12/11/18: The NBA League Pass opened the door to purchasing content by the quarter

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Tuesday December 11, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

 
NBA Digital, co-managed by the NBA and Turner Sports, tipped off quarter-by-quarter pricing on its NBA League Pass serve, with fans now able to purchase a single game at reduced prices after each quarter. The content will be available on NBA.com and the NBA App, and via participating NBA League Pass distributors such as Turner’s B/R Live streaming service. The quarter-by-quarter pricing options are: Single Game at $6.99; End of 1st Quarter at $4.99; End of 2nd Quarter at $2.99; and End of 3rd Quarter at $1.99.
 
 
PROGRAMMING

Renowned Premier League broadcaster Jon Champion is heading stateside to join ESPN to serve as the company’s new play-by-play voice for Major League Soccer. Beginning in 2019, Champion will be paired with Taylor Twellman on MLS matches. “I am thrilled to be joining ESPN on a full-time basis to cover MLS and the other soccer properties now in the company’s growing portfolio,” said Champion. “It’s a big adventure to move my family to the U.S. and a significant personal challenge after more than 30 years of covering the sport in Europe. I’ve really enjoyed working on MLS on my frequent visits and now I get the chance to call the matches on a weekly basis and to relate the whole story as the league enters an exciting phase of its development.”
 
Speaking of ESPN talent, the company inked a multi-year extension with Major League Baseball analyst Mark Teixeira that will see him continue to serve as an analyst for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown. Teixeira will also frequently contribute analysis to SportsCenter and other ESPN news and information platforms in addition to making weekly appearances on ESPN Radio shows, including on ESPN Radio 98.7’s The Michael Kay Show.
 
NBC’s Sunday Night Football saw the Rams/Bears notch a 13.0/22 Nielsen overnight score (not including digital) for an uptick of 12% over last year’s Week 14 SNF game. The rating marks the eleventh time in the past 14 games that NBC NFL overnight topped corresponding game in 2017.
 
Around the dial, CBS Sports’ Week 14 NFL singleheader coverage of the NFL on CBS on Sunday drew an 11.0/22 for a rise of 28% from last year’s 8.6/17 in the metered markets. The score, anchored by Kansas City’s overtime win over Baltimore, was the highest-rated NFL on CBS singleheader game window in the metered markets in two years. Through 14 weeks, THE NFL ON CBS’ season-to-date rating is up 6% from a year ago.
 
Rounding out the crew, the NFL on FOX’s doubleheader coverage topped the charts, delivering a 13.4/26 to top last year’s season-high performance with America’s Game of the Week generating a 16.0/30.
 
ESPN is getting an early start on baseball, announcing that – for the first time – Sunday Night Baseball telecasts will now begin at 7p in the 2019 season. Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet will begin at 6p. “We are extremely proud that for 30 seasons Sunday Night Baseball remains the destination for baseball fans come together each week,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. “We’re also proud of our three-decades long relationship with Major League Baseball, which is more dynamic than ever. We will continue to innovate and try new things, as fans enjoy MLB’s best on Sunday nights, like they have since 1990.”
 
MLB Network is turning ten and celebrating more than 30,000 hours of programming on Jan. 1, 2019 at 6p with MLB Network: 10 Years and Counting. The special  will look back at the network’s beginnings as well as the memorable moments and stories in Major League Baseball over the last decade and include commentary from original members of MLB Network’s group of on-air personalities including Bob Costas, Greg Amsinger, Sean Casey, Al Leiter, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds, Bill Ripken, Matt Vasgersian and Tom Verducci. Immediately following the show, MLB Network will re-air its debut feature programming from January 1, 2009 at 7p including Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game Five of the 1956 World Series while vintage promos from MLB Network’s first years on the air will be interspersed throughout programming.
 
OTT subscription service DAZN is bringing the English Premier League to Canada, according to the Province. The report stated that the platform will carry every game from England’s top flight on an exclusive basis for three years beginning with the 2019/20 season.
 
Universal Tennis named Facebook as the exclusive broadcast home for the men’s California Championships Presented by UTR Powered by Oracle. Tennis fans worldwide will be able to view play on Facebook Watch beginning Dec. 19 for exclusive live-streaming coverage of this exciting new tennis tournament.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 7 will see ESPN extend its partnership with Interscope Records as Imagine Dragons plays the halftime show live from Treasure Island. The special performance will be free for fans and will require passes in order to access Treasure Island and include several songs including tracks from their latest album Origins. The appearance at the national championship game builds upon a season-long collaboration between ESPN, Interscope Records and Universal Music Group Nashville that saw artists from the label incorporated into ESPN’s college football programming, promotion and games throughout the season.
 
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

PPG and the National Hockey League announced that official game pucks featuring thermochromic coatings supplied by PPG will be in play during the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day between the Bruins/Blackhawks. The advanced coatings change from purple to clear when a puck’s temperature is above freezing, providing a visual indication to officials that the puck should be replaced. The coated pucks will be tested at NHL tentpole events during the 2018-19 season and will be further evaluated for broader use in the future.
 
The NBA inked a multiyear partnership with Chinese digital producer Migu to distribute content to fans in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. The deal marks the company’s first with a North American sports league. Migu will also become the official marketing partner of the NBA China Games in addition to offering its viewers with daily NBA game highlights, behind-the-scenes videos, original programming, and archived games.
 
 
ESPORTS

After taking venues by storm with its golf outlets, Topgolf is now honing in on esports, announcing a partnership with TCL to launch esports venues as well with the first TCL esports Lounge set to open at Topgolf Las Vegas in early January, timed with the  2019 Consumer Electronics Show from Jan. 8-11. The deal will see lounges added to six Topgolf venues that will offer daily esports play: Austin, Charlotte, Houston-Katy; Minneapolis; and Scottsdale.
 
 
INDUSTRY/ROSTER MOVES

Francois McGillicuddy was named as the new President of Big Ten Network by FOX Sports and the Big Ten Conference. McGillicuddy will assume his new role in early 2019 and take over the day-to-day operations for BTN currently held by Mark Silverman, who was elevated in January 2018 to the position of President, National Networks, FOX Sports. McGillicuddy currently serves as SVP & General Manager of FOX Sports Ohio and SportsTime Ohio.
 
Fenway Sports Management announced that  Mark Lev has been named President where he will now be responsible for the leadership, strategic direction, and growth of FSM and all its business units.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Raptors/Clippers at 10:30p on NBA TV.
 
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ON THIS DAY in 2000: Alex Rodriguez signs a 10-year deal with the Texas Rangers for a record $252 million.
 
In the Know: Who is the Detroit Lions’ all-time leader in sacks? (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: Pro wrestler Chris Jericho is the founder of what band? Answer: Fozzy. Kudos: Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Eric Wright-DS Simon/NY; Greg Conner-Tennis Media/NY; Matt Marini-NFL/NFL Films/New Jersey; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Will Hildebrandt-NBC Universal/DC; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria
 
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