02/28/20: The NWSL tapped Lisa Baird as its new Commissioner

 

 

Friday February 28, 2020

The National Women’s Soccer League has a new commissioner, naming marketing executive Lisa Baird to the role following the departure of league president Amanda Duffy. Baird most recently served as CMO at New York Public Radio, but previously served as CMO for the United States Olympic Committee for nine years in addition to her time as the NFL’s SVP of marketing and consumer products.Baird will be charged with overseeing all operations for the league and NWSL Media, with a focus on growing revenues and audience while elevating the profile of the league globally. She will begin the position on March 10.

“We are thrilled to name Lisa as the commissioner of the NWSL,” said NWSL executive committee chair and North Carolina Courage owner Steve Malik. “Her impressive background at the forefront of sports and commercial business for some of the most iconic properties worldwide will be instrumental to the future success and growth of the league.”

PROGRAMMING

Lots of talent news. ESPN extended its contract with Hannah Storm in a multi-year deal to remain with the organization. The SportsCenter anchor is now in her 12th year with the company.

Television producer Kevin Wildes is taking his talents in front of the camera, joining FS1’s First Things First beside Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe. The longtime television producer and development executive makes his first foray into a full-time on-air role on the network’s early morning show, airing weekdays from 6:30-9:30a. Prior to joining FS1, Wildes served as a producer and development executive for a number of notable projects across the television industry. He is also well-known for his contributions to the “Half-Baked Ideas” segment on the award-winning “Bill Simmons Podcast.” Wildes spent over a decade at ESPN, rising to Vice President of Original Content, NBA Studio Production. In this role, Wildes oversaw production of “NBA Countdown,” while also launching and developing “The Jump” as well as “Detail by Kobe Bryant” for ESPN+.

Kimberley A. Martin joined ESPN as an NFL reporter. Martin will cover the league year-round and contribute to ESPN’s NFL shows, SportsCenter, ESPN.com and more. She officially starts March 9 and joins from Yahoo Sports where she served as a senior NFL writer since 2018.

Current INDYCAR driver for Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe is joining NBC Sports as a motorsports analyst for 2020. He will serve as a driver analyst for a majority of NBC Sports’ 2020 INDYCAR race coverage, providing reports from pit road and will make his debut at the season-opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., the weekend of March 13-15. In addition to his role on INDYCAR coverage, Hinchcliffe will provide analysis during NBC Sports’ NASCAR coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Fourth of July weekend. He will also serve as an analyst for select IMSA races, beginning with Sebring on March 20-21, and will contribute to Indy Lights coverage on NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR Pass throughout the year.

TUDN unveiled its comprehensive coverage for Major League Soccer’s 25th anniversary season, with a lineup of 31 regular season matches, along with the MLS All-Star Game, MLS Playoffs, and the MLS Cup during the 2020 season. In addition to Spanish-language commentary from TUDN’s best-in-class broadcast team, English-language commentary of all MLS telecasts will be available via SAP. Broadcast talent for MLS matches from TUDN includes: Jose Luis Lopez Salido, Francisco “Paco” Villa, Raul Guzman, and Ramses Sandoval on play-by-play with analysts Diego Balado, Marcelo Balboa, Carlos Pavon, and Tony Cherchi. In studio, TUDN’s Fútbol Central featured Alejandro Berry, Ivan Kasanzew, Adriana Monsalve, and Lindsay Casinelli.

Combate Americas scored viewership gains for its first show of the year last Friday from Mexicali, B.C., Mexico. In its midnight time slot, the event brought in a total of 511,000 P2+ viewers on Univision with 274,000 A18-49 viewers. The performance made it Combate’s second-most watched event in the A18-49 demo since the Hispanic MMA sports franchise premiered on Univision in April 2018, according to Nielsen.

USA Ultimate and ESPN locked in a three-year agreement to broadcast and stream the sport’s premier event properties. The new deal is highlighted by an increased amount of live, linear television coverage on ESPN2, as well as continued live programming on ESPNU and includes coverage of USA Ultimate’s three flagship events – the College Championships, the U.S. Open Club Championships and the National Championships. Overall, ESPN will produce and distribute 60 live games – including 23 men’s games and 23 women’s games – across a variety of linear and digital platforms.

