01/24/18: Alex Rodriguez is heading to ESPN as its new analyst

Good morning. It’s Wednesday January 24, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Alex Rodriguez is switch-hitting in the broadcast booth. ESPN announced that the former Yankee will join Sunday Night Baseball this season as an analyst in a new multi-year agreement where he will be joined by Matt Vasgersian, who will become the third-ever voice of Sunday Night Baseball, also in a multi-year deal. Rodriguez and Vasgersian will appear alongside returning analyst Jessica Mendoza to form ESPN’s new Sunday Night Baseball booth, with Buster Olney reporting. The new Sunday Night Baseball team will make its official debut on Opening Day, March 29, to call ESPN’s telecast of the Dodgers/Giants game, at 7p, and then call the first official Sunday Night Baseball telecast of the season on April 1. Meanwhile, Rodriguez will continue to exclusively serve as a studio analyst for FOX Sports during the MLB Postseason, while Vasgersian will continue his role as a studio host and announcer for MLB Network.
“Alex is one of the most recognizable personalities in all of sports, and he’s made a well-documented impact on the sports media landscape. His dynamic personality and incredible baseball knowledge, combined with Matt Vasgersian’s expertise, enthusiasm and poise, make for terrific additions to Sunday Night Baseball, with existing commentators Jessica Mendoza and Buster Olney,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN SVP, Events and Studio Production. “We’re excited about the potential for this team and we’re appreciative to our MLB Network and Fox Sports counterparts, as all parties were more than willing to collaborate in order to serve Major League Baseball fans.”

NBC Sports Group lined up around 100 hours of on-site coverage tackling Super Bowl LII via broadcast, cable, digital, and radio platforms. PFT Live, The Dan Patrick Show, NHL Live and NBC Sports Radio all originating from Minneapolis in the week leading up to the game. Daily live coverage on NBCSN begins Monday, Jan. 29, with PFT Live at 7a, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9a. NHL Live will originate on-site from Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis for four consecutive nights, beginning Jan. 30, and will include pre-game coverage of the Vegas Golden Knights at the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 2. In addition, NBC and NBCSN will present three Super Bowl-themed special edition shows the week of Super Bowl LII starting Jan. 29 with NFL Super Bowl Opening Night at 8p, as well as the NFL Honors show on NBC on Feb. 3, at 9p, following an NFL Honors pre-show at 3:30p.
Meanwhile, NBC Sports and the NHL announced that they will work with 4DReplay to provide a “unique 4D look at replays”, for viewers watching NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game and GEICO NHL All-Star Skills Challenge. The replays will debut on Saturday during NBCSN’s telecast of the 2018 GEICO NHL All-Star Skills Competition at 7p and utilize 100 high-speed cameras mounted in the arena – with 50 placed on each side of the ice — to provide immediate replays of the action from a 360-degree perspective. NBC Sports will also complement its production of the games with the debut of JitaCam coverage, with the camera, mounted on a truss 40-feet above the ice.
CBS Sports tees off on begins its 2018 golf coverage with 23 golf tournaments on deck this year, totaling more than 155 hours of coverage, including the Masters Tournament, 100th PGA Championship, 21 PGA TOUR events and more than 10 golf specials. The season begins with the Farmers Insurance Open beginning Saturday at 4p. Jim Nantz serves as anchor of the Network’s golf coverage with Nick Faldo as lead analyst alongside Nantz in the 18th tower. Ian Baker-Finch calls the action at hole 17 with Gary McCord at hole 16. Peter Kostis and Dottie Pepper serve as on-course reporters and Amanda Balionis as contributor. This year on every PGA TOUR event, CBS will utilize Toptracer by Topgolf ball tracing technology, along with Virtual Eye which provides tracking graphics and statistics within a 3D hole model while simultaneously showing tee shots, as well as flyover animation on second shots from the fairway.
FOX Sports named Dominick Cruz to join blow-by-blow announcer Jon Anik and call FOX UFC Fight Night: Jacare vs Brunson 2 from Charlotte on Saturday at 8p. Tyron Woodley and Michael Bisping work as desk analysts alongside lead UFC host Karyn Bryant on FS1, and Curt Menefee on FOX.
Tuesday, January 30 | 1:30-3:00pm ET
“We’re moving into an attention economy in which brands need to move beyond conventional, interruptive advertising.”- Matt Waghorn | Webinar panelist and VP, Connection Strategy. Huge


AT&T is suspending its sponsorship of USA Gymnastics over the NGB’s handling of the Larry Nassar sex abuse case, stating that they will sit out until the org is “re-built and we know that the athletes are in a safe environment.” The decision marks the fifth major brand to pull away from the organization since news broke, with Under Armour terminating its deal early, while Hershey Co., Kellogg Co. and Procter & Gamble Co. each declined to renew existing sponsorships, per ESPN.
Farmers Insurance, title sponsor of the Farmers Insurance Open since 2010, locked in a seven-year extension that will carry its commitment through 2026. “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. locked in a multi-year renewal to remain a spokesman for Nationwide Insurance. Their partnership began in 2008 and will see Earnhardt make appearances for the company at various national sales conferences and industry events. The company will continue to work with the new NBC face in his efforts to support Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Meanwhile, Allstate Insurance Company and endurance race producer RAM Racing announced a major three-year title sponsorship through the creation of the newly-named Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k. The partnership marks the longest sustained commitment by Allstate in the endurance world and the first series title sponsorship for the running company.
Full Swing Golf locked in multi-year partnerships with eight-time PGA TOUR winner, Brandt Snedeker, and 2015 PGA Teacher of the Year, Cameron McCormick. As part of the alliance, Snedeker and McCormick will support the brand through various marketing initiatives and accompanies Full Swing Golf’s all-star roster of professional sports clients.

