62K Tweets per Minute. Ranking at number two was Carlos Correa hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the 7th to give Astros 11-8 lead over Dodgers in Game 5.

 

 
ON THE AIR

ESPN is seeing gains for its coverage of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, reporting that its first three matches on ESPN and ESPN2 average 327,000 viewers, according to Nielsen, to mark an 80% uptick from 182,000 viewers for the first three playoff matches in 2016. In addition, viewership in the men 18-34 demo is up 141% to hit 70,000 vs. 29,000 in 2016), with men 18-49 up 117% at 141,000. Sunday sees ESPN and ESPN Deportes continue coverage with doubleheader of second leg matches of the Eastern Conference Semifinals starting at 3p with Toronto FC/New York Red Bulls FC, followed at 5:15p by New York City FC/Columbus Crew SC.
 
NBC Olympics announced plans to serve up 51.5 total hours of coverage of the 2018 U.S. Winter Olympic Team Trials across NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app with more than 42 hours running live on its platforms ahead of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. That first number marks the most ever for the US Olympic Trials on the winter side, easily besting the 32 hours of coverage in 2014. Coverage begins Nov. 16 at 7p on NBCSN with curling finals from Omaha, and concludes on Jan. 7 at 6p with speed skating from Milwaukee. In addition to streaming NBCSN’s coverage of the Curling Trials, there will also be digital-only live streaming of 30-plus early-round games on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app from Nov. 11-15.
 
ESPN is lining up a week of multiplatform content November 5-11 dedicated to the ninth annual America’s Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans initiative. Highlights include First Take live from the Naval Base in San Diego on Nov. 6 and SportsCenter:AM live from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, S.C., on Nov. 10. In addition, the annual State Farm Armed Forces Classic will be played at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Nov. 10. USAA and Applebee’s are sponsors of ESPN’s week-long Veterans Day activation and athletes, coaches and celebrities will provide daily “shout outs” to members of the military within ESPN programming with tributes appearing on SportsCenter and other ESPN platforms.
 
CBS hits the weekend with a double dose of SEC action, showcasing Georgia and South Carolina at 3:30p and Alabama hosting LSU at 8p. Les Miles joins as a guest analyst beside Adam Zucker and Brian Jones in-studio. Meanwhile, Aaron Taylor and Rick Neuheisel and reporter John Schriffen are on microphone duties for the early game, while Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce handle primetime action.
 
MSG Networks announced that UFC star and former middleweight champion Chris Weidman will join the network as a special guest contributor. He will make numerous appearances as a contributor and on-air talent on multiple platforms for MSG Networks including MSG, MSG+, MSGNetworks.com, and social media channels in the coming months.
 
MLB Network will air the Astros’ World Series parade today, beginning at 3:00p. Coverage will also be streamed on MLB.com.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The NBA and Nike are expanding their partnership to make the league’s new official on-court apparel provider the presenting partner of the NBA Mexico City Games 2017 and the NBA London Game 2018. The NBA Mexico City Games 2017 pit the Nets/Thunder on Dec. 7 and Nets/Heat on Dec. 9 at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. Meanwhile, the NBA London Game 2018 will feature the 76ers/Celtics at The O2 in London on Jan. 11. In addition to being the presenting partner of the three games, Nike will receive prominent brand exposure, including event logo inclusion, on-court and in-arena signage, along with hosting several fan activations and promotions leading up to and during the game. 
 
In celebration of the Houston Astros’ 2017 World Series win, Coca-Cola is unveiling a limited-edition commemorative 16-ounce can to honor the Astros’ accomplishment and celebrate with their fans. The Coca-Cola cans feature the official World Series Champions mark including the Astros logo, saluting the team for its remarkable 2017 Postseason run. MLB fans can visit participating Timewise and Family Dollar stores to purchase the commemorative cans.
 
Bridgestone Americas, the Official Tire of the Olympic Games, is marking 100 days to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 with the launch of a new integrated marketing campaign featuring Team Bridgestone athletes. The activation includes a TV commercial starring figure skater Ashley Wagner and a new, interactive digital brand experience featuring Team Bridgestone athletes – all designed to celebrate “Clutch Performance.” “Ashley Wagner is one of the world’s best figure skaters, famous for her precision, accuracy and gripping performances on the ice,” said Philip Dobbs, chief marketing officer, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. “She knows what it means to perform when it matters most, making her the perfect athlete to help us prove how Bridgestone Potenza tires are engineered to come through in the clutch.”
 
Pennzoil announced that Jiffy Lube will serve as the presenting sponsor of the first ever Pennzoil 400 race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2018, according to multiple reports. The Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube runs March 4 at LVMS. “The Pennzoil 400 is a tremendous opportunity for the Jiffy Lube brand to further leverage Shell’s rich motorsports history,” said Steve Ledbetter, President, Jiffy Lube International. “It’s exciting to see Pennzoil and the largest automotive maintenance provider, Jiffy Lube, come together for this exhilarating event to deliver race fans an action-packed weekend.”
 