The 2020 Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The NBA and New Balance Athletics, Inc. announced a new multiyear agreement to make the global athletic brand an official marketing partner of the NBA. As part of the deal, New Balance will create “authentic broadcast, digital and retail content featuring New Balance-sponsored athletes in their respective NBA uniforms and team logos.” The relationship will officially tip off with New Balance’s We Got Now global brand campaign during the Nuggets/Clippers game on tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. “We are excited to welcome New Balance to our family of global partners,” said Dan Rossomondo, NBA Senior Vice President, Media and Business Development. “We look forward to working with New Balance as the brand develops its basketball footprint and continues to establish itself in the market with recent high-profile player signings and new products.”

NASCAR and Blue-Emu announced a multi-year agreement designating the company as an Official Partner of NASCAR, Martinsville Speedway and Motor Racing Network (MRN). As part of the agreement, Blue-Emu will serve as the entitlement sponsor of NASCAR Cup Series spring events at Martinsville Speedway, with the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 debuting under the lights on May 9.

Meanwhile, NASCAR and Elgin Sweeper unlocked a multi-year partnership renewal, continuing the designation of the leading manufacturer of street sweepers, special industrial, and airport applications as the “Official Sweeper of NASCAR Green.” “Considering our dealers’ dedication to – and passion for – NASCAR Green’s goal of protecting the environment through sustainable practices, and our own involvement in the NASCAR culture for more than a decade, it was a logical progression to renew our partnership,” said Mike Higgins, vice president and general manager, Elgin Sweeper. “We are immensely proud of the fact that NASCAR continues to rely on Elgin Sweeper to be present at the tracks every race season to shorten rain delays and cautionary events.”

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

ESPN Audio is touting that the 2019 Share of the Ear from Edison Research find that the network accounts for 54% of all sports listening, for a rise of 23% over 2018 survey results. Approximately 66 million people per week consumed ESPN Audio content last year, up 20% from 2018. Those listeners also increased their time spent listening with weekly numbers for ESPN Audio and ESPN Podcasts up 24% and 13% from 2018, respectively.

FanDuel Group announced its 2019 financial highlights, which marked a record year for the company as a result of FanDuel Sportsbook expansion. FanDuel Sportsbook delivered 54% revenue growth for the Group, which reported 2019 net revenue of $480 million. The company extended its industry-leading online sportsbook offering into three new states and now operates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and West Virginia.

ESPORTS

One of esports biggest events became the latest to fall to the coronavirus as ESL announced that IEM Katowice would be closed to the public due to the virus. In a statement, the company stated that it was informed by the Silesian Voivodeship that the company’s mass event license for IEM Katowice was revoked. They noted that “until that moment we had a legally binding decision allowing us to organize the event, which was reconfirmed multiple times over the last few days.” Due to this development, Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2020 will not have any audience on-site although contests will continue to be played.

The NBA 2K League is moving the NBA 2K League Studio to Manhattan for the 2020 season as the league prepares for the new season, announcing the schedule for the year. The new venue will now occupy a 13,600 square-foot space located at 508 West 37th Street in Manhattan with a capacity of 200 people, offering revamped audience seating that reflects the circular competition format unique to the NBA 2K League, larger screens, a mic’d stage, the Bud Light VIP Lounge, a streaming pod for guest streamers, and an additional studio for content capture. Season three tips off March 24 with The TIPOFF powered by AT&T. Weekly regular-season matchups at the NBA 2K League Studio will begin at 7p on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays with each team playing a total of 16 regular-season games. Every Friday, the NBA 2K League Studio will host a “Game of the Week.” In addition, and new this season, select NBA 2K League teams will host rivalry matches and round-robin events in their local markets.

The National Hockey League iced in its plans for the 2020 NHL Gaming World Championship, which will offer its largest prize pool in NHL gaming history, topping $150,000, prizes awarded during Round 2, and an expanded World Final that will see three finalists from each Region advance to battle it out. US Regional Finalists will compete at NBC Sports studios in Stamford on May 22. The World Final be played during the week of the 2020 NHL Awards.

LCS is working with Nielsen to develop the first-ever “live+” measurement system for esports broadcasts. Live+ ratings look at viewership for live broadcasts and related on-demand or replay video afterwards to calculate the total audience for the programming content, still leveraging the new industry standard for viewership reporting — average minute audience (AMA). This metric will “measure live and on-demand LCS viewership more accurately than ever before, and will parallel Nielsen’s live+ TV ratings, which aggregate live and on-demand viewership within a designated time window to present a more complete picture of TV viewership engagement.”

