12/01/16: FOX Sports enters ref eyes; One World Sports mulls sale; Pepsi/Papa John’s forge halftime harmony


Good morning. It’s Thursday December 1, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Saturday’s Big Ten Football Championship Game on FOX will bring a new perspective to the mix. FOX Sports Lab announced plans to team with GoPro to offer a new championship game viewing experience for fans by featuring live, in-game footage captured from the perspective of the referees. GoPro worked with FOX Sports and Big Ten officials to design a referee-worn hat that will offer viewers a unique POV perspective that will be available for use during the FOX game broadcast. The GoPro footage will be seen on-air, while viewers can also find video clips digitally via FOX Sports’ social media accounts and FOXSports.com.
“This is the continuing challenge we’ve taken on all year," said Michael Davies, FOX Sports Senior Vice President Technical & Field Operations. "It’s in our FOX Sports DNA to constantly challenge our team to come up with new and interesting ways to enhance the viewing experience, bring fans closer to the action and make the story of sports even more compelling … this project with GoPro accomplishes all of that."


Several reports popped up yesterday suggesting that One World Sports, the New York Cosmos and potentially even the NASL were all in financial trouble and could all be shutting down operations. One World Sports, it was written, recently placed a chunk of employees on furlough and was on the verge of collapse after losing a key investor, with bankruptcy coming as early as next week. However, a source at OWS refuted the report, stating that while losing the investor was a setback, the company had "initiated several short-term cost saving moves including furloughing of certain staff" and that the network was actually exploring selling the business to an owner that can assist in scaling expenses."
Meanwhile, ESPN writes that the future of the North American Soccer League was in "peril" as club owners and potential investors met in Atlanta for crisis talks. The move comes as the league’s highest profile franchise – the New York Cosmos  may be about to shut down and has furloughed employees, according to reports. The report states that owners hoped to have a plan of action once the meeting were concluded.

It’s the end of the line for early morning NFL games, according to the WSJ. The report states that the 9:30a London games would no longer be played, ending potential quadruple-headers on Sunday in the NFL. Ratings for the morning contests had not performed up to expectations, according to the story.

ESPN got a boost out of Monday Night Football, as the Packers’ win over the Eagles helped the channel win the night among all networks (in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. Overall, the game scored a total live audience of 13,383,000 average viewers, making it the network’s second-largest MNF audience this season, with a 7.8 US household rating on the channel.

ESPN also saw Saturday’s College GameDay Presented by The Home Depot register the show’s most-watched regular-season episode on record (spanning 382 episodes), with a total live audience of 2,682,000 average viewers.

In other ratings news, Univision Deportes reports strong results for the Liga MX Liguilla (playoffs). The Thursday Super Clasico match between Club America and Chivas de Guadalajara on Univision Network, simulcast on UDN, delivered an average audience of 2.9 million to deliver the largest audience ever, on any network, for a first leg match in a Liga MX Quarterfinal round. Additionally, the second leg matchup on UDN between Tigres and León delivered 875,000 Total Viewers.

The LPGA laid out its schedule for 2017, lining up 34 official events for the year as well as the Solheim Cup. That spells growth of one event to up total purses to $67.35 million, surpassing this year’s total of $63 million in official events. The new schedule features four new events, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Ladies Open, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open, the Indy Women in Tech event at Brickyard Crossing in Indianapolis and the Thornberry Creek Classic in Green Bay, Wis.

NASCAR unveiled the format for The Clash at Daytona International Speedway, set for Feb. 18. The annual season-opening event will be broadcast live on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 8p and will see the 75-lap race again split into two segments with a competition caution at lap 25 separating the segments. However, unlike previous years, the starting field will not be a predetermined number of cars; rather, the field is limited to drivers who meet more exclusive criteria. Only drivers who were 2016 Coors Light Pole Award winners, former Clash race winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016, and drivers who qualified for the 2016 Chase are eligible.
For the third consecutive year, CBS Sports Network carries the National Finals Rodeo, with coverage starting today and running through Sunday from 10p-11a each night. Jeff Medders hosts the coverage, and is joined by analysts Butch Knowles, Don Gay and Joe Beaver, as well as reporter Kadee Coffman.
The National Sports Media Association released its roster of finalists for the 2016 Hall of Fame class, featuring twenty of sports media’s best sportscasters and sportswriters. Those making their first appearance on the final ballot are sportscasters James Brown, Linda Cohn, Frank Gifford, Bryant Gumbel and Greg Gumbel, along with sportswriters Ira Berkow, Mike Lupica and Claire Smith. Meanwhile, current Hall of Famer Vin Scully headlines the list of National Sportscaster of the Year finalists, joining Joe Buck, Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Jim Nantz, Dan Patrick, Dan Shulman, Mike Tirico, Bob Costas and Al Michaels. NSMA members will receive an emailed ballot today and have until December 31 to vote.



