02/05/16: NFL seeks changes in executive ranks; Turner’s All-Star plans; Barkley to swoon NCAA auds



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Good morning. It’s Friday February 5, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NFL is looking to shore up diversity in its executive ranks through a version of the Rooney Rule that will mandate that at least one female be interviewed for executive positions. Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement as part of his opening comments at the NFL Women’s Summit, stating that “our commitment is we have something called the Rooney Rule, which requires us to make sure when we have an opening, that on the team or the league level, that we are going to interview a diverse slate of candidates. Well, we’re going to make that commitment and we’re going to formalize that we, as a league, are going to do that with women as well in all of our executive positions. Again, we’re going to keep making progress here and make a difference." The Rooney Rule mandated teams to interview one minority candidate for each open coaching position and was instituted in 2003.


Turner Sports rolled out its NBA All-Star 2016 plans for Feb. 11-14, lining up over 26 hours of programming dedicated to the festivities leading up to the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 14 with simulcast coverage on TNT and TBS beginning at 8p. Marv Albert is set to call his 21st NBA All-Star Game with analysts Reggie Miller and Chris Webber, along with reporters Craig Sager and David Aldridge. Feb. 13 will see TNT deliver the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night at 8p and booked Kevin Harlan, Miller and Kenny Smith for micro-phone duties the night’s festivities. In addition, TNT will feature a slate of original programming including an all-new episode of Open Court at 5p, and NBA Talent Challenge at 6p. Other programming includes the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday at 9p with a USA vs. World format.

Around the dial, NBA TV is set to serve up its most expansive lineup ever of live and original programming dedicated to All-Star coverage. The network’s live coverage will include NBA All-Star Media Day, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Finalists Announcement and the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge Practice on Friday, Feb. 12; NBA All-Star Practice and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s All-Star Press Conference on Saturday, Feb. 13; and Inside the NBA presented by Kia on Sunday, Feb. 14.

FOX Sports is partnering with Sports Illustrated to rev up hype for the Daytona 500. Jeff Gordon, making his FOX NASCAR analyst debut at Daytona Speedweeks, will host a gathering set to run on Feb. 20 at 9p on FOX, dubbed Daytona 500 Kickoff Celebration. The special will feature NASCAR drivers, Hollywood celebrities and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 models and see Gordon join Molly McGrath to host with reporting and interviews from Jamie Little. The FOX/SI partnership will also see coverage of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Launch Week featured on FOX Sports’ digital and social platforms, as well as within the primetime special.
San Francisco update: The NFL and CBS announced that the Armed Forces Chorus will sing “America The Beautiful” as part of Super Bowl 50 pregame festivities on Sunday. The performance will be televised live on CBS ahead of kickoff.

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Saints coach Sean Payton, Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall and Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. are on deck to join CBS Sports as guest analysts on pre-game show, The Super Bowl Today on Sunday. Payton and Marshall join Ian Eagle on one of the two series sets at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and Smith joins Greg Gumbel, Amy Trask and Trent Green from the set in San Francisco.

MSG Networks are making a commitment to the New York Red Bulls, locking in a new multi-year rights agreement extension to keep the channels as the exclusive regional telecast home of the MLS franchise. Overall, MSG Networks is scheduled to telecast at least 17 matches in 2016, including the season opener March 6 vs. Toronto FC.

ESPN is celebrating Black History Month with a slate of programming tributes on television, radio and online. Anchoring the honors will be Rise Up: A SportsCenter Special, which will debut on Feb. 14 at 5p, and serve as the centerpiece of ESPN’s Black History Month programming. In the one-hour special will offer four segments that will include: Taj Gibson talking about rising up against gun violence; the Missouri football team discussing the team’s decision to raise awareness to race relations on campus; James Blake on racial profiling; and Misty Copeland on battling prejudices. Following each segment, a brief discussion of the significance of the subject will be held among reporters, analysts and editors from ESPN and other media outlets.

beIN Sports en Espanol saw its LaLiga action over the weekend deliver audiences, according to Nielsen. The live telecast of the FC Barcelona/Atletico de Madrid on Jan. 30 drew a total average audience of 446,000 viewers to the channel and an additional 165,000 total average viewers on beIN SPORTS for a combined total average audience of 611,000 across both networks. Meanwhile, Real Madrid/Espanyol generated an average total audience of 419,000 viewers on beIN SPORTS en Español with a combined average of 495,000 total viewers across both networks.

Fight Sports locked in a deal with Spike TV to add Bellator MMA programming to its roster. The deal will see multiple specials run on the network, beginning Feb. 8 at 11p with Unrivaled Royce Gracie.”The second special, Shamrock/Gracie/Kimbo/Dada, hits the lineup on Feb. 15.

The NFL will make its return to Mexico for a regular season game that will be played in Mexico City next season, according to ESPN. The previous contest in the capital drew 103,467 fans to see the Cardinals/49ers. This time, however, the city will see the Texans/Raiders square off.

