02/11/19: Turner’s Lenny Daniels breaks down Turner’s gameplan for NBA All-Star 2019

Good morning. It’s Monday February 11, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Turner Sports goes all in on NBA All-Star 2019 this week, with live coverage from Charlotte starting Feb. 14 marking the company’s 34th year of coverage leading into the 68th NBA All-Star Game presented by Kia on Feb. 17 across TNT and TBS at 8p. With all hands on deck for the programming staple, Cynopsis Sports asked Lenny Daniels, President of Turner Sports, about how the company’s storied run with NBA All-Star, what we can expect this year, and the company’s new deal with Caesars.
Daniels on the evolution of NBA All-Star Week: NBA All-Star is a staple event for Turner Sports and we’ve continually built on the fan experience each year, with this one being our most ambitious yet.  In addition to all of the weekend’s marquee events airing on TNT, including a full accompaniment of original programming, we’ll have an array of fan-centric activations as part of the NBA on TNT American Express Road Show from Charlotte’s Music Factory district.  Inside the NBA will do several shows from that location, which will also feature musical performances, comedians and much more.  We’ll also have a star-studded ELEAGUE event featuring NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 on Friday and a Bleacher Report fan fest with a special House of Highlights experience on Sunday afternoon leading up to the NBA All-Star Game.
On content: We’re seeing that fans have an insatiable appetite for NBA content.  We share a common vision with the NBA to continuously innovate and create immersive experiences across a growing number of platforms, because that’s what today’s fans expect and deserve from us.  We’ll offer fans more than 24 hours of NBA All-Star programming across TNT and NBA TV, a Players Only simulcast of the NBA All-Star Game on TBS, comprehensive coverage throughout the NBA Digital portfolio, and all of the best moments shared across B/R and its popular House of Highlights platform.  We’re also partnering with Intel to offer live coverage of the weekend’s events through the NBA on TNT VR app and we’ll debut NBA Twitter Live through @NBAonTNT, an iso-camera view on a fan-voted player over the second half of the NBA All-Star Game.
On ad sales: There’s incredibly high demand for Turner’s NBA content, and our sales teams achieved record revenue levels with an earlier sell-out this year. Joining some of our long-standing partners such as American Express, Autotrader and Kia are new sponsors including AT&T presenting the Slam Dunk contest and TCL presenting a special show focused on All-Star Captain Giannis Antetokounmpo. Existing partner Mtn Dew is promoting a new product with the 2019 MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars. On the ground, we are excited to have our great partners activate around a number of fan-focused events, like the NBA on TNT American Express Road Show and Intel presenting ELEAGUE NBA 2K Playgrounds 2: All-Star Throwdown 2019. B/R’s House of Highlights will also be activating at NBA All-Star for the first time, with a McDonald’s-sponsored ‘optimized for Instagram’ space that will feature live programming, a gaming lounge and other activities that celebrate North Carolina’s rich basketball heritage. So, across the board, this is a special year from a sales standpoint.
On the esports addition: NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 has been a hit game and there’s a natural connection between the fun, entertaining and fast-paced nature of the gameplay with all of excitement from NBA All-Star.  We’ve worked closely with 2K and the NBPA to facilitate this showcase event and it’s going to be a fan-friendly exhibition with a star-studded cast participating in a fun competition later this week.
On Caesars: This is a truly a first-of-its-kind relationship and it’s significant in many ways. We’ve seen incredibly strong engagement levels and growth in the consumption of gaming-related content across B/R platforms and this will take our capabilities to the next level.  The new B/R branded studio inside the Caesars Palace Sports Book will become a central hub for the creation of a wide assortment of gaming-related content and Caesars will be prominently featured as a B/R gaming partner.  We have a shared vision with Caesars to continue to innovate in this space and we believe this is only the beginning.  We anticipate more gaming content and broader integrations into sports programming in the future.  That type of content is driving fan engagement, which lends to more time spent viewing and, ultimately, higher viewership.

