01/08/21: ESPN is broadening its CFP Championship MegaCast plans

 

Medias First Morning Read

 

Friday January 8, 2021

ESPN laid out its MegaCast plans for the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T this Monday, with Alabama and Ohio State squaring off at 8p. Overall, 14 total presentations of the game will be carried on ESPN platforms, with ESPN’s main telecast headlining the MegaCast production as Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit call the game. ESPN’s MegaCast production includes five additional presentations across its television networks, six more offerings available on the ESPN App and a 4K feed to complete the MegaCast. CFP Live debuts this year on ESPN2, utilizing the NFL Live crew of Laura Rutledge, Marcus Spears, Dan Orlovsky and Mina Kimes. Film Room returns to the National Championship MegaCast on ESPNEWS, while SkyCast moves to ESPNU this year, with Jason Fitz and Mike Golic Jr. providing commentary and context.

The Spanish-language telecast (ESPN Deportes) and Hometown Radio (SEC Network and the ESPN App) remain staples of the MegaCast, while Refcast returns as a highlight of the ESPN App selections, with the All-22 viewing angle, Command Center, DataCenter and High SkyCam also available digitally.

PROGRAMMING

As for the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend, Sunday will see Peacock join the action as the platform will live stream NBC Sports’ coverage of the NFL Wild Card playoff game between the Browns and Steelers while NBC Sports is broadcasting the game on NBC and Telemundo. Michael Smith and Michael Holley will host Peacock’s first-ever post-game show on Sunday night immediately following NBC’s post-game show coverage.

Meanwhile, with the regular season in the books, all NFL broadcast packages showed declines (although mostly moderate) for their seasons, with terrific numbers late in the season lifting early struggles affected by unexpected programming competition in September. According to Nielsen, Sunday Night Football had the biggest of the dips, but still topped all primetime series in the fall for the tenth year in a row. NBC Sunday Night Football posted a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) average of 17.4 million viewers for the 2020 season, according to Nielsen and Adobe Analytics. Meanwhile, NBC’s Football Night in America studio show averaged 6.0 million viewers from 7:30-8:15p this season.

At FOX, the company is reporting that FOX Sports ended the NFL regular season as the most-watched NFL package on television, tallying 18.1 million average viewers, while staple America’s Game of the Week averaged 23.2 million. In addition, the franchise drew an uptick of 27% in streaming audiences to average 475,000 viewers.

NBC Sports cemented its full regular-season schedule for the NHL season, showcasing all 31 NHL teams across roughly 100 games on NBC and NBCSN, beginning January 13 with a Wednesday Night Hockey tripleheader on NBCSN. Overall, NBC Sports carries a record 16 regular-season games on the NBC broadcast network, beginning Jan. 17. Highlights will include Wednesday Night Hockey Presented by New Amsterdam Vodka on NBCSN, a Martin Luther King Day Quadrupleheader, Tuesday Hockey Happy Hours on NBCSN, the HL on NBC and Sunday Night Hockey on NBCSN

Speaking of hockey, in its 13th season exclusively airing the tournament here, NHL Network set all-time high numbers for its social media content of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, which saw Team USA win Gold. Social media content across NHL Network’s channels for the 12-day tournament earned 16.8 million impressions, 1.66 million views and more than 707,000 engagements.

A newly reimagined SportsNation will premiere on January 11, exclusively on ESPN+, with Ashley Brewer, Treavor Scales and Taylor Twellman hosting every weekday at 9:30a and on-demand thereafter. “SportsNation has always been a show anchored by the community and conversation of sports as a social experience,” said Norby Williamson, Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor, ESPN. “Over the years since its debut in 2009, the show has resonated with fans by evolving, and bringing SportsNation back on ESPN+ gave us the opportunity to reinvent it once again. Taylor, Treavor and Ashley will take the show in a new direction by injecting their unique style and energy to the brand, while still paying homage to the original SportsNation –entertaining, informing and connecting with fans in a way that reflects how they consume and engage with sports today.”

