11/30/17: Telemundo Squares away World Cup plans; ESPN’s layoffs; MLS’ final four

Good morning. It’s Thursday November 30, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Ahead of the Final Draw for the World Cup on Friday, Telemundo rolled out its programming plans for the tournament next year. The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia will, of course, run June 14-July 15. Overall, Telemundo Deportes will provide extensive multimedia coverage including more than 500 hours of World Cup-related programming across Telemundo Network and Universo, with over 1,000 hours of original content across Telemundo Deportes’ digital platforms. Telemundo/Universo will broadcast all 64 games live; 56 airing on Telemundo and eight on Universo. For the first time ever, a full-service virtual reality app will be available for the tournament, offering 2D feeds, 180° views, 360° short-form video content and near-live multi-angle clips.
Red Square will serve as as the home of Telemundo Deportes’ programming, including the production of all the pre, post and halftime shows while Telemundo’s daytime programming will also originate from Moscow. On-air talent will be led by Andres Cantor, accompanied by Sammy Sadovnik, Miguel Gurwitz, Ana Jurka, Carlos Hermosillo, Karim Mendiburu, Copan Alvarez, Manuel Sol, among others.
ESPN told employees that the company will lay off approximately 150 employees, around 2% of the workforce, in the latest round of job cuts, which are focusing on employees “in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and re-direct resources,” ESPN President John Skipper stated in a memo.
MLS announced that four cities will compete for the next two MLS expansion slots that are scheduled to be announced before the end of the year. The quartet will make formal presentations to MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league’s Expansion Committee on Dec. 6 in New York. Cities include Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento.
WWE Studios is expanding into scripted, non-scripted, family and animated television and digital content, according to multiple reports. Michael Luisi will continue his role as president and will now oversee the new TV/digital directive. “Our new expanded focus on television and digital continues to push WWE Studios as a multi-platform production company, with the ability to create original content for global distribution as we have successfully done for the big screen,” said Luisi. “We look forward to identifying key partners to work alongside us while creating opportunities to use our on-screen WWE talent in new and exciting ways.”
Univision saw the America/Cruz Azul match on Sunday on Univision with simulcast on UDN rank as the top-rated LMX match of the current Apertura ’17 season on any network, averaging 2.2 million viewers with1.3 million Adults 18-49. The Quarterfinals averaged 948K P2+ and 559K Adults 18-49 for the 8 games combined on UNI and UDN.
FOX Sports is already revving up for the new NASCAR season, announcing its talent lineup for the network’s 18th consecutive season of carrying NASCAR races. Regan Smith will join the crew as a pit reporter for both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAT Xfinity Series in addition continuing his role as a NASCAR Race Hub analyst. For the third year, Darrell Waltrip pairs with Jeff Gordon in the booth for analysis, with veteran play-by-play announcer Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds. Other pit reporters will include Jamie Little, Vince Welch, Matt Yocum and Smith. Chris Myers hosts FOX NASCAR Sunday alongside Michael Waltrip, Darrell Waltrip and Gordon.
Telemundo Deportes, announced the premiere of its first-ever, original documentary-style sports production, titled Que Momento (What A Moment). The series is launching on Saturday at 7p on Telemundo with new episodes every quarter, taking an in-depth journalistic look at some of the greatest and most memorable moments in sports history. Andres Cantor hosts with the contribution of other Telemundo Deportes’ on-air talent. The first episode #NoEraPenal captures the Mexican National Team’s (MNT) journey leading into the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the now famous match against Netherlands with the dubious late penalty call that eliminated El Tri.
FOX Sports announced that Dec. 3 will see Super Bowl Champion Greg Jennings return to Lambeau Field to make his broadcasting debut as an NFL game analyst on FOX. Jennings joins play-by-play announcer Tim Brando and sideline reporter Jennifer Hale for the Bucs/Packers game.
Outdoor Channel announced the launch of its high definition channel on DIRECTV, available on DIRECTV’s Channel 606 and simulcast with the standard definition channel. “The launch of Outdoor Channel in HD on DIRECTV is testimony to our great partnership and willingness to give outdoor enthusiasts the best viewing experience on television,” Outdoor Sportsman Group President and CEO, Jim Liberatore said. “Our viewers have come to expect a lot when they sit down and commit time to viewing our programs. We’re very pleased to be able to offer the best in outdoor lifestyle programming in high definition on DIRECTV.”
CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced their first-ever multi-Games partnership renewal that will see the national public broadcaster remain Canada’s Paralympic Network through the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The extended partnership begins with CBC/Radio-Canada’s coverage of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, March 9-18.
