01/15/21: The NBA unveiled multiple initiatives to honor MLK Jr.


Medias First Morning Read


Friday January 15, 2021

The NBA umbrella tips off leaguewide efforts to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. throughout this weekend as the league, teams, coaches and current and former players engage in the national dialogue on race and equality on our platforms and encourage collective action in our communities nationwide. Monday, of course, features five nationally televised games on TNT and NBA TV tipping off at noon. NBA teams playing Jan. 14–18 will wear custom Nike MLK Day warm-up t-shirts designed in collaboration with the NBPA, MLK Foundation and Martin Luther King III. In addition, the league will unveil “We Must Learn,” a new spot that encourages all to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life by continuing his legacy and host an NBA Virtual Roundtable to discuss Dr. King’s vision for racial equality and the modern movement for social justice.


ESPN’s MegaCast presentation of Alabama’s win over Ohio State in the College football national Championship matchup handed the company with 18.7 million viewers on its linear channels, according to Nielsen. That ranks as the least-amount of viewers in the preselected championship game era and its down 27% from last year’s title matchup, although streaming numbers will boost final viewership numbers.

The National Women’s Hockey League revealed the game schedule for the upcoming season and 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs, spanning Jan. 23 – Feb. 5. The season opens with tripleheaders starting at 1p on Jan. 23, beginning with the debut of the Toronto Six, the newest NWHL expansion franchise and the first Canadian team to join the league, against the Metropolitan Riveters. The Isobel Cup Semifinals (Feb. 4) and Isobel Cup Final (Feb. 5) will be broadcast live by NBC Sports on NBCSN.

FOX Sports reports that FS1 ranked as the #2 sports cable network in average total day audience in 2020, marking a first for the network. With live events largely sidelined for much of the spring and summer, FS1 became even more reliant on daily studio programming, which accounted for 35% of the FS1 schedule and 27% of FS1 viewing.

NBC Sports’ exclusive speed skating streaming coverage will shift from NBC Sports Gold’s “Speed Skating Pass” to Peacock Premium beginning with the start of the 2021 season on Saturday. Speed skating on Peacock Premium features comprehensive coverage of major 2021 international competitions, including the World Speed Skating Championships and World Short Track Championships. Coverage begins with European Speed Skating Championships this Saturday and culminates with the 2021 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships from March 6-7.

Amazon Prime Video and NHL Original Productions unveiled All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs, a multi-episode docu-series that will offer viewers an inside view of the team including on-the-ice action and unparalleled behind-the-scenes access to the 2020-21 NHL season. The Canadian Amazon Original series will be available on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories later this year. “As part of our continued investment in Canada, this new Canadian Original series will offer behind-the-scenes access and rarely seen point of views of the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the most storied hockey franchises – and my personal favorite team – during a season unlike any in NHL history,” said James Farrell, Vice President of Local Originals at Amazon Studios. “As a fan going back to my time living in Toronto, I know the real-life action on the ice is only matched by the drama behind closed doors. The series will offer an exclusive all access experience for Prime members.”

ESPN lined up the next installment of the 30 for 30 series, “Al Davis vs. The NFL,” running Feb. 4. Directed by Ken Rodgers, the film traces the relationship from their early clashes in the AFL/NFL wars of the 1960s through their tacit reconciliation upon Rozelle’s retirement in 1989, with a special emphasis on the antitrust lawsuit Al Davis filed against the NFL in 1980.

The X Games returns this month with 17.5 hours of live coverage of X Games Aspen 2021 across ESPN, ABC, the ESPN App and X Games social media, with coverage beginning Jan. 29. Live coverage shifts to afternoon windows on ABC and primetime windows on ESPN for Saturday and Sunday competitions. In addition to all of the content on ESPN’s U.S.-based media platforms, X Games Aspen 2021 will be televised globally in 192 countries and territories to more than 500 million homes.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation and Outdoor Sportsman Group are debuting SHOT Show New Product Premiere on Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and Sportsman Channel Canada beginning January 18-23 at 6p nightly. Hosted by Rifle Shooter and Handguns editor-in-chief Scott Rupp, and GUN DOG magazine editor-in-chief Kali Parmley, The SHOT Show New Product Premiere will serve as a comprehensive guide to stay up-to-date with the physical trade show moving to a virtual platform for 2021.

FOX Sports celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday with a special college basketball presentation featuring Notre Dame at Howard live on FOX beginning at 2p. FOX College Hoops lead play-by-play announcer and Howard alum Gus Johnson calls the action, and National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA veteran Jim Jackson provides analysis. FOX Sports Voices: MLK Day Special airs immediately following postgame coverage and is hosted by FOX Sports broadcasters Curt Menefee and Michael Strahan, illuminating the work of athletes who are uplifting their communities during this season of change.

