02/18/22: Tracy McGrady is launching a one-vs-one basketball league

Medias First Morning Read
Friday February 18, 2022

Seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady announced the launch of his nationwide basketball league, Ones Basketball Association. The league will feature a one-on-one seven-city qualifying tournament to identify the best players in the nation. The top three players from each city will advance to the OBA Finals in Las Vegas in July. “The influence of one-on-one basketball is often overlooked but it’s really the foundation and captures the true essence of the sport. The NBA is the pinnacle of five-on-five, Fiba and The Big 3 did a great job of organizing three-on-three,” said McGrady. “What UFC did for fighters is what OBA will do for one-on-one basketball. We want to give players the opportunity to change their lives, showcase their talents, and possibly make it to the next level.”

PROGRAMMING

Meanwhile, the NBA honors the league’s 75th Anniversary Team with a special halftime ceremony during the 71st NBA All-Star Game on Sunday in Cleveland. Usher, Spike Lee, Tiffany Haddish and Anthony Anderson will serve as narrators for a look through the league’s first 75 years, recognizing the players who have shined the brightest and highlighting the themes that have served as the cornerstones of the NBA since its founding: competition, culture and inclusion. Earth, Wind & Fire will perform “Shining Star” as the halftime finale. Prior to tip-off, Machine Gun Kelly and DJ D-Nice will introduce the 2022 NBA All-Stars. Macy Gray will sing the U.S. national anthem and Ryland James will sing the Canadian national anthem.

Turner Sports and CBS Sports will offer up a NCAA March Madness Men’s Bracket Preview on Saturday at 12:30p on CBS. Tom Burnett will be in-studio for the reveal of the nation’s top 16 seeds, identifying the top four teams in each region as they stand on Feb. 19. Host Greg Gumbel along with analysts Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis will discuss the selections, seeding process and reasoning behind the current rankings with Burnett.

For the first time, MLB Network will utilize a drone during a game production, when it produces two telecasts from the MLB4 tournament on today with Cal/Houston at 3p, followed by Texas Christian/San Diego State at 7p. Using the drone, MLB Network will incorporate different shots into the telecast, including flyovers over the field until a pitch is delivered, following a batter around the bases after a home run, shooting the pitcher as he walks to and off the mound, and the exteriors and interiors of the Salt River Fields complex.

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69.2%) watched coverage of the world’s two biggest sporting events – Super Bowl LVI and the Olympic Winter Games – on the networks of NBCUniversal, according to the company. Over the 12-day span from Feb. 2-13, a total of 215.6 million Americans tuned in across NBC, USA Network and CNBC (does not include Telemundo). In addition, viewers have consumed 5 billion streaming minutes to-date of both events across all digital platforms, led by Peacock.

Meanwhile, NFL Live capped the 2021-22 season by delivering its most-watched Super Bowl Week in six seasons as on-location shows were up 54% from last season’s Super Bowl Week. This season’s three episodes averaged 386,500 viewers. On Super Bowl Sunday, ESPN’s NFL PrimeTime averaged 1,164,000 viewers and Postseason NFL Countdown averaged 1,117,000 viewers, the two most-viewed cable programs of the day among both Men 18-49 and Men 25-54.

TUDN’s coverage of PSG/Real Madrid notched 957,000 viewers and 463,000 among A18-49 on Univision/TUDN, according to Nielsen. That marks the third-best UCL R16 match ever on any network and any language.

ESPN networks offer an “unprecedented” lineup of women’s sports events this weekend, running through Feb. 20, including a women’s college basketball-themed edition of the College GameDay Covered by State Farm traveling pregame show. In all, ESPN and ABC will highlight matchups of ranked teams in three collegiate sports – basketball, softball and gymnastics, while top-10 teams will face off in women’s lacrosse and ice hockey, respectively, on ACC Network and ESPN+. Additionally, the U.S. women’s national soccer team will take center stage in the SheBelieves Cup with its first match on ABC television in 18 years.

