11.18.15 Good morning. It’s Wednesday November 18, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
With negotiations ongoing, YES Network at press time looked like it was going to go dark today on Comcast systems in Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania following a standoff between the cable operator and FOX Sports, which has been negotiating on behalf of the channel in recent years. Comcast noted in a SBJ report that viewership wasn’t high enough to merit the new prices. Meanwhile, YES Network released its own a statement on its site implying that a price had been locked in since early last year, noting “YES and Comcast reached an agreement in principle on the key points of a new contract many months ago, and YES continued to operate in good faith under that arrangement through the entire Yankees and NYCFC seasons and into the Nets season. Unfortunately, because YES will not yield to Comcast’s demands for special treatment and anti-competitive terms, Comcast has decided to drop YES Network and its coverage of the NY Yankees, Brooklyn Nets and the New York City FC.”
The National Women’s Hockey League iced its first-ever broadcast deal, locking in an agreement with NESN to carry eight Boston Pride games for the remainder of the 2015-16 season. This new partnership marks the NWHL’s first broadcasting agreement during the league’s inaugural season. Game broadcasts begin on Nov. 22 at 3p. “The broadcast value of the women’s game has never been better, and we’re happy NESN is providing a stage for and shining a spotlight on some of the best players in the world,” said NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan.
With a long-term deal in place, NHRA and FOX Sports unveiled the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series television schedule. The season will be highlighted by 17 live Sunday finals shows, including four that will run on FOX, and eight primetime Friday night qualifying shows. Overall, FS1 and FOX will showcase more than 120 hours of original television programming around the series, with Friday night telecasts launching Feb. 12 at 10p ahead of the Circle K NHRA Winternationals on Feb. 14 at 5p. “We expect the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season to be a major turning point in the history of this sport through the power of live television coverage,” said Peter Clifford, NHRA president. “With our new television partner FOX Sports, we will present the majority of our races with live television coverage, and make history on July 24 in Denver when the series has its first Sunday finals show air live on a national broadcast network.”
ESPN’s Monday Night Football won the night among all networks in viewers, households and all key male and adult demos. The Texans/Bengals battle averaged a 7.7 US household rating and 12,185,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. In Houston, the game delivered a 15.7 rating on ESPN and a 10.4 on KIAH-CW, for a combined 26.1 rating in the market. In Cincinnati, the game delivered a 15.6 rating on ESPN and a 29.0 on WLWT-NBC, for a combined 44.6 rating in the market. The Spanish-language telecast of the game on ESPN Deportes averaged a 0.3 Hispanic Household rating with 51,000 Hispanic Household impressions and 75,000 Hispanic viewers.
FOX Sports is beefing up its college basketball content, purchasing two tournaments in Las Vegas: the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational set for Nov. 26-27 at Orleans Arena and the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic, running Dec. 22-23, also at Orleans Arena, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. FOX Sports will not only carry the events on FS1 but now handle team selection, ticket sales, and sponsorships. FOX Sports also inherits the tourneys’ title sponsorships with Continental Tire, which is in the second year of a three-year deal.
Get your data here! Join us at the Cynopsis Sports Engagement Summit on Dec. 2 for our essential panel, “Mining Data and How to Strike it Rich” to learn how to navigate metrics and crunch the numbers to best serve your brand. Moderated by Sporttechie’s Simon Ogus, the panel will feature industry leaders breaking down the tools and techniques companies are using to leverage data into a successful business strategy. Panelists include Yahoo’s Marissa Bataille, Rentrak’s Gary Warech, Telescope’s Jason George, Sportradar’s Tom Masterman and OneTwoSee’s Chris Reynolds. Don’t miss out and get your tickets now!
Following the first loss for UFC’s Ronda Rousey on Saturday night to Holly Holm, FS1 reports that its UFC 193 Postfight Show – delayed due to a long-running Utah/Arizona college football game drew 490,000 viewers to make it the most-watched PPV post-fight show ever on the channel. Including re-airs, the program reached more than 860,000 viewers total. Meanwhile, the Prefight Show ranked as the second most-watched PPV prefight show in channel history, reeling in 576,000 viewers.