The second episode of season two of NBC Sports’ “Sports Uncovered” podcast series, hosted by Michele Tafoya, debuts today featuring Gayle Sierens, who in December 1987 became the first woman to call an NFL game. Podcast episodes are available for download now on all major podcast platforms.

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The LA Kings launched a new partnership with the CalHOPE Crisis Counseling Program, a California-based mental health and wellness initiative that will be named the first-ever, official helmet partner of the NHL team for the 2020-21 season. The agreement, brokered by AEG Global Partnerships, is CalHOPE’s first partnership with a professional sports franchise in Southern California and will focus on helping educate and connect those in need with vital mental health and wellness resources during these challenging times. The deal also marks the first time in franchise history that the LA Kings will feature a partner brand of any kind on the team’s equipment.

After announcing plans to launch the “Sound Mind, Sound Body” campaign globally, the brand announced that it had committed to a multi-year partnership to sponsor the Falmouth Road Race beginning with its 49th running this summer. “This partnership represents so much more than a sponsorship,” said Alex Vander Hoeven, General Manager of ASICS Fitness Apps. “It is a true example of how a world-class event such as the Falmouth Road Race can collaborate with ASICS’ global suite of products and digital services. We look forward to being on the course come race day and are honored to be part of the greater Falmouth Road Race community.”

Nissin Foods is turning to WWE Superstars Asuka and The Miz to help launch the expansion of the Cup Noodles Stir Fry product line-up. “Americans have been enjoying forkfuls of noodles out of cups since 1971 when Nissin debuted the original Cup Noodles,” said Mike Price, CEO of Nissin Foods USA. “Through the decades, we’ve all fallen in love with our iconic cup, making it a cultural mainstay that continues to generate lasting memories. What better way to kick off and celebrate our anniversary year than with the launch of new Cup Noodles Stir Fry flavors and have some fun with Asuka and The Miz at the same time.”

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the nation’s oldest historically Black athletic conference, in partnership with Visit Baltimore, unveiled its first-ever virtual tournament. The week-long celebration will be tabbed the CIAA Virtual Vibe: Tournament Edition and run Feb. 23-27, traditionally known as CIAA Basketball Tournament week. The virtual experience be hosted by comedians B. Simone, Darren Brand and Burpie, and offer a collection of new events, including an Old School/New School DJ Battle presented by Sprite and the CIAA Esports Tournament presented by Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

Excel announced the addition of Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence to its roster of talent, and will represent him in all his off-field marketing and endorsement endeavors. Lawrence concluded his historic career at Clemson as the 2020 Heisman Trophy runner-up, ACC Player of the Year and ACC Offensive Player of the Year.


Sports Innovation Lab revealed its rankings of the Top 25 Most Innovative Teams in the World. Organizations in the top 10 revenue grossing leagues globally were analyzed in three categories: revenue diversification, organizational agility and technology focus and used a data-driven methodology to generate the list of top teams. The list is below and the full report can be found HERE:
1. Manchester City FC
2. Real Madrid CF
3. Arsenal FC
4. FC Barcelona
5. FC Bayern Munich
6. Manchester United FC
7. Golden State Warriors
8. Paris Saint-Germain FC
9. Juventus FC
10. Sacramento Kings
11. Liverpool FC
12. Philadelphia 76ers
13. New England Patriots
14. Green Bay Packers
15. AS Roma
16. Borussia Dortmund
17. Tottenham Hotspurs FC
18. Toronto Raptors
19. Seattle Seahawks
20. Chicago Cubs
21. Los Angeles Clippers
22. San Francisco 49ers
23. Cleveland Cavaliers
24. Atletico Madrid
25. FC Schalke 04

Sportradar announced a deal with the Asia Football Confederation to become the official partner of worldwide data and associated media rights for major AFC competitions. The multi-year and exclusive agreement spanning eight years covers all the key premier football competitions, including International (AFC Asian Cup) and Club (AFC Champions League) competitions across the Asia region. Sportradar will use and distribute audio-visual content and AFC match-related data to the global sports industry.

DDSports Inc., a sports technology that captures rich performance data via sensors and provides statistics and analytics with sub-second latency, announced an $11 million funding round led by Evertz Technologies Limited and Verizon Ventures. ShotTracker will use the funds to accelerate its deployment across NCAA Division I Power 6 Basketball Conferences, expand hiring, further key partnerships and enhance sensor capabilities and data capture for players, coaches, fans and broadcasters.

FIFA is launching FIFA Sound, a new entertainment strategy designed to “create innovative and meaningful connections between football fans, music enthusiasts, players, artists, and the game and songs they all love.” The initiative kicks off with the launch of an eight-episode podcast series. Hosted by Liam Payne and co-hosted by Jaydee Dyer, the FIFA PlayOn Podcast pairs star football players with award-winning musicians.


