01/08/16: FOX upgrades MLS prospects; T-Mobile bets on Vegas; Commissioners call for fantasy regulation



CYNOPSISSPORTS
01.08.16

Good morning. It’s Friday January 8, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

FOX Sports debuted its 2016 Major League Soccer regular season slate of games and will shift four MLS matches off cable to the its broadcast network this season. The slate spans March through October with 34 games overall set to be carried by the company including 30 on FS1 and all 34 on FOX Deportes. The lineup will spotlight MLS Cup winners the Portland Timbers with 7 spots on the slate, along with Sporting Kansas City and the LA Galaxy. New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls combine for 14 appearances while the Seattle Sounders are featured five times throughout the season. Coverage begins March 6 at 7p with the Sounders/Kansas City.

ON THE AIR

ESPN announced that its surrounding College Football Playoff National Championship programming plans will include over 70 hours of content across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and SEC Network leading into the Alabama/Clemson battle on Jan 11 at 8:30p. The day of the game, ESPN will be live from in-and-around University of Phoenix Stadium for 11.5 hours starting at 9a and include a SportsCenter live from the stadium, as well as dedicated editions of College Football Live, College GameDay, and Championship Drive. Meanwhile Mike & Mike will be live from Phoenix, as well as First Take.

Fox Sports has apparently pushed up the price of the NFL Thursday Night Football package with TheStreet.com reporting that the company has emerged as the top contender to CBS to nab the games. The NFL had previously called for bids for a one-year deal with another year at the league’s option, and also outlined a separate request for proposals to simulcast the games online.

ESPN Radio launches a new weekend lineup starting tomorrow, with shows that the debut of espnW’s The Trifecta with Spain, Jane and Kate on ESPN Radio at noon. The series will be hosted by espnW writers Kate Fagan, Jane McManus and Sarah Spain as they “discuss the latest headlines with a distinct perspective on sports that only espnW can provide.” Meanwhile, Fagan will also co-host Will & Kate with ESPN contributor Will Cain at 7a, slated to run Sundays from 7-10a starting Feb. 14. Also debuting January 9 – 10 will be Rothenberg, Wallace & Golic Jr. (Saturdays, 5-8p) – featuring ESPN New York 98.7FM’s Dave Rothenberg with ESPN.com NBA reporter Michael Wallace and Mike Golic Jr., son of Mike & Mike co-host Mike Golic Sr.  as well as Izzy & Amin (Sundays, 10a-noon), an NBA-focused program hosted by ESPN NBA reporters Israel Gutierrez and Amin Elhassan.

Speaking of ESPN, its series First Take on ESPN2 is serving up a new opening theme song created exclusively for the show. The theme is dubbed Every Word Great and comes from by Grammy-nominated recording artist Wale. The new show opening will also be updated to showcase the July addition of Molly Qerim as host of the show.

Finally, ESPNU announced plans to televise 12 NBA Development League regular-season games in 2016 beginning Jan. 15 at 7p when the Maine Red Claws host the Canton Charge. ESPNU will also be home to NBA D-League Conference Finals and Finals games this April.

ONE World Sports announced that it will carry the complete 2016 Asian Football Confederation U-23 Championship tournament starting Jan. 12. For the first time, the AFC U-23 Championship will serve as the AFC qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games with the top three teams heading to Brazil as the AFC representatives. “ONE World Sports coverage of the AFC U-23 Championship demonstrates the network’s mission of showcasing sports and athletes from around the globe and highlighting the passion and thrill of competition with Olympic aspirations on the line,” said Joel Feld, ONE World Sports Executive Vice President of Programming & Production.

X Games Aspen 2016 will see 16 hours of coverage and live content distributed on ESPN, ABC and via multiple digital platforms starting Jan. 28. An additional eight hours of competition will also be carried exclusively on ESPN3 as well as XGames.com, the X Games app, and X Games pages across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more. Following X Games Aspen 2016, ABC will deliver four hours of anthology programming on Feb. 6 and a one-hour special on World of X Games: Best of X Games Aspen 2016 on Feb. 13. The action begins on ESPN with the Snowmobile SnoCross and SnoCross Adaptive Final on Jan. 28 at 5:30p. This year’s telecast team will include veterans: Nicole Briscoe, Zach Crist, Chris “Uncle E” Ernst, Brandon Graham, Todd Harris, Jamie Little, Craig McMorris, Jack Mitrani, Alyssa Roenigk, Tes Sewell, Cameron Steele and Luke Van Valin. Making their talent team debut this year are Victoria Arlen, Vanessa Marshall and Graham Watanabe. Also new to this year’s telecast is X Games Extra presented by Skype, the official late night show of X Games Aspen.

On the local front, NESN is introducing a new weekly Bruins program, The Ultimate Bruins Show presented by Bud Light starting tonight at 6p. The 30-minute show will air once a week just prior to the network’s regularly scheduled pre-game show Bruins Face-Off LIVE presented by EchoStor Technologies. In each episode a Bruins player takes a nostalgic look back at his first NHL goal, while Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley offer a video breakdown of a player or play.

