02/08/21: FOX’s Jamie Little talks about her historic assignment

 

Medias First Morning Read

 

Monday February 8, 2021

With the Super Bowl in the books, media eyes turn to the Daytona, where the NASCAR Cup Series opens its 73rd season on Valentine’s Day with the 63rd running of the Daytona 500 on FOX at 2:30p. Clint Bowyer joins the FOX NASCAR Cup Series booth for his first DAYTONA 500, joining Tony Stewart and Adam Alexander on the call, History will also be made off the track when veteran motor sports reporter Jamie Little makes her move to the ARCA Menards Series broadcast booth as the first female play-by-play announcer for a nationally televised motor sports series. The move begins on Saturday at 1:30p where she will handle play-by-play, teaming with analyst and former NASCAR Cup Series drive Phil Parsons and pit reporters Jamie Howe and Kate Osborne.She will also continue as a DAYTONA 500 pit reporter, alongside Regan Smith and Vince Welch.

Cynopsis Sports asked Jamie Little about her journey through the trenches, diversity, Speedweeks and more.

Little on opportunities: Opportunities are certainly more available for women in motorsports than ever before. When I started covering Supercross back in 2000, there wasn’t another woman on TV talking about racing. That’s honestly one of the major factors in me deciding being a broadcaster in racing was for me. I thought “there are no women on TV giving insight and interviews, surely there are many other female fans like me, so I should do it!” Now, we see women in so many different roles throughout the industry that it’s just natural for an opportunity like play by play for me to come along. I say “it’s about time!” And my reception has always been met with about 99% approval. If you do the work and prove yourself and be a competent reporter, people like you and accept you. Sure, some fans may not like hearing a female voice or were slow to accepting seeing and hearing us but those people are few and far between.

On diversity: I think having a company like FOX Sports giving people like me an opportunity based on my credentials and their faith in me what it all comes down to. You can’t break barriers and go to new places if SOMEONE doesn’t give you that chance. Having a female on TV in new roles opens eyes to people of all ages and genders, and that tends to inspire some who never thought it was possible for them. Give more women a chance to show what they are capable of and you’ll have more women in places never thought of.

On 2021 Daytona Speedweeks: I am all of the above! Speedweeks is always emotional, in all the right ways. Our first race of the year, so many changes within the garages to report about and it’s the BIGGEST race of the year. Now you factor in my new role on Feb. 13 in the booth and I certainly have butterflies. There will be a lot of eyes on us and I can’t wait for that opportunity.

On lessons learned from the pandemic: Race fans are extremely loyal! And I learned that we need them. We need their energy, their excitement and devotion to their drivers. It was so missed in 2020. I also learned how many people have turned into NASCAR fans because of what we went through in 2020…whether is was people tuning in because nothing else was LIVE on TV or they tuned in because NASCAR made a lot of headlines, on and off the race track. Whatever the reason, we have a lot of new fans to welcome this year.

On what to watch for in the ARCA Menards Series: The ARCA Menards series is truly a development series for drivers with dreams of racing in the upper divisions of NASCAR. I love this part of it. Ty Gibbs is the grandson of famed team owner & NFL coach Joe Gibbs. Ty comes in old enough to run the entire series this season and will definitely be the driver to beat each week. Gracie Trotter will race at Daytona in the best equipment you can get for Superspeedway racing (this team, Venturini Motorsports, won at Daytona with Michael Self last year). She became the first woman to ever win an ARCA sanctioned race last year and I have no doubt we’ll be seeing her running up front. A fun driver to watch is year is That Moffitt. Thad is the grandson of “The King” Richard Petty. He has a great personality and is fast behind the wheel. He’s hoping for his first win in 2021.

PROGRAMMING

Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Association are poised for labor peace after reaching a tentative agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The agreement is set to cover the next seven years and run through 2027 and is subject to the approval of the MLS Board of Governors and the membership of the MLSPA.

The NCAA is shifting the entire NCAA women’s basketball tournament to San Antonio, in a move to help prevent risks of COVID-19. Last month, the org announced a similar move for the men’s tournament to take place completely in the Indianapolis area. The women’ tournament will still feature 64 teams and will span March 21-April 4, targeting five sites for the opening round, including the University of Texas. The Alamodome will host the national championship, as well as the other rounds.

ESPN added an NBA doubleheader to its programming schedule on Feb. 14, starting at 7:30p with the Dallas Mavericks hosting the Portland Trail Blazers. The other half will dee the Lakers/Nuggets at 10p.

