01/06/21: The NHL sold division names in a branding move


Medias First Morning Read


Wednesday January 6, 2021

The National Hockey League announced plans to partner with Discover, Honda, MassMutual and Scotiabank with the brands set to serve as the official division names for the 2020-21 season: Scotia NHL North Division, Honda NHL West Division, Discover NHL Central Division and the MassMutual NHL East Division. Each team will play every other team in its division eight times with the exception of the Scotia NHL North Division, which will play every other team in its division nine or 10 times, to minimize team travel as much as possible.

Team assignments will be as follows:
· Scotia NHL North Division (Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg)
· Honda NHL West Division (Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, San Jose, St. Louis, Vegas)
· Discover NHL Central Division (Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Nashville, Tampa Bay)
· MassMutual NHL East Division (Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington)


The NCAA opened the week with the news that the association will host the entire postseason men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis (and surrounding areas) with teams playing a bubble-like environment. All 68 teams will come to compete for the national championship and play most of the games at multiple venues in Indianapolis, with some games in Bloomington and West Lafayette. Selection Sunday is still slated to take place on March 14, and the Final Four is set to be held April 3 and 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. “This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “We have worked tirelessly to reimagine a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our membership, local authorities and staff.”

The NFL postseason is locked and loaded with Super Wild Card Weekend running Jan. 9-10. For the first time ever, there will be three games on Saturday and three games on Sunday with the expanded playoff format. The action kicks off on Saturday at 1:05p with Indianapolis/Buffalo on CBS/CBS All Access, followed by the Rams/Seahawks at 4:40p on FOX/FOX Deportes and the Bucs/Washington at 8:15p on NBC/Universo. Sundays sees Ravens/Titans at 1:05p across ESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes, and Freeform; with the Bears/Saints running on CBS/Nickelodeon/Amazon Prime/CBS All Access and Browns/Steelers at 8:15p on NBC/Telemundo/Peacock.

With its game ready to go, ESPN detailed plans for its first NFL Wild Card MegaCast with ESPN+ joining ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, Freeform and ESPN Deportes in a MegaCast presentation. With the traditional telecast of Ravens/Titans on ESPN and ABC featuring enhanced production elements serving as the foundation of the MegaCast, other channels will offer their own features such as DJ Khaled performing exclusively on Freeform as part of the MegaCast’s Watch Party. MegaCast staple Film Room will air on ESPN2, offering a concentrated breakdown of game strategy in real-time and ESPN Deportes will air the Spanish-language telecast

Meanwhile, NFL Wild Card action on Amazon Prime Video will air for free for Amazon Prime members on Prime Video and Twitch on Sunday. Fans will be able to listen to Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer as well as the new ‘Scout’s Feed’ featuring Bucky Brooks, Daniel Jeremiah and Joy Taylor.

FOX Sports reports that week 17 of NFL action drew a 14.2/30 for a rise of 8% over last year’s comparable window for America’s Game of the Week, according to Nielsen. The doubleheader overall delivered an 11.4/25, up 6%

This year’s College Football Playoff Semifinals handed ESPN with 19 million average viewers between the two matchups in the CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capital One (Alabama vs. Notre Dame: 18,893,000) and the CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Clemson vs. Ohio State: 19,149,000) on Jan. 1. The day ranked as ESPN’s third-most watched day ever. In other post-season action, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (Georgia vs. Cincinnati) drew 8,727,000 viewers across all MegaCast feeds, the most-viewed NY6 Bowl Game featuring a Group of 5 team of the CFP Era, up 39% from last year’s comparable semifinal lead-in game and up 3% from the Peach Bowl.

ESPN+ and ABC are teaming up to air the first UFC event of 2021 when the Octagon returns to UFC Fight Island on Jan 16. Live coverage of the prelims begins at noon ET exclusively on ESPN+, followed by the main card at 3p on ESPN+ (English and Spanish) and ABC “We are excited to collaborate with ABC to televise the first UFC event of 2021, and the first-ever live UFC event on the ABC network,” said Burke Magnus, Executive Vice President of Programming and Original Content, ESPN. “UFC FIGHT ISLAND has captured the excitement and imagination of sports fans worldwide and what better way to start the year than by simulcasting the main card of UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Kattar on ESPN+ and ABC.”

The WTA cemented a provisional 2021 Tour calendar that maps out the season through July 11. The calendar reflects the Tour kicking off at the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open in January through The Championships – Wimbledon in July. The first four WTA 1000 events of the year are also represented, including the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the Miami Open presented by Itaú, the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome). Further updates to the WTA Tour calendar will be announced at a later date, including the second edition of the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen.

Speaking of tennis, Tennis Channel’s ringing in the 2021 season with a new studio in its L.A. headquarters. In time for the first women’s matches in Abu Dhabi running today, the state-of-the-art facility offers twice the shooting space as its previous studio and will eventually bring all Tennis Channel Los Angeles-area employees under the same roof. Jim Courier and Lindsay Davenport will help inaugurate the new venue on Tennis Channel this week.