Let’s open with ratings news. The debut of the AAF on CBS landed a 2.1 overnight rating on the channel on Saturday night, as the network opened the season with a pair of regional games. The score tied the overnight rating of ABC’s Thunder/Rockets matchup, and behind ESPN’s coverage of Duke/Virginia, which pulled a 2.3.
The ESPN and ESPN Deportes telecast of UFC 234 Prelims that ran on Saturday from 8-10p averaged a 1.0 metered market rating. Based on preliminary ratings, ESPN’s transmission of the Prelims ties with several other PPV Prelims as the second highest-rated PPV Prelim on record, behind a 1.1 metered market rating for UFC 205 PPV Prelim (McGregor/Alvarez) with numbers up 100% from the UFC 221 PPV Prelims that aired on February 10th, 2018.
Meanwhile, TNT’s coverage of the NBA All-Star Draft made gains, with the event pulling a 60% rise over last year’s coverage of the non-televised draft on the same network.
MLB owners are reportedly fully behind commissioner Rob Manfred’s plan to buy 21 of the 22 RSNs that Disney is selling. According to the New York Post, the league is honing in specifically on the 14 RSNs that are currently carrying MLB games. MLB has teamed up with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to buy the RSNs and, according to the article, the league is looking for further investment partners, including major cable companies.
Good Morning Football showrunner Logan Swaim is parting ways with NFL Network to join DAZN as executive producer of the platform’s upcoming nightly Major League Baseball show. The show, an all-encompassing live whip-around program, will debut on Opening Day and serve as the cornerstone property of DAZN’s three-year partnership with MLB. “It takes a special kind of person to create and produce a daily sports show in 2019,” said Joseph Markowski, DAZN EVP, North America. “Logan has demonstrated his ability to creatively program daily content during the most competitive time-block in television. We are looking forward to teaming up with him on the upcoming nightly MLB show.”
CBS Sports is touting that viewership for CBS’ coverage of Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 saw 12 million viewers added based on Nielsen’s “Out of Home” viewing metric, which collects television viewing outside of the viewer’s primary home in locations such as other people’s homes, bars, restaurants and hotels. With the Nielsen “Out of Home” viewing audience added, Super Bowl LIII now registers a Total Audience Delivery of 112.7 million viewers, across all platforms including CBS Television Network, CBS Interactive, NFL digital properties, Verizon Media mobile properties and ESPN Deportes television and digital properties.
HBO delivers that’s My Name | Muhammad Ali on May 14 at 8p, with both chapters airing back-to-back in a special television event. The program marks the first feature-length HBO production from SpringHill Entertainment, with LeBron James and Maverick Carter serving as executive producers, and is directed and executive produced by Antoine Fuqua.
Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA offers “PyeongChang Revisited,” a special slate of 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics programming featuring 36 hours of content, starting today at noon. The program features 29 different shows, including episodes of Return to PyeongChang and Olympic Classics, which look back at the best competitions from PyeongChang featuring gold medal performances by U.S. stars Mikaela Shiffrin, Shaun White, Chloe Kim, and more in addition to original programs, beginning with PyeongChang Stories.  
The New York Racing Association and FOX Sports announced that Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will join the FOX Sports / NYRA Live shows as a racing analyst, making his debut on FOX Sports Saturday At The Races this spring. In addition, veteran host Laffit Pincay III and handicapper Jonathon Kinchen will join a broadcast team that includes host Greg Wolf, handicapper and racing analyst Andy Serling, paddock analyst Maggie Wolfendale, trainer Tom Amoss, and handicapper Paul LoDuca. Larry Collmus, NYRA announcer and voice of the Triple Crown, will provide live race calls throughout the year.
SiriusXM revs up for Daytona 500 race day with 15 hours of live programming from the speedway starting at 7a. with every lap of the race in addition to full pre- and post-race coverage with expert analysis, reports from pit road and the garages, driver introductions and interviews with the race winner and other drivers. Joining SiriusXM NASCAR Radio this year are JR Motorsports owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller, who will host a new weekly show, Beyond Racing, with Danielle Trotta; former NASCAR crew chief Jeff Hammond, who will be one of the hosts of Late Shift; veteran NASCAR reporter John Roberts, who will be the new co-host of Tradin’ Paint; as well as driver Parker Kligerman, who is competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with Gaunt Brothers Racing and in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series with Henderson Motorsports.
Wednesday, March 6th | The SVA Theatre, NYC
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UFC and AirAsia locked in an extension of their partnership, in a move that will see the two brands work together to “develop and discover new MMA talent in the Asia-Pacific region and create original content for MMA fans.” Activations included the launch of the first-ever UFC Scholarship Program, which gave One Pride women’s strawweight champion Linda Darrow the opportunity  to hone her skills at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas. 
ARCA and Menards unveiled a multi-year extension that elevates the home improvement chain from presenting sponsor to the series entitlement sponsor. Effective immediately, the series will be known as the ARCA Menards Series. “This multi-year agreement is a great victory for racing fans,” said Mike Helton, vice chairman, NASCAR. “Our sport thrives on great partnerships and Menards stands out as one of the best in motorsports. We appreciate their commitment to growing this series for years to come.”
Kruger Products and the National Hockey League announced a multi-year Canadian partnership naming Kruger Products its official tissue partner in both consumer and away-from-home markets across the nation. As part of the partnership, Kruger Products will create innovative and fully-integrated programs and promotions to celebrate the sports, with a focus on brands that include SpongeTowels, Scotties, Purex and Cashmere, which  will be supported across various retail, in-venue, on premise and digital channels, and be featured in NHL programming during the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Dow and USA Luge renewed ties to keep Dow as the Official Technical Partner of the USA Luge team through 2022. The two organizations have been working together since 2007.