The Super Bowl saw ESPN Deportes unveil a new brand campaign titled “El Lo Nuestro,” with the :60 anthem capturing “the joy of sports through the moments that evoke the passion from fans across the board – young and old, among friends and families – interspersed between memorable highlights from the NFL, NBA, MLB, UFC, Top Rank, and soccer.” This is the first in a series of spots for the campaign that will run throughout the year and the first new brand campaign in 12 years for ESPN Deportes. The platform worked with Mexico-based agency Pararrayos on the creative.

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Today kicks off NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2021 FIS World Alpine Skiing Championships from Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, running through Sunday Feb. 21 across NBC Sports and Peacock Premium. The event opens with the super-G portion of the women’s combined at 5a on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBC Sports digital platforms and Peacock Premium. An encore will be presented at 7a on NBCSN, followed by the slalom portion of the women’s combined slalom live at 8:30a. After making her NBC Sports on-air debut last month, Lindsey Vonn returns as an analyst for a pair of World Championships events on Feb. 13-14, working with NBC Sports; Dan Hicks and Steve Porino.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Who were the winners among Super Bowl ads? iSpot.tv reports (as of when the game ended) that the top Super Bowl LV commercials and see how they performed in terms of digital impact and creative effectiveness was led by the Mountain Dew sport “Major Melon Count” featuring John Cena, notching 34.88% of online activity, among other metrics. Second place went to the Bruce Springsteen-anchored spot for Jeep, “The Middle,” which landed 14.41% of online activity. Rounding out the top five are Paramount+’s “Expedition: Sweet Victory” at 8.51%, Cadillac LYRIQ’s “ScissorHandsFree” spot at 7.75%, and “Coming 2 America” from Amazon Prime Video, which clocked 7.46%.

McLaren Racing entered a partnership extension with The Coca-Cola Company which will continue as the Official Soft Drinks Partner of the McLaren Formula 1 team. As part of the partnership, Coca-Cola will maintain branding on the cockpit side of the McLaren MCL35M Formula 1 race cars and on the beverage bottles of Lando and Daniel.

Bet MGM recruited Barry Sanders as the online gaming and sports betting platform’s celebrity brand ambassador. As a result of the partnership, Sanders will star in BetMGM’s upcoming marketing campaigns, and take part in a number of events with BetMGM customers in addition to being featured in company social media and broadcast content.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

StatHero announced the launch of Rivals, StatHero’s Daily Fantasy Sportsbook — a new DFS game format allowing users to play 1-on-1 against StatHero (the House). Rivals currently has live games for the NBA, PGA, NHL and the NFL playoffs, and is operational in the 32 states that StatHero is available. “For years, DFS players have yearned for an opportunity to control their own fate. A game focused on the individual, rather than beating thousands. A 1-on-1 game versus the House creates an experience that operates just like a sportsbook, giving users in states where betting isn’t legal the experience that they’ve been clamoring for,” said StatHero CEO Jason Jaramillo. “We at StatHero are excited to provide our users with the most innovative DFS platform on the market that provides greater value, more opportunities to win, and an enhanced experience that will reshape the future of DFS.”

The letter “L” was inadvertently cut off in Friday’s edition, which should have read that the LPGA was partnering with WSC Sports.

ESPORTS

Gaming and esports media network VENN laid out new programming on the docket. Content will include League of Legends esports talk show Facecheck with Christian ‘IWDominate’ Rivera and Nick ‘LS’ De Cesare tapped as talent, along with ‘Origin Stories’, an interview show hosted by OpTic Gaming Founder and CEO Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez. According to the network, more programming, content, and distribution deals are expected to be unveiled ‘over the coming months’.

Danish esports outfit North is closing its doors, as Lars Bo Jeppesen, Chairman of North and Director of Parken Sport & Entertainment, made the announcement that investors were pulling out as a result of the pandemic.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The Pac-12 Conference announced the selection of talent recruitment firm TurnkeyZRG to support the Conference in the search for its next Commissioner. The Pac-12 previously announced on January 20 that following ongoing discussions between its governing executive committee, its presidents and Commissioner Larry Scott that it was mutually agreed that the Commissioner would not seek a new contract following an 11-year tenure, continuing in the role until June 30, 2021 to assist with the transition.

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On this Day
1936: The first NFL Draft is held.

IN THE KNOW
Which actor featured on the hoodie of the Tides spot that ran during the Super Bowl? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which player holds the career record for scoring the most touchdowns during Super Bowls? Answer: Jerry Rice. Kudos: Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Michael Dittelman-Dedicated Sports Marketing/NY; Sam Pittman- Juniper & Berkeley/Raleigh; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton Mike May-R2 Innovative Technologies/Wellington; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Larry Hutchings/San Luis Obispo; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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