The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will announce the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class on Jan. 11 live during SportsCenter on ESPN. The 11 players and two coaches in the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class have been selected from the national ballot. (

SportsGrid and SiriusXM announced the launch of the SportsGrid Radio Channel debuting on SiriusXM radios and the SiriusXM app on Channel 204. SiriusXM subscribers nationwide will have access to SportsGrid’s real-time sports news, statistics, odds, and lines, along with live expert analysis with on-air personalities that include Scott Ferrall, Gabe Morency, Ariel Epstein, and Jared Smith along with expert contributors and guest analysts. The all original SportsGrid Radio weekday line-up has 22-hours of live daily programming starting with The Early Line, weekdays from 7-9a.

SiriusXM also signed a new agreement to become the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament, running April 5-11 this year. SiriusXM will produce and present live play-by-play broadcasts all four days of Tournament play from storied Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta. SiriusXM’s exclusive Masters week broadcasts will be available to listeners nationwide on their SiriusXM radios (channel 208 or 92), among other platforms.

NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports have announced the 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross telecast schedule, as NBC Sports will present all 17 Supercross stops in 2021, highlighted by live coverage of all Supercross Heats, Last Chance Qualifiers and Main Events across NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, and Peacock Premium. The Supercross 2021 season one-hour preview special will air Saturday at 3:30p on NBC. Competition begins with the season opener from NRG Stadium in Houston on Jan. 16 t 6p on NBCSN.

RIP to tennis reporter Tom Perrotta, who died after a battle with a brain tumor. “Tennis Channel mourns the passing of longtime tennis reporter Tom Perrotta,” the company said in a statement. “Tom was passionate about the sport, an admirably tough-yet-fair interviewer, and a valuable contributor to our network’s online and print media platforms. We offer our condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.”

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!

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The PGA TOUR and WHOOP announced a multi-year partnership naming the brand as the “Official Fitness Wearable of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions” and a “Sponsor of PGA TOUR Active.” To activate the partnership, WHOOP and the TOUR will implement a WHOOP Live for Charity initiative to highlight player biometric data and heart rate during defining moments throughout the season with those real-time metrics integrated into video content. Featured players will receive a $10,000 contribution to the charity of their choice on behalf of WHOOP and the TOUR

The evening before the College Football Playoff National Championship will see AT&T host the first virtual AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!, which will feature a 5G-powered performance starring Jason Derulo. The concert, which typically takes place in the host city of the national championship game, will be livestreamed for free on AT&T’s YouTube channel, Jason Derulo’s Facebook page, CFP All Access and the ESPN App. Additionally, AT&T THANKS is giving select AT&T customers the opportunity to be transported virtually on stage to be featured on the AT&T Fan Wall – an interactive concert extension built just for fans powered by 5G technology.

UFC announced a five-year extension of its longstanding collaboration with Cleveland Clinic and its continued support of the Professional Athletes Brain Health Study. The multi-year commitment, which is supported by a $1 million contribution to the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, ensures that research will continue to help determine the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma and factors that put certain individuals at higher risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Fan Controlled Football announced three new strategic partnerships with technology brands Chatalyze, Ambidio and Earbuds. “The ethos of Fan Controlled Football is putting the game in the hands of the fans. We are so excited to partner with such innovative forward-thinking companies as we pioneer a new category of fan engagement in professional sports, not only enhancing our gameday experiences but giving unprecedented access to our players, coaches, and team owners,” said Jennifer Rottenberg, Chief Marketing Officer for Fan Controlled Football.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

NBA TV is now available on Prime Video in the U.S. as a standalone channel. In addition, Prime Video will once again offer NBA League Pass, providing fans access to hundreds of out-of-market games, the companies announced Thursday. With an NBA TV subscription, Prime members get access to the NBA’s 24/7 linear television network, which carries a broad selection of regular season and postseason games, and provides in-depth studio analysis, original programming, and a selection of live WNBA games.

