02/02/17: MLS’ dirty dozen; Showcase opens hot; NHL backs Everyone


Good morning. It’s Thursday February 2, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

MLS’ deadline day for groups seeking to join the league passed with a dozen cities vying to contention. MLS will look to add four more expansion teams in the coming years for a total of 28 clubs. Locations include: Charlotte, Nashville, Indianapolis, Detroit, Phoenix, St. Louis, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio, Sacramento, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg and San Diego.


ABC’s season debut of the NBA Sunday Showcase presented by Verizon Go90 series on ABC last weekend scored double-digit audience increases, according to Nielsen, with the Cavs win notching a total live average audience (television + streaming) of 3,230,000 viewers for an 11% markup over last season’s game. ABC alone saw Sunday’s broadcast average 3,186,000 viewers, up 10% from last year.

Speaking of the NBA, TNT’s league coverage tonight will feature the unveiling of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night participants during a one-hour TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader at 7p. Thursday’s game action will see Hawks/Rockets at 8p.

The NFL will once again return to Mexico City this year, announcing that the Patriots/Raiders game will take place at Estadio Azteca.  The date and time of the game will be determined in conjunction with the release of the NFL schedule this spring, and marks the fifth international game overall confirmed for 2017.

ESPN pays tribute to Chris Berman with a special tonight titled Chris Berman: He Did Go All The Way, running at 10:30p. The one-hour tribute will celebrate Berman’s career with ESPN and his influence on the sports media industry over nearly four decades and include features spanning his early years at ESPN, his work on NFL PrimeTime with Tom Jackson, his play-by-play call of Cal Ripken Jr.’s “Iron Man” streak game and more.

NASCAR detailed plans for the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, opening the season at Autodromo Monterrey in Apodaca, Nuevo León, on March 26. The announcement also saw news of the official merger between the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series and Super Copa Telcel. "With the support of NASCAR and sponsors like PEAK, Telcel, FedEx and many more, the series is committed to offering fans all over Mexico great racing and family entertainment,” said Jimmy Morales, NASCAR PEAK Series director general. “We are thankful for the effort, experience and hard work from the motorsports community to put this together for the benefit of everybody involved.”

A new study from Burson-Marsteller’s Fan Experience found that 55% of viewers say they would be interested in streaming the Super Bowl online instead of watching on cable, with 77% of Millennials giving the affirmative. “The ongoing transformation of the fan experience is just one instance of a global trend we are witnessing-across the board, consumers are being empowered by technology and demanding better, customizable content,” said Mike Fernandez, U.S. CEO, Burson-Marsteller. “The age of the one-size-fits-all content package is over, and the future belongs to the fans.”



Our award show continues to spotlight the groundbreaking work created by the sports media industry, don’t let your efforts go unnoticed!

Enter by February 8, 2017
Awards Event: April 13, 2017 (NYC)

Learn about the awards program & how to enter:


February is Hockey Is For Everyone month, with the NHL, the league’s clubs and the NHLPA lining up a slate of community-related initiatives the will drive awareness on such areas as LGBTQ; ethnicity and gender equality; socio-economic status and those with disabilities. The campaign is conducted in partnership with the You Can Play Project  a nonprofit committed to supporting the LGBTQ community and fighting homophobia in sports. ”Our Clubs, our players and our fans are committed to welcoming everyone to hockey," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "While the NHL family strives for diversity and inclusiveness all year long, February is Hockey Is For Everyone month, which will highlight, on a daily basis, the many ways our sport brings greater attention, heightened awareness and broader opportunities. In addition, Sportsnet’s Hockey Night in Canada game on Feb. 11 and NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry game on Feb. 22 (will be dedicated to the initiative.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, announced plans for the first ever Jimmie Johnson Foundation Fit Fest, described as “a local community event that will feature running, obstacle racing, mountain biking, music, food and more.” The event takes place on May 29 at Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, South Carolina.


Facebook Messenger is getting into the Super Bowl, announcing features that include non-stop game updates and highlights; allowing fans to root for their favorite team by applying masks of their team colors as face paint or eye black; an partnership with Domino’s to allow users to order food via the Domino’s bot on Messenger; commercials and more.

MSG Networks locked in an agreement with the NHL for live streaming rights to New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres games. MSG Networks’ lineup of exclusive local live NHL hockey games will be made available to customers of participating operators on MSG GO — MSG Networks’ live streaming and on demand product.

Meanwhile, SNY announced that the network will begin streaming live Mets baseball during the 2017 MLB regular season. The service, available to authenticated SNY subscribers at no additional cost, will deliver local broadcast and award-winning pre- and post-game programs streamed at SNY.tv and on theNBC Sports app.


In this week’s edition of Cynopsis eSports & Gaming
·       ESL eyes production upgrades through new deal with David Hill
·       CEO gets ready for 2017 rumble
·       ESA calls out immigration moves
·       Club Penguin gets iced
·       Activision Blizzard opens doors to Consumer Products
·       DreamHack Masters drops names


MP & Silva promoted Suhyeon Cho to Chief Commercial Officer, where he will be responsible for driving the group’s commercial strategy.


Warriors/Clippers on TNT at 10:30p.


WEBINAR: New Methods to Use Influencers to Reach
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Influencer marketing isn’t just here to stay – it’s set to explode. It’s no longer enough to just produce good content. You need to get that content discovered and championed in an increasingly crowded environment. That’s why you should join us on 2/9 at 1:30 PM to hear from DS Simon, Food Network & Cooking Channel, VaynerMedia & House Party Inc. on the latest methods to align yourself most productively with these connection creators.

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ON THIS DAY in 1967: The American Basketball Association is formed.

In The Know: The smallest margin of victory at the Super Bowl was one point, played between which two teams? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: As the Patriots prepare for their record ninth Super Bowl appearance, they will break a four-way tie of eight with which other three teams? Answer: Steelers, Cowboys, Broncos. Kudos: Charmaine Leary-NBCU Content Distribution/NY; Michael Strauss-CoxReps/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Frank Costa-CBS Sports/NY; Mark Lehman-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books/Glen Rock; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; David. Hauptman/Denver; Scott Sarra-NBC Sports Group/Denver; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Alan Perris/Beverly Hills.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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