11/27/17: Iron Bowl is golden for CBS; MLB tops 10; FIFA reorders w/ Tencent

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Monday November 27, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
 
The Iron Bowl overfloweth on Saturday as CBS Sports’ coverage of the SEC on CBS matchup that saw Auburn take down Alabama rank as the highest-rated college football game to date on any channel of the 2017 season, scoring a 7.8/17 average overnight rating/share and up 66% from last year.. In addition, the contest scored as CBS’s highest-rated regular-season college football game since the 2013 version of the rivalry game.
 
 
ON THE AIR
Speaking of CBS, viewers on DISH Network were narrowly able to watch the Iron Bowl (after missing Thanksgiving football) when the two companies reached a multi-year agreement for carriage of CBS owned stations across the country, as well as CBS Sports Network, POP and Smithsonian Channel. “We are pleased we have reached a deal with DISH, who recognizes the value that the number one Network brings to viewers in these markets,” said Ray Hopkins, President, Television Networks Distribution, CBS Corporation. “DISH customers will continue to get CBS’ must-have content, while we are also able to achieve our short and long-term economic and strategic goals.”
 
In other ratings news, FOX Sports reports that its coverage of Ohio State’s win over Michigan drew FOX’s best metered market number ever for a regular-season college football game. The matchup delivered a 6.7/17 to the channel, according to Nielsen, topping the previous best of a 6.4, set earlier this year.
 
MLB gross revenues topped $10 billion for the first time ever, according to a report from Forbes. The makes the 15thstraight year that gross revenues have risen with numbers up from 2016’s tally of $9.5 billion. Revenues were fueled by continued labor peace that has kept interest in the game strong, according to the article, along with the realignment of various business divisions in the league that has propelled sponsorships, as well as linear and digital rights revenues.
 
Bloomberg writes that ESPN lost 2 million subscribers last fiscal year, notching 88 million US subscribers at the end of September, including people paying for online versions, per Disney’s quarterly report. Those numbers are down from a peak of 100 million in 2010 and mark the lowest total since 2003.
 
Back in August and September, IBM Watson Media used A.I.-powered tools to analyze video and images at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. It was a fascinating experiment, demonstrating the wide-ranging potential (for broadcasters, publishers, and advertisers alike) when it comes to A.I. technologies. IBM Watson’s own Dave Neway will be presenting at a new Cynopsis webinar focused on A.I., along with panelists from Scripps, Mindshare, and ZoneTV. If you’re thinking about integrating A.I. into your own efforts, you won’t want to miss it. It’ll be held on December 6 – register here.
 
FOX Sports Florida is moving on from long-time Marlins play-by-play announcer Rich Waltz, along with Jeff Conine and Preston Wilson from the team’s broadcast crew. .Waltz had been calling Marlins games for 13 seasons. 

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
Alibaba Group and FIFA announced that Alibaba Cloud – the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group – will serve as Presenting Partner of the FIFA Club World Cup until 2022. Beginning at this year’s edition of the tournament, Alibaba Cloud will design and provide the MVP award as part of the deal. “As one of the world’s leading cloud computing providers, we are striving to make technology more inclusive to benefit more people’s day-to-day life and well-being,” said Simon Hu, Senior Vice President of Alibaba Group and President of Alibaba Cloud. “By becoming a major partner of the FIFA Club World Cup, we hope to show how our technology can bring new aspects of fun and enjoyment to fans of sports, including those people who might have had barriers to access or participate before. For Alibaba Cloud, this is the true meaning of inclusive technology.”
 
Marriott International locked in a multi-year partnership with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment that makes the brand the preferred hotel company for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Members will be able to redeem points on Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments for unique hockey themed experiences.
 
Ad Age writes that – despite the controversies surrounding the NFL anthem protests – the league’s in-game ad sales at its five TV partners is up over year-ago numbers. According to Standard Media Index estimates, NFL inventory in October added up to $757 million, for an uptick of 3% compared to the $738 million the networks booked over the same five-week period in the 2016 season.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING
The NFL reports that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is leading fan voting overall for the 2018 Pro Bowl, reeling in 273,367 votes, with Tom Brady in second at 239,989. Fan voting for the 2018 Pro Bowl will continue online and on web-enabled mobile phones at www.NFL.com/probowlvote until Dec. 14. During the final week of 2018 Pro Bowl voting – December 7-14 – fans will be able to vote directly on Twitter.
 
Stadium is serving up the final 15 minutes of Saturday’s hypnotic Alabama/Minnesota men’s college basketball game, featuring Alabama being forced to play with only three players due to referee ejections, injuries, etc. The short-handed Crimson Tide nearly overcame a double-digit deficit to win the contest. The game can be accessed on Stadium’s Facebook page.
 
 
ESPORTS
Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso is testing a new track, launching his own esports racing team, titled FA Racing, in partnership with G2 Esports and Logitech G. The team will participate across a variety of games, console and PC platforms, as well as all current competitions. “Every Formula 1 driver is a gamer at heart,” said Alonso. “Competing on the virtual stage opens a vast amount of possibilities for young drivers that wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to get into racing. For the first time ever, fans are no longer just spectators but can take part in the game and maybe become real sim racers on my team. I cannot think of better partners than G2 Esports and Logitech G to start this up with and I am raring to get going!”
 
With new franchises confirmed for the North American League of Legends Championship Series, Riot Games is now giving franchises a year to untangle themselves from ownership conflicts, per ESPN. Teams involved include Cloud9, Team Liquid, and the Golden State Warriors with company rules forbidding multiple teams in the league from sharing the same owners, even in minority or passive positions.
 
Events DC will partner with Moonduck Studios to host its first-ever esports tournament, Captains Draft 4.0 at the DC Armory. The tournament will run Jan. 4-7 and will serve as the only public Dota 2 Minor in the United States planned for 2018. This tournament will feature eight of the top Dota 2 teams from around the world, who will battle it out for $300,000 in prize money. 
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT
Texans/Ravens on ESPN at 8p.    
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Artificial Intelligence offers a solution to two of the biggest challenges programmers face: getting your content discovered and keeping viewers engaged. Register for Cynopsis’ latest webinar: Using Artificial Intelligence to Capture & Captivate Audiences, and gain the skills you need to reach consumers through A.I.-driven platforms. On December 6th, hear from product marketing experts at IBM Watson Advertising, Scripps Networks Interactive and Mindshare.
 
 
ON THIS DAY in 2007: Redskins safety Sean Taylor is shot and killed in his own home.
 
In the Know: What number did Sean Taylor wear for the Redskins? (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: What was the name of the WWE tag team comprised of Hawk and Animal?  Answer: The Road Warriors/Legion of Doom. Kudos: Jerry Henderson-NBA/CBS/NY; Jonathan Lipson-Active International/NY; Art Salisch-Hearst Television/NY; Greg Conner-Tennis Channel/NY; Tom Lopez-UPS/Atlanta; Synda Kollman Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Cynthia Castanares/NBC Sports; Jay Goslee-FOX17/MYTV30/CW58/Nashville; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jeremy Bowman-ESPN/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Jacob Ullman-FOX Sports/LA
Later – Chris
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