|SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
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.
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH
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.
INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES
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.”
SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/David J. Halberstam
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
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
Sports Broadcast Journal