01/05/17: Bridgestone treads deeper Olympic run; Stephen A. Smith shifts gears; Turner Sports plays Catch


Good morning. It’s Thursday January 5, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Bridgestone Corporation continues to roll with the International Olympic Committee announcing an expansion of the company’s Olympic Partnership activation rights effective this year. The new deal sees the brand activate its Partnership globally through 2024 in association with the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and the Olympic Games 2024.

“While we’re proud of our initial successes, in reality we have only just begun to leverage this universal platform to engage our worldwide teammates and expand Bridgestone brand awareness in key markets around the globe,” said Masaaki Tsuya, CEO and Representative Executive Officer, Bridgestone Corporation. “As a global company with founding roots and headquarters in Japan, there is an enormous opportunity with the next three Olympic Games being hosted in Asia. We look forward to reaching new winter sports fans worldwide, as well as continuing to explore new ways in which we can support the staging of the Games and its athletes  which is paramount to our partnership.”


Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp picked up a majority interest in TNA IMPACT Wrestling, forming Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions. “We are thrilled to have acquired TNA IMPACT Wrestling,” said Ed Nordholm, Executive Vice President of Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp., the parent of Fight Network, who will become President of Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions. “As we grow Anthem’s linear, digital and mobile platforms globally, top tier content with global appeal is key to that success and this acquisition is a perfect strategic addition to our portfolio. IMPACT has been a dominant wrestling brand around the world for more than a decade and we are confident that Anthem can leverage its assets and strategic partnerships to take IMPACT Wrestling to even greater heights.”

As expected, ESPN confirmed that The Stephen A. Smith Show will return to ESPN Radio’s New York and LA station beginning Jan. 17. The same day, the two-hour program will debut on ESPN’s SiriusXM Channel 80, shifting from SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel, running 1-3p. The program will also be available digitally via ESPNRadio.com, the ESPN app and TuneIn Radio as well as a daily podcast. Meanwhile, the first two hours of Russillo & Kanell will move to ESPN Xtra, SiriusXM Channel 81, while the third hour will remain on ESPN Radio Channel 80, while The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz will air nationally on ESPN Radio and SiriusXM Channel 80 from 10-a-2p.

In other talent news, multiple reports have ESPN and WWE personality Todd Grisham moving to UFC where he will work on the studio desk and in the play-by-play role for fights. Grisham will debut on the desk at UFC Fight Night: Penn vs. Rodriguez on Jan. 15 in Phoenix.

Meanwhile, NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick is now slated to return to the FOX NASCAR television booth to serve as a race analyst for eight NASCAR events in 2017, beginning with the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener from Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 25. Harvick also will contribute as an analyst on FS1’s NASCAR Race Hub.

In ratings news, FOX reports that its America’s Game of the Week franchise is projected to rank as television’s top show for the eighth straight season according to Nielsen, while FOX NFL Sunday will finish as the nation’s top pregame show for the 23rd consecutive year. America’s Game of the Week wrapped up the regular season with an average of 13.9/27, with 24.559 million viewers. Meanwhile, the full season of NFL on FOX, excluding the Oct. 30 telecast from London, averaged a 10.9/23 household rating/share, with 19.434 million viewers across all games.

Around the dial and in primetime, NBC Sports reports that the 2016 season of NBC’s Sunday Night Football is pacing to finish as primetime’s top TV show in all key metrics for a record sixth consecutive year, per Nielsen’s live plus same day data. SNF’s live+same day averaged 20.3 million viewers per telecast and averaged an 11.4/20.

Ronda Rousey’s return to the Octagon at UFC 207 helped push FS1 viewership on Dec. 30, with the network’s postfight show drawing 404,000 viewers to mark a 166% rise over the comparable Jan. 2, 2016 postfight show for last year’s UFC 195. The FS1 UFC 207 Prelims scored 1,511,000 viewers on Friday, making it the eighth most-watched prelims ever on the network.