How much was last year’s College Gameday visit worth to the likes of James Madison University and the University of Richmond? The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the ESPN franchise, which hit JMU’s Harrisonburg campus to feature the battle of the two FCS heavyweights last season, helped JMU score an overall media value of about $3.6 million, according to an internal survey, while Richmond’s differing study found that the show have a value of $2.8 million to the school.





Turner Sports’ is tapping the talents of Charles Barkley to anchor a new promotional campaign for the upcoming 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The spot sees Barkley performs his rendition of “One Shining Moment” as this year’s National Championship Game will hit TBS for the first time. The campaign will be featured during CBS’ pregame coverage of the Super Bowl this weekend and appear on Bleacher Report NCAA.com and across March Madness and Turner social platforms.

Bridgestone Americas locked in a new five-year deal with the NFL that will keep the brand as the Official Tire of the NFL and advances the company’s “Bridgestone Performance Moments” campaign platform, which includes the award for top performance play of the year at NFL Honors during Super Bowl week. The new sponsorship agreement also includes trademark rights, activation and player funds, and broadcast and online media elements. Bridgestone also will maintain sponsorship rights at all major NFL events, including NFL Kickoff, NFL Draft, NFL Experience and NFL Media Fan Gallery at the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl will see Esurance tap Twitter to give away over $1 million as part of its Esurance Pass It On Sweepstakes. Participants can Retweet messages from the Esurance Twitter handle tagged #EsuranceSweepstakes for chances to win. And for the first time ever, Esurance will select multiple prize winners each quarter. To drum up awareness, a new TV spot will run just before kickoff featuring John Krasinski’s voiceover. “With the rise of multi-screen viewing, especially around large-scale events, we wanted to connect with fans where they are already engaging with content  online and on social media,” said Alan Gellman, Chief Marketing Officer at Esurance.
Meanwhile, Michelob ULTRA hits the Super Bowl as part of Anheuser-Busch’s slate of spots by airing “Breathe” in the A1 position following kickoff. The 30-second spot, from FCB Chicago, comes from action film director Antoine Fuqua and debuts the brand’s new tagline and 2016 brand platform, “Brewed for Those Who Go the Extra Mile,” which “conveys the idea that enjoying a beer socially and living an active life don’t need to be mutually exclusive.” In addition to “Breathe,” Michelob ULTRA and Antoine Fuqua teamed up for another 30-second spot that will air during the Super Bowl only if the game goes into overtime.

Finally, Super Bowl week saw the announcement that Broncos’ wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is getting in the headphone game with Muzik, creators of connected headphones. Muzik announced that Thomas will serve as a strategic investment partner, and will see the brand’s Convertible headphones hit the market this Spring.


Campus Insiders launched on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox 360 and the platform will now offer live events on Xbox and other streaming media players including AppleTV, Roku and Amazon Fire for the first time. The network will also feature a “Game of the Day” that includes basketball, lacrosse, wrestling and more from schools across the country.

NBC Sports Digital Shorts launches its third series, Ever Wonder?, today on NBCSports.com and across other NBC Sports Digital platforms. The program “takes some of the most compelling, odd facts about different aspects of the sports world and breaking them down for fans in 1-2 minute videos” that will roll out weekly with the first taking a look into the cost of some of the most prestigious trophies in the world, including the most expensive, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, made of solid 18-carat gold and worth $20 million.


MP & Silva landed the Garena account and will serve as the global marketing rights partner of the company, which is Southeast Asia’s largest Internet and mobile platform company. The deal will see MP & Silva work closely with Garena to secure brand partnerships and maximize commercial opportunities in the Asia Pacific for three major electronic sports (eSports) properties: Garena Premier League – the leading professional League of Legends (LoL) tournament in Southeast Asia; Vietnam Championship Series A; and the League of Legends Masters Series.


UFC hired Matt Neidl to serve as Marketing Partnerships Director for the promotion. Prior to joining UFC, Neidl spent time with Traffic Sports as Director of Sponsorships and Group Director of Multicultural Marketing at Octagon.


Super Bowl 50 on Sunday at 6:30p on CBS.


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ON THIS DAY in 1991: The Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors vote 12-0 to bar Pete Rose.

In The Know: Who holds the record for most career sacks in 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: The Broncos are 2-5 in the Super Bowl. Which two teams did they beat? Answer: Falcons, Packers. Kudos: Todd Harrison-St. John Fisher/NY; Alexander Khilnani-NBC Sports/NY; Marc J. Beck-Major League Baseball/NY; Josh Santry-IF Management/NY; Peter Lasser-Lasser Productions/Atlanta; Jon Miller-NBC Sports/Stamford; Tim Buckman-NBC Sports/Stamford; Rich Dubroff-CSNmidatlantic.com/Baltimore; Ray Strain-ESPN/Chicago; Karl Hoium-Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks/Fargo; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Kyle Nagdeman-Louisiana Golf Association/Lafayette; Scott Sarra-NBC Sports Group/Denver; David Hauptman/Denver; Daniel Hanson/Vail; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Cris Aguilar-Esteem Broadcasting of California/Redding; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; Rich Greene-FOX/LA; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica.

Later — Chris
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