MSI extended its partnership with ESL for ESL Pro League Seasons 11 and 12. As the Official Gaming Partner of ESL Pro League, MSI will sponsor Seasons 11 and 12 with gaming hardware, owning the monitor, PC, including motherboards and graphic cards, and laptop categories, and will work to captivate fans through engaging onsite activities, in addition to reviving the Mystery Box Segment, where ESL talent will quiz two audience members with fun esports trivia questions onsite at the ESL Pro League Season 11 Finals in Denver, CO, on April 10-12 and subsequent Season 12 Finals.

Upper Deck announced the global launch of 2020 Overwatch League Series 1 Trading Cards. The new release marks the third esports trading card set from Upper Deck and features never-before-seen chase and insert cards from all 20 teams in the league. The new Overwatch League™ Series 1 release includes a 200-card base set featuring 160 players from across all 20 teams and subsets highlighting key moments and special events from the 2019 season. Collectors can find new Star Rookie cards and never-before-seen hits and chase cards such as Championship Fragments, featuring six different player jersey swatches, and Combo cards, showcasing a player autograph and match-worn jersey patch.

Nerd Street Gamers added Comcast Spectacor’s Tucker Roberts to its board of directors. “Tucker is an invaluable addition to our team as we grow esports infrastructure across the nation,” said John Fazio, Founder and CEO of Nerd Street Gamers. “We recognize the opportunities presented to traditional sport athletes and share the vision of a future where competitive gamers have access to the same level of leagues, facilities, scholarships, education and careers.”

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

DraftKings announced the official opening of its new San Francisco office, furthering the company’s West Coast presence alongside its most recent opening in Las Vegas. Boasting 4,750 square-feet, the new space marks DraftKings’ third office opening since unveiling its Boston headquarters nearly one year ago.

SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/ DAVID J. HALBERSTAM

Oakland A’s off traditional radio might be the right long-term move!
The Oakland A’s have taken heat for moving their games off terrestrial radio in the Bay Area, making them available only on TuneIn, an online app. When sports coverage first migrated from regular television to cable, fans carped, “Why pay? Not everyone has cable.”
TuneIn is about progress. The A’s will now be heard clear as a bell nationally and in time seamlessly in Oakland, North Carolina, Oakland, Michigan and yes, Oakland, California. And free of charge!
Oakland A’s are off terrestrial radio in the Bay Area; Team will stream its games through A’sCasts on TuneIn

Tony Romo will be the big winner!
Do announcers really matter?
The fact of the matter is this. Announcers rarely move the needle. Ratings are dictated by whether the game is compelling or not.
To hear that ESPN is prepared to throw everything under the sun to land Romo is surprising and antithetical to the network’s recent policies and practices. Not that it couldn’t make an exception but as a matter of policy, its personnel don’t fly by private charter. Romo won’t wait on security lines. More importantly, ESPN rarely hires overpowering names. It’s all about the ESPN brand. The voices at ESPN are a commodity. Not star individuals.
This said, the NFL property is a must for Disney and the optics of a marquee name like Romo is a chunk of the currency needed to land the rights. Call it what you want. Conspicuous consumption? But Disney knows it has to keep up with the Joneses.
Breaking down the top NFL announce teams; Buck-Aikman, Michaels-Collinsworth and Nantz-Romo

Birthdays
February 28 – Jennifer Hale – FOX Sports/NFL sideline reporter
March 1 -Harry Caray, Was born on March 1, 1914 – one of baseball’s greatest voices, Cubs/Cards – died 1998
March 1 – John Rooney – Cards’ baseball announcer on KMOX, St. Louis
March 2 -Kevin Burkhardt – FOX Sports studio and play-by-play voice
March 3 – Mike Lange- creative radio voice of Pittsburgh Penguins
March 5 – Steve Holman – radio voice of the Atlanta Hawks
Read more in Sports Broadcast Journal

THE MAIN EVENT

Auburn/Kentucky on CBS tomorrow at 3:45p.

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NOMINATE YOURSELF OR A COLLEAGUE TODAY

On This Day
1988: The XV Winter Olympic Games close in Calgary.

