12.17.15 Good morning. It’s Thursday December 17, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Adrian Wojnarowski is getting his own Vertical. The NBA reporter is working with Yahoo Sports to launch a new basketball site dubbed The Vertical in early 2016, "bringing together an elite group of NBA journalists, insiders and experts to create the internet’s hub of basketball information and storytelling." Names taking part on the site include Michael Lee, Shams Charania, Bobby Marks, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of Draft Express.com, Nick DePaula of NiceKicks.com, Tim Grover and Brian Scalabrine.
In addition, he inked an exclusive on-demand audio partnership with DGitial Media and debuted his new weekly podcast yesterday called The Vertical Podcast with Woj. The audio series began yesterday and featured him chatting with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as his first guest. New eps run on Wednesdays.
It takes time to count to a billion. FIFA reported yesterday that more than 1 billion people watched the 2014 World Cup final, stating that a total of 1.013 billion saw at least one minute of Germany’s victory over Argentina, according to a new AP report citing research from FIFA and Kantar Media. FIFA reported a 7% spike in TV rating with an ‘average in-home global audience’ of 570.1 million. More than 105 million American residents watched at least 20 minutes of a match during the tournament, FIFA claimed.
As leagues wrap up the year, the WTA unveiled its 2015 end-of-season global audience report, by SMG Insight, with worldwide broadcast coverage seeing an overall viewership boost of 25% year-on-year, with 395 million cumulative viewers in 2015 versus 316 million in 2014. Meanwhile, digital viewership for the 2015 season grew 44% year-over-year, with 44.6 million viewers watching women’s tennis through online broadcast platforms in 2015, compared to 31 million in 2014.
The NHL detailed plans for the World Cup of Hockey 2016, lining up training camp information and its slate of 12 pre-tournament games. Training camps for all eight teams should begin on Sept. 4-5 with three pre-tournament games starting a few days later, spanning both Europe and North America. The league named Columbus, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC; Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Prague; Gothenburg; Helsinki; and St. Petersburg as hosts for the preseason matchups, which begin Sept. 8. The Preliminary Round begins on Saturday, Sept. 17 with Group play at the Air Canada Centre.
NBC Sports Group serves up a blitz of Premier League matches into the New Year, slating 40 matches in 16 days starting Saturday and running through Jan. 3. Holiday programming plans include the first-ever NBC doubleheader on Boxing Day, Dec. 26 pitting Newcastle/Everton at 12:30p, followed by Southampton/Arsenal at 2:45p. The company also brings back its Premier League Breakaway program at 10a on Dec. 28 with a special two-hour show featuring RedZone-ish live look-ins on the best action from all five Premier League matches in the 10a. In addition, all matches in the 10a window will be available in their entirety via live stream on NBC Sports Live Extra and on Premier League Extra Time.
Around the dial, FS1 tackles the holiday season with multiple marathons including 14 consecutive hours of U.S. Open-themed programming starting Dec. 24 at 9a, beginning with U.S. Open: Payne Reigns. As previously reported, Christmas Day will see 17-hours of NASCAR programming starting at 6a with three consecutive hours of NASCAR Race Hub: Best of the Year. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day will then see UFC programming, including a replay of the Chad Mendes/Conor McGregor fight on Dec. 31 at 8p and the live weigh-in for the Robbie Lawler/Carlos Condit title bout on Jan. 1 at 7p.
Table tennis takes the spotlight on Saturday on ONE World Sports, which is delivering the exclusive premiere of the 2015 USA Table Tennis National Championship. The live telecast airs at 10p from Las Vegas serving up the Men’s and Women’s National Championship Finals. ONE World Sports will air the 2015 USA Table Tennis Championships on its linear network as well as via its Watch ONE World Sports app to authenticated users.
The San Diego Chargers potential move to LA will be with the Raiders, with team owner Dean Spanos shooting down theories that the team would be open to partnering with the Rams on a stadium in a measure to relocate. According to the NY Times, the division rivals remain committed to their plan in Carson, with Spanos stating that "Nothing…gives me any reason to reconsider my partnership with Mark Davis and our chosen stadium site. I firmly believe that the proposal we have jointly made is in the best interests of the entire league and is in complete compliance with the league’s relocation policies."
