01/31/18: NBC will pave new roads for its Super Bowl social media strategy

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Wednesday January 31, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

NBC Sports’ social run during Super Bowl week will see the company’s most comprehensive consumer engagement campaign ever to promote the network’s coverage of Super Bowl LII on Sunday. The company is teaming up with digital show Hot Ones, featuring Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, a special Super Bowl edition of Buzzfeed’s Worth It and “way-too-early” Super Bowl predictions from athletes including Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and more. In addition, the company is now rolling out exclusive content across @SNFonNBC. During gameday, NBC Sports’ “Social Central” will serve as a communications hub for all things social media. In addition, NBC Sports will cover Super Bowl LII from various Sunday Night Football and NBC Sports social media accounts.
 
 
ON THE AIR

ESPN saw the Jan. 27 edition of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC, which saw the Warriors win over the Celtics, score 4,678,000 viewers, up 44% from last season’s comparable game. NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC continues on Feb. 3, at 8:30p with the Cavaliers and Rockets squaring off. Mike Breen, analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Lisa Salters will provide commentary.
 
Speaking of the NBA, the league announced that all 30 teams will compete in MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2018, marking the first time the entire league will be represented at the annual showcase. The 14th NBA Summer League will take place July 6-17 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of UNLV.  With every team participating, NBA Summer League 2018 will expand to 12 days and 82 games as part of the usual tournament-style schedule. 
 
Tennis Channel is adding a live college tennis schedule to its programming lineup for the first time in network history. All six USTA College MatchDays will now run live on the network from Orlando this spring, starting Feb. 3 with Florida/Florida State at 7p. The network will have coverage of both men’s and women’s tennis during the next 10 weeks, which includes the defending NCAA women’s champion Florida. “We’re excited to bring fans top-notch college teams live on Tennis Channel,” said Lawrence Randall, executive director, programming, Tennis Channel. “The USTA has created a great platform for showcasing men’s and women’s collegiate tennis and we expect it to resonate with viewers nationwide.”
 
NBC Sports Group and Poker Central inked a partnership extension, announcing plans to add additional Poker Central programming into NBCSN’s schedule across both linear and digital platforms throughout 2018, while also extending their programming partnership through 2020 that will now see the network feature poker action from three of poker’s majors: the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl, U.S. Poker Open, and Poker Masters tournaments. “After the success of last year’s Super High Roller Bowl, we are further broadening our poker content by adding more tournaments to our slate,” said Gary Quinn, vice president, programming, NBC Sports Group. “Our viewers enjoy the extremely competitive nature of Poker Central’s tournaments, and we’re looking forward to delivering more high-stakes action in 2018.”
 
Saturday Night Live cast member and “Olympics super fan” Leslie Jones is heading to PyeongChang, where she will join NBC Olympics as a contributor on its coverage of the Winter Games. Jones will reprise her role from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, attending live Olympic events, meeting athletes, and spreading her enthusiasm for the Olympics on television and online during NBC Olympics’ coverage in PyeongChang.
 
SiriusXM announced a slate of audio options for Super Bowl LII, offering multiple live broadcasts of the game in seven languages, as well as a dedicated Super Bowl LII pop up channel, plus an unparalleled mix of sports, entertainment and music programming throughout Super Bowl Week. Sunday will see the service offer nine different game broadcasts overall, including the Patriots and Eagles radio broadcasts. During the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show, SiriusXM will offer listeners a broadcast of the on-field musical performance by Justin Timberlake on SiriusXM Hits 1.
 
SiriusXM added new talent to its sports lineups. Soccer instructor Tom Byer has joined the SiriusXM FC channel’s roster and will host his new segment, Tomsan’s Soccer Techniques, twice a month during The Coaching Academy show alongside host Glenn Crooks. Meanwhile, pro wrestler Mark Henry has joined SiriusXM as co-host of the popular wrestling show, Busted Open, alongside SiriusXM’s Dave LaGreca.
 
Nickelodeon and the NFL are teaming up ahead of the Super Bowl with brand-new, specially produced content and coverage of the events starting today and running across Nickelodeon, Nicktoons and TeenNick. Experiences and programming will include a 40×80 interactive Nickelodeon destination at the Super Bowl Experience; the Superstar Slime Showdown at Super Bowl, a one-hour original special featuring host Nick Cannon, premiering Sunday at noon; and daily reports from Super Bowl Opening Night, the Super Bowl Experience, Super Bowl Live and Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America by Nick stars Breanna Yde and Ricardo Hurtado.
 
