01/30/17: FOX Sports hits Houston with new marketing plays; beIN SPORTS serves up WTA plans; NFL renews Nationwide stretch


Good morning. It’s Monday January 30, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

As Super Bowl Week kicks into gear, FOX Sports, which will carry the game on Sunday, hit the weekend with news of its first-ever Agency of Record, lining up a deal to add long-time ESPN partner Wieden+Kennedy New York to its growth plans. The agency will look to “elevate and expand FOX Sports’ brand storytelling and advertising campaigns” via activations across all of the network’s top sports properties and original programming, including FS1’s daily studio shows, with a specific emphasis on the FIFA World Cup on FOX. The partnership is effective immediately.

Cynopsis Sports asked Robert Gottlieb, FOX Sports Executive Vice President, Marketing, about the impact of the deal, marketing the Super Bowl and his plans for Daytona.

Gottlieb on the difficulty of marketing the Super Bowl: While every network handles their marketing differently for the game, for me, this is an event that is easier to promote. There is already awareness and intent-to-view, which are both through the roof. Our strongest indicators are going to be editorial such as game selection. If it’s Cowboys/Patriots, we’ll have more buzz going into it and we’ll see it in the numbers, but the Falcons/Patriots of course is also great because it is played at the Super Bowl. These forces are not affected by marketing so no network can really push that number because there is already so much hype involved.

On changes since FOX’s last Super Bowl: There was a lot of novelty last time because it was in cold weather and it was in New York City, but our approach this time is similar. We had just recently launched FS1 last time, and we looked at the Super Bowl last time as a chance to retrain the spotlight on FS1 and the shows that we had. We are doing that again this time, just a lot smarter and with better shows. We have a lot bigger footprint in Houston than we did in New York City.

On new tech: There are a host of fun new toys and tech that we will be using in our broadcast. At Discovery Green in Houston, the NFL Experience will be there, and we will have a big presence with multiple sets and we have a big 24 VR activation coming. We’ll also have some really cool VR toys that fans can interact with to predict the winners of the game. On social/mobile platforms, the industry is moving at the speed of light and is so significantly different than it was three years ago so we’ll be activating through those including working with Funny or Die on Facebook Live from our site.

On how the Wieden+Kennedy deal came together: It was really fast. I was out talking with some agencies looking for a partner for the World Cup in ’18, and we had previously just done some project work with agencies, which I thought we would do here as well. Shortly after the New Year, I was in conversations when a mutual friend told me to touch base with (Managing Director) Neal Arthur to see where they were at in their deal cycles. We connected and found out that there ESPN exclusivity had lapsed and so we started talking, initially about the World Cup, but it very quickly became apparent that there was a much bigger opportunity here.

On Daytona: We are going to do a massive Daytona Day campaign this year, bigger even than last year. The big different is that last year it was really just a big FOX marketing platform that we were introducing, while this season we will be working very closely with NASCAR, Daytona Speedway and with official NASCAR partner and brands. We’ll have a 60-second spot in the Super Bowl, we are doing another promotion with the Simpsons which we expect to run during the Super Bowl as well promoting Daytona Day. We’ll also have a really big campaign that uses all of our assets across 20th Century Fox.


Speaking of the Super Bowl, the NFL and FOX announced that Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Phillipa Soo, original cast members of Broadway’s Hamilton: An American Musical, will sing “America The Beautiful” as part of Super Bowl LI pregame festivities at NRG Stadium on Sunday. The performance will be televised live on FOX prior to kickoff.

beIN SPORTS detailed the company’s coverage of the 2017 season of the Women’s Tennis Association as its 5-year deal with the WTA kicks in. Overall, the broadcaster carries more than 40 WTA tournaments via beIN SPORTS CONNECT on a dedicated WTA channel within the platform while select tournaments will also air on beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Espanol. Tournaments set for broadcast include the 40th Anniversary of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix from April 24-30 and the Rogers Cup in Toronto from August 5-13.

Drake is stepping up as host of the NBA Awards. The artists/actor revealed the plans during an interview on the “Cal Cast” podcast, with the first-ever event set to take place on June 26.

Meanwhile, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred officially announced that Cleveland would serve as home of the 90th All-Star Game in 2019 "Last year’s World Series was a great illustration of the rich baseball history in Cleveland," Manfred said in a statement. "We are delighted that the 2019 All-Star Game will be in Cleveland with the Indians’ loyal fans during an exciting time for the franchise. Major League Baseball looks forward to bringing 90th Midsummer Classic to downtown Cleveland in 2019 to celebrate the best of our sport."

Time is running out! 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.