Men In Blazers, the soccer podcast and TV Show, today announced the launch of two additional podcasts, “MiB The Women’s Game Podcast” and “MiB European Nights” – both sponsored by Paramount+. The company additionally announced a partnership with For Soccer Ventures, who will represent MiB in commercial development and marketing opportunities and will also work together on content collaborations across their platforms: podcasting, digital video shorts, Twitch Watch Alongs, live events and newsletters.

The USFL reached an agreement with Hall of Fame Village to hold its inaugural playoffs and championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. As a spring football league, the USFL will launch April 16 with eight teams split into two divisions: the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits in the South Division; and the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, and Pittsburgh Maulers in the North Division. There will be a 10-week regular season, with all 40 games played in Birmingham.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The Big Ten Conference and Big Ten Network named TIAA as the presenting sponsor of the 2022 Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments. TIAA will now present the on-air coverage of all 22 tournament games televised on BTN – 12 women’s and 10 men’s in addition to receiving TV visible signage and in-arena branding, media inventory on the Big Ten Network’s linear and digital platforms and play a role in the Big Ten Conference’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX throughout the coming year. “Over the past several years, TIAA has been a trusted and valued partner to the Big Ten Conference,” said Jack Brown, vice president of ad sales at Big Ten Network. “Their support of Big Ten student-athletes and the conference’s member institutions will be on full display – both on and off the court – during two weeks of outstanding basketball at the men’s and women’s tournaments.”

The NHL announced a bevy of attractions and activations for the Truly Hard Seltzer NHL PreGame, the official fan festival of the Feb. 26 outdoor game between the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning. Brands taking part in the festivities will include: Truly, Navy Federal Credit Union, Bud Light, Caesars Sportsbook, Clorox, DraftKings, Dunkin’, Fanatics, FanDuel, GEICO, Honda and more.

Michelob ULTRA, the official beer of the NBA revealed a partnership with NBA JAM and will celebrate the ‘90s this year at NBA All-Star with names that include DJ Jazzy Jeff, Fat Joe, and original NBA JAM players Clyde Drexler, Dikembe Mutombo, Dominique Wilkins and James Worthy. In Cleveland, ‘Boom Shaka Lakas’, ULTRA is popping up a retro 90s barcade where fans can portal to the 90s with musical performances, appearances from original NBA JAM players, a “Drop Shop” and unlimited NBA JAM arcade plays.

Speaking of which, Twitter & the NBA will showcase Morgan State University and Howard University players participating in the NBA HBCU Classic, offering them the chance to Tweet their burning questions to their NBA faves, and several All-Stars will respond via video on Twitter. Other Twitter/NBA All Star activations will include: a celebrity game & performers; #NBATwitterLive & Spaces; Hashtag Emojis and more.

Inter Miami CF announced on Thursday a multi-year partnership with City National Bank, which now becomes The Official Bank of Inter Miami CF. The deal marks the first long-term alignment for CNB with a major league sports team.

Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. secured a marketing partnership with digital fitness coaching service Future, naming the leading personal training app an Official Fitness Coaching Partner of the New York Knicks. Future will be the presenting partner of an original content series, which will spotlight the role that the Knicks strength and conditioning personnel play.

RFK Racing will team with CELSIUS energy drink for the upcoming NASCAR season. The lifestyle brand will serve as an associate partner for the No. 6 race team, which sees Brad Keselowski join the team as part owner and driver of the No. 6 Ford Mustang. RFK launches off into the new season this week at Daytona Speedweeks.

VKTRY GEAR officially partnered with MLB player Julio Rodriguez. “We are thrilled to have Julio representing VKTRY because he is one of the best power and speed players in baseball – and has been wearing our insoles for the last two years,” said VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik. “We see the same level of potential in Julio that we saw in Jonathan Taylor before his breakout NFL season and in former ambassador Vladimir Guerrero Jr. prior to his breakout 2021 MLB season.”

