12.09.15 Good morning. It’s Wednesday December 9, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Showtime is taking boxing to a whole new arena, announcing that last Saturday night’s main event between WBA Middleweight World Champion Daniel Jacobs’ and previously undefeated challenger Peter Quillin is now available with 360-degree video from ring-side. The VR-driven initiative is viewable on Showtime Sports’ YouTube Channel, the Showtime Boxing Facebook page and the Samsung Gear VR via the MILK VR app and Littlestar VR apps for Samsung Gear VR, iOS and Android.
With ESPN’s coverage of the college football regular season in the books, the ESPN family of networks saw viewership growth overall for its lineup of games this year. ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS averaged 1,852,000 viewers for the 270 games televised in the 2015 college football regular season, according to Nielsen, for a 4% markup over 2014 numbers. In addition, ESPN averaged 2,721,000 viewers for the 74 games the network aired, marking the fourth consecutive year viewership has increased while ABC averaged 4,979,000 viewers for 41 game-windows.
Meanwhile, the NFC East matchup between the Cowboys and Redskins delivered ESPN’s MNF with a win across all networks, with an 8.7 Nielsen household rating and 14,151,000 viewers. Top markets included: an 11.1 rating on ESPN and a 17.0 on WFAA-ABC, for a combined 28.1 rating in Dallas-Ft. Worth and a 17.3 rating on ESPN and a 10.2 on WDCA-IND, for a combined 27.5 rating in the DC. The Spanish-language telecast of the game on ESPN Deportes averaged a 0.4 Hispanic Household rating with 59,000 Hispanic Household impressions and 83,000 Hispanic viewers.
Wrapping up ratings news, MLB Network scored its most-watched Monday ever, spanning 6a-3a for its Winter Meetings coverage. Coverage nabbed a 48% rise versus its previous all-time high in 2013.
The weekend saw Jim Rome announce via Twitter that his Showtime series was being cancelled. Jim Rome on Showtime had a home on the network since 2012. “Thank you to Showtime for a great run,” he wrote. “Show is not being renewed but I look forward to continuing on CBS Sports Radio & The NF Today.”
CBS Sports Network, along with CBSSports.com, will unveil the CBS Sports 2015 College Football All-America team today at 7p. Talent includes analysts Randy Cross, Aaron Taylor and Brian Jones, CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd, and host Brent Stover, who announce each player on the team and offer analysis of every position.
Elsewhere in college football, the Big 12 is now requiring conference football programs to schedule at least one non-conference game against ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC schools and/or Notre Dame once a year. In addition, Big 12 programs will now be able to play more than one game annually against a non-Football Bowl Subdivision opponent. “Schedule strength is a key component in CFP Selection Committee deliberations,” commented Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “This move will strengthen the resumes for all Big 12 teams. Coupled with the nine-game full round robin Conference schedule our teams play, it will not only benefit the teams at the top of our standings each season, but will impact the overall strength of the Conference.”
Charles Barkley takes on analyst duties on Thursday with TNT’s NBA coverage. The doubleheader will see Barkley join Chris Webber, Marv Albert (play-by-play) and reporter Rachel Nichols on the call of Knicks/Kings at 10:30p. Early action features Clippers/Bulls at 8p with Kevin Harlan joined by analyst Reggie Miller and reporter David Aldridge on microphone duties.
IMG has been awarded live broadcast and clip rights to the Premier League in 27 markets spanning central and eastern Europe as well as central Asia. The deal the three-season period between 2016 and 2019, according to SportsPro Media, and includes Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Speaking of soccer, after seeing its last three leaders fall under indictment, CONCACAF announced plans to govern my committee until May in lieu of finding another chief. ."In light of current events, it is critical that the confederation’s next president be determined by a public election and the scrutiny that comes with it," CONCACAF said in a statement. Acting president Alfredo Hawit of Honduras was arrested in Zurich last Thursday as part of an on-going investigation into corruption at FIFA.