WWE’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw from New York City was a hit on social media. According to Nielsen Social, the special generated 2.3 million interactions to rank as the most-social Raw of all-time. Overall, Raw had more than 2.5 times the social interactions than the remaining shows in the Top 5 combined, and accounted for nearly 40% of all social TV interactions in primetime on Monday night.
NBC Olympics is partnering with Vox Media for a new Olympics-driven podcast that will take an inside look into each of the 18 days of competition of the Winter Games. The series, titled The Podium, will serve as the official NBC Olympics podcast and feature exclusive and in-depth interviews and breaking stories.
The Players Tribune unveiled a new content series, Love, Mom, presented by Procter & Gamble. The series debuted with a moving letter from Pip Kenworthy to her youngest son, 2014 freeskiing silver medalist Gus Kenworthy. As a part of P&G’s “Thank You Mom” campaign for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, TPT will amplify its #LoveOverBias theme through a series of videos and written letters from mothers to their children.
Reuters announced that customers will now have access to expanded sports content through partnerships with Field Level Media and Opta. Field Level Media content will feature breaking news, recaps, roundups, analysis and player notes across sports events in North America, including NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR and golf leagues, tennis, UFC and more. Opta, meanwhile, will provide live, detailed data across global leagues and competitions (including major U.S. sports) that will power Reuters multimedia sports coverage and real-time results.
High school basketball coverage provider Mars Reel aligned with digital media company UNINTERRUPTED to “continue its growth and extend its brand into broader development, distribution, and storytelling opportunities.” The company recently secured $2.7 million in financing as part of an initial $4.7 million round of funding from influential investors, who include LeBron James, Maverick Carter, hip-hop artist Nas, Translation founder and CEO Steve Stoute, former global network chief for AMC, Sundance and MGM Bruce Tuchman, and Lead Investor Robert Hisaoka. “This partnership with UNINTERRUPTED allows us to extend our content offering beyond highlights and clips and into broader storytelling within the high school sports sector,” said Brandon Deyo, co-founder and CEO, Mars Reel. “As we build a premium high-school and amateur-sports network tailored specifically to the millennial fan base, we’re excited about this partnership and this latest round of investment that will help us take our content to the next level.”

FanDuel founder and former CEO Nigel Eccles is launching a new esports-driven company called Flick, focusing on sharing esports and gaming experiences. On the site, the platform is described as giving fans “an entirely new way of sharing their gaming experience with their friends” and that initially they will be “moving quickly on concepts and working with gamers to refine ideas that work for them.”
ELEAGUE hosts the conclusion to the first CS:GO Major Championship of 2018 this week with live coverage from Boston’s Agganis Arena presented on Twitch starting Friday at 10a. The first day of competition will include the initial three quarterfinal matches, with the last quarterfinal and both semifinal matches set for Saturday at 10a, while live coverage of the Grand Final match runs Sunday at noon. Meanwhile, CS:GO player Sean ‘SeanGares’ Gares will serve as a guest analyst for The New Champions stage, while Alex ‘Goldenboy’ Mendez will serve as the in-arena emcee for The New Champions stage of the Major.

Glory Sports International named Marshall Zelaznik as Chief Executive Officer of the organization where he will lead the company’s global operations. Zelaznik most recently served as Global Head of Business Development and Content at MLG and previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer for UFC.

Maple Leafs/Blackhawks on NBCSN at 8p.

March 7, 2018 | SVA Theatre – NYC
Incredible screenings, interesting panels & networking all in one afternoon…
1:45 – 2pm (Registration)
2 –  3:40pm (Panels)
3:40 –  4pm (Networking)
4pm – 5:45 pm (Awards Program/Video Screening)
4:45 – 7pm (Networking Reception)

ON THIS DAY in 1982: The 49ers best the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.
In the Know: The Endless Summer is a movie that centers around which sport? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which USFL team did Jim Kelly play for? Answer: The Houston Gamblers. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Mike Lee-Horizon/NY; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; Jay Rossi- Dick’s Sporting Goods/Corapolis; Troy Perlowitz-ESPN/Charlotte; Russ DelCore-Altice USA/Oakland; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/KTXA/Dallas; Mark Stulberger-Stully’s Broadcasting School/Houston; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; David Hauptman/Denver; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

Later – Chris

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CREATIVE DIRECTOR/ESP GAMING/Las Vegas: Own the front-to-end design process for ESP Gaming’s prod projects. Deep TV design exp, world class creative vision, passion for sports and competitive gaming, 7+ yrs in creating TV brdcst packages (sports or esports). Full description HERE Resume HERE (1/27)

JOB OPENING: Esports PROGRAM MGR/Psyonix/San Diego: Mng the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) w/a focus on our community & its players. Mng all Championship and Rival Series budgets, proposals, contracts. Intimate knwlg of RLCS a must as well as strong motivation & strong work ethic. Full info/apply HERE (1/27)

JOB OPENING: Esports LEAGUE OPERATIONS/Psyonix/San Diego: Organized League Ops pro to grow/support the hit game, Rocket League! Mng dvlpmnt, mngmnt, and maintenance of player relations for the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) and Rocket League Rival Series (RLRS). Full info/apply HERE (1/27)
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