01/30/18: NBC Sports is expanding its coverage of the Paralympic Winter Games

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Good morning. It’s Tuesday January 30, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

NBC Olympics is beefing up its coverage of the Paralympic Winter Games, announcing plans PyeongChang this March that will include 94 hours on television, nearly doubling the time spent on Sochi 2014. In all, NBC Olympics will present more than 250 hours of coverage across NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, beginning with the Opening Ceremony on March 9. Coverage will include all six Paralympic winter sports – alpine skiing, snowboarding, sled hockey, wheelchair curling, cross-country skiing, and biathlon – spread across 10 days.
 
“There is arguably no event in the world more inspiring than the Paralympics, and it’s our privilege to tell the captivating stories of these world-class athletes,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. ”Without question, our increase in coverage – nearly double the hours televised in Sochi — would not be possible without the support of Toyota, which has brought to the Paralympics an unprecedented enthusiasm for the event, the athletes, and the mission.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

The ABC/ESPN tandem for the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday paid dividends, as the game saw a rise of 25% rise in rating to a 5.3. That marks the highest-rated Pro Bowl since 2014, and drew an average audience of 8.6 million viewers, up 15%. Top markets: New Orleans (15.2), Kansas City (10.3), Richmond-Petersburg (9.2), Seattle (8.8), Philadelphia (8.4). Meanwhile, the original airing of the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown Thursday night on ESPN averaged 1,171,000 viewers, up 18%.
 
Continuing what will be a long NFL-theme today, NBCUniversal mapped out its Super Bowl programming plans for its non-sports entities, designed to drive awareness and buzz via week-long, on-site coverage before the Feb. 4 game on NBC. Among the programs/platforms to take part will be: TODAY, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Access, E! News, Squawk Box, Squawk on the Street, Mad Money, Fast Money Halftime Report, Titulares y Mas, The Dan Patrick Show, Top Chef, NHL Live, Pro Football Talk, NBC Sports Radio, and NBC Sports Digital, among others. Details include TODAY’s Al Roker and Craig Melvin anchoring the morning program live from Nicollet Mall, while Jimmy Fallon will host a special Super Bowl LII edition of The Tonight Show from the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, and feature a special live Sunday night edition, following local news telecasts after the game.
 
Around the dial, Telemundo Deportes serves up the exclusive Spanish-language telecast of Super Bowl LII on Universo on Sunday starting at 6p. Coverage is led by Miguel Gurwitz, the main host of the pre-halftime-and-post game shows with an announcing team of Rene Giraldo and Edgar Lopez with special guest, Rolando Cantu.
 
Carrie Underwood’s “The Champion” will open NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LII on Sunday, with the opening video honoring the legacy of the event featuring Super Bowl moments “on a grand scale with cameos from NFL all-time greats.”  
 
Meanwhile, Sting and Darius Rucker have been tapped to be the featured performers in the Super Bowl LII pregame festivities. The performances will take place at the NFL Tailgate Party and portions will be televised on the NBC Super Bowl LII Pregame Show. Sting will be joined on stage by Shaggy for the broadcast debut of their new, Caribbean-flavored single, “Don’t Make Me Wait.” This will mark Sting’s third appearance at the Super Bowl. In addition, 60 local youth from the Angelica Cantanti and ComMUSICation choirs will join Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer Leslie Odom Jr. to sing “America The Beautiful” as part of Super Bowl LII pregame festivities.
 
The Professional Fighters League locked in an exclusive multi-platform distribution deal for 2018 with NBC Sports Group and Facebook. In addition, the PFL has named Peter Murray as its Chief Executive Officer. The League will “present MMA as a true sport that features a regular season, playoffs, and championship” with individual fighters competing in a win-and-advance postseason format. The 2018 PFL season consists of seven regular-season events, a bracket-style playoff, and a $10 million postseason prize pool. NBC Sports Group will establish an exclusive live Thursday night PFL fight franchise, presenting seven regular-season live events in prime time exclusively on NBCSN beginning June 7 through the end of August. Outside the US, Facebook will stream up to six hours of free, live coverage for each event.
 