ESPN will offer more than 650 NCAA Division I Softball games on its networks. Wrapping up the regular season schedule again this year will be a triple header of conference championships airing on ESPN and ESPN2  on May 12 and featuring the American, ACC and SEC. The postseason launched with the selection show on May 13 at 10p on ESPNU.
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The Hershey Company has joined the sponsor exodus from USA Gymnastics, according to multiple reports, following the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. The company confirmed that it did not renew a two-year agreement to be the team’s exclusive confectionary sponsor, stating, “The decision was made not to renew. We continue to be a proud supporter of our Team USA athletes and are looking forward to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in a few short weeks.”
 
Valvoline extended its partnership with Hendrick Motorsports through 2022. The new season will see Valvoline become a primary sponsor of the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of 24-year-old driver Alex Bowman for two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races annually over the next five seasons. Valvoline also will continue as the Official Lubricants Partner of Hendrick Motorsports and as a major associate sponsor of the team’s full lineup of cars and drivers.
 
NBC has launched “Best Feb Ever” to drum up excitement for the Super Bowl and Olympics. The initiative described as an interactive fan experience taking place from February 1-3 in four cities: New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. Each day, crowds will see a giant box with a timer counts down to zero at the designated locations. Once the box opens, special celebrity guests, musical performances and unique fan activities will be available where participants have the chance to win championship-level prizes such as tickets, Super Bowl and Olympics swag.
 
Amazon Prime Video is taking on the Super Bowl for the first time, announcing that it will spotlight upcoming series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. The 60-second spot will run immediately after the halftime show. “Given the colossal scope and scale of the series coupled with the popularity of Tom Clancy’s novels, we knew Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan would be a natural fit for Prime Video’s first Super Bowl ad,” said Mike Benson, Head of Marketing for Amazon Studios.  “The global nature of the audience provides us with a unique opportunity to give viewers a look at this thrilling new series coming to Prime.”
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

The Olympic Channel announced an agreement with Snap Inc. to provide the channel with original programming for Shows on Snapchat’s Discover page and assets for creative tools. In addition, Snapchat will produce Our Stories featuring archival footage provided by the Olympic Channel team, in collaboration with Olympic rights-holding broadcasters during the upcoming Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Already, Snapchatters can watch the worldwide premiere of the new Olympic Channel original series Far From Home on Snapchat’s Discover page.
 
For the first time in Super Bowl history, fans who appear on the U.S. Bank Stadium videoboard or on TV during NBC’s game broadcast can have that moment sent right to their phone, courtesy of the NFL’s new partnership with 15 Seconds of Fame. Fans at the game can download the Super Bowl LII app for free and check into the game through 15SOF. If they appear on camera, their clip will be delivered to their phone. Once they have the video clip, it can be shared across their social networks with the tap of a button.
 
The Open is partnering with QuintEvents, featuring major-event travel, hospitality and experiential ticket packages, and will launch TheOpenExperiences.com to feature access to The Open and exclusive playing privileges at some of the most famous golfing destinations in Scotland. The initiative will be promoted jointly by The R&A and QuintEvents International, which counts Formula 1, The Kentucky Derby, College Football Playoff, The Super Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame and The Players Championship among its partners.
 
 
ESPORTS

OpTic Gaming is quickly entrenching itself in its new home state of Texas, announcing a new event with NGAGE Esports called OpTic Arena. The event will run from June 8-10 and feature a series of public esports activities taking place at A-Kon, a convention that accumulates 33,000+ attendees each year in Fort Worth. OpTic Arena will feature a series of gaming events including: Call of Duty, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Dragon Ball FighterZ and Street Fighter V in addition featuring Twitch and OpTic content creators.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

NASCAR announced key leadership appointments, including the appointment of Jim Cassidy to the new leadership position of Chief International Officer, reporting into Steve O’Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. Cassidy will be charged with growing the NASCAR brand of racing internationally and oversee all international competition and commercial operations, building on the success of NASCAR’s three international series with the NASCAR Pinty’s Series in Canada, NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. Meanwhile, Chad Seigler will now serve as the Vice President, International Business Development. NASCAR additionally announced that Ben Kennedy has been named to the leadership position of General Manager, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. 
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Flyers/Capitals on NBCSN at 8p.
 
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It is more important than ever to come together to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of women changing the digital space from all sides of the spectrum. Past honorees have been digital-savvy innovators from a wide range of companies (view past honorees here). Honorees will be announced in early February so stay tuned and save the date!
 

ON THIS DAY in 1988: The Redskins trample the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.
 
In the Know: In the Redskins/Broncos Super Bowl mentioned above, who was the player named MVP of the game? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The first Super Bowl took place in what venue? Answer: The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Kudos: Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Art Salisch-Hearst Television/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Eric Wright-DS Simon/NY; Willy Gibson-WTG Sports/Columbus; Rich Dubroff-PressBoxonline.com/Baltimore; John Douglas Miller-NBC Olympics/Stamford; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas-Fort Worth; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Don Surath-CBS 360/San Francisco; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Aaron Arntson-beIN SPORTS/LA; John Baghdassarian-Olympusat/LA

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