As the Columbus Blue Jackets look to tie the NHL record for consecutive victories tonight against the Capitals, NBCSN will offer viewers live look-ins during its NHL Live pregame coverage of its originally-scheduled Sabres-Blackhawks game at 7p.


Cynopsis Ratings Master Class:  January 25
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Opening Keynote: Turner’s CRO, Howard Shimmel
Cross-platform Ratings: Bridging the Digital Divide
Making Noise on Social: Getting – and Amplifying – Programming Buzz
The Data Dig: Going Deep With Person-Level Reporting
The Future of Measurement Fireside Chat: Can’t we all just get along?
Sponsored by: Nielsen


Dentsu Aegis Network announced the completed integration of US-based agencies MKTG and Team Epic to form “a lifestyle marketing powerhouse” that blends MKTG’s award-winning capabilities in experiential, creative, strategy, retail and B2B marketing, with the sponsorship and brand partnership focus of Team Epic. “We are excited to join forces, as the addition of Team Epic to MKTG brings us closer to our goal of establishing the industry’s best integrated lifestyle marketing agency network,” said Charlie Horsey, US CEO and Global President of MKTG. “I’m thrilled with the collaboration that I’ve seen, which in a short time has already garnered great success for new clients, existing clients and for each of our employees who have so much additional growth opportunity.”

Tough Mudder is launching its Escape The Ordinary campaign today, designed to “inspire viewers to challenge themselves and their friends in 2017 by ‘escaping the ordinary’ with the brand. Part of the campaign include a was created using UGC from our own community. Tough Mudder will host over 120 events across 10 countries in 2017.

MLB Network teamed up with The Recording Academy to offer fans a shot to attend the Grammy Awards, with the network featuring various Grammy-nominated music across its studio programming, including Hot Stove, Intentional Talk and MLB Tonight. Fans can watch MLB Network for a special code word to enter at MLB.com/grammysweeps to be eligible to win.

PBR is declaring 2017 The Celebrate America Tour as its enters the 2017 season. The league will recognize heroes and seek to inspire youth in every market the Built Ford Tough Series visits, offering activities that include: donating 13,000 tickets to veterans organizations throughout the season; hosting deserving children at its events, making local donations to children’s and veterans’ charities; and promoting and donating to organizations such as Protect the Harvest and Future Farmers of America.


Whistle Sports & The Golf Channel
The Leaderboard celebrates the organizations that utilized their social media platforms to promote product offerings to sports fans throughout 2016. Check out the full list of winners here.


Ahead of its CES presentations today, Turner Sports launched Catch Sports, described as a “new innovative product serving as the digital personal assistant for fans that helps them navigate the various channels and platforms available to follow live sports coverage whenever and wherever they choose.” The app offers fans the ability to quickly identify the channel affiliations and service provider information where they can watch or listen to their favorite teams and individual games. The platform is offer via the iTunes app store, Google Play and through a Catch Sports Alexa Skill for the Amazon Echo, covering in-season sports such as NBA, NFL, college football and college basketball.


In today’s edition of Cynopsis eSports & Gaming
·       The FA launches a new Adventure
·       PEA gets conflicted
·       Bucks’ owner casts FlyQuest
·       2017 esports predictions
·       Game Developers go Inside
·       Super Mario’s $30 million Run
·       CES lays out new gaming tech


Blue Jackets/Capitals on local channels at 7p.


Cynopsis Top Women in Digital
Honoring those who excel in digital content, marketing, advertising, social media, and online content.

Deadline: January 10, 2017 at 11:59pm!

Visit our website for additional information on:
Who Should Enter, How to Enter, Eligibility Period, Categories, Deadlines, Sponsorship Opportunities, Contact Information and FAQ’s.

ON THIS DAY in 1957: Jackie Robinson announced his retirement.

In The Know: Jackie Robinson became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports at what university? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: 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? Answer: Turns out there were three: Orange, Sugar and Sun. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Lewis Blaustein-GreenSportsBlogger/NY; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner & Triathlete magazine/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Adric Brentor-Alaska Aces Hockey/Anchorage.

Later — Chris
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