01/24/17: NASCAR stages points patrol; USTA plugs into Deloitte; Formula 1 ends Bernie’s run


Good morning. It’s Tuesday January 24, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

NASCAR made its reformat official, announcing in collaboration with industry stakeholders, a new competition program that will be implemented in all three of its national series  the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Details will see races will now consisting of three stages, with championship implications in each stage with the top-10 finishers of the first two stages awarded additional championship points. Meanwhile, the winner of the first two stages of each race will receive one playoff point, and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to his or her reset total following race No. 26, if that competitor makes the playoffs. All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the playoffs (Round of 8), with the Championship 4 racing straight-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title. Finally, the race winner following the final stage will now receive 40 points, second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on.
“Simply put, this will make our great racing even better,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “I’m proud of the unprecedented collaboration from our industry stakeholders, each of whom had a common goal  strengthening the sport for our fans. This is an enhancement fully rooted in teamwork, and the result will be an even better product every single week.”

NASCAR also unveiled a playoff bonus structure that will see the regular season points leader honored as the regular season champion, earning 15 playoff points that will be added to the driver’s playoff reset of 2,000. In addition, the top-10 drivers in points leading into the playoffs will receive playoff points, with second place receiving 10 playoff points, third place will earn 8 points, fourth place will receive 7 points, and so on. All playoff points will carry through to the end of the Round of 8.

“This is definitely going to enhance the experience of the competitors as well as the viewers and fans at home,” said Jeff Gordon, FOX NASCAR analyst, following the announcement. “Just being a part of this in that room, collaborating and hearing the different views and hearing everyone’s input from team principals, track operators and owners, drivers, NASCAR, networks, was a pretty amazing experience. What came out of it was this balance between what fans are asking for, what we can do to make the races even more exciting and make more moments, but also balancing out competition and what the competitors are going to go through. I think we came out with something really incredible.  I had a new perspective last year being in the booth, so I’m really excited about getting back in the booth and calling the races with the stages.”


Two blowouts for the NFL’s conference championship games didn’t help recent ratings dips, but both contests still delivered big numbers. FOX Sports’ presentation of the 2017 NFC Championship Game between the Packers/Falcons on Sunday afternoon generated a 24.8/45 household rating/share with 46.005 million viewers on FOX, according to Nielsen fast national figures. The game was up 3% over last year’s NFC Championship Game (in the later time slot) as well as 1% better than last year’s average audience. Combined with FOX Deportes (91,000 total viewers) and FOX Sports GO (326,000 average minute audience), Sunday’s NFC Championship Game delivered 46.422 million viewers.

The later battle on CBS, featuring the Steelers/Patriots for the AFC Championship, drew an overnight rating of 27.6, off-pace from the big Patriots/Broncos battle the network carried a year ago, but up 2.9% over FOX’s NFL game at that time.

IMG locked in an agreement with the International Boxing Association for the sale and distribution of the worldwide broadcast rights for its events in 2017, including its flagship World Championships. The agreement sees IMG distribute over 30 hours of live content from the AIBA Men’s World Championships in Hamburg, Germany next September, while it will also sell rights to the AIBA Continental Championships and the World Series of Boxing.

It’s the end of the line for long-running ESPN series The Sports Reporters, which will end its run on May 7. The company will now see Bob Ley and Jeremy Schaap take on larger roles as ESPN beefs up Outside the Lines and E:60, Ley will continue to lead Outside the Lines at 1p on weekdays and will join Schaap on Sunday mornings at 9a for a new weekly edition of E:60, which will also feature stories from the Outside the Lines team. Meanwhile, The Sports Reporters will air a special episode on May 7, ending its run that began in 1988. Additionally, the Sunday edition of Outside the Lines will no longer air after May 7 to allow for Ley to focus on the other endeavors.

Don’t miss the deadline! Don’t miss your shot to bring home a Cynopsis Sports Media Awards to celebrate your work with the people, partnerships and programs in our industry that benchmark excellence in front of and behind the cameras. Get your entries in now by clicking here.

NBC Sports announced plans for the 3-on-3 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game from LA on Sunday at 3:30p. Coverage of 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend begins Friday at 9p on NBCSN with The NHL 100, and includes the 2017 NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday night at 7p on the network. The 2017 NHL All-Star Game will feature Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick on play-by-play, with Eddie Olczyk as analyst, Pierre McGuire as Inside-the-Glass analyst, and Jeremy Roenick calling the All-Star Game on Sunday. Kenny Albert handles play-by-play for the Skills Competition, joining, McGuire, and Roenick.

FOX Sports locked in its broadcast team for UFC Fight Night: Shevchenko vs. Pena on FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes for Saturday at 8p. Daniel Cormier serves as analyst with Dominick Cruz. Curt Menefee is desk host for the FOX shows, while Todd Grisham joins the desk crew as host on the FS1 programs along with additional analyst Michelle Waterson. Reporter Megan Olivi interviews fighters on-site. Meanwhile, Brian Stann joins blow-by-blow announcer Jon Anik to call the fights live from Denver.