MSG Network revealed that Knicks ratings on MSG Network through 34 games this season are on the rise, averaging a 2.02 HH rating for a 15% markup from the first 34 games a year ago.


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Entry Deadline: January 21, 2016
Late Submission Deadline: January 28, 2016
Awards Event: April 21, 2016 (NYC)


SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

T-Mobile is dialing into the Las Vegas scene, announcing a naming rights agreement for the city’s new venue from AEG and MGM Resorts International. The location will now be known as T-Mobile Arena, boasting 20,000 season for events that include UFC, boxing, hockey, basketball and bull riding. “We’re going to light up Las Vegas in magenta and give everyone who visits T-Mobile Arena a chance to experience what it means to be an Un-carrier,” said Mike Sievert, COO of T-Mobile. T-Mobile customers at the venue will get benefits such as a dedicated fast-track VIP entrance to events, with some events offering access to VIP experiences, presales and upgrades.

Embattled NFL QB Johnny Manziel is no longer working with LeBron James’ marketing firm, according to Cleveland.com. James’ business manager told the site that LRMR Management Co. is no longer representing Manziel. On Wednesday, James stated that he was concerned about Manziel’s actions, according to ESPN.

DIGITAL & STREAMING

More CES goodies. STRIVR Labs launched a Fan Experience and VR Production division designed to bring teams, brand partners, fans, and venues “as close to the action as the athletes themselves.” The division will be overseen by Managing Partners Logan Mulvey and Brian Murphy. STRIVR launched as a VR sports training platform for professional and college athletes, boasting a roster of 23 organizations and universities that includes the Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Stanford University, Clemson University, Washington Capitals, and the Washington Wizards, among others.
 
T-Mobile is adding more sports to its new Binge On program, adding 14 new services to its streaming offerings, including Tennis Channel Everywhere
.

Rovi is launching Rovi Sports, a metadata product offering “personalized” discovery experiences before, during and after sports contest. Powered by the Rovi Knowledge Graph Engine, Rovi Sports will offer info about sports, leagues, teams and players, allowing viewers to identify their most interesting plays of the game in real-time. “For centuries, sports have defined cultures and societies around the world, representing an enormous percentage of entertainment consumption,” said Kathy Weidman, senior vice president and general manager for metadata, Rovi.

FANTASY/GAMING/ESPORTS

Turner Sports’ Sports Business Forum at CES saw MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver call for “transparency” and regulation of daily fantasy sports, which include heavyweights FanDuel and DraftKings. The Commissioners noted that fantasy was a key part of engaging fans but noted that they understood concerns over its legality. “I feel it should be regulated,” Silver stated in the Q&A “It’s a healthy form of entertainment,” noting that the sites presented an opportunity for revenue from taxes.

Speaking of fantasy, Fantasy Labs, a platform of proprietary daily fantasy sports data, tools and analytics, announced that it locked in an investment from Mark Cuban. “We are pleased to have the support of a visionary investor like Mr. Cuban, and are grateful for his support in our goal of creating an environment where fans can easily access and leverage sports analytics for actionable purposes,” said Peter Jennings, Co-Founder of Fantasy Labs. “We’re especially excited for how Mr. Cuban’s influence on our organizational development will enable us to expand our analytics offerings into new areas like eSports games, as well as continuing to optimize our core competencies.”

THE MAIN EVENT

Steelers/Bengals on CBS at 8:15p on Saturday.


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ON THIS DAY in 2000: The Music City Miracle sees the Titans beat the Bills on a last-second kickoff return.

In The Know: Which NFL tight end claims the record for most career touchdowns in the league? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who is the longest-tenured NFL head coach to not win a Super Bowl with their current team? Answer: Marvin Lewis. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions/NY; D.J. Anderson-Turner Broadcasting/NY; Mike Antolini-Tiger Woods Foundation/Boston; Matt Brown-Agency 5/Farmington Hills;  Kirk Agius-iHeartMEDIA/Tampa; Imran Khan-Rogers Sportsnet/Toronto; John Venables, Lakeshore Management, Chicago; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; David Hauptman/Denver; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Jim Bernard-FOX Sports/LA; Joey Olson/Manhattan Beach; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine
01.08.16

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EXPERT SERVICES ADS: These ads are for companies or people who offer an expertise in the field of media by way of production, voice over artistry, writing, set development, etc. For information on rates and specs for posting an Expertise Service ad email Trish at [email protected]

INTERNSHIPS – These positions are for credit only – nobody gets paid here. These ads are always posted for free, and students work for school credit only. For more information on the specs for posting an Internship ad, email Trish at [email protected].

SITUATION WANTED ADS, POSTED BY THOSE LOOKING TO BE HIRED… There is no charge for placing your Situation Wanted ad… for more information contact Trish Pihonak at [email protected]

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