A federal judge dismissed Golden Boy Promotions’ $300 million lawsuit against Premier Boxing Champions founder Al Haymon. The suit claimed that Haymon’s enterprises repeatedly violated antitrust laws and the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. US District Judge John F. Walter of the Court of Central California granted Haymon’s motion for summary judgment, writing that "The court concludes that plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that there is a genuine issue of material fact as to any of their federal claims for relief.”

This year’s ESPNU Signing Day Special will see a dozen of the nation’s top high school football players announcing their college commitments live on Wednesday. The special will offer fans with 11 consecutive hours of national signing day coverage, and will include live announcements from several players on the ESPN 300 starting at 8a.

NESN announced that the network and Charlie Moore have agreed to a new multi-year agreement that will keep "The Mad Fisherman" on the network. "Charlie mixes a passion for fishing with a unique sense of humor that has attracted a loyal following both here in New England and throughout the country," said Joseph Maar, NESN’s Vice President of Programming & Production, Executive Producer. "Featuring many of the region’s biggest celebrities, Charlie Moore Outdoors has been a staple on NESN for over two decades."


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Nationwide will once again cover the NFL, with the two organizations locking in a deal for the insurance brand to remain an official auto, home and life insurance sponsor of the league for the next four years. The deal will see Nationwide continue as the presenting sponsor of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award as well as associate sponsorship of the NFL Draft and provides additional Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award integrations into the first and third rounds of the event. Nationwide also remains a top-tier sponsor of NFL Honors. “Nationwide cares deeply about the communities where our members and associates live and work. This award aligns closely with our mission to improve those communities and be more than a business,” said Terrance Williams, Nationwide’s chief marketing officer. “As the first corporate sponsor of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, we’re proud to spotlight the life-changing work these men are doing off the field. Over the past three years, Nationwide has given nearly $800,000 to nominee foundations, and we look forward to continuing to support these efforts in the years ahead.”

Meanwhile, NFL partner Microsoft is offering a Custom Cleat Design Competition at the Super Bowl where New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler and Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman will wear customized cleats during their pre-game warmups prior to the big game. The cleat designs will be created by fans at Microsoft’s NFLX location using Sketchable on Microsoft’s new Surface Studio and Surface Hub devices. Once Butler and Freeman choose their favorite designs, cleat artist Marcus Rivero will create the cleats live at the space to be completed on Friday.


The 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships boosted NBC Olympics’ social media accounts with content pulling nearly seven million views on NBC Olympics Facebook.

TuneIn serves up its own Super Bowl plans through its audio partnership with the NFL. Programming includes NFL No Huddle with Brian Webber and Kordell Stewart broadcasting live from radio row and nearly 80 hours of NFL Network content, live streams from ESPN Radio and NBC Sports Radio, and more than 40 regional sports radio show broadcasting from radio row. On Super Bowl Sunday, TuneIn Premium subscribers have access to their choice of 10 different play-by-play feeds in eight different languages including Patriots and Falcons pxp.

The ACC Digital Network, in partnership with the Pitt Panthers, revealed its plans to provide exclusive, all-access coverage of National Letter of Intent Signing Day across its multiple digital and social platforms in a unique collaboration as ACC Digital Network host Jeff Fischel will be inside the war room in Pittsburgh at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on Wednesday to offer fans with an inside look into Signing Day.


ELeague’s first-ever CS:GO Major saw the Grand Final score as the first event in Twitch history to pass one million concurrent viewers. The championship saw Astralis beat Virtus.pro 12-16, 16-14 and 16-14 in the finals in front of a sold out crowd at historic Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

ESL teamed up with BlackSpot Entertainment, the developers of Line of Sight, to bring players the Go4LineOfSight tournament series. The action will serve up one cup every Sunday starting in February to qualify for the monthly final where the eight best teams of the month square off.


Outdoor Sportsman Group promoted Tom Caraccioli to Vice President of Communications. He has served as the Director of Communications since joining the company in September 2013 and will oversee all aspects of Outdoor Sportsman Group’s communications including: three television networks (Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network); Outdoor Sportsman Group  Integrated Media (19 websites and 15 outdoor lifestyle magazines), MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), as well television production operations  Winnercomm  and aerial camera businesses  SkyCam and CableCam.


Super Bowl Opening Night at 8p on NFL Network, ESPN, FS1 and FOX Deportes.


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ON THIS DAY in 1977 UCLA starts 88 basketball game win streak .

In The Know: Which retired linebacker holds the record for most years between Super Bowl wins as a player, which clocked at 12 seasons? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: How many ends are there in an international curling competition? Answer: 10. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Jason Newman-Univision Deportes/NY; Lewis Blaustein-GreenSportsBlogger/NY; Allison Wright-Viacom/Detroit; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Ryan Rabe-Comcast Spotlight/Chicago; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary 5th Quarter Alumni Development/Calgary; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Glenn Demby-Plain Language Media/British Columbia.

Later — Chris
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