The National Hot Rod Association is teaming up with NextVR to exclusively leverage its VR platform to produce virtual reality highlights at select NHRA events in 2019. Highlights will be stored on the NHRA’s newly created channel inside the NextVR app and makes NextVR the official VR partner of the NHRA.

The Overwatch League revealed its sponsorship deals for the 2019 season, including a new multi-year partnership with Coca-Cola, which joins Toyota, T-Mobile, HP, and Intel as key supporters of the league. The Coca-Cola deal designates the brand as the league’s official global beverage sponsor across all non-alcoholic beverage categories. In addition, Blizzard Entertainment has named Coca-Cola the official global beverage sponsor for the broader Overwatch esports ecosystem, including Overwatch Contenders, Open Division, Tespa (in North America), the Overwatch World Cup, and BlizzCon. Coca-Cola will also be the official North American beverage sponsor across all non-alcoholic beverage categories for the Overwatch game.
FACEIT is changing up the format for Season Seven of the Esports Championship Series, announcing that the prize pool for the CS:GO event will hit $750,000 with more teams, but fewer matches on the docket, according to Esports Insider with the new season broken up into four stages and each of the top eight teams from EU and NA moving on to the Challenger Cup where they will face eight invited teams.

Virginia/North Carolina on ESPN at 7p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1997: Bill Parcells becomes coach of the NY Jets.
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Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Frank Robinson won the MVP Award for which two teams? Answer: The Reds and Orioles. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Andrew Feingold-Fox News/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Michael Dittelman-Dedicated Sports Marketing/NY; Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Chris Schwartz-ISC/Charlotte; Matt Marini-NFL Films/NJ; Mark Lehman- Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; Jon Miller-NBC Sports/Stamford; Ron Cioffi-USTA Southern/Peachtree Corners; Mark Stulberger-Stully’s Broadcasting School/Houston; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary Dinos 5th Quarter Alumni Development/Calgary; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo, Derrick Stasica-FOX40/Sacramento; Anne Wettig-Fox Cable Networks S&P/LA; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; Rebecca Kline-Canvas Worldwide/Playa Vista
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