Time is running out! Don’t miss out on the Cynopsis Sports Awards, once again honoring the best in the business in production, marketing, digital and more. Don’t miss out on our new categories for 2018, including: Awareness Campaign for a Social Good Initiative; Event of the Year for a Breakthrough Sport; League of the Year for a Breakthrough Sport; Live Coverage of a Breakthrough Sport; Reality Series; Shining Stars (individual); Shining Stars (team/company); and Social Good TV Special or Episode. Get your work in NOW by clicking here.
 
CBS Sports reports that Sunday’s final round coverage of Farmers Insurance Open drew a 2.9/6 overnight metered market rating/share, up 38% from last year to mark the highest-rated Sunday for this event in five years. Saturday’s third round coverage, meanwhile, drew the highest rating for Farmers Insurance Open in seven years with 2.3/5, up 53% from last year.
 
ESPN announced plans to showcase more than 800 NCAA baseball games during the 2018 regular season across ESPN’s networks, including a record 161 games slated for television. During the postseason, on top of carrying five conference championship games and the entire Southeastern Conference tournament, 153 games will be telecast across its platforms. Highlights include ESPNU and ACC Network Extra again teaming up to showcase battles on most Mondays throughout conference play, while SEC Thursday Night Baseball continues on ESPNU and SEC Network. ESPN is also expanding its coverage of the Big 12, televising its largest selection of Big 12 matchups across all ESPN networks.
 
David Beckham is officially official, with Major League Soccer formally granting him a franchise based in Miami. The former Manchester United and LA Galaxy star appeared alongside MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Monday.
 
Former WWE announcer Jonathan Coachman is heading back to the company, where he will join the announce team for Raw, joining Michael Cole and Corey Graves. He left the company in 2008 for ESPN.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
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Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 | 1:30 PM ET
Experiential marketing and events can increase lead generation and sales…but how do you execute experiences that will resonate with your target audience and supercharge your story? How do you amplify them on social, and accurately measure their success? Find out in today!
 
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
 
Michelob ULTRA’s Super Bowl plans will include Chris Pratt, as the brand unveiled a new 30-second Super Bowl commercial starring the actor titled “The Perfect Fit.” The spot spotlights Pratt’s preparation for his first ever TV commercial. Michelob ULTRA will than air a second spot – “I Like Beer” – in this year’s game as well, featuring US Open Golf Champion Brooks Koepka, 11-time World Surf League Champion Kelly Slater and 2017 NYC Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan.
 
 E*TRADE Financial Corporation is returning to the Super Bowl with a 30-second spot during the second quarter of the game. The spot highlights the “hypothetical, tongue-in-cheek consequences of an aging population working well into their retirement years” with the campaign set to include a series of video vignettes will be shared in real time during the game on Twitter, featuring cheers from the “Big Game Silver Squad,” a team of silver-haired all-stars and veterans of the cheer trade.
 
Hyundai announced that its Super Bowl LII campaign will pay tribute to the people who have contributed to the fight against pediatric cancer. For the first time ever, Hyundai will feature its non-profit organization, Hyundai Hope On Wheels, in its Super Bowl marketing with a 60-second spot that will air in the fourth quarter and include content captured on game day. Hyundai will also run a new spot in the pre-game show featuring its first-ever subcompact SUV, Kona.
 
United Airlines and the University of Southern California locked in a naming rights agreement to for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Under the 16-year agreement, the venue will officially become the United Airlines Memorial Coliseum beginning in August 2019 and support a $270 million project to restore and preserve the Coliseum and upgrade its facilities.
 
Alibaba Group previewed its first Olympic-themed advertising campaign as well as its on-site plans ahead of the Winter Games, which mark Alibaba’s first Olympic Games as a TOP sponsor. Starting on Feb. 1, Alibaba will officially roll out its “To the Greatness of Small” campaign across channels in key markets around the world while the Alibaba Olympic Showcase at the event will serve as a fully immersive, interactive and future-looking experience that will bring to life the idea of the “Olympic Games on the Cloud.” Visitors will be able to witness how Alibaba will leverage its technology, especially cloud-based solutions, to make the at-Games experience more enjoyable and efficient for all stakeholders.
 