The PGA TOUR and PGA of America are teaming up to support the Las Vegas community’s ongoing recovery, announcing a “Golf Fore Las Vegas” charity golf tournament that will take place on Nov. 20 at TPC Las Vegas. The two orgs will honor those who risk their lives daily for the protection of others, inviting local first responders to participate in the one-day event. Proceeds will be donated to the Direct Impact Fund by way of PGA TOUR Charities, which will be distributed to various outlets for support services for the victims of the Las Vegas shootings.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

NBC Sports Regional Networks is launching its first direct-to-consumer product, NBC Sports Gold’s Blazers Pass. The streaming product allows any fans residing in Blazers territory to purchase 15 games during the 2017-18 NBA season while NBC Sports Northwest continues to present its traditional TV offering and streaming via “TV Everywhere” of Blazers games. NBC Sports Gold’s “Blazers Pass” is available to purchase now for $34.99 for the full 15-game package. “When we set out to renew our rights last year, distribution was a top priority,” said David Preschlack, President, NBC Sports Regional Networks and Platform and Content Strategy. “In today’s media environment, fans have the ability to follow their favorite teams in a variety of ways. We’re pleased to offer Rip City this new DTC product, so that fans can follow Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and the team during key games. In addition, we’re pleased to offer NBC Sports Northwest customers access to more games than ever before.”
 
ESPN publicly released a fresh set of guidelines for its talents’ social media channels, addressing social and political issues. The framework told ESPN employees that “Commentaries on relevant sports-related issues are appropriate, but we should refrain from overt partisanship or endorsement of particular candidates, politicians or political parties,” adding that “We should avoid personal attacks and inflammatory rhetoric.” In addition, “Writers, reporters, producers and editors directly involved in ‘hard’ news reporting, investigative or enterprise assignments and related coverage should refrain in any public-facing forum from taking positions on political or social issues, candidates or office holders,” according to the guidelines.
 
 
ESPORTS

Overwatch League spawned its first round of sponsorships with Blizzard announcing that HP Inc. and Intel had both signed on for major sponsorship deals for the new league. As part of the multiyear agreements, Intel will sponsor future Overwatch competitive events in addition to the Overwatch League. Players taking part in these events will be equipped with gaming hardware from both HP and Intel. HP, and more specifically, its OMEN by HP gaming PCs and displays will be used exclusively for Overwatch League games, with PCs powered by Intel Core i7 processors. “We’re thrilled to be joining forces with HP and Intel to ensure that the teams competing professionally in Overwatch are equipped with top-end technology,” said Pete Vlastelica, president & CEO of Blizzard Entertainment’s Major League Gaming division. “Multiyear collaborations such as this illustrate the momentum behind the Overwatch League as well as a long-term commitment by us and our partners in what we see as the future of esports.”
 
Speaking of which, Misfits unveiled branding for its Florida-based Overwatch League team, which will be known as the Florida Mayhem. The team will sport the colors of yellow, red, and black, with a logo of a palm tree atop a bomb that circles the letter “M”. “We are excited to finally reveal Florida Mayhem. Our primary objective was and is to hit home with Floridians,” said Ben Spoont, CEO of Florida Mayhem and Misfits Gaming. “Florida is an ebullient state full of dedicated, passionate, and hardworking people, values we share as a local company. We’re excited to stand out among the rest and come in with a bang after such strong performances throughout the duration of Overwatch Contenders. We aim to make Florida proud with our explosive (pun intended) playstyle!”
 
The final brand for Blizzards Overwatch League is…drumroll, please…the Los Angeles Gladiators. The logo will include a shield, and team colors are purple and white, a la Roman emperors. “Gladiators were the original superstars of sports and entertainment,” said Josh Kroenke, co-founder of KSE Esports. “Their fierce competitiveness and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice captured the hearts of millions of people of all backgrounds for centuries.”
 
RFRSH Entertainment announced that the BLAST Pro Series inked a deal with Unibet, one of the largest betting brands across Europe and in Australia, to become the exclusive betting partner of the new tournament. The World Premiere of the new tournament will take place on November 24-25. Unibet will provide a wide range of outright odds through the tournament with special head-to-head offers as the tournament unfolds.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

Cary Meyers joined ESPN as Senior Vice President of Fan and Media Intelligence. In this role, he will be responsible for all multimedia and consumer research functions for ESPN and work closely with all senior leaders in the company including distribution, content, communications, programming, sales & marketing to advance audience insights, analytics and performance across the ESPN platform. Meyers joins ESPN from NBC Universal, where he served as Senior Vice President of Ad Sales Research and Strategy.

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