01/04/17: USA Volleyball lines up new CEO; Rose Bowl blooms; New PGA TOUR Commissioner mulls changes


Good morning. It’s Wednesday January 4, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

USA Volleyball named sports media, marketing and business executive Jamie Davis as the organization’s CEO, effective immediately. Davis becomes the seventh CEO of USA Volleyball. His background include his own company, Jomadrew Sports and Entertainment, LLC, Fanatics, and Versus. “I am excited to share my background in sports media, e-commerce and technology to provide fresh insights into the USA Volleyball organization,” Davis said. “I look forward to reaching our constituents through new media channels; developing fresh marketing and brand awareness for the organization, the regions and our athletes; creating new sponsorship opportunities; and growing grassroots participation from the ground up with the goal of expanding USA Volleyball’s success in international competition.”


A classic Rose Bowl game on Monday handed the ESPN family with a total live audience of 16,040,000 viewers, according to Nielsen, to mark the most-watched non-semifinal New Year’s Six game ever. The last-minute USC victory pumped up viewership by 17% from year ago numbers, with the game then played on Jan. 1. Locally, Philadelphia (16.7) set a new market record for the game, while in Pittsburgh (17.0) and Los Angeles (14.9) it was the second highest-rated bowl game ever on ESPN. Meanwhile, the Allstate Sugar Bowl notched a total live audience of 9,713,000 viewers, up 7% from last year’s Sugar Bowl, while the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic drew a total live audience of 5,575,000 viewers. ESPN’s presentation of the New Year’s Six generated an average total live audience of 13,955,000 viewers per game, up 16% from last season’s presentation of the same six games.

Ahead of the College Football Playoff National Championship, ESPN announced that both SportsCenter and College Football Live will originate from Alabama and Clemson today and tomorrow, showcasing the Alabama/Clemson matchup. Sets will be staged in front of Alabama’s BryantDenny Stadium and from Clemson’s Esso Club. Additional studio and game telecast details, as well as ESPN and SEC Network programming originating from on-location in Tampa, will be released in the coming days.

CES has Turner Sports doubling down, with the company cementing plans to anchor doubleheader coverage of the NBA on TNT on Thursday from Las Vegas. The special live one-hour pregame show begins at 7p, with halftime analysis and the Inside the NBA postgame show also originating live from the event as Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal anchor coverage throughout the night. 

NBC Sports Group detailed plans to serve up 25 hockey telecasts in 28 days to open the 2017 calendar year. This week’s NHL coverage is highlighted by the Flyers hosting the Rangers on Wednesday Night Rivalry tonight at 8p on NBCSN, and the debut of Star Sundays on Sunday at 8p on the channel with the Wild/Dicks matchup.

With the New Year comes the new reign of Jay Monahan as Commissioner of the PGA TOUR. In an interview with the WSJ, Monahan noted that he plans to expand the appeal of the sport beyond its base with an eye not only toward reaching more fans in emerging golf countries, but also by rearranging the golf calendar to drive attention on the sport during the months when the NFL is not in season, meaning “moving the Players Championship from May to March, moving the PGA Championship from August to May and ending the FedEx Cup playoffs on Labor Day weekend instead of late September.” He also noted that the organization would be looking at launching its own channel or gaining partial ownership of a network as part of its next broadcast rights agreements.


Women in Digital – This one is for you!
We live in such an exciting time – women are rising in the ranks and excelling in the fields of digital content, marketing, advertising, social media, & online. With these trailblazers in mind, we are pleased to announce the call for entries of our third annual TOP WOMEN IN DIGITAL AWARDS, celebrating the unique, the uncommon & the bold.
The deadline to enter is
Tuesday, January 10 so get ahead of the holiday season by starting your entry today!


Speaking of the PGA TOUR, the bogy launched a new advertising campaign titled "That’s Good” for the new year, intended to play off of the line “These Guys Are Good.” Highlights of “That’s Good” include a flexible content structure and visually distinctive graphics and camera angles. The campaign will debut with two spots, with the remaining spots being produced as the season and key storylines develop in concert with the season-long race for the FedExCup. “The goal of ‘That’s Good’ is to showcase the amazing talent of PGA TOUR players with a fresh, different and modern look that will appeal to a wide range of sports fans,” said Ty Votaw, PGA TOUR Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer. “The campaign defines in new and captivating ways what ‘good’ means on the PGA TOUR, and showcases the excitement and unpredictability that these unequaled players have fashioned.”