DICK’S Sporting Goods announced today its official roster of athletes from its Contenders program who have successfully qualified for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games with 11 participants taking part. Names include Alex Rigsby (Ice Hockey), Carlijn Schoutens (Long Track Speedskating), John Shuster (Curling) and Jessika Jenson (Snowboard).
 
MLB and the Cleveland Indians are retiring the use of the Chief Wahoo logo on game jerseys and caps starting in 2019. The decision was made mutually by MLB and the team. “Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, [Indians owner] Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a long-standing attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

VSiN announced that Hall of Fame Broadcaster Brent Musburger will lead its live coverage of the Super Bowl with a focus on in-game wagering updates. This year’s coverage will include guests such as two-time Super Bowl champion Bryant McFadden and former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira for VSiN’s 52 Special/In-Game Wagering Show. On Saturday, VSiN kicks off its special coverage with its signature shows. Coverage leads off with “Point Spread Saturday’’ with Matt Youmans and Jonathan Von Tobel at 8a, followed by “A Numbers Game” with Gill Alexander.  
 
NFL Super Bowl MVP Von Miller is hitting Facebook with a new weekly comedy-variety show titled Von Miller’s Studio 58, from High Noon Entertainment and Von Miller Entertainment. The program will premiere on Facebook Watch tomorrow at 8p with eight episodes on deck.
 
Dailymotion announced a syndication partnership with the multi-platform sports network Stadium. The deal will see Stadium syndicate on demand sports highlights, original programming, daily studio programming, and more to Dailymotion’s content platform, available via mobile app, OTT, and desktop. To kick off the partnership, all week long, Stadium will provide Dailymotion viewers with in-depth news and analysis around the Super Bowl, including insight on the players, teams and predictions for the big game.
 
 
ESPORTS
 
State Farm has a new agency of record for esports, selecting ReKTGlobal following the agency’s guidance for the brand’s sponsorship of Riot Games’ NA LCS. ReKTGlobal will now look to provide “an integrated, long-term solution to help the insurance and financial company support, grow and develop the industry. “At State Farm, we have a long, proud history of partnering with sports leagues, teams and their fans,” said Ed Gold, Advertising Director at State Farm. “With ReKTGlobal, we’ll be able to engage esports fans in a more dynamic way and find creative and unique ways to bring value to the esports ecosystem.”
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

World Golf Foundation named Jay Monahan, PGA TOUR Commissioner, as WGF Chairman for 2018. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with the members of the World Golf Foundation in our efforts to find new ways to bring this great game to a broader, younger, more diverse audience,” said Monahan. “We are excited about the state of our sport and confident that with continued collaboration, we can ensure its future growth and success.”
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

North Carolina/Clemson on ESPN at 7p.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Register by 11:50pm ET, tonight (before ticket prices increase)!
Wednesday, FEB. 7th | Espace, NYC
In addition to our talented TV Awards finalists and Buyers & Planners honorees, we’re proud to announce that one of the insurance industry’s most distinguished executives, Rand Harbert, EVP and Chief Agency, Sales & Marketing Officer of State Farm, will be receiving the prestigious Luminary Award. Don’t miss this gathering of television’s best and brightest!
 
 

ON THIS DAY in 2000: Super Bowl XXXIV sees the St. Louis Rams top the Tennessee Titans.
 
In the Know: The first Super Bowl took place in what venue? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: In the movie Kingpin, who portrayed the villain, bowler Ernie McCracken? Answer: Bill Murray. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Traci Liner-Endeavor/NY; Tim Gardner-Endeavor/NY; Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY; Brian Traynor-Endeavor/NY; Christian Matthews-Washington Redskins/DC; Mike Evranian-Richmond Raceway/Richmond; Mark Lehman-Braves/Atlanta; Jay Rossi- Dick’s Sporting Goods/Corapolis; Kyle Krebs-KXAS-TV/Ft. Worth-Dallas; Lance Davis-ESPN Milwaukee/Milwaukee; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Matt Fumagalli-Levy/Chicago; Michael Jaquet-MJE/Park City; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; Bruce Trotter-CoxReps/LA; Jim Bernard-VER/LA

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