Digital marketers know that programmatic is an indispensable aspect of digital ad-buying. And as the importance of data-driven programmatic buying has increased, so has the focus on mobile platforms – eMarketer projects that mobile programmatic spend will reach $15.45 billion in the U.S. by the end of this year. That’s 69% of all programmatic digital display ad spending. Register today and get up to speed on 12/3. 


Super Bowl regulars Pepsi and Papa John’s are teaming up for a “Halftime of a Lifetime” promotion, offering fans an opportunity to get a front-row seat at the Pepsi Zero Sugar Halftime Show at Super Bowl LI. The activation runs every NFL gameday from now through December 25, with consumers who purchase two medium one-topping Papa John’s pizzas and a two-liter Pepsi-Cola beverage receiving a promotional code to be entered for a chance to win the prize. “Papa John’s Pizza and Pepsi are a delicious part of making the game day experience even better for our fans,” says Robert Thompson, SVP, Marketing, Papa John’s. “Offering consumers the chance to be part of Super Bowl LI and on the sideline for the Pepsi Zero Sugar Halftime Show is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Roush Fenway Racing and Trevor Bayne locked in an additional primary sponsor for the 2017 NASCAR season, lining up Liberty National Life Insurance Company, which now joins anchor sponsor Advocare. The life insurance company will also serve as an associate partner for multiple races next year.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown and Bill Russell will receive the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award this year. The three icons have been chosen by the SI editors to receive the award for their “incomparable athletic careers and decades of leadership as social activists” and will be honored during SI’s Sportsperson of the Year event on December 12 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.


STATS is expanding its ties with Snapchat to offer additional differentiated data points for more leagues. Last year saw Snapchat debut dynamic scoreboard Geofilters showcasing live sports scores. Now, Snapchatters will now have the ability to share data and statistics beyond the score during live sporting events for more than 30 leagues including NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA Football and EPL. “Knowing how successful our partnership with Snapchat has been to this point, we are eager to see how users of the popular communication app will engage with the additional differentiated data,” said Greg Kirkorsky, Executive Vice President, Sales for STATS. “Snapchat has given us the unique opportunity to see how fans interact with our sports data directly.”

Hockey fans will again determine the four captains for the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles through the 2017 NHL All-Star Fan Vote, which opens worldwide today at 2p at NHL.com/vote and the NHL app. The ballot will include a streamlined site to simplify the fan experience.


In this week’s big edition of Cynopsis eSports & Gaming

·       Q&A with new AIAS President Mike Fischer
·       What’s driving esports audiences to 54% growth?
·       Rovio Hatches new platform for game streaming
·       NBA2K plays for Europe
·       IEM doubles down on Katowice
·       Developers dive into Facebook’s Instant Games
·       HyperX pins down the Beast
·       Skillz’ new sponsorship play
·       Halo gets a new show


Cowboys/Vikings on NBC, NFL Network & Twitter at 8p.


Women in Digital  This one is for you!

We live in such an exciting time  women are rising in the ranks and excelling in the fields of digital content, marketing, advertising, social media, & online. With these trailblazers in mind, we are pleased to announce the call for entries of our third annual TOP WOMEN IN DIGITAL AWARDS, celebrating the unique, the uncommon & the bold.

The deadline to enter is Tuesday, January 10 so get ahead of the holiday season by starting your entry today!

ON THIS DAY in 1964. The Houston Colt .45s change their name to the Astros.

In The Know: What two teams make up the longest rivalry in college football at the FBS level? (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: Who holds the all-time career record for receptions for the Jacksonville Jaguars? Answer: Jimmy Smith. Kudos: Andrew Feingold-Fox News/NY; Len Appel-Branded Entertainment Network/NY; Daniel Weber-MLBAM/NY; Eric Wright-D S Simon/NY; Ken White/Charleston; Scott Leslie-UPS/Atlanta; Mike Furman-GMMB/DC; Tony Miller-NBC Sports/Stamford; Jase Roan-KPMG Sports Marketing/Chicago; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/Dallas; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Elouie Gopez-DIRECTavenue/Carlsbad; Matthew Shapiro/LA

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
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