Overwatch League landed its 2021 season schedule as Jon Spector, VP of Overwatch esports, laid out the roadmap for season four with play starting in April. Teams will again be split into two regional divisions with eight teams based in South Korea and China in the East division while the West division will include 12 teams based in North America and Europe. Four “standalone tournaments” will populate the season in addition to regular-season matches with teams from both the East and West divisions will be able to compete in singular tournament brackets via a new minimum latency system. The full 2021 season schedule will be released at BlizzConline.

PGL announced plans to host the next CSGO Major from Oct. 23-Nov. 7 this year in Stockholm, the main event of the 16th CS:GO Major with teams competing for a $2 million prize pool, the biggest in the CS:GO history.

G2 named adidas as the team’s newest partner and official sports apparel provider. The org announced plans to also work with adidas to release a lifestyle apparel collaboration, as well as create content with players and staff. “Today is a landmark day in G2 history,” said Carlos ‘ocelote’ Rodriguez, CEO of G2 Esports. “To announce a partnership with a global sports brand like adidas is a truly special moment for all of us. To join the adidas family as one of their partners, alongside global brands such as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich is a real game-changer for us and the wider esports industry.”

Grubhub signed on as the official food delivery partner of the LCS, in addition to presenting partner of the LCS Championships. In the announcement, Riot Game stated that LCS fans will begin to see co-branded inclusions and activations across different channels during its first-ever Lock In Tournament, which kicks off today. Starting with the Spring Split, Grubhub will help bring to life Delivering the Win, a broadcast segment highlighting game-changing moments from the week’s matchups. During each on-air piece, shoutcasters will “shout” a delivery discount code that will be available only through the following match. Once in the app, fans will have the chance to win exclusive prizes such as trips to future LCS events.

Ultimate Gamer announced the launch of Ultimate Gamer Worldwide Open, a free global competition to find “Best Gamer on Earth” which officially kicks off March 1. 200 of the best gamers from the Ultimate Gamer Worldwide Open will have to compete in at least six different games across five genres that could include League of Legends, Rainbow Six Siege, Call Of Duty Warzone, Madden 21, Fortnite, NBA 2K21, VALORANT, Tekken, two yet to be announced titles, and one wildcard challenge. Each player’s ranking in each game will be added together and then divided by the total number of games to calculate the final score. All two hundred players will walk away with a portion of the prize pool, with the winner taking home $300,000 and the runner-up winning $150,000.

CheckpointXP and Blaze Fire Games announced a partnership to award $500,000 in service-learning hours experience through a joint Internship Program. The initiative includes 10 opportunities for students, five men and five women selected from HBCU programs including Fisk University, Benedict College, Grambling State University, Southern University’s Law School, the 11 MEAC schools with Esports programs, and the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Esports program.

The MAD Lions inked a new exclusive partnership with ESPAT for representation and distribution of its photo and video assets. Moving forward, the MAD Lions will syndicate their League of Legends and CS:GO franchise digital media assets onto the ESPAT licensing platform, providing worldwide exposure for its players and marketing partners.


Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis is the new owner of the Las Vegas Aces WNBA team, purchasing the team from MGM Resorts International. The Aces relocated to Las Vegas from San Antonio in 2017 and boasted the league’s best record last season before losing to Seattle in the WNBA Finals.

The National Basketball Retired Players Association announced that Julio Manteiga joined the organization in the newly-revamped role of Head of Content and Communications. He joins the NBRPA from the NBA, where he served in a dual role as Director of NBA’s Latin America communications and Media Monitoring Departments.

FanDuel Group will see Andrew Sneyd join the company as Senior Vice President, Brand. He will take ownership of creative and brand strategy, consumer insight, product marketing, team and league marketing, press relations, integrated campaigning, and creative operations.

Ndidi Massay was named Senior Director of Workplace Culture and Diversity Initiatives for CBS Sports. In this newly created role, Massay will drive the strategic planning, development, execution and measurement of CBS Sports’ initiatives for a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

The Undefeated reached a multi-year contract extension with senior writer Jesse Washington. Washington, who joined ESPN in January 2015 stated “At this pivotal period in the history of race in America, I wouldn’t want to work anywhere but The Undefeated,” Washington said. “I’m excited and inspired to help document and illuminate these times through our writing, film, music, books, artwork, and more.”