Superstar Racing Experience and CBS Sports announced the full 2021 schedule for the brand new six-race, short-track series that will begin on June 12 at Stafford Motor Speedway. Races will air on six consecutive Saturday nights at 8p on CBS and CBS All-Access throughout the Summer of 2021. “With a six-week back-to-back schedule that crosses America, visiting some of the most historic and challenging short tracks in auto racing, the SRX series will be a must-watch, and I am so excited to see these legends on the track,” said Ray Evernham, SRX Co-Founder.

ESPN and Stephen A. Smith, will debut Stephen A’s World, a new series beginning Jan. 11, exclusively on ESPN+. The weeknight series features host and executive producer Stephen A. Smith, will go “beyond the sports headlines to give the audience an authentic and unique understanding of the stories that matter.” New 30-minute episodes will be available every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday night and available anytime on demand.

NBC Sports and Peacock are offering the off-road motorcycle racing community extensive live and commercial-free Supercross and Pro Motocross coverage on Peacock Premium. Beginning with the start of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross season on Jan. 16, NBC Sports’ exclusive streaming coverage will move from NBC Sports Gold’s “Supercross and Pro Motocross Pass,” “Supercross Pass” and “Pro Motocross Pass” to Peacock Premium.

On the local front, ESPN’s Jon “Boog” Sciambi was hired to serve as the Cubs’ TV play-by-play announcer on Marquee Sports Network. Sciambi replaces Len Kasper, who made the jump to the White Sox’s radio booth in early December.

Latino baseball lifestyle media company La Vida Baseball is launching its newest show, Mas Que Un Juego on Thursday via La Vida Baseball’s social media platforms. The new show celebrates the Latino experience through unfiltered conversations with some of the biggest names in baseball including current and former Latino MLB players.

Save the Date!
Our Best of the Best Awards are coming up…

Join us on Thursday, February 25 for our virtual celebration of the industry’s Best of the Best.

Finalists will be announced later next week!


A lineup of more NHL teams have iced helmet sponsorships. AT&T will reportedly be the new helmet sponsor of the Dallas Stars. The Pittsburgh Penguins will sport PPG’s logo, with Detroit Red Wings will team with United Wholesale Mortgage and the Arizona Coyotes partnered with Mountain America Credit Union. Both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames partnered up with Scotiabank.

Confluent Health revealed a multi-year, multi-school relationship with Learfield IMG College that will span seven states via 13 universities. Confluent Health currently has individual sponsorship agreements with Learfield IMG College at two institutions where it is the athletics multimedia rightsholder – University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and University of Evansville (Indiana). The expanded Learfield IMG College relationship includes Appalachian State, Florida State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Providence College, University of Texas-San Antonio, TCU, Texas State and Tulsa.


PointsBet signed on as an official sports betting partner of the Detroit Pistons, landing access to official team marks and logos, as well as sponsorship opportunities and brand visibility across digital and social assets. Rip Hamilton will also serve as a brand ambassador for PointsBet, acting as the face of the operator for its Detroit and Michigan-based sports betting products.

Out west, the Sacramento Kings announced that the team will be the first NBA team to partner with Mixhalo, the wireless networking technology that delivers audio and other data in real-time to guests at sporting events and concerts. The free-to-use technology will be accessible via the Sacramento Kings + Golden 1 Center App, and the Mixhalo experience at the arena will span across Kings games and other live events.

SB Nation’s Secret Base YouTube channel topped a million subscribers. The platform continues to trend upwards, notching 40% growth year over year.

The National Lacrosse League announced the relaunch of its website, NLL.com, with a complete technological and U/X U/I redesign by AOR. Complete with all team’s information, player stats, and schedules, the new NLL site is an “immersive experience for fans and media alike with dynamic multimedia content.” “We have focused on a mobile-first, video rich strategy and aspire to be the leading sports league in an immersive site experience. It’s more than just a strategy; it’s a commitment to our fans to invest in technology and innovation to elevate their NLL experience. And this website is another key step in fulfilling that promise,” said Nick Sakiewicz, Commissioner of the National Lacrosse League. “The redesigned user-experience gives fans mobile-first access to non-stop box lacrosse action, with new features and functionality to offer a truly engaging and comprehensive experience.”


Riot Games’ LCS is getting a brand refresh with the New Year. Just days before the 2021 LCS season gets underway, the league reveals a facelift that included with a new logo, overlays, and mottos, with the move following the LCK rebrand in Korea. The move comes with the new season beginning Jan. 15 in North America with a three-week “Lock-In” tournament.

Meanwhile, Rogue also unveiled a new look that includes a new logo as well as a new merch line supporting the changes. Parent company ReKTGlobal stated that “the new branding modernizes the Rogue look, while exemplifying Rogue’s relentless competitiveness across all of its esports teams,” per TEO.

NFL Wild Card Weekend will also see ESPN and Madden NFL team up to host the first-ever ESPN Madden NFL Wild Card Duos presented by USAA Insurance, in advance of ESPN’s Wild Card Megacast. Detroit Lions’ D’Andre Swift, Carolina Panthers’ Robby Anderson, and Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Mixon will pair up with some of the best Madden players in the world to compete in Madden NFL 21’s newest mode, The Yard. The one-hour event will premiere Thursday at 5p on ESPN2 and be available on ESPN, NFL and Madden digital channels.