Gracenote is launching a new live sports solution designed to help smart TV and auto manufacturers “enable dynamic sports experiences to engage fans at home or on-the-go.” Leveraging Gracenote Global Sports Data, CE manufacturers and automakers can now easily integrate real-time team statistics, recent game results and live updates to TV and video home screens and auto infotainment systems. At launch, the new Gracenote Sports Widgets will cover major North American sports leagues including the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL, international football leagues such as the English Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga, Ligue 1 in France, Serie A in Italy, Spain’s La Liga, Brasileirão Assaí in Brazil, Mexico’s Liga BBVA MX as well as Korean baseball league KBO.

FOX Sports hired RJ Young, who joins as a college football analyst for the new FOX Sports app and FOXSports.com. Several of his written pieces are up now, and he will also appear on FOX Sports’ CFP National Championship Watch Party on Monday night.

ESPORTS

Dignitas announced a new partnership with financial technology company Zytara, a digital banking platform and payment network designed for gaming and esports enthusiasts. Zytara will work with bank partners to offer various banking products and services, targeted at gaming and esports enthusiasts including a checking and savings account, a virtual and physical debit card, and access to investment tools. The Dignitas-branded debit cards and mobile app skin will feature the new logo and style of Dignitas’ recently announced rebrand.

Formula E is launching a six-round esports competition titled Formula E Accelerate, that will be made up of a grid of the 12 teams from the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Potential racers will have the chance to showcase their speed in the Formula E Accelerate Qualifiers before teams get an opportunity to select from at least three of the fastest qualifiers.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

Sportradar announced that Jeffery Yabuki has been appointed as Chairman of the Sportradar Holding AG Board of Directors, effective immediately. Yabuki most recently served as the Executive Chairman of Fiserv, Inc. (

SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/David J. Halberstam
Nuggets: Westwood One loses Masters after 65 years, SiriusXM gets it; Fox rules-expert Mike Pereira comes through big on Giants-Cowboys; ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky tough on ears; MLB Network special on Curt Gowdy, +
Halby’s Morsels: Fox’ Mike Pereira on fumble; ESPN’s Orlovsky; Are voices at site or at home?; The Masters

Seven NFL studio voices who stand out; Nate Burleson has erupted onto the network TV scene. He seamlessly serves as both analyst and host when need be for CBS’ NFL Today.
Today’s 7 NFL studio personalities that stand out; CBS’ Nate Burleson, 39, continues to shine; Kolber is solid

Eagles coach Doug Pederson gets hammered by media for throwing in the towel against Washington; ESPN’s Kornheiser: “Fine him $1 million”
Media responds to Eagles’ coach Pederson pulling key players; Kornheiser: “Fine him $1 million”

The Cubs have a new TV announcer, ESPN’s Boog Sciambi. He replaces Len Kasper who moves to White Sox radio. Remember when Harry Caray left Sox for Cubs?
White Sox’ new radio voice Len Kasper talks about why he’s leaving the Cubs’ telecasts after 16 seasons

Happy Birthdays:
Chuck Kaiton, 1/9 Former four-decade Voice of the Carolina Hurricanes
Matt Winer, 1/10 NBA TV host
JP Dellacamera 1/11 America’s lead network TV Voice of soccer
Dave Campbell 1/14 Retired -broadcaster of MLB on ESPN
Alex Faust 1/14 TV voice of LA Kings
Sports Broadcast Journal

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On this Day
1984: The NCAA announces that basketball tournament will have 64 teams.

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Lead and manage a team of Data Scientists in the development of high-impact tools for ad hoc projects and on-going operational analytic platforms, partner with business leaders across NBCUniversal to identify, build, and implement capabilities to leverage advanced data science. Advanced Degree (PhD strongly preferred) with a specialization in Statistics, Computer Science, Data Science, Economics, Mathematics, Operations Research, or other equivalent quantitative fields. Full info HERE (1/25)

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, AD SALES RESEARCH, INSIGHTS AND INNOVATION
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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)

SALES PLANNER >>
UPTV/NYC: 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)

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SR PRODUCER/WRITER, ORIGINAL CONTENT MARKETING
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Concept, write, produce and execute best-in-class creative launch campaigns for Peacock Originals for use on all platforms. Minimum 7 years of experience in writing, producing and video editing, experience leading 360° Originals creative campaigns in television or entertainment and Expert in digital video file formats. Full info HERE (1/19)

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