Nickelodeon got attention this week for producing a telecast covering a hard-hitting NFL game, doing so using the emollient powers of kids TV. Good idea to build demand with tomorrow’s generation. Fruitful variations will come of it down the road. Here’s the good and not so good of Nick’s telecast of the Saints-Bears playoff game.
Nickelodeon’s telecast of NFL playoff game merits attention for reaching kids but isn’t sustainable

Kirk Herbstreit can talk up a storm. Here’s an overview of how he and play-by-play man Chris Fowler did calling the college football title game on Monday night. The overall TV rating wasn’t pretty.
Kirk Herbstreit’s analysis was so-so; ESPN’s mainstream broadcast of college football title game gets a B

Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth broadcast the Baltimore/Buffalo game Saturday night on NBC at 8pm ET. What makes Al special is that like a gifted musician, he always plays the right note. He’ll tell you that the bigger the game, the more he backs off. This is his 35th season as the Voice of primetime NFL. His contract ends after the 2022 Super Bowl which he will call on NBC.
Al Michaels’ NBC contract ends in 2022; But the voice of NFL primetime isn’t ready to retire

Social media is stirring with excitement for good reason. Football and more football. Here’s the topline of what they’re saying.
Big football week: Rich Eisen, Jim Rome, Herbie, Fowler, Dickie V and other pundits chime in

Happy Birthdays:
Doug Gottlieb, 1/15 Fox Sports
Allison Williams, 1/18 ESPN
Pete Weber, 1/18 Nashville Predators – Radio
Jeff Van Gundy, 1/19 ESPN
Karl Ravech, 1/19 ESPN
Mike Krukow, 1/21 SF Giants TV
Len Kasper, 1/21 White Sox Radio
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On this Day
1967: The Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs to win the very first Super Bowl

Who played Cole Trickle in the movie Days of Thunder? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
The Washington Capitals retired #32 in honor of which player? Answer: Dale Hunter. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Chris Long-DraftKings/NY; Art Salisch-Nielsen/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Sam Pittman-Juniper & Berkeley/Raleigh; Matt Deprey-C-SPAN/DC; Mike Doyle-National CineMedia/Madison; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jack Neumann, University of Calgary Dinos 5thQuarter Alumni Development/Calgary; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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Looking for a passionate designer, enthusiastic about working on creative and conceptual design projects. The designer will work within a team of Art Directors and Designers to create high impact key art, and streaming platform product art. Candidates should be well versed in design principles for both print and digital deliverables. 7+ years agency experience, background in entertainment design preferred. Full info HERE. (1/30)

AROUND ROBIN PRODUCTION COMPANY/WASHINGTON, DC: Looking for a Media Executive Consultant who can connect a content creator with distribution partners. Will be tasked with consulting production company on strategy of selling content. Must have experience in sales, traditional and digital media, and distribution strategy Full info HERE (1/30)


NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Directs, co-develops/delivers locally prod programs and PSA for nat and inter’l audiences. Also oversees prod crew that produces regular, special and live shows related to various political, historical and other appropriate topics. Min 3 yrs exp in directing Live television news, studio-based programming or similarly related professional media productions. Full info HERE (1/27)

Exp in configuring and setting up all broadcast studio cameras both manned and robotic for daily use. Maintains network-level camera blocking and composition. Monitors/adjusts video signals including cameras, monitors, playback sources, color correction equip/incoming feeds. Min 4 yrs exp. Full info HERE (1/27)

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 (1/27)

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NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Must be able to set up and play out all graphic elements which are included in pre-recorded or live programming. Mnge graphic content as it corresponds to live and pre-recorded programs. Satisfy all production req for live and pre-recorded programming under the supervision of the show’s director and technical operations mngmt. Min 3 yrs of exp in graphic and character generation, plus 1yr exp with Ross Xpression. Full info HERE (1/27)

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 (1/27)

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 (1/27)

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 (1/27)

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 (1/27)

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 (1/27)

NBCUNIVERSAL/NYC: 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)

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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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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)

Looking for a Data Engineer who will be directly responsible for developing efficient data ingestion processes and automated management; develop and operationalize of machine learning models; and building robust data platforms to enable scaling of our products. 4+ years’ experience processing large amounts of structured and unstructured data in a cluster-computing environment required or similar experience in academia. Full Info HERE (1/19)

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 (1/19)

Provide strategic legal counsel to Crown Media executives, on matters of the highest profile, impact, complexity or sensitivity and leads the attorney and legal specialist team members. Substantive experience handling and advising on entertainment network legal issues within a broadcast/cable/digital in-house environment is sought. HERE (1/18)

A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Ensure Ads are compliant with A+E’s policies and federal guidelines during content and advertising review. Liaise with internal Ad Sales executives and external Ad Agencies. 5+ years experience, preferably at a network working in Ad Standards & Practices/Commercial Clearance. Strong familiarity with rules including FDA, FTC and FCC regulations, indecency and trade libel. Full info HERE (1/17)

A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Creative point in print, promotion, and marketing from concept to development across A&E, History & Lifetime projects. Must be well versed in managing design principles for both print and digital deliverables. Demonstrated hands-on ability to create key art and design projects from conception to completion. Expert in Adobe Creative Suite software and industry standard programs and software. 5 years experience working for network, film or other entertainment outlets. Full info HERE (1/17)



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