Speaking of Holm, AXS TV announced that Friday’s episode of Inside MMA will be devoted to the newly-crowned champion, offering “exclusive interviews with Holm and those who know her best, expert analysis of her fight plan, and devastating knockouts from Legacy that were remarkably similar to the result this past Saturday night.” The special will run at 11:30p with series hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten.
Bellator MMA is branching out, announcing plans to hold its first three events outside of North America in 2016. Events will take place in London, followed by Tel Aviv, and Italy, according to Scott Coker, President, Bellator MMA. “We are thrilled to bring the incredible excitement of hard-hitting Bellator action featuring some of the best athletes in the world to our new global partners in the UK, Israel, and Italy,” said Coker. “The London event is especially encouraging as we will broadcast the main card in the UK on one of the country’s most-distributed broadcast channels, Channel 5.”
On the talent front, longtime NHL journalist and TV analyst Elliotte Friedman has been recruited to NHL Network where he will go on-air as an Insider. Friedman will continue his work for Sportsnet in Canada, but will now appear across NHL Network’s on-air programming and make his next appearance on NHL Live today at 5p.
Elsewhere, the NBA’s Tracy McGrady is set to join ESPN’s pregame show NBA Countdown charged by Mountain Dew as a guest analyst tonight at 7:30p. He will join Doris Burke, Jalen Rose and Chauncey Billups on the NBA Countdown set.
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As Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch prepares to run for his first potential NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship this weekend, Mars, Inc. announced a multi-year contract extension with JGR for the next few seasons. Busch has piloted the No. 18 Toyota with Mars brands that include M&M’s, Snickers, Skittles, Double Ming and Pedigree. “In order to get to victory lane, you have to have the best team on and off the track,” said William Clements, Vice President, Sponsorships, Mars. “Our partnership with JGR and Kyle has routinely delivered for us at the track, as well as in-store and with millions of fans. We look forward to the opportunity to continue to build upon this amazing partnership.”
The PGA of America announced that tickets have been purchased from all 50 U.S. states and 28 countries for the 2016 PGA Championship, which will be played at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey from July 25-31, 2016. In addition, residents from 37 U.S. states, including more than 2,000 from the state of New Jersey, and six countries outside of the U.S., have registered as PGA Championship volunteers.
Go To Team locked in a strategic partnership with LiveU to provide live video streaming throughout the United States for all clients and genres using LiveU’s LU400. “This technology allows our award-winning crews to become even more nimble in terms of our ability to broadcast live events and breaking stories for our diverse array of broadcast, cable and Fortune 500 clients”, notes Go To Team’s VP/COO Shawn Moffatt. “Working with LiveU allows our staff crews to have another tool to provide immediacy of content delivery from the field anywhere in the U.S. As the marketplace gets even more demanding, we can ensure our broadcast partner’s stories get to the world in times when live trucks are not being utilized.”
TokBox is launching Spotlight, a new broadcasting solution that gives companies the ability to embed interactive, real time broadcast shows online, with thousands of audience members. The solution launched yesterday with Fox Sports Huddle, and is designed to “enable true multi-party participation and genuine flexibility for the website and application owners, ranging from a two-party video chat broadcast through to enabling viewers to join in and become part of the show, and anything in between.”
Daily fantasy sports operator FanDuel is temporarily suspending entry in paid contests for New York players following a decision by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to classify play as gambling. The AP reports that the New York-based company said the move follows its failed attempt to convince a judge to immediately block the state attorney general’s efforts to shut it down.
ESPN promoted Jodi Markley to Executive Vice President, Content Operations & Creative Services, effective January 1. Markley now adds oversight of the creative services and production enhancement department, the ESPN stats & information group and the Los Angeles Production Facility to her current portfolio of remote operations, production operations, operations development and studio directing.
Capitals/Red Wings on NBCSN at 8p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1985: Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann suffers a career-ending compound fracture of his lower right leg after being sacked by the Giants’ Lawrence Taylor on MNF.
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Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: While Peyton Manning sports #18 for the Broncos, what number did he wear in college? Answer: 16. Kudos: Keith Marder-Halstead Property/NY; Andrew Feingold-Nielsen/NY; Troy Perlowitz-Pro Football Focus/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Richard Sanders-Visit Panama City Beach/Panama City Beach; Joe Guarnieri-ESPN/Bristol; Lewis Cosby/Knoxville; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Anne Wettig-Fox Cable Networks/LA; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA.
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