Former WWE icon Rey Mysterio is joining El Rey Network’s Lucha Underground for the program’s second season. The series, from Mark Burnett, United Artists Media Group, Robert Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures premieres on El Rey Network on January 27 at 8p. "When it comes to in-ring performers, Rey Mysterio is among the elite and we are thrilled to welcome him and his skills to the Lucha Underground franchise reinforcing our promise to bring US audiences the very best in lucha libre wrestling," said Executive Producer and Showrunner, Eric Van Wagenen.
SiriusXM is set for Bowl Season to begin this weekend, lining up coverage of 38 live bowl games this college football postseason, the most ever for the company, including the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship. The schedule begins Saturday with a lineup of five games beginning with the inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at noon. "As the college football postseason gets underway we’re excited to offer our subscribers a more extensive schedule of games than ever before," said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer. "With live play-by-play and our dedicated SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel, fans get an extraordinary level coverage through the crowning of this year’s national champion and beyond."
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The NCAA continued its momentum in the Ed O’Bannon case, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the O’Bannon plaintiffs’ petition for a rehearing before a larger panel of judges, according to the AP. A three-judge panel upheld U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken’s decision that NCAA rules restricting payments to college athletes violate antitrust laws, but ruled that players shouldn’t be paid up to $5,000 per year in deferred compensation for use of their names, images and likenesses. The two parties now have 90 days to file with the Supreme Court by March 14.
Nikko RC/Toy State are connecting with NASCAR team owner Tommy Baldwin and driver Alex Bowman for a multi-year sponsorship agreement that will have the brand serve as the primary sponsor on the No. 7 Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series starting next year. Nikko RC/Toy State will serve as a primary sponsor on Bowman’s car for 13 Sprint Cup races, as well as an associate sponsor for an additional 14 events.
FOX Sports taking a bite of the big Apple, announcing that launch of a new talk show shot entirely on iPhones and iPads that will be simultaneously live streamed on four platforms Facebook, Periscope, YouTube, and FOX Sports GO. Dubbed a quadcast and entitled Outkick the Show, the series will be hosted by FOX Sports College Football Insider Clay Travis and stream Monday-Friday at noon featuring Travis giving his take on the headlines of the day in sports and pop culture, interviewing guests, and answering real-time questions from fans on Facebook and Periscope. The program is live streamed using three iPhone 6s and an iPad Mini affixed to a specially modified tripod, which allows Travis to operate the technology by himself.
CBS Sports Digital is picking up 247Sports, a network of industry-leading college and pro team affinity sites as well as its talent. 247Sports’ network of sites and mobile apps, and its leading subscription recruiting information services, will now become part of CBS Sports Digital’s multi-platform offerings, which include CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports apps for mobile and connected TV devices, CBS Sports fantasy games, SportsLine, and MaxPreps.
With single games options in tow, NBA Digital saw NBA League Pass, its package of live out-of-market games, open the season with its best start ever, locking in a record number of digital subscriptions to date. So far this season, the Warriors have secured the top spots for NBA Single Game and NBA Team Pass, claiming seven of the Top 10 most-viewed games.
Home Team Sports tapped Jason Baron to serve as Account Executive for HTS Interactive. Baron comes in from Silver Chalice, and will be responsible for integrated digital sales opportunities throughout the Midwest.
UFC Senior Vice President, Government & Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner was named a 2016 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as a non-participant for his contributions to the sport on Wednesday. The ceremony will take place on June 12 in Canastota, New York.
Thunder/Cavaliers on TNT at 8p.
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Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: In the movie Fletch, Chevy Chase’s character proclaims his hatred of which MLB Hall of Famer? Answer: Tommy Lasorda. Kudos: Michael O. Brown-Lagardere Sports/NY; Andreas Droste-NBC Sports/NY; Rick Diamond-Evolution/NY; Joe Grippo-Madison Square Garden/NY; Tim Buckman-NBC Sports/Stamford; Chris Schwartz-International Speedway Corporation/Charlotte; Jay Greeson-Times free Press/Chattanooga; Mark Altabe-Citibank/Jersey City; Derek Crownover-Dickinson Wright-Music Row/Nashville; Jason F. Brist-Outdoor Sportsman Group/Chicago; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Mike Jaquet-U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association/Trembling Hills
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