11/08/17: Turner Sports and Intel have plans for a VR play for NBA coverage

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Wednesday November 8, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Turner Sports is doubling down on VR initiatives, locking in a deal with Intel for a multiyear partnership that will make Intel the exclusive provider of virtual reality content for key matchups for the NBA on TNT using Intel True VR technology, beginning with NBA All-Star 2018 in Los Angeles. Additionally, Intel is partnering with the NBA to become an authorized provider of virtual reality and 360-degree volumetric video with Intel freeDTM technology for official NBA broadcast partners globally. Every virtual reality game experience will be available through the forthcoming NBA on TNT VR app on Samsung GearVR and Google Daydream headsets for download via the Oculus and Google Play stores.
 
“Intel is working with leagues and sports organizations all over the world to develop and deliver the most cutting-edge immersive media experiences that will make sports more engaging for the next generation of fans,” said James Carwana, vice president and general manager of Intel Sports. “This unique partnership with the NBA will enable us to work with official league broadcasters, including Turner Sports, to take their broadcasts to an unprecedented level and create new ways to immerse viewers in the game.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

Ahead of the 2017-18 college basketball season, FOX Sports locked in its roster of game and studio broadcasters, anchored by lead play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson and top game analysts Bill Raftery and Jim Jackson and a game lineup that includes the BIG EAST, Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences. New this season will be the addition of Howie Schwab as the network’s official bracketologist. Schwab will join FOX Sports studio programming as the season progresses to project which teams are in, which are out, and which could have their tournament bubbles burst. Meanwhile, other game analysts include Len Elmore; Donny Marshall; Steve Lavin; Jim Spanarkel; and Nick Bahe. FOX Sports’ roster of play-by-play announcers will also see Joe Davis; Tim Brando; Brian Anderson; Justin Kutcher; and Brian Custer. In studio, Jackson, Marshall, Lavin and Casey Jacobsen are joined by hosts Rob Stone, Kevin Burkhardt and Mike Hill throughout the season.
 
Major League Rugby found a home, inking an exclusive, multi-year television partnership with CBS Sports Network to carry the inaugural season of the new start-up league beginning in April. The channel will televise a 13-game package with 10 weeks of regular season coverage – highlighted by a Major League Rugby Game of the Week – and two weeks of postseason coverage in 2018, including the semifinals and the first MLR Championship Game. Major League Rugby will launch with seven teams in Austin, Houston, Glendale (Colorado), New Orleans, San Diego, Seattle and Salt Lake City.
 
NBC takes the handoff for Thursday Night Football this week with the Seahawks/Cardinals. Coverage starts at 7:30p with Mike Tirico (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth joined by sideline reporter Heather Cox. Liam McHugh serves as host of the Football Night in Arizona pregame show from Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. He will be joined on-site by Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy and two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison. Multi-platinum recording artist Pentatonix performs the Thursday Night Football show open.
 
Meanwhile, Telemundo Deportes announced seven exclusive Spanish-language live NFL game telecasts on Universo that kicks off on Nov. 9 with Thursday Night Football presented by Bud Light, and culminating with Super Bowl LII live on Universo on Feb. 4. Telemundo Deportes’ commentators Edgar Lopez and Rene Giraldo return to call the NFL on Universo, alongside Veronica Contreras as sideline reporter. In addition, Miguel Gurwitz will host the telecasts with pre/postgame studio coverage.
 
As we hit the final turn, NBCSN saw Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 race telecast score a 49% viewership increase with a Total Audience Delivery average of 2.72 million viewers watching the via NBCSN and NBC Sports Digital platforms. The NBCSN-only telecast averaged 2.70 million viewers, up 13% vs. NBCSN’s 2017 Cup Series Playoffs average. Through 18 races this season, NBC Sports Group’s 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series live race coverage is averaging more than 3.3 million viewers, even with the first 18 races in 2016.
 
FOX Sports is taking on Veterans Day with a tribute across FOX and FS1 starting Thursday that includes active military members and veterans on the sets of its FS1 studio shows in New York, Charlotte and Los Angeles. On Veterans Day, Jay Glazer host a viewing party on the Naval Station Norfolk for the FS1 UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Pettis, while Sunday sees FOX NFL Kickoff and FOX NFL Sunday carried on the Naval Station Norfolk. FOX Sports Supports, the charitable arm of FOX Sports, will be dedicating its support to Snowball Express, committed to serving the children and families of our fallen heroes since 9/11.
 
ESPN is tapping The IDS Center’s Crystal Court as its production headquarters for Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. The location is less than a mile from U.S. Bank Stadium, where ESPN’s flagship news and information and football studio shows will originate live from this “indoor urban park” beginning Jan 31. “The IDS Center’s Crystal Court puts ESPN in the center of all the action and excitement during Super Bowl week,” said Seth Markman, senior coordinating producer in charge of ESPN’s Super Bowl week coverage and NFL studio shows. “We look forward to welcoming fans to our indoor set and capturing the sights and sounds of the Bold North for our viewers at home. We also thank the Minnesota Host Committee for its hospitality and helping us identify such an ideal location.”
 