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The newborn National Women’s Hockey League locked in its first corporate sponsorship, inking a deal with Dunkin’ Brands in a move that will see Dunkin’ Donuts become the official iced, hot, and frozen coffee of the NWHL. Yesterday saw the league unveil the new NWHL jerseys adorned with Dunkin’ patches. "Throughout the Northeast and across the country, Dunkin’ Donuts is recognized as the brand that keeps people running any time of day," said Commissioner Dani Rylan. "We are thrilled such a leading national brand is not only our first corporate sponsor, but will play an important part in helping to promote our league, teams and players."
The New York Road Runners found a partner in New Balance that will see the brand offer year-round engagements with NYRR events, programs and youth running initiatives. The multi-year deal will launch gradually in 2016 and reach full engagement in 2017 and covers an array of areas including event sponsorship, youth programming, global licensing as well as e-commerce and retail rights for footwear and apparel. In 2017, New Balance becomes an NYRR foundation partner and the Official Athletic Footwear and Apparel Partner of NYRR with sponsorship of the NYRR Five-Borough Series (United Airlines NYC Half, Airbnb Brooklyn Half, NYRR Queens 10K, New Balance Bronx 10-Mile and NYRR Staten Island Half), NYRR Heritage Races (NYRR New York Mini 10K, New Balance 5th Avenue Mile and the NYRR Midnight Run) and the TCS New York City Marathon.
Tumblr unveiled its third annual “Year in Review” of top blogs, posts, and topics featured on the site in 2015, with categories that include Most Reblogged Athletes based on total volume of posts and tags (original and reblogged), notes (likes and reblogs), web traffic, follower growth over time, press recognition, and more. Taking the top ten were: Serena Willaism, John Cena, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marco Reus, Ali Krieger, Stephen Curry, Jonathan Toews and Alex Morgan. Top five Reblogged Sports were: hockey, basketball, skateboarding, football and surfing.
Italian Serie A club AS Roma unveiled the world’s first crowdsourced official football club website, asroma.com. The new platform was designed and built based on “feedback and ideas put forward by the club’s supporters” with the club tapping Reddit and independent fan forums to directly involve supporters in the development of the club’s new official website. To develop the new website, AS Roma partnered with Omnigon with new features that include: card-based content feed that helps fans consume content quickly on the go; a unique tagging system that allows users to surface the content that interests them; Roma TV+, a new video platform that gives fans extensive access to Roma videos; enhanced in-game player and team statistics for every game powered by Corebine; and curated social feeds.
The International Tennis Federation locked in a deal with Sportradar AG to extend its partnership for ITF Official for an additional five years through 2021. Sportradar will continue as the ITF’s official data rights partner for the ITF Pro Circuit, and Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and will remain the preferred streaming partner for a range of ITF Pro Circuit events.
NBC Sports personality Jeremy Roenick is joining NHL Network broadcaster Billy Jaffe to produce a weekly hockey podcast via a deal with DGital Media. The weekly show, dubbed Roenick Life Podcast with JR and Jaffe, launches Dec. 16 and will publish on Wednesdays, covering major NHL storylines as well as conversations about NHL nightlife, trending topics and weekly big name guests.
Hitbox powered up 4K for eSports, live streaming an exhibition match in full 4K resolution at 60 frames per second for the first time ever over the weekend. The live demonstration featured Blizzard Entertainment’s Heroes of the Storm and can be seen here. http://www.hitbox.tv/4kheroes .
eSports mammoth ESL is extending its international ties, announcing the launch of ESL One Manila by PLDT Fibr & Smart GameX. The tournament takes place from April 23-24 as “the premier South East Asian tournament” and offer $250,000 in prize money. Local Filipino and South East Asian teams will be invited to take part in qualifiers in a bid to help further establish esports in the region.
The NHL named Steve Mayer as the league’s Executive Vice President and Executive Producer, Programming & Creative Development. Mayer joins the NHL after a 20-year career at IMG Productions, producing the likes of NHL Awards (NBC), NBA All-Star All-Style (TNT), Hall of Game Awards (Cartoon Network), Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular (CBS), Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials (CBS), and more.
Congratulations to NBC’s Michele Tafoya, who will serve as sideline reporter for her 200th NFL game on Sunday with SNF’s Patriots/Texans coverage. Sunday marks the 27th Patriots game that Tafoya will work, which ties with the Dallas Cowboys for the team she has covered most in her 12 seasons on the sidelines.
Hawks/Mavericks on ESPN at 9:30p.
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