01/18/19: The NBA and Turner locked in details for the All-Star Draft

Good morning. It’s Friday January 18, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The NBA announced that the 2019 NBA All-Star Draft will be carried by TNT on Feb. 7 at 7p while the rosters for the NBA All-Star Game will be revealed during a special NBA All-Star Draft Show, which will be followed by an extended version of the TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader pregame show. The two NBA All-Star Game team captains who draft the rosters will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference. Currently, the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James continues to lead the Western Conference and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo remains on top in the Eastern Conference.

ESPN is tapping the talents of Max Kellerman to host a new, 30-minute boxing series that will run on ESPN2 and the ESPN App that will run on Fridays at 5p and feature Kellerman’s analysis, interviews with top fighters and guest appearances by leaders in the sport. The show will debut Feb. 8, ahead of that weekend’s Top Rank on ESPN card featuring Jose Ramirez vs. Jose Zepeda.
On the NFL front, the league and CBS announced that the “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight to sing the National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LIII pregame festivities at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Feb. 3. The performance will be televised live on CBS prior to kickoff.
In other Super Bowl news, CBS Sports Network detailed its programming plans for its overage, lining up over 75 hours of content dedicated to the event. The week-long coverage originates from two sets at the NFL Experience and Radio Row with coverage launching Jan. 28 with a two-hour NFL Monday QB at 5p. CBS Sports Network will also air a simulcast of “Opening Night” on Monday, as Super Bowl festivities start with players and coaches addressing the media for the first time in Atlanta. Other programming will include – immediately following CBS Sports’ broadcast of the game – extended post-game coverage from inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. where James Brown, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms and Nate Burleson will continue to recap the game with interviews and analysis.
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha headlines the entertainment for the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 26 in San Jose. The performance in the second intermission will be televised as part of the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game broadcast, which begins at 8p in primetime on NBC. Additional 2019 Honda NHL  All-Star Game performers will be announced in the coming days.
In other hockey news, the AP reports that the NHL and NHL Players’ Association have given up on the possibility of staging the next World Cup of Hockey in September 2020. The sides met earlier in the day in Toronto to discuss the World Cup as part of collective bargaining talks.
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ESPN’s Wednesday NBA doubleheader saw growth of 40% in metered market ratings from the comparable doubleheader last year, according to Nielsen. The two games averaged a 1.4 metered market rating, up from a 1.0, with both the Celtics/Raptors game and the Warriors/Pelicans game telecasts delivered a 1.4 rating. Additionally, the NBA on ABC is currently up 5% in viewership from last season entering the launch of the fourth season.
NBC Sports announced plans to tap the talents of 17 of its IMSA, NASCAR, and INDYCAR commentators, analysts and reporters on-site for its inaugural presentation of the 57th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona from Daytona International Speedway starting Jan. 26 at 2p on NBCSN. Microphone duties will see the team of play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey, A.J. Allmendinger (analyst), and former IMSA GT driver and analyst Calvin Fish (analyst) in front, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins analyst Steve Letarte and host Krista Voda inside the “Peacock Pit Box. An additional broadcast booth comprised Rick Allen, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell, and Brian Till will be featured throughout the weekend while NASCAR on NBC reporters Marty Snider, Dave Burns, Kelli Stavast and Parker Kligerman will join Kevin Lee and Jon Beekhuis to share in pit road duties.
Showtime locked in a 10-round clash between undefeated super lightweight prospects Shohjahon Ergashev and Mykal Fox to headline ShoBox: The New Generation on Feb. 15. The event will be shown live from Kansas Star Casino and marks the second of two February editions of the prospect developmental series.
SiriusXM will offer its most extensive coverage to date for this year’s PGA Merchandise Show from Jan. 21-25 in Orlando with SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio carrying more than 55 hours of coverage from PGA Show Demo Day at the Orange County National Golf Center and the PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center. Coverage will begin with audio highlights from the annual PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit. “We’re very pleased to expand our coverage of this year’s PGA Merchandise Show.  This event is always very informative and insightful for anyone who loves the game of golf, and while most of those fans are not able to attend in person, our coverage will make you feel like you are there,” said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer.
United Fight Alliance, comprised of fight promotions across the country and abroad, signed a distribution agreement with NBC Sports California and NBC Sports Northwest to expand its existing distribution on NBC Sports Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia. Fans may now watch UFA’s one-hour Combat Sports/MMA programming, which features intense fights from the best names and up-and-coming fighters in MMA, on more channels throughout the country.
Following the money?
The  2018 Cynopsis Salary Survey of media employees found that age, most likely a reflection of seniority or experience, is reflected in average salaries. Those 46+ years report an average salary of $149,800. In contrast, younger employees earn $97,800, on average.
Download the full report here .