SiriusXM announced today the launch of Fader-Aid, an exclusive, weekly call-in show hosted by sports and performance psychologist Dr. Jonathan Fader. The series debuts today at 1p on SiriusXM Insight channel 121 and will feature call-ins from listeners across the country looking to tap into Dr. Fader’s expertise and his entertaining sport psychology spin on self-help. 
 
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Winning a Cynopsis TV Award is a symbol of acknowledgement and appreciation from your peers – that your work has risen to the top in entertaining and enriching a broad audience. With expanded categories (check out full list hear) and the terrific year we’ve seen in television, this is sure to be our best year yet! The final deadline is Friday, November 17th
 
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
 
Discover is enrolling with the Big Ten Conference and the Big Ten Network, inking a deal to become the official credit card of the 14-school conference. The agreement, executed in conjunction with FOX Sports, includes the first ever presenting sponsorship of the Big Ten Football Championship Game televised on the FOX broadcast network and will also see the brand have a physical presence through on-site activities at select Big Ten events, including the Big Ten Football Championship Game Presented by Discover. This deal marks the first time in the championship game’s seven-year history that there will be a presenting sponsor.
 
Furniture Row Racing announced that Auto-Owners Insurance is upping its 2018 primary sponsorship package from six to eight races on Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 Toyota Camry. The deal means that Truex’s Furniture Row Racing Camry will be fully sponsored for all 38 events in 2018, including 36 NASCAR Cup Series point races, The Clash at Daytona and the All-Star Race at Charlotte. 
 
The PGA Tour and Exact Sciences unveiled a deal to make Cologuard the title sponsor of the PGA’s Champions event in Tucson. The Cologuard Classic will run from Feb. 26-March 4 at the Omni Tucson National Resort’s Catalina Course.
 
Tough Mudder is partnering with Kill Cliff to provide the brand’s clean label endurance and recovery sports beverages for the 2018 and 2019 US event seasons in its’ capacity as the official sports drink brand for Tough Mudder and presenting sponsor of the Tough Mudder X Series. At all Tough Mudder events, Kill Cliff will provide its Endure clean endurance sports drinks on the course during events to participants. The partnership launches at this year’s World’s Toughest Mudder at Lake Las Vegas this weekend.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

DraftKings, Inc. announced plans to explore live sports streaming via an expanded partnership with EuroLeague Basketball. Customers to stream select Turkish Airlines EuroLeague basketball games directly through their DraftKings mobile app and seamlessly toggle between fantasy contests and live content. “Our goal is to become the one-stop destination and mobile companion for sports fans globally. Adding a live streaming component allows us to provide the best and most seamless product for our customers. This is what the future of sports looks like,” said Jason Robins, co-founder and CEO of DraftKings.
 
The Yankees’ Aaron Judge will serve as the cover athlete for The Show 18. The game will launch on March 27 with the Standard Edition priced at $59.99.
 
 
ESPORTS

World Cyber Games Inc. found a date for WCG 2018, announcing that next year’s event will be hosted in Bangkok, Thailand from April 26-29. WCG plans to organize the members of WCG Committee and announce the details regarding game titles, event content, etc. by yearend.
 
Northern Arena announced that the Call of Duty World League will hit Montreal from Dec. 16-17, marking the first time that the company will enter the Call of Duty esports scene. The Northern Arena Showdown will see eight pro teams hit the city to compete for $30,000 in prize money and a total of 15,000 CWL Pro Points.
 
Millennial Esports Corp. announced the formation of a new division focused on the creation and implementation of blockchain based ‘in game and cross platform’ game and digital content tokens. The company is currently exploring various synergies in implementing blockchain-based applications and protocols to enhance the community and user experience.”In my 25 years in the gaming and entertainment space, I have never seen such a potentially disruptive and paradigm changing technology like blockchain. If ‘content is king’ then blockchain is the ‘queen’ that wields the real power,” said Millennial Esports CEO, Alex Igelman, who was been following the business of blockchain for several years. “Our company is now poised to enter this space and is focused on successfully integrating the new division with our existing assets in order to maximize shareholder value.”
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Timberwolves/Warriors on ESPN at 10:30p.

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ON THIS DAY in 1951: Yankee catcher Yogi Berra wins the first of his three MVP awards.
 
In the Know: RIP to the great Roy Halladay, who was killed in a Florida plane crash yesterday. What was his nickname? (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 Magic Johnson drafted? Answer: Michigan State. Kudos: Keith Marder-Halstead Property/NY; Traci Liner-Endeavor/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Rick Ramage-United Talent Agency/NY; Michael Narracci-NESN/Watertown; Phil Lobue – NBC Sports/Stamford; Dana Worby-Robinson-DraftKings/Boston; Kevin McIntyre-Amayse Inc./Boston; Sajan Shah-PwC/Chicago; Matt Fumagalli-Levy/Chicago; Brendan Lewis-NBC Sports/Chicago; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; David Hauptman/Denver; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Anita Torres-Strongmind/Chandler; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary Dinos 5th Quarter Alumni Development/Calgary; Bob Ramsey/Palm Springs; Tara Aviel-Access Media Services/LA; John Baghdassarian-Olympusat/LA; Tony Reyes-Stoopid Buddy Stoodios/Burbank
Later – Chris
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