In the Know
What team is the current NWSL Champion? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Who portrayed the character, boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in the film Million Dollar Baby? Answer: Hillary Swank. Kudos: Tori Gallarello-Alcock/Little Roosters, Inc./NY; John M-SpotX/NY; Barbara Capella Loehr-Equal Opportunity Publications Inc./NY; Phyllis Toss-Wavemaker/NY; Matt Laramee-Southern New Hampshire University/Manchester; Roger Furman-Sports Marketing Communications/Greentown; Michael Goodman-Radio One-Atlanta/Atlanta; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Jenna Rice-hulu/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottdale; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/Santa Monica; Anne Wettig-FOX/FOX Sports S&P/LA; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; Stacy Adams-Warner Bros./Burbank

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Using the research from analyzing TV (brdcst, cable, OTT) content, digital & social media to dvlp sales, mktg & prgrmng strategies & materials. 2+yrs work exp @ media co. (TV network, studio, SVOD service or ad agency) or research supplier. Solid knwldg of ad-supported TV. Full info HERE (3/13)

SR RESEARCH ANALYST
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Sesame Workshop/NY:
Resp for focusing on domestic initiatives, incl video, digital & outreach projects for Sesame Street & other properties. Social science rsrch lab & working directly w/preschool-age children exp. 3 yrs exp at non-profit, academic or educationally-oriented institution. Full info HERE (3/12)

VP, COMMUNICATIONS >>
BBC Studios/LA:
Design/implement wide-ranging communications plan for BBC Studios production unit. Raise our profile of the business and its executives thru industry PR activities & publicity – incl trade press and award campaigns. Min 6-8 yrs exp in industry and/or field. Full info HERE (3/11)

PAID MEDIA STRATEGIST >>
DISCOVERY/NYC:
Proven media strategist to develop plans that are both strategic and data-driven, with the goal of acquiring consumers to watch the various Discovery networks on our emerging direct-to-consumer platforms. 2+ yrs media planning experience required. Full info HERE (3/11)

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE DR >>
Marathon Ventures/NYC: Maintain/develop our DR acct business while working in collaboration w/internal depts to minimize risk & maximize revenue on current & future business transactions. Success record selling TV inventory to nat’l advertisers in the branding & DR marketplace. Full info HERE (3/11)

CHANNEL BRANDING SYSTEMS COORDINATOR >>
ION/CLW: Assist with design and scheduling of graphics for real-time play-out. 3-5 yrs. exp. in Graphic Design. Organization skills req. Knowledge of After Effects, Photoshop a must, SQL Database a plus. Click HERE to apply. EOE (3/11)

MEDIA DISTRIBUTION DEALS & PARTNER MANAGEMENT >>
NBA/NYC:
Focus on deal support & acct mngmnt for numerous NBA media partners. Ability to handle rsrch & analysis of media landscape independently to provide support to team for more complex negotiations. Min 4-6yrs supporting negotiation of media dist deals. Full info HERE (3/11)

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PRODUCER, MARKETING & PROMOTION >>
NBC Sports/Stamford CT:
Collaborate on the creation of promotional content for NBC Sports. Candidate should bring an exciting, vibrant approach to the content creation team. Highly qualified story tell w/min 5 yrs brdcst or cable network prod exp. Full info HERE (3/10)

TRAFFIC ASSISTANT >>
NBCU TLM KVDA/San Antonio TX:
Maintain accurate local program schedule & formatting in WideOrbit. Min 1-3 yrs exp in Broadcast Traffic and working exp in Broadcast Traffic systems (WideOrbit, OSI etc.) Strong verbal & written communication skills. Full info HERE (3/10)

SR DIRECTOR, CONSUMER MARKETING >>
INSP/Charlotte NC:
Support VP & EVP w/dvlpmnt of strategic positioning for new & returning series and films: determine the target audience, and establish marketing objectives and strategies. 7-10 yrs exp entertainment, brand mktg, advertising cable/streaming. Full info HERE (3/10)

ASSISTANT, SUPPORTING 2 VP’S
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9 Story Media Group/NYC:
Assistant to support two VPs in Consumer Products division. Candidate w/take charge attitude, great communication skills and ability to work fast paced envir working w/mult depts. Full info HERE (3/6)

SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST >>
VENN/LA:
New 24/7 post-cable network aimed at gaming, esports and entertainment audiences seeks candidate who is fan of gaming & pop culture to develop, plan and execute VENN socials. 3+yrs running brand socials w/exp in paid/organic and editing/photography skills pref’d. Full info HERE (3/6)

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Manage day-to-day push notifications, email acquisition, CRM experiences, Social advertising and other digital marketing efforts. 3 – 5yr exp in a CRM development/execution role or a direct marketing / customer acquisition role with a proven track record of success. Full info HERE (3/4)

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