The Seattle Sounders FC hit 10 years in Major League Soccer in 2019 with a new jersey front sponsorship deal with locally-based online retailer Zulily. In addition, Zulily is also partnering with National Women’s Soccer League side Seattle Reign FC. The partnership marks Sounders FC’s first new kit sponsor since joining MLS in 2009. Meanwhile, the partnership with Sounders FC includes the online retailer’s logo on all First Team match jerseys, team travel jackets, rain and stadium jackets and official team polo shirts while Zulily’s brand is also set to feature on Sounders FC Academy jerseys in the future.
The NBA launched league-wide celebrations honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with teams playing Jan. 17–21 sporting custom Nike MLK Day warmup shirts designed in collaboration with the MLK Foundation and Martin Luther King III. The Dri-FIT T-shirt features MLK’s timeless words from his speech on Aug. 28, 1963: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
PGA TOUR Latinoamerica announced Thursday that Volvo Car Latin America, Hilton and Go Vacaciones! have become premier partners of the PGA TOUR’s international tour, serving as category-exclusive partners beginning this month. The sponsorship program is designed to integrate the three Partners’ brands into the messaging of PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and the companies will receive brand-official designations and the rights to the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica marks as it communicates its messaging with the Tour as a backdrop.
Ashley HomeStore signed on as a partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a multi-year deal. As part of the agreement, the duo will host a Hope to Dream event at Dodger Stadium where full bed sets will be given to 100 local deserving children. The Dodgers will also be installing four Ashley HomeStore recliners at Dodger Stadium and creating a promotion where Dodger fans can win the chance to watch a game from the recliners by visiting participating Ashley HomeStore locations.
Under Armour is expanding its wings in the basketball universe, with the Under Armour Association announcing three newly formed grassroots platforms with UAA-Girls, UA Rise and UA Future, encompassing “the entire spectrum of grassroots basketball from 17U to 10U for girls.”

SAP, the National Hockey League and Apple announced a new app rolling out to all hockey coaches this season aimed at “further enhancing the on-bench coaching experience through innovative tech.” The SAP-NHL Coaching Insights App for iPad will offer NHL coaches access to real-time, customized data and player statistics during the game, helping coaches make in-game adjustments and achieve new levels of team performance with access to more than 60 different real-time individual and team stats, including player time on ice and face-off win/loss percentage, through the app on bench
With the Australian Open underway, sports-first live TV streaming service fuboTV beefed up its  tennis coverage with the addition of Tennis Channel to its fubo Extra tier and Sports Plus add-on package. Tennis Channel is currently airing 30 live hours and nearly 200 total hours of Australian Open tournament coverage from Melbourne.
Meanwhile, the launch of Sinclair Broadcast Group streaming service STIRR, will include sports channels includes Stadium, The T (powered by Tennis Channel), and the World Poker Tour. In addition, Sinclair is also producing a new streaming channel, STIRR Sports. “We are incredibly excited to distribute Stadium via STIRR’s impressive platform,” said Stadium CEO Jason Coyle in a statement. “We believe that the combination of Stadium’s national sports programming lineup along with localized Sinclair station coverage will create a compelling sports experience for an important audience segment.”