Honda announced plans to showcase its redesigned 2017 CR-V crossover to anchor its Super Bowl LI spot. The ad marks the brand’s third appearance at the game. "The Super Bowl is the appropriate stage to introduce America to the bold and sophisticated new Honda CR-V," said Susie Rossick, Assistant Vice President, Honda Auto Marketing in a statement to press. "With the largest audience and reach of any single television event, the Super Bowl is a platform befitting the CR-V’s status as the best-selling SUV in America, and the perfect place to celebrate CR-V’s 20th anniversary."

Italian premiere soccer club Inter Milan, locked in a deal with Las Vegas-based One Entertainment to serve as its licensing agent in the US and Canada. The first Inter Milan products are expected to be available in the summer of 2017.


NextVR announced plans to offer its sports and entertainment virtual reality content on Daydream, Google’s mobile VR platform in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and Australia. In addition, as part of its multi-year partnership with the NBA, NextVR and the league are now offering immersive video-on-demand games and highlights in virtual reality internationally, excluding China. Fans with either a Daydream View or Samsung Gear VR headset can download the free NextVR app and access the NBA Channel to experience the NBA in virtual reality on demand, including new features such as ‘Best Dunks’ and ‘Best Plays.’ 

PGATOUR.com and SERVPRO announced the launch of two new golf fantasy games, PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done and PGA TOUR Champions One & Done. The two new games complement PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which was released in 2015 with PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done debuting tomorrow to coincide with the first round of the SBS Tournament of Champions. PGA TOUR Champions One & Done will debut January 19 at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.


ELeague has a new partner, locking in a deal with Dell that will see the brand become an exclusive PC hardware provider for ELeague, which will use the Alienware Aurora with Dell 24-inch 144Hz gaming monitor as their competition system, “giving players incredible speed and processing power to easily overcome the most chaotic of competitive moments.” "The world’s best gamers demand bleeding edge hardware that keep them at their best,” said Seth Ladetsky, senior vice president of Sales, Turner Sports. “ELeague is proud to welcome Dell as a key partner, supporting the passionate esports community and delivering the high-performance hardware needed to fuel ELeague’s thrilling competition all year long."

ESL unveiled plans for the Trinity Series, a new Hearthstone team league that will start competition this month with seven weeks of online play, followed by a live final in March at the ESL America Studios in Burbank. Eight teams will be invited to participate, each fielding a roster of 3 players, including Tempo Storm, compLexity Gaming, and Virtus Pro. All matches will be played in a best-of-11 “Last Hero Standing” format with $150,000 in prize money up for grabs, along with full travel costs for teams that qualify for the live final. All games will be streamed exclusively on Twitch.

Seattle-based lawyer Bryce Blum launched what is described as the first esports-only law firm, dubbed Electronic Sports & Gaming Law. "I will be transitioning my existing esports practice to ESG Law, where I will continue to represent industry-leading esports teams, talent, and institutions," Blum told ESPN in a statement.

Denmark soccer club FC Copenhagen is entering esports, adding the former Team Dignitas CS:GO squad. The team will now go under the moniker North.


Villanova/Butler on FS1 at 6:30p.


Live video has taken a quantum leap forward in the past year, with a foothold in gaming, sports and awards events, events delivered via live-streaming are attracting increasing ad dollars. If you’re a marketer or content producer planning for 2017 and beyond, you won’t want to miss our 1/31 webinar. Our speakers will share intel about which activations work best and how advertising can augment the business model.
No matter what stage of implementation you’re in, you won’t want to miss the webinar. Register today.

ON THIS DAY in 2006: Texas beats USC to claim the BCS National Championship.

In The Know: While the Rose Bowl is the oldest bowl game in college football, starting in 1902, the next oldest are a pair of games first played in 1935. What are they? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: From what school was Tony Dorsett drafted by the Cowboys? Answer: Pitt. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Andreas Droste-Time Inc/NY; Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Andrew Feingold-Fox News Channel/NY; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Rick Haan-CommuniConcepts/Morristown; Ron Mulliken/Darien; David Haney-Joe Bosack & Co./Pottsville; Robert Teinowitz-Live Action Media/Chicago; Brad Brown-Nevco/St. Louis; Patrick Sturgeon-Right This Minute/Kansas City; Chris Hartweg-Huddle Pro/Chicago; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Scott Sarra-NBC Sports Group/Denver; Lynda Labozan-Comcast Spotlight/Denver; Michael Jaquet-US Ski and Snowboard/Park City; Jeff Mirkin-2:05 Engagement/Santa Monica; Howie Schwab-Sports Jeopardy/Culver City; Scott Brofman-ITV/LA; Lance Williams-Comcast/LA.

Later — Chris
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