TGS Esports is opening the doors to the Calrissian Cup, a $ Star Wars Squadrons esports event, in partnership with Aces 5 and Crimson Wings. The series will feature monthly events broadcast live on Twitch with the grand finale in October 2021. “The recent updates to Squadrons allowing for custom matchmaking and spectating have made it easier than ever to put on events. There is no true competitive scene for this title which is why we see this as such a massive opportunity to make the Calrissian Cup the global standard for Star Wars Squadrons esports.” said Spiro Khouri, CEO of TGS. “Star Wars is such a big part of many peoples lives, including mine, and to now bring a competitive esports element to this community is something we are very excited for.”


NASCAR executive Jill Gregory was named Executive Vice President and General Manager at Sonoma Raceway. Gregory is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Content Officer at NASCAR and the managing executive of the company’s Charlotte-based operations and will continue in her current role through January pending transition plans.

Cynopsis Sports Media Awards
[ ENTER BY 1/27 ]

Call for entries are now open for the
9th Annual Cynopsis Sports Media Awards.

This awards program is dedicated to celebrating the work of talented producers, hosts, sponsors and executives alike, and saluting the initiatives that drove audiences and turned sports viewers into fans over the past year.


On this Day
2013: The NHL reaches an agreement to end a 113-day lockout.

Which NFL franchise was the first to win the Super Bowl as a Wild Card team? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Who is the all-time career leader in sacks for the NY Jets? Answer: Mark Gastineau. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Aymon DeMauro-ADM Media & Marketing/NY; Daniel Laub-Premion/NY; Andrew Feingold-Fox News/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Mark Lehman-Braves/Atlanta; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; ; Michael Goodman-Radio One/Atlanta; Matt Marini-NFL/NJ; Creed Heilskov-ImOn Communications/Cedar Rapids; Lisa Fikeys-NissanUnited/Chicago; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Brian Lee-Pro Sports MVP/Colorado Springs; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

Cynopsis Team

Chris Pursell
Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Roberta Caploe

Cynopsis Ad Sales
Albert Nassour
Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
Mike Farina

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Work with advertising agency contacts and other advertising sales personnel to ensure that administration aspects of accounts are in order, build, revise and maintain all sales proposals for AEs. Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university; at least 1+ years related cable experience preferred. Full info HERE (1/21)

THE WEATHER GROUP/ATLANTA: Create effective sales positioning, develop a strategic plan to leverage research and insights. 8-10 years’ experience in TV, Digital and Social media ad sales research required. Full info HERE (1/21)


A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Dynamic digital marketer to drive growth in A+E’s Digital business by acquiring OTT, mobile, and website video streamers for A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime brands. Leverage owned, earned, and paid marketing tactics. 5 years’ experience with direct response digital marketing. Full info HERE (1/20)

A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Critical role in media acquisition team as tech liaison for suppliers/production teams to intake content and shepherd through to air. Project leadership + Media Supply Chain tech exp (camera technology/NLE workflows/content acquisition/QC). Act as technical consultant on prod/post prod. workflows across all A+E formats-scripted/non-scripted/live/movies/episodic series. 4+ yrs hands-on technical exp.(Post-Prod Sup./Online/Finishing Prod. Full info HERE (1/17)

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THE JIM HENSON COMPANY/LA: Collect and track pertinent data and information from production, talent, and license contracts, assist with negotiating terms and conditions of contracts and draft initial contracts and revise as needed. Minimum of two years’ experience in a law firm, network, or studio. Experience with guild agreements and/or Paralegal training and certification a plus. Full info HERE (1/14)

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TELEMUNDO/SACRAMENTO, CA: Responsible for partnering with local clients, both on the agency level and direct, to create innovative and unique mrktg and adv solutions that target a client’s demos and products/services. AE will also need to deliver quarterly results and meeting individual budget requirements. Min 2 yrs direct sales exp with 3 yrs of media sales exp. Full info HERE (1/7)

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NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Resp for managing tech/logistical traffic supporting live news shows. Full knwldge of video and tech workflow throughout all locations. Provide tech guidance to help create better video workflows. Ensure all broadcast feeds are meeting specific tech quality standards. Min 3 yrs tech managing, or equivalent knwldge. 5 yrs in live TV prod. Full info HERE (1/7)

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NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Operate/executes audio mixing/creation for live and taped broadcasts, in the context of orig produced programs and PSAs. Collaborate with News depart and prod crew that produce regular, special and live shows. Generate timely and pertinent broadcast material. Min 2 yrs exp in graphic and character gen in television news, creative services, studio-based prog or related profession. Full info HERE (1/7)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for designing and building shows, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (1/7)

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Write for fast paced news and opinion show. You are an exceptional storyteller with a command of political news and cultural trends. At least 3 years of national or large market local news experience. Full info HERE (1/7)

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Responsible for the production and execution of live political news programming, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs experience line producing. Full info HERE (1/7)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production of live news & talk show, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs in TV news and/or talk production. Full info HERE (1/7)



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