The National PUBG League, representing North America, released its schedule and format for the 2019 competitive season. Produced in partnership with OGN, the NPL 2019 year will consist of three distinct phases with the top teams of each phase moving on to represent North America in a slate of global events that wrap up with the Global Championship in November, where the best PUBG teams will be crowned and a $1M prize pool will be awarded. All NPL activities will be produced and streamed live from the OGN Super Arena in Manhattan Beach, CA with each phase serving up four different types of events:
  • NPL, where North America’s top professional teams will compete against each other.
  • NPL Contenders, a league for up-and coming teams to break into NPL.
  • NPL Royale, a three-day live weekend event that pits the 16 NPL teams against the 16 NPL Contenders teams.
  • NPL Relegation, a three-day event that features the bottom six NPL teams and the top ten NPL Contenders teams from each phase. The events will take place two weeks after each NPL phase and will determine placements in the next phase.
Blizzard mined its plans for its World of Warcraft esports offerings, announcing details for the 2019 Arena World Championship and rebranded Mythic Dungeon International that include boosts to both programs’ prize pools, which will come from a portion of the sales of two new toys. The Arena World Championship returns with (in addition to the Asia-Pacific, China and Latin America regions) the NA and EU regions each having two Arena seasons, with six cups per season. The first cup begins on Feb. 8. The AWC Finals. will then see invitations will be extended to the top team from NA and EU Season 1, the top two teams from the NA and EU Summer Finals, and top point-earners from each of the two regions and the winners of the China, APAC and Latin America finals. Meanwhile, the MDI will now be split into two regions: MDI East (China, Korea, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Australia/New Zealand) and MDI West (North America, Latin America, and Europe). Each Cup for MDI East and MDI West will be broadcast live on Twitch each weekend across six weeks.
Skillshot Media unveiled participating teams for the Paladins Premier League and Smite Pro League this year, with the PPL sporting Natus Vincere, Pittsburgh Knights, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Spacestation Gaming, Renegades, Virtus Pro, Kanga Esports, and Team Envy. Meanwhile, the SMITE Pro League sees Splyce, eUnited, Spacestation, SK Gaming, Trifecta, Pittsburgh Knights, Renegades, Team Rival, Dignitas, and Luminosity all in action. In 2019, all of the PPL and SPL season games will be held on-site at the Skillshot Media Studio, per Eports Insider.
HyperX was named the exclusive peripheral and internals partner of Complexity Gaming. As part of this two-year partnership, Complexity will exclusively use HyperX gaming headsets, keyboards, mice, mousepads and internal memory. The companies will work together to create content for marketing initiatives and onsite activations at conventions, tradeshows or events, that features Complexity players and teams.
Arena of Valor’s opened the doors for the third season of the Valor Series with teams competing for a $200,000 prize pool. The 18 top teams from Europe, Latin America, and North America will battle with competition kicking off on Feb. 2 from noon-7:30p on its Facebook page. Each region will sport its own open qualifier phase where six teams will qualify for that region’s eight-week regular season..

NBC Sports Regional Networks upped Kevin Cross to Senior Vice President/General Manager of NBC Sports Chicago, effective immediately. Cross will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the network, which includes overseeing its vast multiplatform content portfolio, and developing new avenues of enhanced fan-focused coverage for its team partners: the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox.
The Atlanta Dream hired veteran Atlanta sports executive Jim Pfeifer as its Vice President of Corporate Partnerships. Pfeifer comes to the Dream after spending the past two years as President of the Atlanta Blaze Major League Lacrosse team.

Warriors/Clippers on ESPN at 10:30p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1963: Al Davis becomes head coach and GM of the Oakland Raiders.
In the Know: Which team’s mascot did Jim Carrey fight in the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective? (Email chris-sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Name two NHL teams that do not have official mascots. Answer: I will accept three possible answers: the Rangers, the Red Wings (as there isn’t a costume involved) and/or the new Seattle franchise. Kudos: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; Matt Meachem-Gracenote/NY; Kathi Gillin-Comcast Spotlight/Langhorne; Art Salisch-Smrc/East Windsor; Christian Matthews-Washington Redskins/DC; Corbett Ripley- Golf Channel/Orlando; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Aimee Clark-Tony Fay PR/Dallas; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
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