Wollman Park Partners announced an initiative designed to respond to “racial hate with positive and meaningful actions, highlighting diversity and inclusion for all.” The “Celebrating Black Excellence and Joy in Hockey” campaign through Wollman and Turner Sports/Bleacher Report that showcase the best moments in black hockey history. These moments will be featured on a Turner Sports NHL broadcast and on Bleacher Report throughout the month.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The NBA and Dapper Labs are launching the NBA All-Star VIP Pass NFT Auction and Giveaway. Hosted on NBA Top Shot, the auction will include 30 unique NFTs, one-of-one digital collectibles representing every NBA team that grant each owner a VIP pass for the “ultimate fan experience” at the next five NBA All-Stars. One NBA fan will also win an additional All-Star VIP Pass NFT, representing the NBA. The 30 auctions, which are available to enter for all Top Shot users, tip off on Feb. 23 at 8p.

Buzzer, the mobile platform delivering short-form access to top moments in live sports, announced a new U.S. partnership with DAZN, which will kick off with live boxing content. The deal marks Buzzer’s first partnership with a multi-sport streaming platform. As part of the agreement, Buzzer will market and distribute live boxing moments from some of the biggest fights in 2022 with the shared goal of reaching even more of the younger generation of fans, where and how they are watching sports.

FanDuel and Boardroom locked in an exclusive, content-focused partnership across web, video, audio, editorial, and social media. The deal designates FanDuel, the exclusive sports betting, fantasy, horse racing, gaming, casino, and poker partner of Boardroom. FanDuel Sportsbook will also become the exclusive odds provider of Boardroom.

ESPORTS

BLAST entered into a year-long partnership with Fortnite to produce and deliver all FNCS events in 2022 that will see BLAST operate the entire FNCS Chapter 3 broadcast schedule during each Fortnite season. Leo Matlock, MD for Development at BLAST, said: “This kind of collaboration with publishers has become a huge area of growth and focus for BLAST as a business over the last 18 months. The fact that one of the world’s leading game titles has entrusted its 2022 competitive scene to us is testament to the world-class output we’ve created during this period, and we believe we’re just at the beginning of our journey.”

CSM Sport & Entertainment secured global gaming and esports brand Evil Geniuses as its newest client. As the new agency of record of sponsorship sales for Evil Geniuses, CSM will assist the company in identifying, developing and securing commercial partnerships with high-profile brands that will further expand Evil Geniuses brand recognition with global audiences.

Allied Esports and NASCAR renewed their partnership to bring the eNASCAR Arcade on the Allied Esports Truck to 17 race weekends across the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule starting at the DAYTONA 500. eNASCAR Arcade activations will again provide attendees with a racing experience via iRacing simulators on the truck’s main stage. Select eNASCAR Arcade stops will also include driver appearances, live radio and TV hits featuring NASCAR talent, prizes and giveaways.

FTX US locked in a partnership with Nerd Street, that sees FTX US become a partner and the presenting sponsor for the upcoming Nerd Street Championships this summer. FTX US will also be a presenting sponsor of Nerd Street’s national schedule of weekly community events at their nine owned-and-operated esports venues. In addition, FTX US will power Nerd Street’s ability to accept crypto payments, offer crypto payouts to its users, and empower additional future blockchain-related features.

Complexity Gaming is announcing the Complexity Stars HBCU Rebirth Rumble, a $10,000 Warzone tournament hosted by Complexity Stars athlete and 2x NBA Champion J.R. Smith. In celebration of Black History Month, HBCU students will have an opportunity to play alongside athletes and Call of Duty influencers in the 3-vs.-3 Warzone competition on February 28. Confirmed participants include Complexity Star athletes – Leonard Fournette, Sean O’Malley, Megan Anderson, and Edwin Rios – and Warzone players and creators – Tommey, Swishem, iSmixie, and JaredFPS.

The University of California, Irvine became a founding member of Voice of Intercollegiate Esports in a move to take an active role in shaping the higher education esports ecosystem. As a member of VOICE, UCI will join other collegiate esports leaders in conversations about issues in the esports environment. UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman will head the organization’s President’s Council, convening key people from many of the top academic institutions to address the rapidly growing esports landscape.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

Mint named its first Chief Marketing Officer in Matt Wurst who joins the company to lead strategy and communications. He previously worked at Jellyfish, Revelation, 360i and the NBA.