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Deloitte inked a long-term and wide-ranging agreement with the United States Tennis Association to sponsor both the US Davis Cup and US Fed Cup teams, as well as become an official sponsor of the US Open and the first-ever sponsor of the US Open Wheelchair Competition. Deloitte’s logo will now be featured on US team warm-up jackets. Deloitte is also working with the USTA to revamp USTA’s core enterprise digital technology and build the USTA’s grassroots digital capabilities.

Hooters is teaming up with Hendrick Motorsports to serve as a primary sponsor of Chase Elliott and the No. 24 Chevrolet SS team beginning this season. Hooters will be a two-race primary sponsor and full-season associate sponsor of the No. 24 team in both 2017 and 2018. The Hooters Chevrolet SS will debut May 7 at Talladega and during the Chase for the NASCAR Cup on Nov. 12 in Phoenix.

The NFL and Special Olympics announced plans to open the doors for athletes of all abilities to ‘PLAY 60’ through the expansion of Special Olympics Unified Flag Football. To kick off their new partnership, the NFL and Special Olympics will host a unified flag football game tomorrow at ESPN Wide World of Sports. NFL Foundation grants will fund Special Olympics Unified Sports, which builds inclusive communities by enabling people with and without intellectual disabilities to play on the same team.

Delta Air Lines and its partner Aeromexico have been named the official airline partners for the MLS expansion team, the Los Angeles Football Club. The partnership also includes category exclusivity, community outreach, fan engagement, integrated interior and exterior digital signage, as well as content. Delta will serve not only as the team’s official airline, but also as a marquee founding-level original supporter and member of the “Golden-Boot Club” partnership platform with the deal including sponsorship of pre-game player walkouts, both interior and exterior rotational digital LED signage at the new stadium, and airline transportation for LAFC both to and from away matches.


The NHL announced that it has commissioned original portraits of each member of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian as part of its NHL Centennial celebrations. All player portraits will be painted by renowned Canadian artist Tony Harris with oil-based paintings set to be digitized and posted online for fans around the world to experience and share each week with two portraits on NHL.com/100.

Access Sports Media unveiled an extended partnership with FanConnect to help power their ASMTV network. Access Sports Media provides video advertising solutions on ASMTV, its digital network of over 25,000 television screens in more than 50 professional sports venues nationwide. ASMTV combines a live game feed with advertising, custom content, promotional material and team content.


The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly mulling a play into esports. Ad Age writes that the team selected the Alliance Data-owned marketing agency Epsilon to study if the franchise should make a move into the competitive gaming space. Epsilon developed a model for the team to profile the industry’s target audience, grouped them by behaviors and matched brands that appealed the most to each group. “If we thought we could buy a team for – gimme a number – $2 million, $3 million, $5 million or whatever, but get $7 million in sponsorship deals over the next couple years it becomes a no-brainer,” Matt O’Neil, the Cowboys’ senior VP of brand marketing, told the publication.

Nintendo Switch will make an appearance at PAX South in San Antonio this weekend, with Nintendo brining its new home gaming system from Jan. 27 to Jan. 29 during the annual video game convention. Activation will see hands-on time with different Nintendo Switch games, which will be displayed and used in multiple environments. In addition to all the awesome Nintendo Switch experiences, the main stage at the Nintendo booth will feature hosted competitions, live demonstrations, video presentations and other fun Nintendo surprises.

Yesterday’s edition should have read: Ronaldo is jumping into the esports space, announcing a partnership with poker pro Andre Akkari to pick up 50% of Brazilian esports franchise CNB. Sorry for any confusion.


With Liberty Media’s acquisition of Formula 1 now complete, longtime chief Bernie Ecclestone has been removed from his position after nearly 40 years at the helm. Chase Carey will now take over as CEO, in addition to his existing position of chairman. “I’m proud of the business I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula One,” Ecclestone said in a statement to media.

UFC announced the appointment of Isabelle McLemore as Vice President of Corporate Communications where she will  be responsible for leading the global brand’s strategic development and execution of internal, external and corporate. She originally e joined UFC in 2011 as a Senior Publicist.

Univision Communications announced that Rick Resnick has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Sports Partner Solutions. Hewill continue to oversee sports sales marketing while developing compelling marketing solutions that offer UCI customers limitless ways to connect with sports fans on every platform

PMK-BNC named Kerry Graue Director, Brand Communications. Graue previously was Public Relations Manager at Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils.


Kansas/West Virginia on ESPN2 at 7p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1982: The San Francisco Giants beat the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 in Super Bowl XVI.

In The Know: In what movie did Burt Reynolds lead a football team called the Mean Machine? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Name an NHL team that doesn’t have a mascot (official only!). Answer: Rangers, Flyers, Red Wings. Kudos: John Ferlazzo-Media Consultant/London; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; Mike Polvere-Optimum Sports/NY; Lauren Weeks-Viacom/NY; Steven Gold-The Nielsen Company/NY; Steve Scheer-FOX Sports/Morristown; Martha Girard-PBS/Arlington; Ron Cioffi-USTA Southern/Peachtree Corners; Stephanie Connolly/Weehawken; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lynda Labozan-Comcast Spotlight/Denver; Don Surath-KPIX-TV/KBCW-TV/San Francisco; Glenn Demby-Plain Language Media/British Columbia; Jack Simmons-US Army Reserve/LA; Brian McAloon-Fox Sports/LA.

Later — Chris
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