Eleven Sports detailed plans to continue its television broadcast partnership with the University of Massachusetts, announcing that 14 hockey and basketball games will be produced and distributed by Eleven in conjunction with multimedia rights holder Learfield’s UMass Sports Properties. Tim Neverett will call the play-by-play action for both the hockey and basketball broadcasts.
Cynopsis Webinar: Using Artificial Intelligence to Capture & Captivate
Wednesday, DEC. 6 / 1:30pm ET
Artificial intelligence offers a solution to two of the biggest challenges programmers face today: getting your content discovered, and keeping viewers engaged. A.I. is one of the most useful tools now available to TV networks, marketers and publishers. Invite the whole office – you’ll be able to share these valuable insights throughout the company, ensuring that everyone is well-versed in Artificial Intelligence.
FOX Sports and NBC Sports were jointly honored with the 2017 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards yesterday. FOX Sports and NBC Sports integrated NASCAR into its broader suite of media company assets, putting the sport in front of non-traditional audiences to help grow appeal across key demographics. The networks collaborated to implement a wide-ranging strategy to cross-promote races on both networks during the season. “We are fortunate to have two world class television partners dedicated to presenting our sport in new and innovative ways each weekend,” said Steve Phelps, EVP, Chief Global Sales and Marketing Officer. “Both FOX Sports and NBC Sports are deserving honorees, each delivering dynamic marketing campaigns that introduced our sport to new audiences and brought fans closer to our athletes than ever before.”
Global fitness and lifestyle brand Reebok announced a new creative partnership with label Pyer Moss and its founder, designer and artist Kerby Jean-Raymond for a collection of men’s, women’s and unisex sportswear products. The partnership will feature two separate lines for Reebok Classic, with a collection launching in August 2018. Inspired by pieces from Reebok’s rich heritage in sportswear, the collection will be designed with modern executions.
Phoenix Raceway pays tribute to the 25th anniversary of Mario Andretti’s final career win with a special reunion weekend April 6-7, 2018 for the Verizon IndyCar Series Phoenix Grand Prix. The event will be highlighted by a reunion of the drivers who participated in the 1993 IndyCar race that culminated in Andretti’s last open-wheel victory.
SHOWTIME Sports will wrap up its 2017 boxing season with a free live stream on social media platforms on Dec. 9 via the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and the SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page. IBF Super Middleweight World Champion James DeGale will headline as he defends his title against former world title challenger Caleb Truax with a co-feature pitting IBF Featherweight World Champion Lee Selby taking on undefeated contender Eduardo Ramirez, among other bouts. Live coverage, provided by BoxNation and BT Sport, will begin at approximately 2:50p.
GLORY announced a partnership with Pluto TV to livestream the preliminary bouts that lead off every GLORY fight night. The partnership begins tomorrow with GLORY’s New York show, and continuing into 2018, all preliminary bouts will be livestreamed for the first time on Pluto TV’s GLORY Kickboxing channel (Ch. 227), available to more than 6 million users.
In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports & Gaming
  • Tobias Sherman talks Foundry and forging esports’ future
  • IEM’s Olympic plans
  • ESL Cologne books a return trip
  • MLG’s dip in Dallas pools
  • HyperX’s activation plans
  • Kellogg’s Mushroom Cereal
  • PlayStation Experience gets ready to rumble
  • Gfinity’s Australian trek
  • Team Spotlight: CLG
Redskins/Cowboys on NBC and NFL Network at 8:25p.  
At a time when it is more important than ever to shine a light on the incredible accomplishments of women in every field, we honor excellence in digital content, marketing, advertising, social media and online content. Past honorees have been digital-savvy innovators from a wide range of companies ( view last year’s honorees here ). The deadline is Jan. 9 and honorees will be celebrated at our annual awards breakfast on Mar. 14 in NYC.
ON THIS DAY in 1993: The NFL announces its 30th franchise in the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In the Know: Which NFL team was the last to have a winless season? (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: With the Giants announcing that Eli Manning wouldn’t start this weekend’s game against the Raiders, who will become the leading active QB in consecutive starts? Answer: Philip Rivers. Kudos: Aymon DeMauro-Discovery Communications/NY; Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Russ Camlet-NBCU/NY; Frank Costa-CBS/NY; Troy Perlowitz-ESPN/Charlotte; Matt Marini-MLB Network/NJ; Cait Cohn/Springfield; Bill Graff-beIN Sports/Miami; John Langermann-WINK-TV/WXCW-TV/Fort Myers; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/KTXA/Dallas; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Steve Bradbury-Deep Sports/Marina Del Rey; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego

Later – Chris

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