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ON THIS DAY in
1909: The Boston Red Sox trade Cy Young.

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Which brand sponsored Felix Baumgartner’s extreme space jump ten years ago, watched by millions around the world? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

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Gary Saavadra set a world record by clocking a 3 hour 55 minute run in what sport? Answer: Surfing. Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Marc Goldstein-Marc Goldstein Media Solutions/NY; Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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JR. DISTRIBUTION FINANCIAL ANALYST
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1+ yrs. w/database and reporting. MS Excel proficiency. Medea/Argo software experience required. Reviewing remittances/variances, reconciliation of discrepancies, creating codes and protocols in Medea, analysis to specific team initiatives w/other departments, coordinating support, tracking status of agreements, and strong time management. Full info HERE (3/4)

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE ASSOCIATE >>
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Develop Ad Supported streaming products across Mobile, Web & Connected TV devices & collaborate with engineering, UX/design, sales & marketing teams. Operate as a product owner; have 5+ yrs product management experience in a software/Web/mobile or connected TV app. environment. Strong technical, creative, strategic acumen. Curious and innovative. Full info HERE (2/28)

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JR. ANALYST, AUDIENCE RESEARCH
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Daily email sent to Executives about network performance outlining top program performances with Households & Key Demos, with context. Daily update of excel based network programming grid. Develop a Weekly Schedule Analysis Report giving insight into performance. Strong understanding of Nielsen concepts and terminology, plus exp with Nielsen data. Full info HERE (2/28)

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Strategically schedule/enter promos. Monitor programming ensuring promo assets are accurate. Work with Traffic on logs/formats. Review asset delivery/screen content. Proficient in Office, exp w/ sched software, background in media. Detail-oriented/Ability to prioritize/Meet deadlines. Full info HERE (2/28)

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OPERATIONS AND STRATEGY MANAGER >>
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ACCOUNT SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE
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Work closely with Directors/Account Executives in positioning the network (Linear & Digital) to new and existing clients. Communicate with major agencies/clients serving a key role in the sales process. Collaborate internally with various departments to provide solutions for advertisers. 3+ years in media. Full info HERE (2/24)

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VIDEO PROGRAMMING MANAGER
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ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE III, SALES
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CREATIVE PROJECT MANAGER >>
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Manages global projects/campaigns/Asset production through the entire lifecycle: planning, creative, production, delivery, and wrap. Defines project scope, including timeline, resources, labor hours, & external costs. Manages, organizes, and distributes all project documentation. 6+ yrs’ exp in creative project management of work across the media. Full info HERE (2/20)

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE (LEAD GENERATION) >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/ NYC or LA:
Initiate lead generation strategies that include outbound sales marketing campaigns. Identify, prospect, and lead introductory meetings to qualify leads for Business Development Executives. Create & deliver a detailed dossier on prospect – for seamless transition to Business Development Executive. 3+ yrs of relevant business development experience. Full info HERE (2/19)

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AMC NETWORKS/NYC, NY:
Daily input of schedules for multiple nets. Work with Ops and Media Planning on program delivery, formats & versions. Maintain tracking docs, work with large amts of detailed info & tight deadlines. Acute attn to detail. Proficient in Excel, exp w/ sched software, background in media. Full info HERE (2/19)

SENIOR MANAGER ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT
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REMOTE, LOS ANGELES OR NEW YORK

We are looking for talent who will help to build the foundation for a long-term business. Candidates should have sales planning and client success management experience. Extensive background in traditional linear and digital media sponsorship sales, and the overall support of multi-year, value-driven partnerships. Full info HERE (2/18)

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
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Candidates should have extensive experience in consultative sales, working with brands to develop strategic and long-term partnerships. You will represent a portfolio of Gaming, Esports and Entertainment offerings that are some of the best in the world. Ideal candidates have experience thinking strategically and creatively for their partners. Full info HERE (2/18)

ACCOUNT MANAGER
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Candidates should have sales planning and client success management experience. Background in account management for digital media sales (and linear preferred) operations. The Account Manager will be responsible for managing the day-to-day sales operations partnership relationships and campaign management. Full info HERE (2/18)

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