11/22/17: ESPN detailed its plans for Opening Week for MLB

Good morning. It’s Wednesday November 22, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Have a terrific Thanksgiving!

ESPN locked in its 2018 MLB starters, announcing that the company will launch its 29th season of MLB coverage with a 10-game slate to start the season. Plans include an Opening Day quadruple-header on March 29 that will see the network carry 13 consecutive hours of Opening Day action with games at 12:30p (Cubs/Marlins), 3:30p (Astros/Rangers), 7p (Giants/Dodgers) and 10p (Indians/Mariners). Sunday Night Baseball opens on April 1, when the Dodgers host the Giants. Coverage from March 29-April 3 will include five 2017 MLB Postseason teams in action.

Speaking of ESPN, the network saw this week’s MNF presentation (which saw the Falcons edge the Seahawks) average 10.8 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen. Overall, MNF ranked as the most-watched telecast on Monday night among households, viewers and all key male and adult demos with ESPN’s presentation generating a 6.4 rating, not counting addition coverage on ESPN Deportes and digital channels.
Meanwhile, with additional numbers in the books, NBC saw the Eagles’ runaway win over the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football average a Total Audience Delivery of 21.2 million viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital platforms to rank as the most-watched NFL primetime game since Week 1. In addition, the TAD of 21.2 million viewers for Philadelphia-Dallas is the largest audience for the 22 blowouts of 28-or-more points in the history of NBC’s SNF package.
NBC Sports Group wraps up its five-year run as the home of Formula One in the US this weekend, with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix culminating the company’s most-watched F1 season since acquiring rights prior to the 2013 season. Comprehensive live coverage starts Sunday at 7:30p on NBCSN. With one race remaining in the 2017 campaign, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 2017 F1 season has produced a TAD of 558,000 average viewers, up 14% vs. last year’s numbers. “We’re incredibly proud that the programming, production, and marketing plans that we instituted five years ago have grown live F1 viewership nearly 70%,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports Group. “We committed to super-serving the dedicated Formula One fan base with comprehensive practice, qualifying, and grand prix coverage each week.”
Around the dial, Combate Americas and Telemundo Deportes announced that Combate Americas next event on Dec. 1 will run live on the channel at midnight. The event is headlined by a women’s showdown between atomweight (105 pounds) rivals Kyra “Mogwai” Batara (6-4) and Paulina “Firefox” Granados (4-2), from the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio. Calling the action live will be multiple-time WWE Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio, Telemundo Deportes’ Edgar Lopez, Combate Americas’ Erik “Goyito” Perez, play-by-play man Andres Bermudez and Andrea Calle.
For the second consecutive year, PGA of America, Grayhawk Golf Club and National Car Rental have partnered with Golf Channel to carry a two-hour, primetime special highlighting the 2017 PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental. The special will air Dec. 5 at 8p and include player features, daily highlights from each round of play, and the awards ceremony following the Championship match.
Thanksgiving will see beIN SPORTS deliver its own take on Derby Day, showcasing matches that include the Turkey Derby, the Madrid Derby, the Milan Derby, the Rome Derby, and the Derby of France. The action continues at 11a with the Derby of France on beIN SPORTS en Espanol.
Pac-12 Networks announced plans to broadcast over 100 live baseball games and a record of over 90 softball games during the 2018 season. Baseball action takes the mound on March 4 when Arizona State plays host to Oklahoma State at 11a PT. Meanwhile, Pac-12 Networks is also set to televise a record of over 90 games this year beginning with 17 games during the 2018 Kajikawa Classic at Farrington Stadium this season.
Let’s see your team’s prosocial initiatives!
The 4th Annual Cynopsis Social Good Awards

Cynopsis is recognizing excellence in the area of social good in the TV, entertainment and digital media industry. From sustainability partnerships and PSA’s to diversity campaigns and environmental initiatives, this is your opportunity to showcase your efforts and inspire others to do the same. Entering is easy!   Just login to our submission portal  here , enter a brief synopsis and pay for your entry.


GEICO is returning for the second year as title sponsor of the State Champions Bowl Series which allows high school football champions from different states to play against each other in post-season bowl games that will be televised live on ESPNU. A total of two games to take place at GCU Stadium at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix on Saturday, Dec. 23. ESPN play-by-play commentator Kevin Brown and analyst Craig Haubert will call both games.

Allstate’s latest initiative in its mission to protect the soccer community will see the brand donate two new soccer nets to fields for every save made by goalkeepers during MLS’ Eastern and Western Conference Championships and MLS Cup. At the conclusion of MLS Cup, local Allstate agency owners will work to install the new nets in neighboring communities.


The Madison Square Garden Company acquired Obscura, a creative studio that designs and develops next-generation immersive experiences. Obscura will become part of MSG Ventures, MSG’s technology group. “MSG is committed to building on its incredible legacy of delivering unforgettable experiences by anticipating and embracing how live entertainment will be experienced in the future,” said David Dibble, CEO of MSG Ventures. “Obscura’s expertise will enable us to immediately begin to integrate the cutting-edge possibilities of immersive technology across MSG’s current portfolio of live offerings, as well as its new endeavors.”
ONE Entertainment unveiled a deal between Playtrex, a leading developer of next generation of social casino games, and Hero Digital Entertainment, a leading mobile games publisher, for client Floyd Mayweather to serve as the presenter of mobile game, Wild Poker. According to reports, Mayweather will be integrated into the game both as a character and as a presenter, introducing new hands and offering players tips on how to play the game successfully. He will also appear as one of the poker players, allowing gamers to choose to play their hands as the retired boxer.

The Golden State Warriors have drafted former Yahoo esports topper Hunter Leigh as the brand’s head of esports. The Warriors esports team will take part in Riot Games’ new North American League of Legends Championship Series franchise system as well as the NBA’s upcoming NBA 2K League.
Mobile esports company Skillz unveiled chat and friends systems cross-platform and cross-app as part of the Skillz Tournament Management System. The new social technology “is the first integrated chat experience to connect millions of gamers across thousands of games on both iOS and Android” and is now available in several of the over 2,500 Skillz-integrated games and includes friends, direct messaging, group chat, and cross-studio, cross-platform public chat.
Florida Southern College will become the first school in Florida to join the National Association of Collegiate Esports, a newly formed governing body for the emerging world of competitive college video gaming. The school’s esports program will initially target League of Legends.

The New York Knickerbockers named Dan Sabreen as VP of Public Relations, effective Nov. 27. Sabreen joins the team after spending more than a decade at CBS Sports, where he most recently served as VP of Communications. As vice president, Sabreen will serve as the Knicks chief communications strategist with oversight of all public relations activities for the team and be responsible for developing and executing communications plans for all announcements; working closely with the team’s management, coaching staff and players on media appearances; driving proactive publicity efforts focused on non-traditional media outlets and collaborating with marketing on the creation of compelling content for social media.

Thanksgiving NFL action sees Vikings/Lions at 12:30p on FOX, Chargers/Cowboys at 4:30p on CBS and Giants/Redskins at 8:30p on NBC.

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ON THIS DAY in 1999: Wayne Gretzky is inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame.
In the Know: What was the name of the WWE tag team comprised of Hawk and Animal? (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: College football’s Copper Bowl is now known by what name?  Answer: The Cactus Bowl. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Andrew Feingold-FOX News/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Ken White-KWTV/Charlotte; Christian Matthews-Washington Redskins/DC; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Greg Finch-Spectrum Reach/LA

Later – Chris
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